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 Post subject: Re: A Gaunt Tale
PostPosted: Thursday 9 October 2008 12:05:18am 
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First Year Student in Witchcraft and Wizardry
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teyannanecole wrote:
I'm still reading and I love it. Keep up the great work! :jump:

Thank you :)

Since someone is reading it, here's chapter 2.
----

Chapter 2: Heirloom

“Sweet Jesus!” Katalina attempted to grip onto her bed on the racing bus to stay put, but the beds were moving, too. The conductor laughed at her panic, and she shot him a dirty look. “Bet you’d do the same thing if you’d never been on this damn thing before!”

“I didn’t!” he protested. “I was three at the time, and I thought it was rather entertaining.

“Who are you, anyway?” he asked. “You don’t go to Hogwarts, do you?”

“I did, for about a week in my first year.”

He looked at her oddly for a moment, then he seemed to comprehend. “Oh, aren’t you’re that Gaunt girl that got sorted into Gryffindor?”

“That would be me. Katalina Gaunt,” she said. She looked at the window at the front of the bus, decided that looking at that was only going to make her feel nauseous, and chose to stare at her luggage instead. Her memory suddenly started functioning properly. “You’re… Potter, right?”

“James Potter,” he said, looking at the window. “We in Hogsmede now, Ernie?”

“Ar,” replied the old man behind the wheel. “We’re ’bout to Three Broomsticks, you’ll want to wake up Madam Harte.”

“Right…”

James stood up reluctantly and almost fell over due to the speed of the bus – now it was Katalina’s turn to laugh. He made his way carefully to the back of the bus. It stopped when Ernie slammed on the brakes (causing everything on the bus to come forward about a foot). James came back to the front with an elderly woman who looked rather sick from the ride and showed her off the bus, then he sat back down on the bed behind the driver’s seat.

“London now,” he said to the driver, “Leaky Cauldron.”

“What possessed you to want to get a job doing this?” Katalina asked as the bus jumped into motion again. “Are you mad or something?”

“No,” he said. “My mum and dad seemed to think I needed to learn to be more responsible after they got a letter from Hogwarts telling them me and my friend made some fake IDs to get firewhiskey at a pub in Hogsmede. My dad’s friends with Ernie here, so he got me a job so I could learn responsibility. I’m not even getting paid for it.”

Katalina laughed. “Maybe you’ll think twice before coming back from Hogsmede drunk again, then?”

“Possibly.”

She rolled her eyes at this, hoping they were near the Leaky Cauldron. She wasn’t sure she could take much more of riding three hundred miles per hour on a bus with a driver that seemed to have taken lessons from a three year old on a tricycle. She looked at the window, but the blurs of colors flashing by them still weren’t telling her much of anything.

“We should be there in about another minute, I think,” said James, looking out the window behind him – how could he even tell? “That blur looked familiar,” he explained at seeing her raise her eyebrows.

“Oh, well that’s reassuring…” she said sarcastically. “Familiar blurs…”

“Hey, it’s worked for me for the past… three months, has it been? Hey, we in London yet, Ernie?”

“Ar, ‘bout a mile to the Leaky Cauldron.”

“I suppose we’re travelling about a mile a second at this point…” Katalina grumbled. She became aware of the truth in this remark when the bus came to a screeching halt only a moment later. She looked out the window and saw the Leaky Cauldron. “Well what d’you know. I didn’t die.”

“’Course not,” James said matter-of-factly. “This is actually a more safe form of travel than apparition, you know. There’s more of a chance of loosing limbs when you apparate than there is of riding on this bus.”

“I think I’ll stick to Floo Powder and Portkeys, thanks…” she said, piling bags on top of her trunk. “Makes you dizzier, but at least you can’t get killed from it…”

“Not true,” James said. “If you let go of a Portkey in the wrong place, you could end up falling in the ocean or something, you know? And also, if you get out at the wrong grate with Floo Powder, then the people near that grate might kill you if they think you’re threatening them. There’s danger in all forms of travel. You really going to try to carry all of that?” he added, looking at the pile of bags on top of her trunk.

“What other choice ‘ave I got?” she said.

He sighed. “Well, fine,” he said, standing up, “no need trying to make me feel guilty.”

“What? Think I can’t carry it myself?” she said with raised eyebrows.

“I think it’d take a giant two hands to carry it,” he said. He picked up most of the bags, managing to sling a few over each of his shoulders. She watched him stumble off of the bus, shrugged, and followed with her trunk and the last of the bags. He had stopped just outside the bus and dropped half of the bags.

“What have you got in these bloody things?” he said. “Bricks?”

“Close,” she said. “Books. In four out of the five.”

“What about the fifth one?”

“Clothes, and I’m carrying that one.”

He glared at her as she carried her trunk and her bag past him, into the Leaky Cauldron, and managed to pick up the bags of books to carry them in as well. He dropped them behind her at the bar, where she was waiting for Tom, the balding and nearly toothless owner of the Leaky Cauldron, to come over so she could buy a room.

“I’m not carrying those anywhere else,” he said, stopping at the bar for a moment to catch his breath. “I’d rather take five Bludgers to my head than have to carry all that mess again.”

“I didn’t tell you to,” Katalina said, looking at him. “I mean, thanks and all, but it wasn’t entirely necessary.”

He started to say something else as he turned to go, but he froze completely with his mouth hanging open slightly from where he had opened it to speak. Katalina looked at him oddly before also turning around and seeing exactly why he had frozen. She blinked a few times, her eyes wide, before looking down at the small house elf. She looked back up at the man standing in front of it. She swallowed and attempted to keep her composure.

“Oh, hello, Dad,” she said calmly, although a voice in her head was screaming in absolute horror at the sight of him – all he needed were red eyes and horns and he would be the spitting image of Satan himself. “What brings you to London so early in the morning?”

