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 Post subject: A Gaunt Tale
PostPosted: Friday 5 September 2008 3:43:39am 
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First Year Student in Witchcraft and Wizardry
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Joined: Friday 5 September 2008 2:44:41am
Posts: 16
I've been working at this fic for a while. I've got about seventeen chapers posted up on fanfiction.net on my account. It's Marauder era, but it contains spoilers regarding the horcruxes and the deathly hallows themselves, so I figured I'd do best to post it here.

It's centered around an original character of the Gaunt family (yep, Voldy's family), the Marauders, Lily, Snape, Voldy himself, and a few of his Hogwarts-bound followers (Bellatrix and Narcissa Black included).

There will be a few grammatical errors within the first chapters that I never got around to fixing.

Genres:
Fantasy, Romance, somewhat Suspense (as far as people have told me...)

The summary:
Katalina Gaunt entered Hogwarts in her first year, only to be withdrawn from the school by her father immediately after she is sorted into Gryffindor, for homeschooling that he feels is more appropriate to someone of a herritage as "noble" as hers. She runs away at the age of fifteen to make it into Hogwarts for her fifth year, where she meets one troublemaker she would like nothing more than to hex, one she starts to develop a rather perturbing love/hate relationship with, a few new friends, and a few mortal enemies. Personal relationships turn out to be the least of her worries when she realizes there is a murderer on the loose within the school grounds and nothing she can do to prevent it without anyone close to her becoming the next victims.

I think I'll post up the first two chapters to start with.


-------------------------
Chapter 1
Dementor's Search


Katalina Gaunt was to be starting her fifth year at Hogwarts. She knew it would be a hard year, having never actually been to Hogwarts before. She was a member of the Gaunt family, a strictly pureblood family, a family that had been sorted into the Slytherin house for years, who was in Gryffindor. She was most definitely afraid. Had she not been homeschooled her whole life, she would have been alright with entering her fifth year at Hogwarts. However, since her fifth year was the equivalent of her first, it was impossible for her to feel at all comfortable with it.

True, Katalina had come to Hogwarts when she was eleven, just like most other eleven year old witches and wizards. Then, a week after being sorted into Gryffindor, her father pulled her out of the school to teach her his own courses. The History of Magic became The History of the Dark Arts. Defense against the Dark Arts was just the Dark Arts. Potions included how to make undetectable poisons, and how to detect them. She still had Transfiguration, but the course was twisted to her father's style. The standard Charms course was a course for learning curses and hexes. She also had to study her family history and learn the connection of the dark arts with her ancestors. It just went back and back and back, right on back to Salazar Slytherin himself and further back even than him.

Katalina had come from a long line of dark witches and wizards, most certainly. She herself was a break in the chain, and her father was attempting to mold her back into the chain. Her brother was perfectly okay with the dark arts. He was in his seventh year at Hogwarts, a Slytherin prefect. He was always willing to help discipline his disobedient sibling at home. There was only one method of discipline, and that was the Cruciatus Curse, the Torture Curse, one of the three Unforgivable Curses. Summer was a time she dreaded, for her brother and her father to be in the same house as her both at once was a nightmare. She definitely wasn't going to miss that at all.

Now, here she stood, at Platform Nine and Three Quarters, just looking at the steam engine train. It was a sight that represented both her freedom from her father and her fear of the unknown. It gave her a scared feeling of relief that she could have never explained if she had tried to with all her might. Seeing all the loving families bidding their children goodbye was the one thing that seemed to damage her the most. Where was her caring family? Why couldn't she, just a fifteen year old with a hard life to put behind her, have what everyone else had? Was she not worthy of a family? Maybe she wasn't worthy of even having friends. She was a Gaunt in Gryffindor, after all, the rival house of Slytherin at Hogwarts. That didn't say much for her. Her last name said she was an evil, dark witch, but her house said that she wasn't even good at that. Who could ever befriend someone like her?

Her question was answered in little more than a few seconds later, when a girl about her age stopped in front of her. She was about the same height as Katalina, and had a medium auburn hair color, and bright green eyes. The boy that was with her looked somewhat unsociable. His eyes were dark, his black hair was shoulder length and greasy, and he had a rather large nose and pale complexion that made him appear rather sinister.

"Hi. I'm Lily Evans; this is my friend Severus Snape." She offered her hand, and they shook hands. Severus nodded in acknowledgement, so Katalina did the same.

"Katalina... Gaunt..." she said, a little reluctant to release her surname.

"Have you been to Hogwarts before?" Lily asked curiously. "We didn't recognize you."

"I --" Katalina started, a little panicked about the question. She didn't think anyone would have asked it. Nonetheless, she managed a simple reply. "My father wouldn't let me come to Hogwarts, I was homeschooled."

"Really?" Lily said. "With Albus Dumbledore headmaster?" She seemed a bit intrigued, and Katalina found herself walking onto the train with them. "He's been the best thing to happen to Hogwarts since it was founded, according to most."

"Some don't believe..." she said evasively. "My dad doesn't like him... I didn't know why... mind if I hold onto that?" she asked one of the prefects, what was putting her larger luggage into one of the side compartments of the train; she grabbed her guitar case from him and continued in with Lily and Severus. Lily seemed nice enough, definitely, but the boy with her seemed distant; she, however, couldn't say much more for herself.

"What about your mum?" Lily asked as the three of them found a compartment to sit in; an empty one. They all seemed larger inside than they were outside, clearly enough for eight people to easily fit into, four people per bench. The three of them took one bench, as Katalina's kitten jumped into her lap and mewed.

"She couldn't have very well said with her current state..." Katalina said. "Our old house burned when I was a baby, her body was never even found. We still don't know what caused the fire… or who, if that's the case." She evaded any more questions on the subject of her mother’s death by continuing onto a different subject matter. "I just ran away from my dad, stayed in the Leaky Cauldron all summer. I took the key to my mum's account at Gringott’s; she'd left it all to me anyway. Got tired of being cooped up all day."

"What year're you in? We're both in fifth."

"Me too... and Gryffindor," she added. "Drove me dad nuts, he wanted another Slytherin in the family, we had all been for ages."

"I can't believe parents get broken up over things so silly..." she said.

"Muggleborn?" Katalina asked.

"Yes," she said. "I never had to worry about it. Sev did..." she added, looking over a little cautiously -- he could apparently be rather touchy on this subject.

"Mum kept saying I was a filthy half-breed and didn't deserve to be put in Slytherin," he said. "So I wanted to just to prove I did deserve it, and I did. Put her in her place, but she still doesn't like me very much. Nor does my dad, but he didn't know he was marrying a witch at the time."

"My family had apparently been a long line of pure blood Slytherins that claimed to be descended from Salazar Slytherin himself... so, naturally, me being the first to break this cycle, my dad wanted me dead... I wouldn't doubt we did descend from him..." she added. "Been rumors about different bits of the Gaunt family everywhere..."

"Gaunt..." Lily said, remembering something. "Are you related to Alfred Gaunt?"

"Yes..." she said, quite grudgingly. "My brother... different mum than me, according to my dad. I don't really... get along with him." She sounded as though she were trying to put their feelings towards each other lightly. "Me and Dad had a huge row before I left, he told me I was just like my great aunt, running off against her father's wishes." She laughed slightly. "I told him if her dad was anything like him, then I couldn't blame her."

"Why don't you try to find her?"

"Couldn't if I wanted to," she said. "She died an hour after having a baby, turns out she'd given the muggle she'd run off with a love potion, but eventually stopped, and he left her, but she was already pregnant. She had the baby in an orphanage, it's possible whoever the child is now doesn't even have a clue who their parents are, so I couldn't track them down very well, and wouldn't be mentioned in our family history, being a... what was it my dad said... a 'filthy tainted half blood with an ungrateful blood traitor of a mother'." She sighed. "He really is quite a wonderful person," she added with sarcastic admiration; Lily and Severus both laughed.

"Have you heard your brother's theory on the child?" Lily asked.

"I try to avoid him and my dad during summer, them together is a nightmare."

"He took a different view on it than your father, apparently," Severus said. "He claims that the child grew up to be Voldemort."

"Really?" Katalina said, a little stunned at this. "He's always taken sides with my dad at home. Probably just looking to impress his friends. But then..."

"What?" Lily said, a little fearful -- Voldemort was the wizard slowly working his way towards being the most feared dark wizard of all time. Most people didn't even dare speak his name aloud.

She thought about it for a moment, then shook her head. "No, he's just being an arsehead, my brother's always been known for coming up with stories that benefit his own status."

She shrugged it off, and as Severus appeared to be about to speak again, they were interrupted with guffaws of laughter outside, probably a few feet from the door.

"God, not already." Lily gave an exasperated sigh. She got up and looked out the window, as did Severus.

"What?" Katalina asked. She did the same, and managed to get a decent look out the window at a growing crowd.

"The local baboons have broken out of their cage." Lily was scowling towards the front of the crowd. "James Potter and Sirius Black. The short chunkier one is Peter Pettigrew, follows the other two around worshipping them like Gods. Don't know who the fourth is, he must be new."

She saw someone who was clearly a Slytherin prefect dangling upside down from his ankle in midair, a boy with shoulder length black hair controlling this, three of his friends with him, and a crowd of people around them, laughing. Katalina recognized this prefect, clearly, as her brother. She followed the other two out the door. She nearly laughed a little herself, but kindly decided not to. Alfred was most likely older than the boy and his friends, and begging to be put down. It was, however, a bit cruel. Katalina, who'd mastered silent spells extremely early and extremely well, was deciding between spells to use to kindly help out her brother. She took her time deciding, and Lily pushed her way to the front of the crowd. Katalina heard her speaking from the back.

"Can't you idiots at least save it until you get off the train?" she snapped at the four in front.

"No," said the one using the spell. "Gaunt here was mouthing off at us for being outside our compartment while the train's moving."

"Well, it's dangerous!" she said. "And prefects're supposed to," she added. "You're not supposed to be out here."

"And you are?" asked another, the one with black messy hair and glasses. "Or did you come out here just to tell us off? Not wise, you see what happened to Al. You're lucky, I'm too polite to hex a girl, and Sirius is occupied at the moment."

"I could do two at once," Sirius said. "Just let me use your wand, James."

"Nah, then I'd practically be doing it."

Lily was pulling out her own wand now.

"Oh, look, she's nice enough to let me use her own wand!" Sirius said with sarcastic enthusiasm.

She pointed it at him.

"Like you'll do anything," Sirius scoffed at her.

Suddenly, he was being hoisted up by his ankle, but Lily wasn't doing it. Katalina made it to the front of the crowd, as he dropped his own wand and her brother fell with a small thud! on the carpet. Katalina had her own wand pointed at Sirius.

"She's too polite," Katalina said.

The crowed Oooohed at the sudden intervention.

"Let me down!" Sirius said, trying and failing to reach his wand. Alfred stood up and grabbed his own wand. He put Sirius down, and Katalina directed her focus to him.

"Look at this," Alfred said. "Two of the people I dislike most getting detentions before school's even started. Report to Filch at eight o' clock on Monday night." He grinned maliciously, then, grin fading, turned focus to Katalina. "I don't need help from any filthy blood traitors."

Rather than glower at him, as most would have done, she grabbed his collar and pushed him into the wall, wand pointed in between his eyes.

"And I don't need lip from people who's arses I've just saved by choice," she snarled back. Then, with a grin, she added, "And it didn't seem like you were about to get out of it yourself, you know." She put on a high pitched, mocking voice. "'Please, please put me down! I won't give you detention, I won't take points away from your house, please, please, please, I'm sorry! I'll never bother you again, I promise!' Yeah," she said, over guffaws of laughter at her impersonation, even from the boy she'd just used his own spell on. "I'm sure you had the situation completely under your control."

She lowered her wand, then, as she'd expected, had to dodge a jet of red light; it could have easily been mistaken as a stunning spell, but she knew otherwise. She glanced over her shoulder.

"You'd have been getting a lot worse than detention if that had hit me, Al," she said coldly. Her and Lily made their ways to the back of the crowd, followed by quite a few Ooooooo's at her last statement, from those who'd taken it as a threat. She, Lily, and Severus made their way back into their compartment, as the crowd faded. However, the other four, lingered for a moment, even as everyone else filed back into their compartments. The four of them; Sirius Black, James Potter, Remus Lupin, and Peter Pettigrew, waited until the rest of them were gone, except themselves and Al Gaunt, and Sirius spoke.

"She doesn't get two detentions for that, at least?" he asked, a little disappointed.

"Shut up!" Al snapped at him, walking off.

"Alright, then..." James said, a bit confused, as they watched him walk away to his own compartment, then slam the door after him. "That's a little odd..."

-------------------------------------------------

Inside their compartment, Severus and Lily were both questioning her as to how she'd known that spell.

"What's the big deal?" she asked. "It's pretty much the same as Wingardium Leviosa, only directed exactly at an ankle. And besides, I could've learned it out of one of my spell books, for all you know."

"That wouldn't be possible," he assured her.

"Why not?"

"Because I made that spell," he said. "Levicorpus. It was designed as you said, Wingardium Leviosa directed at an ankle, but it's easier just to have one incantation without worrying about where to direct the spell, as long as it's directed at a person in general. It's Libertacorpus to let them down, and it's usually used as a silent spell, so no one ever knows when they're going to be hoisted up by their ankle in the middle of a corridor at school."

"How come you didn't get another detention when you threatened your brother like that? And twice, for that matter," Lily asked.

"Deep down inside that cold exterior, I think he's afraid of what I'll do to him when I'm not under the watch of his daddy," she said, grinning. "And the second time wasn't a threat..." she added, both coldly and a little nervously. "Anyone who's dumb enough to do that under such close watch is dangerous..."

"But it was just a Stunning spell," Lily said, confused.

"No," Katalina said. "I assure you it wasn't. Stunning spells don't feel hot when they pass the side of your neck." She lifted her hair and pointed to a red mark that would most likely turn into a burn blister within the next hour. "Also, the shape they're fired in is a spiral of red sparks, not a straight jet."

"Then what was it?" she asked.

"The Cruciatus Curse..." she said. Lily gasped and clasped her hands over her mouth. Severus looked surprised as well.

"The Cruciatus Curse?" he repeated. "On the Hogwarts Express?"

"Like I said," she sighed. "Anyone to do that is stupid and dangerous. I wasn't threatening him, I was stating the facts..."

"He could easily get arrested for it," Lily agreed.

"Could you both do me a favor and not mention to anyone I'm related to him yet?" she asked. "People'll figure it out eventually, but I'd like to delay people knowing my relation to him for as long as possible..."

They both agreed.

At that time, they heard voices close to their door, one of them quite angry, the others amused. They burst into the compartment, Sirius with his wand out. He stopped in front of Katalina and pointed it at her.

"How the bloody hell did you get out of that?" he demanded, while the other three laughed. Lily looked ready to chop off Sirius's arm, and Severus glared in the opposite direction.

"Out of what?" she said incredulously, standing up as well. She pulled out her own wand and pushed him down onto the other bench-like seat unexpectedly; he dropped his wand next to him, staring crosseyed at the one now pointed between his own eyes. "In case you didn't notice, I've got a detention as well, and I for one hope we've got them with different teachers, or I'll end up hexing you halfway through and getting another!"

"I'm talking about from threatening a school prefect twice in under a minute!" he shot back, but recoiled when he remembered he wasn't in the best position to mouth off.

"He figured on using his own methods of punishment rather than detention," she said. "I suppose you didn't notice that that wasn't a normal Stunning spell he fired?"

"Wha...?"

She sighed and lowered her wand. She sat back down, as the other three came in and did the same, on the bench seat Sirius was on rather than the other. "That was the Cruciatus Curse, idiot. A Stunning spell can't burn your skin, and I've got one hell of a nasty burn mark on my neck, I'm lucky I dodged it when I did. And a stunning spell is spiraled, the Cruciatus Curse is a straight jet of sparks."

"Get real," James said. "With all the guard around here he wouldn't have dared use that on another student."

"Look it up," she said. "You'll see I'm one hundred percent correct, whether you like it or not. He's apparently not the brightest person in the world."

"Apparently..." James said. "There're teachers on the train, we've seen a few of them, its surprising none of them came out to see what was going on."

