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She's In Love With The Rat by Kira

Format: Novel
Chapters: 23
Word Count: 86,809
Status: COMPLETED

Rating: 15+
Warnings: Mild Language, Mild Violence, Substance Use or Abuse

Genres: Drama, Humor, Romance
Characters: Lupin, Snape, Sirius, Lily, James, Pettigrew, Voldemort, OC
Pairings: Other Pairing

First Published: 11/14/2006
Last Chapter: 07/02/2007
Last Updated: 04/22/2013

Summary:


Sensational banner made by azn_princess from TDA! So awesome!
COMPLETED
Katie Potter is the seventeen year old, never been kissed, sister of James Potter and she is certain that she is in love with Sirius Black. However, fate’s winding road leads her, instead, into the arms of the last person she ever expected; a person who would make her life extraordinary at one moment... and then tear it to shreds. And he spends some of his time as a rat...


Chapter 1: What's Wrong With Me?
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I'm pretty darn sure I'm not JK Rowling so I do not own Harry Potter or any of her characters.  I just own Katie and the other people you do not recognize!


I WILL

Be more confident

Actually get up when the alarm goes off in the morning

Read the newspaper every day

Eat more vegetables

Lose weight before dance this winter

Be nicer to everyone

Learn how to ride a broom

Get my first kiss before I turn 18

I WILL NOT

Gossip and talk about people behind their backs

Despair over the fact that I am the sister of James Potter

Say things without thinking about them first

Obsess anymore about Sirius Black

Make Peter cry this year

Embellish the stories I tell

Eat so many lifesavers (Does one really eat lifesavers?)

************************************************************************

A kiss seems like such a simple thing. Boy likes girl. Girl likes boy. Boy’s lips and Girl’s lips meet and everything is perfect and the world just seems right…
I walked with Mike as we exited the movie theater. He was tall, skinny, and had terribly curly hair. I desperately pulled at the “too low for me” shirt Lily had lent me for the date as we came to pause in front of the parking lot.

“Please kiss me,” I thought desperately as one of my legs starting to shake. “Let this be the night. Please kiss me.” Mike turned to me, gave me one of his dashing smiles and said,

“Thanks, I’ll see you later.” And then, he walked away towards his own car. I stood there for a few more seconds as my shirt drooped down again. I sighed the most defeated of sighs and turned in the direction of my own car…

************************************************************************

“What’s wrong with me?” I gasped into the phone.

“Nothing,” Lily answered, trying to calm me down. “You said it didn’t even qualify as a real date anyway. He didn’t even drive you. He wasn’t thinking about kissing you. You were just two friends hanging out.”

“If I pretty he would have kissed me.”

“Oh, stop it,” she scolded back. “You don’t want to just go snog some random guy. Your first kiss should be special.”

“I just don’t want to go another year without my first,” I pulling on my ducky pjs as I hugged the phone to my ear with my shoulder. “I’m sick of hearing that little voice in my head…never been kissed! Never been kissed!”

“Katie, you are a great girl and one day this is going to happen for you,” Lily assured me.

“Oh, you know what else I realized?” I asked, flopping on the bed; my mounds of brown hair flying everywhere. “When we were sitting in the theater together I noticed that his thighs are thinner than mine!”

Lily let out a frustrated groan. “Mike is a really skinny guy!”

“Yeah but…”

“Katie! I’m not going to have the “am I fat?” discussion with you again. You know my answer is NO! You are not fat!” I smiled into the phone. I could picture Lily rolling her emerald eyes and tossing her auburn hair over her shoulder.

“Thanks,” I said gratefully. “Are we still getting together tomorrow at your house?”

“Yup,” Lily replied; I could hear the smile I her voice. “I’ll see you then but I need some sleep now. Stop worrying about this whole kiss thing. Remember that I love you!”

“I love you back!” I cried, giggling. “Bye!” *Click* Lily was gone.

I rolled off my bed and headed out into the hall and entered the bathroom. I turned on the bright bathroom light and stared hard at the reflection of the girl in front of me. My insanely thick brown hair was in its usual mass of frizz and curls. My matching brown eyes were large; under two eyebrows that, at the moment, didn’t seem to match.

I reached down into the wooden cabinet and brought out my face wash. I turned on the faucet and waited for the gushing water to turn warm. I took the hair tie off my wrist and gathered my hair into a messy bun. I bent over the sink, cupped the water in my hands, and brought it up to my face. I put a glob of the white face wash on in my hands next and started to scrub my face with it. It burned slightly; the blue specks in the white glob were supposed to. I scrubbed harder and harder until I could feel the pores on my skin opening and breathing. I scrubbed away the night with Mike and the kiss I had dreamed about.

I got rid of the burning substance by flinging more water on my face. I reached for my blue towel, hanging on a brass hook on the back of the wooden door, and crammed it to my face; turning off the faucet with the other hand. I dried my face, pressing the towel to my eyes, my nose, my lips.

I put the towel back on the door, and looked once again at the reflection in the mirror. My eyes were now slightly bloodshot; some of the face wash had crept in them. The pimples on my face that were normally not very noticeable were practically glowing with their redness and the longer hairs of my eyebrows were sticking out and up and strange and awkward angles.

Having already brushed my teeth before Lily called, I walked back to my room and collapsed in my bed, my face still stinging. I turned off the small purple lamp next to my bed and shut my eyes; allowing my mind to wander. No matter what I did, somehow I still kept thinking about Mike…a missed opportunity.

Moisture gathered suddenly in my eyes. I didn’t know if my eyes were watering from irritation, or if they were true tears. My mind kept asking,

“What’s wrong with me?”


************************************************************************


A shrill, high-pitched crying and wailing awoke me late at night. I squinted at the clock and it read 2:34. I groaned. Charles was crying again. I love my baby brother more than the world, but his adorable little crying in the wee hours of the morning was beginning to drive me crazy. I heard my mother shuffling down the hall into the nursery. I picked my head up and listened as the crying soon became just small whines, and then it disappeared completely. I placed my head back down on my thin pillow and was about to drift back off to sleep when I noticed headlights glaring in the window. I slid out of bed and walked over to the window and saw James’ blue truck pulling into our driveway. I couldn’t believe it. This was the third time James missed curfew this week. His curfew was extended to one-o-clock last weekend, and he was still breaking the rules. I smiled, in spite of myself, as I watched him get out of the car and head for the front door. Finally, maybe James was going to get in trouble for something. Mum had warned him about missing his curfew last time. I heard James come in the front door as I went back to bed.

************************************************************************

The sun was streaming in my window as I awoke next morning. The sun burst in through the glass and pushed my eye lids open. I yawned heavily and stretched as I untangled myself from my sheets. I stumbled to the bathroom, used it, gave my teeth a quick brush, and ran a comb through my hair. My stomach gave an almighty rumble as I headed for the stairs.

I found James already at the kitchen table, five boxes of cereal on the table.

“Hey,” he called as he poured a little bit of each cereal into the humongous bowl in front of him.

“Hey, any cereal left?” I asked, laughing. At that moment, the back door of our kitchen burst open and Sirius Black came inside, smiling. I gasped, and attempted to fix the lopsided bun at the top of my head. He gave me a nod and wink and shook James’ hand.

“Hey man,” said in greeting. He sat down next to James and they both began attacking the boxes of cereal in front of them.

I prepared a bowl of cereal for my self, using skim milk. (Very good.) My mother breezed into the room a moment later. She looked perfect, makeup on, hair styled, clothes bright and cheerful.

“Good morning everyone,” she sang. I muttered a morning and tucked my head down, feeling like a turtle wanting to crawl into its shell. I kept staring at the pale milk in my bowl as Sirius started to speak.

“Mrs. Potter,” he exclaimed. “You look ravishing. I am honored to eat breakfast at your house, honored to even be let in the front door.” I rolled my eyes in absolute disgust. Mum just giggled like a school girl and ruffled his elegant black hair.

“How are you this morning Katie?” she asked next.

“I’m feeling a little nauseous,” I answered, staring straight at Black. He winked at me again and took another humungous spoonful of cereal. The milk didn’t get all the way in and it started to trickle down his chin. Yuck. Sometimes I don’t understand why I like him so much.

“And how are you this morning James?” she asked next. James swallowed the cereal in his mouth and smiled.

“Fantastic,” he replied, positively beaming at mum. What a suck up. He noticed me glaring at him, and smiled even wider.

“So,” I said, taking up my own smile, “Late night last night James?” Mum’s hands came to my shoulders.

“James has already been punished for missing curfew,” she said, happily. Then she whispered in my ear, “Did you brush your hair this morning? It looks like it’s full of tangles.”

“No,” I lied. The truth was I had combed my hair. I felt terrible that my brushed hair looks unbrushed. Mum has a way of making me feel just lovely in the morning. No wonder I need to become more confident. Mum squeezed my shoulders and went over to the sink. I patted at my hair as I looked at James’ grinning face. Already been punished? What did she do to him? Decrease his number of meals a day from ten to nine?

I turned my gaze to Sirius. He had all the milk of his face now. How lame is it to have a crush on my brother’s best friend? I don’t need a crush. I need to find a good, respectable relationship. He then caught me looking at him.

“Stop staring so hard,” he laughed. “You’re hurting me.”

“Don’t flatter yourself,” I answered, darkly. “It’s called daydreaming.” Sirius smiled brilliantly.

“Daydreaming about me,” he said, running his hand through his dark hair. I was about to snap back at him, but mum started talking first.

“Charles and I are going to make a run to the store. Do you kids need any other clothes for school?” James and I shook our heads no. Mum grinned, list and pen in hand.

“James, I’m going to get you more socks.”

“Thanks mum,” he answered.

“And Katie…” mum said, chewing on the end of her pen. “I think you probably need more underwear. My face started to burn. “What bra size are you again? A…”

“MUM!” I howled. James and Sirius cracked identical grins. Mum didn’t wait for an answer. She tilted her head, looked straight at my shirt, and wrote something on her list. Horrified, I tucked my arms firmly across my body.

“It’s nothing to get embarrassed about sweetie,” mum said. Of course it’s not embarrassing for her. She has perfect sized breasts. Of course she’s totally comfortable. I would be too, if I was that size. Mum pecked me on the top of my bushy head, and took off.

James flicked a piece of cereal at me to get my attention. He and Sirius were wearing expressions of unattainable joy.

“Hey Sirius, what bra size do you think I am?” James asked. Sirius put his hand under his chin and stared critically at him.

“Hmmm…” I didn’t wait around to hear the result. I just chucked my cereal-filled spoon at James’ head and stalked off to the family room to watch some TV.

Chapter 2: Of Pimples and Peter
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Chapter Two
Of Pimples and Peter

Trying to obtain clear skin is very much like fighting a war.  The pimples are an invasion; they are taking over the territory of… my face.  Pimples are smarter than I thought.  Every time I truly believe that I have zapped them to oblivion for good, they reappear in greater numbers.



Sometimes they appear in great armies, other times just as lone soldiers.  They can be large, powerful and red, or small and subtle.  Sometimes they can be painful or even bleed.  They can attack just one part of the face at once, like the forehead for instance, or they can seem to be everywhere at once.  There is, however, one part of the face that is the ultimate goal for conquering pimples, and that is the tip of the nose.

I stared in the mirror, my eyes wide with disbelief.  The king of all pimples had set up his fortress right at the end of my nose.  It was impossible to miss with it’s striking red color.  I rubbed at it, hoping that it would magically retreat, but it simply darkened in color.  Whimpering in spite of myself, I began to rummage through my bathroom drawer for my makeup. 



I began to slather my pale foundation onto my nose, hoping to disguise his majesty so I could enjoy my ride on the Hogwarts Express without everyone staring at me with sickening shock.  The pimple, while less red, now looked like a clump of glop on my nose; also impossible to miss.  Why does this kind of thing always happen to me?  I applied the rest of my makeup with a shaky hand.  Makeup had never been my strong suit.  I always truly believed in my heart that people would love me for my spirit instead of my face…Ha! The world is not as it should be.



I put my wild hair into a high ponytail, where it actually curled under nicely and looked presentable.  I twisted my lips at my reflection.  Wasn’t I supposed to grow out of the awkward teenage phase like a million years ago? 



I walked back into my room to get dressed.  I pulled on a pair of jeans with a slightly higher waist (I preferred not to have things hanging out when I bend over.)  I completed the outfit with my favorite pink t-shirt. 



“KATIE!” My mum’s voice shattered the quiet.  “James and I are ready! Move it!”  I swore quietly to myself and began chucking things into my trunk.  I threw in my brush, the makeup I had been using, and a few extra hair ties. 



“We’re leaving without you!”  That was James.  He would leave without me. 



“SHUT UP!” I shrieked back.  “I’M COMING!”   I gave my bedroom a nod of farewell before I grabbed my trunk and pounded down the stairs. 



*****************************************************************************



There it was.  The Hogwarts Express.  I had walked up to this train seven times now; and this would be the last.  I truly couldn’t believe it.  Where had the years gone?  After this year I would have to decide what I wanted to do with my life.  What was I actually good at?



I didn’t have time to ponder that idea, as the train gave off a shrill whistle, indicating that it was ready to go.  Mum turned to face James and me; tears glistening in her eyes and clinging to her lashes.  Mum always got emotional before we got on the train, but being our last years, she was in near-bawl mode.  She pulled James into a hug first and kissed both of his cheeks.



“Be a good boy,” she said, stroking his hair.



“Of course,” James answered, in that voice he uses which makes him seem like he isn’t up to anything when he really is.  He kissed Mum and disappeared into the crowd that hurrying to get on the train.  Mum turned to me next and wrapped me up in a hug.  She then held me at arm’s length and I could feel her critical eyes scanning me. 



“What’s on your nose?” she asked, leaning in closer to my face. 



“Nothing,” I muttered hurriedly, throwing my hand up in front of the Pimple King.  I kissed her swiftly on the cheek and escaped through the crowd.  I snorted in anger.  She always sees the things wrong with me doesn’t she?  I was still muttering curses under my breath as I climbed into the train and started to hunt for my friends and a compartment. 



As I headed down the thin hallway with my bulky trunk, I nearly clunked heads with a young man with thin, sandy blonde hair, heading in the opposite direction.  I was about to offer a quick apology but then I realized I knew the person in my path.



“Remus!” I exclaimed happily.  His eyes met mine and my smile dissolved.



He didn’t look himself.  In fact, he looked downright ill.  He was pale, and his eyes seemed almost empty of all emotion. 



“You look sick,’” I said, and then clapped a hand over my mouth. 



“I’m sorry,” I gasped.  “I didn’t really mean…” He held up his hand to stop my blabbering. 



“It’s okay,” he said gently.  “I am sick.”  Concern instantly flooded my face.  Remus Lupin and I always got along; he was a good person and a nice friend.  Lupin never seemed to let the world bother him; he was normally just happy to be alive.  This pale boy in front of me was not the Remus Lupin I usually encountered.  He forced a brief and weak smile before slipping by me and heading off in the other direction.



“Get better!” I called after him.

“I can’t,” he yelled back.  I puzzled over this as I watched Lupin’s retreating figure.  When he was a good distance down the hall, he suddenly turned and said loudly,



“Lily and some of the others are in the compartment two from the back!”  I waved at him in thanks and continued on my way, still pondering what Remus had said.  Sick? Can’t get better? Poor guy.



These thoughts kept circling around in my head as I neared the compartment that Lupin has specified. 



The compartment was packed to a near-breaking point.  Lily, Sirius, James, a blonde named Claire, Vicky, and five other girls unknown to me, were packed tightly into the tiny space.  My eyes grew wide.  This was ridiculous. 



As my eyes scanned the people, who were now all staring at me, my heart sank.  Sirius was sitting next to Claire, holding her hand.  What!? They were together now? Lily gave me a small wave.



“You can put you trunk under where Claire is sitting, I think there’s room,” she said, smiling sweetly.  I made my way though the tangle of legs and managed to squeeze the trunk under the seat.  On the way, I accidentally crushed Claire’s little toe. 



“Ow!” she squealed.  I stood up as fast as I could. 



I’m sorry!” I gasped.  “I didn’t mean to!” 



“It’s fine,” Claire said, in a voice that means its not really fine.  James grinned at me and gave me a mocking thumbs up.  Claire grabbed her foot and propped it on her lap so she could examine her red toe.  At that moment, Sirius leaned forward and planted a kiss right on her toe.  I shuddered and my heart started to twinge.



“I gotta get out of here,” I said softly.  They were all giving me slightly disgusted looks anyway, well, except Lily.



“I’ll see you all later.”  I slipped out of the compartment and took a deep breath.  It felt nice to breathe again.  



I was still twitching with discomfort as I left the crowded compartment.  Without thinking about where I was going, I simply moved to the next compartment down the line, threw the door open, and plopped down next to the window. 



The compartment was empty except for a slightly chubby boy with dark, curly hair.  I recognized him immediately as Peter Pettigrew, the fourth Marauder. Why wasn’t he with the others?  Perhaps he was and exiled stooge like me.  I had never really spoken to him other than, “Excuse me,” and “I am so sorry!” but all of a sudden I found myself speaking openly.



“You know what really bugs me?” I said loudly.  Peter looked up, startled.  “The way all my friends have distinctive qualities! Claire is gorgeous, Vicky is brilliant, and Lily is a perfect combination of both!  I have no distinctive quality!”  I hit my fist against the window glass gently.  “I really, really love my friends,” I continued, still unaware if I was speaking to Peter or space.



“But sometimes I feel…”  I didn’t know how to word this.  “I know they like me…It’s just that…”  Peter finished for me.



“It’s that they like you the least.”  My eyes widened and I let out a sharp gasp of air. 



“That’s it!” I breathed.  “They like me the least!”   Peter gave me a smile and said softly,



“You know that if you and all your friends were stranded on a desert island, you would be the one they would agree to boil up and eat.”   I laughed out loud and moved to the other side of the compartment, so I was sitting next to Peter. 



“Hopefully we would find some other way to obtain food!”  Peter laughed this time and I smiled. 



************************************************************************

I can’t say exactly how long we talked.  Hours maybe.  Years perhaps.  We talked about nothing for ages it seemed.  Still, all this nothing we were speaking of meant so much something to me. 



We now had a sea of goodies surrounding us; treats we bought from the cart as it came by our compartment.  I was sinking into a licorice wand as Peter talked,



“Do you ever feel that you are exactly in the middle of everything?” he asked, rummaging through the candy mountain.  I cocked my head, not understanding. 



“I mean, for example, I’m not hideous looking, yet I’m not handsome.  I’m not brilliant but I’m also not stupid.  I’m not fat, but I’m also not in good shape.  It’s like I’m a person full of things that I’m not instead of things that I am.”  I stopped mid-licorice wand and swallowed.



“That’s deep,” I murmured. “Tragic yet beautiful.” 



“Story of my life,” he answered finding a chocolate frog.   “So, what’s your life like? What is it like being the sister of James Potter?”  I shrugged and took off another chunk of my candy wand. 



“Technically we are only half-siblings,” I said.  Peter raised his eyebrows in surprise.



“I didn’t know that,” he answered.  “I thought you guys were twins.” 



“We have different moms,” I replied.  “James’ mother was a witch, my mum is a muggle.  James’ mom died when he was really young, a baby even, and his dad married my mum.  We’ve been a family ever since.”



“What are your parents like?”



I shrugged.  “Dad works all the time, I barely see him.  Mum is always there, but she totally favors James.”  Peter nodded.



“I can relate. My dad adores my brother Aaron.  Compared to me, I can see why.  Aaron is a muggle, but he’s handsome, captain of his football team, and a straight A student.”  Peter’s eyes locked with mine. “I’ve got nothing that impresses my dad.” 



“My mum always seems to able to see the worst things in me,” I said. 



“I can’t believe we’ve never spoken before,” Peter said suddenly.  “This is nice.”



“I agree,” I replied happily.  “Even though I am in Hufflepuff, I better see a lot of you this year Peter Pettigrew.”



Peter nodded, grinning.  He stood up and stuck out his hand. “Friends?”



I took it and gave his hand a firm shake.



“Friends!”  I answered.  “Now I better get my trunk so I can change.  That is, if I can pry Sirius and Claire apart long enough to grab it.”  Peter chuckled.



“Good luck.”  He opened the door for me and I looked at his face as I passed.  He had a large red pimple on the side of his left cheek. 



I stared at it for a second, looked away, and smiled.




 



Chapter 3: Beauty and the Beast
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Chapter Three

I don’t own Harry Potter or any of the characters you recognize. I don’t own Beauty and the Beast either. LOL Also, I did write the note that ends this chapter. Its written in a kind of stanza form, but I did in fact write it.

Sorry this took so long. I just couldn't write anything I was happy with. I still think this is one of my rocky chapters, but I would like to know what you think of course! Thanks for waiting, and enjoy!

Beauty and the Beast

“Which is worse, hell or nothing?”-Fight Club, Chuck Palahniuk

Nothingness scares people. It scares me. Nothingness and silence go hand in hand. Silence always makes people uncomfortable. Complete silence can last, at the most, for about a minute. Then people start shuffling their feet, whispering, attempting to rid themselves of their disquietude. Sometimes I feel as if I am part of nothing instead of part of something. Is it strange to be feeling this way? I think that I am answering questions about myself but all that ever does is uncover more uncertainty.

It is better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all. A cliché? Of course. A truth? Completely. I think the people who really appreciate and connect to this cliché of all clichés is the people who have never truly experienced love’s avenues. I’ve watched girl’s hearts be crushed at my years at Hogwarts. I’ve seen them cry and huddle close to their friends for comfort. I pity them at first. And then I realize my true feelings. I am jealous. I am jealous of their pain. I know they have the pain they do because they loved and cared so deeply. I want to know what it feels like. I wish I could be loved by someone.

I used to watch Beauty and the Beast when I was younger over and over convinced that I was exactly like Belle. We both have brown hair, brown eyes, and we both love to read. As the years have passed, I realize that I am truly more like the Beast. He’s trapped inside himself and needs someone to love him to truly be free again. Am I really that hideous? It scares me that my answer is, no. If it isn’t my looks that are scaring people away what is it? Looks can be changed. I cannot change myself. At least I don’t think I can. Nor to I really want to.

I just want something to talk about when all the girls get together to discuss boys. They talk about kissing, relationships, ect…and I just sit there with a fake smile plastered on my face, nodding along. Well, I suppose the Beast had a happy ending, so I just might as well. I will be loved someday for my inner spirit. That’s the dream. Well, the real dream is that the charming, (well, you know…) will be the first one to realize the inner wonders that I hold…or at least believe I hold.

I looked up from the piece of paper that I was scribbling these words on at that moment to look around the Great Hall. Lunch time was pretty much over; there were very few students left at the tables. I sighed and gathered up my other books and papers and shoved them into my shoulder bag. I met up with my friend Kristen and we headed down to Potions class. It was surprisingly warm with all the simmering cauldrons were burning hotter than usual. I instantly started to daydream in the hazy heat and Slughorn’s voice started to ring through the room. I let my mind go; let it create any scene it wanted…

A foggy day with rain hissing down from the grey sky swam into my mind’s eye. I imagined myself sitting underneath a weeping willow tree, completely protected from the water that was rushing and sliding down the long arched branches. I hugged my knees to myself and smiled as a single drop or rain managed to sneak through and land on my cheek. At that moment the long leaves of my protective barrier were parted and a dripping Sirius Black stumbled in. He scanned his surroundings and his eyes landed on me.

“What are you doing out here?” he gasped, water still tricking all over his body. I gave him a small, guilty smile.

“Skipping potions to get some fresh air.” Sirius came a few steps closer and my heart started beating faster.

“You do know it’s raining?” he asked, grinning that Sirius Black grin and sitting next to me. I gulped. He had never sat next to me before; not without James a few inches away that is. We were alone.

“Is it?” I asked, jokingly. “I just thought you jumped in the lake.”

“Very funny,” he replied. “I didn’t think you were one to skip class.” He was looking right at me. He was paying attention to me, Katie Potter, for once. He was talking to me. He was thinking about me. I had to smile wider.

“Are you one to skip class?” I asked, slightly desperate for something to say.

“I’m Sirius Black,” he answered. I must have looked confused. He pointed to himself and grinned. “Doesn’t that answer your question?”

“No,” I replied. “It might surprise you to know this, Sirius, but just since you are at my house every waking moment doesn’t mean that I know anything real about you.” Sirius raised his eyebrows in surprise.

“I know everything about you,” he said, looking offended. I gave him a disbelieving look.

“No you don’t,” I answered. “What do you know about me?” Sirius opened his mouth to reply, but no sound came out. He closed it and fixed his face into a very perplexed look.

“See?” I muttered, angry that I had actually brought this fact to light. How can I have a crush on someone who has no interest in me and doesn’t even know one thing about me?

“What I do know is that you are one of the most original people I have ever met.” I turned to face him; his words seeming to hang in the air; I wouldn’t have been surprised to see them floating above his head.

“What?” I couldn’t believe such a thing could be true. Sirius shrugged and then nodded to show that he was indeed serious.

“I have never seen you be someone else here at Hogwarts. I know a lot of people and a good percentage of them always follow the crowd. They buy what everyone else buys; they say things everyone else says…but not you. You don’t care about what everyone else is doing; you only care about what you are doing. They care about being accepted not about being themselves. You’re different. And I really like that about you.”

I bit my lip. Did Sirius just say he liked me? Whoa…don’t get carried away.

“Are you serious?” I asked, realizing how dry my mouth was.

“Why, yes I am,” he replied, and then he leaned in a little closer. “In more ways than one.” I laughed and Sirius laughed along with me.

He was still close to me. I took a breath and leaned in closer and ever closer…Please…

“How many turns clockwise are needed next?” Sirius asked, rather loudly.

“Hmmm?”

“Ms. Potter? How many clockwise turns are needed next to change the potion to the nice lilac color I described so well?” I opened my eyes and stared with horror at, not Sirius, but Professor Slughorn and his fat belly standing in front of me.

I, of course, couldn’t answer such a question now. If the question had been what qualities you dream Sirius Black would like you for, I would have been just fine, but school never asks such important things.

Luckily, Kristen saved me and said a number I didn’t even hear. Slughorn said something about me needing to pay more attention but I was already lost in thoughts again.

My daydreams always seem to be things like that. Long, exaggerated scenes where Sirius doesn’t compliment my looks or proclaim an undying love for me, but simple scenes that are romantic because he likes me for being myself. Scenes that I tell myself if I am patient enough someone will come along. I do hope that it is Sirius, but some things only exist in the depths of my imagination.

It always amazes me how fast time passes when I completely zone out. I could not for the life of me tell you one thing I learned or even heard in potions that day. Even after Slughorn away from me a frustrated look on his round face, I went right back under the willow tree for more time with my dream Sirius. The next thing I knew, class was filing out the door, and I was following.

“What’s with you?” Kristen asked, her glasses sliding down her nose a bit. I shook my head and sighed.

“Nothing,” I murmured. “Just lost in myself I suppose.” Kristen has to hurry off to double period Transfiguration, but I luckily had a free period. I bid her goodbye and headed back to the Hufflepuff common room. It was still fairly empty except for a few third years who were whispering together near the window. I gave them a smile of acknowledgement and plopped on the golden couch near the fireplace. I took my bag off my shoulder and started to rummage through it to find the piece of paper I had been writing on before. I had some thoughts to finish.

I rustled around in the bag for awhile, pushing books and folders aside unable to locate the free piece of paper. I couldn’t find it. In a last desperate attempt I dumped my entire bag on the couch. The moment after I had done it I regretted my action. Quills, erasers, and ink bottles started to fall in the cracks in the couch probably never to be seen again. Deciding to worry about that later, I continued my frantic search. Where was it?

I searched through every folder and through the pages of every book in vain. Nothing. I closed my eyes realizing I must have left it in the Great Hall. I groaned. I didn’t wand people reading my private thoughts. Not that anyone would know it was me…but still. They were special to me because they brimmed with the truth of my life. The harsh truth. Tragic, but beautiful as a new friend had said his life was. I ignored the strange looks the third years were giving me and rushed back out of the common room and down to the Great Hall. Luckily, since most people were in class, there was barely anyone who saw my panicked look or me running (which can be an awkward sight.) As I rushed to enter the Great Hall I smashed into someone coming out and knocked them to the ground.

Severus Snape was sprawled on the ground in front of me, his books and everything going everywhere.

“I’m sorry,” I muttered and absentmindedly and stooped down to help him gather his belongings.

“Don’t bother,” he snapped, and pushed my hands away in an angry frustration.

“I didn’t mean to do it,” I said, slightly annoyed at his refusal to accept my apology or my help.

“That’s what people always say,” Snape said, his dark eyes flashing. “But they don’t really care. They always see me as someone to step on.” It seemed as if he was already fired up about something but was taking his anger out on me. I had to feel a little bad for the guy. Sure, he was being completely rude but I had knocked him over. One of his notebooks was close to my foot so I picked it up.

“I said I didn’t want your help Potter!” he said loudly, ripping the notebook from my hands.

“Sorry,” I muttered, glaring at him. “You know just because I knocked you over doesn’t mean you have to be a complete jerk to me. I said I was sorry and I offered to help. Relax.” Snape rose to his full height and returned my glare with one that was far more menacing.

“You want to talk about complete jerks?” he hissed. “Let’s talk about your brother.”

“Shut up,” I said automatically. Was my brother a jerk? Oh yeah. Sometimes it shocked me how mean he could actually be. I had to stand up for him though. When he tried, he could be really sweet. When he really, really tried. Snape stepped a little closer to me and stared deep in my eyes. He was about to speak, when a new voice joined in.

“Hey, back off!” Sirius and Peter were exiting the Great Hall at that very moment and were coming towards Severus and me. Sirius slid in front of me (I could smell the coconut shampoo he used in his hair) and looked at Snape. He gave Severus a little push to widen the gap between the three of us and said silkily,

“Can I help you?”

“It was nothing,” I piped up. “I knocked him over and I was helping him.”

“Why did you bother?” Sirius asked. “He doesn’t deserve it.”

“Yeah,” Peter chimed in lamely. I looked at him in surprise. Why does Peter try to play this part? Is life really so much like a play that we must all become actors to satisfy our audience?

Why do I even care what Peter does?

“It’s no big deal, leave him alone,” I said calmly.

“No I don’t think we will, right?” Sirius asked, looking at Peter.

“Yeah,” he said again. I rolled my eyes and stalked away into the Great Hall. I was not going to be responsible or involved in something so unnecessary and mean. I am NOT going to think about being with Sirius ever again. I need a new crush.

I went over to the Hufflepuff table and made my way over to wear I had been sitting. I saw a piece of paper sitting on the table and went to scoop it up.

I looked at the words upon it and gasped as I realized that they were not my words but someone else’s. My paper was gone. I read these words at lightning speed.

Sometimes I get scared that I will never truly be me.
Is it impossible to be ourselves completely?
You are never you.
I am never me.
Society has forced us, molded us into its creation.
When a man is found dead on the street
People say how sad…how tragic.
When a man walks, alive and well, we judge.
We criticize and we hurt.
We do this so we are not criticized or hurt.
When will we stop doing this to each other?
When?

-The Beast

I gasped and folded the letter and put it into the deep pocket of my robes.


Chapter 4: He Notices
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Woohoo! I know what you must be thinking. Another chapter already? Something must be wrong. No, I am just trying to get as much writing done before the semester rears its ugly half and really starts to stress me out. Enjoy! And, as always, thank you for reading.

Chapter Four

He Notices

“How very poetic,” Remus whispered as he scanned the piece of paper from the Beast. “Tragic yet…”

“Beautiful,” I added. This certainly seemed to be a popular theme lately. “He truly has a way with words.”

“What makes you so sure that it’s a he?” Remus asked, running his fingers over the words. I gave him a little half grin.

“Just a feeling.”

Remus seemed like he wanted to respond to that, but he bit his lip and tried to hide his smile.

“What?” I asked, giving him a playful little push. “You don’t believe me?”

“I just think,” Remus started, putting on the solemn, wise face he always does when he gives his famous advice. “That this note could be from any person with any number of intentions. We don’t really know what they meant by this. “It probably wasn’t even meant for you. Someone probably left it in the Great Hall by pure unromantic accident.”

Pause for a minute. Ok, so I hadn’t told Remus that I had been writing on a slightly similar topic and that this paper had turned up exactly where mine had gone missing. I didn’t want Remus, or anyone really, to know that I was feeling this way. It was personal and it is always embarrassing to share such things no matter how true they are.

Remus patted by hand in a comforting way.

We were sitting on a window seat (redundant huh?) in the Charms corridor. The window we were beneath was bathed completely in the stunning afternoon light, making it almost impossible to look at. We were squinting pretty much every half second and all of Remus’ features were illuminated. He looked a lot healthier than he had on the train.

“You look better,” I said out loud, trying to make up for my calling him sick on the train.

“I feel better,” he answered at once. “I’m glad I don’t look so hideous anymore.”

“Shut up,” I replied. “You just looked a little pale. What did you have?”

“Um,” he started, seeming to search for the right words. “I just wasn’t myself, that’s all.” I was about to press him a little harder for more information, but he started to talk before I could.

“Of course,” Remus said gently, a wisp of his golden brown hair in his eyes. “You could be right and the person who wrote this utterly beautiful note could be tall, dark, and the man of your dreams and he can take you to live with him in his castle in the clouds.”

I laughed and my nose gave off a tiny snort. “Oh please, you know that isn’t what I want,” I gasped through my chuckles. Remus and I were still laughing when a person came around the corner.

“Hey, Pete,” Remus said, giving him a small wave through the sunlight. Peter smiled back at him and smiled bigger when he saw me. I gave him a slight nod, but stopped laughing right away. Peter must have noticed because he looked right at me and asked,

“Can we talk for a minute?” This, of course, indicated that he wanted Remus to leave. Remus nodded his head to show that he understood. He waved to me and gave Peter a pat on the shoulder before turning down the hall and disappearing. Peter took Remus’ spot as I hurriedly stuffed the paper back in my bag.

“Do I detect a hint of hostility from you, Ms. Potter?” he asked cheerfully. I pursed my lips and did my trademark eye roll, but didn’t say anything.

“I thought we agreed to be friends. We haven’t really ever spoken since that day on the train so I don’t really see how I could have insulted you so.” I realized that I couldn’t keep silent and expect anything to be solved.

“Why do you hate Snape so much?” I asked quickly. Peter blinked. He had not been expecting such a question.

He didn’t answer, so I rephrased. “Better question, what do you have against him?” He blinked again, but this time managed to start talking.

“Nothing, I guess. Why are you asking me this?”

“Why did you back Sirius up yesterday when he got in Snape’s face?”

“Wasn’t Snape bothering you?” Peter tried.

“Um, no. Well sort of. But I was the one who got in his way and knocked him down.” Peter’s grey eyes were filled with confusion.

“Why are you so interested in sticking up for Snape?”

“I’m not,” I answered simply. “I just don’t like it when people I’m friends with bully people for no reason. Especially when I tell them to stop.” Now Peter rolled his eyes.

“Are you this angry at Sirius?” I was taken aback for a moment but then my mind found an appropriate answer.

“Sirius isn’t really my friend. We, on the other hand, supposedly are. You shouldn’t back him up when he’s being a jerk.”

“Oh sure,” Peter snapped, sounding pretty annoyed. “I’m not allowed to have Sirius’ back when he’s being a jerk but you are able to be head over heels in love with him when he is being oh yes, you guessed it, a jerk!” My jaw dropped. I sidestepped the truth in his words and decided to focus on the aspect that he even knew about my crush.

“Cripe!” I yelled, standing up. “How do you even know about that?”

“I can tell by the way you look at him,” Peter said, sounding almost a little disgusted. I calmed myself slightly and took my seat again.

“You notice that?”

“Yeah,” Peter muttered. “I notice that.” I sighed a long, complete sigh.

“I’m not exactly proud of it,” I whispered. “I’m sorry I got on your case about what happened yesterday. I guess I’m just the same as you.”

“Not exactly,” Peter said, smirking. “Why do you like him so much?”

“You really want to know?” I asked, surprised. Peter nodded.

“You don’t have to be so emphatic about it though,” he laughed.

Ok, so I was more than a little nervous talking about this. I mean I had only ever talked to myself about the reasons I like Sirius. What were the real reasons? Where they even good reasons? What would Peter think? Why do I care what he thinks?

“Um…” Good start. I took a deep breath, closed my eyes, and pictured Sirius in my mind.

“He’s loyal, uninhibited, free, brave, funny, charming, and of course he’s rather attractive,” I said, smiling dreamily in spite of myself.

“Just sometimes he…”

“Takes it too far,” Peter finished for me. I threw my hands up in the air.

“How do you do that?” I gasped. “You always know what I’m going to say!”

“No,” he replied. “I just sort of feel the same way.” He must have seen my mortified face because he corrected himself.

“I’m not saying I’m in love with Sirius.” I let out a breath of relief. “I just like to be one of his best friends for some of the same reasons. It’s really nice to be friends with a guy who everyone wants to be around. He is funny, cool, and his attitude is so care free. I guess when it comes down to it I back him up because I would rather be his side-kick jerk than the person he doesn’t like.”

“I wished he liked me more,” I said in a defeated sort of voice.

“Have you told him how you feel?”

“Are you kidding?!” I yelped. “Not only would I be rejected, everyone else would know how I feel about him. It’s never going to happen.”

“Maybe it’s not supposed to.”

“Is that supposed to comfort me Mr. Pettigrew?”

“I’m not helping am I?” he grinned.

“You’re right though. This whole thing doesn’t seem like it will ever happen. I mean I’m never going to do anything about it, so he never will either. I’m stuck.”

“Don’t worry,” Peter said. “Things work out alright in the end.” He let out a little laugh. I put on a fake, shocked face.

“Don’t make fun of me! And who may I ask are you in love with Mr. Pettigrew?” Peter shuffled his feet uncomfortably.

“No one,” he decided at last.

“All right,” I answered. But if I didn’t have class right at that very moment I would figure it out. I’ll talk to you later alright?”

“Ok,” Peter said. “Thanks for the talk.”

“Anytime.” I picked up my bag and left Peter alone in the corridor feeling better than I had in a long time.

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Grrrr…I’m getting to be a fat fatty! At dinner tonight I told myself not to have a slice of cake for dessert and I didn’t. I had TWO. Two big, fat, thick slices of creamy, rich, filling, chocolate cake. Not only will it make me fat, but it can’t be good for my skin! Why do things that taste so good have to be so bad for you? I guess life can’t be easy though. Disgusted with myself, I decided to remove myself from the evidence of my crime and left my fellow Hufflepuffs early.

I was outside the Hufflepuff Common Room, about to go inside, when Lily came around the corner, looking kind of flushed but insanely happy. She seemed to be glowing right down to the tips of her red hair. When she caught sight of me she looked relieved.

“I’m glad I caught you,” she gasped. She seemed to be pretty out of breath.

“What’s up?” I asked, cheerfully. Lily smiled a weak smile.

“You should be sitting for this.” I shifted my feet uncomfortably. What kind of good conversation begins with a phrase like that?

Lily looked nervous, yet really pleased with herself at the same time. It was an awkward face, but it still looked good on her. Every expression did…I’m not bitter at all.

“Sure,” I managed to say. “Do you want to go inside?” Lily nodded and we entered the Common Room. There were a few first years flitting around near the fire, but they scurried out of the way when they saw Lily and me coming. I plopped down on the couch and Lily sat down across from me. She cleared her throat importantly as if she was about so speak, but nothing came out.

“Lily,” I said in a comforting tone. “We’re friends remember? You can tell me what’s going on.” Lily smiled gratefully as if these were the words she needed to hear.

“It’s about James,” she said quietly. That was unexpected.

“Did he do something?” I inquired. “Is he alright?”

“Oh, yes,” Lily responded. “It’s actually something I’ve done.” There was that face again. The horrified but happy look.

“What is going on?” I asked again, a little louder.

“I said yes,” Lily muttered under her breath. My jaw dropped.

“You said yes to him?” Lily nodded her pretty head.


“Why?” I breathed, astonished. Lily sighed a dramatic sigh, and put a hand to her eyes which were actually gathering tears.

“I’m really happy,” she blubbered. “He just seemed to be more mature. And he hadn’t asked me out yet this year or the last and I was scared if I said no… he might never ask again.”

Lily even looked beautiful crying. She sniffled softly and then stared right at me.

“You don’t mind do you?”

Do I mind? Why should I mind who James dates or doesn’t date? Of course I don’t mind. That would be stupid. Plus James wouldn’t care who I dated. Not that a situation has arisen or anything.

“Well, it would be your decision, Lily,” I answered. “But are you sure?” Lily grabbed me into a hug.

“Yes I’m sure!” she exclaimed into my bush of hair. “It means so much to me that you approve!”

“Why?” I asked as we untangled ourselves.

“Because you know him best, and I trust your judgment,” Lily responded.

“Oh.” Do I know James well? Certainly not! Especially not the best. I know he shoved a neon green crayon halfway up his nose when he was five. He was snorting out green snot for a week.

“I’m really happy for you, Lily,” I said, trying not to sound too jealous. Not jealous that she was with James, ew, just that she was with someone.

“Oh, me too!” she smiled happily. She gave me another hug, waved goodbye, and left me alone with my thoughts. I put a hand to my head. Lily and James? It would be interesting, that’s for sure.

After hearing this information, I could no longer sit still. I rolled off the couch and left the Common Room to wander the corridors before it got too late. I had been walking for about ten minutes when I realized that I was outside the Gryffindor Common Room. The enormous woman in the pink dress was snoozing in her frame.

At that very moment, a person came barreling up the stairs and crashed into me. I grabbed onto the person for support and soon found myself face to face with a very red Peter Pettigrew.

“Are you alright?” I asked instantly concerned.

“Sure,” he replied anxiously. He was not alright. His face was all red and he looked disheveled as if he had just hit rock bottom.

“Sit for a minute,” I suggested, gesturing to the wall. Peter nodded and slid down the wall into a sitting position.

“There are probably nicer places to sit inside,” I said, trying to get him to smile.

“I don’t want to see anybody else.” Did this mean he wanted to see me?

“Don’t try to hide it from me Mr. Pettigrew,” I scolded. “Tell me what’s wrong.”

“No.”

“Come on, Peter!”

“No!”

“Tell me!”

“Leave me alone.”

“Not until you explain.”

“Fine!” he exploded at last. I was slightly taken aback. I had never heard Peter yell. He was silent for a moment and then,

“Lily and James,” he spat.

“What about them?” I wondered.

“I don’t like them together.”

“Because…” I urged.

“Because she’s supposed to be with me.”

What can I say; my heart went out to the guy. If anyone knows about impossible love its me. I didn’t say anything else, but I draped my arm across his shoulders. He didn’t move away.

“Don’t worry,” I said reassuringly. “It probably won’t even last.”



Chapter 5: Ripples
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Yes! Another Chapter! I am so excited! I, of course, hope you are happy as well! I am very pleased to announce that I am now a trusted author! Smiles all around and thanks to all my readers and reviewers! I thank you for your support and encouragement.

Chapter Five

Ripples

And so it went. Whenever Peter needed to talk about his feelings for Lily, he would come talk to me. When I wanted to talk about my feelings for Sirius I would go talk to him. It was nice; I’m not going to lie. I had never thought in a million years that I would be talking to Peter Pettigrew about these sorts of things. Why did I do it? It made me feel comfortable that he was going through the same thing as I was. It made my embarrassment disappear knowing he was feeling the same sorts of feelings.

The next time I discussed Sirius with another person was at a Monday morning breakfast with Vicky. The highly intelligent Vicky with her black curls and sparkly blue eyes was absentmindedly picking at the cereal in her bowl. She pushed it around a lot with her spoon, yet none of the soggy pieces made it all the way into her mouth. She nodded a lot to the story I was telling, but she made no efforts to speak. The magical sky above us was a deep, steely grey. There were no visible cloud shapes in the sky, just a blah canvas of nothing that matched Vicky’s downcast mood. After I had nearly talked myself to death I could take it no longer.

“Vicky, what’s wrong. You look upset.” There was guilt in those eyes when she looked at me. It seemed as if she really didn’t want to talk about what was troubling her, but at the same time she was desperate to share. She bit her lip, trying to keep in the thing she wanted to say. I was about to urge her further, when she burst out,

“I am such a slut!” A couple of people nearby who heard her exclamation turned to stare. I grinned nervously at them but stared them down until they returned to their meals and quiet conversations. I looked back at Vicky who had red blush starting to creep its way across her pale cheeks.

“Vicky, you are not a slut,” I responded confidently. “Why would you say something like that?”

“Trust me,” Vicky muttered. “Once you hear the story…” I raised my eyebrows quizzically at her; my way of asking to hear the tale. Vicky took a deep breath, and then started to whisper these words to me.

“Ok, it happened last night in the Gryffindor Common Room. James, Lily, Sirius, Remus, and I had just gotten back from a moonlight stroll through the grounds and we were sitting around the fire chatting.”

She took another breath at this point.

“One by one they left for bed. First Remus, then Lily, and then finally James. I was alone with Sirius.”

Oh no. Alone with Sirius plus Vicky thinking she was a slut? Not good. I ignored the sickly feeling rising in my chest and concentrated on listening as intently as I could.

“Well, we continued talking for like a half hour and he kept moving closer to me. When he was pretty much as close to me as he could get, he leaned in and gave me a soft kiss on my neck.”

Oh god. Why? Why Sirius? Gosh, I wish I was Vicky.

“I moved away from him after that and stared directly into the fire. I told him as calmly as I could that I didn’t want to be with him that way, especially when he was still with Claire. Then he reached forward and put his hand on my cheek. He turned my head slowly and looked deep into my eyes.”

Somebody save me.

“He said that it was his decision to make and that he and Claire weren’t even that serious. And the next thing I know, he was kissing me.”

“Did you stop it?” I asked, wanting to know if Vicky kept up her resistance. Could Sirius be resisted?

“No,” Vicky admitted, shyly. “We sort of made out. But we also talked, Katie. He said the best things. We connected. I felt safe. I felt wanted. But now…I just feel awful about what I did.”

She leaned in a little closer to me. “This morning he didn’t even say anything to me when I passed him in the hall. Do you think it was just a one time thing? Did he get what he wanted from me and now he’s just going to keep on being with Claire? Should I tell Claire?” She seemed so distressed that I managed to put the lid on my jealous feelings for the moment.

“Well I can’t say I know Sirius well enough to know what his exact intentions are,” I told Vicky gently, trying to give the best advice I could. “And as for the telling Claire part, it’s really up to you. If you were in Claire’s position and Sirius made out with me for example.”

I couldn’t help myself. I had to throw that in there.

“Would you want me to tell you what happened?” Vicky stared at the wall for a few minutes before nodding her head.

“I think I would want to know,” she said dully. I gave her an encouraging smile and patted her hand. I was about to suggest ways for Vicky to start the conversation with Claire when none other than Sirius Black appeared at our table.

“Vicky, can I talk to you please?” Vicky gave me a worried look before she got up and left the Great Hall with Sirius.

Why, again do I like this person? I am going to start keeping a list about all the things I dislike about Sirius Black. Not only is he a bully but he’s fooling around with two of my friends. What do I see in him? But, my goodness does his hair look soft today.

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“So do you think we could break Lily and James up?” Peter asked me jokingly one sunny, fall afternoon near the lake.

“You’ve seen them just as much as I have over these past two weeks,” I said, tossing a pebble into the glimmering water. “You know there is no prying those two apart. They seem so happy.”

Peter nodded numbly, but he managed to hide the hurt I knew he was feeling.

He took a deep breath of crisp fall air and said, “Let’s not go getting ourselves all depressed on such a nice day.” I nodded my head in agreement and then cracked a grin saying,

“Unless you happen to have a brilliant idea of how to break Sirius and Claire up.” I hadn’t told him what had occurred between Vicky and Sirius. It was strictly girl business anyway.

Peter laughed.

“You know,” he replied. “Nothing is really official with them yet. You could slide your way in.” I giggled.

“Yeah, I’ll get right on that. You knock out Claire and hide her in the broom closet and then I’ll go jump on Sirius.”

“Go team,” Peter said, giving me a high five. I laughed again half because of the ridiculousness of what I just said and half because I was wishing we could really go through with it. Jump on Sirius…I wish. Sigh. Now Peter tossed a pebble into the water and watched the ripples forming. First so small…then bigger…bigger.

He looked far away, the same way I probably look when I go off to Sirius land.

“Do your parents ever pressure you about relationships?” he asked suddenly.

This was how a good percentage of our conversations began. We would think, but instead of simply keeping the thoughts to ourselves we express them out loud. If you have never tried this, you should because it is really very liberating. You have to find the right person though. You’re very own Peter Pettigrew.

