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Dizzy by Witch_Hazel

Format: Novella
Chapters: 12
Word Count: 13,662
Status: WIP

Rating: Mature
Warnings: Mild Language, Mild Violence, Scenes of a Sexual Nature, Substance Use or Abuse, Sensitive Topic/Issue/Theme

Genres: General, Romance, Young Adult
Characters: Harry, Ron, Hermione, Krum, Ginny, OC
Pairings: Harry/OC, Hermione/Krum, Ginny/OC, Ron/OC

First Published: 05/15/2007
Last Chapter: 05/12/2008
Last Updated: 05/12/2008

Summary:
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Twenty-seven year old Harry Potter has gotten bored with his life. The war is over, his engagement is officially broken and he is publically humiliated everyday by the public and his job. In order to escape, Harry slips into muggle London to have a private drink but finds so much more when he meets a young magazine writer. Harry continues to see her while lying about his real identity and things become dizzy real quick.


Chapter 1: Mr. Eligible
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Twenty-seven year old Harry Potter banged his head on his paper ridden desk. A self-writing quill scratched his signature onto a pile of papers and several post-it owls fluttered above his head in annoyance. He knew what they said and knew he didn’t want to read them.

“Hey Mr. Eligible!” A coworker pounded on the wall of Harry’s cubical.

Harry held a hand up, fighting the urge for it to be a single finger. Why, oh why, did things have to be like this? Witch Weekly had just printed their most eligible bachelor’s list and Harry ranked as number one since his on and off again engagement to Ginny Weasley became officially off six months ago.

Harry propped his chin up on his fist and blew out from his lips. He hated this attention. He hated the type of attention the attention drew from everybody else. They either assumed him an arrogant prat, a male whore or a loser.

Harry blindly threw a piece of unwrapped, sticky candy at the magazine that was hog-pogged on the floor where it landed when Harry threw it in embarrassment. It plinked off of the wall and plittered onto the publication.

“Hey, hey! It’s the Mr. Sexiest Man in England!” Another slam and whoop of manliness met Harry’s cubical wall, only to be met with a small groan from the pit of Harry’s throat as he let his head slam back down on the desk.

“Harry,”

Harry groaned again hoping to ignore whoever it was that was trying to engage him in conversation.

“Harry,” a small hand rested on his head and Harry looked up to see his best friend Hermione’s eyes looking into his. “Let’s go to lunch.”

Hermione led him down the winding hallways of the Ministry offices, her bright green Healer robes practically glowing against the neutral walls. Harry lowered his head and made sure not to look anyone in the eyes as all the women were sending flirtatious looks towards him and un-understanding winks from the men.

Hermione pulled him into the elevator and closed the grates and punched the number for the cafeteria. “How’re you feeling?”

“I want to disappear into an unknown tribe of nomads in Sweden, grow a beard and hope everybody can forget this horrible day and horrible fate that blasted magazine has put me with.”

When the soft beep indicated their arrival at the cafeteria floor, Harry jerked the grates open and led the two of them out. They fixed their plates silently and grabbed a small table in the corner.

“At least it was a good picture of you,” Hermione tried again as she picked at her salad.

“Why do they continue to do this to me?” Harry started again. “After the war was over, I asked the press to leave me alone and for the most part they did until Ginny pulled her stunt and the circus started all over again. I don’t understand this. Do they not realize that I am a real person with a real job and their constant gossip is more damaging than they realize?”

Hermione nodded, not wanting to interrupt Harry during his rant. “I understand that Harry. You’re a grown man now, not a little boy hiding behind Dumbledore. You’re an auror now and you require a certain amount of privacy with that title.”

Harry scoffed, “Yeah and for the past two months, all they let me do is paperwork. I haven’t even been in the field at all lately. It’s too much of a risk you know. Ugh,” Harry threw his fork down. “I can’t even eat now. I hate this.”

Hermione gave him a small sympathetic smile. “Do you want to come over tonight?”

Harry shook his head, “No. As much as I want to see baby boy Krum and spent time with you lot, I just want to be alone tonight. I may go into muggle London and have a drink or two then get started on my piles of paperwork because that is all I’m good for now apparently.”

“Don’t be bitter Harry. Things will slow back down and get to normal soon.”

Harry bit his tongue. “I’m just ready to move on with my life. I want to move on. I want to get to that next level. I’m almost thirty Hermione and what do I have? A flat and my face on a magazine and that’s it. I want to be married, I’m at that point and Ginny threw it in my face.” Harry stabbed his sandwich and pursed his lips.

“Have you talked to Ron today?” Hermione asked gently.

“No,” Harry shook his head, “I heard there was a misunderstanding of some sort between the German and the Welsh Quidditch teams and he’s been fire calling and flooing all over the world today trying to fix it. Probably won’t see him until tomorrow at the earliest.”

Hermione checked her tiny gold watch. “I have to get back to the hospital. Be careful tonight, okay?”

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Harry entered a popular after work watering hole for London employees called the Dizzy Dragon. The lights weren’t too dim and the bar was well stocked, perfect for Harry.

“What can I get you love?” A feminine male bartender asked Harry as he took an empty leather stool.

“Crown and coke,”

“Blue raspberry martini,”

Harry looked over his shoulder to see a petite woman dressed in designer labels reaching out to take her martini. “Sorry,” she said as she took a light sip.

“It’s okay,” Harry took his drink from the bartender and noticed the martini woman sitting down on the zebra print stool next to him. “Come here often?”

The woman shrugged and nodded, “Sometimes. I work a block away so it’s the most convenient. I’m Kate,” she held out her hand politely.

“Harry,” he took her hand in hers and shook it lightly.

“Nice to meet you Harry,” Kate swirled her cherry speared pick in her blue drink. “Work around here?”

“Kind of. What do you do?” More people were starting to hover around the bar and Kate scooted a little closer to Harry so she could talk to him.

“I’m a writer for Glitz magazine. Have you heard of it?” She peered at him with blue eyes, intensified by her blue martini she was taking a sip of.

Harry copied her by looking at her as he drank. He could swear he saw a faint blush on her cheeks. “I can honestly say I have never heard of it. Of course, it doesn’t exactly sound like my kind of magazine either.”

“I didn’t think it would be,” Kate laughed. “So what do you do Harry?”

“Uh, if I told you, I’d have to kill you,” Harry laughed at her slightly worried look. “I work for the government in national security and all.”

“Oh, so you keep me safe,” Kate crossed her trendy tight covered legs. “I feel safer all ready.”

Harry smiled and noticed they were both low on their drinks. “Let me buy you your next drink Kate.”

“And I’ll buy you the next drink.”


Chapter 2: Confusion and Repetition
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Harry woke up the next morning with a pain in his temple. He was hungover and he could not remember how many drinks he had the night before. He ran a hand over his eyes and rolled over to let his body come into contact with another.

Kate was next to him naked. Harry looked down to realize he was as naked as she and they must have been in her flat because it was certainly not his. Harry looked around for his glasses and found them caught in the comforter on the floor. He put them on and tried to figure out what had happened the night before.

Kate stirred slightly next to him and her blue eyes fluttered opened and met his green at first with serenity, and then with panic.

“Oh my goodness, what happened?” She jerked the sheets up around her chest and her jaw dropped in shock.

“Um,” Harry ran a hand through his hair, “I don’t know. How many drinks did we have?”

“I don’t know. Um, I think I had around six martinis. Oh, God,” she buried her face in her hands. “I can’t believe we . . . did we really? Oh my God!”

Harry leaned against the headboard and looked ahead and not at Kate. “I don’t even know you.”

“I know,” Kate groaned around her hands. “I mean, I think you’re cute, but I wouldn’t go to bed with you without going on at least a few dates.”

Harry looked down at Kate who had released her face and was shaking her head, her blonde, wavy, hair mussed in her face. “I don’t even remember it,” she mumbled more to herself than to him.

Harry shook his head in agreement. “I don’t either. Um, I think I’m gonna,” he trailed off and pointed his thumb out the door, looking for his pants as he did. He was careful, though, to keep a sheet secure around his waist.

