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Hogwarts' Dawn
Chapter 13

By Jeconais

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Author Notes:

Huge thanks to Luan Mao and Kokopelli for all their efforts and encouragement.

I've put this chapter together late at night, due to not having had any free time all week - so any remaining mistakes are mine and mine alone.

Ben finished his speech to the students and dropped off the edge of the ring and then made his way back over to Tenebris.

Ivan climbed into the ring. As well as the normal kick boxing gear, he was wearing a chest protector, and was wearing a large punching pad on each hand.

Harry was bouncing back and forth, from one leg to the other. Ivan took a deep breath, and then nodded.

And Harry attacked.

The second before Harry started to move, Ben could see, even from the distance, that Harry had released his self-control.

Harry’s first move was a jump kick that smacked into the pad that Ivan held in front of his face, despite the fact that it meant Harry had to jump almost a foot and a half into the air to get his foot that high.

Harry then moved into a fast series of punches that crashed into Ivan’s protected chest.

Ben shook his head. “I know this is a spar, but I’ve taught him not to drop his guard like that,” he murmured.

“I’m sure,” Tenebris agreed. “However, if the purpose of this exercise is to eliminate tension and anger, then he can be forgiven.”

“True,” Ben agreed and went silent as he watched.

“I’ve never seen the students quite this still,” Tenebris said softly. “I think they may be afraid of attracting his attention. Even our dear Megan is transfixed.”

Ben nodded. “I’ll give Ivan five minutes, and then I’ll take over.”

“Is there anything I can do?”

“Not really,” Ben said. “Ivan’s strong enough to handle this, and I’m quicker than Harry. You’re a good boxer, and you’d be able to stop the punches, but not the kicks.”

Ten nodded. “I’m also a little older, but it was nice of you not to mention that.”

Ben grinned, and then winced as Harry shot one of his trademark punches straight into Ivan’s chest.

“Ouch,” Tenebris muttered.

“Harry’s trying to tire himself out,” Ben said. “He wouldn’t normally do that many combinations. When I get in the ring, I’ll make him start to jump a lot more, and do the flashy moves that look good in movies but are useless in a real fight. It will help exhaust him quickly.”

“I’ve never seen that much focused fury in real life,” Ten said.

“He doesn’t take betrayal well; he’s had a lot of it. I don’t know exactly what happened. Anyway, tell me about this Sally girl.”


“Because you said something nice about her, and Harry’s the sort of person who likes to know who the best people are, so he can get them working for him.”

Ten nodded slowly. “Straight A student, but that doesn’t tell the half of it. She loves computers, and according to St Lawrence’s computer teacher, she’s a genius with them.”

Ben nodded. “I’ll tell Harry; don’t be surprised if he does try and recruit her immediately. If he makes a decision, he doesn’t hang around.”

“She will want to go to University.”

“Of course, but I suspect she’d like to have a part-time job during it, and guaranteed employment at the end.”

“Oh yes, yes indeed,” Tenebris said. “And Megan’s just woken up. She’s not good at keeping her thoughts to herself. It’s that laziness again.”

“Subtle, she’s not,” Ben sniffed. “She actually tried something like this with me last year.” He shook his head. “If I was sixteen, I might find her attractive, but considering that I’m twice her age, she looks like a child to me.”

“Quite,” Tenebris agreed. “It is a sad fact though, that some men go for that look.”

“Not Harry,” Ben said with a grin. “He goes to University in Scotland, and has had someone like Megan try something like that, from the attached school. According to Lisa, he just dismissed her. Normally, I’d let that happen here, but with him in a foul mood, I don’t really want to deal with the outcome of Harry being more forceful.”

“Her father is rich; I believe he’s a director of one of the inner city banks. He would cause problems.”

“Yeah, it would get messy,” Ben agreed. “I’m not sure Harry’s ready for that sort of attention yet.”

Ten looked at him strangely. “You’re suggesting that Harry would win?”

Ben nodded. “He purchased the restaurant in cash, on a whim. He’s also a titled Lord, with loads of properties dotted around England, and he already has some of the smartest teenagers in England, France and Germany dedicated to him. Lisa – my daughter, by the way – is one of them.”

“Interesting,” Ten muttered. “It could be fun for it to happen.”

Ben laughed and turned his head as he heard the sound of footsteps on the wooden floor. Tenebris turned. “The friend?” Ten asked.

Ben nodded, having no clue who the blonde woman was. She was carrying a bottle of water in one hand and a shopping bag in the other. He was pretty sure she was here for Harry, though because, even ignoring the outfit that screamed money and class, the subtle display of noticeable cleavage, and the beautiful long, honey-blonde hair, she had the long legs that characterised Kate, Fleur, and Annie.

“Hi, Ben,” she said, giving him a quick kiss on the cheek, and a big hug. He was surprised by the show of affection, until she whispered, “My name is Aurora Sinistra,” almost inaudibly.

“It’s good to see you again,” Ben said. “Aurora, I’d like you to meet TenebrisMayweather, the Sports Master here at Smeltings Academy. Ten, this is Aurora Sinistra.”

“Delighted to meet you,” Aurora said, holding out her hand.

Acting almost on auto-pilot, Tenebris took the hand, and gently kissed the knuckles as he bowed. “It’s a pleasure to make your acquaintance, my dear.”

Aurora smiled. “How’s he doing?”

“Still going strong,” Ben said.

“I’m glad he came to see you,” she admitted. “It was a smart move of his to get himself out of there and not face Dawn immediately. That could have been bad.”


“Oh, sorry,” Aurora apologised. “You’ll be introduced next time you visit Lisa. The whole thing exploded this morning, in public. A nightmare situation, made worse by everyone – including Dawn – doing the right thing and the wrong time. Of course, Dawn is devastated that she hurt Harry, but I think everyone there understands what she did, and we would have all done exactly the same thing if we’d been in her position.

“Harry knows it, which is why he’s getting rid of his anger.” She paused. “Impressively,” she added. “And how big is that guy?”

Ben laughed. “Big enough. I think it’s time I went and switched.”

“Okay,” Aurora said. “I’ll go and give my hero a drink, and let you get ready.”

“Are you sure?” Tenebris asked. “It looks unwise to interrupt them.”

Aurora flashed him a smile. “Of course.”

“Hey, Stevo,” Douglas said softly. “You said one of the Hitman’s girls was a blonde with long legs and great tits?”

Stevo nodded, not looking up from the ring, where Harry was moving in a way that made greased lightning look slow and boring.

“Check out Mayweather and Ben.”

Stevo reluctantly turned and then did a classic double take. “Different blonde,” he announced.

“Think she’s here for him?” Douglas asked.

“She’s too young for Ben and Ivan,” Stevo pointed out.

“Looks like your car is safe.”

Stevo sniggered. “It always was. The two girls I saw were a different class. The blonde and the brunette at the championship were the two most beautiful girls I have ever seen in real life. Queen Bitch is pretty, if you ignore the sneer that is always on her face, but that’s it. And really, if you had a girl like that,” he indicated the blonde who was striding confidently toward the ring, “would you even notice our dear Megan?”

Douglas shook his head. “I think we should try and talk to him at some stage, get some pointers.” He made a beckoning signal, and one of his friends wandered from the side, where he had been sitting near Ben and Mayweather. “So, Jonno?”

“Lord Potter,” Jonno said, “is also loaded, has girls like our favourite Queen throwing themselves at him all the time, had something go wrong this morning with another girl named Dawn, and Aurora Sinistra, the blonde hottie climbing into the ring, is definitely his girlfriend.”

