RIOT GRRRL MANIFESTO
summary: Kathryn only wanted a couple of things out of life: to get away from the Dursleys, to do something memorable, to graduate...but more than anything? She just really wanted to be something other than 'Harry Potter's little sister.' These are her adventures. AU.
disclaimer: I'm really JKR in disguise as shitty, 20-something fanfic writer. brilliant plan, right? Some of the dialogue towards the end is taken directly from POA, just like some of the text at the end of the last chapter was taken directly from COS.
This chapter is centered around the events of The Prisoner of Azkaban. Warning, though: I do a seriously AU thing.
OH AND HEY: if you catch any mistakes, don't hesitate to drop me a review or message about it. Anything from a really annoying inconsistency to a bothersome spelling mistake. I don't have a beta reader & I'm not always that great at proofreading my own work, though I do try. If you let me know, I'll do my best to fix whatever it is!
three: not in dog years
"I want you to cut my hair," Kathryn declared to Marianne when the older girl walked into the living room. "And do something outrageous with the color."
Marianne eyed Kathryn and her suspiciously. Obviously hair grew back, but she couldn't believe that Kathryn really wanted to chop and color her gorgeous just-past-the-shoulders auburn curls. What Marianne wouldn't do to have natural hair like that! But the look in the twelve year-olds eyes meant there was no mistaking that determination. This was something that Kathryn would do herself if Marianne did not. Petunia Dursley was going to kill her. Sighing, Marianne took her wand out of her back pocket and with a wave, Kathryn's perfect loose curls were cut. Her hair hung just below her chin and had only a slight wave. Another flick and it was perfectly straight. A third tap, and the one-auburn locks were now a vibrant, mermaid blue. Hopefully, thought Marianne, it would be a phase.
A quick glance in the mirror and Kathryn's face was a bright, gleaming smile. If Marianne had to guess by the slightest look of mischief in the younger girl's eyes, there was more to the change than just preteen whatever and the desire for change itself. There was rebellion there, which didn't surprise the older woman. Well, as long as she didn't have to be in the neighborhood when Petunia saw it...
"KATHRYN ELIZABETH POTTER!"
Aunt Petunia's voice, usually much more controlled, could probably have been heard all the way in China and other countries halfway across the world. Kathryn cringed, even though she'd been expecting this sort of reaction.
"You did this on purpose!" her aunt accused. "You knew your aunt Marge was coming tomorrow and that's why you've ruined your hair!"
Ah, spot on! At least Aunt Petunia wasn't stupid. She was right - Kathryn overheard her aunt and uncle discussing her dreadful "aunt" Marge's upcoming visit last week. It was always interesting to see what new way the woman would terrorize Harry whenever she came, but it had been a long time since she'd come. Well, not that long. The year before Harry's Hogwarts letter came, so three years? It was also the year Harry stepped on Ripper's tail and got chased up a tree. Good memories. Luckily, Aunt Marge had always seemed kind of, well, amused by Kathryn.
The next morning, Kathryn walked down the stairs to hear Uncle Vernon and Harry arguing. Curious, she plopped down on the couch next to Dudley. Her cousin was a troll, yes, but they did have one thing in common: they both enjoyed watching Harry get into trouble. For Dudley, it was probably just sick amusement, but for Kathryn it was a reminder that she herself was not the one in trouble for once.
"Thirdly," began Uncle Vernon. "We've told Marge you attend St. Brutus' Secure Center for Incurably Criminal Boys."
"WHAT?" Harry yelled while Dudley and Kathryn sniggered. "Where does Kathryn go, then? She's the one with the blue hair!"
She could only glare at her brother for bringing attention onto her. Birthday boy or not she was going to kick him later. Really hard and in the shins. Besides, she'd already done her sisterly duty and given him a card. Then Uncle Vernon turned to her, eyes narrowed. It was a generally accepted fact that disciplining Kathryn was her aunt's job, for whatever reason, so she simply smiled at him.
"Don't get cheeky with me, girl," he warned. "No funny business from you, either."
Her uncle had to head off to the train station after that, and she merely threw the same smile at Harry that she had at Uncle Vernon.
"Aunt Marge visiting you for your birthday? What a great present!" she whispered in his ear as she passed him on her way back to the stairs. Time to get dressed and ready for the one and only Aunt Marge...
Thankfully, it hadn't gone as bad as Kathryn suspected. At least, not for her. Aunt Marge had taken one look at her and then turned to Aunt Petunia as if she were invisible or something and asked "Oh, she's still rebellious, is she? Better discipline her, Petunia, or she'll end up like her brother." And that was that. Well, of course, Aunt Marge loved to criticize Harry and their parents, but she seemed to love picking on Harry far more than on Kathryn. She'd learned a long time ago that her comments did not goad Kathryn they way they did her brother. Harry hated Aunt Marge and let everything she said get to him, which was rather stupid of him really.
But this year he seemed to be trying. He'd almost turned as purple as Uncle Vernon when the large woman had been going on about breeding and blah blah (as if Kathryn was actually listening) when he'd suddenly made Aunt Marge's glass explode. Before he could stealthily sneak out into the hallway, she mouthed an "uh oh! someone's in trouble!" in his direction. He only glared.
It was all fun and games until Aunt Marge's final night, at least. First of all, Aunt Marge had gotten pretty tipsy on the wine and Harry was brooding as usual while they all ate dessert. Kathryn played with her pie absently, taking her sweet time and keeping herself busy.
