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I awoke from an unusually dreamless slumber, which did not make me happy. Dreams somehow allowed me to escape the real world when I needed to the most, or even when I didn’t need to. Nightmares come rarely for me, which is good because if I got them frequently, I’m not sure how I could survive life. I’m surprised I don’t have any nightmares on the first day of school, in fact, I never dream the first day. It’s as if all my nervousness and excitement mash into one and make it to where I am neutral throughout the entire night. Not nervousness enough to have a bad dream, not excited enough to have a good one.

I checked the clock realizing that it was officially the first day of my final year at Hogwarts. I would be taking NEWT classes again, all of which would focus on auror training and I what I need for that. I need to know stuff about sitting at desk all day, or actually fighting the enemies. The new “Focus For the Future” technique for sixth and seventh years is really fantastic; mainly because I didn’t have an extreme amount of classes last year. Based on my schedule, this year will be the same.

I took a step away from my bed, only managing to trip slightly over my forgotten uniform that laid on the floor. I attempted another step, but I could hardly move my muscles. It was just so early and summer had spoiled me rotten over the 10 weeks we didn’t have school. I’ve managed to confuse my sleeping schedule around to where as I still go to bed around four in the morning, but have to wake up around seven. Which is definitely not a good thing.

“Kathleen, would you hurry up!” Patrice said irritated as I searched for my uniform in my knickers. My three friends had been waiting on me for ten minutes now, half of the times thinking it was funny that I had no idea where the house elves placed my clothes. They found themselves amused until I told them that breakfast would end soon and they’d miss it if they didn’t help me find my clothes. It’s really not my fault that the elves decide to change the location of my wardrobe every couple of years.

“You guys,” Lily started, “Don’t blame Kathleen for her missing uniform.” Finally the voice of reason has decided to rescue me from this obscene terrorizing. “I think you should blame it on the fact that she’s so damn messy.” I growled and found my uniform hidden at the bottom of my basket of clothes.

I left the room immediately not bothering to wait for the others to catch up to me. Out of the corner of my eye, I spotted my cousin entering the Great Hall himself. I hated walking and eating by myself, so I began to jog over to James. I was stopped by something though, for all I know, it could have been a banshee stopping me at the moment. For, you see, my eyes were being closed by manly hands; which was, without a doubt, the oldest trick in the book. “Who is it?”

“Who do you think?” replies a deep voice. I hadn’t the faintest idea who it was. I dug deep into my brain trying to interpret the male voice, but to no prevail. Sure, I know plenty of guys with deep voices, Black, James, Frank, some Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw guy, even some Slytherin Boys. The only ones that I could actually decipher were the first three though.

“Hey Reggie!” I heard someone yell out in the hall. Well, that solves the mystery of who decided to cover my eyes and make me guess game. Even though the two of us broke up, I still missed him a little over the summer. He was a great listener and I could talk to him just like I talked to the girls. Which is strange seeing as he is far from gay. I turned around immediately and gave him a huge bear hug.

“Well, if it isn’t Regulas Stolkes! How’ve you been?” I asked noticing his late puberty change. He was almost unrecognizable, which was good. He’d finally managed to grow into himself, “You look like a stranger now!”

“I’ve been hearing that a a lot lately. I hope it’s a good thing,” he said. I nodded immediately grinning. I swear, if I still had feelings for the Ravenclaw, we’d be shagging it up in the broom closet down the hall, “Good. That’s also the answer to your question earlier.”

“Well that’s good.”

“To be honest, I was a bit lonely,” he said. My smile was wiped off my face immediately, “You know, since my parents hadn’t been around much. They told me about their busy schedule before hand, but I thought I’d have--”

“Please don’t say it Reggie,” I pleaded.

“--you. That didn’t happen though.”

I didn’t understand why people liked to let such heavy loads on another person when they’d ask a simple question. The only answer that I need was a simple ‘good’ or ‘bad’ and then I’d be on with my life. I know the break up was unexpected, but summer would have just been awkward if I hadn’t broken up with him.

“Look Reggie. I’m sorry,” I said simply, “I’ve got to go. Bye.” It wasn’t a friendly or a rude goodbye, it was simply a way to dismiss myself from this conversation. I left him there standing all by himself thinking about what could have been between us. Little did he know that nothing could have been between the two of us.

I entered the great hall and joined my friends in our usual spot, which was strangely close to the marauders. I had a vague memory of choosing this area at the Gryffindor table because I’d wanted to be able to be near my cousin. I had no idea that I was doomed to sit near Sirius Black and other horny teenage boys in the process.

