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Disclaimer: J K Rowling owns the rights and likenesses of all the characters in the Harry Potter series. This story is meant to add to the world she created. Any conflicts are accidental and they yield to her reality (canon).

This is a post-OOTP story during the summer before Harry’s Sixth Year. Very few items of HBP will be used.

Harry Potter And The Summer Of Change

16. Enemies Of The State

                      Harry and Tonks arrived at the Ministry on Monday morning leaving Remus in the house alone with the elves. The last thing they saw before they left was an irritated Paul following the older man around the living room mumbling about banisters, bathrooms, stink bombs, and yard work. Remus wore a reminiscing smile on his face the whole time he putted from room to room.

They were greeted in the training room by the sight of Horace and Cal having a serious discussion with Marcus looking on. "I wonder what they are on about," Harry pondered as the pair walked closer. He couldn’t hear a word of the conversation so he figured that some kind of Privacy spell was at work. As the meeting came to a close, they separated and Cal and Marcus moved towards the exit.

"Chamel," Marcus called, "could you join us? Horace wants a few words with Ceps before the day grows any older."

"Okay," Tonks replied. "I will tell them what we heard last night at Hermione’s. Maybe we can stop whatever You-Know-Who has planned before it happens."

"You have seen him," Harry frowned. "You can call him by name. It really isn’t that hard. Trust me."

"I am working up to it, Ceps," Tonks patted his arm. "I will get there some day."

Harry followed Horace over to the classroom area and took a seat in one of the seats that had appeared as they neared. Much to his surprise, Horace spun his seat around a few feet away from him and mimicked his posture. Harry watched and waited as Horace looked him over obviously in deep thought.

Breaking the silence, Horace spoke. "What have you learned in the last few weeks?"

Puzzled and thrown by the unexpected tone of the conversation, Harry hesitated before responding. "Personal vendettas could get me or my team killed. Jones hates me and wants my spot on Team Three." Harry waited to see how Horace responded to what had been said. Horace did nothing but sit patiently. "I have a lot left to learn."

Clapping his hands together slowly, Horace smiled. "That is exactly what you should think at this point in your training. I am glad to see you are on schedule; I had my doubts. Jones has been an ass for years. His head is a little too big for his abilities and he needs to be careful. In opposition, your head is too small for your abilities. You are good enough to hold your own against ninety-nine percent of the Wizarding populous.

"Granted, you know less than fifty percent of the spells most people do, but you utilize your knowledge faster, more precisely, and with far more power than they do. Usually, someone with your skill would overreach and endanger everyone in the process completely stuffing everything up. You haven’t done that and that proves you are the type of person we want and need. I may have seemed like a bastard to you, but I have my reasons. The biggest one is keeping you humble while I teach you to be the best you can be.

"Jones is ruthless and determined," Horace offered with a chuckle. "He is also the greatest prick you will meet here. That man could drive a bishop to kill in cold blood. He wants what he thinks he is entitled to and as it so happens that is Team Three. Thing is he couldn’t have taken over your team and been as effective in a year let alone in a month. His personality lacks that special quality and Marcus and I know that. The last I will say on that subject is this. Defend yourself, your team, and your position, as their leader, against any who challenge you regardless of where the threat comes from. I will support you because you have proven yourself worthy of that support.

"Now, you accepting the fact that you know very little is important. Your knowledge is limited by your experience with magic and for that matter life in general. You are very young and your training has been extremely miniscule. A few years of Hogwarts only gets a normal person to the point of not blowing off their own head while trying to walk down the street. Having lived with muggles and those particular ones, you are at an even greater disadvantage. You never had the chance to see how magical people live their lives and how magic fits into it. My guess is that you tend to do most things the muggle way simply because you do not know another way to do it."

Harry reflected on that statement and realized that it was completely true. Harry thought about how the Weasleys and Tonks did everyday things. Magic was used whenever it could be. Harry couldn’t remember using magic just for the sake of using it. He would always do it the muggle way unless magic would really make a difference.

"Your silence tells me that I am correct," Horace observed. "You may not have an encyclopedic list of spells, but the ones you do know are more effective than the average person. You can make the magic do what you want it to do with so little effort. You having the ability to perform magic wandlessly is an incredible gift. Given a few years of constant effort, you should be able to expand your list of wandless spells in much the same way others do with wanded ones. Do yourself a favour and practice that skill whenever you can.

"Vendettas," Horace leaned back in his chair and folded his arms looking at Harry with a piercing stare. "Blind vendettas are dangerous. You will ignore common sense and good reason on the off chance of getting your revenge. We can not have that here. Too many lives depend on you and your head staying out of your arse. I hear that you only went after her when she was the only one left and you didn’t risk the rest of your team to do so. Whether it was by plan or luck, I respect your decision that time.

"Things could have gone horribly wrong and I could be wiping your memory as we speak, but they didn’t. As I have said, I respect results. The result was positive enough for me not to get all bent up over your actions. Gillian coming to me and defending you helps you out more than you can guess. I wasn’t there so I have to trust her assessment of the situation. I will warn you that Thor may try to take you under his wing later on. You impressed him and frankly all of Team Two as well. Robeen has requested any joint missions involving his team be coupled with yours.

"Back patting aside, why in the bloody hell didn’t you kill that bitch when you had the chance? You should have switched to Killing Curses the second one of those sods started using them. By orders, we should have gotten zero prisoners out of that strike. Your first spell was blocked but you slipped in a second one fast enough so it didn’t matter. You violated the mission orders in an attempt to avoid killing someone. Next time, you may not be so fortunate." Horace sighed. "Again, the results count for a lot more than the means that achieved them. Do not violate orders again. I will not be lenient next time."

"I will keep that in mind, Horace," Harry replied feeling relieved and guilty at the same time.

"Everything is a learning experience as long as your survive, Ceps," Horace told him. "The trick is to survive to learn the lesson. Do not take the same risk again. Things rarely work out so well from mission to mission. Second chances are rare even if you seem to be the exception."

There was a relaxed silence between them as Harry thought about the risks and chances he had taken. Images of different results swam around in his head. Every time he saw Tonks die, something inside of him tightened. An ache bored into his very being as he thought of all the ways she could have been killed because of his unwillingness to take a life. As the tension in the air grew, Harry felt his magic surge up. He was on edge and he needed to regain control quickly.

"Welcome to life, Ceps," Horace said breaking the stillness. "So many different outcomes from one little decision. What will really burn you up is the sheer, overwhelming number of things that can happen from the smallest of choices. Life is a series of interconnected options that we weave our way through until we die. Learn from past choices do not bemoan them."

Harry nodded his acceptance and understanding of what Horace had told him. The volume of things Harry worried about weighed his mind down so often. It was only this summer that he changed that pattern, and Tonks was the real reason for the change.

"You have earned my respect, Ceps," Horace said standing up and placing his arm on Harry’s shoulder. "I think you understand what I have been trying to teach you. I think we can move beyond the adversarial teacher/student phase and try the companion phase, don’t you?"

"That would be a welcomed change."

"I will be honest," Horace said leaning in a little. "You respond so well to confrontation. I could see your potential and it was intoxicating. That is my reasoning for using it for so long. Well, actually it wasn’t that long compared to others, but it was far more intense for you."

Harry balked at his comment earning himself a smirk from Horace. "It was effective and I stand by it, Ceps. You have such a need to prove yourself to others that I couldn’t help myself. I truly enjoyed teaching you that way. The only downfall is that the technique can create resentment that can really change people. You were showing signs of that change beginning to take place and I had to stop. Don’t think I will hold your hand and give you hugs, but I am not going to beat you down as much as before. I tested your limits and I am pleased with what I learned about you. I hope you learned something about yourself too."

Harry merely nodded his understanding before taking a deep breath and letting it out. "Thanks. I was getting tired of never doing anything right."

Horace smirked. "What makes you think you did anything right?" Horace got an evil glimmer in his eyes that caused Harry to rethink the benefit of this change in their interaction. "Come on, next time I want you to kill that woman when you see her and sitting about over here isn’t going to get us there any faster."

Tonks returned to find Harry and Horace working on spells and the tactics to use them to their fullest. As she watched, she saw some she knew and some that she didn’t. When Cal joined them, the team worked together on learning as much as they could from Horace. Both noticed the dramatic change in teaching style and welcomed the more relaxed tone.


Tuesday was filled with more team instruction lessons from Horace. Harry learned a lot and only saw the rough side of Horace when he failed at getting something after a few tries. A happy medium was worked out among the group that seemed to get the best results out of every one.

That night Harry looked at the scroll he had received from Ragnok. The contents confused him at first, but after some reading and comparison he figured it out. "Nymph, is this what I think it is?"

"I have no idea," Tonks said playfully as she ran her hand down his leg as they sat on the couch together. Remus had looked up from his book which was one he had found in the library.

"It looks like a list of companies that I have a stake in. What stands out in my mind is the second list that shows other major shareholders in those companies. I recognize some of those names and it isn’t because I like them."

"What are the names?" Remus asked since Tonks seemed more interested in looking at or playing with Harry at the moment. Her hands had just reached his hair and began mussing it up.

"Carrows, Crouch, Malfoy, and Rockwood are just a few that jump out at me," Harry answered. "Most of these companies came from the Black estate and not the Potter’s. Why would he give this to me?"

"Did you read all of the pages?" Tonks asked him with a soft coo to her voice.

"Not yet," Harry said as he flipped through the pages. He passed more lists of companies and shareholders. He found a letter at the end and read it. A smile grew on his face as he read. "Oh that sneaky goblin. They are as bad as everyone thinks they are." He kept reading and when he finished Harry smiled a smile that could scare Hermione.

"What is it?" Tonks asked returning to play with Harry’s hair after she had moved on to his ears.