"You have to eat, girl," Aunt Marge slurred. "You're nothing but skin and bones! Isn't she?"
Kathryn sighed and shoved a piece of pie in her mouth as if to say "clearly, I am eating!" And she was only skin and bones compared to the Dursley side of the family. Dudley, Uncle Vernon, and Aunt Marge all were big as houses.
"She gets it from my side of the family, Marge," Aunt Petunia said, which surprised Kathryn. "I looked very skinny like her when I was a girl."
"Yes, well, maybe there's still hope for her yet, but with that hair, I doubt it. Now, this one here, on the other hand-" she said, jabbing a finger in Harry's direction. "He's got a right rutty look about him. Mean, like you get with dogs. Had to put one like him down last year, you know. Weak and underbred."
That was when Kathryn started to completely tune her aunt out. Eat a forkful of pie, take a drink, run through conversations she wanted to have with May, et cetera. And when it came down to it, she really didn't care what the old lard thought about her parents. Boo hoo, Aunt Marge thought her father was a "wastrel" and her mother was a "bad egg." Excuse me while I cry myself to sleep. Clearly, Harry was not as smart as her. Unfortunately.
"My dad was not unemployed!" Harry asserted suddenly. Kathryn rolled her eyes. Uncle Vernon shouted for more brandy. Dudley looked like the circus had come to town early this year. Aunt Marge...thought it was funny.
"They didn't die in a car crash!" he protested further, getting to his feet, and Aunt Marge went from amused to furious, and started to rant about how ungrateful Harry was and at least Kathryn could keep her smart mouth shut out of respect for her hard working relatives (that part made Kathryn snort. If only Aunt Marge knew...). But then the strangest thing started to happen. Her face, red from the alcohol and her temper, started to swell up past its normal size and her eyes bulged out of her head. Her buttons started to pop off her jacket as the rest of her followed suit and she started blowing up like a bonafide balloon. When she started floating, Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia began to panic and Harry bolted out of the room. Her uncle grabbed her by the arm and tried to drag her over to Aunt Marge, demanding that she fix him.
"I don't know how! Harry's the one who did it!"
"COME BACK HERE! COME BACK IN HERE AND PUT HER RIGHT!"
Uncle Vernon's voice was louder than she'd ever heard it and didn't stop until the Ministry came. But Harry did not come back. That little punk.
Kathryn sat at the kitchen table at the Journey's house a few days later; she'd been avoiding the Dursleys as much as possible since the "Marge Incident." Harry sent her an owl saying he was staying at the Leaky Cauldron if she wanted to visit - hah. She remembered last summer quite well and so far he had a knack for mucking up her holidays. She'd rather stay with May and Marianne.
"Did you see the latest article in the Prophet about Sirius Black?" asked May, who just bounded into the kitchen with painful enthusiasm.
"Black? You mean that escaped convict who was on the telly? Why's he in the Daily Prophet?"
At Kathryn's confusing, May turned to look at her like she'd grown some sort of third or fourth eyeball. It was a look that clearly said "are you daft?" But for the life of her, Kathryn didn't know why she should know about some weirdo escapee or why they'd be writing about him in the Daily Prophet.
"You mean you don't know about Sirius Black? Harry didn't tell you?" she asked in a rush. "Or does he not know either?"
"May, slow down, I don't know what you're talking about at all!"
And that was when May Journey had to sit her best friend down and give her terrible news. Marianne had been muttering about it when Black escaped, how terrible it was going to be for Harry and Kathryn. So they went to the couch and she gently explained that Sirius Black, mass murderer, was commonly known as the man who betrayed Lily and James Potter to Voldemort. May just kept apologizing, saying she didn't know that Kathryn didn't know or she'd have told her sooner and sorry, sorry - but it all bounced off of Kathryn. The crazy man running loose was the man who had effectively signed off on her parents' death certificates. She didn't really know how to process that.
"It's okay, May. It's not your fault," she responded, sounding detached. Kathryn went back to normal, of course, but felt acutely aware of how much there was that she plain didn't know. And how unfair that was. No one ever told her that her parents had been betrayed by their best friend, never said anything about Voldemort not being the only killer. Which, okay, wasn't something ten year-olds needed to know. But honestly, she was twelve now. Twelve! And the killer was on the loose! Didn't that mean anything? Maybe it made her paranoid, but at least she could be vigilant instead of ignorant.
If she knew the odd black dog she'd noticed lurking around the neighborhood was said killer, Kathryn Potter would never have left her house again.
It would figure that the first person May and Kathryn ran into at King's Cross wouldn't be Harry or the Weasleys, but Draco Malfoy. Kathryn thought he was a complete slimeball.
"Well if it isn't the baby Potter," sneered Draco as they walked past him. He was standing not far from his parents and if they had been further away Kathryn might have been more tempted to punch him in the gut. He then added, sarcastically: "The hideous blue hair really suits you."
"Hello to you too, Malfoy," she deadpanned before rolling her eyes, deciding not to even acknowledge his comment about her hair. He came closer to them, one of those annoying smirks on his face, and May muttered an "oh great" under her breath that only Kathryn could hear.
"I heard your brother pulled up in Ministry cars to the station today," he drawled. "My father says Black is after your brother. Muttered in his sleep about him at Azkaban. Guess you're not worth the effort, eh?"
