Welcome to my new AU story! As you can tell from the summary, it's a Harry/Katie fic that takes place during Half Blood Prince and beyond. I generally like canon couples but I wanted to break out of my comfort zone and this pairing has always intrigued me. This fic will also feature Ron/Hermione (eventually, after the whole Lavender thing) and Ginny/Dean (I wont' be spending much time on them, but I'm writing their relationship as happy, stable and successful) There will be no character bashing like I find a lot of alternate ships have.

The title of this fic is taken from a AC/DC song and obviously because of Katie's last name. If you have any other suggestions, please tell me. Update schedule will be on my Facebook page which you can find on my profile.

This is a dialogue heavy chapter since it's mostly setup for the future. I don't plan to have Harry and Katie immediately fall in love as that would be rather silly and unrealistic.

Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter nor am I affiliated with Scholastic Inc, Warner Bros or their subsidiaries. Dialogue taken from the book will be in bold. My own writing will not.

Chapter written to Nightcall by Kavinsky

A few minutes later, Ron was cleared to do the same subjects as Harry, and the two of them let the table together.

"Look," said Ron delightedly, gazing at his schedule, "we've got a free period now…and a free period after break… and after lunch… excellent."

They returned to the common room, which was empty apart from a half dozen seventh years, including Katie Bell, the only remaining member of the original Gryffindor Quidditch team that Harry had joined in his first year.

"I thought you'd get that, well done," she called over, pointing at the Captain's badge on Harry's chest. "Tell me when you call trials."

Harry snorted. Besides Ron and Ginny, Katie was the one other person who he was sure would make the team.

"Don't be stupid," said Harry, "you don't need to try out, I watched you play for five years…"

"I appreciate the vote of confidence but, you mustn't start off like that," she said warningly. "For all you know, there's someone much better than me out there. Good teams have been ruined before now because Captains just kept playing the old faces, or letting in their friends…"

She seemed to realize who was standing next to Harry as she finished her sentence.

"I don't mean you specifically Ron," she said hastily. "I mean just in general. Look at Slytherin. I heard Malfoy is keeping Crabbe and Goyle on the team, and they're not very good Beaters."

Ron did not look mollified. "I guess," he said moodily as he scuffed his feet, his head turning towards the nearby couches as if he wanted to sink into them and disappear.

"Well, Malfoy likes his enforcers," said Harry, who clearly remembered Crabbe's dirty hit the previous year, that had led to his yearlong ban for Quidditch. "But I wouldn't worry about it, if someone was better than you, they would have made the team last year during tryouts."

"Well, we really didn't test for Chasers," said Katie. "Angie thought we had a cohesive group already, so we just decided to do Keeper tryouts."

"Yeah, that was the first time I had detention with Umbridge," he said, his right hand twitching. "I remember Angelina was pissed at me."

Katie laughed. "You have no idea. At first she thought you were showing her up."

"What? Why would I do that?"

"Well that's what we tried to tell her," Katie replied, smiling at Harry's stunned expression. "She was stressed over the captaincy and preparing for the N.E.W.T.s that she wasn't thinking clearly. I mean, when was the last time you were disrespectful to anybody?"

Harry snorted. "You might want to ask Umbridge about that."

Katie grinned. "Okay, let me rephrase that. When was the last time you were disrespectful to anybody who didn't deserve it?"

Harry scratched the back of his neck, feeling slightly embarrassed. "Er…I don't really recall."

"Which proves my point. But anyway she's in a better place now."

"Thank Merlin for that," said Ron, who'd been in the receiving side of their former captain's displeasure more than once. "What's she doing now?"

"She's working for Nimbus Inc," Katie replied. "Apparently they're taking a beating thanks to the Firebolt taking first place in most broomsticks sold, so they're desperate for new talent. She's apparently working on the design of a new prototype."

"I'll have to keep them in mind," said Harry. He couldn't imagine anything outclassing his Firebolt, but if it did, it had to be world-class.

"I figured she'd have something to do with Quidditch," said Ron. "And Alicia?"

Katie sighed. "Well, she was going into banking. She got an internship at Gringotts and she was going to start in August…but her father disappeared."

Harry and Ron exchanged shocked looks. A sudden chill seemed to have descended on the common room, which had been toasty and warm scant moments before.

"Did it have anything to do with Voldemort?"

Katie flinched violently, a reaction that Harry was familiar with, but one which still made him want to roll his eyes every time.

"It's just a name," he said placatingly as Katie shook her head.

"You caught me by surprise with that," she replied defensively. "But, yes that's what we think. Her father wasn't the type to go off on his own, and he had a grudge against Antonin Dolohov."

