Harry knocked on his daughter’s door.
“Caty Cat, do you have everything you need?” he called. She flung the door open and Harry stared agape at the mess of clothing and books on her floor.
“It’s not as bad as it looks!” she spoke up before he could say anything. “I swear it’s not.”
“It’d better not be.” Harry said, giving her a look. “We need to get going in about forty minutes, you have to be packed up by then.” He gave her room one last exasperated look and headed down the hallway towards the kitchen. He poured some water into a mug, added a tea bag and zapped it with his wand to heat it up. He sipped it slowly as he sat down at the kitchen table.
“What a rotten week…” he muttered as he rubbed his eyes wearily. Caitlyn was leaving for Hogwarts today; it would be the first time in their lives that they would be separated. Harry was already feeling a bit of empty nest syndrome; he wasn’t sure what he’d do without her constant chatter and presence in the home. And if that wasn’t bad enough for him, Catherine still refused to speak to him. He had sent her flowers; she had come to his door with them and said she couldn’t accept them unless he told her about what he had meant the night of their date. A few days after that he had gone to her flat, and Grace had answered the door, and sorrowfully informed him that Catherine would not see him.
“I’ve tried and tried to talk to her.” Grace had said quietly. She pressed her lips together and shook her head. “Cath can be very stubborn when she wants to be.”
Harry had nodded in defeat. “Will you still tell her I came by?”
“Of course I will.” Grace had then smiled warmly. “She’ll come around. I promise.”
Harry drained the last of the tea in his mug and set it in the sink. His mind turned to more troubling thoughts, mainly his conversation with Ron after he had filled him in on the details on what had happened the evening of his and Catherine’s date.
~*”What a bummer!” Ron said sympathetically once Harry finished telling him about the end of his evening. Harry ran his hands through his hair in frustration.
“I can’t think about this anymore.” He looked up at Ron. “Tell me about the curse.”
Ron sat heavily into a kitchen chair. “I’m afraid I don’t the best of news.” He paused for a moment to collect his thoughts. “Well I asked old Mundungus Fletcher about it, since he knows just about every curse known to man.” Ron leaned forward towards Harry. “And almost nothing shocks him anymore, but when I told him the words for the curse, he paled so much I had to get him to sit down.”
Harry’s eyes grew wide. “What?”
Ron nodded. “He actually pulled me into a private office. Then he asked me again what the curse was, so I told him, and he asked how I found out about it…”
“Where did you say you heard this curse from?” Mundungus Fletcher was leaning heavily over the table.
“One of my friends believes it was used on his wife.” Ron replied.
“Really…” Fletcher said. He sat back in his chair and tapped his finger on his chin. “That is most alarming to hear…”
“Why?” Ron asked, a ball of fear beginning to pound in his chest.
“It’s the fourth Unforgivable Curse.” Fletcher said quietly.
“The fourth?” Ron asked, perplexed. “I thought there were only three.”
“No, there are four, the Alieno Cunctus curse was banned by the Ministry almost as soon as it was developed. It was used by Voldemort during his reign to wipe people of their memories, so that his influence on them was greater.” Fletcher once more leaned forward. “He figured if people could not remember their lives, he could tempt them into his control and have as many followers as necessary.”
Ron sat back, his head spinning from the revelation. “Is there a counter curse?” his eyes were pleading.
“There is yes, but it has the most dire of consequences if it does not work.”
“Like what?” Ron’s eyes grew wide.
“Well, one effect is the person who was cursed will lose all memory forever. They will never be able to retain anything in their head ever again. The second, the person could die.” Fletcher looked up at Ron, who grew pale. “The third, well, the person will remember everything.”
“How do we know which one will work?” Ron asked quickly.
“The third effect will work only if the person whom the counter curse is being performed on believes themselves to be under the curse, and agrees to having the counter curse done.”
“Well that’s good!” Ron said, brightening.
Fletcher put up his index finger. “The second effect will happen if the counter curse is performed on a person who is NOT under the Alieno Cunctus curse, or if they don’t believe in themselves.” Fletcher paused. “The first effect….” He leaned forward in his chair again. “The counter curse is a VERY difficult potion to make. If any ingredient is forgotten, put in wrong, not enough or too much, the person will lose any and all memories forever. There is no retrieval.”
