Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter(although I wish I did.) Harry Potter is owned by J.K. Rowling. The only people I own is anyone you don't recognize, especially Katya.
"Burns!" I looked up from the papers I was organizing to see Mr. Crouch walking towards me. I turned toward him, shaking a little. He was a fierce man and the tone of his voice meant he was probably going to do me in. "Yes, Mr. Crouch?" I asked, my voice shaking a little. I never liked talking to Mr. Crouch very much. He made me somewhat nervous (if you couldn't tell.)
"Liesel, today's your last day, isn't it?" I couldn't help but roll my eyes. You see, my name is Ekaterina Elise Burke. My first name is pronounced eh-kɒt-er-ɪ̈nə, but many people call me Katrina all the time, or in Mr. Crouch's case, by my middle name, which he gets wrong, too. It's like they've never seen a Slavic name before.
I forced a little smile, "My name's Ekaterina, Mr. Crouch," I said, as nice and sweet as I could. Mr. Crouch looked at me like a deer in headlights. It was a look I've seen a lot this past month as I'd been correcting him since I started interning. I could feel that my hands were still clammy and I tried to hide the fact that I kept wiping them on my skirt. I leaned against the desk a little to steady my balance that I had lost for a mere few seconds.
"Oh, um, yes, yes it is." Mr. Crouch sputtered. I was taken back a little. I'd never seen or heard him sputter in my life. But then again, I've only worked at the Ministry for a short time. "Listen, Bunn." That's it. I'm taking count. "I want to offer you a job when you get out of Hogwarts. You're a bright, young lady. Ravenclaw, I presume?" I nodded. "I want you to think about it. It's a very good offer." I couldn't help but smile, "Thank you, Mr. Crouch! I'll think about it." He turned to leave, then turned back, "I plan on seeing you in the Ministry next year, Katrina.(Four!)"
I rolled my eyes (again), grabbed my bag, slung it over my shoulder, and made my way out of the office. Entering the hall, I met two other interns, Claire McCarthy, a Hufflepuff (her dad's a Ministry official), and David Anderson, a Slytherin (not sure which one of his parents work here, but that's the only reason he has a job.) I'm friends with neither of them and had never talked to them until last year. I said a quick hello before stepping into the empty lift.
The lift jerked downwards. "Level three, Department of Magical Accidents and Catastrophes, including the Accidental Magic Reversal Squad, Obliviator Headquarters, and Muggle-Worthy Excuse Committee," a cool, female voice rang out. I groaned. Why do the lifts have to stop on every floor? I'm going to be here forever. The grilles crashed shut (No one got on. [Fortunately]), and the lift jerked downward again, knocking me a little to the side.
"Level four, Department for Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures, incorporating Beast, Being, and Spirit Divisions, Goblin Liason Office, and Pest Advisory Board."
The grilles yanked open and a squat man entered the lift. He seemed surprised to see me on the lift, as much as I was to see him. Damn, I thought I'd be able to ride the lift the entire way in silence.
"Oh! My apologies! I didn't see you there," he said. I observed him. He wasn't a top official as I could tell from his clothes, but he looked familiar, like I had seen him at Hogwarts.
"Oh, no, it's fine," I responded. The grilles slammed shut and the lift jerked downwards again. This time, I held on to something to steady myself.
"Say you look familiar. Were you on the Hufflepuff Quidditch team?"
"Well, I'm only an intern. I'm on..."
"Level five, Department of International Magical Cooperation, including the International Magical Trading Standards Board, the International Magical Office of Law, and the International Confederation of Wizards, British Seats."
I sigh and rolled my eyes (I've lost count today.) A few interdepartmental memos flew in, making me a little claustrophobic. I hate riding the lifts.
"What was that, my dear? You're an intern?" the man questioned.
"Oh... um... I'm on the Ravenclaw team. Ekaterina Burke, chaser."
"Oh, I thought you looked familiar! You're a fairly good chaser. Led the school in most scored goals last year.(Well, obviously, since Ravenclaw played the most matches last year before they all got canceled. No one else had a chance to catch up to me.)" I'd never seen someone so giddy meeting me. "Name's Amos Diggory. My son, Cedric, is the Hufflepuff seeker and captain this year." I knew he looked familiar.
"Level six, Department of Magical Transport, incorporating the Floo Network Authority, Broom Regulatory Control, Portkey Office, and Apparation Test Center."
"You must be very proud," I said. "I know Cedric. Really nice. Really smart. He's a good kid."
"Are you captain this year?"
"Um... no, I'm not."
