It was tuesday evening. On the London Underground people shuffled awkwardly and noisily in and out of eachother. Most of them were middle aged muggles in skirts and suits, a good proportion of them yelling into their cellular phones or headsets.
Harry sat on the tube, in a dark common hoody, his face was hidden, buried behind a mugle magazine, watching one man in particular. This man was far over six foot tall, he sat in the seat next to a door, in a tailored black suit, topped with a long tweed robe. His face was long and slim, topped with lots of pale blonde scruffy hair, it contrasted creepily with his pale white skin, that was decorated with a burn, stretching diagonally from his left eye, over the curve of his bumpy nose fading on his right cheek.
Any self respecting wizard can cure a scar, Harry thought to himself, turning a page in his magazine. The face of a middle aged comedian covered a double page spread and stared at him, Harry waited for him to move, then checked himself, remembering it was a muggle magazine.
The tube pulled away from it's current stop and started to it's next. Orange lights flashed in and out of the carriage and over the mans face, the reflected off his icy blue eyes and Harry had to blink to make sure his eyes didn't glaze over.
At the next stop just a few moments later, most of the people on the carriage got off, and few got on. When they pulled away there were no more then twelve people in the carrige, a few of whom looked pretty much asleep. The man made Harry jump when his hand moved to his pocket, Harry caught a glimpse of his wand, then the man pulled his cloak back over himself as the train stopped he strode out. Harry followed him cautiously.
The man sped up the escalators and turned into the next rail. There was only one other man here, and he walked straight past Harry and into the gift shop. Harry watched the pale skinned man, he stopped, and Harry quickly hid round the corner, not sure whether the man had saw him or not. When Harry glanced next the man was no longer on the platform. Creeping over to the track, Harry saw the light of a wand in the tunnel. Harry took out his own wand and followed the man, slipping down to the tracks silently, stalking his prey. Harry saw no way to light his wand without alerting the man, so he followed in the darkness, until he came across orange lights, they were dim at first, then they got so bright that Harry couldn't see, then everything blacked out. He lit his wand and saw the man he'd been following standing ten foot away from him, wand raised, pointing almost directly at Harry's chest.
"Hello Mr. Potter," the man said, flicking his wand so the whole tunnel was filled with white orbs, floating above their heads as makeshift lanterns.
"Bilgin," said Harry, nodding and pointing his wand back at his oponent. "Shall we go?" Harry asked sarcastically, blowing out the light from his wand.
"Don't be arrogant Mr Potter. You know just as well as I do that i'm not going anywhere. So you can just run back to your little department and tell them you gave it a good try."
Harry smiled sarcastically, circling the tunnel with Bilgin. In this light the man looked even creepier, his breathing had become huskier and more rushed, like he'd ran all this way. Bilgin opened his mouth to speak again but it had been a long time since Harry had bothered with foreplay, and he flicked his wand sending a stunning spell his way, Bilgin dodged and ran down the railway.
Harry was less than a foot from the end of his cape and set it on fire, Bilgin refused to take it off, and sent a stream of water behind him in an attempt to soak Harry and put out the fire, he did neither. Harry could feel vibrations reverberating under his feet, and could soon hear a tube on it's way.
"Expelliamus!" he yelled, knocking Bilgins and his wand to the floor, where he only just missed touching the track, Harry jumped on his back just as the tube appeared round the corner, like a snake breathing a thunderstorm. Harry closed his eyes and with a pop found himself and Bilgin in the reception of the Auror department at the Ministry of Magic, as they landed on the carpet Harry felt the breeze from the tube blow in his hair. He stood up, as Bilgin leant up on his arm, confused. Harry smiled sarcastcally and punched him, leaving the room as Kingesly Shacklebolt and around four other Aurors arrived and restrained the criminal.
As Harry swept down the hallway, no happier having completed his mission, he wanted to go home an find the bottle of Firewisky Hagrid had sent him for Christmas, to accompany the other eight billion presents he hadn't made use of, like Diggle's chess set, Kingesly's box of brandy soaked butter bombs, Regina Blackly's set of maroon cushion covers with matching candles, and that was nothing compared to the the "Fan mail", all the presents they sent him, he'd burnt most of them, he'd had about three bonfires in the middle of his appartment and only one call from the ministry, reminding him to keep the smoke dormant. It hadn't all been bad, a visit from Mr and Mrs Weasley, who invited him for dinner with the whole family, which he declined politely, lying and saying he felt unwell. Ron and Hermione had visited too, they also invited him to dinner, he'd declined again.
"Harry?" called a deep voice behind him. Harry turned to see Kingesly striding up the corridor speedily, his scarlet robes flowing behind him. He caught up and motioned him to carry on walking. "Well Harry, that was quite a show. You're the only Auror to ever find Saville in twenty years, let alone capture the bastard. Well done, i'll call you again when you're needed, thank you."
They were at the grand entrance, Harry pulled his coat around himself, the evening air was icy and cold, it didn't brighten his mood. "You're welcome Kingesly," Harry replied, pushing the door open. "Just make sure you hold on to him." With that Harry swept out the ministry, barging through the reporters and journalists that were already verbally battering him, all yelling at once, so even if he had planned to answer their questions he wouldn't be able to pick one apart from the other.
