A/N: Thank you so much for reading and for your reviews - you are awesome. I'll try and update at least every other day, but since I'm writing this story as I post - updates will be a bit slower than Bottle-Specs. Thanks again and enjoy :)
Chapter Two: How can you two stand it?
The best thing about the girls in our dormitory was that we were all early risers. Maybe we'd developed the habit because we'd grown up together – but even so, Lily, Dorcas and I were always up before six with plenty of time for us all to shower and get dressed without the hassle. I knew that the Fifth Year girls went through a nightmare every day because Emmeline had used our bathroom three times in the past month already, so I was thankful for our drama-free zone. I'd got the shower first that morning, so as the other two got dressed, I flipped on the wireless to see if there was any new music out today. My favourite DJ – Gordon Greaves had the early slot because, even though I loved his choices, he didn't play the popular stuff. I was humming along to the tune as I brushed my hair in to a ponytail when Dorcas emerged from the bathroom and frowned at me.
"Isn't this a bit depressing for the morning?"
"You call this depressing? Have you heard Celestina's new 'hit'?" I said, rolling my eyes. "What's it called? 'I See you Stunning' – ugh."
"At least it's catchy!" she replied, fiddling in her bag. She was as bad as Remus – except not as organized. She was going to get a hunchback if she carried all of those books around with her every day.
"And for all you Ghoul-heads – here's a nice early morning surprise. The new release off their latest record: You Avada-ed my Heart by The Ghouls…"
I paused and held a hand up for Dorcas to stop her humming of Warbeck's latest garbage and the familiar chords of my favourite band started up. I shrieked, grabbed my bag and ran from the dormitory without looking back knowing, but not caring, that Dorcas probably thought I was insane. The Ghouls had a new tune out and Remus had to hear it! I raced at top speed down the stairs, knocking over a Third Year girl in the process and bumping into two Seventh Year boys who yelled something about a fire to me. When I got to the Sixth Year Boys' dormitory, I flung the door open and covered my eyes impatiently.
"Are you decent?"
"Kate?" Sirius sounded sleepy, so he was probably just getting up. I peeked through my fingers and saw that Peter was hurriedly buttoning up his shirt, while Sirius sat tiredly up in bed, looking at me through squinted eyes. Remus was already dressed and ready but was very bizarrely sorting through his bag again – honestly what kind of mad organizational system did he have? How many categories were involved? Never mind that – THE GHOULS!
"Kate, what are you doing here?" Sirius said, groaning as he dragged himself to the edge of his bed and caught my arm as I passed.
"Not here for you, I'm afraid!" I said, pecking him quickly on the cheek before I thundered over to Remus' bed. Peter glared at me and I shot him a grin.
"You've missed your top button, Pete!"
He sighed laboriously before turning away from me and back to the mirror.
"What's going on Madhouse?" Remus said, amusedly. He'd finally finished packing his bag – thank Merlin!
"Turn on the Wireless! The new Ghouls song is out!"
"What?" he asked, his eyes widening before he dove at the Wireless on his bedside table and flicked it on.
"Do the turn back time thing!"
"The re-windy knob!"
"Oh!" Remus said, turning the knob. We both sighed as we heard Gordon Greaves announce the new song once again and Remus collapsed back on to his bed spread-eagled, closing his eyes to listen.
Meanwhile, James was exiting the bathroom with his towel wrapped dangerously low around his hips. Hmmm. Lily didn't know what she was missing. He squinted at me and rubbed his foggy glasses before he yelped and covered his bare chest.
"Kate! Wha- Why–"
"Careful James, your towel's slipping," I teased and he squeaked again in outrage before he disappeared back in to the bathroom and slammed the door. I laughed and started to shake my head to the music, jumping up and down and enjoying the intro. Through squinted eyes, Sirius looked at me dancing wildly and then at Remus who was being very bloke-like and just nodding his head and listening to the lyrics intently. Finally my boyfriend just shook his head as I started to twirl, and went to knock on the bathroom door.
Four amazing minutes later, I was out of breath and on my back next to Remus. He'd sat up almost instantly but grinned when I smiled cheerfully up at him.
"It's amazing. Their best yet," I sighed.
"Did you hear that lyric – 'I won't know pain until I see the flash of green'…?"
"I know," I said, squeezing my eyes shut and squealing in delight. "We have to see them when they're in Hogsmeade in April."
"I checked already – sold out," he shrugged. "Some fans, we are!"
"I'll find us a way in," I said, sitting up and smiling as James exited the bathroom, fully dressed with an annoyed look on his face. He didn't say a word to us, just beckoned to Peter and the two of them headed down to breakfast. Sirius emerged another five minutes later, running a hand through his wet hair and shaking his head like a dog. He laughed when he saw the contented expressions on our faces.
