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Chapter 8

The Luck of a Chance Encounter


The next couple of weeks had gone by fairly quickly and, for once, Harry was not wishing he was not there. He had one more week scheduled to work, and then he would be going to spend the last week before school at Grimmauld Place. He had as ‘normal’ a summer so far as he could have ever hoped for. It hadn’t been perfect, but it was by far the best of the last 15 years. Plus there weren’t any Dementors, or Death Eaters attacking him, in fact there hadn’t been as many attacks as they had expected in the wizarding world now that Voldemort had gone public, which worried Harry. To him this meant that Voldemort was planning something, and probably something big. His scar prickled as usual but Harry had not been able to see anything or feel much as far as Voldemort was concerned.

Work had been a great experience for Harry. Not only was he making his own money, and learning things like responsibility and whatnot, he had also found several good Muggle friends too. Living at the Dursleys’ had been a complete change. Prompted by the Order’s threats, his Uncle had pretty much left him alone, except to ask if he had sent his letter yet. The fact that Harry was sustaining himself took away a lot of things for him to grumble about as well. His relationship with his aunt was a different matter. He remembered the day she had come to him to give him a key. She didn’t say anything, simply offered it and walked away. When Dudley would eat his food, his aunt without a word would simply replenish it. In turn, Harry had begun to do things. He would bring an extra bag of potatoes, or chicken, and supplies. He never said anything, she never said anything. He also did chores without having to be asked and she never asked any more.

Dudley had got a job at a fast food restaurant, from which he was fired for eating the food, and now he worked at his dad’s factory and made drills. Vernon could not quite forgive his son for the embarrassment caused by his expulsion from school, and to aggravate matters, the police had come one evening dragging Dudley after having caught him beating up a young 10 year old with his goons. The second time the police came with Dudley in their grips, it had almost given Vernon a heart attack. Dudley was now the prisoner of Privet Drive. He was only allowed to leave the house to go to work with his dad, and back home straight afterwards. Harry had found himself sometimes feeling pity for Dudley, but not often, and he couldn’t help but feel relieved that the Dursleys could finally see Dudley for what he was.

Harry was learning to control his temper most of the time as well, and also learning to deal with the loss of Sirius had contributed to his growth. Harry was grateful for his job and his friends. He was still unable to let go of Sirius but with a busy summer Harry had not had much time to grieve for him. Harry had a nice relationship with Vero, the beautiful Latina from Central America, although she was adamant that things not get serious. Vero had said that when the new school year came she would go back home and return to school to finish her education. She had dropped out of high school to rebel against her parents, but now that they were dead, she wanted to make amends. She would be leaving for school in two weeks too.

Harry sighed with all the thoughts floating about in his head. He was actually looking forward to the weekend. Tonight he was going on a date with Vero after meeting with the gang at a local pub, and Hermione and Ron were going to stop by tomorrow, Saturday. He was looking forward to seeing his friends; he had seen them a bit as the summer progressed, and Hermione had actually visited him a few times, bringing Ron with her once or twice and the three had shared lunch when he worked. Harry had alternated his weekends when he didn’t work between visiting the Burrow, and spending the weekend with the Muggle gang. He had refused to go to Grimmauld Place until the very last week of the summer, and to his surprise the Order had not put up a fight with him. Hermione and Ron had spent a weekend with him, and they had all stayed at Nancy’s and Vero’s house. Harry would never bring them to the Dursleys’.

Harry lay in bed and looked down to the mop of dark brown, almost black, hair. Vero was next to him, sleeping in the hollow of his shoulder, one leg draped across him. Whenever he came to her house, Harry almost always ended up sleeping here and shared her bed. But they both enjoyed the proximity of their bodies. They hadn’t done anything yet, but it would be a lie to say that they had not explored each other. They had taught each other to kiss and experimented quite a bit with that. As summer progressed, they had grown to know each other a bit, although Harry had a heavy burden on him and he was unable to be completely honest with her, he also had the distinct feeling that there was more to Veronica than she would share. From kissing, things had naturally progressed from hands tentatively searching for places they had never been before, to learning to loosen buttons on shirts, to exploring each other in each others underwear. Her caresses were bound to cause a reaction on Harry, and vice versa, and it was only natural that their desires led them to learn the sensations that certain touches aroused. For now, they had reached as far as grinding against each other with their underwear between them, while making out, but nothing more.

