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* * *
Kristen crossed her arms over her chest defiantly. “I’m not speaking to him James.”

He sighed in frustration and sat down beside her on the leather train seat. “C’mon Krissie, he didn’t mean it.”

“Well I meant what I said,” she snapped back at him, staring resolutely out the window.

Sirius walked into their compartment and put up his baggage without saying a word. Instead, he turned to Remus to engage conversation. Remus looked a bit confused as to what to do, it was like the whole ordeal of last year all over again, only with a different person.

“You two are absolutely horrible,” James decided in exasperation, looking from Kristen to Sirius. “Can’t you just make up and be friends.”

“Not until he apologizes,” Kristen told him.

“Me?” Sirius shouted at her. “Why on earth should I apologize?”

“Stop! Stop! Stop!” James yelled before anything else could be said. “Remus, Peter and I are going to see Frank,” he suddenly said, Remus and Peter stood up quickly at this. “So we’ll see you both later, bye!” With that the three guilty looking boys ran out of the compartment, slamming the door behind them.

Sirius instantly tried to get out, but it was sticking for some reason, “Bloody gits,” He murmured, realizing their plan. He sighed heavily and sat down opposite from Kristen. “I’m guessing they did this so we could work out our issues.”

Kristen just continued to stare out the window, blatantly ignoring him. Sirius just rolled his eyes at her and leaned against the window, ready for a good nap.

“Alright, I’m sorry!”

Sirius quickly opened his eyes. He looked to see Kristen, still staring out the window. For a moment, he thought maybe he was hearing things, but the blush on her cheeks confirmed that she had.

“I guess I’m sorry too then,” he agreed slowly, afraid that she might think the same thing.

Kristen smiled a bit and looked at Sirius, “Do you know how big James’s ego is going to get when he finds out his plan actually worked.”

Sirius laughed at that. “We should do something to get back at him for this.”

Kristen looked down at her hands before she smiled widely and looked at him. “Sirius, I think I have the perfect idea!”
* * *
“James! James! Help!”

“I’m not letting you two out until you apologize,” James said from the other side of the door.

“No James, please! Kristen’s hurt! I need you!”

James instantly thrust open the door, removing the gooey substance around the hinges that he’d put there earlier. He looked over at Kristen who was slumped on the floor. “What happened?” James shouted in shock, bending down to her.

“We got into this fight and got a bit carried away! I hit her with a spell and she slammed into the window! I’m so sorry James!” Sirius had tears sliding down his face. He turned to see Remus and Peter standing in the doorway, looking shocked. When they both looked to Sirius, he discreetly winked at them, letting them in on the prank.

“James! She looks dead!” Remus exclaimed, trying desperately to hide his smile.

“No!” James yelled, cradling Kristen’s head gently. “I’m so sorry Kristen,” he muttered in agony.

Suddenly, she said something. James instantly perked up, he couldn’t understand what she was saying but at least she was able to make noise. “What Kristen, what did you say?”

“yourrreahpr…” she mumbled again, making him bend closer to her. When he was only millimeters away she shouted, “You’re a prat James Andrew Potter!”

He backed away so fast that he fell onto his back, his friends all laughing around him as Kristen haughtily stood up. “That’ll teach you,” Remus laughed at James’s confused face.

“I hate you!” James shot at both Kristen and Sirius as they laughed. “I was only trying to help!”

“By locking us in here?” Kristen asked. “I’m surprised we didn’t really end up killing each other!”

“Is everything all right? I heard yelling.” Lily suddenly appeared at the door, looking worried.

“Yeah, James is just getting a dose of his own medicine,” Sirius said proudly.

“Oh, I thought some one was hurt,” Lily said, a bit disgruntled that they’d worried her for no reason.

“Nope, only James’s ego,” Kristen told her with a smile, patting James on the head.

“Well that’s good,” Lily said, seeming to refer more to the fact that he had a bruised ego than anyone not being hurt. “I suppose I’ll go, Mary-Jane and I are sitting a few compartments back.” She left with that, leaving James to look absolutely heart broken.

“That’s pathetic,” Sirius told him, rolling his eyes heavily.

The rest of the Train trip was spent ripping open chocolate frogs and discussing when they would return to their ‘meeting place’ again. It was decided they should wait at least a week, as Remus did not stop pestering them that they would need time to catch up on their studies.

At the last moment possible Kristen rushed out to the restroom to change into her uniform. Just as she was coming out, the train came to a stop. She hurried to meet the others as they made their way to the school.

“Why are we going in these?” Kristen asked when they approached the carriages.

“They don’t take everyone over in boats.” James told her huffily, still mad at her.

Kristen didn’t really listen; she only stared at the faint horses pulling them. They seemed to shimmer in and out of focus. She shook her head and climbed into the carriage, not mentioning them to anyone else.
* * *
“Miss St. Claire, a word if you please.”

