Shortly afterward after the owl post was delivered and I tried to ignore the curious looks I got from my friends as I received only the morning Daily Prophet McGonagall handed out our schedules.
Lucky for me, James, Remus, Frank, Alice, Lily, Marlene and Sirius had all their classes with me. Only difference was, they signed up for theirs in preparation for Auror training and I was assigned mine by Dumbledore and McGonagall.
Charms, Defense Against the Dark Arts, Herbology, Transfiguration and Potions. I was convinced they wanted to kill me. Why couldn't I take lighter subjects like Astronomy and Divination?
Oh right, because they were utter crap.
The only good thing about having five classes was that there were lots of breaks in between classes to get all the homework done.
Which, I soon learned by the end of Transfiguration, was given in plentiful by the teachers of Hogwarts. And so far we'd had only two classes. I had to finish that hideous essay McGonagall had set us during my next free period. And then by tonight I have to finish reading fifty bazillion pages the new Defense Professor had assigned us. After which I had to read the 'Press Release' packet Aaron had given me by which time I would be completely exhausted.
Oh and I still had Herbology left.
Kill me now.
I sat in the very back in Herbology and because Professor Sprout was so nice she allowed us to sit with anyone we wanted as long as they weren't from the same house my partner was some Ravenclaw I had never seen before now.
I suppose it could be worse, at least we didn't have the class with Slytherins.
“Hello.” My partner said as he sat next to me.
“Hey. Kayla Nichols.” I held my hand out to shake his.
He didn't say anything, just looked at me as if I were crazy to be introducing myself. Though, seeing as how I am the only new Seventh Year, I guess it was unnecessary for me to introduce myself.
Eventually, he took my hand, “Jace Bell.”
I pulled away quickly.
“Something wrong?” He asked concernedly.
“Nothing, just static...Nice to meet you Jace, now do you have idea what Sprout just said? Because all the parts of this Devil's Snare look the same to me.”
“Nope, not a clue.”
I sighed, “Wonderful. Let's dig in shall we?”
For the next hour Jace and I sorted through the different parts and chopped them up in even cylindrical shapes and labeled them in different clear containers with lids. The whole time trying to make sure that the stupid plant didn't try to kill us.
Why would they make us work with something that is obviously dangerous I will never understand.
After Sprout had dismissed us, Alice, Lily and Marlene crowded around me as soon as Jace left with a nod and a “Later Nichols”.
“So...How was it?” Alice crooned.
“How was what?” Clearly out of the loop because Lily and Marlene were sporting the same expression as Alice.
“Working with Jace?” Marlene bounced, yes bounced on her heels.
“I have no idea what you are talking about.” I said suppressing my smile. Of course I knew what they were talking about.
“Please, even you, have to have noticed Jace.” Lily scoffed.
“What do you mean, even I?” I narrowed my eyes at them.
“Nothing, just that Jace is very...” Marlene trailed off.
“Yeah, kinda hard not to notice him you know?”
I did know. Jace had the classic good looks; dark brown hair, blue eyes, just right amount of stubble for it to be sexy and not revolting.
Jace was a very fine male specimen and I had most definitely noticed him.
“Yeah, very difficult not to notice him.” I told the girls unaware that Sirius and James were walking right behind us.
“Did you notice anything different about his eyes?” Marlene asked the other two.
“Yeah, it seems as if he-”
“Talking about me, ladies?” Sirius drawled.
“Don't flatter yourself, Black. As if we would waste our precious breath talking about you. The girls and I were merely talking about a certain Ravenclaw Bell.” I said to him.
Sirius grunted, “Bell? What's so special about him?” When none of us answered him he directed his question to James with a slight pout. “Really...what's he got that I don't?”
James just shook his head. “Oh Padfoot Padfoot Padfoot. You have so much to learn.”
I couldn't agree more.
Later that night while trying to wrap my brain around the different parts of the Devil's Snare and it's medicinal uses I couldn't help but destroy the quiet sanctity that had come over the too silent Common Room.
Like I said, I hate silence.
Silence should just go and drown it self in the Black Lake so the Giant Squid can devour it.