"There is an old law that was put into place when the Minster at the time wanted to increase his holding in certain companies. The thing was, his biggest rival owned a controlling share in many of them and wouldn’t allow the sale to take place. The Minister passed a law that allowed the Ministry to remove control of shares if the person was deemed an enemy of the state. Now, it wasn’t that simple since the person had to go through a hearing, be judged, and found guilty of being an enemy of the state before the court.

"Long story short, the Minster lost his bid to destroy his rival. The rival, in turn, ousted the Minister and leveled charges of abuse of office and so on. Thing is, the law is still on the books but it hasn’t been used since. I guess they forgot about it since it didn’t work. If I understand this correctly, as long as the Ministry declares the Death Eaters as enemies I can buy them out of these companies."

"Wouldn’t that give them all the money then?" Tonks asked giving Harry a soft kiss on the lips.

"It would," Remus said remembering back to what happened the first time around. "But if I remember the first war correctly, the Ministry froze or took away money from convicted criminals as punishment. Even if that didn’t happen, the money itself would generate less money than it would as stocks. So the worse that would happen would be a short term cash infusion for the family of a Death Eater. Oh, that is sneaky. Good thing I am not an enemy of Ragnok’s."

"You can see why he runs Gringotts can’t you?" Tonks asked aloud before focusing back on Harry with an intensity that had Remus looking away now and then.

"Nymph," Harry said quietly. "I think we are bothering Remus a little with our friendliness. Perhaps we should wait until later."

Tonks looked to Remus and smirked before sighing and putting on a perfect child-like pout. A minute passed before she looked at the clock. "It is later now." Tonks happily slipped out of Harry’s lap and stood up pulling him to his feet. "Have a good night, Remus." Tonks directed Harry up the stairs and into their room. She pushed him onto the bed and cast the proper spells on the room before crawling up Harry’s body with slow and deliberate movements.

"Nymphadora," Harry queried softly fighting his desire to ravage her.

"Hush, Harry," Tonks told him and placed her finger on his lips following up with her own mouth. She proceeded to kiss him starting off soft and warm before moving on to hard and eager. She tossed her clothes off when she had the chance, and Harry followed her lead. Ten minutes after entering the room both had removed all traces of clothing and settled into a slow and passionate rhythm.

Between breaths and sounds, Harry asked Tonks what brought all of it on. After a rather loud moan, Tonks opened her eyes and stared into his trying to see deep into his soul. "You jumped in front of that Cruciatus Curse for me today. How can I not do this for you? No one has ever taken a curse anywhere close to the level of that one for me. You didn’t even think about did you?"

"Not a chance of that," Harry smirked driving deeper into her shuddering slightly from the effort. "I figure that was explained well enough for all in the room at the time."

Tonks looked at Harry with shining eyes before pulling him to her. She gave him a wet and hungry kiss before wrapping her legs around him, pulling down, and flipping him onto his back. Taking on the control position, Tonks forced herself down onto Harry with long, determined motions. "Thank you for doing that. You never stop showing how much you care about others. You are a one-of-a-kind, Harry Potter."

As she continued with her actions, Harry felt the building urge in him. "Nymph," Harry called out with a stuttering voice. Tonks ignored him and drove on harder and faster. Harry bunched up his hands fisting up the sheets in the process as he focused on maintaining control. Sensing him fighting against her goal, Tonks shifted her leg a little so she could add a slight twist at the end of her motions.

She was rewarded with a growl and both of Harry’s hands flying to her breasts giving them a squeeze before settling on her hips. Without thought, Harry aided her thrusts by pulling her down and rotating her as well. In a short time, Harry lost control completely and was reduced to shuddering mass quivering under Tonks driven body.

After spending all he had, Harry put up a feeble effort in trying to stop Tonks from continuing. Feeling her need growing even more, Tonks fought off his quelling hands and kept stride to reach her climax. As he moaned but responded anyway, Harry gave up all attempts to stop her. He was completely enthralled in her and wanted her to be happy even if he lost his mind because of it.

As she shuddered and gripped his shoulders tightly in an effort to keep from falling off, Tonks screamed out. It was the kind of growling scream that came from deep inside. She fought through the urge to collapse on Harry and kept moving. Every nerve ending sparked, and her sense of touch was so acute she thought she was going to pass out from an overload. Harry growled in time with her and managed to meet her downward thrust with a couple of his own upward ones.

As their energy failed about the same time, Tonks collapsed onto Harry’s chest and slipped to the side. She curled into him as her breathing and heartbeat raced on. She sighed and mumbled something into his chest.

"What was that, Nymph?" Harry asked as he slipped into a peaceful and satisfied sleep.


Wednesday had more training and team building exercises. Horace pushed on but left out threatening Chamel with the Cruciatus Curse. The day before when Harry jumped in front of her and took the spell instead, Horace ended it a few seconds later to find a very angry Harry staring him down. Horace went home that night thinking of those eyes and that stare wondering if he would survive their next encounter.

Harry had relaxed, but there was an air of danger for the first few hours of training. Horace knew that if he repeated the events of Tuesday, Harry would prove that he could take a life by ending his.

During the lunch break, Harry and Tonks Apparated out of the Ministry only to return by way of the phone booth. As Harry traversed the Atrium, he remembered breakfast that morning and the request of a meeting he sent to Minister Bones via Hedwig. The response had been intercepted by the Unspeakables and rerouted to Harry at the Ministry.

Reaching the guard station, Harry returned to the matter at hand. "Present your wand for testing," the guard repeated as he had recited many times before.

Harry drew it instantly and offered it to the guard. The speed of his draw got a rise out of the guard and almost pushed him to the point of hitting the alarm. Only Tonks telling the guard to hurry up prevented a mess from occurring. Once his wand had been weighed, documented, and returned, Harry led Tonks to the proper lift and pressed the appropriate button for their floor.

As the lift took them to their destination, Harry smiled as he rethought his plan. "Looking forward to something, Harry?" Tonks asked with a slightly cheeky tone.

Smirking eagerly, Harry replied. "Only if it is a repeat of last night." Harry relished the shiver of pleasure that shot through him as the memories swam to the front of his mind. Tonks looked to be doing the same thing as she closed her eyes and ran her hand down her front slowly.

"Maybe we can work something out for later this week, Harry," Tonks answered softly. "I am not sure my body could take the punishment again so soon. I loved every minute of it, but I am still sore. I don’t know what you did but…" Tonks was cut off as the doors opened with a clatter.

They exited the lift and headed for the Minister’s office. The hallway was lined with rich wood and plush carpet. Glittering gold accented anything that could be accented and paintings of previous Ministers lined the walls. Some openly watched Harry walk down the hallway towards the gilded double doors at the end while others were more discrete about it. The simple fact of the matter was that every painting followed Harry in one fashion or another.

Opening the doors, Harry entered the reception and waiting area where the same wood and carpeting décor continued unhindered. A heavy desk with a modest amount of decoration sat in the center of the room with another set of doors behind it and to the side. Harry saw the same woman behind the desk as when Madam Bones’ office was in the Department of Magical Law Enforcement. A few very soft chairs sat against a far wall around a small table that had various publications piled about it. Harry couldn’t help but catch the image of him smiling from underneath one of the circulars.

Harry walked up to the woman giving his name and reason for his visit. She checked the schedule and told him that he was early and to have a seat for a few minutes. Harry saw her eye Tonks in a way that was far from subtle. The pair moved the chairs and sat down. Harry couldn’t help but move aside the other circulars to find the one with him on the cover. He was shocked when he found it.

Witch Weekly had a cover story about him and the fact he was sixteen and mind-blowingly wealthy. The article had the headline, "Most Eligible Minor." Harry snorted and tossed it back onto the pile. He scowled when Tonks reached out, grabbed the magazine, and pulled it into her lap before flipping it open. She scoured the pages until she found the one about Harry. She settled in and began reading completely ignoring Harry’s disapproving grimace.

"Did you know that you have been to Africa this summer and dated more than ten girls while you were there? You cad, you are the father of three children there too. My, you have been busy. Where do you find the time?" Tonks laughed playfully as she continued to comment about the article.

Normally, Harry would have been angered by the lies that had been printed about him, but Tonks’ laughter told him that it didn’t really matter. The claims were so ludicrous that he found himself laughing with her.

"You stopped over in the colonies to shag a few witches before coming back home to your mansion and the harem of five women you currently shack with. Should I go looking for these women or are you going to bring them around some time?" Tonks batted her eyelashes at him a few times before reading on.

Whispering, Harry said, "I think the one woman I have is enough for me right now. Granted, waiting a day or two might be too long, but I am willing to give her a chance."

"Git," Tonks muttered under breath while wearing a coy smile. "You are currently testing out of half of your classes so you can lessen your class load to work on becoming the next Wizarding playboy. Oh my, when were you going to tell me? It says in here that with Gilderoy Lockhart having an extended stay in St. Mungo’s, you are his most logical replacement. My you are a busy one aren’t you?"

Beginning to find the absurdity as amusing as Tonks, Harry couldn’t help but play along. "Now and then I barely find the time to sleep what with running around and…" Harry leaned over to read a paragraph or two. "…shagging up to three different women a night. Bloody hell I am busy." He smirked at her and laughed before settling back into his seat.

"It may be funny, but the thing is you could probably manage this if you wanted to," Tonks pointed out hoping to hear the right answer.

"Please," Harry waved off her comment. "I am lucky not to stuff up what I have right now. Merlin knows that depends more on her than me. I am hopeless when you get right down to it."

"You keep thinking that way and you will have no problems, Harry. I will put in a good word for you." Tonks rejoiced inside and resumed reading. Finishing up the article, she closed it and dumped it back on the table.

"What else have I gotten up to? Harry asked.

"Well, you are being trained by the Ministry’s best in politics and leadership. You slay dragons on your off time when you aren’t doing your civic duty or shagging any woman that moves," Tonks offered while tapping her bottom lip with her finger and thinking. "Oh, and you have your secret team of fashion experts designing next year’s line of clothing that you are going to model yourself."

