Harriet Potter was feigning sleep. She strained her ears, and could hear the definite slow breathing of her best friend, Hermione Granger. Having been her housemate for the past 5 years gave her intimate knowledge of her sleeping habits. Of course, being summer, this was made to be even easier without the droning snores of Lavender Brown to muffle them. After the events at the ministry, and when Hermione was out of the hospital wing, she invited Harriet to her parents' home in London. Supremely grateful, Harriet accepted. She didn't think she could handle the abrasive atmosphere at the Dursleys (not to mention Dudley's lewd looks), nor the sympathetic looks at the Weasleys. Plus, witnessing the familial closeness of the fiery redheads would only serve to remind her of what she lost- the chance of having a proper family-the death of Sirius confirmed this for her.
Feeling a tightness in her throat, Harriet quietly rolled out of bed and opened her trunk to banish the invasive thoughts. Taking out a pair of black tights with several runs in them, and a tight black dress, she padded her way to Hermione's bathroom. Quickly changing, she thought to the events of the past few weeks. After the death of Sirius, and her subsequent blow-up at Dumbledore's office, Harriet simply felt… lost. Not wanting revisit the memory of Sirius falling through the veil in her dreams, she began to suffer from insomnia, and had taken to donning her father's old invisibility cloak and haunting the empty corridors of Hogwarts to distract herself from her grief addled thoughts.
However, now without the Astronomy tower for her to watch the creeping dawn emerge, she found London more than suitable for her night habits. In fact, she found that she actually loved the city. As a child at the Dursleys, she would always have to stay at Mrs. Figg's house and politely look at all her cat pictures when her family would go for outings. It was only in getting her supplies with Hagrid, and then visiting the Ministry of Magic did she briefly see some of London. But at night, she found many an opportunity to distract herself from herself.
At first, in the beginning of the summer, Harriet simply ambled the streets passively in a haze. One night, however, she was intrigued to observe some muggle teenagers walking together excitedly. They looked a few years older, and had a conspiratory air about them, causing her to trail them. Keeping her wand at hand, and her invisibility cloak firmly around her, she allowed them to lead her underground, and then to a plain looking door. One innocuous knock later, and the door opened to reveal bright lights, crowds of people, and throbbing music that invaded her senses.
Harriet had no idea what this was. Sure, she had experienced parties at the Gryffindor common room after victories of her quidditch team. But whatever this was made quidditch after parties look like a one of Aunt Petunia's stuffy tea parties with other housewives at Little Whinging. Though at first feeling out of her depth, Harriet soon felt like a normal rebellious teenage girl for the first time of her life. Stuffing her invisibility cloak into her denim bag, she let herself be swept up by mob of dancing people. Her heart seemed to beat in time with the pulsing music. Closing her eyes, the thought thrilled her that for a summer she could be someone else for a change. She didn't have to be Harriet Potter, the girl-who-lived. Here, there was no prophecy looming over her. Here, nobody had even heard of her.
Then she got properly acquainted with alcohol. Fred & George let her take a few sips of firewhiskey once in her fourth year, and coughing amidst their raucous laughter, she didn't have the interest again. Now, she understood the point. Once she got past the taste, Harriet particularly enjoyed the accompanying sensation of euphoria. Though she was aware that it was fabricated, like a switch, all her problems were at the corner of her mind and numbed significantly.
Though she never properly got to grieve for Sirius, she thought he might've approved of her rebelling. Then again, he might've abhorred her method of carrying it out, but the thought comforted her and assuaged the guilt of her nocturnal activities.
Ever since, Harriet returned almost every other night. She joined the throng of dancing people, abandoning herself to the youthful freedom that she knew she might never experience again. Each night, she would return in a drunken stupor, shower, and pass out in the cot next to Hermione for a few hours.
Staring into the mirror of Hermione's brightly lit bathroom, Harriet observed her reflection. Her dark tresses framed her face which had taken on a gaunt appearance, losing the large majority of her baby fat. Though it was her eyes that made her cringe. Whereas her expressive emerald eyes used to be her favorite trait, the almond shaped orbs now held a hollowed haunted look that was not there before. Applying some make up, the sixteen year old believed she could pull off eighteen with little trouble. Switching off the lights, she tip toed to her bed, and grabbed her cloak and wand, shoving them into a mokeskin pouch that she had picked up on a recent trip to Diagon Alley with Hermione. The pouch around her neck looked gaudy and out of place resting right above her cleavage, when accessorizing her current outfit, but she figured it was a necessary evil. If she was anything, she was careful. Quietly sneaking out of Hermione's townhouse, she traced her steps to where she knew the underground muggle club to be.
Knocking on the door, she smiled when her favorite spot of the summer revealed itself to her. She drifted to the center of the large, spacious club, melding with all the other people dancing. The music was so loud, she couldn't hear herself think, let alone those around her, but she liked it that way. Harriet had her eyes closed as she moved and danced. She didn't know how she looked, but she realized she did not care. At that moment, she felt a strong pair of hands grip her right over her hips. Often, she would feel hands on her, but shaking them off and moving elsewhere usually dissuaded any guys who had the wrong idea. Deciding she was due a new spot, she shimmied out of the hands that held her and gravitated towards the bar. Reaching into her mokeskin, she retrieved a flask, and took a swig of whiskey. Harriet let it burn down her throat as she reclined against a wall. With a sardonic smile, she wondered if she looked a bit like Mad-Eye Moody just now. Lost in thought, she started when she heard a distinctly American voice speak in her ear.
"It's always a mystery to me how women are able to hold things without jacket pockets. Some purses seem to defy the laws of physics. So, where did you manage to hide that bad boy?"