Their attention turned as Sirius spotted Severus.

"Snivellus!" he said, in a mock friendly voice. He didn't turn his head from the window out into the hallway. "Didn't see you in our crowd of fans and admirers."

"He was too scared he'd be next," James said, laughing. He appeared to be trying to ignore James's and Sirius's taunts.

"Cut it out," Lily said.

"Make us," James said. She and Katalina both, at the same time, pulled out their wands and stood. Lily pointed her wand at James, and Katalina pointed hers at Sirius.

"I'm perfectly willing to," Katalina shot at both of them. "You, Lily?" she asked.

"Definitely," she said, jabbing it into James's forehead. He winced.

"That hurt!" he said.

"It'll hurt even worse if you keep on with this nonsense!" she said. "Now stop it!"

"I wasn't thinking of hurting, really," Katalina said, looking over at Lily. "I was thinking a good strong Confundus charm. Make them think they're baboons. They must have gotten Confunded in the past, too, seeing as they're under the illusion that they're people at the moment."

Sirius had taken the opportunity in which she'd looked away to grab his own wand; when she turned back, he was pointing his at her. She sat down, and the both continued pointing and glaring. Lily looked down at them, shook her head, and sat down herself, putting her own wand away.

-----------------------------------------

"Would you two call a truce already or something?" she said to Sirius and Katalina after half an hour of them still silently pointing their wands at each other and glaring. "You know, before you become mortal enemies?"

"She's a Slytherin, I'm guessing?" Sirius asked spitefully.

"Funny, I thought you'd be one," Katalina said. "Dangling people from their ankle in the middle of the hall, honestly!"

"She's a Gryffindor," Lily said.

"Wish I had been a Slytherin," Katalina said, a little thoughtfully, a little grudgingly. "I'm glad I'm in Gryffindor, I didn't want to be in Slytherin at first.... My dad had doubts I would be, and he wanted me to be, so he decided to home school me for the first year, just to see. When I was sorted, they send the Sorting Hat with a Hogwarts employee to houses of children who may be in Hogwarts the next year, I was put in Gryffindor."

"How'd you get out of being homeschooled if it p***d him off that bad?" James asked.

"Ran away," she said happily. "And I'm never going back to that place again. I don't care if I have to stay at inns for all my summers. I'd rather be alone. I've got inheritance money from my mum, stole the key to her vault, she left it all to me anyway, so I don't need financial support and I can easily pay for costs of inns and hotels."

"Inheritance?" Sirius said, lowering his wand without realizing he had.

"She died in a fire when I was about six months old," she said. "No big deal. If my dad was married to her, God only knows how horrible she was... I know that's no way to talk about your dead parents that you've never met, but it's the truth. He'd've never married a blood traitor muggle lover. Curious, they never found her body in the fire, but with the amount of her blood they found, it's been figured out she wouldn't have lasted long even if she had gotten out."

"If it was a fire..." James said slowly, "... then how was there blood?"

"The hell if I know," she said with a shrug. "My dad never gave me the full set of details of everything that happened; he didn't like talking about it. Only thing that ever got to him."

James had started to speak again, but was distracted by the luggage rack. "Is that a guitar?" he asked, pointing.

"Go near it and you'll regret that you were ever born," she said. Everyone looked over at her, even Severus, who'd been so keen on looking out the window. "Sorry," she said. "It's just that it's the last thing I have to remind me of how much my dad despised me. He always hated it. The fact I used electricity in his house. I purposely didn't bewitch the amplifier to run by magic until I left. Annoyed the hell out of him, but I'd hex him if he ever set a foot near it," she said relishingly. "Good times."

"There aren't even any electrical outlets in my house..." Sirius said.

She laughed. "I put one in my room myself. Without magic. Bought the tools to do it at the local hardware store. Annoyed him even more that I did that when I could have just conjured everything out of the air."

Slowly, as they continued talking, the train began to come to a halt. By the time they were all properly introduced, the train had stopped. They noticed this.

"We can't be there yet..." Sirius said, looking out the window, his hands pressed against it. "No," he said. "Someone's getting on, it looks like," he told them. As though burned or shocked, he pulled his hands back. "What the..." The window started to freeze and crack. "Dementors?"

"Dementors?" Katalina repeated, disbelieving, and looked out the window herself.

"There's been a rumor going around that Voldemort --" there were shudders within the compartment, except from Katalina, who was used to the name in her household, Severus, and Sirius. "-- tried to get a teaching job at Hogwarts," Severus said.

"I heard that," Katalina said. "Then again, maybe they're coming to take away that prefect," she added hopefully.

There were a few nervous laughs around the compartment; dementors were nearly as feared as Voldemort himself. Dementors were creatures that guarded the wizard prison, Azkaban. They were tall, hooded, and faceless, except for a gaping hole that was their mouth. They didn't see people, they felt fear. They went towards the source of the fear and would feed off of all the happy thoughts within the mind of that person, until nothing was left but the bad memories. They had once been people themselves, some of them, but had since had their own souls sucked from their bodies. They couldn't kill, but their finishing move was the Dementor's Kiss, where they'd clamp their jaws down on their victem's jaws and proceed to suck out their soul, leaving them a shell with a beating heart, but no will to live, and, eventually, they'd either waste away or become dementors themselves.

"Still, to search Hogwarts and the train..." James said.

"There've been plenty cases of dementors going bad," Lily said. "Especially lately, You-Know-Who's been persuading them over to his side. It's awfully risky bussiness..."

"I suppose they'll search... all the compartments?" Katalina asked nervously, her grip tightening on her wand.

"Yeah..." Lily said. "Probably..."

They all sat silently in wait, and then, the lights in their compartment went out, and they could see their breath in little puffs of fog.

"They're getting closer..." she said quietly, more to herself than the others. She tried to muster up an overpoweringly happy memory. Nothing seemed to do; the dementors seemed to be leaking fear and sorrow into their compartment already.

A scabbed, black, skeletal hand reached over the window of their compartment. She was ready; she was remembering the moment she stepped onto Diagon Alley; the feeling of being freed. It opened the door, and there were at least five there. And no teachers keeping an eye on them? That was risky. The door opened, and they started to swoop in. Katalina stood, pointed her wand, and said the incantation clearly: "Expecto Patronum." She thought of nothing but that thought, and maintained focus on it, even as a silver phoenix burst out of the end of her wand and darted at the dementors. They turned quickly and left, making odd screaching noises that had to be their form of a scream. She flicked her wand, and the phoenix vanished, then the compartment door closed. The lights flicked back on; she had apparently scared the dementors off the train altogether. Lily hit her.

"You could have said you knew how to do that!" she said loudly, hitting her in the arm again with her own wand. The four on the other bench were laughing at her reaction.

"I didn't know if I'd be able to or not -- careful with that thing, you're about to catch my bleedin' arm on fire!"

Lily made a noise of frustration, glared at Katalina for a moment as she put her wand away, then decided to stare at the bottom of the luggage rack over her head.

"At least they're gone..." Katalina said sheepishly with a shrug. They heard someone running down the hall of the train. An old, stern looking witch stopped at the door of their compartment and opened it. Her hair was black and drawn back in a tight bun. She looked completely astounded.
"Which of you conjured it?" she demanded of them. Sirius, James, Remus, and Peter stopped laughing immediately. "Which of you conjured the Patronus?"

"The Pa-what-us?" Sirius said blankly, voicing what the rest of them were definitely thinking, except Katalina. She looked a little scared.

She sheepishly raised her hand, her eyes even wider than usual. This made them laugh again.

"Come with me," she said.

Katalina got up and walked out of the compartment slowly with whomever the witch was that was standing there in emerald green robes.
-----------------------------------

Side info:
-I have teachers placed on the train due to the fact that this is around the time that Voldemort would be at a height of power, and I figured Hogwarts would want to have more than train workers and prefects there in case anyone on Voldemorts side has been stationed on the train.
-Lupin is a "new student" for reasons involving future things in this story that I can't give away -- I know it's not how it happened in the books or anything, but that's my story and I'm sticking to it.


---------------------------------------------
Chapter 2:
Veritaserum


"Please don't send me home..." Katalina begged the witch sheepishly.

"That's not what we're concerned with right now," she said. She most certainly looked concerned about something.

Katalina followed her down the hallway after she shut the door. They stopped at a teacher's compartment, and the woman opened the door, and indicated for Katalina to go in first. She did so, and the woman closed the door after her. Three other people who were apparently teachers sat in the room. This witch took a seat behind a desk.

"Sit," she said, indicating the chair in front of her desk. Katalina did as told. "I'm assuming you're Katalina Gaunt?"

She grimaced a little. "I prefer Smith..." she mumbled. The woman looked at her oddly.

"... Katalina Smith?" she asked.

"I don't like my family very much..."

"I'll address you as Gaunt for the time being, it's your enrollment name.

"Now, Katalina, I am Professor McGonagall, the head of Gryffindor House and Transfiguration teacher. This --" She indicated a wizard with ginger hair, balding and graying, and a little on the chubby side. "-- is our potions master and head of Slytherin House, Professor Slughorn. This is Professor Sprout, your Herbology teacher and head of Hufflepuff. This is Professor Flitwick, Charms teacher and head of Ravenclaw."

She nodded in turn to each of them as she was introduced to them.

"Now, Miss Gaunt here," McGonagall said, resulting in another slight grimace on Katalina's part, "has produced a Patronus Charm. She is in only her fifth year. A Patronus Charm is seventh year level magic, and most of them have trouble with it. The dementors detected a presence in her compartment that they recognized to be in relation to what they were searching for, whether in family ties or personality, they could not say."

Katalina was horribly afraid.

"Professor Slughorn, you have the Veritaserum, I believe?"

Slughorn handed over a tiny bottle of a clear liquid.

"Katalina," Professor McGonagall said. "You seem quite sincere, but, by Ministry orders, we must use Veritaserum to interrogate you."

She nodded, gulping.

"Wh... what does... V-veritaserum do...?" she asked.

"It forces the drinker to tell the truth at all costs."

She nodded.

"It is tasteless, scentless, and clear, as you can see. It'll be like water to you, but you will tell the truth upon drinking it, as it will force you to without thinking about your answer first."

She nodded, yet again, taking the bottle. She uncorked it, and drank it. It did, indeed, seem like water. She didn't feel any difference in herself.

"State your true name," Professor McGonagall said.

"Katalina Arianna Gaunt," she said.

"Why are you here?"

"To go to Hogwarts."

"For what reasons?"

"To learn."

"Learn what?"

"Whatever the classes I have chosen to take this year offer me as learning material."

"Do you have any relation to He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named?"

"I do not know."

"That's interesting..." Katalina heard Slughorn say.

"Have you met him?" McGonagall continued.

"No."

"Do you have a family connection with him?"

"Yes."

"Very interesting, indeed," McGonagall said. "Who?"

"My father is one of his most devoted and important followers, some have called him Voldemort's right-hand-man."

"And how do you feel about you father's connection with He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named?"

"It sickens me to the very pit of my stomach."

"That's good...
"Did you produce the Patronus charm that scared off the Death Eaters?"

"Yes."

"What form was it in?"

"A phoenix."

Everyone in the room gasped, except McGonagall, though she did appear astounded. "Could... could you show us?"

Katalina took her wand from her pocket. She stood, walked behind the chair, and pointed it at the chair seat.

"Expecto Patronum," she said aloud. The phoenix burst from her wand again, and it perched on the edge of the chair.

"How long can you hold it there?" Professor McGonagall asked. Katalina pocketed her wand, and the bird was still there.

"Until I tell her to go."

"How long have you been able to make a Patronus?"

"A few weeks," she said.

"How did you learn?"

"From a seventh year course book that I bought at Flourish and Blotts’ in Diagon Alley for a bit of light reading."

"How long did it take to learn?"

"Around five minutes."

McGonagall swallowed nervously, looking around at the rest of the teachers.

"How long does it normally take to learn for most students?" she asked them.

"Weeks," Flitwick piped; his voice was as high as he was low; he was only tall enough to come up just past Katalina's knee. "And most of them give up before producing a true Patronus."

"Is it true you were homeschooled by your father?" McGonagall asked Katalina.

"Sort of."

"What did he teach you?"

"Nothing in the course books," she said. "He taught me dark magic, against my will, and of the history of it, and of my own family history."

"And he did not include the Dark Lord in this family history?"

"He did not," she said.

"Was there anyone in particular that stuck out?"

"Yes... an unknown halfblood child, and I heard that my brother is suspicious about it."

"Does he know about the child’s parents?"

"Yes. Its mother is my great-great aunt, Merope Gaunt. Its father was a muggle she made like her by love potions."

"Do you know anything about the child's mother?"

“According to my father, she 'disgraced our family name' when she ran off with him. She became pregnant by him, and stopped giving him the potion, thinking he'd still love her. He didn't, he left to live with his parents. She was broken, scared, and distraught, and had the baby at a muggle orphanage, where she herself died an hour after its birth."

"The father," McGonagall choked out. "Did you know his name?"

"Tom Riddle."

McGonagall and Slughorn seemed to be particularly worried by this.

"Do you know the Dark Lord's real name?"

"No."

"Good," McGonagall said. "And you won't until the time is right..."

She raised her wand and pointed it at Katalina. "Obliviate," she said quietly. A blue beam of light hit Katalina, and she stared blankly ahead. "You are to forget this conversation. You will remember being here, but the conversation will be a complete blank. You will figure out that I Confunded you while you still are here."

Katalina, still looking blankly ahead, nodded. McGonagall flicked her wand at Katalina again, who snapped back.

"Why am I here?" she asked.

"What do you mean, Miss Gaunt?"

"I mean, aren't you going to interrogate me?" she asked. She looked down. Her phoenix was still there. "How'd my Patronus get there?" she demanded. She looked up at McGonagall. "You've Confunded my memory of the interrogation," she said accusingly, pointing at her.

"I have," McGonagall agreed. "It's the only way to keep you safe."

"Did you use anything that might make me tell you anything I didn't want to...?" she asked, suddenly noticing the miniature flask in her hand. She set it on the table.

"Yes, Veritaserum, only a small dosage. It makes the drinker tell the complete truth about everything."

"I want to know what I said!"

"I cannot tell you that until another time, Miss Gaunt."

"But if I said something I didn't know I knew or that incriminates someone --"

"You didn't."

"But I don't know what I said, how can I believe that?!"

"You'll have to believe it for now, Miss Gaunt. You did say you learned the Patronus in around five minutes."

"I did," she said. "I know. It was weird; the book said it could take up to a year, sometimes more, to get your Patronus to have a true form. It was extremely difficult magic. But I didn't find it to be, really. I can teleport it, too." She looked at the Patronus, as though communicating with it silently, and it disappeared, reappearing in front of Professor McGonagall, atop her desk, gazing at her. "And..." she said, and, focusing quite hard on the Patronus, it spoke with her voice, "I can make it speak for me." Professor McGonagall was astounded, as were the rest of the teachers. She looked almost afraid of this. "Is it... bad that I can...?"

"No," McGonagall assured her. "Anything but bad. It's... it's amazing magic, we don't even teach that. Very few of the staff can do it, even. Out of curiosity, how far can you teleport it?"

"As far as I want. As it is a piece of my memory, I can see through its eyes or my own when I teleport it. I can only teleport it to places I have an address for or places I've been before, though."

"It's impossible to do otherwise," she assured her. "I thought it was impossible for a fifth year student to do at all, honestly, to make a perfect Patronus charm... but I've been proven wrong, I suppose. You may head back to your friends now. But, if James Potter and Sirius Black are still there, you may want to be careful not to tell them we've used Veritaserum. The effects won't wear off for the next hour."

"Yes', ma'am," she said. She looked at her Patronus, and it dissolved on the desk in a puff of silvery smoke. Katalina turned and walked to the door. She opened it, stepped out, and, as she was closing it, heard Professor McGonagall's voice, speaking to another teacher, one word: "Amazing..."

She shut the door and headed back to her compartment. She opened the door silently, shut it behind her, and took her seat next to the window outside.

"So how long will they be letting you stay at the school?" James asked brightly.

She glared at him. "I'd smack you if you were closer," she assured him coldly. "I'm not being chucked out, thank you; they only wanted to question me."

"About what?" Remus asked.

"I have no idea," she said.