"I really can't believe you two like that rubbish. He sounds like he's dying," he said, picking up his bag and stuffing some crumpled parchment in to it. That was Sirius' organization system.
Remus and I exchanged a knowing look. Sirius would never understand how brilliant The Ghouls were – he was too stubborn to give them a chance.
"He's in pain," Remus explained.
"Yeah, yeah," Sirius said, throwing an arm over my shoulders as the three of us headed down to the Great Hall together. "Someone should put him out of his misery."
"So, what's the big plan for Hogsmeade then?" I asked Lily and Dorcas during Care of Magical Creatures later that day. We were trying to decipher the cries of an Augurey, but they were really maddening animals and no matter how many times Kettleburn pointed out the difference between a squawk that predicted snow, and a wail that forecasted wind, we still hadn't managed to understand what the weather would be next week. For this reason, most of the students were lying on their backs enjoying the last of the sunshine in case the Augureys really were squawking and snow was on the cards. Since Remus and Peter didn't take this class, James and Sirius were partnered with Bertram Aubrey – a Ravenclaw who they really didn't like. He wasn't particularly bad, but he was a massive corrector. Just last week, he'd very smugly corrected one of Lily's answers and James had gotten annoyed at him. Of course, as usual they'd overreacted and had blown Aubrey's head up to twice its normal size and he hadn't quite forgiven them. He was wearing a heavy leather hat – supposedly to hold his skull in shape, and I'd seen Sirius eyeing it all afternoon.
"Aren't you going to Hogsmeade with Black?" Lily asked as she studied the Augurey's doleful expression. "Do you reckon this one's ill?"
It hooted a bit like an owl and Dorcas flipped a page in her book.
"That might mean a thunderstorm."
"Or a heat wave," I said, pointing at another description. "Honestly, what is the point?"
We all frowned at the bird and settled back on to the warm ground. Kettleburn was on the other side of the field, so we could enjoy the sun for a few minutes before we got back to work.
"I don't think Sirius and I will be going together actually – I thought the three of us could spend it together," I said, pulling at some blades of grass.
"Or we could all go together?" Dorcas suggested as she rolled on to her stomach. "Then we wouldn't have to listen to you pine about missing him all day."
"Well Lily, would you agree to that?" I asked, swatting her on the arm.
"Hmm…Potter said he's going to Hogsmeade with Mary MacDonald," she shrugged. "I can live with the other three."
"She's jealous," I said to Dorcas knowingly.
Lily sighed, her eyes still closed. "Oh yes, I'm absolutely fuming."
Suddenly, a very heavy something landed right next to me and a strap-like thing whipped across my wrist.
"Hey!" I said, sitting up and picking up the object. Oh, Aubrey's hat/helmet thing.
"Give that back!" Bertram shouted, clutching at his head.
"Why've you given this to me, Sirius?" I asked, rolling it over in my hands.
"Don't be a prat, Kate. Give it back to the poor sod," Lily said, sitting up.
"I was just testing out a theory," Sirius said, pointing at Bertram's expanding head. His voice was muffled now and he was muttering indecipherably at James and Sirius.
"I think he's trying to say something Prongs," Sirius said, cupping a hand to his ear and listening. "He sounds a bit like these things. Do you reckon he's trying to tell us the weather forecast?"
"Augurey, Aubrey – same difference, I suppose," James shrugged. "Chuck his hat back Kate – he's going a bit red."
"Aw, you're no fun," Sirius frowned.
"Wow, did Potter really say that?" Lily murmured to us and I bit back a grin.
"Here James, catch!" I said, tossing it high and giving him a chance to show off his Chaser skills. I knew he would have liked to take advantage of Lily's attention. Sadly however, he wasn't quite ready for it, because he was smiling at her, and the heavy leather hat hit him smack on the face and knocked him down.
As Sirius and I howled with laughter, Lily hurried over, pulled the hat back on to Aubrey's massive head and knelt beside James.
"Are you okay, Potter?"
"WHAT is going on here?" Kettleburn was hobbling over on his only good leg, glaring at us all furiously.
"Well, maybe it won't be a detention in the forest?" I said hopefully to Lily as she fumed beside me on our way up to the Common Room. James had also stalked off in a fury and after chuckling with me for a few minutes, Sirius had followed, leaving me to deal with Lily's wrath and Dorcas' disappointed looks. I wasn't sure why she was giving me a hard time – she was the only one who'd escaped detention because apparently the Augurey had been predicting a thunderstorm.
"Did I hear that right?"
