Chapter 1 : All The Same To Me
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I won't run when the sky turns to flame,
And I sure won't budge when the earth does shake.
When the flood comes up I will dance in the rain
'Cause it's all the same to me.
-All The Same To Me by Anya Marina
Crazy Kat Wood. That’s what they called me at my old school. My mother decided the taunts and the whispers were too much, so here I am.
Day one at Hogwarts.
Why did they call me crazy you may ask? Well, I’ll tell you. I’m a manic depressive nut case. That’s why.
That’s right. Bipolar.
I have a tendency not to take my meds, not to visit my therapist, and to go completely off the deep end from time to time.
You know. Crazy.
Now you may be wondering why homeschooling isn’t an option. Or a nice cozy psych ward? Well, my mother can’t handle me and doesn’t want to try anymore so there goes homeschooling. She’s also extremely concerned with what the neighbors think, and who wants to have a crazy daughter in a mental institution?
My dad? He grew some brains a while ago and divorced my mother when I was around three. But he’s a Quidditch star and the courts decided that since he travels so much, my mother should have custody.
So here I am.
I swept my long black hair behind my shoulder, looking around the platform wearily. There were many different families wandering around with kids of all different ages. I looked to my right at my own mother, who was done up as if she were going to the ballet once she dropped me off. Which, in all honesty, she was.
“Mum, I’ll be fine from here. You can go ahead and get to your show.” My mother looked only mildly concerned.
“Are you sure dear?”
“Yes mum. I’m okay.”
“You have all your meds?” She whispered as she looked around to make sure no one heard her.
“Okay then. Bye dearest.” She said as she kissed me lightly on the cheek and bustled off.
I stood alone. I merely stood there for what seemed like an hour before I heard my name.
“Katerina?” I looked up abruptly.
“Mr. Potter?” I asked, a little bewildered that the most famous wizard in our world remembered me. Not only remembered me, but was walking toward me with a smile on his face.
“Katerina! How long has it been?” He asked as he approached me. I blanched slightly.
“Three years, I think.” He smiled warmly.
“Your father didn’t mention to me that you would be coming to Hogwarts for your 7th year.”
“Oh. Yeah. It was kind of a last minute thing.”
“Do you know anyone here?” He asked, looking concerned. I shook my head. “Albus!” He yelled to a boy behind him.
“No, no! Mr. Potter I don’t need to know anyone!” I cried, more than a little panic stricken. He just waved a hand dismissively at me and beckoned his son over to us.
Albus was the definition of tall dark and handsome. He had startlingly green eyes and jet black hair, like his father. But he also had softer features, freckles, and his mother’s nose. He smiled as he approached.
“Albus, this is Katerina Wood.”
“Oh. Nice to meet you Katerina.”
“Call me Kat.” Was all I could manage to say.
“Okay then. Nice to meet you Kat.” He smiled and I smiled. And though I felt like I was blushing, I knew there was no color in my face. No warmth.
“You must sit with Albus and his friends on the train.” Mr. Potter insisted. Albus looked more than a little uncomfortable. As did I.
“No, no. I’ll find another compartment, I don’t want to bother Albus here. I’m sure he has plans.”
“No, it’s fine. Sit with us. Here, let me take your bag for you.” Albus grabbed my bag from me, and I reluctantly let him take it.
“Thanks.” I muttered.
“Well.” Said Mr. Potter, clapping his hands together. “You two best be off. The train’s about to leave.”
“Right. Well, nice to see you again Mr. Potter.”
“Bye dad.” Albus said, waving.
And we boarded the train.
“Look, you really don’t have to sit with me.” I said, trying to take my bag back from Albus once the train had started to move and his father was out of sight.
“Don’t be ridiculous.” Albus said, pulling the bag away from me. “We’re right down here.” I followed him, more than a little aware of the stares I was receiving in the corridor.
“My cousin goes to her old school, says she’s off her rocker.”
