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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

12. Lost Childhood

                      Harry rolled over and felt a slightly painful pulling sensation on his arm. It was an unpleasant feeling and he wanted it to stop. Eyes open, Harry looked down at the source of the irritation. He saw the bandage over his wound and started remembering the night before.  

The frustration of never beating his second opponent dominated his memories. Harry tried to figure out another way he could have won the fight, but he couldn’t think of anything that would have worked short of using an unblockable curse. He continued to fume until a feathery sigh distracted him.

Harry looked at Tonks who was draped across his body sleeping soundly. Harry focused on her slight movements as she breathed. He couldn’t help but think of what could have happened to her if he had been beaten. She was holding her own when he got to her, but if his guy had teamed up with hers she could have been hurt or killed.

As the dreadful thoughts swam around in his mind, he instinctively pulled Tonks further up to his chest and held her tightly. The more he thought the more he realized that Tonks depended on him doing his part. It all came down to what Horace had been saying in training. Everyone was responsible for their part. The team relied on each of the parts carrying their own weight. If one broke down, all of it could fall apart and people could get hurt.

Concentrating on the what ifs, led Harry to reconsider his reasoning behind the entire summer thus far. ‘Am I ready for all of this? Can I do what needs done when it needs done?’ These thoughts dominated his time as Tonks woke to the tight embrace from Harry.

She looked forward and saw Harry’s arms wrapped around her body holding her tightly. She felt safe and secure with him. She had never felt so close to someone who wasn’t a family member. She reveled in the feelings washing over her. As the minutes passed, her feisty nature returned. She slowly moved her hand up Harry’s chest trying to get to his face unnoticed.

She knew he was awake, but his focus wasn’t on her at the moment. She paused when he tightened his hold for a second. Once he relaxed again, she continued on to her goal. Tonks managed to get her hand to his face and caressed it gently as she gazed into his unfocused eyes. After a few seconds, she saw those green eyes shift to her face and bore into her soul.

Her sleepy and playful smile faded as she read Harry’s expression. Concern, desire, drive, and need were all visible. "Harry, what is it?"

"I promise that I will do better next time, Nymph. I didn’t do what I should have yesterday. I could have beaten my guy, but I, I don’t know, I guess I didn’t want it bad enough or something."

"You did just fine, Harry. I didn’t get my guy either so I have no room to talk bad about your performance."

"You could have been hurt. I can’t let that happen. It would have been my fault if I lost and then you would have had two people to fight at once. All that Horace has been saying is starting to make sense. I will not fail you, Nymph. I can’t fail you."

"Harry, shh." Tonks pulled herself up to Harry and proceeded to give him light kisses as he calmed down. She would look at him after each one before giving him another. "We learn something after every fight, Harry. If you are around to learn it, then you did okay." Tonks continued kissing Harry has the concern slipped away and the other emotions came to the surface.

Tonks found herself under Harry as he showered her with kisses and pressed himself against her naked body. She felt desire controlling his actions as he pushed her in very friendly ways. Feeling her body react in kind, Tonks let go of what little resolve she had. "Harry, I am always ready when you are."

Harry responded by running his hand up the length of her body eliciting a slight shiver as he brushed certain spots lightly. At her moan, Harry connected with Tonks and poured himself into the actions. The desire and need were so overpowering that Harry felt like a passenger in his quest to become one with Tonks.

All he could think about was her getting hurt because of him. Every time a thought like that came into his mind, Harry held Tonks tighter. Every worry and fear was excised as he made love to her. It took his utter collapse before his brain reengaged.

"Harry, that was, I don’t know, amazing," Tonks breathed as she fought to regain her breath. "What brought that on? Not that I am complaining, mind you."

"I could have lost you last night. I don’t think I could take it."

"You didn’t almost lose me, Harry. Remember, if it gets too bad, we retreat. Do not forget that if you think you are in over your head. I don’t want to lose you because you forgot you could escape. How silly would that be?"

