((A/N: Alright, chickies. Chapter three. I hope you enjoy!))

Lily allowed herself to be pushed forwards through McGonagall's office door and out into the hallway, only to keep up good face for the Professor. Well...she was nearly certain it was just to keep up good face for the Professor.

Either way, James Potter was being entirely too friendly with her again.

This boy certainly was persistent. She'd told him a million times over that she wasn't, would never, and could never hope to be interested in him, and yet he still insisted on pursuing her as sure as if she'd said that she would date him only if he convinced her of his loyalty or something cheesy like that.

Then again, he'd been just that friendly with the new girl beside her, Katrina something or other. Perhaps she'd mistaken Potter all along, and he was really like this with every girl, hoping that eventually, one would surrender to his antics and go out with him.

She just never knew with boys.

Kat, on the other hand, knew that there was nothing romantic behind James' embrace. Brother to sister, friend to friend, not admirer to object of admiration. All of that, she could plainly see, was reserved for the pretty redhead walking beside her, Lily Evans.

Apparently the Professor had taken another way down to the Hall, presumably to meet the first years as they approached the castle from the boats, because Kat noted that the three of them were alone. Secretly, though she'd never admit it to anyone, she was relieved that she wasn't entirely alone, that there were others with her.

Her hands went clammy again at the thought, and she knew that she was probably still pale, not matter how hard she was trying to nonchalantly shake away her fear. This wasn't supposed to happen. She was in Hogwarts now, with Dumbledore. She was supposed to be safe.

Perhaps all it was another threat, another tactic to scare her. He'd certainly used enough Death Eaters to try that tactic, along with the tactic of brute force and general cruelty. Yes, the Dark Lord was coming at her from every angle, and she had to learn how to somehow expect and block any further attempts of contact.

Their footsteps echoed as they descended the Grand Staircase, stopping only while they waited for a section of the stairs to move back into their proper place so they could continue.

Kat didn't know which side she was on at the moment. She knew the powers of darkness were bad, very bad...they had killed her family for God's sake. So shouldn't she be seeking help and guidance from those who fought for what was good and right? Perhaps...but what if that unknown power she'd recently discovered was meant for evil? What if it brought harm to those who befriended her if she got too close to them, let them know too much?

Her head was spinning.

Nothing needs to be decided tonight, she comforted herself. Nothing rash, nothing sudden. Be neutral. Be invisible.

Fat chance. When the three of them walked into the sparkling bright Great Hall, they were about as invisible as a Dementor on a bright summer's day at Disney World.

While all eyes from the four tables turned around to get a peek at the newcomers, Kat's own blue eyes were greedily taking in everything about her surroundings. The Great Hall was indeed living up to its name. Hundreds upon hundreds of candles floated in midair to cast a cheery light upon the room, there were four long tables spread out evenly across the vast floor, each obviously holding the members of their respective houses. Teachers, varying in size and stature, as well as looks of suspicion and disapproval at their late arrival, sat at the Head Table at the other end of the hall, Albus Dumbledore, Headmaster of the school, sitting in the seat of honor right in the middle of them.

Kat felt his own blue eyes meet hers, and for the first time since the Death Eaters had first contacted (okay, attempted to murder), her, Kat felt safe. Voldemort feared this man, and this man was here to protect them. Surely that was something.

Following James and Lily, Kat made her way towards the far table, which she presumed was for Gryffindor House. Her hypothesis was confirmed when she spotted Sirius and Remus seated there, talking with a few strange people that she'd yet to know.

Feeling a tug on her hand, Kat started a little and looked up. Lily's friendly green eyes met hers, and she tugged again. "Come on then. These boys have taken over this side, so we'll have to go around."

Following the redhead to the other side of the table, Kat found herself seated between Lily and a boy who seemed to be a friend of the three, and across from Remus, James, Sirius and a couple who introduced themselves and Frank and Alice. Lily had leaned over towards the other side to talk to some of her friends, who called out to Kat some greetings along with their names, which the girl almost instantly forgot. It was almost overwhelming, the bright lights, all the people, the loud chatter, almost like being thrown onto a movie set and being expected to act without any idea of what the plot was, what her lines were, or any time to rehearse.

Trying to keep everything straight while trying to still recover from her frightening encounter took up most of Kat's energy, but she also noted that across from her, Remus was looking...different.