“Lindy is sorry, Mistress!” squeaked the house-elf at her father’s feet as she hung her head, her ears drooping. “Master threatened Lindy if she didn’t tell him where his daughter had gone!”

“Quiet.” Katalina recognized her father’s voice as speaking in Parseltongue, which Lindy had grown to understand after years of hearing it used around the house she worked in. The house-elf cringed slightly. “I’ll deal with you as soon as we get back.”

“I don’t know what we you’re talking about,” Katalina said, reaching into her pocket as she spoke, “but I’m not going anywhere. I’m checking into a room here and then going to Hogwarts.”

“Oh, you will be coming home –” he began, but he stopped when he found a wand pointed at him.

“I’m not going home,” she said loudly. “Leave me be! I’m dead tired of what you call ‘teaching.’ I don’t want to learn about Dark Arts or why what Voldemort is doing is right or how to poison people working at the Ministry. I don’t want to learn what you think I need to know, I want to learn what I do need to know so I can become an Auror one day and hunt you down myself!”

She detected something in his eyes for a moment. It didn’t look like anger, but it didn’t look hurt. She wasn’t sure what it was. He wasn’t about to let her find out, either, for his eyes became instantly icy yet again as he looked down at Katalina.

“Fine,” he said coolly. “If that’s what you want, then I won’t bother trying to stop you from leaving. I’ll have you know, however, that I’m not going to let you catch me. The Ministry trusts me perfectly well, I do work there, after all. The minister even looks at me as a friend. I somehow doubt he would believe a stupid teenage girl telling him that I’m working for the enemy. I’ll let you think on that while you’re at your bloody school training to be an auror, alright?” He turned, but stopped and looked back over his shoulder. “By the way, I suggest you make friends quickly, as you’re not going to be welcome at my home again.”

“Good!” Katalina shot at him as he disapparated, taking the whimpering house-elf with him. She turned back around and heard a low whistle next to her.

“So that’s Timothy Gaunt?” James said. “Bloody hell, he looks like the devil or something. Glad I don’t have to live with him.”

“Neither do I, now,” Katalina said as Tom moved away from some other customers over to her end of the bar. “I might just stay here durring my summers. Might be able to get a better deal if I stay all summer, it does have some nice rooms.”

––

Professor Dumbledore,

Hello. This is Katalina Gaunt. I think you probably remember about four years ago, when I was sorted into a Hogwarts house like most other eleven year old witches and wizards and my father came to pull me out because he didn’t like the idea of me being in Gryffindor – don’t let him lie to you, either, that was why. You’re definitely intelligent, so I’m sure you knew. I haven’t worked out why you let him yet, but that isn’t as important right now.

I was hoping you would allow me to attend Hogwarts for my last three years? My father’s already caught me. He basically told me if I go, I’m not allowed back in his home ever again, but that’s fine by me, I’m positive I’ll be able to find somewhere to stay. I am at the Leaky Cauldron at this moment and will be for the next few days. If I’m allowed to attend, please send me a letter including what I need for my fifth year.

Also, if it’s all fine and well, I would like to take Divination, Care of Magical Creatures, Arithmancy, and Muggle Studies as my extra electives – since I’m past my third year, it’s my choice, isn’t it? That’s what it said in Hogwarts, a History, so I assume it’s right. Please let me know soon, since there’s only a few days until the Hogwarts Express leaves.

Oh! Also, this is very important. I have a house elf that my mother left me, Lindy, who wants to know if she can work at Hogwarts because she likes my dad about as much as I do and because she was instructed by my mother to keep an eye on me or something along those lines, apparently. Let me know if that’s alright so I can tell her, please?

Please get back to me soon,
Katalina Gaunt

Katalina bit her thumbnail as she read over her letter to the headmaster of Hogwarts, hoping there would be enough time for her to shop for school supplies. Including today, she had four days. One day would probably be enough to shop for supplies and get packed. Her hopes were high that she would be able to attend Hogwarts this year.

She rolled up the letter and tied it before handing it to an eagle owl she had borrowed from Tom that was perched on top of the dresser in the room. It bit her finger before taking the letter in its talons, for which she glared at it. “Was that really necessary?” she said. It hooted in response. “Yeah, apology accepted. Mind taking that to Dumbledore for me?”

It hooted again before flapping its wings a couple of times (successfully knocking her bottle of ink over in the process and spilling it on her parchment) and flew out the open window into the early morning sunlight. She decided that regardless of whether of not she was going to Hogwarts, she would probably need to head out and buy some new ink and a couple spare rolls of parchment. She didn’t much like that owl and couldn’t help but wonder if it would drop her letter on the ground out of spite.

She quickly brushed her pessimism from her mind and told herself that mean, spiteful, hateful, evil owl would deliver her letter to Hogwarts without losing it. She lay back on the bed in the hotel room, staring up at the ceiling. It was only eight o’ clock in the morning, too early to go out – she decided she would wait a couple more hours, since she had been up all night.

When she closed her eyes to attempt a couple hours of sleep, she saw a pair of eyes glaring back at her projected onto the backs of her eyelids. She opened her eyes immediately. That must have been her mind’s way of reminding her of why she hadn’t gotten any sleep. After hours of thinking about it, she had finally figured out what she had seen in her father’s eyes when he had apparated silently behind her the night before – fear.

The one thing she couldn’t figure out was why. He had never been afraid of her in the past, and her threats had been idle ones. He knew perfectly well that she wanted to work in the Department of Mysteries at the Ministry of Magic when she finished her schooling, not become a chaser of users of the Dark Arts. All she knew about the Department of Mysteries was that she needed a good knowledge of Divination and the theory behind it to work there. She wasn’t about to become an Auror and loose half of her limbs in the process, especially not with someone like Voldemort around. She wanted him gone as badly as anyone else, but she wasn’t sure she wanted to be the one to get rid of him.

