Two

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Two

"it takes getting everything you ever wanted and then losing it, to know what true freedom is"

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The train came to a slow stop at about five, forty-five. Catherine and her four friends had already dressed in their robes and were one of the first groups out of the train. The girl walked slowly behind Sirius and James, who had made a mad dash for one of the empty carriages, and observed the familiar surroundings.

She hadn't realized it, but she had truly missed being at Hogwarts. She missed the beautiful, evergreen forests that outlined the perimeter of the land, and she missed the beauty of watching the sun rise over Black Lake in the Winter. Most of all, she missed the carriage ride up to the stone fortress.

The boys all called her weird for it, but there was something about the peacefully slow ride up the steep hillside trail that made her feel as though she were returning home after a long journey. And what made it even better, Catherine determined, was the fact that she was riding with her best friends, her family.

Catherine and Remus, who had lagged behind in order to discuss the upcoming OWL's, approached the carriage that the other two boys had picked out. Remus, being a tall fellow, climbed in with ease, while Catherine, who still stood at the same height she'd been in third-year, had to rely on Sirius to haul her up. They each sat down, Catherine next to Sirius on the left bench, and Remus next to Peter and James on the right. She rested her head on the large boy next to her, closing her eyes and taking in the scent of the pines that lined the trail.

"It feels so great to be back again," Catherine released a content sigh.

Sirius chuckled underneath her, "True words, those are. Now get off, Princess. You are wrinkling the robes." She smiled goofily as she sat back up.

"Such a gentleman, as always," she smirked playfully, hitting him softly on the shoulder. All the guys laughed as Sirius pretended to cower down in pain before they began conspiring over the first prank of the year that was to take place in a week.

They'd done it every year, opening the first Monday back with a bang that was rarely forgotten. Catherine had helped in third year by hexing the entire Slytherin table, turning their skin scarlet and cursing their banners to where they depicted a lion devouring a snake. But never again, she swore, would she subject herself to another howler like the one she received from her mother. So, instead of listening to their mischievous agenda, she watched as each person clambered off the train and hunted for an empty carriage.

There was a small group of minuscule second-years asking some older Hufflepuffs where they needed to go, there were third and fourth years (namely Slytherins and Gryffindors) playing around with minor hexes they'd learned over break, and then there was the rest of the lot -- fifth, sixth, and seventh years -- who took their sweet time catching up with all of their classmates, sprinting up to each other to meet in a tight embrace. It was nice watching the majority of the crowd interact so pleasantly with each other, not minding that they were rubbing elbows with a Slytherin or a Gryffindor.

Catherine hadn't realized that she'd completely zoned out until she was zapped back into reality by a girly squeal. She turned her attention to a group of three girls, giggling as they approached the cart. It was Lily Evans, Marlene McKinnon, and Mary McDonald.

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