Disclaimer: I own nothing.

Author's Note: Can't thank silentclock enough for his help here. Some feedback would be appreciated for this. Got a lot of ideas, so hearing your thoughts would help a great deal. Don't expect an update for a while. I'm still working through the plot and putting things together, but that's why I'd like to hear what you think.


A burst of drunken giggling broke the silence of the alleyway. The full moon illuminated the culprit stepping out of the shadows. It was a young woman, and she stumbled while trying to step off the curb. It only made her laugh harder, and she clung to the man's arm for support.

The pair continued across the road. For a few moments, the only sounds that could be heard were the woman's heels clicking out of rhythm with the man's heavier footsteps.

"Is it far to your place?" Katie Bell asked, casting a sideways glance at her companion. Her brunette hair was dishevelled from dancing, and the hint of eyeliner she wore had smudged a little on her otherwise unblemished cheeks.

"It isn't too far."

Their words had started to slur. When Katie glanced up at him, Harry also noticed her pupils were dilated. He knew his were the same.

"I can't believe I'm doing this," Katie whispered, and suddenly another giggle erupted from her chest. It sounded too loud in the dead of the night. "I never do anything like this!"

Harry gently squeezed her hand and offered her a smile he hoped was comforting, but he couldn't quite force himself to believe her claim of innocence. He couldn't believe she was going with him, either.

When they were younger, Katie had turned him down. She had been the first girl to do so. Like any young man, Harry's ego had been dented. It made this night meaningful to him. It meant more than just a quick fuck.

In simplistic terms, she was Harry Potter's glaring error.

"We would've been there already if you'd just let me apparate us," Harry pointed out, grumbling under his breath. It didn't really matter, but every second spent walking back was another second for Katie to change her mind.

"We can't break the law just like that, Harry!" Katie admonished. Her stern tone would have worked better had she not immediately stumbled yet again afterwards, causing her to break out into even more giggles.

Harry suspected she wasn't quite as drunk as she appeared to be, but didn't particularly care. She was drunk enough to go home with him, so he couldn't really complain.

They crossed over a silent main road and took a number of backstreets, before they finally reached Number 12, Grimmauld Place. Its many windows bathed a portion of the street in a dim yellow light, revealing a number of cracks in the pavement.

Katie stopped in her tracks, blinking rapidly as the light shone directly into her face. She surveyed the run-down street with poorly concealed distaste, her eyes falling on the house, before they settled on Harry. "This is where you live?"

"Not to your tastes, I take it?"

"No!" Katie gestured wildly to the rest of the street, with its flickering lampposts, dilapidated house, and old, rusted cars. "It's just…"

"It's not aesthetically pleasing, I know," Harry admitted, gently pulling her up the steps. "But this house is a few centuries old, believe it or not."

"I can see that." Katie snorted, eyeing a tabby cat scampering across the cracked tarmac.

"This house belongs to the Black family," Harry elaborated. "They've lived here for years, although thankfully the owner isn't quite as mad as the previous residents."

Katie's lips turned down in a slight frown.

"It doesn't matter, but let's just say the house has belonged to magical folk for a while," Harry said, barely repressing a sigh as they reached the top of the steps.

While he fiddled with a number of unseen locks on the front door, Katie wrapped her arms around his waist and pressed her breasts against his back. She stood on tiptoes and rested her chin on his shoulder. Her breath was warm against his ear, and Harry's eyes closed involuntarily, his senses tingling with anticipation.

"Why is there a snake nailed to your front door, Harry?"

Harry paused, his hand still gripped firmly on the doorknob. "It keeps away unwanted guests."

"Wouldn't a charm work better?"

"It's more fun this way," Harry said with a small grin.

It was highly unlikely anyone would ever figure out where the idea came from. Nobody would guess it came from Lord Voldemort's family, the Gaunts. The animated snake worked, though. Muggles often took a second glance at it and usually hurried their children across the road when they saw it rear up, as if to strike them, hissing at them if they got too close.

"It doesn't work as well on Halloween, but that's the only downside," Harry said, frowning.