Of course, the Minister of Magic, Edolphus Hemwick, was nothing more than an idiot in a position of power. He was still denying the existence of Voldemort to the public, and he would probably continue to do so either until Voldemort was gone or until he and others within the ministry saw Voldemort for themselves. Katalina had the unfortunate pleasure of having had seen Voldemort, as her father had offered their house up as headquarters for the “Death Eaters,” Voldemort’s most loyal followers, a few years back before Voldemort found a better and less detectable command center to work from.

Maybe Voldemort was the reason her father was afraid? He might have been afraid of being alone in that house. Had he wronged his lord in some way that would put his life at danger if he was alone? No, that seemed utterly ridiculous. The day that her father offended his lord would be the day the earth and the sun collided, and the Muggles that were keeping a close eye on such things in their solar system had yet to detect any signs of this happening in the near future. Something about Katalina leaving did scare him, however, and not knowing what it was would only bother her.

As an idea dawned in her mind, she sat up in her bed. That was all it was – he was trying to keep her off the focus of her goal of getting to Hogwarts! That had to be it – he had intentionally let her see an small flash of fear in his eyes to make her wonder why and to make her want to come back home to find out so he could continue the maddening torture that he considered to be homeschooling. Well, she wasn’t going to let it worked. She crossed her arms and fell back onto her bed with an indignant “Hmph!”, deciding that her theory could have been nothing short of accurate and that her father was mad if he thought his stupid plan was going to work.

––

Timothy Gaunt sat at the table in his kitchen, staring blankly at the door on the other side of the room. His thoughts were miles away from that door, however; they were off in the Malfoy manner, as headquarters, where the Dark Lord resided. He wondered how long it would be before the Dark Lord received word of this error of his.

He strummed his fingers on the table, his eyes travelling down to his father’s ring. For whatever reason, Voldemort had had his eye on the jewel for years now, ever since he had begun going by “Voldemort” rather than his “Muggle name,” as he had so often referred to it. As Tom Riddle he had paid it little attention, but he seemed now to have developed a strange fascination with it. Anything that Tom Riddle – or Voldemort – ever found fascinating was generally something that no one wanted him to get his hands on.

Timothy was sure at this point he would be killed. In fact, there was no doubt of it in his mind. It would probably be Voldemort himself to do it – his mistake had been much too big this time. Of all Voldemort’s followers, Timothy had made the fewest mistakes. For this reason, he was Voldemort’s right-hand man. It had nothing to do with their friendship in school or his knowledge of Voldemort’s past. After all, Tom Marvolo Riddle was dead. He had died the moment the first Horcrux had been made in the eyes of Timothy Gaunt, and had been taken over by his own alter ego – Lord Voldemort. As the first of the Death Eaters, Timothy had instantly become the number one. As he also became the most reliable, this status as number one was a sealed deal.

After a prophecy made by his own wife as well as an error in judgment on her part, Timothy Gaunt had alone been entrusted by Voldemort with one job. He had failed to accomplish this job. For this reason, he would be dead in a matter of weeks, just like his wife. To the Dark Lord, friendship was weakness. Timothy Gaunt was only a follower – a pawn, if you will – and not a friend, so there was no avoiding it.

All that was left, Timothy supposed as he looked down at a bare sheet of parchment in front of him and the bottle of ink next to it, was to keep Voldemort away from his father’s ring. And so, he picked up the quill from the bottle of ink and began writing:

I, Timothy Morfin Gaunt, leave to my son, Alfred Gaunt…

“Father?”

Scowling, Timothy crumpled the parchment into a ball before his son could read it.

“Yes?”

“Do you have any idea where that wretched house-elf is?”

“Outside, last I said,” said Timothy, taking to staring aimlessly across the kitchen again. “Crushing her ears under a rock for letting your sister escape or letting me find out about it, one or the other.”

“She’s gone? Where to?”

“Hogwarts.”

“Oh, well that’s wonderful…. Aren’t you going to get her out again?”

“I’m done bothering with her. I’ve informed her she will need to find a new home as well. You’ll have no reason to worry about it.”

“Good,” he sneered. “I was beginning to get tired of having to live with traitorous filth. I’ll be looking for that elf – I believe she’s started stealing my money….”

Timothy heard the kitchen door close a moment later and decided this would have to wait until his son was off to school. The distraction had definitely done good; it had given Timothy a moment to notice the silver chain hanging around his neck. At this, he had realized there was more than one family heirloom he would need to keep out of Voldemort’s grasp.


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 Post subject: Re: A Gaunt Tale
PostPosted: Tuesday 14 October 2008 3:11:06am 
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great story! I can't wait to read the rest.


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 Post subject: Re: A Gaunt Tale
PostPosted: Thursday 16 October 2008 2:30:57am 
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Chapter 3: Eye

Miss Gaunt,

I have received a letter from your father regarding the circumstances behind your leaving. He has stated that he has no issues with you returning to Hogwarts at this point. Because of law, you would need his or the ministry’s permission to switch from homeschooling to Hogwarts, regardless any situation. Because your father has agreed, you will be allowed to attend Hogwarts for your last three years.

The elective courses you have chosen will be fine; the books you will need for them are included on your supplies list in the envelope that was sent with this letter. Your ticket for the Hogwarts Express is also included in the envelope, and the train will leave King’s Cross Station at eleven o’clock in the morning on September 1.

Also, you may inform Lindy that she is perfectly welcome to work within Hogwarts. She may come here any time between now and September 1 to discuss what department she will be working in at Hogwarts, and as she is not a Hogwarts elf, she is free to leave whenever you wish for her to do so.