Harriet briefly glanced at the face that was uncomfortably close to hers. She recognized him as a boisterous American that she had seen at the club for the past three nights. He always seemed to arrive alone, but leave with a new woman. Not that she was watching. She averted her eyes from his and stared ahead. She didn't want to talk about her flask, nor her mokeskin, and could not come up with a lie, so she changed the subject.
"Did you follow me from the dance floor just now?" Harriet asked this. She didn't know if he was the bloke who had groped her from before, but she felt it a safer topic.
"Er...as a matter of fact, I did," he replied in a voice that exuded arrogance. Harriet looked at him again with surprise.
"And what were you hoping to accomplish?" she asked. The American man looked to be in his early to mid twenties, but then again she supposed she didn't appear as young as she actually was. This sent a sense of satisfaction in her.
"You don't know who I am?" he asked with genuine surprise in his voice.
"Should I?" Though she reentered the muggle world this summer, she wasn't exactly up with the times. Was he a famous American movie star?
"Tony Stark," he posited as he presented his hand to her, while flashing what he probably thought was a winning smile. Reluctantly, she supposed he was rather handsome, but his overconfidence that seemed to come with his name reminded her too much of Malfoy. Unimpressed, she took his hand. He lingered his hand over hers, before looking at her expectantly.
"Harriet" she returned.
"Harriet…" he continued with an encouraging nod.
Though she was in the muggle world, paranoia still ran through her, courtesy of Voldemort and his merry band of followers.
"Just Harriet." she responded primly. Tony gave a bark like laugh in response. With a pang, she thought to Sirius. With his roguish looks and hair that looked as though it was coiffed to appear messy, he even bore a loose resemblance to her godfather. His facial hair was even cut in a similar fashion.
"Well Just Harriet, what's a beautiful woman like you doing in a place like this? Wanna get out of here?"
Without thinking, she took another large gulp from her flask, swallowed, and nodded. She felt his hand lace around one of hers, threading her through the dance floor, and out of the club. Though she could still hear dull thumps from the loud music, it was suddenly very quiet in comparison. Harriet already regretted saying yes to the American, and felt her hands become clammy. She wish she had her wand, but one hand was in Tony's, and the other still grasping her flask. She knew the alcohol already had its affect on her since her thoughts became disjointed in her head. Usually she enjoyed this sensation, but she really wish she could think straight. She was torn from her thoughts when she heard Tony speak again.
"This is Happy, my chauffeur. He is pretty much my best friend since he always tags along on my adventures!" Tony said with a smirk.
"That is because you pay me Mr. Stark," he replied in a deadpan voice, before getting into the drivers seat of a stretch limousine. Tony led Harriet into the open and roomy limo before making another bark like laugh in response.
Harriet felt a lump in her throat, and leaned her head on his shoulder.
"Sirius," she heard herself slur a bit.
"Nah," Tony said, bemused, "he's just fulfilling his best bud role with a bit of playful banter. Eh, Happy?" At that moment, he pressed a button, allowing a few glasses of what appeared to be a bubbling drink to rise up.
"Champagne, m'lady?" he quipped in a horrible rendition of a British accent. She accepted, and with her mind still screaming at her, greedily gulped at the alcohol. She started to understand the gravity of the mistake she had made.
It's only because he reminded you of Sirius, you idiot. She thought. That doesn't mean you go home with him a minute after meeting him. Harriet, you prat. It was true, though. It was as if a spell washed over her, and she desperately wanted to hear him laugh again.
Downing his own glass, Tony pressed another button to raise a barrier between them and the driver. Looking around, Harriet distantly realized this was her first time in a limousine. As a child, she remembered staring at the window of the Dursleys' car, and admiring the occasional limousine on the road. She always used to believe there was someone important in there. How strange that she was now that person. She took another swallow of the champagne. Harriet definitely preferred this to the dry whiskey she had taken a liking to recently. Part of her also knew that too many thoughts were gravitating towards dangerous territory, and she was close to losing control of her emotions.
"So, Just Harriet, you live around here?" Tony looked at her, grinning. He looked to be in his element, reclining confidently. She wasn't even sure where 'here' was with the limo already moving, but she nodded.
"I'm staying with a friend for the summer," Harriet explained. He nodded distractedly, and tore the glass of champagne from her grip.
She looked at him questioningly. Did he think she was drinking too much? Was she acting foolishly?
Harriet was still thinking to herself furiously when she felt his calloused hand cup her face. He tilted his face and stared at her with a small smile. Without preamble, Tony took her lips in his. She moaned in protest, but realized he must've taken that positively, as he pressed himself closer to her. Absently, she noticed that she was laying down on the extensive seats of the limo. His lips hungrily kissed hers, running his tongue over her lips. She wanted to stop, but instead she opened her mouth slightly, granting Tony access. With the kiss deepened, she unconsciously hitched her leg over Tony's body, drawing him even closer. She felt his other hand threading through her black locks, and moaned at the touch, this time out of pleasure. Smiling through the kiss, Tony ran his hand over her leg, caressing it.
While kissing her, Harriet felt Tony gently lift her out of the limo. Had they stopped?
Harriet tore her lips from his when she heard a strained, but polite voice announce, "Welcome back, Mr. Stark." So I'm in a hotel lobby? The thought was fleeting, as he ravenously pushed his lips against her neck, nibbling gently. Despite herself, she moaned again while her eyes fluttered shut. With a ding, they were in an elevator. Though her grasp on time was tentative, she still marveled at how long he must've carried her through the hotel. Now, though, he had propped her up against one of the mirror walls of the elevator, her legs still wrapped around his waist. Catching her reflection briefly, she could not recognize herself as the woman-no, girl- that Tony was kissing. With another ding, they were kissing in what appeared to be a penthouse suite. The last thought that went through her head as she felt Tony lower her onto a soft bed, hovering his body over hers was maybe when Voldemort kills me, I won't die a virgin.