“Sure, my mom does,” I answered, shrugging. “She’ll tweak me about my looks more than anything. She won’t exactly say the words but she always implies things like, no one will ask you out if you wear your hair like that. One day I straightened my hair with this magical shampoo and an adjustment spell and she loved it. Every day for a week after that she was bugging me to do it again. You look so pretty like that she’d say. Who is she trying to kid?”

“Oh come on,” was Peter’s answer to my ramblings. (I really like that he actually listens when I go off on one of my famous tangents.) “I think you look just fine.”

Just fine? What girl wants to look just fine? We want to look pretty, alluring, gorgeous, and any synonyms for any of those words. Synonyms for fine are well, okay, all right, and any other words that seem to be trying so hard to be compliments, but truly are not.

I couldn’t ponder what Peter actually meant by that because he was already launching into his take on the conversation.

“My dad is my biggest problem,” he started. “He thinks I have a girlfriend.”

“Good one,” I said, thinking he was kidding.

“Hey, I’m serious. I told him that her name is Carly,” Peter answered without flinching.

“You actually made up a woman? I haven’t been pushed that far by my mother as to make up a guy,” I responded, collecting myself from my surprise. “So what is Carly like? How serious are you guys?”

“Shut up,” Peter said. I could tell he was embarrassed. I mean even I haven’t been so frightened of what my mother thinks as to have made up a boy.

“I want him to think that I’m being successful in my life here,” he continued, shuffling his feet around in the green grass.

“Pete, are you telling me that he wouldn’t be proud of you if you didn’t have an imaginary girlfriend?” I asked, instantly feeling bad for the way that it had come out. I paused for a moment and then asked, “Why do you put a mask on when you are around him?”

“I’m scared he won’t like the person underneath. He’s just so hard to please. I want to be everything he wants but I can’t…I just can’t”

“Oh, Pete,” I said sympathetically. “So much for not being depressed.”

“I’m sorry,” Peter murmured. “I didn’t want to bring you down with me.”

“You just better cheer me up then,” I said, pushing some of my hair that had fallen out of my bun out of my eyes.

“Well,” Peter said, grinning devilishly and pretending to think hard. “James told me once that you are really ticklish.”

“No,” I said, backing away from Peter. “James doesn’t know what he’s talking about.”

“We’ll find out, I suppose.”

I am one of those people who cannot handle being tickled. I completely spaz out, flail about, and make an absolute fool of myself. The instant that his hands touched me I sank to the ground in my gasping giggles.

“St..op,” I pleaded as he knelt down next to my squirming body.

“I’m going to kill you when I get up,” I managed to stutter through the sharp gasps.

“Well, well what on earth have we stumbled upon?” I heard a silky voice say. Peter’s fingers stopped tickling me and I sat up with a red face; my hair askew.

Three Slytherin students were staring at us looking positively gleeful; Snape among them. The others were both tall one male the other female. The male had thick, curly brown hair that sat like a mop on the top of his head. His head was much too small for his body and his eyes seemed squinty. The girl had straight blonde hair and the name Narcissa came to mind when I looked at her.

“Has friendship blossomed into romance?” she asked in a cruel, cold voice. Peter rose to his feet and extended a hand to me; pulling me up.

“Does Potter know that you and his sister have been locking lips?” Snape inquired nastily.

“That is not what we were doing,” I said angrily.

“You’re right, who would want to kiss you?” Narcissa screeched, laughing at her own insult.

In an instant, Peter had his wand out and had it pointed at the three of them.

I turned around to face him, pushing his arm down.

“Don’t,” I said quietly. “You could get hurt.”

“You don’t think I could take them?”

“No,” I answered truthfully. “There are three of them and only two of us. The numbers are against us.”

Peter deposited his wand back into his pockets looking a little crushed.

“I appreciate it though,” I said, trying to get him to smile. “Sticking up for me I mean.” Peter shrugged as if it was nothing.

“Come on Peter,” I said loudly grabbing his hand and leading him away from the pack of Slytherins.

“Running away are we?” Snape called after us.

“Yeah!” I hollered back. “We couldn’t handle your putrid smell one second longer!”

I’m not saying that it was a good insult or anything, but I still felt pretty proud of myself. I normally can’t get any words to come out of my mouth when I was angry. I could still feel my chest tingling as we entered the castle. I always feel a little shaky after fights. I can’t really explain why…perhaps I am just not built for confrontation.

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Later that evening I entered the library to start a massive essay that Professor McGonagall had assigned us that afternoon. I was scanning the shelves for books that pertained to the subject when Claire stuck her blonde head around the shelf and nearly scared me half to death.

“Hey Katie!” she said cheerfully. Ok, I was stumped. Claire doesn’t normally talk to me in this fashion. We get along but we can be difficult to each other…very difficult.

“Hi Claire,” I said uncertainly.

“I heard something about you today,” she continued in an I-know-something-you-don’t-know voice.

“What?” I asked, not truly interested.

“Like you don’t already know!”

“Enlighten me.”

“The whole school is talking about how you were snogging Peter Pettigrew down by the lake!”

Oh My God…


Chapter 6: Kissing Peter
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Authors Note: Thanks to everyone who has been reading and reviewing! I am starting to really get into this story and the scary thing is that I actually like it. (Normally I’m convinced that my work is awful.) Thanks guys! I hope you enjoy this chapter and thanks a million again for reading!! Also the first part of this chapter about failing Astronomy class is totally true for me. I cannot do astronomy. I failed a test today…sigh…Oh well! I got over that fast.

Chapter Six

Kissing Peter

Circumpolar constellations is the name given to:

A: When did we learn this?
B: Can you say FAIL?!
C: I’m the right answer! (Just Kidding!)
D: All of the above.

I groaned as I shifted my quill around in my hands with severe discomfort. This was what the Astronomy test looked like to me the following morning. Astronomy is not only my worst subject (something just refuses to click for me) but I found it even harder to concentrate with this atrocious rumor flying about.

After Claire had confronted me in the library I wandered the halls for awhile hunting for my alleged kissing partner. I had no luck so I decided to head back up to the Common Room and “study” for my Astronomy test. I stared at the cover of “A Student’s Guide to the Galaxy” but the book refused to open for me. My thoughts were whizzing around my head so fast I couldn’t begin to thing about constellations or right ascensions.

I regretted not forcing myself to study now of course, pleading my head to come up with the correct answers. I really didn’t need another poor grade in this class. Luckily the test was multiple choice questions so I managed to guess on every single one.

Luckily might be too strong a word.

“Time is up!” Professor Carba sang cheerfully. I buried my head over my test and quickly circled random letter for the last couple questions. I passed my test to the student whom had been selected to collect them in a daze. Oh, what a horrible day… I slung my bag across my shoulder and left the classroom. As I headed down the spiral staircase of the Astronomy Tower I noticed James and Sirius waiting at the bottom. Where they waiting for me? That was strange. James never usually went out of his way to talk to me.

“James? Sirius?” I said as I reached the foot of the stairs. He looked up at me and grinned.

“Hey sis! How’s it going?” he asked sounding very pleased for some reason. I smoothed a piece of hair behind my ears before answering in a very unconvincing voice,

“Okay.”

His smiling still wasn’t faltering. He hadn’t looked this happy since the first day he and Lily started to date. I tried not to stare at Sirius too much but he looked particularly good today.

No, I thought furiously to myself. No thinking about him. I had to get to class anyway.

“What’s going on, James?” I asked, looking at my watch. “I have to get to Herbology.” He didn’t answer right away so I immediately started to go around him. James quickly jumped in front of me.

‘Whoa, whoa, wait a minute,” he said. “I just need to talk to you about something.”

“What?”

“About you and Peter.”

Oh no. Why does he care? Doesn’t he know the whole thing is just a dumb rumor? Wouldn’t he have talked to Peter yet? I told all my friends first thing that the story wasn’t true. I sneaked another look at Sirius telling myself that he was terribly jealous.

I’m hopeless.

The next thing that James said brought me out of by trance.

“I think it’s just great!”

“What?” I gasped, slightly horrified. James gave me an awkward hug which shocked me to my very soul. I couldn’t remember the last time he had ever hugged me. I broke away from him and he must have seen the confused look on my face.

“Hey, it’s not every day that your best friend and sister well…you know….” He didn’t know how to word the end of his sentence. He straightened his glasses, slightly embarrassed, but still beaming like a ray of sunlight.

“Well, that day isn’t today,” I muttered. “Nothing happened between me and Peter. Absolutely nothing.” James looked surprised but Sirius looked rather bored with the events. Terribly jealous I kept telling myself.

“Nothing is going on between you two?” James asked, apparently needing more confirmation.

“No James,” I answered, patting his shoulder. “And you need to learn the difference between rumors and facts. If you really wanted to know what happened you should have just asked me or Peter.”

Now James looked really confused.

“I did,” he said in a slightly raised voice. “I talked to Peter last night.”

“And?”

“And that’s not what he said,” James finished.

Oh, I think I’m going to be sick.

“Are you serious James? He really didn’t deny it?” James simply nodded his head.

Oh crap. Why must things like this happen to me? The whole world thought I had gotten my kiss…the thing I’ve been waiting for and I hadn’t! Why would Peter go along with such a dumb rumor? I’m going to kill him.

“I’m going to kill him,” I said in a voice that even scared me. I glanced at my watch again. Darn. Ten minutes late already. I’m going to kill him after class then.

*****************************************************************************

“Please just let me in!” I yelled to the Fat Lady in her silk pink dress, smirking within her frame.

“This Common Room is for Gryffindors,” she answered in a snooty voice.

“This is an emergency!” I gasped. “Can’t you make an exception?”

“No, I’m afraid that would be impossible.” I was about to turn away, defeated when Remus came around the corner, his nose in a book.

“REMUS!” I yelled, scaring him half to death. I rushed over to him, all red in the face and sweaty. Remus was looking at me as if I had lost my mind and was clutching his book to his chest for protection. I can’t blame him, really. My hair was a mess, flying in more directions than I knew existed and my eyes were wide giving me a sort of crazed look.

“What’s up?” Remus asked, trying to sound casual (probably in an attempt to calm me down.)

“I need to talk to Peter, but she won’t let me in!” I yelled, pointing at the Fat Lady accusingly.

“You do know that’s her job?” he replied a small smile dancing across his lips.

“Don’t push me Remus,” I responded dangerously. “Now’s not the time.” Remus nodded hurriedly and said a word to the Fat Lady that I didn’t even comprehend. I bolted inside the minute it opened; on the hunt.

I wandered about the Common Room in a daze, Remus following me with a worried look on his face.

“Do you want to talk to him about the kiss?” he asked from behind me. I whirled around so fast that he almost smacked into me.

“That kiss never happened,” I hissed and continued my search. Remus backed off after that and disappeared somewhere. I still couldn’t find Pettigrew. What if he wasn’t even in here? I had enough with looking. I cleared my throat and hollered at the top of my lungs,

“PETER!” Everyone turned to stare at me. All the Gryffindors were giving me disgusted looks as they pulled their pieces of parchment closer to them and shook their heads at my outburst. The next thing I knew Peter was next to me.

“What on earth are you yelling for?” he asked. How could he be acting so calm? As if nothing had happened.

“You know exactly what you did Pettigrew,” I shrieked, drawing more looks. Peter gave them a nervous smile and took me by the arm. He led me further away from the cluster of students so we could talk privately. When we reached a suitable destination he turned to face me, his hands resting gently on my shoulders.

“Do we have a problem?” he inquired, his curly brown hair falling into his eyes; he didn’t bother to move it.

“Yes we do,” I answered sharply, shoving his hands away from me. “Why are you telling people that we were snogging by the lake?”

“I didn’t tell anyone that,” he replied, trying to keep the guilt out of his voice.

“Don’t lie to me,” I said, disgusted. Peter sighed a sick, desperate sigh.

“I didn’t tell anyone it was true,” he said again. “I just didn’t deny it when they asked me. Technically I didn’t lie.”

“Oh, how clever!” I exclaimed sarcastically. “Why would you do something so stupid?”

“It’s hard to explain,” he replied quietly. This meant that Peter knew the exact reason but was too embarrassed to say what it was.

“Try,” I snarled.

“I guess pretending to have kissed you made me feel different. But different in a good way.” I must have looked terribly bemused because he pressed onwards.

“People would come up to talk with me; I wasn’t the only one starting conversations. They were interested in me. They wanted to know if it was true, how I was feeling about things. Even the Marauders got closer to me. Sirius was just plain impressed, James was ecstatic, and Remus really seemed to really approve of something I did for once.”

I threw my hands up in the air, completely livid.

“Peter, this is the kind of thing that we have been talking about! You need to be you! Why are you hiding behind these completely false things?”

“It just felt nice to be someone different,” I mumbled miserably.

“You don’t have to be someone different!” I shot back. “You disgust me when you think like that!” Now, Peter got fired up.

“Like you’re much better?” he growled. “Like you don’t act differently when you are surrounded by your friends! Like you wouldn’t change if you could! Like you don’t worry about romance or first kisses! Like you don’t care what others think of you! You’re a walking contradiction! Everything you’re saying to me you should be saying to yourself!”

His words stung me. My very soul seemed to quiver a little. I felt ill. He’s right. I preach things I don’t follow. I do worry about the fact that I am almost eighteen and I’ve never had a kiss before. I do worry about never having a boyfriend. I disgust myself. Tears started to burn at the corners of my eyes, and I hurried to turn away from Peter so he wouldn’t see.

“Katie…” he murmured, touching my shoulder lightly.

“Don’t touch me,” I gasped dramatically and rushed away from him and didn’t stop running until I had reached the safety of my bed in the Hufflepuff Common Room.

****************************************************************************

If the next day hadn’t been Saturday I don’t know what I would done. I stayed in my bed until noon, feeling quite miserable. I probably would have stayed there all day if Lily hadn’t come bursting in.

She plopped down on my bed and pulled my covers off.

“Come on, we’re going to Hogsmeade today!”

“Cripe! How did you even get in here?” I muttered in my I-just-woke-up-so-leave-me-alone-voice.

“I have people on the outside,” Lily responded jokingly, smiling radiantly. “But the girls and I are going to go dress shopping in Hogsmeade and then we are going to meet up with some people at the Three Broomsticks later in the evening.”

“Dress shopping?” I inquired.

“For the dance of course. It’s only a month away.” I groaned, pulling the covers over my head again. That was not what I needed to hear right now. My whole losing weight campaign had not been going well. The last thing I needed to see was all my skinny friends twirling around in dresses asking “Do I look fat in this?” When they know perfectly well that they can’t look fat in anything. And talk like that would make me feel like a hippo.

“As your friend I’m not letting you spend another minute in this bed,” Lily commanded. “Now get dressed and meet us downstairs in the great hall in fifteen minutes.” She breezed out the door leaving me alone again. I turned things over in my mind in a distressed sort of way.

The next thing I knew I was grabbing a pair of jeans…

*******************************************************************************

Hogsmeade was beautiful, but chilly this November. Lily, Claire, Vicky, and I entered Madame Carolina’s dress shop; the others all in high spirits. Madame Carolina greeted us like we were royalty and was terribly excited to hear we were all looking for dresses for a dance.

“Must look pretty for all the boys,” she gushed, causing me to roll my eyes. Was I being difficult? Yeah, a little bit. I was just not feeling myself today. Not after my outburst with Peter. Gosh, he can be infuriating sometimes. But then, so can I.

The dress shop was actually quite lovely. Dresses of every color and style were clinging to the walls or hanging on racks for our choosing. I was feeling pretty hesitant. Was I even going to this thing? Was I going to have a date? Yeah right!

At the end of the shopping experience, however, we all left with dresses. Lily’s was ice blue and it went all the way down to the floor. I must say it looked breathtaking with her red hair. Claire had found one that was strapless and made of a shiny purple material that matched her almost violet eyes. (Claire does not need straps, let me tell you.) Vicky’s was a dark, navy blue, sparkly, and it went down to her knees. My dress was brown. Now wait a minute before you judge me too harshly. Let me describe it! I don’t want you thinking I bought an ugly dress.

It was a brown that matched my chocolate hair and eyes. The straps had gold ribbons wound around them and a gold flower at the shoulder. The dress went down a little past my knees and it’s that great material that swooshes out when you twirl in a circle. The top had those lines and creases in it that make me look really skinny (and it keeps my gut in). It was actually quite pretty. I was surprised that it actually looked alright on me.

With our purchases at hand we headed off to the Three Broomsticks. I felt a lot better. Actually dress shopping had really helped me. I wasn’t’ so angry at Peter anymore. I was feeling calm and I was hoping he would be there so I could talk to them.

The place was abuzz when we walked through the door. We easily located the Marauder Table which was nearly full. When James saw Lily coming he immediately made sure that there was enough room for her to squeeze in next to him. He gave her a light kiss on the lips. Claire and Vicky managed to find spots but I continued to stand in hopes of a better view. I do seem to be looking for Peter an awful lot. It was loud. Clinking glasses, loud shouting, and a tremendous amount of laughter.

I continued to scan the table. I didn’t see Peter anywhere. I spotted Remus at the end of the table and called out,

“Where’s Peter?” He gave me a worried look for a second before answering,

“He’s outside. The benches out front. But I should tell…” I couldn’t hear anything else. Sirius had apparently made a really funny joke because there was a huge roar of laughter from everyone. I waved to Remus and made my way to the door. How could I have missed Peter coming in?

As I went outside back into the fall weather I found the benches Remus had described. What I saw made my heart leap in my chest. Peter and some girl I had never seen in my whole Hogwarts career were wrapped together; attached at the lips. I tried to gasp, but the sound just got caught in my throat.

I moved away from the scene feeling cold. I don’t care. I really don’t.

Why would I?

Why on earth am I crying?


Chapter 7: Kissing Peter (For Real)
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Sorry this chapter took a little longer to get up. I had a little writer’s block so tell me if this chapter sucks. I hope you enjoy! Thanks for reading as usual and leave a review if you have some time.

Chapter Seven

Kissing Peter (For Real)

I do not believe in love at first sight. I find the whole concept extremely shallow. When someone claims to fall in love with someone on sight they are only taking in the person’s outside appearance. Beauty is found within.

Do not judge a book by it’s cover. We are taught that at a very young age but we have no idea at that time that it applies to people rather than books.

We are also taught that falling in love at first sight is romantic; something that we should pray and hope for. To me claiming to fall in love at first sight is the most unromantic thing in the world. It means to me that a person has been judged and rated by their outward appearance instead of by the wonders they hold inside.

Her name is Valarie. She and Peter hang on each other all the time. I can’t be in the same room with them and not feel like gagging. They both seem to be head over heels for each other. So fast. This all seemed to happen so fast. They came together so fast. He asked her to the dance so fast. Is it love at first sight? I tell myself that the concept doesn’t exist. This is hard for me. And I don’t know why.

*****************************************************************************

I am the worst kind of person. I think Peter said it best. He called me a walking contradiction. That is exactly what I am. Well not exactly. I would call myself a walking stupid contradiction at best. I cannot believe that I did what I did. I can’t believe that I said what I said. I talked to Valarie. That’s what I did. But what I said is probably one of the dumbest things I have ever managed to accomplish.

Valarie is a Gryffindor so she caught up with me after Herbology. Apparently I had left one of my better quills on the dirty table we had been working on and she wanted to return it to me. Valarie is a tall girl. She towers over me easily and is rather pretty. She has naturally long eyelashes and big, full lips. The one thing I noticed about her was her hands. She has the longest fingers I have ever seen. One of her hands was probably bigger than both of mine combined. I watched her long fingers clutching my grey feathered quill with the brown spots and watched them as she handed it to me.

“Thanks,” I muttered hurriedly turning away; wanting to get away from her as quickly as possible.

“Wait!” she called after me. Crap. When someone shouts wait and you are less than six feet away you cannot pull of the “I didn’t hear you” trick and keep walking. I turned to face her just as a few snowflakes started to tumble down from the heavens.

“I need to ask you something Katie,” she said, twisting those large hands in agitation. “It’s about Peter.”

“I really don’t think I would be able to help you in that area,” I answered, once again trying to pull the plug on the conversation. Why? I do not know. I have nothing against this girl. Valarie blinked snowflakes away from her lashes.

“I need to know if something is true,” she continued as a lump rose in my throat. That lump where you know that something uncomfortable is coming and that you are not going to deal with it well.

“What do you need to know?” I asked, even though I knew very well what.

“I heard something about you two, and Peter claimed that it wasn’t true. But for some reason I need to hear it from you. I heard that you two were kissing by the lake.”

I should have said it wasn’t true. I should have laughed and said that it was nothing but an annoying rumor that for some reason was still surviving.

“I’m sorry you had to hear about that,” was what I said. This answer really held no indication if the kiss happened or didn’t happen. It gave me some delicious pleasure to see her perplexed look.

“But did it happen?” Valarie tried again.

“Why does it matter?” I asked. “If it did, it occurred before you and Peter were together.”

Now she was getting mad.

“Just tell me the truth,” she said in a darker tone, moving closer to me.

I do not remember deciding to say this but before I knew it I had leaned forward and stared right in her eyes.

“It happened ok? Deal with it!” Then I stalked away.

I didn’t hit me until I reached the front doors of Hogwarts…what I had just done. I felt cold and ashamed. I told Peter’s girlfriend that we had kissed when we hadn’t! Oh god. What possessed me to do such a thing? I still disgust myself.

*****************************************************************************

The school plunged into a sour mood at the beginning of December. Slytherin was winning the house cup and was ahead for Quidditch. Lily and James had their first fight which somehow seemed to affect the whole school as one. I was avoiding Peter at all costs. I was utterly humiliated and the last thing I wanted was to meet him face to face. He and Valarie were still together so my apparent loss of mind didn’t cripple their relationship in any way permanently.

Peter tried to catch up with me nearly every day and somehow I managed to stay away from him. I would duck behind people, eat at times when I knew he had classes, and spent a lot of time in the common room.

One night I was sitting polishing up a potions essay when a frazzled looking second year appeared in front of me.

“Peter’s outside and wants me to let him in but I told him no because he’s a Gryffindor. Then he said he knew you and needed to speak with you. Should I let him in?”

She said this all without taking any noticeable breaths.

“I wouldn’t,” I replied. “This common room is for Hufflepuffs only and I think it should stay that way.” The second year nodded.

“I understand. I wouldn’t want to talk to him either if I was in your position,” she said, in a sympathetic voice.

“What position am I in exactly?” I asked, leaving a nasty ink blot on my essay.

“Well,” the second year continued carefully. “I think it would be hard to talk to a guy I liked when he is involved with someone else.”

“I DO NOT like Peter,” I said in a horrified look. “That is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard.” She gave me a “sure” look and walked away leaving me alone with my thoughts and my potions homework. I couldn’t decide which was more confusing.

*****************************************************************************

My task of avoiding Peter was even more difficult because if you avoid one of the Marauders you avoid all of them. I didn’t want to talk to Remus or stare at Sirius just because I was scared that Peter was going to show up and shove all my faults in my face. However, one day when I noticed Remus studying in the library and decided to try my luck.

I flopped into the chair next to him. He didn’t look up at me but started to speak.

“You know, Peter has been looking for you.”

“No, I didn’t notice,” I answered sarcastically, running my hands through my hair.

“He talks about you all the time,” Remus continued, still never looking me in the eye. “I think he misses you.”

“I’m embarrassed Remus,” I answered, throwing my hands up in the air. “Do you think I wanted things to turn out this way?”

“I don’t know,” he said wistfully. “Did you? Did you say that stuff to Valarie because you have feelings for Peter?”

“Remus, come on that’s the most…” I started.

He cut me off.

“Ridiculous thing you’ve ever heard? No I don’t think so. I think you said the things you said because you like Peter and you can’t stand to see him with Valarie.”

He slammed his book and left the library. I overcame my shock and chased after him.

“Remus!” I shrieked and stopped him on the stairs. I jumped in front of him.

“I don’t know what feelings your deluded brain has created, but they don’t exist!” I screamed into his face. Remus’ face was caught somewhere between a smile and a frown. But his eyes, they seemed to see right through me.

I knew he knew. He could tell. He knew how I felt.

“You won’t tell him will you?” I asked weakly. Remus shook his head and then suddenly lifted me by my armpits and placed me on the higher step behind me. My feet sunk into the trick step up to my ankles.

“You can tell him,” he said smirking. “I just have to find him.” He hopped over the trick step and left me standing there in the step in shock.

I cursed out loud and yelled after Remus from the step I was so good at hopping over. I could no longer see either of my shoes. I started to tug and pull in desperation but I it wouldn’t budge. Tears that I had been holding back sprung into my eyes as I thought of the wretchedness of the situation. Stuck in a stupid step. Waiting to have my eyes clawed out by Peter. A prison of humiliation. There was no one to be seen and I was too scared of seeing Peter to scream for help.

I was just thinking this as I heard someone come up behind me.

I didn’t even try to turn my head. I knew who it was.

Peter hopped the trick step and stood in front of me with his arms folded.

“Having some trouble?” he asked.

“No,” I snapped. “This is exactly what I wanted to happen.” My ability to find my voice so quickly shocked me.

“You really have no reason to be snippy with me Ms. Potter,” Peter said in a hollow voice. “But I have every right to be upset with you.” He made no motion to help me out of the step.

I suppose I knew this was coming. I had been avoiding him for a good week.

“Don’t make me feel bad about this,” I muttered in a defeated sort of way.

“No I’m gonna!” Peter shot back. “You lectured me about how bad it was to let people think we snogged by the lake, but now you tell Valarie that it happened?” Why would you do this to me? Do you know how hard it has been to convince her that nothing is going on between us?”

“Well it seems like your relationship is just brimming with trust,” I answered in a fake sweet voice.

“Don’t change the subject! Why did you tell her that the rumor was true?!”

“I don’t know!” I exploded back. “I guess I was sad!”

“Sad?”

“Yes, Peter, I was sad,” I said numbly. “You being in a relationship just reminds me that I’m not. I’m not even close to getting together with someone. I’m jealous. And I know that’s dumb. But that’s the truth.”

I took a deep breath. I hadn’t been taking in air through this whole little speech.

At that moment he reached forwards and put his hands on my waist.

“What are you doing?” I whispered, surprised.

“Helping you out of the step,” he murmured gently. I could feel the heat from his body against mine.

Similar to the way Remus put me into the step, Peter hoisted me up out of the step and placed me on the one next to him. When I was free I gave Peter a small smile.

“Thanks.” Peter sighed and looked at me in concerned way.

“I am the last person you should be jealous of,” he whispered. We still hadn’t moved apart.

“I never said I was jealous of you,” I whispered back. Peter looked confused so I summoned all my courage before adding, “I’m jealous of Valarie.”

“Why?”

I leaned in closer.

“Because she gets you.” Tears were on the verge of springing to my eyes but I told them not to show themselves. Oh, the lump was back in my throat.

“Wait,” Peter said. “You like me? What about Sirius? I can’t be better than him.”

“You are to me. It’s you. That’s all that I know. I’ve been scared of it, I’ve tried to hide it but it’s finally out. I like you. And I’m sorry that Remus trapped me in this step and that I had to tell you this. I know you like Valarie and that things are going really well for you.”

I stopped talking then and started to walk away from Peter in a daze. I couldn’t look at his confused eyes anymore. I couldn’t…I walked away down the corridor not taking in anything around me. I didn’t know what I had expected to happen when I had told him my feelings. I didn’t even know how I felt about my feelings. What have I done?

The next thing I knew, Peter had caught up with me and touched my arm.

“Leave me alone Peter, I already apologized,” I gasped, pulling my arm away. “What else do you want me to…”

I was cut off by Peter’s lips connecting with mine.

Note the date: December 9th
Note the time: 1:43
Note the occasion: Katie Potter gets her first kiss at age 17.

I was surprised by the kiss. Time didn’t stop. I was aware that Peter and I were not the only people in the world. Fancy lights didn’t go off. Music didn’t play in the background.

It was just me and Peter, kissing in a Hogwarts corridor.

And I liked it.






Chapter 8: Wormtail
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Hello my delightful readers. Thanks for coming back, or if you are reading this story for the first time welcome! I am really fond of this story at the moment. Sorry this took a little longer but I had some computer problems (who doesn’t) but it’s a tad longer so I hope you appreciate that. I hope you enjoy this chapter and I LOVE you all! Smile because you are adored!

Chapter Eight

Wormtail

In movies or books when people kiss every event after that just seems to fall into place. You get a feeling of completion, and safety. However after we were done kissing it felt like, WHAT NOW? Nothing just fell into place. I actually felt more confused that before. What about Valarie? What kind of girl was I?

I pulled myself out of Peter’s arms, looking mortified from all these thoughts.

“I’m sorry,” Peter gasped, looking guilty. “Was the kiss bad?”

“No, no,” I managed to say. “The kiss was good. But that’s bad! What about Valarie?”

“It’s over,” Peter said, putting his arms around me again. “I’ll talk to her as soon as I can.”

“That’s sweet,” I answered, still not perfectly comfortable in his arms yet. “But are you sure?” Was I sure? Peter grinned at me.

“I’m not going to say anything corny like I always knew I liked you,” he began. “I didn’t always know. That would be a lie. But I know now. And I’m sure.” He hugged me close and then a voice from around the corner spoke,

“Ah, the matchmaking master strikes again!”

“Remus, get over here,” I laughed. Remus peeked around the corner smiling like it was Christmas morning.

“Aw,” he said, seeing me in Peter’s arms.

“Shut up,” I replied, unable to get the smile off my face and giving Remus a light punch on the shoulder.

“But thank you,” I finished.

“Well good for you guys,” Remus said happily. “But not so good for Valarie. When are you gonna tell her Pete?”

“Well, the next time I see her is at dinner really,” Peter answered. He still hadn’t let go of me.

“Are you sure that’s a good idea?” I asked finally breaking away from him. “You know with all her friends around.”

“Or with all the sharp utensils she could use to gouge your eyes out?” Remus added.

“You’re very encouraging Moony, thanks,” Peter, muttered running his hands through his hair in agitation.

“Moony?” I asked out loud.

“Just a nickname,” Remus replied hurriedly.

“I don’t get it.” I said, trying again for an explanation.

“It’s nothing,” Peter cut in. “Stupid really.”

“Sure,” I said in an unconvincing voice.

Liars.

Peter, obviously uncomfortable with the situation put his arm around me and started to lead me down the hall away from Remus.

“So do you have a nickname?” I asked, looking up at him curiously.

“Nope,” he answered a little too quickly.

“Don’t lie to me,” I said, poking him in the chest playfully. “What is it?”

“Ermtle,” he muttered under his breath.

“What?”

“It’s Wormtail,” he hissed in my ear. I stopped walking, to ponder this in my mind. How random was that name? Ew, it was kind of gross. I didn’t like it. Something about it sort of freaked me out. There was something about it…

“That is such a turn on,” I answered sarcastically. “Why on earth is that your nickname?”

“Ask me again sometime,” Peter replied, planting a kiss on my forehead. “I have to go think about what I’m gonna tell Valarie.” He rushed away, escaping my questions.

Great. I finally meet a guy who likes me and he already has secrets. Did I have secrets? Not really. I mean I had done things that I wouldn’t want posted on the front page of the Daily Prophet but nothing too deep. And that name? Wormtail? It gave me goose bumps…and not the good kind.

**********************************************************************************

That night at dinner I was sitting at the Hufflepuff table across from my good friend Jennie. She was staring at me with wide eyes.

“He kissed you?” I nodded, smiling widely.

“Ok, details please,” she urged adding more mashed potatoes to her plate. I was about to tell her everything when the Marauders minus Peter, Lily, and Claire sat down around us.

“Can we help you?” Jennie asked, surprised by the appearing crowd.

“Sorry, we didn’t want to be over there right now,” James answered, jerking his head over to the Gryffindor table.

“Because?” I asked, flooding my mashed potato mountain with gravy.

“Because Peter is just about to tell Valarie that he wants to break it off,” Sirius said. “Prepare for all out war.”

“Oh my god,” I replied, standing up and throwing down my napkin. “I told him not to do it at dinner. Why didn’t he listen to me?”

“Because,” Lily cut in, twirling her hair around her fingers. “You have to wait a full week to actually have control of their minds. Once you make it past that point, they’ll do whatever you say.” She winked at James and he smiled that Lily-is-my-girlfriend smile.

“I really couldn’t stand Valarie anyway,” Sirius said suddenly, flicking a pea at Remus with his spoon.

I was about to ask why this was, but Sirius quickly pulled me down into a sitting position.

“I think he’s gonna do it!” He whispered. We all looked over at the Gryffindor table and Peter caught our eyes. He motioned with his arms; indicating that we should stop staring.

“Ok, we all shouldn’t be looking over there,” Lily, tried. We didn’t listen. I wanted to see. I watched him walk over to Valarie and whisper something in her ear.

It seemed like he was trying to get her to come away from the table with him. James and Sirius started to act out what the two were saying, judging only by their motions.

“Uh, Valarie we need to talk,” James said doing Peter’s part. Valarie didn’t move from the table, but gestured to everyone around her.

“Don’t worry Peter,” Sirius said, in a high girly voice. “Anything you can say to me you can say to my friends.”

“Shut up!” I hissed, hitting James who was closest to me.

Peter whispered something else to Valarie. He was still trying to get her to leave the surrounding group, but did not succeed. Finally, he let out a sigh and whispered something else. I knew this had been the fatal blow. Valarie got a little red in the face and her eyes sort of bugged out of her head.

“WHAT!” she shrieked. We all ducked and turned our backs to the outburst. Sirius started laughing out loud and James was holding his sleeve to his mouth to stifle his chuckles. Even Remus looked like he was about to crack up.

It was rather funny. Valarie obviously wasn’t going to be dumped quietly. There was more shouting. I heard a loud WHO? and a screaming WHY? After a few shout free seconds I looked over at the table. Valarie was now standing in front of Peter with her arms folded. Our eyes met for the briefest of seconds and I felt a chill go through my body. Those were some cold eyes.

After a few more sentences of words left their lips, Valarie seized a goblet off the table and thrust the contents in Peter’s face and stalked out of the Great Hall.

We all howled with laughter. Should it have been funny? Probably not. Was it funny? Like you wouldn’t believe. Even Lily was gasping for breath.

Peter, still dripping with Pumpkin juice, walked over to us with his head down. I covered my mouth with my hand, so he wouldn’t see me laughing.

“Way to go,” Sirius exclaimed, clapping him on the back. “Good breakup.”

Peter looked over to me, still trying to hide my laughter.

“Do you think this is funny?” he asked, gesturing to his wet shirt and hair. I tried not to let any sound escape my mouth, but a small snort of my giggles managed to get out my nose.

“Well, maybe you’ll get a kick out of this,” he said, picking up a spoon and putting a huge glob of potatoes on it.

“You don’t have the guts,” I responded, never estimating the consequences that glob of potatoes would cause.

The next thing I knew the potatoes were in the air. If they were heading for me, I never would have gotten out of the way in time. However, somehow those potatoes flew through the air and landed squarely on the top of Lily’s head. Our jaws dropped.

We watched the gloopy substance start to run off her head, clinging to her eyelashes, and landing on the tip of her nose.

Actually it was Remus who started laughing first.

“Shut up Moony,” James said, chucking a handful of peas at him. “She’s still gorgeous.”

“Hey!” I yelled at James. “Don’t throw veggies at Remus!” I took my slab of meatloaf and threw it so it spattered all across James’ robes.

“Hey that’s my best friend!” Sirius barked, flicking gravy from his spoon all over my head and robes. I tried to retaliate with a roll, but it ended up flying towards the Slytherin table and nailed a kid right in the back of the head.

A second later it was all out war. Food was flying through the air so fast and from every direction imaginable.

The injuries were numerous and severe. Sirius took chocolate pudding to the neck and Peter got some butter in his eye.

I was hit with more gravy and a massive wad of potatoes at the back of my neck. That was really gross because it started to drip down into my robes. James protected Lily the best he could but he got hit the head with a fork. Who throws a fork?

We screamed, we ducked, we laughed.

We pretty much had the time of our lives.

****************************************************************************

“Here Albus,” Professor McGonagall said sternly. “Here are the students responsible for the food fight at dinner. I brought them to you for punishment.”

“Thank you, Minerva,” Dumbledore replied gently, a twinkle in his eyes. The complete foursome of the Marauders, me, and Lily stood in front of Dumbledore’s desk dripping with food.

We all had a glint of merriment in our eyes. I refused to look directly at the others for fear of laughing. Professor McGonagall left making tsk tsk noises under her breath.

Dumbledore just looked at us.

No laughing, I told myself.

At that moment the chocolate pudding that was stuck to Sirius’ neck slid off and landed with a plopping noise on Dumbledore’s desk.

That was the last straw for me. I cracked up and started laughing loudly. Apparently I wasn’t the only one who found pudding outrageously funny because the others joined in as well.

And then Dumbledore started chuckling as well.

Lily still had potatoes in her hair, James was picking a pea out of his ear, Sirius had his pudding problems, Peter was still damp and had butter smeared across his forehead, Remus smelled strongly of meatloaf, and I could feel the potatoes still sliding down my back and coming out from behind my shirt.

“Go to bed,” Dumbledore said, wiping a tear from his eyes. “And thank you.”

We all left still snickering. I was surprised at our good fortune with Dumbledore.

But then, at the same time, I wasn’t. He seems like the kind of guy who would think peas and pudding were hilarious.

****************************************************************************

The next day we were greeted with snow outside our windows. The first snow! On a SATURDAY! On the day of the dance!

How exciting! I ate lunch with Jennie and Vicky. No sandwiches or muffins were thrown.

Vicky was looking flushed, and she was pretty quiet.

“What is it?” Jennie asked, stealing the words I was about to say.

“Sirius didn’t ask me to the dance,” she replied sadly. “He’s going with Claire.”

“Don’t worry Vic!” I exclaimed brightly. “We’ll have a good time all together. You don’t need a date.”

“Oh please,” Vicky snapped, frustrated in her mood. “Like you wouldn’t be upset if you didn’t have Peter.”

“Ouch,” I replied, knowing she was right. “I’m sorry Vicky. Sirius is obviously a moron. You are so much nicer than Claire.”

Jennie nodded in agreement.

“Claire is gorgeous,” Vicky claimed miserably.

“So are you,” I said comfortingly. “You are smoking hot. If Peter hadn’t asked me I would totally go with you. Actually forget Peter. I’ve always loved you. Go with me!”

It was a success. Vicky laughed and she flicked a crumb at me.

“Oh no!” I yelled. “No more food fights. I will never be able to get the potato smell from last night off me!”

We broke into heaps of giggles. I noticed a few Hufflepuff girls sitting at the end of the table casting me dirty looks.

“What’s their problem?” I asked my friends, motioning to the girls with my eyes. “I don’t think I even know who they are.”

“Don’t worry about it,” Jennie said in a hushed voice. “They’re just friends with Valarie. They think you stole Peter away from her.” She said that last part very dramatically.

“That’s stupid,” I declared. “It was his decision to kiss me. I didn’t do anything.”

“Hey girls.” Peter had come up behind us.

“Well, speak of the devil,” I said, grinning.

“Did I do something?” he asked innocently, pointing at himself. We didn’t answer so he added, “Want to go for a walk?”

“Yes,” I answered, throwing down my silverware. I wanted to get away from those girls. They were creeping me out. I jumped up and said goodbye to my friends. Peter put his arm around me and we walked out of the Great Hall.

People watched us as we walked. It was strange. Being a couple makes people notice you. If I had walked out of the hall all alone no one would have even batted an eyelash. However when I walked out with Peter there was whispering and staring. Did I stare at couples when they did things? Probably.

It was beautiful outside. It wasn’t a lot of snow. But it was enough to cover the grounds completely under its white blanket. It was bright and the sun caused the snow to shimmer and dance as we walked across it. I love snow. I have always loved snow. Winter is my favorite season without a doubt. Everything seems to be silent and asleep. We kept walking. It was nice. I realized how much I enjoyed spending my time with Peter.

I knew since the day we talked on the train and really saw each other for the first time that I liked to be with him. But at this moment I knew that it went beyond just liking to be around him. He made jokes, told stories, asked me about my feelings, and actually shared his back. Was it love? No, not yet. But it was more than like.

What is between like and love? We need to invent a new word. Because that is what I was feeling. That word.

I was feeling so ecstatic about everything that I put my hands on Peter’s shoulders and gave him a kiss. It was the first time I had kissed a boy. He had kissed me the last time. Now I got to kiss him.

There are different levels of kiss of course. He pulled me closer and the kiss deepened into a level two.

“Hey! Get away from my sister!” My eyes flew open and I saw snow fall on Peter’s head. I broke away from him to avoid being hit myself.

I turned around and saw James running around with Sirius in nothing but a T-shirt and shorts.

“James Potter!” I hollered. I picked up some snow and rolled it into a ball and chucked it in James’ direction. It didn’t go anywhere near him. I tried.

“Gross!” Sirius yelled. “They were snogging!” After that Peter and I declared it a real snowball fight and waged war. I don’t know how long we played in the snow. Hours upon hours.

We played until my hands were so numb and red I was afraid they might fall off. We all got pelted with snow at least once. I was about to hit James with one in the face when I heard someone calling my name.

I whipped around to find Remus wading through the snow to get to us.

“KATIE!” he called.

“Yeah?”

“The girl’s are looking for you. They want to start getting ready for the dance!” Crap. I had lost track of time.

“Boo, getting ready,” Peter said, hugging me close. “Don’t go.”

“I have to love,” I answered, giving him a quick kiss on the cheek. Then after waving goodbye to the boys I sprinted back inside and down to the Hufflepuff Common Room. I took a quick shower because I was freezing and then went to grab my dress.

I went upstairs and opened the trunk that I had been storing it in. My heart was fluttering with excitement. My first dance with a boyfriend! Yes.

These thoughts distracted me as I dug through the clothes in the trunk. I should have found it by now right? Now?

I was getting frantic. I kept digging until all I found was the bottom of the trunk.

My dress was gone.


Chapter 9: Saving Words
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Hello again my readers. I’m sorry this took a little longer but Peter was giving me problems. He was not staying character. So I yelled at him and I hope things are alright. It says something when every single review you receive for a story is positive. I know stories out there with more than one thousand reviews. I just want you all to know that the fifty some reviews I have mean more to me than if there were a million of them all together. I write for you guys and I am so glad to see you back here to read some more.

Chapter Nine

Saving Words

Why must we build things up in our minds? No matter how events turn out things are never as good as we imagine. That is life of course. Is it human nature to picture things as perfect in our heads? I have no idea. I just know that I do it. I wanted the dance to be perfect. I thought it would be. I was so happy to finally have a date that was more than a friend. Someone who cared about me for real. Real feelings. I wanted to look nice for him. I wanted to look nice for me.

My dress was gone. Where? My thoughts instantly flew to Valarie as I rushed quickly to the Gryffindor Common Room where I was supposed to meet the girls and get ready. Even if she did steal my dress what could I do about it? Confront her? She would deny it. I was so frantic, running through the corridors in some baggy pajama pants and a t-shirt.

Lily was waiting for me outside to let me in. Her hair was done, all up in curls and spirals. Her makeup was also ready; soft yet distinctive. Her beautiful face broke into concern when she saw my frazzled state.

“What is it?” she asked as I came up beside her.

“My dress,” I gasped; out of breath and near tears. “Is gone.”

“Are you sure?” Lily inquired her eyes narrowing.

“I tore apart the Common Room.”

“Come inside,” Lily responded, grabbing me by the hand. “You look like you’re about to faint.” She led me into the Common Room and sat me down on one of the squishy red couches. I was twisting my hands in my lap. What would I do? What would I wear? The entire Common Room smelt like perfume and hair spray. Seventh year girls were flitting around, some with their dresses on, some with completed masterpieces of hair, and some with makeup. I had nothing so far. Lily had disappeared; heading upstairs to her room.

She reappeared a few seconds later with Vicky and Claire in tow.

“Help,” I said weakly to the trio. “What am I supposed to do?”

“Ok, don’t panic,” Claire responded.

“You want to help me?” I asked, confused. I can’t recall Claire ever doing anything to help another human being.

“Please honey,” Claire said, batting her long eyelashes. “If there is anyone who can get you ready for this dance in time its me.”

“Do you think Valarie took your dress?” Vicky asked, twirling a black curl around her finger.

“Maybe,” I answered. “Probably. Do you guys have anything that I could wear?”

We spent the next fifteen minutes raiding closets looking for something that would be appropriate for the dance. We tried on skirts, fancy tops, but nothing really fit right. It was either too snug, too big, too long… Nothing looked as good as my dress. I wanted it back. I thought about finding Valarie and yelling at her until she revealed the hiding place of my dress but I couldn’t find her anywhere. Claire even went through Valarie’s belongings but didn’t find my beautiful brown dress.

After that, the other girls had to finish getting ready. The were gorgeous. All sparkles and smiles. I sat down on the couch in despair.

Just then the boys appeared looking absolutely spiffy in their fancy attire. Peter was wearing a charcoal grey shirt and nice black dress pants. The other boys looked nice as well. James was even wearing a tie. If we had been on a TV show the audience would have been awing loudly. The girls smiled at their dates. James kissed Lily gently and Sirius put his arm around Claire.

“You’re not ready,” James said, looking at me.

“No,” I whimpered hiding my face in one of the big, red pillows on the couch.

“Valarie took her dress.” I heard Vicky hiss.

“What?!” Peter shot back.

“Come on Katie,” Remus coaxed. “Come down to the dance anyway.”

“You guys go,” I muttered into the pillow, waving my hand at them. “Leave me alone to die.”

“Go on guys,” I heard Peter whisper. “I’ll get her to come down.” I peeked out from my pillow and watched Lily and James, and Sirius and Claire move towards the portrait hole leaving Vicky and Remus.

“Remus, don’t you have a date?” Vicky asked a hopeful strain in her voice.

“Nobody asked me,” Remus replied shrugging.

“Do you want…?” Vicky started.

“Milady,” Remus said gallantly, offering his arm to Vicky. I watched them stroll towards the door before I buried my head away again. Silence settled around Peter and me. I refused to look at him.

I sensed him moving walking in front of me and then sitting on the couch next to me.

“What’s the matter sweetie?” he asked cheerfully.

“Leave me alone,” I said in a muffled voice. I still didn’t raise my head. If I looked in his eyes I would feel embarrassed. Embarrassed that I was so upset about a stupid dance. I didn’t want him to know that I cared so much about a dress.

But I knew he could tell anyway. The next time he spoke his voice was serious.

“Look at me,” he said.

“No,” I whined. I heard him sigh. I knew he was making that face. That Katie-is-being-stupid-and-I-don’t-know-what-to-do face. I hate that face. I hate when I’m being stupid. Especially when I know I’m being stupid.

“You disappoint me,” I heard him say next. “I never thought appearance really meant much to you. I always thought you believed in a person’s inner beauty and strength.”

I sat up after that, my hair askew.

“Nope,” I replied, feeling defeated and arguable. “It turns out I’m just as shallow as society wants me to be.”

“That’s not true,” Peter answered confidently.

“Oh yes it is,” I said weakly.

“No it isn’t, and I have proof.”

That stopped my self pity for a moment as I watched Peter sprint away up the stairs. What does he mean he has proof? I waited on the couch contemplating the situation until Peter reappeared at the foot of the stairs clutching a piece of parchment.

I stared at him confused as he cleared his throat dramatically.

“Looks can be changed. I cannot change myself. At least I don’t think I can. Nor to I really want to. I will be loved someday for my inner spirit. That’s the dream.”

He paused and came over to sit by me.

“I believe you wrote this,” he said, shoving the paper under my nose. I stared at my clumsy writing spiraling across the parchment. So my work had not just disappeared. Peter had taken it!

“You took this?” I asked, a dawn of realization springing upon me. “Why would you save this?” Peter shifted uncomfortably next to me.

“Well I saw you leave it, so I just picked it up so I could return it to you when I saw you next…but then. But then I got to reading it and it felt special. It felt like a piece of me was written down there. So instead of returning it to you I wrote down some rubbish and left it at the table instead. I hope you weren’t looking for it or anything.” He said this all in a low and embarrassed voice.

“Peter Pettigrew,” I exclaimed brightly, throwing my arms around his neck. “You are wonderful.” Then I remembered what he had left on the table for me. I thought of the little piece of parchment shoved into my sock drawer. I had saved his words too.

“How could you call the beautiful thing you wrote rubbish?” I asked my hands still on his shoulders.

“I just scribbled something down,” Peter responded. “I didn’t’ feel like I had done anything too special.”

“Well, it was special to me.” I answered, kissing him promptly on the lips.

“Really?”

“Special enough for me to save it in my sock drawer,” I laughed feeling the warmth of happiness soaring through my body.

Peter saw the uncontainable smile spread across my face.

“So what would you like to do Ms. Potter?” he inquired gently. I stood up and observed myself in the mirror on the wall. I was in my long blue pajama pants and my long white t-shirt that had actually used to be James’. It had gotten really soft and I could not bear to part with it.

