Beginnings are such delicate things. Mess one thing up and the whole world feels it. Which is probably why Albus Dumbledore felt something snap in the world the day Niko Orion Black and Harry James Potter were born.

Niko had his father's hair and his mother's gold eyes. To their surprise when he first opened them, they were a golden amber...and cat shaped. Both Harry and Niko had unkempt hair that refused any brushes attempt to tame it. So when the dark lord looked for a child that was born to prophecy, he chose Harry. Not that Sirius took the chance with his son. He never trusted Peter as much as James, so he hid the child with another couple.

Harry went to Petunia's, and Niko disappeared from Dumbledore's radar.

So when a muggleborn named Train Heartnet appears ten years later, he's none the wiser to the boy's true identity. Even the fact that his precious boy-who-lived, the soon to be Gryffindor Golden Boy, regards this child as a brother immediately upon meeting him, he still suspects nothing.

Train is a rather unremarkable boy of five feet, three inches. His hair stuck out every which way. His eyes shown with mischief in an amber glow. Even his coat didn't stand out. It was close enough to a cloak that most others wore.

But...Train Heartnet wasn't an ordinary boy. He had a tattoo on his chest with the roman numerals XIII. He had a rather heavy gun with the same markings. Even the way he held himself was odd. He acted like a seasoned auror. Like someone who had seen death and killed.

When Train entered the pet store, his eyes were immediately drawn to the cats. He understood cats...and they understood him. He even fed the stray that came onto his roof. He spotted a small black kitten being bullied by it's litter mates. He easily scooped it up, and held it. He could feel the rumbling purr.

He looked the kitten over once he got out. It was a velvety black that reminded him of something from his childhood. It's eyes were a sparkling sapphire and it had a folded ears.

He named it Padfoot.

Harry recognized the boy in the bookstore immediately. He couldn't say where he remembered him, but he knew he could trust him.

"Hi! My names Harry!"

Train stared at the boy who just walked up to him. He remembered him from when he was little. The emerald-eyed boy haunted his few good dreams left.

"Call me Neko."

Harry cocked his head.

"Isn't that Japanese for Cat?"

Train was impressed. Not many actually knew that fact.


They bought their books, and several that weren't on the list. Train was sponsored by someone. Someone who wanted contacts in the Magical world.

Train rented the house next to Harry's, and Harry spent the rest of the summer there. When it came to the train, Neko (as he now called himself to keep his job a secret) came up with the idea to check the pillars. Which is why Harry missed the Weasly clan by half an hour.

Harry and Neko were greeted by a bleach-blonde boy named Draco. Neko liked the kid's name right away, and said so.

"And what's yours?"

"Call me Neko Black...though in the muggle world I go by Train Heartnet."

"Neko Black suits you. My mother's maiden name is Black. It's an old family."

"I never knew my real family. I was adopted when I was a year old."

"I was stuck with my aunt at the same age."

Soon they were describing their family life. Harry won the most traumatic, Draco for most spoiled, and Neko for most interesting. He even brought out Padfoot. Draco introduced his cat Precious. They struck up a friendship immediately.

When a girl came by looking for a toad, Neko mentioned it went towards the back. She thanked him and left. Harry and Draco bought most of the trolley as they ate the sweets. Neko started grinning like a loon when he found milk-flavored snacks. The other two gladly gave them all to Neko.

"I like milk and cats."

A red-haired boy with a bit of dirt came in, asking for a place to sit. Neko threw him down the hallway into a card tower being built by two older twin boys.



"I'm sure the hair will grow back...eventually!" snickered Neko. He actually laughed as the twins gave him a standing ovation and a ghostly ten from their wands.

"Why did you throw him out?" asked Harry reproachfully.

"I could hear him when we were boarding. He was claiming he would become the 'boy-who-lived' best friend. He was quite loud too."

Harry flinched at the name, and Neko gave him a look.


Harry held up his bangs, which covered a lightning scar on his forehead.

Draco looked genuinely shocked.

"You mean you're the Harry Potter?"