"Why's that?"

"The kids in the area seem to think it's some sort of test," Harry muttered, mentally wincing as numerous memories came to mind. "You wouldn't believe how many Muggles I've had to Obliviate. At least I know a bit about Muggles from my father, but Sirius doesn't have a bloody clue."

Katie cocked her head to the side and gazed at him in slight confusion. "Why don't you just use a Muggle-Repelling Charm?"

"Like I said, it's more fun this way." Harry blatantly ignored the real reason Sirius had never put the charm on the house. It was difficult to take a Muggle woman home for the night when the house itself prevented them entry. In fact, Harry was fairly sure Sirius had taken down the Muggle-Repelling Charm that had already been on the house.

Katie blinked owlishly in the dim light. "Hang on. I thought your father was a Pureblood. How does he know about Muggles?"

"My mum was a muggleborn, remember. She taught him some of the basic differences." Harry swallowed thickly, aware that he was rambling and unsure why he was. It wasn't like he'd never taken a girl home before. "Anyway, shall we, uh, go up to the drawing room?"

Katie grabbed his fingers and smiled brightly just for him. "Lead the way, Harry."

The Black family décor had changed considerably from when Harry's father had first taken him to visit Sirius. He'd been quite young when Sirius had inherited the house, and hadn't understood why his godfather was throwing a party for the death of a family member. After all, Harry had been brought up to treasure family.

Whereas Walburga Black had left the house in pristine condition, Sirius had deliberately refused to carry on the tradition. He'd never carried on any tradition that his family had ever followed anyway, so it wasn't all that surprising. Every ornate picture had been blasted off the wall, every artefact thrown out with the rubbish – apart from one, but Harry didn't like to think about that – and there wasn't an elf left in the house, dead or alive.

Nowadays, Number Twelve was filled with useless odds and ends, many of them inventions gone wrong. Sirius took great pride in setting up Fred and George Weasley with the money to create a joke shop, and now the creating process for their gadgets and pranks happened in the house. Sirius helped invent, the twins sold to the masses, and they all profited. Harry's father and Remus Lupin liked to play advisers as well, and often earned a cut.

Harry had been thanked numerous times for being the one to introduce the twins to his family, and he couldn't deny the thrill of seeing some of his own work flying off the shelves. He was by no means a prankster, but he had grown up with the Marauders, so he didn't know any different in many ways.

Fred and George liked to pop over whenever they felt like it, and for some bizarre reason they'd often redecorate the house. It wasn't even because of a prank, but because Sirius got bored so easily. Harry had lost count of how many walls had been knocked through, or how many rooms had been switched completely.

Harry stepped into the drawing room and was immediately greeted by the fireplace roaring into life, the dancing flames creating long shadows over the soft carpet. The heavy, scarlet drapes were drawn closed, giving the room a somewhat cosy feel. The room had been declared off limits for Sirius and the twins' playful destruction, and Harry would be forever grateful for that.

Harry directed Katie to the plush sofa. "Can I get you something to drink?"

"I'll have some red wine, if you have any."

Harry tore his gaze away from her and hurried over to the glass cabinet. He pulled out a wine glass and a tumbler, one of the many that Sirius had acquired over the years. He poured a generous amount of whiskey into the tumbler and quickly gulped it down, ignoring the fire that flared in his chest. It soothed his nerves, at the very least. He added a touch more, before pouring the wine halfway up Katie's glass.

"I have no idea where it's from, but it should be okay," Harry said, setting the glass of wine on the chestnut coffee table. He kept the glass of whiskey in his hand.

Katie took a tentative sip and licked her lips. "Tell me." She leant forward, grinning playfully. "How old are you in that portrait?"

Harry glanced over the back of the sofa, to the portrait, and ducked his head. Where the Black family tapestry had once covered the entire wall, it was now dominated by a portrait of Harry's family. Sirius Black stood proudly in the centre, a bright smile lighting up his eyes. Sitting upon his shoulders was a three year old Harry, his small hands covering Sirius's eyes. Harry would move his hands every now and then, and fall into silent giggles. James and Remus stood on either side, both smiling and rolling their eyes every so often.

