Disclaimer: I, no matter how obsessively devoted, strong-willed, talented, adoring, loyal, dedicated, enthusiastic, committed, passionate, dutiful, faithful, fond, attentive, supportive, fervent, or fanatical I may be, do not own any part of Harry Potter.

Year 6: Harry Potter and the Secret Lover

Chapter One: Judas Iscariot

As usual, Dudley Dursley sat before the television, stuffing his face and pretending to be a child prodigy, while Harry Potter slaved over the stove. It was this kind of labor that made Harry thankful for the house elves like Dobby who worked so joyfully at Hogwarts. Finishing up the bacon that still sizzled in the pan, he set the table for three and begged to himself that Uncle Vernon would send him to his room for breakfast.

"Come and eat, Dudderkins," called Petunia motherly. "We can turn on the tèlè in the dining room for you, if you want."

Vernon came down stairs at that moment, kissing Petunia sweetly, and sitting at the table expectantly. He sent Harry a rude glance and ordered, "Where's my coffee, Boy?"

"Oh!" Harry whispered to himself, spinning around in place looking for the coffee pot. Grabbing it as soon as his dizzy vision located it, he poured his uncle a cup without even a grunt of gratitude coming from the man. He was used to this treatment by now though, as one usually is after fifteen years of experiencing such behavior.

As cousin and aunt took their places at the table, Harry stood by in the kitchen and watched. Vernon had unfolded his newspaper and neglected his breakfast as he sipped his espresso. Dudley had set aside his bag of potato chips, and, finding a renewed interest in his pancakes and sausage, seemed to not have the ability to remove his eyes from the television screen. Petunia was nibbling her bacon in a way that reminded Harry of a mouse, or a certain animagus by the name of Peter Pettigrew.

His uncle glanced up and caught the wizard staring. He scowled and commanded irritably, "What are you doing standing around, Boy? Do something useful!"

"Yes, Uncle Vernon," answered Harry obediently, snatching a slice of toast from a plate in the kitchen and heading straight for his bedroom. Hedwig had come back from a long flight a couple of nights ago, carrying a letter from Ron in his beak, and Harry had been meaning to send her off with a reply. Closing the door behind him, he took a seat on his bed and retrieved a piece of parchment from his nightstand. Opening it he reread his best friend's letter.

Hey Mate,

Bloody hell! You'll never guess what happened! Seems Hermione and I are going on a date or something. It's really strange to be around her right now, but I mean, well, you know what I mean. It's Hermione for goodness' sake. Do you think anything will happen? Is this okay with you? It should be, but I wanted to make sure. I'll definitely keep you posted. Nothing will change though. Right? Things will still be the same as they've always were? This whole idea is working me into a frenzy. Mum hasn't stopped fussing over us, Fred and George have been teasing me like crazy and Ginny keeps trying to give me dating tips! My little Sister? Giving me dating tips? Can you believe it?

Oh! By the way, you will be coming out to the Burrow for your birthday, right? The women here have been talking about a surprise party or something. I thought you ought to know about that. Just don't tell any of them that I told you. They'd murder me. Hey! That gives me an idea. Why don't you go with Hermione and me on our date? Then at least she couldn't kill me in front of you, and then you could tell me if I'm doing something stupid. What do you say? See you soon then?

Your friend,

Ron

Harry smiled to himself and salvaged a blank piece of parchment, a quill, and a well of black ink from under his bed where he kept all of his school supplies. Careful not to spill the ink on his sheets, he dipped the tip of his quill into the thick, black fluid and set the wet tip to write.

Dear Ron,

Congratulations for getting the chance with Hermione. I understand how you feel. I did the same kind of thing with Cho, although she wasn't my best friend for starters. I don't think that everything will be exactly the same as they were, but I'm sure it won't change for the worse. But then again, I'm not really an expert on this sort of thing either. Nonetheless, I absolutely cannot go on a date with you Ron! That would be disturbing and embarrassing on so many levels. You'll just have to go with Hermione alone. Although, I have to say, Ginny giving you tips must be pretty humiliating in itself. Is she giving Hermione tips too?

As for my birthday, I suppose I can go. The Dursleys pretty much understand that I don't care what they say anymore. I'm sure they won't miss me much either. And thanks for the heads up. By the way, do any of you have a clue who our new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher will be? I just got my Hogwarts letter, but I haven't had the chance to go to Diagon Alley yet. Have you already bought your supplies, or do you think I can go with your family to Hogsmeade?

