“Hermione, is it really you?” Harry asked, staring at her.
“I beg your pardon?” Catherine asked, confused.
Harry swallowed hard. “I’m sorry I must have confused you with someone else.” He mumbled. He extended his hand to her. “Harry Potter.”
Her eyes widened just slightly as the name rang a bell. Being the reader she was, Catherine knew lots about him but had thought she read that he left the wizarding world. However, she smiled and shook his hand.
“Catherine Beaumont. It’s nice to meet you Mr. Potter.” She said casually. Fame had never really impressed her; she was a firm believer that it was what was inside that counted. At that moment, a red haired man dashed up to them.
“Harry!” he was saying loudly. “I heard you being paged is everything okay?” He turned to Catherine and his eyes widened.
“Ron this is Catherine she helped Caitlyn find me.” Harry interjected before Ron could say anything. He gave Ron a warning with his eyes not to say anything, not yet anyway. Ron nodded and stepped back to join Lavender and Blue who had just come up with an armload of books.
“It was no problem. Kids get lost a lot in here.” Catherine said, feeling a little ill at ease at the way Harry and his friend were staring at her. “Is there anything else I can help you find?”
“I think we’re all set.” Lavender answered, dropping her load of books on the counter. She prided herself on being cooler than Harry and Ron, and prevented her eyes from gluing themselves to the Hermione look-alike who was currently totaling up the sale. Meanwhile Ron was pulling Harry a few feet away.
“That’s Hermione!” Ron hissed, stealing another glance at the woman. Harry grabbed his arm to keep him from staring at her once more.
“She looks exactly like her.” Harry replied, biting his lower lip. His mind was going through a myriad of emotions and he wasn’t sure how much longer he could control himself, staying in there within view of Catherine. While his heart was full to bursting, his mind kept trying to plant little seeds of doubt.
‘What if it’s just a twin?’
‘What if she changed herself because she doesn’t’ want anything to do with you?’
“Shut up!” Harry said crossly to himself. Ron looked startled at his outburst. “Sorry.” Harry said. “There’s just a lot going through my head right now. I can’t believe this.” He tried to secretly peek at Catherine again. He was slightly amused to see her doing the same thing. He turned back to Ron.
“You’ve never seen her before?” he questioned. “I mean, you are still living in the wizarding world and have access to all this.”
Ron made a face. “We never come to Diagon Alley anymore Harry. It’s become way too much of a tourist trap. When foreign wizards come to Britain, they go to Diagon Alley to shop. Every once in awhile, a Muggle will wander in here too. Lav and I mainly stick to Hogsmeade now.”
Catherine couldn’t help but think there was something very odd going on. She finished ringing up Lavender’s books and watched as the group left Flourish and Blotts, both men trying not to be obvious about looking at her. She faintly smiled and busied herself with more customers.
Catherine Beaumont had no idea how she had come to live in the wizarding world. She always said she felt as if she had woken up as a twenty one year old woman and had not had a childhood. She lived in a roomy flat in the heart of Diagon Alley with her best friend for the past nine years, Grace Klingman. Grace was a Squib who had found out a year before the girls became friends that she was a witch. She had decided to become a nurse at the expansion of St. Mungos that had opened in Diagon Alley. Catherine had been lucky when Grace found her; apparently she had been wandering down by the Thames and almost fell in. Grace had been the one who had taken her to the hospital, and then offered her a place to stay while she got on her feet.
“Speak of the devil.” Catherine said, smiling at Grace as she swept into Flourish and Blotts.
“What?” Grace asked. “Were you telling a dangerously handsome man about me in an attempt to get your best friend a date?” they both laughed, Grace had a new boyfriend about every other week, while Catherine was far more selective about the men she chose to become interested in.
“Well…” Catherine said. “Speaking of handsome strangers…” she filled Grace in on how Harry Potter had been in the store. She wasn’t ashamed to admit to herself that she’d found him exhilaratingly good looking. There was something deep in his green eyes that made her feel special in some way.
“I cannot believe I missed him!” Grace said dramatically. Catherine laughed. She loved her friend’s antics; she could always put her in a good mood.
“Well if he comes in here again, be sure and page me. I can be here in two seconds flat.” Grace was saying. “What time are you off today?”
“In about a half hour.” Catherine replied. A swarm of people came up to the registers at that moment. “I’ll meet you outside Gringotts when I’m done.” She called over the din. Grace waved and slipped back outside. Catherine tried to concentrate on getting the mad crowd of shoppers rung up, but her mind kept slipping away to Harry Potter. Where had she known him before?