“Yeah,” Kate got out of the bed as well with a sheet tied tightly around her body. “Um, I know this is awkward and all, but, um,” Kate looked away as Harry managed with slight difficulty to shrug on his pants while still holding the sheet, a blush filling her cheek. “Can we meet later? It Sunday you know and I know I don’t have to work today and um, maybe grab a spot of brekkie or something.”

Harry, fully dressed now, rested his hands low on his hips and looked on the ground. “Um, I do have to work today. I don’t know how late I am right now but I know I’m pretty late. Um,” he looked up at Kate, “but I would like to meet up later. Hopefully we won’t loose our heads like we did this time.”

Kate smiled and nodded her head. “Um, here’s my number,” Kate wrote down a mobile phone number on a post it on a small table next to her bed. “I hope to see you soon.”

“Yeah,” Harry pocketed the number, hoping he would be able to find a phone to call her from. “Um, I’ll see you around then.”

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

“Where were you this morning Harry?” Ron came into Harry’s cubicle and took a seat that wasn’t filled with paperwork.

“Overslept,” Harry mumbled as he wrote a report on the whereabouts of a dark wizard.

Ron scoffed and thumbed through a stack of paperwork. “Yeah, right, mate. You can’t oversleep because you don’t sleep. Try another one Potter.”

“How’re your parents?”

Ron pursed his lips and let the change of topic slide. “Fine. Mum wants you to come to dinner tonight.”

“Can’t, I have plans,” Harry threw his quill down, he was starting to wind down for the day.

“With who?”

“A magazine.”

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

“I’m really glad you called,” Kate said as she crossed her legs under the table of the small restaurant she and Harry agreed to meet at. She was dressed in a plum Dior dress with a lovely, yet very classy, show of cleavage.

Harry barely had time to change after work after finding a lone pay phone to call Kate from. His jeans fit the atmosphere of the restaurant but Kate’s dress jazzed both of them up. “I’m glad too. After last night, you know, I wasn’t sure if you really wanted to see me again.”

Kate looked slightly embarrassed and took a sip of her martini. “Yeah, I was kind of worried you would feel the same way. Have you heard what we did last night?”

Harry shook his head as the waitress brought them their salads.

“Apparently we had our drinks along with shots of rum and tequila and began making out right on the bar and they had to remove us and put us in a cab to take us to my place,” Kate looked at Harry intensely in the eyes.

Harry, surprisingly, kept the gaze. Any other time he would have broken it off but her blue eyes were intriguing. She was very different from Ginny, he noticed, even through the small space of time he had known her.

Ginny had been more like Harry: rough and tumble, ready to go on a random adventure with little to no care of appearance. Kate, on the other hand, was the polar opposite. Kate was delicate and more materialistic than Ginny. Kate was the type of person who would wait for you in the rain if you were late whereas Ginny would either follow you or leave.

“You’re beautiful,” he told her softly as the light reflected off of her blonde hair. Why was he saying that? Yes, she was lovely but it took him at least a month before he had the gall to tell Ginny anything like that.

“Thank you.”

Harry felt a small foot caress his ankle and trail up his leg to his knee where he took her by surprise and grabbed her foot in his hand and stroked her bare ankle with his thumb.

“I wish I could remember what your kisses felt like,” Kate said softly, her eyes dark.

“I want to remember what you taste like.”

The two of them stared at one another hard, Kate’s foot still in Harry’s lap. Harry could feel the sexual tension between them rising and his heartbeat quickened as he watched her tongue dart out slowly between her lips as she smoothly moistened them.

“Do you want to get out of here?”

Kate grinned. “Oh yeah.”

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Once again Harry found himself at Kate’s apartment naked in her bed. Only this time, he remembered everything and was desperate to create new memories. He nuzzled her neck with his lips as she answered his questions while they laid in the bed together.

“I’ve been with Glitz for three years and I love it, I really do. The hours and the pay aren’t great but the free stuff makes it worth it to me. My sister used to be really into fashion too until she had her son, Peyton, two years ago. Now it’s just jeans and sweats,” she rubbed his arms and readjusted her legs around his waist.

“Do you want that one day?” Harry was kissing her stomach, pulling the sheet off of her as he went.

“Jeans and sweats? No, but I do want kids. And I want my own magazine and a summer house in the country. And I . . . and I want you to keep doing that. Oh,”

Chapter 3: Harry's Secret Rage
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Harry found himself waking up at Kate’s apartment every other day for the next two weeks. When he was with Kate, in Kate’s world, Harry’s life didn’t seem so pointless anymore. He smiled more and being called Mr. Eligible didn’t bother him as much anymore.

“Who is she Harry?” Hermione begged as they picked up a few new clothes for Hermione and Viktor’s son Leo.

“I’m not telling,” Harry sang as he looked around the baby shop, out of his element. He only did it so he could get out of the office on his lunch break.

“Have I met her?”

“Nope.”

“Harry!” Hermione picked up a blue jumper and some socks and headed to the front of the store with her purchases. “This is not fair. Can I meet her?”

“Not today.”

“Harry,” Hermione groaned as the retail witch bagged Leo’s new clothes and handed it to Hermione. “This isn’t fair! I want to know who this witch is that is making you so happy. I haven’t seen you smile this much since . . . I don’t think I’ve ever seen you smile this much.”

Harry grinned, he couldn’t help it. He was sleeping less and spending more money, but yet he was still at the happiest point in his life, and Hermione’s witch comment fueled the smile more. “Well, I’m at a good spot now.”

“Over Ginny?”

“Yeah, I think I am.”

“Tell me her name Harry, please, just her name,” Hermione gripped his arm as they walked down the street.

“Kate. Her name is Kate.”

“Kate what?”

Harry stopped. He could honestly not recall Kate’s last name. Did he ever know her last name? “Kate’s all you’re going to get.”

Hermione pursed her lips and shook her head. She would wait, she would have to apparently. “Okay Harry, but will I ever get to meet her?”

“Eventually,” Harry grinned and dropped her of at St. Mungo’s, “but not today. I don’t want to scare her off just yet.”

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

“I don’t know your last name!” Harry yelled into Kate’s ear. They were once again at the Dizzy Dragon and a band was loud in the background. “We’ve been together for three weeks and I don’t know your last name.”

“Herrington,” Kate said into his ear, laughing as she did. “My name is Kate Herrington and you’re Harry Potter.”

“When did I tell you that?” Harry slid his drink down the bar, signaling he was ready for another.

“The night we met. You probably don’t remember. I used my charming journalism skills on you and found out that your name is Harry James Potter, you grew up in Surrey, your parents passed away when you were a baby and you went to a boarding school that you refused to tell me the name of,” Kate beamed at him.

Harry was astonished. He had no idea he had told her those things then. “You amaze me everyday.”

Kate laughed and took a sip of her green apple martini. “Um, I have to step over here for a mo’ darling. I have an interview tonight, remember?”

“Oh yeah,” Harry nodded. He remembered her telling him that she had to interview an up and coming band tonight. “How long will it take?”

Kate kissed his cheek. “Not long. I’ll be up there in the V.I.P. lounge. When I’m done we can go do something else,” she kissed his lips and went up the stairs to the lounge where Harry could see a group of long haired guys drinking and throwing things around the lounge through the window.

Harry sighed and resorted himself to a fresh drink. He would glance up at the window to the lounge every once in awhile and could faintly see Kate jotting down notes in her slim reporter’s book and one particular member of the band getting closer and closer to her.

Harry gritted his teeth and refused another drink. If he had another, he would forever embarrass himself and Kate as he would physically beat the little bands asses. The music seemed to be getting louder and Harry looked up at the window one more time to see Kate pushing the guy off of her and he was still trying to grab her.

Harry pushed his way to a corner where nobody seemed to be paying attention to anyone but themselves and appaparated to the top of the stairs, behind the bouncer.

“Hey!” the bouncer yelled, “how the bloody hell did you get up here?”

Harry ignored him and let himself into the smoky room to see Kate coming towards it, the guy right behind her. Harry could faintly see tears rimming her eyes.

“Hey baby love, come here,” the musician yelled as he turned Kate around and held her in place firmly.

“Son of a bitch,” Harry ran forward and yanked Kate out of the way and punched the guy in the face. “Don’t you fucking touch her again!”

