Alter’s source work, author and character: Harry Potter, JK Rowling; Lily Potter (née Evans) Character Journal name: ~neeevans Character Name: Marina Savain Character Age: 31 Character Played By:Zoe Saldana. Alter Played By:Karen Gillan
Character History and Personality: Nobody was born to slip through the cracks quite like Marina. Born, but not quite; her bearers, both longtime refugees and partners in crime, never cared to submit to any sort of marriage license, much less a birth certificate. So Marina Savain was born without any proof of being born, and for the first years of her life, remained nonexistent to all governments that should have known wiser. It was less of a problem than it was a gift; Marina quickly became a favored tool in her parents' work. The unfortunate mother in need, the desperate father. Sympathy proved a most bountiful tool where money was concerned.
Marina was born in Paris, but the city didn't hold the Savain family for much longer than that. They moved as gypsies and drifters, never lasting six months in any one place. Marina never received any type of formal education save for what her mother taught her, and of course what she learned from so many neighbors along the way. She learned Haitian creole from her father, French and English from her mother, and the rest came with the territories. She never thought it was strange, what her parents did; she loved them, she liked traveling. She learned a curious array of skills, either for the sake of work or simply by proximity of other people; she learned to dance from a performer in Paris, she practiced violin with the old man downstairs in Vienna. Piano from a former world class musician in Montreal. Surfing in Melbourne. Card games in Venice and guitar in Barcelona. Futball, everywhere.
But it couldn't last. Marina was twelve when her parents were arrested in the Reno airport with a suitcase full of drugs and fake passports. No country would claim them as natural citizens, so deportation proved impossible. Long prison sentences wrapped up all of the red tape into a pretty convenient bow. Marina, meanwhile, was thrust into the ill-equipped arms of child services so that everyone could dust their hands clean at the end of the day.
Things changed after that. Marina was suddenly an unstable, frantic child in a sea of so many other unstable, frantic children. The nightmares about pointed gun barrels, garbled shouting, and gleaming airport tiles bled into her waking life. The paranoia was crippling and she wanted nothing but to run, just like her parents had always taught her to do so well. Instead she'd gotten caught, which was the one rule they weren't supposed to break. But her parents had gotten caught too, and Marina had to begrudgingly come to terms with the fact that they hadn't known what they'd been talking about at all when they'd told her those late night stories about how special they all were. There was nothing very special about Marina's life anymore, not in Nevada.
The foster care system proved to be a revolving door for Marina. Families were quick to take an interest in the dark eyed girl with a palette of languages at her disposal, but it never lasted very long. She was too cruel, cornering the other children with knives and threats to ensure nobody touched her stuff. Too unpredictable, stealing six purses during the Calvins' Christmas party to fund her escape. There were ten different homes by the time she was seventeen, and after that, the agency stopped trying to farm her out. Which was fine with Marina, she had her own designs on life at this point.
Fresh and free, at eighteen in Vegas, there wasn't a whole lot to do aside from waiting tables or dancing, and Marina didn't have the tits or the training for the later. So it was that she begrudgingly started slinging mugs of lukewarm coffee at a local diner on the Strip. It was a popular spot for the showgirls and the card sharks. Some nights Marina scraped together an apron full of change, and some nights a regular got to roll big on one of the tables and tipped her a casino chip that paid her whole month's rent. Las Vegas was like that, incapable of being controlled or planned for. Maybe that's why she liked it, it felt like the entire world sometimes, and she didn't ever have to leave. It wasn't Paris, there was no old man downstairs with a violin, but there was still an Eiffel Tower. Nothing very special, she reminded herself.
Vegas had a way of pushing you forward on good luck when you'd been belly aching for weeks, and it could take the rug out from beneath feet that just found right just as easily. That's kind of how it was when she met Russ. She couldn't say when she stopped hating him so badly, or when she stopped spitting in his coffee.. it all just happened in that kind of blink of the eye way that Las switched things around on her all the time. When the scowls traded up for rare gem smiles and she started screaming a whole lot less. It was sudden enough, and different enough, that she wasn't entirely sure how to stop it. Not even sure that she wanted to. They always bounced back into the comfort of animosity, anyway. Never got too comfortable, and Marina liked that. Nothing special, she reminded herself again.
Marina knew what it was like to run from things. Now that she was older, she could tell that the non stop migration of her youth hadn't been as much about staying one step ahead of the law as it had been about escaping some great shadow behind them. And Russ was running too. Marina was too much her father's daughter to miss the signs, any good con had to know her mark. The only problem was that Marina didn't want anything from Russ, except for those late night times when she had something tangible in her fists and her teeth to want, and even then it was too frightening to name. But he was skittish like a beat dog and angry like a gator with sore teeth, and Marina kept her distance. She wormed her way into his life slowly, so slowly that he didn't know how to fight it anymore.