“Good work,” Douglas praised.

Jonno nodded. “And prepare for some fun, Ben’s gonna make him do some fancy moves next.”

Aurora walked along in front of the row of children staring at the ring, and was gratified as the male half of the attention slowly changed onto her, and not onto the hard-moving Harry in the ring.

As she walked past the time-keeper’s table, she picked up the small hammer from the table and rang the bell, before she climbed in. She hid a smile as she knew that the action raised the tails of her coat.

Harry had pulled back from Ivan, but was bouncing energetically.

She walked over to him, and put her right hand on his shoulder. As expected, he reacted by turning violently and throwing a punch at her. Also as expected, he pulled it at least five inches before it got near her face.


She put both hands on his shoulders, and pushed him back into the corner. “Sit,” she ordered, as Ten placed a small stool there.

Harry sat.

“It’s time for Ivan to take a break, and Ben’s going to take over.”

Harry had a confused look in his eyes as he looked at her.

“Drink,” she ordered, holding out the bottle,

He took it and did as he was told. He drank reluctantly at first, before he started to gulp down the water.

“Good boy,” she praised, before she leant in and kissed him lightly. As she pulled back, she watched his eyes change from confused to a combination of resigned and amused, and she knew he would follow her lead now.

She looked up, and saw Ben was ready. “Go and work out your tension,” she ordered. “Ben is going to get you to do some fancy, cinema moves to impress the kiddies. You can take me to lunch when you’ve finished.”

“Okay,” he agreed, his eyes focusing behind her. She moved out of the way, and he exploded out of the stool. She watched him for a second, as he launched into a move that wouldn’t have looked out of place on a cinema screen, before she kicked the stool out of the ring and climbed out. She wished her jeans were a little less tight, as it made the movements slightly difficult – and garnered her some unwanted attention by some of the male students.

She walked back around to the Sports Master. “So, which one has her eyes on Harry?” she asked casually.

“Front row, centre, page boy hair cut and too many buttons on her blouse undone.”

“That child?” she asked in amazement. “Tell me, does she dance?”

“Not that I’m aware off.” The obvious question was plain in Ten’s voice.

“Harry’s a little strange, in that he’s attracted to how a person moves more than how she looks. Teenagers in general have no class; and gauche teenagers that clod around like shire horses don’t do anything for him no matter how they’ve developed or how much of said development they put on display.”

Ten smiled faintly. “I’ve noticed that myself. Boxing, and to be fair, other sports, can really help with a child’s grace.”

“I’m not a dancer myself,” she said, “but I did dressage for many years, and had to learn how to move smoothly.” She frowned, “I’ve not done nearly enough riding recently. It’s hard to fit it around a career.”

“Quite,” Ten agreed. “Those are some dramatic moves.”

She watched as Harry placed a kick into Ben’s left glove and used that as a springing point, to put another into Ben’s right glove, which was held far above his head.

“He’s starting to calm down,” she noted. “The fury has gone.”

“How can you tell?”

“The eyes, you can always tell with Harry’s eyes. They are less focused than they were, and now he’s merely concentrating. If he lets you in, you can see the world in his eyes, but if not, they are just hard chunks of jade.”

“It is a most remarkable colour.”

Aurora nodded.

“I noticed you didn’t flinch,” Tenebrus said.

“Well, when Harry’s wound up like that, he is always going to punch first. I also know that he would never hurt me, so it wasn’t hard to predict that he would throw a punch, and then pull it.”

While she didn’t have that much first-hand knowledge of Harry’s moods, she’d spent enough time with the girls in their little group to have been given more than enough pointers on his personality.

Megan was angry enough to spit teeth, wherever she looked, the senior boys were smirking at her, well, when they weren’t ignoring her completely for the boy in the ring or the slut talking to that stupid old man with his stupid upright posture.

How dare that fucking bitch show her up like that? It was typical that the Neanderthal in the ring went for big-titted dumb blondes.

Well, she wasn’t going to be shown up by anyone. She’d have him, cement her position, and if he didn’t play along, she’d get daddy to shut down that shitty gym of Turpin’s. After Turpin had ignored her last year, she’d done a bit of research – well, asked her father a few questions – and now knew that her father’s company held some debts that Ben was paying off.

As Harry finished another move, he grinned at Ben for the first time, who reached out and ruffled his hair. The two hugged, before turning as every other student burst into applause.

Judging from the slightly surprised look on Harry’s face, the dumb bastard had forgotten about the crowd.

This was clearly her moment to regain her pride. She took a few steps forward, jumped to the apron of the ring, slid in, not bothering to keep her skirt down, and walked over to him.

He was looking at her in surprise, as she hugged him, and whispered, “Play along, or daddy will shut the gym down.” Blackmail, it was always so much fun.

She felt his hands go up.

Victory was always so sweet.

She stumbled backward as she was pushed away roughly. “Blackmail?” he asked, as he looked at her in disgust.

“Harry,” the blonde said, “she’s not worth it, just leave her.”

Reacting on instinct, Megan turned and tried to punch the blonde. Her hand was caught in what felt like a vice, and she struggled to free it.

“Ten,” Harry growled, “what is her father’s name?” He was holding her hand, without any visible effort.

“Daniel Charters. He’s a director at GBC.”

“Ivan, can I borrow your phone?”

A heavy phone flew from the corner, and Harry caught it in his left hand, released Megan with his right so that he could pull out the antenna, and dialled a number from memory.

“Yeah, this is Lord Potter, put me through to Jim.” Harry waited for a few seconds. “Jim, it’s Harry. I’ve got the brat of one of your directors, Daniel Charters, in front of me. She just threatened me with the closure of Turpin’s Gym. You might want to launch an investigation to see if he makes a habit of screwing his clients just to make his daughter happy. That hardly seems like honourable and profitable behaviour.”

Harry waited and listened for a few seconds. “Cheers, Jim. How’s the purchase of my restaurant going?” He paused a few more seconds, before continuing, “Good news, I’ll pop around this afternoon and sign the paperwork. See you later.” He hung up the phone and tossed it back to Ben, and looked at her with the coldest eyes she had ever seen.

“If your father has done anything like that, he will be fired and sued out of existence. Let me explain something about how your father’s employers work: you do not play games with them! Profit and honour are the two most important things to them, with honour going before profit. If your father has broken their honour, they will be forced to make things good, so that their honour remains unblemished, and that will eat into their profits.

“Of course,” he finished quietly, “if he hasn’t, and you’re just a stupid little girl, you’ll hopefully learn a lesson that blackmail is despicable, and that if you threaten any of my friends, I will destroy you.”

The grip on her hand was released, but before she could say anything, the grip was taken up by the blonde. “I only came today to try and save you from the embarrassment of going up against Lord Potter, but rather than take the warning of me being here, you acted like a stupid spoilt child.” The blonde shook her head in pity, and released her hand. “Run away, little girl.”

“How dare you,” Megan screeched.

“And now a childish temper-tantrum,” the blonde sighed. “Megan Charters, you will sit down and be quiet!” The voice was exactly the same tone and volume that her teachers used when she was in real trouble, and her instinctive reaction was to sit down immediately. Unfortunately, once she was down, sitting on a stool, there was no way she could even think of continuing her fit.

Megan looked up, in impotent fury, to see Madam Cuthbridge make her way into the ring. Ben sat on the middle rope and lifted the top rope, allowing her an easy entrance. Someone had moved some steps to the edge of the ring to allow the elderly (and portly) administrator easy access.

