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Hey, everyone! Please excuse me if this chapter sounds a bit like a filler... I hope you'll all enjoy it anyway!
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Calypso fluttered down to perch on my outstretched arm and I stroked her feathers affectionately. Her enormous brown eyes blinked up at me as she hooted her delight. I couldn’t help laughing.

The Owlrey was always drafty, but that day it was especially cold. I shivered, cursing myself silently for neglecting to bring my cloak.
The door rattled open behind me and I heard whispers in the corridor outside.

“You know what, Prongs? I think that’s mental!”

“Think all you like, Padfoot, but I’m sending it.”

I ducked into a small niche as the boys entered.

“I’m telling you; don’t! You’re only going to make a complete ass of yourself,” Black insisted, trying to snatch the envelope from James, who held it out of reach.

“This isn’t any of your business, Sirius.”

I had never heard James’s voice sound that way; it was firm and final, all playfulness forgotten.

“It’s your funeral,” Black muttered, “and I don’t see why you have to use my owl to send her that ridiculous rubbish.”

“Shut up. If I use my own owl, she’ll know. Besides, it’s not like you use Odysseus to send letters home to Mummy or anything.”

Black gave a heavy sigh. “Have it your way, Prongs.”

The door creaked and slammed. He was gone.

James whistled and a handsome tawny owl soared down from the rafters. At the sight of him, Calypso let out the hair-raising screech for which her breed was named. James tensed, his wand flying into his hand.

“Who’s there?” he called, flecks of fear audible in his voice.

I edged out of my hiding place, swearing at my bird for giving me away.

“Damn it, Calypso.”

“You?” James’s whole face twisted in confusion. “What are you doing here, Kat?”

“This is the Owlrey,” I pointed out.

“Oh.” He was extremely flustered. “Right. How…exactly how much of that did you hear?”

I snickered. “Do you want me to give it to her?”

He hesitated.

“James.” I grinned at him. “She’ll get it. I promise.”

He nodded and handed me a folded piece of parchment.

“You know what, Kat?” You’re really not that bad.”

“Neither are you, James.”

He left, waving as he closed the door. I turned and looked up into the rafters as Calypso took flight from me and nestled beside Odysseus.



“Read it.” Lily threw the parchment down on top of my Potions essay.

“What? No! It’s none of my business.”

“Damn it! Just do it, Kat!”

To please her, I picked it up.

Lily–
I know that you probably won’t read this letter when you look down and see my name scrawled at the bottom, but I hope you will.
I want you to know that all the tricks, jokes, and pranks I’ve played on you over the years occurred so that you would take note of the fact that I exist. Apparently it worked but not in the way I hoped it would.
What I’m trying to say is that I’d really like to take you out sometime, but I’m never sure of how you’ll respond.
Shall we say next Hogsmede weekend?
James

While I read, Lily purposefully avoided watching my reaction. I handed the letter back to her and asked, “Well?”

“I don’t know!” she burst out. “I’m mixed up. I don’t know whether to believe that he’s actually matured or not.”

“Give him a chance, Lily.”

She gaped at me. “Excuse me? Did… did you just say that I should–”

“You heard me.”

“Katharina Parker. You… you really think I so?”

“I said it, didn’t I?”

There was a long pause. Lily’s green eyes never left my blue ones.
“Okay. I’ll try him, but one date only. If he blows it, it’s his loss.”



The next morning, James pulled me into a hidden corridor behind a tapestry on my way to Charms.

“Did she read it?” He gripped my wrist so intensely that I felt my blood flow cut off.

“Ouch, James!”

“Sorry.” He let go.

“Yeah, I gave it to her.”

“And?”

I studied his hazel eyes, which were scorched with curiosity and…was that anxiety? Taking a deep breath, I said, “You need to talk to Lily, not me. Besides, she’d think no less of you if you confronted her face to face. It might even impress her.”

He seemed to be processing this thought when the tapestry was ripped back and Black appeared.

“Hey, Prongs, I– holy shit.”

“No!” James and I both exclaimed.