We stopped in our tracks and I pulled a face, sighing before I turned around. There, with her hands on her hips looking even more disappointed than Dorcas, was my Head Girl sister.
"Oh, hi Mafalda," I said, plastering on my most innocent grin.
"Katherine Ann Hopkirk – you got detention again?"
My sister was shorter than me by about two inches but her hair was the flyaway kind that gave her a crazed and rather formidable look. She also took herself far too seriously and regularly seemed to forget that I was only eighteen months younger than her – not six or seven years. I suppose there was also the fact that she was Head Girl and I had…well, probably not even been considered for Prefect. It was really a shame that we were sisters, because her friends and all of our Professors seemed to think she was wonderful – maybe she saved all of the niceness for them and all of the scolding for me.
"Just a miniscule one. It was a bit of a misunderstanding," I said, wincing. My poor friends were going to have to endure this awkwardness. Actually poor me! At least if they really wanted to, they could make a run for it. I'd never survive Mafalda's Bat Bogey Hex if I tried that.
She clicked her tongue and her eyes disappeared behind her lids for a moment. She looked a bit creepy, but I held my tongue.
"Doesn't it get tiring?" she sighed. "Acting like a child and annoying everyone all of the time? Can't you just be sensible?"
"Well you're annoying me right now – are you tired?"
She sighed once more, and her pupils were hidden again for a moment, before she opened her eyes and gave me one of her 'looks'. Sometimes she looked like she was about to scream like a banshee, but other times – like right now - she just looked exhausted with me. It made me feel the tiniest bit guilty.
"It wasn't even my fault, Maffie!" I said. "Sirius was chucking something around and–"
"Oh Sirius was involved! No surprise there!" she said. "Why do you always only think of yourself, Kate? Don't you realize how this looks for me?"
"For you? You didn't do anything."
I heard Lily give a funny cough and my mouth twitched.
"I'm Head Girl," she reminded me for the thousandth time. "The things you do reflect on me!"
"Ah, stop it – no one even remembers we're sisters half of the time," I shrugged.
"Thank goodness for that!" she said, narrowing her eyes at me. "And you Lily!"
I felt Lily stiffen beside me.
"You're a Prefect!" My holier-than-thou sister continued.
"Yeah, I know," Lily hung her head and Mafalda turned to Dorcas who immediately raised her hands in front of her.
"I didn't do anything."
My sister gave another 'hmph' and shook her head. "I'm going to have to write to Mum and Dad now, you know?"
I groaned and stared at the ceiling. "You don't have to!"
"Just go to your Common Room, Kate," she said, shaking her head and hurrying away – probably to stomp on some puppies or take sweets from the First-Years.
"No offence, Kate," Lily said as we started to walk. "But your sister is a nightmare."
Dorcas shuddered. "She's terrifying."
"Oh trust me, I know. She's the worst," I sighed. Now I'd have a Howler by morning for sure. Even Kettleburn wasn't writing to my parents – why did she have to?
"Well, she's not as bad as Petunia, I guess," Lily shrugged. "At least she doesn't call you a freak."
"Ah, yes – it's the little victories," I said, twisting my hair around my finger in annoyance. Now my day was completely ruined. I wondered if Sirius could help me intercept her owl somehow – he was good at nonsense things like that.
"We're going to stop at the Library to return our books for Defence – do you have any?" Dorcas asked, shaking me from my grand scheme.
"Oh – no, I'm going to the Common Room. See you in a bit?"
They nodded goodbye and I hurried along the corridor alone, trying to figure out which owl Mafalda would be using. She had her own – a gift for being Head Girl – but I also knew she was sending off job applications to the Ministry every week, so there was a chance she'd be using a school owl. I'd have to see if Sirius could figure it out – he had uncanny guessing abilities.
When I reached the Portrait Hole, I was hidden behind a group of boisterous Fourth Years, so at first the boys didn't notice my presence in the Common Room. James was complaining about someone.
"And she's so loud! How can someone be that loud in the morning? And why is she always in there – she's there when I wake up, when I go to bed, when I'm not there! It is so annoying!"
"James – come on…I know the last couple of days were a bit full on, but you're overreacting," Remus protested.
"Am I? Everywhere I bloody turn, she's there. And her voice…agh, how can you two stand it? It's like a mile a minute every minute. And the two of you! The calmest ones – I don't know how – Ugh, I hate her," James groaned, pacing and gesturing wildly at Sirius and Remus.
"James, sit down – you might have a concussion," Peter said, pulling out a chair and gesturing to it. James ignored it and continued to pace behind the sofa Sirius was sprawled across. He didn't seem to be paying attention at all - just flipping through a muggle magazine about some odd two-wheeled cars he was mad for. Finally, he gave a heavy sigh interrupting James' continued muttering.
