Hey everybody. I hope you guys enjoy this, and pretty please review. I would love to get your thoughts and suggestions. Also, major credit goes to my friend, Meg, for helping me out tremendously on this.


The last day of summer vacation is always a time to be enjoyed until the very last second. It’s one of those rare days of the year that mark the ending of one adventure, and the beginning of another.

And it was with this sentimental notion, along with the money they had collectively earned over the summer from odd jobs and a charming smile that four friends convinced their parents (or guardians, in Sirius’ case) to let them spend the eve of their seventh and final year at Hogwarts, together.

Of course, it seemed that the value of the whole ‘togetherness’ thing was slightly thrown off when Peter contacted them four days prior to their big day with the sad news that his family was going on a last minute vacation to Bulgaria to visit some family friends, and that he couldn’t make it. But the three remaining boys decided to go along with it anyway, optimistic that it still would be something to remember and drone on to their grandchildren about when they were old and feeble.

And remember it, they certainly would.

And so their newest and perhaps even grandest adventure began, on the eve of their seventh year.

The Marauders minus one sat together in a mixture of pillows and food-wrappers, hauled up and goofing around as usual in room 307 of the Leaky Cauldron. James and Sirius, after a few minutes of swapping mock insults and threats, were both occupied in a competition to see just how many chocolate frogs they could scarf down in a minute (a sight which could possibly scar the lives of anybody who witnessed the scene). Remus had long ago found that there was always a danger of losing the contents of ones stomach from watching such a competiton, and let himself wander over to the window.

Now...when one does such a thing, they expect to see maybe the a stray animal or two, some night-owls, enjoying the last of their vacations, and of course the hustle and bustle that's included in any city...especially one as grand as London. But when Remus glanced out onto the street below, he saw none of those things.

Instead, framed within the dark, polished window frame, was the vision of the paved road and concrete sidewalks below. The usually busy street was uncharacteristically empty; save for a young, unfamiliar girl and a burly looking man that seemed almost twice her size and angry as hell. Upon further inspection, Remus saw that this particular man was screaming at the young lady, although any sound was muted by the enchanted glass that provided a barrier between the peacful inhabitants and the outside world.

And perhaps this peculiar scene could be written off as some jerk who had had too much to drink or something. But what the young man looking down upon the couple could not so easily excuse was what came next... the man grabbed the young girl roughly on her upper arms and shook her slender frame violently. The girl, for her part, tried as best as she could to pry his hands off her in a hopeless scuffle of movements, but it was of no use. The man wouldn't budge

Remus watched in horror, indignation and worry for the girl, his amazement at the cruelness of the man rising to the point where Remus knew...something had to be done if this didn't stop soon. When the girl tried to say something back, the gorilla of a man threw her to the ground in disgust, before reaching into his pocket and pulling out a wand, as if he were about to hex her into a million pieces.

But he never got the chance, for Remus, by this point, had thrown the window open and drawn his own wand, taking careful aim at the man. In a voice soaked in rage and courage, he shouted.

"What in Merlin's name makes you think you can treat a young woman like that!? Get away from her this instant, or I swear to Merlin you'll be sorry.”

The man froze but for the heavy breathing that came as a result of adrenalin, before turning to look toward the window where Remus stood, glaring daggers at him. Seeing the young man with his wand withdrawn, he turned back to the girl on the floor and muttered in a threatening voice filled with more to come than words "Until next time, precious..."

And then, with a small pop, he disapparated out of sight.

Remus inhaled a deep breath of the humid summer air, and by this time James and Sirius had abandoned their competition completly and were standing on either side of their friend, glancing out of the window at the girl who now sat alone on the street. She had the look of a deer caught in headlights, and just as Sirius began to yell out the window to ask if she was alright, the girl had disapparated as well.

Just like that, she was gone.

Before any of the three boys could contemplate what the bloody hell had just happened, the street seemed to come alive again with muggles, oblivious to the previous scene; chatty, serene, and just as intent on enjoying the last days of freedom as the rest of the Northern Hemisphere.

Remus pulled his head back into the window, before shutting it with a small 'thud'
James, however, found his voice first, and his words seemed to voice what all three of them were wondering.

"What the bloody hell just happened?"

Of course, none of them could answer.

