Harry sat at his kitchen table having his breakfast; his mood was very good despite the rainy cool day. It had been a very nice week for him; he had seen Catherine nearly every day, each time he would talk a little more about Hermione.
During that time, Harry had won her complete trust. The night after they had made up, he had taken her for a walk and told her about the potion, about Ron’s information on the curse. She had agreed to think about doing the potion after it was ready, in another week or so. Harry was pleased to see that he had been wrong about her- he had originally thought all the information and news about what could be her life would shatter her, but she was steadfast and strong, much like Hermione had always been.
A tapping at the window startled Harry from his thoughts; he was surprised to see the white owl he had sent to Caitlyn hovering outside his window. He quickly threw up the sash and let it in. It flew over the table and dropped a thick piece of parchment, then landed next to Hedwig on her perch. Harry sat back down and picked up the parchment and unfolded it.
Thank you thank you thank you so much for my owl! I named her Bella! She’s so pretty, I absolutely love her. Hogwarts is so cool! Blue and I both got into Gryffindor, isn’t that the house you were in? I hope so. Professor Dumbledore actually came into our common room to talk to me the other day, he seemed to know what you have been doing since you graduated and he’s really nice and funny. And then there was this really mean teacher named Professor Snape, he was really rude at first, and then when I answered all his questions right he gave me 10 points for my house! He likes me now! He’s actually really smart, he knows all about potions and stuff.’ Harry guffawed at this loudly, and continued reading.
‘So, are you and that lady Catherine friends again? I sort of met her in the hallway the day I left for school and gave her the key, I hope you don’t mind. She’s really nice, and she’d probably make a good mum for me.’ At this, Harry blushed profusely. She’d obviously won the Caty seal of approval.
‘Anyways, I have to go now; I miss you and love you lots!!
Harry shook his head and grinned as he grabbed a fresh piece of parchment and scribbled off a quick reply.
‘Caty Cat –
I’m glad you like Professor Dumbledore; he was like a grandfather figure to me while I was at Hogwarts. As for Professor Snape actually liking someone, that came as a surprise, he never liked your dear old dad. But I’m glad he’s treating you well.
As far as Catherine and I, yes, we’ve made up, and we’re seeing each other. No real news yet on her being your mum. But I promise to keep you posted.
Glad you’re having a good time there, and behave….
Harry folded the parchment up and tied it to Bella’s leg. She nipped at his finger much like Hedwig did and flew back out the window. He stretched and stood in the middle of the kitchen for a moment, trying to compose his thoughts. Who’d have thought, Snape, being nice to a Potter? He’d be sure and mention this to Ron next time he saw him.
Harry walked down the hallway to his bathroom, where he hopped into the shower. He wanted to take Catherine on a picnic today, but it looked like his plans would be ruined because of the rain. He looked through his closet and realized he’d have to do laundry soon. Shrugging; he pulled out a long sleeved red t-shirt and his last clean pair of jeans. Going back into the kitchen, he waved his wand and all the dishes in the sink were sparkling clean and put away in their proper place. He glanced at the clock on the wall; he still had a good few hours until three, when he knew Catherine got off work. He sat down at the table, bored for a few moments, and then he got an idea.
Catherine grabbed an armload of books from the return table and headed for the shelves. She climbed the tall ladder to stick ‘Curses to Curse the Wart off your Nose by Gibble de Gook back’ on the shelf. She began to climb back down when her foot got stuck in one of the rungs. Books flew out of her arms as she fell backwards, right into a strong pair of arms.
“Save your life!” Harry said, holding her tightly.
Catherine righted herself in his arms. “Oh my God…thank God you were here!” she gasped, trying to regain a normal heart rate. She shuddered, thinking about what would have happened if he’d shown up even a second later.
Harry didn’t let go of her. “Are you sure you’re all right?”
“Yes, I’ll be fine.” She replied, smiling up at him. “What brings you over here?”
Harry shrugged his shoulders and grinned at her. “I just wanted to see you.”
She couldn’t stop her own grin. “And you couldn’t wait till after three?”
“Nope.” Harry said. “How has your day been so far?”