"Shame, you have a real special talent, especially since you're a muggle-born." I shifted my weight. It felt odd that he just called me a muggle-born. I'd gotten used to it at Hogwarts, but hearing an adult I barely knew call me that was different.. strange. I guess it's better than being called a Mudblood, but if his son's a Hufflepuff, the man had to be one, too, and Hufflepuffs just don't call muggle-borns "Mudbloods".
"Level seven, Department of Magical Games and Sports, incorporating the British and Irish Quidditch League Headquarters,Official Gobstones Club, and Ludicrous Patents Office." Several inter departmental memos flew in, cramming into the top of the elevator car, making me even more claustrophobic, if I wasn't already. Mr. Diggory didn't seem to mind. I guess it comes with experience of working here.
Before the doors closed, I caught a glimpse of the untidy corridor, with its faded Quidditch posters scattered all over the wall, like a teenager's room would look like. They were even busier than ever, planning for the Quidditch World Cup next summer. I was glad I wasn't interning there this summer, unlike some other Hogwarts Quidditch players I knew.
The chains rattled as the car descended. It must be awfully quiet if I can hear them, or I must not ever pay attention when I ride the lift. I looked up at the memos, remembering that someone told me that they used to use owls, but switched to enchanted paper planes, but the owls became too messy. Thank heavens, I didn't work here before they switched. Mother would have a fit if I came home with owl droppings on my clothes.
My thoughts were interrupted by the cool-voiced witch, "Level eight, Atrium." I turned to Amos, "Well, this is my stop. Nice meeting you. Maybe I'll see you at a Quidditch game." He walked out into the corridor with me. "It was a pleasure meeting you, Miss." he said, walking through the golden gates into the bustling atrium.
It was rush hour for most witches and wizards, trying to get home. Before I knew it, I was in with the crowd, heading straight towards the fireplaces. Already, I was used to the pushing and shoving that occured when people cut others. I blame passing period at Hogwarts.
I stopped at the Fountain of Magical Brethen, with its larger than life, golden statues, to admire it one last time. It was truly magnificent, how marvelous and detailed it was. I admit my mouth was agape in its splendor when I saw it on my first day. And now, on my last day, as I hadn't done it all summer, I threw in a silver Sickle for St. Mungo's.
It was a dreary day to walk home. Not that I had really walked all the way home. I took the bus and stopped by the grocery store a few blocks from home (You would not believe how fast we go through milk.) I walked the rest of the way around Hans Place. The walk was uneventful, which was somewhat unfortunate for me because I was quite bored.
As I entered my house, though, I could hear voices coming from the parlor. "Mom, Dad, I'm home," I called, dropping my bag on the couch in the entry. I was quite curious to see who it was as neither of my parents told me they were expecting guests tonight.
"Mom... Dad..." I said, again, climbing the few steps that led to the parlor. When I reached the top, I noticed a man wearing usual wizard garb and I recognized him at once. Professor Dumbledore. And I knew exactly why he was here.
"Oh, hello, Kayta. This is Professor Albus Dumbledore. He's explaining to us about Nastia's education and what we need to do," my mother said, drawing her arm tighter around my sister, Anastasia, who was sitting next to her on the sectional across from Professor Dumbledore.
"Yes, mum. I know who Professor Dumbledore is. He is my headmaster you know." Realizing what I just said, and how tense the atmosphere had gotten (my mother had given me that look. The look she always gave when I was in trouble.), I quickly responded, " I better go put these away," motioning to the groceries. And with my mother's turn of the head, that was my cue to leave.
I walked into the dining room, and straight away, I caught my arm on a chair. "Ow!" I moaned, massaging it as I whipped around the wall that separated the kitchen from the dining room. I was setting the groceries down on the counter when I over heard Professor Dumbledore talking.
"Now, I'm sure you've heard that Sirius Black has escaped from Azkaban.."
"Serious Black? Azkaban?" my mother questioned. Crap, I knew I forgot to tell her something.
"Not to worry, Mrs. Burke. You daughters will be perfectly safe at Hogwarts. It is the safest place in the Wizarding World. Now, on to other things. You are going to Diagon Alley tomorrow, correct?"
"I have arranged for a Ministry official to escort and assist you while you shop. They will arrive tomorrow at nine o'clock sharp."
"Thank you, Professor. Say, what is taking your sister so long, Anastasia?" I broke away from the conversation from there. I hadn't put a single thing away. Well I am of age, I thought. So, I nonverbally whisked everything to the proper place.
The last item was settling when mother walked in. Uh oh, I'm busted. She gave me the same look she gave me earlier. "What did I say about magic in the house?" All I could do was force a smile and act like nothing happened. She turned to leave, but before she did, she said, "I'll talk to you later."