And little did they know that that young girl would be attending school with them that year... perhaps with a few visits from her old, burly friend.

Oh, indeed. The three friends would not be forgeting this night any time soon. That much was for sure.

Sirius' sturdy hands clung to the handle of his trunk, pulling it behind the door of the train not a moment before the whistle announced proudly that the train was about to start it's journey, and the wheels began to whisper 'click-clack-click-clack' beneath Sirius', James', and Remus' shoes.

Just in time, as always.

"C'mon. We better go make sure no first years have claimed our compartment." James suggested, before taking his own trunk in his hands and dragging it down the narrow corridor between compartments, Remus and Sirius following close behind.

The night before had commenced in a curiously slow pace, their usual amusement and high spirits stifled by the unexplained event that took place in the street. Sirius had tried to lighten the mood by saying "Wow, I'm astonished. I thought I knew every girl there was to know in London..."

But all he got out of that was a snigger from James and thwomp over the head from Remus.

Heck, James barely even mentioned Lily once the entire night, save for when he noted aloud "If that was Evans out there with that guy, I would have hexed him until you couldn't tell the difference between his arse and his head." in which Sirius replied "James...if any guy besides you even looked at Evans, you would hex him until you couldn't tell the difference between his arse and his head."

Both of them were expecting Remus to agree, or even say something else all together, but mainly he just sat with one leg curled under him, the other pulled to his chest, not speaking a word.

Remus had definitely been the most affected. He had gone from outraged at the man, to frightened for the girl, to curious about what exactly had gone on to provoke him...if that jerk had been provoked at all. Who was that girl, anyway? And where had she come from? And why had he never seen her before...she looked to be around their age...shouldn't she be in Hogwarts?

And why had she disappeared before they could even get a word in, ask her if she was all right.... what her name was.

All these questions bounced around inside of Remus' head like rubber balls set in a tank during some sort of Earthquake, and so the poor boy was so preoccupied within his thoughts that he didn't even notice his two friends exchange worried glances.

"Are you alright, mate?" James asked, genuinely looking concerned for his friend.

"Huh? Oh...um, yeah. I'm fine. I'm just a little tired, is all." Remus replied, saying the first excuse he could come up with.

"But mate, it's only 9 o'clock..." Sirius reasoned, his head cocked to the side as he looked at his friend. The raven-haired seventeen-year-old was currently leaning back on his two hands, with his legs splayed out in front of him, a few pieces of shaggy hair hanging in front of his eyes.

"Well, I'm probably going to get some shut-eye anyway. We've got to get an early start tomorrow, and besides...you know how I need my sleep. G'night, guys." Remus said, standing up and moving over to the bed farthest away from the window, where he pulled back the covers and climbed into bed.

Sirius and James once again exchanged significant glances. They could tell their friend was lying...he had always been a horrible liar. And besides, they knew only too well that Remus was almost always the last of them to go to sleep, and the first to wake up. Maybe it was a werewolf thing, or maybe some people just required less sleep than others. But either way, his alibi of 'I need my sleep' was as phony as Snively's claim that he had a girlfriend back home.

Yeah, right.

But Remus still kept up his facade and turned onto his side, closing his eyes. He wasn't, really, in the least bit tired...his thoughts posing as the caffeine that kept him awake for at least another four hours. Eventually James and Sirius went to bed as well, and the lights were extinguished, and Remus was left feeling even more anxious than before. The poor boy eventually did get to sleep, and the time between then and when the three friends were dragging their trunks down the narrow corridor seemed to fly by faster than a snitch on the loose.

In no time at all, it seemed, James, Remus, and Sirius had reached the door to their usual compartment, and Potter's hand reached for the handle to open it, peeking in through the small window to see if any first years had decided to occupy it.

But to his surprise, the first years were nowhere in sight.... no, somebody else had chosen their compartment to occupy.

It was the girl from last night.

James immediately turned around and pointed the girl out to Remus and Sirius, and for a moment they just looked at each other in disbelief.

Then, all of a sudden, all three of them began to talk, as if somebody had flipped a switch.

"Should we go in?"
"Do you think she'll remember us?"
"Do you think she'll mind?"
"Of course she'll remember us, dufus. It was just last night."
"Let's go in."
"What if she doesn't want the company?"
"What if she does?"

