AN: Wow! Thirteen reviews, 39 Favs, and 57 Follows, plus it's in two communities! Thanks, guys, you're awesome! I'm glad people enjoy this particular story so much! By the way, are you guys catching the hints of the 2004 movie that I put in? There will be something quite peculiar going on in Fourth Year that I have planned, specifically for the showing off the schools do for the TriWizard Tournament. It's a scene I've had in my head since the beginning of this fic, so at least you guys have that to look forward to!
I won't be taking chapter upon chapter with each year; probably only two or three, maybe four at most. Depends on what I'm messing with at the moment.
Now, then, on with the show.
Elena's first year...didn't really end well.
The Phantom, true to his word, did give Snape his one warning, but the Potions Master ignored the Opera Ghosts' instructions. A week later, Severus Snape was found dead in the Hogwarts dungeons, strangled to death by a common, non-enchanted rope. There was an official investigation of the man's untimely demise, but the murderer was never found. Only mocking notes signed "O.G."
The man brought in to replace Snape was named Horace Slughorn. He was old, bald, had a huge mustache, and was very fat. But his skill at Potions was undeniable, as was his habit of "collecting" famous people for connections and favors. He promptly collected Elena, who said that Slughorn's connections could be very useful some day. A plan was forming in her mind, something to surprise her Teacher. Let it not be said that Elena wasn't cunning!
But the real problem that year was the third floor corridor. Dumbledore had announced during the Welcoming Feast that it was "out of bounds for anyone who does not wish to die a most painful death". That had sent alarm bells for the Phantom, Elena, and her large group of friends.
Elena, in order to pass the Weasley twins' test, pranked them by sending the two there discreetly. When they returned, she was promptly accepted into "the New Marauders" along with, surprisingly, Neville. They told her later that there was a pup Cerberus in there, guarding a trap door.
The whole group got together and began investigating, until Neville suggested talking to Rubeus Hagrid, the Groundskeeper, since he had a love and deep knowledge about all kinds of beasts, especially dangerous ones. "You said that you saw Hagrid at Gringotts, right? Why would he go there?" Elena asked, confused.
"Headmaster Dumbledore probably asks him to get things from there, especially if he's busy and can't go himself," Draco said.
"And you said that there was a break-in at Gringotts that same day, right Cedric?" Elena continued.
The Hufflepuff nodded. "The goblins and the Ministry were in an uproar, even though nothing was taken. All the goblins said was that the vault that was broken into was emptied earlier... that day." Comprehension dawned on everyone's faces.
"What're the odds that Hagrid goes into Gringotts, probably goes into a vault, and empties it, and then later that day someone tries to steal something? We need to talk to Hagrid, find out what we can," Elena announced.
In the end, Elena went down to Hagrid's hut, along with Daphne and Cedric, and during tea, they managed to find out that the Cerberus pup was named Fluffy, and was Hagrid's pet. With a little more digging, Hagrid let slip that Dumbledore needed Fluffy to help protect something made by Nicholas Flamel.
"Nicholas Flamel?" Draco gaped. "The alchemist? He's the only one to ever make a Sorcerer's Stone!" He, along with Hermione, explained that the Stone could transform any metal into pure gold and granted immortality via the Elixir of Life, so long as you drank it regularly.
"So it's more than likely that the Sorcerer's Stone is what Hagrid retrieved from Gringotts, and it's in the school right now, somewhere in the third-floor corridor," Elena mused. But this whole situation didn't sit right with Elena, and the Phantom agreed. Nicholas Flamel's life depended on that stone; why in the world would he let it out of his sight? Sure, Gringotts was nearly impossible to break into, especially the older vaults, but he let the Stone be moved to Hogwarts with a bunch of kids?!
"It sounds more like a test," Neville finally said. "See if someone's going to go after it." They all agreed. But a test for who?
Finally, though, there was Quirrell. One day near exams, the two had heard him talking in an unused classroom to someone with a high, cold voice that sent shivers down their spines. The voice said something about "not failing again".
The whole group went to McGonagall after exams were done, but she brushed their concerns away, saying that the Stone was well-protected, and that Quirrell trying to steal the Sorcerer's Stone was preposterous.
Flitwick and Sprout believed them, though, and escorted the group to the Stone.
"These defences are laughable!" Fred, George, and Cedric exclaimed, shocked. "First years could get through these with no problem, let alone an adult, capable wizard!"