“Harry! Stop it!” Kate screamed as Harry scuffled with the musician, who was fighting back, but not with as much force or vengeance as Harry. Two beefy bodyguards pulled them apart and escorted Harry out of the bar, Kate fuming behind them.

“What is wrong with you?” Kate screeched when they got outside. “I had everything under control and then you barge in there as if you have something to prove! I could loose my job for this Harry!” She hit him with her white Prada bag.

Harry’s jaw dropped. “How could you say that? He was all over you and you were in tears! What did you expect me to do, just sit there and be okay with him attacking you! I don’t think so Kate!”

“I’ve known Pat since grammar school! I had finished the interview and he told me about how his older sister, who my sister was friends with, died from cancer! But did you know that? No! You just saw something, thought something and starting fighting like a loon! You’ll be lucky if he doesn’t press charges.” Kate walked away, her heels clicking angrily, before turning back around to face him. “At least I saw how psychotic you really were before we got any deeper. Stay away from me.”

“Wait, Kate!” Harry hurried after her, trying to find a way to turn this to a good light on him. “Kate, I’m sorry, I really am. I wasn’t thinking. Don’t, don’t walk away like this!” He grabbed her arm and turned her around, similar to how Pat had done. “Please.”

“Harry, let me go,” Kate demanded softly, not looking at him.

“Kate,”

“Let me go!”

“Oy, what seems to be the problem here?” An officer flashed his light on the couple, giving a wary eye to Harry.

“Nothing officer,” Kate said softly, her muscles loosing their tense feel under Harry’s grip. She sighed rested her head on his chest. “It was just a misunderstanding sir, nothing to fear. Thank you though.”

The officer glared at Harry and walked down the sidewalk.

“Kate,” Harry tried to start weakly.

Kate kissed his lips softly. “Call me in the morning, okay?”

Chapter 4: The Almost Perfect Dinner
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"Hermione, will you calm down," Viktor scolded as Hermione flittered about the dining room making sure every piece of silverware was sparkling and in the perfect place.

"I can’t," she replied, "Harry’s brining his new girlfriend tonight and I want to meet this witch that has taken by the hand and brought him back to the living. He’s been with her for over a month and nobody has even seen her. I’m so excited." They could hear Leo cooing in his nursery down the hall. "Will you get him please while I check on the appetizers?

As Viktor left to get Leo Hermione heard a faint pop outside the door, followed by a knock. "They’re here!" she squealed to herself as she hurried to the door to open it. "Harry! Oh," she was disappointed to see Ron standing before her with a mysterious dark haired lady. "Come on in Ron . . . and friend."

"This is Miranda," Ron said, pointing to the dark haired lady. "She’s a garment model." Viktor came out with Leo, who was dressed in soft footie pajamas, and introductions were made. Hermione served a round of light appetizers and soon after, they heard a car pull up and lights flickering through the window.

"Is that a car?" Hermione wondered aloud as she opened the door. "Harry!" Hermione ushered Harry and Kate in quickly to the warmly lit home. "Why did you come in a car?" she asked Harry’s ear as everyone introduced themselves to Kate.

Harry bit his lip sheepishly. "Because Kate’s a muggle and I haven’t told her I’m a wizard yet. There’s my boy Leo!" Harry hurried over to take Leo out of his father’s arms and placed an arm around Kate, ignoring Hermione’s shocked look. "So, let’s eat."

The dinner went smoothly enough. Ron’s model friend mainly pushed her food around and pouted while Hermione, Viktor, Harry and Kate talked jovially about everything they could think of.

"And then Harry ran over, a fist raised all ready, and punched Pat in the face! Pat is an old friend of mine and he was picking on me and Harry took it the wrong way. You should have seen his face!"

Hermione and Viktor laughed at Kate’s recount of Harry’s rage at the Dizzy Dragon. Harry did not join in, but smirked instead. "Yeah, but I made it up to her later. She was screaming at me for two nights in a row, but for two very different reasons."

Kate rolled her eyes at him and Harry squeezed her knee under the table. Things were going well for the first meeting between Kate and Harry’s friends.

"Did you know Harry was going to marry my sister?"

Until then.

Harry bit his tongue. "No Ron, I haven’t told her that," he muttered through gritted teeth as his friend, who had had one too many glasses of wine, "and I wasn’t planning on it for awhile."

Kate looked between Ron and Harry, her Chanel logo earrings glittering in the light. "No, I wasn’t aware of that."

"It’s not important," Harry said sharply as he stood up, Kate following him, confused. "We have to go. I have an early shift tomorrow." Harry kissed Hermione’s cheek and shook hands with Viktor before leading Kate out.

"Harry, what was that about?" Kate asked as they got in the car.

"Nothing," Harry glared out the passenger’s window as Kate began slowly to go down the driveway.

"Ron, why did you say that?" Hermione hissed as she yanked Ron’s plate from in front of him, much to his displeasure, and threw it in the sink. "We were having a lovely time until you had to bring up the past, making both Harry and Kate uncomfortable and then they had to leave because of it!"

Ron shrugged, his eyes red from the wine. "I don’t know Mione, I had some wine and I’d been wondering why he hasn’t ever mentioned this Kate girl before and,"

"Wait, Harry never mentioned her to you?" Hermione stopped cleaning the kitchen to look at Ron. Viktor slipped down the hall to check on Leo, and to get out of dodge.

"No, never. Why, did he say something to you?" Ron’s eyebrows were furrowed in confusion. At Hermione’s nod, his expression became set and hard. "Why would he lie to me?"

"Maybe he was worried how you would take it considering what happened with Ginny," Hermione said softly.

"I still think they should have gotten married," Ron crossed the large oval table and ran his wand down the crisp table cloth, cleaning it of stains. "Neither one of them will say what happened between them after,"

"Oh, Ron don’t say it!" Hermione shrieked, covering her ears with her hands. "I . . . I really can’t bear to hear it again. It was too much the first time."

"Ronnie, I’m ready to go," Miranda murmured as she came into the room. Nobody had noticed she had left.

Hermione set her jaw firmly and glared at Miranda. "Enjoy your meal Miranda?"

"Yes, it was delicious," Miranda responded, rubbing her hands over Ron’s chest in an attempt to get him out of the house.

Hermione growled and rolled her eyes. "Goodbye then." Hermione heard the pops of their departure and threw the utensils into the sink. Viktor came into the kitchen, wrapped his arms around her waist from the behind and kissed her temple.

"Dinner was delicious Mione."

"What did you think of Kate?" Hermione asked him as she continued to clean the dishes by hand instead of using her wand, an indicator of irritation.

"Nice. Not someone I would picture Harry with though," Viktor poured a glass of wine for himself and another for his wife.

Hermione shook her head. "I didn’t either but she seems to make him happy. I mean, I never thought Harry would fall for someone who was the prettiest girl in school or who had the shiniest jewelry. Kate, I don’t know, I like her but I still don’t know."

Viktor handed her the glass and they both leaned against the counter. "Do you think she’s with him just for the money and the fame?"

Hermione shook her head. "She doesn’t know. She’s a muggle." She nodded at Viktor’s surprised look. "I’m surprised you didn’t pick up on it with how she acted naturally and how carefully Harry chose his words sometimes. I know Harry prefers the quiet life and I think he’s outreaching to the muggle world for it. Maybe this girl is the best thing for him," she said softly. "Maybe Kate can help him heal and move on."



Chapter 5: Confessions
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“Kate Herrington, please.”

“Hold one moment,” A wired secretary pressed a number on a telephone as she typed something on her white computer. “Kate, you have a visitor . . . okay. You can go back now.”

Harry thanked the secretary and headed back through the glass and color offices of Glitz Magazine. A rolling rack full of designer clothes whizzed by him and once it passed, Harry saw the blonde hair that fanned out perfectly on a pillow. Kate was typing on her computer and talking with a coworker in the next cubical which she could see through by a small window in the soft cubical wall.

“Hey,”

Kate turned around to see Harry coming towards her, a takeout container in his hand. She smiled brightly as he sat on her desk. “Baby, what are you doing here?”

“I brought you lunch. Is this a bad time?” Harry kissed her sweetly.