And the ramblings went on; thrown into the air so fast that nobody could really process what the others were saying...they just wanted to get their points across.

Until, finally, Sirius seemed to make up everybody's mind by simply throwing the door open and walking inside. James and Remus stopped talking and watched him, before glancing at each other and following his example. Closing the door behind them both, Sirius took a seat across from the girl and sent her his signature charming grin, and James sent her a smile as well, his hand jumping up and messing up his already unruly tide of hair.

But Remus was the first to speak.

"Why, hello. I'm Remus, and that's James, and over there is Sirius. What, if I may ask, is your name?"

Compared with the sturdy pair of hands attached to Sirius that was lugging a trunk across the bustling platform, not long before that, a girl of the same age had stood in the same spot, her hands much smaller and more delicate, dragging her reluctant trunk along beside her. One of the wheels got stuck every once and a while, and had chosen the perfect time to act up.

Katrina VanDoyle was not a seasoned voyager when it came to the Hogwarts Express, and had been terrified that she'd be late. Especially after her taxi driver turned out to have an uncanny knack of getting every stoplight and every traffic jam on their way over.

Instead, she found herself with a few moments to spare, thanks to her early start. A shadow crossed over the girl's features. An early start that had involved a strung-out goodbye with her little sister, April. The little girl was still so confused about the sudden disappearance of her parents, and now her big sister, all she had left in the world, was going to leave her as well. As she made her way onto the train, Kat allowed herself a moment to remember.

"Now, you be a good girl for me won't you?"

The caramel-haired child had latched onto her sister's hip, hugging her tightly. "I don't wanna stay here with these people," she'd whispered quietly, tears pooling in her blue eyes, eyes that almost identically matched her sister's and until a few months ago, they'd shared with their father.

Kat had knelt down until she was eye level with the little girl. "You're going to be just fine. You and John over there will become the best of friends, and when I come back to see you next summer it'll be like you've lived here for a long time." She'd already decided not to come back for Christmas. Her sister was in danger enough as it was.

April flung herself into Kat's arms. "Promise you'll come back?"

"I promise."

Snapping out of her memory of the one family member she had left, Kat inched down the corridor, peeking quickly into each compartment for a moment, then moving on when she found it to be full. This wasn't looking promising at all.

She'd already evoked a few stares just by being there. This being what should be her seventh year at this school, she should have been seen before, noticed before now. Alas, no, she was "the new kid", and everyone wanted to get a peek at her to size her up. Like a goddamn two-headed cow in a county fair, put on display.

In all her swimming thoughts, Kat had to double-back to a compartment she'd just passed with a half-glance. An empty one. Finally.

Sliding open the door with two fingers, she lugged her trunk the final stretch towards the interior of the compartment and slid the door back in place behind her. She couldn't decide whether it was to keep people out, or to just have some quiet for once.

With effort, the girl managed to slide her trunk onto the racks above them, choosing to ignore that she'd nearly dropped it on her own head in the process. Spent, she slumped down onto the seat, blowing a gust of breath from her lips to make her bangs flutter and fall out of her face.

The train hadn't left the station yet, but Kat started out the window anyway, more at her own reflection then at the scenery. People really had no reason to stare. It wasn't as if she had the word "foreigner" stamped on her forehead. It wasn't like she was hideously ugly or awe-inspiringly beautiful either. She didn't see anything special about herself...least of all what the Death Eaters and the Dark Lord thought was special. But she didn't want to think about that now. She determinedly stared at her own face. Her own hair was a dark, chocolately color compared to her sister's, that fell a few inches past her shoulders, but the clear blue of their eyes were unmistakably the same. She was slender, medium height, and didn't have clothing on too different. From the outside, aside from a slightly attractive face, Katrina VanDoyle was nothing special.

Her thoughts darkened as the train whistle merrily called out its warning that the time of departure was nearing. Appearances can be deceiving.

She didn't even know what had happened. She didn't know why. Didn't know how.

The scariest part?

She didn't know how to control it.

They'd come for her again last night. Little bastards. They'd held up a healthy persistence at first. Now, they were violent. Annoying and violent. The night before hadn't made things any better.

That oaf. Using side-apparation to take her to another part of London so that she'd be taken off-guard by the sudden change in scenery. This guy was obviously new at the job, and she'd told him so, probably with a little more attitude then she should have used. He'd gotten pissed, tried to hex her...the usual.

