The Sober Universe "I Never" Challenge. This diabolical challenge, put out on by respitechristopher is evil. I think in a moment of sheer boredom or after one too many firewhiskeys, he decided we were having too much fun and had to end it.

Having one too many firewhisheys myself, I accepted the challenge. It is a simple challenge…write an assigned story. Mine, a story of 16 year old Harry and Bellatrix LeStrange… oh, and have them kiss. I offer the following story, as I am too stubborn to back out.

Bella's Last Kiss

Harry lie on his bed in the small upstairs bedroom staring at the ceiling and wishing he could open his window. It was hot. Too damned hot to sleep. The sheets were already damp and sweaty, his pyjama bottoms heavy on his legs, clinging and moist. He stood up and pulled them down, letting them fall to the floor, and then laid back down naked, feeling at least a little cooler for all of ten minutes.

Vernon had nailed his window shut after Ronald Weasley had helped him escape to school a few years back, and now Harry was paying for it as he paid for everything. He reached for his glasses and shoved them on as he stood. Crossing to the window, he leaned his head against the cool glass and looked down at the manicured lawn. Biting his lip, he thought that perhaps, just this once, he would be safe outside. If he did not leave the back yard, if he did not go beyond the boundary of his Aunt's home, he should be safe.

He pulled on his pyjama bottoms, letting them ride low on his hips, and quietly snuck out of his room. Avoiding the fourth step with its loud squeak, he hurried down the stairs and out the back door into the small manicured yard. The sky was clear, each star standing bright and alone, the only other light was the faint glow from the low-hung moon. He thought of Remus when he saw its fullness, and for a moment, wondered at the freedom of running free amidst the woods, unrestrained and wild. Pausing to let the cool air encircle him and ruffle his hair, he crossed to the back of the yard and hunkered down behind the lilac bush. Hiding from the house and the neighbouring yards, he stripped off his bottoms again and lie down on the grass.

Flat on his back with his arms crossed under his head, cushioning it from the hard ground, he gazed at the sky between the gently swaying branches. Sighing deeply as the cool breeze dried his sweaty skin and sent a sliver of coolness across his chest he at last let eyes drift shut and felt sleep made its way into his mind, pushing out his thoughts and bringing its own.

He thought he heard the rustle of fabric, like the soft hushing sound of cotton that a sheet makes when fanned in the air to make a bed. He thought he felt the chill of the cool current of air interrupted, as if something were between him and it. Opening his eyes, instinctively putting one hand over his scar, expecting it to be heating and thinking it ready to send a scalding pain into his brain, he bent his knees and sat quickly. Cursing the fact that he had left his wand in his room, he cursed again, for foolishly hoping he could be safe.

Seeing nothing from his vantage point behind the shrub, he spun around and looked through the branches, back toward the house. There, he saw a shadowy figure, mounted on a broom, peering into his upstairs bedroom window. An icy shiver ran up his back, prickling his skin and causing him to rush to dress. Pushing his legs into his pyjama bottoms, he pulled them up as he stood. Shite, he thought. Shite, shite, shite.

Crouching down, keeping close to the shrubs, he crept back to the double doors off the dinning room. Turning the knob as quietly as possible, he glanced up to where the shadow would appear if it heard him and lowered down from his window. Then, opening the door wide enough to step inside, he pulled it shut and squatted down to continue watching the yard. He knew he could not return to his room until whoever was on the broom had gone and glancing over his shoulder into the kitchen, he hoped to see something, anything, to use as a weapon.

Harry smirked at his Muggle response that sudden danger brought out in him. At Hogwarts, he reached for a wand, but here, in this world, he wanted a heavy bladed knife.

Finding what he was looking for in the top drawer, he returned to the glass of the double door, and cowered down against the wall to watch. From this position, he could see not only the back yard, but also the hallway to the front door and the steps to the second floor. He stayed there, all thought of the unbearable heat gone. He stayed until the sun had begun to lighten up the sky, and knowing that whoever it was would not risk the daylight, he at last felt safe to return to his room.

Pulling the curtains closed, he sat on the edge of his bed and lowered his face into his hands. Damn Dumbledore. He should be out of here. He should be at the Burrow or at Hogwarts. He shouldn't have to stay here for two more months of waiting for his coming of age. Seventeen. At seventeen, he would be free. Until then he had to wait. Sit, wait, and be a target.