“Hmm?” She glanced at me while chewing at the end of her Sugar Quill.
“Tell me. Why the fuck am I going to care about the medicinal properties of a Devil's fucking Snare if I come across it while catching bad guys? Won't I just assume it's a trap and chuck the fucking thing into the closest fireplace?”
Potty mouth? Me? No.
“Probably,” Frank laughed as he too was working on the essay Sprout had assigned us. Although it must have proved to be difficult since his love interest was sitting not two feet away from him not giving him the time of day. Poor man. “At least after this you're done with your homework. You don't have to sit up trying to decipher runes.”
“You signed up for it, Frank, no one forced you to,” Lily said.
“Hark, who's talking! Ms. I signed up for Arthimancy because it's fun.” Mary said from behind a tower of Astronomy books.
She wanted to become an Unspeakable and 'Discover the mysteries of the great universe'. (Yeah, her words, not mine).
Remus chuckled as he was known to do whenever Mary spoke. Which wasn't often when it wasn't just us girls in the dormitory. I had noticed that Mary tended to stay silent when the Marauder's and Frank were around. So many unmade couples.
James and Lily.
Alice and Frank.
Remus and Mary.
Peter and...well I didn't know who Peter had his eye on. He was never around much whenever I was.
And Sirius and...Marlene maybe? I knew they had history from back in Fifth year but broke off on mutual terms.
Now however they didn't seem to be interested in getting back together.
I would have to see about that.
I have I mentioned I love matchmaking? No? We I do.
It's one of my favoritest pass times.
Right up there with singing in a tone deaf fashion and reading Harry Potter.
Us seventh years, unmade couples et al, had taken over two tables in the Common Room and joined them together to make one large table so we could help each other without having to haul our asses to the other side of the room any time someone asked a question.
All of us except James and Sirius because they were above studying and such.
Or so I had been informed by the others.
No one had seen them since after dinner. Not even Remus or Peter, who also was not present, knew where they had gone.
So I guess not all the Seventh year Gryffindors were present.
It was slowly nearing midnight and I was no where near done.
I needed caffeine., and I needed it now.
I needed coffee and sugar and chocolate with ice. I needed an ice blended.
God I missed Starbucks.
But the house-elves of Hogwarts would be able to help me if I asked them what I wanted.
If not, I could just sneak out to TB and ask Rosa for some. She has the best coffee in the world.
I threw down my quill (ball point pens are another thing I miss) and got up.
Everyone at the large table looked at me simultaneously.
“Going somewhere?” Marlene asked.
“I need sustenance.”
“Do you want me to come along?” Remus said.
“Sure. If you want. Unless you would rather finish that atrocity.”
Remus looked at me then back at his essay, then back to me and decided I was the lesser of two evils.
We walked out the portrait hole and I had taken three steps when I bumped into something very solid and very invisible. I felt the space in front of me, but this time there was no solid form, just air.
Too late, I realized who it was. James of course, and Sirius with his Invisibility Cloak.
“Are you okay?” Remus asked concerned as to why I would be feeling the air in front of me.
Since I didn't have any truthful way to answer his question, seeing as how James had yet to tell me about his Cloak I just shook my head as if trying to clear my head.
“Fine, just thought I felt something.”
Remus seemed to realize what that something might be, because he looked around suspiciously, as if he would be able to see James and Sirius.
“Let's go get that sustenance,” I said.
“What exactly are you planning on getting?” He looked down at me. In this dim light his scars from his full moon adventures shone white against his skin.
I was tempted to ask him just to see what he would say, but I didn't want to be lied to when I knew the truth.
So I answered his question, “Oh you know, caffeine, sugar, chocolate and ice. Everything a girl needs all mixed together.”
“Sounds disgusting.” He pulled a face.
“Au contraire, mon ami, c'est tres bon. You can try it.”
“Ah...so you speak French now.”
“I have been speaking french for six years now thank-you-very-much!”
“You are a woman of many talents, Ms. Nichols.”
“Why, Mr. Lupin, there are very many things you do not know about me.” I said in my best fake British accent and fake flirtatiously batting my eyelids.