My hair had barely been brushed and stood in a bushy bun that looked like a bird’s nest. I had no makeup on so my face was fully exposed to the harsh comments of the world. I smiled widely. I looked over my shoulder at Peter. He looked so elegant in his fancy clothes in the candlelight.

I had a sudden feeling erupt inside of me. I felt like I would never forget this moment…the way Peter looked. The way he looked at me. I probably wouldn’t remember the clothes or anything specific. Just the image…the feelings of how he looked.

“Do you want to go to the dance with me?” I asked, still looking at the girl in the mirror. Peter put his arms around me from behind and stared at my reflection.

“I wouldn’t want to go with anyone else.”

“Really?”

“Oh yes. You’re special enough that if I could find a way I would save you in my sock drawer.”

I laughed at the goofiness of this some how romantic comment. I linked my arm with Peter’s and we walked through the portrait hole together. I don’t think I’ve ever been brimming with more confidence.

I had a great time at the dance. Did people stare? Oh yes. Did Valarie stare? Yeah she did! I must say that made me very happy. She could never stop me from being with Peter at this dance. Even though she almost did.

But the wonderful Peter Pettigrew saved me. Saved me by saving my words. I laughed, danced, ate, talked, and had a complete blast. I was so glad. So glad that the dance was not perfect. So glad that I was not perfect.

*****************************************************************************

Peter walked me back to the Hufflepuff Common Room after it was all over. My face was a little flushed from all the dancing and my hair somehow become ever less presentable. I grinned up at Peter when we finally reached the common room down by the kitchens.

“Well, this is me,” I said in a dorky-end-of-a-date voice.

“Nice place,” Peter laughed, looking at the portrait hole.

“Thanks,” I replied, grinning like a moron.

“Now aren’t you glad you came?” he said, grinning back.

“Yeah…but you really didn’t care that I looked like a mess?”

“Of course not!” he exclaimed. “Because your inner spirit looked simply stunning.”

I laughed and hugged him tight. He spun me around and then kissed me on the top of my head.

I kissed his lips lightly and said goodnight before entering the Common Room with my fluttering heart.

********************************************************************************

I don’t know why I am so good at Herbology but for some reason I just own that class. Because of this great and unexplained trait, the following day I was invited to the Gryffindor common room around noon to help the girls with an extremely complex Herbology essay. Unfortunately we were not getting much Herbology done. We were discussing events of the dance. Particularly the events between Vicky and Remus.

“So?” Lily, Claire, and I asked, watching Vicky’s smile grow.

“Well he was really sweet and I had such a wonderful time together,” Vicky answered dreamily. “Do you think he would be interested in me?”

“Let’s see,” I replied, pretending to think very hard. “You’re extremely pretty and insanely clever. I don’t think he would like you. Remus really likes dumb girls.”

“Really?” Claire asked. We all just looked at her.

“No, not really,” I answered, holding back laughter. I turned back to Vicky. “I think he would be crazy about you. Ask him if he wants to do something sometime.”

We were bouncing Remus and Vicky ideas off each other when the Marauders came into the common room in obvious high spirits. We all stopped talking immediately; looking extremely guilty.

“Secrets, secrets are no fun…” Sirius laughed cheerfully.

“They are fun when we keep them from you,” Lily said, smiling sweetly as James sat next to her.

I watched them sitting together. They had lasted a long time. In fact, I was really realizing what a nice couple they actually were. They balance each other out; complete each other. I was torn from these thoughts by James asking,

“Has Valarie come down yet?”

“Why?” Lily asked him with confused eyes.

“We just want to see her.”

“Why?” I asked this time.

“We did a little payback work this morning,” Sirius answered, beaming.

“Um, we don’t know for sure that she even took my dress,” I protested, but secretly wondering what they had done to her.

“Oh we’re sure,” Peter answered.

“What did you do?” Claire asked, grabbing Sirius’ hand. This little action brought a startling resolution to my mind. A month ago Claire taking Sirius’ hand would have hurt me down to my heart. I don’t think about Sirius anymore. It had been weeks since he had even crossed my mind. It was strange. I used to think about him all the time and now…now I thought about Peter. I was so convinced Sirius was the one for me. I was so glad I was wrong.

“Tell them what we did Pete,” Sirius said, almost pink with his contained joy. “It was your idea.”

Peter smiled and looked very proud.

“Well,” he said mischievously. “What is the worst color you can make hair with magical dye?” My eyes got wide. They dyed her hair!

“Purple?” Lily tried.

“No.”

“Puke green,” I guessed.

“No.”

“Tell us!” I squealed. The four guys looked at each other before answering in unison,

“Grey!”

They dyed her hair grey?!?!?! Oh my gosh. I love them.

“How did you pull that off?” Vicky asked.

“Secret,” Peter replied.

“I hope she tries to wash it out,” James chuckled. “It stays a day longer every time it gets wet.” I giggled. They were good I had to admit that.

“So what are you doing tonight?” Peter asked me, putting an arm around my shoulders.

“Well, I have to do some work up in the astronomy tower with some other Hufflepuff girls.” I muttered angrily. Stupid astronomy taking away from boyfriend time.

“Why tonight?” Peter asked, putting on a sad face.

“Well it’s the full moon tonight and we have to do something with lunar…somethings,” I said, the astronomy terms falling right out of my head.

“Oh it’s the full moon,” Peter answered quietly. “Well never mind then.”

******************************************************************************

After astronomy session was over and I thought my head was going to explode, I headed up to the Gryffindor common room so I could say goodnight to Peter. I met Lily at the entrance and walked in with her.

“They aren’t back yet,” Lily said at once.

“Really, it’s getting kind of late,” I responded, slightly concerned. We flopped down on the couch to wait for the boys. We chatted quietly as the minutes ticked by. I watched the burning embers of the fire and realized that my eyelids were starting to droop.

It was getting later and later. They still didn’t return. I watched Lily slump in her seat and eventually drift off into sleep. I yawned and couldn’t find the strength to pick myself up and go all the way downstairs to my own Common Room. So I stretched out on the couch and closed my eyes and was instantly asleep.

****************************************************************************

I awoke to muffled and urgent voices. It was completely dark in the Common Room now so I could only see the silhouettes of the figures passing by the couch.

“We have to get him upstairs.” That was James.

“It looks bad.” Sirius. I didn’t move on the couch until I heard them move past me and go up to their beds. Had Peter been with them?

I slid off the couch and followed the boys with curiosity. The door to the bedroom was closed so I pressed my ear up against it just barely being able to make out their muffled voices.

“Gosh it’s still bleeding.”

“Put this against it.”

“It’s all over the bedspread.”

“I’m sorry. I didn’t transform soon enough.”

“They might recognize the wound if we take him to the Hospital Wing.”

I burst into the room after that, startling the three people inside. Peter was sitting on the bed his back against the headboard. His leg had a long gash running from the knee to above his angle and it was bleeding profusely. Sirius was standing near Peter’s head and James was nearby clutching a towel stained crimson with Peter’s blood. They all jumped at my sudden appearance and no one said a word as I rushed to Peter’s side.

“What happened?” I demanded, willing myself not to look directly at the blood dripping from Peter’s leg. No one answered. Peter winced. James blinked. Sirius turned his face from mine.

“Never mind that,” I continued. “We have to get him to the Hospital Wing.”

“No,” Peter protested weakly. “It’s fine. I’ll be fine.”

“I’m sorry,” James said, finally talking. “We can’t take him there.”

“Why not!” I yelled. “He’s hurt.” Nobody moved. This was idiotic.

“Then get Remus!” I tried next. “He knows some healing spells. He can help.”

“Remus is…” Sirius started.

“What?” I screamed wildly.

“I think it might be time,” James said, looking at the other three.

“Are you sure Prongs?” Sirius asked taking the towel from James.

“She’s my sister, we can trust her.”

“Trust me with what?” I asked. James pulled me over to him and gave me the most severe look I had ever seen cross his face.

“What I am about to tell you is not some ordinary secret. This is a take to your grave kind of secret.”


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Ok, that chapter is done! I was just wondering for my benefit, what do you guys think of the length of the chapters? Too long? LOL. Too short? I just want to know! Thanks for reading! If you have some time leave a review!


Chapter 10: Secrets Revealed and Favors Given
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Hey, hey guys! I just wanted all of you guys to know that this chapter is dedicated to…(drum roll please)

YOU! Congratulations! Chapter Ten is dedicated to you! Alright!! Wow that wasn’t lame at all was it? Enjoy Chapter Ten!

Chapter Ten

Secrets Revealed and Favors Given

“Now do you promise to never repeat to anyone what I am about to tell you?” I was five years old again. I remember James saying the same words to me before. He had said those words to me right before he had taken me to a clumsily made wooden fort in the middle of the small forest we lived by. He swore me to secrecy and I had promised never to reveal its location to anyone. I wonder if it is still there.

“Do you promise?” James asked, looking so desperate for an answer and breaking into my thoughts of the past.

He was scaring me. This was no wooden fort. This was something important. I cast a look back at Peter and Sirius. The blood seemed to be coming out at a slower rate from Peter’s leg and Sirius had managed to tie a sheet from his bed around it. Peter was so pale. This was so confusing.

“I promise,” I replied shakily.

“Do you promise?” James asked again, his voice firm and somehow steady.

“I said I did,” I answered, unable to take the suspense any longer. “Please James.” He sighed and ran a hand through his hair.

“Remus is…” he started. He paused.

“For the love of god, tell me!” I found myself yelling. My outburst didn’t even make James blink.

“Remus is a werewolf.”

I don’t know why, but for some reason I started to cry. Unstoppable tears poured out of my eyes, drenching my cheeks and the neck of my robes. I didn’t know what the tears were for. Was I sad? Scared? I couldn’t understand. But the tears kept coming. I couldn’t really think about the situation clearly in my mind. Not only couldn’t I think logically, but I couldn’t work out my emotions either. I was such a mess. The next thing I knew, James was hugging me tightly.

****************************************************************************

It took me a good fifteen minutes to calm myself down. Sirius had gotten me a glass of water and James had dragged a chair to Peter’s bedside so I could sit by him. I sipped at the cool water in the cup and tried to breathe calmly as my thoughts attempted to arrange themselves.

“I wasn’t myself…”

“I can’t get better…”

These were things I had heard Remus say, but never really understood. Good, sweet tempered, brilliant Remus Lupin a werewolf? I couldn’t picture it. No matter how many times I said it in my head, I couldn’t get my mind around it.

“So who all knows?” I asked, my voice breaking slightly. I reached for Peter’s hand and he took it with a weak smile.

“Well…” James started, counting on his fingers. “The four of us, Dumbledore, Madame Pomfrey, and I guess technically Snape knows too.”

“Snape knows?” I asked, nearly spilling my water.

“It’s a long story,” Sirius answered, looking insanely guilty. James chimed in, changing the subject swiftly back to the others in the know.

“Dumbledore knows of course. There could never be a werewolf in Hogwarts without his knowing, and it was him who allowed Remus to attend in the first place. And Madame Pomfrey is the one who heals his wounds the day after.”

“So they just let him run around outside?” I asked, still not understanding how any of this was possible.

“Not exactly.” Now Sirius took up the explanation.

“You know the Whomping Willow?”

“The huge, violent tree? Sure.” I replied, feeling that we were getting a little off topic.

“Well beneath it there is the entrance to a tunnel. The tunnel leads directly to the Shrieking Shack. Every night of the full moon Remus is taken down to that tunnel and he transforms in the Shrieking Shack. It’s abandoned and falling apart and no one goes near it. And the Whomping Willow blocks the other entrance. He changes in there and his yells, (Sirius’ face flinched) is what makes everyone think that the Shrieking Shack is haunted.”

The facts were slowly coming together.

“And where do you three maniacs come in?” I asked.

“Well…” James said.

“We go down with him,” Peter said suddenly.

“Are you insane?” I gasped, starting to rant and dropping Peter’s hand. “You guys aren’t that stupid! I know Remus is our friend but he isn’t Remus when he is a werewolf! He could bite you or even kill you!”

“He won’t,” Peter answered, sounding oddly confident.

“How on earth can you be sure?” I asked, stupefied.

“The secrets are just pouring out tonight,” Sirius muttered.

“What is that supposed to mean?” I inquired sharply, jumping to my feet.

“Do you promise never to tell anybody what we are about to tell you?” James asked, it seemed for like the millionth time.

“For goodness sake James,” I shrieked. “Can you just tell me please!”

“Shhh!” all three of the boys muttered to me. I fell silent and plopped down back in the chair. My shock from the situation was making me loud. I needed to quiet down and collect myself.

James and Sirius came and sat down on the bed with Peter and started at me intently.

“The three of us,” James said in such a hushed voice that I had to lean in to hear him. “Are unregistered Anamagi.”

I didn’t speak so James kept talking.

“We are all able to change into our animal forms when we are with Remus. Werewolves only attack humans; they don’t waste their time with other animals. So we are in no real danger.”

“Oh really!?” I cried, gesturing to Peter’s bound leg. “Then what do you call this?”

“It was my fault really,” Peter cut in calmly. “I don’t really know what the hell went wrong. I came late…I didn’t know Remus had changed…it was so fast…the next thing I knew his claws were scraping me. Then I managed to transform.”

“You’re sure that he didn’t bite you?”

“Yes I’m sure,” he answered, squeezing my hand again. “Everything is fine.”

“More or less,” I managed to say weakly. “I can’t believe you guys never told me all of this.”

“We only wanted to tell people if it was necessary. The less people who know about this the better,” Peter replied.

“But Animagi? All of you guys? I mean that is really complex magic!”

“It took us the better part of three years to learn how to do it,” James said, a hint of pride in his voice. I couldn’t blame him. That was advanced magic. To have the skills to do that was beyond impressive.

“And are you sure Peter doesn’t need the Hospital Wing?” I asked, wondering when I was going to feel normal again.

“The gash really doesn’t go that deep,” Sirius answered, gently. “And if we took him to the Hospital Wing and Madame Pomfrey recognized the wounds she would know that we were with Remus or at least know we were down by the forbidden forest. And nobody knows about us being Animagi except the people in this room and Remus.”

“Actually, I think I have some healing ointment that I nicked from the Hospital Wing in one of these drawers,” James said positively. “For a situation just as this.” He got up from the bed and went over to the dresser that was his. I heard him rummaging around.

“Are you alright sweetie?” Peter asked, leaning in close to me. I leaned in even closer to him and gave him a firm, but soft kiss on the lips.

“It’s just so much to take in,” I gasped breathlessly. “Are you alright sweetie?”

“Oh, yeah,” Peter grunted, as he shifted his weight on the bed. I propped an extra pillow behind his back.

James returned with a small bottle of magical ointment.

“Now this stuff is a miracle worker but,” he uncorked it and a terrible smell greeted our nostrils. “It is totally rancid.” We all rammed our hands to our noses.

“That’s awful,” Sirius gagged.

“I’ll do it,” I stated bravely, taking the bottle in my hands. I found a clean towel nearby and proceeded to remove Peter’s bandages. Sirius was right. The scratch wasn’t as deep as I had originally thought. All the blood from before made it seem worse than it really was. I blotted away some of the old blood with a clean part of the sheet and then poured some of the violet liquid from the bottle onto the white towel.

I tucked my hair behind my ears and started to blot at his wound. Peter sucked in air through his teeth; it must have stung. The smell got worse, but it didn’t really bother me knowing that it was helping Peter. The wound didn’t heal completely, but it stopped bleeding almost instantly. The edges of the wound that were various shades of red and black disappeared but the lines of the cut were still visible. Once I was satisfied that the wound was not going to get any smaller, I corked the bottle and kept the towel pressed against the cut.

******************************************************************************

That night I stayed with Peter; in the chair next to his bed. After James and Sirius were sure that Peter was going to be just fine they collapsed into bed; their steady breathing surrounding me.

There was no way in hell I was getting to sleep that night. The light of the full moon was shining in through one of the windows bathing the room in its pale light.

“Are you sure you’re alright?” I turned to face Peter. I had thought he dropped off to sleep.

“What animal do you change into Peter?” I asked; the question had been on my mind for awhile. He paused. I could tell that he didn’t like the answer or he would have replied right away.

“Come on Peter,” I urged. “I can’t change into anything remember.” I saw him smile in the light of the moon.

“I change into a rat alright?”

“A rat?”

“It’s not like I could choose the form, love. It chose me.”

“You know, rats are really beautiful creatures,” I whispered, a joking hint in my voice.

“Thanks,” he replied, picking up on my sarcasm.

“But seriously Peter that kind of magic is totally impressive. Most adult wizards can’t even manage it,” I answered. Sirius rolled over in his sleep.

“It was James and Sirius who really learned it,” Peter answered in a defeated sort of voice. “They were the brains, I just learned from them. James can turn into a stag and Sirius can turn into a dog. Pretty cool huh?” Moony…Wormtail…Things were falling into place.

“Not as cool as a rat,” I protested softly. “And just because you think those two are smarter than you are doesn’t mean that you aren’t smart as well.”

“And just because you think Lily and Claire and whomever else is more beautiful than you doesn’t mean that you aren’t gorgeous as well.”

Oh, I should thank my lucky stars for Peter Pettigrew. I leaned in and we shared our most passionate kiss yet.

*********************************************************************************

Somehow or another I managed to get to sleep because I found myself waking up the next morning with a back as stiff as a board.

“That’s what you get for sleeping in a chair,” James had said cheerfully. It was strange how normal everyone could be. But then, why should I act any differently. I didn’t know anything about this before and led a perfectly happy life. Well, not perfectly happy, but happy enough.

Why should anything be different now that I know. Remus needed support and I intended to give it to him. Peter tested his leg, standing on floor gingerly.

“I’ll be fine,” he said as I watched him with a concerned eye. He hobbled a little bit when he walked, but it truly wasn’t that noticeable.

“Remus should be in the Hospital Wing by now,” James said, grinning. “Want to go visit him.”

“Yes,” I replied earnestly. “Let’s all go.” And go we all did.

We entered the Hospital Wing quietly and we easily located Remus (considering he was the only patient) in his bed. We walked over and crowded around his bed.

He had his eyes closed and he did look awfully pale. He somehow looked thinner than normal and even his hair seemed like it had lost some of its color.

“Hey guys,” he croaked suddenly, cracking an eye.

“Hey buddy,” the three boys coursed as one.

“Hi Remus,” I said gently. “How do you feel?”

“You know don’t you?” he muttered. All knowing Remus.

“What gave me away?”

“Your voice. Your tone. Pity and confusion,” he replied, almost sadly.

“You nailed me,” I responded. “You know I don’t mind right? You know this doesn’t change a thing right?”

“Good to know,” he replied. “I’ll probably get out of here by tomorrow.” I noticed as Remus shifted around in his sheets that he had various cuts and bite marks across his arms. Poor tortured boy. I was sure that Remus didn’t want to be pitied so I didn’t say anything, but my heart went out to him just the same. The boys exchanged some more words; common things. Quidditch stats, food, Lily ect… and then we left. Peter’s wound wasn’t brought up.

“He wouldn’t remember,” Peter assured me gravely after I had asked him about it. “Now I have class to get to but I will see you later tonight. He pecked my cheek and I watched him limp away down the corridor.

*******************************************************************************

I got a shock later that evening. I was sitting in the Gryffindor Common Room with Lily, Kristen, Jennie, and Vicky struggling with some Transfiguration homework when Valarie burst into the room, clutching something in her hands. My jaw dropped.

The Marauders weren’t kidding. Her hair was the greyest grey I had ever seen. It was tied up in a bun and the hood of her sweatshirt was pulled up but there was no hiding it. I put my mouth back together and glared at her when I realized that she was holding my dress in my hands.

My eyes softened as I noticed that she was crying.

“Please,” she blubbered. “Take the stupid dress. I’m sorry! So sorry! Just tell me how to fix my hair.” Her tears were so large and falling so fast that I could barely understand her.

I am not a heartless person. I probably should have been furious, but I wasn’t When it was all over it was Valarie who had gotten the worse of the situations. I still had an amazing time with Peter at the dance and somehow we had grown even closer.

“Ok,” I muttered, taking the dress from her hands. “Follow me.” I marched up the stairs to the boy’s dormitory where I knew the Marauders were. They all, well minus Remus, looked shocked as I entered the room with Valarie.

“Fix her hair,” I commanded. They didn’t move.

“I’m serious you guys,” I continued. “She returned the dress and I believe that she has suffered enough. Do it…for me.” Peter pushed himself to his feet and limped over to a drawer and found a bottle. (Were their drawers just stocked with random bottles?)

“Use this in the shower,” he said numbly to Valarie, shoving the bottle into her hands.

“Thanks,” she replied, tonelessly leaving instantly.

“What did you do that for?” James asked. “She could have been grey forever.”

“It’s over,” I answered, heading for the stairs. “Sorry to disappoint you.”

********************************************************************************

Snow kept falling through the rest of the week. The Christmas Holidays were coming up soon and I couldn’t wait for them. So much homework and so many exams were stressing me out. Sometimes I wonder if Professors have souls. Don’t they know that we have more classes than theirs?

A few weeks after the night of the full moon, Peter took me to dinner at a restaurant in Hogsmeade. It wasn’t overly fancy, but it was certainly a nice place. And he paid for the whole thing. When dessert (creamy cheesecake, with a buttery graham cracker crust) was served he cleared his throat in a way that I knew he was going to ask something important.

“Do you have plans for the break?” he inquired, dabbing his mouth with his napkin.

“Nothing special,” I replied, taking a bite and talking though a full mouth. “Go home I suppose. See mum and Charles and dad if he decides to stop working for a minute or two. You?”

“No big highlights,” Peter responded. I could tell he was holding something back.

“But my dad is having this fancy party thing on the 24th,” he said hurriedly as if it wasn’t a big deal.

“That sounds fun,” I smiled, taking a sip from my glass.

“Not really,” Peter snorted. “It will involve my father showing off my brother and his new girlfriend Erica, and forgetting that I even exist.”

I reached over the table and took his hand.

“It’s really that bad?”

He rolled his eyes.

“Stuffy room, scratchy clothes, bad food, you get the picture. Oh, and what’s worse he wants me to bring Carly.”

I was about to ask who Carly was, but then I remembered and nearly choked on my cheesecake.

“Your imaginary girlfriend?”

“But I was hoping I could bring you instead.” I could tell that this was what he had been wanting to say all night.

“You want me to come as your girlfriend?” I asked. Well that was a stupid question! I need to think before I speak.

“That is what you are right?” Peter grinned nervously. “Or have I totally missed the boat here?”

“Of course I am,” I said sweetly. “Are you sure you want to give up Carly for me?”

“Oh, I am so sure,” he laughed.

“Well then I would be honored to attend the horrible party with you.”

*********************************************************************************

Once dinner was over, it was still early so I bid Peter goodbye and went to hand out with the girls at the tea shop. We were all huddled in a booth, glowing with the happiness of a beautiful winter season. I stared at each of their happy faces, realizing truly for the first time that this was our last year together. I was actually about to get a little misty eyed when Lily made a startling announcement.

“Last night,” she proclaimed proudly to our table. “James told me that he loved me.” We all squealed like the girls we were and Vicky asked,

“Did you say it back?”

“Totally!” I had to give it to Lily and James. I believed that they were in love. I didn’t think it was too fast or sudden. It seemed right for them. They were ridiculously happy so I was happy for them. We made a toast to their relationship and drained away our hot chocolates.

Once we were finished drinking all the delicious chocolate we could manage we headed back out into the snowy street.

“It’s so beautiful,” Lily sighed. I was about to agree with her but suddenly the sound of loud chanting met my ears.

“Fight! Fight! FIGHT!” I turned to my right and saw a throng of students outside the Three Broomsticks hollering and screaming.

“Come on!” I said to the girls and we rushed over to see what was going on. The crowd was really a bunch of younger students and they let us pass through. When we got to the inside of the circle, my heart skipped a beat.

There was Peter and Severus Snape rolling around on the ground, beating the crap out of each other.



Tada! That’s Chapter Ten! I hope you enjoyed yourself and hope you’ll leave me a review if you have the time. A big shout out to all my wonderful reviewers! Thanks!




Chapter 11: Fights
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Hey, hey, my wonderful readers! I’m going to get right to the point-sit back and enjoy Chapter Eleven!


Chapter Eleven

Fights

“Peter, stop it!” I yelled, but he was far beyond hearing me. No one was really winning the fight. They were both taking shots; fists and blood flying. The kids around us were still cheering them on, obviously enjoying the sight of inflicting and receiving pain. How sick is that?

“Stop!” I yelled again, but it sill did no good. They continued flailing about on the ground beating each other. It was scary. When is a fight over? How do you know? I had never been in a fight before other than pointless wrestle sessions with James when we were younger. I continued to hover in distress around them until I saw James and Sirius join the crowd. I thought they might break it up but they started to cheer Peter on; just like the little kids. I pushed my way through the crowd (I regretfully think one of those little first years ended up on the ground) and grabbed James’ arm.

“What?” he asked, as if my boyfriend wasn’t rolling around on the ground with Snape.

“Do something!” I shrieked, gesturing to the fighting boys. James and Sirius didn’t move.

“I think Wormtail might be winning,” Sirius responded, happily. Lily, who was next to me, grabbed James by the collar of his jacket and turned him roughly to face her.

“James Potter you break up that fight this minute!” Her green eyes seemed to cackle with electricity. Even Sirius looked a little frightened.

“Sure, sure,” James answered, instantly and moved out into the battlefield. Whoa. I need to learn how to do that. Not that I should expect my brother to listen to me anyway. Or Sirius Black for that matter.

The boys walked out to the fight and after a few seconds of careful assessment they managed to dive in and pull Snape and Peter apart. James was supporting Peter, who was having problems walking, and Sirius followed them, leaving Snape bleeding on the ground. He looked so pathetic there, still clenching his fists together.

I sighed. If I had thought for one moment that Severus Snape would accept my help, I would have gone over there and assisted him to his feet. But I knew I would just make it worse if I went out there. Anyway a crowd of Slytherins were already surrounding him, so I hoped they would help him up. At the moment I was more concerned about Peter anyway. His lip was split and blood was trickling down his chin.

He had a sharp cut above his right eye and his forehead was smeared with a nasty combination of mud, dirty snow, and, yet again, blood.

“Oh, Peter,” I murmured gently, stroking his cheek. “Let’s get him inside,” I said and we proceeded into the Three Broomsticks.

We moved to a booth in the back and I requested a damp towel from the counter. James and Sirius propped Peter up in his seat before sitting down themselves. Lily made herself busy by shooing away some of the first and second years who had followed us inside. I heard them chattering about the fight as they passed the counter. Was it really that exciting? I don’t get it.

I received a cold, grey towel from a burly man with bushy eyebrows. I thanked him and went back to the booth. James got to his feet to let me slide in next to Peter.

“Hi, love,” he croaked. I didn’t answer him, but began to dab at the cuts on his face.

“So what happened Pete?” Sirius asked.

“I was walking,” Peter replied. “Over here to have a butterbeer with you guys when out of nowhere Snape tackled me.”

“That seems kind of hard to believe,” Lily answered, and we all turned to stare at her.

“What is that supposed to mean?” Peter asked, pushing my hand with the towel away. Lily raised her eyebrow at him.

“I’m just saying that very few fights happen without someone being provoked.”

“I didn’t do anything,” Peter said firmly, finally allowing me to continue cleaning his cuts. “He came out of nowhere, for no reason. It’s not like I’m the violent one.”

Lily nodded at him, and let the discussion drop. Peter ran a hand along his scalp.

“I think that he pulled out some of my hair.” Sirius chuckled and patted Peter on the head.

“The slimy git would,” James said darkly. “We have to think of a way to get him back.”

“Hey, I got in a couple of good shots,” Peter shot back.

“Can we not get him back,” I found myself saying, setting the towel on the table. “This is ridiculous. Let’s just drop it.”

“No way,” James and Sirius answered in unison.

“What are you going to do?” I snapped. “Dye his hair grey?” The boys laughed.

“I agree with Katie,” Lily chimed in. “This is stupid.” The boys fell silent but I knew the gears in their minds were working up plans for Snape. You can’t tell boys anything. We didn’t talk much on the way back to Hogwarts but I did notice something rather strange.

Valarie and Snape were huddled close together, talking. It was weird. Gryffindor girl and Sytherin boy? But, since I was tired and concerned I dismissed it from my mind.

*********************************************************************************

The next day brought a grey winter sky and the prospect that Christmas break was only a week away. I was heading to Herbology with Kristen, shuffling along on the frozen ground, and I noticed Remus among the students piling to get into Greenhouse Four. I pushed my way through and finally ended up next to him.

“Hey,” he said, in an uncertain voice. I smiled brightly and wrapped him in a hug.

“I told you Remus,” I whispered in his ear. “I don’t care.”

“You seemed unsure in the Hospital Wing,” he answered, breaking the hug.

“I didn’t know what I was thinking, much less saying,” I admitted. “It was a lot of information to get in a few short minutes.”

“I saw that Peter was limping a little bit,” he continued stiffly. “Did I…”

“No, no,” I lied instantly. “He got into a scuffle with Snape last night in the village.” I let out a breath of relief as Remus accepted this answer. I didn’t want him to worry about more than he had to. Plus Peter had told me not to say anything.

We all escaped the cold wind of outside and took our places around the long table covered with pails of dirt, gardening tools, and leaves. I love Herbology class. Not only am I good at it, but it is the only class that we have with the Gryffindors.

I went over and stood by Peter and he gave me a quick peck on the cheek. I waved at Lily and James who were across from us, and avoided Valarie’s gaze out of habit. Remus stood on my other side and Sirius next to him. Professor Fick entered the greenhouse at that time and went for a blackboard that was shoved off into the corner.

He pulled it out so it was in front of the room and then turned to face us. Professor Fick had a severe comb over and a bushy brown beard. But he knew his magical plants, so I respected him for that and tried not to stare at his comb over too much. I, and the rest of the class, groaned at the sight of the blackboard. The blackboard means lecture. The blackboard means no engaging lesson where we wrestle real magical plants. I sighed and dug for some parchment.

“I know,” Fick said in a sympathetic voice. “But I can’t put off this lecture anymore.”

I hate Herbology lecture, or lecture of any kind. I must be a hands on type of learner. I tend to zone out during lectures. The rest of the class also pulled out parchment and quills.

“I’m sorry,” Professor Fick said, and ran his hand over like the twelve long hairs attempting covering his baldness. I propped my head in my hand and waited for the tedious lecture to begin.

“Now the shape of the leaves on this type of angiosperm reflect the…” I was gone after Professor Fick got that far. I started to watch the other students.

I started to watch what they were watching. Before I had started dating Peter I would have started to stare at Sirius and imagine more ridiculous daydreams. I watched James stare at the back of Lily’s head with such concentration I had to wonder what he was thinking about.

I suppose it’s always surprising to sisters that someone can fall in love with their brothers. I suppose that is because Lily never had James make her eat dirt when she was six. Not only did he make me eat the dirt but he told mum that I had done it all by myself.

My thoughts turned to Peter. I was really happy with him. He wasn’t the perfect boyfriend and that in my eyes made him perfect. James always showers Lily with compliments and little presents. Peter is a little more, how should I say this, cautious. He takes the time to analyze the way I’m feeling. He knows when to hug me. He knows when to just take my hand. He knows when to leave me alone. I love that he can tell. I turned my head away from that evil blackboard and looked over my shoulder at Peter.

Now I didn’t expect him to be staring at the back of my head dreamily or anything but I was surprised to see where he was staring. His head was kind of tilted to the side and he was staring right across the table at Lily. There was no mistaking it. His eyes were fixed on Lily. I caught Valarie’s eye for a second and she gave me a look, but I couldn’t tell if it was friendly or sinister. I turned back to Professor Fick feeling a sick sort of bubble grow in my chest. Peter was staring at Lily? Was he not over her? He was staring so hard. The way I used to stare at Sirius.

But I didn’t do it anymore. I would feel a little better if I found myself still daydreaming about Sirius. At least then I would be able to make sense of all this. Did he want her more than me? If James was out of the way would he go for it? Was I just second place?

Ok, chill. I need to relax. Thoughts like this aren’t going to help. For some reason I tuned back in to Professor Fick talking enthusiastically about capillaries. When it was over I stumbled out of the greenhouse in a daze.

“What’s wrong?” Peter asked. I told you he could tell.

“I don’t want to talk about it right now,” I answered. Lily was right behind us and I couldn’t let her know about Peter’s feelings.

“Bye,” I said numbly to Peter, and walked away. I needed to walk. I didn’t have another class for another hour so I stumbled through the snow down to the frozen lake. I sat down under a big tree, snow clinging to it’s bare branches. I looked out at all the shimmery, snow. It was a silvery, white winter. I turned my head and noticed that Peter was following me. I took a calming breath and pushed myself to my feet. Maybe he didn’t know when I wanted to be alone. But did I really want to be alone? I wasn’t really sure.

He came to stand next to me, red in the face from the cold.

“Is there something going on that I don’t know about?”

I rubbed my eyes, not knowing where to start. Or even if it was important. Maybe he wasn’t really looking at her.

“It’s just that…” I started. Peter leaned in closer, indicating that I should keep going. “I saw you staring at Lily during the lecture. But I realize that you might not have even been looking at her…”

Peter cut me off.

“I was looking at her.”

“Where you thinking about her?” I asked next. He nodded.

“But its not…” he started, but I burst out.

“What?” I asked, in disbelief. “So you’re still thinking about her?” My voice was getting louder. I threw my hands up in the air.

“So you will probably always be thinking about her,” I shouted coldly. “And I will probably always be wondering if you are thinking about her.”

“Its not…” he started again.

“No,” I whispered. “I’m not going to be your girlfriend if you would rather be with her. I’m not going to be your second place. I’ve been second place to James my whole life and I’m sick of it.”

And then I walked away. I looked over my shoulder once and saw that Peter had not moved yet. He was looking very confused and I could tell his mind was working hard to solve what had just happened.

I was not really sure myself as to what had just occurred. It was like all my feelings about feeling second rate to James my whole life burst out when I saw Peter looking at Lily. I wanted to be wanted. I wanted Peter to want me first.

********************************************************************************

“It was only you’re first fight,” Jennie said, over dinner that night. “You’ll work it out.”

“He even admitted to thinking about her,” I muttered, taking my frustration out on my roll. I felt a little bad about telling Jennie about Peter’s feelings about Lily, but I knew she wouldn’t tell anyone if I told her not to.

“What else did he say?” Jennie asked.

“Not much,” I responded. “I did most of the talking.”

“I hope you let him talk at least a little,” my friend said jokingly.

Now that got me thinking. Had I given Peter a chance to explain? Not really. I just went off on my little tirade and kept cutting him off. I looked over to the Gryffindor table and caught Peter looking at me. Jennie followed my gaze.

“See?” she said to me, grinning. “He’s got eyes only for you.” Oh, did I start feeling bad. I hadn’t let the boy talk. I had let my emotions take over and didn’t let him get a word in edgewise. But then he did admit to thinking about her. I am so confused.

“Hey, do you know where Kristen is?” I asked, noticing the empty spot next to Jennie. “I haven’t seen her since Friday. “ Maybe she could help me work this whole mess out.

“You haven’t heard?” Jennie said in a low, suddenly serious, voice.

“Heard what?” I asked, leaning in closer to her.

“The muggle village that Kristen’s parents live in was attacked this weekend by Death Eaters.” Jennie paused for a minute and fiddled with her fork. “They killed a bunch of people, including her mother.”

“Oh my god,” I murmured weakly. Here I am, whining about petty problems when there is a war raging outside. It’s easier to forget when in Hogwarts. You don’t see or hear the pain from the outside world as much except when you can get hold of a copy of the Daily Prophet. I fell silent and couldn’t taste the food that I was robotically moving to my mouth.

I needed to talk to Peter. With all this hate in the world, I need to make things better. Before a lot of the students finished their dinner I bid Jennie farewell and went over to Peter.

He jumped to his feet when he saw me coming over.

“We need to talk,” we both said in unison when we came together. I grinned, he grinned back, and we headed up to the Common Room to talk.

Peter stated the password for the Fat Lady and we entered the Common Room, which was completely empty of all students. Peter sat down on one of the fluffy couches and pulled me down to sit next to him.

“Listen…” I started, but he held his hand up. I bit my lip.

“I’m going to talk now,” he said calmly. “And you are going to listen.” I nodded. He deserved a chance to talk.

“Do you want to know what I was thinking about in Herbology?”

“Do I?” I inquired timidly.

He sighed and continued,

“I was looking at Lily because I had just realized something. I just realized how wrong Lily was for me, and that nothing would ever have worked between us. Lily is a great girl but she doesn’t get me like you get me. When I’m with you, I’m happy/”

“Come on Peter,” I answered. “Lily’s perfect.” He shook his head.

“But it’s not Lily I care about.” He put his arm around my shoulders and I leaned my head against it.

“I’m sorry for overreacting,” I said slowly. “Its just that I’ve been noticing how I never think about Sirius anymore and it scared me to think that you might still be crushing on Lily and that I was just some temporary solution. I didn’t mean to freak out on you… but I kinda like you.”

“Really?” Peter asked sarcastically. “I had no idea.”

“Well you will!” I giggled, kissing him. I pulled him closer and we arranged ourselves against the arm of the couch. I was running my hands through his hair when a voice sounded through the Common Room.

“My eyes! My eyes!” it shrieked. Peter and I broke apart and I looked over to see James on the ground, with Sirius behind him.

“Congratulations,” Sirius grinned. “You killed Prongs.” He bent down by James. “Are you going to be ok buddy?”

“It’s so awful,” James whimpered. “I didn’t want to die this young.”

“Funny,” I said walking over with Peter. “You would think that I would be sad about my brother dying so suddenly. But I don’t really feel anything. He always was a bit of a jerk.”

“Hey!” James said, opening his eyes.

“He lives!” Peter exclaimed, pulling James to his feet.

“Darn,” I muttered. We all laughed, including James. We were still giggling when the Portrait Hole opened and two people entered. Valarie and Snape.

We all froze. For some reason my eyes locked instantly with Valarie’s. I didn’t know whether to smile or not.

Valarie and Snape overcame whatever was holding us still first and headed off into the Common Room.

“What’s he doing here?” Sirius asked, loudly after them. Valarie didn’t answer.

“What the hell is going on?” James hissed.

Yes! Another chapter completed. I’m sorry if this chapter was a little….um…can’t think of an appropriate word. I had severe writer’s block and *sigh* boy trouble this week. I hope you liked it though! If ya got some time leave a review! If not, thanks for reading.

Much Love,

Kira

Chapter 12: Merry Christmas Eve
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Author’s Note: Sound the trumpets! Bang the drums! Toot the flutes! This story has just passed 1000 reads! How wonderful! Considering you are here I think it is safe to assume that you are one of my readers, LOL, so my warmest thanks go out to you. And if you haven’t noticed this is the longest chapter yet and that means yay! I personally love this chapter which is a change from me thinking my work is awful. I hope you like reading it as much as I liked writing it.

Chapter Twelve

Merry Christmas Eve

I went to bed that night with frenzied thoughts of Valarie and Snape. I had been watching them as they sat in the Gryffindor Common Room together. They weren’t doing anything but talking. It was all hushed whispers; I doubt I would have been able to hear them if I had been standing right next to them. It was very unsettling to see them together. Something was going on. And it wasn’t good whatever it was. I didn’t understand why I felt like their target. I mean I had been the one who had gotten the boys to turn Valarie’s hair back from that ugly grey. I tossed and turned with this mess of thoughts and managed finally to fall asleep.

********

I woke up hours later breathing hard with a thin layer of cold sweat all over my body. My heart was pounding loudly and I put my hand to my chest trying to settle it. I couldn’t remember the nightmare. Nothing specific. Just feelings. No real images. I steadied my breathing and sat up, rubbing my eyes. I didn’t understand how people always have such vivid nightmares. They see scary places or old friends long gone. I hadn’t even really seen anything, but I felt scared.

I felt like Julius Caesar must have felt after the soothsayer told him to “beware the ides of March!” Its one of those things where you don’t know what exactly the information means or how it pertains to your life but you get a certain feeling from it. You shrug it off as nothing but when this event in your future occurs those feelings come rushing back.

Like something was coming. Something I couldn’t see yet. Something bad. “Beware the ides of March,” indeed.

********

The next week flew by. The student’s collective unattainable joy made the week go faster; we needed Christmas break. I needed it. The next week, however fast, was unbearably hard. Everything the professors could do to make us miserable, they did. Exams, papers, presentations consumed my life. I won some, I lost some. Failed, succeeded, laughed, cried. And then it was over. I signed my name to the list of students going home and scanned the rest of the name. I was surprised to see that Remus’ name was not on the list.

I asked him about it later when I found him to say goodbye. He was sitting at the Gryffindor table along with the other few students who decided that Hogwarts was the place to spend the holidays. The Great Hall looked amazingly festive. Tall Christmas trees dripping in sparkles and crystal ornaments rose up to stare down at the students demanding them to absorb the joyful spirit of the season. Snow was falling from the magical ceiling; yet it never reached the floor. An enormous wreath was hanging behind the staff table and it kept morphing into shapes of different holiday images. One minute it was a snowman, the next a candy cane or a present.

Remus got up as he saw me coming.

“You’re staying here?” I asked, setting down the handle of my suitcase. He nodded.

“And you’re headed for home and Peter’s house?”

I nodded, feeling sort of bad for him. James, Sirius, and Peter were all going home.

“Won’t you be lonely?” I asked, and I knew that he would be able to hear the sympathy in my voice. He cracked a smile and answered,

“I hear that Vicky is going to be staying here as well.” I gave off a little squeal and gave him a quick hug.

“Are you two…?” I asked, hopefully.

“We’ll see,” he responded mysteriously.

“Well, have a good break, Remus,” I said, smiling brightly at him. “And I’ll see you when I get back.” I pressed a small box with a shiny, green bow on it into his hand. It was nothing truly special, just a small present to show how much I appreciated his friendship. He gave me a final wave as I headed out of the hall, back into the world.

********

“You know what I just heard the other day?” I asked Peter, later on the Hogwarts Express. We were in the middle of one of our famous conversations. The ones where we talk about nothing yet somehow discover things about ourselves and about happy we were.

“What did you hear?” he asked, cheerfully putting his arm around my shoulders.

“I heard that in New York City approximately 1,600 are bitten by other people every year!”

Nobody in the whole world other than Peter would have a: listened to me, and b: thought that the conversation was engaging. That was why he was my boyfriend and that was why he made me happy.

“That’s interesting,” he murmured above me. “Pretty sick and twisted, but interesting.” He patted my nose with his finger. I giggled.

“So when do you want me to come over to your house?”

Peter unwound himself from me and seemed to ponder the question for a few minutes.

“Well the party is on Christmas Eve so there are a few days of break before then. You should probably go to your house first and then you can just come on that day.”

“You don’t want me around longer?’ I asked, playfully, running my finger along his cheek.

“No, I don’t want my father around you longer than absolutely necessary. Just come over the afternoon of the 24th. Our house is at 319 Remington Crescent.”

I ignored the rest of what he had said and went back to the topic of his father.

“Come, on he can’t be that bad?” I tried. Peter sighed.

“You don’t understand. He cares about me in a fatherly sort of way but overall, I’m pretty sure that he doesn’t like me.”

“Don’t be ridiculous,” I exclaimed. “I mean I have problems with my mother but I know she likes me. How could he not like you?”

“Fine, don’t believe me,” Peter grumbled in his serious voice. “But don’t say I didn’t warn you.”

At that moment, Lily and James burst into the compartment smiling with pure Christmas spirit.

“Hey guys!” they nearly yelled in unison. I waved at them and Peter smiled. They sat down in the seat across from us.

“So guess what?” James asked.

I really don’t understand why we must start conversations like this. There is no way I could ever guess what he was about to say. And it wasn’t like he really wanted me to guess anyway.

“Well, since you talked to mum and told her that you were going to be spending Christmas Eve with Peter she suggested that Lily stay with us on that very same night.” He was beaming. James has been so happy since he’s been with Lily. I was happy that he was happy.

“That’s nice,” I said. I turned to Lily. “Well I assume that she will like you better than me anyway.”

********

The train started to slow down a couple of minutes later. I picked myself off of Peter’s shoulder where I had been dozing. Peter stretched and pulled me to my feet.

“You have a red mark on your face,” he laughed, pointing to the cheek that had been smushed against his shoulder.

“Crap,” I muttered. “Mum will notice.”

“Yeah, because it’s so noticeable,” he said, sarcastically. I smoothed out my jeans and adjusted my grey sweater.

“Don’t say I didn’t warn you,” I muttered. Peter laughed and followed me off the train. I grabbed my suitcase handle and followed James and Lily; Peter behind me.

“Are you sure you want to meet her?” I asked hurriedly, my nerves getting the better of me.

“Katie, I’ve met your mother before,” he answered calmly. “It might surprise you to know that your brother and I are pretty good friends.” I laughed hollowly and grabbed for Peter’s hand. The platform was swarming with students of all shapes and sizes. One might think it difficult to locate one person among the masses but I found who I was looking for quite easily.

There was mum. She was wearing a sliming yellow dress, her hair was up in a fancy do, and she was wearing sheer, but elegant makeup. How does she always look so perfect? She strangled James in a hug first, smoothing his hair and cooing in his ear. She hugged Lily next and started complimenting her vibrant hair and outfit.

When she finally got to me, she pulled me into a hug and I got a whiff of her perfume.

“Did you know you have a mark on your face?” she hissed in my ear. I sighed a defeated and depressed sigh. I pulled away from her.

“You look beautiful mum,” I said quietly.

“Well thank you dear,” she replied, patting her hair. See? How hard was it to give a compliment? Really?

“Mum, you remember Peter,” I said, pulling him forwards.

“Well, my dear I think you’re going to have to introduce me to your new boyfriend!” she laughed, her red lipstick shining.

“Mum, you do remember Peter?” I asked this time. She giggled a long rippling giggle.

“Of course I remember him!” she sang, patting him on the head. Did she just pat him on the head? Is my boyfriend six years old? No. Is my boyfriend a dog? No.

He is a rat though. People don’t pet rats do they? Forgive me, I have derailed.

“And it is so good to see you again!” She shook his hand this time. Well, that’s better then petting him.

“It’s good to see you too, Mrs. Potter,” Peter answered in a slightly stiff voice. Mum smiled at him but turned back to Lily.

“Now, my dear that skirt you’re wearing, do you think that they make that in my size?” I twisted my lips and mouthed “sorry” to Peter. He shrugged it off. I guess I had just expected Mum to fall over my boyfriend and want to know everything about him.

“MRS. POTTER!” a voice roared. I turned around and saw Sirius pushing through the crowd.

“Sirius!” Mum cried and hugged him. “I hope you’re spending the holidays with us!” Sirius nodded.

“That would be enchanting! I’m pretty sure I’m not allowed at home anymore anyway!”

I looked over at him, not sure if Sirius was serious or not, and pulled Peter away from all the commotion. I was certainly pulling him around a lot, but it wasn’t like we were going to be missed.

Lily was leading James away from Mum as well over to a woman with chestnut brown hair and a tall man with hair every bit as red as hers. I recognized them as her parents. I watched James shake hands with them and obviously crack a joke, because they all started to laugh. When he was good, he was great.

“See?” Peter said when we were out of ear shot from my mum. “She didn’t say anything about the mark on your face, and it’s nearly gone.” Obviously he didn’t head the comment mum had managed to sneak into my ear.

“Yeah,” I lied brightly. I squeezed his hand tighter, realizing that I we were going to have to say goodbye for a couple of days. I didn’t usually say goodbye to Peter. Goodnight or see you laters were more prominent in our partings. For some reason this was different. I knew that I couldn’t go to him anytime; see him when I needed.

I shook my head. This was stupid. I was going to see him in two short days. Well more like two and a half days. But who is really counting?

I could tell the same sort of thoughts were whizzing around in Peter’s head as I looked into his eyes. We hugged wordlessly. There is something different about hugging romantically and other sorts of hugs. Hugs always involve arms, warmth, and closeness. But when you hug romantically there is something different between the two people. Something radiating from them that adds a sort of magic feeling of safety and completeness. I buried my face in his shoulder and we stood there for a few minutes.

“I’ll miss you,” he said, pulling away a little so he was looking me in the face.

“Me too,” I said, kissing him deeply. We broke apart and headed away across the platform.

“Goodbye!” I called after him.

“Goodbye!”

I looked over my shoulder until I could no longer see the top of his head.

*******

“Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way!” we all sang loudly on the car ride home. I was still a little upset about saying goodbye to Peter but Christmas carols have this creepy sort of way of soaking into our skins and making us sing.