"Unfortunately. It's not like I asked for a nut job to kill my parents."

"And its not like I wanted a madman to kill my adopted parents. But I moved on and ended up with a mentor who taught me a skill that let me live," said Neko, completely understanding.

"Harry, can you imagine what would happen if you told everyone what Dumbledore did to you? Placing you with a family that treated you worse than a house-elf?" said Draco.


"Dumbledore would be held accountable for child neglect. Hell, there is an entire department in the Ministry dedicated to the welfare of orphaned wizards!"

"Wait, could someone adopt him before we leave school?"

"If Harry is serious about the abuse, yes."

"In that case, I'll have to owl someone in the organization that I work for. They've been pairing me off with that crazy-ass Creed for long enough!"

As they stepped off the train and into the boats, Neko, Harry and Draco found themselves with another boy named Neville.

"Aren't you the kid with the missing toad?" asked Neko.

Neville looked ashamed, and timid at the same time.


"I'm Neko. This is Harry and that's Draco. Nice to meet you Neville."

Neville seemed surprised that Neko had held out his hand. He took it anyway.

A new friend was made.

Soon they would be sorted...and to the boy's surprise, the whole affair was anticlimactic to say the least.

"An old hat... Really? That's the best they could come up with?"

Neko wasn't the least bit scared by the ghosts.

Ah, Mr. Heartnet. Or should I say Niko Orion Black? Yes my boy, I knew your father. And you're no muggleborn student. You're a pure-blood that slipped through Dumbledore's fingers. Now where to put you?

Put me with Harry.

Dumbledore wants him in Gryffindor. He told me to place the Black heir, should he appear, in Slytherin.

I'm a stray cat who goes where he pleases. I won't listen to some barmy old coot who places children in abusive homes.

In that case...


An audible gasp was heard from the green and silver table. A muggleborn in Slytherin?

Ah, Mr. Potter. I've been expecting you for some time. I see you've already found the Black heir. No surprise there. Your parents were like brothers too.

Black? You mean Draco?

You mean you didn't know? I meant your friend Mr. Heartnet. I can see you two will deal with the old meddler quite easily. So where do you want to go? I can place you in any of the houses, you'd fit in.

I want to be with Neko and Draco.

Very well, I hope you find what you're looking for in...


Potter and a muggleborn? This was unheard of! The next student was sorted in silence before the clapping resumed.

Neko, Harry and Draco sat next to each other. Across from them were Draco's bodyguards Crabbe and Goyle. Much to Neko's delight, they were serving milk at dinner. Soon they were heading to the dorm.

Harry seemed to understand the snake in the portrait, but kept it to himself. Neko and Draco took the beds closest to the window, and Harry swiped the one next to Neko. Blaise Zabini was the only other boy in the room. Crabbe, Goyle and Nott had a room across from them.

Neko pulled something out, and handed it to Harry. Surprised, he took it.

"What is it?"

"You'll see in the morning. I'm guessing you have nightmares too?"

"How did you know that?"

"I used to have them until I finally learned to live with them. Having Padfoot helps actually. That's what I used to keep them at bay."

Harry woke up the next morning and finally saw what Neko had given him. It was a black dog with a collar around it's neck. The collar read "Sirius" in blue.

Harry stretched, and then looked to Neko. The other boy was yawning widely...and he had long canines like a cat.


"You can keep it if you want. I can handle the nightmares now..."

How had Neko known he had reoccurring nightmares?

"Come on. Let's find the hall! I'm starving!"

Neko then spotted Draco still asleep. Harry Neko threw a cold glass of water on the boy who woke up spitting nails.

"Dammit Dobby! I'm up!"

"Morning to you too sunshine."

Harry was laughing his head off. Blaise walked in amused.

Severus Snape wasn't happy. Not only did the Potter boy dare to get himself sorted into his house, but a muggleborn as well! The year was already starting to show how bad it would be. He took a migraine potion before heading out to hand out schedules.

Neko had an entire pitcher of milk to himself. The others weren't dumb enough to stand between him and milk. Not so for the red-haired boy from the train. He walked up with a swagger, and attempted to knock it aside.