Remus laughed, “Indeed. Like how you have a very exquisite British accent.”
“Well my dad is British. Kinda hard not to pick up on it.”
“Right, I forgot. I never asked what your mum does, or if they are in Britain by now.”
My heart leaped at the question.
This was it. A direct question.
And I couldn't avoid it like I had every other time.
I had to lie.
“They're fine. Mom's is having a bit of trouble being placed in the Ministry here, and Dad, well he is excited to come back to his Beloved Land of the Queen, but he also doesn't want to leave all his precious cars back in America. So they will probably be there for a while. They're staying in an apartment right now.”
Please, please please buy it. It was word for word from the packet Aaron gave me except I changed the pronouns of course.
“Oh, I'm sorry. You must be very sad that you have to live here all by yourself. Must be lonely.”
If only he knew how true that statement was.
Just then, I was tempted to tell him. Tell him everything about me.
He would understand of course, I mean he had a big secret of his own. I could just...
No I couldn't. I couldn't destroy Dumbledore's faith like that.
“It isn't too bad. I have you guys here and Dumbledore is kind enough to let me stay at the castle until however long it takes for my parents to get here. Anyway, what about you, Remus? There are a lot of things about you that I don't know.”
“Well, what would you like to know? I keep no secrets.” He spread his arms apart in a 'I will reveal all to you' way.
I scoffed, “Everyone keeps secrets, Remus. It's just how we are built. We wouldn't be human if we didn't keep secrets.”
“Are you saying that you have secrets or that you think I have secrets?” He leaned close to me to look into my eyes.
“ Both.” I said simply looking square in his eyes.
He looked flustered, “What makes you say that?”
“Don't think I haven't noticed all the hastily hushed conversations and the distinct ruffling of you four hiding something from me. I'm not blind Remus. I'm not saying that you should trust me with your secrets, just that I know you have them and if you every need to talk, you should know I can be trusted. Oh look, we're here.”
We were indeed standing in front of the fruit bowl painting. It was pretty large and I don't think such a big fruit bowl even existed, but, whatever. I tickled the pear and Remus and I walked into the kitchen to see James and Sirius already inside.
They had probably taken a shorter route. Stupid Map-possessing jackasses.
I had yet to see any hint of the famed Marauder's Map. And I wanted to see it so bad.
“Hello there. Fancy seeing you here.”
“Remus, Kayla. Out for a little late night snack?” James asked with his mouth full.
“We were getting a snack. You two on the other hand seem to be having a meal.” Remus said with a disgusted look at both their table manners.
Both of them just shrugged. I shook my head and was about to tell them to chew with their mouth closed when Tipsy asked me, “Miss Kayla. You is back in the kitchens. Is Kayla wanting anything, miss?”
“Yes, please Tipsy. I don' think I can go back to finishing my essay with sugar.” And I told her what I wanted.” And don't call me miss!”
“Tipsy has never made something like that, but Tipsy will try. And anything for young sir?” Tipsy looked at Remus.
“Er, I'll have what she's having.”
Tipsy, much to my annoyance bowed. I fully understood why Hermione was peeved by the way the house-elves let themselves be treated.
“Thank you Tipsy.” I called after her. It was the least I could do.
No sooner had I said that Tipsy returned with two mocha ice blended coffees and unsurprisingly, they were even more delicious than any I had had before.
“Mmmm.” I closed my eyes to savor the taste. The chocolate was richer, the coffee was stronger and the ice was colder. I guess everything in the Magical world was better. It's chocolaty taste was my Achilles' heel.“Tipsy this is delicious.”
I looked to Remus for confirmation. He nodded. “It is delicious, nothing like I've tasted before.”
“Right? See I told you it tastes like Heaven.”
“And how would you know what Heaven tastes like?” Sirius asked. “Have you been there?”
I shot him a glare, “At least I have a chance of getting there. Better than you, who will probably be kicked to the curb before you even reach the gates.”
This was not true, of course seeing as how James and Lily and Remus and Sirius come to meet Harry in the end and...
God what a morbid thing to be thinking about when said people were alive and breathing in front of me.
Sirius gave me a mischievous look and walked over to where I was standing with my drink.