There really was something about that boy that she hadn't spotted before. She'd had him pinned as someone who was mostly quiet, stayed out of trouble and kept the peace between talkative and easily overexcited friends. But then he'd shouted at that ogre of a Death Eater, and punched some kid in the face, and now, although surrounded by his talking, laughing friends, seemed to be brooding over something. Perhaps his own sudden outburst of violence? She didn't know. But one thing was certain...he didn't look too happy.

"So, Kat," the cheerful blonde across from her (Alice, she reminded herself) said brightly, breaking Kat away from her thoughts. "What about you? Do you play Quidditch?"

Apparently the conversation topic had been just that before the three had arrived. Kat attempted a smile. "If being able to force a broomstick the length of a Quidditch field at a reasonable pace, then getting off before it does anything crazy counts, then yes."

Her comment brought forth some laughter, and she began to slowly ease up. This wasn't so bad. Perhaps she didn't have to completely shut everyone out. Maybe she could make friends here, and not put them in danger at all.

She looked over to Lily, who had warmed up to her considerably, but the redhead was busy talking with a few friends of hers on the other side of her, all the while pointedly ignoring James, whom she'd had (in her mind) the misfortune, to be sitting across from.

Deciding not to bother her, Kat turned her attention back towards Remus. He had barely moved since she, James and Lily had arrived, and hadn't even spoken once.

Opening her mouth, she began to ask him what was wrong, when suddenly a hush fell over the crowd, and she turned her head to see why.

It was obvious at once. Professor McGonagall, making her return to the Great Hall, had just come through the doors, leading a group of terrified looking first years. Their faces made Kat wonder briefly if that was what she'd looked like when she'd first arrived. When McGonagall had found her, at least.

The Professor placed the same Sorting Hat that she'd put on Kat's head a short while ago upon a stool, and the entire assembly waited with bated breath. The rip in its brim opening wide, the Hat burst out into song, one for the whole school to hear.

Kat however, didn't hear a word. She had the sneaking suspicion that someone was watching her, and while she glanced around a few times to see if it was true, found no one. She knew it was just all in her head, her overactive mind still racing after her incident in the hallway, but still, it unnerved her. By the time she'd calmed down enough for it to go away, the Hat had finished, and McGonagall was standing there with a long roll of parchment as she began to call out names.

From Adams to Ziggurat, the amount of first years seemed to be endless, and it was evident that she was not the only one who was bored. Lily was resting her head on her palm; eyes closed and looking for all the world to be asleep, while Alice was leaning against Frank, watching the Sorting with a dreamy, far-away look in her eyes that betrayed the fact that she was doing anything but paying attention.

Finally, finally, it was over, and Professor Dumbledore stood up.

"Welcome, welcome, to all of those new and old. I trust that you will find this year to be full of magical experiences, mind-enriching studies and most fantastic memories befitting those of history books. But now is not the time for speeches, because I know none of you are going to listen to me. So, please, enjoy yourselves."

Kat almost jumped with surprise.

Out of nowhere, the golden plates that had sat before them were no longer empty. They were suddenly laden with food; all the kinds that one could possibly want to eat, of every variety and type.

Just the aroma of it all made Kat's mouth water, and her stomach gave a small, impatient gurgle, which reminded her exactly how long it had been since she'd eaten lunch on the train. Deciding not to deny her poor stomach any longer, she began to fill up her plate.


People have speculated over which worldly wonder could possibly be the 8th wonder of the world.

But it had become quite obvious to all students who resided in Hogwarts, that the 8th wonder of the world was not some ancient structure, or some incredible natural formation... but the amount of food Sirius was able to stuff into himself in such a short amount of time.

And, boy, let me tell you...it was a whole lot.

"He ate us out of house and home, this summer. Mipsy, poor thing, almost had a heart attack trying to keep up with him." James joked, around, a hand rising to pat Sirius’ shoulder in an almost-proud way.

"Ey...Ib ah gurbign buo." Sirius defended himself, though it probably wasn't the best idea to be defending the amount of food you devour with a mouth full of food.

Everybody laughed at this, but Sirius just shrugged, unfazed, a fork-full of chicken held in his hand.

"Who's Mipsy?" Frank asked, raising an eyebrow. Surely, James had not lost his interest in Lily over a girl named 'Mipsy', had he?