"Really?" Harry asked trying to avoid the Ministry part. "I guess I need to meet with them and coordinate a time for the fashion show before my schedule fills up. Maybe I should spend more time relaxing and enjoying life."

"You could, but that wouldn’t fit with your persona, Harry. You have to be bigger than life and more public than they make you out to be. It is the only way to be the next playboy of the Wizarding world."

"I will just have to wing it then," Harry said as the other set of doors in the room opened of their own accord. "I never was much one for planning."

"The Minister will see you now," announced the woman as she followed Tonks with her eyes as they entered the Minister’s office.

"Mr. Potter," Amelia said. "It is a pleasure to see you again. I still have not made a decision whether or not I hate you for this."

"It is Harry, Minister," Harry corrected with a smile. "If you end up hating me, please just send notice. I will need to add you to the list. I am planning on having a party for the members before the end of summer."

"I am so glad you are in high spirits, Harry," Amelia added. "Call me Amelia when we are among friends. Auror Tonks, are you enjoying your time with Harry this summer?"

Tonks couldn’t help but smile widely at the comment. "I am having a great time, Minister."

Amelia eyed the woman carefully. "I think I should leave that one alone. I might not like what I would find if I looked into it. Enough of the small talk, Harry, what did you wish to discuss with me?"

"As always, I enjoy your directness, Amelia," Harry rubbed his hands together. "Are the Death Eaters and Voldemort, for that matter, enemies of the state?"

Amelia fought her shudder at the easy mention of the Dark Lord’s name. "You say that name so easily, Harry, it is rather shocking. Sorry, your answer is yes. They are enemies of the Wizarding world and therefore the Ministry or the state as you put it. Why?"

"If you declare them enemies of the state," Harry began, "then their financial holdings can be bought out from under them against their wishes. I have a list of the known Death Eaters and a partial list of their holdings. The list only shows the companies that I have more than a passing interest in. Many are from the Black Estate which explains why so many Death Eaters invested in those companies. The Blacks were sympathetic to Voldemort’s cause and most likely offered financial assistance to his followers.

"If you declare them enemies of the state, I can buy their shares and remove a large source of their income and ultimately Voldemort’s. It will be pretty simple to accomplish what with Fudge out of the way and not protecting them any longer. I only need you to make the declaration. We can handle the rest."

"Who gave you this information and who is ‘we’?" Amelia asked knowing it was not some half-arsed plan concocted by a well-intentioned do-gooder with no means to carry it out.

"They are one and of the same," Harry toyed. "I have a financial advisor that has been doing well for me. He found a few things to assist me in my life."

"Have any of those been financial?" Amelia said looking suspicious.

Harry thought about it for a second. "Up until now, no. This will be the first financial thing he has done for me as long as you look at it as getting new money."

"Your fingers are deep into Gringotts aren’t they, Harry?" Amelia asked smiling.

"I have no idea what you mean," Harry retorted looking guilty.

"Director Ragnok does not help humans like this just because they have money," Amelia pointed out.

"Ragnok has made a decision about some things and it seems that I am involved in that decision," Harry offered.

"The fact that you called him by his name tells me you are more than client and advisor. Am I correct, Auror Tonks?" Amelia queried.

Tonks looked to Harry before answering. He nodded with a little thought. "You have always had excellent instincts, Minister."

"And if Harry had not agreed to you answering my question?"

"I wouldn’t have answered it, Minister," Tonks replied without hesitation. "Like Director Ragnok, I know whose side I am going to be on regardless of what happens."

Amelia looked Harry over and thought back to the recall hearing. One consistent feeling dominated all of her interactions with Harry in the past month, determination. She knew Harry was determined to survive, but his dealings with the Ministry as of late involved more than survival. "I would like to ask a personal question if you will humour me." At his nod, she asked it. "Who has won an argument with you lately?"

Tonks broke into laughter as Harry scowled trying to fight off the smile. "Her." Harry offered pointing his thumb in Tonks’ direction. "The house elves, they are wickedly stubborn."

Amelia smiled but was surprised to hear Tonks add another to the list. "Jules, don’t forget Jules."

"Leave it to you to bring her up," Harry joked. "If you would just be nice things would get along smoothly."

"I have nothing to do with it, Harry," Tonks argued. "It isn’t like she listens or anything. She even ignores you. How can I win her over when you can’t get her to listen to reason?"

Harry held up his hands in defeat and sighed before looking at Amelia. "I definitely want to leave that one alone," Amelia said looking between the pair. "So if I name them as enemies of the state, you will buy their shares in various companies?"

"That is the plan right now," Harry told her. "If the Ministry can freeze that money, take it, or at least watch it, everything will work out fine. I am prepared to move fast on this."

"You know that it will take a meeting of the Wizengamot to enact it," Amelia asked receiving a shrug in response. "It could go either way and if it fails you will be tipping your hand."

"Doesn’t matter," Harry said. "Not trying would be the biggest mistake. It would also give you a chance to see who is on their side. Any member who refuses to support it will look involved with them. Politically, they have to support it or risk the public seeing them in a rather nasty light. The only real risk is doing nothing. There is only an upside here."

"Unless the companies tank and you lose a lot of your money," Amelia pointed out. "It could cost millions."

"I have millions and I don’t care," Harry waved off her concerns. "It is only money. If I can hurt them, it is worth every knut."

"Remind me never to gamble with you, Harry," Amelia shook her head. "I will call a session for tomorrow. If it passes, you will have to act fast to secure the plan or other unknown Death Eaters could do the same thing."

"I will notify my supporter to be ready," Harry replied while standing up. "Thank you so much for your time, Minister. I really do enjoy speaking with you more than your predecessor. He was hopeless."

"I feel the same way, Mr. Potter." Amelia walked them to the door and told her assistant to notify the Wizengamot of the next day’s emergency meeting.

Harry and Tonks left the office and returned to the lift. They exited the Ministry and Apparated back just in time for more training at the hands of Horace. The pair fought hard and managed to learn a few things while avoiding the worst of it.

They arrived home weary and tired to find Remus sitting on the couch laughing to himself. Harry thought he had finally cracked and gave Tonks a worried look. "I think he has gone round the twist for the last time."

"I am perfectly sane, Harry," Remus said fighting the last of his laughs. "Been like that for about an hour. Paul brought up something I had long forgotten. We were all here one summer day back before our seventh year. Your father was complaining about your mother not noticing him and such driving Sirius and I completely up the wall. It was going on week two or three and we had had enough.

"Being the evil genius when it came to ideas, Sirius thought about altering your father into something that was sure to get her attention. Now, Sirius was full of ideas, but couldn’t carry them out if he had to. He didn’t have the gift of planning or spell writing to make it happen. That is where I came in.

"I was always the planner and spell writer at least until Lily came into the group. She was gifted with spell creation and not the silly ones we worked on but real spells that mattered. Anyway, we researched the spells that did each of the parts we wanted. Sirius end up complaining about that so both of them were whining about different things and driving me mad in the process." Remus paused to take in the wonderful memories before continuing.

"Once we had the components, I began the week long process to put them together into a pair of spells. Sirius wanted it in one spell, but the complexities were staggering. Once I had the pair of incantations finished, I gave it to Sirius and he lied in wait. Your father had calmed down about Lily as we worked on humiliating him so the timing was all off.

"Sirius was getting more impatient by the day and nearly used the spell on Paul because he yelled at us one day for something we didn’t do. Fortunately, Sirius maintained control and the moment arrived. Sirius baited your father and got him going again. I had managed to get a camera ready in case it worked. As James began listing off what he had to offer her, Sirius struck. I had thought a muggle motif was in order as she grew up as one and lived with them during the summers.

"The spell turned your father into a clown and a mighty odd one at that. His hair resisted the funny parting style we had wanted and simply changed colours and stuck up all over the place like normal. His nose did expand, but Sirius stuffed up that part of the incantation so it grew to twice its normal size. His ears folded forward for some unknown reason that we never figured out and his eyebrows disappeared."

Harry laughed at the picture in his head and Tonks chuckled as she tried to imagine the scene as it happened. Remus continued, "His body puffed out making him look rather roly-poly. His feet doubled in size as did his hands. The best part was the make up. His skin bleached out as if he was a vampire. He had bright red circles on his cheeks and his nose turned green. He was forced to smile at all times and his teeth grew turning bright yellow.

"Sirius busted out laughing after a second of shock, but I was dumbfounded for a good minute. By the time I came back to reality, James had been chasing after Sirius and they were on their second circuit of the downstairs. As graceful as he usually was, James could barely run with feet that big. He fell down every time he tried so he had to jump. Sirius called him the Amazing Kangaroo Clown which only made James want to hurt him more so.

"I finally gathered up enough of my wits to start up the camera and take snapshots of James and his stylish new look. Sadly for us, your father reached his humour limit for the day and drew his wand. Sirius never knew what hit him before he was laid out on the stairs while trying to get away. I, on the other hand, saw it coming. James was a formidable person when it came to spells so I thought fast. I blamed everything on Sirius; it was all I could think of at the time.

"James was a smart man and knew Sirius couldn’t work it out himself to save his life. So James knew that I had helped far more than I had let on. The only evidence that survived was one picture I managed to pocket before James Stunned me and destroyed the camera and pictures. I think he would have Obliviated us if he had known the spell or even heard of how to do it."

"What happened to the picture?" Harry asked as he propped Tonks up with his shoulder as she laughed uncontrollably.

"Of course we couldn’t let it rest," Remus answered. "On the train ride to Hogwarts, Sirius and I left James and him in the carriage and sought out Lily. When we found her, Sirius bowed to her and handed her the wrapped picture. She knew better than to accept anything from him without being cautious first. She did a Revealing Charm and a few others before feeling safe enough to open it. It was a good ten minutes before we could leave her carriage. Shortly after the first few nights back, they were together and that was that.