“I’m dreadfully sorry, Lord Potter,” Cuthbridge smarmed.

“It’s just Harry, Ma’am,” Harry said politely. “I dislike using my title, it gives people false impressions. Besides, it’s what you do that your worth should be judged on, not who you are related to.”

“Well said, young man,” Cuthbridge said with a warm smile. “I assure you that St Lawrence’s Academy does not condone her behaviour. We had hoped that by making her Head Girl, she would use her undoubted intellect and perhaps become a more rounded person.”

Megan snorted to herself. More like Daddy had made sure it happened, just like Daddy would take care of this mess.

“Abraham Lincoln once said, ‘Nearly all men can stand the test of adversity, but if you really want to test a man's character, give him power.’” Harry said, as he nodded in agreement.

Cuthbridge, the old bat, actually simpered at Potter. “Exactly. Miss Charters, you will come with me, and we will arrange a conference with your parents about your future at this school. You have run out of chances, and while this isn’t exactly a crime, your actions have been reprehensible.”

“Come on, Harry,” the blonde said as Megan was dragged – literally, physically dragged , away. “I’ll help you shower, and then you can take me to lunch.”

“So,” Harry said, as Aurora followed him into the changing room. “What are you doing here?”

“I’m acting in loco consortia ,” she said.

He raised an eyebrow at her.

“Well, that and failing,” she said with a sigh. “Ben asked for some help to try and deal with that stupid bint outside. We didn’t want you to have to deal with her.”

Harry smiled, “Thanks. I appreciate it. Actually, having you here did help. While I was pounding on Ben and Ivan, I was thinking about the whole thing, and it was kind of an impotent fury, because I’ve loved Hogwarts since I first saw her, but I have no idea if that transfers over to a personification of Hogwarts. I understand what she did, and I understand why, but I’m confused about the whole thing.” He took a deep breath, and then turned on the shower. He stripped and stepped in, sighing as the water pulsed down on his muscles.

“What are you going to do?” Aurora asked, as she leaned against the entrance.

“Check,” Harry said after a while. “This is what I came up with. I check Dawn’s story – dunno how, yet – and if she’s was telling the truth, and I’m pretty sure she is, then we move on and forget about it.”

“And if she’s not?”

Harry shrugged. “I leave Hogwarts immediately. I don’t take people at face value anymore, so I need to make absolutely sure she’s telling the truth.”

Aurora nodded. “You’re impressive when you’re fighting.”

“That wasn’t fighting. That was a practise session. In a real fight, Ivan would have clocked me, and Ben would have torn me apart.”

“Don’t put yourself down, old boy,” Ivan called. “You’ll excuse me if I don’t strip?” he said to Aurora.

“I’d prefer it,” Aurora replied.

“Anyway,” Ivan continued with a rumbling chuckle, “you’re getting faster the more you practice, and if that had been a real fight, my slowness would have meant you got me more than I got you.”

Harry shrugged. “Maybe, but you’d only need to get in one good hit and I’d have a free trip to France.”

Ivan laughed. “Ben would have still beaten you,” he added.

“Damn right. Toward the end, I stopped signalling where I was going to hit him; but he was still there ready for me.”

“Here,” Aurora said, handing him a bottle. He used the two-in-one shampoo and conditioner and washed his hair.

“So where are you taking me for lunch?”

“Wherever your heart desires,” Harry replied, rinsing his hair.

“Harry,” Ben’s voice called. “According to Ten, one of the girls here, Sally, is a genius at computers. Might be good for your recruitment run.”

“I’d need to learn about computers first,” Harry replied. “I’ll get some lessons lined up. Maybe I’ll ask Ten if he can recommend anyone.”

“Why?” Ben asked.

Harry turned the water off, and took the towel Aurora offered him. “Because I can’t tell if someone is telling me the truth if I don’t know anything about the subject. Humans are curious creatures; they have powers of self-delusion that are god-like. Unless I either know about the subject, or someone I trust implicitly knows about it, my ability to read someone can’t differentiate between actual knowledge and deluded knowledge.”

“Here,” Aurora said. “I got some new clothes for you in town.” She had a bag in her hand.

Harry smiled, and used the opportunity he’d just been handed on a plate. She was playing his girlfriend, and there was only one way he would repay a girlfriend for that sort of thing. He moved over and softly kissed her, “Thanks,” he whispered, looking into her eyes. He took the bag from her and ignored the way her eyes flicked down as his towel took that moment to slip from his waist. “Unless you think my current attire is appropriate?”

She smiled back at him, a little wryly, “You’re welcome.”

The clothes weren’t brand new, but dedicated care by House-elves kept up the fiction that explained what the witch was doing here. He pulled on the white shirt and black trousers, then the black socks and shoes, before he stretched languidly. He quickly bundled his t-shirt, jeans and trainers into the bag, and slung it over his shoulder.

“Ten asked if you could drop back to the gym,” Ben said. “If you two want to get a taxi, we’ll take care of the rest.”

“I’ll get Ten to assign you a couple of helpers,” Harry bargained. “Ben, Ivan, I really appreciate what you did for me today. If you ever need any help, just ask. I will be there, or will find what you need. You have my word.”

Harry saw Ben exchange a glance with Ivan. “That’s not an idle promise,” Aurora said softly. “Harry doesn’t give his friendship lightly.”

“Harry,” Ben said, “this is what friendship is for.”

“Absolutely, old bean, however, I do appreciate the sentiment. I do have one question, though. GBC?”

“I do all my banking through them and, not to be blunt, I’m loaded. I’ve spent some time with some of their board members, and know a lot about their history. Jim’s the president.”

Ben sniggered. “Poor, poor Megan. Stepped into the ring with the big boys and didn’t even realise it.”

Harry shrugged, and took Aurora’s arm. “Anyway, I’ll see you soon, Ben.”

“You will,” Ben agreed. “I need to meet Dawn.”

“And Ivan, it was a pleasure.”

“The pleasure was definitely shared,” Ivan replied.

The two walked out the door. “Harry?”



Harry laughed. “Goblin Banking Corporation, it’s the Goblins’ Muggle arm. Jim is actually the grumpy goblin who’s been teaching me about money. He’ll get my message to the top people at the bank. Seriously, I’m more worried about someone acting like that, than I was at the threat. I’ve got some heavy investments in there.”

He opened the door to the hall, and watched, as two students were having a boxing match. “Go and talk to Ten, sweetie,” Aurora told him, and gave him a light kiss on the corner of his mouth. “I’ll stay here and watch the fight.”

“Okay,” Harry said, and walked over to the Sports Master.

“It’s been a pleasure,” Harry said. “Thanks for this morning.”

“The pleasure was all mine, Harry,” Ten said. “My boys have been talking about your demonstration non-stop. Mr Dursley has learned a valuable lesson, and Miss Charters has found that looks and an attitude can only get one so far. I think we have come ahead in the deal.”

“Good,” Harry said with a grin. “Then you won’t mind volunteering a few of your students to help Ben and Ivan load the van. Aurora and I have ordered a taxi, I’m going to take her for lunch as a thank you. Oh, I’m going to see Jonathan later, if you have a message for him?”

Ten smiled. “Just tell him what happened today, and that will do.”

“Will do,” Harry said with a smile, before looking up, “That was a nice punch.”

Ten seemed to glow for a second. “That it was,” he agreed.

“Think we should try and talk to her?” Jonno asked, as they ignored the boring comprehensive-school-level boxing match, and looked at Aurora.

“And piss off the Hitman?” Douglas asked dryly. “Or Lord Potter – a guy who can make a phone call and arrange an investigation into a fucking director of GBC?”