“No, no, this is fine, this is great. Oh, Harry, this is my friend Liza,” she pointed to the spiky brown haired coworker through the window. Liza and Harry acknowledged one another with nods and waves before Harry turned his attention back fully to Kate.

“I had some extra time today and I was in the neighborhood and I thought I’d surprise you with lunch,” Harry pulled out the sandwich containers for her, making sure not to come in contact with any papers or office machines, “and I wanted to talk to you about the other night.”

“Okay,” Kate opened her sandwich and popped the top on her soda, “are you sure you want to talk about this here and now?”

Harry stopped. He was about to open his mouth and start his speech but her question made him think. “Not really, but I get more and more scared the more I put it off and I don’t . . . I can’t put it off. Not if I want to get anymore serious with you.”

They ate a few bites in contemplative silence before Kate broke it. “Come over tonight, I’ll have dinner and we’ll talk about it okay,” she leaned forward and kissed him again. “Harry, I lo . . .”

“Don’t,” Harry held a finger up and stopped her. “Don’t say that yet.”

“But, but,”

“No, no,” Harry kissed her to silence her. “Not yet, not yet. I have to get back to work. I’ll come round tonight. I’ll see you later.”

Kate watched Harry leave and she felt confused. Why would he not want her to say that she loved him?

“What was that about?” Liza rolled her chair over into Kate’s cubical.

“I don’t know. I didn’t even realize I was saying it until he told me not to. Why wouldn’t he . . . do you think something’s wrong? He said he wanted to talk to me, do you think he wants to break up with me?”

Liza shrugged. “I don’t know love. This was the first time I met him and he seems like a nice guy but, I don’t know, there’s something shady about him that I can’t put my finger on,” Liza crumbled up the takeout bag but noticed that it wasn’t empty. “Oh, somebody has a present,” she sang as she handed Kate the bag.

Kate opened it to see a box wrapped in today’s newspaper. “What is this?” she wondered out loud.

“Sunglasses, bet,” Liza quipped as she ate a chip from Kate’s plate.

“I think you’re right,” Kate muttered as she opened the box to find a beautiful pair of Versace sunglasses. “Oh wow, look at these.”

“Lucky girl,” Liza gushed. “He may not be breaking up with you; he may tell you he’s gay if he picked these out on his own. Let me see these,” Liza snatched the glasses away and looked at her reflection in a mirror. “Hey, how’s the sex?”

Kate grinned and groaned throatily. “Amazing.”

Liza nodded, the glasses perched on her nose. “He may be bi.”

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Kate shoved the Italian takeout boxes under the sink in the garbage. Harry should be here at any moment and the butterflies were taking over her. She was intensely curious as to what Harry wanted to talk about, yet at the same time she didn’t want to hear it; especially if he wanted to break up with her or tell her he’s gay.

There was a knock on the door and Kate quickly opened it and ushered Harry inside. “Hey, how was work?”

“It was okay, I’m getting rather tired of the paperwork but hopefully it’ll get better,” Harry swept her up in a kiss and leaned her back in classic old movie style.

“Woah,” Kate nearly fell when he let go of her lips. She was breathing hard and her heart was pounding. “It got better for me. Um, dinner’s on the table.”

“Brilliant,” Harry murmured as she led him to the well dressed table. “Did you make this yourself?”

“Uh huh,” Kate said as she sat down, not looking at him.

Harry looked at her, clearly not believing her, but not wanting to burst her bubble and sat down at the table, taking a very deep breath as he did. “Okay, what I need to tell you. I was engaged before to my best friend’s sister.”

“What happened?” Kate fiddled with her wine glass.

“She got pregnant,” Harry said softly, looking down at the table and not at her. “I was so excited, she wasn’t. Well, the months went through and she was about five months along and we were going to be married a month after the baby was born. She, I don’t know exactly what happened, but she went into premature labor and had the baby. She was stillborn.”

Kate remained quiet while Harry spoke and noticed tears filling his eyes.

“I signed the birth certificate; I even gave her my mother’s name. I named her since Ginny was knocked out. I cried for what felt like hours before Ginny woke up. When she did, she told me that the baby wasn’t mine. She was cheating on me and he got her pregnant, not me. I didn’t believe her; I didn’t want to believe her. We had a paternity test to prove it and I wasn’t the father and it broke my heart.”

A tear slid down his cheek as he talked about the daughter he lost yet never had.

“I was willing to forgive her even after that. After what she did to me, I still wanted to marry her. I told her I would marry her right here in the hospital.” Harry stopped, he didn’t want to say anymore.

“What did she say?” Kate placed a hand on his leg and watched him intently. Harry put his hand on hers and curled their fingers together.

“I haven’t told anybody any of this. She told me she never wanted to see me again and that it had been over forever and she only kept me around so she could save up some money to leave me since I paid for everything.”

Kate didn’t know what to say. She kissed his cheek and hugged him tightly. “I love you,” she whispered into his ear. “I honestly love you and I would never hurt you like that.” Kate kissed his ear and cradled his head in her arms lovingly. “Do,” her breath caught in her throat, “do you love me?”

As Harry looked at her, something filled his eyes that she had never seen before, “Yes. I was afraid to hear it and terrified to say it after what Ginny did, but yes, I do love you. We’re so different but I don’t care.”

“We’re not that different,” Kate whispered as the food grew cold on the plates.

“As long as you believe that, I will,” Harry responded but Kate never heard him as she was unbuttoning his shirt.

Chapter 6: I'll Be Waiting
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“Where is Harry?” Molly Weasley asked to nobody in particular as she waited with her husband and youngest son at The Leaky Cauldron. “I thought he said he would be here by now.”

“He’ll be here Molly,” Arthur responded patiently as he flipped through The Daily Prophet. “At least here isn’t any mentioning of him in The Prophet today, he’ll probably be happy about that.”

“At least they’ve stopped saying things about Ginny,” Molly snipped. “As if their break up was completely her fault.”

Ron said nothing but stirred his tea nonchalantly. He hadn’t spoken to Harry since Hermione’s dinner party and that was over a week ago. He hadn’t really wanted to since he discovered Harry’s secret named Kate.

“Hello. Sorry I’m late,” Harry came behind them and hugged Molly and shook Arthur’s hand. “I got a little behind at work.”

“Papers getting to you?” Ron quipped from his seat.

Harry cocked an eyebrow at Ron’s remark. “No, not today. German’s keeping you away from your model friends?”

“Boys, boys, play nice. Now, let’s get going before we run out of time,” Molly ushered them out into Diagon Alley and led them to Fred and George’s shop, Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes. They stepped inside to a whirling world of bangs and smoke.

“Hello parents dear and wittle Ronnikens. Hey, Mr. Eligible,” George slapped Harry’s back. They could faintly see Fred’s violent red hair checking someone out at the back of the store. “I guess you’re here to congratulate the lesser twin on his latest endeavor on proposing to Miss Angelina.”

“Yes, yes, I’m so excited. It is about time he settled down,” Mrs. Weasley took that moment to glare at Ron who switched women as often as he changed socks. Miranda was a lone past memory. “How’re Wendy and the baby?”

“Blossoming,” George started to lead them to the back where Fred was but a beeping noise caught their attention. “What is that?”

Harry took out the slim mobile phone out of his pocket. He only had one bar of service in Diagon Alley, more than the thought he would. Kate’s number was the only one in the phone and she was calling him in the middle of the day, which was odd.

“Hello?”

“Is that one of those moveable pellytone things?” Mr. Weasley asked excitedly as Harry exited the shop as quick as he could so he could hear Kate.

“Hey,” Kate’s voice was quiet and soft, “what are you doing?”

“Um, visiting a friend’s shop. What’s wrong? Did you not like the gift I sent you?”

“No,” Kate sniffed, “I loved them. I love lilies and they look so pretty on my desk but,” she sniffed and Harry could hear a faint sob, “that’s not why I’m calling. My grandfather had a heart attack and died today.”

“Oh baby, I’m sorry,”

“Harry!”

Harry turned around and saw Molly tapping on the window, signaling him to come inside. Harry held up his finger in patience and tried to talk to Kate, which was becoming increasingly static filled. Witches and wizards stopped and pointed as the famous Harry Potter talked into a stick in the middle of Diagon Alley.