"I can’t say that picture caused it or helped it, but I would like to think that James Potter looking like he did helped soften his appearance to her. It was rumored that on their honeymoon she brought it along and asked him to re-enact it for her. The only fact I know is that Sirius and I received an express owl the next day threatening our lives when he returned."

With tears in his eyes, Harry held Tonks close to him. He loved hearing stories about his parents and the only thing he could do to keep from crying was to hold Tonks tightly and keep laughing. Tonks felt more than knew what Harry was doing and melted into him.

Remus waited for right before they went to bed to tell them that he had to leave the next morning. Harry asked why and Remus told him it was the full moon. No amount of reasoning or options would change Remus’ mind on the matter. He felt he had to be as far away from people as he could be during those times.

With Tonks’ help, Harry accepted Remus’ decision on the condition that they get together before Harry returned to Hogwarts. Remus accepted the terms and bade them goodnight.


Thursday began with Harry and Tonks walking Remus outside of the wards. Once the door opened, Harry had to run interference for the others by repeatedly blocking the path Jules had chosen to confront Tonks and more importantly Remus. At one point, Harry grabbed Jules’ head and held it in front of his own. Tonks thought Jules was going to snap Harry in half, but she relented under his firm grasp.

Once they left the property, Harry released Jules and patted her on the head thanking her for cooperating. He joined the others and hugged Remus goodbye. The older man held him a few seconds longer before holding him at arms’ length.

"You are a wonderful man, Harry," Remus told him. "Both of your parents would be immensely proud of you. Know that no matter what happens. They would be so very proud of you. Thank you for giving an old wolf a chance to remember the good times and create new ones. Take care of him, Tonks, even if he won’t let you."

"You sound like I am never going to see you again, Moony," Harry pointed out warily.

"As I learned the first time around, Harry," Remus wavered, "you do not know what tomorrow will bring. Whatever you do during the day, I know it isn’t safe. Both of you need to stay safe if not for yourselves, then for each other. You are good together and make each other happy. That is a rare find."

Harry smiled and stepped back wrapping his arm around Tonks and pulling her close. "I will see you later?"

"Yes," Remus stated firmly before Apparating away.

They returned to the house, got ready, and went to the Ministry. They were met with an empty training room so they waited. After a few minutes, Horace opened the door and waved them over. The pair followed him to the briefing room and found Team Two and Five waiting around the table. Harry was able to pick out the shape of Jones sitting between Michael and Taruse.

They took seats with Cal and watched Marcus stand up with his hands clasped together. "Today we are moving some of the prisoners to Azkaban. The three captured recently are remaining here for interrogation, but the others will be transferred. I understand it has been some time since we have done such a large transfer so I will refresh your memories on the procedures. We are assigning two prisoners to each team. You are responsible for them getting to the prison in one piece one way or another. If they resist, Stun them. If they escape, kill them."

Horace stepped away from the wall and continued. "Due to the wards, we have to portkey to the outer boundary of the prison. Then we have a few hundred yards to travel to reach the boats that will ferry us to the prison. From there, we have to move them to the prison intake room just inside the entrance at which point we leave the same way. Any use of magic inside the boundary triggers an alarm and a lockdown of the prison. If we cause a lockdown, we will be up to our necks in aurors looking for a fight or so the brochures say."

"Assemble in the training room while Team Two brings out the prisoners," Marcus ordered. "They will be kept unconscious until we arrive at our destination. Ennervate them once we have regrouped. We move as teams and stay together. If there are any problems, yell out. Everyone will hold on to their prisoners while the team having the problem resolves it one way or another. Use of magic will be the last recourse. Questions?"

No one asked a thing so they made their way back to the training room. A few minutes later, Team Two brought in a pair of Death Eaters wearing a simple black cloak and cloth boots. The men were Levitated into the room and dropped in front of Team Five. Harry watched as Jones took the opportunity to kick one of them sharply before the team circled the pair lying on the floor.

A few minutes later, Team Two returned with two more cloaked people. They were set on the floor at Harry’s feet, and his team circled around them drawing their wands. Harry looked at one and recognized him as someone he had captured a few weeks prior. The second person was a woman that Harry didn’t know and hadn’t seen before. Cal volunteered to handle the man letting Harry take the woman. Tonks told them that she would cover both of them.

When the last group of two arrived, Horace handed out portkeys. "We will leave in one minute. Everyone touch the portkey and grab on to your prisoner. Remember the plan and avoid magic unless you have no other option."

Harry and his team grabbed on to their people and the portkey waiting for it to activate. As the seconds passed, Harry took a deep breath and calmed his mind as much as he could. He knew that at least a few Dementors were going to be at the prison. Not every vile creature had abandoned the Ministry and joined Voldemort. Some remained at the prison since they were guaranteed to have victims to feed on.

When Harry felt the pull on his navel, he let his mind slip into a state of numbness preparing for the worst. They arrived as a large group in a clearing. He saw the old and weathered trees covered in moss and the air was heavy with cold moisture. Following the lead of the other groups, Harry Ennervated his woman and pulled her onto her wobbly feet. She gasped when she looked around and saw the other grey cloaks muscling fellow Death Eaters forward onto a hidden path in the tall grass.

She frantically spun her head around and figured out what was going to happen to her. "Please," she begged. "Let me go. I will do anything. Anything you want. You can beat me, fuck me, whatever your heart desires. Please let me go. I will be your slave if you want." The woman had turned and moved close to Harry. Her hands were still bound behind her back with bindings tight enough to limit the flow of blood making her hands very pale.

Harry couldn’t help but be disgusted by the repeated offers. He gripped her arm tighter and pushed her forward. "Be quiet and move!" Harry snapped ignoring her pleas. He followed the others as they wound their way in and out of the trees. When they came to a ridge, Harry saw Horace standing off the path watching the teams move past.

When he drew even with Horace, Harry heard him say they were inside the wards. The path carried them down a short hill and a small cove could be seen in the distance. When one of the prisoners saw the boats, he balked and tried to move backwards. Jones rewarded the resistance with an elbow to the base of his skull. The man stumbled and was dragged by Jones and Taruse the remaining way. Team Five’s second captive merely slumped his shoulders and shuffled on without fighting.

Team Two was in the middle of the column and had the largest of those being transferred. When they were about half way to the boats, the two Death Eaters broke free of their handlers and ran in opposite directions. The smaller of the pair was too slow to get away from Joslin and Robeen who knocked him down into a puddle of muck. The second man was large but quick. He dodged out of Thor’s reach and ran flat out towards the trees.

When Thor chased after him, Cal ordered his prisoner to his knees and Harry forced his to do the same as he watched Thor chase after the fleeing man. When they passed a small pile of rocks, Thor reached down and picked one up losing only a step or two. With a throw any Chaser would be proud of, Thor launched the rock at the head of the escaping man. With dull thud, the rock connected with the man’s head and he tumbled forward onto his face. The black cloak tore as the limp body skidded in the soft earth and rolled into a pile stopping against the base of a tree.

Thor ran up and placed his hand on the man holding him down while he caught his breath. After a few second, Thor checked the man for signs of life before picking him up and tossing him over his shoulder. He joined the group without saying a word. Once the other Death Eaters had seen what would happen if they tried to run, all of them did as they were ordered with little comment or resistance.

Getting into the boats, the group set off on a prearranged course. The water was choppy and a light drizzle started making everyone that much colder and wetter. Harry felt the boat rise and fall as they traversed the rough seas heading away from the shore. The woman had started crying once the boat launched and it was annoying Harry to no end. Thoughts of her torturing and killing people for the hope of power made him ill.

"Shut up," Harry spoke softly but with an edge to his voice. "You earned this the minute you took Voldemort’s brand." The woman inhaled sharply at the mention of his name. "With any luck, that bastard will be joining you soon."

"You have no idea how much power he has," the woman muttered as her gaze drifted to the bottom of the boat.

"I think I have a better idea than you do," Harry countered. The woman started whimpering as they drew nearer to the unseen island. Even though the fog had gotten heavier, Harry felt the island in the distance. The overpowering cold and evil permeated the very air cycling through his lungs. The cold caused him to shiver once as he longed to reactivate the temperature control feature of his cloak.

As they broke through a bank of thick fog, a dark looming shape began to appear. A towering structure as blocky as any government housing in the muggle world disrupted the grey hazy view. The waves crashed onto the sharp and jagged rocks surrounding the most feared prison in the entire magical world. A rickety dock jutted out far enough for a few boats to dock at once meaning that they would have to dock in shifts.

Team Five and Horace docked first leaving Harry’s team and Team Two to queue up. As the boats emptied, they took off around the island and disappeared out of sight around a large boulder. The next two boats came to a stop on either side of the dock allowing the passengers to disembark. Harry had to drag his sobbing woman out of the boat and practically carry her off of the dock before she had finally quieted and managed to walk on her own.

Harry looked up the twisting path that ascended at least thirty feet to the only visible opening in the structure; a large black door with mighty black hinges. The jagged rocks presented an imposing greeting to all who arrived. As Harry directed the woman along the path, he felt the Dementors on the island. It felt like a cold, dead hand reached into his chest and was trying to squeeze his heart until it stopped. A faint scream started in the back of his head and began the long journey forward growing in volume the whole way.

Vague images of green light and the feeling of death materialized against Harry’s wishes. His knew it was the effect of the Dementors and he had to stop it quickly before it got out of control. Focusing on Occlumency and the more recent nights with Tonks, Harry used his mind to fight off the soul-draining efforts of the creatures behind the walls of the prison.

Harry wasn’t the only one suffering from the close proximity with the guards of Azkaban. Tonks had fallen back and drifted closer to Harry as they walked. A couple of the captives had developed bad cases of the shakes, and the woman Harry was urging on had nearly stopped altogether. "Move along," Harry told her firmly. "You aren’t the only one suffering."