Neko proved to be as catlike as his name suggested.

He took the pitcher out of the way and hissed at the boy. Harry looked amused...until Ron insulted his friends.

Draco took initiative and hexed him. Snape came up and said "Ten points from Gryffindor. It's too damn early for your bravado."

Neko, Harry and Draco snickered.

"I'd have to agree with you there, professor. I wouldn't tolerate his idiocy without coffee first thing in the morning either," said Neko.

Neko, Harry and Draco headed to the classroom, after asking Snape for directions first.

Neko took one look at the tabby on the desk and gave it some of the milk he'd swiped from the great hall.

So he was genuinely surprised to see the tabby turn into the teacher!

"Twenty points to Slytherin for being kind to animals."

Neko grinned when Ron and Seamus arrived late.

(Neko had spotted Neville looking lost and brought him to the classroom on the way there.)

Everything was great for the week. Neko, Draco and Harry enjoyed class, earned points for un-Slytherin behavior, and generally confused the teachers. So when Neko met Hagrid, he was in a good mood.

"Down Fang!"

Neko grinned.

"That's a cool name for a dog."

Neko was bored with flying lessons before they even had them! Then they found out that Ron would be there too...which made him not that enthusiastic.

And when he saw the brooms...his enthusiasm dropped even lower.

As Neville kicked off too early, Neko was prepared to catch him. Everyone else stood there. Neville was caught by his robes. Neko ran and just managed to catch him before he hit the ground.

Neville was shaking.

"Relax Nev. You're back on Terra Firma."


Neko put Neville down calmly. He then picked up the ball Neville's Gran sent him and handed it to the trembling boy.

"Any pain?"


"Best head the hospital wing to make sure."

Neville went to the hospital wing with Madam Hooch behind him, to make sure he didn't faint. When she got back they continued...after she awarded Neko fifty points for not only saving Neville from serious injury, but helping a rival house.

Hermione was as full of nerves as Neville. While they were hovering, her broom kept going up! Neko kicked off hard, and grabbed her by the waist. Putting her on his broom, he carefully landed a moment later.

"Why do I have to keep saving Gryffindor first years today?" Neko asked out loud.

Hermione blushed heavily...mainly because Neko was still holding onto her.

"Sorry," he said as he let go.

Slytherin earned another twenty-five points.

Harry was flying with Neko, who had snuck out to get some fresh air. Unknown to them, Hooch was watching from the stands. Watching Neko punch away the ball that Harry had thrown, she came to a decision. Then she saw Harry catch a small ball that Neko threw at him from a fifty-foot drop!

"Potter! Heartnet!"

They landed and she took them to Snape.

"I found you a new seeker and beater."

Eyes raised a bit.

"We only wanted to get some fresh air..." mumbled Neko.

"You're not in trouble. In fact it means you two are on the house team. Youngest in a century. So who's my seeker and who's the beater?"

"Potter caught a small ball out of a fifty foot drop. And Heartnet hit a large one at least a hundred feet with a piece of wood."

"Thank you Madam Hooch."

Flint wasn't too happy about Neko being on the team. Until he saw how Neko easily tracked the bludgers and kept sending him to the other beater. So he kept the grumbling to a minimum.

The first game. Harry was a bundle of nerves until Neko promised to keep the evil balls away from him. With a laugh.

As Harry scanned the stadium for a glint of gold, Neko noticed something odd. A strange light was heading to Harry!

Neko knew something was off when Harry's broom began to buck. He flew to the twins, and said "Someone's jinxing his broom!"


Neko followed the light. Why was the DADA teacher trying to kill Harry? He told the twins to send a bludger his way to stop the one responsible.

A black blur came to Neko. With precision matching his usual shooting skill, he sent the bludger directly at the stand towards Quirrel. It hit the man hard on the chest. At that moment Harry's broom quit bucking.

Hooch gave Gryffindor a penalty.

But Snape didn't care, as Harry saw the Snitch and grabbed it out of the air before the penalty could be used.