"Yeah, I know the feeling," said Ron bitterly. Dolohov had killed his Uncles Fabian and Gideon after a long protracted battle in which the two Prewetts had killed five Death Eaters.

"How's Alicia holding up?" Harry asked worriedly.

Katie shook her dark locks out of her face.

"Not well, poor thing," she replied sadly. "She had to take a leave of absence to stay with her mother. Mrs. Spinnet had a breakdown after her husband went missing so Alicia has to care for her and make sure that Brian is doing alright too. He's her little brother, a first year here in Gryffindor," she added. "I've told her I'd keep an eye out for him, you know to help him fit in and study, especially since he's worried sick about his father."

"That's a lot to take on, especially since you have to deal with N.E.W.T.s too," said Harry.

Katie shrugged. "Anything for an old friend." She glanced over Harry's shoulder towards a blond haired boy descending the steps.

"There he is right now," she said, causing Harry and Ron to look around at the small kid.

"He looks so little," said Harry, marveling at how young the boy looked.

"That was you once upon a time," said Katie. "I remember how short you were when you showed up for our first Quidditch practice."

"Glad I could make such a memorable first impression," Harry replied dryly.

"Nah, your first impression was at your Sorting," said Katie. "The Hat practically slipped over your face."

Ron chuckled as Harry reddened. He had been very small for his age, probably on account of the ill treatment he had received from the Dursleys.

"Ah don't worry about it," said Katie. "You're taller than me now."

"It only took me six years," Harry replied with self-deprecation. Six years of Hogwarts food and Mrs. Weasley's cooking had certainly done wonders for his physique.

They watched Brian Spinnet as he struck up a conversation with another short kid; undoubtedly one of his dormmates. Harry was pleased to see that they seemed to hit off, they walked over to two unoccupied chairs and sat down, still engrossed in their discussion.

"Well at least he seems to be making friends," Ron observed. "Hopefully that keeps his mind off things."

"For a little while perhaps," said Harry, his quiet voice tinged with sadness. "But he's going to dwell on his father for a long time."

Ron looked uncomfortably at his best friend. His hand hovered over Harry's shoulder as if he wasn't sure whether to clap him on the shoulder in solidarity or not.

Katie gave Harry a concerned look, but he waved it away.

"It's nothing," he said, his voice back to normal, "I was just thinking out loud. Anyway, I'll probably start trials in a couple of weeks or so to give everyone some time to settle down with classes and schedules. What do you think?"

"You're the captain," said Katie. "But that probably sounds for the best. I want to see how difficult my N.E.W.T. classes are and figure out the best times to study and practice."

"It's fine," said Harry. "I'm new to this whole captain thing so I'll probably ask for some advice. After all, I was assuming you'd get it this year and I would next year."

Katie raised an eyebrow. "Why me? You're the natural leader, Harry."

Ron chuckled. "Good luck getting through to him. It took him forever to agree to starting Dumbledore's Army because he thought he wouldn't be a good teacher."

"That's exactly what I'm talking about," said Katie, looking at Harry with something like awe. "You taught over thirty students Defensive skills under Umbridge's nose all while the Ministry and the Prophet were going at you."

Harry's face turned red again. "Well, being a good teacher doesn't mean I'm a good leader."

A look on incredulity passed over the Gryffindor girl's face.

"Once again, let me rephrase that. You managed to take a bunch of students of different ages, from different houses and teach us all even though some of us didn't even believe you were sane. How is that not good leadership?"

Harry shook his head. That was immaterial. The only danger they had been in was expulsion. But when it came to life and death, he had failed miserably.

"Ron, show her your arms."

Ron frowned. "Why? They still haven't healed."

"That's the point," Harry said curtly as his best friend rolled up his sleeves. Katie gasped as she saw what lay underneath.

A lattice of grey ropes lay starkly on Ron's pale skin. The rope like scars began under the shoulder blades and wound their way around Ron's arm, from bicep to tricep, before terminating just below his wrists.

"They're not as bad as they were over the summer," said Ron as he shook his sleeves to cover his scars. "They were pitch black then. Madam Pomfrey says that they might completely fade away by this time next year."

"What on earth happened?" Katie exclaimed.

"I failed," said Harry. "You know that we were involved at the battle in the Department of Mysteries?"

"Yes, it was all over the papers."

"Did they tell you why we were there?"

"Well…" Katie began hesitantly. "The Quibbler said something about a prophecy, and I heard that the Prophet said that it named you the one to destroy You-Know-Who."

"I don't believe the Prophet," she quickly added. "Not after the hit-jobs they pulled on you last year."