“Kate, Kate, are you there?”

“Yes, where are you? Can you come to my apartment please? I don’t want to be alone.” Harry could hear her voice cracking with thick emotion.

“I’ll be there in a mo’. I love you.”

“Harry!”

Harry closed the phone and hurried into the shop. “Sorry Mrs. Weasley but I have to go. Something’s come up.” Harry kissed her cheek, ignoring her scandalized look, and hurried out the door, earning a proper glare from Ron as he went.

“Well that was odd,” Molly commented to nobody in particular. “Do you know what’s wrong with him Ron?”

Ron bit the inside of his lip. “Yeah and something needs to be done about it.”

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

“I just don’t understand,” Kate sobbed into Harry’s shoulder as they sat on the couch together. Her makeup was running down her face and onto Harry’s shirt. “He wasn’t that old but he loved his bacon and it killed him. Oh my God, I want my Grampie!”

“Shhh,” Harry kissed the top of her head and held her tightly. She had been crying since he got there but had clung to him as if he were the rock of life and that feeling empowered Harry, made him feel worthy of waking up that day. “I’m so sorry Kate. Is there anything you want me to do?”

Kate shook her head, “Just stay with me. I’m sorry I dragged you from work but I can’t stand this,” Kate reached over and took a handful of tissues from the coffee table and wiped her eyes, smearing the mascara even more. “My sister’s coming to get me and take me to my parents’ house. Can you stay with me until then?”

“Of course,” Harry replied as he stroked her hair softly with his fingers. Kate’s sister, Jillian, showed up about an hour later dressed in the sweats Kate had described her in.

“Come on Katie, mummy wants all of us to talk before dinner and prepare for the funeral,”

Harry couldn’t help but notice how cold Jillian seemed towards her sister and the discussion of their grandfather. She hadn’t even noticed he was standing there, holding Kate’s Louis Vuitton suitcase.

“Mummy also cut her hair so tell her it looks lovely because she hates it and Dad took up fencing so the scratches are normal now so don’t stare. Where’s your suitcase, we have to go.”

Harry held it up dumbly as Jillian grabbed it, texting on her Blackberry at the same time. “Hurry Katie!”

Kate followed behind pulling on her jacket, taking Harry by the arm as she led him out. Her tears were still staining her face. “Thank you,” she whispered as Harry held the car door open for her. “I love you.”

“I love you too,” Harry kissed her and stroked her cheek with his thumb. “Call me and let me know what’s going on okay. If something happens and you need me there, just call me and I’ll be there, okay.”

“Okay,” Kate kissed him again.

“Katie, we have to go!” Jillian scolded from inside the car.

“You better go,” Harry whispered as Kate slid inside the leather interior of the car. “I’ll be waiting.”

Chapter 7: Duty Calls
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The rain pittered on his window as the radio played softly in the corner. Harry was reading a report on the wizard Sidney Wall, who was on the run from the Ministry for murdering a family in their sleep over a lost bet.

“Grew up in Little Windall, mother’s a shopkeeper, father’s a baker, both muggle,” Harry mumbled to himself as a low rumble of thunder entered from outside. 

“Petty run-ins with the law over gambling and theft. Murdered Seamus Brown, Melinda Brown and their two children Nick and Lesleigh with the Avadra Kedvara curse while they slept in their beds in Elephant and Castle. Believed to have run to Little Windall and escaped by illegal portkey to greater Europe.”

Harry took a sip of the beer on the table next to him and faintly heard the radio announce severe storms in the London area and to exercise caution if outside or flying on a broom. Kate was still with her family and was due back later in the week. She had called him but assured him she was okay and he didn’t have to come.

He missed her. He missed her physically at night; he had become incredibly spoiled from their nightly sessions of sex and the withdrawals were intense. He missed her smile and the way she sparkled in the light. Perhaps it was the jewelry she wore or perhaps it was just her. He wished she would hurry and come back.

“Potter!”

Harry looked over to the fireplace and noticed the floating head of auror department Howard Craddock.

“Sir,”

“We need you in the office, we have a break in the Wall case,” Howard’s head disappeared with a pop and Harry looked around for his shoes and robes. Once he found them he cracked into the office and took a seat at the shiny round table where other aurors were seated at.

“What’s happened?” Harry asked as printed parchment was passed around.

“He was spotted scuffling at a pub in Rome. The Italian authorities were on hand but he managed to slip by. One victim suffered minor hexes, the other is dead but over four hundred galleons were missing from the pub after the fight and Wall is the main suspect. I need a team to go to Rome and sniff this guy out; he’s irritating my all ready irritated bowel syndrome.”

The other aurors said nothing. Howard often made mention of his IBS at the most inappropriate times.

“Now,” Howard continued, “who to go.”

Harry perked up. He hadn’t been in the field for so long and he was desperate to get back into the routine. Harry had been sure he was not even considered for any assignments for the past few months but since Howard requested him at the briefing, perhaps his luck was beginning to change.

“Rubbins you’re heading it up,” Howard nodded to a middle aged black man with a ring of silver hair, “and Potter’s going with you. He needs to get back into the field so take care of him. Go home and pack the essentials. Be sure to kiss your wives goodbye because there won’t be any contact with them until this is over. Meet back here in an hour.”

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Harry threw his basic things in a bag. He had forty-five minutes to be back to the office and he still had to write his letters and call Kate. Finding a quill that was lost underneath a pile of robes, Harry quickly penned the situation to Ron and Hermione and sent them off with Hedwig. He then dialed Kate’s number as he continued to stuff the bag.

“Hello,” Kate’s voice sounded groggy as if she had just woken up.

“Hey, listen,” Harry cradled the slim phone between his ear and shoulder and it was rather uncomfortable. “I probably won’t be here when you get back. I have an assignment in Italy and I don’t know when I’ll be back.”

“Oh,”

“How are you?”

Kate yawned deeply, “I was asleep. I was planning on coming home tomorrow because I have a deadline coming up in a few days and I need to get my sources straight. You have no idea when you’ll be back?”

“Hopefully soon,” Harry zipped the bag and looked around to make sure he didn’t overlook anything. “I’m just glad to be back in the field.”

“I bet you are,” Kate said. Harry could nearly hear the smile in her voice. “Bring me back something pretty.”

“I will darling, I promise. I love you.”

“I love you too. Good luck and come back in one piece.”

Harry hung up the phone and placed it on the nightstand to charge. He would have no need for it while he was in Italy. He looked at it sadly and cracked to the Ministry.

“Good, you’re early. Rubbins is here too so I want you guys to go over there early since we have gotten news that Wall has killed again. The bloke who threw him out the pub was found dead in an alley by a hag. Apparently it was by the killing curse. Things are starting to get unstable so I want both of you to use extreme care when you’re tracking him. Stick and work together. Understand?”

“Yes sir,” Harry and Rubbins said together.

“I hope it was a Hell of a kiss you gave your wives, or girlfriends,” Howard nodded at Harry, “because you may be there for awhile.”

Chapter 8: Something Wicked's Coming
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Harry had been in Italy for two weeks and nobody had heard anything out of him. Kate was growing worried because she wasn’t exactly sure what kind of work Harry did in security. Was his line dangerous? Was there a possibility he wouldn’t come back? Why had she not bothered to ask more questions about it?

Kate tightened her scarf and white pea coat around her as she walked the brisk London streets. The weather had gotten colder in the past two weeks and it would probably try to sleet soon. It was late. It took her awhile to get her story written and put in as she was waiting on a source. She still made it by deadline.

Kate gripped the straps of her green Marc Jacobs bag that she had received as a freebie the previous week and stepped into the Dizzy Dragon for a cuppa before she went home. The bar was bustling, but not as busy as usual as it was a Tuesday night. 

She grabbed a seat at the bar directly across from where she and Harry had first met. A group of women were sitting there awing over one woman’s apparent new engagement ring. Kate watched the stone sparkle in the pub light. It was a lovely ring and she caught herself wondering when she would be able to show off one of those rings.

Kate quickly shook those thoughts out of her head. She and Harry had only been together for a few months and her thoughts were being too quick.

“What can I get you love?” It was the same bartender from when she met Harry.

“Dirty Grey Goose vodka martini.”