He remembered how embarrassed he was last night when her hands had tugged playfully at the waistband of his underwear and she took a peek, but that was it. Worries about performance, and size, and unimaginable things crossed his mind, but his brain seemed to quit functioning and he was unable to produce a clear thought. He had felt so self conscious. Veronica leaned in and began to kiss him passionately. Harry’s trembling hands wrapped around her. Oh my God, this is it! Harry thought as he began to push her down on the bed. They had been interrupted by a loud knock on the door.

“Hey, Harry? I am taking off.” It was Chaffy. “You coming or staying tonight?”

Harry and Vero looked at each other. “Staying.”

“Alright mate, see you at work tomorrow.”
With the moment ruined, they had settled to kissing each other. They didn’t venture into anything more. But they were both feeling excited about new discoveries, and extremely curious about the final act that would culminate their innocence, yet neither felt ready to cross that line and then they had fallen asleep.

Harry for a moment wished that he had pushed to go farther last night, yet another part of him was relieved they hadn’t. He was going to leave to go back to Hogwarts by the end of summer, and perhaps he would never see her again, now that she would be heading back to Central America to go to school. He felt that to rob Vero of her innocence (and his) just before they left would not be fair to her, nor him. He was going to miss her though.

Harry thought about the time when he would have to go to Grimmauld Place, and a cold dread filled him. He didn’t want to go there. He hadn’t been there all summer yet, avoiding the place that was so full of memories of Sirius. Harry was beginning to accept Sirius’ death and Vero had helped him. He talked with her about his loss of his godfather, without many details, but she had comforted him. She had lost her parents recently, and sharing each other’s grief had helped. It had been very hard for Harry when he had attended the funeral arranged for Sirius, but she had helped him when he returned.

Another thing that Vero had helped Harry with was his temper. He had been on edge, and irritable all through last year and the heavy burden of what he knew he must do was almost driving him insane. He had been extremely angry with Dumbledore, the Order, his friends, and he sometimes couldn’t help but lash out, and Vero was always around when he lost his temper. But if he had a temper, it was nothing compared to Veronica’s. She was not one to back out of anything, and the arguments that sprung between Harry and Veronica were something frightening. Many times their friends had feared that they would murder each other, only to be surprised by how one second they were at each other’s throats, the next they were making out peacefully as if nothing had happened. Harry had to smile thinking about her spirit. Yes, he was going to miss her.


Harry put on his glasses and looked at the clock. It was 5am and he would have to get up pretty soon to be at work by 6:30.
He looked down at the dark haired girl and a knot built in his chest. He didn’t want to let her go. She had made him forget about his grief, about Voldemort, but soon it would be time to go, and to let her go.

He sighed and slipped from under her leg and headed to the bathroom. Veronica’s room was the one in the house with a private bath. He wanted to take a quick shower before going to work, despite the fact that he would be covered in concrete and mud, and dust by the time he left in the evening. He didn’t bother to cover himself as there was no one else in the room, and he was perfectly comfortable walking around his underwear in front of Veronica. He opened the door to the bathroom and entered. He closed the door and pulled his underpants down and headed to the shower but tripped on something he couldn’t see. He heard a female’s voice curse.

“OW… Damn it!” The girl muttered, although Harry couldn’t see anyone.

Harry jumped to get a towel, and heard someone sniggering at him as he tried to drape a towel to cover his indecency.

“Who’s there?” He hissed in a hushed tone and hoped Vero had neither noticed nor heard. Harry suddenly felt that he should have his wand with him.

“Shhh, relax, it’s just me Harry.” Tonks said as her head appeared as she slipped off her cloak.

“I thought you guys stayed outside and didn’t come into the rooms!” Harry said annoyed and nervous. That had been the agreement.

“Hey, it’s not like I wanted to be trapped in here!” Tonks replied annoyed too.
“It was an accident, I fell asleep! I swear! Last night I needed to use the loo, so I snuck in here to use it but you guys came into the room before I had a chance to get out, and on top of that you locked the door so I couldn’t leave until you fell asleep.”

“Shhh, you’ll wake her up!” Harry said panicked.