Kristen froze. Their could be no good reason that Professor McGonagall would want to talk to her so soon after entering the doors at Hogwarts.

“Don’t look like that,” McGonagall snapped at her, leading her away from the throng. “Honestly, you’d think I beat you children!”

“Who’s leading the first years?” Kristen asked hesitantly, as if she hoped McGonagall had forgotten about her job and would run back to them.

“Professor Slughorn decided to.” She answered, holding open her office door for Kristen to enter. “I’m sorry to deprive you of the opening feast but Dumbledore was insistent that I speak to you as soon as possible.” She waved her wand and a few sandwiches as well as a goblet appeared on her desk for Kristen to enjoy. “So, how was your summer?”

Kristen thought that was a rather odd question for something so ‘insistent’. “Fine I guess. Boring, but fine.”

“Your parents don’t know that you have magic ability, correct?” Kristen shook her head, wondering how her professor knew that. “Your parents…did they act different towards you?”

“No,” Kristen answered slowly, not quite sure where this was going.

“Very good. Now Kristen, do you know what Occulemency is?” The professor asked her. When Kristen shook her head ‘no’, she continued. “It’s a way to keep people from invading your mind. For instance, if you had been a skilled Occulemens when you were attacked in Hogsmeade, You-Know-Who would not have been able to transfer his memories to you.”

Kristen just nodded her head, not liking that being brought up. That had been one of the good things about being home. No one had talked about Hogsmeade, or brought up the terrible memories she had. Even when she was with her friends, they were too scared to bring it up either.

McGonagall sighed and pushed up her glasses. “Miss St. Claire, Professor Dumbledore and I believe there’s a possibility that your mind could get attacked again.”

“What? Why? I’m not even allowed to go to Hogsmeade!” Kristen rattled off quickly. Her skin began to tingle at the thought of meeting Voldermort again.

“You don’t need to be in close contact for him attack you Kristen. That’s why Professor Dumbledore would like you to learn Occulemency.”

Kristen just stared at her hands. She had thought that she was done with Voldermort, that she had escaped him once and that would be the end of it. “Why does he still want to hurt me though?”

“Kristen, that day in Hogsmeade…you challenged him. You may not have comprehended it but you did. He obviously realized that you have some source of untapped magical power, and he’s going to want it for himself. According to our source, he wants you. He believes that you have some sort of ability that will be of help to him.”

“But why?” She asked in frustration. “The only things I’m good at here are Transfiguration and flying! And I’m not even the best in either one of those!”

“I don’t know Kristen, that’s just what I was told,” McGonagall replied calmly, understanding her student’s distress. “I need you to meet Professor Dumbledore tomorrow night at eight o’clock for you first lesson. I’m truly sorry for doing this to you Kristen, I know it must be hard.” To Kristen’s immense surprise, McGonagall gave her a kiss on the forehead. “Are you going to be alright?”

Kristen numbly nodded her head, not quite sure what to do. “How about I walk you back to the common room?” Kristen didn’t say anything; she just began walking with McGonagall close to her.

McGonagall cursed Voldermort. It was insanity what he was causing this small girl to go through! She should be having fun with all her friends and a carefree life, not constantly worrying about getting attacked.

“Here you are, the password’s ‘mandrakes’” Professor McGonagall told her. She turned to leave but Kristen suddenly stopped her.

“Professor, what are the things that pull the carriages? They were odd, it was like one minute I could see them, and the next I couldn’t. I don’t think anyone else saw them though because no one else said anything.”

Professor McGonagall looked at her with calculating eyes. “They’re called Thestrals. I would ask that you speak to the headmaster about this when you next see him.”

Kristen just nodded her head and sighed. This was all she needed, something else weird about her.
* * *
“How many bloody meetings are you going to have to have with him?” Sirius asked her at dinner the next day. “I swear, it’s like he thinks someone’s going to come murder you!”

“Thanks Sirius, that makes me feel loads better,” Kristen spat at him sarcastically, putting her silver ware down. “I’m not hungry, I’m just too nervous.”

“Understandable,” James said as he shoveled down and enormously gross amount of food.

“As long as you don’t fall into last year’s cycle,” Sirius warned her. “Merlin knows I plan to get some sleep this year.”

She just smiled as she idly moved the food around her plate with a fork. She hadn’t told them what the meeting was for, or why McGonagall had called her into her office. No one questioned her; they simply took her vague answers with a sigh.

“I’m going to head out,” Kristen decided, standing up.

“Wow, it takes you forty-five minutes to walk to Dumbledore’s office?” Sirius asked sarcastically.

“Well waiting around there is better than getting weird looks from all you guys,” she said honestly, heading for the door. She hated those looks; she thought she had been done with them last year.

She sat outside his office, it only being seven thirty. She figured he was still eating dinner in the great hall when he showed up shortly after her.