It took pretty much every ounce of self-control in her not to just punch him in the face. Actually, every day near him was an effort not to commit homicide. But this was a special circumstance - why was she always hearing everything second hand? And the last person she wanted to learn anything from was Draco fucking Malfoy. Kathryn tried to remain as calm and unfazed as possible. She couldn't, after all, give him the satisfaction of knowing she didn't know those things.
"Yes, well, I'm not the one who killed his master, now am I?" she asked flippantly, looking unamused.
"All the same, I'd watch my back if I were you. Any madman smart enough to escape Azkaban would be smart enough to think of using you to get to your brother," he said darkly, before heading off with his nose in the air.
"Ignore him," May told her as he walked off. "It's just Malfoy."
"Yeah," Kathryn said quietly. "But as much as I hate to admit it, he's got a point."
After several hours on the train, as the rain fell steadily and made the sky dark, it began to slow and came to a jerky stop. Kathryn and May were startled when May's trunk fell off the overhead rack and hit the ground with a thud, coming open as it landed between them. As they leaned forward to start putting everything back inside with a strange look on their faces, the cabin lights flickered and went out completely.
"What the bloody hell is happening?" May asked, and it was only because of how close her voice sounded that Kathryn could tell her friend was still in front of her. It was pitch black, and they could hear people stumbling about outside, asking the same question May had just posed. As the two girls struggled to their feet and felt their way to the door, it suddenly slid open.
"Who's there?" Kathryn asked, trying not to sound shaky, but the only answer was a long, rattling breath and an intense, bone-chilling cold swept over her. She felt her entire body start to shake and the worst of feelings came over her as she grappled for the doorframe, May, something, anything to grab onto to support herself. It was like every bad feeling, every bad moment, every awful memory was attacking her at once and it became difficult to breathe. Kathryn would have passed out if the thing, whatever it was that was causing the feeling to come over her, hadn't moved along.
"What was that?" her voice cracked as she spoke.
"I-I think it was a Dementor..." May answered, her voice not much better.
Kathryn hoped she never came into contact with one ever again.
"My father's put in an official complaint with school's governors - I can't wait to see the look on Potter's face when his pal Hagrid is out of a job!"
Kathryn had the unfortunate luck of having to share the same breathing space as Malfoy every bleeding day. Usually she was able to tune it out when he wasn't speaking specifically to her, but it was hard not to overhear his incessant, loud bragging about getting Hagrid sacked and his melodramatic story about being attacked by a hippogriff. It didn't help that she kept catching him looking at her out of the corner of his eye, sneaking triumphant glances, as if she was the one who hung out with the gatekeeper on a regular basis, not her brother.
She couldn't take his arrogance for one more second, and with a loud thud, slammed shut the book she'd been reading while sitting on one of the couches in the common room. Unceremoniously, she left the room before she lost her it just that boring being rich and pureblood that he had to come up with new and interesting ways to entertain himself? And why was it so often at her expense? Truly, she wanted to wring his little neck. Which he would probably enjoy, because it meant he'd gotten to her.
Taking a breather sounded like a reasonable and smart alternative, and so she found herself wandering from the dungeons and upwards. Kathryn was walking through a corridor (she'd lost track of where exactly she was) when she nearly ran smack into the new Defense professor, Professor Lupin. She'd already had a class with him and he seemed like a decent enough teacher, certainly better than Lockhart had been.
"Oh, er, hello Professor," she greeted him, a bit surprised. He, on the other hand, looked a bit startled by her presence.
"Kathryn," he replied, and she thought it was strange that he had a habit of referring to all his students by their first name. "What are you doing hereabouts? Not causing any mischief, I hope,"
"Oh, no sir," she said, smiling a little. "Just taking a walk."
That was pretty much the end of their exchange, though it wouldn't be the last one they had outside of class. She discovered she quite liked his company and would sometimes stop by his office. Kathryn sometimes noticed the looks Professor Snape (her favourite professor) would shoot at the man, but never gave it much thought, all things considered.
The story of how Sirius Black had slashed the Fat Lady's portrait trying to get into the Gryffindor common room spread like wildfire across the Hogwarts as they all stood in the Great Hall after Dumbledore left with the other professors to search the grounds. Percy Weasley, mister obnoxious Head Boy, was relegating everyone to their sleeping bags when Harry came up to Kathryn and pulled her aside.
"Are you okay?" he asked hurriedly, looking a little worried; in turn she rolled her eyes.
"It was your common room he tried to break into, not mine," Kathryn pointed out.
"You know he's dangerous, don't you Kathy? And that he's likely going to try and hurt one of us? Just let me know you'll be careful, okay?" Harry pleaded, and his desperation made her sigh.
"Fine, yes, I'll be careful. Now go find your friends and your sleeping bag before Percy or someone else comes over here and we get in trouble."
With one last worried look, he walked off towards Ron and Hermione and Kathryn headed back to May, trying to ignore the furtive whispers and gossip coming from everyone around her. Maybe Black disguised himself, or managed to get past the apparition wards, or maybe he flew in! It was easy for them to find the drama exciting, but not so much for Kathryn. By all appearances, Black was trying to break in and probably kill her brother, which was scary enough, but she could hear Draco's words from the train station echo in her head - any mad man smart enough to break out of Azkaban was smart enough to realise hurting Kathryn was a way to get to her brother. What if her common room was next? What if she was next?
The thought kept her up all night.