Kate looked around the bar, not interested in the scene like she used to be. She could see some of her coworkers gossiping in their designer clothes in a corner booth, but she wasn’t interested in joining them tonight.

Kate took her martini and took a sip. She missed Harry. His quirky oddness kept her guessing what was going to happen next and she loved it. She missed his green eyes penetrating hers as their bodies connected. Kate bit her lip and stirred the olive in her martini.

He was so mysterious sometimes, perhaps too mysterious at certain points when it came to his job and childhood. Maybe that was just a part of his security training that floated into his everyday life.

“Kate?”

Kate turned around to see Pat standing behind her, his long hair shagging in his eyes.

“Pat! What are you doing here?” Kate set her glass down and hugged him tightly. Pat took the neighboring barstool next to hers. “I thought you blokes were on tour.”

“We are,” Pat flicked his hair out of his eyes somewhat awkwardly, “but since we saw each other the other night I can’t stop thinking about you.”

“Even after Harry tried to kill you?”

Pat laughed, “Yeah, even after that. Are you still seeing him? I don’t see him around.”

Kate smiled and nodded. “I am and things are going so well. He’s on a top secret assignment in Italy right now and nobody knows when he’ll be back. I hope soon though,” Kate took another sip of her martini and the room began to spin.

“Woah,” she leaned against the bar for support, she felt as if she were going to fall over.

“It’s okay, it’s okay,” Pat grabbed her and held her tight. “Are you all right?”

Kate shook her head and then realized it was a bad idea as the room started to swirl in techicolors. Pat’s scent felt intoxicating and his manly strength was dizzying. Before she knew what was going on, they were back at her apartment, clothes flying off of their bodies.

Kate could feel Pat digging into her, begging to go where Harry had gone. Pat suckled her breast through her bra and slid her matching panties off. Kate moaned in pleasure as he kissed his way down, further and further.

“Harry! Harry,” Kate screamed, gripping the bars of the headboard.

“My name’s not Harry and you’ll do good to remember that,” Pat growled as he flipped her over and made a high pitched scream escape Kate’s lips. She could hear her neighbor banging on the wall, reminding her to be quiet.

That neighbor often interrupted her and Harry’s sexual encounters, but it never bothered her. Tonight it was too raw, too sensual to quiet down. The only thing missing was him.

Kate bit her lip and groaned as Pat gripped her hips. She could feel the onset of bruises. Harry never left her with bruises, at least not ugly, ferocious ones like Pat’s. The headboard was banging against the wall.

“Stop,” Kate asked, beginning to come to her senses. This wasn’t right, this wasn’t her and that surely wasn’t Harry. The world wasn’t spinning anymore but she was feeling sicker and sicker with every thrust.

“Oh no, you started this and you’re going to finish this whore,” Pat growled as his fingers dug deeper, making the bruises more prominent and painful.

“Pat, stop it! Stop it now!” Kate yelled, her voice scratchy with fear. Tears were filling her eyes with fear, pain and regret. “Please,” she hit his chest but it did not faze him, he kept on, ignoring her pleas and cries.

It was hurting her, physically and mentally. Harry’s face kept dancing in her mind and what he would do if he ever found out.

Pat let out a groan and let go of her. He was done with her. Kate slumped on the bed in pain. She curled into a ball and let out a sob as Pat got dressed, unconcerned with her. Kate pulled a blanket over her and coughed from her tears as Pat leaned down and kissed her cheek, which she pulled away from.

“Tell Harry about this and I’ll kill both you and him. Of course, even if you do tell him he’ll leave you. After all, isn’t that what happened with his last girlfriend? Tut, tut, tut. Poor bloke. When will he ever see what was good for him?

“But you know what,” Pat tapped his chin in mock thought with his finger, “maybe you should tell him. Guilt is a poison you know. It eats you up no matter how pretty or victimized you think you are. You should be used to it though. I mean, this is all girls like you are good for, a fast lay and leaving the dirty laundry with you. I like that. We should do this again.”

Kate shook her head, crying harder as Pat degraded her and reminded her of how she destroyed her relationship with Harry for no reason.

“Oh don’t worry Kate, he’ll get over it. There are better girls out there for him. Ones who are like him and understand. You aren’t one of them, no matter what you do, you won’t be one. Give it up.” With a laugh, Pat walked out the front door, but it was Ron Weasley who left the complex, still laughing.

Chapter 9: I missed you, but did you?
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A week later Kate sat at her computer and responded to e-mails that were crying for her attention without really thinking. The only thing she could think about was that night with Pat. Her hair was lank on her head as she had not conditioned it since the event happened. Her clothes weren’t as pristine and pressed and it made her coworkers sneer. Of course, some of them assumed it was because she was missing Harry so much.

The lilies Harry had sent her those weeks ago had long died but Kate kept the cut crystal vase on her desk. She would randomly burst into tears now, for no reason known to her coworkers and her work was starting to slip.

A pair of hands closed over her eyes from behind. “Guess who.”

Kate turned around to see Harry beaming at her, a faint bruise on his cheek. “Harry! Oh my God, it’s so good to see you. I’ve missed you so much!” Kate hugged him tightly, his scent filling her lungs.

“I’ve missed you too darling and I’ve brought you back something,” Harry handed her a leather bag by Dolce and Gabbana and it was filled with chocolates, candles, jewelry and soft, colorful lingerie tucked inside the bag.

“Oh Harry,” Kate’s fingers ran down the smooth leather of the bag, “I can’t,”

“Yes you can,” Harry kissed her lips. “I said I would bring you something back and I did. I missed you while I was away though,” he leaned close to her ear. “Take off for the rest of the day. I promise I’ll make it worth it.”

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

As she and Harry made love in broad daylight at her flat, Kate should have felt exhilarated that her lover had returned to her but all she could feel was guilt and disgust of what happened in this very bed a week ago.

Harry kissed her neck softly and she could ever so faintly feel his tongue playing along her jaw line. He was all she ever wanted. He was good looking, smart, apparently wealthy, worshiped the ground she walked on and great in bed.

Was she what he wanted?

She couldn’t be. Why would he want a cheater and a louse like her?

“I love you,” he whispered into her ear as they laid there after their love making. He had his arms wrapped firmly around her and he was kissing her ears, neck, shoulders, back, wherever he could touch her with his lips.

“I love you too,” Kate mumbled and turned over in his arms so they were face to face. She kissed his lips but he noticed she had barely smiled since he got home.

“What’s wrong?”

“Nothing,” Kate insisted as she plastered a smile on her face. “I’m just worried about work and all and I’m letting it ruin your homecoming.”

“Oh, what’s happened?”

Kate shook her head. “Nothing, I’m just getting tired of it and I want to do something else you know,” she hated lying to him but he couldn’t know what happened. “I want to do my own magazine but it’s so hard to get the money together and finding a niche and a design that sets it apart. It’s an art, it really is, and so many magazines don’t get past the first issue nowadays.”

Kate sighed and kissed Harry’s chest. “But let’s not worry about this now. Let’s order some food and stay in bed all day and all night, just the two of us. No work, no worries, nothing.”

“I like that idea,” Harry agreed as he settled into the pillows. “I’m in the mood for Indian food. I don’t want pizza or any kind of Italian food at all, ugh.”

Kate grinned and kissed him again. Maybe he would never find out and she could grow to forget it. He seemed to love her more than any man she had ever been with and didn’t deserve to know that pain.


Chapter 10: Something's Off
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“Does she still not know?” Hermione asked Harry as they sat down at a table in the hospital cafeteria.

“Nope,” Harry replied as he bit into an apple. “Things are starting to get complicated. I need to tell her soon. I hate lying to her about this Mione but it’s the only thing I know to do right now.”

“Harry, she needs to know you’re a wizard. Especially if you want to keep seeing her.”

“I love her Hermione, I really think she’s the one for me and I don’t want to loose her.”

Hermione smiled, no longer interested in her lunch. “I’m happy to know that Harry. I know she makes you happy and I’m so glad for that, but she needs to know.”

“I know, I know,” Harry picked at the cafeteria roast on his plate. “Isn’t Ron supposed to be here?”

Hermione sniffed her nose in a snobbish manner. “Yes, but he may be distracted by his new model friend Monica.”