"Mipsy?" James repeated, as if surprised Frank didn't know. "Oh...she's my house elf. Well, my family's house elf, really."

"Merlin, I wish I had a house elf...my mum wouldn't leave me alone all summer about finishing my chores before I went out..." Peter murmured, looking at James enviously.

"Oh, no. I still do chores. My dad says it helps develop 'moral fiber'...whatever that means." James replied, waving his fork in the air as if to say it were nothing important.

Sirius, however, had finally swallowed long enough to say something.

"Where were you going out to, Peter? We barely saw you all vacation..." He asked, with a perfectly crooked smile and a teasing sparkle in his eye.

"Nowhere." Peter answered immediately, his cheeks reddening and his eyes turning down to his lap.

"Ohhh...I think Peter's got a GIRLY." Sirius said in a way any five year old would be proud of, before breaking out in hysterics, joined by James and Frank, and even Alice.

Remus even managed a small smile, his eyes flicking up from his plate. His own fork was just pushing around globs of mashed potatoes, but never rising to bring any to his mouth. He wasn't hungry, anyway.

It was a curious thing, with Remus. When his mind fastened on one particular thought, it had an extremely hard time letting go, even to focus on other things. Usually, when he was troubled, he'd spend almost all of his time in the library to try and find a solution.

But where would he find a book that would tell him how to get somebody who had been on the receiving end of violence, possibly abused, even, to trust you after you punched somebody so hard you almost broke their nose?

Maybe that's what made him feel like this. That the answer wasn't written in black and white for him. That his way of problem solving had failed him so pathetically, that he was left playing with his food and not enjoying one second of his first day to his last year at his home.

And, yes, this was truly home. His supposed real home wasn't anything as welcoming. Granted, he wasn't run out of his house like Sirius had been...but his parents fought constantly. His mother blamed his father completely for his condition, and his father blamed Fenrir. But either way, Remus always felt responsible for the bickering and the screaming in the cursing. If he hadn't been bitten...if he hadn't been born, they wouldn't be like this.

But here? Nobody argued over who's fault it is. They were right there next to him through his transitions, keeping him from hurting himself so bad that he could barely walk, like he used to do.

Or maybe it was the fact that the full moon was only two nights away that made him feel so stressed? So exhausted? Perhaps.

But perhaps it was his confusing over this girl. She was...different. Sure, he'd had girlfriends. After all, he was a Marauder, and in Hogwarts that practically equaled fame among three of the four houses. Not that he wanted it or anything; it was just sort of the way it was.

Even though he'd had girlfriends, they'd never made him feel...like this.

Whatever this was. He really couldn't tell. At least, not yet.

But it seemed that the feast flew by faster than he could remember, and he might have taken two bites the entire time. Before he knew it, Dumbledore had spoken of all the regular rules, mostly staring at the four boys looking innocently around the room (or down in their plate, for one of them) like they had never broken a rule in their life. He welcomed the new students and welcomed back the old, and then sent them on their way.

And it was almost like Remus' heart sped up. He looked up and around the room, looking for a particularly snide looking blonde with his cronies. Not because he was afraid of him, no… just to make sure he was nowhere near Kat.

And then he stopped himself, shaking his head slightly. Why was he doing that? Had she ever asked for his protection?


But did he feel like he needed to protect her anyway.


He subconsciously moved closer to the girl as they were pushed with the crowd, up and up and up and up, until it was just the Gryffindors left walking the corridors on the way to the tower.

There was murmur of content, sleepy banter consuming the air; friends basking in each others’ company after such a long break, and groaning at the start of classes the next day.

And as they reached the portrait, and James proudly announced the Gryffindor password (which was Fillywig, in case any curious eyes might peer at this), the Fat Lady yawned sleepily and smiled, before swinging open to admit everybody back to their comfort zone.

Flames threw shadows on the walls in a welcoming way, and cozy sofas and chairs called for students to entrust their weight on them.

But most students made their way immediately up the stairs. Trunks still needed to be unpacked, dorms needed to be decorated, and summer gossip needed to be shared in private. Even Frank and Alice gave each other a short (yet sweet) kiss goodnight, before Alice waved to the boys and skipped up the girl's staircases. Frank said he'd see them soon, before following her action, and Peter admitted that he was just about ready to keel over from exhaustion, so he'd go up as well.