"What kind of questions? About the Patronus?" Sirius asked.

"I really don't know," she said. "McGonagall Confunded me after the questioning."

"Did they use Veritaserum?" James asked.

"Yes," she said, though she really hadn't wanted to. She could tell it was working.

"Has it worn off?" Sirius asked.

"Professor McGonagall said it would stay for another hour."

"Don't even think about it, you two," Lily said warningly.

"Oh, why not?" James asked pleadingly. "It just seems like it would be so much fun! If she hadn't meant for us to question her ourselves, then she would have made her wait back in the teacher's compartment."

"She told me not to mention I was under the influence of Veritaserum," she said.

"Then why did you?" Lily demanded.

"They asked me," she said.

"You could've lie -- oh, right... never mind..."

"Please don't ask me about my family," she said. "I really don't want to talk about them. I didn't want to say yes, but the effect is that it makes you tell the truth without giving you time to think and it doesn't let you lie after saying the true statement."

"May we ask what your surname is, since you conveniently forgot to mention it earlier?" James asked.

"You can…. Meaning you're capable of doing so. But I wish you wouldn't."

"What if we do anyway?"

"Then I'd tell the truth unwillingly."

"Then what's --"

"Don't!" Lily yelled at them. She pulled out her wand and pointed it at him. "She told me not to tell anyone, so her telling you unwillingly while I'm here is practically the same thing! Stop it! I will do it!" She stood up, still pointing it at him.

"Thank you," Katalina said gratefully.

"Is it that embarrassing?" Sirius asked.

"Is to me."

"Sounds funny?" James asked.

"Not really, I guess."

"She's ashamed of her family, alright?" Lily said. "Do you really need to know anything else?"

"It's not because they're muggles? Or one of her parents was a muggle or a muggle born?" James said. "Because then I'd have to hex her."

"No," Katalina said. "That's not why. I'd rather it be that way in fact."

"Insufferable purebloods, I'll bet," Sirius said to James.

"You would be one to know," James said to Sirius, nodding. “Alright, before we run out of time," James continued, Lily lowering her wand and sitting back down. "Un-family related s**t. What to ask first..."

"Where the bloody hell did you learn to do a Pa... Pa-thing-a-ma-what's-it-called?" Sirius asked.

"Patronus." Lily corrected, laughing.

"Oh, shut up, it's not my problem your brain's getting too bloody big for your skull..."

"A seventh year course book," she said. "I bought it to read and see what the hardest things I'd learn would be, and I thought Patronuses sounded cool, so I gave it a go."

"How long did it take to learn?" Lily asked.

"About five minutes," she said. "They said it was a year before it would take actual form," she said. "But I didn't find it very hard at all. I can also make mine teleport and I can talk through it."

"What kind of bird was it?" Lily asked. "It looked like a phoenix," she said.

"It was a phoenix."

"Wow..." she said.

"Is the veritaserum still working?" James said.

"Yes."

"Thought it would be a good idea to double-check..."

"Have you ever seen a dragon?" Sirius asked. They all looked at him oddly. "Hey, we're asking random questions now," he said. "I don't know anyone who's seen a dragon before."

"No," she said.

"Do you have any abilities that're rare to the wizarding world?"

She didn't want to answer. She resisted. She resisted for nearly a minute. But she couldn't. "I can do magic without a wand," she breathed out. "And... and..." her voice quavered.

"Is it wearing off already?" James asked.

"No..." she strained.

"I think she's trying to resist telling you something," Lily said.

"I can talk to..." she said. "To... to..." She gulped. "I can talk to snakes."

They were all quiet, staring at her oddly. She looked at the floor. It was exactly why she had resisted telling them.

"When did you find out?" Lily asked.

"I was two..." she said. "Two years old... I remember. My dad decided to test it... common in my family... I could already speak perfect English, he'd said, I remember, so we should see if I could speak Parseltongue like most of the rest of my family... and I could... I hate him for making me realize I could... I hate him..."

"Don't all the Parselmouths end up in Slytherin?" Remus asked.

"It's hard to track," Sev said. "I'd bet at least 99% had. But there's always odd cases in everything...."

"Why did he want to know if you could?" Lily asked.

"To... to... to make sure I really was his daughter..." she said. "Because his hatred of muggles wasn't reflected by me... or of muggleborns... halfbloods... he didn't understand why, so he tested... that... to see if I was truly a member of his family..."

"So your entire family is?" Sirius asked.

"Yes," she said. "As far back as we can trace it... all Parselmouths... all Slytherins... except me, and he doesn't like it, he tried to turn me into a Slytherin himself... please don't ask me any more about them..." she said. "I think I told McGonagall something about them that I hadn't put together myself and she managed to... she wouldn't tell me, but I think she did, and she wasn't telling me because she said it wasn't the right time to yet..."

"But --" James started.

"No," Lily said, amazingly at the same time as Sirius. Both of them looked at Sirius. "I'm ashamed of my family, and I know I'd be p***d as hell if someone force fed me Veritaserum and started asking me about them,” Sirius said.

"If any of you tell anyone I'm a Parselmouth, I'll kill you," she said.

"Literally?" James said.

"Could be, depending on how upset I am," she said.

"Okay," he said. "I value my life, I'm not going to.
"Do you have an invisibility cloak?"

"Yes," she said. "Yes, actually. Amazing thing, really, even when my dad tried to summon it, it would never come off me unless I physically pulled it off of myself. You could hide from Death himself under that cloak. And most of them, the charms wear off after a while; this one'd been in my mom's family for forever, according to her will. I thought it was amazing when I read about it. Reminded me of that one story in a collection of Beedle the Bard stories I read when I was young, the three brothers. My dad had that page marked and some symbol over it circled, it was weird."

"I didn't ask her, in my defense," James said to Lily and Sirius. "I only --"

"I know," Lily said. "It means the potion's starting to wear off. She can say things other than the answers now, but she tells the complete truth about them anyway."

"What did the symbol look like?" Sirius asked.

"Looked like a rune, but it isn't one," she said. "A triangle with a circle and a line in it. Book said something about the deathly hallows under there, where my dad had written in it, but I couldn’t make anything of it.”

"The deathly hallows..." Lily said. "I've never heard of that before..."

"Where’s the cloak?" James asked.

She reached into her pocket and commenced to pulling something long and silvery out, that looked almost fluid-like, except that it couldn't have been, or it would have made the pocket of her skirt wet, or wouldn't have stayed in her pocket. She finished pulling it out; it was big enough to fit a fully grown adult.

"There's no way that could have fit in your pocket without shrinking," Lily said. "I've read about invisibility cloaks --"

"And everything else on God's green earth," James added. She kicked him in the knee.

"I've read about them, none of them do that."

"Do you know summoning spells?" she asked Lily. "You seem to be the smartest person in the compartment."

"Yes," Lily said, laughing at the glares Katalina was getting from James and Sirius.

"I'll put the cloak on, you summon something else first to prove you can, then try the cloak."

"I know summoning spells too," Sirius said. "And so does James."

"Alright," Lily said. Katalina threw the cloak over herself. Lily thought for a moment, then decided. "Accio wand," she said, pointing at James, whose wand flew out of his pocket and into her hand.

"Hey!" he said. She handed it back, laughing.

"Alright, now try the cloak," Katalina's apparently disembodied voice said. "Shall I put my hands out to prove I'm not holding it?"

"Sure."

Her hands appeared out of nowhere.

"Accio invisibility cloak!" she said, clearly determined to make the spell work. The cloak didn't budge. She took it off, straightening out her hair.

"Wish mine did that..." James said, admiring the cloak. "Mine doesn't even look the same..."

"She just wasn't trying hard enough," Sirius said, pulling out his own wand.

"It doesn't nescisarily have to be on," she said, folding it and placing it in her lap. "Try."

"Accio invisibility cloak!" he said. It didn't budge. "Accio invisibility cloak!" he said, a little more forceful.

"Careful," James said. "I don't want mine thinking it's being called and springing out of my luggage."

"I don't get it..." he said, looking at the cloak, frowning.

"Maybe it really is the cloak from the story," James said.

"Yeah," Katalina said with a laugh. "And maybe a female Hungarian Horntail would give you her eggs without a fight if you asked her nicely. Kids stories," she concluded quite firmly. "They're made to entertain and teach a lesson. In this one, the lesson is actually the motto of the Ravenclaw House," she said. "'Wit beyond measure is a man's greatest treasure.' While the older brothers asked for material things that could be stolen or misused, the youngest, smartest brother decided to think of something that would fool Death, and hide him and his gift from the rest of the world so it couldn't be stolen."

"You mean there're people out there who can actually decipher the hidden lessons?" James said, amazed.

She kicked him in the knee this time.

"That does hurt," he said, glaring at her and rubbing his knee.

"There's a lesson here, too. If it hurts, you shouldn't do it again."

"Is the potion still working?" Lily asked.

"I don't know," she said, frowning. "Ask me something you've already asked me and I'll try to lie."

"What form does your Patronus take?"

"A cactus," she said, with no effort.

"Wow," Lily said. "I don't think I've gotten that dumb of a sarcastic answer ever before. Even from the idiots."

The "idiots" were too busy laughing at the thought of a cactus chasing after a dementor and sticking it in the arse to have heard what Lily had said.

After around ten minutes, as they were about done laughing, Sirius said, "I hope my Patronus is a cactus..."

That set them off again for another five minutes.

"The things they'll laugh at..." Katalina said in amused disbelief to Lily, who was shaking her head at them.

"And I thought maybe the new one might be somewhat intelligent. Maybe set them in line," Lily said. She sighed. "Wishful thinking," she said. "No one'll ever be able to set them straight..."
----------

That's the first two chapters. Like I said, I've got about seventeen done so far. At this point, it's not into the true storyline yet, but it's getting there. I will post up more, but I don't want to post up too much at once, I figure two chapters is a decent start, right?


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 Post subject: Re: A Gaunt Tale
PostPosted: Tuesday 9 September 2008 12:28:14pm 
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Joined: Saturday 2 August 2008 4:59:55pm
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I like it! :jump: I set up a feed of it on harrypotterfanfiction.com, but I'll keep checking this site if you'll be posting here. :D


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 Post subject: Re: A Gaunt Tale
PostPosted: Thursday 11 September 2008 2:11:56am 
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teyannanecole wrote:
I like it! :jump: I set up a feed of it on harrypotterfanfiction.com, but I'll keep checking this site if you'll be posting here. :D

Hmm, I haven't been on that site in forever, I think I posted one chapter of this one there.
I'm going to post it here a couple chapters at a time, I think. Thanks for the comment, though ^_^ since you're the only person who has commented and everything.

Anywho. Next couple chapters:

----
Chapter 3

When it came around time to get to Hogwarts, Katalina and Lily headed into a different compartment to change into their school uniforms: black cloaks with a white, collared shirt, a tie with their house colors, and a grey skirt with their house colors on them around the end, in trimming. Lily was laughing about something when they re-entered their compartment.

"What's so funny?" James said as they walked in, and Katalina shot a glare worthy of a true Gaunt in his direction. "Just asking..."

"Nothing," she and Lily said at the same time; Lily was still laughing, but Katalina's voice had no humor in it. "Nothing at all happened," she said firmly.

"I think something happened," Sirius said to James.

"No," Lily said, still giggling a little. "Nothing."

"And it wasn't funny!" Katalina said angrily; she laughed harder again.

"Well, I don't see what's so funny about nothing..." James said.

"It's funny that she's capable of laughing that hard at anything," Sirius said.

"Which is how she's laughing at nothing, since she's not capable of laughing that hard at anything," Katalina reasoned. They looked at her blankly. "You'll figure it out later," she said.

"How much later?" Sirius said.

"Few years, maybe," she said, looking out the window, just in time to feel the train stop. "Are we here?" she asked. Lily managed to calm down.

"It wasn't that that I was laughing at," Lily said. "It was the pack of first years that was there when --"

"Nothing!" Katalina said loudly, in a frantic voice, over Lily. She remembered the pack of first year boys that had been walking past and Katalina had to do an engorgement charm on the top of her shirt to make it fit over her chest. Lily had put the curtains back up, thinking Katalina was done. They had stopped at the window to gape at her, and got a few seconds of black bra before Lily rolled the curtains back down, giggling. "And if you ever do that again, I won't be very happy..."

"Alright," she said. "I'm sorry, I didn't realize."

"Do what?" James and Sirius both asked at the same time, eagerly.

"Probably not what you're hoping it was," Katalina said.

James's face turned somewhat pink. Sirius looked out the window and chose not to respond in any way. Getting up, laughing, Katalina and Lily left together, Severus with them.

"I swear to God..." Katalina grumbled on the way to the carriages, “if you two don’t cut it out, I’m going to hex you both."

Lily was giggling again, and Severus was laughing too, now, as she had told him. The same group of first years walked past her as she, Severus, and Lily made their way to where they had to go. The first years gaped at her again. One poked another, pointed at Katalina, and whispered something. Lily had to grip the side of the carriage they were apparently taking to the school to keep from falling over with laughter. It was then that Katalina saw the school, gleaming in the distance.

"Is that Hogwarts?" she asked Severus, who had control of his voice at the time.

"Yeah."

It was a magnificent castle, and the lake they were crossing over in the carriages was like its moat.

"Wow..." she said, climbing into the carriage. "And it’s thestrals pulling these?" she asked.

"What?" Lily said, calming down. "There's not... anything there." She was out of breath.

"You can only see them if you've seen someone die," she said.

"Who'd you see die?" she asked curiously.

"Old muggle that lived in the village I lived in," she said. "Handing out church pamphlets... my dad was having a bad day... he happened to knock on our door that day... my dad doesn't like dealing with muggles on his bad days."

"He killed him?" she asked, getting in the carriage, as did Severus.

"Yeah..." she said. "Horrid, i'n'it?"

"Just a tad," Lily said, with a definite note of sarcasm in her voice.

The carriages were also designed to fit eight people; the other four caught up with them fast enough. Seeing them and remembering what happened, Lily couldn't help but laugh again.

"What the bloody hell is she laughing about?" Sirius demanded of the three of them. Lily only laughed harder, Severus started laughing, and Katalina's face turned red, matching her hair.

"So you told him and not us?" James said.

"No, Lily told him..."

"Who else knows?" Sirius asked.

"About every first year in the school, by now," Lily said through her laughter.

"Nooooo..." Katalina groaned, hiding her face, which turned from red to pale in under five seconds. "They're all going to be pointing... and staring... noooooo... Lily, I'm going to kill you, I swear it..."

Lily responded by laughing harder; her face was now red.

"What --"

"Ask one of the first years!" Katalina snapped at James.

"Alright, fine!" he said. He looked next to the cart, and a group of first year boys was walking by, pointing at her. James jumped off the carriage.

"What happened involving them and a group of first years?" James asked, pointing at Katalina and Lily. One of them beckoned him closer, and whispered whatever it was. "You're kidding," he said, laughing and looking up as well. "Thanks for that."

He got back up and sat in his seat in the carriage, which started moving then. "She definitely does have grounds to kill you," he said to Lily.

"What happened?" Sirius demanded.

"Apparently, Lily thought they were done changing before she was," he told Sirius. "She opened the curtains back up, and a few first years were standing there, who stopped to look in. She turned, saw that her shirt was still opened, and attempted to close the blinds as fast as she could while laughing that hard."

Apparently hearing the story again made it even funnier. Lily laughed harder, leaning over on Kat, who still hadn't taken her face out of her hands.

"I'm sorry, Kat," Lily said. "But the looks on their faces, that was priceless, and at least you had a bra on --"

"A halfway fecking transparent one..." she grumbled.

"What made you think she was done in the first place?" James said, joining the laughing.

"Ummm..."

"Shut up," Katalina warned her. "Embarrassing enough already..."

"It makes it look like I did it on purpose if I don’t..." Lily said, trying not to laugh now.

"Oh, alright..." she snapped, her voice still muffled.

"I didn't realize, she just about had her shirt buttoned when I walked over to the window, and it turns out it didn't fit right in... places... so she had to do an Engorgement charm on the top half of the shirt, and I didn't realize she was doing that when I opened the curtains back up."

She had to steadily increase her voice the entire time, as everyone but Katalina was laughing now.

