Disclaimer- I don't own Potterverse, and at times I will borrow from other sources (Buffy, lines from other movies, etc). If you happen to catch those burrowed quotes or sources, then good on you.
*original author's note-
As Jane Austen once said about her character Emma Woodhouse, "I am going to take a heroine whom no-one but myself will much like." That's basically this story. If you have any kind of feedback, whether its positive, negative, concrit, then please review. Even it's just to say, "HEY YOU! YEAH, YOU!... hi." I'll take it, dammit.
Once upon a time (or three weeks ago) Kate Nolan had received her prefects badge through the mail. Then she lost it. What's more, she lost the badge on the morning she was supposed to be returning to Hogwarts.
"Kate!" her mother's voice screeched. "Come on! We're late as it is!"
The sixteen year old witch shuffled into her bedroom and unzipped her school trunk, rifling through her belongings despite the hours of meticulous packing she had done over the weekend. She wasn't particularly pleased with herself for misplacing something as important as her prefect badge. If she didn't find it soon, her mother would likely find out and worsen the situation. After scourging through the trunk she began fumbling through her desk drawers. She heard the sound of a car pulling into the driveway, which meant the cab had arrived.
A white cat sat unhelpfully, staring at Kate with large green eyes. While plunging her arm under the bed, Kate saw the feline lazily staring at her, and she swatted at the cat to get away. Lady stood up to hiss and as she rose, Kate spotted the gleaming badge that had been hidden beneath the cat.
Gasping, Kate sent a glare over toward Lady. "You devil!"
Lady purred in respond. Kate pinned the badge to her jumper and zipped the trunk up once more. She headed downstairs with her supplies in tow and Lady scooped up in her arm.
"Dress warmly, dear, it's chilly," Mrs Nolan said as Kate reached the landing of the stairs. Nolan grabbed a scarf off the coat rack and wrapped it around Kate's pale neck.
Her mother wasn't lying - when Kate stepped outside, a cold gust of wind hit her immediately. Kate wrapped the scarf closer around her, trying to ignore the shiver that ran down her spine.
"Shouldn't we put Lady in her cage?" asked her father as he loaded Kate's trunk into the car.
"No," said Kate firmly, holding the cat closer to her chest. "She'll behave without it."
"I don't think Kings Cross Station allows animals loose, though..."
Kate climbed into the back of the yellow cab while still holding Lady. Unsurprisingly, the car ride to Kings Cross station was uneventful. While Mr Nolan kept bugging the Muggle cab driver over whether he was headed in the right direction, Mrs Nolan was checking to make sure that Kate had packed everything for the new school year.
"Oh, your prefect badge!" yelped Mrs Nolan, startling the cab driver. "You do have that, don't you?"
Kate pointed at her chest to assure her mother.
"I hope you do a better job this year," said her mother. "I cannot believe I got that letter from your professor, complaining about your incompetence."
Kate froze. "Wait, what?"
"Oh, I was too busy to tell you," said Mrs Nolan. "Yesterday morning I received a letter from a professor of yours. He claimed that you were very inept at being a prefect and urged you to give up your post. I don't want any letters like that this year, do you hear me Kate Edith Nolan?"
Kate gaped at her mother. "You've never mentioned this! Which professor sent the letter?"
Her mind immediately strayed to Professor Sinistra, who had accused Kate of brown-nosing last year.
"It was Professor Potter, I think," she said absentmindedly.
"Professor Potter?!" Kate repeated disbelievingly.
"Come to think of it, his assistant signed the letter as well. Mr Black, I belief. Funny to think a Black working at such a low-ranking position as teacher's assistant, but that's what it said in the letter."
Kate growled in annoyance. She shouldn't have been so surprised, Black and Potter pulled these sort of stunts all the time. She supposed they were trying to get her in trouble, as she had done to them so many times.
"Anyway, your prefect friend wrote another after," continued Mrs Nolan. "Remus is his name. Contrary to what those professors had said, he claimed you were doing an excellent job and that I should be proud. I didn't know who to believe - Remus is such a nice boy."
Kate made a mental note to thank Remus Lupin later.
"You know who else is a nice boy," said Mrs Nolan, "is that Jude Carmichael. His mother Annette told me that he made Head Boy this year."
"You remember Annette, don't you Jonathan?" she turned toward her husband, as if she had just remembered his existence. "Although she was a Hufflepuff, not Ravenclaw."
Mr Nolan simply nodded and readjusted the Muggle map, trying his best to decipher it. Kate inwardly sighed, tired at how often her mother tried to skew terms into whether or not somebody had been in Ravenclaw house.
Once the Nolan family made it to Kings Cross, Kate said goodbye to her parents even before transitioning between platforms nine and ten. She was not in the mood to deal with her embarrassing parents in front her peers. After her parents left, Kate found a compartment on the scarlet train to put her luggage in.
Setting Lady's cage aside, Kate grabbed the heavy trunk and attempted to lift it up off the ground. However, her legs buckled under the weight and she ended up dropping the trunk altogether.