Lily had departed from James with a passionate kiss.

“Isn’t that sweet?” Mum said. Lily said goodbye and said she would see James on the 24th. So it was James, Sirius, and me singing at the top of our lungs as mum’s car rattled along the snowy streets.

“Is dad home?” James asked, as a commercial for mattresses came on the radio.

“Oh, yes,” Mum replied. “He’s taking care of Charles.” When we finally reached home I wriggled with excitement. The house was the picture of Christmas. Dad had put lights all over the house and he always casts this spell on them that makes the lights move and jump in spectacular patterns. The neighbors always want to know where he gets them.

When we all trooped in though the door, we banged our snowy shoes on the Welcome mat and headed into the kitchen. Charles was sitting in his highchair and my dad was sitting in a chair feeding him strained somethings.

He smiled and opened his arms wide when he looked up at us. The first thing I noticed was how tired he looked. I realize, of course, that being a Healer is one of those terribly exhausting jobs but that didn’t mean I wasn’t worried. He was a thin man with thick, brown hair and dark, blue eyes which now had dark circles under them.

However he looked so Christmas-y in his green sweater with HO HO HO printed across it, I pushed the other thoughts from my mind. He hugged me first and told me how much he had missed me. He hugged James next, gave Sirius a sort of one armed hug and then pecked mum on the lips.

“Gabosh!” Charles yelled from his highchair, and the strained somethings went flying. I hung my coat on the coat rack and picked him up out of his seat; twirling him around.

“And how are you Charles?” I asked in that baby voice we aren’t supposed to use, but all do.

“Splica!” he replied.

“Good to know!” I said, giggling, sitting in a chair with him on my lap. He put his finger in his mouth and looked up at me. Gosh, my baby brother is cute. He even had little reindeer booties on his feet. I looked around the kitchen and had to smile. Dad and Mum were dancing together to whatever Christmas song was playing, while James and Sirius continued the lovely singing we had been doing in the car.

I smiled as Charles wrapped his fist around my finger.

It was good to be home.

********

Later that evening my father had taken James and Sirius outside to put the “finishing touches” on the house as he called it, while I helped mum cook in the kitchen. Ok, I wasn’t really doing much cooking. I was decorating the snowman sugar cookies that she kept whipping out of the oven. I can’t cook anything that isn’t macaroni and cheese. I am one of the reasons that there is a fire extinguisher under the sink. I frosted them, and gave them goofy faces with chocolate chips; stealing a few on the way.

I had dug up my old Santa hat, which was a bit small, but I managed to cram it onto my head.

“So how are things with you and Peter?” mum asked suddenly from the sink. I was licking my fingers, caught slightly off guard.

“Actually,” I replied, popping a chocolate chip in my mouth. “They are really great.”

“He’s good to you?”

“I wouldn’t be with him, if he wasn’t,” I said.

“So,” she continued, coming over to the counter and leaning across it. “Have you…done stuff?”

“Mother!” I gasped, choking on my chocolate chip.

“Oh, please it’s not like I’m not a woman,” she said, sounding offended.

“You’re not!” I exclaimed. “You’re my mother.”

“You’re embarrassed?”

“Ya think?”

Luckily at that moment, James burst into the kitchen all red in the face. “You guys have to come see the house,” he said, breathlessly. We grabbed our coats and Charles and rushed out into the front yard.

“Oh my god,” my mother and I murmured together. It was the most gorgeous thing I had ever seen. It looked like something out of the North Pole. Everything, the roof, the trees, the bushes, the porch were all decorated with something. Lights, animated statues, and a massive star were just some of the amazing things in our yard. It was so bright and beautiful that it was hard to look at. It all seemed to be dancing and the lights would change from a combination of hot reds, oranges, and yellows and fade into cooler greens, purples and blues. Also some spell had been cast so glowing candy canes were lined up along our front walk.

“You can actually eat them!” James informed me.

Dad put one of his arms around me and one around mum.

“What do you think?” he asked, knowing we were speechless. I’m pretty sure I teared up.

********

The next two days went by ridiculously fast, as break always does, and the next thing I knew it was the date of Peter’s party. Well, it was the date of Peter’s father’s party. Was I nervous? A little, I’m not going to lie. I had never met any boy’s parents before. Well, I have never really had a boy before. Not that I think I have Peter.

This was the way I was thinking as the morning minutes melted away into afternoon. We all helped Dad put up the Christmas tree in the living room later that day. It should have been up weeks ago but we wanted to help so it was put off. Mum sat on the couch with Charles offering suggestions.

“Twist it that way! There’s a bare patch right there! Fix the angel!”

Some wizarding families like to use magic to set up their tree and have it done in a few minutes. We, on the other hand, like to take the time to actually experience the spirit of decorating a Christmas. Each ornament was placed on the branches with tender, loving care. I love decorating the tree! I think it is one of those things that families should always do together. It’s a tradition and I adore it.

When we were satisfied with our handiwork we joined my mother on the couch and just looked at it.

“Merry Christmas Eve everybody,” dad said charmingly. I looked over at the clock. It was four in the afternoon. I had gotten a letter from Peter yesterday saying that the party started at seven but I should come by at six. I sighed and decided to start thinking about getting ready. I really did want to see Peter but I would much rather stay with my family and watch “It’s A Wonderful Life” as we go every Christmas Eve. We always laugh because the evil, old guy in the film is Mr. Potter.

I dragged myself up to my room and collapsed on the bed.

“Move,” I commanded my body, but to no avail. I felt sluggish and tired for no reason I could think of. I had just lazed about the house all day soaking in the things of the season. But sometimes I find that lying around and doing nothing can really take it out of you. I lay there on my bed for a good half an hour before I finally found the strength to get up and get dressed.

I went over to my trunk that was currently unpacked, and hunted for the dress that I had planned to wear to the ball. I figured that I never got a chance to wear it and Peter said that it was a fancy party. The dress was, of course, squished to the bottom of the trunk and I had to use a special spell to get all the wrinkles out of it.

Putting on dresses is one big fiasco. It’s like a battle and it takes forever. You have to squirm, pull, and every so often you will hear the start of a ripping sound and you’ll stop pulling out of fear of destroying the thing you are trapped in. Once you actually have the dress on, in the proper direction, it takes about a million little adjustments to get it to fit just right. After I had wrestled my dress on there was a knock at the door.

“Want help with your hair?” It was mum and I had to admit that I was very happy with her offer. I am awful with hair, especially mine so I was grateful for the help. We didn’t do anything too fancy, because I refused to have something over the top, but it ended up looking pretty spectacular. A few curls here and there and a powerful holding spell made my hair look rather nice arranged nicely around my head. She helped me with my makeup too, which I also am terrible at.

I must say, I ended up looking awfully nice.

“Well, just look at you!” Mum exclaimed after we had finished. “I have to get my camera.” As she left the bedroom, Sirius and James came in.

“Aw,” they said together when they saw me.

“I’ll take that as a compliment,” I smiled and began checking through my purse to make sure I had all the things I needed. I glanced at the clock over my shoulder. It was nearly time to go.

“Mum!” I called. “If you intend on taking any pictures I suggest they occur sometime in the next few seconds!” She came bustling back instead of answering me. She made me to poses while the boys snickered in the background. I rolled my eyes a little, but secretly enjoyed it a bit. A couple thousand pictures later I made my way over to the fireplace in the living room, where our pot of Floo powder was. Dad gave me a hug and James patted me on the shoulder. They both told me to have a good time and Dad said I looked very pretty.

“Now come home right when the party is over so we can open presents tomorrow morning,” Mum ordered, kissing my cheek.

Sirius laughed.

“What?” I asked, looking at him.

“Well I just find it humorous that you will be coming out of the fireplace tonight instead of Santa Claus.”

We all laughed and then I grabbed a handful of Floo powder with a determined fist.

I looked over my shoulder before yelling, “319 Remington Crescent!” and disappearing in a whoosh of green flames.

********

I tumbled out of a fireplace into a luxuriously furnished living room. I pushed myself to my feet and brushed myself off from head down to my sparkly heels. I had just finished removing any traces of dust from my dress when the door burst open and a tremendously attractive boy walked in. He had sandy, brown hair that had a perfect way of falling into his bright green eyes. He was dressed up, for the party clearly, and his eyes filled with confusion as he noticed me.

“Are you here for the party?” he asked. Gosh, he even had a nice voice.

“Yes,” I responded timidly. “I’m Peter’s girlfriend.” A smile instantly formed on the boy’s lips. He came towards me and shook my hand.

“It’s Carly isn’t it?”

Stupid Peter.

“No, actually it’s Katie,” I answered. “But close enough.” He laughed a careless laugh before introducing himself.

“I’m his brother, Aaron.”

“Oh!” I said, surprised. “It’s nice to meet you.”

“You as well.” He has a smooth way of talking. “Well, you are probably looking for Peter.”

I followed him out of the living room into the foyer where I could spot the large, front door and a staircase that lead upstairs. Aaron called for Peter and a few seconds later my boyfriend came down the stairs looking spiffy in his party attire. Aaron excused himself and disappeared through a door. He actually said,

“Please excuse me,” before he left. It’s like he came out of a movie or something.

“Hi,” Peter said when he reached the foot of the stairs.

“Hi,” I said back. Next, we were kissing, hugging, and both talking at rapidly high speeds about what had occurred in the past few days.

“You’re mother actually asked you if we had…done anything?” Peter laughed.

“In those exact words,” I answered, still slightly mortified. After we finished catching up and after Peter had told me that I looked beautiful *score!* he offered a tour of the house.

It was very humorous. Peter pretended like it was a formal museum tour, talking stiffly, and pointing out various objects in the house. When we had finally reached the dining room, I saw something that made my heart drop.

On the elegantly decorated table there were folded place cards with names written in golden script. One of them said Lucius Malfoy.

“Malfoy is coming?” I demanded, whipping the card off the table. Everyone knew that the Malfoy’s were involved with You-Know-Who.

“My father is friends with his father,” Peter said, calmly taking the card from my hand and putting it back by the plate. “It’s not like I know any of these people. Come on I want to show you the upstairs.”

We rushed up the stairs and he started leading me down the hall.

“My favorite room is at the end of the hall. It’s the library and my mother’s portrait is in there.” I kissed his cheek gently.

“I want to see her.” I knew that his mother had passed away around five or six years ago.

When we reached the end of the hall he put his hand on the brass handle and we entered, while he kept talking emphatically.

“She is really beautiful, and it really is one of the loveliest…” he trailed off when he realized that we were not the only people in the room. Two men were there. One was tall, with a bushy mustache and rather looked like Coronal Mustard from Clue. The other was short, with a needle point mustache. There were various shelves with old books on them which I would have loved to look at, but my attention was focused on the two men. The portrait of an amazingly attractive woman sitting on a stone bench was not on the wall but leaning against the wall between the two men.

“Oh hello Peter!” the man with the bushy mustache said jovially. And then he caught sight of me.

“And this must be your girlfriend Carly!”

“It’s Katie, dad” Peter answered quickly. “Why is mum’s portrait on the floor?” Mr. Pettigrew dodged the question and came forwards. He shook Peter’s hand and then complimented me saying,

“Well she looks like a lovely and well accomplished young lady.” I blushed a little bit, not going to lie and noticed then how much Mr. Pettigrew’s mustache curled at the ends.

“I asked you why mum’s picture is on the floor,” Peter said again in a dangerous voice.

“Well that’s just the thing,” Mr. Pettigrew happily explained. “I was just discussing with Mr. Stoker here how the portrait is really serving no use to anyone here and he thinks that we could sell it for more than a few galleons.” I watched as Peter’s face turned red.

“You CANNOT sell mum’s portrait!” he yelled.

“Don’t be absurd,” Mr. Pettigrew replied. “We have plenty of other pictures of your mother. This one is simply gathering dust.”

“You CANNOT sell it!” Peter said again. Mr. Stoker managed to slip out the door and I followed him quickly, muttering a quick bye to Peter. I wandered my way down the hall, glad to be away from all the family tension. So that was Peter’s father? He seemed very formal and intelligent, but seemed hopelessly unconcerned with Peter’s feelings. I looked at the other pictures on the walls of the hall for a few minutes until Mr. Pettigrew stalked out of the end room twitching with the fury of the argument that had just ensued. He didn’t look at me as he headed for the stairs and disappeared. I instantly headed for the room and found Peter sitting in one of the chairs.

“He’s selling the portrait,” he said sounding sadder than I had ever heard him. I sat next to him and grabbed for his hands.

“I’m so sorry.” I didn’t know what else to say.

“You know he is the reason my mum is dead. She was terribly sick with Vanishing Sickness and had to stay in the hospital. However, she did start responding to treatment and got well enough to come home. But when she was here father wouldn’t stop arguing and yelling about dumb things. He was in the thick of his drinking problem. They fought and fought; he never left her alone. And then she got worse…and now she’s not here.”

“Peter…” I started, but realized that I had no way to know how to end the sentence.

“Just leave me alone,” he muttered. “It’s nearly time for dinner anyway.”

********

The next half an hour was filled with guests arriving and greetings flying all around. I didn’t recognize anyone but a beautiful blonde girl in a pale, blue dress came in and went over to Aaron. I think Peter said Erica was her name. Then the door opened and a tall man with blonde hair entered followed by Lucius Malfoy. He didn’t really take any notice of me but the sight of him was still unpleasant. I just hovered by Peter who hadn’t spoken since we had left the upstairs room. He was refusing to have a good time. If a good time was even possible here. The majority of the people coming in were double my age, a lot even triple. Suddenly a bell rang, and dinner was served.

Three or four house elves walked in with all sorts of delectable treats on glistening silver platters. There was every kind of meat imaginable, potatoes, steamy vegetables, cranberries, breads, special butters, cheese, and wine. Once everyone had a first plate that they were satisfied with, conversation started up again. I could hear Mr. Pettigrew’s voice ringing out over everyone else’s as he spoke about work at the ministry and other things I found rather boring. What surprised me was how easily Aaron was able to add to the conversation, being a muggle and all. Somehow he was able to make accurate and interesting statements about the things said. Erica, who looked stunning in the candlelight, was stroking his hand silently. I, personally, felt much safer at this end of the table, away from those kinds of conversation. I, even being a witch, would not be able to say anything intelligent on the subject of goblin revolutions or some such thing Binns would teach in class.

Lucius was staring off into space, twirling his fork in his hands while his father was engaged with Peter’s father. He caught me looking at him so I looked down to the food on my plate.

Mrs. Wilder, an older woman with a high, gossipy voice started talking to me, but she asked very random questions such as,

“And your middle name is?” or “Do you like the flower arrangement on the table?” I answered these questions happily, but in my head I was more than confused. I turned to Peter to save me from further conversation with her but he was still being silent. I reached for his hand, but he pulled away. I sighed. This was shaping up to be a ruddy evening indeed. Right now I could be watching George Bailey calling Mr. Potter a scurvy little spider but instead I’m stuck at a party that I didn’t want to come to in the first place. I only came to be with Peter, but he isn’t talking. A man who was sitting down at our end snapped his fingers and called for the bottle of wine to be sent down to him. As it passed hands I noticed that Peter, very slyly actually, filled his glass with some before giving it to the man.

“Peter,” I whispered, in that voice my mum gets when she catches me at something. He didn’t say anything to me, but drained his glass in a single gulp. My eyes got wide. What just happened here? The people at our end of the table didn’t notice. They were all on the older side and one of them even, a Mr. Stevens, fell asleep at the table. Peter poured himself another glass. I was getting really nervous now.

“Peter, what are you doing?” I hissed as he raised the glass to his lips. “Your father might see.” I tried to scare him out of it.

“He hasn’t noticed me for seventeen years,” Peter answered darkly. “I don’t see why he would start now.” And then the wine was gone. My hands started getting sweaty. What was I supposed to do? Excuse myself? Get Peter to leave? How? He was already actually looking a little tipsy. And he kept putting his hand on my knee under the table. Yikes.

By the emptiness of the third glass I was about to stand up and do something, but at that moment Mr. Pettigrew stood up with his glass.

“I am utterly embarrassed,” he started. “But I forgot to make a toast at the beginning at the meal.” I can see where Aaron gets his smoothness. The rest of the guests stood and raised their glasses. I followed suit and pulled Peter up with me, who was teetering.

As Mr. Pettigrew launched into his toast on friendship, money, Christmas, sprinkled with jokes, Peter started whispering slurred statements in my ears. I couldn’t understand most of it but I had to push him away from me a couple of times because some of the other guests were starting to stare. Once the toast was over I took a sip of my glass and sat down with the rest of the guests. I tried to pull Peter down with me, but he seemed bent on standing. When his father saw that he wasn’t going to sit down any time soon he said gently,

“Peter, is there something that you want to say?” I looked up at my swaying boyfriend, feeling sick and embarrassed, even though I wasn’t the one standing up. His face was flushed and he was smiling in a weird way.

“There is something that I would like to say,” he managed to say without slurring too much of it. Mr. Pettigrew gestured with his hands that Peter could continue. I buried my face in my hands.

“I would like to make a toast to my father.” The guests smiled warmly at that. “I would like to make a toast to the man that drove my mother to her grave.” The smiles went away. “I would like to make a toast to the man that never cared about me or my life…or my life.” He repeated the last part again shakily, clutching his glass tighter.

Gosh this was a disaster. I tried to pull him down again, but he kept barreling forwards.

“Thanks to this girl here, I am finally able to tell you just how I feel about you!” He pointed at me for emphasis.

Please god, don’t bring me into this.

“Thanks dad for making me feel like a neighbor instead of a son… Here’s to the man I hate…. Congratulations, you jack ass.”

The guests gasped, and I clapped a hand to my mouth. Lucius just looked amused. I glanced at Mr. Pettigrew who was so red in the face I could almost feel the heat of his anger. He was tearing his expensive napkin to bits.

Oh help.


And there at last is the end of Chapter Twelve. I started this chapter…seemingly eons ago yet a pizza, and two sodas later, here it is! I really hope you enjoyed it! I don’t know if you managed to count how many words this chapter is. Over 6000! I mean that’s like double of what I normally do! Sorry, very excited now! Please leave a review if you have some time!

-Kira

Chapter 13: For Pete's Sake
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I am so happy that you are back again! *Shakes your hand.* Please come sit down. Become at ease. Put your feet up. Comfortable? Good. Only the best for you of course. Welcome to She’s In Love With The Rat, Chapter Thirteen! Enjoy the read! And I shall see you again at the bottom of the page!

This chapter is proudly dedicated to cait_hp_fan who leaves the most wonderful reviews in the world! You rock!

Chapter Thirteen

For Pete’s Sake

I have never known silence like the one that had settled over 319 Remington Crescent. It was so loud that I thought it would damage my ears. Stillness too. Nobody moved. I was scared to even bat an eyelash as I stared up at Peter; still in shock. My boyfriend is drunk. My boyfriend is drunk and just told off his father. My boyfriend is drunk, just told off his father, and he did it in front of all his father’s important guests.

Oh my god. I kept still. Maybe they won’t see me if I stay perfectly still. Maybe if I just stay still time will turn itself back.

Peter was the first one who moved again among the table of frozen statues. He smiled a dopey smile and raised his glass a little higher, where it trembled in his shaking hand.

He slurred out some sentence that made no sense and then attempted to sit down in his chair. I say attempted because he went to sit but the chair was further away than he thought, and he fell hard to the ground, shaking the table, and taking his glass with him. He looked up at me and started giggling uncontrollably as droplets of wine from his glass formed crimson drip marks on his shirt. I still couldn’t move. I don’t know if it was fear or embarrassment that was keeping me still. It was probably a lovely combination of both. The guests started moving their eyes; glancing at each other in their discomfort.

Suddenly Lucius Malfoy’s father broke the silence saying to Mr. Pettigrew,

“I think Ralph, that your son has been sampling the wine.” He hiccupped loudly and his red face also told me that he had also been “sampling” the wine. Mr. Pettigrew didn’t seem to hear this comment, but it did break him out of his trance of supreme anger. He pushed himself roughly from the table; his shredded napkin fluttering to the ground. He marched over to where Peter was on the floor, grasped his arm (in what I deduced to be a vice like grip) and hoisted him to his feet.

“I am sorry,” he said gravely to his guests. “My son is obviously very disturbed tonight.”

He left it at that and dragged a laughing Peter off through the door that led to the living room. Every eye turned and looked at me, like I had an explanation for the event that had just occurred. I muttered an apology for reasons unknown to me, got up from the table and hurried off through the door that Peter and his father had just gone through. Peter and his father were not in the living room, but I could hear loud voices coming from the opposite door. I was about to go listen when I heard a voice behind me.

“That didn’t exactly go well.” I turned around and found Aaron staring at me. He looked insanely calm considering what had just happened. In fact it sounded like his voice was trying to mask a smile.

“No it didn’t,” I agreed harshly. “It’s hardly something to make a joke about.” Aaron flicked a piece of his sandy colored hair out of his eyes and came to stand next to me.

“Classic Peter,” he said in a wistful sort of voice.

“Oh really,” I scoffed. “Does Peter always get drunk and yell at his father?”

“No,” he admitted. “However he does do the most atrocious things to try and gain father’s attention.”

“Are you kidding?” I gasped, my voice becoming slightly shrieky. “This isn’t some clever ploy Peter performed to try and get his dad’s attention. You don’t see this as a cry for help? Peter wants nothing more than acceptance from his father. And your father clearly worships you so Peter has a lot to compete with. He’s hurting bad.” Aaron’s face contorted a little as his face reddened not unlike his father.

“Hey,” he said sharply, pointing his finger at me. “Spending an evening with my family doesn’t make you an expert on what they feel or think.”

I shouted back, “Well clearly spending your whole life with them hasn’t made you one either.”

He was about to yell something else but was cut off by his father reentering the room. Peter was not with him.

“Dad…” Aaron started. Mr. Pettigrew held up a hand.

“Don’t,” he said, in a calm firm voice.

Then he turned his gaze to me. It was an unwelcome and accusing look. “Take your boyfriend and get out.” I sensed pain and humiliation in his voice but it was still hard and steady. I nodded, fearing that I would start to cry. I could feel my eyes start to prickle so I looked at Mr. Pettigrew and Aaron for another half second before sprinting out the door into the large main hall.

Peter was there, sitting in a chair that was against the wall. His face was flushed and his reddish eyes looked up at me as I came over to him.

“Well I hope you’re happy,” I muttered, knowing he probably wouldn’t even remember the conversation in the morning. “We’ve been kicked out.”

“Sing me a song,” Peter murmured suddenly.

“Peter,” I said in a steady and commanding voice. “We’re leaving. We’re going back to my house and I’m putting you to bed.”

“No,” he replied in a whiny voice, banging his fist on the chair arm. “I don’t wanna leave. Sing to me.”

This was ridiculous. I grabbed Peter by the arm and pulled him to his feet.

“We’re leaving,” I said again.

“Fine,” he whined. I sighed as we started to make our way back to the living room where the fireplace was and where I assumed the Floo powder was also located. Peter was not a very attractive drunk. He was sluggish, annoying, and heavy as I nearly dragged him to the fireplace. I found the pot of Floo powder and managed to grab a sizeable handful, though most of it fell through my fingers onto the rug.

I pulled Peter closer, threw the powder down; calling out my address as I did. Green flames jumped up around us, and then my drunk boyfriend and I left Remington Crescent far behind.

********

Peter let out a little yelp of surprise as we tumbled out of the fireplace into a heap of presents. My house was dark; clearly It’s A Wonderful Life had come to its conclusion. I could hear some movement above my head telling me that people were still awake. I glanced at the clock; it was only 10:30. Mum always makes us go to bed early on Christmas Eve.

“Look at this!” Peter nearly shouted from behind me. I whipped around to find him holding up a shiny silver present with snowmen dancing across it.

“Put that down,” I whispered harshly, knocking it out of his hands. Peter leaned forwards and put his arms around my waist.

“I do love you,” he whispered back into my ear; I could feel his smelly breath slipping along my neck.

“Sure,” I replied, patting his hand. I hate drunk Peter. I managed to push him off me and he gleefully snatched another present from under the tree.

“For Pete’s sake!” I gasped, grabbing his hand like he was a small child. “We are going upstairs.” I turned; prepared to start leading my boyfriend on the treacherous journey up the stairs when I crashed into a dark form standing behind me. I uttered a small scream, but the figure put a hand over my mouth.

“What is wrong with you two?” it asked. That was James’ voice. I breathed a sigh of relief.

“Hey its Prongs!” Peter exclaimed, grabbing James into a tight hug. James took one whiff of Peter’s breath and pushed him away.

“Had some drinks did we?” he asked, and then looked at me for explanation.

“Can we go upstairs first?” I asked, casting a nervous glance over at the stairs thinking mum and dad would suddenly appear. “I would rather our parents didn’t see him like this.” James nodded and between the two of us we managed to get Peter up the stairs and into James’ room without much of a disaster. He did trip once causing me to think we were done for, but we got to the room safely and I found that I could breathe again.

Sirius, who was staying in the room with James, popped out of bed the second we walked in.

“Wha?’ he started to ask, but one good look at Peter answered the question.

Once we had Peter in bed, James had given him a couple of sips from a vial “He’ll appreciate it in the morning,” and Peter was sleeping, we got to talk about what had occurred. I told them everything. About the portrait, about what Peter drank, about what he had said to his father…everything.

“Wow,” Sirius said. “I can’t believe he finally said what he wanted to say.”

“It was a disaster,” I muttered, taking off my heels and laying across the other bed.

“I’m proud of him,” James said suddenly. “He’s been dying to tell his father how he really felt about him for years. Now its out.”

“But everything is a mess,” I replied sadly, staring at the ceiling.

“Maybe things have to get messy before they get better,” James answered. Wow. Sometimes my brother says things that actually make beautiful sense.

“How did everything go with Lily?” I asked curiously. “She didn’t get drunk did she?” James laughed.

“No, of course not. She had dinner with us and watched the movie,” James said, smiling so wide.

“Mum and dad adore her don’t they?”

“Yeah, I’m pretty sure they do.”

I didn’t want to back to my own room and sleep so I pulled some blankets to the floor and lay down in my dress; too tired to change. James fell asleep in the other bed; Sirius on the window seat. I stole a pillow from James’ bed and buried my face in it; trying desperately to fall asleep.

Sleepless time just crept by. The clock in the corner of the room chimed twelve times. I looked up at Peter’s sleeping form and sighed.

“Merry Christmas Peter.”

********

“Good morning, good morning!” Mum’s voice ripped through the sleep that somehow managed to find me.

“What are you all still doing in bed? Don’t you know its Christmas morning? Katie, what are you doing on the floor?”

I rolled off my stomach to find Mum standing over me. I couldn’t find an appropriate explanation as to my position. Mum tried another question.

“What is Peter doing here?” I let out a small groan before pushing myself to my feet, realizing that I was still in my party dress.

“Its sort of a long story,” I grumbled. “Not exactly Christmas morning talk.”

“Later then,” Mum said, giving me a look. “But first there are some presents under the tree that are screaming to be opened.” I was glad and grateful that she didn’t pursue the subject. James and Sirius patted their rumpled hair, wished me quiet Merry Christmases, and followed Mum out of the room.

I looked over at Peter in his bed; he was starting to stir. I went over to his side and sat down on the bed. He let out a small moan; putting a hand to his head.

“What’s going on?” he asked.

“Well,” I said gently. “Mum wants us downstairs to open presents but let’s just say that last night was a total disaster.”

“I think I’ll stay up here,” Peter said, lying back down. “I don’t think there are any presents under there for me.”

“Ok,” I agreed. “But once we’re done down there I’m coming back up here so we can talk.” He leaned in close to me for a kiss, but I blocked his mouth with my hand.

“Not until you do something about your breath,” I giggled.

“Can I use your toothbrush?” he asked, his eyes pleading.

“Ew, but fine. Mine is the neon green one,” I grinned; looking at Peter still in his party clothes. “And by the way, you can steal some of James’ clothes.”

I squeezed his hand and left to change into some more comfortable clothes. Once I had changed, I gathered my hair into a sloppy ponytail and rushed down the stairs.

I smiled when I saw Mum and Dad and the boys huddled next to the Christmas tree. Mum had bought Charles an adorable little Santa outfit; tiny hat and all. They all smiled back cheerfully and I noticed that they avoided the subject of Peter, at least for the time being. The Christmas music played, the wrapping paper flew, and there were hugs all around. I received some pretty fantastic presents. Clothes, books, and James gave me some awesome color changing quills. We had a nice Christmas breakfast, but I excused myself a little early so I could get back upstairs to Peter.

When I got back in the room, Peter was out of bed; standing by the window in some of James’ clothes.

“You’re looking better,” I said, happily.

“I’m sure I won’t be feeling too well after you tell me what happened last night.” He sat down on the window seat and ran his hands through his hair.

I sat next to him; deciding to not waste any more time before telling him. I told the story in a calm voice and Peter didn’t interrupt. He kept his eyes closed the whole time; biting his lip. I finished the story and took a deep breath. He banged his fist hard on the window seat and jumped to his feet.

“I can’t believe I did that,” he gasped. “This is it. I’m out. I’m out of my family, for good.”

“It might not be that bad,” I tried. “Maybe if you give your dad sometime to cool down he’ll listen to what you have to say.”

“My father doesn’t listen to me when he’s not mad,” Peter mumbled miserably. Suddenly his frown flipped into a determined grin.

“You know something?” he declared. “I’m happy. I’m glad he’s mad. I’m glad that I interrupted his perfect little party. Because I hate him. I hate him so much.” I wrapped my arms around him and he buried his face into my shoulder.

“What are you going to do now?” I asked. “Where are you going to live?” He shrugged.

“I don’t even know,” he replied. “Better anywhere than there.” I gave him a sad smile.

“Hey,” he said brightly. “It’s Christmas morning, you should be beaming.”

“Actually, I do have a present for you,” I answered, remembering the package under my bed. I went back into my room and dug it out from the mess permanently situated under the bed. Peter had followed me, so I turned to him and handed the package over.

“Merry Christmas,” I said lovingly. Peter dug into the bag with the gold tissue paper and pulled out a thick wad of paper bound in a flimsy, plastic cover.

“It’s a book?” he said, his voice inflected with question.

“Yeah,” I answered. “Well, sort of. It’s my book. I wrote this. It took me five years. But its mine.”

“Really,” Peter said excitedly; flipping though the pages. “I love it.”

“You haven’t even read it,” I argued, smiling.

“Well, I know its amazing already,” he replied, kissing me. “You and I both know that you are an amazing writer.”

“I see my toothbrush has served you well,” I laughed, kissing him back. I noticed at that moment a crumpled piece of paper at Peter’s side.

“What’s this?” I inquired, reaching for it. Peter managed to grab it up before I could get my fingers on it.

“Its just something…I wrote,” he mumbled. “I left the Christmas present that I wanted to give you at my house and I think we both know that going back there is out of the question. So…I wrote a couple lines of nothing while you were downstairs.” I didn’t ask for permission before taking the paper from Peter and smoothing it out. I squinted at Peter’s cramped handwriting.

When the spiders scurry in the night,
When hairy legs brush the wood,
When leaves are dry and wind is snappy,
Look, my darling, that is life.

Though the evening sky is sketchy
And little bristly plants sting your feet
Shall we not view or appreciate this life?
If we must die, let’s live in all life while it is still offered.

I looked at Peter with shining eyes. I didn’t have to tell him that it was beautiful and wonderful. I didn’t have to say a word.

********

Later in the afternoon dad and the boys, including to my happiness Peter, went outside to play in the new fallen snow. I, on the other hand, hung back with Mum in the kitchen. I had to speak with her. After what I had seen happen with Peter and his father I knew I needed to talk to her. I didn’t want to end up like that. I wanted things to get better. I wanted us to be able to share with each other. Mum was huddled over a cookbook when I finally mustered up the courage to begin the conversation.

“Mum?” She looked up from her cook book and smiled a large, white smile.

“I thought you were going out in the snow with the boys,” she said.

“I was,” I stammered. “But I wanted to talk to you.”

“Of course,” she answered, looking back down to the book. I slid onto one of the barstools that lined our high counter and stared at the top of her head.

“Last night,” I started, my voice shaking. “I saw a dysfunctional family at its finest . I saw how the relationship between Peter and his father is completely destroyed. They don’t even want to be around each other. Their relationship fell apart because Peter didn’t feel appreciated. He felt insignificant because his father favored his brother. You favor…James and it makes me feel…unappreciated.” I stopped there. I watched as my mother stared firmly at her cook book.

Then suddenly she looked up at me, her eyes full of tears.

“You feel unappreciated?” she asked, her voice quaking.

“Yes…sometimes. And I don’t want to end up like Peter and his father.”

“You think we are going to end up like that?” Mum asked, sounding slightly frantic.

“No…maybe…I don’t know,” I said, tears rising in my voice. “It’s just how I’m feeling.”

Mum came around the counter and took my hands in hers. She stared straight into my eyes as she spoke.

“Katie, I love you so much. I don’t want you to feel that I favor James. I just always felt that James, not being my biological son, might feel like an outsider in our family. I just wanted him to feel welcome. I wanted to show him all the love he might have felt that he missed from his first mother. I don’t want you to feel that way. I want to change. Tell me what I have to do to change.” She was wringing my hands and tears started to fall down her cheeks.

“I don’t know,” I choked through my own tears. Of course there must be something. I swallowed my sobs. “I guess the fact that you always seem to criticize me and you never criticize James.”

“I don’t criticize you, I am simply attempting to help you,” Mum defended herself. “I only do that because I love…” She stopped there and stood up. She put her hand on her chest and let out a gasp of surprise.

“Oh my god,” she said quietly. “I’m my mother!” She put her hands to her hair and I was fearful that she would tear it out.

“What?” I said, confused at the sudden change of subject.

“My mother,” Mum nearly shouted. “My mother always used to criticize the way I looked or acted and she always used to say she did it because she loved me. But it used to bother me so much.” She came back to me and pulled me into the most secure hug I have ever experienced. “I am so sorry, I’m so sorry” she breathed in my ear. “I love you.”

“I love you too,” I said, my face smashed into her hair. I don’t know how long we sat there in each other’s arms but I also know that I will never forget the things I was feeling at that moment. I felt relief, happiness, and a wonderful sense of completion.

********

Mum and I spent the rest of the time the boys were out in the snow talking…really talking. Talking about important stuff. Real stuff. I told her what exactly had happened with Peter last night. I also told her things that I never thought I could share with anyone. We laughed and cried at silly memories while Charles stared at us in his Santa suit. We were still talking when Dad, James, Sirius, and Peter rejoined us. While we had been talking, Mum had been preparing a fantastic Christmas feast. The aroma was filling the kitchen and I just realized at that moment how fast the day had slipped away. Mum declared it dinner time and herded us all into our fancy dining room. The dinner was, of course, fabulous. No one got drunk and we were all in high spirits. Mum and Dad were happy to have Peter and he came off very well I thought. Afterwards we adjourned to the family room for hot coco and pie.

“So did you guys watch It’s A Wonderful Life last night?” I asked, already knowing the answer.

“Of course we did,” Dad said happily, blowing the steam away from his mug.

“I’ve never seen it,” Peter said from the corner.

“Are you serious?” I gasped, appalled. “It’s a total classic.”

“I think,” Mum said, in a serene voice. “That it is our job to introduce Peter to our Christmas tradition.”

“Does it have a happy ending?” Peter asked.

“Like you wouldn’t believe,” James and I replied.

********

The rest of the break flew by the way only Christmas break can. It was some of the happiest days I remember. Things with Mum were beyond great, and my fantastic parents let Peter stay the whole time. We were a frantic flurry of trunks, clothes, books, and parchment as we attempted to get out the door. When it was 10:35 we all piled into the car and sped off to the station.

The Hogwarts Express was right where it should be; gleaming in the station. I kissed Charles on the cheek, and Mum hugged me tight.

“Love you,” she murmured. She then turned to James and hugged him. Then she took Sirius in her arms and after hugged Peter as well to my surprise. I hugged Dad (overall a lot of hugging) and waved to everyone as the four of us headed to the train. James immediately located Lily. I swear they have tracking beacons installed in each other’s brains. They started hanging all over each other as we searched for a compartment. There were many free ones, considering a fourth of the school was…at school. We all sat down; though we did lose Sirius who had caught sight of Claire. James and Lily smiled as Peter and I and we smiled back as the train started to move. I swapped break stories with Lily and told her what Peter had gotten me for Christmas.

“You guys are so cute,” she squealed. We continued talking and soon we obtained food from the candy cart being wheeled down the aisle. An hour into the trip we all started to drift off; and my head dropped on Peter’s shoulder and my eyes drooped.

********

The churning of the train awoke me some amount of time later. I arose to find Peter and James gone and Lily staring out the window.

“Where did they go?” I asked groggily.

“James went to talk to Sirius I think,” Lily said; the cool light from the window bathed across her features. “But I don’t know where Peter is. He disappeared awhile ago.”

“Wanna help me find him?” I said, pulling Lily to her feet.

“Fine,” she groaned. We started down the hall, checking compartments and asking people if they had and Peter sightings. After the ninth person shot us down I started getting worried. We got to the back of the train and a little Slytherin girl ran by.

“Are you looking for Peter?” she asked, looking like she was masking a secret smile. We nodded and she pointed to the last compartment.

“He’s in there.” Then she rushed away. Ok, that was weird. Lily gave the girl a bemused look and I followed her to the compartment.

What I saw there, I wouldn’t have believed if I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes.

Peter was in there for sure.

He was there kissing a girl.

My boyfriend is kissing another girl.

********

And Chapter Thirteen is complete. I know what you’re thinking. Why the cliffhanger? I can’t really say myself. I am a fan of the cliffhanger though and this is quite a monster. I hope you enjoyed this and I hope the cliffhanger does it’s job and I see you again real soon.

-Kira

Chapter 14: The Promise
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Now that the April Fools hilarious fiasco has come to an end…lets get back to Katie and Deter.

Hey, hey, hey! Aren’t you glad the wait is over, and that you are finally going to discover what is up with that cliffhanger? I’m glad too. And you should know that the end of this chapter….wait…you should just read it to see what is going to happen. I’ll see you down there! Enjoy!

Chapter Fourteen

The Promise

Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god. There are many ways to react to a shocking situation. You can scream. You can cry. You can get mad. You can hit. I chose none of these. I just stared. Everything in my vision seemed to become much clearer at this moment. I noticed things that I normally wouldn’t. I noticed the different highlights in the hair of the girl kissing my boyfriend. I noticed the way Peter’s mouth moved with hers. I noticed how things somehow seemed brighter with this newfound clarity and darker because of the horrendous situation…all at the same time. One of my legs started to shake.

“Oh my god,” Lily gasped as I stumbled away from the compartment. The breath started to come sharply in my chest. Lily followed me, concern painted all over her face, and then Peter came into the hall.

“Katie…” he started. I couldn’t even hear him. I turned my back on him and staggered away down the hall. I think he tried to follow me because I heard Lily yell,

“Leave her alone Peter!” She caught up with me and grabbed me by the shoulders.

“Are you okay?” she asked, knowing perfectly well I was not okay. I wasn’t anything…

“I feel…dizzy,” I responded weakly. “Oh, I need air.” Lily pulled me into a compartment and cracked the large window a wee bit. She propped me up in the seat next to it, and I began to breathe in the fresh air, trying to jump start my brain. I felt the rapid breeze course though my body and the terrible realization hit me. Tears gripped my eyes and I started to weep bitterly into my hands. Lily put her arms around me but for some reason that just made me cry more. I cried until I couldn’t cry anymore. My eyes just dried up and soon I could only gasp; Lily all the while stroking my hair. After about fifteen minutes, I was breathing normally again and I started to collect my thoughts.

“How could this be happening?” I wondered aloud, my eyes all red and squinty. Lily just shook her head quietly, knowing that there was nothing she could say to make me feel better. At that moment James and Sirius bust into our compartment, talking loudly.

“It took us forever to find you. Why did you guys switch compartments?” James inquired, putting an arm across Lily’s shoulders. She pushed it off, and gestured to my defeated state saying,

“Not now.” I looked away from their stares, staring out the window with my blurry eyes.

“What’s going on?” James asked loudly; I could feel him looking at the back of my head.

Lily explained quickly what had happened in a hushed voice. More tears arrived at that moment; spurred by the retelling of my tragic tale.

“WHAT?!” James roared. “I AM GOING TO KICK HIS ASS!” I heard the compartment door slam and when I turned around James and Sirius had disappeared. Lily returned to the spot next to me on the seat.

“You know you always have me right?” she asked. I managed to dig up a smile and leaned my head against her shoulder.

“I know,” I said, my voice scratchy from all the crying. “I just don’t understand. Things were going so well.”

“I know,” Lily responded. “I don’t understand it either.” We fell silent for awhile, listening to the rhythm of the train chugging along on the tracks. The minutes sped by just like the countryside. I half expected to hear Peter’s cry of anguish from outside in the hall. Was James really going to kick his ass? I mean Peter was one of his best friends.

I was continuing this stream of thoughts when the rat himself slid the door open and entered smiling.

He looked at my flushed face and inquired,

“Are you alright?” Now that made me mad. I had just come across him with another girl and he is asking me if I’m alright!

“Peter!” I shouted, angrily. “Get the hell out of here!”

“Excuse me?” he said.

“I don’t want to see you!” I shouted; my voice high and shrill. “So why don’t you leave and go back to kissing your girlfriend!”

“What is wrong with you?” Peter asked, looking horrified.

“Oh don’t act all innocent!” I continued to yell. “I saw you with her! Lily and I both saw you with her! You were practically sucking her face off!”

“What?” he asked, now sounding angry himself. “I have no idea what you’re talking about!”

“Peter we saw you,” Lily replied, sounding very calm amongst all the yelling. “We saw you in the last compartment with that blonde girl.”

“I DON”T KNOW WHAT YOU’RE TALKING ABOUT!” Peter hollered back.

“Just go!” I ordered, pointing at the door. I stood up and started to shove him to the door. He grabbed both of my hands and started speaking in a steady voice,

“Katie, if you had caught me kissing someone else why would I completely deny it? It doesn’t make sense. I don’t know what you’re talking about. I swear.”

“I don’t believe you!” I shouted. Peter was about to continue speaking when the door opened and James reentered. He noticed Peter and grabbed him up by the collar of his shirt; pinning him to the wall.

“James!” Peter sputtered. “Listen to me!”

“No, you listen,” James snarled. “When you see Katie in the hall, don’t talk to her. Don’t even look at her. Consider this the end of us.” James pulled Peter roughly from the wall and shoved him out in the hall; slamming the door after him.

I didn’t know if I felt more grateful or horrified about what had just happened. James threw himself into the seat, muttering to himself.

“The dirty, little rat. You know if he bothers you just come tell me.” I nodded numbly and returned my eyes to the window; the picture of Peter with that girl still imprinted in my mind. I leaned my head against the cool glass; goose bumps prickling all over my body. I watched out of the corner of my eye and James put his head in his hands and Lily wrapped herself around him.

I didn’t realize how hard all this actually was for James. He had just given up one of his best friends for me. But then…his friend turned out to be a horrible backstabbing cheater.

********

School started again. You know that awful feeling you get when you realize that break is over and that you actually have to start doing things again? This time it was a million times worse. The feeling was totally magnified; it was terribly draining. But then if I had it bad, Peter had it ten times worse. In Hogwarts, if James and Sirius didn’t like you, it was hard to get anybody to. Barely anyone spoke to him and he ate his meals alone. I joined the masses and also refused to speak to him. When he approached me, I simply walked away. Soon he stopped trying. I told myself that I would be mad forever but I found my anger slightly subsiding because of the intense pity I felt for him. I was mad, but I didn’t stop caring about him. It wasn’t like my feelings were a light switch. I couldn’t just turn them off when I wanted to.

Yet at the same time I felt ashamed for still caring about Peter. Why should I? I mean he didn’t care for me when he decided to kiss someone else. I came to dread Herbology because he was there and everything and everyone became uncomfortable.

I didn’t stay in bed and cry. I didn’t eat a bunch of chocolate (at least no more than normal). I sort of just got on with my life. I was rarely blessed with the feeling of happiness. I felt like one of those cartoon characters with the grey rain cloud above their head. But I kept going. I told myself that I had to. Snow upon snow fell at Hogwarts. I wondered if it would ever stop. It came in little bursts but at least a few flakes were always swirling down from the seemingly permanent gray sky. The next time I spoke to Peter it had been a week since the “incident.” School work did not cease because of my problem, and I was attempting to carry a large stack of books back from the library. He was coming up the stairs as I traveled down.

Our eyes locked; his grey eyes looked stormy and confused. I looked away as quickly as possible, but looked over my shoulder when his back was to me. Because life just loves me so much I found myself losing my balance and fell to the bottom of the stairs. My books went flying and I swore as I noticed a gash forming on my knee where it had scraped the step. The next thing I knew, Peter was at my side, gathering my books into my arms.

“Hey, you’re bleeding,” he said, reaching forwards to help me up. I shoved his hand away.

“I’m fine,” I muttered, getting to my feet shakily, and grabbing my books away from him.

“Katie,” he started, “Are you ever going to talk to me again?”

“Listen Peter,” I sighed. “You cheated on me and I’m trying to deal with it.”

“I didn’t cheat on you,” Peter tried. “I would never do that to you. I’m not a cheater.”

“That’s funny,” I snapped. “Considering the way we started. You were still with Valarie when you kissed me.”

“Wow,” Peter breathed angrily. “I can’t believe that you’re throwing that in my face.” I shrugged and pushed away from him.

“Don’t follow me,” I called over my shoulder.

********
After I deposited my books on my bed I exited the Hufflepuff Common Room to head down to dinner and found Remus waiting for me.

“Hey,” I said as brightly as I could.

“Hey,” he responded. He was about to say something else, but I cut him off,

“Please don’t ask me how I am. I am the same I was this morning. I’m fine. Not great, but fine.”

He gave me a small grin. “Ok, I won’t ask how you are. But I do have a favor to ask you.”

“Shoot,” I said.

“Well, I’ve been talking to Peter…”

“You’ve been talking to him?!”

“I’ve been talking to Peter and he is still denying the whole incident. He’s begging for a meeting with you.”

“Of course he’s still denying the incident,” I gasped, throwing my hands in the air. “I can’t believe that you are sticking up for him.”

“I’m only sticking up for him because something just simply doesn’t add up,” Remus persisted.

“Like what?” I asked, folding my arms. “Other than the fact that both Lily and I saw him attached at the lips to another girl? And the fact that Peter actually even cheated on Valarie with me before he broke up with her?”

“No,” Remus said softly, “I’m just saying that he really cared about you. Real stuff. He would talk about you all the time. His feelings were real. He never talked about Valarie. I don’t think he even knew why he was with her. With you it was something different. I’m just asking you not to forget that and maybe give him a chance to explain.”

I sighed, smoothing my hair away from my eyes.

“Fine, tell him I’ll talk to him but I still don’t see what there is to explain. It seems pretty straight forward.” Remus touched my arm gently.

“Just wait and see. Talking isn’t going to hurt.”

“I don’t know,” I answered glumly. “Plus we’ll never know for sure if he’s telling the truth.” Remus looked downcast for a moment but then his eyes brightened.

“We could always use a truth potion,” he suggested. “Slughorn keeps some in that locked cabinet behind his desk.”

“And how would you know that Remus?” I asked, tilting my head and grinning. Remus straightened his collar and cleared his throat loudly.

“Um…well…they don’t call me a Marauder for nothing,” he laughed gently. I rolled my eyes happily.

“That’s actually not a bad idea, truth potion,” I answered. “Not that I’m saying he even deserves the chance or anything. How are you going to get it? I’m sure that Slughorn is pretty careful about keeping us out of there.”

“I’ll talk to James and Sirius,” Remus said assuring me. “We’ll get it. I promise.”

********

“I don’t see why you have to talk to him,” James muttered, as I squeezed next him with my plate him at dinner. “And I don’t see why you want us to come.” I looked over my shoulder at Lily, Sirius, and Remus and forcing a fake grin.

“I need you guys one for moral support and two you guys want to know whether or not he’s lying too. I mean Remus is right. He has denied it from the start,” I replied reaching for a roll and thinking fondly of the food fight that seemed to have happened long ago.

“Hey,” Sirius said. “Don’t go all believing him just because he denies the whole thing. I once knew a guy who got caught and actually convinced his girlfriend she was seeing things. He was all you don’t trust me? How can we have a relationship without trust? How can you accuse me of such a thing?”

James snorted and said,

“Wasn’t that you mate?”