Except not. There were others interfering this time around, people she'd never seen before in her life, and probably would never see again. It was probably a good thing. The less they thought about what they'd seen, the better. The less anyone knew...the better.

Kat didn't want to endanger anyone. She felt a pang in her chest. She'd already lost her parents. She didn't want to be the cause of any more murders, just because of something she couldn't even understand yet.

The sound of voices at the door made her turn her head, and her blood ran cold.

Speak of the devil. Devils, in fact.

Fate was out to piss her off today. Who was standing outside the door, seemingly arguing with each other, but those same boys who'd spotted her with that oaf of a man the night before.

Their voices were muffled and hard to understand, and she through for a moment that they'd pass on by...but no. The compartment door slid open and one of them waltzed right inside and sat down in front of her, grinning at her in a way that gave her goose bumps. This guy was undeniably handsome, and Kat, being a teen girl, couldn't help but think that this trip wouldn't be so bad. She turned to look at the other two. One was busying himself with his hair, who had a rugged sort of look to him, and the third seemed a lot quieter, timid, and more observant. Kat knew better. Hadn't she heard him herself the night before, screaming at the ogre of a Death Eater who'd been with her?

Her eyes darted from one to the next as they were introduced to her, and she tried to store the names in the back of her mind so she'd remember them at a later date. Realizing that she'd been asked a question, she found her voice.

"I'm Katrina VanDoyle...call me Kat," she said, watching their expressions carefully, letting a moment or two pass by before she spoke again. "Long time no see."

All three boys exchanged looks of relief, as if somebody had relieved the weight of the world off of their shoulders. Indeed, she had recognized them...but so far she hadn't attempted to hex their heads off, which was always a good sign. James and Remus, who had up until that point been standing up (as if ready to bolt out the door, if, in fact, she had tried to hex their heads of) took their seats in the cabin. The slightly sloppy-looking raven haired boy slumped onto the spot besides Sirius, a cocky smile staining his lips, while Remus sat down on the same side as their new friend.

He took great care, though, not to crowd her or anything. No need trying to scare her off...not after what they had witnessed last night.

Remus never stopped thinking, it seemed. He was just like that... always listening to his brain, and never daring to listen to his heart. As if right on cue, Remus sent both James and Sirius a look that clearly stated not to ask any stupid questions about what happened last night and screw things up just as Sirius had opened his mouth to do just that.

In a sort of animated way, Sirius closed his mouth shut; shot Remus a look of indignation, before rearranging his features into that signature Sirius smile once more.

"Hey." Sirius said in an overly flirtatious way that made almost every girl weak at the knees. As if practiced (as Sirius had done this several thousand times, it seemed) James and Remus both rolled their eyes at the same time.

"It's certainly our pleasure to meet you, Kat." Remus said, in a way more polite manner than Sirius, as was expected of a young man when first meeting an attractive young woman. He smiled at her, a genuine smile that said more than just 'Wanna snog each other senseless later?', like Sirius' had.

"Sure is." James added, just really to contribute to the conversation.

The train was picking up speed now, the window playing a film of houses and hills of green running across the screen. But none of the three boys that occupied the compartment paid any attention to it.

James had already propped his feet up on the cushion besides Remus, and withdrawn the snitch that he had brought from home. He let it fly a foot or two away before grabbing it and drawing it back, as if receiving his prize firefly...until he let it go again to repeat the process.

It was an old ritual of his...and believe me when I say he had tried to quit, for Lily. She had always hated that nasty habit of his, showing off his Quidditch skills openly...and although it looked as if he were searching for praise, he really wasn't. No longer was his head larger than Hogwarts itself.... admittedly, he had had a hard time...but the negative comments from old Snively, and his object of affection combined with his determination to prove to Lily that he was more than just a pompous air-head helped a great deal.

And although the occasional smirk of confidence danced upon his lips, James had matured a lot over the summer.

Though that didn't mean he was going to stop sending Snively his love...just, not in public.

But otherwise, James was a changed man. And all for a 5'5" standing, hourglass figured, redheaded girl.

Sirius, however, had never truly done anything so magnificent for a girl. Really, he was all talk and affection, with no trace of commitment yet visible. And what he saw, truly, sitting in front of him, was one more girl that he hadn't yet snogged.