“All right I guess.” She replied. “I’ve had a terrible headache all morning, so I can’t wait to go home and take something for it.”
“Well, you are in luck.” Harry said smugly. “I happen to have the best ‘getting rid of headache’ techniques in the history of man.”
Catherine raised one eyebrow. “Oh really?”
“Yup. I’ll be at your place at three fifteen.” Harry said, and squeezed her hand. He waved to her as he left the shop.
Catherine could hardly wait till three. She busied herself for the next few hours, putting books away (she refused to climb back up the ladder again however) and waiting on the few customers that came in. Finally, however, the clock struck three and her replacement showed up. Waving a quick goodbye to her boss and fellow employees, she hastily hurried home. She pulled her hair out of the long ponytail and shook it out, then yanked off the ugly shirt she had to wear as part of her uniform and put on a deep blue one. She slicked some gloss across her lips and looked at herself in the mirror. She looked a little flushed, but good.
A knock sounded resolutely through the apartment. Catherine opened the door, and smiled to see Harry on the other side.
“You’re early.” She said.
“Is that a bad thing?” he asked, coming into the flat.
“Not at all.” She said slyly. Catherine shut the door behind him and spun back around. She pulled the front of his shirt so that his body was pressed to hers, and then tilted her face back to look up at him.
“You know, I never thanked you properly for saving me today…” she said. Harry grinned at her.
“Oh yeah, that’s right.” His face lowered to hers. “I can think of a way…” he said, and then captured her mouth with his. His arms went around her waist while her hands threaded through his thick hair. Harry tightened his hold around her and pulled her even harder against himself. She deepened the kiss by opening her mouth under his, and he gently eased his tongue in to play with hers. Not breaking apart from each other, they managed to make their way into the living room and fall onto the couch. Harry fell down first and pulled her on top of him, running his hands up and down her back. She reached one hand up and pulled off his glasses, then gently caressed his face. He groaned into her mouth and rolled them over so that he was now on top of her, moving his hands down her side so he could feel her skin under her shirt. Their kissing grew more and more frenzied, until Harry rolled over once more, and Catherine hit her head on the coffee table.
“Ow!” she cried ruefully, bringing her hand up and rubbing the spot she hit.
“Oh shit.” Harry said apologetically. “I’m sorry…I guess we just got too caught up in the moment…”
“It’s all right.” Catherine said. “So much for my headache being gone.” Harry pulled her hand away, and then sat back up on the couch. He drew her up next to him.
“Here, sit just like this…” Harry said, motioning for her to sit in his lap. “Now just relax…” he said in soothing tones, as he began to work his nimble fingers gently on her temples. He started rubbing in small, gentle circles, slowly working them larger. Her body relaxed against him, and every once in awhile she would let out a soft sigh of contentment.
“Thanks Harry…” she murmured, leaning her head back against his shoulder. “I feel a lot better now.”
“Good.” Harry said into her ear.
“You’re good at this.” She purred softly.
“I’m good at a lot of things…” he said seductively. She turned her head to face him.
“Oh really…” she trailed off. “Why don’t you show me….”
Harry pushed her hair away so that he could kiss the back of her neck. He slowly worked a trail down the side of her neck onto her shoulder, then cupped her face and turned it so he could kiss her on the lips once more. She moved her whole body around so that she could sit on top of him. He lay back down against the cushion and pulled her along with him. She crushed his lips with hers, kissing him with a bruising passion. His hands trailed her skin as he reached down and pulled up on her shirt, taking it off and throwing it to the floor. She was about to do the same for him when they both heard the front door slam.
“Cath?” Grace’s voice echoed into the living room. “You home?”
“Shit.” Catherine said, annoyed. “Yes! I’m home!” she called out, hurriedly yanking her shirt back on. She turned and looked at Harry, who was slipping his glasses back over his nose. “Why do we always get interrupted?” she asked.
“I don’t know.” Harry said wryly. He pushed a lock of her hair into place for her and then wrapped his arm around her waist as Grace appeared in the doorway.