May invited Kathryn to come spend Christmas with her at an aunt's house, which was infinitely better than spending it at Hogwarts. Also, she loved May's family - they were the most interesting people, at least on the small occasions she'd spent with them in the past. And now that she knew they were magical, a lot of their eccentricities made sense...like how her Aunt Ursula thought the telly was the most interesting thing May and Marianne owned, for example.
May's parents were always off travelling and doing exciting things, which was why Marianne took care of her younger sister. Since Kathryn's acceptance letter to Hogwarts, she'd learned the family was pureblood, but as May said quite proudly, they were blood traitors for the most part. It was weird to think she was related to half the kids in Slytherin house, like Terrence Higgs, who had graduated the year before and was her cousin (the not-so-blood-traitor line of the family with that particular aunt and uncle on her mum's side, as May explained).
"Oh Kathryn, how delightful of you to join us for the holidays!" Ursula Higgs said excitedly, greeting Kathryn with enthusiasm.
"Hey Ursula," she greeted. "Oh, and Harold."
Harold Higgs was May's uncle, who bombarded her with questions he'd always apparently been burning to ask her - what was it like growing up a muggle? How did she find Hogwarts? What did Harry do over the holidays?
"Harold!" scolded Ursula. "I'm sure she doesn't want to talk about her brother right now! Let the girls get settled in their room and stop badgering the poor girl!"
Ursula was right, Kathryn hardly wanted to talk about Harry, even though she knew questions would inevitably come up, he being who he was and all. But she wanted her holidays to be blissfully Harry free, thank you!
When Kathryn returned to Hogwarts after the New Year, she couldn't believe it when she heard someone talking about her brother's new Firebolt. A Firebolt?! How had he gotten one of those for Christmas? Life really was unfair. She did suppose he needed a new broom, considering his last one had been scrapped after that debacle on the pitch with the Dementors and all.
But quickly she realised she had bigger fish to fry. Professor Snape had insisted that she do an extra Potions project because she "wasn't being properly challenged" in class. Okay, yes, he was right. Kathryn had discovered early on that she had quite the knack for Potions and was leagues ahead of everyone in her year in the subject. She was hardly Hermione Granger, being pretty much average in all the others, but there was no use in being humble - she had Potions talent and Professor Snape had made it his personal mission to make sure it wasn't going to waste. It made her feel special and smart, which was great because honestly, she didn't usually feel that way, but at the same time...well, sometimes she just wanted to explode all the cauldrons she could to piss him off. Which is what she did one day in their extra session.
"Kathryn," he said sternly, using her first name as he had tended to do recently. "Do you enjoy being difficult simply for the fun of it?"
She had expected him to call her a dunderhead, maybe to tell her to get out of his sight. Anything but the comment he chose instead. Kathryn frowned, thinking about it for a moment. Yes, yes she did. If Hogwarts had a school counselor like the one whose office she'd sat in on more than one occasion prior to her acceptance letter, they probably would have said she was an attention seeker who didn't care if said attention was negative or positive. But Kathryn Potter never enjoyed being lectured about herself and her own feelings, so she was glad they didn't.
"Being difficult is the spice of life, Professor," she quipped cheerfully.
As he looked at her, unamused but amused at the same time, Kathryn couldn't helpt but wonder why on earth he put up with her.
Oh, the things she didn't know.
The whole thing about Sirius Black breaking into the Gryffindor common room, winding up at the wrong bed, and standing over Ron Weasley with a knife just didn't sit right with Kathryn. It didn't make sense, you know? If Black was smart enough to break out of Azkaban, then surely he had to be smart enough to notice, even in the dark, than Ron was a ginger, for Chrissake.
She couldn't put her finger on it, but something just wasn't right. There was some piece of the puzzle missing, something she didn't know. But then again, it seemed she was always finding out about things after everyone else, so that was hardly a surprise.
It made her feel safer, somehow. If Black had mistook Ron for Harry, then maybe he wasn't smart enough to come after her. And if there really was something else going on, then maybe she wasn't part of it at all.
Kathryn couldn't help, though, feeling like she was starting to lose her mind sometimes. She occasionally caught sight of that same, shaggy black dog she had seen over the summer, but that wasn't possible, was it? Before anybody else could see it, the dog was gone. Was she hallucinating or something? What the hell was going on?
Kathryn heard through the grapevine that not only did Draco's black eye not come from an accident at Quidditch practice, but that he'd been hit in the face by none other than Hermione Granger. If it were her brother, maybe, or Ron Weasley, that would have made sense. But Granger, of all the people! Honestly, at first, she hadn't believed it - thought it was some sort of strange Gryffindor rumour. But then everyone started talking about how the same girl had stormed out of her Divination class and subsequently dropped the course all together.
Even though it was contrary to all her opinions about her brother's friend, Kathryn felt the need to say something to Hermione. So one morning, when they were all leaving the Great Hall on their way to classes and things, she ran a little to catch up with the exhausted girl, who looked a bit like a cauldron had exploded in her face - no, her entire life - recently.
"Hey, Granger!" she called out, a hand reaching for the other girl's arm.
"What?" she snapped, impatient, but looked horrified at herself for doing it.
"I just wanted to congratulate you," Kathryn said, grinning. "Didn't think you had it in you."
"Congratulate me for what?" Hermione asked, confused.
"Oh, I think we both know what for. I never figured you'd snap before me. Way to go," was her reply, and before the bewildered Hermione could say anything else, Kathryn was heading in another direction.