Black smirked. “Sure.”

I gave him a withering look. “Eat dragon dung.” Turning back to James, I added, “By the way, talk to her at dinner. Maybe you can get her to go next weekend.”

“Maybe we could double!” Black called after me as I set off for Flitwick’s class.

I looked back at the end of the corridor. “Beth is easier!” I called back and disappeared as James roared with laughter.



“Does my hair look all right?”

I rolled my eyes. “Yes, Lily.”

Mary giggled. “Whatever happened to ‘James Potter is an arrogant toe-rag’?”

Lily glowered at her. “I’m giving him one chance. One.” She turned back to her wardrobe.

Mary and I exchanged raised-eyebrow expressions as she explained for the thousandth time; “He’s meeting me in the common room and then we’re going for a Butterbeer. That’s it. It’s not really even a date.”

Mary snorted. “You’re in denial. You’re repressing the thought that you two are going to have children someday.”

Lily dropped the lip-gloss she was holding. “What? I–that’s completely–n-no way–utter–rubbish!”

I stood up. “I’m going downstairs. See you when you get back.” I winked at her and descended into the common room.

James flew at me the instant I reached the bottom of the staircase. “Is she still coming? She hasn’t changed her mind, has she?”

“No, she hasn’t, James. Calm down.” I tugged playfully at his sleeve.
“Do I look all right?”

Déjà vu.

“Yes. You look rather dashing, actually.”

He grinned, the nervousness in his eyes draining a little. Over his shoulder, I could see Black slumped in an armchair beside Remus, who was stretched out before the fire. He threw me a look that was between “what-the-hell-are-you-doing-talking-to-James” and something else that I couldn’t quite decipher.

A moment later, Lily appeared and the stupefied expression returned to James’s features. “W-wow,” he blinked repeatedly.

A dull flush colored Lily’s cheeks. “Will we meet up with you and Mary later?” she asked me.

I shrugged. “You tell me.”

She rolled her eyes. “Fine. I’ll see you at dinner.”

The two of them climbed through the portrait hole and out of sight.
Mary sniffled beside me. “My… my little baby’s all grown up and…. and going on a date!”

I laughed and she joined in.

“What’s so funny?”

Eloise glanced back and forth between the two of us.

“Lily and James are…well…err…”

Her eyes widened. “Really?”

“Yeah.”

She launched into her victory dance. “Kaitlin owes me ten galleons!”

I gaped incredulously at her. “You two bet money? Are you serious?”

“No, but I am.” Black and Remus had come over when no one was looking.

Eloise immediately blushed scarlet and scrutinized the toes of her trainers. I ignored Black and addressed Remus instead. “Would you like to join us in Hosmede, Remus?”

His smile was slightly strained as he replied, “I’d love to, but I don’t think–"

“Oh, don’t be ridiculous!” Mary cut across him.

I nudged Eloise, who squeaked, “Yes, Remus. Please.”

“Well…” he hesitated. “All right. It’s not like there’ll be any trouble now that the Dynamic Duo has been split up by your fiery friend.”

Black’s face hardened. Remus turned to him. “Are you coming, Padfoot?”

Black stared directly into my eyes. “I’d love to–” (The bottom of my stomach plummeted into my ankles.) “–But I have to catch up on my Ancient Runes.”

Relief swept over me, but I saw Eloise’s face fall. As Black swaggered away, she mumbled something about unfinished Arithmancy and slunk upstairs.

I followed Remus’s gaze as he watched her go. Mary was already halfway out of the portrait hole.

I tugged at his arm. “C’mon, Remus.”

A little reluctantly, he came.



In the Three Broomsticks, Mary waited at the bar to get our drinks, leaving Remus and I at the table alone.

“So,” he began. “Your sister has a thing for Sirius.”

It wasn’t a question.

“Yes,” I replied, “and I’d really rather not talk about it.”

He leaned forward. “Well, I would, Kat.”

I stared. “Remus, what the…oh. Oh, shit.”

His head collapsed into his palm. “I’m such an idiot.”