“So it’s a Monica this week?”

“Mmm hmm,” Hermione nodded. “She’s a muggleborn jumper model.”

“Ello mates!” Ron sat down in the empty chairs, a gleeful smile on his face.

“What are you so happy about?” Harry asked as he and Hermione watched him curiously.

“Nothing, it’s just a beautiful day full of beautiful women.”

“So, I guess we can figure out why you’re late,” Harry quipped teasingly as Ron started to eat from Harry’s plate.

“Same reason you’ve become late to work every other day now. How’re things with the muggle lady?” Ron snipped in a more serious manner as he looked down at the table.

Harry bit his tongue. “Look, I know you’re not happy with me since I didn’t tell you I was seeing Kate but it’s no reason to act like this now. It’s been months.”

“Don’t get defensive mate, I’m over it,” Ron looked at Harry, not sure where Harry’s rage had come from. “In fact, your little lovey-doviness has caught mum’s attention. She’s figured out that you’re seeing somebody and wants you to bring her over.”

Hermione slid a look to Harry and Harry matched it. “I can’t do that yet mate,” Harry replied nervously. “One day I would love to introduce Kate to your mother but I can’t right now because Kate doesn’t know I’m a wizard.”

Ron said nothing but nodded his head, but an odd look had taken over his face.

Harry stood and gathered his things. “I have to go. Lunch was great, I’ll see you lot later.”

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

“What can I help you with Mr. Potter?”

“Can you please tell Neville that I’m here and I wish to speak with him please,” Harry told the young salesgirl.

“Sure,” the girl disappeared behind a curtain and Neville Longbottom emerged a moment later. He was still a round faced man, but now owned his own herb and flower shop in Diagon Alley called Rosemary’s Thyme, named after his wife Rosemary.

“Harry! What can I do for you?”

Harry grinned and leaned against the glass counter filled with magical herbs. “Do you still do muggle deliveries?”

“Yeah,” Neville nodded his head, not sure where Harry was going with his questions. “Not very often, but we do them.”

“Good. I need a delivery to my girlfriend,” Harry said softly and told Neville his order and the address of where to take them to Kate. “Not a word of this Nev.”

Neville shook his head. “Harry, you’ve been my friend since school. I fought alongside you, believed whatever you said and was there when Hell broke loose. I’m not going to sell you out now.”

Harry grinned. “I know. How’re the babies?”

“Good, good,” Neville nodded. “Rose has her hands full with the girls but it’s a good life.”

They chatted over miscellaneous things for a few more minutes before Harry bid his farewells to get back to work, knowing Kate would receive a bouquet of the most beautiful flowers by the end of the day.

The flowers were delivered around two to Pittman Publishing to the Glitz Magazine floor. Kate was in a meeting when Neville delivered them himself so he did not get a chance to see the woman who snatched his friend’s heart.

Kate walked out of the meeting to see an arrangement of white, pale pink, purple and green blooms, all glittering as if they were coated in ice. “Oh my God,” she breathed as she touched the petals of a rose; it was, surprisingly, not cold.

“Well, well, well, either you did something really good or he did something really bad,” Liza said as she came up behind Kate, in awe of the bouquet as much as Kate was. “What does the card say?”

Kate picked up the small, rolled up piece of parchment and read the contents out loud. “It’s not everyday I find something so beautiful that I can’t live without. I’ll pick you up at 7 for a night you’ll never forget.” Kate traced over Harry’s loopy signature and noticed the florists name imprinted on the parchment. “Rosemary’s Thyme? Have you ever heard of that place?”

Liza shook her head and read the note over Kate’s shoulder. “Diagon Alley? I’ve never heard of that place either,” Liza’s desk phone began to ring and she hurried to pick it up leaving Kate puzzled, her natural curiosity kicking in.

Something wasn’t right.

Her cell phone rang in her purse and Kate dug through it to find it before the ring tone disturbed anybody. As she dug through the luxury bag, Kate noticed something odd.

“This isn’t Dolce and Gabbana.”

“What?” Liza came back over and looked at the bag Harry had given Kate. “It’s a knockoff then, but a really good one. Dragon and Gabbini?”

“Have you ever heard of that?” Kate asked Liza who was feeling the dragon skin leather, something her muggle fingers have never touched.

“No. This is odd.”

Kate nodded. Now she knew something was off.


Chapter 11: The most memorable night of our lives
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Harry hurried up the stairs to Kate’s apartment. It was five minutes after seven and he was cursing himself about being late. Tonight had to be perfect. He tightened up his tie and knocked on her door, which she opened almost instantly.

“Harry! They were beautiful,” Kate kissed him instantly, obviously pleased with her flowers. “I loved them,” she pulled him into the apartment.

“I’m glad,” Harry managed to say between kisses. “You look beautiful,” he held her out at arm’s length and took in her black and white lace cocktail dress.

“Thank you,” Kate blushed as she poured two glasses of white wine. “Where are we going tonight?”

Harry took the offered wine and took a sip of the chilled liquid. “Mmmm, I was thinking dinner at Valice and,”

“I’ve always wanted to go to Valice but it’s so hard to get a table there,” Kate gushed as her eyes got big with excitement.

Harry laughed and pecked her forehead. “I have connections. Then I was thinking of going and seeing ‘Cabaret,’”

“That’s such a lovely story, I love that show,” Kate said as she sat on the counter, pulling Harry towards her with her legs, his back to her.

“And then,” Harry rubbed her legs, having abandoned his wine glass, “I was thinking about a nightcap at our favorite bar, the Dizzy Dragon, and then coming back here.”

“Sounds like a plan,” Kate purred into his ear as she kissed his cheek. “It sounds absolutely perfect. I can’t wait.”

“Good.” Harry stood there between her limbs, rubbing her legs as she rubbed his stomach and kissed his cheek.

“Baby,” Kate whispered into his ear.

“Mmm?”

“Where, exactly, is Diagon Alley?”

Harry’s half closed eyes snapped open and his fingers stopped caressing Kate’s knee. “Um, why?”

“Well, the flowers were just so beautiful that I thought I would go to that place and send my mother some.”

“Um,” Harry had no idea what to say. He was internally kicking himself for not telling Neville to use blank parchment for the note.

“And,” Kate continued, “while we’re on the subject, darling, I’ve never heard of a Dragon and Gabbini line. I’ve even talked to our Italian magazine and they’ve never heard of it either.”

“Um,” Harry could feel a sweat breaking out on his forehead and his heart was beating fast. “Uh, it’s almost time for our reservations, we should get going.”

“Wait, what’s the big deal? Why won’t you tell me?” Kate called after him as Harry removed himself from her legs.

“It’s not, I just don’t want to be late,” Harry lied looking for his jacket.

“Considering there is no such place as Diagon Alley or Rosemary’s Thyme. I looked it up online and cross referenced it with a friend of mine who works in the Department of Transportation in the Ministry. What’s the deal Harry?”

Harry loosened his tie. He did not expect Kate to follow up on his carelessly left clues, but she was a journalist after all, he should have expected this. “Okay, Kate, there’s something I have to tell you. I wanted to tell you later tonight but I don’t think we’ll make it there unless I say it now.”

Kate crossed her arms and watched him intently waiting for his explanation.

“Um,” Harry’s eyes searched for his abandoned glass of wine. He quickly spotted it and downed it in one gulp. Maybe the influence of alcohol would help him get through this. “I . . . I love you Kate but I haven’t been completely honest with you. Oh, Merlin,” he rubbed his face with nerves.

“Okay, okay,” Harry set the glass down, his back to Kate so he didn’t see her eyebrows quirk at the phrase ‘Merlin’. “God I love you,”

“I know, you’ve said it all ready. Harry, tell me!” Kate said irritably.

“I’m a wizard. There, I said it. I should have told you earlier but I was afraid you would look at me like you are now and leave,” Harry winced at Kate’s shocked, yet irate, expression.

“That’s it,” Kate mumbled from her perch on the counter, “that’s the big secret? A big, fat lie. Oh, oh, oh, don’t even try to get out of this,” Kate jumped off the counter, her heels slamming against the tiled floor and waved a finger at Harry’s opposing words, “I know what this is all about, this night, this . . . this confession, you want to break up with me!”