Harry placed his free hand in the small of Tonks’ back and rubbed it willing her encouragement. The group reached the door and Horace rapped on it a few times. No sound was heard inside, but the door opened a few minutes later. It opened slowly and silently revealing a dark empty room inside.

Harry felt the despair wash over him when he guided his prisoner inside and deposited her. He left as quickly as he could so the next Unspeakable could deliver their ward. Once he was outside, he moved next to Tonks, and they leaned against one another. After the last person was put into the room, the door closed quickly and with a resoundingly solid noise that made everyone jump because it was in such sharp contrast to the silence of the rest of the process.

As one, the group turned to leave the desolate island. They made quick work of the path back to the boats waiting to return them to the mainland. The return trip was twice as fast as the arriving one. Harry didn’t bother to watch the prison disappear behind him as he held onto Tonks both to support her and him self. They shared a skip with Team Two but no one talked. Even the second boat was silent.

They reached the far shore and hurried on to land. Once the boats were empty they returned to the island empty. The group followed the faint trail back to the starting point and away from the wards. Once they crossed the line, Horace told them they were free for the day and to eat as much chocolate as they could tolerate. Harry and Tonks Apparated home and found an advanced copy of the Daily Prophet waiting on the table.

It had been sent by Amelia prior to the official publication along with a note.



Here is tomorrow’s paper. The Wizengamot was hesitant to pass this order, but I was able to talk them into it. Dumbledore seemed more thoughtful than normal as he voted in favour of it. Those who refused to vote or voted against it are named in the paper. I hope you are ready to act on your plan, because it is going to happen tomorrow.



Harry smiled and grabbed a sheet of parchment from the table. "It looks like Amelia was able to get the other stuffy people to declare our ‘friends’ enemies of the state. I hope Ragnok and Griphook are ready."

"We will find out tomorrow won’t we?" Tonks asked as she nibbled on a bar of chocolate while sitting across from Harry. She had a faraway look about her and it worried Harry.

"Doing okay, Nymph?’ Harry asked. The only response he got was a weak smile from the normally playful metamorph. He finished the letter and sent it away with Hedwig after giving her a demanded amount of attention first. "Come on, Nymph, I think you need to rest."

Tonks looked into Harry’s eyes and saw the same drawn appearance she was sure she was wearing. "I think we both need rest."

They climbed the stairs hand in hand and went into their room. Harry closed the door and joined Tonks under the covers. The cloudiness outside did little to lift their spirits after such and wearing day in the middle of the darkest and coldest place in all of Britain. As they cuddled together, Harry felt a little warmth re-enter his body. It started where his hand rested on Tonks arm. It slowly spread chasing away the feelings of despair.

"Twelve years of that and he kept his sense of humour," Tonks whispered.

Harry felt his heart lurch in his chest as Tonks voiced his own thoughts aloud. "It takes quite a man to do that. He was special."

Tonks sighed before curling into Harry and capturing his eyes. "You are special too, Harry. You must know that."

"I am beginning to understand it," Harry answered softly looking at her moist lips. He ran his hand down her side pulling her to him bit by bit.

"Touch me," Tonks whispered. "Show me that you understand."

Harry kissed her warmly and felt the sensation race through him chasing the gloom away. He kept running his hand around her body moving her clothes further and further away from covering her. At one point Harry placed a row of kisses between Tonks’ breasts stopping only an inch from her special place. She cooed at him the entire time fighting her way out of her clothes.

Harry looked into her eyes as he slowly massaged her breasts. He kneaded them gently and placed kisses on them when her nipples caught his eye. He gave her neck a series of kisses and nips with his mouth as she growled while reaching out for him. They played around until Tonks had become too worked up to sit idly by. She gave a throaty hum and pulled him on to her. She wiggled around to position herself beneath him strategically.

With a hungry kiss, Tonks wrapped her legs around Harry and forced him down to her. She grabbed on to him with her hand and directed him into her eagerly. Even with Harry on top, Tonks was directing the show from below. She ran her fingernails down his back squeezing his bum when she reached it. She tightened herself when Harry tried to slow down a bit and urged him on faster.

What started out as a leisurely stroll ended in an all out sprint. Tonks breathing was forced and shallow as she seemed to excise something from her body, and she used Harry to do it. As Tonks’ breath stuttered and changed to gasps, she emitted halting shrieks. Harry felt her egg him on as he let go of all control and drifted to meet her heaving chest.

Harry waited as Tonks regained the ability to think. She opened her eyes and gazed into his longingly. "You always seem to know what I need, Harry. Thank you."

"I am more than happy help, Nymph. If you need anything else, let me know."

Tonks sighed and smiled at him. "I will set my wand for two hours, and then we will get up and eat something. I am too worn out right now to do anything other than be held by you and fall asleep."

"Like I said anything you need, Nymph." Harry smiled as he pulled Tonks’ back to his chest. She wiggled her bum against him a few times to get comfortable chuckling when Harry responded.

"If you are a good boy, I might let you do that later," Tonks teased as she closed her eyes and drifted off.


Harry awoke with shock as Tonks jerked in her sleep. "Harry, we have to go now!"

"What?" Harry asked groggily.

"Horace is calling us in, right now." Tonks hopped out of bed her breasts bouncing and her pert bum working its way around the room gathering up her clothes. "It is serious, Harry. He said it was an emergency."

Harry follow suit and began Summoning his clothes into his hands and putting them on. He caught both cloaks and waited for Tonks to finish tucking in her shirt before handing it to her. Once they were ready, cloaks on and hooded, Harry grabbed her hand and Apparated them to the team room. They arrived a couple seconds before Cal did, and Team Three ran to the training together. The hallway was a bustle of other Unspeakables some of which Harry recognized even in their cloaks.

Once they filtered through the doorway of the training room, Harry saw Horace and Marcus speaking quickly with Gillian. They broke apart and a booming voice silenced the chatter.

"Shut up!" Horace yelled. "Azkaban is under attack and has been for about four minutes now. Marcus has Team Two and Four. Gillian has Team One and Six, and I have Team Three and Five. We are going in to help the aurors defend the prison and keep the prisoners inside. If anyone on scene fires a Killing Curse, it is open season. Is that understood? No one escapes alive if we can help it. Cloaks to Auror Blue so they won’t attack us when we show up.

"We will start at the normal entry point and work our way forward. We do not know if there are any enemies on the island itself, but there were recorded spells near the docks. Remember, you can not Apparate or portkey inside of the wards. You will find out the hard way if you try. We go in waves with Marcus first. Send a message back to let us know if we can come through. Go!"

Marcus and his teams Apparated away with varying pops or cracks. Harry looked to see Tonks taking a few controlled breaths. "Try it Ceps, it helps when things are exciting." Harry tried the safe technique and found it did help.

"Going to keep it together, Ceps?" Jones asked in a biting tone.

"Put that shite away right now, Jones," Horace snapped. "If it gets in the way today, I will have Ceps kill you when we get there. This has nothing to do with teams. Do you want every fucking criminal of the last thirty years back on the streets?"

Gillian must have received a message as her and her teams Apparated away. Harry waited for Horace to signal them to leave. He continued the breathing technique along with Tonks and even Cal had joined them. "Love this kind of thing, don’t you?" Cal asked with a smile.

Horace stood with his eyes closed waiting. His wand held limply at his side. Harry could have sworn he heard Horace humming as he waited patiently. When he opened his eyes and squared his shoulders everyone looked at their teacher. "Go!" Horace barked and Apparated away.

Harry appeared in the clearing silently and led his team into the trees following Horace. Team Five trailed behind watching their backs and the sides. Horace motioned them ahead as he fell back to tell Michael something.

As Harry passed the old trees he had seen only hours before, they bore the traces of spell damage. A few trees in the distance were alight and others had been completely demolished. Shards of timber had been strewn in all directions a few were coated in blood yet the Operatives moved forward.

Once they breeched the trees and entered the open space ahead, Harry saw groups fighting furiously. Spells were volleying back and forth as if it was a game. The signal it wasn’t was the occasional person failing to the ground unconscious, screaming, or dead. Harry felt the need to help those he could and went to run and join them. Horace called for them to stop and find which group needed the help most.

Harry saw a pair of aurors against five Death Eaters and led his team in that direction. Numbers even, Harry lined up his wand and fired a Repelling spell at them in an attempt to give the aurors a rest and allow his team to choose their targets. The spell worked and knocked the five black cloaks in various directions and all of them off their feet.

When the aurors’ immediate enemies posed little threat, they turned to Harry’s Team and aimed their wands at them. "Not us, them!" Harry yelled as he bound one of the fallen Death Eaters. The other four started attacking again and tried to finish off what they had started. Tonks selected her opponent and began working them over with a variety of spells. Cal had held back and launched his assault from a distance covering everyone before helping whoever was out classed.

Harry slid into his normal fighting routine and let his magic dictate the speed and frequency of his spells. As Harry dropped his second enemy with a Bone Breaking Curse to the leg, he had a chance to survey the battlefield. The number of aurors was nearly equal that of the Unspeakables. There were at least twenty or more Death Eaters still on their feet. ‘Snape said there were no more than thirty didn’t he? And we caught more since then. That bastard has been lying to us.’

His angry thoughts were disrupted by a Severing Curse barely missing his head. With a growl, Harry launched into a furious series of spells alternating between using his wand and wandlessly to cast them. The teams had formed a crescent shape around the Death Eaters and were forcing them into a tighter shape. Thus far, Harry hadn’t seen the Killing Curse cast by anyone. A few aurors lay on the ground motionless and were most likely dead, but many had nasty wounds caused by more than a few curses.