"So they got a free show and none of us have?" Sirius said.

"Shut up," she said. "All of you, just shut up..." she finished, in more of a begging plea than a command.

"Oh, c'mon, it's funny," James said.

"No..." she said, shaking her head. "It isn't... they're all going to be ogling when I go in... all of them... stupid short people..." she added, quite seriously, but this made them all laugh even harder. "Please don't say anything to anyone who doesn't know..." she said. "Please?"

They agreed not to, even still laughing, except Sirius, who said he wouldn't agree until they got a free show, too. She threatened to tell everyone in the school that he had grown his hair out for the same reason he liked to wear dresses when he was alone (a complete lie, but good blackmail anyway) -- he agreed then.

After the sorting of first years and the feast in the Great Hall, they all headed off to their Common Rooms. As they'd all gotten there late, almost everyone went to bed. Katalina went into the girls' dormitory only to put her kitten, Alice, back in her cage to sleep for the night. She headed back down after, with her invisibility cloak. Sirius was still lying on the couch in front of the lit fireplace in main area of the common room.

"What's the password to get in again?" she asked.

"Flabbergroit," he said. "Where're you headed?" he added, sitting up.

"Just to sit out by the lake," she said. "I slept last night," she added. "I don't need to tonight."

"Same here, actually..." he said. "Or I'd be up in the boys dormitories... I was thinking about heading out myself... I wanted to talk to you, anyway." He held up an invisibility cloak. "James was half asleep when I asked to borrow it," he said. "Never would've said yeah otherwise."

"About what?" she asked suspiciously. "I swear if you leave me suspended by my ankle out there all night as revenge --"

"No," he said. "Just meet me there and we'll talk."

She shrugged and threw the cloak over herself. She walked down the seven flights of stairs that tended to like to change around; nonetheless, she made it to the bottom, the entry hall, and she headed out the double oak front doors, just barely opening them. She heard them close behind her; apparently he was right behind her. She rushed over to the edge of the lake and pulled off her cloak. A few moments later, as she was sitting down at the very edge of the lake, against a large, thick elm tree, he pulled his cloak off, already sitting against the same tree, easily with room for more than one person to sit against it.

"So?" she said quietly.

"I just really wanted to apologize for everything that went bad today," he said. "It's your first day here and you're already having trouble."

"Well thank you," she said. "Have any veritaserum on you?"

"Wha... no, why?"

"So I can prove you're just someone else using polyjuice potion."

He laughed a little. "I'm not," he said. "I really wanted to apologize for me and James trying to get information on your family out of you. I had no idea how bad it was, and I've felt horrible since I did. I'm in a fairly similar situation at home myself, except my mom didn't stop me going to Hogwarts. My dad's dead, but he wasn't any better than that old bat, and I don't like talking about them either."

"It's alright...” she said. “I wasn’t helping by being secretive. And James was asking more of the questions, anyway.”

“That’s because he kept beating me to them as I thought of them, honestly,” he said, with guilty grin.

“It’s alright,” she repeated, smiling kindly. “I know how secretive I can get; I even almost resisted the Parselmouth thing under Veritaserum... I really didn’t want to say that... but again, I don’t blame anyone but myself. And I guess I should say before people start spreading rumors...” she added with a sigh. “My surname is Gaunt. Yes, he’s my brother, and yes I despise him, I only helped him because I was p***d off at how you were talking to Lily, as she was the only person nice enough to talk to me.”

“No wonder you didn’t want to say what your surname was...” he said. “He claims relation to --”

“I know, Voldemort himself...” she said with a sigh. “I hope it’s not true...” she added. “Probably just him showing off, I know Al even if I do hate him, but it’s still weird... he was always up for sticking up with my dad in bullying me, and his theory is that Voldemort is the son of my great great aunt and a muggle she ran off with, who ran out on her while she was pregnant, and that the baby she had in an orphanage was him. She died an hour after his death, there’s no way to trace.... My dad calls the child a filthy halfbreed b*****d with a muggleloving blood traitorous wretch for a mother. And my brother always agreed with him. Always, without fail, just to show me how much they despised me.” She smiled. “Maybe I’m lucky,” she said. “I would’ve been the same as them, had I ended up in Slytherin... in Gryffindor, I suffered, but I’m not them...”

“So...” Sirius said, looking at her. “He’d use the Cruciatus Curse on his own sister...?”

“He did at home,” she scoffed. “Why not here, if no one’s looking? It’s how I was punished for contradiction, I sometimes managed to escape under my invisibility cloak, nothing can penetrate it except for the Killing Curse. Usually, though, I was in the sitting room and the cloak was in my room. My dad, quite often, let my brother have the honors of the punishment. He’s afraid of me now, without his daddy to back him up. He’s afraid I’ll get revenge.”

“And you will?” Sirius asked, as though to make sure she would.

“Ahhh... I don’t know...” she said. “He’s my brother and all...”

“Who hates you.”

“But I don’t like to hate people...”

“It’s kind of mandatory in this case...”

“No, not if I don’t want to.”

“Alright, but I’m getting revenge for you,” he said, sitting up straighter, putting an arm over her shoulders, and looking down at her. “Justice will be served.”

She sat up straighter as well. “No, it won’t,” she said. “Don’t. You won’t be getting your ass in trouble for revenge that isn’t even for your sake.”

“And you won’t be commanding me.
“And as for the first year incident on the train... I can honestly say I’ve never felt this much pity for anyone.”

“Shut up,” she said, laughing with him and elbowing him in the side. “I have one favor to ask.”

“What’s that?”

“Could you stop picking on Severus? It doesn't make any sense why you do, anyway, he doesn't seem bad for a Slytherin.”

He looked as though he were thinking for a moment. “No, definitely can't do that.”

“Why?”

“Because it’s fun.”

“It’s not right...”

“Life’s not right,” he said.

“I thought it wasn’t fair?” she said.

“That, too."

"Really! It's mean!"

"Are you really a parselmouth?" he asked, changing subjects quickly.

“I can’t prove it without there being a snake around...” she said. “And it’d just scare you off, anyway, it’s what it does to everyone.”

“It won’t,” he said. “I promise it won’t.”

“Well, there aren’t any snakes around.”

He pulled his wand out of his pocket. “Accio Snake,” he said, flicking it in no general direction. A small, green snake zoomed towards him. He caught it.

“Yeah there are,” he said. “Think if I put it down, you’d be able to tell it not to bite me?”

“I don’t know how well it’d listen...” she said, watching it squirm angrily.

“Oh, give it a shot; it’s only a garden snake.”

“Alright...” she said uncertainly.

He set it down, a few feet away, and moved back against the tree. It slithered quickly towards him, and she watched it. As it got in a striking position, she spoke to it, in what felt and sounded to her like normal English.

“Sssstop it,” she said. The snake, its tail curled and the rest of it sticking up, looked curiously over.

“You can sspeak to me?”

“Yes.”

“He woke me just to sssummon me here for nothing.”

“He was bored. Not his fault he wasn’t born with a larger brain...”

“I ssuppose that’s true, but nonethelessssss --”

“Bite him and I’ll break you like a twig.”

“Well said, girl. I like not being broken, I’ll leave.”

At that, it lay back down, turned, and slithered off. Sirius was gaping at her. After a long moment of silence, he spoke.

“That was brilliant,” he said finally. “I can’t believe that’s considered evil... well, yeah, sure, it sounds evil and all, but it’s still wicked.”

She smiled a little. “I’d give it up in a heartbeat if I could change things so I belonged to another family...”

“I can imagine...” he said. “It’s still considered quite evil, even if it isn’t really, it all depends how you use it.”

“Be nice if other people understood that...” she said with a sigh, looking back down at her feet.

She could feel his eyes, looking down at her. After a moment, he pulled her a little closer, so she was facing sideways a little. She put her head against his shoulder. At least he had an idea of how she had to feel, outcasted by her own family.

“They might not get it right now,” he said. “But they will,” he said. “One day when Voldemort’s finally gone, they’ll realize that it’s not what magic someone can do that matters, it’s whether they choose to use it for good or bad. Even if you are related to Voldemort, it doesn’t mean anything, you’re not like him just because of blood.”

“It’s not what you can do that makes you who you are,” she said. “I know. I’ve told myself that forever. I just don’t listen, I guess. I don’t understand it, personally. Any time I’m angry, I loose all sense of self control I may have had before, I act like a reckless fool. And it worsens with my age, I don’t want to end up killing some poor old muggle like my dad did...”

He pulled her a little closer with the arm he had around her shoulders. “You’ll be able to get a grip on it,” he said. “I’m the same way, how do you think your brother ended up dangling in midair in the middle of the hall?” She smiled a little, and he thought he heard a small laugh. “I’ll try to help you out, I’ve been working on it myself. He just p***d me off.”

“He does that,” she said. They both laughed a little, but stopped upon making eye contact. Her pulse quickened, as she stared into that reckless, handsome face, suddenly etched with both care and the same nervousness she was feeling. The tension was horrible -- she was afraid to keep looking into his blue eyes, but she didn’t want to look away. He spared her the trouble, as he cleared his throat a little and looked at his watch. He yawned. “It’s already two in the morning, our classes start tomorrow.”

“Detention...” she said.

“Yeah...”

“How bad is detention?” she asked.

“Depends who you have it with, Filch just takes us to our assigned people.”

“We should get back to the common room...” she said, a little awkwardly.

“Yeah...” he said. “We probably should...”

They both moved away from each other and stood with their cloaks. She put hers on, and he put his on. They headed for the castle. He was ahead of her, and he sat on the couch in the Gryffindor commonroom five minutes before she got there, time to reflect on what had happened.

She got there and pulled off her own cloak, reluctantly; she’d been debating whether or not to. She did, when she got into the common room. He was already heading towards the stairs, but he stopped when he saw her. She walked over to the wall separating the boys' and girls' dorms, where he was already standing.

"Well..." he said a little awkwardly. "Good night..."

"'Night..." she said.

Apparently wanting to show that they were still just friends after that one moment by the lake, he awkwardly wrapped his arms around her waist. She wrapped her own arms around his waist as well. They pulled apart at the same time, and they both headed upstairs.

She rushed upstairs, not willing to tell anyone anything. Luckily, everyone in the girls’ fourth year dormitory was fast asleep. She fell into her bed and thought of what it would have been like if he hadn’t nervously looked away...

Had he kept his eyes locked with hers….

Her heart beat faster with every passing second. It seemed as though their faces were slowly coming closer together. Her heart threatened to beat out of her chest until, finally, his lips touched hers; it completely stopped beating for a fleeting moment then, but shortly after began beating at the same quickened pace. It was just a soft brush of his lips against hers, but their lips came back together almost immediately in a slow, romantic kiss. He put his hand on one side of her face, leaving his other arm draped around her shoulders. Her hands found the collar of his shirt and gripped it tightly.

And, at that moment, she was being shaken awake by Lily.

-------
Chapter 4

“We’re going to be late! Transfiguration!”

Lily was yelling and shaking Katalina’s arm. It was too early in the morning for Katalina to comprehend yelling.

“Gah...?” she said groggily.

“Classes!”

“Oh, s**t!” she yelled, jumping out of bed. She changed quickly, pointed her wand at her hair, making it smooth and shiny, as it had been before she fell asleep, as it had been last night while she was with him...

She grabbed her books and ran, up the hall, with Lily. The tardy bell rang.

“No...” Lily said. “We’re dead...”

“Why?” Katalina asked. “We’re only going to be a few minutes late.”

“What’s this, I wonder?” said a high pitched, cackling voice. “Two girlies late for their first lesson of the entire year?”

A halfway see-through man in a funny, checkered purple and yellow suit with a large, black bowtie and a flower pinned to the right side of his chest, appeared before them, floating upside down.

“Peeves,” Lily said. “School poltergeist. Get out of the way, McGonagall’s going to kill us as it is!”

“Oooh, and McGonagall teaching... two of her own students!” Peeves tsked at them. “Really, really, the student body keeps getting more and more careless...”

“Peeves,” Katalina said kindly. “Won’t you please let us through?”

“And why should I?” he asked. “When I could just as easily tell Filch and have the fun of watching two poor little girlies get detention?”

“Because I know how I can get you in trouble, Peeves,” she said. “Had any interesting conversations with the Bloody Baron lately?” She made a mental note to remember to thank Lily later on for telling her about the school ghosts durring the sorting ceremony.

He looked at her with wide eyes. “Alright...” he said, grumbling. “Go...”

“Thank you, Peevesie, you’re such a nice ghoulie,” she said, imitating Peeves's high-pitched, intimidating voice quite well. As they walked swiftly away, Katalina looked over her shoulder and waved. Peeves made a rude hand gesture at her and floated off.

They made it to their first class of the day fifteen minutes late. There were a few glances back at them as they entered the Transfiguration classroom as well as a few sniggers. There was even a snore; Sirius had fallen asleep at the table he and James were seated at in the back, using his open Transfiguration book as a pillow.

“Thank God, she’s not here right now...” Katalina sighed with relief as she and Lily walked to the front of the classroom, where there was an empty desk that seated two. “I thought we were dead...”

The cat sitting on the desk with spectacle markings looked over at them as they sat. It jumped off the desk and, as it did so, transformed into a stern woman in black robes with square glasses. Katalina gulped, and her eyes were as wide as they had been on the train when McGonagall had come frantically into their compartment asking who produced the Patronus Charm.

"G-good morning, professor," Katalina said nervously. "Didn't... didn't see you there..."

"Late for your first class at Hogwarts, Miss –" Katalina nodded gravely, indicated McGonagall to use her name by birth. "– Gaunt. And Lily, I'm quite surprised, you've never been late for my class once in the past."

"We would have been on time, Professor," she said. "Peeves wouldn't let us through; we were close enough to get here just on time."

"I-I-I didn't get to sleep until six o' clock in the morning, Lily couldn't wake me up, she stayed behind to try to help me," Katalina lied. "It's my own fault, if anyone gets a detention it should be Peeves."

Professor McGonagall looked a bit confused by the sudden change of course of her entire confession and apology. The class sniggered.

"Miss Gaunt, I wasn't going to give you a detention, but –"

"Sorry," she said immediately. "I couldn't resist."

"I believe ten points from Gryffindor will do fine, as will a double detention tonight will do fine, since you already had one set for tonight for the scene you and Mr. Black made on the Hogwarts Express."

At hearing his name, Sirius quickly sat up straight in the back, and said, quite loudly, "I'm awake!"

"I somehow doubt that," Professor McGonagall said disapprovingly. "And that's the third time this morning."

"I didn't sleep last night and –"

"You'll be doing double detention tonight as well."

"Who else is?" he asked curiously.

"Well, you were awake, Mr. Black," she said. "You should know, shouldn't you?"

He grumbled in agreement.

“In this class today, we're practicing Vanishing Spells," she said. "Look in the indexes of your textbooks, Misses Gaunt and Evans, to find the page numbers for Vanishing Spells. Read them, then attempt to -"

"– make the swallows sitting on our desks disappear?" Katalina asked curiously, having just done so in a silent spell. Professor McGonagall looked astounded. "And, as you can see –" She put her hand through the spot the swallow had been. "– it certainly wasn't Disillusionment, was it?"

"All right…" she said. "Yes, that is the correct. Now...” McGonagall conjured another swallow onto Katalina's desk. “With the enchantment, if you don’t mind."

"Evanesco," she said, flicking her wand at the bird; it promptly vanished. Lily made hers do so as well, with the incantation, at the same time. Professor McGonagall looked from one to the other, who both looked back, smiling.

"Alright,” McGonagall said. “Ten points to Gryffindor. Awarded to each of you."

"I think mine's a shade lighter..." Sirius muttered to James in the back; Sirius hadn't managed to make his bird disappear, but he had managed to change it from black to pink.

"I think your screwy spell’s trying to tell us something." James laughed, looking at the pink swallow in amusement. Sirius elbowed James out of his chair.

"Is there a problem back there?" McGonagall asked James, who was just getting back in his seat.

"No, ma'am," he said, rubbing his side where he’d been elbowed. "Except I think Sirius's spell just tried to show his feminine side."

Now everyone was looking back and laughing at the pink swallow, including Sirius himself.