The party was enormous. Neko was now an official Slytherin in the eyes of the pure-bloods. Seems his way of stopping the jinx appealed to the upperclassman. It didn't hurt that Quirrel was in St. Mungo's for a week due to the damage.

A week later they found themselves with a new defense teacher. To the shock of the school, Quirrel was found to be possessed by Voldemort while in St. Mungo's.

Neko and Harry found themselves in the Headmaster's office for some mundane charge. True to their house, they lay the blame on Ron. (He was the real reason they were out of bounds after curfew.)

"But sir, Ron challenged us!"

"Wizard's duels have been banned from the school for over thirty years. You will both receive detention."

Neko could feel something in the back of his head. Like someone was trying to get in. He started wincing after five minutes of it.

He was stirring. The one who truly carried out the missions. The Thirteenth of Chronos. Someone was trying to harm his maker. So he pushed back.

Something shifted in Neko. Harry looked at his friend worried.


"What is wrong mister Heartnet?"

"I'm not Heartnet."

Neko's eyes had shifted. More cat-like then before, he growled. Harry could sense the difference. This wasn't the Neko he knew. He grabbed the other boy and dragged him to the dorm.

"Neko, what's wrong?"

"Call me Kuro Neko. And that old man has the power to enter your mind. Keep your guard up Harry. He is not to be trusted."

"Why do you call yourself Black Cat?"

"Because I deliver bad luck."

"Does this have to do with that gun you always carry?"

"Hades. I've had it only two weeks before I was sent here."

Harry seemed to think of something.

"Can you teach me?"

Black Cat stopped. Surely he hadn't heard him right?

"You can't honestly want to know how to...?"

"Yes, I do. I'm tired of Uncle Vernon beating me and throwing me into that damn cupboard."

"There will be no turning back if this is really what you want. I teach you, you will be sacrificing a part of your innocence."

"What innocence?"

"Fine. I'll ask the house-elves for a place to practice. I'll get the gun."

Harry entered the room that Neko had found. When asked, Draco said he'd give the cover story.

"First things first. You must swear never to even touch the gun I'm giving you without me present. I don't want you to shoot your foot or kill someone."

"I swear I will never take a gun out until you say I'm ready to handle one on my own."

"Good. The first lesson is gun care. When you can clean and check your gun without thinking, then we'll move on."

Harry spent the next two weeks learning to clean and check a gun. He was a quick learner. On Halloween, Neko finally gave his friend a new task. Now he had to load a gun barrel and then unload it until it became automatic. It took Harry a week to get it down to an art.

By the time Christmas rolled around, Harry was finally learning to sharp shoot. He had impeccable aim. Neko would even say that he was a natural.

Harry woke up Christmas day to find...


"Yup. That big box on your legs is from me. Merry Christmas!"

Harry opened it first. Inside was a stag, a tiger and a wolf. Each had a collar.

"Prongs, Lily and Moony. Where did you get these?"

"I remembered these animals from when I was a kid. I figured that Sirius was my dad, Padfoot. I think Prongs and Lily were your parents."

"I wonder if Moony is still around."

"He is. That box on the left is from him. I got one too."

Harry opened the presents. He never seen so many!

When Harry pulled out the cloak, he was astonished to find himself invisible.

"Cool! Maybe Dray will know what that is!"

The Christmas season was hell. Snape hated it with a passion. It was full of good cheer and all that nonsense. And no one ever cared about him or even wished him a "Merry Christmas" with any sincerity except Albus, but he didn't count.

Severus got up, and found...three boxes at his bed.

"What the hell?"

He opened the first box and found a black fox with Lily's old nickname for him. The second had a silver green snake with the Slytherin symbol and a note that said "Merry Christmas Uncle Sev!"

The handwriting was Harry's...he'd recognize that atrocious handwriting anywhere. He looked at the bottom of the first box, and realized it was from Train 'Neko' Heartnet.

"I figured you could use some actual cheer. I remember Aunt Lily used to call you by that name whenever you turned into your animal form. If it brings up bad memories, then maybe we should make some new ones. Neko."