"Pretty thick, but I am rather thick at times I guess." Harry smirked at his insult.

Tonks smirked as well, but in a more suggestive way. "In more ways than one, Harry." She watched as Harry figured it out and his mouth dropped open. His lowered regions twitched a little too. "Exactly, luv."

"You are bad, you know that?"

"As bad as you want me to be." Tonks’ smirk disappeared as Harry took up the challenge with renewed determination.


It was an hour later when Harry awoke to Dobby bouncing on his bed. Harry lifted his head out of Tonks hair and looked at the elf happily bouncing up and down on the foot of the bed. "Ah, Dobby, do you need something?" Harry checked to see if any of Tonks was exposed, but he found that he was covering most of her form that the sheet didn’t.

"Dobby not need things, Harry. Dobby is waiting for Harry to wake. Dobby has breakfast ready for Harry."

"Thank you, Dobby. I guess we could be downstairs in a few minutes."

"Harry not need go downstairs." Dobby snapped his fingers and two trays of food appeared and hovered above the bed. "Tiki make Tonks’ tray. She not let Dobby make it."

"Thank you, Dobby, and thank Tiki for me too." Harry watched Dobby lower the trays to the foot of the bed and disappear with a crack.

"Funny elf, but what else could you expect with you, huh Harry?" Tonks asked as she pulled herself into a sitting position. Harry couldn’t stop himself from staring as her breasts were completely exposed in her new position. She pulled the tray into her lap and started eating. "What? It is not like you haven’t seen them before. Actually, you have done a lot more than see them if I remember correctly."

Harry shook himself back to reality and formulated a response. "That is true, but I have never seen them in a situation like this. The other times we were doing stuff. Right now, we are eating like normal people. I don’t know why, but it is different all the same."

"Hmm, well, I guess that is true, but I don’t have a problem with it. Do you?"

"Oh, no. No problem at all, Nymph." Harry couldn’t help but look at Tonks.

"You had better start eating or it will get cold. If I am distracting you too much, I can cover them up."

"Oh, no need for that," Harry said quickly earning him a knowing smile from Tonks. He started eating but his eyes routinely drifted back to Tonks’ exposed chest. When she would laugh at him, they would bounce further confounding Harry. It was a long breakfast with numerous laughs coming from Tonks.


A very late morning found Harry and Tonks leaving the house and wondering the grounds carrying two old brooms that had been found in a cupboard. Harry walked around the house once and saw a greenhouse, a gravel path, and the stables. As they neared the stables, Jules met them giving each a sniff before calmly following them around. The stables were old and made of huge timbers hewn from massive trees. The runner in the center of the roof ran the full length and was a single piece of wood from one very old tree.

Harry counted ten stalls on each side with an oversized one for Jules near the main entrance. Tonks had been hesitant to stand near Jules, but with Harry showing open affection for her Jules seemed to accept Tonks’ presence, but subtly tried to keep Tonks separate from Harry. Harry inspected the stalls and could see faint hoof marks in the dirt.

"I wonder if we have any horses." Harry asked no one in particular.

"No horses, Harry," Paul announced as he walked around the corner of a stall Harry had yet to look into. "Horses pass years ago. If Harry want horses, Paul get horses."

"Do you want a horse, Paul?"

"Paul want what Harry want."

"I have never had a horse, nor have I ridden one. I wouldn’t know the first thing about them. If you would like to have one, get it. I am sure I can afford one."

"It is Harry’s decision about horses, not Paul’s."

"Paul, this is your house too. I leave it up to you to choose. Is there anything I can do for you?"

"Does Harry require anything?"

Harry shook his head and Paul drifted off in a rather lost fashion. Turning to Tonks, he sighed. "I think there is something wrong with him."

"He is old and so much has happened to him, Harry. You aren’t going to change him. He is too set in his ways for that. Just treat him as you do the others and he will be fine."