Ron gulped. “I see…” he croaked.
Fletcher regarded him through half lidded eyes. “I have the potion in a book in my regular office.”
“I want it.” Ron replied without hesitation. Fletcher silently led him up to his office and magicked a copy of the potion to Ron immediately.
“Be careful with this.” Fletcher gripped Ron’s arm tightly. “And you remember this too, Mr. Weasley, if you find out who has done an Unforgivable Curse, they go to Azkaban.”
Ron’s mouth was set in a grim line. “Oh believe me, I will find out who did this…”
*End Ron’s Flashback*
Harry’s mouth was open much like Ron’s was when Fletcher was telling him the details of the curse.
“What do we do?” Ron asked.
“Need you ask?” Harry said bitterly. “But I don’t know how I’m going to get her to do this. She probably won’t come near me now.”
“Well…” Ron said thoughtfully. “Perhaps it’s time to fill her in?” *~
Harry stood at his kitchen sink as he thought hard about what Ron had said. He knew deep down that Ron was right. It was not time to play games through this anymore. They had tracked down most of the necessary items for this potion, and Ron was having it brewed at the ministry, as it was such a dangerous counter curse that it needed to be monitored. Harry only hoped now he could get Catherine to trust him enough to take it.
Meanwhile, Catherine and Grace took that morning and did a little shopping, which didn’t help to cheer Catherine, as she truly hated shopping for clothes. Grace, in the half hour they had been gone, had acquired about six bags full of new dresses, pants and shirts, while Catherine had managed to find one sweater.
“Let’s go back…” she was moaning. “I don’t want to shop.”
Grace rolled her eyes. “You’ve been moping about the house for a week, I just FINALLY yesterday get you to come out of your room and tell me about what happened the night you and Harry went out…” she sighed and pulled Catherine’s arm. “Let’s go have some chocolate. That ALWAYS cheers you up, and I can’t believe I didn’t think of it till now.”
Grace yanked Catherine in the direction of Florean Fortescue’s. “What do you want?” Grace asked once they were inside, turning to Catherine, who for some reason looked like she was going to cry.
Catherine drew a shaky breath. “Nothing. I’m fine.” She finally managed to pull herself free of Grace. “Look I’m going to wait outside.” She flew out of the store.
Grace followed her, all thoughts of ice cream abandoned. “Cath?” she asked softly. She followed her friend to a bench nearby and they sat down. “You miss him don’t you.” She said perceptively.
“What are you talking about?” Catherine said, too quickly. “I haven’t been thinking of Harry at all!” she snapped her mouth shut when she realized what she had said.
“Sure. Whatever you say.” Grace said sarcastically. “Look, I know you miss him, you have been hanging around all week with a long face and done nothing. Go to him and let him apologize to you, he’s been trying all week!”
Catherine faced her. “Look, he might know something about my life that I don’t, and he won’t share it with me. Until he will, I don’t want to have anything to do with him!” she sat back on the bench. “I just want to know about myself. Before I met you I don’t know who or what I was.”
Grace put a hand on Catherine’s back sympathetically. “I know, believe me I know. Just give him a little time. I bet he will tell you.”
“I’m not counting on anything.” Catherine said wryly. “Look, I’m going to go back to the flat, I need to be alone right now.”
Grace nodded in defeat. “All right.” She paused. “Are you sure you want to be alone some more?”
“Yeah.” She replied. “I need to do some serious thinking.” Grace squeezed her arm and Catherine apparated back to the flat. She dropped her bag on her bed and lay down for a moment.
As much as she hated to admit Grace was right, she was. Catherine missed Harry, she missed him a lot. Even though she had only known him for a few days before they had gotten into their fight, there was something about him that made her feel special. When she was with him she felt so familiar, she felt complete, like a missing piece of the puzzle that was her mind had been found. She sat back up and threw a sweater on over her tank top. She needed a bit of fresh air. She left the flat and walked up the fire escape to the roof. Once she got up top, she breathed in the cool air that wafted across her face and blew her long hair out behind her. She closed her eyes and willed her troubling thoughts away. Enclosed into herself, she did not hear the person approaching until they grabbed her from behind.