“I thought I saw you leave,” He said with a small smile as she jumped up. “Sugar Quills,” the gargoyles jumped aside and Dumbledore motioned for her to go first. “How was your summer, dear?”

“Alright,” She answered monotonously. “You?” She asked more out of politeness that actual curiosity.

“The same,” he answered, his smile slowly sliding off his face at her total lack of emotion. “Sit down,” he instructed her, waving to the chair in front of his desk. “Professor McGonagall told you why I needed you here, correct?”

“Something about Voldermort having it in for me.”

“Well, that is a more crude way of putting it I suppose.” Dumbledore said slowly, watching her intently as she averted her eyes. “Now Kristen, Occulmency is a very difficult branch of magic to learn, I myself did not attempt it until I was well out of school.”

“Why do I need to learn it then?” Kristen fought back defiantly.

“I do not want the possibility of Voldermort invading your mind again, this will keep him out.” Dumbledore told her, hoping she would simply listen to his reasoning. “Now, I’m only gong to do a few exercises with you tonight and then we’ll meet once a week. I want you to picture a brick wall, make it sturdy. You’re going to use that to keep me out.” She nodded her head in understanding.

Dumbledore stared at her as Kristen closed her eyes to concentrate. He could see her brick wall, he could see that it was cracked in several places and he easily maneuvered past it. He wanted her to try and stop him but before she could a flood of memories came out, there was St. Mungo’s and a snowball fight, as well as Christmas presents.

He pulled back immediately, not meaning to unleash so many at once. He could see that Kristen looked confused. “I don’t remember any of those things happening.” She whispered, looking at him.

“I believe I accidentally uncovered those six weeks of memory that you had lost, they were very close to the surface.” He told her speculatively. “I think that’s all I will do for tonight. Further through the year I will make it longer but this can be especially trying the first time. I will see you next Tuesday, I hope?”

She barely comprehended what he was saying as she left. All those things that had happened after Hogsmeade were playing through her mind.

She was still in this state of semi-consciousness when she walked into the Common Room. It was still packed with students, as it was early in the evening. She quickly spotted her friends, though she only wanted to speak with one.

“Sirius, can I talk to you for a second?” Kristen asked him quietly, looking a bit nervous.

He cocked an eyebrow at her and reluctantly stood up. “James, if I die everything goes to you.”

“Yes!” James exclaimed, smiling.

“What’s this about?” Sirius asked, actually concerned. The last time she had looked this forlorn it had been his birthday.

She took a deep breath and looked around to make sure no one was listening. “Sirius, why didn’t you tell me I kissed you?”

Sirius’s eyebrows shot up in surprise. “I…um…how do you know about that?”

“Dumbledore is doing this thing where he invades my mind and I try to block it. He uncovered that memory some how. Now, why didn’t you tell me that’s what made all my memories come back?”

Sirius ran his fingers through his hair uncomfortably. “I don’t know. I mean, we were under the mistletoe and I was curious, all right? I figured you’d only get mad at me if I told you so I kept it to myself.”

“I wouldn’t have gotten mad at you,” She told him, smiling slightly. “I think during that whole ordeal I kind of liked you. Blimey, I was not in my right mind!”

Sirius laughed along with her, the whole ordeal somewhat paining him. Now that he knew that she had actually liked him it was a much harder memory to handle. If only he had known that sooner…

“Oi Kristen! What did you do, drag Sirius over there for a private snog?” James shouted at her, trying to get back at her for the train ride.

“Why? Are you hoping to live out your dreams through Sirius, Potter?” Kristen shot back at him with experience.

James couldn’t help but laugh at that. The thought of snogging Kristen was like kissing a sister, simply disgusting.

“You are all so immature,” Lily huffed at their bickering, sitting in a chair with a charms book.

“Oh come on Lily, you know you missed me,” James told her, wiggling his eyebrows.

She snapped her book shut, glaring at him. She then marched up the stairs with out a second glance.

“I can see you’re making real progress on her.” Sirius told him with as straight a face as he could. “I think she really likes you.”

“Shut up,” James growled, becoming moody.

“Don’t worry, one day she’ll fall for you. Just give it time.” Kristen encouraged him, sitting by his side.

“The day she likes him, will be the day you two start getting along,” Remus laughed as he looked at Kristen and Sirius.

“You’re not helping,” Kristen snapped at him.

“James hardly needs an ego booster,” Sirius said casually.

“Well neither do you for that matter,” Kristen shot back at him. “Come on, give him a break! Hasn’t there ever been a girl you’ve fallen for but she wouldn’t have a thing to do with you?”

Sirius looked as if he was thinking for a moment. “Nope, can’t say that I have.” He decided confidently.

James threw a pillow at him in anger, knowing, sadly enough, that he was probably telling the truth.

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