“What's so special about it anyway.” he said as he reached for it.
“Hey,” I brushed off his hand, “Get your own.”
He didn't listen to me however and tried to take my drink from me and we had a tug of war with the cup as our rope.
If you are ever overcome with the sudden urge to play tug of war with a cup full of ice cold coffee, here is my suggestion:
Don't do it.
No, I don't want to hear it.
It is not funny.
Suddenly Sirius' hand slipped of the cup and all the contents flew on me.
“Ugh! SIRIUS BLACK. I am going to murder you. This drink is cold. No it is beyond cold, it is freezing!” Then, without thinking I snatched Remus' drink out of his hand and in one smooth motion I'd poured it over Sirius' head.
“Nooooooo! Not my hair.” He clutched his hair as if the drink would make it spontaneously catch on fire and ran out of the kitchen.
James followed him with an armful of snacks shaking his head saying, “Padfoot, mate, when Evans and I get married, you are so not the best man.”
I didn't bother to tell him that Sirius would indeed be his best man in two short years.
Friday! Sweet glorious beautiful Friday. How I love thee.
Yes, I was talking to my self. What's it to you?
It was that time of day, you know the two seconds after you wake up and don't know where you are, what you look like or even your name.
Or in some people's cases; what universe you're in.
I reached under my pillow to look at my blank iPod screen.
In the normal world, you know, the one without the Magical Element or whatever, it was a ritual I had.
Wake up, pat under pillow, find iPod, see time, freak out(because more often than not, I was late).
Here I had no such routine. Well, I did, but it usually ended with me looking at the only reminder I had of my world.
A world, I found out last night during a meeting with Aaron and Dumbledore, I might not be able to get back to seeing as how no where in the vastness that is Albus Dumbledore's brain is there any explanation for my predicament.
I had just gotten out of my Herbology class yesterday when a second year approached me with a roll of parchment.
See now this would have been fine if I hadn't been surrounded by the Marauder's and Lily, Alice and Marlene.
I quietly took the roll from the second year who scampered away casting a wary glance at the Marauders.
I knew immediately who had sent me the correspondence and it was precisely for that reason that I did not want to open it in front of all my friends. I just clutched the note in my hand hoping to look at it before dinner in the quiet sanctity of one of Myrtle's stalls.
But that was not to be I realized when I looked up to see seven people look at me expectantly.
“What?” I asked not making eye contact with anyone.
“Well?” Lily raised an eyebrow.
“Well what?” I was getting really good at this playing dumb thing.
“Are you going to open the bloody note or not?” Peter squeaked.
Knowing that protesting would be pointless, I rolled open the note and-
“What does it say?” James was peering over my shoulder.
“Good lord, is there no such thing as privacy anymore?”
Alice smirked, “Maybe in Salem's Academy, but this is Hogwarts. We've never even heard of the p word before.”
Muttering under my breath about nosy bastards I read the note aloud, “ 'Dear Ms. Nichols, Please come to my office to discuss more of your situation at seven o'clock sharp. Thank you, P. Dumbledore. P.S. I think peppermint toffee is delicious.”
“He thinks peppermint toffee is delicious?” Marlene giggled.
“Situation? What situation?” Sirius and Lily said at the same time.
“Sounds to me Kay-Kay's got herself a date.” James, in his typical James fashion messed up my hair.
Rather than address any of the questions posed to me by Lily, Marlene and Sirius I decided the only acceptable response to this was to blurt out loudly that “He's gay!”
Everyone looked at me. As we all know, rambling is my favorite thing to do, so I continued, “He, Dumbledore is gay, so it can't possibly be a date. And it makes sense too, just look at what he wears...”
I think it was a good thing that everyone started laughing at that time because if I were allowed to continue, who knew what I would have said.
Everyone was in hysterics. James was pounding his fist on Peter's back, while Marlene, Alice and Lily were clinging on to each other and Remus and Sirius were supporting one another while trying not to collapse on the ground.
“Dumbledore...gay...good one, Kayla.” Alice gasped.
I chuckled along with them nervously, “He he, yeah, I know. Ridiculous isn't it? Where do these thoughts come from I wonder?”