The fight waged back and forth as Harry had to fend off two Death Eaters who had moved from the other group to personally hold him off. Things seemed at a standstill while Harry blocked a series of spells and returned a few of his own. The temporary stalemate allowed a Death Eater to free his fallen comrades so they could rejoin the fight. Harry could hear Horace telling Thor to "hold back" and "not go there yet."

Tonks was fighting next to Harry and holding her own against a rather fast opponent. She wasn’t getting many offensive spells off, but she had avoided getting hit thus far. Cal continued firing shot after shot from his vantage point on the hill. For the most part, his spells were distractions so the front line people could take them down. Marcus was flicking his wand quickly keeping his enemy at bay and preventing them from gaining ground and breaking free of the grouping they had been rustled into.

Harry was getting frustrated because as soon as he dropped one Death Eater, another would take his place and third would get the first one back into the fight in whatever shape they could. One thought kept playing over in his head, ‘they are stalling.’ Harry couldn’t stop thinking that as the minutes ticked by. His side was beginning to take down their enemies and gain a little ground after Harry started firing two spells at once at one person. He had taken down three in a row before checking on Tonks again.

His concentration was thrown as a shout came up from the far side of the group. "Holy shite, run!" "Merlin help us!" Harry looked in that direction to see a group of Death Eaters walk away from the dock area. Most had a wild look to them and their movements were jerky and feral. Harry guessed the balance had just been tipped in the Death Eaters’ favour.

The black cloaks seemed to fight harder and with more determination when their allies joined their ranks. The final nail in the coffin for the momentum of the fight was driven home when the Dark Lord appeared behind his followers. "Enough toying, now we show these blood-traitors what death really looks like. Kill them all," Voldemort said smoothly with a demented smile playing on his lips.

Harry saw his side fall back once Voldemort showed his ghastly face. He knew it was all over unless something dramatically changed. He watched as two of the freed Death Eaters leveled their wands and fired the Killing Curse at two aurors. They never had a chance since they were still staring at Voldemort frozen in fear. "Fuck it," Harry yelled as he moved around the quickly spreading group of Unspeakables. Everyone added distance between their neighbors to avoid getting hit by an errant Killing Curse that missed.

Harry circled around to Marcus’ side which was trying to contain the new additions to the fight. Harry saw Lucius Malfoy strike down another auror with a sickly green bolt of light from his wand. Harry watched the man fall limply to the ground releasing one last breath before he went silent. Lucius laughed joyfully as he relished in the man’s death.

Feeling his anger move to the front of his mind, Harry fired a Bone Exploding Curse at the white-haired man. Lucius managed to raise a shield in time to stop most of the effects, but some of Harry’s spell breeched the shield’s barrier. A crack of a bone was followed quickly by the normally arrogant man falling into a puddle of mud and muck screaming and grabbing his left arm.

"We have a hero in our midst," Voldemort sung as he turned his feared wand on Harry. "Your only chance to run away, mortal, before I kill you. Slowly," the snake-like man added menacingly.

Harry thought up his best response or witting remark. None seemed to fit the situation well enough so he answered with his wand. "Avada Kedavra," Harry forced out thinking of his parents and their attempt to save him. Harry didn’t wait until the spell reached its target before following it up with "Crucio" "Ossis Disffringo" and "Rumpere Lemniscius" moving his wand in a whipping motion trying to strike Voldemort down regardless of what the other spells did.

The battle around him had seemingly stopped completely. Everyone had stilled to a certain point when Voldemort had spoken, but no one moved when Harry responded with the Killing Curse against the most feared man in the world. The Death Eaters were angered that anyone would dare attack their master, but the Unspeakables were shocked that their newest member would carelessly throw his life away by attacking the strongest enemy they had ever met.

Voldemort expected the man to run away or cower while he dismembered him slowly. What he got was his most favoured colour in the world fired at him. He Conjured an obstacle to absorb the spell so he wouldn’t look stupid diving out of its way. He heard the next spell and managed to sidestep it half a second before it landed. The third spell struck Voldemort’s Imprimis shield that sprung to life on his arm, but the Severing Ribbon nearly knocked Voldemort over when it lashed against his shield the first time. After the second and third time, Voldemort had to drop into a crouch to avoid being sent airborne.

The sheer force of magic gave Voldemort cause to make a vital decision as to the future of his current mission. "Grab our brothers and leave. We have gotten what we came for." He barely had time to speak his words before another series of spells splashed into his shield. Returning the greeting, Voldemort sent the same spells against his blue cloaked opponent.

Harry saw his spells stopped by Voldemort’s shield and tried to follow them up with more, but the return volley forced him to defend. Not caring if he looked like a fish out of water, Harry dove, jumped, and spun away from as many as he could. His own Imprimis shield flared to life as he fired a few spells back at the man he was destined to kill or be killed by. Harry couldn’t worry about the other Death Eaters as he needed his entire focus on the Dark Lord before him.

The aurors started falling back and the Unspeakables were forced to keep in line with them or risk getting caught in the middle. As the line shifted, the wounded Death Eaters were Levitated, carried, or Banished out of range of the wards. Once free of the magical oppression, they were portkeyed away or Apparated under their own power.

With only a few able bodied followers left, Voldemort began his retreat to the ward line with Harry attacking him the entire way. "Don’t know when to quit, do you? Maybe I should remind you of why I am the most feared man in the world. Avada Kedavra, Crucio."

Harry dropped his shield and Conjured the marble slab to absorb the Killing Curse. The rock exploded in a cloud of powder and bits of rock. The Cruciatus Curse slipped through and hit Harry in the leg. With a stifled cry, Harry collapsed to the muddy ground.

"That sounded familiar," Voldemort pondered aloud.

Harry fought the pain using Occlumency and memories of Tonks only hours before. As a reward to Voldemort, Harry forced every ounce of will and intent he had left in him before the pain took control. ‘Ossis Fragmen.’

Tonks watched Harry fall under the Torture Curse and heard what was said. She willed Harry to fight the spell. She willed him to live. A spell shooting from Harry’s wand told her that he was going to survive. She watched the spell hit the Dark Lord in the right arm breaking the spell.

Harry fell forward into the mud gasping for breath as his entire body screamed in agony. At first he thought it was him screaming, but the taste of earth in his mouth told him it wasn’t. The unearthly scream that was emitted by the Dark Lord, as he gripped his broken arm and Apparated away, left an unforgettable memory in the minds of all who were conscious. The Dark Lord could be hurt. He wasn’t invincible.

"Ha…" Tonks stopped herself from finishing her yell as she ran to Harry. "Ceps!" She fell to her knees more than a meter away from him but slid on the mud coming to rest at his side. "Are you okay? Anything more than the Cruciatus?"

Taking a forced breath and fighting the white spots in his eyes, Harry looked into the frantically worried expression on Tonks’ face. Many others had grouped around Harry but kept a safe distance from the only person they knew of who had ever landed a spell on the Dark Lord.

"I am a little sore, but I think everything still works," Harry said coughing a few times. "Did I get him in the head?"

"No," Tonks answered him trying not to kiss him in front of everyone. "You did get him in the arm though."

"Fuck, missed. Next time I will do better, Horace." Harry’s voice faded as exhaustion took a firm grasp on him.

"Chamel, Cal," Horace ordered. "Get Ceps to Medical now. Everyone else secure the remaining enemy, prepare the wounded for treatment, clean up, and count the dead. Aurors over here!"

Harry felt Tonks grab his arm and try to pull him up. She slipped a few times in the mud until Cal took Harry’s other arm. Together, as a team, they left the field of battle and headed to the edge of the wards. Tonks took out a portkey and tapped it taking them all back to the team room. When they arrived, Cal started to pull Harry towards the door but he resisted.

"I will walk there if I can," Harry said firmly. Cal shrugged and let go of Harry’s arm. Tonks kept a hold of him refusing to let go.

"I am not letting you go," Tonks told him. "If I do and you get hurt more, what will I do then?"

Beginning to lose focus as his body and mind started shutting down from exhaustion, Harry smirked looking Tonks in the eyes. "It will guarantee me more affection, Nymphadora."

"As if you need more of that," Tonks quipped before she realized that Cal was still in the room. "Not a word, you. Not a word."

Cal moved to take up Harry’s arm again. "Never let me call you by that name without taking my life into my own hands. You two must be really close."

"Help me get him to Medical," Tonks begged as Harry had almost passed out on her. "He is stubborn and heavy."

The last thing Harry remembered was the floor sliding under his feet as he was dragged into Medical by his teammates.


Harry’s eyes fluttered open as he fought against the ache in his body. Everything was sore and the chatter in the room wasn’t helping his already frayed nerves. He looked around and saw Tonks discussing something with Cal at the foot of his bed. A few other beds were occupied and their team members stood by waiting for them to be released.

Harry moved his foot getting Tonks’ attention and ending their discussion. "Ceps," Tonks whispered. "I am so glad that you are awake. If you feel up to it, we can leave. You need to take two potions to boost your energy and deal with the soreness before they let you out though.

"Whatever it takes to get out of here," Harry said at a volume high enough that many of the occupants in the room took notice instantly. "Where are they? The faster the better; I hate hospital."

Mimi hurried over and handed him two potions. Harry downed them with practiced efficiency and tried to stand. His balance was slightly off, but he fought through it using Tonks to steady him before aiming for the door. It was hard to not to notice the fact that everyone in the room followed him with their eyes even though most had their head shrouded by their hoods.

Harry pushed on counting the number of beds occupied; three. "How many aurors did we lose?"

Tonks provided the answer, "Five died, but considering the number we were up against that is amazingly small."

"How many of them escaped?" Harry wanted to know if it was worth it at all. "Who got away?"

"Eight won’t be joining their master again," Horace informed Harry when he entered the very door Harry was trying to leave. "We still have the three from Knockturn Alley and three more that didn’t make it out when He left suddenly."

"Any of them worth the time?" Harry asked guessing at the answer.