"Dumbledore insisted they be this weak, despite our protests," Flitwick sighed, and Sprout nodded.
"Then he's a fool," Elena said. "He's testing me, the Girl-Who-Lived, not actually trying to protect his friend's life-long work. And he's put the entire school in danger because of this. Any injuries or deaths would be on his head."
Elena insisted that that the two teachers disguise themselves and everyone else as she went through Snape's challenge alone. "Quirrell's expecting me, not all of us. He won't be on guard and we can take him down easier."
In the end, Flitwick, Sprout, and the rest of Elena's friends were glad that she had thought ahead, especially when Quirrell revealed the face of Lord Voldemort on the back of his head.
The Phantom, who had accompanied them while staying to the shadows, immediately leapt out of his hiding spot and threw a rope around Quirrell's neck, and Elena jumped forward, pressing her hand's on Voldemort's face. Ever since she got to Hogwarts, Elena had endlessly researched ways that her mother might have protected her. Some books had held mentions of a powerful ritual that required the sacrifice of an innocent. In return, if the sacrifice had done no crimes against the attacker, the attacker would be unable to harm their victim, suffering extreme pain if their victim touched bare skin. There were no mentions on how to preform said ritual or where it originated, but Elena felt that that was probably what Lily Potter had done that night. Lily had done no wrong to Voldemort, therefore she was an innocent. She traded her life for Elena's, to protect her.
"I call upon the protection my mother, Lily Potter, bestowed upon me!" Elena cried. Voldemort/Quirrell was blistering under her hands, his skin cracking as they screamed. Her scar burned like fire, yet Elena continued, ignoring what the professors and her friends were doing. The rope tightened around around Quirrelmort's neck.
"Banish this spirit! May he never return to this land again!"
There was a violent flash of of golden light and the castle rumbled. Elena fell, right into the Phantom's arms. Her eyes fluttered closed and she finally passed out due to exhaustion. Voldemort's spirit fled, screaming in continued agony, as Quirrell's body crumbled into dust due to the powerful magicks invoked.
Dumbledore came running into the room followed by McGonagall, only to find himself at the wand of everyone in the room, except Elena and the Phantom.
"Explain yourself, Albus!" Flitwick roared. "How dare you test one of my Ravens this way! Now Quirrell is dead and Elena is unconscious!"
Dumbledore's eyes widened as he saw the last Potter in a strange, almost terrifying man's arms. He was dressed in an old-fashioned Muggle black suit, with a black cloak that was white on the inside draped around his shoulders that reached to his feet. Dark hair was slicked back out of his face, but what was most noticeable was the bone-white mask that covered the right half of the man's face.
Everyone else turned to look at what had captured the Headmaster's attention, and they froze as well, all except Flitwick.
"Who are you, sir?" Dumbledore asked.
The man chuckled darkly. "I've had many titles over the years, but you may call me the Opera Ghost for now. If you want to know my true title, however, that lies in another place entirely."
"What do you want with Elena?" McGonagall asked sharply, fearing for her kitten's safety. Her inner cat was fluffed up in fear at the strange man, the Opera Ghost, and that unsettled her.
The Opera Ghost only smiled, and suddenly there was a bright flash of light that forced all the Witches and Wizards to closer their they could open them again, the Opera Ghost and Elena were gone.
"Albus!" Minerva cried, spinning around to face the man.
"Headmaster!" Hermione called, the other students behind her. "Where did Elena and that man go?! Will she be okay?!"
Dumbledore raised his hands. "I know for a fact that Miss Elena is still on Hogwarts grounds, since it is impossible for anyone other than the Headmaster or Headmistress to Apparate in or out of the school, and only then in extreme situations. I suspect that the Opera Ghost will be taking Miss Elena to the Hospital Wing."
But Flitwick was not so easily distracted, and he said sharply, "Albus, you didn't answer my demand. Why did you decide to test one of my Ravens this way?"
When Elena finally woke up, the Phantom was the first thing she saw. He was sitting next to her bed, looking at her with worry in his eyes. "Teacher?" she croaked, slowly getting up. Her head still hurt, and her hands throbbed a little.
"Are you feeling all right? Madam Pomphrey will probably be here soon, along with your friends. It's been three days since your fight with Voldemort, because calling upon your mother's protection and burning Quirrell's face almost drained your core completely. It was touchy, your recovery, after I got you to the Hospital Wing."