“DUNCAN!” she screamed, pulling herself free and whirling around.
“What?” he asked, holding his arms out to his sides. “You act like you’re not happy to see me.”
“I’m not!” she snapped back at him. “Honestly, I can’t believe you, acting as if everything is okay between us.”
Duncan rolled his eyes. “Look, I told you I was sorry. Why can’t you accept that?”
Catherine glared silently at him, and then a horrible gleam entered her eyes. “You know, I did tell you if you ever came near me again I’d hex you.”
Duncan heckled nervously. “You know you didn’t mean that.” He tried to say confidently.
Catherine’s eyes narrowed and before he could do anything, she pointed her wand at him. “Furnunculus!” she said, and on Duncan’s normally smug face popped out tons of boils.
“Bitch!” he screamed, while trying to reach for his own wand. She never gave him the chance.
“Petrificus Totalus!” she cried out next, then she banished him to the middle of Diagon Alley.
Catherine felt no remorse for what she had just done. After all he had done to her, he deserved it. She sat down on the cold gravel ground and leaned back against the half wall that circled the perimeter of the building.
Downstairs, Harry was trying to get the rest of Caitlyn’s things together.
“Caty, we have to be at the train station in twenty minutes!” Harry yelled down the hallway.
“I know! I’m ready!” she called back. Her door opened and she began lugging her trunk down the hall.
“Here.” Harry pointed his wand at the trunk. “Wingardium Leviosa!” he said, and the trunk floated down the hall.
“Cool!” Caitlyn cried. “When do I learn that?”
“Probably two days from now.” Harry told her. Flitwick had taught them that charm right away. “Come on, we’ve got to get going.” Harry shrank her trunk down and put it in his pocket. He grabbed her hand and they left the flat.
“Oh no!” Caitlyn wailed when they had gotten outside. “I forgot Snuffles!”
“What?” Harry asked.
“My dragon!” she looked up at her father. “I need to go back and get him!”
“Go.” Harry pushed his daughter in the direction of the door. “You’d better hurry!”
Caitlyn ran back upstairs and unlocked the door to the flat. She hurriedly spied Snuffles lying on her bed and she grabbed the dragon and rushed back down.
“Oomph!” she said as she crashed into someone. She looked up and found Catherine staring down at her.
“Are you okay?” Catherine asked her.
“Yeah, I’m fine, my dad is waiting for me outside.” Caitlyn said.
“Oh…so he’s already outside?” Catherine said, trying not to sound too disappointed. A thrill had shot through her when she saw the little girl; she had hoped to see Harry with her.
“Yeah.” Caitlyn looked back up at her; she seemed to be thinking hard. “You know, you look a lot like my mum.” She burst out.
Catherine looked startled. “I beg your pardon?”
“My uncle Ron gave me a picture of my mum, and she looks a lot like you.” Caitlyn said again. When Catherine didn’t respond, she continued.
“My dad misses you too.” She figured she may as well go for broke. “He likes you a lot.”
“He…does?” Catherine asked tentatively. “How do you know?”
Caitlyn bit her lower lip. “I hear him talking to my uncle Ron about you a lot, and…” she trailed off. A sudden idea lit up her eyes. “Here!” she exclaimed. Caitlyn dug into her pocket and produced her key to the flat. “You can go talk to him later!” she shoved the key in Catherine’s hand and turned to leave.
“Wait!” Catherine called out. “I can’t take your key!” But it was too late; Caitlyn had already disappeared out the door.
Caitlyn flew back out the door and she and Harry quickly made their way down to King’s Cross Station.
“Okay, Caty Cat…” Harry put his arm on his daughter’s shoulder. “See the barrier between platforms 9 and 10? You need to run straight into it.”
She looked at him, quite alarmed. “I WHAT?”
“Trust me, love. It’s not hard. I’ll be right behind you, ok?” Harry reassured her. “And I bet you Blue is already on the train waiting for you.”
That got her moving, she took a deep breath and walked towards the barrier. Harry blinked and in a second she was gone. He counted to five to make sure she was out of his way and went through it himself.