“So, that’s a no,” Stevo sniggered. “Is it the kick-boxing that gets him the chicks?”

“I think it helps, I mean, listen to the girls, they can’t stop talking about his muscles. I think I might take it up, and it does look cool as well.”

“Getting your foot seven feet into the air, while spinning? Yeah, you could say that is cool. And talk about self-confidence, knowing that you can kick someone’s arse means you don’t have to worry about it.”

“True,” Stevo said, “and helps when you’re dealing with poor deluded Megan,” he added with an evil smirk.

“You do know that Aurora’s done some teaching?” Douglas asked, “because that was a definite teacher voice.”

“Why don’t any of our teachers have an arse like that?” Stevo complained bitterly.

Harry and Aurora Apparated to London, and casually strolled to La Rochelle. “You asked for lunch,” Harry said cheerfully.

Aurora looked up at the entrance and smiled. “At least with you owning this place, I don’t have to worry about being kicked out for being under-dressed.”

“You look absolutely amazing,” Harry said honestly. “Even without me, Jonathan would simply love you.” He opened the door, and ushered her in.

The place was as busy as ever, with smartly dressed businessmen and woman talking intently around tables.

“Harry,” Jonathan called exuberantly as he strolled over.

“Jonathan,” Harry said, holding out his hand, which was quickly shaken. “This is Aurora.”

Jonathan bowed smoothly, and took Aurora’s hand, kissing her knuckles. Aurora smiled at him.

“And Ten sends his regards. Is there anyone you don’t know?”

“I have no idea what you mean,” Jonathan said innocently.

“He was wearing a watch that had Lucas written all over it, and as soon as I mentioned your name, he gave you a quick ring, and then had a large attitude adjustment.”

“Fancy that,” Jonathan said. “I do, of course, deny all knowledge.”

“How about we just agree that if you happen to spot a good deal, you let me know about it before anyone else?” Harry suggested.

“Like backing a stage show?” Jonathan asked. “I do happen to know someone looking for backing for his new show.”

Harry looked at Jonathan for a long moment. “Fine, tell him I’ll pop by and see him after lunch, if he can meet my eyes and tell me it will be a success, he’s funded.”

“Splendid,” Jonathan said. “Of course, this will help your integration into the people who matter.”

Harry looked at him. “You do know I’m moving to France for three years?”

“It doesn’t matter where you are based, although Monaco is gorgeous…”

“And has great tax laws,” Harry muttered, nodding slowly.

“Precisely. Anyway, the people I’ll introduce you to don’t care about where you are. But this is no conversation to have in front of a lady. Come, your table awaits.” Jonathan led them to the upper deck, where a couple of waiters were just finishing adding a new table.

“Thank you, as always.”

Jonathan nodded. “Aurora, you simply have to teach Harry some manners. A single name is just not enough.”

“Harry has the manners,” Aurora replied. “He chose not to use them, knowing it would force you to use my name. You may as well get used to using it, I’m another of his employees.”

“Ahh, brains to complement the beauty,” Jonathan said. “How does he find you?”

Aurora smiled. “In a cellar in Scotland, where we are grown to specification. Of course, it’s legs first, then the bust, then long hair. He’s a simple man, really.”

Jonathan’s self control slipped for a moment, before he started to laugh. He bowed deeply. “Harry’s friends are always so much fun,” he announced, and walked away, chuckling to himself. The sniggering waiter behind him was suddenly very busy as Jonathan stared at him.

Harry paused as a waiter filled his glass with wine, before he took the glass, and settled back, concentrating on Aurora. “Grown to specification?” he asked dryly.

Aurora smiled. “You should sit like that at school. It might inspire a generation of boys to stop slouching.”

“And get a bunch more children doing stupid things to get my attention?”

“Probably, but Dawn will protect you from those nasty kids. Don’t we get a menu?”

“Of course not. Jonathan will have talked with Jean-Sebastian, and they will have decided what we are going to eat, and it will be fantastic.”

“I think he’s adopting you,” Aurora said. “There was a certain fatherly glint about his eyes.”

“You think so?” Harry asked in surprise.

She nodded. “He thinks that with the right training, you can go places. Of course, he’s right, which is why I’ve handed in my resignation for next year.”

Harry took a sip of his wine, and then leaned forward slowly. “Why?”

Aurora met his gaze with equanimity. “Because I believe I won’t get this chance with anyone else. But to ask a question back, why me?”

Harry smiled slowly, “Because Kate called you a blonde hottie? Or maybe because after she pointed you out, I started to look at Aurora Sinistra, and I liked what I saw.

“A witch who grew up as a Muggle, with parents who own most of Essex. Your family dates back to William the Conqueror; you had a normal childhood, full of riding, swimming, and etiquette lessons, and everything else that a young lady needs.

“You were given the choice of ignoring Hogwarts, but the idea of magic appealed to you. You enjoyed your years at Hogwarts, but didn’t want to go into a Muggle education system and stop using magic.

“You’re independently wealthy, so you didn’t actually have to work, but went for the job at Hogwarts when it was offered, as the idea amused you. As soon as you got the job, you decided you’d be the best at it, and did everything you could – short of ridiculous lengths – to downplay your looks and you ensured that you knew everything about the subject. You took yourself from good to world class in less than two years by throwing away your social life, and putting everything into what you had committed yourself to.

“And that is what I want. I want people who can look at a huge amount of work as a challenge. I want people who can learn what I need them to learn. I want people who have pride in themselves, and pride in what they can do.

“And while I’m going to want you to learn to have fun and relax, you have that spark I desire most. I want people who, when their backs are against the wall, will come out fighting for me. And you are that sort of person, which is why I wanted you with me. When you decide to do something, you put your heart and soul into it.”

Aurora nervously licked her lips, before she took a small sip from the glass in her hand. The glass shook slightly as she placed it back down. Harry waited until she had accepted his words, before he settled back languidly.

“Note to self,” she whispered, “don’t ask questions if you’re not prepared for the answer.”

Harry saluted her.

“So you had me investigated?”

“Actually, most of it was easy to find out; Dawn told me a few things before I asked you to join us, and the rest I looked up. Sinistra isn’t exactly a common name.”

“True,” she agreed, and paused as their meal was placed before them. She took a bite, and smiled. “I’ve not eaten like this in years.”

“Perhaps if you went home a bit more,” he suggested lightly.

She rolled her eyes at him. “My relationship with my parents is complicated.”

“Aren’t all relationships?” he asked.

“So where are we going next?” she asked, clearly changing the subject.

“Into a taxi, probably. It will be paid for, and it will take us to the correct place, where we’ll be met by another of Jonathan’s coven, and then I’ll make a decision.”

Aurora smirked. “I see,” she said.

“Maybe,” he agreed, and concentrated on the food. As he had predicted, when they were finished, they were hurried into a taxi, barely giving Harry time to tip his waiter and get Jonathan to thank Jean-Sebastian, and sent on their way.

“You’re to go straight in,” The driver said, indicating a door.

Harry nodded, and walked with Aurora through the doors of a theatre. An assistant welcomed them with a smile, and escorted them into a large theatre. Three people were sat in the centre, a few rows in, watching a rehearsal.

Harry paused, and watched as well. The dancing on the stage was captivating. Somehow, Harry wasn’t surprised that he recognised one of the dancers.

“Hmm, long legs, dancer, blonde hair, must be one of us,” Aurora said in a teasing voice.

“Yeah, that’s Annie.”