Sincerely,
Albus Dumbledore


Katalina let out a cheer as she jumped off of her bed. Tom’s owl hooted at her in apparent disapproval. She pursed her lips, glaring at it. “Go rain on someone else’s parade, won’t you? Go see Tom, maybe he needs something delivered! Shoo!”

The owl hooted again and flew out her window, leaving her to be happy without any strange birds clicking their beaks at her. She sat down on her bed in her inn room and read the letter again… and again… and again. She was going to Hogwarts! She was so happy that she wasn’t even worried about what letter her father had sent to Dumbledore. Well, she was a little, but she wasn’t going to bother herself with worrying about it too much. She had more important bussiness to attend to first.

“Lindy!”

She heard a small pop, but saw no elf. That was odd. She looked around for a moment. “L… Lindy?”

“Yes, Mistress?”

Katalina jumped at the voice directly behind her and turned to look at the house-elf sitting cross-legged on her bed. “I’m starting to think you like scaring me.”

“Lindy apologizes for scaring Mistress…”

Katalina tilted her head to the side slightly at the depressed look upon the elf’s face. “Are you alright?”

Lindy looked up. Her eyes were a bit wider than usual. “Lindy made a big mistake, Mistress. Mistress’s mother told Lindy to keep Mistress safe but Lindy has put her in danger… Master Gaunt thinks Mistress and her brother may be in danger, Lindy saw a letter Master Gaunt wrote to Albus Dumbledore that said so. Albus Dumbledore thinks Mistress Gaunt and her brother will be safer in Hogwarts than outside, but Master Gaunt –”

“Why wouldn’t we be safe at Hogwarts?” Katalina asked. “Don’t you think that my father could just be trying to trick Dumbledore?”

“Master Gaunt is scared.”

“Of what?”

“Lindy isn’t allowed to say, Master Gaunt told Lindy not to. Lindy could get in trouble for telling Mistress about the letter. Lindy smashed her ears under rocks before coming here so Lindy could tell Mistress about the letter!”

“That would explain why they’re looking a bit more purple than usual…” Katalina mumbled to herself, turning sideways to look at the distraught house-elf a little better. “Don’t worry about it, okay, Lindy? I’ll be fine. And if you’re still worried, then you get to come to Hogwarts too, so you can keep your word to my mother and keep me safe from there, alright?”

Lindy perked up immediately, her eyes widening even more, but more in surprise this time than worry. “Headmaster Dumbledore said Lindy could work at Hogwarts?” Lindy asked.

“Yes,” said Katalina, smiling. “The letter said to go there any time between now and September 1 to discuss what department you will be working in.”

“May Lindy go now?” asked Lindy excitedly, her bat ears standing up again. “Lindy must thank Headmaster Dumbledore for his generosity!”

“Of course,” Katalina said.

“Thank you, Mistress!”

With another pop, the elf disappeared on the spot. Katalina couldn’t help but wonder how she planned to get into Hogwarts; she had read that apparating in and out of it was impossible. Maybe house-elves could and witches and wizards couldn’t or something. Katalina shook her head, pushing the thought away from her mind; Lindy wouldn’t have apparated if it weren’t possible, so there was no need to worry.

Katalina tore open the envelope that had arrived with Dumbledore’s letter and pulled out a train ticket and a few pieces of parchment folded into thirds. One was the regular “Welcome to Hogwarts” letter, signed by Minerva McGonagall. She pushed that one aside for the moment and unfolded her supplies list. That was her first priority. It was August 29, and she had already gotten her money from Gringotts to buy everything. She needed a lot of things, as she hadn’t managed to get many of her old things before she left home. It didn’t matter; she had more than enough money and three days to buy everything if she included today. If anything, it was going to be fun. Katalina shut the window in her room before leaving to head downstairs and out into Diagon Alley.

–––

“Long day?”

Katalina gave a mumbled “bu***r off” under her breath at the sound of the familiar – and amused – voice rather than just look up from the comfortable pillow her head was laying upon (which happened to be her arms crossed on top of the bar in the Leaky Cauldron) and glare at the person who had decided to bother her. She thought she had seen the last of him until Hogwarts, but apparently God had decided she needed some sort of punishment for some wrong she wasn’t even aware she had committed. It had definitely been a long day. That was exactly why he needed to bu***r off any leave her alone.

“Don’t worry, I’ll leave you be as soon as I figure out where Remus or Sirius are.”

Katalina managed to lift her head up, but she had to use one of her hands to keep it held up in order to glare. “I sometimes think God must hate me.”

James glared back from behind his glasses. “That’s just unsociable.”

“Shouldn’t you be at work learning responsibility and how not to show up drunk to classes or something like that?”

“I’m off for the last few days of summer,” said James, looking down the bar for Tom. “My dad seems to reckon I’ve suffered enough, so we’re staying here for the last few days of summer to get my school shopping done with. Ay, Reggie!” he added, waving someone over.

No more than a few seconds later, a rather annoyed voice replied, “I’m going to hex you if you call me that again, Potter!”

“I’ll just knock you off your broom at the next Quidditch match, then, shall I?” After a moment with no reply, James turned all the way around on his barstool and continued. “Any ideas on where your brother might be?”

Katalina glanced back over her shoulder to see a boy probably a couple years younger than them glaring at James – she could tell just by a certain look about him that he was definitely a Slytherin, and he bore a slight resemblance to Bellatrix Black from the last time she had seen her. “I don’t know,” he drawled, “but Mum says we’re leaving him here for the rest of the summer if he’s not back here in ten minutes.”

“Alright, thanks Reggie.”

“Stop calling me that, you stupi–”

“Then why don’t you be a good little second year and bu***r off?”

Third year,” mumbled the boy before he turned and walked away, glaring back in something nearing utter hatred.