Waves and waves of memories poured over him as he took in the familiar scarlet train, the wooden signs proclaiming Platform 9 ¾, Harry could almost hear Hagrid calling ‘Firs’ Years, this way!’. He saw Caitlyn was already standing with Ron, Lavender and Blue. Lavender was sobbing and hugging Blue tightly, and he was trying to squirm out of her grasp.
“Mum, come on!” he was saying. Ron looked up and saw Harry coming towards them.
“Brings back lots of memories doesn’t it.” He said, looking around.
“It sure does.” Harry agreed. He pulled Caitlyn’s trunk out of his pocket and resized it to normal. He and Ron shoved it onto a train compartment.
“All right…” Harry said. He felt a sudden sharp tug on his stomach; he’d been dreading this moment for a while now. “Time to go…”
Caitlyn looked up at her father for a moment, then jumped into his arms and gave him a tight hug. She felt a small tear trickle out of her eye. She’d never felt so scared in her life; it would be the first time she’d ever been away from her father for any length of time.
“I love you Dad!” she said, squeezing him tighter.
“Me too Caty Cat.” Harry said, trying to speak over the lump in his throat. “You have a good safe trip and remember, you can owl me anytime you need anything.” She nodded, and she and Blue got up onto the train. The whistle blew not a moment later, and the train started to chug out of the station. Harry, Ron and Lavender waved until the train was out of sight.
Harry sighed, staring at the empty track. Lavender still had tears in her eyes, and Ron was holding her arm.
“You want to come over later Harry?” Ron asked. Harry shrugged.
“Maybe. I just kind of want to go home right now, be by myself for awhile.” He replied.
Ron nodded. “All right. Just come on over later if you feel up to it, ok?”
Harry nodded and waved goodbye; he apparated back to the flat, which felt cold and alone. He looked out the window at Diagon Alley, it had started to rain steadily and it had become quite chilly. He went to his bedroom and pulled on a navy blue sweater over his shirt. Harry came back into the kitchen and made himself another mug of tea, and took it into the living room with him. He sat down at the piano and touched the keys gently; due to the events of the past few weeks he had not played his piano in ages. He put the mug on the table next to the piano and flexed his fingers.
Harry began to play one of his favorite songs, Moonlight Sonata by Beethoven. It perfectly matched the gloom of the day, and was soothing to his head. He began to lose himself completely to the music.
Catherine stood outside Harry’s door. She had debated over what to do with the key that Caitlyn had given her, and the knowledge, that she resembled Harry’s wife…she honestly could not make anything of that until she talked to him. Which was why she was now standing outside his door. She swallowed her nerves, then pushed a strand of her hair back into her messy bun and knocked softly, then a bit louder when no one came to the door. Perhaps he wasn’t home from dropping Caitlyn off at the train station yet. An idea occurred to her, she could just open the door and drop the key on a table, and he’d never know she’d been there. She pulled the key from her pocket with a trembling hand and it actually took her two tries to get it inserted into the lock.
Quietly, she inched the door open, only to be confronted by a surprise- beautiful melodious piano music was filling the hallway of Harry’s flat. Her intentions of leaving the key and slipping out before being noticed was forgotten as the soft notes drew her further into the flat. She entered what had to be Harry’s living room and caught her breath as she laid her eyes on his frame, which was currently planted on the piano bench, his long fingers rippling over the keys in a dark tune, which she happened to recognize as Moonlight Sonata by Ludwig Van Beethoven. Not realizing what she was doing, she ventured further until she was standing directly next to him.
Harry felt strangely calm as he began to play the ending notes to the song. After it was over, he stayed still for a moment, his eyes closed, just feeling the effects the music had on him. A few moments later, he opened his eyes and began to stand up, and a yelp of surprise escaped him as he came face to face with Catherine. In his shock, he fell over the piano bench and on his back.
“Oh my God!” Catherine cried, watching him fall backwards. She felt horrible sneaking up on him like that now, and she rushed over to help him up.
“Oh uh, I’m fine.” Harry mumbled, too distracted by her hand on his arm helping him up to string a coherent sentence together. She got him back up and he seated himself onto the piano bench again, her right next to him. Catherine moved her hand to his back and gently pressed her hand on it.
“Are you sure? You took quite a spill.” She was concerned.