"It's not my fault Malfoy couldn't catch the bleeding snitch! So how about you all QUIT looking at me like it is!"
Kathryn finally couldn't keep herself from shouting it in the common room. She couldn't take another scornful, accusing look from her housemates after they'd lost the Cup to Gryffindor. It was hardly her fault that her brother was an excellent seeker! And it definitely wasn't her fault that Draco Malfoy just wasn't as good as Harry when it came to miracles and pulling through at the absolute minute thanks to sheer, dumb luck.
They all looked a bit startled after her shouting. Kathryn didn't usually lose it like that, at least not in front of them - she never wanted them to know how much their dismissals and attitude bothered her. But she'd been losing sleep because of the upcoming exams, the whole Black business, and the dog she kept seeing out of the corner of her eye. Her nerves and self-control were frayed and she just couldn't do it anymore.
"Calm down there, Kathryn," May said quietly, giving her friend a concerned look. "People will start to think you've gone mental."
"Too late, I think I already have."
It was after about half of her exams had finished, and Kathryn was in Professor Snape's office have a cuppa and discussing the final bits of her extra project with him when he got a particular look on his face, as if he'd just remembered something incredibly important and excused himself, saying he'd be back in fifteen minutes.
One of Kathryn's greatest vices was her curiosity. It'd always gotten her in trouble. In hindsight, she probably shouldn't have followed Professor Snape to Professor Lupin's office, and again as he hastily and distractedly made his way to the grounds. She shouldn't have watched, astounded and even more curious, as he seemingly disabled the Whomping Willow and disappeared. She shouldn't have followed him down the rabbit hole, either. She probably shouldn't have, but she did.
"What are you doing here?" He hissed angrily when he caught sight of her. "Did you follow me here?"
"Uhhhh..." was all she could mutter. "Maybe?"
"Do not mumble."
They might have continued to argue if they hadn't heard a scuttle happening in the room at the end of the cramped hallway. Apparently curiousity wasn't exclusive to Kathryn, because they both found themselves with their ears pressed to the door, listening to a collection of voices she recognised and one she didn't. There was an Invisibility Cloak that he begrudginly let her under with him and they snuck into the room - he only let her do it because she gave him no other choice. They weren't there very long, didn't hear the entire preceeding conversation, but they'd heard enough and Professor Snape waited for the perfect moment to reveal himself with his wand drawn. She stayed underneath it though, at his quiet urging.
She watched as Hermione screamed and Black left to his feet. To be completely honest with herself, Kathryn saw a side of Professor Snape that she wasn't very comfortable seeing. He was angry, and vengeful...unhinged, and maybe even a little bit irrational. It was not the Professor Snape she knew, though Kathryn was sure that it confirmed every awful thing every Gryffindor ever thought about him. It was hard for her to process everything - this side of Snape, Professor Lupin being a werewolf and one of her father's best friends, him and Black appearing to be in cahoots...it made her brain hurt. So she tried to stay quiet, underneath the cloak, for as long as possible. Which was a difficult feat for Kathryn - after all, she'd never been particularly talented at holding her tongue.
There were a lot of times when she wanted to shout. Like when her brother accused Snape of being pathetic and hating him just because he'd hated their dad - but she thought that couldn't be true. After all, Kathryn and Harry had the same dad and Professor Snape hardly hated her. In fact, he'd always seemed to have a bit of a soft spot for her. But it was Snape's response that made her blood run cold and throw the cloak from over her.
"Professor!" she shouted, angry. "That's my father you're talking about, too, and if you think I can just-"
Kathryn didn't get to keep going. Instead, she was interrupted by a shout of "Expelliarmus!" from Hermione (again, of all the people!) and Professor Snape was disarmed and knocked out. The aftermath was chaotic, to say the least.
"You shouldn't have done that," Black said, looking at Harry, but Kathryn noticed him looking at her too, with curiosity. "You should have left him to me…"
"We attacked a teacher…We attacked a teacher…" Hermione was practically hyperventilating.
"Kathryn! You shouldn't be here," Professor Lupin scolded her, even though he was still bound.
"Yeah, well, it's a bit late for that and this is as much my business as anyone else's!" she replied firmly, and besides, she had more than one thing to say to him. He was a werewolf? And he'd been best friends with her dad and Sirius Black?! Kathryn had spent nearly the whole year feeling like she could talk to Professor Lupin and he hadn't even bothered to tell her about that? The werewolf part she could understand, and obviously it made her a bit uneasy, but come on! Her parents!
"Thank you, Harry," Lupin said as Harry united him, but Kathryn was still glaring and he was still giving her a stern look.
"I'm still not saying I believe you," Harry replied.
"Then it's time we offered you some proof. You," Lupin ordered with his professor-voice, looking at Ron. "Give me Peter, please. Now."
Ron, however, was being uncooperative, clutching Scabbers to his chest while he had begun to explain how he knew about Peter Pettigrew/Scabbers being at Hogwarts, but Kathryn was impatient. She didn't care about what Black saw in the Daily Prophet or Pettigrew's finger or Hermione's bloody cat - she just wanted to know and Ron was stalling.
"Oh for heaven's sake, Weasley, give it to me," Kathryn snapped, fighting to grab the thing from Ron's grip. Finally, after a short struggle, a small kick to his damaged leg allowed her to snatch the squealing rat right out of his hands while Ron retaliated by calling her a filthy Slytherin and blah blah blah.