“Hey,” Katy greeted, “How’d talking to Reggie go?”

“Oh merlin, it went terrible,” I answered, “He’s not over us yet.”

Patrice scoffed at this remark, “Are you serious? You two broke up ages ago though, he should be over it by now.”

“Well, apparently he isn’t and now he’s making me suffer. He even went into how lonely he’d been all summer without me.”

“You know what I think?” Lily asked rhetorically, “I think he doesn’t want to admit to his friends that the two of you are really over. Guys don’t like admitting that their ex’s have no feeling for them anymore when they do. He probably still talks about getting you back with his buddies.”

“He told his friends we were through though,” my eyes trailed over to his table. He was talking to his friends but his eyes were fixed on me. I averted my attention away from him quickly, not really wanting to have a staring contest with my ex-boyfriend. “Oh merlin, he’s staring.”

Lily checked to see if he really was then rolled her eyes as she found that he couldn’t stop, “He might’ve been in love with you and now he doesn’t want to let go. You know earlier, when I said he doesn’t want to tell his friends that you two are over, I meant officially over. That there is absolutely no chance of you two getting back together.”

“There is no chance though.”

“He doesn’t know that.”

Patrice began laughing for absolutely no reason all of the sudden. Katy, Lily and I gave her a strange look and she decided that it was appropriate to explain what had activated this laugh, “He’s your little stalker. You know that right?”

I grabbed a piece of toast, “Great, what I’ve always wanted. I’m going to class.” I walked away from my table ignoring the stare that a certain Ravenclaw was making me feel on the back of my head. I pulled my schedule out of my pocket and gave it a good look. Today wasn’t a very good first day of classes, I had Double Transfiguration first, which was unfortunate. It’s almost as if she went straight up Dumbledore and asked him if she could have me in her first two class periods on the first day of school. She might as well stick me in the Forbidden Forest with all the crazy creatures that live in there, like centaurs, and see just how long I might survive in the dark forest.

I stuck my schedule back in my robe’s pocket and walked to the dormitory in order to grab my books. I was lucky that I got Study Hall right after Transifiguration though. That meant I’d have a mind break before going to Charms. That’s always nice, I know for a fact that an hour or two of me time is exactly what i need after a stressful class period.
All my books, parchment, and quills were placed delicately in my bag, organized and untouched. This would only last a week and soon I would find essays that I’d thrown out or needed to turn in as late work. It was safe to say that my bag would soon become a hectic mess.

I began to make my way to the new Transfiguration room preparing myself for the nightmare that was doomed to take place. I always share this class with Slytherins, every year. I believe the only year I hadn’t shared it with them was my third, then I shared it with Hufflepuffs. Not to mention, McGonagall feels that it would be too special of a treat to allow her students to sit where they pleased. Instead, she assigned our chairs to us and placed a charm on the room so that as soon as we entered the class, we would automatically move to our assigned seat. I doubt that even in a new classroom, this year would be any different.

The room’s door was opened, meaning McGonagall was already in the classroom. I could only imagine walking in and seeing the professor with a small smile upon her thin, pursed lips as she said, “Kathleen, you shall sit next to Jessie Patterson”--an evil Slytherin who absolutely detested me. It was either Patterson or Severus Snape, a greasy haired prick that thought he was above any and everyone who was not placed in Slytherin. He was better than Jennifer who I was assigned to in first and third year, McGonagall learned never to do that again after we constantly fought over who transformed their owl into the better wine glass. It wasn’t uncommon for Jennifer to walk out of the classroom with various boils and pimples all over he face, usually meaning I was going to be getting detention.

“Good morning Miss Stenson,” I heard as soon as I walked through the opened double doors. I smiled weakly at the professor, “You may sit anywhere for now.” I took a seat at the very back of the classroom. “Oh and Miss Stenson?” I looked up at the professor, “Please, try not to cause any trouble with your partner this year.” I nodded meekly thinking if she didn’t assign me another arsehole it wouldn’t be a problem.

I watched as my peers filed into the classroom. It didn’t take long for Lily to find me in the room and she took her spot next to me. Unfortunately, the marauders minus one (Peter) all filed into the room. Peter was usually put in the second NEWT level class. If I were smarter, I’d have looked away from the group so I wouldn’t be caught staring. Unfortunately, I wasn’t that smart and Black caught me in the act.

“You looking me through Stenson?” Black called out grinning cheekily.

“Actually, I wasn’t. I was looking at the boy behind you,” I responded, grinning on the inside at how quick and witty my comeback had been.