“I’m fine, really.” Harry insisted, still staring at her. “How did you get in here?”
It was her turn to blush. “Well, you see,” she started, holding the key out to him, “I saw Caitlyn in the hallway before you took her to school, and she gave it to me.”
“I see.” Harry said, taking the key from her outstretched hand. He set it on the small table next to the piano and turned to face her again. “So…what brings you by today?” he asked slowly.
Catherine took a deep breath. “I have some things I would like to talk to you about.”
“You want to talk to me about what I said that night…” Harry guessed correctly.
“Well yes, I would like to talk about that.” She said. “But today, when I saw Caitlyn in the hallway, she said something that completely stunned me.”
“What’s that?” he asked.
She swallowed before she could continue. “Well, she told me that I look a lot like her mother.” The words came bursting out.
“She what?” Harry asked, once again in shock.
“Do I?” she asked nervously. “Do I look like your wife? Is that why you have been interested in me?” Small tears sprang to her eyes as this disturbing thought entered her head.
Harry moved his hand so it covered hers. “Do you really want to know everything?” he asked quietly.
She lifted her head back up so her brown eyes met his green ones. She nodded silently, afraid to trust her voice.
“At first, yes, I was attracted to you because you very greatly resemble her.” He began. Catherine bit her lower lip but Harry continued before she could speak. “At first. I realize we didn’t really get to know each other that well but I feel something special with you anyway.”
“Really?” she asked tentatively.
“Really really.” He smiled a moment before his face grew serious again. “But I do want to tell you everything now.”
“Why the sudden change?” she asked. “I mean, a week ago you didn’t want to say anything.”
Harry was silent for a moment. “Well, I’ve found out a lot of things in this past week that clear up a lot of mystery. And since I do believe it involves you, you have a right to know what’s going on.”
Harry took his time and explained everything as carefully and gently as he could. Catherine kept silent through most of it, mulling the information over in her mind as he told her.
“…so,” Harry paused. “I really hope this doesn’t scare you off, but I…I think there is a strong possibility that you are her.”
Catherine got up from the bench and walked across the room and stared out the window at the rain, which was falling steadily. She was silent for a long moment, then turned back and faced Harry.
“So, if I am your wife…” she paused and looked down. “This means that Caitlyn…” she was so shocked at this sudden realization that the words stuck in her throat.
“That Caitlyn is our daughter, yes.” Harry finished for her. She stared at him for a moment, and then felt her knees begin to buckle underneath her. Harry rushed forward and caught her before she could fall onto the floor. He helped her to the couch.
“I’m sorry…” she said as they sat down. “I just don’t know what to say, this is all…just a total shock.”
“I’m sorry too.” Harry said. “I shouldn’t have sprung all this on you at once like I just did.”
(A/N: Play Silence now if you’ve gotten it)
“No, I wanted to hear it. I’ve been wanting some closure for a long time. I’ve lived the past nine years of my life not knowing what I did, who I was, who I was with, before I lost my memory.” She looked up at Harry’s face, it was marred with guilt. “Don’t feel bad about this, Harry. I’m glad you told me.” She lightly touched his face with her fingertips. A dark lock of hair fell from her bun and across her face, and Harry reached up and brushed it away with his hand. He caressed the side of her face gently, and Harry turned his burning green eyes onto her luminous brown ones.
“Are you glad you might be my wife?” he almost whispered, bringing his face closer to hers.
“Yes…” she breathed, and not a moment later Harry’s lips were on hers. His kiss was gentle, lightly brushing her soft lips. He pulled back and raised both hands to her face, tilting it at a better angle. He pressed his mouth to hers again; this time his lips were more demanding. His tongue ran along her lower lip, he could taste the vanilla flavor of the gloss she wore. Her lips parted under his, allowing him entry into her mouth. He slid his tongue inside, where it clashed with hers, creating thrills that ran down her body. She wound her hands around the back of his neck, stroking the wild hair that lay back there, her nails lightly caressing his skin. He shivered under her touch, and tore his mouth from hers to kiss her throat, and he trailed his lips down the side of her neck to the spot that connected her shoulder to her neck.