So that only left Lily, Remus, Kat, Sirius, and James in the common room.


Remus' eyes met with Sirius', and they had a silent conversation in their own secret language. Remus' begged Sirius to take James and Lily and beat it, so that he could talk to Kat...he needed to talk to Kat. Sirius raised an eyebrow, in question, but didn't object.

"Last two people left in the common room have to snog each other senseless!" Sirius called out, in a 'last one is a rotten egg' manner.

Lily was the first to respond.

"I'm out. Goodnight everyone."

James looked extremely disappointed.

"You guys! That was my big break! You shoulda all ran for it, so that I could snog Lily senseless, dammit!"

"Like she'd have stayed long enough for that. With those legs of her, she could have beaten us all up the stairs." Sirius said with a smirk.

James had a look on his face for a split second that clearly said that he was envisioning Evans' legs in his head, before he came back to reality.

"Well, seeing as how I don't feel like snogging any of you tonight, I might as well head up. G'night."

"Yeah..." Sirius started. "I'm gonna follow him so that I can torture him more about Evans. See you all bright and early!" He said cheerfully, as James climbed the staircase. Sirius stuck his head around the corner just in time to say to the two left in the common room:

"You don't actually have to snog...though that might be amusing. I just wanted to get them outta here. She's all yours, Moony..."

And with that, Remus and Kat were very much alone.

There was a silence, in which Remus was building up his confidence, before he opened his mouth and started nervously.

"Um...Kat...can I have a word, maybe, with you?"

He was about to take her hand to lead her over to the couch, but decided against it just in time to pull back his hand awkwardly, like he didn't know what to do. Instead he just moved towards the couch and sat on the end, patting the cushion besides him for her to come and sit.


Right. So...awkward situation. Lovely.

Okay, so it had started innocent enough right? Sure it did. Laughing, talking, making new friends, having a good time. Best time she'd had all summer it seemed. She could almost ignore the fact that Remus was staring off into space, obviously bothered about something, or that she could probably never fit in with these people as much as she might have been able to if she were actually normal. They were just a bunch of seventeen-year-old kids, teasing each other, telling jokes, exchanging summer stories.

Well she just listened mainly when it came to stories. But that was beside the point.

And on the way back to the common room, her eyes had been busy with so many wonderful sights that she barely had time to think of pretty much anything at all.

Everything was so large, so grand, so damned...fascinating. Moving staircases, portraits so detailed that they looked like real people were moving in the pictures...it was amazing.

She was also trying to take note of exactly how to get to the common room from the Great Hall...you know, just in case she wanted to get back in bed sometime tomorrow night. Might be some handy information.

But now, alone in the common room with Remus, along with the dying fire, she suddenly felt uncomfortable, like the source of the boy's strange behavior was contained somewhere in this room, and he needed to talk to her to get rid of it.

Perhaps it was about that boy he'd punched. Maybe he felt guilty? She didn't know. All she knew was that he hadn't needed to do it in the first place...he didn't have to protect her, it wasn't his job. It was her own, and her job to look after her little sister April as well. Someone looking after her meant someone else getting involved in this mess, which would probably lead to more violence and destruction. That was a hell she didn't want to experience twice. She was still getting used to the role of being an orphan. She didn't need the role of mourning friend to add on to that.

And so, the silence that filled the room after Sirius' strange comment she didn't quite understand, Kat went over to Remus and sat on the couch near him, tucking one leg up under her skirt to get comfortable, leaning up against a pillow on the couch, her dark eyes concerned as she turned them towards him. "What's wrong?"

Meanwhile, upstairs, Lily Evans was changing into her pajamas along with the other girls in the seventh year dorm room, trying to get caught up on the usual gossip and chatter that followed a long summer vacation where most of them hadn't seen each other.

Alice, dressed in sky blue PJ pants and t-shirt, jumped on her stomach onto Lily's bed beside her half-unpacked trunk, her chin in her hands and her golden curls framing her face. "So," she said once Lily had pulled her top over her head. "What do you think of the new girl?"

"Kat?" She thought about it for a moment. She was nice, she was polite, and she was good for a conversation, from what she'd seen in their brief encounter that evening. Otherwise, it would seem like she would be a type of person to get to know better and become friends with. But then again...she didn't know. Something about her, something...off. Like an aura that surrounded her entire being that was normal, and a part of her, but at the same time...unwelcoming to others. Lily shrugged.