“Don’t worry; I have a charm on me so only you can see me. She can’t hear me either.”

Harry glared at her, when he noticed her giving him the once over.
“And why didn’t you just apparate out of here?” He asked, holding tight to his towel.

Tonks laughed. “Because Moody has put an anti-apparition spell for about fifty metres around you!” She replied her temper rising… “Look, it’s not like I wanted to see Harry Jr., I had to come in here last night because you two… well… you know… and I had to wait for you to go to sleep before I could get out, and I fell asleep in here!” She replied, but still chuckled at Harry and his mad grip on his towel.

Harry blushed deeply, and gripped his towel even tighter; trying to arrange it to make sure it would not fall off.

“Harry, relax. It’s not like I’ve never seen one before, besides… you obviously have nothing to be embarrassed about, and I am sure you…” She snickered.

“Shut up.” Harry said and wondered what she had heard last night.

“And don’t worry; I put a silencing charm on the door so I didn’t hear anything.” She said a grinned at him. Harry didn’t bother to say that they hadn’t done anything, although it wasn’t exactly what Tonks was thinking.

“Anyway, I best be out. Patrick will be here any minute, and Jane will be joining you later this morning. My shift’s over for now. I’ll take over at lunch for a bit. I’ll see you soon.” She said and Harry walked to the bedroom door and let her out.

Harry didn’t have time to shower now, so he dressed and slipped a t-shirt over his head when he heard Vero stir.

“What time is it?” She asked rubbing her eyes.

“It’s almost 6.” He replied.

“Were you talking to yourself?” she asked still drowsy.

“Erm, yeah. Just making plans aloud.” he replied.

“You’re off to work?” She asked as she threw her legs over the side.

“Yeah.”

“What time you get off?” She asked now stretching.

“I think I’m done at 4. At least that is the plan’” Harry said and put on his steel toed boots. “I have to go.” He said standing and walking to her.

“I know.’” She said sadly but quickly masked her feelings “I’ll see you at lunch, right?” She asked.

“Yeah.” He said and smiled. He hesitated at first, but then he leaned down and kissed her, passionately.

“I’ll see you later then.” He grinned at her.

“That’s not fair; you can’t kiss me like that and just leave me here.” She pouted.

“You’ll just have to suffer. Bye.” Harry replied and ducked as she threw a pillow at him and he disappeared out of the door.

****

Donovan sat at the little café frustrated. Harry would be going back to school soon and he still had not been able to get what he needed. He had staked outside the Grangers’ but they had been away all over the world most of the summer, and when Hermione was home she only went to the Burrow or met the Order in The Leaky Cauldron. Then he had walked out to the Weasleys’ home and had followed the owls as they delivered letters, but anything going to Harry was taken to Dumbledore at Hogwarts. He was never able to catch the owls on their way to Harry’s house. He had followed members of the Order, but not once had they disclosed the location of Headquarters nor the location of Harry’s house. Then when Harry visited the Burrow it had been too crowded for him to attempt anything, and he always left via floo powder to what he gathered was a neighbour’s house, and he had not been able to place a trace on the floo network on him. It seemed that the neighbour’s house location was protected by the Fidelius Charm and without the Secret Keeper’s consent he could not place a tracer on the system. It was also risky going by the Burrow as the man, Moody, with his magical eye, was very good at spotting magic and Concealment charms. Donovan was getting desperate; he had never had such trouble finding someone, Wizard or Muggle, nor finishing his assignments. Donovan sipped on his drink as he waited for his lunch.

“There you go sir, anything else I can get you?” The young lady who was serving him asked.

“No, thank you… Miss…”

“Becca, just Becca.” The waitress smiled.

“Thank you, Becca.” Donovan said and began eating. He sat by one of the windows and looked across the street at the construction site where a structure was being built. It looked like a commercial building with some apartments in the upper levels. He returned his thoughts back to his several works in progress, and still couldn’t believe he had not found Harry Potter.

A beautiful young lady entered the café and he noticed she greeted Becca warmly.
“They’ll be here any minute.” Becca said as the girl sat down in the booth across from Donovan.

Donovan saw a group of people leave the construction site, probably on their lunch hour.