Shock was undulating over me. I cold do nothing but mouth soundlessly like a stupid goldfish. Finally, I heard myself ask, “How long?”

He raised his face and his tortured expression said everything that he could not.

Mary plunked down three Butterbeers in front of us, but I pushed mine away.

“You have it. I’m not in the mood for one anymore.”

She surveyed my face. “Dear, you look like someone just died.”

I got up. “I have to go.” Leaving her gawking after me, I pushed my way out into the street.

The chilly wind swooped around me, blowing my cloak here, there, and everywhere. My hair whipped across my face and created a black curtain through which I could hardly see. Suddenly, my foot caught in a jagged cobblestone and I came crashing down, my brave elbow trying and failing to save me.

An arm wrapped around my waist and hoisted me back to my feet. Brushing my hair out of my eyes, I looked up to thank my savior… and instinctively squirmed free.

“”You’re bleeding,” Black pointed out bluntly.

“What’s it to you?”

“Let me help you up to the Hospital Wing.”

“I’m fine,” I insisted, trying to staunch the cut with my robes.

He scowled. “What the hell is your problem?”

Remus’s anguished face swam before me, followed by the disappointment that was omnipresent in my sister’s eyes.

Blood soaked the sleeve of my robes. Lovely.

One of my knees gave way and immediately Black’s arm was around my shoulders, but his face was growing dim and hazy…

“Kat? Kat! Look at me…stay…”




Something wet was on my forehead. I blinked and Lily’s anxious features came into focus above me.

“Oh, thank God!” She smiled and stroked my hair, removing the wet cloth. “How are you feeling, love?”

I sat up, gazing at my newly mended and bandaged arm. “Better.”

There was a scuffle in the doorway of the infirmary and Madame Pomfrey’s voice carried down the ward.

“I’m sorry, but I must insist that you return to your dormitory. Get some sleep, now. You’ve been here all day.”

The door slammed and there was the sound of footsteps approaching my bed.

“Ah, she’s awake.” The nurse peered down at me. “You’re going to be perfectly fine. I suggest that you stay the night just in case.”

I nodded and Lily and I were left alone.

Smirking, I asked, “How’d it go with James?”

The light was dim, but a blush crept up to her cheekbones when I asked.

“It was lovely, actually. We went to the Three Broomsticks and were walking around the shops when Pettigrew told us–” she gestured to my elbow.

There was a beat of silence and then she asked, “What really happened, Kat?”

I took a deep breath. “Remus fancies Eloise.”

Her jaw dropped.

“It’s true! I couldn’t believe it when he told me. I went outside to get some fresh air and I tripped and… well…”

We both glanced at my arm again.

“He was here, you know,” Lily stated.

“Remus?”

“No. Sirius.”

“Why?”

“I dunno, but he refused to leave until you woke up. Madame Pomfrey was about to beat him about the head with a broomstick. He’d been here since you arrived.”

A pause, then I asked, “What do you suppose that means?”

She wiggled her eyebrows suggestively. “Either he’s very intent on not taking the blame for your little accident or…”

“He doesn’t feel that way, and you know it.”

“It’s entirely possible. He never left your bedside until he was catapulted from the ward.”

The Hospital Wing door creaked open and we turned sharply, Lily ripping back the curtain surrounding us, to see the newcomer.

“O-oh. I th-thought you w-were s-sleeping. S-s-sorry. I-I didn’t m-mean–”

I smiled. “It’s quite all right, Tristan.”

Color flushed his cheeks when I said his name. “I t-trust you’re d-doing w-well?”

“Very well, thank you.”

“I, err… I b-brought you th-these.” He produced a bunch of wildflowers
with a shaking hand.

Lily restrained her giggles as she conjured a vase and arranged them on my bedside table.

“It was nice to see you again, Tristan,” I told him as he turned to go.

He nodded and disappeared down the corridor.

Lily shook her head. “Poor bloke. He’s practically licking your bloody shoes.”

I hit her with my pillow, but not before I hear her mutter, “I bet Sirius will be back with even better flowers tomorrow.”

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