The dancing finished with a dramatic flourish. Harry started to clap, as the lights came on.

“Harry,” Anna called excitedly as she moved to the front of the stage.

Harry took Aurora’s hand and walked with her to the front. Annie eased herself down from the stage and gave him a big hug.

“What?” Aurora said in an amused voice, “No pouncing and kissing him?”

“I learned my lesson last time,” Annie said dryly. “Yep, you’re Harry’s type.”

Aurora grinned. “I’m friends with Fleur, and have chatted with Kate a time or two,” she admitted.

“So what brings you by?” Annie asked.

Harry looked at the three men who were walking toward him. “That depends on Antonio.”

“I am Antonio and you just have to be Harry,” Antonio said enthusiastically. “I’d recognise that bum anywhere.”

Harry raised an eyebrow, not quite sure how or if he should respond to that.

“Iain was kind enough to send me the CCTV footage of your marvellous dance with Miss Delacour, and the wonderful Kate.”

“Then thank you,” Harry said. “So, you’re going to tell me now that your new project will be a success.”

“I am?”

Harry turned to the flamboyant older man and concentrated on him. Out of the corner of his eye, he watched Annie as well.

Antonio gulped. “The idea, it came to me, London has been staid in its dancing, it needs to be spiced up. The story, that of a boy and a girl who meet in a nightclub, the dancing, it sizzles. It is romance, it is angst, it is heart ache, and it is redemption. It is human emotion, raw and painful, yet fulfilling.

“The choreography is light, and lets the dancers show their passion, and the ending is dramatic.”

Annie was nodding in agreement.

“You’re backed,” Harry said, and looked away.

Antonio sunk to his knees, breathing heavily.

“I have the first dance. Annie, grab Martin, a demonstration.”

Annie dashed away, as the other two men hurried off. Antonio climbed to his feet, shaking himself.

“The scene, it is a nightclub, they are dancing, a dance of courtship.”

Harry nodded, and watched as Annie emerged from the sides. She’d changed into street clothes, and stood next to an imaginary bar, tapping her feet along to the music.

Another dancer came out, Martin, Harry presumed, and persuaded her onto the dance floor.

The moves were good, but the passion wasn’t there. They danced like two professionals. He could see what Antonio was aiming for, but he didn’t think that Martin got the idea.

He looked to the side, and ran his finger across his throat. The music stopped instantly.

“Martin,” he called.

The man walked over. He was taller than Harry, brown haired, with good features and a strong chin.

“You mind some advice from an amateur?”

Martin shrugged. “I’ll learn from a street dancing monkey, if it makes me better, mate,” he said with an Australian twang.

“Okay, your moves are great, but you’re dancing for the wrong reason.”


“Come down here,” Aurora said. “Harry, get up there and dance, show him what you mean.”

“As long as you promise to be nice about my comparative lack of skill.”

Martin grinned. “A backer who thinks he can dance? Hell, it’s worth it just for the giggles.” More of the dancers who had been in the rehearsal started to take seats in the front rows.

“Thank you,” Harry said dryly. “Annie, what the hell are you wearing?”

“Street clothes?” she asked, looking down at the cardigan she was wearing.

“Right, now go and put on the clothes you turned up here in.”

“A leotard and leggings?”

“Okay, bad presumption on my part. Aurora, can I borrow your coat?”

“Fleur’s, actually,” Aurora said, as she shrugged it off. Harry noticed that the un-introduced guys next to Antonio appeared to have misplaced the location of Auror’s eyes, as the last time Harry had checked, they were not attached to her chest. Harry passed her the bag with his clothes in it, before he jumped onto the stage, using one hand to help himself up, and handed the coat to Annie.

She pulled off the cardigan she had on, leaving her in a white shirt. “What have you got under that?”

“A sports bra.”

Harry nodded. “Start the music again.”

“What am I going to do?” Annie asked.

“What ever the hell you feel like,” Harry said, as he walked off stage.

Annie moved back to the imaginary bar, and Harry shook himself. He locked away the small audience, the dancers watching him. He convinced himself he was back in the nightclub when he had first met her.

He walked out, trying to pretend that it was a night club, and looked around, before he spotted Annie. The music was too loud to talk, so he walked over to her, and lightly touched her shoulder.

She looked at him curiously. He grinned, and indicated the dance floor.

She sniffed. He laughed, and took her hand, pulling her out of the chair. She twirled twice, and landed against him.

He pulled her closer, so that his leg was between hers, and held her hips close.

She tilted her head, and then nodded, pulling away slowly, and did a fast paced trot to the centre of the stage, without waiting for him.

He watched, a little disappointed that the borrowed coat was covering her arse.

He reached up and undid the second-to-top button on his shirt, and walked after her. She had already started to dance, simple steps with her arms high in the air.

He spun into place opposite her, and matched her movements.

Annie smirked at him, took a step back and did a triple-spin, before jumping, her legs going out to each side, before she landed. Her exaggerated pout suggested he try and top that.

He waited for the right moment, listening to the music as he bounced, before he stepped back, and did a crouched leg sweep far away enough from her legs for her not to have to dodge, before launching into a jumping roundhouse, that had his foot close to a foot above Annie’s head, he landed and continued the spin a few times.

The shock on Annie’s face was genuine, which surprised Harry, because he thought she knew that he was a kick boxer.

Annie slowly nodded, and smiled, a little hesitantly.

He moved closer, pulled her hips against his, and led her through some small steps, keeping their torsos almost still, as he looked into her eyes.

She reached up and ran her fingers through his hair, before she leaned back. He moved an arm around her, supporting her back, as he leaned in and dropped a kiss on her chin. He pulled her back up, leaning back himself. He felt her shift, bracing her hips so that he could balance against her.

Instead of leaning forward, she reached out and grabbed his shirt, ripping the buttons off as she pulled her arms apart dramatically.

He raised his eyebrows as he righted himself, and span around her, pulling her close, so that her bum was tightly against his crotch. The moves were again simple, as his hands danced up the left side of her coat, undoing the buttons, before he took a hold of the top, and shoved his hips forward.

Annie took the hint and dived out of the coat, rolling over the wooden stage floor and regaining her feet; as she stood, she raised his hands up her body, lifting her hair high above her head.

Harry turned his back on her, and walked to the side, and tossed it onto the back of a bar chair. He hid his inner delight as the coat landed perfectly, before he turned. Annie was still dancing, a solo that was captivating. She’d lost herself to the music, and wouldn’t stop now until the music did.

He dashed forward, and slid to a stop in front of her. She ran her hands over his chest, and she slid past him. He twirled, grabbing her shirt and returning the favour. The two sides hung down, showing the grey sports bra she had on underneath.

She pushed him away and danced alone, her confidence shining through, a direct challenge to him.

He moved back over to her, and matched his movements to hers, acknowledging her power. As they were, they danced, taking it in turns to lead the other, until the music reached a crescendo, and he ended up on his knees, looking up in an act of conscious worship, as Annie reached up to the sky.

Annie lowered her hands and smiled at him, before she reached down and kissed him. “Thanks,” she whispered.

“Any time.”

Harry felt himself blush, as he realised that everyone was clapping, and there were even some wolf whistles – from some of the guys and a lot more of the girls.

They walked over to the edge of the stage, and took a seat. Martin shook his head. “Give me a year and I’ll finish off your training, and you could star in any show you wanted.”

“Sorry,” Harry said, “but the stage doesn’t interest me.”

Martin looked at him in shock.

“The Hitman, he is a fighter, not a dancer,” Antonio said. “Martin, you must dance like that, with your skills, and that passion, we are champion!”