The third box was from both boys. Inside were some potions ingredients that he had been wanting for some time but could never find in sufficient quantity. How had they known he needed these ingredients?

Then his brain backtracked.

'Wait...did Neko say...'

Snape reread the first note. Now he was sure of it. Neko wrote 'Aunt Lily' instead of something else. Why would he call her that unless his family had been close to the Potters?

Time for Snape to have a conversation with the most popular first year.

As usual Dumbledore gave Snape a ghastly set of colorful robes. Neko sat next to him and whispered... "I can make them disappear for you."

"How much?"

"Free. Harry needed something new to use for target practice."


Snape had Neko down the next morning. Harry was still sleeping off the late night with the stag doll on one side and Padfoot on the other.

"You wanted to see me sir?"

"Yes. First I want to thank you for those ingredients...and the dolls. That's the first time someone has bothered to even give me a present in years without being forced."

"You're welcome. Hanging around this castle has brought up some really old memories from my childhood with my birth parents. And I've seen how the others treat you."

"Second, there is the note you left. Why did you call Potter's mother Aunt Lily?"

"Because that's what I remember her being called."

"Who were your parents?"

"I don't remember my birth parents that much. And my adoptive parents were killed by a man with a gun. All I remember of my father is sapphire blue eyes and long black hair."

That fit a certain mutt. Could this boy actually be...?

"And the sorting hat said he knew my father. And that he was practically a brother to Harry's dad."

"Did the sorting hat give you a different name?"

"Niko...something. I wasn't paying attention."

Niko...oh bloody hell it is him. Just my luck he ended up in my house with the Potter brat.

"I think I know who your father is. If I'm right, he's still alive."

Neko looked surprised. So his family was still kicking?

"But he's in Azkaban for supposedly killing Potter's parents and one of his old friends."

"Who is he?"

"Sirius Black."

Neko's eyes widened. He recognized the name! It was what he called his stuffed dog that kept the nightmares of those he killed at bay!

"Is there any way I can see him? To be sure?"

"We'll have to wait until the school lets out. What do you plan to tell Potter?"

"Just that there's a lead on my family...and that the custody problem should be dealt with by New Years."


"Yeah, I'm freeing Harry from his relatives. People, and I use the term lightly, like them should not live another day."

"Bring in Potter. I want to know what is wrong with his relatives house."

"Yes sir."

Harry left the office with a weight off his shoulders. Snape not only knew his parents, but was his mother's best friend! Not only that, but the dour potions professor promised to lay off the insults.

He got his best present on New Years.

"Well Harry, once I declare you fit to work with me, you'll be my official partner. Your relatives are in jail facing child neglect and more serious charges, Dudley is being placed in the care of Marge Dursley, and you'll be living with me from now on."

"You mean it?"

"Yup. You just have to pass a test by IV, and then you'll be number XIV, my partner. You even get to choose a weapon which will have your number on it."

"But I can barely shoot a gun properly."

"Not true. I was going to tell you this later, but you've almost finished your training under me. We just need to focus on your mobility training... I tend to move fast to eliminate the target, so you'll have to learn to move quick to keep up Kitten."


"My code name is Black Cat, so yours will probably be Kitten as a joke."

"Anyone I should watch out for?"

"Creed is a crazy ass sword-wielder with an obsession on me. Other than the random fangirl after you because of the scar, that's about it."


Weeks passed, and Harry learned quick that either he moved with Neko or he got left behind. Neko had Harry wearing very heavy weights that he added to every time Harry could finally run without problems. Harry was becoming more agile every month now. Yet he kept his seeker's build despite all the food Neko gave him.

Then the exams came up, and it was study-hell. Draco, Neko, Blaise, Neville and Harry could been seen studying together for hours. It never bothered the others that one was from the rival house.

Draco covered Potions, Blaise astronomy and history of magic, Neville Herbology, Harry DADA and charms, while Neko covered transfiguration. They received some very welcome help from the twins, who had become co-conspirators with Neko.