Not that that stopped them from fighting. The fighting was as important as the loving, and it all operated like some demented clockwork with them. Screaming and pushing and scratching over who knows what, then Marina would leave for two weeks and bounce around the Strip spreading his name like bad news to all of the little cocktail waitresses and feathered dancers that had already told her better, and then.. it was right back to his door. A little drunk, a little unsteady, but never admitting defeat. So there was another long weekend behind them where they just called out of work and never left the bed for anything more than some stale water out of the tap. She'd make him omelettes at midnight, and she'd trick him into listening to Italian opera, almost without complaining.
In retrospect, Marina should have known better. She should have had a different angle, she should have arranged her cards first.. but she'd gotten careless, she'd gotten happy, and she'd forgotten that everybody was running from something. When she told Russ that she was pregnant, it was right back to the fighting. Like the omelettes had never happened, like the reading by moonlight had never happened, like so many long weekends, and kisses, and dance lessons hadn't happened. He was bitter with the declaration that the child wasn't his, and she somehow hadn't seen it coming. Retrospect, right? When Russ left, with coffee mugs and CDs and car part magazines flying after him off the balcony, Marina knew that she wasn't going to see him again. Nothing special, again.
That was six years ago, and whole lot could change between then and now. Rent wasn't cheap, and crime was profitable. It was also familiar, and if there was any city that was willing to help a budding criminal mind, it was Las Vegas. She had a kid to think about, though, and she wasn't trying to replay the elements of her own childhood. So she drove, she just drove. Sometimes she drove people, and sometimes she drove product, sometimes she just drove money from point A to point B in a black town car. She spoke enough Italian that the mob liked her, and she was just a driver, after all. It certainly paid better than slinging coffee ever had, although most of it went to daycare.
But it was still damn illegal, and when the Feds cornered her in her apartment one afternoon explaining that there was only way she was going to walk away from this without criminal charges, how could Marina refuse? She wasn't about to let her little boy grow up in foster care the way that she had. She sat on the battered couch that afternoon, and she watched Nathan play with his toy dinosaurs on the carpet. This time she had something special, she told herself at last.
Alter: Lily cannot be stopped. She is a force of nature that talks with her hands in wild gestures that are incapable of being followed or mimicked. Above the head gestures, and clawed finger gestures, and snappy crab hand gestures. She chews gum with her mouth open, and her nail polish is chipped, but her hair is never, ever out of place. Her socks always match, she is always on time, and she is always, always right.
She wasn't born into magic, or maybe she was in the grand scheme of things, but it wasn't genetic. Her family had absolutely no idea about magic, and Lily therefore had no idea about magic for a very long time. If it hadn't been for her childhood friend Severus, she might not have learned about Hogwarts at all(and then wouldn't that owl have been a surprise?) But as luck would have it, Lily did have Severus. He told her everything about Hogwarts, except he didn't tell her that she would have to try harder than everyone else. That she would have to prove herself to keep from being an outcast, or that she would be looked on as different(and unfortunately so) because she wasn't born into a family that understood things about magic. Severus did not tell her any of that, and he certainly didn't tell her that he too would eventually be one of the children that mocked her, that told her she did not deserve to be among them.
Not that it mattered, Lily had been tormented through childhood by her sister for some time, and she felt quite prepared for ridicule by the time that it came calling. The sweetest revenge was proving herself. Proving that she, all non-magic and boring, could be the smartest, the most clever, the most magic out of all of them. And the look on their faces when she became Head Girl was just sweet enough to take care of any lingering dislike she might have had for Severus and his foolish friends. Lily was not a hateful person, and while proud and particular, she wasn't the type to rub it in.
She moved on, she made other friends. She even let the Potter boy carry her books for once in their final year, and even she was surprised when she stopped pretending to hate him. He harassed her for years, and when an unstoppable force meets an immoveable object.. well, this time one of them learned to bend.
She married James in a small ceremony. Their closest friends in attendance, and Dumbledore, of course. White flowers at dusk. One last moment of gentleness as war loomed, dark and unforgiving, on the horizon.
Journal/Key: Lily's journal is simple red leather with a gold doe embossed at the bottom right of the cover. There is a thin ribbon as its bookmark, and at the end, a small golden key is tied.
Dumbledore: The man with the plan. Peter Pettigrew: The betrayer. Vegas side: Mob connects, shady people, non shady people who like Viennese coffee.