“Hitman?” Martin asked.

“Meet the current United Kingdom junior kick boxing champion,” Aurora said proudly.

“I thought that move you did looked dangerous,” Martin said. “Fucking cool though.”

Harry shrugged. “Practice. You can move, you’ve got great timing and you’re fit. Give me a year to train you and I’ll make you a champion.”

Martin looked at him, before he started to laugh. “Yeah, okay, I get it,” he said. “And what you’re saying is that I need to dance like I want to get into Annie’s pants like nothing else on earth.”

“Exactly,” Harry agreed.

“Dance like it,” Annie agreed sweetly. “Nothing else.”

“Yes, dear,” Martin said dryly. “And seriously, Harry, you’re not a bad dancer. Some places you could improve, but you dance with your heart.”

“And limited, I can do some of the classics, and a couple of night club dances, but that’s it. Give me anything else and I’m lost.”

“But you dance hot, hot, hot!” Antonio interrupted. “That is the passion I am wanting, that is the desire.”

“Yeah, I get it,” Martin agreed. “Thanks, mate.”

“No problem,” Harry said. He looked at Antonio. “I’ll send someone around to discuss figures and schedules. When we start, we’ll write something into the contract to keep me from putting my beak in, although I will be talking to Kate a lot.”

“Ahh, the wonderful Kate,” Antonio sighed. “If only I was straight and younger. You couldn’t persuade her to dance for us, could you?”

“I have no idea,” Harry said in surprise. “I didn’t know you knew her that well?”

“Oh, that’s my fault,” Annie said. “I phoned Kate after that night we met up, to ask if we could steal your little routine.”

“Wonderful lady; speaks Italian like a princess,” Antonio said as he fluttered his hand in front of his face.

“I’ll ask her,” Harry agreed.

“Come on, Harry,” Aurora said. “We need to catch a train if we’re going to get back to Scotland tonight. And don’t you still need to drop into the bank?”

Harry sighed, he wasn’t ready to face Dawn yet. “I’ll charter a plane later,” he said. “Why don’t we continue your shopping trip, and then watch the show?”

“Oxford street?” Aurora asked.

“Of course,” Harry looked at Annie. “You got time to come along? I owe you a shirt.”

Annie shook her head regretfully. “I need to eat, and then relax, before getting ready for tonight’s show.”

Harry looked at Antonio, “No problem getting me tickets?”

“Of course, it is not a problem. They will be waiting for you at the desk.”

“Annie, I am replacing your shirt – what’s your size?”

“Don’t bother, I’m between an eight and a ten depending on the store and the way it is cut. It was an old shirt, anyway.”

“Which I still destroyed.”

“I destroyed yours, so we’re even.”

Harry smiled at her and nodded. He didn’t want to insult her by mentioning that he was pretty sure that he could afford it far more than she could. He hopped up and went and picked up Aurora’s coat, handing it to her. He took the bag back, and pulled out his t-shirt. He quickly pulled the shirt he was wearing off, and dumped it in a bin, pulling the t-shirt on.

Annie sat down in the small cafeteria, and was instantly surrounded by eleven other dancers, the amount that could fit on the table.

“So,” Martin drawled.

She raised an eyebrow at him.

“The Hitman,” he prompted.

“Just Harry,” Annie said, before taking a bite of her salad.

“The blonde angel, the dark temptress, and now a blonde siren,” Martin prodded. “And of course, there’s you. That’s three blondes, to one brunette. I think that’s a pattern.”

Annie shrugged.

“Come on, Annie, you’re normally the good girl, and there is no fucking way you would dance like that with him, unless you’ve spent some time together horizontal.”

“You’re such a prick,” she sighed.

“You didn’t deny it,” he crowed. “Come on, we’re all waiting. What’s the story, morning glory?”

“If you call me your wonderwall, I will hit you,” she muttered. “Look, I was out with my friends, he came up, asked me to dance, we had a great time, and I thought I’d never see him again.”

“Which friends?” another of the dancers asked, “Was Tamsin there?”

Annie nodded.

“He picked you over Tamsin?” Michael queried from the far corner.

Annie smiled, a little proudly. “First, fuck you. Second, yeah, he didn’t even notice she existed.”

“Wait,” Martin said, “The same Tamsin who was last month’s Playboy centrefold?”

Annie nodded.

“But she’s gorgeous!”

“And can’t dance for peanuts,” Annie finished. “He said he was watching people move, and figured I was the best dancer there.” She smiled slightly. “Which I was. So we danced, and it was just like it was on stage this afternoon.”

“At what stage did he tell you he was loaded?” Michael asked.

Annie glared at him. “One more crack like that, Mikey, and you’ll have to go crawling to your boyfriend, because you won’t be able to top again.”

“Oooo,” the dancers whispered.

“Put the claws away, kitten,” Michael said, a little warily.

“Call me a whore again, and you’ll see how sharp they are,” she said in a cold voice.


Annie sighed. “He was wearing nice clothes, and bought us all a drink, but it was nothing flashy, nothing like you normally get when some tosser is showing off his wealth. His shirt was nice, but actually wasn’t his, he’d borrowed it. Anyway, we danced, he tried to leave, and I took a chance.”


“And I don’t kiss and tell. He was really nice the next morning, when he kissed me gently, and said goodbye, and that was the last time I expected to see him.”

“So how did he end up backing Antonio’s next play, and what the hell did he do to him?”

“I’ve thought about this a lot over the last few weeks. Harry can be intense, scarily intense. He looks at you, and for a second, it’s like the universe shrinks to just you and him, and he is looking deep inside you, at your very soul. It’s terrifying, because when he speaks, there is nothing you can do, no defence you can erect, no lies you can think off. You are open, bared to him completely, and when he asks a question, you answer without artifice, and when he speaks, you listen with your being.”

“What did he say to you?” Martin asked softly.

“He told me that I am beautiful.”

“That’s it,” Martin said, slamming his hand down on the table. “That’s where our mouse went, and was replaced by this cat!”

She nodded. “He got me the first chance here, and then this. I don’t know why, I’m not really on his radar, he has something complicated going on with Kate, Fleur’skinda interested, that girl today was playing a game, I honestly don’t know where she stands, and me? God knows.”

“Four women?” one of the other girls said, curling her lips in distaste.

“I think it’s really only Kate, the rest of the girls just admit that we are attracted to him, and that maybe if the chance came up, we’d take it.”

“Women, you’re so fascinating,” Michael said with a grin. “So why where you so shocked when he did that move?”

Annie blinked and then laughed. “Oh, that was because I realised that if he’d hit me with it, I’d’ve been dead. We’ve all done similar moves, but that wasn’t a dance, that was beauty, grace and power combined. I forgot that he is a fighter above all else, he just wears an easy going disguise throughout the day.

“Look, guys, we’re all friends, so thanks for listening to me vent, but, keep it under your hats, eh?”

The other dancers all nodded and made different gestures indicating they would keep her secrets.

“Harry,” Aurora said with a sigh. “I have to get back to Hogwarts, I need to get some sleep before class this evening.”

Harry nodded slowly. “Thanks, for today.”

Aurora looked at her bags. “My pleasure,” she said dryly. She reached out and took his bags from him. “I’ll hang your new suits up for you.”

Harry reached out and lightly grabbed the front of her coat. He shot her a smile, and leaned forward.

She looked at him openly.

“Sleep well,” he whispered, and kissed her lightly on the lips. Before she could do anything, she felt her coat tug at her, and a second later, she was standing in the middle of the Great Hall at Hogwarts.