"She's nice. I like her."

Alice grinned. "Good. Me too, but for a while there it looked like you didn't like her." The blonde got a mischievous look in her eyes. "Maybe it was because she was sitting with Mr. Potter while on the train and our little Lily is jealous?"

Her only response was an annoyed sound in the back of Lily's throat and a wad of socks thrown into her face.


"Remus looks like he's really into this one."

"I know... do you see how upset he was getting himself? He hardly ever gets like that."

"Except for that time late in fifth year that his father sent him a letter saying that he couldn't stand his mother, and how they were separating. That killed him. "

"He blamed himself for that."

"He still does, mate."

James and Sirius fell silent after that, their quiet conversation faltering as they continued to personalize their dorms. A poster here, a photo there, a stack of candy in the corner, and stash of prank supplies that was pushed underneath their bed. Finally, when they were done, both of them sat on their bed like the exhausted teens that they were, and looked up at each other.

"What do you think they're doing right now?" James asked, tilting his head slightly to the side.

"...Snogging?" came Sirius' answer. He looked over towards the door, as if expecting to see Remus roll in with a smile on his face. James shook his head. They were being very quiet, the two of them. Peter was asleep already, his back turned to them underneath the covers; Frank was in the bathroom down the hall, brushing his teeth before bed, something Sirius and James had already done.

"No. Remus isn't like that. He wouldn't snog a girl that he had just met today."

"But, technically, he me her last night, didn't he?"

"...If you can call that 'meeting'. I wonder why a girl like her was in a position like that?"

"Well, we just met her this morning. There's obviously going to be some stuff that we don't know about her yet." James replied wisely, tucking his feet under him on the bed.

This one seemed to stump Sirius, and he sort of just turned his head to look at the photo of James' family in defeat.


Remus took a deep breath, trying to organize the thoughts that were bouncing around his head faster than James on a brand new broomstick.

A hand ran through his hair as he started, his eyes finally meeting hers.

"Look... I’m sorry. I...I really shouldn't have punched Malfoy in the face. It was a stupid thing to do and I'm stupid for doing it. It's just that...seeing him talking to you like that without even getting to know you first got me really, really mad at him. And I'm not arrogant enough to admit that I know everything about you, and you certainly don't know everything about me...but from what I've seen you're a wonderful person, and Lucious had no right saying that about you."

Oh no, he was getting off track. He paused, once more running a hand through his hair to get his thoughts back in line again. Remus didn't know what was going on. Usually he was so levelheaded. Usually he didn't ramble like an idiot.

"My point is that I'm not usually like that. I usually don't just haul off and punch somebody in the face, and I don't want you judging me by it. And I'm really sorry. Even though I already said that. But, you know, It's not that bad, seeing as how I really, really am, and it's a good thing you know that."

AH! He was rambling again! Remus' voice trailed off again, but he felt inconceivably better now that he had told her. His exhausted body relaxed against the cushions behind him, the corners of his mouth turning up just enough to hint at a smile behind his eyes. His hand once more ran through his golden locks, trying to get it out of his face, but it just fell rebelliously in front of his eyes once more.

Maybe it was just the glow of the fire licking at her skin, or maybe it was just the splendor of being home sinking in. Maybe it was just that he had somebody to share this moment with...but there was something relaxing about that girl.

Remus sat for a moment, watching the flames as they performed one of the most enchanting dances ever to be seen, before starting again. His eyes were still locked on the fire, though.

"It's funny, that the first time we truly met, was a day like today. It's funny that you're first impression of me was of something that usually would be very like James or Sirius to do, but rarely ever something I would do."

Remus turned his head now, his amber eyes capturing hers. The hint of a smile was now gone, a real smile now in it's place.

"It's funny that that was you're first impression of me, when most others know me as the Marauder to go to when they need to talk, or have a problem that needs to be solved. Not the guy who randomly punches people in the face."

Now, he actually laughed at the ridiculousness of his next thought.

"Maybe it's a sign, or something. The first time I met James and Sirius, I was actually in a fistfight with Malfoy, on the train. He had insulted my family...but James and Sirius did something I had never expected them to. They actually joined the fight. In hindsight, really, that did make sense. For James, anyway. The Potters had never been on good relations with the Malfoys. But Sirius's family was actually very close with the Malfoys, and so it must have taken at least a bit of guts to join in and give him a black eye. But then, Sirius was never one to just sit back and go along with his family's views.

