Strangers in the Night

A Harry Potter Fanfic

by Nox

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Overview: H/Hr. PWP, Romance. Post-Hogwarts by a year or two. Harry, the perpetually-on-the-road Quidditch star, returns to the London flat shared with his best friends for a much-needed post-season break. He meets up with his old schoolmates in more ways than one.

Rating: NC-17 for later scenes.

Disclaimer: Harry Potter and other related trademarks and copyrighted materials are property of their respective owners. Use of such properties is for entertainment purposes only and does not constitute a claim on such properties.

Chapter Notes: This chapter went a bit longer than I expected to set up the next chapter. But Harry and Ron kept talking and I didn't have the heart to stop them.

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Puddlemere United's Seeker stood under the shower letting the heated water flow over him. The sounds of his teammates shuffling around the locker room, talking and making fun of one another after the game, went unregistered.

'C'mon, mate, it wasn't that bad. We made it to the national finals at least, yeah?' Oliver Wood, his once and again Keeper, slapped him on the shoulder. 'Buck up, we'll get 'em next year. You played great! We all did. The cards just weren't with us this time.'

Harry Potter, their newest and most famous player, just nodded, mumbling something vaguely affirmative. It was enough to get Oliver to move off. The Boy Who Didn't Catch The Snitch let the water start to run cold before he finally took a deep breath as he shut the shower off; he then started to dry off and get dressed. Mostly, he was disappointed with himself for letting the team down, but despite their loss, the players seemed generally upbeat for defying the bookmakers by getting a star Seeker and making it to the National Finals for the first time in many decades.

As he swung his duffle bag with the entire contents of his locker — the season was over — he looked back at the now-empty locker room.

Next year. Next year, he silently promised to the lockers. Then, thinking on what Oliver said, hurried out after the others. 'Hey, wait for me!'

'Beer's on you, Potter!' cried one of the Chasers, with a laugh.

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The next day, after much drinking and reminiscing over their breakout season (and a handy anti-hangover potion he had picked up on the road), Harry was bouncing around on the Knight Bus on his way to Diagon Alley. Hanging onto a handle bar for dear life, he was grateful that he had enough presence of mind to send Hedwig ahead with a note to Ron and Hermione about his arrival. He also instructed Hedwig to wait for him there. Just as well, he thought, or else Hedwig would be another splat on the windo—


The Knight Bus took a hairpin turn before slamming the brakes with such ferocity that even Harry's hold on the pillar wasn't enough to keep him from smacking right into Stan, the bus conductor.

'Diagon Alley, London!' called Stan over the moans and dark mutterings of the passengers. Making a beeline for Harry's duffle bag, Stan tugged it outside, gesturing Harry to exit the bus; this was a courtesy he extended to no other passengers. Whenever Harry was on board, Harry was the only person as far as Stan was concerned.

''Ere we are, 'arry. You take care now. I really thought Puddlemere should'a won! Bye!' Stan's voice got louder as Harry quickly moved into the Leaky Cauldron to escape the star-struck conductor. Harry waved over his shoulder to spare an answer.

'I really need to ask Tonks about getting a disguise for myself,' he muttered to himself.

A scene similar to his first-ever time in The Leaky Cauldron took place as a few late breakfasters who recognized the young celebrity made a fuss over his appearance and tried to shake his hand. With much-practiced feigned politeness, Harry just kept moving through until he got to the magical brick wall in the back alley yard leading to Diagon Alley proper.

It was early morning on the weekend, so most of the shops in Diagon Alley were still shut and few people were out and about. This worked out well for Harry, as he took long strides past the familiar shops and into one of the alleyways with tall, if slightly askew, houses where witches and wizards lived.

Fishing for a key in his pockets, he approached one of the doors, unlocked it and stepped inside. They're probably having a lie-in, thought Harry with a smile. Dropping his heavy duffle bag and kicking off his shoes, Harry called out.

'Is anyone home? It's me, Harry! Wake up, you lot!'

A few moments later, Ron stumbled out of his bedroom, squinting through the morning sunlight filtering in through the windows. 'Harry? Hey! Didn't think you'd be here this early. Sorry, mate, I'd have met you at the Knight Bus otherwise.' The lanky redhead he grew up with came over and gave him a manly hug, back slapping and all.

'I figured with your play last night, you might've been . . . recovering this morning,' said Ron, fighting a smirk.