“Son of a bitch,” she muttered to herself.

“Professor Sinistra!” Professor McGonagall reprimanded.

Aurora winced. “Sorry,” she apologised. “He just turned Fleur’s coat into a Porkey and activated it, without giving me any warning.”

“How is he?” Gabrielle demanded.

Aurora sighed as she walked over. Gabrielle was sat with Dawn, and both were looking at her intensely.

“Calmer,” she said as she dropped down next to Hermione. “The silly bitch who was trying to play games with him got smacked down when she revealed that her dad worked for the Goblins, and then Lord Potter came out to play.

“We had lunch at his restaurant, then went and saw Annie.”

“How is she?” Fleur asked.

“Seemed good, didn’t pounce though. Anyway, Harry had a bit of a dance with her, to show one of the dancers – who I think is gay – how to seduce a woman on the dance floor. We then went shopping,” she finished, indicating the bags.

She looked at Dawn. “He’s going to want to talk to you when he gets back. He’s seeing the stage show this evening, then will get back late tonight.”

Dawn nodded and sighed.

“I think he’s forgiven you,” Aurora added. “As long as you’ve been telling the truth, you’ll get his complete forgiveness; he just wants to check first.”

“So an average day then?” Hermione asked dryly.

Aurora nodded. “Anyway, I need a nap before class this evening. If you need me, wake me.”

“Will do,” Melissa said. “And thanks.”

The young professor shrugged. “It was a hell of a lot of fun.” She stood and walked out of the Great Hall, heading toward their Common Room.

Harry walked to the bar during the intermission, and ordered a bottle of beer. It wasn’t the most cultured thing he could order, but it was what he fancied at the moment.

“Buy a lady a drink?”

Harry looked to his right, and bit his tongue to stop his obvious response about a lady asking for a drink. His instant reaction was relief that he had bitten his tongue, as he was met with one of the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen.

She had a slightly round face, with well defined cheekbones. While her eyes weren’t huge, they were incredibly striking, with a smoky and mysterious swirl to them. Her hair framed her face, and was as dark as the night. She was wearing a black cocktail dress that did little to hide the fact that she’d won big on life’s genetic lottery.

“Of course, Mrs?”

“Tiemerovna, Natalia, and it’s Miss,” she replied, the faintest hint of an accent in her voice.

Taking a guess, he bowed slowly, and took her hand, kissing the knuckles. “Оченьприятно.”

For the briefest of seconds, she looked startled. “Выговоритепо-русски?”

He laughed softly, releasing her hand. “I’m sorry, but that is the limit of my Russian.”

Her eyes laughed with him.

He turned, attracting the barman’s attention. “A dry martini please.”

“Right away, sir,” the barman said.

“It is customary to ask a lady what she likes,” Natalia pointed out.

Harry grinned at her. “Maybe,” he allowed. “But if it gives a man a chance to show off, it should be allowed. We haven’t all got awe-striking beauty to rely on.”

Natalia smiled at him and nodded. “Thank you.”

“Are you enjoying the show?”

“I would be enjoying it more if my date had shown up.”

“Well, to be fair, it is hard to get out of the mental asylum.”

She blinked at him. “I’m sorry?”

“Well, any man who would stand you up must be certifiably insane.”

She laughed again, flashing her pearly white teeth at him.

Harry ran his fingers through his hair. “Harry Potter,” he introduced himself.

“So, Mr Potter,” Natalie said, “are you enjoying the show?”

He grinned at her. “I’d enjoy it a lot more if I wasn’t alone.”

“What are you suggesting?” she asked, looking down demurely.

The barman returned with the martini, placing it in front of her. She reached out one hand for it, and he caught it, holding it loosely. She turned to look at him, a smile visible in her eyes.

“Natalia, would you do me the honour of accompanying me for the rest of the evening?”

“I’d be delighted,” she said.

“Would you like a meal afterward?”

“It’s gone nine,” she replied, “can you find a restaurant at this short notice?”

He smirked at her, because he understood that she meant a nice restaurant, not the sort of place you could just walk in.

He pulled out his new mobile, and pressed a button. The phone rang, and was answered within two rings.

“La Rochelle,” a voice said.

Harry raised the phone to his ear. “It’s Harry,” he said. “Get Jonathan to put me together a table for two at ten forty-five and a taxi to pick me up from Antonio’s theatre.”

He waited for the acknowledgement, and hung up.

“Impressive,” she said slowly.

Harry shrugged. “Not really.” Any further statement was delayed by a ringing bell, indicating the interval was over.

“I shall meet you here afterward?” she asked.

“Come and sit with me,” he offered.

She nodded her head.

He took her drink, and led the way down a flight of steps, and to the right. They walked down a corridor, and entered into the box.

“I must confess,” she said, as she sat next to him. “I saw you sitting here alone, from my seat, and was curious.” She pointed down to the stalls beneath them.

“Ahh, all becomes clear,” he grinned. “You’re just using me for a better view.”

“Don’t forget the free drink,” she agreed. “And it had nothing to do with an elegant man sitting alone, watching a show intently.”

“Ahh,” he said. “I’m not elegant, I’m actually quite gauche. Why, this is the first time I’ve ever seen a show.”

She looked surprised, but allowed the conversation to drop as the music started.

Harry settled down, his attention mostly on the stage, and only partly on the woman next to him.

His evening had just become a lot more interesting.

Natalia walked into her apartment and kicked off her shoes with a sigh of relief. She walked over to the phone. She didn’t have to dial a number, as a voice barked at her. “Report,” it said in Russian.

Keeping her frustration to herself, she replied. “I made contact with the target.”

“Good,” the voice said, before a new one took over. This voice was politer and more refined. With a shudder, she realised she was now talking to her boss’s superior.

“Be at ease, Natalia,” the voice said. “I’m sure you have many questions. For this conversation, you may ask them without fear.”

A ball of tension appeared in her stomach. This sort of privilege probably meant that she wasn’t going to like where this ended up.

“I know very little about this man,” she started. “While he did ask for my number, I believe it was more for the sake of form, than from any real desire to see me again.”

“Yes, my apologies,” the voice said. An apology? Her stomach clenched. “We dislike sending out operatives without a full briefing, but in this case, speed was of the essence. What was your opinion of Lord Potter?”

“Nice, charming, good looking, powerful; he played the game well, but seemed to have a little more depth than normal. He was going through the motions with me, as he didn’t even try and seduce me.”

The voice chuckled. “Not bad for a fourteen year old boy.”


“Lord Potter was born fourteen years ago; however, he appears to have successfully played with time to grow up. No one is quite sure how old he is now.”

“Twenty four,” she replied automatically.

The voice paused. “Noted. Good work. We have, of course, been aware of Lord Potter for a few years. Our agents have found all sorts of interesting things about him. However, the cause of our current interest happened this morning. For the second time this year, the thaumometers registered unbelievable amounts of magical energy being used.

“The first time, as you have probably heard, was at the Second Task of the current Tri-wizard Tournament, when unknown magic was used to divert millions of gallons of water.

“The second time was this morning. The highest recorded magical spell on our books is level twenty four, used by the late Dark Lord Voldemort sixteen years ago, during one of his rituals. This morning was level thirty seven.”

Natalia sat down abruptly. She tried to say something, but her voice didn’t seem to work. She couldn’t even imagine the scale of power involved.

“Our agent in Hogwarts informs us that Lord Potter managed to anthropomorphise the castle.”

Natalie didn’t find that that idea helped her.