"That is a good first attempt, however," said Professor McGonagall, walking to the back of the classroom to their desk to examine the bird. "Especially considering all you heard was the incantation before everything else was drowned out by snoring, Mr. Black."

"I'm going through the change early, ma'am" he said. "Hot flashes make me tired."

The sniggering around the classroom grew a little louder. Professor McGonagall shook her head and walked away from Sirius and James's desk. James was getting back up off the floor again, as he'd just fallen out of his chair laughing.

The next person to get it was Remus Lupin, followed by Peter Pettigrew, who Katalina was sure hadn't actually done the spell himself; he was rather unskilled with magic as it were, and Remus was sitting right next to him. Sirius managed to make his swallow slightly see-though, though still pink, and was begging to be allowed to keep it at the end of class.

"Oh, fine," Professor McGonagall said, annoyed with him. "Keep it. And practice!"

"But I already named him..." he said solemnly, putting on his act quite strong for the rest of the class's enjoyment. He patted the bird on the head with his finger. "Isn't that right, Pinky?"

"Then practice on something else before I have to give you triple detention!" she yelled at him. He sank back in his seat sheepishly and slid under the desk. A moment later, he elbowed James in the knee.

"What?" James said.

"Is it safe yet?" he asked in a loud whisper.

"No," James said in an equally loud whisper. "But don't worry, I don't think she knows where you're hiding."



It wasn’t too much longer in the class before the bell rang. It was double Potions with the Slytherins next. The class headed down to the dungeons, where both the Potions classroom and the Slytherin Common Room were, apparently. They all gradually stopped at a door where a group of Slytherins were already gathered, Severus among them.

"Are you still hanging out with that mudblood, Sev?" one of the Slytherins asked loudly as Katalina and Lily approached the door. "You know, that Evans girl that's in Gryffindor? And the blood traitor she's friends with, Gaunt? Her brother's a prefect for Slytherin, the things he's told us about her –"

"Yes, I am," he said to the other Slytherin. "Now shut up, Avery."

"I can't believe you're friends with a mudblood and traitorous filth," said one of the other Slytherins. "The Dark Lord wouldn't like that."

"Who said I was going over to him?" Sev demanded. Katalina and Lily were just stopping by the crowd of Gryffindors on the opposite side of the dungeon corridor near the door.

"What, you're not going to be a Death Eater?" Avery asked.

"I never said I would be!"

"But hanging with mudbloods and – hey, stop it, you b*tch!"

Katalina had just lunged forward and pinned Avery against the wall. She punched him in the face so it hit his nose; the impact of the hit was hard enough to make his head hit the stone wall behind him. He, to his amazement as much as anyone else’s, hadn’t been knocked out by the blow.

"I can only hear the word Mudblood so many times in one minute without having to punch the person who's said it," she said through gritted teeth. "Guess my brother didn't tell you that."

She let go of him, pushing him into the wall again. Sev, with a glare at the two Slytherins he'd been talking to, joined Lily. Katalina stood off to the side of them a little; she didn’t much feel like being confronted about her loss of temper. When the teacher, Slughorn, arrived, she was the first to rush through the door. She took a seat close to the front of the class. Lily sat next to her and Sev sat with them when he made it inside. Naturally, Sirius, James, Remus, and Peter were sitting behind them. Sirius and James had apparently decided it would be fun to attempt throwing small bits of parchment into Katalina and Lily’s hair. Katalina realized what they were doing instantly and turned her chair around, glaring. She picked a small piece paper out of her hair. She pulled out her wand and set it on fire in her hand.

"If you ever throw anything in my hair again," she said coldly, "then remember, this'll be your head." She held up the ashes in her hand that had been parchment, and let them fall out of her hand like snow. She smiled and the blank expressions on their faces and turned back around.

Katalina pulled out her potions book and looked through it; she had already made various notes on its different pages, from when she'd bought extra supplies at the apothecary in Diagon Alley so she could practice potions before she went to school. Inside the classroom, there were various large cauldrons, all full of different potions. Katalina recognized all of them; one was Draught of Living Death. Another was the most powerful love potion possible to make. Another was Felix Felecis. Another, as it was colorless and scentless, had to be Veritaserum. The last one, oozing and bubbling, was most definitely Polyjuice Potion.

When the bell rang, Slughorn rushed to the front of the class.

"Hello, everyone!" he said brightly, beaming around at his class. "Now before we get started today, I would like to check and see how much you remembered about identifying potions over the summer, if all of it hasn't slipped your minds. I'm sure you see all these potions around the room?" There were mumbles of agreement. "I want at least one of you to be able to identify at least one of them. Now." He indicated the purple potion with light pink smoke wafting from it. It was emitting a mixed smell of roses and chocolate… or it was to Katalina, anyway. "Can anyone tell me what this one is?"

Katalina's hand shot up faster than anyone else's. Potions were the one thing her father had taught her during her homeschooling, so, naturally, it was one of her best subjects.

"Miss Gaunt," he said as enthusiastically as she had raised her hand. "Yes?"

"It's a Love Potion," she said. "While it is called a Love Potion, and it is the most powerful type of Love Potion, it does not create love, but more of an obsession. It is identifiable by its lilac color, pink fumes, and its scent, which is different to everyone."

"Very well said, very well said! Ten points to Gryffindor. It's disappointing your brother doesn't do as well in the art of potions."

"It's more disappointing to me that we're related," she said brightly. All the Gryffindors in the class laughed.

"Now, now, that's enough," Slughorn said, as the class gradually quieted. "And how about this one? Miss Evans."

He was indicating a pale blue potion, with fumes that seemed to be putting the Slytherin student Avery and his group of friends to sleep.

"That's Draught of Living Death, or just Draught of Death. It puts anyone who drinks it into such a deep sleep that they appear to be dead because they cannot be awoken; their heart can even stop under the influence of the potion, though it starts again after its effects wear off. It's easily recognized from its pale blue color and watery consistency, and its invisible fumes that make anyone near it drowsy." Everyone looked over at the Slytherins; Avery had started to snore loudly.

"Very good, Miss Evans, very in depth, as always," he beamed. "Now, this one?"

He indicated a silvery potion that was bubbling to the point that the bubbles appeared to be almost happy, and it was emitting thin, silver, streaky fumes. Remus raised his hand for this one from behind them.

"Mr. Lupin, isn’t it? Go ahead."

"Felix Felecis," he said. "Its color is silvery, as are the scentless fumes it emits, which is common in many potions, but this is recognizable by its bubbling and thin consistency. Its effect is luck; it can make the drinker lucky for weeks, depending on the amount consumed. A small vial of it can work for a whole day."

"Very good, Mr. Lupin. And now, how about this one?" He indicated a muddy looking, bubbling potion. Severus raised his hand. "Severus, finally someone from my own house," he said, again beaming.

"That is Polyjuice Potion," he said. "Its consistency is much like that of mud, and its color before its last ingredient is added is a pale grey. It can transform its drinker into another entirely different person for an hour, but only another person, since animal transformations do not work and are dangerous, as well as the fact that they can be permanent if not treated in time. It only can transform its drinker if the drinker has DNA from the person they wish to change into, such as a few pieces of hair; the last ingredient. Its color after the DNA is added depends on the person, it can turn any color imaginable, and each and every person's potion has its own distinctive color."

"Very good, very thorough, ten points to Slytherin. And now, here is the trickiest one." He stepped over to the cauldron of clear potion, and no one seemed to know what it was. "This is a bonus," he added. "We didn't learn about this, but if you've read ahead in your course books, you might know what it is."

After a moment, Katalina raised her hand.

"Miss Gaunt, again."

"Veritaserum," she said. "It's colorless, scentless, and tasteless, with the consistency of water, and can easily be mistaken as such. This makes it easier for its true purpose; if you slip this into someone's pumpkin juice, they won't see it or taste it, but they will feel the effects: Veritaserum makes its drinker tell the full truth about anything asked of them. You-Know-Who himself would spill his darkest secrets if it was given to him. A small vial of it can work for over an hour, depending on the ratio of amount of potion to the drinker's weight – but lets not get into math here, the Draught over there is putting us to sleep enough already, I believe." The Gryffindors sniggered as Avery snored loudly again. His friend nudged him and he sprung awake. "Also, Veritaserum is banned for use in this school on any student under almost all circumstances."

"Very good, I see someone's been reading their course books," he said brightly. "Ten more points to Gryffindor.

"Now, for today's lesson, we'll be brewing up our very own Draught of Living Death," he said. "The best attempt will be awarded a small vial of liquid luck, Felix Felecis," he said. "Enough to last for twenty-four hours. Make it known, to any Quidditch players, it is not permitted for use in sporting events by the law."

Excited whispers echoed around the classroom from almost everyone. Katalina, however, spared no time. She got out her potions kit as she flipped to the page on Draught of Living Death, which she'd already made notes on. When it became time to start, she took out her cauldron and commenced with making her own Draught and finished it before the time was even up – she had practiced her course book for potions so much she'd found shortcuts that actually made the potion better than the official directions. Apparently Sev had done the same thing, as he finished barely a minute later. After about five minutes, they heard someone behind them laugh triumphantly.

"I think he did it," James said to Sirius, looking into Remus's cauldron. "Awesome!"

Katalina looked back into it as well. "So how far've you gotten?" she asked, looking into James’s cauldron – a blob of what looked like burned licorice was sitting at the bottom. She couldn't help but laugh a bit.

"You're just p***d because you can't do it," James said.

"I finished mine five minutes ago," she said with a laugh. "And mine's way better than that blob in the bottom of yours."

"Shut up..." he grumbled. She laughed and turned back around as Lily was finishing hers. Katalina looked into her cauldron.

"Nice," she said. She yawned. "God, of all the potions to make... and we've got History of Magic next, don't we?"

"I think s-s-s-sooo," Lily managed through a yawn.

"Lord... I'm not going to be able to stay awake... I might need that Felix Felecis just to be lucky enough to keep my eyes open."

Five minutes later, the time was up; Katalina, Lily, Sev, and Remus, who had all made perfect potions, each got a small vial of Felix Felecis, and were asked to stay after class for a minute.

"Why?" Katalina asked Lily as they packed their things.

"Probably because of how well we did in class," she said. "Slughorn likes having connections with people, and he has a knack for spotting people who'll do well later in life. He's formed a club within Hogwarts called the Slug Club for his more exceptional students; we're probably finding out when the first party is."

"Party?" she asked, quite intrigued. "I like parties. Alcohol?"

"Probably so with the really big parties, but nothing we can't have underage."

"That figures. I'll have to sneak some in."

"Oh God, you sound like Sirius and James now," she said, laughing.

"No, they sound like me," she said. "There’s a difference there."

They headed up to his desk in the front, still laughing. Slughorn beamed at them from his chair.

"I believe Severus and Lily know about this already, but I believe neither of you do?" He addressed Remus and Katalina. Remus shook his head no.

"The Slug Club?" Katalina suggested. "Lily was just telling me."

"Ah, yes," he said. "Yes. It's a club for my more exceptional students; we occasionally have small parties and get-togethers, usually on Saturdays, and generally a huge party on the day before Christmas holidays. It's your choice whether you want to be in it or not, but the first get together is this Saturday at the time of supper in the Great Hall."

They left with passes for their next classes explaining why they were so late. Professor Binns, their History of Magic teacher, was a ghost as it turned out. He'd died at the school when he was taking a nap and his study caught fire. He went back to teach classes after his nap, stepping right out of his body without even realizing it. His tone was generally melancholy, and boring enough to put anyone to sleep. The class droned by; the most interesting thing that happened was when Professor Binns caught Sirius and James at the back of the class passing notes that read "See other side" on both sides of the parchment – apparently, this happened quite often in that class as there was absolutely nothing else to do. Katalina simply tuned out Binns’s talking and read her book at her own pace.

After that class was her Divination class; she and Lily split up, as Lily headed off to Arithmancy. To Katalina’s dread, she realized she had Divination with James and Sirius, and the tables, with crystal balls in the middle, were made for three people to sit at. She cast a bit of a glare at them as they sat at her table.

"I think she wants us to move," Sirius said.

"Yeah, I think she just tried to do some kind of Basilisk thing with that glare," James agreed.

"No," she said. "But if you bug me, I won't resist throwing the crystal ball at your head."

James looked at the crystal ball. "I definitely foresee quite a bit of pain in our futures, then, mate," he said to Sirius.

He looked at it as well with his head tilted to the side a little. "I see that my world is going to be turned upside down."

"What?" James said, and then looked at the reversed, upside down reflection of the classroom in the crystal. "Holy s**t, I see it too…"

The bell rang. Their teacher walked in – she certainly was an odd looking woman. Her hair was huge, frizzy, and blonde, but graying in places. She wore large, circular, black, thick-rimed glasses that magnified her eyes several times their normal size. She wore a head shawl and even more shawls draped over her shoulders, and a green, button up shirt over a darker green dress. She also wore several necklaces, bangle bracelets, and rings on all her fingers.

"Good day, class," she said in a dreamy, out-there sort of voice. "Though today is not the day we worry about – as you all know, the noble art of Divination teaches you to look beyond the boundaries of the present and into the future, through the stars, through your own eyes. Today, we'll be working with crystal balls, a subject that we just barely touched on last year."

Katalina was boredly flipping through her Divination book, as she listened to the speech about true Seers and prophets and so on and so forth. She found a page on different depictions that one might see in their crystal ball, and read through them, so she was ready when it was finally time to attempt to see something in the foggy, swirling, circular crystal.

"Open your minds!" the teacher, Trelawney, kept telling them. "Allow your Inner Eye to see beyond the mundane!" Sirius raised his hand. "Yes, Mr. Black?"

"How do we see with our Inner Eye if it's not on the outside where it can see, Professor?" he asked sarcastically.

"Broaden your mind," she said. "All the answers you seek, you already have, you just aren't aware of them yet!"

Katalina boredly gazed into the crystal ball, her mind miles away. She hadn't broadened it, she'd just decided to take it on a trip. However, nonetheless, she snapped back when she was sure she saw something within the crystal. When she jumped, Trelawney was walking past. She quickly came back and kneeled down next to Katalina's chair, her already wide eyes widening even more.

"Dear girl – what is it you have seen?"

"I – I – I-I-I don't know yet," she stammered in surprise. "It looked like a face. I was barely even paying attention to the crystal, I was miles away," she admitted. "But I saw it, snapped back and it was gone."

"You understand what you've done?" Trelawney asked.

"N-not really..." Katalina said uncertainly.

"Your Inner-Eye reflected what it has Seen within your own mind into the depths of the crystal for you to see! When you allow your mind to wander, you allow your Inner Eye to see where it has gone. It could be seeing something in your past that's passed so long ago that you didn't even know you still remembered it, or even something to happen in the future!"

"Oh..." she said, trying to comprehend this. "Alright."

"So you're saying," James said, "that all I had to do to pass this class last year is go into daydreams every time I sat down? What a rip off! Why couldn't you have just told me that?"

Katalina was back to the crystal again. This time, when she saw two figures, she didn't snap out of her daydream, but used her peripheral vision to distinguish the scene’s features. Once she'd done this, it was like the crystal turned into a television screen. She saw two people, and she clearly recognized one of them as her father. The other was a man about her father's age, maybe older. They were speaking indistinct words, but the scene was clear enough. She saw her father kneeling down as though worshipping the other man in billowing black robes.

After what felt like hours of watching them speak indistinct, faint words, she finally heard her father's voice.

"I didn't mean to!" It yelled. "She left on her own, I never would have –"

Katalina was jerked out of the vision when she heard someone snore. Sirius appeared to have fallen asleep after doing the daydream idea that James had, and James was turning red, clearly straining to try to see anything other than clouds in the crystal ball. The bell rang about ten seconds later. Sirius almost fell out of his seat in surprise, and James let out the breath he’d been holding, shooting the crystal in front of him a glare. Katalina packed her bag quickly and headed downstairs to the Great Hall for lunch.
-----------------

Side notes: Trelaney isn't Sybill Trelawney from the books. It was mentioned that her grandmother had a gift for Divination - that would be who this is. She seems like a quack, but she's not so much as her granddaughter - she's going to be important later.

I'll post the next chapters in a bit.