“Did he happen to look exactly like me?” he asked checking behind him, the grin having not faltered a bit. His ego was clearly too large for his grin to have the strength.

“No! Thank Merlin!” I turned my head away and began ignoring him as the Slytherins began to file in. Severus Snape came into the classroom soon after and glanced Lily’s way, he quickly looked away as he saw I was giving him a death glare. “Lily? Why did you ever even talk to Snape? He’s such a creep.”

“I talked to him because I thought he was a decent Slytherin!” Lily hissed at me roughly, “I guess I was wrong.” Lily had never been able to forgive Snape for what he’d called her in our fifth year at Hogwarts. He’d never called her a mudblood before and it really effected her. Whenever the marauders weren’t around, he’d make his way to our table to attempt an apology. Lily would hear it and when she did, she still wouldn’t forgive him. It was clear to me that he liked her, but I wasn’t daring to say anything to Lily because I despised the Slytherin.

McGonagall’s sudden clearing of her throat caused the talkative class to settle down as she stood in front of everyone. She waited patiently as one by one, the students turned around in the chairs and watched her instead of their friends. “Good morning class,” she said with the smallest smile on her face. The class responded dully but the professor didn’t seem to care, “This year will be much like last year except harder. You will be writing a different essay every week for me, you will be learning a different spell every two days--which means I must rely on you to learn your spells during your own free time--and I will expect every homework assignment I give to you turned and ready within two days of you receiving it. Which means even if you do not have my class that day, I expect you to take time out to walk to this classroom and hand in your assignment.”

The class was quiet, having never heard of such strict regimens before, “You are not first years anymore, nor are you sixth years. You are adults in the wizarding world and must learn to take responsibility for yourself and your work. This year will not be used to celebrate your graduation or your oncoming adulthood,” she paused, looking around the classroom as if daring someone to say something, “It will be used to study for this year’s NEWT exams. That is all the breaths I will waste on this subject. I trust that you, my top students, will respect my guidelines. Of course, if that is not the case, do not feel obligated to take this course. If you are not prepared for the challenges that await you this year, I advise you to leave now.” I and many others chanced a look around the classroom to see if there was anyone brave enough to stand up and leave. There was no one. “Good. Now let us begin.

“As always, I do not like my class being rowdy next to their best friends. Therefore, new seats are in order,” the usually collective groans chorused throughout the room but the professor seemed unfazed. She was more than likely used to this reaction as she did this with every single one of her classes. She moved to the two desk in the left hand corner of the room, placing her index finger on the one next to the wall, “Miss Barbosa and Mister Williams.” I recognized the pattern McGonagall was using as my potions teacher, Professor Slughorn, used it every year. The only way I knew how to describe it was as ‘1-10-2-9-8-8...’ “Mister Bindon and Mister Thompson,” she continued, “Mister Black and Miss Stenson.”

I felt my stomach churn the second I heard her say the names. I should have seen something like this coming, If I wasn’t going to end up sitting next to Snape (as McGonagall usually went by alphabetical order and Snape was always before me) then I would end up next to Black of course. I had to try to find a way out of this the only way I knew how to, protest. I didn’t stand up or move in the slightest. I simply kept looking forward with my hand folded in front of me.

A few minute later, McGonagall noticed that I hadn’t moved next to Black, “Miss Stenson, is there a reason you haven’t moved from that chair?”

“Yes,” I answered, “I refuse to sit next to a prat for an entire year. If you wouldn’t mind, I’d prefer to sit next to Severus Snape, my usual partner, rather than Black,” I didn’t bother to smile or try to sound somewhat like a responsible teenager, I simply told her what I thought.

We held each other’s fierce gaze for at least a minute until she finally said, “Miss Stenson, I hope that you do move because if you do not, I would be forced to place you out of this class for the year. Which would not be good as far as achieving your goal as an auror.” It became clear that my original plan hadn’t worked. I opened my mouth to object but she held up her hand, “Please do not try to argue with me. I’ve made this classroom just the way I like it. I’ve even managed to set up four different quadrants in the room according to the goal of the students.”

“Then why can’t I sit next to James or Lily?”

“Every quadrant is alphabetized according to the names in it. Now if you would liked to become a bartender at the Three Broom Sticks, then I suggest you leave. If you don’t, then I will ask you one last time if you would please take your assigned seat.”