“Lord Potter has managed to announce himself on the world stage. China and America are already mobilising agents in an attempt to contact him. It would be unfortunate if he were to have a bad opinion of us.”

“I understand.”

“Yes, I thought you would,” the voice agreed. “He is currently dating an escort, by the name of Kate Pastwa. We will be removing her from his social circle by Monday.”

“How?” she asked.

“One of our oligarchs has been invited to show his loyalty by taking Ms Pastwa on a cruise for several months.”

Natalia nodded.

“Your job will be to get close to Mr Potter, very close. However, there are complications. Our reports suggest that he has developed a new form of mental communication, and he is very close to a young Veela. The relationship is intriguing, knowing how protective Veela are of their offspring. She is empathic, and has Lord Potter’s trust.”

“So they will be able to tell if I am being false?”

“Indeed. Our researches have been working on something that may help. It will allow you to bury your association with us deeply enough that it will not be detected. Of course, we can not guarantee that it will be successful, but our technicians estimate a 75% chance of success. A secondary mission will be for you will be testing the protection and evaluating its effectiveness.

“At the same time, you will be doing everything you can to get Lord Potter to fall in love with you. This is a long term mission; decades, maybe longer.”

There was the counter-punch. It was bad enough to be sent on seduction missions – she’d successfully avoided them so far – but to be told it might take the rest of her life… That was unheard off.

“Of course,” she agreed, keeping her voice even.

“We cannot let the sort of power Lord Potter has be used against us. The magical authorities in Britain are stuck in the last century, and are not a threat. The rest of the world, sadly, has moved on to the twentieth century.

“Lord Potter is already enamoured with France, due to his relationship with the Delacour family and other acquaintances. You will ensure that he looks on Mother Russia as an equal friend.”

“I will.”

“Your cover will be that you work for the Russian Embassy, as the attached Witch to the Ambassador. You did not recognise Lord Potter, due to him supposedly being fourteen.

“You will be under the deepest of cover, and will not have any back-up most of the time. While we have dossiers on all his associates, I feel it best if you go in blind. Any suspicious activity will be picked up on.

“We will arrange extraction routes with you over the next three days, but I emphasize again that this mission is of the highest priority. If your cover is blown and you have to use the extraction route, you will explain your failure.”

“May I see the dossier on Ms Pastwa?”

The voice paused. “It is on your coffee table. Russia is counting on you, agent Tiemerovna.”

“I will not let her down.”

“No, you won’t. You have carte blanch to run this operation as you see fit. You will be reporting to me in the future.” The voice hung up, and she slowly placed the phone on the cradle.

She moved to her kitchen and opened her fridge. She poured herself a glass of wine, and moved to her living room. She took a few moments to sort her thoughts, and then shrugged. The assignment wasn’t exactly the worst thing that could have happened to her.

She picked up Kate’s file and started to read.

As she finished, she put it down, and snorted a single word. “Любитель.”

Harry slowly walked through the night, mentally berating himself for his cowardice.

He was supposed to have Apparated home. He had assured Jonathan that he was going straight home after dropping Natalia off at her apartment block.

Instead, he had paid the cabbie, and started to walk through the night.

He knew he was putting off the conversation that he needed to have with Dawn. He sighed deeply, and kept walking, using a warming charm to keep away the evening chill.

A scream caught his attention, and he started to run toward it. He rounded a corner, to find a gang of youths gathered around one on the ground.

He paused and muttered a spell under his breath, grabbing his necklace. The boy on the ground had been stabbed, and was dying, and the ones around him were taunting him.

“This is what you get for your dad not paying us,” one snarled.

The boy just writhed on the ground in agony.

Something seemed to snap inside Harry. An innocent was on the ground, and all the anger he had been trying to get rid of earlier came flooding back.

“Run away,” he growled.

As one, the gang turned to him.

“A fucking hero?” the one who had taunted the boy earlier said. “This is my fucking city you wanker, and in my city, we bury heroes.”

“I was hoping you’d say something stupid,” Harry replied, and moved forward. The first thug was dispatched with three movements, leaving him with a destroyed knee and a broken elbow.

The others dived in, and he smiled. They were untrained, but strong. He aimed deliberately for the joints. Death was too good for them.

Knives, bats, they came at him with weapons, but he ignored them, trusting his instincts to get him out of the way. Compared to Ben, or even Ivan or Lisa, they were slow. He glided past them, putting all his strength and power into the punches and kicks.

The last one, the loud mouth, was backing up, before pulling out a gun. Harry dived forward, leg first, dropping down, and kicking the hand that held the gun hard. The gun went flying to the side, and the man twisted.

Harry slid to his feet, and punched out, aiming above the first thoracic vertebra, one of his fingers extended. The man dropped to the floor like a puppet with all its strings cut.

He rushed over to the kid on the ground, grabbing his necklace again. He cast every healing spell he knew, and to his horror, found that the boy’s stomach had been stabbed multiple times. Major arteries had been pierced, and blood was flooding everywhere. The boy was going to die soon.

“P-p-please,” the boy whispered, blood on his lips.

“There’s nothing I can do,” Harry said back, feeling his heart break as he said those words.

“Th-there’s-nothing anyone can do,” the boy said. “I can feel it.”

“I’m sorry.”

“P-p-please,” the boy said again.

Harry looked into his eyes, trying to read the pain, and almost had to jump back. It was incredible; it was like nothing he had ever experienced. The boy in his arms could feel his life ending, slowly, and it was agonising.

Harry suddenly knew what he was being asked. He understood. His mind ran through a thousand scenarios, but each of them pointed back to the fact that too much damage had been done, too much blood had been lost.

Even a pain-numbing charm wouldn’t stop the boy feeling his life ebb away.

“I’m sorry,” Harry whispered again, reaching for his necklace. There was only one spell that could kill without any more pain.

The boy tried to smile, but it just turned into another pain filled grimace.

“Avada Kedavra,” he whispered, bending over the boy.

The boy was suddenly free from pain, and dead.

Harry felt tears run down his face as he stared at the dead boy.

He didn’t hear the sirens that came.

He didn’t hear the footsteps.

He didn’t hear anything, until a voice said, “Put the boy down, you’re under arrest.”

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Author Notes:

Любитель = Amateur.

The Thaumometers couldn’t tell the difference between Harry’s power and Harry and Hogwarts’ combined power.  So the world is assigning all the power to Harry - which raises him to a different level.

The lovely Megan was made headgirl because her father was the right sort of rich - I didn't want to add a large explanation to the story for this part as it was a pointless divergence.  She was exactly the sort of school head who practically encouraged Megan's behaviour.  And she only did something about it because someone even better (a rich lord) was on the other side.  

Natalia Anastasia Tiemerovna is the first of the Mata Hari's (well, tehcnically a spy) that I mentioned all those years ago when I wrote the summary,  to be welcomed into this world.  She is a homage to endless summers when I was 14 and 15 reading Jerry Ahernes "Survivalist" series (In a world of shitty fanfiction, can one man survive?)  At one stage I think I owned the entire series.  I tried to re-read the first one a year or so ago, and couldn't get past the first few pages.  Still, the character stayed with me all these years.

In my stories I often have Harry doing world shaking events, but limit  the exposure to Hogwarts.  That's not possibly now - he's done to much (well, people believe he's done to much) AND he's on CCTV.

Unusally, I'm already writing the next chapter - so it shouldn't be anywhere near as long a wait.

On the other hand, positing for 10 weeks straight has been a royal pain.  I'm looking forward to a few weekends off.

Thanks for reading.