'Oh, we drank all right,' laughed Harry as he wandered to the kitchen and took a stool. 'But there's this potion you can make, makes mornings a whole lot less painful.'

'You and potions? I thought Snape would've turned you off entirely. Merlin knows he did for me.'

'Yeah, but I had much prettier teacher this time,' said Harry with a wink. 'One of our Chasers,' supplied Harry at the blank look. Eyeing Ron as his friend rubbed sleep from his eyes, Harry decided to take advantage of Ron's befuddled state. 'So, who were you cheering for last night? Cannons or Puddlemere?'

Harry knew Ron would've been in a tough spot. The team Puddlemere was playing against last night — and to whom they lost — was Ron's all-time favourite team. Ron, with his best friend playing against the Cannons, was in the impossible situation of wanting both teams to win.

'Come on, that's like a girl asking me if she looks fat. Can't win, no matter how I answer,' Ron pleaded. 'But for what it's worth, you guys had a bloody brilliant season. Absolutely brilliant.'

Harry gave Ron a rueful smile while glancing down the hall at one of the other bedroom doors. 'Thanks mate. It was a hell of a season. Say, where's Hermione? Is she here? Or does she actually spend the night with that bloke of hers? What's his name again?'

'I wish she would,' said Ron with an eye-roll.

'What's that mean?' asked Harry.

'You'd already started your season before Harold — that's his name — and Hermione met, so you'd already moved out of the flat. Let me put it this way: I haven't cast the Silencing Spell so much since Flitwick's class.'

Harry's brow arched with surprise and not a little amusement. 'Our little Hermione's a bit of a scream—'

'Ahhh! Don't even say it!' interrupted Ron, throwing his hands over his ears. 'I still can't get Hermione and sex into the same thought, much less . . . well, all that.' The redhead wore such a pained expression that it sent off an uncontrolled guffaw from Harry.

'Oh, shut up,' said Ron, irritably. Then, steering the conversation back to the original question, 'Hermione's on some Ministry business up in Scotland. She's supposed to be there all weekend, back on, er, Monday, I think she said. Just as well, because she turned your room into a library-study. So, unless you want me to Transfigure you into a book, you can use Hermione's room until she gets back.'

'She did what to my room?!' Harry rushed over to the room-formerly- known-as-Harry's. Dismayed, he saw that Ron was quite right: tall bookshelves lined with books — both Muggle and Magical — covered every non-window and non-door space; a testament to Hermione's voracious appetite for books. A large desk, very neat and tidy that screamed of Hermione's organization, stood in the middle.

'You let her do this to my room?' asked Harry in betrayed tones.

Ron shrugged helplessly. 'She thought you were going to get a new place, since you were going to be on the road so much. Said it'd be a waste of a room just to store your stuff. Don't worry, they're in a couple'a trunks in the attic.'

'Well, I can't very well sleep in her room when she gets back. You've kept the couch at least?'

'Well–' Ron began slowly, 'We still have it, sure, but, you see– it got a bit too close to the fireplace one time and you know my Reparo isn't fantastic. It's pretty uncomfortable for everyone except Crookshanks these days. Likely wake up with a spring or two up your backside.'

Harry breathed in deeply, letting out a long sigh. He had been looking forward to settling in with his best mates, sharing meals and not worrying about diving feint patterns, Seeker Snitch snatch rates of opposing teams and the early-morning practices. And now: room occupied by an army of books; bed transfigured into a desk (presumably); and the couch little more than a large sleeping cushion for an ugly cat.

'Fine, fine,' said Harry, resignedly. 'I'll crash in Hermione's room for now, but when she gets back, you're helping me convince her to give me my room back!'

'Sure thing, mate,' said Ron, laughing. 'Anyways, since we're up, how about some breakfast?'

Harry spent the rest of the day relaxing with Ron in the flat. Morning gave way to lunch, to a lazy afternoon, then to a dinner at the Leaky Cauldron with Fred and George, whose joke shop was nearby. It was a pleasant winding-down day though the twins weren't ones to let the Puddlemere loss go all that easily. They kept inserting sly remarks about it into the conversation, though Harry didn't really mind. It was simply a pleasure to talk about the game without having to worry about how he would perform in the next game. For now, he was just another fan of the game.