"I was three," Harry said with a fond smile. He could barely remember that far back, but that day was stuck in his memories. It was hazy now, but still there.

Katie observed it with a grin. "It's not a normal portrait."

"It's not," Harry agreed. "Sirius wanted it to capture the moment, so it's on a loop."


A few moments of silence passed. Harry took another gulp of whiskey, swallowing it with barely a grimace.

"So, what now?" Katie asked innocently, her brown eyes fixed on Harry from under dark lashes. The hint of a desire in her tone didn't go unheard.

Harry placed his tumbler gently on the table and turned to his guest, still not believing for even a second that Katie had never done this before.

"I- uh-" Harry cleared his suddenly dry mouth. "Do you want to, err- why don't we just, you know-"

"No," Katie said, stopping Harry in his tracks.


She shook her head of brown hair, letting it fall into place to frame her face. "No. You've got me all alone, Harry. I'd much rather we do what we should've done a long time ago."

Harry wasn't at all surprised when Katie leaned forward, nibbling on her bottom lip. Nor was he shocked when her lips brushed against his, and he didn't hang around on ceremony to reciprocate.

Katie increased the speed of the kiss, and she pinned him against the back of the sofa, pressing her small body against his. Her hands found his hair, gripping and tugging it.

As much as he'd felt off kilter for most of the night, he fell into Katie's rhythm, allowing her to dictate the pace. He'd never pined after her, but it felt like he'd waited an age for this to happen.

Harry's hands found Katie's hips, and she tugged impatiently at his shirt. He broke off the kiss momentarily to discard it. Katie unstrapped her heels and kicked them off within moments, and immediately sought out his lips again.

Harry's doubts that Katie wasn't a newcomer to this game were confirmed seconds later, after she'd managed to snake her way out of her dress, undo his belt, unzipped his jeans, and tug them from his waist to his ankles. The clothes were flung across the room.

It was the make or break point of the evening, as Sirius had once told him in great detail. Harry's situation wasn't quite at the point of no return, but he would be hard pressed to do something so monumentally stupid that he'd mess it up.

Harry's heart beat that little faster as Katie rid herself of the last of her clothing. He'd heard a number of horror stories of men in his position losing their composure, but Harry controlled himself, laughing in delight as he flipped Katie onto her back. Her giggles quickly died away, morphing into soft moans.

Harry's breathing turned heavier as the minutes ticked by. He wasn't sure how long had passed, but he felt the stirrings of something happening roughly an hour later. A fluttering feeling appeared in his stomach, like an agitated owl was furiously flapping its wings to free itself from its cage. It was unlike anything he'd ever felt before. Slightly unnerved, he tried to forget about it, but for the life of him, he couldn't quite shake the feeling of utter hopelessness that settled in his gut. It reminded him of that feeling he got upon hearing someone had died.

Harry opened his eyes and tried to concentrate solely on the feeling. He tried to ignore the look of utmost pleasure on Katie's face, and the gasping moans coming from her lips. With her nose only inches from his own, it was slightly hard to overlook.

It was some form of magic, Harry knew, and the kind that should never be tampered with. He didn't have a clue how he knew, but he realised that danger was poking its malicious head around the door.

On top of everything else, Harry had to contend with the ensnaring scents assaulting his senses. The smell of sex, Katie's perfume, and wine and whiskey washed over him in waves. He was giddy on adrenaline and his prior lust, but his euphoria was diminishing by the second.

The room started to spin, and Harry's eyes lost focus. He watched, entranced, as the blurred portrait of his family smiled down at him, somehow sinister and eerie now. He heard himself, at three years old, laughing uncontrollably, but the sound far from comforted him. If anything, it managed to terrify him more than anything had ever been capable of doing before.

Harry gasped sharply as he heard his mum's screeching screams, loud enough to perforate his eardrums. He struggled underneath Katie, finding himself pinned on his back. He tried to kick out, but only his hips bucked wildly as he tried to free himself.