"Here," she said, thrusing the rat into Lupin's hands."Now we can actually clear a thing or two up instead of wasting our time arguing. Do whatever it is you need to do so we can finally get some real answers."
"NO!" Harry yelled, propelling himself forward so that he stood between Pettigrew and his former friends. "You can't kill him-You can't."
Black and Lupin both looked shocked, but at the same time she couldn't help but silently thank her brother for showing at least an ounce of sense. Kathryn had been furious after heating Pettigrew admit that he'd sold out her parents to the Dark Lord. Beyond furious, even! And she would have been happy to let Professor Lupin and Black kill him, but her brother's interruption gave her a minute of clarity. A quick death was too good for a guy like Pettigrew and she wanted to know he was going to suffer.
"Harry, this piece of vermin is the reason you have no parents," Black growled. "This cringing bit of filth would have seen you die too, without turning a hair. You heard him. His own stinking skin meant more to him than your whole family."
"No, Harry's right," Kathryn said, speaking up. "You want to give him what he deserves? Let him rot in Azkaban with the Dementors, where he belongs."
"We'll take him up to the castle," Harry continued and she moved to stand next to her brother. "We'll hand him over to the Dementors and he can go to Azkaban, like Kathy said. But don't kill him…He can go to Azkaban…but don't kill him."
"Harry! You — thank you — it's more than I deserve — thank you, Kathryn —" Pettigrew, the freak, flung his arms around Harry's knees from behind and then moved to do the same thing to Kathryn.
"Get off me and don't even think about touching my sister," Harry spat. "I'm not doing this for you. I'm doing it because — I don't reckon my dad would've wanted them to become killers — just for you."
"You're disgusting," Kathryn snarled, picking up where Harry left off. "You're disgusting and pathetic and if you think for one second that this is us sparing your life then you're also stupid and you are so lucky because if it were up to me you don't even want to know what I would-"
"Kathryn," came the sound of Professor Lupin's voice, softer than it had been since she'd seen him, with his hand was on her arm and she felt a little more calm. "Help me tie him up, will you?"
"Oh, my - He didn't take his potion tonight! He's not safe!"
"Run! Run. Now."
Harry leapt forward towards Ron, Professor Lupin's entire body was beginning to contort, and Sirius Black turned into a familiar, black and shaggy dog. Dog and werewolf fighting and Kathryn's brother was transfixed, but Kathryn? The minute things had started to get chaotic, her first thought was not "oh my!" like Hermione, or "Ron!" like her brother. It was none other than Peter Pettigrew and she whirled around in his direction, her wand pointed right at him. She did it because if she were him, it wwas the exact moment she'd choose to try and get away.
"Move one inch, I dare you," she told him, and he looked at her like a deer caught in the headlights. Realistically, there wasn't much she could actually have done to physically hurt him. Kathryn was a second year, so her curse arsenal was fairly limited, even for a Slytherin. But she was not about to let him get away. Pettigrew looked nervous for a moment, before diving forward for Professor's Lupin's discarded wand and Hermione let out a scream.
"Expelliarmus!" the spell came from Harry, but Kathryn was already on it.
"Petrificus totalus!" she shouted, at the same time, and both spells hit Pettigrew, knocking Professor Lupin's wand out of his hand and putting him in a full body bind. A low howl came from somewhere in the Forbidden Forest, and Werewolf-Lupin ran towards it. Black was still a dog, but he was lying on the ground, bleeding from his muzzle and his back.
"We'd better get them up to the castle and tell someone," said Harry, pushing his hair out of his eyes, trying to think straight. "Come on—"
There was this yelping, whining kind of noise coming from the lake, like a dying dog or something. Harry ran, with Hermione following, but Kathryn stayed. With an eye on Pettigrew, she moved to Professor Snape when she followed Harry with her eyes and saw a mist of Dementors gliding around the lake.
"Professor, wake up," she said frantically, shaking his shoulders. "You have to wake up..."
Kathryn could hear Harry's loud shouts of a spell she didn't know - but the most frightening part was when the shouts started to get weaker and so she started to get more frantic. The fog was so thick down by the lake that she couldn't see what was happening. Oh god, what if they came for her next? What if they'd hurt Harry?
"Professor Snape you need to wake up right this instance or I promise I will explode every cauldron in every class from here on out, I swear-"
Kathryn was babbling now, irrational and panicking, when the most astounding of things happened. She could see something very, very bright - bright like staring into the centre of the sun - making its way across the lake, bounding and...and the Dementors were starting to move? She stared, with wide eyes, as the ghostly figures began to retreat.
"Dont-be a dunderhead," coughed the weak voice of Professor Snape, who had begun to stir lightly.
"Professor!" Kathryn exclaimed, breathing a sigh of relief. "You have to help! Dementors, an-and Harry, and Peter Pettigrew...!"
"Pettigrew? You've been confunded," he said, brows furrowing, hand to his head as he sat up.
"No I haven't! He's lying right over there in a body bind," Kathryn argued. "He confessed to everything."
Snape looked at her and sighed a tired sigh.
"Kathryn, you need to listen to me-"
"No, Professor. You need to listen to me," she said. "I don't care about Sirius Black. I don't care that you hate him and you hated my dad and that all of them were jerks to you in school. I wasn't even born then so it's not my problem. But you know what is? The man who sold my parents out to You-Know-Who, the man whose fault it is that I'm an orphan and grew up with my horse-faced aunt and her giant, angry grape of a husband, is lying right there and he's not Sirius Black. He's Peter Pettigrew and I want to see him get the Kiss. Oh, and my brother is over by the lake and I don't even know if he's alive because there were Dementors swarming everywhere. Can we focus on that instead?"