“Hey Cath I want you to meet- Oh! I’m sorry, I didn’t know you were here!” Grace said in surprise, giving Catherine and Harry a devilish look. “Well the two of you then, I want you to meet someone.” Grace turned and motioned to someone who was standing in the hallway. Harry and Catherine stood up from the couch to meet Grace’s newest and latest boyfriend.
Harry did not know what he expected to see, but it certainly wasn’t the smug and smiling face of Draco Malfoy. He clasped Grace’s hand in his own, and his eyes first traveled to Harry, who stood there in shock, and then to Catherine.
“Granger?” Malfoy uttered, his eyes gone wide in what Harry thought to be fear.
“What?” Grace asked, turning to face Malfoy. She looked back at Catherine, who for some reason had gone pale. “Do you know her? Why did you call her Granger?”
Catherine didn’t know what was happening to her. Chills were racking her body as horrible scenes flashed across her eyes. The man who was holding her flat mate’s hand, she saw him in her memory, he was pushing her up against the wall, slapping her, biting her, starving her. Her knees grew weak and she fell to the floor, shaking uncontrollably.
“Catherine!” Harry exclaimed. He gently pulled her up by her arms and she let out a loud cry.
“IT WAS HIM!” she screamed. “HIM! HE CURSED ME! HE BEAT ME!” Catherine fell limply against the couch, tears streaming down her face.
Harry’s eyes widened in shock, and Grace, who had been unable to speak this whole time, dropped Malfoy’s hand like it was on fire. She crossed the room and held her shaking friend, while Harry stood up, his eyes blazing angrily.
“You.” Harry said, deadly quiet. “You cursed her to get to me didn’t you?” Malfoy backed away from Harry, looking scared. Harry crossed the room quickly and grabbed Malfoy by his shirt. “YOU BASTARD WHAT DID YOU DO TO HER?”
Malfoy sneered and tried to push Harry away from him, but he was no match for him, Harry slammed him up against the wall so hard that the walls shook.
“I’m going to kill you.” Harry said. “I should have done so when I killed Voldemort, but I let you go, and that was how you repaid me.”
“Fuck you Potter! You took away everything that I had! It was you who killed my parents, it was you who took away my home, my money, everything! I told you then that I’d pay you back, and I did.” Malfoy spat.
Harry only saw his blinding rage as he slammed his fist into Malfoy’s face. Malfoy tried to hit back, but Harry caught his fist and then threw him onto the floor. The two men grappled, Harry once again pummeling Malfoy anywhere he could, the face, the stomach, the groin, anywhere he could inflict pain. Grace’s screaming finally brought Harry to a halt, as he saw that Malfoy was unconscious underneath him. He pushed himself off and looked towards the two women.
“Oh God…” Harry said, rushing over to them. Catherine was obviously in shock, tears were still streaming down her face and she was mumbling gibberish while rocking herself back and forth.
“We need to get her to the hospital!” Grace said frantically. “We’ll have to apparate over.” Harry nodded and was about to gather Catherine in his arms when he looked over and remembered Malfoy.
“You’re going to have to take her.” Harry said. “I have to deal with him, and I will be right over.”
Grace swallowed hard and nodded, first looking at Malfoy then over at Harry. “Okay.” She said. Harry gently pulled Catherine to her feet; she was like a catatonic person, not realizing what was going on in front of her. Grace took hold of her arm, and the two women apparated out.
Harry grabbed Malfoy by his collar, and then apparated the two of them to Ron’s office at the Ministry. Luckily for him, Ron was sitting behind his desk. His eyes widened when Harry appeared, clutching Malfoy around the neck.
“What did you do to him?” Ron asked, rather gleefully as he looked at Malfoy’s bloodied and beaten frame.
“He did it Ron. He was the one who cursed Hermione.” Harry said flatly, dropping Malfoy on the floor like a dead weight. Ron looked at Harry in shock.
“He…. Malfoy?” Ron asked. His expression turned from shock to anger. “Get him up, we’ll take him to the IUOCD.”
“The what?” Harry asked as he hauled Malfoy up once more. He couldn’t believe that Malfoy was still unconscious.
“The Illegal Use of Curses Department.” Ron answered. He held the door open for Harry and then helped support the dead weight of Malfoy’s body as they marched down the hall. He had finally started to regain consciousness by the time they reached the office.