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 Post subject: Re: A Gaunt Tale
PostPosted: Thursday 11 September 2008 3:08:35am 
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Great! Than I'll just check you out over here than. Thanks! :P


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 Post subject: Re: A Gaunt Tale
PostPosted: Thursday 11 September 2008 8:10:17pm 
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I've only read the first chapter so far, because I'm pretty busy with school, but I like it so far! Definitely seems like an interesting plot.

The only thing I don't like is how Remus is a new student. He's my favorite Marauder and he doesn't seem to be that big a character in this yet. Of course, that could change since I've only read one chapter. :lol:


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 Post subject: Re: A Gaunt Tale
PostPosted: Friday 12 September 2008 3:28:50am 
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DucksRMagical wrote:
The only thing I don't like is how Remus is a new student. He's my favorite Marauder and he doesn't seem to be that big a character in this yet. Of course, that could change since I've only read one chapter. :lol:


Well, it hasn't gotten into the actual main plot within the first chapter, yeah =P. Well, it has, in introducing main characters and whatnot, but that's about as far.

The only Marauder who won't be overly important is Wormtail, mostly because I don't like him and he doesn't seem like he would have been very important, anyway. He's more like a groupie than an actual Marauder from the descriptions of him in the book.

I'm working on rewriting it right now, anyway. The main ideas will stay the same - I'm not changing anything major - but a few details will be changed. I started writing this almost two years ago, and reading over it, I'm not very happy with the first half of it, so I pretty much need to redo it.


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 Post subject: Re: A Gaunt Tale
PostPosted: Saturday 13 September 2008 2:02:06am 
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I've finished reading all the posted chapters! Very good story. :) I'm glad Remus will be playing a bigger role in the upcoming chapters. I don't really care much about Wormtail. :lol: Nobody likes him, do they?

Although, I do feel the need to point out that Felix Felicis is gold, not silver. ;)


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 Post subject: Re: A Gaunt Tale
PostPosted: Sunday 14 September 2008 12:27:08am 
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Good !!
But may I suggest only posting one chapter of a period of 2 days ?
I have only read Chapter 1, I don't think I could read anymore, it's too much for me.
Maybe post it in little bits and that way you can have cliffhangers to *Dramatic Music*


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 Post subject: Re: A Gaunt Tale
PostPosted: Sunday 14 September 2008 2:00:53am 
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*Riley* wrote:
Good !!
But may I suggest only posting one chapter of a period of 2 days ?
I have only read Chapter 1, I don't think I could read anymore, it's too much for me.
Maybe post it in little bits and that way you can have cliffhangers to *Dramatic Music*


I was only going to post it a couple chapters at a time until I got into the main problem within the storyline, but I'll start posting it one at a time now. Sorry about that.

As I said before, I'm rewriting it right now since I'm not happy with my writing from a year ago, and I'm going to have a bit of the rewrite posted soon. The prologue is turning out longer than I expected, so I think I'll post it in two different parts, maybe three. It should be up soon.


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 Post subject: Re: A Gaunt Tale
PostPosted: Sunday 14 September 2008 3:25:31am 
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First part of the rewrite's prologue - complete. Well, so's the second part, but I'm just posting up the first part for now. The prologue'll be three parts long, both 1,000 to 2,000 words in length apiece. So, here's the first, at 1,252 words:

----
The day Katalina’s Hogwarts letter arrived was both the best and the worst day of her life. She had been quick to tear open the yellow parchment and read the note, a voice in her head cheering as she did so – she would be rid of her father in no time, finally free to befriend other witches and wizards her age who weren’t purebloods that followed the “old ways.” She had met Bellatrix Black once and decided instantly that she didn’t like that girl. She was sure that Bellatrix didn’t like her much either, so there was no problem there.

She read anxiously about how the Hogwarts Express would leave for the school at eleven o’ clock on September 1, and she couldn’t help smiling. It would only be another month. Katalina flinched slightly as her father snatched the letter out of her hands, and she stared down at the table she was seated at to avoid looking him in the eye. He read quickly over the letter before looking down at her.

“Where do you think you’ll be sorted?” he asked her, striding around the table to stand at the chair across from hers.

“Slytherin.” This was a lie. She was sure she wouldn’t be sorted into the house of pureblood snobs. She heard her father scoff, and she was sure he knew as well.

“You would do best to be sorted into Slytherin,” he said, sitting down at the table as well and sliding the letter halfway across it. She grabbed it quickly. “I told your brother this, even though there was no need for it, as he has accepted our family. You, however, need to be told this: If you’re not put in Slytherin like the rest of our family…” He leaned across the table and continued in a whisper, “I’ll have you taken out faster than you can say ‘blood traitor.’”

Katalina looked up at this with wide eyes. “But don’t I have to go and –”

“Homeschooling is an option. Your great aunt had the same problems as you – she wasn’t sorted into Slytherin, and she was taken out to be trained at home. Unless the rules have changed – and I don’t believe they have – then I will have you removed from Hogwarts if you’re sorted into any other house. You’d best beg to transfer to Slytherin if you’re not sorted in immediately, or you will be coming home.”

She gulped, but decided not to say anything else. She knew that, despite his calm tones, he would be perfectly willing to hex the life out of her if she was sorted into Gryffindor. Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw wouldn’t be so bad. She might have been taken out of school, but he probably wouldn’t react too badly. Gryffindors, however, were the enemies of all Slytherin. If she was, God forbid, sorted into Gryffindor, he might kill her. Maybe not, but he would make her wish he had chosen to kill her one way or another.

She would just fantasize later about being told she was adopted, and about being taken to her real family who thought the old ways were a load of garbage. There was unfortunately no denying that she was a member of that family. She was a Parselmouth herself, and she bore a slight resemblance to her father, but only around the eyes. She, her brother, and her father all had the same color blue eyes. It did surprise her that people as cold as them could have brightly colored turquoise eyes, as grey seemed a more fitting color for both of them. She wasn’t conceited or self absorbed, but she knew she wasn’t as heartless as they were.

She didn’t watch as her father stood up from the table in their kitchen and walked away, but she knew he had a smug look of triumph on his face. She could tell that he knew he had gotten his point across to her. She almost flinched when she heard more footsteps coming into the kitchen, and she did flinch when she heard a scoff behind her and felt someone standing over her chair.

“I suppose Father gave you the same speech I got?”

“Yes,” Katalina said quietly, choosing to stare at the table rather than look up at her brother.

You’re going to be put in Hufflepuff or Gryffindor with the rest of the brainless idiots,” he said smugly, “and Father’s going to drag you right out and teach you what you should be learning.”

“Wh – what I should be learning?” Katalina halfway glanced back at Alfred. “What do you mean?”

“Oh, nothing much different,” he said slowly. “You’ll probably be learning more Dark Arts than Hogwarts would teach, more about the history of Dark Magic, how to brew both potions and poisons. It’ll be basically the same, just with a few new things. You’ll probably learn all about our family history. Did he mention our aunt who ended up in Ravenclaw?”

Katalina nodded, supposing he was referring to the same great aunt her father had mentioned.

“That was Merope Gaunt, she was Morfin Gaunt’s sister. Morfin Gaunt was Dad’s father. Her father nearly beat her to death for being sorted into Ravenclaw rather than Slytherin, but I think our father is maybe a bit more lenient than our great-grandfather was. He might just use the Cruciatus Curse a few times. From what Father has said, she ran off with some Muggle shortly after she graduated and ended up selling some really important family heirloom to Borgin and Burke’s, which we got back through some sort of bribery. That’s just a little preview of the sorts of things you’ll probably get to learn. You’ll get to learn all sorts of things about the Dark Lord.”

“Who says I won’t be sorted into Slytherin?” Katalina said indignantly, but this only made her brother laugh.

You? You’re hardly a good enough witch to have been accepted into Hogwarts at all! I’m surprised Father’s going to even let you try to go. They’ll probably send you home for being a Squib or something before you can even be sorted.”

“I’ve done magic before! I’m not a Squib! Stop saying that….

“How do they sort us?”

“I’m not telling you, you can just wait and find out like the Mudbloods. You probably are one anyway. Bet you were adopted.”

“I’m a Parselmouth,” she said pointedly. “Muggleborns can’t be Parselmouths, that’s a proven fact.”

“You were still probably adopted. Mum probably died because she found out you weren’t a pureblood –”

“Don’t talk about Mum like that!”

“Why? I think you should be grateful she isn’t around. She’d only appreciate you if she were a blood traitor, and I don’t think Father would have ever married one of those.”

Katalina glared back down at the table. Alfred was right, but she wasn’t about to admit to it. She had always held on to some sort of hope that maybe her mother had been alright, but maybe these things just skipped a generation. Maybe it was her Great Aunt Merope that had been alright and she had inherited it from her somewhere along the line.

“Well,” he said, “even if you are sorted into Slytherin by some sort of horrible mistake, don’t act like you know me. I’m not going to be seen around some sniveling little blood traitor that calls itself my kin.”

“I wouldn’t want to go near you anyway,” Katalina mumbled so he couldn’t hear, glaring as he walked off. She didn't like her brother, but she wasn't about to cross him; she'd be in Hogwarts soon, where he could hex her and get away with it with only a detention rather than an expulsion.
------

That's the first part, second's soon to come.


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 Post subject: Re: A Gaunt Tale
PostPosted: Sunday 14 September 2008 5:05:45pm 
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this is cool, i would love it for you to re-write the dh proluge to see what you can come up with.


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 Post subject: Re: A Gaunt Tale
PostPosted: Monday 15 September 2008 9:43:10pm 
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DucksRMagical wrote:
Although, I do feel the need to point out that Felix Felicis is gold, not silver. ;)

Just noticed that bit of you comments aaand uuh... oops? :lol: Didn't realize I put that. Thanks for pointing it out.
I'll fix that up as I'm rewriting :)

Anywho, here's the next bit o the prologue.

Disclaimer for this chapter: This contains a bit from the part with Snape's memories in Deathly Hallows. Any lines that I used from the book belong to J.K. Rowling, not me, as do any characters or ideas that I borrowed from any of the books, but I believe that's kind of a given. In other words, don't sue meh please?

------

A month later, with her words of her father and her brother still stinging her mind, she came with them to Platform Nine and Three Quarters. She bade a hasty goodbye to her father (who gave her that warning again) before hurrying onto the Hogwarts Express – or attempting to. She could barely lift her luggage onto the train. A Gryffindor prefect that was standing by helped her out and she rushed onto the steam engine train.

Katalina made a point of sitting in a compartment alone on the Hogwarts Express. She was as nervous as any of the other first years on their way to this magic school. She had no idea where Hogwarts even was, no what it was like. She did indeed like the idea of being away from home, however. She hoped there were some other students who might have shared her ideals rather than those of her father and brother. If there wasn’t anyone there who did, she was going to be just as out of place.

Katalina glanced up as she heard the door to her compartment open, and she tried hard to act like a chameleon and blend in with the red bench seat she was sitting on, despite the fact that none of her clothing was red. Her hair was, but she doubted that did any good whatsoever. However, the girl who got in and put her luggage on the rack above her own seat didn’t seem to notice. Katalina inwardly breathed a sigh of relief and continued to stare out the window.

It seemed like hours before the train finally finished crossing over the vast plains of green grass and into a forest. It was around that time when it started raining. A group of rather noisy boys had come to sit in this compartment since the train was so full, but Katalina had refrained from speaking to anyone thus far and hoped to do so for the rest of the ride. She didn’t have many people skills, and from what her brother had told her, all that ever came out of her mouth when she opened it were unimportant idiocies. She didn’t ever believe a word he said, but it had made her a bit nervous.

Rather than be bored to death by the patterns the raindrops were leaving down the outside of the window, Katalina decided to listen inconspicuously to the boy and girl talking. The girl was across from her and had been glowering sulkily out the window for a while. Katalina almost scoffed when the boy said he wanted to be in Slytherin, but refrained from doing so. One of the others in the compartment, however, spoke up.

“Slytherin?”

Katalina glanced over on the seat next to her. A boy in coke bottle glasses that had already changed out of his muggle clothing was looking at the boy with rather greasy black hair and a pale complexion. The one in glasses looked rather disbelieving.

“Who wants to be in Slytherin?” he said, a definite air of disdain in his voice. “I think I’d leave, wouldn’t you?” He looked at a boy across him, who took a moment to answer.

“My whole family have been in Slytherin,” he said, though he didn’t sound overly happy about it.

“Blimey,” said the other, “and I thought you seemed alright!”

“Maybe I’ll break the tradition. Where are you heading, if you’ve got the choice?”

Katalina turned her head back to the window, pressing her forehead against the window as she stared out it at the vast forests surrounding the train tracks. She continued listening as the boy in the round glasses said he wanted to be in Gryffindor, like his dad. The boy that wanted to be in Slytherin scoffed, which led to a small squabble, which led to him and the only other girl in the compartment leaving. Then they rounded on Katalina, who really had been looking forward to having a nice, quiet ride to Hogwarts. So much for that.

“Where’re d’you think you’re headed, then?”

Katalina glanced over at the boy in the glasses, and then glared back out the window. “Probably home if I don’t get put in Slytherin,” she said, unintentionally injecting as much loathing into the name of that house as was humanly possible. “I imagine my father’ll drag me away if I’m put somewhere else.”

The boy remained quiet for a moment. He regained his talkative nature quite quickly, however.

“What’s your surname?”

That was the one and only question that Katalina had truly been dreading hearing. She dreaded answering it even more – after all, her entire family was dark, every last one, no exceptions. Anyone who knew who she was would think the same of her, then, obviously.

“Gaunt…” she said quietly after a moment of silence.

“Gaunt?” repeated the other boy. “As in Timothy Gaunt?”

“Yes…” she said. “That’s my father.”

Really?” said the boy in the glasses. “They’ve been in Slytherin for ages. The rumors about that dark wizard that’ve been flying around say that –”

“They’re his biggest supporters,” Katalina said through gritted teeth. She really wished they would quit talking to her. “I’ve heard them plenty of times already.”

“S – sorry,” he said, hearing her tone. “So…” he said slowly. “Do you know anything about the rumors?”

“No,” she lied. “Haven’t really heard anything except what people have been saying about the families involved in it.”

Katalina had heard plenty of the “dark wizard” this boy was referring to. There was no doubt he was talking about Voldemort. He had kept his identity under wraps for a long, long time. Actually, no one really knew who he was, not even his followers; they only knew that he referred to himself as Voldemort and had an extreme dislike for muggleborns and halfbloods. He was definitely real enough, however. Her father had apparently gone to school with him, and did know a little more about him than most others, but he didn’t tell anyone more than that.

The three families who supported Voldemort, more commonly known as “The Dark Lord,” most were the Malfoys, the Blacks, and the Gaunts. From what she had heard from her older brother, the youngest of the Malfoy family was in Hogwarts – in Slytherin, of course – and in his fifth year, a prefect. Narcissa Black was in her third year, with Katalina’s brother, also in Slytherin.

Of the Gaunts, Alfred Timothy Gaunt was entering his third year. Because of this, she wasn’t sure she even wanted to go to Hogwarts. Whether he was regarding her as family or not, he would definitely treat her like dirt no matter what house she was sorted into. She wasn’t sure, though – if she went home, she would have to face her father every day of her life, and both her father and her brother durring the summer months. That made the decision a difficult one… she knew, however, that it wasn’t going to be her decision to make.


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 Post subject: Re: A Gaunt Tale
PostPosted: Wednesday 24 September 2008 3:07:16am 
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No one's replied in quite a while, but I figure I'll put up the rest of the prologue really quick.

It's 3,771 words long - longer than what I've been posting - but I'm up to chapter 8 already in my rewrite so I'm just going to go ahead and post the rest.
---
(Prologue, last part)

Katalina waited until the last minute of the train ride to change into her Hogwarts uniform. She was dreading the sorting ceremony. She didn’t care at that point in time how she was to be sorted. All she knew was that she didn’t want to be sorted at all. Slytherin was the last thing she wanted, but at the same time, she wanted it more than anything. She hadn’t waited eleven years to get away from her father just so she could be taken back home for being sorted in a house he considered to be wrong.

However, she didn’t want to be in the same house as Lucius Malfoy or Narcissa Black or even her own brother. They repulsed her in a way that words could even begin to describe. Her father often spoke of how they had propper beliefs of their kind, how they knew what sort of witches and wizards they should associate with and which sort they shouldn’t. Her own father made her sick with his constant preaching of the old ways. She never would have told him so to his face, but he really did aggravate her.