Really...there were only about five girls in school that he hadn't snogged, or at least gone out with. Lily (she was off limits, due to Sirius' obvious respect for James), Bellatrix, Narcissa, and Andromeda. And now, Ms. Katrina VanDoyle was added to the list, making a total of five. But, with Sirius' motives, he was hoping to bring the number back down to four relatively soon.

The devious young Black leaned forward, so that his elbows rested on his knees, and he was looking up into the girl's face.

"You know..." Sirius started, a smirk playing on his lips "...that usually, we try our best to hog this compartment all to ourselves. But you...well, I think we'd be out of our minds if we kicked you out." His voice was silky smooth, as if he had been preparing for that one phrase all his life...getting it to a state of hypnotic perfection. Raven black strands fell in front of his eyes, which drew attention to grey orbs that seemed to take everything in with a sparkle of constant amusement lingering inconspicuously in the corner. Never, yet, had somebody turned down those eyes.

But Remus was praying that Kat would change all that...break the mold of girls that couldn't see past his antics. He was currently staring at his hands, though not actually paying any attention to them at all. He was getting fed up with Sirius, quite frankly...but he would never, could never, show it.

Kat didn't deserve somebody like Sirius. She didn't deserve a love and leave sort of guy, if you could even call it love. After what he saw last night, Remus knew that she had experienced enough guys that didn't really give a damn about her to last for a lifetime.

And she deserved better.

Kat began to get the sneaking suspicion that they were almost afraid of her. The relieved glances they gave each other didn't give much help to easing her thoughts at all either. Alright, so the little show she and that Death Eater had put on the previous night had been all but normal, but she wasn't sure why they should be afraid of her. Innocent victim role and all that jazz.

Deep down in the pit of her stomach however, Kat knew she was anything but innocent. She'd done something to provoke them...provoke Voldemort.

Not that she could remember much...there was a blinding white light...


She wasn't going there. Couldn't handle it yet, especially not in a compartment full of people she'd barely met. There was too much she still had to sort through...her parents, the lights that she couldn't explain, or control, and terrifying whispers in her dreams that coaxingly called her name, only to leave her waking up cold, sweaty and shaking in her own bed...

With a slight shake of her head, she forced those dark thoughts to the back of her mind and made herself concentrate on the here and now...which happened to include the three boys that usually occupied the compartment she'd unknowingly sat in.

She offered a smile, which was anything but insincere. Being a 'new kid' as she was, she was relieved that they hadn't kicked her out to make her find another compartment full of more strangers to sit with. And perhaps a friendship was possible.

Their discomfort around her was disquieting though. However animatedly (Sirius was it?) tried to hide it, they were obviously itching to ask her a few questions. And she intended on lying flat out if she could, or, best-case scenario, not have it come up at all.

For now she contented herself with trying not to turn any of this into an awkward moment. The train rumbled along, untroubled, taking them farther and farther away from King's Cross, and closer to their home for the next ten months, Hogwarts. The houses were slowly spreading farther and farther apart, replaced with much longer spaces of farmland and unoccupied bits of forest.

Inside the small compartment however, Kat was finding it increasingly difficult to ignore Sirius' advances towards her. Any other girl would think her crazy. An unusually attractive guy with a smile to make knees weak and eyes that could hypnotize, and she was doing the best she could to repel his charm before it hit her hard. She couldn't deal with that right now. Her parents freshly in the ground, her sister left with strangers, and Death Eaters following her everywhere. By getting involved with him...or anyone from that matter...she saw it as endangering lives needlessly. Kat didn't want to involve anyone at the moment. It was her problem, a problem that would probably cease to exist once she was safe inside Hogwarts anyway.

And so, with great difficulty, Kat broke their eye contact and turned instead to all three of them instead of focusing her gaze on simply one. "So...thank you, I suppose, for not kicking me out on my ass into the corridor."

She almost wanted to take the words back, but she hadn't known what else to say. The silence in there was almost too loud, if that was even possible, and she was doing the best she could to try and break the awkwardness that she felt, although she wasn't entirely sure that the others shared. She fished around for something else to say.

"What's Hogwarts like anyway?"