I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. It was starting again. Albus didn’t seem to notice the whispers, and I didn’t feel like mentioning them.
We arrived at a compartment, and Albus came to a stop.
“Here we are.”
“Right.” I muttered as we entered.
I saw red.
Red hair on almost every person in the compartment.
“Guys!” Albus called as he closed the door behind us. “This is Kat Wood, she’s new here so she’s going to be sitting with us.”
A boy, about a year younger than me gave a wolf whistle.
“You sure know how to pick the pretty ones up don’t cha Al?” He said, grinning cheekily at me. I just stared at him blankly.
“Cut it out Hugo.” Hugo just smirked and winked at me.
“Come on baby brother, leave her be.” A girl, who must have been Rose Weasley scolded. Hugo just shrugged and went back to his game of exploding snap.
Albus went through the list of names of the people in the compartment. There was Rose, Hugo, Roxanne, Lily, Molly, Lucy and Luis (all Weasleys or Potters). Then there was Quinn Fahey, Aiden Tate, and Shea Crawford. Needless to say the compartment was more than a little crowded. But many of the younger cousins left the compartment, leaving only Albus, Rose and friends.
I sat in silence for most if the train ride, only speaking when spoken to, and mainly staring out the window at the scenery passing by.
“What are you thinking about?” I turned to find that Albus had moved to the seat next to me and was now studying me intently.
“Oh, nothing really.”
“That can’t be true, you look like you’re deep in thought.” But I wasn’t lying. Sometimes I would just space out. Not thinking, not feeling, just existing.
“What time is it?” I asked abruptly. Albus looked a little thrown by this change in the conversation.
“Er, a little past noon, why?” I swore under my breath. I was supposed to take my pills at 11:30.
“No reason.” I said smiling weakly. No wonder I had slowly been slipping out of my normal feelings of emptiness. Well, fuck it. What’s the worst that could happen?
“Well, we should be there soon. Do you know what house you’ll be in? Or are you going to have to go through the sorting ceremony with the first years or something?”
“No, I’m in Gryffindor. They had me sorted when I went to visit McGonagall this summer.”
“Oh, cool, so you’ll be with all of us!” Exclaimed Rose from beside Albus.
“Rosie, do you always have to snoop on other people’s conversations?”
“I won’t apologize for my curiosity.”
“It’s not curiosity it’s just plan nosiness.” Aiden said, his nose still pressed in his book. Rose rolled her eyes.
“Yeah Rosie, you can’t keep your nose out of anything.”
“Shut up Shea, no one asked your opinion on the subject.”
“Oh be nice Rose.” Quinn said giving her best friend a disapproving look.
“Whatever. Regardless, you’ll be in our house. Best one there is.”
“Yeah, I can’t wait.” I said as the others resumed their conversations from before. I turned back to the window and watched the trees sweep by, vaguely aware of Albus watching me out of the corner of his eye.
I stood on a railing at the top of the astronomy tower. The cool September air biting at my arms and my legs. But I didn’t care. It made me feel something. And after several long summer months of feeling numb, it’s what I needed.
Medicated. That’s one way of describing my summer. My mother had watched me take my pills every morning, without fail, making sure I was “on track”. Like my illness was something you could just switch off.
The pills made me more enjoyable to be around. More stable, more composed, and more numb. I felt nothing all summer except a slight twinge of sadness when my aunt died. But even that was quelled by another dose of medicine.
I took a deep breath, letting the cold air sting my lungs. I smiled. It felt good in a way. As I looked down to the great lake and the long, seemingly endless drop below me I had a fleeting urge to leap. I shook it off and concentrated on how alive I felt, standing there at the edge of the earth. Feeling alive was good. It kept me grounded. I had been standing there for a while when I heard someone walking up the stairs behind me.
I froze. I was going to be caught by a teacher on my first week at school, standing on the astronomy tower. And with my unstable history? They would surely think I had other intentions than just enjoying the night air.
But it wasn’t a teacher who emerged from the staircase. It was Albus Potter.