“Little runt…” said James, turning back around. “I think I’ll knock him off his broom first game against Slytherin just on principle…”

“Oh, and I’m the unsociable one,” said Katalina with a laugh. She pulled a silver Sickle out of her pocket and set it on the counter, then commenced strumming her fingers impatiently. “Wish Tom would hurry up…” she mumbled, looking down the counter for the bartender.

“Hey, I’m not being unsociable, that little bu***r is a spoiled rotten brat,” said James indignantly. “He’s only about two feet tall, so all I have to do is tell the referee that I didn't see him and didn’t mean to knock him off, it’s worked before. I figure he might get some sense knocked into him if he’s knocked off his broom enough times. So technically, I’m doing him a favor.”

“How kind of you.”

“You’re not paying any attention at all, are you?”

“You’re doing him a favor by knocking him off his broom because it may knock some sense into the spoiled rotten brat that just left who is apparently the brother of a friend of yours,” said Katalina, still glaring down the bar at Tom. “I can wait for a slow bartender and listen at the same time. Not everyone’s as slow as you are, you know.”

“Yeah, I kn– wait a moment, what–?”

“Tom, how’s it going?” Katalina cut James off before he could retaliate as Tom rounded their end of the bar.

“Busy day. Lots of homeschoolers transferring into Hogwarts, so lots more people than usual this year,” Tom said, pulling a bottle off of the wall. “All the parents think it’ll be safer that way with all these rumors about You-Know-Who going around, what with all of the extra protection Dumbledore’s had put up on the school.” He set a bottle of butterbeer on the counter and picked up the silver coin Katalina had laid down earlier.

“What d’you reckon?” James asked. “Everyone says its rumors.”

Tom shook his head and spoke quietly. “Not sure I trust the Minister these days,” he said. “Hemwick says it’s only rumors. I say if Dumbledore thinks there’s something to worry about, then there is something to worry about. He’s even been considering stationing dementors around the grounds to keep his followers out, as far as I’ve heard.”

“It’s all true,” said a voice from next to them as a boy sat down next to James. “My mum even thinks You-Know-Who’s right on target with killing all the muggleborns. Speaking of which,” he added to James, “have you seen that hag around here in the past hour?”

“Not her, no,” said James as Tom hurried off to a crowd just sitting at the other end of the bar. “Your brother was here a few minutes ago, though. He said she told him they were leaving if you didn’t find her in ten minutes.”

“Oh, good, maybe they won’t spot me.” He looked behind him into the crowd of people. “Don’t see either of them, they might’ve already taken off. That’s luck–”

“Sirius? There you are – Mum says you’re in trouble if you don’t come back in two minutes, you know.”

“Tell the old bat I said to sod off, then,” said Sirius, glancing back at his brother.

“Okay.”

“Wait, not really –” But it was too late – his younger brother had already disappeared into the crowds, apparently eager to get Sirius into trouble by any means possible. “Damn…. That little son of a…. Now she ought to be out to kill.” He stood up. “Looks like I’m off, then. Your mum and dad should mind if I stay at your place the rest of the summer, right?”

“They might, considering we’re staying here for the last few days. Closer to King’s Cross.”

“Oh. Looks like I’ll be staying here, then. Let me know when they’re gone, I’ve been avoiding them all day.”

He took off quickly when he spotted his brother coming back. The younger of the two approached the bar and looked around. He scowled. “He’s gone again? Tell him Mum said that ‘if he’s going to have an attitude like that, he can just stay here for the rest of the summer. We’re leaving.’”

“Alright, I’ll be sure to,” said James in a mock-kind voice. “Now why don’t you be a good little dark wizard and go back to your mummy, Reggie?”

“I swear, Potter, one more time and –”

“And what? You’ll run crying to your mum?” Still scowling, he turned and walked back into the crowd. “That’s Regulus Black, by the way,” said James. “Sirius is his brother. His mum and dad put together are probably almost as bad as your dad. I should probably let him know they’re leaving,” he added, standing up. “See you later, I suppose.”

“Only if my luck doesn’t improve at all,” said Katalina, which caused another complaint on his part about how aggravating antisocial people were.

––

It was about midnight when Katalina finally headed upstairs into her own hotel room. At that time of night, the crowds of the day subsided and she could make it across to the stairs leading to the inn rooms without bumping into anyone who might want to talk to her for whatever reason. She wasn’t sure what it was, but there was something about James Potter that made her want to drop lit fireworks down the back of his shirt. There couldn’t have been any logical reason for it except that he seemed rather pompous and definitely seemed to lack common sense on first impression.

Katalina fell onto her bed with a relieved sigh; carrying around a cauldron full of school books all day warranted a comfortable bed to lie down on at the end of the day, which she luckily had now. She flinched, however, when she felt something stabbing into her side. She reached down into her pocket and pulled out a quill, as well as a few pieces of parchment. She unfolded one that she recognized to be her letter of acceptance into Hogwarts and read it yet again.

Now that her mind was calm, it didn’t have the same exact effect as earlier. Her eyes couldn’t help but linger on a few words: I have received a letter from your father…. What bussiness did he have writing to Dumbledore? She had never been more grateful to the man who had “raised” her than she was now, for him giving her official permission to get as far away from him as was possible, but she was sure the thought of it was going to haunt her for at least a little while if she didn’t find out more.

Maybe the fear in his eyes had been real…. He might have been going to Dumbledore for help for something. It seemed an unrealistic theory to her, but as far as she was concerned, her father was a rather unrealistic character himself. There was no telling what was going on in that deranged head of his or what sort of mess he was planning this time. He obviously wasn’t trying to take her out of Hogwarts now, if he had sent Dumbledore a letter telling him that he had no issues with her attending. The man made absolutely no sense to her sometimes. In fact, he didn’t ever really make any sense to her.