And you'll have to tell me when your date is and when I can come over. We only have a couple more weeks before school starts.

Your Best Mate,

Harry

Rolling up his freshly written letter and tying it with a strip of leather to Hedwig's outstretched leg, he opened his window and let her out of her cage. She immediately flew out of the old room and toward the Burrow which seemed so very far away to Harry.

He awoke the next morning to a tapping sound coming from his window. Groaning, he searched the nightstand for his glasses and placed them on the bridge of his nose. The noise was coming from an owl who was striking the glass pane again and again, almost in a desperate manner. Harry allowed the bird to enter as quickly as his groggy body could manage so as not to awake to rest of the household. The bird flew over to his bed and waited for Harry to assist it in removing the spool of parchment from its leg. It was then when Harry woke himself up enough to realize that he did not recognize the bird, or any reason why he should be getting mail. It was too soon for a response from Ron or Hermione, he already received his Hogwarts letter, Sirius was dead, Hagrid had no reason to write, and no one else ever messaged Harry via owl post.

The owl's feathers were black with patches of white on its stomach, tail, and around its eyes. On its leg was a scroll tied with a silken emerald ribbon. Harry kept a solid, unblinking gaze on the bird's unnatural, silver eyes as he neared the creature to retrieve his letter. The bird just stared back and ruffled its feathers impatiently. When it thought Harry was close enough, it stuck out its leg so as to be rid of its burden. With the letter in one hand, Harry reached out with his other to pet the owl's head. Unfortunately, the creature did not want such contact and bit Harry until he bled.

"Ah," gasped Harry, hissing and sucking on his bleeding finger. The owl flew to Hedwig's cage, sipped her water, and fell almost immediately to sleep. Harry glared at the open cage, annoyed and confused. His thoughts then turned to the letter and ribbon in his hand. As he returned to sit on his bed, he inspected the exterior of the letter curiously. It was ordinary parchment, but a light musky scent emitted from it. Harry thought it pleasant and found a comfortable position against his upright pillow. Opening the scroll, he saw that it was written in a clean script of green ink. It certainly wasn't any of his friends then. They only wrote in black ink. In fact, the only people he knew to ever write in green ink were the ministry and Professor Dumbledore.

The letter had his complete and utter attention. It read:

Dear Harry Potter,

Thank you for receiving my owl so kindly. I apologize if it was rude. It was never very well-mannered. However, my owl is not the reason that I have written to you. You see, I have attended Hogwarts with you for the past five years, and though I am sure that you have never thought of me as such, I have become rather attracted to you. Although I know that I am not the only person who is, I thought that I may write to you and make you aware of my fancy for you.

Unfortunately, I cannot tell you my name; you may call may Judas Iscariot though, as strange as that may sound.

Tell me, Harry, am I the only person who has ever given you a Secret Admirer letter? That is a reassuring thought to me. Perhaps you will discover me at Hogwarts, although I am sure that I will be just as invisible as I have always been to you. Maybe we could keep in touch at Hogwarts through owl post, that way we could talk to each other without you being disappointed about my identity. Would you do that for me, Harry?

Oh, by the way, the ribbon and ink are the same color as your eyes. They made me think of you.

I hope to receive a response from you soon. You may send it back with Aristotle if you wish. My owl, I mean. He would be able to find me easily enough. Although, he had a rather lengthy flight over to you, and I would greatly appreciate it if you would allow him to rest for a short while with you before sending him off again. Thank you… Truly thank you, Harry.

Sincerely,

Judas Iscariot

Harry read over the letter quite a few times before laying it down in his lap and staring up at the ceiling thoughtfully. 'I have a secret admirer?' he asked himself. Sure, nearly every man, woman and child in the wizarding world knew who he was and looked up to him because of it. However, none of them were romantically interested; at least, none that he knew of. He glanced down at the letter and frowned at it. At any rate, it couldn't be a Gryffindor. He spent too much time in the common room to not notice anyone who may fancy him, right? He furrowed his brow and blinked at the ceiling confusedly. But then again, as he told Ron, he wasn't really an expert at this sort of thing.