She felt her stomach turn in apprehension as she followed an extremely tall man, along with the rest of the first years, to a fleet of small boats fit to seat four people. She joined the girl that had been in the compartment with her earlier, along with the boy she had left with, and found out they were Lily Evans and Severus Snape, who both already seemed to loathe James Potter, who was the boy in the round glasses. They seemed nice enough, so she decided to keep close to them as they got off of the boats after a long ride and were ushered into the castle.

“Come on, firs’ years!” the tall man was saying to the few who were straying off. Katalina was starting to wonder if maybe he was a giant, or at least part giant. “This way! Come on!”

They followed him to a halt as the doors opened. Katalina, Lily, and Severus all craned their necks to see over the crowd in front of them. An old witch in green robes with her hair in a tight, neat black bun stood at the door. Katalina decided immediately that should she stay here, she wouldn’t even think about crossing this witch, as she didn’t look particularly tolerant. After the tall man introduced her as Professor McGonagall, they followed her down a hallway and into an empty classroom, and they stopped inside. She shut the door behind her and turned to face the crowd.

“Welcome to Hogwarts,” she said. “You will all be sorted into your houses very soon. The Sorting Ceremony is very important – while you are here, your house will be like your family. You will have classes with the rest of your house, sleep in the same dormitory as those in your year in the same house, and spend free time in the house common room.

“The four houses are Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, and Slytherin. Your triumphs at Hogwarts will earn you points for your house. Rule-breaking will lose house points. These points will be counted at the end of the year, and the house with the most points is awarded with the house cup. I hope each of you will be a good addition to the house you are sorted into.

“The Sorting Ceremony will take place in front of the rest of the students in a few short moments. I shall return when we are ready for you,” she concluded, her hand on the doorknob. “Please wait here quietly.”
Katalina’s stomach churned even more as excited whispers broke out when McGonagall left. Lily looked almost as nervous, though Severus didn’t quite as much.

“What do they do to sort us, exactly?” she asked Katalina quietly.

“I don’t know, my brother wouldn’t tell me.”

“D’you know what they do?” Lily asked Severus.

“My mother said something about a hat,” he said.

“Th… that’s all?” Lily asked, sounding surprised, but still relieved. “Oh, good. I was worried we were going to have to do actual magic. I’ve practiced some, but I didn’t know if it was enough or not. Have either of you practiced anything?”

“Only a bit,” Severus said.

“My dad made me learn a few things,” said Katalina, looking around the empty classroom. “Not much though, since I didn’t have a wand until a few weeks ago.”

“What sort of things?” Lily asked curiously.

Katalina was thankful that McGonagall came back before she had the chance to answer. She didn’t feel like telling anyone she had been forced to learn about dark magic before she even entered school. McGonagall guided them away to the Great Hall, where there were four tables of students. She saw her brother at one and assumed it to be the Slytherin table. Her suspicions were confirmed when she spotted Lucius Malfoy, a prefect with platinum blond hair.

They all stopped at the Great Hall, where a hat sat upon a stool up near the teacher’s table. McGonagall stood next to the hat. They stood through a song sung by the hat, but Katalina was too busy trying to hold down the sweets she had eaten on the train to listen to it. She almost hoped it would sort her into Slytherin just for being a Gaunt, but there was really no telling. She didn’t want to go home.

The first Slytherin to be sorted was Bellatrix Black. Katalina gave a slight grimace when that name was called, having come into contact with this girl before. The hat shouted Slytherin after having barely touched her hair and, looking rather smug, she hurried over to sit at the Slytherin table next to a girl that Katalina assumed was her sister, Narcissa Black. The next to be sorted was Sirius Black, one of the boys that had been in the same compartment as her and James Potter. He was sorted into Gryffindor.

A few more names later was Lily, who was also sorted into Gryffindor. Shortly after was Katalina. Katalina walked slowly up to the hat, wondering what would happen. She picked it up and put it on her head as she sat upon the wooden stool in front of the Great Hall. She couldn’t see the faces looking up at her, as the hat covered her eyes. She heard a voice in her ear, and she assumed it had to be the hat.

“Gaunt, eh? Doesn’t seem like the lot of them…. Witty, yes, definitely, but not prejudiced. No, definitely not…”

Put me in Slytherin, please, I need to stay here… she thought.

“Slytherin?” Her heart jumped when she comprehended that the hat could read her mind. “No, definitely not Slytherin, you don’t belong there. I’d say… GRYFFINDOR!”

She flinched slightly, though the Gryffindor table seemed to be cheering and clapping. She took the hat off of her head and walked slowly over to the table Lily had joined. She sat between Sirius Black and Lily, as Lily had been glaring at Sirius upon accidently sitting down next to him.

“Sev’ll probably be in Slytherin like he wanted,” Lily said. “Where were you hoping to go?”

“Slytherin,” she said quietly. “I really didn’t want to, but I… my dad told me he’d pull me out to be homeschooled if I was sorted anywhere – ow!”

She rubbed the back of her head when she felt something hit it. She looked behind her and saw the culprit – a balled up piece of parchment. She picked it up and unfolded it, and immediately recognized the handwriting to be her brother’s. There were only five words written upon it:

Dad’s going to kill you.

“… said he’d pull me out if I was sorted anywhere other than Slytherin…” she finished with a sigh, staring at the paper. She looked behind her at the Slytherin table, where her brother was looking quite smug. She glared at him for a moment before turning back around.

“What’s that?”

“My brother…” she grumbled, crumbling the paper back up and putting it in a pocket in her robes. “Not important.”

“Your brother’s here too?”

“Yeah, Slytherin. He’d be home if he were in any other house.” She bit the side of her fist, staring up at the front of the Great Hall for a moment, then she looked back at Lily. “My dad’s going to kill me.”

“I don’t think he’d actually kill you,” Lily said comfortingly. “I mean, he’s your dad, after all, right?”

“My dad is the root of all evil,” she said, shaking her head. “You have no idea what he’s like.”

––
After a week at the school, Katalina started to become confident that maybe her father would let her be, let her stay at Hogwarts as a Gryffindor. However, on one weekend when she was sitting outside on the grounds with Lily and Severus, the three of them attempting to look up things for the Potions essay they had been assigned, her hopes were shattered. She flinched as she felt someone poke her sharply in the shoulder, at which she looked up.

“What do you want?” she asked her brother. “I thought you didn’t know me?” Despite her bored tone, she was absolutely horrified at the look on his face.

“Oh, I know you,” he said happily. “You’re my sister who’s going to be leaving tomorrow.”

At once, her heart stopped for a moment, her stomach turned to lead, and breathing became a very hard task. She blinked at him, silently praying he was lying.

“Y– you’re – you’re not – you’re lying,” she managed to stammer, shutting her Potions book and standing up. He handed her a piece of parchment.

“McGonagall told me. She didn’t look very happy about it. You’re supposed to go see the headmaster, it should all be there. Hope you have a nice first year.”

He walked back towards the castle. Katalina sat back down on the grass near the lake with Lily and Severus, unfolding the parchment and reading:

Miss Gaunt,

Headmaster Dumbledore requires that you come to his office at once. Please see me in my office immediately and I will take you there.

Professor McGonagall

Katalina looked up, her mouth hanging open a little. Lily and Severus stared back apprehensively. At lack of words, she swallowed and handed Lily the letter. Severus also read it over her shoulder.
“B– but that could mean anything, couldn’t it?” Lily asked. “It might be about something else entirely!”
Katalina shook her head, taking the letter back and putting it in her pocket. “I’ll let you know…” she said, picking up her Potions book. She stood. Lily stood up as well, and so did Severus.

“I’m coming with you,” she said.

“McGonagall probably won’t let you –”

“Then we’ll follow you to her office, if it is true you might get rushed off too fast to tell us anything so we should go with you.”

Katalina looked between the two of them. Even though it had only been a week, they had been good friends so far. Keeping them in the dark would have been wrong. Slowly, she nodded.

“You can follow me there, but don’t try to sneak around McGonagall if she tells you not to follow her to Dumbledore’s office.”

“Of course not,” Lily said, shaking her head, “that would loose house points for Gryffindor, I wouldn’t do that!”

“All right… come on, then.”

They hurried to the castle doors. Katalina stopped once inside and looked from Lily to Severus, who stopped in front of her.

“Why –?” began Lily.

“If I’m being sent home,” Katalina said quietly, looking around the entrance hall, “then I will come back. I don’t know when, it might not be next year, but I’ll come back before our seventh year.”

“How’re you planning to talk your father into it?” Severus asked. “My mum knows him because of Voldemort, says he’s really stubborn.”

“V– Voldemort?” Lily said, looking between them. “He’s real? I heard people saying there were rumors.”

Katalina nodded, her head stooping to look at her feet. “And my dad’s his number one supporter. He’s been around for quite a while now, he’s only just let people that aren’t on his side start to know that he exists.”

“I… is he powerful?” asked Lily nervously as they began walking again.

“From what I’ve heard, he is,” said Severus. “He’s openly said that he believes himself to be more powerful than Dumbledore.”

“More powerful than Dumbledore?” Lily repeated incredulously. “That’s mad, Dumbledore’s supposed to be one of the greatest sorcerers to have ever lived, according to our History of Magic textbook.”

“Voldemort’s extremely pompous,” said Katalina quietly as Bellatrix and Narcissa Black passed them on their way outside – if either of them heard her say that, she would have been on the floor, there was no doubt in that. “He’s under the impression that he’s the most powerful sorcerer to have ever walked the earth, and so he thinks he’s better than Dumbledore.”

They hurried on to Professor McGonagall’s office, and she looked somewhere between frustrated and very tired when they got there. She looked at the three of them, particularly at Lily and Severus.

“I do apologize,” she said, “but I need to speak with Miss Gaunt in private, if you don’t mind.”

Lily looked most disappointed. “Yes, professor…” she said quietly, turning to walk out of the office along with Severus.

As the door shut behind them, Professor McGonagall sat behind her desk and motioned for Katalina to sit in the chair across from it. She did as instructed and stared at her knees, waiting for McGonagall to say the words she was absolutely dreading to hear.

“Miss Gaunt,” she began, “it is to my understanding that your family has been sorted into Slytherin for generations, is that true?”

“Yes, ma’am,” Katalina said, not bothering to look up. She was just waiting for it to come. She heard a sigh.

“That is what your father told us…. He seems to believe you… aren’t ready to come to Hogwarts yet, for whatever reasons.’” Katalina was happy to hear skepticism in McGonagall’s words at this, but not entirely sure she was happy to hear the words themselves. “If Hogwarts had any say in it, you would be staying, but your own father has more of one than we do. He… he has written to us asking that you be removed from Hogwarts to be homeschooled.”

Katalina nodded gravely – there was no point in protesting it. “The letter said I had to speak with Professor Dumbledore?”

“Yes,” said McGonagall, standing. “He will give you more details pertaining to… to the situation.”

Katalina stood and followed Professor McGonagall, wondering what else need be explained. She already knew the details – her father wanted her in Slytherin, and she ended up in Gryffindor. In a family like the Gaunts, that was utter blasphemy.

She did her best to memorize as much of the hallways as she could in her last minutes here, on her way to Dumbledore’s office. She had never imagined Hogwarts would be so amazing, since she avoided asking her brother questions about anything as often as possible.

After a few flights of stairs and a walk down a corridor on the second floor, Professor McGonagall stopped in front of a statue of a gargoyle.

“Ice Mice.”

The statue of the gargoyle leapt aside. Katalina tilted her head slightly, contemplating both the rotating spiral staircase in the opening of the wall and the headmaster’s strange choice of passwords. She stepped onto the stairway with Professor McGonagall. The gargoyle moved back into place behind them as the stairs took them up, much like an escalator in a Muggle shopping mall – she had always found those rather fascinating. It stopped in front of a door, behind which Katalina could hear not one, but two voices. Her heart sank – one belonged to her father.

“… just don’t think she is ready to work with other witches and wizards her age yet, Dumbledore,” she heard him saying as they approached the door. “Much the same was the situation with my aunt, Merope Gaunt. I’ve heard her parents withdrew her for the same reason.”

“Not so much,” said a second voice calmly; Katalina assumed this was Dumbledore. “Marvolo Gaunt withdrew Merope from Hogwarts because he was infuriated she wasn’t sorted into Slytherin, I remember it quite well as I was working here at the time as a Transfiguration teacher. I suppose you didn’t know about this?”

“That was the situation?” he asked curiously. He could be a good actor when he needed to be…. “My, I never knew, my father told me his sister just had problems working around other students. I’m merely worried that my daughter may have that very problem, I wouldn’t ever take her from as fine a school as Hogwarts just because she was sorted into the ‘wrong’ house.”

Professor McGonagall knocked on the door as they approached it, her lips thin. She obviously trusted Timothy Gaunt about as far as she could have thrown him. Katalina couldn’t blame her at all for this. She opened the door when a voice from inside told her it was fine to do so, and Katalina followed her into the office.

If it weren’t for the situation in play at the moment, Katalina would have taken a moment to look around at the place. It was rather interesting, really. It was definitely in one of the towers of the castle, as the room itself was somewhat circular. There were strange little silver instruments strewn about different tables, and portraits of old headmasters on the wall, all snoring – though, Katalina noticed, they would occasionally open their eyes to see what was happening, then quickly shut them and continue snoring. Situated on a perch next to the desk in the room was a large, red bird, about the size of an eagle or a hawk, with long tail feathers. It looked like the descriptions she had heard of phoenixes, so she assumed it was one.

Katalina took a seat in a chair next to her father in the office and did her best not to look him in the eye. She guessed the man sitting behind the desk in the office was Dumbledore. He looked old, even ancient, with long white hair and a white beard past his belt. His nose appeared to have been broken once or twice, with as long and crooked as it was. He didn’t look overly angry about the situation as McGonagall did, but he gave off the impression of being able to hide such things rather well.

“Miss Gaunt,” he said, “I am very regretful to inform you that you will not be able to remain at Hogwarts.”

Katalina nodded, choosing to look at the phoenix next to the desk rather than at any of the other people in the room.

“I’m terribly sorry, dear,” she heard her father saying. She felt like hexing him. “I’m just not sure you’re ready to cooperate with other students.”

“She has done fine so far.” Katalina tried to suppress a grin at Professor McGonagall’s words. “If anything, she’s more advanced than most other first years. Any teacher here will attest to it.”

“Oh, no doubt she’s good with magic itself,” Timothy said calmly. “I taught her a bit myself before she entered school so she would know what to expect. As I said, I’m merely afraid she will have problems getting along with other students.”

“Why?” Katalina managed to keep herself from recoiling at her own words as she looked at her father. “Because I was sorted into a house you don’t think a Gaunt should be in?”

She knew she would regret this later. He wouldn’t do anything with McGonagall and Dumbledore standing by, but he would later. A flash of something like infuriation came across his face for a moment, but he managed to keep calm.

“You know that isn’t the case, Ka –”

“Then why did you tell me that you’d pull me out of Hogwarts if I wasn’t sorted into Slytherin when I got my letter? Al said you told him that your granddad did the same thing to our great aunt, except she was put in Ravenclaw. You’re just upset because things didn’t go the way you wanted them to and I got sorted into Gryffindor!”

Now the flicker of anger stayed burning upon his face as he glared at Katalina. His eyes were narrowed and when he spoke, it was barely in more than a hiss.

“What have I told you about back talking me?”

“I’m not back talking you, I’m telling the truth!”

“They don’t need to know anything about the ‘truth,’” he shot back at her. She realized quite suddenly that his voice seemed like a hiss for the simple reason that it was one.

“They do need to know the truth, and there’s no point speaking in Parseltongue, I’ll just translate everything you say.”

She crossed her arms and glared at him indignantly. He stared back, his eyes cold as ice. Katalina wasn’t sure where her sudden nerve was coming from, but she was sure her father would beat whatever was left of it out of her later. Something kept her going, though, and she absolutely detested whatever it was.

“Even if you pull me out, I’m going to come back,” said Katalina, pointing at him. “I might not be able to for a few more years, but I will.”

He turned from Katalina to look back at Dumbledore. “When will I be taking her home?”