I made my way over to the chair in the front of the room. I stood looking at it in disdain trying to think of any possible way I could get out of this, but we discussed almost all the possibilities I had. Leave or sit down. I gave the professor one last pleading look, but I all I received back was a hard, unsympathetic stare. An inaudible sigh escaped my parted lips as I slowly placed my bag on the floor and sat down next to Sirius Black.

“Thank you Miss Stenson. I do not expect another outburst such as this for a long time from you again,” with that, McGonagall moved on with her chair assigning task. I began to ignore her, the students, anyone around me. My arms were folded with my head placed neatly on top of them. My eyes were able to trace the faint lines of the wood that the desk was made of. I happy that Katy and Patrice had not witnessed what had just occurred, surely they would be laughing their arses off.

They were both studying for completely different careers from Lily and I. Katy was studying to be a healer in St. Mungos Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries. She wanted to focus focus on Creature-Induced Injuries though, for she was always fascinated at the injuries students received when a creature (how ever small) in Care of Magical Creatures class.

Patrice was trying to become an Unspeakable in the Ministry of Magic’s Department of Mysteries. Patrice had always wondered what it was they did in that Department, but seeing as the career itself is unspeakable, no one’s ever been able to tell her. All she knows is, take as many courses that might be important when it comes to discovering new...well...stuff.

I felt a hot breath on my ear as Black whispered, “Hello partner.” I glared at the gray eyed boy next to me, though, to my unfortunate surprise, this made him smirk even more than he had been before, “Are you blushing Stenson?” I touched my hands to my cheeks and noticed then that I had a burning sensation going all through my face. I was flustered by Black, of all people.

“Go stuff yourself,” I said. I looked around the class in search of Lily; when I found her, I nearly cried from shock. She was placed next to James two rows behind me. She sent me a glare when she saw that I was trying to hold back the laughter that had been bubbling inside of me.

This all seemed so cliché, the fact that Lily and I had been placed next to the two people that we could get along with least in the world. It almost felt like they were up to something, either that or they were all bonkers. I could only hope that neither of the choices were true and that it was all one big coincidence.

As soon as I turned to face the front of the room McGonagall spoke up, “Open your books to page four hundred and forty seven. We will begin to study the process of bringing small lifeless objects to life,” much of the class fidgeted at her demand. Some immediately brought out their books and others pretended to search their bags having clearly forgotten their Transfiguration booklet, “You do have your books don’t you?”

The end of the week had finally shown its bright face as I flopped down on my bed and snuggled my head into my white, gold, and burgundy striped pillow. Though, that hardly said anything seeing as the first day of school, September 1st, was on a Friday. It felt like it’d been more than a day already since I’d already received two essays due next week.

It hardly helps that in the majority of my classes today, I was forced to sit next to Black. The teachers all seemed to want to do the whole “sit-with-kids-who-want-to-do-the-same-career-when-they-grow-up” thing--though I highly doubt Black will ever grow up-- and give us weird “alphabetical” seating charts. I can almost bet that I’ll have Black in almost all of my classes since we both have the same career path. The benefit to my schedule is I have three hours away from him for sure every week (I might have more) not including Study Hall. This is all because I followed Lily’s advice, for once, and took Muggle Studies.

Though today wasn’t a complete let down, I was allowed to sit with Lily for one of my classes. Which is why I love Professor Flitwick, our charms teacher, he was the only professor I had today that did not assign seats. Even Professor Burbage assigned seats to us, and she is possibly one of the nicest and youngest teachers in all of Hogwarts. I came to learn today that the majority of the male population that takes Muggle Studies isn’t actually interested in the “art” of muggles, but more the anatomy of Professor Charity Burbage. I noticed it rather quickly when my partner zoned out five times through out class looking at her bosoms instead of the paper he was supposed to be helping me with.

I wasn’t the only one suffering as far as partner relationships go. Lily had as bad, if not worse, as me. She was forced to sit next to James or Tooting Sam in all of her classes today. Samuel Martin (AKA: Tooting Sam) has a gas disorder that was diagnosed by a doctor. He can’t control the nasty air in his body, so when it comes out, it comes out loud and stinky. Figures that the only class Lily and I didn’t have together or with the marauders, we’d get terrible partners.

I lifted myself off the comfortable bed and made my way out of the dormitory into the common room. I spotted Lily talking with Katy and Patrice, who also had the rest of the day off like I did. The one good thing about being a seventh year is that classes end much earlier or start much later. Which is nice because that allows us to study for the NEWTs or do homework. Of course, we never end up doing that, but it’s always nice to think we will.