"Oh give it a rest, Prongs. You're just moody 'cause you hit your head."
"No, she hit my head!" James exclaimed.
Oh my Godric. He was complaining about me! Just how many people in this place thought I was annoying? I felt a strange sting of tears in my eyeballs. I was already in a mood – did I really have to walk in on this conversation? I didn't really mind that he was talking behind my back – let's face it – we all do it…but I didn't want to hear that I was annoying! I thought I was charming – maybe a bit dramatic and loud, but I had always gotten along so well with all of the boys – I never expected one of them to hate me!
"James – stop it. You like Kate! You've just had a bad day and you're being a baby. Sit down and relax," Remus said in his no nonsense voice. He looked exhausted, running his hands over his pale face. Sirius nodded, barely looking up from his magazine. My wonderful boyfriend, everyone!
I cleared my throat and the four boys froze. Peter was the first to see me and his eyes widened in shock. James looked worse, his hair sticking up at odd angles and his mouth hanging open as he stared at me, fighting for words. Sirius collapsed back against the armrest with a thump and Remus looked worriedly at me. When I didn't react, Remus and Sirius exchanged a look and James swept his hand through his hair, still apparently grasping for words.
"Oh sorry, I was just looking for some friends of mine. Don't let me interrupt you – I wouldn't want to annoy anyone," I snapped, whirling around and running head first in to a First Year boy. Well, it was more like his head hit my chest. He looked up at me, red in the face but I had no time to be concerned for his wellbeing, or to giggle at his blush – I had to get the hell away from these idiots.
"Oh-um, I'm–" the First Year stuttered, sidestepping at the same time as me, and getting in my way again.
"So, which one of us d'you reckon she'll listen to?" I heard Sirius say tiredly before I physically picked the child up and moved him out of my path. I ignored the Fat Lady's moan of annoyance at having to open again and took three large steps forward before I felt someone's hand on my shoulder.
"Kate, hang on."
"Remus, go away. I'm in a mood and I'm probably ten times more annoying when I'm in a mood."
He chuckled and fell in to step with me easily. "So, where are we going?"
"We aren't going anywhere. I am going to throw myself off the Astronomy Tower."
"Oh good. I was worried you were going to do something really irrational," he said lightly and I exhaled in irritation. Why did Remus have to follow me out there – his presence was too calming and I wanted to stay annoyed. Why couldn't he just go and sort out his bag or something?
"ARGHH!" I shrieked and he flinched away from me. I took a deep breath and stopped my tantrum. "It's okay – I'm fine now.
Remus nodded, and studied the frayed ends of his sleeve.
"It's just – I ran in to my sister and she told me I was annoying too," I groaned. "And she's writing to my parents about my detention."
He smiled sympathetically. "That sucks."
"Yes! So, James picked the wrong day to have a go at me behind my back!"
"He's just moody – Emmeline quit the Quidditch team. He's going to have to replace her. And you hit his head with Aubrey's helmet," Remus shrugged.
"Not my fault – and only half my fault!" I replied, undoing my hair from its tight ponytail and shaking it out. Remus just stared in what looked like exasperation as I shook it around and ruffled it up, trying to get rid of the pain that the strain of the ponytail brought. Once I straightened up, he raised an eyebrow at me.
"There was also the naked thing this morning."
"What naked thing?" I asked, screwing up my eyebrows. Had they seen me naked this morning?
"This morning when he got out of the shower and you teased him," Remus said, a smile playing at the corners of his lips. "I think he's worried you'll describe it to Lily or something."
I started to laugh. "That? Aw, poor James. You can tell him that I would have only had nice things to say. Honestly, I think Lily would be impressed if I described it to her."
Remus groaned and covered his face and I grinned. It was so funny to catch him off guard like that – he was too easy to embarrass.
"No but really," I said. "Tell him – because I'm never speaking to him again."
"You know Kate, I'm sure I've said this to you before…but you are very dramatic."
"Yeah," I sighed. "I've heard that once or twice."
We smiled at each other and I punched his shoulder.
"Okay sod off and tell Sirius you've tamed the shrew. I'm going to the Library to find the girls."
"Were you looking for us before?" Remus asked as I started to take off down the corridor.
"Well, sort of. I wanted Sirius to help me come up with a plan to intercept my sister's owl."
Remus shook his head. "Think better of it?"
"Yeah…I guess a Howler isn't the end of the world," I shrugged. "See ya later, Switzerland."
I could practically hear him rolling his eyes as I headed off to the Library.
A/N: I imagine The Ghouls to be the Wizarding inspiration for The Smiths :) Thanks for reading!