“As soon as she has packed her things,” said Dumbledore.

Professor McGonagall escorted Katalina out of the office and up to the seventh floor, where the Gryffindor common room was located, explaining on the way that they would be leaving by Portkey. She had only traveled by Portkey once before and hadn’t enjoyed it at all, but she wasn’t much in the mood to protest anything else. She was still leaving Hogwarts and was probably going to be in quite a bit of trouble with her father when she arrived home. She was going to be forced to learn about the Dark Arts and the old ways.

As she packed, all she could think of was whether or not there was some way to get out of it. The only conclusion she could come to was to sneak back to Hogwarts – she just wasn’t sure how that was going to work.


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 Post subject: Re: A Gaunt Tale
PostPosted: Monday 29 September 2008 3:44:26am 
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First Year Student in Witchcraft and Wizardry
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Joined: Friday 5 September 2008 2:44:41am
Posts: 16
As I'm hopeful that maybe someone might still be reading this, I'm going to post chapter 1 now.

------------
Chapter 1
Runaway

Summer was the worst time of year for Katalina. She had grown accustomed to locking herself in her room and eating dinner when her father and brother were asleep, knowing she was bound to get hexed by someone if she came down durring the day. She had endured three summers of this madness so far and was just beginning her fourth, which she planned to be her last.

After a bit of studying, she had learned about the Knight Bus, which she was going to take to the Leaky Cauldron in London and stay there. Her father might find her, but she had no intentions of going back. He had taught her more than enough to be able to stand up to him, which was – in her opinion, anyway – his one mistake.

Once at the Leaky Cauldron, she would borrow an owl from someone and send a letter to Dumbledore explaining her situation. If abuse wasn’t enough to keep her father from getting her back out of school, she didn’t know what was, and the Cruciatus Curse could have been nothing short of abuse. If Dumbledore accepted, she would be sent a letter telling her what she needed for school. She had learned everything she was supposed to from her father up to that point; he had just decided to twist a few different things around. She suspected she knew plenty to come to Hogwarts for her fifth year.

She did need money, however. In her will, her mother had left quite a large sum of money to Katalina alone. She had already taken the key to that vault and planned to use it to buy her school supplies. She planned to leave on the night of August 29, giving her a couple days to buy her school supplies and a few days to stay at the Leaky Cauldron before again catching the Knight Bus to King’s Cross Station to get on Platform Nine and Three Quarters. She knew that it cost money to ride the Knight Bus, so she had taken a bit of money from her brother’s stash (it wasn’t like he was going to miss it, he had plenty more and their father gave him whatever he wanted).

She waited anxiously all day on August 28 – she planned to go out at midnight. She had all of her things packed and stowed away in her closet where her father couldn’t see them if he barged in. It was lucky, as he had chosen to barge in at around eight o’ clock on the evening of August 28, looking somewhere between livid and bemused.

“Have you any idea what happened to the key to your mother’s Gringotts vault?” he asked her.

“No.” She silently thanked whatever higher power there was for allowing her to inherit her father’s knack for lying. “Is it missing?”

“Yes,” he said. “You’re sure you haven’t seen it?”

“I haven’t. Lindy might’ve taken it, she seems to like taking Mum’s old things.”

“I figured she probably had…”

Grumbling about house-elves being ignorant creatures, he turned and walked out of the room, shutting the door behind him. Katalina picked up her wand from her bedside table and flicked it in the direction of the doorknob, which locked itself accordingly when a jet of purple and red sparks hit it. That was the good thing about living in a town that consisted much of witches and wizards: she could just blame any indication of underage sorcery coming from their area on the neighbors if the ministry came knocking, and they would never know the difference. She was safe as long as her father didn’t catch her at it.

She jumped at the sound of a loud crack in her room and looked around. She jumped again when she turned her head and almost hit her nose on something else’s nose. She then shook her head, looking at the house elf that seemed to have taken a great liking to her.

“Lindy,” she said, sitting up and grasping her chest to keep her heart from beating out of it. “Why in the world can’t you just knock on the door?”

“Master Gaunt is looking for Lindy!” she whispered. Katalina couldn’t help but wonder how even her whisper was squeaky. “Can’t Mistress hide Lindy? He thinks Lindy stole Mistress Gaunt’s Gringotts key and Lindy didn’t, Lindy wouldn’t ever do such a thing!”

“Well…” said Katalina, biting the corner of her lip, “it is sort of my fault… but if I hide you, you’ll owe me.”

“Anything, Miss!” Lindy piped, her large ears twitching.

“Shh, he’ll hear you if you keep squeaking!”

She clasped both of her hands over her mouth and nodded obediently.

“Hide in the closet behind the trunk. If he checks, he’ll see the trunk and overreact as it is, he’ll never notice you.”

Lindy nodded. With a crack, she vanished, and Katalina heard another crack, indicating she had reappeared in the closet. Katalina lay back down on her bed and continued to stare up at the ceiling, counting the minutes until midnight.

It wasn’t until a couple hours later that she heard two loud pops, and she looked over to see Lindy again.

“Master Gaunt has stopped searching for Lindy,” she whispered. “What does young Mistress Gaunt wish for Lindy to do in return for letting Lindy hide in her closet?”

“I would quite appreciate it if you would apparate me and my belongings to the next block over,” said Katalina, looking back up at the ceiling and tucking her hands behind her head. “Preferably near a road, but not near any Muggles.”

“Of course!” She paused for a moment, her wide purplish eyes looking at Katalina curiously. “May Lindy ask why?”

“I’m going back to Hogwarts. Keep it a secret from my father that you helped me, I don’t want you getting into any trouble.”

“But young Mistress Gaunt’s mother left Lindy to Mistress!” Lindy said. “If Mistress Gaunt leaves, Lindy must as well.”

Katalina looked at Lindy, blinking. “Did she? First an invisibility cloak, then thousands of galleons, now a house elf? Huh. I wonder if she really was that bad…”

“She treated Lindy kindly,” Lindy said, nodding. “But she wasn’t nice to muggleborns.”

“I figured as much…” Katalina said with a sigh. “It’s a couple more hours yet, anyway. If I can, I’ll figure out some arrangement that will allow you to go to Hogwarts with me. Maybe you can work there or something. If not, I’ll have to send you back here until I find somewhere to move to on my own.”

“Where is Mistress Gaunt going from a block over?”

“Catching a ride on the Knight Bus,” she said. “I don’t want you coming with me at first. I know you don’t want to come back here, but if Dumbledore is willing to let you work at Hogwarts, then I’ll let you know.”

“May Lindy ask why Mistress is going by the Knight Bus? Lindy could apparate her there herself!”

“I’m headed to the Leaky Cauldron in London. There are Muggles around that area who’ve probably never seen a house elf before.”

“Oh, yes, of course.” Lindy nodded. “Should Lindy stay in here until Mistress Gaunt is ready to leave?”

“If you want. Gets pretty dull, though.”

Lindy gave a furtive glance at the door. “Lindy doesn’t want Master Gaunt to find her…” she whispered. “Master Gaunt is angry with Lindy even though Lindy didn’t take the key to the vault!”

Katalina sat up on her rather lumpy and uncomfortable bed and looked at the house-elf, who still looked completely confused about the current situation with the key. “I took the key, Lindy. Mum left me her money and I’ll need some way to pay for my books, Father just thinks you did it. You have to admit, you do have an odd habit of taking Mum’s old things and stashing them away in my closet.”

“No, no, no, Lindy is only giving things to their rightful owner! Mistress Gaunt’s mother left them to her and Master doesn’t want her to have them but Mistress Gaunt’s mother told Lindy to give them to Mistress Gaunt before she died.”

“She – Lindy,” Katalina said, leaning forward, “are you saying she knew she was going to die?”

Lindy’s eyes became impossibly wide at this question. “Lindy said too much. Lindy shan’t say another word.”

Katalina gave a growl of frustration at the elf before lying down on her bed again. The house elf was the only resident at that house that knew anything about her mother that she might have been interested in. She imagined her father probably knew, but Lindy was the only one who might accidently let something slip on occasion. She always stopped herself before she said anything interesting, however.

Katalina quickly seized her copy of Hogwarts, a History from Lindy, which she was attempting to use to beat herself over her head. That was the other thing: when Lindy did let something slip, she had a tendency to abuse herself as punishment. She had once fried her own fingers on a frying pan for telling Katalina that Voldemort had gone to Hogwarts at the same time as her father. The worst type of house elf was the type that liked to gossip, as they generally only heard secrets that they weren’t supposed to tell anyone. Katalina felt a little bad for Lindy; the poor little elf just couldn’t help herself half the time.

––

“What did I tell you about sneaking back into that school?”

Katalina sat at the dining room table, her arms crossed, glaring at the wall defiantly. “I have selective hearing. Please feel free to refresh my memory at any time.”

“I have told you about back talking me!”

Katalina gave a yelp when the chair she was sitting in was turned around. She looked up at her father, who looked back down lividly. She managed to keep her composure, despite how scary her father could be when angry. He rather reminded her of many biblical depictions of Satan, particularly because of the black goatee. She didn’t flinch until she heard a squeaky voice from next to her.

“But Master, she just wants to go to Hogwarts! Master went to Hogwarts when he was young!”

“Be quiet, you stupid creature!” he snarled, glaring down at Lindy. She hid behind Katalina’s chair. “I’ll deal with you later.”

“After you deal with me?” said Katalina indignantly. “Go ahead and try! You’ve used the Cruciatus Curse on me so many damn times it hardly hurts anymore!”

“Shut up!” She jumped as she suddenly found his wand pointed between her eyes. She nearly went cross-eyed looking at it. “You’re never going to comprehend anything I’ve taught you, are you? The old ways –”

“Are called ‘old’ because there are new, more acceptable ways to live by,” Katalina said through gritted teeth. She recoiled, however, when she remembered the wand.

“Your great aunt was a good deal smarter than you, obviously. When she ran away, she didn’t get caught. Do you know what would have happened to her if her father had caught her? He’d have killed her.”

“You didn’t even give me any time to answer!”

“Do you know what’s going to happen to you now that you’ve been caught?” Katalina’s eyes widened. “A Gaunt who doesn’t accept their family names isn’t worth the space they take up. You’re not a Slytherin, you don’t believe in Dark Arts, you don’t believe in the old ways. You think Muggles are decent people, for God’s sake! I don’t blame you at all. It’s quite obvious that I’ve failed with you. There’s only one thing that I can see to do.”

Katalina shook her head, her mouth hanging open. “You’re… you’ve gone mad! I’m your daughter, you can’t kill me! It’s both immoral and illegal. You’ll go to Azkaban!”

“Would you be quiet?” he said through gritted teeth.

“You’re insane –”

“Avad–”


“Mistress Gaunt!”

Katalina sat straight up in her bed, looking around for the source of the voice. She fell back down on her bed upon spotting Lindy. She put her arm over her forehead and shut her eyes for a moment, hoping she would quit having that dream when she got out. Its reoccurrences were beginning to disturb her a little.

“Mistress, it’s midnight and Mistress wanted to leave at midnight!”

Katalina sat back up again quickly and looked at her room. All of her luggage was already out of the closet. She tilted her head as she looked at the pile, then she directed her attention to house elf looking completely pleased with herself seated atop the pile.

“Lindy has already prepared Mistress’s luggage!” she whispered happily. “Is Mistress ready to leave?”

“What about my Hogwarts –”

“Lindy put Hogwarts, a History in a bag, too.”

“Oh, good.” Katalina grabbed her wand and stuck it in her pocket, then pulled her invisibility cloak out from under her pillow and slung it over her shoulder. “How are you going to apparate me?”

“Just touch the luggage. Lindy is apparating the luggage, so Mistress will also be apparated.”

“Oh, good, then. I hope apparating isn’t nearly as unpleasant as Portkey travel…”

Katalina walked over to the luggage and put her hand on her largest trunk. “Is Mistress ready?”

“Definitely,” Katalina said, looking at Lindy. “Go on.”

“Okay! Three… two… one… and go!”

As it turned out, apparating was twice as unpleasant as Portkeys. Travelling by Portkey felt rather like spinning through the air. Floo Powder also felt like spinning, just through different fireplaces. This, however, felt like being sucked through a keyhole. However, seconds later, it stopped, and they were on an empty stretch of road, all of Katalina’s belongings still there. Katalina fell over when she felt her feet land on the ground, which caused a giggle from the house elf still sitting atop her luggage.

“Mistress isn’t used to apparating at all,” Lindy pointed out, jumping down off of the stack of luggage. “How do you get the Knight Bus here?”

“Like so.” Katalina stuck out her right hand and waited a moment. She then heard something that sounded a bit like crashing and sputtering, and something large and purple was zooming into view from off in the distance. Lindy stared in interest as a purple triple-decker bus came to a screeching halt in front of them. Then the door opened and a conductor in a purple uniform stepped off with an index card in one hand and what appeared to be a ham sandwich in the other. He appeared to be reading off of the card as he spoke through a mouthful of sandwich.

“’Elcoom ‘oo the Knigh’ Boosh, merg’ncy tr’nspert fer ‘a strand’d wish o’ wuzzard.” Katalina and Lindy were both struggling not to laugh, but he managed to swallow the sandwich and then continued. “Just stick out your wand hand, step on board, and we can take you anywhere you want to go. My name is ‘insert name here’ and I will be – wait, no – that’s… that’s not right… oh, ‘ell, I’m too tired for this anyway…” He shook his head and put the card in a pocket on the front of his purple shirt. He looked up. “Where’re you planning on going with all that mess?” He said, indicating the luggage.

He pushed his round glasses up the bridge of his nose, and Katalina was sure she recognized him. She couldn’t put a name to him, but he had been in the same compartment as her on the Hogwarts Express for her first year… or first week, rather.

“To the Leaky Cauldron,” she said. “How much would it cost?”

“From here? ‘Round… nine sickles, probably.”

“That’s good, I’ve got enough then…” she mumbled, reaching into her pocket and pulling out a handful of silver coins. She counted out nine and handed them to the conductor, then put the rest back in her pocket. “Lindy, you mind helping with the luggage?”

“Of course, Mistress,” she said. Both she and the luggage were gone with a pop, and then Lindy was back by herself with another one. “It’s up near the front of the bus.”

“Thanks.”

Lindy gave a short bow in response. “Should Lindy go back home now?” asked Lindy in a whisper.

“For now, yes,” said Katalina quietly as the conductor looked back on the bus in disbelief at the sudden transportation of the large pile of luggage. “I’ll let you know more as soon as I can, I’ll start working on the letter to Dumbledore as soon as I get on the bus.”

“Lindy will go home for now and wait patiently then, Mistress. Goodbye!”

She snapped her long fingers and disappeared. The conductor looked back at the sound of the snap and shook his head. “Wish I had one of those…. Come on then, we haven’t got all night… er… morning, actually, I think.”

“I’m coming,” Katalina said through gritted teeth, pushing her way past the conductor of the bus.

“Oi, watch it!” he said, stumbling out of the way before getting on the bus himself. “That wasn’t very polite!”

Katalina rolled her eyes and sat down on one of the many beds situated across the bus that took the place of regular seats like there were on Muggle busses. It was rather interesting to look at, as she had only read about it before. She wondered how the beds stayed in place while the bus was moving.

“Leaky Cauldron in London, Ernie,” the conductor said to the driver before taking a seat on an empty bed near the front of the bus.

Katalina reached down next to her bed and opened one of her bags to pull out a roll of parchment, a quill, and a bottle of ink. She heard a laugh from the bed across the isle, behind the driver’s seat.

“I wouldn’t suggest doing that while you’re on here,” said the conductor, picking up a copy of the Daily Prophet from next to him.

“And why not?” Katalina asked indignantly.

“You’ll probably end up spilling ink all over everything,” he said.

Katalina found out quite quickly, when the bus jumped into motion at around a hundred miles per hour – maybe more – exactly why this wasn’t the best environment for writing letters.


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 Post subject: Re: A Gaunt Tale
PostPosted: Tuesday 7 October 2008 2:03:02am 
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Third Year Student in Witchcraft and Wizardry
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Joined: Saturday 2 August 2008 4:59:55pm
Posts: 43
I'm still reading and I love it. Keep up the great work! :jump:


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