I placed my bottom in the chair next to Patrice, letting a loud yawn escape my mouth in the process. Patrice gave me a small, but noticeable smirk, “Tired?” she asked. All I could manage to do was nod and shut my eyes. My head being too heavy of a weight for me was placed on top of the table gently. I hardly felt like talking, so I listened instead. “Katy, you have had Defense Against the Dark Arts right?”

“Yes!” Katy practically screamed, “He amazes me how he is just so amazingly good at teaching and gorgeous all at the same time.” A small smile emerged on my lips as I listened to the girls talk about the incredibly good looking Professor Willis. This was the first year we would be able to experience his fantastic Defense Against the Dark Arts skills since last year he was only temporary therefore, was not able to teach certain classes.

“My thoughts exactly,” Patrice said, heaving a heavy sigh.

“How old is this Professor?” Lily asked suspiciously. She, as well as I, hadn’t had him as a teacher yet and were growing curious of the man. I was almost eager to find out whether he was all the girls cracked him up to be.

“He’s twenty-three, which is right in our league as far as age goes,” Patrice replied. I lifted my head to five her a disgusted look.

“Patrice,” Lily hissed looking around the room to verify that no one was looking or listening, “He’s our Professor for Merlin’s sake! You shouldn’t talk about him in that sort of way whether it’s true or not. We will remain within the student/professor boundaries. Therefore, he is completely off limits to you.”

Patrice rolled her eyes with a hint of humor hidden behind her dark brown orbs, “Whatever you say Miss Evans. I’m not making any promises though.”

“As long as I’m not the one to walk in on you two, then fine, do what you like.”

“Same goes for me and probably Kathleen,” Katy said giving me a weary look as I placed my head on my arm again, “You do realize that this sounds likes something the Blonde Bimbos would do Patrice? Not you.”

Patrice’s jaw dropped as she heard this insult, in no way was she like the triplets that called themselves classy. Unlike them, Patrice did have some actual class to her. She made good grades, was talented in more things then just snogging, and was a true spirited Gryffindor. “Please, don’t compare me to them ever again. I will never be that easy.”

“Then you best not be going and doing something irresponsible and stupid to prove us wrong,” Lily commanded. I watched her red hair bounce ever so slightly as she stood up, “I’m off to the library to on the Transfiguration essay. You know the foot long essay that McGonagall assigned us today Kathleen? The one that you said you’d start on right away. Remember that one?”

“Oh,” I cringed, “I almost forgot. I guess I’m coming with us.” I stretched my legs and arms out in the chair then stood up, giving my back a good stretch as well.

“I’ll be coming with you two. Slughorn’s gone bonkers and given us a tree foot long essay that has to be done by next Friday. If I don’t finish it right away, I think I might join him in the bonkers community,” Katy said, gathering her books together.

“Er, yeah, well you all have fun with that,” Patrice told us, standing up as well.

“Where will you be going?” Lily asked accusingly.

“I have a meeting thank you very much!”

I shook my head, knowing very well what that meeting entailed. How she managed to work a boy into her schedule and still keep her grades up to par was beyond me. I’ll never be quite as talented as her. Patrice left the common room leaving only the three of us, two of which were already making their way to the portrait hole.

“You planning on coming anytime soon Kathleen?” Katy asked.

“Er, yeah, you two go ahead. I’ll meet you in there. I have to get my stuff in the dorm,” I told them. Katy nodded and followed Lily out. As I made my way to the dorm, I spotted many papers strewn across the bulletin board. On it was a flyer posted by James titled, ‘Quidditch Tryouts.’ I frowned as I remembered James yelling at me during lunch after telling him I hadn’t played Quidditch at all throughout summer. He’d probably murder me if I forgot about the tryouts too, “Great.” I knew exactly how I’d end up spending my evening tonight.

A/N: I finished editing this on July 31st 2008! hope you enjoy!

A/N: Hey you all. This chapter turned out a bit longer than expected. Isn’t that good? I want to thank those of you who have been dedicated to my slow updating at the beginning of my writing this story. I’m just happy I finally got the groups back in Hogwarts because now I can get on with the real plot.

I realize, a lot of it sound cliché, but it’s not. There is going to be a lot of unsuspecting things.

I thoroughly enjoyed writing the dialogue with Katy, Kathleen, Lily and Patrice at the end. I found it funny myself.

Also, if you were wondering about the first week of school and how I said three days until the of the week on the first day of school, I did some research, and According to HPL, The marauders, Lily, and Snape all had their final year from 1976-1977. September 1st was on a Wednesday, which means the first day of school was on a Wednesday,

A bientot,


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