Without them, I probably would have been beaten to a pulp. Malfoy's overly large cronies had just joined the fight, and a three on one fight has never been good odds. So James and Sirius really saved me that day, even though we all got assigned a weeks worth of detention within our first hour ever at Hogwarts...but after that, we were inseparable."

Remus was rambling again, and he knew it...but this time, he didn't mind so much.

"What a coincidence that, within the first day that the Marauders go to hang out with you, I was punching Malfoy in the face again. Who knows? Maybe you'll be the first ever Mauradette."

With that, he smiled at her again, a very genuine smile, before looking back at the fire.


Well now, that explained a whole lot. Most things actually.

Well okay, it hardly explained a thing. But at least she knew why he was sulking now.

Kat felt like such an idiot. Shouldn't she have been able to see this before? Remus and the rest of them had first seen her when she was about to be just another name on a murderer's victim list, and then just when she'd been able to get to know them better, Remus had resorted to violence. He thought that she was afraid of him.

She studied his face for a moment. Poor guy. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

She was afraid, deathly afraid, but not of him. She was afraid of what everyone else was afraid of in the wizarding world. Voldemort, and what he could do to people. She didn't want to join him, but she also didn't want to oppose him. Stay low and stay quiet until she either died or he forgot about her. It wasn't the best outlook, but at the moment it was all she had.

But here was Remus, freaking out over nothing, thinking that he'd scared her off because he'd caught her at...well...let's just call it a bad time.

She took a deep breath once he'd finished his little rant. Okay...this would take some delicate talking to get through. He was calling her wonderful, and kept sneaking glances at her. If he was developing a crush, she had to pretend she didn't know about it and very quietly help him to get over it. Relationship definitely fell into the "getting too involved" category.

She shook her head, the movement forcing her dark hair to fall over one shoulder. "Don't even worry about it. Seriously. I have no idea who that kid is, but he came off as the type who deserves to be punched every once and a while."

There. That wasn't so bad. Simply evasive, but also to the point. You can do this, she told herself. You don't have to lie flat out about anything, and you don't have to address anything right to the point. No one ever has to find out. About anything.

"Besides, you started immediately seeming to regret it after you hit him, so I knew you didn't do that too often. People who do that often enough are immune to guilt after a while." Hadn't she seen that in action more times than she cared to count?

She listened with interest as he told her about how he and the others had met. It fascinated her. She'd never really had any truly close friendships, not in Loamhedge, not at any Muggle school she had gone to before that. It was as if there was something that drew people to her, and at the same time pushed them away. Sure she'd had friends, but none whom she was close enough to share secrets with, to tell everything to. She was fairly certain that after she left America, the people she'd known while going to school had simply forgotten about her completely, almost as if she'd never existed at all.

It was a strange feeling, to be honest.

But perhaps...perhaps she'd be able to forge a friendship with the Marauders. Not as close as they were with each other, of course, but...at least a basic acquaintance. After all...she couldn't spend her entire time here pretending to be concerned only for books, now could she? No.

And so, Kat figured she had to teach herself to become a very good liar, while at the same time...not lying. It was more like...not telling the whole truth. Because if she got too close, revealed too much, there would be questions, and wonderings. Her parents, the Death Eaters, Voldemort, and her part in all of it...no one needed to know. No one could know. Though a heavy burden...it was one she needed to carry alone.

Her parents....Kat forced down the sudden surge of pain that the thought brought up into her chest. She wasn't used to the title of an orphan just yet, and she pushed all thoughts of it back into a dark recess of her mind. She couldn't handle that just yet, especially not around another person, whom she barely knew.

His last words brought a smile to her face as she forced herself to concentrate on his conversation again, and her blue eyes sparkled with contained laughter, a welcome replacement to the tiniest flicker of shadow that had resided there for half a second beforehand. "Did you just make that up yourself? Or have you been brooding over that witty little remark all through supper, making us get all concerned about you?"

She smirked, but any further conversation was suddenly interrupted by the clock in the corner of the common room, calling out the late hour, which was fairly convenient, because since he was baring his soul to her, there was a chance he expected her to do the same, and she wasn't quite as practiced in her half-truths to be able to get through that just yet.