"Miss Potter, are you sure that man is Peter Pettigrew?" the auror asked her, skepticism clear.
"Look, Madam Pompfrey already checked, I haven't been confunded," she countered, antagonistic. "And I already told you everything I saw and heard. So why don't you do you job and get the truth from him?"
Kathryn probably should have been more respectful towards law enforcement, but in the moment, she was too frustrated. They had both Black and Pettigrew in custody and why the hell were they wasting time talking to her? What she wanted was to get to the Hospital Wing to see Harry. Sure, he was an idiot and she hated him a lot of the time, but he was her idiot - her idiot and her brother and she had to know that he was okay.
"I assure you, we are doing our job," the woman said, her own frustration with the girl in front of her painfully clear. "And this is part of it."
"I saw them turn Weasley's pet rat into a human being and the human being responded to the name Peter Pettigrew and talked and acted like he was, okay? He eventually admitted to selling my parents out to You-Know-Who. So why shouldn't I believe he is actually Peter Pettigrew?"
Pettigrew escaped and Kathryn was furious. Nobody was quite sure how, but they guessed the minute someone wasn't looking, he'd transformed and scurried away. He wasn't the only escapee that night, either - Hagrid's hippogriff had someone managed to get away before the executioner could do his job. But the Minister had agreed to give Sirius a proper trial in light of "recent evidence." Professor Snape was notably morose, and let it slip that Professor Lupin was a werewolf.
Upon hearing that Professor Lupin resigned, she and Harry apparently had the same idea, because when she arrived at his office, Harry was already there.
"You're the best Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher we've ever had!" he was saying - she could hear him through the door. "Don't go!"
She wanted to wait until the two of them were done, but Kathryn wasn't sure how much time she had.
"Er, can I come in?" she asked, knocking; Professor Lupin gave her the go-ahead. He was busy emptying the last of his books, holding out the Invisibilty Cloak she'd hidden under to her brother.
"Yes, Kathryn?" Lupin asked, glancing towards her and Harry took the cloak. Kathryn made a mental note to ask about that later.
"I-well-I just wanted to say-" she struggled then, not comfortable saying what she wanted in front of Harry. "I just wanted to say thank, you know, for being a great professor and all this year-"
"I think we all owe you a thanks as well," he replied with a twitch of a smile. "From what I hear, if it weren't for you, Peter would have gotten away sooner and Sirius wouldn't be awaiting a trial."
"Yeah, well, what can I say? Slytherins are smarter than Gryffindors," she joked with a shrug.
"Be as that may, it was still a bit of a Gryffindor thing to do," he teased.
Kathryn wanted to say it wasn't. She hadn't done it for Black or for anyone else but herself. More than anything, she'd wanted to see that rat get what he deserved for the misery he'd caused in her life - for keeping her from never knowing what it was like to have paernts, for one, and for landing her with the Dursley's, among other things.
Harry looked like he was about to say something when there was another knock on the door - Professor Dumbledore. He'd come to say the carriage was ready at the gates for Lupin and that it was time to say goodbyes.
"Well — good-bye, Harry, and Kathryn," he said, smiling. "It has been a real pleasure teaching you. I feel sure we'll meet again sometime."
"Don't think you're getting away this easily," she told him. "You still have a lot of explaining to do."
Lupin looked at her for a moment, a steady kind of look, and smiled.
"Headmaster, there is no need to see me to the gates, I can manage…"
"Good-bye, then, Remus," said Dumbledore, somber. Lupin shifted the tank he was holding slightly in order to shake Dumbledore's hand. With a final nod at the two Potter siblings, he left the office. Harry sat down in the chair, looking rather glum. Glancing between her brother and her Headmaster, Kathryn got the distinct feeling that they were about to have a moment and she didn't want to be there to ruin it.
"I'll just..go now," she said awkwardly, heading for the door. "I have to...meet May? Yeah. I have to go meet May."
The final period of the term was a bit of a blur for Kathryn. She kept wondering where Pettigrew was, wondering how Black's trial would go. Wondering if Draco Malfoy would ever shut up about the hippogriff getting away or if she did well on her exams. She would find out how Black's trial would go, because she was one of the witnesses, and when they started again in the fall, she'd find out if Malfoy had anything new to talk about. Her exam results came out on the last day, and to her relief, she'd done just dine. Maybe eventually she'd discover what Pettigrew was up to, but there was nothing she could do about that.
All of those thoughts made it hard to enjoy the end of term feast, which was already difficult considering Gryffindor had stolen the Quidditch Cup from Slytherin and had, to top it off, taken the House Cup for the third year in a row.
"Hey, anybody home in there?" May asked, waving her hand in front of Kathryn's face.
"Don't be such a killjoy! It's nearly summer - be excited!"
But she couldn't stop being a killjoy because there was one thing that she couldn't stop wondering about, no matter how hard she treid. And that was if Professor Snape would stop looking so angry with her. It was also something she could do something about.
That night, after the feast, she went to his office. It was her last chance - the Express would be there in the morning and they'd all be leaving on it and she wouldn't see him until September.