"They saw you?" Elena gasped, her emerald eyes filled with concern.
The Phantom shrugged. "That doesn't matter. Your safety and health is more important than making sure no one sees me. I only told them that one of my titles is 'Opera Ghost'."
Elena laughed at how clever her teacher was, when the Phantom suddenly slipped back into the shadows. The reason why became obvious when, a few minutes later, the door to the Hospital Wing burst open and Elena's group of friends came pouring in, Hermione in the lead.
"Elena!" Hermione cried, giving the Potter a hug. "How are you? Do you fell all right? Oh, Elena, you scared all of us half to death! And who was that man? Was-"
"Breathe, Hermione," Elena and the Weasley Twins chorused.
"In order, I'm feeling a lot better than before, yes I feel all right, you all look wonderful for having one foot in the grave-" Hermione huffed while the others all laughed, "-and that man... well, he's complicated."
Elena looked down at her hands, which were clasped together in her lap. "I trust all of you, but so much of it isn't my story, my secret, to share. But... he's my Teacher. He's watched over me ever since I was dropped off at my horrible Muggle relatives, and he's been teaching me all he knows of music."
The Phantom appeared out of the shadows and gave a bow. He then took Hermione and the other girl's hands and kissed their knuckles. "Bonjour, Mademoiselles, Monsieurs. I am the Opera Ghost, but I am most commonly known... as the Phantom of the Opera."
Hermione and Daphne gasped, as well as Draco. "You mean the old legend in Paris, about the once-famous Opera Populaire? But how?"
The Phantom inclined his head. "I am the very same, Mademoiselle Granger. But for those who don't know, I will explain." He didn't go into detail, but the Phantom went through everything until Elena's Hogwarts letter.
"I do not trust Monsieur Dumbledore, so tell him nothing of this," the Phantom warned them after the tale was done. They all sat in silence, digesting everything until Hermione said quietly, "You were the one who killed Professor Snape, weren't you?"
"Yes, he was," Elena said, while Cedric asked, "What do you mean, Hermione?"
"Opera Ghost, O.G., which was what the notes were always signed with. Then the Phantom said that he kills by hanging rope, which is how Professor Snape was killed. And also... he'd always belittled Elena, and considering how protective the Phantom is of her, that's what his motivation was."
"Very astute," the Phantom said. "To be fair, however, I did give that man a warning, just like Little Elena's uncle."
"We'd better get going," Blaise announced. "I don't want to get yelled at by Madam Pomphrey."
The group said their good-byes and left, and a few minutes later, Dumbledore, Flitwick, and Sprout came in, followed bu Madam Pomphrey. "I told you, Headmaster, that my patient has been through a great ordeal and needs to rest!" Pomphrey yelled.
"We won't be long, Poppy," Dumbledore assured her. "Well then, Elena, how are you feeling?"
"It's Miss Potter, Headmaster. We are not familiar enough with each other to be informal. And then there's also the fact that I don't trust you," Elena said firmly. "Hello, Professor Flitwick, Professor Sprout. Thank you for coming with us to the Sorcerer's Stone."
"You're very welcome, Miss Elena," Flitwick said, and Sprout nodded her agreement.
"Now, Elena, who was that man, the 'Opera Ghost'? Do you know why he seemed so protective of you?" Dumbledore asked, blue eyes twinkling.
"It's Miss Potter, Headmaster," Elena said coldly. "And I don't know who this ...'Opera Ghost' is. And nor is it your business unless this man either tries to harm me or interferes with my schoolwork." Then she turned to the MediWitch. "Hell, Madam Pomphrey. I'm felling a lot better. Thank you!" Poppy beamed. Elena had already charmed her, much how she charmed the fabled Phantom of the Opera a decade ago.
"The Leaving Feast is in a couple of days, Miss Potter," Poppy said, checking Elena with her wand. "You should be able to participate IF you rest for the rest of today as well as tomorrow."
Dumbledore left, deep in thought. He sincerely hoped Elena got better, as well as this man meant no harm to her.
That's all of my pre-written chapters. I go back to school tomorrow, so I'm not sure when I'll have time to continue writing. But don't worry; nothing short of death will keep me away from my stories for long.
As always, I command you to REVIEW!