Harry nodded. It might have been amusing that the Prophet was correct about the contents of the prophecy, if they hadn't spent the previous year playing right into Voldemort's hands by denying his return.

"We didn't go in to hear the prophecy," he began. "The true reason we were there was because I had a vision that my godfather had been captured by Voldemort (again Katie flinched) and was being tortured."

"That's awful!" Katie exclaimed out loud. She immediately clapped her hand over her mouth but the damage had already been done. The other students in the room glanced at them, some straining their ears to overhear what exactly Harry Potter was saying, so they could sort out fact from fiction. To her dismay, one of the people trying to listen in was her least favorite person in the entire House, Cormac McLaggen.

"Er…sorry about that," she said sheepishly.

"It's fine," said Harry. "But we should probably get out of here. I don't want people listening in."

The three of them walked out the portrait hole, ignoring the curious onlookers behind them.

"We were going to meet Hermione for lunch after she got off Ancient Runes," Harry explained as they navigated the labyrinthine castle, "so let's head to the Great Hall."

Katie jogged to keep up with the other two as they reached the main staircase.

"I don't understand how that makes you a bad leader though. If I saw that…vision, I'd want to do everything to help my godfather."

"That's what Voldemort was counting on," Harry said bitterly. "It was a trap meant to lure me there so I'd accidentally uncover the prophecy that the media's been talking about. Ron and Hermione almost died because of me. Ginny, Neville and Luna were all in the Hospital Wing because of me."

They had reached the ground floor as Harry finished listing his litany of failures

"And my godfather died trying to save me. He wasn't even there in the first place; he came to try and rescue all us from my mistake and he got killed by Bellatrix Lestrange!"

"It wasn't your fault," Ron said quickly. "If anything it was Dumbledore's for not telling you that You-Know-Who would try and trick you."

"Maybe," Harry replied. "But it doesn't feel like it. If I'd just tried harder in Occlumency, if I'd just used that bloody mirror, I'd-"

Occlu-what? Katie couldn't make heads or tails of what Harry was saying, but it seemed that Ron did.

"Harry, you have to stop dwelling on it," said Ron. "Snape's responsible for what happened with Occlumency, and you didn't know what that mirror did anyway. Like Hermione said, you can't eat yourself up with what-ifs."

"Well said," said a female voice behind them. The three Gryffindors looked around to see a bushy haired girl standing at the entrance of the Great Hall.

"I knew you'd listen to me one day," said Hermione as they walked over to her.

"I listen to you all the time!"

"Only when I'm giving you answers," she said amusedly as Ron gave a cheeky grin back at her.

"Thank Merlin you're here, I'm starving!"

"We just had breakfast two hours ago!" Hermione replied as she and Ron walked toward the Gryffindor table

"I'll join you guys in a minute," Harry called over his shoulder. He turned back towards Katie.

"Anyway, that's my reason why I thought you'd be a better fit," he said.

Katie's liquid brown eyes met his green ones. She took a deep breath.

"Look, I'm sorry about what happened with your godfather, and I understand you must be going through a lot of pain, but that has no bearing on whether you'll be a good Quidditch captain or not. Quidditch isn't a life or death matter, no matter how much Oliver tried to make it seem so, so I don't see how your mistake at the Ministry is going to affect our team."

"I've been second guessing myself all summer," said Harry as he glanced over his shoulder at the Gryffindor table again. "I'm not sure if I can handle this on top of everything, that's why I wanted to ask you for help."

"What do you mean?"

"Put it this way," Harry said wryly. "I'm going to be very busy this school year, so I might need someone to help me in captaining the team."

Katie looked at the black haired boy with distinct shock.

"I know Charlie Weasley was co-captain in his fourth year, but that's only because the previous one missed half the season after a nasty wreck. I don't even think it's been done since then. Besides, I'm going to be pretty busy too. I have N.E.W.T.s and remember that I promised to keep an eye on Alicia's brother. I can't just start sharing duties unless you have a good reason."

Harry looked up to the staff table, but Dumbledore was not there. The Headmaster had told him that he could share the contents of the Prophecy, and his subsequent private lessons , with Ron and Hermione only. And he certainly couldn't tell her that he suspected that Draco Malfoy was a Death Eater and that he would be shadowing him to find out what his rival was up to.

"I can't tell you just yet," he said, with the barest hint of disappointment. "But I can say that the Prophet isn't always wrong."

Katie's eyes widened.

"You mean-?"

Harry nodded.

"Yes. But don't go around telling people, not even Angelina and Alicia."

Katie smiled. This had been the last thing she'd expected.

"Deal, I'll help you organize the team, but you're still the full captain. You have to tell me the full story, though!"