Under her breath, she angrily murmured, "Six years of heaving this ruddy thing, and I still can't get it over - "
"Need some assistance?" came a male's smooth voice.
Startling, Kate spun around and found a blonde boy leaning against the train, grinning amusedly at her. He was at least a foot taller than Kate and somewhat handsome in a homely sort of way. The boy wordlessly grabbed her trunk and tossed it into an empty space on the train with great ease.
Kate was speechless for a minute, until she finally found her senses again and said, "Thanks."
He smiled, causing her stomach to flutter for a moment. "No problem." He held out his hand for Kate to shake. "I don't know if you remember me - "
"Of course I do, Jude Carmichael," Kate assured while taking his hand. "I'm Katie Nolan."
"Of course I knew that," grinned Jude.
She gazed at the seventeen year old, taken aback that a boy would even bother paying this much attention to her. Then again, it was bound to happen this year. Kate considered herself the late bloomer amongst her friends. Of her friends, Merle Lucas was the first to date in third year. She was followed by Lily Evans, who gained countless admirers beginning her fourth year.
Kate had been the only one with no offers (unless Peter Pettigrew stuttering at her counted as an offer). She didn't know whether this was attributed to her somewhat uptight personality or her not-quite-as-developed physical traits, which had only arrived over her summer holiday.
Jude smiled down at her once again. He seemed to be doing that a lot.
"I guess I'll be seeing you at the prefect's meeting, then?"
"Huh? Oh, yes. Right. I'll see you then. Congratulations, by the way." She pointed at the Head Boy badge pinned to his shirt.
The pair lingered a tad longer than necessary, before Jude finally departed the same time that Kate heard her name being called. A rasping knock sounded at her left, and she saw the reflection of her friend Lily Evans. Kate grinned and headed for that same compartment.
Once she entered, Lily shouted "Kate!" simultaneously while Marlene smirked and said, "Katherine."
After giving Lily a customary hug, Kate sent Merle a warning look.
"How many times, Merle? My name is not Katherine, it has never been Katherine."
Merle, as though about to disprove Kate once and for all, asked knowingly, "Does it say Katherine on your birth certificate?"
"No," Kate stated flatly.
"Now that that's over," said Lily wryly. "How did your summer go?"
Kate didn't miss a beat. "Horrid, and yours?"
"The worst," supplied Lily in return.
"Why is it that we always seem to have bad summers?" asked Kate.
"Hey, what's summer without a little family dysfunctionalism," offered Merle rather optimistically. "Come on, am I right?"
"My family is not dysfunctional," assured Lily. "Only my sister's brain is, as long as she continues dating that lump of a whale named Vernon Dursley."
Merle smiled and said, "I thought his name was Vermin?" She was of course referring to the affectionate nickname that Lily dubbed him over their summer letters.
"Oh yes, I'd forgotten that one," said Lily, nodding. Then she turned toward Kate to continue the discussion. "I assume your mother is as overbearing as ever?"
"Not quite as overbearing as last summer," admitted Kate. "She was unable to fulfill her quota of reminding me that I wasn't in Ravenclaw. Only six times." She shook her head in feigned disappointment.
"Ugh, is she still on about that?" groaned Merle. "Well, hey, you might as well be Ravenclaw, seeing as your annoyingly right like the rest of them."
"Thanks, Merle. That is a great comfort to me."
"Speaking of annoyingly right," butted in Lily, who was glancing at her wristwatch. "Kate, don't you have a prefect's meeting to be attending to?"
"Annoyingly right you are, Lil," said Kate, who stood up from her seat. "I'll see you lot in an hour. If I don't come back, I'm sure none of you will come looking for me."
On her way out, Kate passed a snogging couple in their early teens. She quickly walked by them, unsure whether she had the authority as a prefect to separate them. She would have to review the manual.
To her great annoyance, when Kate arrived at the prefect carriage she found that the entrance was flanked with three familiar boys from her year. Unable to stop herself, Kate blurted out, "Aren't there supposed to be four of your idiots?"
The idle chat stopped and three heads turned her way. The tallest of the bunch (though she doubted he would stay the tallest for long, as they seemed to be in a physical race of fastest growths berg) readjusted his glasses and smirked at the sight of Kate.
"Well if it isn't our favorite prefect!" Potter loudly announced to the corridor. "How's life treating you, Nolan?"
"Wonderfully, now that you've entered it."
James's partner in crime, Sirius Black, crossed his arms in amusement and pointed at Kate, asking James, "Do I detect a hint of sarcasm?"
"Only from the Queen of Acidity herself," said James, reminding Kate of the nicknames they had come up for her last year. It was a known fact that Kate was one of the big adversaries that James and Sirius faced, since she was one of the rare few who stood up to them.
Shrugging off the insult, Kate rolled her eyes at Peter Pettigrew, who stood in a corner snickering at his friends' jokes.
"I don't suppose you lot are going to be waiting for Remus to finish with his meeting?"
"We are, actually," said Peter.