She whimpered as his tongue traced patterns on her smooth skin, and he pulled his head back up and kissed her again on the mouth. He brought his hand up and pulled away the band that held her hair back, the long tresses fell down her back and bounced from the weight. She flattened her palms against his broad chest and was annoyed at the fabric that was in her way. Moving her hands down, she pulled up on his shirt and broke the kiss only long enough to yank the shirt over his head and toss it away across the floor. Her mouth attacked his once more and she pushed her tongue across his lips, teasing, knowing that she was making him crazy. One of his hands entangled itself into her silken hair, the other was making it’s way down her side, Harry went under the hem of her sweater and pulled it up in the same fashion that she had done with his shirt.
He was dismayed to find she had on a camisole underneath the sweater, and his long fingers made quick work of pulling that off as well to join the rest of the clothing that had fallen to the floor. Now clad only in her bra, and him with no shirt on, the level of the passion they were both feeling was growing higher. His hands lightly stroked her hair, up and down gently on her backside as their mouths hungrily attacked one another, the urgency to kiss each other as hard as possible was at an all time high.
Harry once again pulled his mouth from hers, first drawing in a breath and then he made his way back down her throat, kissing each part of her deeply. His hand traveled down her side, to cup her breast. She threw her head back, gasping in pleasure as he squeezed her gently, bringing his mouth down into the valley between her breasts and kissing her there. His thumb hooked into the strap of her bra, preparing to pull that off as well.
Alarm bells started to go off in Catherine’s head, she was loving every moment of this, but she couldn’t let this go too much further or there could be consequences to pay.
“Harry…” she started to say softly, but he brought his head back up and was kissing her lips again. “Harry wait, please…”
He drew back from her and opened his eyes.
“I’m sorry…” she apologized.
“Am I doing something wrong?” he asked, concerned. “I’m not being too pushy am I?”
“No, it’s fine, you’re not pushing me at all.” She said. He nodded and pulled her into his arms once more, not kissing her this time, but just holding her. Her head was against his chest, and she could hear his heart beating rapidly.
“I just can’t help it…” she found herself saying. “I want to keep going, but something inside of me tells me to be careful and…” Harry interrupted her.
“It’s all right, it really is. You’re right, you were always the more sensible one.” He said before he could stop himself.
She raised her head and looked up at him. “I was?”
He blushed. “Well, yes, if you, you know, are…” he trailed off.
“This just felt, right.” She said thoughtfully. “Not to bring up a sore point, but I never felt so…. wanted, when I was with Duncan.”
Harry made a sound in his throat and pulled her closer. “No need to think about him anymore.” he said. “No one will ever treat you badly again, that I can guarantee.”
She smiled up at him, then leaned forward and kissed him once more. “Thank you.” She said quietly. She brushed his lips again, and for a second time; they were kissing madly.
“Harry….” She extracted herself from the entanglement of their arms and stood up. She picked up her shirt and sweater, then retrieved his and tossed it at him.
“What?” Harry asked, putting on the face of innocence. “You don’t like kissing me anymore?” he pouted.
Catherine shook her head playfully at him and pulled her sweater back over her head, leaving the camisole off. “You know…” she began, and her cheeks began to flush. “I hope I don’t sound too over eager by telling you this, but I do hope that I am. Your wife.” She said shyly.
Harry pulled his own shirt back over his head and looked at her. “At this point, it doesn’t really matter.” He said, getting to his feet and helping her up. He pulled her into his warm embrace once more. Catherine felt a stirring inside herself again, and knew that if she did not leave soon, they’d be at it back on the couch again.
“I have to go.” She mumbled against his shoulder. His arms tightened around her.
“I don’t want you to…” his own voice was muffled as his face was buried in her sweet smelling hair.
“I don’t either…” she said, and pulled back. “But I think we’ll get ourselves into trouble if I stay.”
“You’re probably right.” Harry groaned. “But I want to see you again, and again and again…” he trailed off as she laughed.
“You’d better get used to me, Harry Potter.” She teased. He squeezed her hand as he walked her to his door.
“I’ll talk to you later then.” He said, tilting her chin up and kissing her sweetly once more.
“All right.” She said, slipping out of the flat. He watched her as she descended down the stairs to her own place. Once she had disappeared, he closed the door, then leaned back against the wall and grinned.