Horace squinted before answering. "If I understand your line of questioning correctly, no, none of them are worth the effort to keep alive. Tomorrow should be an interesting day press wise what with everything that happened today and what the Minister is most likely going to do tomorrow."

"So Azkaban fell before we got there?" Harry asked rubbing his face in weariness.

"While we were kept busy with those on the shore, He breeched the prison." Horace scanned the room looking at everyone who was paying attention. "They waited until we had left and were home before they attacked. There was an inside man. They waited until we transported the bulk of our lot to the prison before breaking in. Thing is, every member of the prison’s guard staff was killed, well the humans at least. A couple Dementors remained, but they won’t for long. With no victims to feed off of, they will move on."

"So, the group we fought was a diversion," Harry figured out. "I thought they were trying to kill time. Makes sense until their friends and Voldemort could show up."

The sound of air being sucked in irritated Harry further. The Unspeakables, his allies, were acting like a bunch of Hogwarts students. "What? Can’t hear his name without wanting to run home to mum? Pathetic bunch you are. If you weren’t so damn busy watching me and Voldemort, you could have stopped more of them."

"Think you are hot shit, Ceps?" Jones challenged. "Just because you lived you think that makes you better than the rest of us?"

Harry stepped away from Tonks arm and took laboured steps until he was directly in front of Jones. "I can say the name Voldemort without whimpering like a little girl. I not only lived, I fought him. Where were you? If I am the only one willing to stand up to the Dark Tosser and fight then we might as well all lie down and die. He is willing to pick us off one at a time if need be."

"I am not stupid enough to poke a dragon in the eye on the off chance it is having a good day and won’t kill me for my trouble," Jones retorted.

"You would rather sit at home and wait until Voldemort shows up at your door and blasts it in," Harry snapped back. "That wasn’t the first time I have fought him and it isn’t going to be the last either."

"Now you are just talking out of your arse, Ceps," Jones laughed. "Only two people have lived after standing up to Him and you are neither."

"Do you think he advertises how many live after he tries to kill them?" Harry asked forcefully trying to cover his mistake. "Wouldn’t do well for the greatest murderer of all time to have so many lose ends laying about now does it? Now get out of my way so I can go home and rest up in case He shows up again. Merlin knows where you will be when that happens, probably hiding under your bed or in a cupboard."

Jones went for his wand, but Horace grabbed his hand firmly and pulled it down. "Draw your wand on him, Jones, and I will bury you myself. He proved his worth last week, and he proved it again today. A smart man would learn from what he sees and hears; what are you?"

Jones said nothing but slowly lowered his wand and stepped back. Harry sighed and took a few steps before faltering slightly. Tonks rushed to his side and propped him up. They walked out of the room and into the hallway where Harry leaned against the wall trying to regain some strength.

"I need to relax and get some sleep," Harry complained. "That bastard took a lot out of me."

Tonks grabbed his arm and led him to the team room so they could portkey to Potter Estate. "There is a very good reason you are weak. The amount of power you were putting into your spells was a big reason most of us watched the fight. It is one thing to see magic being thrown about, but to feel it as well is something completely different."

"Glad I could entertain everyone," Harry forced out between clenched teeth as he weakened with each step. They finally reached the team room and portkeyed away. Tonks had to Levitate Harry up the stairs, through the bedroom, and into the bathroom. She deposited him in the bath and removed his clothes before running the water.

"To soothe away your aches and pains."

"I let him get away, Nymph. I could have stopped him. I tried but I wasn’t good enough. He nearly killed me again. When is he going to get it right and finish me off?"

"As long as we work together, that won’t happen, Harry. You are better than him in every way. You will get him sooner or later." At Harry’s dismal look she reinforced her point. "It will happen when it is supposed to happen."

"And how many more will die before then?"

"Less than if you gave up," Tonks prodded. "Now, you be quiet and let me work away your troubles."

Harry submitted to her soft and small hands massaging his body until he was a picture perfect prune. He hobbled to bed and curled into Tonks for a change. Her soft breast made a wonderful pillow for his sleepy head.


Friday was a recovery day for the teams. The Ministry had swooped in after everything had calmed down and taken over. Rumour had it that Amelia Bones was livid at the response time of the aurors to help at the prison. An old directive from Fudge’s stint as Minister was blamed for the chain of command breaking down before Kingsley or Bones were notified. It was a good thirty minutes before the information had filtered through the ranks and reached them.

Amelia had never had to deal with an incident like a mass prison break during her stead as Director of the Magical Law Enforcement Division so she hadn’t ran into the problem. She corrected the situation and followed up by looking at every order Fudge had put in place and vetoed any that seemed to stall the response to a catastrophe. The papers were all a thither over the prison break that they mostly ignored the notice that every Death Eater was declared an enemy of the state.

Any holdouts within the Ministry to the efforts Amelia was putting forth kept quiet as the public rallied around her. The vast amount of unfiltered information leaving the Ministry and going to the papers kept the press on her side. Nothing secret was revealed, but it didn’t need to be to be leagues ahead of the drivel Fudge shared. Everyone had the sense that for once in a long while the Ministry was working for them and not against them.

Tonks received a message from Dumbledore that an Order meeting was scheduled for Sunday and it was important that Harry be there even though that was part of the agreement reached during the first meeting of the summer.


Saturday was uneventful as Harry lounged around the house and played with Tonks. They either worked on different spells or each other. Tiki had walked in on them more than a few times and had finally given up on cleaning some of the rooms until she knew they were asleep or sequestered away in Harry’s room.

Sunday slipped away as Harry spent much of his time working on his Occlumency with Tonks. She proved to him that she was rather handy with the skill even if she didn’t slam into his barriers. She was very adept at distracting him and slipping through his defenses.

"I know they won’t use my particular techniques, but it is best to be skilled in all forms of detection," Tonks explained as she rebuttoned her shirt. "Now, we try again." Tonks worked on his mental shields for hours until they had to get to the meeting.

Harry created a return portkey and checked his cloak for all of the important bits he might need. He stilled his mind until Tonks joined him on the bed. "Ready to go, Harry?"

"No time like the present, I guess," Harry said non-committally.

"That is my Harry,’ Tonks joked roughing his hair more than normal. She gave him a solid kiss before grabbing his hand tightly. "If you will assist me through the wards, dear sir."

Harry Apparated them to the park where they began the short walk to Grimmauld Place. They climbed the stairs and Harry knocked sharply. When they heard the locks being disengaged, they released each other’s hand. When the door opened, Harry was greeted by Remus smiling at him.

"Wonderful to see you again, Harry," Remus spoke in a soft tone. "I hope everything is well for you." Remus looked at both of them smiling and getting his real question across.

"Things are wonderful, Moony," Harry answered. "This has been the best summer yet. Everything go alright over the past few days?"

Remus frowned. "With me, everything went fine. It’s the rest of the world that has had a hard time of it. I am sure you read about Azkaban."

"Yes, I did. Funny that Snape didn’t warn us before it happened." Harry closed the door behind him as Tonks slipped in next to him. She ran her hand over his shoulder before leaving them alone and walking into the living room. A chorus of greetings told Harry that many had already arrived.

"I see things are just as good as or better than they were when I left," Remus observed giving Harry a one armed hug.

"I am in over my head, Moony," Harry sighed with a smile stretching across his face. "But it feels so comfortable, and I don’t know, perfect. Like I said, best summer yet."

They entered the living room to find they were the last to arrive. Dumbledore stood from a conjured chintz chair and moved to join them. "Remus, perhaps you can take my seat while I speak with Harry for a moment."

Remus looked to Harry and saw the relaxed way he had entered the house had left. "Is that okay with you, Harry?"

"Fine." Harry met Dumbledore’s gaze and never let it go. Once they were alone and Dumbledore had moved them into the kitchen, he sighed deeply, removed his glasses, and rubbed his eyes.

"Of my mistakes in life," Dumbledore spoke with a regrettable tone, "you have suffered the most from them. I am truly sorry for that. Not as your headmaster, nor your teacher, but as any other man; I ask your forgiveness. You do not need to give me an answer now, I prefer you don’t. Please, reserve your reply until a later time after you have thought it over and I have had time to show you I am sorry. Now, let’s rejoin our friends and discuss recent events and plan for the future."

Completely thrown, Harry followed Dumbledore back to the living room where everyone was waiting. The first thing Harry really noticed was that Ron and Ginny weren’t there. "Where is Ron and Ginny?"

"Oh they are at home, dear," Molly told him as she finished hugging him and trying to straighten his hair. "More stubborn than a Weasley," Molly comment as she gave up on his raven hair.

Harry gave her a warm smile and joked, "Have to fit in with you guys somehow." He scanned the room and saw the regulars along with a few extras. Next to twins were Lee Jordan, Angelina Johnson, Alicia Spinnet, and Oliver Wood. "What are you guys doing here?" Harry asked in a slightly demanding tone.

Taken back by the forceful way Harry had asked, Wood was the only one to answer. "The twins flooed me and asked if I wanted to help out. Made more sense than anything else they had asked me before, so here I am."

Harry turned and looked Dumbledore in the eyes demanding an answer. "You challenged my willingness to act, Harry. We needed more people so I got more people. They have a right to fight for what they believe in the same as you."

"Not like I have a choice," Harry relented knowing he should have guessed as much. "I am glad to see you here and not on the other side." Harry received smiles and nods from the past Gryffindors.

"Red and gold always sticks together, Harry," Angelina said with as much zest as any speech she gave as Quidditch captain.

"Now, we have a lot to cover since both sides have been rather active in the last few weeks." Dumbledore looked over the group with a measure gaze. "Harry, care to give us a rundown of what you have been up to."

Harry met the look and smiled. "Death Eaters attacked Hermione’s. She stayed with me for bit until I had her house protected. They went back last week. I think Snape can tell us why Voldemort stopped by shortly after the Grangers were returned home." Snape sneered and glared at Harry. "Oh yes, I was there. I was twenty feet away when Voldemort was looking for the house. I cheered when Wormtail was tortured. By the way, what were you and he talking about before you portkeyed him away?"