Harry smiled gratefully. He had desired the captaincy for a long time, but Voldemort's return had made him realize that there were far more important things in life...and Sirius's death had broken him. Not having to solely deal with the Gryffindor team would be one less stressful situation for him this year while he took Dumbledore's lesson and dealt with classes.

"I'll have to check with Dumbledore first before I can tell you everything." he replied.

"Merlin's beard, Harry. You're working with Dumbledore? You know that's just going to make me even more curious!"

Harry snorted. "I told you I was going to be busy!"

Katie groaned. Now her curiosity was piqued, and like her older brothers could attest, that usually led to nothing good.

"I'm going to grab some lunch," Harry said. "Want to join us?"

"I can't," she said regretfully. "I promised my friend Leanne that I'd meet her at the library to go over last year's Transfiguration notes. I heard McGonagall usually surprises the Seventh year with a first day test."

"Well that's good to know for next year," Harry said dryly as he started to walk towards the Gryffindor table.

"Wait," Katie called. She briskly walked over to Harry, who was standing between the Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff tables.

"Please tell Ron that I didn't mean to insult him when I was talking about captains not letting in their old friends," she said earnestly. "I didn't want to single him out, I was just talking in general, like what happened with Cho Chang and Michael Corner."

Harry's eyes swept over the Ravenclaw table, but the two students in question hadn't arrived.

"Why, what happened?" He asked, lips turning dry. Though their brief relationship had been dead for a while, he couldn't help but feel a twinge of regret for how it had played out.

"I heard it from Samantha Clearwater yesterday. Chang's captain now that Davies graduated and they needed a new Chaser to replace him. Well, apparently she just chose new boyfriend rather than holding tryouts. The entire Ravenclaw common room is angry at the both of them now."

Harry smiled ruefully. "I can't really say I'm surprised."

After all that had happened, Harry couldn't help but feel pity for Cho. He could now accept that Cedric had been her true love; and that she hadn't fully recovered from his death. She had only chosen him in an attempt to drown her sorrows, and connect with the one person who'd been with Cedric in his final moments. But that hadn't worked out; he couldn't provide the comfort that the needy girl required, and Cho's best friend had sold her and everyone else out under pressure from Dolores Umbridge.

Now she had jumped to yet another boy. Could Michael provide the stability that Cho needed? He rather thought not. From what Ginny had said in the train ride home last year, Corner seemed to be rather self-absorbed.

"You okay?" Katie asked, closely watching Harry's vacant eyes.

"Yeah, sorry," Harry said as he snapped back to reality. "Sorry, I've been…thinking a lot these past few days."

"Understandable," said Katie. From Harry's and Ron's reaction, it seemed the Prophet had been on the right track about the mysterious prophecy. She hadn't heard about Harry's godfather, but she could clearly see the feelings of regret that her teammate had about his death. If it had been her, she wouldn't just be lost in thought; she'd be a nervous wreck. How Harry could internalize that grief and responsibility and still stand strong was completely beyond Katie.

The sound of numerous footsteps echoed off the walls. The two Gryffindors looked around to see a surge of students walk through the entrance, ready to eat after their first classes of the term.

"Well I'd better head over to Ron and Hermione," said Harry. "I'd rather not be gawked at and whispered about for longer than necessary."

"Still not used to it, huh?" Katie teased.

"Well, it could be worse," Harry admitted. "At least they're not hostile like last year and when the Chamber was opened. Anyway, I'll tell Ron you didn't mean it like that," he said, as he continued onto the Gryffindor table.

"Thanks!" she called as she dashed around the oncoming rush of hungry students to meet Leanne.

"Everything all right?" Hermione asked when Harry had sat down.

"Yeah, we were just discussing Quidditch matters," Harry answered as he looked at the creamy sandwiches which had appeared on his plate. "Anyway, guess what Katie told me about Cho…?"

I figured that Harry would be feeling some self doubts over falling into Lucius Malfoy's trap at the Ministry, which is something I wish the actual Half Blood Prince book had explored more.

I also figured that Harry would have eventually told Ron and Hermione everything that had happened in Dumbledore's office after the battle (well except for smashing Dumbledore's stuff). It's one of those off camera things I figured took place during the summer Harry spent at the Burrow. I think Ron would've felt that Dumbledore was responsible for the disaster at the Ministry (remember how he wanted Dumbledore to come and fix Bill's injuries before he found out he was dead), especially to stop Harry from blaming himself, and that Hermione would partially agree.

Up next: Harry's asks Dumbledore about who should know about the lesson and prophecy; Harry's first lesson (though I'm not fully covering it) Planning tryout dates. And we get to find out why Katie loathes McLaggen.