When the exams finally ended, all the boys crashed on the lawn with relief.

"Damn...I thought training with Creed was bad. I never thought a brain could hurt worse than a broken bone!" said Neko.

"Thank god it's over!" said Draco.

They decided to visit Hagrid, to see if he had any new creatures to report. (Neko had actually subscribed to the Quibbler, saying it was a more interesting read than the Prophet.)

What they didn't expect was to be sidetracked by Dumbledore. Draco, Blaise and Neville continued to Hagrid's, while Neko and Harry were forced to go with the headmaster.

"What's this about, sir?" said Neko stiffly. He had a feeling Dumbledore would interfere, and he didn't like it.

"Why did you contact your sponsor to remove Harry from the Dursley family?"

"I don't know what you're playing at, old man, but I will not have a friend be forced to live in an abusive home!"

"I'm afraid Harry must remain there for his protection..." started Dumbledore with what was no doubt a well rehearsed speech.

"My protection? Death Eaters cannot be as bad as those...things!"

"Now Harry, you..."

"Don't you bloody DARE tell me what to do! You have no right to say where I will live! My relatives have almost killed me at least five times a year, at least!"

Dumbledore seemed somewhat surprised at this information. They he saw the look in Harry's eyes, there was obviously more.

Neko left with Harry, and told him, "There's nothing Dumbledore can do about it. Once you pass the test he'll never have any say over you except when it comes to schooling."

"How soon can I take the test?"

"Someone will pick us up at the station. You'll have a week to prepare, then if you pass you'll be number fourteen, and my partner."

Harry felt a compulsion to leave the dorm that night. Neko, a bit of a night owl, was looking at the moon when he saw Harry stumble out of bed. He grabbed Harry, and whispered, "The Black Cat of Hades walks the night."

Harry awoke at the sound of his friend's voice.


"You were sleepwalking...which is highly unusual. You don't sleepwalk."

"I don't know why... I felt compelled to go somewhere."

Neko stayed up the whole night and kept Harry from leaving the room. The compulsion stopped by morning. As they were leaving, Neko was humming a tune. It sounded quite catchy.

"Why don't you sing it already," Draco grumbled.


"Tell me what time it is,

Come into my dreams and embrace me.

I can still remember my beloved hometown.

Thanks to the photo album we made together.

But why am I alone?

I'm so alone.

I knew immediately that it was only a dream.

I run towards the dry woods.

I need to kick something.

I'm looking for a way out of this dream.

I need to leave quickly.

I need to leave quickly.

I know your voice; I heard it somewhere.

I can only move in time.

But that so called eternity is not infinite.

Tell me what time it is,

Come into my dreams and embrace me.

Make my heart, which has stopped, start moving again.


You are at my side,

But you're probably seeing a different dream.

I don't need the sun.

All I long for now is your smile."

"What is that?"

"Theme to Jigoku Shoujo season two. I liked the song, so I sing it sometimes."

"It suits you."

"I've heard that a lot actually."

When they arrived at the station, Neko groaned in dismay.

"Why in the nine hells did they send him to pick us up?"

The man waiting for them was wearing the strangest outfit Harry had ever seen. Judging by the outfit alone, he would say the man preferred male company.

"Who's he?"

"Creed Diskenth. The guy they usually pair me off with on missions. For the love of kami, please pass that test Kitten!"

After five minutes of being around Creed, Harry could tell he had an unhealthy fascination with Neko...

Harry disliked him immediately.

Thanks to Neko's training...he passed the test easily. He had taken off the weights before going in. He had the gun that Train gave him, declaring him ready to shoot on his own. But not before he gave a warning Harry understood too well.

"Don't point that gun at anything you don't want dead. And you better not come crying to me if you get hurt with it because you were careless. If someone takes it from you, that's another story."

"Yes sir!" Harry saluted with the hand not holding the gun at at the ground away from his foot.

A week later, Harry got the tattoo on the same spot as Train. He received a gun like Hades, only his was named Zeus.

And just like Train had predicted, his nickname was Kitten.