Harry couldn’t believe his world had been turned back upside down in a matter of minutes. He was completely positive that had been Hermione back in Flourish and Blotts; she had looked different, her hair was a lot longer and darker than before, her skin a few shades darker, but Harry had looked into her eyes, they had been eyes he knew better than his own.
“Dad are you okay?” Caitlyn asked, concerned. She really didn’t have much of an idea of what had happened in the bookstore, with that woman, but her father had seemed to know her.
“What?” Harry seemed startled at his daughter’s question. “Yes love, I’m fine.” He forced a smile on his face as he looked down at his daughter.
“Anyone ready for Quidditch?” Ron interrupted. Blue jumped up and down and howled in excitement. Lavender was tugging on Ron’s sleeve.
“We need to get to the portkey soon.” She said. “It’s going to be working in about 5 minutes.”
The group hurried across Diagon Alley towards the side of a building. They didn’t need to hide from anyone, seeing as how they were in the wizarding world already, which was nice. Grabbing up a moldy newspaper, Ron glanced at his watch.
“Okay everyone, all you need is a finger on this.” Ron said. Lavender, Harry and Blue all did as Ron instructed. Caitlyn looked at the paper and wrinkled her nose.
“I have to touch that?” she asked.
Blue rolled his eyes good-naturedly. He grabbed Caitlyn’s hand and smacked it down on the moldiest piece of the newspaper. Before she had time to shriek in disgust, the portkey had whirled them away to where the Puddlemere United team was prepping for their game that day.
Harry inhaled deeply as he drank in the Quidditch field hungrily with his eyes. It had been far too long since he had played; he really missed that free feeling he got while in the air. He felt some of the melancholy shift off his shoulders as the thought of broomsticks and small golden snitches filled his head.
“It really has been far too long.” Harry mused, looking around with a growing smile. Caitlyn looked at her father, happy to see a smile on his face.
“Dad are you going to play?” Caitlyn asked excitedly, tugging on his hand.
Harry chuckled. “No love. We’re just watching today, it’s a professional Quidditch match you’re about to see.”
“I’ve got passes to get us back behind the scenes.” Ron said proudly.
“How did you get these on such short notice Ron?” Harry asked, accepting the two passes Ron gave him.
“A friend.” Ron said smugly. He jerked his head towards a man with short brown hair. “Hey Oliver!” he shouted. The man turned in their direction and smiled, and began walking over to them.
“Ron!” Oliver said enthusiastically, pumping Ron’s hand. “Glad to see those tickets arrived in time.” He looked at the rest of the group, and his eyes widened when they saw Harry.
“Harry Potter!” Oliver exclaimed, as he pushed past everyone. “I can’t believe it!” he shook Harry’s hand.
“How have you been Oliver?” Harry asked. “I see you play for Puddlemere! Congratulations!”
“Yeah, I made the reserve team when I got out of Hogwarts, and about two years later they signed me onto the main team, and here I’ve been ever since!”
“That’s great.” Harry responded. “I really miss playing Quidditch sometimes.”
“Dad you were a seeker right?” Caitlyn piped up.
“That’s right.” Harry replied. Oliver looked around Harry and his eyes brightened.
“Who is this?” he asked.
“Oliver, this is my daughter Caitlyn. Caty Cat, this is Oliver Wood, he used to be the Gryffindor Quidditch captain when I was at Hogwarts.”
“Hi.” Caitlyn said shyly. She thought Oliver was hot!
“My lady.” Oliver said gallantly, taking her hand and kissing the back. Caitlyn blushed hard and Harry and Ron laughed.
“I can see you haven’t changed much.” Harry remarked as the group made their way towards the Quidditch field.
“What do you mean?” Oliver asked. Harry grinned and pointed to the diagrams Oliver had laid out for the team to study.
“I cringe just thinking about all those times you woke us up at 4 am to go practice.” Harry said and Ron and Lavender both roared.
“I remember that!” Ron said. “Harry used to moan and groan for about a half hour after you’d leave!” Everyone laughed again as they went inside where the locker rooms were.
“Well I’m afraid I must leave you here.” Oliver said. “The game starts in about an hour so I have to go give my team a pep talk. I hope you’ll stay around for the party tonight?” he asked, looking at Harry and Ron.
“I’m there.” Ron said. He looked at Harry. “You?”
“I’m game if Caty Cat is.” Harry looked at his daughter. “You want to go?”
“Yes!” she replied quickly, and blushed when Oliver grinned at her.
“Well I guess we’re staying then.” Harry said. He shook Oliver’s hand again and he disappeared into the locker room.
They all went up to the top of the stadium to find their seats. Oliver had managed to get them top box seats.
“Kind of reminds you of the World Cup doesn’t it Harry.” Ron said as he settled back into his seat.