"Boy," Vernon bellowed from the hallway. "Get down there and help your Aunt. What do you think this is, a holiday?"

"No Uncle Vernon," he sighed, "right there. I'm up and dressing."

Harry slipped on his jeans and pulled a faded blue tee over his head. Frowning, he reached under his pillow and pulled out his wand, tucking it into his waistband at the small of his back. Normally he would leave it in his room while staying at home, but today was different. His life had just grown more difficult. Difficult, and at the same time it perversely made his decision simpler. He would never again put himself in the position of holding a butcher knife against an unknown attacker. He would never again worry about what the Ministry would say or do.

Padding down the stairs, he joined his Aunt in the kitchen, putting bread in the toaster, and carrying the dishes and flatware to the table. He was opening the fridge to collect the orange juice when an owl began pecking at the glass on the French doors. Harry looked at his Aunt to see if she had noticed and was relieved to see her back to him as she stood at the stove. Then, seizing his chance, he hurried to open the door and yank the missive from the bird's leg.

"Off with you," he whispered. "I have nothing for you this time."

The owl dipped its head, spread its wings and rotated its shoulders before leaning into the air and flying off. Harry watched it as he shoved the letter into his pocket. He had never seen this owl before. He had never seen this kind of owl before. Masked Owls were not common in the islands. Whoever had sent this missive had money, money enough for imported owls. Scowling, he turned back to finish his breakfast chores, ate as fast as he could, and rushed upstairs to read the letter.

Sitting on the bed, he scowled as he opened the envelope. No return address, no seal, no indication what so ever as to who had sent the owl. Never considering it to be any of his schoolmates, he also knew it would be none of his professors as the Hogwarts stationary was quite readily recognizable. He unfolded the parchment and began to read.

Dearest Harry,

You do not know me. However, your mother and I were close at one time. I have wanted to see you for several years but the time has never seemed right, or the need as urgent as it is now.

I have kept something, which is yours now that you will be an adult and I would like to give it to you before you return to Hogwarts this fall.

My owl, Sofia, will return this evening to collect your answer. If you are able to meet with me, we can do so at a place of mutual convenience. I am unable to walk very well, age will do that to you. However, I fear you would be uncomfortable coming to my home. Pick a place and I will send you a port key since I am aware that you may not create your own for at least two months.


A Friend of your mother.

Harry re-read the letter then sat and stared at the salutation, wondering who would address him as Dearest Harry. His forehead wrinkled as he pondered the last paragraph, trying to think of anyone that would be old enough to have trouble walking. You do not know me, the writer had penned. You do not know me, he thought. The world of magic was small, everyone seemed to know everyone else, or at least knew the family by name. He wondered why he had never heard of a person that would have held his mother's confidence close enough to have something that belonged to him.

Not trusting what he held in his hand he crumpled up the letter and sent it sailing into the bottom of his wastebasket. Pacing in his small room, he kept glancing at it, unable to let it go. On the one hand, he wanted to smooth it out to read again, and on the other he knew that like the ruse that had drawn him to the Ministry on the awful night he had lost Sirius, not everything was always as it seemed. All that day he thought of the letter and waited. Waited until the house was sleeping, waited until the heat was unbearable again, waited until he needed to know. He dressed and again snuck down the stairs and into the backyard, waiting for the great Masked Owl named Sofia.

He waited for over an hour, then standing up to go back inside he heard the hoot he knew belonged to the bird he was waiting for. Walking to the side of the house he heard it again, softer, but with a desperation that he had learned was the sound of an injured delivery owl. He hurried around to the front of the house, and saw the precious owl where it stood on one leg on the lawn across the street, with its left wing hanging to the ground.

Running across the street, he knelt down in front of the bird and stroked its head, all thoughts of having crossed the safe boundary of his aunt's house gone.

"Hey, good girl," he whispered softly. "It's okay."

Gingerly he ran his hand over the drooping wing, and not finding anything he could discern, he pulled down its unused leg and frowned, as it too appeared perfectly normal.

"What is it girl?" he chuckled. "Get the air knocked out of you? You seem fine."

Sitting cross-legged in front of the owl, he carefully pulled off the missive and opened the envelope. A small key fell out, almost slipping from his fingers. He instinctively grabbed for it before it disappeared into the cool grass and felt the familiar tug of port key travel as he snapped his head up and looked at the suddenly recovered owl.