“Hello Becca, Vero.” a young man with another young woman called as he entered the café with the other construction workers and they sat at the booth right across from him.

“Hey Chaffy, Nancy. Where’s Harry?” Becca asked when he didn’t see him with them.

Donovan couldn’t help but turn his attention to them. Harry was a common name, of course, and it would be ridiculous to think that it would be the same Harry. Besides, what would Harry Potter be doing here?
Still, he paid attention.

“He’s with Lucy finishing some paperwork. He’ll be here in a minute.” Chaffy told them and took the menu from Becca, kissing her hand lightly.

“Hey, not here!” She scolded, but still smiled at him.

“There you are!” Vero called to the two people entering the restaurant.

A young woman, with a strong build walked into the restaurant followed by none other that Harry Potter himself.

Donovan was taking a sip of his drink when his eyes fell on Harry. There was no mistaking that this was the same Harry he had searched for all this time, and he choked on his drink.

“Are you alright?” Lucy asked the man handing him a napkin.

Donovan coughed a bit, and then spoke. “Yes, yes… Thank you. It just went into the wrong pipe.” He said still trying to clear his throat as he wiped some of the spilled beverage.

“I’ll take care of that.” Becca said and began to wipe the table. “I’ll get the kitchen to get you another sandwich.” She added noticing that he had spit up all over his food, and took his dishes away.

“Thank you.” Donovan added.

“I hate it when I do that.” Lucy, the young woman that came in with Harry said to him while she smiled.

“Me too.” Donovan replied as he stood up and wiped his beverage from his clothes. “Good thing my meeting was this morning.” He mentioned, wanting to keep the conversation going. He was doing a great job of ignoring Harry, instead focusing his attention on Lucy, who seemed to be the oldest female in the group, and she obviously found him attractive. In no time, Donovan had been invited into the conversation with the others and an extra chair was pulled for him. He sat next to Lucy, and across from Harry.

He introduced himself to everyone “My name is Michael Dobsen, by the way.”

“Jeremy Chafner, but call me Chaffy.” Chaffy offered and they shook hands, and they each in turn said their names.

“Nice to meet you.” Donovan added.

“We’ve never seen you here before.” Chaffy said in his direct manner.

“This is my first time here. I usually visit Persanas a few streets from here when I visit the museum.”

“What do you do at the museum?” Vero asked intrigued. She had been to the one Michael mentioned and she loved going to museums.

“I’m an archaeologist. Ian, the curator, is working on an artefact I dug a few years ago, and I stop by every once in a while to see his progress. He does the research stuff, I mainly like to be in the field at dig sites.” he replied.

“I’ve met Ian. He showed us inside the lab and some of the things he had back there when I was on this tour once. I’ve seen him other times when I’ve gone back there.” She said with enthusiasm.

“Veronica right? I’ll mention to him that I’ve met you.” Michael replied to her, and smiled.

“What sort of artefact?” Harry asked not quite liking the exchange between those two. Donovan made a note of it. He gave an explanation of what they thought it was, but he made a point to focus on Lucy. Then conversation turned to other topics.

“You guys better get back to work.” Becca warned as she walked by to serve another table.

Everyone groaned but left the table, and Harry and Vero stopped a few paces from them to talk. Lucy stayed behind a moment longer to speak with Michael.

“Well, it was nice to meet you.” She said and flirted a bit.

He smiled “I know this is a bit sudden, but would you like to go out tonight?” He asked boldly.

“I can’t, we’re throwing this party to Harry, Becca, and Vero tonight, since they are leaving to go back to their schools in a few weeks… but why don’t you stop by if you’d like?” She asked hopefully.

“That sounds great. What is the address?”

Donovan sat back down when Lucy left, and his mind was busy working. He took out a pair of sunglasses and scanned the area. He spotted the two people under the Invisibility Cloaks walking behind Harry as he headed back to work. He knew they were Harry’s guard. They were invisible to people, but his sunglasses were charmed to see over Concealment Charms and cloaks. Donovan left his tip, and walked from the café and pulled out a mobile phone.

“Yes?”

“I’ve found him.” Donovan spoke.

“Excellent work; when can I expect you?”

“Tomorrow.”

“I will await you at the designated place.”

Donovan put his mobile phone away and set to work.

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