Rather than read over the letter again and find something else to question, Katalina merely lay the letter upon her nightstand and roll over onto her side. There was no point bothering changing into pajamas this time of night. She was perfectly comfortable as she was, and getting up would only lessen the time she had to get in a much needed night of sleep. So as she closed her eyes and again saw a pair of turquoise orbs projected for her on the back of her eyelids, she did her best to look past them.

She was quite surprised when this pair of eyes blinked after quite a long period of time, and even more surprised at the flash of green light she saw, and more yet when she heard a single word spoken in her ear: riddle.

Katalina opened her eyes and sat straight up at the sound of this voice, only to find herself blinking in the sunlight. She shook her head as she looked at the open window in her room. She groaned and lay back down, pulling up covers she hadn’t used the night before to shield her eyes from the sunlight. It was too early for her to be waking up. She had no idea what time it was, but her sleep didn’t seem to her to have lasted any more than a half an hour. That was utterly nerve-racking.

Then, as something triggered in her memory, she sat back up. She pulled the covers off of her head and stared at the window in her room – the open window… that she had closed yesterday. True, she hadn’t checked it the previous night – she had been much too tired to do so – but she had never opened it back up herself, unless she was sleepwalking, which she had never done in the past as far as she knew.

Had someone been there while she was asleep? The voice she heard seemed to have come from her right side, as she had been sleeping on her side and that was the only ear anyone could have spoken in that clearly. The voice didn’t seem as though it had come from within the dream itself – if you could even call it a dream – because the voice was what had awoken her, wasn’t it? She certainly thought that was it. She was quite sure she had heard someone speak right in her ear.

She stood up from her bed and managed to force her tired legs to shuffle her over to the window. Katalina found herself examining the windowsill for no particular reason before she closed the window and latched it, then pulled the curtains back. She hadn’t locked the window shut yesterday, maybe that was it. No one would be getting in through it now, she thought to herself with a laugh, before meandering back over to her bed and falling down on it.


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 Post subject: Re: A Gaunt Tale
PostPosted: Tuesday 9 December 2008 11:58:41pm 
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Fully Qualified Wizard
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Joined: Tuesday 7 October 2008 12:22:35am
Posts: 180
hi,
you are really good you should keep writing
hprocks


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 Post subject: Re: A Gaunt Tale
PostPosted: Thursday 2 December 2010 11:45:14am 
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First Year Student in Witchcraft and Wizardry
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Joined: Friday 5 September 2008 2:44:41am
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Thanks, hprocks ^_^ I'm actually going to be rewriting this pretty soon. I've worked it into a series in and of itself, and I'm actually working out the timeline for everything right now. But, I figure I may as well post what I've got of this one here for people to read. Why not?
----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Chapter 4: Train

As she picked up a few belongings of hers that had fallen off of her luggage cart, Katalina looked up at the red steam engine train with relish. It hadn’t changed a bit since the first day she had seen it, but the foreboding sense it had given her back in her first year was gone, replaced with hope and utter delight.

It was earlier than eleven o’ clock and so Katalina was one of the only people on the platform, though she had felt as though she was being watched ever since waking up to find her window open in her inn room at the Leaky Cauldron. She had the same dream for the following nights, all ending with that same word. She could almost understand why the word was riddle; the dream itself was a riddle that she couldn’t make any sense of. It could have just been a sort of underlying guilt for leaving her father playing games with her mind while she looked for some more sinister explanation, but she somehow didn’t think so.

Her paranoia was getting the better of her; she was almost sure she felt someone standing behind her. She first thought to laugh it off, but she glanced over her shoulder beforehand. At doing so, she spun around and pointed her wand and then, scowling, she shoved it back in her pocket. She turned back around to face the train.

“What do you want?” she snarled, glaring behind her. “I did leave for a reason, you know.”

The voice that replied wasn’t anywhere near as ferocious; if anything, it was confused.

“Father’s been acting quite strange.”

“Is that so?” said Katalina airily, looking over as her brother walked next to her. “That was actually the reason I left, to get him off my bloody back. Did you know that?”

“My Lord, is there any chance you could stop being hostile for a moment?” Katalina remained silent. “Good,” Alfred snapped. “I know he’s been writing letters to Dumbledore about something since before you even left, I heard the house elf mumbling to herself about it. And before I left… don’t think I’ll be doing it just because he said to,” he added, and she wasn’t sure if he sounded antagonistic or frenetic about it. “Before I left, he said I should watch out for you.” Katalina raised her eyebrows. “I don’t know why, like I said, he’s been acting strange.”

“Anything else?”

“Yeah…” he said slowly, leaning back against his own luggage cart and crossing his arms. “He didn’t think I saw it, but I’ve been keeping my eye on him since I found out about the letter’s he’s been writing to Dumbledore. I believe he’s working on writing a will.”

Katalina felt her eyes widen involuntarily, but she regained her composure… on the outside. Inside, her mind was racing now—that was why he was afraid, he was going to… die? But who was going to kill him? Surely it couldn’t be Voldemort. With the letters he had been writing to Dumbledore, maybe he had turned into a spy of some sort for Dumbledore and Voldemort found out? No… it was probably more likely that Voldemort forced him to become a double agent and pretend to work for Dumbledore, then Voldemort became paranoid and lost trust in him. Her father wouldn’t double-cross Voldemort if his life depended on it, she knew that for a fact.

“So?”

“What d’you mean, ‘so’?” asked Alfred, his eyes narrowing suspiciously.

“I mean, why did you see fit to tell me? You said you weren’t going to hold to Dad’s word and ‘watch out for me’ or whatever it was, so there’s not really any point, is there?”

“I didn’t say I wasn’t going to, I said don’t expect me to. Anyway,” he added quickly, “I figure with everything Father’s taught you with all that about Occlumency and Legilimency, you might be able to figure something out.”