Dumbledore snapped his head to Snape and waited for an answer. "Our discussion is no concern of yours, Potter. I am surprised you held back and didn’t try to be the hero again. Learning for once?"

Harry laughed. "No, Hermione and Tonks held me back. I learned shortly after that. I wonder where else you have been when things happened?"

"Harry, please continue," Dumbledore prompted. "I know you have been doing more than visiting the Grangers. Oh, and a wonderful job with their security too. I have yet to be able to find their home or business. Excellent ward work."

"Cost a fortune," Tonks mumbled but it was loud enough to be heard. Bill was visibly nodding his head in the corner.

"Money is just that," Harry dismissed the comment. "Been flying some and enjoying my summer. For once, I don’t want to go back to school."

"That would be a treat," Snape hissed.

"For both of us," Harry agreed with the Potions Master for the first time in his life.

"I know there has been more than that, but I will not press the issue now." Dumbledore took control of the meeting again, "The events of a few days ago have the entire world on alert. Voldemort has his best Death Eaters back in the fold. The break out was a huge hit against us and the Ministry. I know none of this is a mystery to any of you, but I am confident that many didn’t read deeper into that issue of the Prophet. It seems that all Death Eaters have been declared enemies of the state. I am sure there are few here who know what that means." Dumbledore steepled his fingers. Would you mind informing us, Harry?"

Harry smirked as all eyes turned to him yet again. "It means that all of their holdings may be purchased away from them. Any ownership in companies, ventures, or the like can be taken away without their consent at market value."

"Am I safe to assume that you informed the Minister of that long forgotten law?" Dumbledore asked his raised eyebrows and a thoughtful look on his face.

"You would be safe in assuming that."

"And who would be able to buy up the shares released by such a maneuver?"

"I believe a couple goblins are working on that," Harry pondered.

"More like ten," Bill added. On Dumbledore’s query, Bill elaborated. "Gringotts was a madhouse on Friday. Ragnok called in some of the best financial minds the bank has at its disposal. They were generating more activity in an hour than the bank normally does in a week. I was put on a secure detail that ferried goblins between your vaults, Harry, and over twenty others around the system."

"Care to enlighten us, Harry?" The headmaster requested leaving little doubt that he wanted an answer.

"I haven’t met with Ragnok yet, but it seems that I most likely spent quite a bit of money on Friday. Though, I am sure I got something for it." Harry couldn’t help but enjoy the looks he saw on everyone’s faces. The best was the one Albus wore.

"Are there any more surprises, Harry?" Dumbledore asked but only found a smirk as a reply. "I see that you are going to let us find out the hard way then. Regardless of what happens, that was an inventive strategy to tackle Voldemort’s financial base."

"Ragnok brought it up," Harry informed him. "Thank him not me."

Albus inclined his head in response. "It took both of you and an army of goblins to execute it. Well done, Harry. Now, something happened in Knockturn alley earlier in the week and the Ministry has no record of it. It would seem that our belief that the Department of Mysteries is involved in this war is indeed true at this time. I asked everyone that would know about something like this and only three people declined comment. Those people are in special positions in the Ministry and the fact that they refused to answer told me what I needed to know."

"And how does that affect us, Albus," Moody rumbled.

"For our safety if we are on a mission of our own and we come into contact with people in slightly odd looking grey cloaks, do what they say and do not point your wand at them," Albus stressed. "They are most likely Unspeakables and not the ones locked away in the basement of the Ministry researching Merlin knows what. They are empowered by the Ministry to do what needs done to protect the Ministry. They can and will kill if they feel threatened. I will say that they are generally on our side and will make for a formidable obstacle against Voldemort."

"They were at Azkaban, Headmaster," Snape interrupted. "They were the bulk of the force against the escape. One of them even fought the Dark Lord personally. Amazingly, he managed to land a spell. He wasn’t happy afterwards." Snape shuddered as he went silent.

"Things are looking brighter for us," Albus said cheerfully. "I will have to work with the Ministry more closely so we aren’t getting in their way."

Harry wanted an answer to a question that had bothered him for a while. "Professor?"

Albus tilted his head graciously, "Yes, Harry."

"It seems that Snape has been at every Death Eater mission lately," Harry said. "Why haven’t we been alerted before these things happen? Did you know about the attack on Hermione’s before it happened?"

Snape fumed as Harry splayed open a very touchy subject. "Harry, Professor Snape is in a difficult position almost daily. He tells me what he can when he can."

"I wasn’t asking you, Albus," Harry never took his eyes off of Snape. "I would like an answer, Snape. If you knew about Hermione and Azkaban before they happened, you should have told us."

Snape had enough and reached his limit of being chastised by a Potter. "And do what, Potter? Trade my position for the life of one know-it-all girl and her muggle family? To stop the first attempt at breaking into Azkaban? He would have kept trying until he broke in."

The greasy haired man realized too late that his comment about Hermione was a misstep. Harry had been moving towards him slowly in a non-threatening way until he was about six feet away. Once Harry reached that distance, he struck. He leapt at Snape pulling out the knife he had in his cloak. With the tip pointing in the same direction as his elbow, Harry made a v-shape with the two and placed both on either side of his neck and pinned him against the wall.

Harry’s growth spurt had equaled out the height difference to the point that it didn’t matter. Harry grabbed Snape’s wand with his left hand and pinned it against Snape’s chest holding it in place. The movement had forced the spy to the side and put his neck in direct contact with the blade of the dagger Harry sunk into the wall. Snape saw the fire in Harry’s eyes and exhaled through his mouth at a lost of what to do.

Harry’s eyes bored into Snape’s. He tried to set the man alight with his gaze. He heard a rustling behind him, but he didn’t care. He heard Tonks order people back and he knew that she had her wand out. "Yes, Severus," Harry hissed nearly bordering on Parseltongue. "You should give up your position to stop an attack on Azkaban. You should give your life to stop an attack on Hermione and her family."

Mustering all the fortitude he had, Snape asked, "And why should I?"

Harry allowed a feral smile to show on his face. "Because, I promise you that if you let her or any of my friends die to save your fucking position, I will kill you myself. No Dumbledore or Voldemort would be able to save you. That is my vow to you. Let them die and you will join them." Harry squeezed Snape’s hand until his entire arm was shaking from the stress.

Snape’s expression broke first as he saw the truth in Harry’s words. He felt Harry fight against the desire to end his life. He saw the look of a killer beneath the surface of Harry’s eyes before the normal softness returned to the bright green eyes. Harry pushed away slowly and let the edge of the knife trail equally slowly along Snape’s neck. A surgically fine cut was left in its wake and blood was pulled in his collar by gravity.

Harry maintained eye contact as he wiped the blade on his cloak and returned it to its place. Harry slid back to his place against the wall and saw half of the room had their wands out, but they were aimed at the floor. When he reached Tonks, he saw that she did have her wand out and it was aimed directly at Dumbledore who still looked ready to stop Harry. "I am willing to trade my life for my friends. Are any of you willing to do the same thing?"

Albus sighed and lowered his wand and put it away. He seemed deep in thought as he mulled over what he would say. A smile told Harry that things were going to be okay so he pulled his hand away from the portkey in his pocket and tapped Tonks on the foot to signal she could let go of his cloak.

"The passion of youth," Albus said longingly. "Invigorating as always, Harry. Severus, perhaps you should tend to that wound before you pass out."

Snape left the house quickly and quietly as Wood blurted out, "That is how he plays Quidditch. I knew he was going to be perfect the minute I saw that look on his face…" Alicia smacked Wood on the back of his head to stop him from going off on one of his frequent tirades.

The meeting continued with Harry and Tonks standing close together and waiting for someone to yell at them. It never happened and most people left that night thinking about what Harry had said. Were they willing to die for their friends? Their family was an easy decision but their friends was a more difficult choice.

Before he left, Harry felt a strong but thin hand on his shoulder. "I admire your passion, Harry, but Severus deals with so much and he never gets a break from it. The Mark is more than a simple Mark."

Harry lifted his hair to show his famous scar. "I, more than anybody, know exactly what that means, Professor. But that has never stopped me from doing what is right."

Albus smiled in a grandfatherly way before speaking. "And that is why you are Harry Potter and not Severus Snape. You have yet to make that choice at a moment of weakness. Some day Severus might tell you his story and you may find sympathy for him. Until then, keep doing what you are doing, Harry. You have shown me this summer that you are up to the challenge that will ultimately be Voldemort."

Harry relaxed and tried to look at his life from a neutral point of view. The only thing he saw was himself as an old man second guessing the decisions he made decades before and always finding faults with them. Harry wasn’t sure if they were his own thoughts or ones Dumbledore planted in his mind some how, but it was a valid worry if he lived long enough for it to matter.

"You do not have my forgiveness," Harry began and saw Dumbledore visibly slump, "yet. Given time, honesty, and survival, I believe we will be able to work beyond the past." Harry held out his hand in a truce for everything that had happened between them.

"Always what is right, never what is easy," Dumbledore said grasping Harry’s hand firmly and with surprising strength. "I believe this is yours." Albus pulled out an envelope marked like every other Hogwarts start of term letter. "Choose your classes wisely, Harry. The future does not always go where we think it will. Were it so, I would have been the best confectioner in the Wizarding world had I had my way."

Harry couldn’t help but laugh at such a silly image that sprouted in his mind. Dumbledore with cotton candy sticking to all of his hair, lollies poking out of his pockets, and chocolate covering his hands as he fumbled with bits of wrapping. "Care for a sour, Harry?" Dumbledore asked holding out a bag of lemon sours.

"No thanks, Professor, but thank you for offering all the same." Harry smiled and walked out the door with Tonks at his side.

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