“Wh . . . what? No!” Harry yelled, he walked to Kate, but Kate dodged him.

“No! No!” Kate was furious, her cheeks were pink with anger. “I don’t understand what is wrong with you? Why are you lying to me to get out of this? If you want out, just say it Harry and I promise I won’t cry over it,” Kate yelled, tears all ready streaming down her face, ruining her perfect makeup.

“No! It’s true Kate, I’m not lying. This is who I am! I went to a school of Wizardry, that’s why I never told you about where I went to school. I’m an auror, which is a dark wizard catcher and, and, please listen to me!” The open bottle of wine on the counter fell over on its side, spilling its contents from Harry’s voice.

Kate was pacing in front of the couch, her hands over her ears, crying. “Stop it Harry! You’re doing this on purpose to hurt me! Stop it!”

Harry bit his lip, his emotions were beginning to take over him and accidental magic could ensue. He took out his wand and floated a tissue to her. Kate sniffled and watched the tissue float within her reach, and screamed. “Stop it! Get out! Get out now!” Kate ran to the door and opened it. “Get out, now.”

“Kate,” Harry started weakly, his heart beginning to break and tears welling in his eyes, “don’t do this.”

Kate shook her head defiantly, “No, you’ve all ready done it,” she nodded her head out the door.

“But I love you,” Harry whispered pathetically.

Kate was breathing deeply, taking care not to look at him. “No you don’t. Leave, please.”

Harry stared at her, not fully believing the situation. He bit his lip and closed his eyes, which allowed a tear to slide down his cheek before magically cracking out.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

“He’s asleep!” Hermione cheered softly as she jumped onto the couch and wrapped her arms around Viktor. She had finally gotten Leo to go to sleep and now, she wanted some alone adult time with daddy.

Viktor had been dosing on the couch, a peril of marrying a Quidditch star, and Hermione nudged him awake. “No,” she whined, “don’t go to sleep.”

“We had a rough training session today and I’m exhausted,” Viktor kissed her cheek and rubbed her flannel covered thigh just as Harry cracked in and headed straight for the liquor cabinet. “Harry?”

“I should have never listened to you Hermione,” Harry growled as he fixed a bourbon drink.

“What happened?” Hermione asked as Harry gulped the drink and started to fix another.

“She left me Mione. I told her and she left me. Thanks a lot.”

Hermione looked at her oldest friend. His hair was disheveled and his eyes were rimmed red from unshed tears and alcohol.

“Harry,” she started carefully, “she had to know. It’s not like you’re other wizards.”

“And thanks for pointing out the obvious bookworm,” Harry snapped viciously.

“Shhh!” Hermione begged just as they heard Leo crying from his nursery, awakened from all the noise. “Harry,” she sighed, closing her eyes as Viktor went to get Leo, “sit down and tell me what happened.”

“I did,” Harry snarled as he walked over to her. Hermione was sure she had never seen him so angry. Harry threw something on the coffee table and cracked back out as quickly as he came.

“What was that all about?” Viktor asked as he came back out, Leo in his arms.

Hermione picked up what Harry had thrown on the table, avoiding Leo’s tiny hand from taking it out of hers. “Oh, no.”

Hermione’s jaw dropped from the sight of the glittering diamond ring.

Chapter 12: When She Comes Around
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Harry banged his head on his desk. For the most part the desk was clean, which did nothing to cushion his head as it came in blunt contact with the wood. He had been in this mood for a week and a half, ever since he admitted to being a wizard to Kate.

“Women problems still got you down Potter?”

Harry looked up from his self-inflicting headache to see Howard standing in his cubical. Howard took Harry’s blank, sad look as his answer. “Mmm,” Howard mumbled as he sat down in a chair. “Admitted to a muggle didn’t ya? Yeah, I know how bad that can go.”

“Is your wife a muggle?” Harry asked hopefully.

“My second one was,” Howard answered, watching the young man carefully. Harry seemed to be hanging off of every word Howard was saying as if looking for a spot of inspiration.

“How did you tell her?”

Howard shook his head. “I got drunk one night and told her everything. I never could hold tequila. She freaked out, as you can probably testify, and said she never wanted to see me again. I loved her though so I never stopped trying to get in contact with her. I gave her some time to think, but I eventually pushed my way back into her heart,” Howard leaned on his knees and looked at Harry intensely as if telling him a dire secret.

“It’s a scary thing for a woman to discover that her lover isn’t what she thought he was. Women like control over their environments Harry, and magic is something they can’t control no matter how hard they try. All you can do is be patient and love her and worship her and if she’s the one, she’ll come around” Howard stood up, his robes swirling around him as he left. “Think about it Potter.”

Harry watched his boss leave and go around the corner before allowing his head to slam down on the desk.

Somebody else knocked on the door, breaking his pathetic routine. “Hey,”

“Hey,” Hermione sat down in the chair Howard had recently vacated. “Are you still upset with me?”

Harry shook his head. “No. I wasn’t angry at you to begin with. I just needed someone to put my frustrations on and you were a good victim. I’m sorry Mione.”

Hermione smiled. “I just slipped away between shifts to see you and give you this back,” Hermione placed the diamond ring on the edge of the desk. “Um, stop by tonight if you’d like. Leo misses you.”

Harry smiled at his friend and hugged her before she left. “And um, stop hitting your head Harry, we don’t need anymore scars up there,” Hermione flattened his fringe and walked out.

Harry looked back at the ring and quickly pocketed it. Time was all he could have in this.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

“Did she say what she wanted to see me for?” Kate asked Liza as she stared at the post it on her desk requesting her presence in the editor’s office.

Liza shook her head. “No sweetie, but I don’t think it’ll be good.”

Kate’s eyes filled tears and bit her lip. “This is it isn’t it?”

“It may not be,” Liza hugged her as Kate began to cry. “It may be nothing at all.”

Kate cried for the rest of the day as she carried a box filled with her office things up to her apartment. She had been fired. Her work had been slipping the past few months and her editor had enough of it.

Kate sniffed as she unlocked her door and slouched inside. The interior was a wreck. She had not bothered to clean or tidy up after herself for the past week or so. Not since she kicked Harry out. Out of reflex, she hit the answering machine, she had two missed messages. One was from Liza asking where she was because the editor left something on her desk. The other was from Harry.

“Hey, um, I know you probably don’t want to speak to me but I miss you and I should have never lied to you like that but I loved you so much I didn’t want to loose you. Kate, please, call me back. I don’t care what time. I love you.”

He had been leaving messages like that for the past few days. Kate had yet to respond. She threw her keys on the table and flopped on the couch. How could things get any worse? The phone rang but Kate had no desire to pick it up. Apparently it was her sister, she came to discover, as Jillian left a message on the machine.

“Hey Katie, call me when you get this. Mummy wants to have a get together next week and needs to know if she has to schedule a date for you that night or not. Call back.”

Kate sighed and picked up the phone and dialed a familiar number.

“Hello?”

“Hey. Can we meet somewhere?”

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Harry waited anxiously in the quiet restaurant. When Kate called, he dropped everything he was doing and agreed to meet her wherever she wanted to meet, whenever. Every time the door opened Harry’s head whipped to see if it was her, but it never was and Harry had an ache in his neck.

“Harry?”

Harry turned around to see Kate. It was raining heavily outside and rain droplets fell off of her rain hood and made dark spots on her green sweater. “Kate, you look great.”

Kate gave a little half smile. “Not really, but you look great. How’ve you been?” Kate asked as they sat down across from one another, hot, yet chipped, cups of coffee in front of them from the friendly waitress.

“Missing you,” Harry answered honestly.

“I’ve missed you too,” Kate whispered. “But Harry, this is too much to comprehend that you’re a wiz,”

“Shhhhh,” Harry motioned for her to lower her voice.

“What you are,” Kate finished softly. “Harry, I don’t know if I believe you yet or not. I mean, I really don’t know. It’s mad to think about.”

“I know, I know, but if you come with me somewhere, you’ll be able to actually see what I’m talking about,” Harry tentatively reached out for her hand.

“What do you mean?”

She let her fingers curl in with his.

“Come with me to my world.”

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