And, oh later it was. After a delicious dinner (Just kidding. It was okay. Lamb stew's not my favorite.), my punishment was to wash all the dishes by hand. And, oh, there was a lot of them. Mother had to inspect the dishes to make sure I was doing a fantastic job. Many times before, she would stand watching like a hawk. The only time she'd speak was if you were practicing improper "technique".
This time, though, was different. She actually told me when dishes weren't clean, instead of silently shoving them in my face, expecting me to take them right that instant. She'd also tried to make small talked, which she somewhat unsuccessful.
"So, Professor Dumbledore said that he's never seen you in his office. I don't know if I should take that as a compliment or..."
"That's because I'm a goody- two shoes and never do anything bad." It's true. I've only talked to Dumbledore once, and that was when he congratulated the entire Ravenclaw time on winning the Quidditch Cup my fifth year. He had shaken my hand and said, "Congratulations," and I responded back with a thank you.
She handed me back a plate, "That's not clean."
"Yes, it is," It was spotless and I had already washed it for ages.
"No, it is not."
"If I say it's not clean, it's not clean." I took the wretched plate from her hands, scrubbing it as hard as I could, grumbling under my breath. I didn't care if I broke it.
"Speaking of Dumbledore, who is Serious Black and why didn't you tell us before?"
"Oh, he's only a mass murderer who's the first person ever to break out of Azkaban."
"I swear, Ekaterina. Someday, you are going to get into a lot of trouble with your sarcasm."
"Mom, it doesn't effect us. That's why I didn't tell you." I wasn't going to admit I forgot or that the entire Ministry was up in arms at his escape.
"And why do you say that?"
"By the time he gets to London, he'll have been caught. The entire Ministry, it seems, is on the case." Now I was just assuming.
She looked at me, her eyes very serious, " I do hope you're right."
By the time I was done, my hands were very red and wrinkled. I had changed into shorts and a t-shirt and my dirty blonde hair was pulled into a messy bun. I sat cross-legged on my bed as I rubbed moisturizer on my chapped hands.
All of a sudden, I felt something hit my thigh. I turned to see my ball-of-fluff-that-is-a-cat, Aslan, sprawled out across my bed as if he was a labrador or something. "God, you act just like a dog." I've had that golden tom since my first year, and he's proven that he should have been a dog, well, a terrier to be exact. I was stroking his back when he perked up, his head flying up first. "What's wrong? Did I hurt you?" I watched him jump off my bed and go directly to my sister who was standing in the doorway.
"Oh sure, I'm the one that feeds you, but you love her more," I said as he purred and rubbed against Nastia's leg for attention. "What do you want?" I asked. I was tired, and I didn't really want to talk to her.
"I'm in a dilemma. I can't decide what pet to get," she responded. "Oh my god. That's what she's worried about?" I muttered under my breath. "Let me see you options," I grumbled as I stuck my hand out. She handed me her shopping list.
" Each student may bring either a cat or a toad or an owl," I read aloud. "Well, I can tell you right of the bat, don't get a toad," I said, folding the parchment, giving it back to her.
"Trust me. You don't want one." I patted the space on the bed next to me. She sat down obediently.
"If you get a cat, then you have a furry companion for the rest of your education, but you could get one like Aslan who's good for nothing." Aslan, who didn't seem effected by this insult, had already found his place in my lap, not allowing me to move. "If you get an owl, you don't have to rely on the bloody school owls, but if you do, I'm allowed to use it."
She made a face of disgust, "That's not fair."
"Why? You use my pet all the time."
She sighed and looked at me, "Oh, alright." I looked into her green eyes. I wish I had green eyes like her. Mine are an unpretty grayish-blue.
Her demeanor changed from defeated to excited in a millisecond. "Tell me about the houses!" Her light blonde hair floated as she bounced in her seat, excuse me, bed.
"Well..." I started," there's the Hufflepuffs who are loyal and dedicated. Then, there's the Slytherins who are sly, cunning, and clever. Gryffindors, who are brave and courageous, but pretty much do reckless and stupid stuff all the time. And then, there's the awesome, smart people, like moi, in Ravenclaw."
"Can I use your books?"
"No, that would be considered cheating."
"Have you seen my books?"
"Can you tell me about the professors?"
"No. You ask too many questions and I want to go to bed."
"Good night." I fell backwards and threw a pillow over my face.
"I hope I'm in Ravenclaw."
"I hope you're in Slytherin so you live in a dungeon."
"Go to bed!"
And so, we both did.
AN: So yeah. That's the first chapter. Sorry if it sucked. It took me forever to write this.(I'm too lazy.) I promise the next chapter will have more substance.