Now this was a question she truly wanted answered. Having gone to school in America for the past six years, she'd attended the school called Loamhedge, which was great in its own rights, but from the reputation of Hogwarts, she figured it was going to be a long way from the school of witchcraft and wizardry she'd previously attended. She was truly curious about this place that she'd be calling home for a while now, and since these three had probably been attending it since year one, she figured that she might as well find out from them rather then from a book. "Hogwarts; A History" had proven to be an abnormally long book when she'd spotted it in Diagon Alley, and she hadn't found it worth the hours of effort to read.

The ears of all three boys perked at the mention of Hogwarts. Sure, they had heard that name a bazillion times before, had walked (and even mapped) the halls, had slept in it's beds. And yet, they could never shake that yearning that word instilled in them. Lord, how they wanted to get back inside those stone walls and be on top of the world once again.

Perhaps it was because of this that they could only remember the good things about Hogwarts, and none of its vices. Remus was the first to speak.

"Hogwarts is...lord, there isn't even one singular word you can sum it up in. Fantastic? Amazing? Incredible? No, none of those words are big enough to describe Hogwarts."

"It's Fantamazincredible." James offered with a smirk.

"Right." Sirius continued with a smile of his own and a nod. "It's fantamazincredible. See, it's so fantamazincredible that you have to combine three whole words to prove how fantamazincredible it is!"

"You'll love it." Remus assured her. "And it's got a great library too."

"You would know." James replied in a teasing manner.

"Remus practically lives there. I think he's having an affair with the librarian..." Sirius whispered quietly to Kat, his eyes locked on Remus to gage his reaction.

"I do not and I am not!" Remus said in a mock-offended tone.

"Of course you don't, Remus. Of course..." Sirius said sarcastically, as if he didn't believe him, and reached over to pat his shoulder sympathetically. Then he leaned back towards Kat said in an animatedly behind his hand, in an over-exaggerated whisper "He's lying. He does and he is. I have pictures to prove it."

"Since when have I been the liar of the Marauders, Padfoot?" Remus shot back (albeit not in a vicious way), one eyebrow raised.

Sirius pretended to be offended, his hand moving to his chest dramatically, as if to say that Remus had just broken his poor little heart.

"That hurts, Rem. That really does."

But at the same time, James sat up straighter, his ear tilting forwards toward t he compartment door. Suddenly he sprang up, has hand jumping to his hair to muss it up, before he flung t he door open and stuck his head out.

"Oi! Ev...Lily!" He cried, trying to get the attention of a certain red head that was passing the door, her nose buried in a book as she went. At the mention of her name, she turned around to look back at the raven-haired boy. She already looked exhausted from their conversation, as if preparing herself for the next few minutes.

"What do you want, Potter?" She asked suspiciously. It would be a lie to say that Potter wasn't a bit put down by her oh-so-kind greeting, but he pushed on anyway in true Potter spirit.

"How was you're summer?"

"It was spectacular, Potter. My favorite part was when I ran into you at Diagon Alley, and you told my whole family in great detail that you and I were a couple." Evans replied with sarcastic excitement.

"All in good fun, m'dear. It seemed to amuse you're mother quite a bit."

Lily rolled her eyes. "You've no idea. The entire rest of the vacation she went on about how cute you were, and how happy she was for me."

"Well, I am quite a catch, you know."

Lily just sighed and turned around, opening her book back up so that she could commence in her reading.

"I'll see you at the feast, Lily! I'll save you a seat!" He called after the red head. She had already started to walk away.

"I can hardly wait." She called back in that same sarcastic tone she seemed to have specifically reserved for him.

Feeling that that was the most he was going to get out of the conversation, James pulled his head back into the compartment, shutting the door once more.

"She totally digs me." He said confidently, sitting back down and placing his hands behind his head in a relaxed and sure manner.

"Oh yes, I could totally tell by the way she stuck her nose back into that book of hers and walked away from you within two minutes, Prongs. It's a miracle she hasn't jumped you and snogged you senseless already." Remus commented, a sparkle of laughter evident in his eyes. Sirius just snorted for his response.

And in that five minutes, it seemed that all tension had left the room. Sure, it was unofficial, and grantedly still in it's early stages, but Ms. Kat had just witnessed a truly Maraudered moment, and it brought her one step closer to becoming a Marauder herself.

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