"Then there had better not be any interruptions during the meeting," warned Kate. "If I hear any animalistic noises coming from this corner - "
Sirius let out a fake gasp of shock, and then said in a mocking voice, "Do year hear that, Prongs? She's going to scold us!"
Kate rolled her eyes.
"Oh, you think you're being cute - "
"I am cute," said Sirius, brimming with self-confidence. "At least, according to the female consensus, I am."
Kate's fists curled up in annoyance. James, getting the vibe that another spat was coming on, interjected. "Erm, I'm going to leave before this turns violent. Wormtail?"
Peter nodded and the two set off down the corridor, going unnoticed by Sirius and Kate. This was routine by now, Kate vs Marauders arguments tended to turn into Kate vs Sirius. To Kate that was a noticeable different between James and Sirius - James was tolerable, Sirius was uncompromisingly bullheaded.
Kate crossed her arms at Sirius. "I'm not up for your games this years, Black. Don't be surprised if you find yourself and Potter in detention every afternoon from September till June."
The door to the prefect carriage opened, and the pale face of Remus Lupin appeared, though Kate didn't have the time to break for a hello. Once she was in stride with Black, she would not stop.
"Hullo," said Remus awkwardly. "Erm, the prefect meeting is about to start, just so you know."
"Yeah, fine." Kate slammed the door in Remus's face when she found Sirius snorting at her suggestion.
"Nolan, I'm not a lapdog. Threatening me with detentions isn't going to do anything - "
"Oh, Merlin forbid that you do some actual growing up!" snapped Kate.
"I suppose I should be just like you then," he said sardonically.
Remus stuck his head out of the carriage door once again. "You do know that everyone inside can hear you, right?" he asked us. Sirius shoved Remus back inside the carriage and slammed the door, growling like a dog as he did so. On the other side of the door, Remus's muffled voice returned, "Everybody is also waiting."
"If you don't mind," said Kate, her hands on her hips. "I have a prefects meeting to attend to."
"If you don't mind," countered Sirius just as scathingly, "I have an actual life to attend to, thanks."
Having lost the patience to think up another retort, Kate simply snorted in derision and flung open the door to the carriage door. Sirius pushed passed her, making sure to bump into her on the way out.
"Sorry I'm late," murmured Kate at the amused looks everyone was sending her inside the compartment. She mumbled on about bathroom troubles until she took her seat next to Remus.
"Now that everyone's here," said Jude, and he grinned at her as if to reassure her. Her stomach fluttered for the second time that morning. "Lorelei and I are going to start the meeting now."
After an unnecessarily long meeting which Kate couldn't concentrate during anyway, the Head students allowed for the torture session to end. On her way back she made sure all the students were abiding by the rules, before finally reaching her friends' train compartment. It only took for Lily to ask how the meeting went for Kate to unload on her rant.
"... Then he goes, 'If you don't mind, I have a life to get to'," she said in a much loftier impression than what Sirius had done. And as an afterthought, added, "Sure, as if hexing first years and being endlessly stared at by pathetic fangirls constitutes a substantial life!"
"Oi!" said Merle, looking not as though she were really cross. "Careful who you insult, I happen to be one of those pathetic fangirls." At the scrutinizing look that Kate gave her, Merle justified herself. "Honestly, who can resist those tempestuous lips and those luscious midnight black locks and endlessly ocean grey pools of orbs - "
"Merle, you're giving me a headache," said Lily while rubbing the temples of her forehead. "Stop barfing up cheesy romance descriptions, it's sickening."
Kate agreed, "Really, Merle, not helping."
"It sounds to me like you two got off on the wrong foot," Lily said to Kate.
"No!" gasped Kate sarcastically.
Lily pressed on though, "What you should have done was acted more civilly. Take me, for instance," there was a slight air of conceit when Lily had said it, causing Merle to snort. "Potter spotted me while boarding the train and waved, and I smiled and waved back. He may have embarrassed us both by running into a trash bin afterward, but that's beside the point. I've given him a clean slate, starting anew. I'm assuming that he's grown out of being the stupid berk I knew last year."
"But that's different!" said Merle, unable to contain herself. "See, everyone knows you and Potter are madly in love with each other and just haven't realized yet. Whereas Kate actually hates Black."
Merle burst into laughter at the affronted look Lily gave her.
"As amusing as watching Lily blunder over not loving Potter," said Kate stiffly, "I have a real problem at hand. McGonagall might as well revoke my prefect duties if I'm not able to think of a way to control Black and Potter this year. Last year, I had made the stupid mistake of hoping Lupin would take care of that. The results were dismal. What I need is something to hold against them."
"Take away their Quidditch?" suggested Lily.
Merle gasped in shock, being a rather obsessed Quidditch fan herself.
"You will do no such thing! If we even want a chance at making those Slytherin poncies cry this year, we need Potter and Black on the team. You wouldn't just be hurting them, but you'd be hurting me as well."
"Oh, well, if that's the price I have to pay," said Kate mock concernedly, "then I'm definitely doing it."