Harry put his arm around Tonks and hugged her to him. With a light kiss to her temple, they moved on to the path. Harry followed it around a copse of trees and over the stream that ran on the property. The gravel glistened in the sunlight as the quartz in the rock reflected the rays.

The path diverged at one point. It veered north into the trees or east along the base of a hill. Harry selected the east path as their course. As they rounded a mound of earth, Harry stopped and looked out into an open field. His eyes lit up and his arms fell to his sides. The broom was released and hovered next to him. Tonks placed her hand on his shoulder and gripped him firmly.

"Go on, it is yours to enjoy."

"Join me?" Harry said as he hopped on the broom and took off as fast as he could. It wasn’t Firebolt speeds but it was the best he could do until he retrieved his beloved broom from Hogwarts. Harry flew along the ground to the middle of the clearing then pulled straight up into a slow spiral until he came even with the tree tops.

After leveling off and hovering for a bit, Harry turned to watch Tonks join him side-by-side. "A natural aren’t you?"

"So I have been told. I can’t believe it. I have always hoped, but it was always a dream."

"Harry, did you honestly think that your father wouldn’t have a Quidditch pitch if it was possible?"

"Well, I didn’t know. For all I knew, our house was destroyed and I had nothing but some money in Gringotts."

"When you are wrong, you really do it up proper don’t you?"

"Yes, I do, Nymph." Harry whooped once before diving straight down at the ground. He pulled up about ten feet off the ground and flew along the perimeter of the field. White stone blocks ringed the pitch demarking the boundary. Six gold hoops were placed at the ends of the pitch. They stood tall and proud against the blue sky, green grass, and sparkling sun.

After ringing the pitch, Harry flew around each of the goals using them as opposing players. He paused for a few minutes to close his eyes and absorb the liberating feeling of flight. A rustle of cloth told him that Tonks had joined him again.

"Next to spending time with you and my friends, this is the best thing in the world. If I could fly for the rest of my life, I would do it in a heart beat."

"You could try for professional teams after you graduate. I am confident that you would make it onto a team."

"If only that could happen, Nymph. No Death Eaters, no Dumbledore, just me and the snitch and the other Seeker. It is so simple and I love it."

"Well, I am not much at seeking, but I can try and give you a run for your money."

"That sounds great, but I don’t have a snitch."

"Didn’t you see the shed under the trees to the south? I bet your father has a full set of balls in there. Care to check on that?"

Harry tore off towards the shed leaving Tonks to follow along. She reached the shed as Harry was dragging a trunk out of it. He popped it open and spied the little cubby where the snitch was stored. He opened the doors and pulled the snitch out holding it in his hand waiting for the wings to open and take flight. As soon as the wings spread to their full width and fluttered once, a yellowish glow appeared and the snitch was pulled into the pitch.

Harry followed it with his eyes as it flew off as if nothing had happened to it. "What was that?"

"Not sure, maybe the field has a charm on it to keep the snitch inside the field of play. They use those kinds of things at the real matches to prevent the audience from interfering in the match by grabbing the snitch."

"Well, you up for a friendly game of capture the snitch, Nymph?"

"Sure, Harry. What are the stakes?" Tonks asked as she mounted her broom.

"Stakes?" Harry gave her a coy look as he mounted his broom as well.

"Yeah, what do I get if I beat you?"

"Umm, what do you want?"

"How about…and hour of dancing?" Tonks smiled wide as Harry looked back appalled at her suggestion.

"Umm, anything else you want? Anything at all?"

"Nope, that is good enough for now. How about you?" Harry blushed and looked at the ground. "How about something you wouldn’t normally get, Harry." He blushed even harder before he managed to gain control of it. "Oh, you must be thinking some really dirty things for you to have blushed so bad. What are they? You will never know if I am willing to do them unless you tell me."

Harry sputtered before giving his choice. "You teach me how to drive one of the cars in the garage."