Katie let out a small gasp, her lips parting in an ecstasy Harry was no longer a part of. She gripped his arms tighter, holding him in place beneath her.

A blaring ringing started inside Harry's mind, creating a cacophony so loud he couldn't concentrate. He couldn't think straight, and he dug his fingers into Katie's hips. He only held on tighter – so tightly that it must have hurt her – as pure magic coursed through his veins. It stabbed at his heart and flared inside his lungs. He couldn't breathe, and he flinched with the pain, the likes of which he'd never experienced before.

His erratic, harsh gulps of air meant nothing to Katie, who cried out something indecipherable. Harry bit down hard on his tongue, piercing it instantly. He tasted the iron as his blood – warm, bitter and thick – gushed into his throat, suffocating him slowly.

"Harry," Katie mumbled as she continued to pick up the pace, her eyes clenched closed. A thin layer of sweat covered both of their bodies. Katie's hair fell onto his face as she bit her lip, her cries mixing with the awful, agonising screams of his mother.

Harry had no idea how his arousal was still piqued, yet he felt no pleasure. He couldn't concentrate on anything, as two decade-old giggles from when Harry was a toddler joined Katie's moans and his mother's screams, and suddenly there was another voice, and it was followed by two more. Sirius was bellowing Harry's name, and James was screaming for his son, and Remus was roaring.

"Your death is nothing more than inevitable, Harry Potter. You will die by my hand, and my hand alone." Lord Voldemort's high-pitched laughter surrounded Harry, hitting him from all angles at once, yet it was impossible.

"Voldemort is fucking dead," Harry growled out, and whether Katie heard him or not didn't matter – Harry could only see himself running. A memory washed over him, and he could feel his legs burning, begging for a respite, and his lungs suddenly felt like they were filled with water, and he could hear Bellatrix Lestrange's haunting laughter mocking him.

Katie had heard his shout, but hadn't made out the words. She mistook it for something else entirely, figuring he was nearly at the edge.

The magic flared again, seemingly coming from inside his very body and everywhere else at once, growing in intensity as the seconds ticked by. Harry realised he was powerless to stop it, and the terror inside him suddenly multiplied tenfold.

Katie's cries of delight joined in with the crowd that were already doing their best to deafen Harry.

Her ecstasy meant nothing to him. He could only keep his eyes clenched and hope that whatever was attacking him would pass. Fury was bubbling up inside of him, fury at buried memories forcing their way back to the forefront of his mind, fury at Voldemort and Bellatrix taunting him from the grave.

The screams intensified again as they only grew louder. Sirius's voice filled his head, and he could vaguely hear Katie shouting something. A pair of strong hands shook him, and he instantly knew they belonged to his godfather.

"Harry! What the fuck! Harry, come on!"

Harry tried to open his mouth to say something, anything, but his tongue was blocking his throat and suffocating him, and nothing would come. He sprayed his own blood from his mouth as he tried to talk, but only a garbled sound came. He struggled as hard as he ever had, straining every muscle he had, but nothing would budge. Vibrations ran through his body, his blood felt like it was boiling him alive, and still the screaming only got louder. Harry could feel tears rolling down his cheeks as he heard his mother crying out, begging for his life to be spared.

Sirius was screaming helplessly at him, still shaking him furiously.

Then, for one brief moment, everything – the agonising pain, the terrible screams, the laughter – was gone. Harry opened his eyes, and Sirius's grey eyes locked with his own, full of terror and one thing Harry had never seen there before: helplessness.

"Harry, what's happening?" Sirius demanded, gripping Harry's shoulders, and at first it was unclear what he was talking about. Harry felt as though his whole body was getting lighter.

The world started to shimmer. Harry's vision started turning dark, but Sirius held eye contact with him.

"Hang on, Harry," Sirius said, and the sob that died in his throat had Harry's eyes stinging even more. "You fight like you never have before, all right? Don't you fucking dare go anywhere! Don't you fucking dare!"

Then the world exploded.

Then, it simply stopped.