Back at the flat, Harry and Ron were enjoying a nightcap and catching up on news. Some gossip about mutual friends and acquaintances, news on all the Weasleys and, finally, on this Harold fellow that Hermione was dating. Ron seemed slightly on the negative side about him, though he couldn't really give a reason.

'Just a feeling,' he said. 'I think he's just using her for a shag.'

'I suppose even Hermione has needs,' said Harry, giving Ron with sly look. As expected, Ron just rolled his eyes. Gesturing to Ron, 'What about you? Anyone tending to your needs?'

'Nah,' Ron shrugged, 'No one right now. Sorta between girls at the moment. Last one was just off-the-wall barmy.'

'Luna Lovegood?' asked Harry with a grin.

'Feh, I wish! Luna's strange, but pretty harmless. No, this one . . . had control issues. And she really didn't like Hermione — or that me and Hermione share a flat. You've never seen Hermione so close to punching someone since Malfoy that time in third year.'

The thought of Hermione so riled made Harry pause. 'Wow. That's just — wow.'

'Exactly,' said Ron. 'Anyway, not a pleasant thought. How about you? Quidditch star, Boy Who Lived, wizard who defeated You-Know-Who . . . must've had the girls lining the bar after matches. You must have some good stories! Eh?'

Now it was Harry's turn to roll his eyes. 'Come on, mate, you know that's not me.' He paused while taking in Ron's incredulous, even disbelieving, looks. 'I'm serious! I mean, not that a bunch of them weren't quite fit–' (To which Ron snorted, 'I'll bet!') Harry just shook his head. 'But it's just strange, innit? Throwing yourself on someone who doesn't know you? Couldn't do it.'

'Harry, Harry, Harry,' said Ron with a disappointed sigh. 'Any guy would give their left testicle to be in that spot, and you don't even indulge a little?' Then, with that mischievous Weasley twinkle in his eye, he asked, 'You don't fancy boys, do you? I mean, you're my best mate and all, but you're just not my type–'

Harry took a playful swing at Ron, who half-expected it and easily dodged with an impish grin. 'If you must know, I had a little thing with Maura,' he said.

'Tinnerman? The Chaser?' said Ron excitedly. 'Now that's what I'm talking about! Details, man!'

'Well– a bit weird telling you this, but she kinda reminded me of Ginny.' Harry saw Ron's brow rise questioningly. 'You know, red hair, Chaser, bit of a mischief-maker. Now she–' A pause with a wistful sigh.

Ron grinned knowingly. 'She was your first?'

'With whipped cream,' said Harry, without hestitation. 'And silk scarves.'


'Oh yeah,' Harry chuckled. 'But, I'm a gentleman, so I won't kiss and tell.'

Ron reached over and slapped Harry on the back. 'Heh. Sounds like more than kissing. Well, good on you mate. But you sound like it's over.'

'Yeah, it was mostly a distraction for us while we were on the road. She's the one who taught me the hangover potion. She's been with Puddlemere a few years now, so she knows how to party.'

'And how to look a cutting sight on her broom.'


Grinning into his cup, Ron downed the last of his drink and glanced over at the house clock. 'Well, it's late, and mum's invited us to the Burrow. I told her you were probably in this weekend.'

'It'll be great to see everyone again,' said Harry.

'Well, I'll hide the whipped cream when we get there, in case you get any ideas with Ginny,' said Ron with a smirk. 'Not that she wouldn't mind. I'll wager she's still got the hots for you, even if she denies it.'

'She does not have the hots for me,' Harry scoffed.

'A little fire.'

'Ron,' Harry said severely, 'I'm certainly not going to try anything with Ginny at the Burrow, much less shag her.'

Heading to his room, Ron tossed a parting grin over his shoulder. 'Better safe than sorry, eh?'

'Git. I'll see you in the morning.'


With a yawn, Harry padded over to Hermione's room and paused just inside the entrance. All the touches of femininity, from the colours, to the furnishings, to the faint lavender scent permeating the room brought a smile to his lips. The familiarity was enough to evoke an evanescent presence that was almost as good as her being actually there.

Stripping down to his shorts, Harry slipped underneath the soft covers and sank gratefully into the pillows. The homely feeling of it all was a welcome relief to the uneven nature of inns for the past few months.

Harry took his glasses off and tossed them onto the nightstand. Reaching for his wand next to his glasses, he gave a sleepy 'Nox'. As the lights winked out, he passed into a restful sleep.

Chapter 2 »