"I'll have to talk to Hermione about it," he decided firmly. He leaned over the side of his bed to dig out the materials for a return letter. He peered at his black ink blandly. 'I don't really know this person. Black will just have to do for know,' he thought with a shrug. As he set his quill against his parchment, he tried to write a decent response.

Dear Judas Iscariot,

Yes, you are the first person to ever send me a Secret Admirer letter. Usually people just ogle at me in the corridors. It's quite annoying, actually. Honestly, I am surprised that you have written to me. But you have caught my interest now, and I would like to hear from you again, definitely.

Aristotle seems alright. He bites rather hard though. You said he had a lengthy flight; where do you live that's so far away?

Signed,

Harry Potter

He went over his own letter numerous times. It was short, but he did not know what to say. It was very strange to write a letter to a person that he did not know. He added at the bottom of his letter:

And thank you for the ribbon.

Yes, it was very awkward.

At that moment, a harsh knocking sounded on his door and the voice of Aunt Petunia came from the other side. "Wake up! It's nine o'clock, and breakfast isn't ready. Vernon will be late for work!"

Harry sighed, rolled his eyes, and threw his head back against the headboard of the bed. "Yes, Aunt Petunia," he called back dutifully. Reluctantly rising from his bed, he tied his letter with another piece of leather, closed and locked the window, and laid the scroll on the sill.

He returned to his bedroom later that morning after Vernon had left and his chores were finished. He went to grab to letter to send with Aristotle, only to find that the window was open and both Aristotle and his letter were gone.

XXXXXXX

A couple of days after the incident with the Iscariot letter, Hedwig came back with an anxious letter from Ron, urging Harry to come as soon as he could. The orphan got the impression that the women at the burrow were driving the redhead mad and he needed someone else there to share it with. Although this idea had thrilled the Boy Who Lived to no end (note sarcasm), it was more the desire to leave the Dursleys that drove him off. The night of Ron's letter, Harry packed his trunk, secured Hedwig in her cage, tucked Iscariot's letter safely in his jacket pocket, and waited until everyone was sound asleep.

Attempting to get his trunk down the stairs quietly was practically a lost cause. Each step caused a loud, hallow 'thunk' sound, after which Harry would pause to make sure that no one had awoken or began to stir in their beds before he braved another stride. Once securely on the lower floor, he left a scribbled note on the hallway table saying that he was going to his friend's home for the rest of the summer and that he would see them again after the next school term; it wasn't as if they would have missed him anyway. Lord forbid that the Dursleys have to make their own breakfast…

Once on the street and halfway down Private Drive, he realized that his original plan to take the Knight Bus was slightly flawed. When he had called it to him three years earlier, it hadn't been on purpose. He wasn't even sure if he would be able to call it again. Reaching the community park at the end of the street, he stood his trolley on the curb and withdrew his wand from his waistband. Not even wanting to chance casting 'Lumos' in case it counted as underage wizardry, he simply held it up in the air.

For a short time nothing happened, and he felt exceedingly stupid standing there with his hand up as if he were Hermione during a class. But sure enough, to his surprise, there was a nearly invisible violet blur speeding toward him after a minute or two. Harry tried to keep his balance this time seeing as during the last occurrence of this kind, Stan had found him sprawled on the ground and quite confused. However, when Stan appeared this time, it was with an air of recognition. "Oi, Ernie, lookit who called," he said to the driver with a smirk. "Neville, wasn't it?" It seemed Stan had remembered Harry's effort to have his true identity unknown throughout their previous encounter.

Harry smiled and nodded. "Sure," he agreed with a chuckle. "How are you, Stan?"

"Alright as it gets. How 'bout you, Harry?"

"Fine, I suppose."

"Hey, Stanley," called the shrunken head from the rear-view mirror. "Care to hurry up? Ernie's falling asleep!"

"Oh, right," muttered Harry, stepping in past Stanley and claiming a seat, while the other brought in his trunk and Hedwig's cage.

"Where to, then, Potter?"

"Um, the Burrow, please," he answered, not quite sure where exactly the Burrow was. 'I should really keep some floo powder at the Dursley's,' he thought to himself resolutely.

The bus shot off immediately and Harry clung to the four-posters of the bed, desperately trying not to be the next bug that splattered on their windshield. It was beyond his comprehension as to how others had the ability to actually sleep on this thing. Nevertheless, it was the only way Harry knew how to get anywhere with a trunk and his minimal resources.