None of them said anything, but kept laughing all the way to the Common Room, at least I had managed to distract them from my 'situation'.
I arrived at Dumbledore's office at exactly seven as he had asked.
This time there was no Minerva McGonagall, she was most likely at dinner making sure no one coughJamesandSiriuscough wreaked havoc.
That still didn't stop it from seeming less like a jury hearing.
Aaron smiled at me warmly while Dumbledore gave me a courteous nod but no smile and that was when I knew that whatever they had to tell me, it was not going to be good news.
“Hello,” I said nervously fingering the hem of my robes.
“Ms. Nichols, how are you today? I hope your classes haven't been too difficult.” Dumbledore said.
“Fine,” I said curtly. “Professor, if you don't mind, can we get to the point? I already know it isn't going to be good news.”
Aaron and the wizened Professor exchanged glances.
“As you wish. Aaron?”
“Kayla, I have talked to my sources at the Ministry of your condition and they have not been able to find anything-”
“What do you mean they haven't found anything? And this isn't a condition, it's a mishap. Not some disease!” I had jumped up from my chair.
Dumbledore raised one hand, “Kaleahni, please let Aaron finish.” he motioned for me to take my seat again. I studiously ignored him and looked at Aaron.
“As I was saying, they haven't the slightest idea except that who ever sent you here, the Matron, as Dumbledore informs me, wanted you here.”
“Wanted me? Here? Why? How was she able to send me here in the first place?”
“We think she may have used a curse, old magic possibly. As to why she wanted you here, that is anyone's guess.”
I looked at Dumbledore, “How could she have cursed me into coming here? You said my universe had no magical element!”
Dumbledore sighed, “I think I should have made it clearer. Every universe has a Magical Element, but over time, as in the case of your world, it wanes and becomes very minimal. But those who are gifted can harness the Magical Element. Your matron seems to have done just that.”
“So she sent me here? With her harnessed energy? She sent me into a alternate-”
“Parallel,” Dumbledore corrected me.
“Whatever. Point is, I'm here.”
“We think,” Aaron began looking at Dumbledore, “that you will be able to return. However, these types of curses usually have set times on them. So once the curse is over, you will be taken back to your own world, or universe. But for now you are going to have to stay here. Why the old woman wanted you here, I cannot tell you.”
“He is correct. That is something you have to figure out on your own.” Dumbledore said.
“So...so that's it? That's all I can do? Stay here until the curse wears off? I have to stay here and keep acting as if everything is fine? Sit on my ass and pretend that I chose to be here?Lie to everyone and act as if I belong here? As if I have a place in this world?”
“You were sent here for a reason, Kaleahni. You were chosen. No one can tell you why.”
I had nothing to say to that. Really... what could I say? If it was true, then he was right, it was up to me to find out why I was sent here.
Didn't mean I had to happy about it. No, I could be as unhappy as I wanted.
Which meant I was very very unhappy.
On the brink of depression even.
Okay, so not that far.
I muttered a thanks to both of them and excused myself.
My feet carried me back to Gryffindor Tower of their own accord. Mercifully there no one was in the Common Room. Everyone was probably still at dinner.
I climbed up to the girl's dormitory and crawled into bed charming my four poster bed shut. I didn't really feel like talking to anyone.
Even if I did, what would I say? 'Sorry I'm moody, it's just that I found out right now that I won't be able to return to my own family anytime soon.'
I'd rather not,thank you very much.
Sometime later I heard Lily come up to see if I was back, but when she noticed that my curtains were charmed shut she got the hint.
No one bothered me after that. And somehow between the reminiscing of my old life and wondering how I was going to face the people in my new life when they were bound to wonder what happened in the meeting last night, I found myself falling into a fitful sleep.
When I opened my curtains after stashing my iPod back under my pillow, I saw that the room was empty. I quickly jumped out of bed and into the shower to get ready. I was already late and would have had to pass up on breakfast if I didn't have a free period between now and double Potions.
I took my time getting ready because I knew the minute I walk into thew Common Room I was going to be bombarded with questions. Questions I had no answers for, except perhaps, the truth.