Harry's apartment was nothing like his bank balance would suggest. It consisted of one small living area, containing an old kahki couch Harry had found on the street and sterilised, a small television, complete with video player, and an old coffee table he'd come across in a muggle store, in was shuvved in the corner, piled high with books, papers and god knows what else. A small kitchen, with a crappy old cooker bewitched to look like a aga, a fridge that was constantly empty, and a toaster, which Harry was almost as fond of as the wine rack that he kept stacked with butter beer, firewisky, and some muggle drink called rum. There was a small single bedroom behind the living room, Harry rarely slept in it though, he was rather fond of drinking himself to sleep on the sofa, there was also a small bathroom leading off from the kitchen which he ended up sleeping in sometimes.
Harry kicked off his trainers and slouched on the sofa, finding a near empty bottle of firewisky behind him, he downed the dregs, chucked it in the overflowing wastebin and went to get another from the kitchen, as he pulled the cork off, his doorbell rang. He left the bottle and swung the door open to find Hermione standing there, smiling. "Harry!" she squealed, happy to see her friend. She wrapped her arms around him, and he patted her on the back.
"Hermione!" Harry greeted her halfheartedly, pulling her off and slamming the door. He was happy to see her of course, but he wasn't pleased with her expression when she saw the state of his apartment.
She groaned and frowned at desperately, "Harry, when are you going to start taking care of yourself?!" she asked, frustraited. "It takes two second to do an organisation spell, goodness me! Obviously you can't like living in this mess! How busy have you been, my! I bet the ministry is working you twenty four seven." She patted his arm and flicked her wand around the apartment. Books flew into piles, plant's that had toppled over stood up, the mud sliding back inside them, Harry's sofa cushions arranged themselves neatly, he watched all the moldy food from his fridge fly into a bin bag, and moaned mentally and slumped back on his sofa when he saw his firewisky fly back into the cupboard. In eight seconds his flat had been transformed, Hermione reached inside Harry's fridge and pulled out a dish that Harry had never seen before. "I sent this ahead," Hermione told him, heating the dish and handing it to him with a fork. Harry took it eagerly, just the smell told him it was lasagne and he couldn't remember the last time he'd eaten.
"Goodness Harry, you're skin and bones! Thank god being an Auror has earned you some muscle otherwise you body would've combusted by now, are you going to force me to come here every day and feed you a home cooked meal?!" Hermione was stressing over him, she collapsed on the cushion next to him and buried her head in her hands.
"Hermione relax," Harry told her through a ridiculous mouthful of lasagne. " I'm alive, i'm healthy, i'm... happy." - he struggled with that last one - "I'm fine. Haven't you got enough to worry about without poking at me? Just chill out. How's Ron?" he asked, changing the subject.
"Ooh!" Hermione squealed, reaching inside her purse, she handed Harry an envelope. "He'd kill me if I forgot, tickets to the Annual Quidditch awards. Please say you'll come Harry, Molly and Arthur agreed to come just because Ron told them he had tickets for you. They're so excited. And of course Ron and I will be there. We haven't all been together in such a long time."
Harry slipped his finger in the envelope and ripped it open, pulling out two silver glittery tickets the size of an average photograph. The words "Annual Quidditch Awards" were plastered across the monstrosity, sliding across like a tacky sign outside a brothel, silohettes of quidditch players flew across randomly, waving and performing little loops before zooming off. Harry had never seen something so over the top in his life.
"Tickets?" Harry asked, flashing the two tickets that had been within the envelope at her.
"Ron thinks, you know, that you might wan't to bring a guest? If you want." Harry raised his eyebrows at her. "Ron thinks I have some girlfriend I haven't told you guys about doesn't he?" Harry asked tightly.
Hermione nodded, ashamed. Harry flicked the spare ticket onto her lap, "Don't bother, give it to someone else." he told her, tucking back into his lasagne. Hermione took it awkwardly, slipping it into her purse.
"Okay, well I better go, I still have some things left to pack.." Hermione told him,slinging herbag over her shoulder. "And Ron will be getting worried, I mean, I told him i'd be back over an hour ago, I mean, he's probably tried to owl me god knows how many times, you know how he worries.."
"Hermione!" Harry stopped her, getting a headache. "Packing? Why are you packing?"
"Moving in with Ron, Harry. You know, he asked me to move in over a year ago, I mean we only just found the right place, right on the corner of Canary Warf, you know where Lucifers Avenue is hidden? It's actually very leafy considering it's right in the middle of London, a few bad characters but Ron is charming the place as we speak... Ooh Ron! I have to go Harry," they both stood up, and with a swift kiss on the cheek, Hermione wished him goodbye and swept out of the room. Wading back into the kitchen for his precious firewisky, Harry noticed his need for it had increased as Hermione mentioned her perfect little life, and how little Harry had noticed was happening, Ron must've mentioned it at some point... that firewisky was looking better every second. Harry took a deep swig and collapsed back on his tattered sofa, tonight was gong to be a long one. He chucked his bottle across the now clean living room.
It was daylight when Harry felt his head hit his pillow, someone pulling his trousers off and settling him inside, before the goodbye and shaky pop that was Neville leaving, back to the Leaky Couldron to clean up Harry's sorrows.