"Is that all?" Tonks asked her smile dropping in disappointment. "I was actually looking forward to your other ideas. Oh well, maybe next time." Tonks smirked again as Harry shifted on his broom. "And we are off." Tonks flew onto the pitch and started searching for the snitch feverishly.

Harry joined the search and went in the opposite direction giving Tonks a chance at beating him. As the time passed, Harry ended up capturing the snitch after a short chase where Tonks didn’t stand a chance.

"Two out of three," Tonks yelled from her position across the field. She flew over to Harry as he released the snitch. She came to a halt in front of him and pulled her shirt up enough to expose her breasts. She moved from side to side a few times before returning her shirt to its original place and took off.

Tonks lost again as Harry managed to refocus in time after her blatant attempt to shake his concentration and caught the snitch out from underneath her broom. He smiled as Tonks frowned when she knew that she really didn’t have a chance at beating him.

"Must I play naked to beat you?"

"It might help," Harry replied as he raised his eyebrows and gave Tonks a lustful smirk.

"You would probably beat me anyway. Starkers or not, I am no match for your seeking abilities. Well, do you want that lesson now or not?"

"Sounds good to me." Harry returned the snitch to the trunk and moved it back to the shed before joining Tonks in a slow flight back to the house. When they flew past the stables, Jules ran after them causing Tonks to fly much faster in her return to the house. Brooms left in the kitchen, Harry and Tonks went into the garage and Harry selected the automobile he wanted to drive. Tonks laughed but waved him on as he opened the door.

"Now, this is much like the motorbike only you have the pedals and steering wheel. You still have to feather the gas and clutch to keep the shifting smooth, but I doubt that you could kill this auto unless you really tried. It has more than enough power to handle poor shifting."

After a short tutorial on how the mechanics of the auto worked, Harry backed out of the garage slowly. He was about to put the car into drive when a shadow came over his window. Jules was looking into the auto more intently than ever.

Harry lowered the window and told Jules it was okay. Only after repeated calls did Jules settle herself in front of the open garage door. Harry drove around the driveway a few times getting a feel for the steering, gas, and brake. Tonks suggested he drive around the grounds before they took to the road.

On the third go around the grounds, each faster than the previous, Harry caught sight of Paul hanging his head and shaking it. Harry wondered what was wrong, but when he saw the grass he was kicking up in the rearview he knew the reason. Tonks laughed at him when Harry explained what he guessed what the problem was.

They left the grounds at a fairly nice clip traveling down the tree lined lane. Harry loved the vibrations he felt when he accelerated and made turns. "This is almost as good as flying, almost."

They made it to the end of the lane and Tonks directed him to take the right hand turn away from the village. Harry managed to adapt to the auto faster than he had to the motorbike. There was less to worry about and Tonks was in a better position to instruct him. As the sun crept lower in the horizon, Harry found a nice flat open stretch of road and opened it up. He was enjoying the freedom of driving with Tonks sitting next to him.

The flash of colored lights added illumination to the interior startling Harry. When he figured out what was going on, he noticed that a police vehicle was behind him and the flashing lights were slowly gaining. Harry looked down at the speedometer and his stomach fell. The gauge read one hundred and forty km. "Bloody hell. First time out and I am going to end up in lockup."

"Oh Harry, are you a wizard or not?" Tonks laughed as she drew her wand and laid it in her lap out of sight from the window. "Just relax and do what he tells you to do."

Harry took a few deep breaths and waited as the officer approached his window. A rap on the glass made Harry lower the window. "License and vehicle papers please."

Harry smiled nervously and turned to Tonks who had already opened the glove box and was looking for the papers. She found them and passed them to Harry who in turn handed them to the officer who looked them over.

"A little outdated aren’t they?"

"This is the first time it has been out in years. Simply running it a bit to make sure everything is still in working order," Tonks provided with a smile.

"License, son?"