Sirius looked thoughtful for a moment before answering with a grin, “Oh yeah…”

“Thanks, that helps,” I snapped sarcastically. “Just because you’re a pig, doesn’t mean Peter is.” Lily and James laughed while Sirius shrugged off the comment. It was pretty bold for me to say out loud, but I was so nervous…everything that my mouth was shooting things off without my brain’s permission. I muttered an unneeded apology under my breath and turned my attention to Peter who was sitting at the end of the table seeming to be absorbed in a Charms book. He had gotten into the habit of reading at meal times; considering no one would speak to him.

He looked up for the briefest of seconds and caught me looking at him. I dropped my gaze instantly and pretended to be fascinated with my roll.

“So how are you going to get the truth potion?” Lily asked, taking a bite of tart. We all leaned in closer and three of the Marauders told us what they knew.

“Here’s the deal,” Remus started, whispering. “The truth potion is in a locked cabinet behind Slughorn’s desk. We could easily get into his office, but getting into the cabinet will be tricky. Slughorn keeps some pretty dangerous things in there so there is bound to be a pretty nasty spell protecting it.”

Sirius took over then. “Slughorn is not stupid. We don’t know what spell is on that cabinet. The best bet we have is to find the key. Now only two people have that key. Slughorn obviously has one but one other person does as well. Slughorn has a student assistant. He works with Slughorn some evenings; brewing potions, cleaning…that sort of thing. Slughorn gives him access to the cabinet for some reason.”

James cleared his throat before saying, “And that one person is…”

“Oh no,” I said, catching on to where this was going. James nodded,

“It’s Snape.”

I swore loudly. “We would have a better chance of asking Slughorn for the key!” Remus rubbed his chin thoughtfully.

“Snape can’t keep the key in the Common Room. That would be too dangerous. People know he has it. Maybe it’s on him at all times.”

“I’m not gonna go pat him down in hopes of finding it,” Sirius exclaimed with a shudder.

“Maybe if we ask him…” Lily started.

“Come on,” James muttered. “Snape hates our guts. He would never help us.”

“Maybe,” I said, hopefully trying to add something. “Valarie knows where he keeps it. They spent a lot of time together before break.” The Marauders cracked grins.

“That’s not a bad idea,” Sirius said. “We might be able to get her to talk.”

“Come here guys,” James said, excitedly. “I’ve got a plan.”

********

“Guys do I really have to do this?” Sirius protested later that night in the Gryffindor Common Room. I glanced over by the fire. Valarie was sitting there scribbling with her quill.

“Come on,” James answered, clapping him on the back. “Just use some of that Padfoot charm we all know is in there.”

“Fine, but for the record I don’t like using my charm for evil.” Sirius answered.

“Liar,” Remus grinned, pushing Sirius in Valarie’s direction.

The rest of us brought out a deck of cards to play some Exploding Snap…or at least to pretend to play some Exploding Snap. By the second round we were all had minor burns because we kept casting looks over by the fire instead of concentrating on the game as we should have been. Sirius laughed a fake yet casual laugh causing a fit of giggles from me and Lily; which we had to desperately work to hide.

The minutes trickled by. This was taking longer than I had thought.

“Hey just let him work his magic,” James said, when I complained. After about three million games of Exploding Snap and Lily had dozed in her chair, Sirius finally came over to us smiling widely; Valarie disappearing up to the girl’s dormitory.

“Did you figure out where the key is?” Remus inquired eagerly, his voice arousing Lily.

“Not exactly,” Sirius replied, watching our faces fall. “But I got something. Apparently Snivellus spends most of his nights in one of the abandoned dungeons; the one way in the back that no one goes in. As if he wasn’t creepy enough as it is.”

“Well, it’s probably there right?” I said.

“I’d say it’s worth a shot for sure,” James decided. We all nodded. “Let’s do it.”

“Now?” Lily gasped. “We aren’t supposed to be out of the Common Room. Its way after hours.”

“Aw, are you going to report us?” James asked playfully, kissing her. Lily broke the kiss and pushed his face away from hers.

“Look we’re all exhausted. Plus Snape would probably be more likely to be there at night. Why don’t we just do it tomorrow after classes?”

We all agreed that was best and turned in for the night. I got in between my clean white sheets staring upwards. So it was all going to be over tomorrow then. Innocent or guilty. It was hard to find myself doubting what I had seen. How could this not be true? I saw him! I don’t know what to do. I don’t know what to feel. I flipped onto my stomach and buried my face into the pillow and stayed that way until sleep won and took over.

********

Classes of course dragged on and on the next day. If Professor Binns wasn’t already dead I would have killed him if he droned out another date. Even Herbology which I normally liked took forever. The last class of the day for me, Potions took the longest of all. I spent most of the time studying the cabinet behind Slughorn’s desk. It was interesting that this was the first time I really looked at it. I had seen it every day for…so many days…but this was the first time I had really looked at it. As I headed back up from the dark dungeons I passed some first and second year Slytherins chatting loudly.

“Did you hear that Snape got sent to the hospital wing today…”

I rushed to the Gryffindor Common Room where Lily was waiting to let me in. We walked in and found Remus, Sirius, and James by one of the big arched windows; sloppy snow drenching the glass.

“Did you get the key?” I inquired.

“Better,” Sirius replied. “We already got a few drops of the potion.”

“You guys did it without me?” I said, actually feeling a little hurt. “How did you pull this off? I heard Snape is in the Hospital Wing!”

“He’ll live,” Sirius replied darkly. “It was just a stunning charm. And we already put the key back in his pocket so he has no proof that we took it.” He removed a small vial from his pocket that contained a miniscule amount of clear liquid. He handed it to me. “It’s not our fault he decided to show up right at the moment we went looking for the key. Plus the key was in his pocket so we wouldn’t have gotten it without stunning him anyway.”

“Plus,” James added, “You need to know.”

“We all need to know,” I murmured, looking at the vial.

“I’ll go find him,” Remus offered kindly and took off. We all sat in silence for the minutes that Remus was gone. A quarter of an hour later he reappeared with Peter in tow.

“What’s this all about?” Peter asked, looking from me to the others. “You guys are talking to me again?”

“We’ll see,” Sirius said sharply. I went up to Peter. I could feel my hand shaking as I held out the vial.

“We…well they…nicked some truth potion,” I stammered. “I just need to know.” Peter didn’t need any further explanation or coaxing. He seized the vial and quickly swallowed the liquid. We lead Peter to a chair and waited a few moments to make sure the potion was in full affect.

“It should be working now,” Lily said next to me.

“Go on, ask me,” Peter said confidently. I took a breath. This was it. Gosh…this was nerve racking.

“Did you,” I started shakily. “Cheat on me? Did you kiss another girl?”

We waited.

“No,” Peter said. “I would never do that.”

I turned my head away from him looking at the others. Oh my god. They all looked somewhere between shocked and embarrassed. I didn’t know what to say. What could I say? I wrongfully accused my boyfriend of cheating! I made his life hell! I turned his friends against him! We all looked at each other sheepishly, shuffling our feet in our humiliation.

“But we saw you,” Lily tried timidly, finally breaking the intense silence.

“Well,” Peter said, standing up. “While you guys were all not speaking to me, I’ve been working out a theory of how this happened. I’ve had a lot of time on my hands. On the train during the time that I was supposedly kissing someone else I was talking to Valarie. She cornered me in a compartment and demanded that we talk. She kept me there for awhile, asking obnoxious questions that sort of thing. It was a complete waste of time for both of us and I remember leaving the compartment being very confused as to why she would do such a thing. Then when you guys all accused me of doing something that I had never ever thought of doing, I realized that she was keeping me out of the way. So then I realized what that meant. Another me must have been walking around kissing another girl. I did some reading and discovered that a Polyjuice Potion can be brewed to change someone into someone else. All you need is a bit of the person you are changing into. “

He ran a hand along his hair at that moment. And then it clicked for me where this was going but Remus talked first.

“Snape pulled out some of your hair when you were fighting,” he said, snapping his fingers.

“And he was probably the one who brewed the potion considering he has access to all the ingredients,” Sirius added.

“And that’s why Valarie and Snape were hanging out so much together,” James chimed in.

“Valarie and Snape?” I shook my head in anger, frustration, and awe from all the information that had just been thrown at me. “Why?”

“Well,” Peter continued. “Snape hates all our guts and Valarie doesn’t really have the fondest feelings for our relationship.” I bit my lip, feeling awful.

Was it good that Peter wasn’t a cheater? Oh yes! But now I felt like the traitor. Remus gestured to all the others,

“Lets give them a minute,” he said. “We’re really sorry Pete.” The others nodded and trooped silently out the portrait hole leaving me with Peter and my sinking heart.

“I don’t know what to say,” I mumbled quietly.

“It’s not really your fault,” Peter admitted. “You believed what you saw. How could you do anything else? Or think anything else? I just wish you would have believed me. Don’t you trust me?”

I clasped his hand. “I do,” I gasped. “I just feel so awful. I was so mad that I just wanted to shut you out from my life. Can you ever forgive me?” Peter nodded and cracked a small smile. My heart lifted. I walked into his arms and it felt…wonderful.

“I missed you,” he whispered in my ear. I kept breathing apologies into his ear until we broke away.

“I can’t believe Valarie did this to us,” I said, clenching my fist. “After I helped her with her hair and everything! You know what I’m going to do?” I asked, my eyes flashing dangerously.

“What?”

“I am going to kick her ass!” I shrieked, heading for the portrait hole. “How could a person be so terrible?!” Peter caught me by the waist before I got very far.

“Just leave it,” he encouraged. “Let’s just leave it alone. It’s over. She tried to pry us apart but we ended up closer than ever.” I struggled to break away from him as I shouted,

“NO! This is war Peter. There is nothing you can say that will stop me from teaching her a lesson, right now!”

“I love you.”

I stopped moving instantly; thoughts of Valarie dissolving.

“What did you just say?” I gasped, not believing what I was hearing. Was this it? Did he say what I thought he said?

“I love you,” he repeated. “You have become the most important person in my life. And I really, truly love you. I wanted to tell you after Christmas but then this…all happened.”

“Oh, my god,” I said, hoping my eyes weren’t welling up too much; but my vision got blurry anyway.

“You know I love you too right?” I didn’t even think about it. I knew it. It was true. Gosh, I’m in love! I’m in love! Love!

“You love me?” he asked, even though I had just said it.

“Oh boy, yeah,” I grinned. “You kiss me now.” He put his lips to mine and even though we had kissed hundreds of times before there was a new spark there. Love added something new. Love was new. New was fantastic. We broke apart and I giggled, putting a hand to my mouth.

“What?”

“I just realized,” I laughed. “That I’m in love with a rat.” I snickered louder.

“Hey!” he exclaimed, pretending to be all offended.

“Don’t worry,” I said, smoothing a piece of hair from his forehead. “You are the most loyal rat in the world. Even my eyes lied to me but you didn’t. I totally trust you, and I promise that I will never doubt you again.”

“You promise?”

“I promise.”

“You really, really promise?”

“I really, really, really promise!”

I didn’t realize then the problems that promise would cause me…
********

And that is Chapter Fourteen! Pretty good hey? Good thing Peter wasn’t really a cheater. I would have been so mad. See that box down there? That’s the review box. If you want to make a comment about what you just read I would loooooove to read it! Thanks a million for reading and if you have some time leave me a little review! Or hey, leave me a big one!

Much love,

-Kira

Hey if you want to ask me a question about writing or something else go to this link and write something on my Meet the Author page! Cool huh?

http://www.fictioncentral.net/hpforum/index.php?showtopic=17421


Chapter 15: The Start of My Future
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Woot woot! Back! Sorry if the wait was a little longer. My professors apparently hate me and the homework is simply relentless. But Chapter Fifteen is done! And its about to start! As always, see you when it’s over.

Chapter Fifteen

The Start of My Future

I woke up from another nightmare the next morning. I wasn’t drenched in a cold sweat. My heart wasn’t beating really fast. I couldn’t remember seeing horrid images or feel haunted by my sleep. I just awoke feeling…bad. Like something was lurking in my chest that I couldn’t exactly put my finger on. This intense feeling of disquietude followed me down to the breakfast table. I threw myself into the seat and began to attack a basket of bran muffins in front of me. I mused over the dream as I finished my first muffin and moved on to the second.

I stared up at the magical ceiling in the Great Hall and watched the wisps of white clouds dance across it. I let out a sigh. There was simply nothing I could do about this dream. There was nothing to remember, which meant that there was nothing to discuss or even think about. I didn’t care for the feeling of course but I decided to let it go. I had just come to this solution when Vicky and Jennie joined me at the table, chatting at a rapid pace. I pushed my bad feelings away and spoke cheerfully to my friends.

“What’s going on?” I asked, curiously.

“Well while we were away on our lovely winter breaks,” Jennie started excitedly. “Vicky was here having the most romantic romance ever.” Vicky rolled her eyes and gave Jennie a light push; but still looked pretty pleased with herself.

“Did something happen with you and Remus?” I inquired eagerly. Vicky sat down across from me and started filling her plate; not speaking yet.

“Hello?!” I grinned, hitting the table to get her attention. “Are you going to tell me?” I raised my eyebrows at her and she smiled in an embarrassed but pleased way.

“Nothing really happened,” she admitted first, taking a bite of cereal. “We just talked.”

“Oh,” I replied, faking disappointment. Vicky laughed.

“It was nice to just talk though. Remus is different. When we talk, he looks right in my eyes. He listens. And he actually responds to what you are saying. Meaningful things. You can tell that he cares. Or at least that he cares enough to listen.” Vicky let out a sigh. “I really like him.”

“Did you let him know?” I asked, smiling like a fool.

“Not exactly,” Vicky muttered, playing with the cereal in her bowl. “I didn’t want to scare him away or anything. Plus I really like being his friend.”

“Well that’s sweet,” Jennie commented cheerfully. “And how are things going with you and Peter?” She turned to face me and I smiled back.

“Great, now that I and the whole school doesn’t think he’s a big fat cheater.” Wasn’t that the truth? As bad as things were for Peter, that was as good as they got. He came off as the hero in the tale and Valarie and Snape were the villains. Snape was used to most of the school ignoring him and disliking him, but it seemed to be a new experience for Valarie. I was a select few who still spoke to her. For some really sick reason I don’t understand I still had pity for her. After all she had done. After all the hell she put me through, I felt bad. But I didn’t feel bad enough to do anything about it.

“So what do you think Peter is going to get you for your birthday?” Jennie asked next bringing me out of my thoughts of Valarie. I blinked at her and thought before responding, (something I rarely do). I really couldn’t say what he would get me for my birthday. True it was only a week away. For some cruel reason it was on a Monday of all days. Monday March 4th. Where February had gone I didn’t know. After we had returned from break it had seemed the months had simply melted away as rapidly as the snow. I had a sneaking suspicion that the month of February was some sort of myth.

Us seventh years were starting to get antsy already. The turn of the New Year felt like the final stretch in our formal education career. We could see the finish line. All we had to do was get there. And we were so very close.

“Hello?” Vicky said, snapping her fingers in my face. “Earth to Katie. What do you think you’ll get for your birthday?”

“I don’t know,” I responded. “But I trust Peter. It will be wonderful, I’m sure.” Vicky and Jennie looked at each other and smiled.

*******

March came. March Madness as it was called for seventh years. March is the time when seventh years must actually start finding a job in the field of work they are interested in. We all scramble around, turning in applications and putting together portfolios. James and Sirius started filling out applications so they could start training to become Aurors. It would take them at least three years to train and maybe longer if they didn’t pass all the tests. The applications looked more like a thick novel out of its binding. They were committed though and that really made me see those two in a different light. I always thought that they would grow up to be professional pranksters or something. But no, they were going to do something with their lives. Being an Auror was dangerous. But I also knew that they could handle a lot of complicated magic and that they were really, really good at it. While James and Sirius attacked their applications, Lily and Remus were working relentlessly at Healer applications.

There’s were not quite as thick as the others, but they looked severely complicated. They were seen together in front of the fire, helping each other along. I, on the other hand, was working to put together an acceptable portfolio. I planned to apply for an internship at the Daily Prophet. The flyer I had grabbed at Hogsmeade had stated that I would get real experience what it would be like to work for a prestigious newspaper. I gathered what I considered to be pieces that highlighted my writing. I wrote some things over, ripped some things up, and scribbled away at my parchment. I had to create title pages, get rid of ink splotches; pretty much had to polish everything up. I was really losing free time; everyone was. Well everybody but Peter.

Peter did not know what he wanted to do with his life. I was worried about him. We would all be frantically working and he would be sitting around not doing much of anything. I would suggest different career ideas to him and he would nod but basically shrug it off. I didn’t want to outwardly confront him about the job search for fear of injuring his pride. So one night when Remus stated that he could no longer look at the tiny application print, I brought the subject up to him.

“Has Peter ever talked about what he wants to do?” I inquired curiously.

“Not really,” Remus replied wistfully. “I’m pretty sure he was always planning to go work for his dad, but now I really couldn’t say.”

“He’s a talented writer,” I responded, remembering the things I had read from him.

“Really?” Remus asked, intrigued. “Have you suggested that to him?”

“Many times,” I said, twirling hair around my finger. “But he just doesn’t seem to get excited about it.”

“Don’t worry,” Remus assured me. “Not everyone can just know what they want to do. Take me for example. I think I want to be a Healer but I don’t know for sure. I don’t even know if they would accept me with my…condition. But I did get a wonderful letter of recommendation from Dumbledore. How can they say no to that?”

“I don’t think they can,” I answered. “So what do you think of Vicky?” I wanted to catch him off guard. You wouldn’t believe the things you can get out of people when they don’t see the question coming. Remus’ eyes lit up and I caught a shadow of a dreamy smile cross his lips.

“She’s very nice,” he said stiffly, making me laugh. “What?”

“You lie,” I giggled. “You love her.”

“No,” Remus protested. “She’s a good friend. Just a good friend.”

“Sure, Remus,” I said, rolling my eyes. “Ask her out. The year won’t last forever.” Remus was about to reply, but Sirius, James, Peter, and Lily came bounding over at that moment.

“It’s midnight!” James roared.

“Congratulations,” I said, confused.

“It’s midnight,” Peter repeated. “Which means it is officially March 4th. Which means it is officially your birthday!” I laughed and the group pulled me into a tangled hug. I was eighteen.

*******

After a brief, a very brief, celebration we slunk off to bed determined to carry on the festivities in the morning. I don’t know if you have ever had a birthday on a Monday. I would advice highly against it. I awoke late because I stayed up late and had to rush out the door, leaving the heap of presents at the foot of my bed for later. I paused and looked at their bright wrappings. They were calling out to me, but I forced myself to go to Potions. Monday classes are always torturously long, but Monday classes on your birthday are like suicide. I can’t believe I have to go to work on my birthday. These words kept running through my head as Slughorn droned on and on and ON! It was late afternoon by the time classes were over and I could get back to my presents.

The other Hufflepuff girls gathered around me as I tore open cards and packages. I got a nifty new scarf from Mum, money from Dad, a handprint picture from Charles, some perfume from Jennie, and various other little gifts from my friends and my brother. But nothing from Peter. In fact, I hadn’t seen him all day. After I had eaten dinner, followed with a cake and song I saw Peter entering the Great Hall. Finally. I leapt up from the table and rushed over to him.

“Ready for your present?” he asked, looking a little nervous.

“Of course!” I exclaimed. “Why do you look so scared?”

“Well,” he said, shuffling his feet. “Since I’ve been kicked out of my house, I don’t really have access to that much money.” I kissed him on the tip of his nose.

“Don’t be ridiculous. You know I don’t care about that.” A smile drew itself across his face and he grabbed my hand. He lead me out into the Entrance Hall and then out the large oak doors of the castle to the grounds. It was really a beautiful night outside. The sun was on its way down; colors of deep red and purple dancing across the sky. The grass was starting to smell like spring and the lake was glittering with the golden light from the sunset. Peter kept leading me forwards until I noticed we were coming closer to an object. When we got near enough, I realized it was a broom.

“You got me a broom?” I asked, wondering how that didn’t cost money.

“No,” Peter answered. “We’re going to fly. I got you the feeling of flying for your birthday. I know you’ve always wanted to try this. You’ve told me at least a dozen times.”

“I really don’t think I can do this,” I protested, feeling much more uncomfortable actually having a broom in front of me. “Swings used to give me an upset stomach.”

“Well good thing this is nothing like a swing,” Peter said in an assuring voice mounting the broom. “Hop on.” He gestured to the space he had left at the very front of the broom.

“Are you sure this thing can hold us?” I attempted, still trying to see if he would change his mind. “It doesn’t exactly look sturdy.”

“Yes, I’m sure,” Peter responded, grinning. “Now would you just get on?” I looked down at the ground, and bid it a reluctant farewell before joining Peter on the broom. It was far from comfortable. I will never understand how boys can sit on broomsticks and not injure…things. I grasped the handle of the broom in nervous anticipation. I could feel the broom’s desire to leap into the air; completely opposite my desire to stay firmly on the ground.

“Now what?” I asked Peter, my voice slightly high and panicky. Peter put his arms around my waist from behind; murmuring directions into my ear.

“Push off lightly from the ground,” he commanded. “Didn’t you take flying in first year?”

“Yes,” I answered, still not ready to make the push. “Let’s just say it was a scarring experience.”

“Push off the ground,” he repeated gently. “Trust me.” I scrunched my eyes shut and pushed the ground away and suddenly we were up in the air. I felt as if I had no balance. I started wobbling instantly; feeling my heart flutter as I feared falling. Peter’s steady hands calmed by movements.

“Relax,” he suggested. “We’re fine. You can’t fly when you’re scared.”

“Then I can never fly,” I gasped, looking down to the ground, which now seemed miles away.

“Flying is all about letting go…”

“I’ll do no such thing!” I exclaimed, clutching the broom tighter. Peter laughed carelessly from behind me.

“Letting go of fear,” he corrected me. “It’s all about feel. You are guiding the broom; don’t let it guide you. Lean forward.” I swallowed the lump in my throat and followed his direction. The broom started moving forwards at a pace that seemed pretty fast to me; but I was pretty sure the lightning bugs were passing us.

I felt the slight breeze kiss my ears and had to smile. This was alright. I was okay. I tried turning left to avoid looking directly at the sinking sun and the broom gave an almighty jerk. I let out a cry of surprise and felt wonderful Peter reach around and steady it.

“You don’t have to pull so hard,” he said gently. “Coax it. Smooth transitions. Choppy turns leads to…what just happened.”

“Okay,” I breathed. He leaned in closer to me, so his hands were resting on mine.

“I’ll show you.”

********

It had turned pretty dark by the time I flew the broom back to the ground and dismounted. I had gotten a lot better. We flew through the colors of the sunset and clouds of shimmering lightning bugs. Flying was great; as strange as that was to admit. The thing that I feared so much was really amazing. I don’t really know what it was that I had been so scared about. Was it the height? Was it the speed? I don’t really know. But what I do know is that I can fly now. That is one thing I can cross out on my list! I learned to fly.

When my feet touched down on the cool, night grass I breathed a sigh of relief before letting out a whoop of joy.

“I can’t believe I did that!” I laughed; my hair sticking up funny because of the wind.

“I can,” Peter replied, getting off the broom and coming to stand by me. “Happy eighteenth.”

“Thank you so much,” I replied, so sincere. I pulled him to me and he tapped my nose with his finger.

“Anything for the woman I love. And anything for the woman who doesn’t mind that I didn’t get her a gift on this most special of days.”

“Don’t be daft,” I snapped jokingly. “This was a priceless gift. And somehow I think I love you even more.”

“Well my job is done then.” I hugged him close and we stood out under the spring stars wrapped in each other’s arms for a good long while.

********
I had been eighteen for two weeks when an important letter found its way to me. I had been waiting for a response from the Daily Prophet seemingly forever. Everyday when the owls swooped in, it felt like I experienced a mini heart attack. But two weeks after I sent in my portfolio the letter came. A big tawny owl with beady little eyes flew in and dropped the letter neatly in my bowl of oatmeal. I gasped and grabbed it out of there before the oatmeal could do much damage. I brushed off the gooey substance before taking a breath and ripping it open. I smoothed the paper out and bent over it.

Dear Ms. Potter,

We are so happy to find that there are so many students interested in this internship. The response was phenomenal. But we are pleased to inform you that we were very impressed with the work samples we received from you. We did, however, receive many impressive portfolios and we realized that this internship was much more competitive than we recently thought. Due to the reception of so much potential we have decided to accept four different students into the program. We are so very ecstatic to let you know that you are indeed one of those students. With three other talented students around we hope that the friendly competition will set people apart and show us who really shines.

Please report to the Daily Prophet headquarters in a week’s time at 4:00 PM. Please wear appropriate attire.

Yours respectively,

Marcus Bailey

Senior Editor

I squealed with delight and proceeded to show and tell everyone about the letter.

“I don’t think this really means I officially got the job or anything,” I said, talking about a mile a minute.

“Well it does mean someone out there thinks your writing has potential,” Peter answered, happily. “And that’s something.” I felt a little guilty about shoving the letter in Peter’s face after I had done so. I know I shouldn’t. I should be nothing but pleased with my success. Or my almost success. But seeing Peter not knowing what he wanted to do made me feel bad that I knew exactly what I wanted to do. I suggested a job search seminar taking place in a couple weeks and he said he would think about it. I left it at that; for I had this internship to think about.

As I was leaving the Great Hall with the letter still clutched to my chest, a girl I had never seen before jumped in front of me. She had curly, short blondish hair and sharp blue eyes. She had trimmed her robes with a shocking neon green color, and I noticed that her heeled shoes were the same color.

“Hello,” I said uncertainly. The girl looked younger than myself, about a fifth year I would guess. I also noticed at that moment that she was holding a letter.

“You got the internship at the Daily Prophet?” she asked me in a thick, gossipy voice.

“Yes,” I responded. “I don’t believe we have ever met.” I noticed the Slytherin emblem on her robes.

“I am Rita Skeeter,” she said, shaking my hand. “And the reason we have never met is because I am two years below you. But we will be seeing a lot of each other I fear. I appears that I have been accepted as well. The other students are from different schools I believe.”

What does it mean she fears we will be seeing a lot of each other? An intense wave of dislike coursed through my body but I chose to ignore it.

“I thought the job would only be open to people who are seventeen or older,” I answered.

“Well its supposed to be,” Rita cackled. “But my father already works at the Prophet and he pulled some strings. He is hoping that I bring some style to the Prophet.”

“Well good for you,” I mumbled numbly, before pushing by her and heading up to the Common Room. That girl bothered me. Was she implying that I didn’t have style? I couldn’t really put my finger on it. Was it the way she talked? Was it the way she dressed? It sort of felt like a combination of everything. This was odd for me. There were very few people I didn’t like when I just met them. I normally give them the benefit of the doubt and wait to see how they turn out. But for some reason the name Rita Skeeter made me clench my fists. And I was going to have to work with her. Or at least around her.

*******

In a week I was in the Common Room getting ready for work. My hands were shaking so bad that I could barely get dressed. Classes were over and four o clock was looming closer and closer. I put on a professional looking grey skirt and white blouse and pulled my hair back into an I’m-ready-to-work bun. I filled my shoulder bag with notebooks and quills; trying to be prepared for anything. I threw the bag over my shoulder and went to find Professor McGonagall who said she had a portkey for me and Rita to use. I ran into Peter on the way down.

“Hey you look great!” he announced. “Want to get going?”

“What?” I answered, distracted hunting through my bag to check I had everything for the twentieth time.

“Dinner?” he said, perplexed. “We planned to go to Hogsmeade today and eat at that fancy, new café. I know it was awhile ago we planned it, but you didn’t forget did you?”

“Peter I have to go to work,” I said, exasperated. “Today is my first day!”

“I’m sorry, I totally forgot. But I haven’t seen you all day,” he whined. I kissed him swiftly on the cheek.

“Maybe we can do it…” I trailed off. I didn’t know when I could. “Some other time!” I waved over my shoulder and raced of to McGonagall’s office. Rita was already there. She was wearing an eye-hurting pink business suit and lipstick just as bright.

“You know punctuality is an important part of working for a paper,” she said in a sickly, sweet voice. I forced a fake smile at her and greeted McGonagall. She pointing to a ruler on her desk.

“The port key is ready for immediate departure; grab hold please.” Rita and I sort of glared at each other as we approached the portkey. We grabbed hold at the same time and I felt an uncomfortable jerk in my stomach. There was a lot of whirring movement and seconds later we were stumbling into a waiting room with old blue couches and glass walls.

******

Two boys my age were sitting there looking nervous. After I had collected myself and readjusted my outfit I introduced myself. One of the boys was a tall blonde; the other was a round boy with a mop of red hair. We chatted in an uncomfortable manner, and the boys made comments about Rita’s attire which she just laughed off. Moments later a secretary with long black hair arrived and told us we were expected in the conference room. I left the portkey on one of the end tables and hurried after the secretary and the other students.

The conference room was a long room with tinted glass windows and a long, expensive desk in the middle. Important looking chairs were surrounding it all covered in sleek black leather. Four people were sitting in these chairs waiting for us. A fat man with thinning brown hair and squinty little glasses stood up to greet us.

“Welcome to the Dailey Prophet!” he exclaimed jovially. “I am Marcus Bailey.” We all shook hands and introductions were made. “What we will be doing here today is quite simple. One of the four of you will be paired up with one of the four of us. You will work with us, observing and helping where we and you see fit. Now let see.”

He preceded to divide us into pairs. He did me last.

“Ms. Potter, you can be with me.” My heart leapt. I was going to be working with the senior editor of the Dailey Prophet! Goosebumps prickled all over my body as I followed Mr. Bailey to his office.

******

“I have a job for you,” Mr. Bailey said suddenly from his desk, looking up at me. I sighed and looked at the mug near his papers. This was nearly three hours later. In this time I had refilled his coffee cup five times, got him two doughnuts, and done absolutely nothing related to journalism.

“More coffee?” I replied, trying to show initiative; ready to go hunt for the pot.

“No,” he answered, tapping his pad of paper with his pen. “I have a real reporter job for you.” My breath caught in my chest and my eyes lit up.

“Really!” I gasped eagerly. I collected myself and responded more calmly. “What would that be?”

“Well,” Mr. Bailey continued, speaking as if he was still contemplating the decision. “There is a man coming here today who was supposed to be interviewed for an article. He is some big shot and owns a large portion of Gringotts and this is the only day he can do the interview. He’s a very busy man apparently.”

I got the feeling from the way Mr. Bailey was talking that he not only knew the man coming, but he also did not think much of him. His speech was stiff and forced; like he was holding in a bad memory.

“There is no one else available at the moment to ask him some questions,” he went on. “Everyone is caught up in news of the war, but this article needs to get done for the business section.” He pulled off a sheet of paper from his pad and handed it to me.

“Here are the questions that need to be asked. Make sure you write down detailed responses. Even if the comment doesn’t seem important to you. It might very well be.”

I nodded efficiently and took the paper from him, before going to my bag and grabbing my own pad to write in. At that very moment the secretary with the blue skirt came and announced that there was a man in the waiting room. I smoothed my skirt and hair in agitation; scared about screwing up my first real assignment.

“Go down to the waiting room,” Mr. Bailey instructed. “And take him to the conference room. Offer him some refreshment and then ask your questions. I look forward to see how you handle this.” He smiled at me and gave me a shadow of a wink. “Good luck!” I thanked him quietly and slipped out the door into the hall. I was heading down to the waiting room when Rita popped out of nowhere; blocking my path.

“Excuse me,” I said politely. Rita rolled her eyes at me.

“Don’t think that because Mr. Bailey likes you best that you’re the one who is going to get a permanent job.”

“First of all,” I responded confidently. “If I am his favorite, it is because he sees potential in my abilities. And second of all, I have an interview to do so it would be great if you got out of my way.” Rita laughed her annoying, high laugh and I luckily got away. I shook my head in anger and pressed on to the waiting room.

The doors to the room were glass and I took a peak at the man inside before entering. His back was to me but I could see the remains of dusty blonde hair, and expensive grey robes. I went inside, breathing the best I could.

“Welcome to the Daily Prophet,” I said happily; the man turning to face me. I let out a gasp of surprise.

Ralph Pettigrew was staring down at me with stormy, grey eyes.

Why must life do this to me?

*******

Oh, man another cliffhanger. Why oh why must I do this to you? I don’t really know. It just seems like a good place to end for now. Plus I have mountains of homework to attempt to accomplish. So chapter sixteen will be around hopefully soon. The plot is about to really take off. I am very excited.

If you have some extra time right now I need a favor. This chapter took a tad longer because in this time I also wrote a one shot entitled This Tragic Place. I don’t really know if you have some time, its less than 2000 words and I would love to know what you think. I was out of my comfort zone a little on this piece so any and all feedback would be wonderful!

Much Love,

-Kira


Chapter 16: Done
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

Back for more I see? You know you loved that cliffhanger at the end of the last chapter. *Ducks as things are thrown.* Take it easy. Why did this chapter take longer? I blame my Professors and the nice weather. But the wait is over. Sit back and relax and get ready to experience Chapter Sixteen of She’s In Love With The Rat. Dramatic hey?

Oh, and by the way! We have just passed the 1800 read point!!! Congratulations!!!

Chapter Sixteen

Done

A small gasp uttered from my lips as I promptly dropped my quill and pad of paper. Ralph Pettigrew? I had to interview Ralph Pettigrew? Now? As my first real assignment?

“Oh my god,” I muttered as I dropped to my knees to gather my supplies. I could feel him looking at the top of my head; it felt like his gaze was going to burn a hole into my skull. What could I do? “Oh god.”

“Excuse me? Can’t we get started?” I looked up to Mr. Pettigrew and saw that his eyes did not show any sort of hostility; they were simply normal. My heart stopped fluttering so badly and resumed at least a semi normal pace. He didn’t recognize me? His eyes were looking right into mine and…nothing. I was safe. At least for now. I collected myself as best I could and attempted to get into my writer’s mindset. I did what Mr. Bailey instructed; I offered Mr. Pettigrew a refreshment, which he declined, and then ushered him to the conference room. My hand was still shaking a little bit when we sat at the table and I placed my pad of questions on the table.

The questions were highly boring. Investments, stocks, funds….those sorts of things. Mr. Pettigrew was a graceful speaker I noticed, but I had to work hard to keep any sort of dislike out of my voice. This was the guy who had caused my boyfriend all this pain. I scribbled away; trying to make sure I got everything Mr. Pettigrew was saying down. I had to listen intently to catch details, names, places, and dates of exchanges. It was tedious and if Binns had been lecturing on the topic, I would have been snoozing. But I was a journalist now. This was my job. No matter how boring the information it was exciting because I was my assignment.

After I had finished all the points on my pad and we had finished our thoughts I gave Mr. Pettigrew the brightest, fake smile I could muster. I shook his hand quickly and said efficiently,

“Thank you for taking the time to do this interview. Expect to see it in the next issue’s business section.” He gave me a curt nod and started to pack up; he had a couple of notes and a quill in front of him. At that moment Rita burst into the room carrying a cup of coffee. That girl was beginning to drive me insane. Mr. Pettigrew paused to stare at her; the vibrancy of her outfit was probably blinding him.

“Mr. Bailey sent me here to make sure you offered Mr. Pettigrew some coffee,” she rattled quickly, and I could immediately tell she was lying.

“The interview is over,” I hissed. “Get out of here.”

“Did it go well?” she whispered back to me with a strange glint in her eyes. I shrugged and nodded my head. Actually all things considered it had gone very well. Mr. Pettigrew was making his way to the exit when Rita exclaimed loudly,

“You would think it would have been awkward to interview your boyfriend’s father!” I uttered a small gasp as Mr. Pettigrew stopped mid-exit and turned to stare at me.

“Have fun,” Rita sang evilly as she darted out the door away from my murderous glare. I would have to kill her later. I gulped at the lump that had formed in my throat and turned to face Mr. Pettigrew, who had not left. In fact, he had sat back down at the table. He was looking at me in a funny way, but I could tell by his eyes that the dawn of realization had come at last.

“I didn’t recognize you,” he said softly, stating the obvious. “That was awhile ago, and I didn’t expect…here of all places.”

I didn’t answer. What was I supposed to say? So I decided to just look at him instead.

“Can I ask you something?” he said gently. His tone was totally unthreatening; almost sad.

“I supposed,” I answered, cautiously. I could think of nothing that Ralph Pettigrew would want to ask me.

“How is Peter?” I blinked at the question. I guess that was something I knew about that he would be interested in. Peter.

“He’s alright,” I replied automatically, not really knowing how in depth of an explanation he would want.

Mr. Pettigrew flicked a piece of his faded hair out of his eyes, sighing. “I was just wondering…he won’t answer any of my letters.” I had never thought I would be hearing Mr. Pettigrew talk in this fashion. A fashion that made him seem weak and vulnerable.

“You sent him letters?” I inquired curiously, taking the seat across from him.

“Nearly everyday,” he replied, sounding truly agitated now. “Telling him that I was sorry. Telling him that he can come home when he wants to. At the end of the year…whatever.”

“You kicked him out the night we were there,” I insisted; not too harshly.

“Not permanently,” he persisted. “I was angry. We both made mistakes. But I’m ready to take responsibility for them. Will you tell him that?”

“Um…” I said, uncertain.

“He won’t talk to me,” Mr. Pettigrew continued. “Just tell him that I’m sorry and I want to talk to him. Tell him?”

“Alright,” I answered, already thinking of ways I could lay this information in front of Peter. Maybe his dad wasn’t the villain of this story after all.

“Thank you,” he said, smiling a real smile. He shook my hand warmly and fulfilled the exit he had begun moments ago.

******

Mr. Bailey praised me highly for my notes.

“This are concise yet very, very informative. I think you just might have the blood of a journalist in you Ms. Potter!” I swelled with pride and shot a nasty look at Rita who had been watching.

After a few more hours of filing papers, pouring more coffee, ect…Rita and I made our way back to the Floo powder.

“How was the end of your interview?” Rita asked, in that sick, sweet voice that drove me insane.

I rolled my eyes at her and filled my voice with contempt. “Rita, the next time you try to sabotage me you might want to try something that actually works. And Mr. Bailey loves the notes I did on the interview and he says I have the makings of a journalist.” I patted her shoulder. “Nice try.”

******

Since it was such a lovely, late Spring evening I found Peter and the other Marauders by the lake, sitting beneath a large tree that was beginning to sprout flowers. Remus was buried in paperwork; writing away vigorously at something. James, Sirius, and Peter were all sitting with their backs against the tree; eyes closed. Their work was scattered in front of them; clearly forgotten. The sun was on its way down and a slightly breezy wind whistled though the blades of grass and through the branches of the trees. Sirius cracked an eye as the squishing grass signaled my approach.

“Wormtail,” he muttered lazily; punching Peter on the arm. “Girlfriend ahoy.” Peter opened his eyes and smiled at me; not moving.

“Hey,” he murmured. “How was your job?”

“Really great,” I responded, reaching out my hand, to pull him to his feet. “But we need to talk.”

“Uh oh,” James said, not opening his eyes. “Every guy’s favorite words.”

“What are you going to do to me?” Peter asked jokingly, curling up and pretending to me scared.

“This is serious,” I answered, grabbing him by the arm, and attempting to hoist him to his feet.

“That’s another phrase we all love to hear,” Sirius commented in a dreamy voice.

“Ok, ok,” Peter said, finally getting up. He brushed his robes off and followed me away from the boys. When I was convinced we were a sufficient amount of space away from them I stopped and turned to face Peter.

“So I was at work…” I started, but Peter held up a hand.

“Don’t I get a hello kiss, love?” I gave him a half smile and pecked him quickly on the lips, before launching back into my story.

When I got to the part that concerned his father, his gaze changed from interested to confused and worried. When I had finished my narration of everything that had transpired at the Daily Prophet I posed a question that had been bothering me,

“Why didn’t you tell me he was sending you letters?” Peter shrugged; as if this was a very uninteresting and unimportant.

“What does it matter? I didn’t read them. I figured that you didn’t need to know.”

“It matters Peter,” I protested. “It shows he does care! It shows that he wants to make everything better.” Peter laughed bitterly and shook his head.

“He ALWAYS does this,” he cursed. “He always is able to manipulate people. He always makes himself the hero of the story. That I’m the bad son and that he is the good father who is trying to make things right between us.”

“Peter,” I tried. “You’re not a bad son. But maybe he isn’t a bad father. I think he’s really sorry.”

“He is NEVER really sorry,” Peter cried. “Don’t you get that?! He just says it. The meaning of the words don’t matter. He just says it!”

“He just seemed genuine to me,” I said, feeling the conversation was not going well at all. Had I thought maybe Peter and his father might actually reconcile? Perhaps I had got my hopes up.

“He’s a fake,” Peter insisted. “I would know! I’ve lived with him…forever!”

“Maybe if you just talked…”

“I don’t want to talk to him!” Peter shouted. “I would be fine never seeing him again. Jeez, he manages to even corrupt my own girlfriend!”

“Peter, I’m on your side!” I yelled back. “But all I know is that today I saw your father in a pretty sorry state.”

“You just don’t get it do you?” Peter declared before throwing his hands in the air, and walking away.

*******

This argument never really had apologies on either side. It seemed that we had just decided to forget about it. I didn’t want to talk about it. Peter definitely DIDN’T want to talk about it.

“It’s his business,” I told myself. He knows his father better than me. Who was I to say anything? So it was forgotten. We just put the feelings away; yet their shadow remained in my mind. Was this the healthiest choice? Probably not. But it was just easier. I was so terribly busy that I just didn’t have time to deal with all my feelings anyway.

I found that we would snap at each other more often. A few months ago his words and mine would have stung a little. But between school, work, homework, essays, studying, and everything else I just became more numb to it than anything else. I would shrug it off instead of dealing.

Soon it was April. The work did not stop. If I wasn’t doing something for school, I was doing something for Mr. Bailey. He was always so enthusiastic about my work, that I felt I couldn’t ever let him down. I mean I couldn’t let Rita inch ahead. I had to cancel a total of four dates with Peter by this time. I felt awful. I told him I was sorry and that I would make it up to him. How would I do that? Sometimes I got done so late, he was already asleep.

A few others, including Remus, were even more stressed than me. As an evening in late April came to a close I remember him walking down the corridor nearly in tears.

“Remus!” I exclaimed, running to him. “What is it?”

“I’ve changed my mind,” he said in a robotic, exhausted voice.

“About what?” I asked, leading him along.

“I don’t want to be a Healer anymore,” he gasped. “After all that work…”

“What do you want to be?” I encouraged, putting an arm around his shoulders.

“A teacher,” he responded, so softly I could barely hear him.

“It’ll be okay,” I declared confidently. “If anyone can do this you can. And I’m sure Dumbledore could help you. I’m really proud of you Remus.”

“But, I’ve got nothing filled out to become a professor,” he blurted out. “What’s to be proud of?”

“At least you’re going for something you want!” I urged. Then I muttered. “Unlike some people I know.”

Did I just say that?

******

I walked Remus back to the Common Room and told him to go to bed. He actually listened to my orders and I was left alone in the Common Room with Sirius, who was actually finishing up homework…for once it seemed.

“We’re you studying in the library?’ he inquired, as I sunk into the couch next to him.

“Yes,” I answered, totally drained. “Is Peter…?”

“Asleep? Yeah.”

“I’m a terrible girlfriend,” I moaned, burying my face in a pillow.

“Nah, you’re not,” Sirius answered. “You’re just dedicated to work right now. I’m sure he understands.”

“You know something Sirius?” I said, sitting up; my hair askew. “I don’t think he does. I mean he’s doing nothing to prepare for after Hogwarts. Graduation is right around the corner. I’m not saying he has to decide precisely what he wants to do or anything. I just wish he had some direction. I know he was supposed to go work with his father. I’m not saying that work would make him happy, but at least it would be something.”

Sirius didn’t look at me.

“I’m sorry,” I groaned. “I didn’t mean to spill all this to you.”

“I don’t mind,” was the reply. “But I don’t know what to tell you.”

“Does he ever talk about jobs with you?” I asked, thinking perhaps he had confided in Sirius.

“No.”

“This is impossible!” I snapped. “I don’t know what to do. I looked over at Sirius and was surprised to see a look of worry and fear on his face.

“Hey Pete,” he said, shakily, and I could see him staring over my shoulder. “I thought you were asleep.” I froze; I could feel goose bumps prickle their way across my arms. I looked over my shoulder and could tell instantly by Peter’s face, that he had heard everything I had just said. Sirius lowered his head, muttered a quick goodbye and slipped away. I couldn’t blame him. I had been the one who was pouring my soul to him, he hadn’t done anything but listen. I didn’t meet Peter’s eyes as he approached.

“Hi,” I whispered as he came to stand in front of me. I could tell he was mad. His eyes were cold and his cheeks had a hint of red in them. I was about to offer my heartfelt apology, but he started to talk first.

“Is there something going on in our relationship that I don’t know about?” he asked numbly.

“I don’t know what you mean by that,” I replied, shaking my head.

“Oh really,” he said, in a fake surprised voice. “Then maybe you want to explain to me why you went to talk to Sirius about me, instead of coming to me to talk about me.” I blinked as I worked out what he had just asked me in my head.

“I’m sorry,” I answered, ashamed. “I was worried how you would react if I confronted you. And Sirius just happened to be there. So I told him.”

“So what’s the problem?” he asked, in a hostile and accusing voice. “I’m not good enough for you?”

“That is NOT what I said, and you know it!” I gasped. “I’m worried about you!”

“Just because I’m not going to work for my father?!” he shouted.

“NO!” I hollered back. A few first years passed us, looking terrified. “I just want to see you happy. I want to see you go for something.”

“Look,” he replied, darkly. “Just because you found your dream job doesn’t mean I’m just going to find mine.” I sighed in frustration.

“That job didn’t just magically appear! I had to work for it. I had to do something. You’re too busy feeling sorry for yourself.” After that, Peter looked like he was about to explode. Instead, he took a deep breath and threw himself on the couch; putting his head in his hands.

“This is so stupid,” I heard him mutter. “This is the most I’ve seen you this week and we’re fighting. I don’t even feel like I have a girlfriend anymore.” He was right. We were fighting a lot.

“I don’t know what to say,” I admitted, taking the seat next to him. “School is harder than ever, my job is so important…it’s a lot to juggle.”

“Yet, you have time to discuss my shortcomings with Sirius?” he snapped. I could tell that he was sorry he said that the moment the words left his lips, but he had said it. I shook my head in anger, and stalked out of the Common Room upset and confused about…everything.

******

This had been a major fight. I didn’t expect it to go away without discussion like the others. But…it did. Peter didn’t ask me about it. I didn’t ask him about it. He didn’t apologize. I didn’t apologize. We just didn’t discuss it. But no matter what I told myself, it was still there. I couldn’t just forget. I didn’t want to just forget. This was important. It was important enough to fight about.

But the work kept coming and my relationship just seemed to take the backseat. Was that right? No. Maybe I needed to try harder to find balance. The thing was I didn’t have the time to try and find balance.

Even sleep became the opposite of what I wanted it to be. I was usually so tired when I finally reached my bed that I would hit the pillow and go out like a light. I wouldn’t open my eyes again until morning when I had to head off to class or do an early assignment for work. There was no more pleasure in sleeping. It was just something else I had to do. As for Peter, it would be an understatement to say that we were drifting. Once, I went three days in a row without seeing him.

But time didn’t stop for us. It just kept going and going.

******

Some weeks after our fight, I rushed into the Great Hall with pure elation. I couldn’t see Peter anywhere so I ran to where my friends were sitting at the Hufflepuff table and announced proudly,

“You are now looking at the newest permanent member of the Daily Prophet staff!” They all squealed and clapped for me; as my grin spread wider and wider. We celebrated for awhile at the table, but then I insisted that I had to go find Peter and tell him the news as well.

So I drifted up to the Gryffindor Common Room; hoping there would be someone to let me in. I managed to catch a girl that knew me before she went in; and she let me follow her. I found James and Remus sitting off to the side; immersed in a game of chess.

“Congratulations!” they shouted together, when I came up to them.

“You already know?” I inquired; sad that I didn’t get to tell the story of how Mr. Bailey told me I was best suited for the job. Haha Rita.

“Yeah, Elisa, a girl we know, must have overheard your conversation in the hall and let us know,” James replied casually.

“How long have you known,” I asked, suspiciously.

“A couple of hours, I guess,” Remus responded, taking out one of James’ rooks.

“So, Peter has known that long too I suppose,” I continued.

“I guess,” James said, shrugging. “Who cares?”

“He didn’t come to congratulate me,” I muttered, curling up my fingers into fists. “He knew how important this was to me. How could he not come and congratulate me. Or at least try and find me! Where is he?”

“I think,” Remus informed me. “That after he heard the news, he went out for a walk.”

“In the rain!?”

“Yeah, he said he had some things to think about.”