Saved by the bell, she thought to herself, mentally breathing a sigh of relief.

Standing up, Kat yawned, covering her mouth with one hand and stretching out the other. She hadn't realized exactly how tired she was until now. Smoothing out her black skirt, which had gotten a little wrinkled from her sitting in a curled up position on the couch, she shrugged at Remus, smiling a little to doubly reassure him that everything was fine between them. "It's getting late, and God knows I'll need whatever sleep I can to navigate wherever my classes may be in this enormous place." Heading over towards the girl's staircase, she flicked the side of his head in a friendly manner as she went by. "Get some sleep."

And with that she was gone, disappearing up into the shadows of the girl's staircase.

Once hidden out of sight, Kat pressed her back against the wall, eyes closed, simply counting her heartbeats. She hoped to God that he...and the rest of them...would soon feel comfortable enough around her without implying that they wanted to know more about what they'd seen the night before. If she was going to gain them as friends, the last thing she needed was to scare them off by telling them exactly what was going on.

That'd be friendly conversation, now wouldn't it? "Oh, don't worry guys, You Know Who's just trying to use threats, brute force and controlling enchantments to get me to join his forces, and so far has killed anyone who gets in his way."


Just lie low, she lectured herself as she ascended the staircase towards the dorm that would act as her home for the next year. Don't give them any reasons to ask questions.

As she entered the seventh year girl's dorm, Kat discovered that almost no one else was left awake, exhausted after the long trip and the feast, falling almost instantly asleep once they hit their pillows.

Lily however, was sitting up in bed, eyes travelling hungrily across the pages of a book, her activity guided by the single lantern that was left burning. Hearing someone approach, she looked up sharply in shock and surprise.

Kat held up two hands in a defensive sort of manner. "Don't worry," she said softly, so not to wake anyone up, "it's just me."

Visibly letting out a breath, Lily offered a smile. "Sorry," she whispered. "I'm just not used to anyone else living up here."

Kat didn't know an answer to that, so moved silently towards her trunk, which she'd yet to unpack. It honestly wouldn't take long though. She didn't bring much with her....mostly just her clothes and whatever else she really needed. The only extra object that she'd brought along was a picture of herself and her family, her little sister and her parents, taken the previous summer. Not trusting herself to even glance at it without bursting into rather embarrassing tears, Kat swiftly tucked it away underneath some folded clothes in her drawer where they couldn't be seen.

Changing into her pajamas, a red tank top and loose black pajama pants, Kat moved down the hall to brush her teeth and wash her face, careful to not even glance in the mirror as she did so, still shaken from her earlier encounter.

Lily, meanwhile, had placed a bookmark within the pages of her novel and set it on her nightstand, but she didn't go to bed quite yet. She watched the shadow of the new girl move across the hall and around the bathroom, her thoughts quiet. She didn't really have an opinion on Kat just yet...didn't know her well enough. All she knew was that she seemed nice, a bit guarded, but nice. Blowing out the lamp so only the moonlight lit the room, Lily burrowed down into her covers, closing her emerald green eyes. Katrina VanDoyle was certainly a puzzle...but it was far too late to try and put the pieces together tonight.

When Kat returned to the room to find Lily asleep, she was almost relieved. After the hustle and bustle of the day, it was wonderful to be able to simply be alone in peace and quiet for a little while.

Too much silence proved to be dangerous however, and as Kat lay in her bed not long after, hot tears stained the pillow beneath her.

I want to go home, she cried silently, fully aware that no one could hear her thoughts, and not caring. I want to see mom and dad again. I want dad to hug me and kiss my forehead and tell me everything's okay, I want mom to hold me like I'm six years old again and promise nothing will hurt me. I want my old room, I want my old worries, the simple ones...I want my life back.

Miserable, terrified, and mourning her deceased family, Kat managed to fall asleep for the first time in her new home of Hogwarts the same way she'd fallen asleep nearly every other night before that...crying herself to sleep until she was too exhausted to keep her eyes open any more.

And so, an hour or so later, the moonlight found itself falling upon several girls, tucked away quietly in their beds, their breathing deep and even...fast asleep.

((A/N: Ta da! I hope you liked it. Anyway, I’ll have the next chapter up very soon, seeing as how it’s already typed up and just about ready to go. So long until next time, dears.))

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