“I haven’t got a clue,” she said. It wasn’t really a lie; she had quite a few theories already circling around in her mind, but she didn’t know how close any of them were to being right. “I’d have to be right there to attempt to employ Legilimency on him, you know, and considering he taught it to me, he’d be able to use Occlumency more than well enough to block me out.”

“I don’t know that much about it. If you care to remember, I was sorted into the right house when I got to Hogwarts.”

“Ah, back to the ‘I’m a better pureblood than you’ game, are we?” said Katalina brightly, if only to annoy her brother. “Here, I’ll help you. I forfeit.”

She grabbed her luggage cart and started to walk off, but he caught up with her. She rolled her eyes and stopped a few feet from the entrance to the train.

“So you really don’t have any theory as to what could be going on?” he said.

The hostility was gone from his voice again, and this really surprised Katalina. He had been nothing but hostile towards her for the past fifteen years, so this change was a little bit troubling. Of course, she supposed, Alfred was bound to be worried about the situation; he and their father definitely did have a decent father/son relationship. She couldn’t forget that—their father only treated her like dirt.

“I have theories,” she said, starting walking again. She managed to haul her trunk of supplies up the stairs that lead into the train and continued, “but there’s no point in taking them seriously. I’m not psychic.”

“Actually,” he said, pushing his own Hogwarts trunk onto the train once she was out of the way, “I’ve heard Father mention that Mum was fairly gifted in Divination, and things like that tend to run in families, so you could be.”

She scoffed. “Right, I’m psychic,” said Katalina. “I’d lose my bloody ‘ead if it weren’t attached, but I can see the future. Really funny.”

You’re the one who wants to work in the Department of Mysteries if it’s still around after the Dark Lord’s through with the Ministry,” said Alfred. “You need some sort of knowledge of those sorts of things if you’re going to work there, you know.”

Katalina looked into an empty compartment. Her trunk was heavy and she didn’t feel like going much further than a few doors down from the entrance. “First off,” she said, opening the door to that compartment, “I need a knowledge of the theory behind it, I don’t need to be able to see spectral images in blobs of tea leaves myself. Second,” she said, hauling her trunk onto one of the bench seats in the train compartment and turning to face her brother. She pointed at him and continued on, “Lord Voldy-thing isn’t going to take over the Ministry for the simple reasons that he’s got the dorkiest name I’ve ever heard, friends that could get him into severe trouble one day, and he looks funny.”

She managed to lift her trunk to shove it into the luggage rack above the seats as her brother glared at her, his face starting to turn a bit red. She looked over at him as she finished putting up her trunk and sniggered.

“Oh, I’m sorry, have I hurt your feelings? Shall I get you a band-aid?”

“A—what?”

“Things Muggles use to cover their cuts until they heal. Quite handy when you’re in a situation where you can’t use magic.”

“R—right.” She could tell he was trying his best to be nice, for whatever reason, or else he would have said something about how stupid Muggles were. “But anyway, what are your theories on… you know.”

“On Dad?” She shrugged and sat down on one of the seats in the compartment, crossing her legs and staring upwards. “The only one that there is a good chance of is that he’s going to die sometime in the near future, but I’m sure you could’ve guessed that from seeing the will.”

“Yeah, I did figure that…” he said with a sigh, looking at the floor.

“I also imagine it’s got something to do with Voldemort.” Katalina noticed the glare she received from her brother for having the nerve to use the ‘Dark Lord’s’ name. “Quit giving me that look!” she snapped, directing her range of sight from the bottom of the luggage rack above her head to her brother. “I’m doing my best to be helpful, thank you. I don’t know what it has to do with him,” she continued, “but if Dad’s suddenly started writing to Dumbledore out of nowhere, he might be looking for help or something.”

Alfred looked thoughtful about this. “That seems to make sense, actually,” he said. “If Father’s gone and gotten himself into a bad situation with the Death Eaters or the Dark Lord, then Dumbledore would be the person to go to for help. Everyone says he’s the only person who would even possibly stand a chance against the Dark Lord. The Dark Lord’s even said it himself, from what I’ve heard about the meetings from Malfoy.”

She shuddered at the sound of that name; many people shuddered at the sound of Voldemort’s name, but just the thought of Lucius Malfoy disturbed her. She did not like him. “He’s graduated, hasn’t he?”

“Couple years ago, yeah.”

“Oh, thank Merlin. I was about to get off the train and leave if you said he was still there.”

After a few more minutes of discussion on what their father was hiding, Alfred rushed off to change into his Hogwarts robes, having been forced to arrive early because he had prefect duty. The one thing she hadn’t bothered asking him was why their father hadn’t come like he did every year. She imagined it probably had to do with her; she was sure that he didn’t want to talk to her at this point. She scoffed at this though; what a wonderful father figure he was.

It was another thirty minutes before other students started boarding the train. A few of the first ones to enter slowed down by Katalina’s compartment and looked in on her for a moment, probably both surprised to see someone new who wasn’t a first year as well as to see someone on the train before them looking as though they had been sitting there for quite a while. One student, a girl with long red hair and bright green eyes that was already changed into her Hogwarts robes slowed down by the door at first, passed the compartment, and then came back only a moment later to open the door, looking vaguely confused.

“K… Katalina Gaunt?” she said uncertainly.

“Hello, Lily,” replied Katalina calmly, looking over. She moved her hands out from behind her head and sat up a bit straighter. “Didn’t I tell you I’d be back?”

She blinked a few times and looked behind her as the crowds of students started growing louder. After a moment of what appeared to be a bit of self-debating, she came into the compartment and closed the door, and then sat across from Katalina.

“I can’t believe—” she started, shaking her head. “How’d you manage to get out of it?”

“Well—”

“Did you run away or something?”

“I did, act—”

“I thought you had to have a parent’s permission to attend!”

“Well, see—”

“Your father could pull you out again, couldn’t he?”