“So do I,” was my stiff reply. As I walked from the Common Room to the Entrance Hall…I realized that I felt like I was lugging some sort of weight with me. Something in my life wasn’t right at the moment. And I was pretty sure I knew what it was. It was raining pretty hard, but I spotted a black umbrella through the drops. I threw my robes over my head and rushed over to the umbrella; hoping it was Peter. When he turned to face me; I knew what I had to do. I had to get rid of this constricting feeling.

I was done. I was done feeling like this.

“We need to talk,” I murmured.

“Now?” he said, gesturing to the rain. He pulled me under his large umbrella and put it over the both of us; a satisfactory shelter.

“What?” he asked, wiping rain out of his eyes. He was impatient and wet. I let out a long side and chose my words very carefully.

“I can’t do this anymore,” I finally said.

“What?” His voice squeaked and I could feel my heart drop.

“Listen to me,” I continued. “At the beginning of this year we were on the same page. Our lives were connected. We made sense. Now, we’re moving in two completely different directions. Our relationship isn’t what it should be. All we do is fight, and I’m tired of hurting you, I’m so tired Peter. I don’t want to feel like this anymore. I can’t live like this. I feel like we’re pushing each other away instead of getting closer. I don’t want to lose you completely. I’m scared that one day we’re going to hurt each other so much that we won’t be able to stand being near each other. You didn’t even come congratulate me after you heard I got the job!” I paused. “So I don’t think we should do this anymore. It doesn’t make sense anymore.” I spoke all of this very fast, and my heart was racing so fast I had to put a hand to my chest.

“Are you breaking up with me?” he asked, choking on his words. “We’ll lose each other if we break up.”

It hurt to talk. It hurt to think. It hurt just to be. This was really happening.

“This can’t feel right to you anymore,” I insisted weakly.

“I don’t care,” he said, and I could hear tears rising in his voice.

“I care,” I answered. “All we do is fight. And I…just…can’t.

“What does that matter?” he asked, grabbing my hands in his. “We have to keep going. I love you.” Tears streamed down my face, and my hand holding the umbrella got very shaky.

“I do love you Peter,” I answered, squeezing his hand. “But…this…it’s for the best. I’m so sorry.”

“So this is it then?” he asked, stiffly. His tears seemed to have disappeared. I didn’t answer. I couldn’t answer.

“Fine,” he muttered. He ripped the umbrella away and started to leave.

“Please don’t leave like this!” I cried, trying to grab him back. “Please don’t leave like this!” Peter paused.

“What do you want me to say?” he whispered, his back still to me.

“Say you’ll be okay,” I commanded shrilly.

“I can’t,” was the reply. And then he was consumed by the throngs of students as he walked away. My tears mixed with the rain flooding along my body. I couldn’t see him anymore.

He’ll understand. He will. I know he will understand. It will take time. I just need time. He needs time. Time. Time.

This decision seemed right at the time….but oh, the consequences. How could I have known then that everything was going to go to hell?

******

See? Not really a cliffhanger. Just a sad chapter all around. Just where is this story going? I can see that look in your eyes? What has she done? How can the story continue? It will continue. I promise there is more. I will not disappoint…hopefully. Glad you came as always. If you made it all the way down here, you might as well leave a review! You know you want to!

See you for chapter seventeen.

Love!

-Kira


Chapter 17: How Can I Forgive You?
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Yay! They broke up!!! Just kidding, just kidding. It was fun to see you freak out for that half second. I am actually very sad that they did. I told Katie she shouldn’t but she didn’t want to listen to me. I don’t know who made her boss. Well it is her story I suppose…but I digress. Here is chapter seventeen. I hope you’re very happy to have it considering I should be studying right now! Oh, well. That will just have to wait. The next chapter will take longer as it is now finals week. But that means SUMMER is coming! So bear with me a little and then I can be shooting out chapters all summer long!! Enjoy this chapter, take your time, and I’ll meet you at the bottom!

Chapter Seventeen

How Can I Forgive You?

“You did WHAT?!” Lily started at me; her green eyes wide and full of confusion. “How could you? I didn’t know you guys had gotten that bad! Couldn’t you have just worked through it? Is he alright? Do you still love him? How could you?”

That was what Lily had to say when I got up the courage to tell somebody what I had just done. I had wandered back into the Entrance Hall; totally drenched. Where Peter had gone, I had no clue. The weight that had been residing in my chest for the past months; the one I thought would disappear after I…did what I did, was still there. Only it was worse. I had broken someone’s heart. I had destroyed somebody else of my own free will. I wandered around the castle, going no place in particular. Just walking down the halls; dripping water everywhere. People would stare at me as I passed but I didn’t care. I walked and walked, until I somehow ran into Lily. She asked me why I was in such a state and I answered her like a robot.

After Lily had told me her thoughts about my decision, I slid down the wall and buried my face in my knees.

“I know,” I whimpered. “How could I? I wasn’t planning it or anything. I just saw him and these things started tumbling out of my mouth. And before I knew it, I had…” I broke off my sentence and just started to cry. Lily’s shock gave way to sympathy as she came up and put her arms around me.

“It’ll be okay,” she whispered in my ear. I shook my head as my bitter and devastated tears fell on her shoulder. How could I? That one thought refused to leave my mind alone. HOW COULD I?

*******

I crawled into bed after I left Lily. I threw the covers over my head and stared at the design on the sheets. The hours slipped by. I was never going to move again. If it had been a normal day by now I would have been starving. But not anymore. I was so numb with doubt and shock about what I had done that I became worried if I would ever feel again. I was very glad at that moment that I was a Hufflepuff and that the Marauders couldn’t get up here to kill me for what I had done. They were likely to be furious.

Just go tell Peter you’re sorry, and that you didn’t mean it.

Thoughts like this refused to leave me alone, but I could find no strength to move. Something was telling me to stay where I was. I flipped onto my stomach and crushed my face into my pillow. The pain will go away. It’s getting better all the time. Sappy song lyrics about breakups and heartache ran through my head as I continued to look at those sheets…forever. Oh, Peter was gone. I had lost him.

I started to weep bitterly until I finally fell asleep.

*******

When I woke up the sun was beginning to slip below the horizon. I hadn’t been asleep very long at all. Two hours at the most. I threw the sheets away from my face and sat up in bed. I sniffled and wiped at my nose. I couldn’t stay in bed anymore. I needed fresh air. I needed to make sure the world hadn’t simply disappeared outside. It felt like the world was gone to me. My hair was sticking up in an insane fashion but I didn’t have the strength or care to search for my brush. The last thing I was worried about was my appearance. I wandered out of the Common Room, down some corridors, and ended up in the Great Hall. I pushed open the gigantic oak door and stepped out into the evening.

I looked sadly at the setting sun. The last time the sun set, Peter and I had been together.

“But you weren’t happy,” a voice whispered in my head. I needed someone to tell me I had done the right thing. But how could breaking someone’s heart be the right thing? As I let these thoughts run around in my head I kept walking. I passed the shimmering lake, and Hagrid’s hut. I came to the edge of the Forbidden Forest. A tree that was a few paces away caught my attention.

The tree was gigantic; it had hundreds of limbs just calling out to be climbed. I hadn’t climbed a tree in a few years but at that moment I got an overwhelming feeling that I needed to climb it. I lifted my right leg to the nearest branch to the ground and pulled myself up. I kept climbing slowly, branch to branch. I kept climbing until the ground was completely blocked from view by branches and leaves. I found a particularly wide branch and propped myself up against it. I sighed shakily. For those few minutes of climbing I hadn’t thought of Peter. A slight improvement.

I felt safe with all the tree’s arms all around me. It felt like a huge hug. No one could see me here. I felt separate from the world. And if I was separate from the world, I didn’t need to worry about Peter. I didn’t need to worry about how he was feeling; how he was handling this whole awful situation. I glanced at the sliver of the sun that was still visible as it winked at me through the foliage. I was about to close my eyes when I heard rustling from below. Before I could even wonder who was coming up, Sirius’ head appeared. I let out a small yelp of surprise.

“Hey,” he said softly, climbing higher so he was sitting across from me.

“Hi,” I responded uncertainly. “What are you doing here?”

“I wanted to see how you were doing,” he answered; the last light of the sun streaked across his face.

“I’m just dandy,” I answered. A couple of months ago I would have been having a heart attack if Sirius told me he wanted to see how I was doing. That seemed like eons ago. Before I had screwed up royally.

“How’s Peter?” I asked, not sure if I really wanted to know.

“No so good,” Sirius said, twisting his lips. “He’s been in our room for awhile now. I haven’t talked to him since…well you know.” I turned my head away from Sirius not wanting him to see the tears that were starting to gather in my eyes.

“Are you mad?” I asked him shakily. “I destroyed one of your best friends.”

“I’m not mad,” Sirius answered. “I’m confused though. We all sort of feel blindsided by this whole thing. We didn’t know that things had gotten that bad between you two.”

“It was a surprise to me too,” I replied, wiping at my eyes with the sleeve of my robes. “We would fight all the time and we we’re really unhappy. I wish somebody would tell me I did the right thing.”

“Well,” Sirius said gently. “I think its interesting that you are looking for somebody to tell you that you were right instead of somebody to tell you that you were wrong.”

“Even on a day when I wasn’t emotionally scarred I couldn’t figure out what that meant,” I said dryly.

“Well…and this is just a theory,” Sirius suggested. “If you were looking for somebody to tell you that you made the wrong decision that would mean you wanted to get back together with Peter. But since you are looking for someone to tell you that you were right I think that means that you think you did the right thing. And if you think you did the right thing that should be enough.”

“Cripe, I think that actually made sense,” I marveled. “It should be enough. And you know what? I think I did the right thing. Was it the easiest thing? No. But who said life was supposed to be easy?” Then I did something I thought I would never do again.

I smiled. It wasn’t an I’m-happy smile. It was a Hey-I’m-gonna-get-through-this smile.

“Thanks Sirius,” I said, still slightly surprised about how easy it was talk to him. “You really climbed all the way up here to talk to me?”

“I wanted to cheer you up,” Sirius answered. “Now I just need to force Peter to come out of his room and hopefully do the same for him. But honestly, I think you’re the one who’s gonna have to talk to him.”

“Maybe,” I mused, adjusting my weight on the branch. “But its too soon. Perhaps I’ll talk to him after things cool down a bit.”

“Scared to talk to him, huh?”

“Terrified.”

********

“What is this all about you guys?” I asked, impatiently. “Can’t you just let me go get ready for work?”

It had been four days since the breakup and I had been working at the Prophet furiously.

“You’ve been doing nothing but work. We never see you,” Vicky insisted, pushing me from behind. “I think by just walking with us is some sort of breakthrough.” I sighed a frustrated sigh and blew at a piece of my bushy hair that was sticking out in front of my eyes. Suddenly the pushing from behind me stopped and we came to the door of a classroom.

“Why the hell did you get me up to bring me here?” I demanded, turning to go. Vicky and Jennie caught me by the arms. They didn’t answer my question. At that moment Lily came around the corner, red in the face.

“Sorry,” she breathed. “I was at the library working on my…” Then she noticed me. “You actually got her here?”

“What’s going on?” I asked, trying to free my arm from the grasps of my friends.

“Oh, I see,” Lily said, going to open the door. “You didn’t tell her.” I tried to ask again for information but then the door was swinging open and I was pushed inside.

My heart started to thud loudly in my chest. Peter was there. He was surrounded by the other three Marauders; apparently in the same sort of position that I was. Our eyes locked and I immediately turned to leave. The girls grabbed my arms and faced me in the other direction, leading me to a chair, which they promptly sat me in.

“What are you guys playing at?” I snarled.

“You guys need to talk,” Vicky insisted. “And since neither of you seem to have the courage to try, we decided to arrange an opportunity for you.”

“I don’t want to talk to him,” I snapped angrily. “I’m still humiliated about the whole thing!”

“Just try, please,” Jennie pleaded. “We know you want to.” I sighed a defeated sigh.

“Five minutes,” I declared.

“That’s all we ask,” Lily replied. Then she and the other girls grabbed James, Remus, and Sirius from around Peter and exited the classroom. I gulped at the lump in my throat as an uncomfortable silence filled the room.

“I have nothing to say,” Peter suddenly spoke, turning away from me. I stared hard at his back and was about to say that I had nothing to say either, but the words fell dead on my lips. I did have some things to say. I didn’t know exactly what. But something needed to be said.

“I’m sorry,” I muttered, lowering my eyes to the ground. I sensed him turning to face me, but I didn’t look up.

“I didn’t mean to hurt you,” I continued, twisting my hands in each other. “I just couldn’t live the way we were anymore. We just kept hurting each other. I didn’t plan it. I didn’t plan it. The words just spilled out. I couldn’t stop them. I’m sorry. Please forgive me.”

I finally found the courage to lift my eyes to meet his. I expected him to look thoughtful or perhaps touched. But he didn’t. He looked mad.

“How can I forgive you?” he demanded loudly. “When people have problems in a relationship, they work them out!”

“Peter, we were never together enough to work it out!” I insisted back.

“And whose fault was that? You were the one spending all hours at that stupid paper!”

“Don’t you understand that I found something that I’m good at? I love my job! Its hard work but I’m actually doing something that I care about! I never thought I would find something like this. How can you not understand that?!”

“Oh, I understand perfectly! I understand that you care more about your job than me! That’s just fine!”

I let out a shriek of frustration; my hands in my hair. I put my back to Peter and took a few deep breaths. All the doubt about my decision to break up with him was going away. Maybe I had done the right thing.

“I can’t believe that in all the time we’ve been together you haven’t learned one thing about me!” I said. “I care about you so much. But I can’t put my life on hold right now. This is the time where we are all changing and moving on.”

“Do you even know how much you hurt me?” Peter’s voice quivered behind me. “I’ve been running around my whole life looking for something constant and clear. Then I found you and I found so much clarity it was ridiculous. Then you decided to just throw away our relationship.”

“I told you, I didn’t plan it,” I responded, feeling tears rising. Don’t cry. Please don’t start crying.

“But that doesn’t mean you didn’t mean it. You meant it. It was what you’ve been wanting to say for awhile. I felt so alone when I wouldn’t see you for days because you were at work. But I thought our relationship was important enough to stick it out. But I guess everything we had was worthless to you.”

The tears poured out of my eyes as I whipped around to face him.

“How dare you!” I yelled, choking on my tears. “You act like this was all my fault. You were there when we fought! You caused part of it! How can you say something like that? I come here trying to make things a little less painful for both of us, and you just inflict more hurt!” I had to stop shouting because my tears had overpowered my voice.

“I inflict more hurt?!” Peter shouted. “You were the one who ended us! Jeez, you know something? You’re just like my father. He’s great at making people feel safe, and then when they feel the safest, he rips it all away.”

I couldn’t take anymore of this. I wiped at my tearstained eyes before bolting to the door.

“There, you got your five minutes!” I snapped at my confused friends as I rushed away back to the Common Room. “I have to get ready for work!.”

******

I was still in a rage as I flew up to the Common Room and changed into my work clothes at top speed. A couple minutes later I was flying into work, enraged that I still had ended up five or ten minutes late.

The cheerful, young secretary whose name was Glenda, came to meet me when we spotted each other.

“They’re all in the conference room,” she explained hurriedly as we walked side by side. “Mr. Bailey has been looking for you. But they already started the meeting. It was a spur of the moment kind of meeting too.”

“Thanks Glenda,” I said with a forced smile.

“You alright honey?” she asked kindly.

“I’ve been better,” I admitted. Glenda patted my shoulder and gave me an encouraging smile. I bid her a quick farewell and rushed over to the conference room. I slipped in and all four men and four women looked up at me.

I looked at Mr. Bailey and tried to apologize with my eyes for being late. He didn’t look too mad, just annoyed.

“Good of you to join us, Ms. Potter,” he said, as I took my seat and took out a pad of paper and a pen to write with.

“For Ms. Potter’s benefit, we shall start from the beginning,” Mr. Bailey declared; I hung my head, not meeting any of the other employee’s eyes.

“A few hours ago, Ralph Pettigrew was murdered and was discov…”

“What?!” I nearly yelled at the top of my voice. “Oh my god.” The others stared at me as if I was insane. Mr. Bailey’s ears were starting to turn red; a warning sign that his patience was being tested.

“Are you alright?” he asked.

“Its…just…that…” I started quietly. “He was the father of…someone I know from school.”

“Well that’s just fascinating,” Mr. Bailey commented sarcastically. “May I continue briefing everyone on the situation?”

I nodded sadly as so many thoughts raced through my head. Peter’s father was dead? Why would Death Eaters go after him? Did Peter know? Was he alright? What could I do for him? I listened intently to Mr. Bailey’s words.

“Mr. Pettigrew was discovered my Ministry officials in his home office. The only witness was a gardener and his wife who distinctly saw masked individuals enter the home. His death was hushed up but apparently a few rumors are beginning to leak out. People are starting to think that Death Eaters were responsible. A top man in the magical world with a muggle son seems like a typical yet high profile target. When the Prophet began to catch wind of these rumors we received a letter from the Minister of Magic. Its contents command us to cover the truth of this murder and print an article that explains how Mr. Pettigrew died on his own.”

“He wants us to cover it up?” I asked incredulously.

“Exactly,” Mr. Bailey continued; amazing me with his calmness. “So who has an idea for the cover story?”

“How about a heart attack?” asked one of the men who had thin glasses and a crooked smile. “Or is that too violent?”

“How about we tell the truth!” I tried, tearing at the page on my pad of paper in my frustration. “If he was killed by Death Eaters, shouldn’t we say so?”

“Look,” Mr. Bailey said, giving me a hard stare down. “Nothing would please me more than to tell the truth…lord knows it would sell more papers, but we can’t. I got an official letter from the Minister of Magic himself that we are not allowed to release this information. If the public knew that Death Eaters were responsible for killing an innocent civilian people would start to panic. They would do something stupid. And the Ministry is not adequately prepared to deal with that situation.”

He looked back at the other man and said, “I think a heart attack would be fine. Let’s say he died in his office. He did work long and late hours there. I don’t think it would surprise anyone.”

“Aren’t you worried about the truth getting out?” I tried again. “I mean the family will always know the truth.”

“No, they won’t,” he corrected me. “The family will be given the same story as well.”

“How can you do this?” I cried. “They deserve to know the truth! Everyone else deserves to know the truth too! How can you do this?”

“I’m just following orders,” Mr. Bailey said sternly. “Now I would advice you to do your job and let me do mine. Don’t make me regret hiring you. Now the family has been called here to make some statements that we can add to the article. Lord knows we need something to take up space. They’ll be here in…about an hour. Ralph’s brother and two sons are coming.

“Don’t you think,” I interjected. “That we should give them some time to mourn. Do we really have to do this so soon?”

“Ms. Potter,” Mr. Bailey snapped impatiently. “This article is coming out tomorrow. We asked the family members if they would embellish the article and they wanted to do it. They want to make sure that their feelings about Mr. Pettigrew will be in the article.”

My blood froze. Peter was coming here? We had just had our worst fight ever and I was going to have to see him. Was he going to be upset about his father? This was so not what he needed right now. I didn’t know what he needed but this was not it. Where that hour of time went I’ll never know. I was so worried and so terribly fidgety that time just seemed to disappear.

We, or the others rather, discussed the article until Glenda appeared at the door and ushered in Peter, Aaron, and a man who must be Peter’s uncle and Ralph’s brother. My eyes shot to the floor and I refused to pick them up. Mr. Bailey stood up and started to speak.

“First of all let me extend the condolences from everyone here at the Prophet. Thank you so much for agreeing to see us. We want to make this article something special and we are humbled that you would take the time to speak with us.”

I felt anger creeping along my body. How could Mr. Bailey spew all this crap when he knows what really happened to this family’s loved one? Mr. Bailey gestured to Mr. Pettigrew’s brother.

“Would you like to start?”

Mr. Pettigrew’s brother got up and straightened his tie as he fumbled with a few crinkled note cards. He nodded nervously at the crowd. His face was round and red and he had a thick amount of brownish blonde hair atop his head. He cleared his voice into his fist before starting to speak.

“There isn’t a lot we can really say,” he began. “We lost someone that we all loved. It hurts. But instead of simply being devastated at the loss of our father, our brother, or our friend, we must try to remember the good times. Ralph was a good man and a devoted worker and father.”

I glanced over at Peter. His shoulders were shaking. Crying, I thought. I tore my eyes away from him and concentrated on what the speaker was continuing.

“Ralph loved his two sons Aaron and Peter more than anything in the world. He would always tell me how it was his greatest joy to spend time with them and watch as they grew. Ralph’s time as a single parent could not have been easy. But today we look at his wonderful, well adjusted boys and know that he did his job…he did his job.”

Peter let out a snort of laughter. Peter had an arm in front of his face, but there was no doubt. He was laughing.

Peter’s uncle cleared his throat again and pressed forwards, “He would also always say that his first and most important job was to be a father…”

He was cut off at this point, because Peter was dissolved into absolute hysterics. He was laughing so loudly that Aaron who was standing next to him looked both shocked and appalled. He hit him lightly on the arm, trying to get him to stop, but Peter just laughed on. I slid out of my chair and went up to Peter’s shaking form and took him gently by the arm.

“Come on Pete,” I said compassionately. “Let’s get you out of here.”

I was surprised he listened to me but I managed to lead Peter as quickly as I could out of the hall.


And that is chapter seventeen!!! I hope you enjoyed it very much! Wish me luck on my exams, I certainly need it! I should have paid more attention in class. Well leave me a review! Maybe it will give me good luck! Thanks for reading and thanks for the review I know you will leave!

You guys rock,

-Kira


Chapter 18: Graduation
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Ah yes, I am back!!! I am officially on summer break which means I can now write more than ever!!! That means yay for you, and yay for me! I have survived my final exams to write again!!! Sorry this took so long, but I’ve been rather ill.

Please, please do me a favor. Enjoy this chapter!!! See you at the bottom!

Chapter Eighteen

Graduation

Peter was still snickering loudly when I managed to get him out into the hall, shutting the door behind me. Peter pulled his arm away from my light hold and put his face in his hands, still shaking with laughter.

“Did you hear what he said?” he gasped between chuckles. “What a load of crap.”

“Peter…” I tried, but he cut me off.

“You know something?!” he nearly yelled, sounding quite angry now. “I’m really happy. I’m glad. Because he’s dead. Because I never have to see him again.”

He looked me in the eyes then and seemed to just realize at that moment that it was me he was talking to.

“I don’t even know why I’m telling you this,” he snapped. “Its not like you care.”

“That’s not true and you know it,” I replied, hoping that our voices weren’t carrying into the meeting next door.

“I don’t have time for this,” Peter answered. “I’m far too busy being thrilled right now.” Peter disappeared down the hall leaving me feeling confused, disgusted, and tired of fighting with a person I cared so deeply for.

*******

“It was beyond freaky,” I said to Kristen and Jennie the next day at breakfast. “He just laughed while his uncle gave this heartfelt speech about his feelings towards his father.”

“Well,” Kristen responded thoughtfully. “We can’t expect Peter to react the same way we would to the loss of our father. I mean they had an infinitely complicated relationship. He’s probably blocking out most of the pain. Maybe he’ll freak out in a day or two.”

“I hope so,” I said, pulling at my hair. “I don’t like seeing him like this. He’s acting all normal and everything, just going to classes…I mean he did lose his father.”

“This is probably his way of dealing,” Kristen added, spooning more cereal into her mouth.

I felt kind of stupid. Kristen was so right and she didn’t even know Peter that well. And here I was, feeling like I needed a guide to make it down this road. Why was I so lost? Why was Peter so confusing? I gave my friends a forced smile before returning to my breakfast.

I found myself unbelievably stressed in the next weeks. Normally during exam time I found myself stressed, but along with my job and dealing with my own personal feelings, I moved into a level beyond stress. Graduation was only two weeks away and so much still needed to be done.

I soon got sick with a particularly nasty cold; complete with a stuffed nose and a burning, sore throat. Mr. Bailey thankfully decided that I was in no condition to work, so he told me that I wouldn’t have to work again until after I graduated.

I soon had to go to the Hospital wing and received a potion that helped me enough so I could go to classes. There was no way I could miss the essential review periods. All the seventh years were stressed, as graduation loomed up before us. Lily had been asked to give a speech at the graduation ceremony and she took the responsibility very seriously. She would spend hours a day working even on a single sentence. We were all scrambling to study, Remus was near nervous breakdown towards the end. No one was themselves. We didn’t have time to be. We simply worked. We saw each other, we studied together, but we never felt like we were spending any sort of time together. We were robots. I never have studied so hard in my entire life. But I actually did find the work I had done paying off. I felt that I did fairly well on most of the exams. I knew some of the answers and had no clue on the others. But soon, it was over. Exams ended, and the rest of the school left for home. The seventh years remained because in two days the graduation ceremony would take place out on the lawns; our parents coming up to join us.

That gave us all two days of absolute freedom. By that time, I had no idea what to do with freedom anymore. Luckily, James had the idea that we grab all our friends and go out for dinner in Hogsmeade. So me, James, Lily, Sirius, Remus, Peter, Vicky, Kristen, Claire, Jennie, and many others made our way down to the village for our last time all together. We had a reservation for eighteen and our table was actually three tables pushed all together. We went all out. We pooled all the money that we had left and ordered appetizers, drinks, main courses, desserts, and so on.

We clinked glasses, laughed, ate, and just rejoiced in our time together. I didn’t talk directly to Peter; we just sort weakly acknowledged each other occasionally. But it was better than fighting.

I always felt a pang of serious guilt whenever my eyes found their way over to Peter. I felt terrible that I knew the truth about his father and he didn’t. He definitely seemed like he didn’t care about his father, but shouldn’t he know the truth? Would he even care though? It felt strange to have such an important piece of information entrusted to me. One would think that this would give me a sense of prestige and success. But since it was a topic that was personally important to me, I felt totally uneasy with such information. I felt that having such important information gave me a severe responsibility. Not only did I wonder if Peter should know the truth, but I also was fighting myself wondering if the public should know what is going on in their world.

When I would get into these huge thinking tornadoes I would always find myself staring at Peter and he would always catch me. Our eyes would lock for a briefest of seconds before I would look away in embarrassment.

The dinner was lovely. It was all about fun. When you have done nothing but worry and stress for weeks on end freedom and fun are ten times more fantastic. It makes one appreciate their happiness. The food was delicious and a real sense of completion set in around us. We were all sad; some hid it better than others, but I was sure that I saw Vicky get misty eyed. I couldn’t believe that we were so close to the end. The end. It seemed like it was only a few days ago that I had been a nervous first year laying eyes on the Hogwarts Express for the first time.

********

Those last few days at Hogwarts were some of my best. I usually had a good time at school and that was when we had school work and classes to deal with. So when we had days completely to ourselves we had the best time. And it was time we needed to tie up our loose ends and to say goodbye. I never realized how hard and how long it would take to say goodbye. I never really found myself using the word “goodbye.” It would have been much too hard. Normally I would just find myself making a point to hang out with everyone one last time. It was very difficult to realize and accept that it was the last time I would be doing so many things. I would recognize when it was the last time I would get stuck in the trick step in the staircase, or when it was the last time I would sit in a particular seat in the Common Room.

One of the hardest things I found about saying goodbye was the fact that Peter and I were still fighting. I wasn’t ready to say goodbye to him in any sense, but to leave on these terms would be absolutely unbearable. There were many chances to talk to Peter, but I never found the heart to do it. What would happen? More fighting always seemed in the future. So I stayed away. The final days died down I knew my time was really running out. I was surprised to find that James was the one who confronted me on the topic on the night before graduation.

I was actually in the library when he found me. I had no studying or anything to do but I found myself wanting to visit the library one last time. I had decided that visiting places of consequence in the castle for the last time was a must. So James found me sitting at one of the tables in the library looking out the window.

“Hi sis,” he said brightly, coming over to sit across from me. I nodded at him and gave him a half grin as my answer. It was comforting to see James. This was one person that I wouldn’t have to say goodbye to. A brother is forever. I was about to greet him vocally, but he started talking first.

“So you still love Peter.” I blinked in surprise at the bluntness of his comment. It didn’t sound like he asked me a question. He said it as if it was a true fact. But was it true? I was getting lost in my thoughts, but James brought me back.

“Katie,” he said, breaking my trance. “You love Peter.”

I ran my fingers through my hair in agitation before I managed to find my voice. To admit to James and to myself that my feelings hadn’t just disappeared.

“Yes alright?” I admitted loudly, glad that the library was totally empty. “You’re right.”

“You don’t have to sound angry,” James grinned, knowing that he had hit a nerve. “I was just checking.”

“Oh, so this is just something you just check up on?” I asked, annoyed at his insight into my life. If he knew I still had feelings everyone else probably knew too.

“Listen,” James continued, his tone becoming more serious. “Peter isn’t doing too well.”

“What do you mean?” I asked, sharply. “He seems fine to me.”

“You know something is wrong,” James pressed, his hazel eyes burning into mine. “And I don’t know what it is. This is the first time I’m having problems reading him.”

“What do you want me to do?” I asked, feeling rather helpless.

“The same thing you want to do,” James answered cleverly. “Talk to him. Talk to him for real. Like I know you used to. Find out what the heck is wrong with him. Because I sure as hell can’t figure this out.”

“Alright,” I said reluctantly, returning my gaze to look out the window. James cleared his throat loudly and gestured to the door.

“What you want me to go now?” I gasped.

“I think you’ve waited long enough,” was the answer. I sighed, knowing he was right.

“He’s down in the Great Hall.”

“Why?” I asked, knowing that dinner had been over for the students left for a good couple of hours.

“Go find out.”

********

The Great Hall is always massive. But when it isn’t filled with hundreds of students it seems even larger. It was rather eerie when I walked in. The long tables were empty and it was very dark with only a few lone candles lit. The magical sky was very clear and the stars were twinkling down their faint lights as well. The flicker of the candlelight was falling on the lone figure sitting at the far end of the Gryffindor table; Peter. The silence of the entire situation was deafening. Even my footsteps seemed completely quiet.

Somehow Peter sensed my presence and immediately looked up as I came up to him.

“Hey,” he said gently; surprising me with the normal tone of his voice. It had been so long since we had talked without hostility.

“Hi,” I replied, hoping that this conversation wouldn’t escalate into an argument.

“Listen,” he said, and I could tell that it was hard for him to say what he was saying. “We graduate tomorrow and everything is going to change. We aren’t going to see each other very much after school and I can’t leave things the way they are.”

“I couldn’t agree more,” I found myself answering. “I’m sorry, for everything that’s happened.”

“Me too,” he said, standing up and coming over to me. “I never wanted to hurt you.”

“I never wanted to hurt you either,” I agreed; prickles forming all over my skin as he came closer to me.

“Come sit,” Peter suggested, touching my arm gently before gesturing to the seats around the table. My arm burned where we had touched. I followed Peter to the table and sank into the seat next to him.

“Peter, I’m worried about you,” I declared quickly, wanting to get to the point before I chickened out.

“What for?” Peter asked. His voice was still gentle.

“I think there’s something wrong with you. I know you weren’t close to your father. I know he didn’t treat you the way you deserved. But I just feel that you’re holding something back. Something that you need to get out.”

Peter laughed out loud; his voice echoing in the hall.

“I’m totally fine,” he insisted. “Really. It’s rather funny actually.”

“Funny?” I asked, still thinking that Peter was still hiding his true feelings.

“Think about it,” Peter said, in a voice that indicated I should have come up with the answer myself. “The man’s heart gave out because he never used it.”

“I don’t…” I started, but Peter just kept going.

“It’s the sort of death that I always expected him to have. What else does he deserve?”

“Peter, stop it!” I yelled, surprising both Peter and myself. I took a gulp before again filling the silence with speech.

“Peter,” I said, my voice shaking violently. Peter looked at me, confused. “Your father didn’t die of a heart attack.”

“What?’ Peter asked, his voice full of disbelief. “What are you talking about?” Before even thinking, I found myself rambling out the entire story.

“He was murdered by Death Eaters,” I finished numbly. Peter stared at me for a full minute before he got up and started to pace; rubbing at his face.
“What are you talking about?” he asked, looking at me severely for confirmation.

“Peter, I just told you,” I said. “They wanted us to cover it up. We were all supposed to never speak of this again. I’m really sorry. I just think you had to know.”

Peter still looked terribly confused. I had explained the story as detailed as I could, but he was still looking at me as if he had never seen me before in his entire life.

“But they all said…they said. They said he had a heart attack.”

“I know that’s what they said,” I said, still surprised that I had told him the truth. Yet at the same time I felt a slight sense of relief that he finally knew.

“Who are they to say something like that?” he asked, more to the Hall than to me. “Who are they to decide that I don’t know about this? He’s MY father.”

“I know,” I said, getting up and going over to him. “This was so wrong. I’m sorry it took me so long to tell you the real truth.”

“At least someone over there has a conscience,” he said, sounding distracted. “Thanks for telling me.” He gave my hand a squeeze before heading for the door.

“Where are you going?” I asked, concerned that the conversation hadn’t accomplished all I wanted.

“I just need to…look…at something,” he declared weakly before disappearing into the darkness.

********

Graduation day! I woke up for the last time in my Hogwarts bed with a wild mix of feelings coursing through my body. Excitement and sadness were the main ones as I and my roommates dressed ourselves in nice clothes that would be under our graduation robes. When we were finally dressed with hair and makeup done we all turned to face each other. The five of us wordlessly shared a massive group hug. We had gathered our belongings together into piles a few days earlier so the room was looking pretty empty. It was hard but we finally managed to find the courage to leave. We moved to the Common Room and met the other seventh year Hufflepuffs who were milling around the Common Room looking like they had no idea what to do.

We all talked, very loudly to hide the fact that we were sad. We put on our black graduation robes and our pointed graduation hats and made our way out to the lawns where the graduation ceremony was supposed to take place. When I got outside I met Lily who was totally out of breath.

“What?” I asked, reaching out to steady her.

“It’s not going to work!”

“What’s not?”

“It’s pouring rain outside! We had to move everything into the Great Hall! And James…those idiots…they’re all outside in the mud!”

“Calm down, Lil,” I said. “I’ll go see if I can get them to come in.”

I slipped outside. The chairs and the stage that were going to be used for the ceremony were being pelted with the biggest drops of rain that I had ever seen. The students that had made it as far as outside were running back in as well as the parents. Yet through the rains I could see James and the rest of his ridiculous crew running through the mud, throwing it at each other.

“Guys!” I called. They didn’t hear.

“Guys!” I couldn’t go out to get them because I had no intention of getting soaked. Finally they noticed me trying to flag them down and came running over. Sirius, James, Remus, and Peter were totally covered in mud. They greeted me as they walked past, each touching my robe to leave a muddy handprint.

“Thanks,” I muttered sarcastically. Peter didn’t follow the others inside but stopped to talk to me.

“Look,” he started, sounding oddly serious. “Things after graduation are going to be different.”

“What do you mean?”

“I can’t really say, but things are going to change.”

“I don’t think I’m following you.”

“Bye,” he said in a real final sort of way.

“I’ll see you later!” I called after him to which he didn’t reply.

*******

The Great Hall had been completely transformed. The four long tables had disappeared and were replaced with rows of chairs and a wooden stage. Banners for all four houses were hanging from the ceiling and the Dumbledore had charmed the magical ceiling so it was sunny; shining brilliantly. It was a sharp contrast to the rain hissing down outside. The students were seated on one side of the room, the parents on the other. The staff was seated on the stage looking out on us all. We were all sitting in alphabetical order, putting me next to James and Sarah Ratchel. Peter was on James’ other side.

“I can’t believe that you got all muddy before the ceremony,” I hissed at James, knowing Mum would be mad about him looking awful in her pictures.

“Come on, live a little,” he laughed taking his muddy finger and sliding it across my face to give me a smudge down my cheek.

“Hey!” I exclaimed, trying to rub it off; probably only making it worse. “Mum will be thrilled.”

Dumbledore got up to the podium then, and gave a fine welcome speech in his long elegant way. He greeted the parents and the students and let us know how much we would be missed and how we were able to give Hogwarts something special, and now it was time to give the world something special as well. When Dumbledore finished he announced that Lily Evans, one of Hogwarts’ most talented and committed students, would now grace us with a speech. We applauded loudly.

I watched as Lily approached the podium, the picture of poise and grace. She pushed a rebel strand of hair out of her eyes before clearing her throat in a commanding way. Then Lily began to speak, and any sort of side chattering that had been going on ceased.

“I used to worry about being perfect,” she started. “I used to worry about getting perfect grades and saying the perfect thing at the perfect time. I’ve learned a lot here at Hogwarts; we all have. No one here can deny that we have learned a mass amount of information about the intricate patterns of magic. We have learned that magic is a power that we all have; it is one that we have to be responsible with at all times. But I have also learned a lot more from Hogwarts. I learned about triumph, failure, friendship, and even love. Through everything I’ve learned I now know that I don’t want to be perfect. I am so thankful that I’m not perfect. If I was perfect I wouldn’t have learned everything that I have, I wouldn’t have moved forward at all. I wouldn’t be the person that I am today. That is what Hogwarts has given me. This place gave me everything that I am. I don’t know if this school has touched others in the same way, but I’m fairly sure that it has. Hogwarts has shaped us all as individuals and now we will be able to head out into the world with a serious amount of confidence. We are all in the same place now. We are all starting something new. We might be a little scared right now, but deep inside we all know we can accomplish something truly amazing. Hogwarts has given us the tools. Now it is up to us to build something. So let’s get out there and build something fantastic! Congratulations everyone. We made it!”

We all cheered loudly and jumped to our feet. Lily smiled brilliantly and looked over at James, who was whistling loudly. The crowd of students and parents clapped for at least a full minute. Lily was right. I had become who I was because of Hogwarts.

And so, we all crossed that stage, one step closer to our futures. Sirius was the first of us to go. He looked ridiculous, yet still good, caked in his mud suit. Lily went next. Then Claire. Then Remus. Then Jennie. Then Peter. My eyes never left him as he moved across the stage. Then James. Then me. At 1:13 on June 1st I, Katie Potter, graduated from Hogwarts school of Witchcraft and Wizardry. And after the last student, Rick Witte, crossed the stage our class took our pointed hats and launched them into the air.

*******

When the ceremony was finally completed the Hall was transformed again so round tables with food and drink appeared for a reception. The reception was a time for parents to find their children and force them to take hundreds upon hundreds of pictures of you in your robes and silly pointed hat, if you managed to find it again. I took pictures with EVERYONE. I took pictures with everyone at least THREE times. Different poses. Different lights.

“It’s my god-given right as a mother to take pictures,” my mum said over and over. After so many pictures I realized that Peter wasn’t present. I had wanted to take at least one picture with him. I went over to James to ask if he had seen him recently. James didn’t answer my question but asked one himself.

“So how did talking to Peter go?” James asked; a smirk crossing his face. “What did you tell him? Did you tell him that you still love him?

“James,” I said distressed. “I’m not going to tell him. That’s the last thing he needs to hear right now. Now do you know where he is?.”

“If you didn’t tell him that, what did you tell him?” James inquired.

“I…well…” I didn’t know how to start.

“What?”

I launched into my story for the second time and told James everything. James kept his mouth shut the whole time as I spoke his hazel eyes getting more and more concerned as he listened.

“Oh my god,” he said when I was finished. “His father really died that way?” I nodded.

“I think we have a problem.”

“What do you mean?” I asked as I watched James’ face for a sign as to what he was thinking.

“Before when Peter was around, he was very final in the way he said goodbye…like we wouldn’t be seeing him over the summer or something.”

“Maybe he went back up to the Common Room?” I asked, remembering how Peter’s goodbye had felt to me.

“Let’s go,” James said, hurrying away, me following. We rushed up to the Common Room and burst into the Marauder’s room.

Peter wasn’t there.

“His stuff is all gone,” James said, wandering through the room. There were a few pieces of parchment scattered across the floor. I picked up two or three and scanned over them. They all started with,

Dear Peter.

And ended with,

Love, Dad.

“He’s really gone,” I said to James.

“Where would he go?” James asked, giving his trunk a kick.

Love, Dad

“I think I know.”

I wouldn’t see Peter again for two years.

*******

Done-zo! Done-zo? I don’t know. I’ve been sick, so my cleverness powers are not up to snuff. I really hope you liked this chapter. For some reason this is one of my favorites. I was TERRIBLE when I started to write it so when it turned out like this I was very pleased. This chapter was a product of not studying for exams and me taking medicine to ward off my cold for a few hours. I hope you enjoyed this chapter and I’ll see you for nineteen. Who else thinks it’s crazy that this is nineteen chapters? Leave me some love!

-Kira


Chapter 19: Longer
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Welcome, welcome to Chapter Nineteen!!!! I really hope you enjoy this one; it’s got some pretty exciting events and an ending that isn’t a cliffhanger!!! YAY!!! Thank goodness its summer!!!! As you can see I’m very hyper right now!!! My excited self will see you at the bottom!!!

Disclaimer: I did not write the song “Longer.” It is sung by Dan Fogelberg and is very, very pretty!

Chapter Nineteen

Longer

We did all we could. We looked everywhere for Peter. With the Marauder’s help we scoured over every possible place Peter had ever been. But we couldn’t find him. We spoke with Aaron but he couldn’t shed any light on the situation. I had a sneaking suspicion that the death, or really the murder, of his father had something to do with his leaving. But what could he be attempting to do? Find the Death Eaters? Fight them? By himself? Where would he live? How could he possibly be okay?

These were the thoughts that continued to plague my mind through the entire length of the summer. I would lie awake crying at night so scared that Peter might be hurt somewhere and that I couldn’t help him. When an owl came to our house I would always rush to get it, thinking that maybe sometime it might be from Peter. He might tell me where he was and why he left me so suddenly. I had my ideas but my own speculations weren’t good enough for me. My summer, which I hoped would be calm and restful became worrisome and stressful. My life was a combination of working and doing what I could for Peter.

When James and Sirius began to go to the Auror Academy at the beginning of July they vowed to use the things they learned to find Peter. I nodded at their confidence but knew somehow that finding Peter would be hard. It was a bizarre thing to have one of your friends completely disappear out of your life. James and the others took it hard as well. They were distraught that Peter didn’t confide in them before leaving.

“We always talked about the things that were really important,” James told me one day. “I can’t believe this.”

The days and weeks just passed on. I kept telling myself that I would worry less and less each day and that the days would get easier and easier. But they didn’t. They just stayed the same. Peter stayed in my thoughts and sometimes even my dreams.

At the end of the summer I managed to save enough money from my job, which paid surprisingly well, to move out of my parent’s house and into a small apartment with Vicky, whose job in Diagon Alley was nearby. I had never thought I would be sharing an apartment with Vicky but when one moves out into the real world a friendly face is wonderful. We got along great which surprised me at first. Vicky had always been a great girl but living with a person is totally different than seeing them once and awhile. Vicky, brilliant girl, had managed to score a job at Gringotts and she enjoyed it very much. Our apartment was tiny, but it had a certain amount of coziness to it. A microscopic kitchen and a little living room were the only other rooms besides one bathroom and a single bedroom that Vicky and I shared. We have to start somewhere.

Time continued to pass. It was alarming. I worked at the paper. Vicky worked in Diagon Alley. James and Sirius were at the Auror Academy, with a nearby Lily studying at the Remington Lewis School for Healers. Remus remained at Hogwarts where he was receiving formal training to teach professionally. It was a hectic time to say the least.

After a year it was hard to remember a time before bills, cold showers, and no Hogwarts. It was still hard for me to forget a time of Peter. A rather cute guy from the Daily Prophet asked me out and we had a couple dates but I couldn’t bring myself to admit feelings for him. Something was holding me back. I didn’t want to admit what it was, or rather who it was, but I knew inside what was going on.

He dumped me but I never remember feeling very much sadness about the situation. I was happy to just be me again. Vicky and Remus, however, finally hit it off and were in a strong relationship. I was happy because their relationship helped keep everyone together. With Remus coming over to our place all the time, or us going over to his, we would almost always run into Lily, James, and Sirius and sometimes Claire.

At least once a month the girls would all get together and have dinner. We would discuss the guys, relationships, jobs, life and so on and so forth. Our October dinner was met with a wonderful declaration. We had chosen to go out to this quaint, little Italian place that Vicky had suggested having been taken there on a date by Remus. We all had to thank her because the food was phenomenal. Lily was quiet through the whole meal so as we waited for our dessert to arrive Vicky asked the burning question,

“What’s with you?”

“Um…”

“Lily, what’s going on?” I asked, excitedly. Lily blushed and held out her hand for us to see. Upon her finger was a ring with a small diamond in the center. The three of us just stared for at least a full minute.

“Lily, what is that?” I asked, still in shock.

“I think it’s a ring,” Claire breathed, her eyes wide. Lily smiled as wide as I had ever seen.

“Ladies,” she said dramatically. “I’m getting married!” More silence. Our jaws dropped. Just dropped. Then we all started to squeal and scream. The other tables in the restaurant started to stare but we didn’t stop or care.

“You and James are getting married?!” we all yelled to which Lily nodded.

“How did this happen?”

“Where?”

“When?”

“Whoa girls,” Lily laughed. “We went out for a romantic dinner last night and he asked me. I didn’t see it coming. I didn’t even have to think about it though. I love James and I can’t wait to marry him.”

“Oh my gosh!” We screamed. “We get to plan a wedding!!!”

********

And plan a wedding we did. The wedding date was set for June 9th so we had plenty to do and little time to do it. James selected Sirius to be his best man and Lily, the wonderful and compassionate Lily, picked her sister Petunia for her maid of honor. Vicky and I were to be bridesmaids.

A summer wedding with a tropical, warm theme was planned. Pink dresses, tropical flowers, and a garden setting. We went dress shopping, flower shopping, shoe shopping, dish shopping, jewelry shopping, and so on. Everything shopping. I turned twenty in and found that the world didn’t change because I had reached the big 20. As we planned and continued to work our jobs somehow the year passed and the weather got warmer. Soon the date of the wedding was looming up before us and we were scrambling to finish getting ready. It was about one week before the wedding when James paid me a visit at my apartment.

“James?” I said. “What are you doing here?” I normally only saw him when we all got together for dinner. “Is everything all right?”

“Yes,” he answered in an unconvincing voice. I ushered him inside and brought him over to the couch to sit down. He was acting very serious, something he didn’t do too often which indicated that this was something real and important.

“I’m just going to get right to the point,” he started. “I thought I should be the one to come and tell you this…the guys thought it would be best if I…it’s an interesting situation.”

“James!” I said loudly. “Please just tell me what’s going on!”

“We found Peter…”

“What?” I gasped. “Is he alright? Where is he? Where did you find him?” After James calmed me down he told his story. Today on an Auror raid in the mountains they had managed to capture and arrest various people associated with Death Eaters and Peter had been discovered with them.

“Is he hurt?” I asked, crossing my fingers behind my back. Please…

“He had some mild injuries,” James replied. “But nothing serious. He’s spending the night in the hospital but he should be out in the morning.”

“I can’t believe this,” I muttered, standing and putting a hand to my chest. “I never thought I would see him again. Did he say anything?”

“Not really, he seemed pretty shocked and confused at the moment,” James responded, standing and coming closer to me. “But I’m sure he’ll be back to normal soon.” He cracked a grin. “Maybe he’ll make it to the wedding next week. Maybe he could even be in it. Katie, he’s back! Peter’s back!” James was so excited but I couldn’t feel the same things he was for some reason.

After a quick hug James left me alone with my thoughts. Peter was back. He was back. Back in my life. One part of me wanted to rush over to the hospital and see him but the other part kept me rooted to the couch. What would I say? What would he say? The fear of the unknown conversation kept me at home and I found myself crawling into bed far earlier than normal.

********

Mr. Bailey called me into his office two days before the wedding. There was a little flutter in my chest because I had no idea what this meeting concerned. I had, in my opinion, been going fine work over the past years, but I was still waiting for something I wrote to appear in print.

Mr. Bailey’s wooden desk was long and it was completely full of piles of paper.

“Katie,” he said cheerfully. “Please sit down.” I took the seat across from him and crossed my legs trying to look completely professional.

“You’ve been working here for awhile now and I have seen you produce some truly fine work.”

“Thank you sir,” I said respectfully.

“Well I think you are ready for your most important job yet. I’m sure you heard about the hotel fire that happened yesterday?”

“Of course,” I replied. “Death Eaters started the fire and some very prestigious members of the ministry were killed.”

Mr. Bailey cleared his throat uncomfortably.

“Yes…that’s what happened. What I need you to do is much more important. I need you to write the article about the event, but leave the Death Eaters out of it. Explain how it was an accident that the fire started. Make sure the Ministry Officials are complimented and praised through the duration of the article. Come up with something and have the notes on my desk in a few hours.”

“No.” I had said this before even thinking.

“What do you mean no?” Mr. Bailey asked, the color rising in his neck. “You don’t want the assignment.”