After spending forty minutes getting ready, and foolishly thinking no one would be in the Common Room waiting for me, I went downstairs.
I heard them talking about me as I was descending the staircase.
“Has she said anything to you at all?” I heard James ask.
Some one sighed heavily.
“No, she's been in the bathroom for the last half hour. It was like she was trying to drown herself in there or something.” Mary answered.
“None of us have seen her since she left for her meeting with Dumbledore. And when I came to check on her last night, her curtains were- Kayla!” Lily exclaimed once she saw me.
I smiled weakly at her.
“We got you breakfast.” Sirius held up something wrapped in a napkin.
I took the spot next to him on the same sofa I had fallen asleep on so many times this summer and accepted the napkin clad breakfast and he draped his now breakfast free arm around me.
“Thank you.” I said as I averted everyone's eyes and leaned back on Sirius' arm.
“Did you sleep well?” Remus asked, biting his lower lip.
I could understand why he would ask me that because even thirty minutes of hot steam had not been able to get rid of the bags under my eyes.
I shook my head. There was no point in lying.
“I know you have questions. But I can't answer them. Not right now, maybe not for a while even. I hope you understand.” I said the last part looking straight at Remus. He would understand the most, I knew that.
Sirius squeezed my shoulder lightly letting me know that he understood and Lily reached across and gave me a hug. And James did the most James like thing and ruffled my hair.
All throughout the day someone was constantly by my side, whether it was a pact they made, or something Lily had ordered everyone to do, I did not have a single moment to myself.
Not until I had to leave for my Friday night shift at Rosa's, even though Sirius wanted to accompany me on my walk to Hogsmead, Lily as Head Girl could not allow it.
I was thankful for that because after constantly being looked after like some delicate object that might shatter with the slightest push I needed time to myself.
I worked on auto pilot once there, and even Rosa noticed I wasn't my cheerful self laughing with customers.
Tonight was packed as every Friday night at TB usually tended to be, but one table in the corner was empty. I had noticed a few people try and sit at the table but walk away abruptly with confused looks on their faces.
Around ten thirty when it was time for my break I went to sit down at the table but instead of using the chair already at the table I took a spare one with me.
I sat across from the seemingly empty chair warming my fingers on the bottle of Butterbeer.
“So,” I began, “Decided not to listen to Lily, huh?” I paused waiting for him to take off the Cloak.
“How did you know?” Sirius looked at me with a surprised expression.
“Well it was pretty obvious when every single table in this room is occupied except for this one.” I smiled at him.
“No, I mean how did you know that I was invisible?”
“I'm not stupid Sirius, I've known about James' Invisibility Cloak for a while now.” Yeah, try ten years.
“Wow, and here I thought I was being discrete and like that Muggle film spy, Bands.”
“Bond. James Bond,” I corrected him, smiling at his ignorance of the Muggle world.
“Yeah, him. And I couldn't very well let you walk back to the Castle by yourself. Who knows, there could be Slytherins waiting to ambush you when you're by yourself after how you landed them in detention on Monday.” He stuck out his chin reminding me of a little boy trying to convince his mother that eating another lollipop couldn't possibly spoil his teeth. I had to laugh.
“ You're sweet. Relax, I'm not going to turn you into Lily. I appreciate you coming out here for me.”
“'Course. What are friends for?” He said as his gray eyes ducked to meet my black ones. At that moment I sucked in my breath; his eyes reminded me of someone I knew from my old life.
I looked away for the slightest second and saw Rosa flagging me down looking from Sirius to me.
“I'll be right back,” I told him. As I walked toward the bar I felt his eyes follow me.
“Listen Rosa, he only came to make sure I wasn't walking back alone. Please don't turn Sirius in.”
“No no, I would never. Listen, you've obviously tired yourself out. Get some rest, go home early. I'm sure Black would appreciate that.” With that statement and a wink she shooed me out of her bar.
I blushed at what she was implying but grabbed my coat and motioned for Sirius to walk out with me.
We walked back in silence, and for the first time I didn't mind it.
A/N: Yes, all of it is mine! I have split personality disorder and...wait no. Still JKR's.
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