“Yeah it does. Only one thing missing.” Harry said. His lips twitched a little as he remembered sitting in the top box with Hermione right next to him, her hair blowing every once awhile and tickling his arm, the way she pulled him back when the veela started dancing…
“So did you two want to stay with us tonight?” Ron was asking him as Lavender tried unsuccessfully to get Blue to sit down in his seat.
“Sure, that’d be great.” Harry said appreciatively. “It’s not like I planned this to be an overnight trip.”
“Great.” Lavender said. “It’ll be fun to have you two over. Gives Blue and Caitlyn a chance to get to know each other better as well.” She smiled at the two children who were bouncing excitedly in their seats, anxious for the game to begin.
“So how do you like being able to do magic again?” Ron asked.
Harry smiled. “It definitely isn’t hard to remember. There were a lot of times when I found myself wanting to pull out my wand to levitate something over, but I didn’t want to scare Caitlyn.”
Harry, Ron and Lavender discussed the uses of magic around the house for a good half hour, until a drawling voice interrupted them.
“Well I’ll be damned. If it isn’t Potty and his loser sidekick the Weasel.” Draco Malfoy entered their box, his mouth drawn up in a sneer.
Harry’s face contorted in anger, and Ron rose from his seat like a volcano erupting.
“Malfoy what the hell are you doing here?” Ron spat. “Finally get some money to regain a life?”
Malfoy’s eyes narrowed. “I have plenty of money Weasel. I never had to take charity.”
“Right.” Ron snorted. “That’s why everyone saw you groveling on the streets for Knuts right after Harry dispelled you of everything you had when he killed Voldemort.”
Malfoy lunged forward at that moment and Harry immediately stood up and prevented him from slugging Ron.
“I think you’d best leave Malfoy.” Harry said quietly. He was desperately trying to maintain a sense of calm around Caitlyn and Blue, but it was failing him miserably. He wanted to knock the daylights out of Malfoy. He tightened his hold on Malfoy’s robe, and pushed him back towards the entrance to the box.
Malfoy wrenched himself away from Harry and glared at him, looking more like a snake than he ever had before. His sneer turned into an ugly smirk.
“So, you brought your Mudblood daughter into the wizarding world I see. Trying to make her like that bitch of a wife of yours?”
At that moment, Harry lost any sense of self-control he had managed to hang on to. He pulled back his arm and with all his force, smashed his fist into Malfoy’s face. Ron didn’t miss a beat as he jumped into the fray, pulling on Malfoy’s hair and pummeling him with his fists.
“Harry! Ron!” Lavender was trying to pull them off. Caitlyn, very disturbed at seeing her father this way, was hiding behind Blue, tears in her eyes.
Ron picked Malfoy off the floor and shoved him against the wall.
“Get the hell out of here before Harry and I throw you over the ledge. If I see you ANYWHERE near my family or Harry’s, that pretty boy face of yours is going to be messed up for life!” Ron shouted.
Malfoy staggered away, but not before shouting a few curse words back at the two men. “You watch out for me Potter! You too Weasel! We’re not done yet. I still owe you!”
Breathing heavily, Harry and Ron reentered the box. Lavender glared at both of them and pointed at the two children, who looked terrified.
“Caty Cat.” Harry said. “I’m sorry.” He went over to his daughter and pulled her into a hug. She sniffed against his shoulder and he cursed himself for letting her see that. He had never acted violently in front of her; he supposed this had to be quite a shock.
Caitlyn was embarrassed at her tears; the Weasley family must think she was a baby. She pulled back from her father’s embrace, and managed a shaky smile.
“I’m okay.” She said. Her father nodded, and patted her shoulder, realizing his daughter didn’t want to be babied in front of everyone.
Blue looked concernedly at her. “You sure you’re all right?” he asked.
Caitlyn smiled at him. “Yes, thanks. I’m fine.” Harry, Lavender and Ron smiled at each other over the children’s heads. At that moment, they all heard the commentator start to announce the Quidditch teams. Harry was amused to see his daughter clap heartily for Oliver when he flew out on his broom and blush when he flew past the box and winked at her.
The players flew into their positions on the field, and the referee brought out the box with the Quidditch balls. After a moment, he opened the box and all 4 of the balls flew out and around the field. The game had begun.
Harry found himself aching inside to be on one of those brooms. His memories of his Quidditch playing days at Hogwarts came rushing over him in waves. Caitlyn had never been so excited as she watched all the players weave their patterns across the field.