"Professor Snape?" she asked, cautious, peeking her head around the doorframe. He was sitting as his desk, quill in hand, but not writing anything. Just gripping it tightly and looking like he was somewhere else.
"Miss Potter," he answered, all stern and exactly like he'd been to her after everything. "I can't imagine you have a question about your exam results. They were favourable."
"Yes they were, sir," Kathryn agreed. "But, uh, that's not why I'm here."
"Then I suggest you state your purpose quickly because it is almost curfew."
Kathryn sighed. This was exactly what she'd meant when she she said he was angry. Sure, most of Hogwarts considered him a prickly, rude bat of a man, and he was. Everybody knew he favoured Slytherins in class, but it was more than that. Professor Snape expected the best from his Slytherins, and he wasn't as prickly with them. He was... different with those in his house. He was different with her. Well, it was now or never - state her purpose, say what she came to say, be straight forward and don't play games.
"Sir, are you upset with me? Because that's really not fair of you," she started, and then it all came out in one, giant whoosing breath. "You've been treating me like - like a Gryffindor, or even worse, a Hufflepuff ever since that night! And I deserve to know why!"
This time, it was Professor Snape's turn to sigh. He pinched the bridge of his nose that way he did when he was exasperated.
"I hardly expect a child like you to understand, Miss Potter."
"Please don't patronise me like I'm stupid, sir!" was her indignant reply.
"I'm your professor, and you are a student as well as a child. I can and will patronise you- it's my job."
"You think I can't understand? That I can't understand what it's like to hold a grudge and hate someone...and wanting to be the one who gives them their just desserts and then be mad when everything goes wrong?" she asked, starting to get angry. "I hold the most enormous grudge against my brother for just being himself, so I understand that just fine, Professor! I understand better, though, what it's like to be on the receiving end of everyone's grudges - how my entire house has singled me out because of who my family is! How my aunt and uncle have always hated me and made my life miserable because they don't like magic and because my aunt is still bitter. I expect that from people but I thought you were different!"
"Let me finish, sir," she pleaded, in front of his desk. He looked tired and agitated but so was she and that made it one of those times when she just couldn't hold her tongue. "I've never cared that you have a grudge against Harry, for whatever reason - join the club, you know? And I don't care care if you hold a grudge against Black, or against my father. I'm just asking that you don't take a school-boy grudge out on me just because I got in the way. Because it's really not fair to try and hold the fact that I told the truth against me! They were my parents, sir, and I never got to know them or get the chance to love them or even to hate them, so forgive me that I wanted answers and to see the right person in prison!"
"Are you done?" he asked, face impassive.
"Er...yes?" she replied, a bit bewildered.
"Then kindly remove yourself from my office. I should hardly think you'd like to serve detention for insubordination and insolence on your first day next year."
She hadn't expected that. 'That' being his impassivity in the face of her emotional outburst. Gulping, she turned to go.
"Oh, and Miss Potter?" he said as her hand reached for the doorknob.
"What I am upset with is not your concern," he replied, voice tight. "But rest assured I am not upset with you, Kathryn. I am not taking my 'school-boy grudge' out on you, as you so eloquently put it. You are right - that would be rather juvenile of me. But if I were, as you accused, treating you like a Gryffindor or a Hufflepuff, I would not be so kind. Now go."
Kathryn was thankful for small mercies.
The next day, much to May's delight, Kathryn was in a better mood. They were sitting on the train, laughing and giggling and making plans for the summer, when Harry popped by their compartment.
"Hey Kathy," he greeted. "And May. I have something for you."
"Yeah?" she asked. "What?"
"This is a letter from Sirius," he said, pulling a folded piece of parchment out of his pocket and handing it to her. "He wrote me one too, but this one is for you."
"Oh, um, thanks," was her wisty reply, reaching out to take it from him. Harry left shortly afterwards, and May was practically on the edge of her seat wanting to know what the letter said.
"C'mon, aren't you going to read it? Aren't you curious?"
"Of course I am! Maybe if you shut it for a minute I could concentrate!"
"Blah blah, just read it already!"
I hope these letters found you and Harry before you reach your aunt and uncle - I'm not sure if they are used to owl post or if they would...take kindly to it. I got the impression from Harry that they aren't exactly the most friendly of people.
I know you probably noticed that I'd been watching you over the summer - as a dog, of course, considering I was a wanted fugitive. I hope I didn't scare you too much. I'm under house arrest currently, at the house in London where I grew up. I haven't been here in ages and the place is disgusting. But that's beside the point.
The point is that thanks to you, Harry, and his friends, I'll most likely be a free man in a month. I never imagined that would happen and I don't know what is going to happen after that. I'll probably see you at the trial (they told me you're going to be testifying, thank you for that as well). But I don't want that to be the last time I see either of you. Before, you know, all that chaos went down, Harry and I talked about him coming to live with me. Though I might not be your godfather too, that invitation is open to you, if you want it.
You might be a Slytherin, but I think I can get over that.
See you soon,
I think it's prudent to remind everyone that this story is AU, and not just in the way that Kathryn exists. But before anybody starts to moan, complain, or get even get excited - the rest of this story will not be going so off the books as this one, with Sirius being free and all. He's going to die, so don't get your hopes up (sorry guys, it hurts me too). Also, Kathryn will not be written into every exciting and dangerous thing that Harry & Co. get up to. She and May will be getting into their own mischief more and more and her fellow Slytherins will start to make more appearances!
Reviews are always appreciated!