I bit my lip before speaking. I remembered how Peter had reacted when he learned how the media had lied to him and I thoughts of the families of the four ministry members who had been killed. Didn’t they need to know the truth? I would be lying to them. It would be my fault.

“Sir, I’ve been dreaming about an assignment where my work would actually appear in the paper for awhile. I really want to see some of my ideas and styles in the paper but not lies. I can’t write something that is totally false.”

“I’m assigning you this project,” Mr. Bailey said in a way that suggested he wasn’t understanding what I was saying. “Are you refusing to do your work?”

“No,” I declared, standing up from my chair. “Well…sort of. I can’t write this the way you want me to. These people who died are real. They were killed by a real war that’s going on right now. The public isn’t that stupid. They’re slowly discovering what’s going on. The Ministry officials who died would want their story to be told in the truest way possible. This is a disgrace to their memories.”

“Its not my decision,” Mr. Bailey said stiffly. “The Ministry has requested it! And you will do what you’re told.”

“I’m NOT writing that article,” I snapped, very surprised at myself.

“You’ll write it or else…”

“Or what?” I asked angrily. “You’ll fire me? I’ll save you the trouble! I QUIT! Enjoy writing your lies.”

I didn’t look back once as I stormed out of the office and headed home.

********

A few hours after I reached home the realization of what I had done started to sink in. I had just quit my job. A job that was ridiculously secure…for what? For doing the right thing I suppose. What pursuit was more noble than that? I stressed myself out for awhile before heading over to the fridge for some comfort food. I found a note on the fridge from Vicky informing me that she had gone over to Lily’s house to help with the final wedding plans. I took a tub of chocolate ice cream out of the freezer and plopped on the couch. Five minutes later I decided to head over to Lily’s as well. I didn’t feel like being by myself.

********

Lily was more than happy to have me. Her house was in complete chaos. Owls were arriving every few minutes with wedding information and the phone was ringing off the hook. They were in need of reinforcements. I called Mum when the phone was free and told her to come over. She arrived in less than half a second and took over operations. She did battle with Lily’s Aunt Linda who got it into her head that she was Lily’s wedding planner.

“I told her I didn’t need a wedding planner!” Lily gasped. “I just wanted a small wedding!” Everyone was stressed but somehow in high spirits so I decided to hide the fact that I had quit my job until at least after the wedding. It was also during this time that I got the official word that Peter was indeed coming to the wedding. Lily was the one who told me.

“He’s really coming?” I asked, even though she had told me three times.

“Yeah,” she answered. “But there’s more. James asked him to be in the wedding. Since Petunia is the maid of honor and Sirius is the best man they’re walking together. And since Vicky and Remus are a couple they are walking together…so…”

“I have to walk with Peter?!” I said, horrified. “Oh my god. It was my plan to completely avoid him.”

“Good luck,” Lily answered jokingly. She noticed my horror so her face became more serious. “It’s just for a few minutes. It’ll be okay. Do it for me?”

“Of course,” I managed to say with a forced smile. “It’s your wedding.”

*******

“I’m getting married today! I’m getting married today!” I groaned and got up from the couch that I was sleeping on. Lily was running through the house in her pajamas yelling at the top of her lungs. She was in complete hyper mode as we began to get ready. Makeup, hair, dresses, high heels; it basically became bride and bridesmaid central. The bridesmaid’s dresses were two shades of pink. Mine and Vicky’s were a pale, rosy pink, while Petunia’s was more of an orangeish pink. They blended together beautifully; they looked like a sunset when they were together. The dresses went down past our knees, light and breezy, with spaghetti straps and a small flower at the waist. They were truly gorgeous and I felt gorgeous in it. Linda fixed my hair into a fancy up-do with lots of pulling and hairspray. Somehow I managed to look rather pretty. Vicky, looking just as pretty with her curly black hair, came in the room and gave me a hug.

“We look HOT!” she giggled at the mirror. I had to agree.

“Where’s Petunia?” I asked, feeling that all the bridesmaid’s should be together. Vicky shrugged and was about to give some sort of answer but at that moment the doorbell rang.

“Can somebody get that?!” Mrs. Evans called from the room where she was helping Lily get ready. I kicked off my heels so I wouldn’t kill myself on the stairs and rushed towards the door. I threw it open and came face to face with Remus and Peter in their tuxes.

Oh god. Peter.

I stared at him and he stared right back at me. He looked different. Thinner, paler, but the most noticeable change were his eyes. The grey eyes that used to be stormy and sharp had become watery and distant. I couldn’t do this…

“We’re here to drive you to the wedding,” Remus said, staring at my shocked and ill looking face.

I gave Remus and Peter a small, sickly smile, before turning and rushing upstairs with a churning stomach.

“LILY!” I shrieked, running into the preparation room where Lily was getting ready for her trip down the aisle. My freaked out madness had to be put on hold for a moment when I laid eyes on Lily. She looked absolutely fabulous. Her gorgeous white, satin dress flowed down past her feet, making it seem like she was floating when she moved. Her mother was next to her, making slight adjustments to her dress and veil.

“What’s wrong?” Lily asked, her voice questioning but very calm.

“You look fantastic!” I squealed pulling Lily into a light hug; I didn’t want to disrupt the dress too much.

“Thanks, you don’t look to bad yourself,” she smiled. “Is that all? You sounded pretty freaked out.” At that moment Aunt Linda came into the room clapping her hands.

“Is everyone and everything on schedule?” she asked snippily. I rolled my eyes in irritation and went back to my conversation with Lily.

“Lily, I need to ask you a favor.”

“Ask away,” Lily said, turning to the mirror as Linda came up behind her and began to fiddle with her veil.

“Well…”I started. “I don’t think I can walk down the aisle with Peter.”

“What?!” Linda gasped, turning to face me. “It is completely unacceptable to change the wedding march ON the day of the wedding. It is unheard of, and I will NOT do it!”

“I was talking to Lily,” I said sharply. “I just saw him for the first time in two years out in the hall and…I just don’t think I can do it.” Lily moved away from Linda and came over to me.

“Are you sure?” she asked. “I was hoping that being with him again might make you…I don’t know, remember your feelings.”

“I do remember,” I answered. “I remember how messed up things were before he disappeared. And then he was gone and I worried and lost sleep. And then he reappears back into my life and I just don’t think I can deal with him right now.”

“I understand,” Lily replied. “You can walk with Remus.”

“This will be a disaster!” Linda muttered.

“Oh, it’ll be fine,” Lily’s mother piped in. “I’ll go make the change. Keep getting ready sweetie.” Lily thanked her mother and gave my hand a squeeze.

“It doesn’t matter really,” she insisted. “Aunt Linda is a bit of a spaz.”

“Ya think?” I responded, laughing. “But thanks. I really appreciate this.”

“What are friends for?” Lily smiled.

********

Two hours later everything was ready to go. We all made it to the garden where the wedding was going to take place. Remus and Peter went to give their final good lucks to James while the ladies made the final preparations to our dresses and our courage.

Me, Lily, Vicky, and Petunia were all standing waiting for Linda’s cue to start. We shared a massive group hug; we pulled Petunia in as well but I don’t know if she really enjoyed it. Sirius, Remus, Peter, and Mr. Evans joined us next, all looking great in their tuxes. I kept my head down and my eyes away from Peter, but went right over to Remus and took his arm.

“You look great,” we both whispered at the same time to each other. Linda came back in the room then and started to clap. I hate her clapping.

“Everyone look up here,” she called. We all actually had to lower our gaze considering how short she was. “Its time to line up!” She went over to Sirius and Petunia first and arranged them together, they would be leading the line. Petunia looked like she thought Sirius’s arm was about to bite her. Uncomfortable wouldn’t have even begun to describe her face. Linda ignored it and went to me and Remus. She showed me how I was going to be holding his arm and I took it gratefully, glad it wasn’t Peter. I cast a quick look over my shoulder as Linda went to Peter and Vicky next before moving on to Mr. Evans and Lily. Lily smiled at all of us through her veil, her green eyes shining.

Linda then passed out little bunches of tropical, pink flowers to the bridesmaids before handing a large bouquet to Lily.

“Ok!” she called brightly. “When the music starts, you may begin walking. Small steps, but don’t take too long either. Let’s get this bad boy on the road!” She kissed Mr. Evans and Lily on the cheek before heading down the path to take her seat.

We all waited in silence for a few minutes until the sweet sounds of string quartet playing Pachelbel’s Cannon in D. If I was feeling flutters in my chest I had to wonder completely what Lily was feeling. Sirius turned around and gave us all a wink before he and Petunia started to walk down the path towards the aisle. Remus and I were next and we started to follow them step for step.

When we finally reached the rows of chairs everyone’s head was turned to look at us. I smiled brightly as I held Remus’ arm a little tighter. I caught my Mum and Dad’s eye and grinned at them and they smiled back; Charles waving enthusiastically. We finally made it to the front of an aisle where a big, beautiful arch was arranged completely covered in flowers that were every color of the imagination. I winked at James and he smiled in response.

Then the wedding march struck up and Lily and her father started to come down the aisle. The wedding march always makes me tear up so I was thankful that Linda had forced waterproof makeup on all of us. James came forward when Lily and her father finally reached the arch.

For a moment Mr. Evans held both James’ hand and Lily’s hand in his.

“Take care of each other,” he whispered, before kissing Lily’s cheek and squeezing her hand. He gave them one last meaningful look before going to join his wife in the seats. Lily and James joined hands and then moved to the center of the arch.

The whole ceremony seemed kind of hazy to me; in a good way though. A haze of happiness and awe that this was actually happening.

Two rings, two vows, and one kiss later James and Lily were married and the sun never seemed to shine so bright.

*******

The reception was held in a massive tent set in a larger part of the garden. Round tables with white table cloths were arranged cleverly in the space, covered with fancy dinnerware and sparkles. A buffet of fabulous food was set up and there was a talented little band playing in the center. We ate the most delicious cake I have ever had, some sort of vanilla raspberry dream that was sent from heaven for us to eat.

We chatted about the ceremony for awhile until it was time for Sirius, the best man, to give his speech. Sirius got to his feet and held his glass up in the air; the guests following suit. He smiled his famous smile before speaking.

“When I heard that James was going to propose to Lily I was a little nervous. James asked Lily to go out with him near twenty times before she said yes, so I figured this might be the same way.”

James and Lily laughed.

“So James and I started to come up with at least ten different ways to propose so he wouldn’t have to do it the same way every time. We were lucky that Lily said yes right away because more than half of the plans probably never would have worked. However, sitting and concocting plans brought back many memories. James and I have been best friends for as long as I can remember. We did everything together and we used to make pacts and promises to be best friends forever. But I know now that James and I can’t be best friends forever. I’ve lost my spot. I’ve lost my spot to the lovely and wonderful Lily. And that is the way it’s supposed to be. So, let us raise our glasses to James and Lily, now man and wife, and best friends for life.”

As the toast concluded, James and Lily got up from their table and went out to the floor. After they both hugged Sirius and Lily had dried her eyes from the tears that had gathered there during the speech.

“And now,” the band announced as Sirius took his seat. “Mr. and Mrs. Potter will share their first dance.” The guests clapped politely while people closer to the married couple whooted and whistled. As Lily and James met in the center of the floor silence set in. In those moments right before their song started time actually seemed to stop. Lily and James were completely lost in each other’s face as they wrapped their arms around each other.

Lily’s long, white dress flowed out as James gave her a small beginning twirl before the music started up. They really seemed to glow together. They were really in love. My eyes were forced to wander over to Peter. Did I shine when I had been in love with him?

“Don’t be a fool,” a voice in my head snapped. “You know you still love him.” I shook my head at the voice. I wasn’t in love. I hadn’t even seen Peter for two years. There was no possible way for me to love him. The voice in my head was in danger of starting to speak again, so I focused all my concentration on my brother and his new wife. At that moment the song began and Lily and James started to dance.

Longer than there've been fishes in the ocean
Higher than any bird ever flew
Longer than there've been stars up in the heavens
I've been in love with you


Stronger than any mountain cathedral
Truer than any tree ever grew
Deeper than any forest primeval
I am in love with you

I'll bring fire in the winter
You'll send showers in the spring
We'll fly through the falls and summers
With love on our wings


Through the years as the fire starts to mellow
Burning lines through the book of our lives
Though the binding cracks, and the pages start to yellow
I'll be in love with you
I'll be in love with you

Longer than there've been fishes in the ocean
Higher than any bird ever flew
Longer than there've been stars up in the heavens
I've been in love with you

I am in love with you


I teared up as these words sailed across the room. An old song, yes. But one that you really remember and feel in your soul. Perfect for a wedding. Perfect for James and Lily. Perfect for their love. They swirled around the dance floor for the entire song and when it was completed the entire crowd applauded, and the photographer went nuts; snapping away with his camera.

With the first dance complete, other couples moved out to the floor to join in the fun. I got up from my table and started to wander around the tent, casting occasional glances over at Peter. I half expected to catch him staring at me once, but I didn’t. He was absorbed in conversation with Remus for awhile until Remus noticed me repeatedly looking in their direction. He got up from the table and for a moment Peter actually looked in my direction. When his eyes met mine for the briefest of seconds I noticed that there was something different hidden in them; some sort of change.

What had he been through? Where had he been? As these questions raged in my head Remus had finally made it all the way over to me. He looked spiffy in his tux and I gave him a smile as he came up to me.

“Hey,” he said gently. “You wanna dance?”

“Where’s Vicky?” I asked. “Wouldn’t you rather dance with your date?”

“Yes,” Remus admitted jokingly. “But you look like you could use it.”

“You’re right,” I admitted, looking again over at Peter.

“Maybe you can make Peter jealous,” Remus said cheerfully as he took my hand and pulled me to the dance floor.

“I don’t want to make Peter jealous,” I muttered as I pulled myself close to Remus. “I haven’t seen him in two years. I’ve pretty much forgotten everything we were.”

“Don’t stand there lying to me in your pretty pink dress,” Remus laughed. “Talk to him.”

“Why?” I asked. “You’ve just been talking to him.” We spun around in the sea of other couples. When we stopped spinning long enough for me to cast another look over at Peter, he was no longer in his chair.

“He walked over into the garden,” Remus grinned, pointing in the direction Peter had gone. “I know you want to.”

“I don’t know if I can,” I decided, pulling away from Remus.

“I do,” Remus replied.

“I’m angry at him,” I said. “I can’t just pretend not to be.”

“Go get him,” Remus smiled, giving me a push towards the garden. I rolled my eyes playfully at him before grabbing a bunch of my dress in my hands so it wouldn’t drag on the ground. As I headed for the entrance to the garden, Lily stepped in my way.

“Hey you,” she said, still beaming. She probably would always be beaming now.

“So, you unglued yourself from my brother long enough to talk to me,” I laughed. Lily laughed too and hugged me.

“So are you going after Peter?” Lily asked, obviously seeing the direction I was heading in.

“I…don’t even know,” I decided before heading for the garden without looking back.

Night had completely set in and the garden would have been very dark, but strings of white lights had been hung in the trees and bushes, illuminating a path through this truly amazing structure of nature. I found Peter not too far in, standing with his back to me. This was a ridiculously romantic setting but all I wanted to do was kick his ass for leaving me so suddenly.

When I got close to Peter all the anger that I had for him came to realization.

“Where the hell have you been?” I yelled at his back, stumbling closer to him in my high heels. I heard Peter take a deep breath but he didn’t speak. He clasped his hands behind his back and continued to stare into the distance. This section of the garden was more secluded; tall plants and trees blocked any of the feeble moonlight trying desperately to glow through the veil of clouds.

“What is wrong with you?!” I shrieked. It wasn’t my plan to be so loud and angry in the conversation but his apparent calmness was driving me wild. He still didn’t move. In my rage I came up behind him and shoved him as hard as I could. He fell forwards but caught himself before he hit the ground.

“Have you lost it!?” He yelled back at me, standing and brushing himself off. “Have you completely lost it?!

“YES!” I shouted. “I’ve completely lost it with you! How could you do this to me? How could you go and disappear for two years? I HATE you!” Peter’s newly pale face was turning red as he fought back.

“Why do you care that I disappeared? What the hell do you care what happens to me anyway?!”

“How can you even ask me that? I’ve never been so scared in all my life!”

“You don’t really care!”

“What?”

“You were the one who bailed on us when things got a little tough. You were the one who ended our relationship!”

“Yeah, because I was mad at you, not because I stopped caring about or loving you!” There was a sudden clap of thunder in the distance emphasizing my words.

“You still love me?” Peter asked as the rain started to fall from the heavens.

“No,” I said, knowing he would recognize I was lying.

“Katie…”

“Alright,” I sighed, shuddering as the warm summer rain trickled down the back of my fancy dress. “I never stopped.”

The next thing I knew I was wrapped in Peter’s arms, my face buried in his shoulder. Anything that I ever felt for Peter came rushing out at that moment. Passion, caring, fear, love; everything I had been hiding and suppressing for so long came flying to the surface. I was so overwhelmed by these feelings. It felt so good to be in his arms again.

“I was so worried I would never see you again,” I gasped; I could feel his lips brushing my ear. “I’ve never been so scared in my entire life.”

“I’m so sorry,” Peter murmured back. “I just never believed you could ever love me again. I’ve never been so scared in my life. But I love you, I love you so much Katie.” We stood there holding each other for a few minutes as the rain got harder. I pulled apart from Peter and held both his hands in mine.

“Ok then,” I declared, my voice shaking with happiness. “It’s me and you. I don’t want to screw this up again.”

“Never,” was his reply.

“Never,” I agreed. “I let a lot of things get in the way of us before. I let life keep me from you. But now…now I’m ready to make you my life. I love you. I really, really do.”

“Then it’s me and you then? Forever.” he said, grinning a real Peter grin. I answered him with a kiss as the rain continued to patter upon our bodies.

Over the time that we were together Peter and I would share a lot of kisses. But if I had to rate the passion and love contained in all our kisses, this one would leave all the others in the distance.

*******

Yay a happy ending to a chapter for once! I’m afraid that you shouldn’t get used to this. I hope you liked this chapter and everything about the wedding. This was another one of the chapters that I really enjoyed writing. Thanks once again for all your reads and reviews. You guys are totally wonderful. I’ll see you for chapter twenty! Wow, the big 20!

Love,

Kira

Chapter 20: Gallgrin Nott
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Can you believe that this is twenty chapters long? I really can’t personally. This started out as being something small but it has grown into something all its own and something that is so much better than I ever expected. Thanks for all your wonderful support and I hope you like this chapter. This one starts to dig in a little deeper. You’ll see what I mean. See ya at the bottom as usual.

Chapter Twenty

Gallgrin Nott

And Peter was back. As quickly as he disappeared, he was back. I know people say that it’s impossible for two people to simply start off where they left off, but we did. Except we did it without the fighting. Peter and I found ourselves more in love than ever. This was so unexpected that it added another aspect of excitement and thankfulness in and for our relationship. I was so happy to have him back, to be loved again, for real. Having Peter back also reminded me of all the changes that were taking place in all our lives. Considering James and Lily were now man and wife, a small swapping of apartments began. James moved in with Lily so Sirius and Remus moved in together. Remus and Sirius offered a corner of their small flat to Peter but he refused telling everyone that he would be able to find accommodations.

Vicky and I stayed together in the same apartment but things did begin to get a little tight.

I found myself losing weight. I didn’t lose it because I started to exercise and eat healthier, I lost it simply because we couldn’t afford the food we normally had. Vicky had a pretty successful job that offered a great future but my new job paid way, way less. I managed to score a job at Flourish and Blotts but it was nothing special. Every morning Vicky would go to work early and I would stay home until my short shift would start in the afternoon.

The mornings when I was alone were the worst. I would feel completely worthless; all my friends working for their futures while I was working for what seemed like nothing. Well, not nothing, but enough to make me more than worried. I was also informed to my disappointment and despair that Rita Skeeter had gotten my old job. Thankfully I had Peter. He was more than wonderful. Surprise lunches, flowers, smiles, kisses, and more. I think it was his love that got me through all this. Of course he couldn’t be there every day when I was hit with one of these little moments of despair.


Luckily one day when I was feeling really down in the dumps my Mum surprised me at the door with a brown paper bag.

“Hi Mum,” I said surprised, noticing the bag in her arms. “Please tell me that’s food.”

“Oh, its food alright,” she grinned coming over to me on the couch. “Fresh fruit and veggies from the garden and some of my famous double fudge brownies.

“I love you!” I gasped, grabbing the bag and starting to paw through it. “Is this the only reason you stopped by?”

“I wanted to check up on you,” she answered, getting up and starting to fix things up in the apartment; fluffing a pillow, or picking up a stray piece of trash. “You know after the whole job thing.”

“Mum,” I said, rolling my eyes. “I’m fine. That job was terrible. Ok, maybe the pay was good and I was actually good at it but…” I sighed and buried my face away in the corner of the couch. “Remind me why I did this.”

“Katie,” Mum responded, stopping her cleaning raid to pull me up from my corner. “You told me what they asked you to do. I know the job seemed like a dream for you. But you shouldn’t work for anyone who asks you to be less than you are. I think you know that you did the right thing.”

“Yeah,” I muttered. “But it really sucks.”

“I agree. It really sucks,” Mum replied, making me laugh. “Now that’s better. Let’s change the subject. How’s Peter doing?”

“Oh, he’s fine,” I smiled thinking of my love. I watched as Mum’s eyes became more concerned than I would have expected. “What? I said he was fine.”

“I know, I know.” Mum’s agitated behavior was really bothering me. “Katie I just don’t understand how he could be fine.”

“Well he is,” I said, a hint of anger in my voice. “What do you even know about him?”

“Well, I know that he lost his father, went looking for him and supposedly was captured by Death Eaters,” Mum responded, not making eye contact.

“What do you mean supposedly?” I snapped, jumping to my feet. “You think he’s lying to me?”

“I didn’t say that,” Mum said impatiently. “I just…he just can’t be the same person he was.”

“Well he is,” I insisted harshly. I was lying. Peter was different. He was becoming very difficult for me to read. I remembered when we were together at Hogwarts how easy it was to finish Peter’s sentences and know what he was thinking. But now he seemed more distant…even though we were closer than ever. It was a bizarre situation of feelings and I knew my Mum could sense it. So why was I denying it so hard? No, our relationship was perfect. He was fine. We were fine.

“Where is Peter living?” was the next question Mum chose. I told her that he was living on his own instead of taking up a room with Remus and Sirius.

“And his job?”

“He found a job working for the Ministry.”

“Does he work at the actual Ministry?”

“He works at an office downtown.”

“Have you seen it?”

“It’s a private office. He has a lot of work to do and he doesn’t really have time for visitors.”

“Don’t you think that’s a little…”

“Mum stop it!” I shrieked at last. “Why are you grilling me with all these questions?”

“I’m just concerned.”

“No. You’re just interested in finding a problem with my relationship!”

“I’m not trying to find a problem,” Mum answered, watching me intently. “I was just wondering how Peter was doing. I’m worried about you.”

“Why?”

“I know how hurt you were before…”

“Yeah because I broke up with him! He didn’t do anything to me.”

“Ok, I think we need another topic change,” Mum muttered hurriedly. “I’m not saying these things to make you mad. I was just wondering about your relationship.”

“Fine,” I sighed. We fell silent; our topic had changed from Peter to nothing.

“How’s Charles?” I asked, attempting to shatter the awkward silence. Mum was about to start gushing about something amazing Charles had done when there was a knock at the door. I pushed myself up from the couch and went to the door to find a smiling Peter.

“Surprise!” he said cheerfully kissing me deeply. He flew into the room, his smile fading the slightest bit when he saw Mum on the couch.

“Mrs. Potter,” he acknowledged awkwardly. “How are you?”

“I’m well,” Mum replied stiffly. I noticed that her sharp eyes were surveying Peter from head to toe.

“I didn’t mean to interrupt…” Peter started to say.

“You didn’t,” I responded wishing Mum would stop looking at Peter as she would a dangerous criminal. Luckily Mum noticed that she was making the situation uncomfortable and said,

“I think it’s about time for me to leaving anyway.” She hugged me and shook Peter’s hand stiffly before disappearing out the door. I could remember a time when Mum would hug Peter like he was part of the family. What was he now? Why was she being so strange about him? I had to push these questions from my mind because Peter asked me to out to dinner and I happily agreed.

********

“So what did your Mum want?” Peter asked me when our cups of creamy soup arrived. I didn’t answer him right away because I was too immersed in the wonderful food. Thick breadsticks hinted with garlic were just set on the table so my response was even more delayed and when I finally could speak my mouth was still violently full.

“Not much,” I glopped through the wall of bread and soup in my mouth. “Just brought some food by. She asked a lot about you.”

“Like what?” he asked sharply; his soup spoon clattering down to the dish.

“I don’t know, stupid stuff,” I answered, still more concentrated on my food than him. “Like where you were living and where you were working.”

“What did you tell her?”

“Just what I know,” I replied, looking at him. He was staring hard into my eyes. “I told her you were living on your own and that you worked at an office downtown. She just thought it was strange that I had never been to your office. I tried to tell her…”

“Why would you come to my office?” Peter asked, cutting me off.

“I don’t really care about coming to your office,” I snapped. “But I just think it would be nice to see. I mean we have this old clock at Flourish and Blotts that the manager is just going to throw out because it doesn’t match the new paint. I thought it would be nice for me to come by and find a place for it in the office.”

“Honey,” Peter said, sounding stressed. “Our office is private. They really frown upon girlfriends or anyone coming to visit. I just don’t want to get in trouble.”

“What about your apartment then?” I inquired, my Mum’s paranoid behavior rubbing off on me. “We’ve been going out again for two weeks and I’ve never seen where you live.”

“Where is all this coming from?” Peter asked, sounding like he was between annoyance and anger. “From your Mum? Did she tell you to ask me all these things?”

“No!” I insisted loudly. “I’m just curious about the life of the man I love. Sometimes you seem like a mystery to me. It’s nothing to be mad about.”

“I’m not mad,” Peter replied gently. “I want you to trust me. I need you to trust me. I’m sorry if you think I’m being mysterious.”

“Can you blame me?” I asked, taking his hand across the table.

“Well, to lay all these suspicions to rest I offer this gesture.” Peter reached into his pocket and pulled a little silver key out and set it on the table where it glimmered in the candlelight.

“What’s this?” I said quietly.

“A key to my apartment.”

********

The key shut me up. Peter wasn’t hiding anything from me. That was a ridiculous idea. What would he be hiding? He didn’t want to keep me out.

“Of course he doesn’t,” Vicky said later when I had returned from dinner. “He loves you so much and I can tell that you are happiest when you are with him. And giving you a key to his apartment is huge step. Its clear he wants to move forward.”

“You’re so right!” I agreed happily. “I want to do something for him. To make up for asking all those questions. As if I was suspecting him of something. What could I do to make up for that?”

Vicky shrugged but patted my shoulder. “Well, he surprised you with dinner maybe you could do the same. Now that you have a key you could just pop in a cook him dinner sometime.”

“That would be a great idea,” I laughed. “But I’m a terrible cook.”

“Come on Katie,” Vicky smiled, pushing a strand of her thick black hair back into its ponytail. “With magic, cooking is kind of a given. Just follow the book.”

“Fine, I’ll do it. My shift ends early next week so I can do it then. And speaking of relationships how are you and Remus doing?”

“Well,” Vicky responded, a dreamy smile playing across her lips. “He doesn’t pour the gifts and surprises on like your wonderful boy but I wouldn’t change him for the world. He is so sweet and attentive. He always knows what I’m feeling and I adore that kind of perceptiveness.”

Vicky’s words reminded me of the fact that Peter and I seemed to have lost that perceptiveness that used to shine in our relationship. It wasn’t that our relationship had become bad or anything, it was just different than it was. His eyes seemed watery; a glazed over kind of effect. I didn’t like that. It was his eyes that used to make him easy to read.

********

The next section of the week passed without much happening but I waited with anticipation for the upcoming day when I was to surprise Peter at his apartment. He got off of work at seven I knew but I found myself preparing the bag of food I was going to bring to cook around four. It must have been the anticipation that caused me to start so ridiculously early. However, it did take time to scour my kitchen to find something that would actually make a good meal. But by five thirty I had a decent idea and all the ingredients I would need. A little more than an hour later I plucked the key to Peter’s apartment from the counter and headed out the door.

********

I was tingling with excitement when I reached Peter’s door. The idea of doing something really nice for Peter for a change was comforting and exhilarating. And surprises are always fun. My hand trembled ever so slightly as I slipped the key into the lock and pushed the door open. The apartment opened right into the kitchen. It was all dark except for two candles glowing on one of the counters. I took in a deep breath. From what I could see in the faint flickers the kitchen was surprisingly nice. Expensive appliances and countertops. For a few moments it seemed that Peter had not arrived home yet, but then I heard voices coming from the room next door. I recognized Peter’s almost immediately but I couldn’t place who the second voice belonged to.

For a reason I couldn’t explain I leaned my ear against the door, perhaps I was intent on placing the second voice before proceeding into the room. I took another deep breath as I listened in the dark room.

“I’m still too nervous.” That was Peter talking. His voice seemed lower and firmer than I had ever heard it.

“You’re getting better. And he knows it. He saw what you did and he liked that. He didn’t think you had it in you. But you showed him that even you are capable of that kind of thing. It was something he needed to know.” That was the other guy’s voice. It had a melodious quality but it had a dark and dangerous sound to it; the melodious quality seemed like a cover up; a mask over the true voice.

“I’m still scared. Scared to disappoint him.”

“We are all scared of that. All the time. It’s natural. The only thing that’s important is the fact that you’ve moved up in his eyes.”

“Hold on a sec.”

Before I could react or even blink the door I was leaning against was pulled open and I was face to face with a shocked Peter.

“Katie?” he sputtered, looking at me as if I was a ghost. I could think of nothing else to do but to pull myself into his arms and pray he didn’t think I was spying on him.

“Surprise!” I called, forcing pleasure into my voice. I held up the bag of ingredients in his face. “I made you dinner.” I paused as I slipped by him and entered the room. “I just didn’t realize that you had company.”

The room was beautiful. It was small and cozy but in an elegant way. There was a small, wooden table in the center with two chairs pushed next to it. There was an ornate green rug laid out over the floor; directly under the table. There was an intricately patterned chandelier hanging in the center of the room. It cast shadows and shimmers throughout the entire room. One of the chairs was pushed away from the table from when Peter got up to inspect who had been spying on him. In the other chair was seated a man who I couldn’t keep my eyes off of.

He had a completely smooth face. No wrinkles, no facial hair, no blemishes. His skin was surprisingly shiny though and it looked as if it was stretched tightly across his skull. He had a lot of golden hair atop his head and bright blue eyes that had the same watery effect that Peter’s had seemed to have developed. He was dressed in casual black robes and I noticed a hat in the corner that I assumed belonged to him. There were plates on the table with scraps of food left from the dinner that had obviously just been finished. The man in the chair had just poured himself another glass of wine as I moved past Peter and came into the room.

“Katie,” Peter said, coming up behind me and leading me closer to the blonde man, who had risen to his feet. “This is Gallgrin Nott.” I shook Nott’s hand gently. Somehow his hand was warm and cold at the same time.

“It’s good to meet you,” I tried, finding my voice meek and hard to elevate. “How do you know Peter?”

“Oh, we work together,” Nott replied in a lazy tone, smirking as he looked me up and down. “Worm…Peter never told me that he was…involved with anyone.”

“I’m sure I must have mentioned it at least three times,” Peter called hurriedly from behind me. I was still clutching the bag of food to my chest. The air in the room was filled with awkwardness. I shifted on my feet in my discomfort.

“Its nice to meet someone that Peter works with for once. I was beginning to think that his job didn’t really exist.” I meant the comment to be a pure joke but neither Gallgrin or Peter even cracked a smile.

“And its nice to meet Peter’s…ah…girlfriend,” Nott said silkily. I didn’t like when he smiled at me.

“I’ve never really seen much in romantic relationships,” Nott continued; he was starting into Peter’s eyes as he spoke these words. “Someone almost always ends up…getting hurt.” I looked over my shoulder to see Peter’s reaction to this. He swallowed hard and refused to meet my eyes.

I squeezed the bag in my arms.

“Well,” I nearly whispered. “I am clearly interrupting and you both have already eaten. I suppose I should be off.”

“Don’t be silly,” Nott drawled; it sounded as if he had never said the word silly in his entire life. “I believe I have overstayed my welcome anyway. Our dinner is complete and I need to be leaving anyway. It was a pleasure to meet you…Katie. Peter, I’ll see you tomorrow.”

And with that he swept up his hat and exited the room. I watched him leave and then turned my gaze to Peter. I dropped the bag on the floor and folded my arms across my chest. Peter started talking first.

“Katie, what are you doing here?”

“Well,” I started. “I wanted to throw you a surprise dinner. You gave me your key and I thought it would be alright. I didn’t know you were going to have a guest.”

“It’s alright,” Peter smiled. “You’re really sweet.” I grinned as he kissed me. So he wasn’t angry that I had been “spying” on him. And why should he be? It was an accident.

“That Nott guy is rather creepy isn’t he?” I stated making my way over to the table. “All that relationship stuff. Have you ever met a guy who needed a hug more?” Once again I was making a joke but Peter’s face hardened immediately.

“He is a great man,” he declared sharply. “He helped me when I had no one else.”

“And when was this?” I inquired.

“He was there when I was…with the Death Eaters.”

“He was a prisoner too?”

“…yes. He helped me survive everything that we were put through. He’s the reason why I’m standing here today.”

“So you two are close?”

“Yes.”

“What was it that you were talking about before you…discovered me? It sounded pretty serious.” Peter eyes went to the floor.

“It was nothing.”

“Don’t do this Peter,” I insisted going to him and wrapping my arms around his neck. “Let me help you. How long is it going to take for us to be honest with each other?”

“I am being honest,” he answered in a strained and stressed voice. “Katie, those were the some of the…some of the…they were times when things I can’t even explain happened to me. Have faith in my love. Trust me.”

“I do trust you and your love,” I declared. “But there are just some things I need to know. And this felt like one of them.”

“If I tell you, you’ll never look at me in the same way. You’ll be disgusted with me.”

“Never. Don’t shut me out. I want to help. Trust me Peter.”

There was a small cushioned bench at the other end of the room and Peter took my hands and lead me over to it. We sat down quietly and he looked deep into my eyes. He began to speak, the words just falling from his mouth; I doubted he was even thinking about the words before they reached his mouth. He told me how he had first figured out who had performed the raid on his house and killed his father. There was a reason why he had been gone so long. This kind of thing took tracking and research.

“I realized that even though my father was a grievance in my life, I still had loved him. And I was still angry that he had been taken from me. I always thought I had the chance to make things better between us. But that chance was taken from me and I was left just feeling empty. When I found the guy…who…who had killed him I…”

“Peter what?” His face got red.

“I killed him Katie. I killed him. It was an honest duel and everything but he’s DEAD! He murdered my father like he was an animal so I did the SAME TO HIM! IT WAS WHAT HE DESERVED!”

Peter shuddered and buried his face away. He curled up, bringing up his legs to his chest; his cheeks wet with tears.

I didn’t know what to say but there was really only one thing to do. I put my arms around him and leaned my head against his. I don’t know if it helped but we didn’t move for a long time; my dinner forgotten on the ground.

I didn’t realize then that this was only a small part of the story.

********

In October there was a big ceremony held at Hogwarts for the admittance of new professors, and Remus was among them. Naturally our entire force got together, dressed up, and prepared to spend our evening at Hogwarts.

We arrived in the early evening a little before dinner. We all wanted some time to wander the castle and visit some old places and greet old friends who had found their way back for another time. A few other students from our year were also becoming professors so it was nice to see them again. Remus was so nervous it was adorable. He was requested to give the speech at the ceremony. After a delicious dinner of cheesy chicken and potatoes Remus gave his inspiring and encouraging speech to all the professors, old and new. It was interesting to see all the professors again. Most hadn’t changed but somehow they seemed different when we weren’t in school anymore. After the speech dessert was served and James proposed a closing toast.

“This one is for Remus,” he said happily. “For becoming the best professor that will ever walk these halls. “

“And he already knows all the pranks his students can possibly play on him,” Sirius laughed, putting up his glass. We all clinked our classes and whispered congrats to Remus.

“Since everyone is in such a great mood,” Lily grinned. “I think I’ll throw another log on the fire.”

We all turned to look at her.

“I’m pregnant! I’m going to have a baby!”

*******

And that is the end of chapter twenty! Ow! I got some pretty vicious sun burn today and its killing me. Shhhh don’t tell my mom. She told me I didn’t have enough sun block on and I HATE it when she’s right. So I worked through the pain and produced this hoping that you really liked it!!! I hope you had fun and I’ll see you when She’s In Love With the Rat turns 21!

Love you all!
-Kira

Chapter 21: My Betrayal
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

Welcome, welcome to another chapter. Well, they say good things come to those who wait and I can’t say how thrilled I am to see that you have returned. Yes, yes things are unfortunately running down on this story. I would say only about two chapters left. This rest of this story will have to be completed pretty quickly as my writing has now become a race against time. You see in about a week and a half my family is moving, and when we move I have no idea what my internet access will be like. Obviously, no internet no story. But I’ll try as hard as I can to finish it before I have to leave. And on one more note, packing totally sucks! But enjoy this chapter and be very glad that you have nothing to pack…I hope. (Unless it is for vacation in which case I am beyond jealous of you.) Oh, and by the way this chapter is VERY long. You might want to take it in two shots. I would.

Chapter Twenty One

My Betrayal

The war got worse as the months continued to pass and everything got worse with it. As tight as things were before, they got even tighter. James and Sirius were being desperately overworked; even though they were just beginning Aurors they had work being dumped on them from all levels. I felt completely insignificant continuing to work at Flourish and Blotts but I didn’t have any other choice. Normally the job wasn’t too bad but it got worse with the war. Diagon Alley was not as popular as it used to be considering most people were having trouble affording the things they normally bought. Business at the store ran to an all time low making work just as low. My wages were decreased because of the slow business; just what I needed.

As much as James and Sirius were being overworked, Lily was even more. It would be awhile before she would start her maternity leave and the hospital was always full of new war injuries. I was shocked beyond belief that the press still seemed bent on not letting the public know exactly what was going on in their world.

“Why are we still getting this crap?” I asked Vicky one night, gesturing to the latest edition of the Daily Prophet. Vicky only responded with a shrug as I chucked the paper into the garbage.

Peter was another person who was being overworked. The problem was that I didn’t know what he was working on. He would simply go every morning and return every night. Sometimes he would go on business trips and be gone for a few days at a time. Nearly every time I visited Peter’s apartment I was sure to run into Nott. It became viciously annoying and my dislike for the man continued to grow. It was a hard thing to put my finger on but he was just…so…so irritating. He was always with Peter and they always seemed to be talking. And the way they would always talk in hushed tones made me think that they were talking about something really important, but it was something that I couldn’t know about. Peter used to tell me everything, now it seemed like he was telling Nott.

It wasn’t that Peter didn’t talk to me. He did talk but it always felt that he was holding something back. Something was on the tip of his tongue but every time he seemed about to reveal what it was he would stop himself and take in a deep, shuddering breath. I would have loved to ask him what was going on but I truly didn’t know the questions to ask. It felt as if I was chasing a ghost; a shadow. Sometimes it was there and sometimes it wasn’t. How could I worry myself over something that I couldn’t even describe? Worried about one of my stupid paranoid feelings? I couldn’t be. In times such as these faith is needed above all things; faith I could not afford to lose. I spilled all these feelings to Lily when she was about three months into her pregnancy.

“What is it that you don’t like about him?” Lily asked as she dug into a thick piece of cheesecake; her latest craving at four months pregnant.

“I don’t like him because he’s always there!” I responded; pouring myself a glass of juice. “He and Peter are always together and…”

“You’re jealous?’ Lily asked, licking a creamy bite from her fork.

“I am NOT jealous!” I protested, promptly choking on the gulp of juice in my mouth. I calmed myself, putting a hand on my chest. “I really don’t think its jealousy. I mean when Peter and I are together he is so wonderful. It’s not as if he neglects me when we’re together. It’s just that I feel like he’s talking to Nott instead of me. And he’s so wonderful that when I think like this I just end up feeling guilty.”

“You can’t ever feel guilty for your feelings,” Lily responded wisely. “Maybe you should just talk to him about this.”

“But what is this?” I asked, confusing myself. “How would I even begin to explain how I’m feeling? Sometimes I don’t even know myself. I’ve never been this way before. I find myself randomly crying for no reason at all. As if something is coming but I don’t know what it is?”

“Hey, I’m supposed to be the one that is weeping at random times,” Lily said, her bright red hair pulled back into a high ponytail. “Just talk to him. Peter understands you so I’m sure you will both get to the bottom of these feelings.” I grinned at Lily and gave her a hug.

“Alright, I’ll talk to him.”

********

I didn’t talk to him. As I headed to work for a short shift I talked myself out of it. Peter did tell me things. I mean Peter told me something truly severe. He had killed someone in the time that he had disappeared and he admitted it to me. That could not have been easy.

When I finally reached Diagon Alley and entered the shop it was in its usual empty state. Everyone looked up when I entered, hoping that I would be a customer. Their expressions darkened when they saw it was simply Katie Potter. I was about to sit at my desk and begin to sift through the tiny pile of paperwork that had found its way to me when Mr. Fredrick, the store manager, called me to his office. His office was really just a small, rickety desk set up in the back corner of the store. Mr. Fredrick was a small, bald man with a pointed brown mustache. He had always been kind to me and his eyes were sympathetic when I reached the back of the store.

“Katie,” he started, gently and I could sense the foreboding feeling in the air. Mr. Fredrick went on to explain how they were stretched thin for any sort of money and that they could no longer keep me on the staff.

“We’re letting you go,” he ended his speech saying. I know he felt bad so that helped. It let me know that he did care. I had been beyond angry when I left my job at the Prophet but I didn’t feel nearly as bad after I lost this one. This job had been holding me back.

Still, I felt rather downcast when I slumped back to my apartment four hours earlier than usual. The mail was on the kitchen counter as usual and two letters with bright blue seals in the shape of a phoenix caught my eye. I sifted the rest of the letters off of them and found that one was indeed addressed to me., the other for Vicky. I moved over to the couch and slit open the seal with my finger before slipping a thin piece of parchment out of the envelope. The letter was written in tall, slanted letters with an elegant curve.

Dear Ms. Potter,

I urge you to make sure that no one is reading this over your shoulder for it is for your eyes only. You have been sent this letter because I know that you will be able to effectively help our cause. I know you know that the war is getting worse and that the Ministry is taking few if any steps to prevent it from escalating even further. I feel that the only way we can stop this war is by taking swift and decisive action. I propose gathering our most clever minds in all fields of magic and thinking. Together I believe that we will be able to put an end to this war before more lives are affected. So if you are feeling what I am feeling and are hoping for what I am hoping for I ask you to join me at the Shrieking Shack this Saturday night at 8:00. A strange meeting place you may think but these are strange times. Do not under any circumstances speak of this to anyone until after this meeting and you meet the rest of the people who will become part of this society. The Ministry will not look kindly upon this forming so we must use the utmost discretion. This shadow of evil will pass but we can make it pass quicker. I know I will see you Saturday night and I am looking forward to it so we can begin to put an end to this war for good.

Respectively yours,

Albus Dumbledore

The Order of the Phoenix

-Also please bring this letter as you will need it in order to be admitted.

The door slammed and I jumped a mile. I heard Vicky laugh from behind me.

“Are you alright?” Vicky grinned. “You look a little pale.”

“I need to talk to you about something,” I replied, running my finger tip along the words Order of the Phoenix.

“Wait,” I told myself as Vicky started to put her things down. The letter urged us to use absolute discretion. What if she hadn’t received the same letter? What if it was something totally different? By the time I had gotten my mind around these thoughts Vicky had come over and sat n the couch next to me.

“What’s up?” she asked casually.

“Nothing,” I responded lamely. “Just make sure you look through the mail. I thought I saw something in there for you.”

********

Considering I now, yet again, had no job the next few days that led up to Saturday really dragged by. Luckily there was a supreme air of excitement that made the days slightly more bearable. However, it was insanely hard not to speak to anyone about this, considering how secretive and intense it sounded.

Finally Saturday night arrived and I left a little before eight so I would be exactly on time. I was more than a little nervous. What was this all about? The letter had intrigued me, to say the least, but I couldn’t help feeling a little on edge. What if this was some kind of vicious practical joke. Maybe Valarie was still out there trying to screw up my life again. I had to giggle at that thought.

I had never been to the Shrieking Shack, it had always scared me. After Remus’ confession I of course knew it wasn’t haunted. However, knowing it was where Remus suffered and changed into a werewolf didn’t ease my tension. I spent a lot of time staring and the Shrieking Shack before I had the courage to go knock on the door. I had always imagined the place to be deserted so it felt very strange to be knocking on the door. However when I did knock the door was promptly opened and a house elf, with tremendously long ears appeared.

“Your letter Miss?” he squeaked importantly. I showed it to him, wondering what the house elf would do if I was a person that didn’t have a letter. Would he smack me with his ears?

“This way please,” the house elf said sharply heading off down a narrow hallway. The Shrieking Shack was in the nicest words, crude and disgusting. Why would someone pick this hole for such an important meeting? The walls were falling apart and they were a sickly grey color. Floorboards were sticking up from the ground looking like gnarled fingers threatening to grab me. The house scurried in front of me nimbly; me following, tripping like a fool. He, or she, finally stopped at a door and gestured for me to enter. I nodded, smiling before slipping inside. The room was ridiculously cramped. Two of the walls were terribly small, making the room a sharp, rectangular shape. A long table, one that looked as if it had given many splinters in the past, was shoved into the center with rickety chairs around it. Dumbledore was sitting at the head of this table, beaming in light blue robes, contrasting intensely with the gloomy backdrop.

“Ms. Potter!” he exclaimed, smiling. “Please, come sit!” I scanned the room and to my utter relief saw Remus sitting at one end of the table. I smiled pleasantly at Dumbledore before sliding into the seat next to Remus.

“Thank god you’re here,” I whispered. “I was starting to think…”

“That you were in the wrong place?” Remus tried.

“No, that I had gone absolutely mad.” I was even more thrilled when James, Lily, Sirius, and Vicky joined us not to much later. There were people I didn’t know of course though I did recognize a few other Hogwarts graduates from our grade. But…no Peter.

“Don’t worry,” I told myself. “We don’t even know what this thing is about. I might not even want to be a part of it.” As if hearing my thoughts, Dumbledore stood and began to address the small group of people, about twenty.

“Welcome to the first meeting of the Order of the Phoenix,” he said, in that soft, yet commanding voice. “In my letter I began to explain what it is that we will be doing here. We have one main purpose, and that is to stop Voldemort, and more importantly the war. Voldemort is a terribly powerful wizard with a lust for pain and suffering of innocent people, especially muggles. He has a band of followers called Death Eaters who are just as bent on killing and rampaging our world. I know you all know this. I just want to remind you what it is we are up against. This is not going to be easy. People could be injured, or your very life might even be lost. I feel it necessary to tell you that this is beyond dangerous work that I am asking you to become involved with. If you feel that you cannot deal with such tremendous pressure I ask you not to partake in these events and leave here guilt free. I am not commanding you to be a part of this organization, it is simply a request. The twenty two people I have invited here tonight have special talents, talents that can and will help us put a stop to this war.”

Dumbledore continued by going around the room, pointing to each person and how they would be assisting the Order. Some would be excellent spies, not only to spy on the enemy but on the Ministry as well. Some would be recruiters; searching for more people to join us. When he got to Lily he explained how she could give immediate care to those who were injured in the field of duty. James and Sirius had fantastic dueling skills, not to mention tracking skills and many more. Remus had an excellent knowledge of spells and he also had a wonderful head of wisdom on his shoulders, which is more valuable than a wand.

Before Dumbledore got to me I had to wonder what it was he thought I was good at. What the hell was I good at? I couldn’t think of much. Too late. He was looking at me.

“Ms. Potter is a fantastic writer; she used to work for the Daily Prophet.” Well he certainly didn’t miss a trick.

“In today’s world the public needs to be informed, not of stories fabricated by the government but the truth. If they don’t know the truth they cannot be expected to react properly to the situation that is currently barring down upon them. So I think it would be advantageous to have Ms. Potter and some others of course, to begin a sort of underground newspaper. We would distribute it to the public and allow them a window to the truth.” No one else interrupted Dumbledore as he spoke about them so I kept silent as he passed on to the next person.

An underground newspaper? That sounded crazy! But at the words underground newspaper, my heart did jump a little in my chest. Finally a way to tell the real stories. Finally! I had to admit it; Dumbledore had seemed to have gathered a group of sensational people. But where was Peter? And the worst thing was that if he wasn’t here, I couldn’t talk to him about any of this. Nothing at all.