“Dad I want to be a Chaser! No, a Beater so I can pelt those things! Oooh, but the Keeper looks like such fun….” She kept squealing throughout the match. Blue matched her enthusiasm bit for bit, his desire to play Quidditch as well was apparent on his face as he was completely enraptured by the game. They both jumped up and cheered when Puddlemere won the game. Oliver swooped down by their box.
“Want to go for a victory loop?” Oliver asked Caitlyn, who looked quite enamored at that moment.
“Can I Dad?” she pleaded. Harry chuckled.
“Sure, go ahead.” He replied, watching as she shrieked when Oliver grabbed her up and took off. Blue stared after them in dismay.
“No fair!” he whined. “I want to ride on a broom too!” When Oliver and Caitlyn came back, Oliver was nice enough to take Blue for a ride as well.
“Have fun?” Harry asked his daughter.
“Oh yes!” she said breathlessly. “Can I have a broom to take with me to school?” she begged.
“Sorry dear.” Harry said. “First years aren’t allowed to have brooms.” He looked to Ron to confirm this and Ron nodded.
“Boo.” Caitlyn said, but didn’t pout. When Blue came back from his ride, he and Caitlyn immediately started discussing the ways they could try to get on their house team once at school.
It was discussed that Harry would apparate home (he still knew how) to get some changes of clothes, and Caitlyn would go back to Ron and Lavender’s place to wait for him. He kissed his daughter on the top of his head once they reached the Leaky Cauldron and to Caitlyn’s astonishment (although she was getting used to magic already) disappeared. Ron showed her how to use Floo Powder, and within seconds they had all left Diagon Alley.
* * *
Grace burst into their apartment with a huge grin on her face.
“Guess what I’ve just scored?” she said excitedly.
Catherine looked up from the kitchen table where she had a large book open in front of her.
“I don’t know. What?”
“Two invitations to the Puddlemere United celebration party!” Grace squealed in excitement.
“How on earth did you manage to get those?” Catherine asked incredulously. When she had arrived home from work, the newscasters on the Wizarding Wireless Network had excitedly announced of Puddlemere’s win that day, and how now they’d go on to represent Scotland in the next World Cup. She enjoyed Quidditch, she definitely wasn’t a fanatic like Grace, but they had watched numerous games together and it had been fun.
“I have my sources.” Grace replied mysteriously. “We’ll have to use Floo Powder, the party is at Oliver Wood’s club.”
Catherine raised her eyebrows teasingly. “Oliver Wood huh. Are you sure the party’s there or are you just trying to snag him again?”
Grace feigned shock. “What? Me?” she laughed. “Wouldn’t’ I love to be Mrs. Oliver Wood. But I hear he’s got himself someone these days.”
Catherine pretended to swoon. “Oh no, I guess this means every single wizard tonight had better be on his guard.”
Grace laughed again. “Get yourself ready by 7.” She swept out of the room before Catherine could bring up an argument.
Looking at the clock on the wall, Catherine deducted that she should start getting ready. Hopping into the shower, she let her long hair out of the bun that had held it back from her face while she read. Letting the hot water rush over her, she recalled the scene from earlier that day with Harry Potter. He had plagued her mind since that morning. No matter how busy she kept herself, her thoughts drifted back to his emerald green eyes and shiny black hair. She sighed heavily, wishing once again she could remember her past and who was in it.
Stepping into her bedroom, she opened her closet to see what sort of clothes she had to wear. She pushed her more casual clothes aside to reveal her more formal clothes. She pulled down a long red dress, and shook her head no, not red tonight. Pushing more dresses aside, she smiled as she saw the perfect one, a light green slim cut dress, which ended right above her knees, with spaghetti straps. Grace had insisted she buy it, claiming it offset her dark toned hair and skin.
Laying it carefully across her bed, she pulled the towel from her head and her very long hair bounced down almost to her waist. Running a comb through it, she cast a drying spell that left it straight and full. Pulling it back on each side, she secured it with a clasp, and then pulled a lock from each side and let them frame each side of her face. She pulled the dress on over her head and zipped it up. Heels that matched the dress went on next, and then she called Grace in to let her put a light dusting of makeup on her.
“You look amazing Catherine.” Grace said honestly. She was wearing a long black dress, and had pulled her long blond hair into an elegant chignon at the nape of her neck.
“Same for you!” Catherine smiled at her friend. “You’re going to knock them dead tonight!”
“Oh I hope so.” Grace said fervently. The clock in the hallway chimed 7 exactly, and Grace pulled Catherine down to their fireplace.
“The Golden Snitch!” Grace threw some Floo Powder into the fireplace and grinned at Catherine. “See you there!” with that she disappeared into the flames.
Catherine took a pinch and threw it in. “The Golden Snitch!” she repeated, and wondered what the night would have in store.