“If you’d just slow down,” said Katalina, laughing. “You’re a prefect?” she added, noting the badge Lily was wearing on her robes.

“That’s why I’m trying to ask quickly,” she said, glancing at the door again. “I’m supposed to be on duty right now to make sure no one’s trying to kill anyone else to get compartments. Did you know your brother’s Head Boy this year?”

“H—how the bloody—what?” She shook her head. “Dumbledore must be out of his mind.”

Lily shrugged. “There are a lot of people who say he is. He’s really quite brilliant.”

“There’s a thin line between genius an insanity. If Dumbledore’s going around making aspiring Death Eaters into Head Boys and prefects, then I’d say he’s more than a toe over the line.”

“Death Eaters…?”

“You’ve got prefect duty,” said Katalina, “you can ask more when you’re finished with it.”

“Yes, I suppose so…” she said reluctantly. “I get to keep my luggage in the prefects’ compartment, at least, so I won’t have to lug it in here when I’m through. I’ll be back as soon as I can and I want to know what in the world ‘Death Eaters’ are.”

“You don’t—?” Katalina started, then thought for a moment—Lily not only didn’t live with crazy purebloods who thought Muggles deserved to die, but she was also a Muggleborn. Not many people had the pleasure of knowing as much as Katalina did about the subject. “Never mind, I’ll tell you when you get back.”

“All right,” Lily said, standing and walking towards the door of the compartment. “But you will tell me,” she added, opening the door.

Katalina was about to reply, but was interrupted by a voice from outside their compartment that made Lily grimace.

“Evans!” Katalina heard it say fondly, and she recognized the voice immediately as her source of suffering over the past few days. “Hope you’ve had a good summer?”

“Was nice,” she said shortly. “I’ve got to be off. Prefect duty.”

And with that, she disappeared into a crowd, leaving a very disappointed looking boy with messy hair and glasses to stand next to the open door while looking after her as she walked off. Katalina kept deathly silent, silently praying he wouldn’t notice her if she didn’t make any sound.

Evidently, she had more luck than ever today. Unfortunately, the luck she had wasn’t good luck at all, as James spotted her a moment later.

“Ay! Gaunt!” he said, quickly dropping his formal tones and coming into the compartment without bothering to close the door and sitting where Lily had just sat. “How’re you this morning? Didn’t see you headed out of the Leaky Cauldron this morning with the rest of the Hogwarts crowd.”

“I flew here out my window on a magic carpet,” she said sarcastically.

“Magic carpet, eh? Got it with you now?”

“Yes. But it’ll never leave the ground if you’re thinking about pink elephants when you’re standing on it.”

“I don’t ever think about pink elephants. Only purple.”

“Doesn’t fly for them, either. And I know you know that there’s no such thing as magic carpets and you’re just keeping this conversation because you have an extremely annoying fascination with getting on my nerves. Evidently,” she added with a laugh, “you also seem to have a fascination with Lily Evans that gets on her nerves.”

“Don’t let her fool you,” he said, shaking his head. “She knows she doesn’t actually despise me. She’s just refusing to go out with me out of habit at this point. It’s nothing to do with me as a person.”

“No, it’s just to do with you as an idiot.”

“Hey—!”

“What happened to your friend that was supposed to be staying at the Leaky Cauldron?” She changed the subject rapidly to avoid arguing. “His mum find him?”

“She caught him just now outside the train,” he said. “She’s telling him off now I believe. He’s moving in with me and my parents next summer if he can manage to run away without his mum and dad noticing.”

Katalina laughed. “I’ve only got one psycho pureblood parent and he noticed.”

“Yeah, but he’s a Gaunt. They’re notorious for being extra psychotic. Even more so than the Blacks. Which is really saying something, considering they have a family tree in their house that his mum tends to blast faces off of if they’ve done something to wrong the family name. The thing about the Gaunt family is that if a family member does something to wrong their family name, then they get their actual face blasted off.”

“My face is still intact.”

“I’m just saying. They’re extra psychotic.”

“All of them, then?”

“Definitely.”

“Oh, well, thanks…” she said sarcastically.

“You’re quite welcome.”

Katalina glared. “I swear, I’m going to knock you over the head with my magic carpet once I do dig it out of my luggage.”

“See?” said James matter-of-factly. “You’re so deranged you’re going to beat me with an imaginary rug that only pretends to fly when you’re not thinking of oddly colored animals. If that’s not psychotic, I don’t know what is.”

Katalina shook her head helplessly and put her face in her hands. If she was going to have to endure this all the way to Hogwarts, she might just find a real rug to beat him with. She was sure that the only person she had ever wanted to seriously injure this badly was her brother. She did have some fireworks that she could light and shove down the back of his robes when he wasn’t looking…. No, that could result in serious injury. Of course, she wouldn’t have minded such a thing at all, if it would keep him out of her hair for a little while.

If he bothered Lily this often, she was surprised that Lily hadn’t cracked and hexed his ears off. He took a different approach to bothering her, however, as he did appear to want to seem more mature to her. Lily was lucky not to fall for the act. She had never even met a three-year-old that acted more like a three-year-old than James Potter did.

“Oi, Prongs,” said a rather irritable voice from the open door. James looked up. “We’re finding my brother.”

“Are we?” James asked Sirius, who was looking just as irritable as he sounded. “What for?”

“Because he needs to relearn what happens when he bothers me.”

“That sounds interesting,” James said, standing up. “I say you should switch his feet around again.”

“I’m thinking of just cutting his feet off completely this time.”

James shrugged as he reached the door. “That would do the trick. See you ‘round, Gaunt,” he added as they both left.

A moment later, she heard a surprised-sounding voice echo from up the corridor of the train: “Did you say Gaunt?”

Katalina rolled her eyes—she knew she was probably going to be getting a lot of that this year.


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