“Merlin, you scared me!” I hissed as he approached me. He grinned.
“Sorry Kat. I saw you on my map and I thought I’d come see what you were up to.”
“Nothing. Never mind. What are you doing up here? Why are you standing on the railing, and why are you dressed as if it was mid summer?” I glanced down at my shorts and tank top.
“I don’t get cold easily.” I muttered. He reached out and touched my arm.
“Kat you’re an ice cube.” I shrugged him off me, feeling defensive.
“What’s it to you? And what’s with the 20 questions?” Albus held his hands up.
“I’m just making sure you don’t catch pneumonia.”
“I’m fine.” I snapped. “It’s none of your concern.” He looked a little hurt. I don’t know why I was being so aggressive. Well, actually I did. I hadn’t taken my medication today or the day before, and I could feel the mess of emotions inside me begin to swell to the surface.
“I, I’m sorry.” I muttered, averting my eyes as tears started to sting them.
“What’s up with you tonight? You seem a little off.” I laughed coldly. He had no idea.
“Maybe I am a little cold.” I said, sucking in my emotions to keep them in check. “Let’s head back inside.” I smiled with as much sincerity as I could muster and he nodded and took my hand, helping me down from the railing.
We made our way inside and down the stair case and Al lead me through passages that were hidden behind tapestries and portraits. Suddenly, he bought me to a stop. I had no idea where we were or what floor we were even on anymore.
“Albus, what are we doing. This isn’t the way to Gryffindor tower.”
“Here two days and you’re already an expert on how to get around?”
‘I didn’t say I was.” I blushed. He just smiled.
“I’m only giving you a hard time.”
“Oh.” I said dumbly.
“This,” He said, gesturing to the wall. “is the Room of Requirement.” I stared at the wall, then looked to him skeptically.
“Albus, it’s a wall.”
“Ah, it’s so much more than that.” Then he started pacing. I was beginning to think he was even crazier than I was when a door appeared. It was a simple door, plan and wooden, but it had appeared out of nowhere.
“What the bloody hell?” I asked. Al just smirked.
“Come on.” He said, taking my hand and pulling me into the room. And oh, what a room it was. Large but welcoming, reminiscent of the Gryffindor common room. There was as large, plush couch in the corner, next to a roaring fireplace and two large beds on the back wall. Pictures of famous quidditch players lined the walls and there was a large bookcase filled with old volumes.
“Why did you bring me here?” I asked, awe struck.
“I thought you might like it.” Albus shrugged, pulling me over to the couch.
“I love it. But that still doesn’t tell me why we’re here and not in the common room.”
“I feel like I haven’t seen you much all week. And whenever I do see you, you’re alone.”
“Well that’s because no one wants to hang out with a crazy person.” I sighed, sitting down.
“No one here thinks you’re crazy Kat.” He said, seating himself on the couch beside me.
“You mean besides everyone?” He gave a slight laugh.
“Yeah, besides them.” I smiled weakly. Suddenly feeling tired.
“Look Al, this was really great of you to bring me here. But I think I need to get to bed. Can you take me back now?”
“I said no.”
“Why the hell not?”
“Because we’re going to spend the night and the next day here. Maybe even the whole weekend. Quinn, Rosie, Aiden and Shea are going to meet us here tomorrow at noon with lunch and we’re all just going to spend the weekend getting to know you a little better. Just the six of us.” I was a little dumb struck. These people wanted to get to know me? Crazy Kat? Loner girl with the psychotic tendencies?
“That sounds amazing. But just to clarify, you’re not going to pull a Carrie and dumb pigs blood on me, right?” ALbus looked t me blankly.
“What are you on about?” I just laughed.
“Nothing, just rambling. Ignore me.”
And so we sat there for a while longer, chatting about this and that until we fell asleep, my head falling on his shoulder and his arm draping around my back.
The fire was comfortable. And I began to feel it’s warmth thawing me.
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