The bus arrived at the end of the dirt road leading to the Burrow around one in the morning. He thanked Stan and headed off down the road, lugging his things on the trolley behind him. Fifteen minutes later, he arrived at the only wizarding home he knew. There was only a faint light in the kitchen window; the rest of them were dark. It was then when Harry realized that appearing at someone else's home at an ungodly hour when unexpected was probably not the most polite course of action. At the same time, he figured that Mrs. Weasley would probably scold him if he stayed outside for the rest of the night.

Deciding to see if perhaps someone was awake, he went around the house and knocked tentatively on the back door. Thanking his stars, he heard a light shuffling sound behind the door and soon there was a shy-looking Hermione Granger peeking out through a crack in the door.

"Oh, Harry. It's just you," she said softly, fatigue interlacing her voice. She opened the door the rest of the way and allowed him to come inside.

"Thanks," his whispered as he crossed over the threshold. "Why are you still awake?"

"Why are you here at such a late hour?" she asked, returning his curious gaze. Harry smiled at his dear friend and received one back. "I'm sorry. I just haven't been able to sleep very well recently," she said, shaking her head dejectedly and reclaiming her seat at the kitchen table.

Harry sat across from her, fiddling with the corners of the folded letter in his pocket. "How come?" he questioned considerately, or at least, what he thought was considerately.

She chuckled lightly to herself. "Now, if I only knew…"

"Nervous?"

"About what?"

"I heard that you and Ron had a date or something coming up."

"Oh," she said slowly, resting her elbows on the table and rubbing her forehead as if she had a headache. "Don't remind me. That's all anyone is talking about right now. You should hear Ginny."

"She's giving you dating tips, too, huh?"

"Worse. She's giving me pep talks and warning me not to do anything she wouldn't approve of. And the rest of the house won't stop talking about it either. It's insane," she moaned, rubbing her eyes with both hands.

Harry smirked and shook his head. "Unbelievable. Actually, no, it's quite believable," he joked, earning a small laugh from the girl.

She rested her chin in her palm and looked at Harry's jacket pocket with renewed curiosity. "What do you have there?"

"Huh?" Harry glanced down at where his hands lingered in his pocket, and realized that he was unfolding and refolding Judas' letter unconsciously. "Oh, yeah. I meant to show you this to see what you thought about it." Pulling it out, unfolding it, and handing it to the witch, he waited patiently as she read through it.

When she was done, she laid it down on the table in front of her. "Judas Iscariot?"

"Do you know her?"

"No," she glanced up at Harry and then back to the letter. "But I know him."

"Him?" Harry asked, wide-eyed and blinking. It didn't even register that this may have been a male admirer.

"Well, not personally, of course. I've read about him."

"Who is he?"

"Judas Iscariot is the name of the man who deceived Jesus Christ in the muggle Bible," she explained curtly. "He basically caused his own Savior's death, not that Jesus hadn't known that it would happen from the beginning. But still…"

Harry watched her incredulously. "So what does that mean?"

"I don't know," she admitted with a sigh. "The Savior connection is a little strange, though." When Harry didn't say anything, she continued. "Christ was the savior of all man kind, supposedly. You, according to prophecy, are the savior of the wizarding world. It's an odd connection. It's almost as if they are implying that they are a danger to you. Highly unusual for a secret admirer to suggest, don't you think?" Hermione yawned and stood from her chair. She doubled up the parchment and handed it back to Harry. "You're to stay in Fred and George's old bedroom. They live in the apartment over their store now. And I'd advise you to not go digging through the boxes in there. One of they're old trick scopes punched me last week. It took forever to make my black eye go away. Good night."

With that, Hermione retired up the stairs, most likely headed for Ginny's bedroom where she herself was staying. Harry, quite confused with new ideas of who this Iscariot person was, distractedly dragged his trunk up the stairs and to the twins' old room. Most of the floor was cluttered with cardboard boxes that Harry would have found rather intriguing if he wasn't so tired and perplexed. He instead collapsed onto one of the beds and fell instantly asleep.

AN/ Yay, Chapter One finished. So this is going to be the replacement of Half-Blood Prince since it had totally destroyed Draco and I hate that. And, well, yeah… Thanks for reading!