He landed in a meadow and immediately rolled to the side, his right hand fighting to reach for his wand. He heard a high-pitched cackling laugh and the spell that sent his wand sailing through the air only to land in the palm of the gaggling witch.

"Bellatrix!" he hissed as he crawled backwards on the hard ground.

"Oh my, it's little Potty. What's the matter?" she sniggered, "Owl got your tongue?"

Harry got to his feet, looking behind him and seeing no-one else, he was at least thankful to know he would not feel the blast of a spell on his back. He began to circle Bellatrix, crossing one foot over the other, not taking his eyes off her wand that she held loosely in his direction.

"Got my letter Potty? How'd ya like it little boy? Looking for a present from Mommy's friend?" She threw her head back and laughed hysterically.

"What do you want?"

"Oh luv, I want you ducky. Just you. I want to make a present to my Lord and I think you will do fine."

"I won't come with you. You will have to kill me first!" Harry snarled, the tendons in his neck tightening as the sound of his blood cascaded through his ears.

'No-no Potty," she chided him and lifted her arm over her head, waving in someone hidden in the trees behind him. "You see? Since they had a taste of freedom, the Dementors are becoming hard to manage. I promised it could take you."

She leaned her head back and laughed up to the sky, gleefully anticipating what was about to happen. Harry felt enraged and forgot for just that second that her wand still pointed in his direction, unable to think, unable to plot a course he threw himself at her, crashing them both to the ground and knocking the wand from her hand.

She struggled against him as he straddled her body, grasping her wrists and forcing them over her head, pinning them to the ground. Her laughter filled the air as a Dementor circled the pair, hungrily inching closer and closer.

Harry ducked his chin down to his chest as the morose and doom-laden feeling overtook him, he felt Bellatrix slacken and felt her stomach shake from her insane laughter. Unable to stop the Dementor from attacking, unable to let go of her wrists, he screamed in rage and anger and at that moment the Dementor began its slow insidious kiss.

He thought vaguely that they had been wrong. That the Dementor only sucked out your soul, that they took all and left nothing but an empty shell. He discovered as he fought against them that it was far more horrific. Not only could he feel his soul, his life, his very being leaving, but he was filled with foul and dark thoughts which began to strip away any recollection of love he had ever held. He saw blackness, swilling clouds of oily vileness and smelled the deepest part of his dreams.

He tried to twist away from it, still holding Bellatrix down. He started to rise up, got to one knee and unable to pull Bellatrix with him, slumped back down on her body. The Dementor rose and fell with him, not leaving his mouth, not stopping what it had begun until Bellatrix herself began to laugh louder.

The Dementor, startled by the sound of laughter, turned slowly to look into her face, breaking its hold on Harry and for a second, for a split second releasing him.

Seeing the moment he had silently begged for, Harry put his hands on either side of Bellatrix's head, forcing her to turn her face to him. He leaned forward and locked his lips on hers, pushing into her stomach with his knee until she opened her mouth to yell in pain and frustration. The moment he felt her lips part, and felt her forget to struggle against him, he deepened the kiss and let the foul breath of the Dementor out of him and into her. Feeling the coldness leave him, he pushed away from her and grabbed his wand, pointing it at her throat.

"Remember this Bellatrix. Remember what you almost had because you won't get a second chance at me." He held the wand firmly, struggling for the will to cast the killing curse.

She rose to her knees, sat back on her heels, hung her head and cupped her hands over her ears as she rocked back and forth. She looked up at him under her brows with eyes dull and vacant. Gone was the laughter, the mad tenuous hold on sanity, the memories of even the Dark Lord that once found his favour in her and a husband that had once made love to her.

Harry gulped down a great lung full air, too afraid to turn his back on his adversary until the Dementor once again took its place between him and her, but this time turned its attention to the slobbering witch that no longer cared, nor wished to care, what became of her.

Bella's eyes turned slowly from Harry to the demon of mindless death in front of her. She reached up her hand as if to touch its face, letting her hand pass the icy coldness that was the Dementor, letting her body lean toward the vision of death and horror. She smiled wistfully and sighed, as her new Lord leaned down for his kiss.

A/N So, respitechristopher, you didn't say what kind of kiss.

I have also taken the stand that Harry had only felt the closeness of the Dementor in the past, never having felt the full effect.