Harry threw him down into a chair, and then clamped a hand onto his shoulder. Ron went into the back to get Mundungus Fletcher, the head of the department. Harry stared hatefully at Malfoy until the two men returned. He tried to calmly tell Fletcher what had transpired that day, but found himself itching to start physically harming Malfoy once more. Ron had to hold his arm down as Harry recounted what Catherine had said and her reaction to it all.
Fletcher looked at Malfoy. “You’re going to be locked up for a long time, boy.” He said coolly. “Use of an Unforgivable Curse is lifetime imprisonment in Azkaban.” Malfoy’s head snapped up.
“Look what he did to me!” he said, jerking his head towards Harry. “I want to press charges, he had no right to harm me the way he did!” he sniveled.
Ron shook his head sadly; he had to admit Malfoy had a point. “You can worry about that later…” he said roughly as Fletcher magicked a pair of wizard handcuff onto Malfoy. He looked back up at Harry. “You go to the hospital, I’ll get in touch with you later.” He said, and Harry nodded, and apparated out.
He arrived just in front of the hospital in downtown Diagon Alley, and he quickly rushed inside to the special care unit.
“Catherine Beaumont’s room please.” Harry said, skidding to a halt in front of a small desk area.
“Relation to the patient sir?” the nasal voiced receptionist sounded bored.
“I’m her husband.” Harry spat, impatient to get to the room as soon as possible.
“Room 314.” The receptionist said in a monotone, and Harry dashed away. He found the room quickly and went inside.
Catherine lay on a stark white hospital bed, her eyes were wide open and she was staring at the ceiling. Grace was sitting next to her, talking to her softly.
“Cath, please, answer me….” She was saying as Harry came up next to her. “Oh God, this is all my fault.”
“How is she?” he asked softly.
Grace stood up and looked at him. “Not too good.” She said, her eyes were red rimmed and she was shaking. “She won’t respond to anything I say.” She sobbed and turned, fleeing from the room.
Harry sat down in the chair that Grace had been in and took Catherine’s hand. Raising it to his lips, he kissed it softly.
“Catherine, it’s me, its Harry.” He reached out his other hand and gently wiped away the tears that still clung to her cheeks. “Come on Cath, look at me, I’m here.”
Catherine made a small sound with her throat, and turned her head slowly to look at Harry.
“Hey.” He said, smiling at her.
“Harry…” she tried to sit up, but she was too weak.
“No…no you lay down.” He said. She squeezed his hand weakly but gratefully.
“I’m really glad you’re here.” She said almost inaudibly.
“Me too, love, me too.” He said soothingly. They sat that way for a time, just looking at one another.
“It was horrible…” she said after awhile. “All those memories, why did they come back when I saw him? Why didn’t I know for the longest time, that that happened to me?”
“I don’t know.” Harry said quietly. “But we’re going to find out.”
“He…he had me chained to a wall…” her voice broke off for a moment. “He would come in, and hit me, then other times he would come in and try to…to…” her body gave a great shudder, she couldn’t bring herself to say the words.
“Shhh.” Harry said, stroking her hair. “Don’t think about it now. It’s over, nothing like that will happen again.”
She nodded silently, and Harry leaned over and pressed his lips to her forehead.
“You should try and get a little sleep.” He said. “I’m going to go talk to Grace.”
“Okay.” She said. In moments, sheer exhaustion had overtaken her and she was fast asleep. Harry got up and left the room. Grace was sitting on a bench in the hallway.
“Grace.” Harry said. She looked up.
“Is she okay?” Grace asked. “Did she finally respond?”
“Yeah.” Harry replied. “She’s sleeping now.” The relief was apparent on Grace’s face.
“Good, good.” She said.
“We need to talk.” Harry said. He took Grace’s elbow and brought her to a corner. “When I came into the room, you were saying that this was all your fault. What did you mean by that?” he gripped her arm tightly.
Grace swallowed and fresh tears sprang to her eyes. “This was all my fault! If I hadn’t cast that spell on her, none of this would have happened!”