****July 31, 1980****

“Robert, I need those notes on my…well on my pathetic little shelf by seven!” Nearly five months later I found myself, on the hottest day of the year thus far, desperately trying to finish the latest edition of the Phoenix Press by its deadline.

“And tell Allen that if he doesn’t have that copy to me in ten minutes I’m going to kill him!” In the past months the Order of the Phoenix as well as my (I mean our) little underground newspaper had grown terribly fast. The Shrieking Shack had changed nearly as much as the Order itself. Don’t get me wrong, it was still a pile of crap, but it had a homey feeling to it, probably because we all spent so much time there. It was constantly buzzing with people, sometimes in good moods, sometimes desperately serious. Situations at the Order could change in a heartbeat. About two months ago we had all been working happily when James had to be rushed in after he had gotten infected with some weird magical fungus. Lily took care of him for three solid weeks, while still being pregnant of course.

We had more failures than successes at the Order. People got hurt, properties were destroyed, and yes, we even had one death. But the success made it worth it. When we got a Death Eater captured. When we followed a lead a rescued some kidnapped muggles. When we received random owls from the public thanking us for writing the truth in our paper. Things like that kept us going. Kept us thinking that we were actually making a difference in the world.

Sweat was literally running down from my forehead when Allen entered my “office” which was actually a corner of a musty old room that was home to an old pipe organ.

“Ok,” he breathed his sweat with seeping through his shirt. “So Robert said I have until ten to finish the copy?”

“No!” I hollered, completely exasperated. Remmy the house elf (yep, the one with the big ears) rushed into the room in the middle of my rant.

“Ms. Potter?”

“Allen, I said that I needed the copy in ten MINUTES!!!!”

“I can’t do that!”

“Well you’re gonna!” Allen left in a huff. I always get a little hostile when it gets close to deadline time, I can’t help it. The heat, obviously the Shrieking Shack had no sort of cooling system, was unbearable. Sometimes a rare breeze would drift in through a hole in the roof but that was it. When I ranted about like this I think I scared some people, but in truth I had never felt so alive. I loved being in charge. And I loved being in charge of something that gave me so much pride to do.
“Ms. Potter?” Remmy asked again, tearing me from my thoughts.

“Sorry Remmy,” I answered. “What’s up?”

“I have an urgent message from your brother. He says you need to get to St. Mungos right away.”

“Is he alright?” I asked, urgently.

“Yes, yes,” Remmy squeaked. “It’s Lily. She’s gone into labor.”

“Oh my…” I murmured, falling into my seat. For a moment, no deadline existed, no Order even. Lily was in labor! The baby was coming! I started to shove papers and things into my shoulder bag when Robert came back into the room.

“Are you going somewhere?” he asked, eyeing my motions curiously.

“Yes, my niece or nephew is about to be born!” I exclaimed, starting for the door.

“You can’t go!” Robert said, stepping front of me with his huge pile of papers. “This is one of the most important editions of the paper. The Madame Selena story is in here! We’re not going to finish this without you!”

I sighed defeated before setting my bag down back on the ground.

“How much longer?” I inquired, even though I pretty much knew the answer already.

“At least a few more hours.”

“Alright.”

********

It was much more than a few hours. Hours upon hours. But we got it done, thank heavens. By the time I finally reached the correct hospital, after having gone to two wrong ones, it was nearly eleven o clock. I ran into Mum, Dad, and Charles in the waiting room. I hugged them all and there were kisses all around.

“How is it all going?” I asked, tired and excited at the same time.

“We’re still waiting,” Mum replied, beaming. “They moved her to the delivery room awhile ago but we haven’t heard anything new yet.”

Less than an hour later James came out with a dizzy smile on his face.

“I have a son!” he gasped, to our great joy. We all shared a tangled family embrace. I could feel happy tears form in my eyes. I had a nephew! A little while later we were all invited to come inside and see the baby. Lily looked exhausted but tremendously pleased with herself. My tears came faster when I saw the little baby in her arms. The beautiful baby boy had a lot of dark hair on top of his head and his little eyes were shut tightly. He was passed around from person to person and when he finally reached my arms I sighed with happiness.

“I’m pretty sure this is the most beautiful baby ever born,” I smiled happily. “Does he have a name?”

“Yes,” Lily answered proudly. “His name is Harry. Harry James Potter.”

“Hi, Harry,” I said quietly as his gorgeous eyes opened. “He’s looking at me!” I realized that moments like this are what make life worth living.

********

More time passed and soon the new year started. Harry grew and grew. Mum, Lily’s parents, and me always fought over him when Lily and James required a babysitter. He was a happy baby and probably the most adorable. I realize that everyone thinks that about their nephew but this time it’s true. Harry is just too cute!!! As months in the new year continued to pass he just got more and more adorable and he would just do more adorable things.

“Yeah, but you don’t have to deal with him when he’s crying at all hours of the night,” James told me, cracking a grin.

“Harry can cry all he wants,” I said jokingly. “He has you for a father.”

Not only Harry was growing. The conflict in our world continued to grow as well. Not in size, but in intensity. Both sides suffered losses and gains but no one was truly winning. Attacks got more vicious as well as our defenses. Our efforts at the Order were forced to double. My worry for the ones I cared about grew also. One day when I went to Lily and James’ to visit them and Harry they told me some rather troubling news.

“Dumbledore has suggested that we go into hiding,” James said, not really meeting my eyes.

“Why?”

“Not really sure,” James replied, and I knew he was lying. “But always do what the Dumbledore orders.”

I didn’t laugh at his little pun.

“For how long? Where will you go? How is this to be arranged?”

“We can’t really say,” Lily answered from the sink, where she was giving Harry a bath. “Dumbledore has demanded that we are completely secretive about this, even from the people we love.”

“Okay,” I said, uncertainly, going to the sink and wiping bubbles from Harry’s head. My heart twisted uncomfortably as I wondered when I would see them all together again.

********

A couple more months later I was sitting in Peter’s apartment waiting for him to finish making tea. Our relationship had improved even more since I had started to work at the Order. Peter’s job had always been rather secretive and now mine was the same. I couldn’t tell him anything so I was forced to tell him that I was still working at Flourish and Blotts. I didn’t like lying to him but I didn’t have any other choice. The Order of the Phoenix thrived on its secrecy and I had promised in my early days that I would never do anything to compromise it. It bothered me that Peter had not been invited in the first place but what could I do? It was not my job to find people.

Peter and I chatted until I absolutely had to get back to work at the Order.

“So come over to dinner tonight?” I asked, slipping my arms around Peter’s waist. “I’ll cook.”

“I don’t know,” Peter replied, cracking a smile.

“Okay, I won’t cook,” I said, catching onto his joke.

“Then I’ll be there. And I’ll have a surprise for you.”

“Well, I’ll see you later then,” I smiled and kissed him goodbye.

********

I looked up from my simple dinner preparations (I used a magical cookbook which did most of the scary work for me) when I heard a knock at my door. I knew it was Peter before I even opened the door.

“Hey, love,” he smirked, sweeping me into his arms.

“So what’s the surprise?” I asked, pecking him on the cheek. Peter dug into the brown shoulder bag clinging to his side and started to dig around. He fished for a few seconds and then pulled out an old video tape.

“Later,” he declared. “Let’s eat.”

While we ate Peter seemed supremely distracted and slightly nervous. I asked him multiple times what it was that was bothering him so but his responses were vague and unhelpful. So we ate nearly in silence but kept our eyes on each other the entire time.

“I love you so much,” Peter said suddenly when I was about to clear the tables off. I walked over to Peter and he pulled me down so I was sitting on his lap. I gave him a lopsided grin and was surprised to see how serious his face seemed. I was about to ask him again what was troubling him but he started talking first.

“I’ve been wanting to do this for days upon days. So many things have been telling me not to, that I’m not ready. But my heart tells me to just do it. I’ve never loved anyone as much as I love you and I know I never will again. You are the best thing that ever happened to me and I don’t ever want to be without you. I know there is about a million other more romantic ways to do this, and I know that women dream about this moment all there lives. But this is how I’m doing it. I know it’s far from perfect and it’s probably barely romantic but this is it, this is all I’ve got.”

Then, he reached into his pocket and out came a little velvet box. And my heart skipped a beat and I stopped taking in breaths. Oh my gosh. Then the box was opened and a ring with a spectacular, sparkly diamond glittered before my eyes. The light jumping from the sensational ring started to swirl as my eyes filled with tears.

“Katie…”

Oh god. He’s going to do it.

“Will you marry me?” I clapped a hand to my mouth as tears continued to patter down my face.

“Yes,” I gasped. “Of course I’ll marry you!”

**** October 30, 1981****

“That is quite a rock!” Mum said two days later when I finally made it out to her house to show her the ring.

“I know, can you believe it?” I gasped, the food that was set in front of me, untouched. I was much more set on talking now than eating.

“What does Peter do again?” Mum asked, grabbing my hand for a closer inspection. “I mean this couldn’t have been cheap.”

“What are you saying?” I snapped, pulling my hand roughly away. Mum picked a little at the food in front of her.

“It just…this whole mystery job thing again. Everyone in the world is stretched thin at the moment. We’ve been forced to give up certain luxuries. I’m just wondering how he could afford all this.”

“He loves me,” I responded, an edge in my voice. “He wanted to make this as special as possible. He works hard.”

“At what though?” Mum persisted, her mouth full of sandwich. “He worries me. And now that you guys are…you know…you worry me too. I want to know you are going to be safe with him.”

“There is no place I’d be safer!” I found myself yelling. “He would die before he’d let anything happen to me. He takes care of me. And if you care about me at all you would accept him and know that he is a wonderful person who brings out the best in me.”

“Excuse me for being concerned,” Mum muttered, rolling her eyes in that Katie-is-being-ridiculous sort of way.

“Well stop it!” I exploded. “I came over here to celebrate the fact that I’m engaged but you continue spewing suspicions about the man I’m in love with.”

“Well, if you intend to continue being so hostile, maybe you should just go,” Mum responded darkly.

“Fine!” I growled. “Goodbye!”

********

I stormed into Peter’s place later, my hair frazzled and red in the face. He heard my loud entrance and came into the kitchen.

“Hi, you’re early,” he said, looking concerned at the rage in my eyes.

“My mother does NOT know how to let something go!” I cried, throwing my hands around in violent motions. My voice was so loud that it carried through the entire apartment.

“What do you mean?” Peter asked, looking at the door behind him.

“She got on me again about your job. She saw how big the ring was a started asking more questions. She won’t let it go. I don’t understand what she wants from me.”

“An explanation I suppose,” Peter answered uncomfortably. “But I’ve told you nearly everything. My job revolves around secrets, secrets I can’t talk about just because your mother needs to know.”

“Maybe if you told me just a little bit more…” I tried.

“He can’t.” A new voice entered the room and I looked over Peter’s shoulder to see Gallgrin Nott join us from the adjoining room.

“Our jobs depend on us being secretive,” Nott said silkily, moving so he was standing next to Peter. “Maybe you should appreciate the fact that your future husband makes enough money to even buy you a ring like that.”

“Oh really?” I was beyond mad at this point. Who the heck was this guy to criticize me? He didn’t even know me. My dislike for the man grew intensely.

“Yes,” Nott pressed on. “Suspicions and questions like that from your mother are dangerous in times like these. They can get people into trouble.” He was looking at Peter when he was saying this.

“It won’t happen again,” Peter muttered back to him. Nott whispered something else to Peter but then swept past me and left the apartment. I ran a hand through my hair in agitation.

“Why does he always have to be here?” I asked, my eyes flashing dangerously. Peter came closer and tried to take my hand but I pushed it away. “I mean seriously. Does he always have to be around? I hate that guy!”

“HEY!” Peter yelled, making me jump. “Gallgrin Nott is not only my friend but he is one of my greatest friends!”

“Why?” I yelled back. “What has he done to earn such a prestigious position in your life?”

“He saved my life!” Peter roared.

“What are you talking about?”

“When we were…out there…I was in trouble,” Peter answered numbly. “I would have been killed if Gallgrin didn’t act when he did. He saved my life and because of him I’m standing in front of you.”

I silent tear ran down my face as I moved cautiously towards Peter and pressed myself into his arms, my engagement ring glinting in the light as I moved.

“I’m so sorry,” I whispered. “I won’t doubt you or your judgment.” Peter, satisfied with this answer, whispered back an apology and stroked my hair gently.

**** October 31, 1981****

“Are you sure you don’t want to come to lunch with my mother?” I asked for the fifth or sixth time to Peter. “I mean it might help to smooth things over if she saw you and remembered how much she likes you. And Dad and Charles are out for the weekend for some father-son time so it would really just be my mother. You wouldn’t be bombarded by the whole family.”

We were in my apartment and I was rushing to collect myself before heading off to an apology lunch with Mum.

“I’m having lunch with Sirius,” Peter replied.

“Just with Sirius?” I asked. “What’s going on?”

Peter shrugged.

“He said he needed to talk to me about something. It sounded pretty important too. He seemed really grim and secretive about the whole thing.”

“Well good luck with that,” I answered, knowing he wasn’t going to go into much more detail. “And I will see you later.” I started to leave the room and Peter put on a pout.

“I don’t get a kiss?” he whined. I giggled and rushed back to kiss him before giving him a wink and sprinting out the door.

********

I had to make a stop at the Order of the Phoenix Headquarters before heading over so I got to Mum’s a little later than I expected; it was more evening time than afternoon. I rang the bell when I got to the house just in case Mum was in the shower or something. I knocked three times and there was still no response. I reached down and moved the flowerpot that decorated our front porch and stooped down to pick up an old key that was lying underneath it. It stuck a little in the lock but I eventually managed to get the door open and step into the foyer.

“Mum?” I called. The house was strangely silent and for some reason I felt goose bumps prickle all along my arms. I wandered through the lower level; hit the living room, family room, kitchen, and even the laundry room. No Mum. I rubbed at my neck in agitation. She said she would be here.

Upstairs seemed like the only place left to go. I slipped off my shoes before stepping onto the clean, cream colored carpet that blanketed the stairs. I hurried up the steps into the narrow hallway that split off into four bedrooms and one bathroom. I was about to call out again when the door to my parent’s room burst open, spitting smoke.

I started to choke after I immediately swallowed a bunch of the swirling black mass. It stung my eyes harshly and I could feel sweat immediately drench my body, as if someone had dumped a bucket of it over my head. I waved my hand violently in front of my face, desperate to see anything. At that moment a figure flew out of the smoke filled room, heading for the stairs. I staggered forwards and found myself directly in their path. I noticed that the figure had a manly stature as he slammed into me. He was wearing a mask but those eyes…did I know those eyes. He threw me roughly from him a continued to barrel down the stairs. I crashed to the floor, my knees giving out.

I was coughing crazily from the smoke but somehow managed to find the strength to crawl into my parent’s room. I could feel the smoke slipping along my neck and arms as I frantically searched for anything and anyone.

“Mum,” I gasped, as more smoke entered my mouth. I crawled around feeling around on the carpet until I came to some fabric and then suddenly a hand. I grabbed it instantly and held it to my chest.

It would be a good half hour before the smoke would start to dissipate. And then I would finally see Mum, spread out on the floor. Her face had a nasty slash across it and her eyes were wide open. But they were empty. I found my chest getting tight as I realized that Mum…was gone.

********

“Drink this,” Sirius said gently, thrusting a glass of water at my hands yet again.

“I don’t want it,” I gasped, but taking it anyway. “Did you get a hold of James and Lily?” Sirius shook his head.

“They need to stay hidden. Dumbledore is taking care of it.” I took a sip of the water, most of it slopping over my shirt. My hand was shaking constantly so I was forced to set it down. I was sitting in my apartment with Sirius waiting for Peter, Remus, and others to arrive.

Sirius told me that I was in shock. I sat on one of Vicky’s barstools rocking back and forth. I didn’t feel shocked. I felt sick. I felt like I needed to jump out of my own skin. I kept rubbing my arms, even though I wasn’t in the slightest bit cold.

“Ministry officials are inspecting the house,” Sirius explained. “And owls have been sent to your father requesting his immediate return.” I heard these words but they just sort of bounced off me. I was too clouded to listen, as if all that smoke had invaded my brain. How could the world go back to the way it was? How could things ever get better? I was about to take another drink from my glass when the door burst open and Peter entered, followed by none other than Nott.

I stiffened immediately at the sight of that man and a serious sense of recognition came over me. Those eyes. I stood up as Peter approached.

“Katie,” Peter started, extending his arms, but I pushed them away.

“You,” I breathed, pointing at Nott. “It was you. You did it.”

“Did what?” Peter asked gently, looking terribly concerned.

“He killed Mum. He was IN the house when I got there.”

“Katie, you know that’s not true.”

“NO!” I shrieked loudly. “I saw him. I KNOW it was him!” I made a dangerous stride over to Nott to smack him across the face but Sirius caught me first.

“Don’t,” he gasped, his eyes tired but still fierce. “Are you sure you saw him?”

Was I sure? Not totally. It was just a feeling. I recognized him. It HAD to be him. A deep feeling that was refusing to be silenced.

“I don’t think you could have seen him,” Peter suddenly said, coming up next to us.

“And why is that?” Sirius snapped. He was glaring at Nott confirming my feeling that Sirius also got a strange vibe from him.

“Because Nott was with me at the time, working at the office,” Peter responded. I shoved Sirius’ arm from me and flew at Peter.

“If he was with you why didn’t he just say so?!” I asked, raising an angry eyebrow.

“You didn’t give him a chance!” Peter yelled. “After I had lunch with Sirius I went back to the office and Nott WAS there. I’m sorry that this happened but don’t go blaming my friend because you don’t like him!”

“Do you swear?” I demanded, with a quivering lip. “Do you swear he was with you?”

Peter sighed and looked as if he was thinking very hard. Then he looked back at me.

“Years ago, when we were still in Hogwarts you promised me that you would never doubt me again. I need you to keep that promise now.” I threw my hands up in frustration and the agonizing pain I was feeling but knew that Peter was right. I had promised him that I wouldn’t doubt him. But this was different. This was something much more intense than an old promise.

“What about me?!” I shrieked. “What about you trusting me?! How can you believe him but not me?”

“Katie…” Peter started, but I had already got my answer. Peter was going to take Nott’s side.

I shut my eyes tight and wished that everything would go back to normal. Mum would be alive again and everything would be fine. But when I dared myself to open my eyes again nothing had changed. Everyone was still staring at me as if I had gone insane. I looked over at Peter. This was the most awful day of my life and here he was defending Nott instead of my feelings. My insides started to squirm and hurt so I pushed past everyone and went for the door.

I looked over to see over my shoulder once to see Peter coming after me. By the time I reached the doorknob Nott had caught Peter by the arm and said firmly,

“Let her go.”

With an angry yell I wrenched the engagement ring off my finger and whipped it across the room.

Nott’s eyes caught mine for a moment and I glared as hard as I could at him before opening the door, grabbing my keys from their little hook, and slamming it after me.

*******

Considering I had just left my own apartment and had no where to go I headed to the only place I had a key to; Peter’s place. It felt strange to have abandoned my own apartment when I really should have just kicked everyone out. But my strength of thought was focused elsewhere; on Nott. I hated him with every fiber of my being. I hated that Peter’s attention was focused on him all the time. I hated the fact that I hated him. I hated the fact that I KNEW he had something to do with the death of my mother. I KNEW it. I just couldn’t prove it.

“Stop it,” my brain commanded. “Peter promised that he had nothing to do with it. They were both working together at the time.” These thoughts continued to attack each other in my head until I reached Peter’s apartment and flung open the door. I felt so full of sadness and despair. I wanted Peter to come through the door and take me in his arms. I wanted him to tell me that everything was going to be alright, even if it wasn’t. I was angry, so angry at Peter, but I needed him to be with me.

I had never needed Peter more than at these moments. I sat on the expensive blue couch in Peter’s apartment shaking like a leaf. I rocked back and forth my hair, stringy, and refusing to get out of my face. I put my trembling hand against my lips as a small stream of tears ran down my face to the corner of my mouth. I was warm and cold at the same time; my body couldn’t seem to decide how it was feeling. I continued shaking until I grabbed the garbage can from the floor and threw up into it. I staggered to the bathroom afterwards to wash out my mouth. I gasped at my appearance. I had never looked so unlike myself. My eyes were streaked with red lines, my cheeks were flushed and puffy and my hair had a greasy tinge considering it hadn’t been washed today. I thought I was calming down but at that moment my breathing became more ragged and I dissolved into hysterical tears again; a broken shell. I knelt down next to the sink feeling as if I might be sick again.

“Stop it,” I told myself. “This isn’t going to help anybody.” I sniffled loudly and crammed a tissue to my eyes to blot away the tears that somehow just kept coming. I felt starved for attention. I needed to be held. I needed to be wanted and cared about. Where was Peter? I calmed myself enough so I could brush my teeth, cleansing the sick feeling and taste from my mouth. I finally managed to make it back to the couch and curl up in a ball upon it. I felt as if I would never move again. I thought of Peter’s face and twisted my hair around on my finger.

“I need you,” I muttered, wondering if Peter could hear me; praying he could hear me. At that moment there was a knock at the door and I flew over to it wondering if my prayer had been answered. I threw the door open to find not Peter but Sirius standing before me. I could remember a time, I could just barely remember, when I would have died if Sirius had seen me in this sort of state. Sirius noticed my tearstained face and haggard appearance and pulled me into a much needed hug. We stood there in each other’s arms for minutes upon minutes. I breathed in Sirius’ scent; my face buried in his shoulder.

“You’re trembling,” he whispered in my ear. I didn’t know how or if he wanted me to respond to this statement so I kept silent. I pulled away from him and went back over to the couch.

“What are you doing here?” I asked, once again twisting my hair.

“I’m looking for Peter,” Sirius admitted, coming to sit next to me.

“Wasn’t he with you?”

“Yeah, but he left like a half hour ago,” Sirius responded. “I feel like I need to be with him tonight.”

“Well I have no idea where he is,” I declared miserably.

“I can’t believe he’s not here,” Sirius said understandingly. “I mean after everything that’s happened.”

“I know,” I gasped. “Sometimes I wonder if he really loves me.”

“Come on…” Sirius said. “You know he does.”

“He at least doesn’t love me the way he used to. He’s working a lot of the time and when he is actually with me, he’s distant and mysterious. He spends all his time with that Nott man when he should be with me. I’m going to be his wife…well was going to be. I just wish he felt the same way he used to.”

“Don’t worry,” Sirius answered tenderly, leaning forward and pushing a stray strand of hair out of my face. “Everything will turn out alright.” I took a deep breath as his fingers gently grazed my forehead. It felt good to feel again. I turned my head so my eyes were staring deeply into his. Sirius gulped and quickly removed his hand and stood up.

“I really should go,” he insisted. “I was looking for Peter…and clearly he’s not here.”

“I don’t want you to go,” I responded, going over to him. Sirius backed up as I cam closer. I gave him a small, half smile still coming closer. What was I doing? When I finally came up next to Sirius I stepped into his arms. If I had been my normal self at this moment my heart rate would have sky rocketed and my brain would have been shouting alarms at me. But I found myself surprisingly calm as I moved my hands up to Sirius’ face ignoring the image of my engagement ring in my head. Sirius’ eyes were full of confusion as I pulled his face to mine and put my lips to his.

His initial reaction was to pull away and he attempted to do so but I leaned in closer to make sure the connection between our lips were not broken. All the fear and surprise about what was happening was stifled by my need to be needed. It felt so good to be close to someone again and to be wanted. The kiss in reality only lasted a few seconds but it seemed to take much longer. I couldn’t believe that I was kissing Sirius Black. I used to dream about this moment but there was definitely something wrong.

“Sirius…” I muttered, pulling away and turning red. His eyes were still staring deeply into mine.

“I’m sorry,” I murmured, still not moving away from him. “I just…” I was cut off by a loud slamming sound that made us both look up.

“What was that?” I asked with my eyes and Sirius headed off in the direction where the sound had come from. He came back shrugging.

“I guess it was nothing.”

“As was this,” I stated, gesturing between Sirius and I the fear and reality of the situation setting in at last. Now my brain was shrieking things at me. “This never happened. We’re not going to talk about it. We’re not even going to think about it.”

“Okay,” Sirius replied calmly, still looking tragically confused. “I’ll go. I have…to…do….something.”

And then he was gone. I sank into the couch, putting a hand to my lips; they were tingling. What had I done?

I didn’t realize then that I had just made the biggest mistake of my life.

********

Oh my, and that is the wonderful chapter 21. Whew! That took a long time to write. Let me know what ya thought! I promise that it will only take a few seconds!!!!! Then get back outside and enjoy the gorgeous summer that is outside! Thanks for reading and I’ll see you for 22! Only two chapters left!!! Yikes!!!

Much love,

Kira


Chapter 22: Peter's Betrayal
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Hello once again!!!! Since the last chapter was almost painfully long this chapter is going to be refreshingly short. Yet, it will be a lot to take in I think. Must stop talking before I give something away. This is by far my favorite chapter for many reasons that I will not bore you with now. I don’t know for sure if anyone actually reads my little intro things but I just want to let you know how thankful I am for your support. And whoever the lovely person was whom nominated this story for a Dobby, I thank you from the bottom of my heart and would probably give you a hug if I knew you. *Gives everyone a virtual hug* Thanks to everyone, and now on to the chapter!

Chapter Twenty Two

Peter’s Betrayal

I was in a state beyond panic. I couldn’t believe what I had just done. Had I been out of my mind? In a way I suppose I had been. But still, what do I do now. What is there to do?

“Just forget about it,” I told myself firmly. I had more important things to think about. Like Mum. This whole kissing Sirius thing would have to wait until I got my head back on straight. At this point it seemed like my life would never return to the way it was. There was, of course, no chance of me sleeping. I was beyond emotionally confused. When I am this unnerved, there is really only one thing for me to do; write. I got out a thick wad of paper and began to write. I’m not sure if the words made sense or even if they were in the right order. I just wrote anything that came into my mind. I kept going and going even though my hand cramped up painfully. I kept going until the sun came up. I kept going well into the morning. It helped massively. For that precious strain of time I hadn’t thought of the mess that was now my life and the world around me.

I probably would have kept writing forever, but there was suddenly a knock at the door.

Remus was at the door; sunlight spilled into the room when I opened it. Once look at him caused me to gasp. I had seen Remus look bad before. I had seen him lower than I’m sure he ever wanted anyone to see him. But nothing compared to the way he looked now. It looked as if something deep inside him was eating away at his appearance. Any light that had remained in his eyes had been diminished, and his hair was plastered to his forehead telling me that he had not bathed this morning or the night before. He was trembling even though it was a rather warm autumn day. He looked on the verge of tears and his gaze seemed to stare right through me.

“Remus?” I asked, concerned. I held out a hand to him, to guide him over to the couch. Remus didn’t take my outreached palm, but continued to stand in the doorway with an indescribable expression on his drawn face.

“Where’s Sirius?” his voice, cracked when he spoke. My heart thudded in my chest. Did Remus know what I had done? Is that why he was looking so…different?

“I don’t know,” I responded shakily, hoping he would drop the subject.

“He came here last night then?” Remus asked, his voice weak, yet sharp.

“Yes,” I said, instantly wishing I had lied and told him that I hadn’t seen Sirius at all last night.

“Then you must know where he is,” he persisted, taking a step into the apartment.

“I’m sorry,” I answered, wondering why Remus’ voice even sounded different. “He came over for awhile but left fairly quickly. Nothing happened.” I hoped Remus couldn’t sense the guilt in my voice.

“You HAVE TO KNOW WHERE HE IS!” Suddenly Remus was yelling as I had never heard him yell before. He flew to me and grabbed me roughly by the shoulders; his eyes blazing.

“I NEED TO FIND HIM!” he roared. “AND YOU”RE GOING TO TELL ME WHERE HE IS!”

I was too scared and shocked to cry as I stared at Remus in innocent confusion.

“I don’t know where he is!” I stuttered; panic stricken. “Maybe ask James or Lily, or…

“THEY"RE DEAD!" Remus bellowed at the top of his lungs. “THEY”RE DEAD, THEY”RE ALL DEAD!”

All I could do was shake in Remus’ grasp. I couldn’t function, I couldn’t think, I couldn’t even see straight.

Finally, Remus relaxed his hold on me and backed away from me, looking at his hands in horror.

“God…” he shuddered, backing to the wall and sliding down it; his hands gripping his hair. “I AM a monster.”

I didn’t know what else to do, so I staggered to where he was sitting and slid down next to him. His head drooped onto my shoulder and we both sat there in silence; harsh and painful silence.

********

An hour later, both of us managed to discover our voices again. Remus explained to me in a numb voice everything that he had heard about the previous night.

“How could this have happened?’ I asked, biting my nails in my supreme agitation.

“Sirius betrayed them to Voldemort,” Remus replied. “It’s the only way.”

“He wouldn’t do that,” I answered firmly. “There’s no way.”

“But he wasn’t with you the whole night,” Remus said sadly. “He had more than enough time to relay their location to Voldemort.”

“What about Harry?” I asked, my eyes welling up again at the thought of the baby boy.

“Dumbledore thinks he should be sent to his aunt and uncle,” Remus answered.

"What about me?!" I protested, angrily. "I could take care of him."

Remus shrugged helplessly. I sighed, and tried not to think about how much Harry looked like James.

“I can’t believe that Voldemort is gone. How is that possible Remus? How?”

Remus didn’t answer the question, but told me that he had to go. He was leading the search for Sirius.

“I have to find him, Katie,” he murmured. He bid me farewell and I was left alone again.

********

When I opened my eyes the sick feeling in the pit of my stomach had not ceased. I had fallen asleep on the floor; in a strange place that I couldn’t remember choosing to lie down upon. Everything in my mind seemed to be hazy and pushed together. If someone had come up to me and asked me my name, I probably would have had problems. The hard floor had given me a throbbing headache as I pushed myself to my feet. When I had righted myself I headed for the kitchen for a glass of water, hoping something simple like water might help me feel better. As I passed into the kitchen I realized that there was a murmuring of voices coming from the next room.

Forgetting the glass of water, I moved silently to the door and pressed my ear against it. I recognized the voices instantly, having spied on them before, as Peter and Nott. Had they not seen me when they came in? I had been in a place that could be easily missed.

“What are we going to do?” Peter was saying. “What the hell are we going to do?”

“Don’t panic,” Nott responded. “We’re not even sure what happened.”

“He’s gone!” Peter snapped. “I after I told him the location he went, but he never came back!”

“They say that the Potter boy did it,” Nott, growled, and I could imagine him balling his hands into angry fists.

“How the hell is that possible?” Peter asked. “He’s only one!”

“I don’t know,” Nott continued. “But I do know that we have to get out of here. Before anyone discovers who we truly are.”

“I’ve got my trail covered,” Peter responded, in a boastful and condescending voice. “Black will take the fall for what I’ve done.”

I clapped a hand to my mouth to keep from gasping.

“We still need to get out of here,” Nott said. “It would be easier to avoid questioning of any kind.”

“Fine,” Peter said. “When do we leave.”

“I thought you didn’t want to leave your girlfriend.” Nott had a way of spitting the word “girlfriend.”

“She doesn’t love me,” Peter answered sharply, as a tear rolled down my cheek. “She loves Black. They’ve been going behind my back.”

“I told you having her in your life was dangerous,” Nott responded; his voice taking the arrogant tone Peter’s had previously held.

“She wasn’t dangerous,” Peter answered, a hint of hostility in his voice.

“Oh please,” Nott answered. “You were so blinded that you couldn’t see that her mother was a problem. Luckily I had the guts to take care of that little problem.”

“Is this thing supposed to sting like this?” Peter asked, and I found myself cracking the door just a tad to take a peek. Peter was sitting across from Nott with his left arm extended; the sleeve rolled up.

“So you finally got it eh?” Nott replied.

“Yeah,” Peter answered, a hint of pride in his voice. “After I gave up the Potter’s location…” He paused on the word “Potter’s” slightly. “The Dark Lord thought I deserved it at last. He gave it to me before he left. Of course by the time I’ve finally reached potential in his eyes he’s defeated by a one year old.”

Quick as a flash Nott grabbed Peter’s arm tightly and twisted it violently. Peter gasped in pain; his eyes scrunched shut.

“Do not speak of our master in that way,” Nott growled. “We must work together to find a way for his return. But we must go before the Aurors come to question you.” He let go of Peter’s arm, who drew it back into his body, rubbing at the pain.

“Won’t that be suspicious?” he asked, still holding his throbbing arm. For a moment I caught the sight of the Mark burned into his skin like a revolting tattoo; a skull with a hideous snake protruding from its mouth.

“Everyone thought Black was the Potter’s secret keeper,” Nott shrugged. “Hopefully everyone will be more focused on finding him.”

“And putting him where he belongs,” Peter added darkly.

I couldn’t bear to listen to anymore. I slipped away from the door and backed myself into the kitchen, wondering what the hell I was supposed to do next.

Leave. Go where? Home? No. I had to tell someone what I heard. But what about Peter? What about Sirius? My brain buzzed as I stood, absolutely still in the kitchen. I felt as if I would never move again. It was Peter. He killed my brother. He knew that Nott had killed Mum. He had killed Lily. It was his fault. How could he have known their hiding place? Sirius was the Secret Keeper, not Peter.

Suddenly a massive, grey owl flew into the room, scaring me to death. It had a small, ratty piece of parchment tied to its leg, and it ruffled its feathers loudly when I went to remove it. As soon as I had the small scroll, the owl launched itself back into the air and disappeared. I quickly unrolled the message and started to read.

Katie,

I hope you are still here and able to receive this letter. I don’t know how to begin to explain what has happened, but I don’t know anyone else who will listen. I am not responsible for what happened to Lily and James. I know that this is impossible for you to believe. Remus is beside himself with anger and grief and I know he will not listen to me, he wants nothing more than to bring me in. I’m in trouble Katie. Remember when I had lunch with Peter. I asked him that day to take my place as Secret Keeper. I thought it was for the best. I thought Peter would be the least likely of us to take the position, hence giving everyone a little more security. I’m sure me blaming Peter for last night’s events is the last thing you want to hear or accept. Below is my current location. It is a great risk revealing my location like this so I’m hoping you understand that I’m telling you the truth. I’m not asking you to believe me entirely, I’m just asking you to believe me enough to come meet me at the above location. I need to see you.

-Sirius

I took one look at the location under Sirius’ name, stuffed the letter into the pocket of my fleece and hurried out the door; without ever looking back.

*******

It took me awhile to reach my destination. The streets were full of celebrations. They were all cheering the downfall of Lord Voldemort. I could do nothing but shake my heads at them. Did they not know who had been lost last night? Did they not know what had happened? How many lives had been destroyed?

“Isn’t it wonderful?” a woman had said to me; pulling me into a hug as I passed. I had given her a weak smile before pushing onwards. Sirius’ location was in a quiet, little neighborhood, thick with trees and soft grasses. There was a small park in between two rows of houses. It was a little playground and a few colorful flowerbeds. I was to meet Sirius on one of the many small roads that twisted through the park.

When I reached the proper place I immediately turned around, searching for him.

Suddenly, I heard a loud bark. I turned to see a huge black dog barreling towards me. I was about to move out of the way when the dog’s shape began to melt away; until it was Sirius standing in front of me.

“I never thought you would actually show up,” he said, sounding truly shocked.

“I had to,” I answered, talking very fast. In a flash I revealed everything to Sirius that I had overheard.

“He did everything,” I gasped, tears coming up again. “He did it all. And I not only believed that he was good, I stopped believing my own thoughts and instincts. How could I have believed in that awful little rat!?”

Sirius hugged me close. “Because you love him. And he lied. We all trusted him when we should have realized something sinister was going on.”

“I just don’t understand,” I said, my hair sticking to my stream of tears. “He’s such a good person. I don’t understand how he could have done this.”

“I know, I know,” Sirius answered, but there was an edge in his voice. I knew he didn't believe Peter was a good person. “But if you heard what you heard, you need to tell someone. Not only will it clear me, it will set a lot of people straight.”

I kept silent.

“Katie, you know you have to come forward with this information.”

More silence. Sirius stared into my eyes, begging me to confirm.

“I know,” I cried. “I know I have to.” I was about to keep talking when a familiar voice broke into our conversation.

“Well, well, well. Picking up from where you left last night I see?” I dropped my hug of Sirius and turned to find Peter standing across from us with his arms folded. Sirius’ eyes darkened instantly.

“You son of a…” he started forwards, but Peter’s hand shot into his robes and out came his wand.

“None of that Black,” Peter snapped, his voice calm, his eyes terrible.

“Peter,” I tried desperately. “What…”

“Am I doing here?” Peter finished for me. “Well, you never were any good at spying behind doors and you aren’t very hard to follow. I knew you would lead me to him, so I decided to make absolutely sure that my trail was covered.”

“You were never captured by Death Eaters were you?” Sirius snapped, his eyes still glowing with hatred, even though Peter’s wand was pointed directly at him. “Instead, you joined them!” Sirius’ voice broke as he continued with tears of pure anger. “You were our friend! How could you?!

Peter’s smug expression faltered for just a moment.

Maybe I could get through to him. My palms were glistening with my fearful sweat as I struggled to find my voice.

“Peter, please,” I gasped, and Peter’s eyes moved over to me. “We want to help you. Please…please stop.”

Peter looked as if he was about to yell, but instead his voice stayed smooth and arrogant; tinted with ultimate dislike.

“Don’t waste your breath on more lies. I saw you kiss him. It’s just like you always wanted. You toyed with my emotions, made me think that you loved me. All along it makes sense that you loved someone like Black instead of someone like me. I only did what I did to make sure that we were safe; so we could move up in the world. I did it all for you.”

I gasped, putting a hand to my chest. My breathing was becoming ragged. I couldn’t believe all this was happening.

“You didn’t do this for her,” Sirius said from next to me, his eyes now dry. “You liked the power and the secrecy. For once you were doing something different, instead of being the spineless little rat you usually were. Unfortunately you turned out to be the worst possible version of yourself. You betrayed all the people who have ever loved you.”

“You have no idea of the power I’ve obtained.”

“Who are you?!” I said, overwhelmed with the intense emotion and shock. “I used to think of you as a person who would never, ever hurt me…and now. I can’t love, or even tolerate the person you’ve become.

“You took her from me,” Peter muttered darkly to Sirius, not hearing my words. “And you will pay.” Sirius glared at Peter but watched him carefully. Peter elegantly reached into his pocket, with his wand-less hand and pulled out a knife; gleaming in the sunlight.

“You will rot in Azkaban for the rest of your life.” I watched the knife with wide eyes. What was he going to do?

Instead of coming closer he put the knife to his hand. He screamed loudly as he dug the blade deep into his finger. I couldn’t even blink as I watched blood stream down his hand, the finger falling to the ground. In the time that Peter had cut off his own finger, Sirius had managed to pull his own wand out of his pocket.

“And now I finish this,” he growled, raising his wand.

Our voices must have carried across the park and into the streets because a small group of Muggles had gathered at the edge of the park, pointing and whispering to themselves.

“I better make this believable then,” Peter responded, a sick smile on his face. He took a look at the Muggles before speaking.

“James and Lily Sirius?” he yelled loudly. “How could you? They were our friends!”

Sirius roared with anger and stumbled, losing his footing. Peter smiled again. His eyes locked with mine. That last look…it was petrifying.

“Goodbye,” he whispered. An awful snarl formed on Peter’s face as he began to speak an incantation.

“He wouldn’t!” my brain screamed. I had to stop him. I could stop him. I rushed towards him as the last syllable of the spell, unknown to me, left his lips.

There was a deafening explosion and I felt my body being lifted in the air. I landed on my back, my head striking something hard behind me. My eyes rolled back in my head as a dull pain spread through my body. There was screaming and crying nearby, but my eyes were clouded by the smoke from the spell. My head felt oddly light and out of place. I couldn’t see Peter but the next thing I knew Sirius was next to me.

“Katie…oh god,” he gasped frantically. I could barely make out the outline of his face through the haze.

“I’m alright,” I said, even though the pain in my head was getting worse.

“No, you’re not,” Sirius moaned. “I’m going to get you a Healer. Just hold on a little longer.”

Hold on? What did that mean?

“Where’s Peter?” I asked, for some reason still praying he was safe.

“I don’t know,” Sirius replied, squeezing my hand hard.

“We need to help him Sirius,” I said dizzily. “He needs our help. We can do it. Promise me, you’ll help him.”

I never heard Sirius’ response. Dark shapes crowded around him and someone was pulling him away. I tried desperately to hold onto his hand but my fingers had no strength left. I heard him screaming my name but he seemed so far away… I seemed so far away…I

had to smile though. It didn't hurt anymore. All the pain that the last days had held seemed to melt away. I could still hear voices around me. And then there was light coming, a warm and comforting light. I just had to smile.

********

Remus Lupin arrived on the scene five minutes later. What a disaster. Muggles had been injured. Most needed modified memories, and there was a gaping hole in the pavement in the park. Remus hurried along what was left of the road offering help to the injured. He performed a few healing spells and gave sips from the emergency vials in his robes.

“There’s somebody over there Lupin,” a female Healer called to him. “There was nothing I could do.”

Remus pushed up his sleeves and rushed off to where the woman had pointed. He could try, at least. He saw the dark shape of the girl laying on the ground on her back. From this distance Remus could see that the back of her head was smashed against a rock, and there was a large pool of blood nearby. His heart rate got faster and faster as he got closer and closer.

“No, no,” he moaned in agony when he saw who it was on the ground. Not Katie too. Please God not Katie too.

Remus threw himself down to his knees by her body. He desperately cast spell after spell, praying fiercely that it would have a result. After one spell Remus noticed her eyelashes flutter.

“Katie?” he called.

“Sirius…Peter…” she breathed, barely even whispering. Remus leaned in closer, grabbing Katie’s hand, begging her to stay.

“Don’t leave me,” Remus gasped, crying bitterly. He brought Katie’s hand to his lips and kissed it quickly.

Katie’s mouth turned up into a small smile.

Remus was still holding her hand when she died.

********

See you for the final chapter.

-Kira


Chapter 23: Dead While Alive
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And here we stand. The last chapter. I am both sad and pleased at the same time. Sad that this story must end but pleased that it has been both a success on the site as well as a complete joy to write. I will have a longer, Author’s note at the end…as for now, please enjoy the concluding chapter of She’s In Love With The Rat

Chapter Twenty Three

Dead While Alive

Remus stared hard at the four graves in front of him. It was a perfect day. It seemed so impossible and sad that the world was just going to continue spinning and conjuring up gorgeous weather when four fantastic people now were buried in the earth. The sun was starting to go down, kissing the treetops with blazing light beams. There was a sharp breeze; powerful yet refreshing.

The funeral was long over, and he was the only one left standing in front of the graves. How could he leave? For Remus it seemed that if he left, it was actually over. If he left he would have to get back to life. How could he ever get back to life? His life was his friends, and now they were gone.

There had been so many people, family, friends, and people Remus didn’t even recognize. It just showed how many lives had been touched by his four friends…gosh how he loved them.

James…

His best friend since year one at Hogwarts. Jovial, funny, deviously clever, a born leader, a fantastic father, friend, man…now dead. He looked like he was sleeping so peacefully in the casket; as if he was waiting to wake up to the familiar sound of Harry’s early morning cry.

Lily…

Kind, understanding, beautiful inside and out, a phenomenal mother, supremely intelligent, always there for anyone…now dead. Lily was laid out with flowers in her hair; she seemed to glow with all the love she experienced in her life.

Katie…

Funny, loud, adorably insecure, noble, loving, faithful, a fantastic friend…now dead. She was still smiling even in death. It twisted Remus’ heart but also made him feel a bit better. Perhaps she really was indeed in a better place. The day before the funeral Remus had gone over to Peter’s apartment to look through the stuff that remained. To his surprise he found a thick pile of papers covered in Katie’s writing. It seemed to be scribbled in some sort of hurry. Remus had spent hours upon hours reading every word; savoring each letter. Most of it didn’t make much sense, some fantastic imagery, but no decipherable plot. But one page, among the many, had a beautiful poem upon it. Remus had been so moved by it that he had requested to have it inscribed on the graves of his four friends; one part on each stone.

Peter…

Confused, mysterious, good, loving, passionate…now dead. They had never found his body; only a bloodied finger remained. Sirius hadn’t only killed him; he had destroyed everything that was left. The few muggles that had been at the scene reported, before their memories were altered, that the two men had been shouting at each other and waving sticks before there was a massive explosion. That blast had killed Peter as well as Katie. Had that been Sirius’ intention? Who knew?

Sirius…

Essentially he was now dead to Remus. He had been hilarious, confident, uninhibited, and brilliant in his own casual way. Now what was he? A prisoner rotting in a maximum security prison for the rest of his life, charged with murder. Remus was supposed to hate him. How could he hate Sirius?

How could one person’s life be shattered in so many different ways in such a short time? How could he go on? How could he eat breakfast in the morning like he used to? How could he walk down the street like he used to? How could he laugh like he used to? How could he live like he used to?

Remus would have probably stood there for the rest of his life if a hand from behind him was placed gently on his shoulder, as if a butterfly had alighted there.

He whipped around to find Albus Dumbledore looking at him with misty eyes.

“Remus,” he whispered his voice deep and sorrowful. “What are you still doing here?”

“I just couldn’t leave,” Remus answered, his voice barely audible. “I don’t know what I’m going to do.” He couldn’t stop the tears from coming; the world around him grew hazy. His hands started to shake and he felt his chest get tight.

“Don’t do this to yourself,” Dumbledore, murmured, putting a comforting arm across Remus’ shoulders.

“What am I supposed to do?” Remus shouted, shoving Albus’ arm away. “What am I supposed to do? I can’t do anything else but stand here. I can’t go on without them.”

Dumbledore gave Remus a weak smile.

“Have you read the words on these graves?” he asked gently.

“Read them?” Remus asked, his voice hostile. “I found them and requested for them to be on the graves.”

“But have you actually read them and thought about what they say?” Dumbledore asked again. Remus rolled his eyes but turned to face the graves and began to scan the words. The words began on James’ and went through to Peter’s.

It is not hard to find bad things in our lives.
Every life has something bad
Or something good that is missing
It is so easy to overlook the good things that are in our lives every day
It is so easy because people are looking for a miracle that doesn’t exist.
People think that miracles have to be big, colossal things.
But people tend to overlook the drops of dew clinging to the leaves of a plant,
The smile of a child swinging in the park,
Or the way we laugh with our friends.
It is hard to live life with this sort of view, seeing the small things.
But if we can at least try…that’s a miracle.

Remus nodded his head gently as he traced the engraved words with his finger.

“Your friends are no longer living, Remus. Don’t you stop living too,” Dumbledore said profoundly. “Do you want to be dead while alive?”

“No,” Remus answered, still shaking a little bit. Dumbledore gave him a reassuring smile, before he slowly lead Remus away from the graves.

Remus looked over his shoulder once and noticed a flash of movement near Katie’s grave but told himself to keep walking.

If he would have walked back he would have found a rat with a missing toe sitting upon Katie’s grave; pelting the stone with it’s tears.

The End

Author’s Note

Something powerful goes through a writer when they write the words The End. I can’t believe that this is actually the end. *Sits back contently.* I sincerely hope you enjoyed this fic because I really enjoyed writing it. Thank you for any and all support you have given to this story. Thank you so much, words cannot describe how much I appreciate it! For being such dedicated readers please enjoy this preview of upcoming fics.

1. Finding Ava

Ava writes an advice column in the Hogwarts school newspaper on the very subject of finding oneself and becoming the real person inside. When an anonymous person writes in asking for help Ava advises her to break up with her boyfriend who is clearly keeping her from being herself. The girl, who is no other than Sirius Black’s girlfriend, takes Ava advice and breaks up with him. When Sirius, who has never been dumped before, figures out that Ava is the reason that he was dumped, he decides to come up with a plan to sabotage the reasoning in her column to win his girlfriend back.

2. Title Unknown

Possible sequel to She’s In Love With The Rat. It would revolve around Charles Potter, James and Katie’s little brother. It would take place when Charles is grown, and after Voldemort has been defeated. Charles is a successful Auror by this time and his focus is on finding Wormtail, one of Voldemort’s dedicated servants. He doesn’t know of the connection Peter Pettigrew has to his life. The fic would focus on his journey to find Peter and what he will do when he does find him.

Those are my current ideas. Finding Ava will be out soon so I hope to see you there!!! Let me know what you thought about this chapter, or the story as a whole, but also please let me know what you think of my new ideas. Thanks a million once again and I want to tell you again how much I appreciate what you have done for me. You guys rock and I hope to hear from you again soon!!!!

Much love,

Kira


http://www.harrypotterfanfiction.com