"Uh, well, you see…"

"Are you even old enough to have a license?" Asked the officer.

"Um, not exactly, but how was I doing?" Harry offered meekly.

"Aside from exceeding the posted by nearly double, not too bad. Alright, son, how about you step out of the vehicle and walk back with me. You know you won’t get a license for awhile longer now. Couldn’t wait a few more weeks?"

"Actually, I am not even sixteen yet."

"All the same, step out of the vehicle please."

"Um, officer, could I say something?"

"What is it Miss?"

"Obliviate," Tonks said raising her wand as the spell hit the officer causing him to look rather blank. "You never saw us. The roadway was empty for most of the night. Now return to your post and have a good night."

The officer returned to his vehicle and drove back the way he had come. "Handy thing, magic. Now if you are going to make a habit of muggle transportation, we should go to the DVLA and get you a license for autos and motorcycles. I can work it so you don’t have to take the tests. Otherwise, we could see what Marcus could do for you. I am sure he has the ability to fix you up."

"Whatever is easiest, Nymph. Thanks by the way. I didn’t know what to do."

"As odd as it sounds, that wasn’t the first time I have had to do that. I am rather heavy with the foot as well. Now, we should get back home before it gets too dark. Learning in daylight is nothing compared to the dark."

"Okay." Harry turned around and drove back home. He kept the speed at the posted mark and not a hair above. When they returned, Jules was waiting for them at the garage. She moved to allow them in only after Harry had lowered the window letting her to verify who they were.

The remainder of the night was spent on the couch or in bed enjoying each other’s company.


Sunday dawned with less fanfare as the sun was hidden behind numerous clouds that had moved in during the night. Tonks woke Harry by tweaking his nose and flicking his ears. Her laughter was muffled as Harry buried her face into a pillow. They wrestled for a bit until Harry had to get up and send a letter to someone.

Once Hedwig was called from her perch and saddled with his note, she flew off into the mass of haze towards someone who had something of his. Harry descended into the training room where Tonks was waiting.

"After every mission, we have a debriefing. We try to identify positives, negatives, and areas for improvement. We should discuss what happened at the Lovegoods."

Harry described what he saw and his ideas for next time. He left out his concern for Tonks when telling about the future plans. Tonks listened and gave her own description of events. Once finished, Tonks smiled at him warmly.

"Now, you said that none of your spells hit the second guy. Why do you think that is?"

"I don’t know. He was good. He always seemed fast enough to get out of the way before they got to him."

"Well, you were a ways away from him weren’t you? That only makes it easier for someone to defend. Even fast spells aren’t instantaneous. He could have been a really good dueler. That makes it easier as well. Were you Occluding your mind?"

"Ah, not really. I just kind of fought. Why?"

"Do you Occlude your mind from Horace in training?"

"Yes of course, or he will use it against me. Why?"

"Well, anyone can use it against you. Not everyone is an aggressive Occlumens. Some are passive ones. They can get a glimpse of the spell you are casting as you do it or they can predict your movements before you move. You always need to shield your mind. No matter where or when. My guess is that your guy used all of them against you and that is why you couldn’t hit him."

"Damn it! So I could have had him if I had only blocked my mind more? I stuffed it up again. Damn it all."

"Now Harry," Tonks laughed. "No harm done. Just remember it for next time. This is why we do this. It isn’t a blame session. It is a learning technique that will only help you next time. Now, what are the plans for today?"

"I would like to see what is at the end of the north path. We could go flying again if you are up to it. I know you lost kind of bad yesterday so I am willing to give you another chance."

"Oh ho, I am a charity case now, am I? I think not, Mr. Potter. No, sir. I can beat you without your pity just…not at seeking. Chasing, now I should be better at that."

"Whatever you say, Nymphadora."

"You are doubting and mocking me aren’t you?"

"No Nymphadora."

"Yes, you are." Tonks jumped on him and hugged him tightly as Harry staggered around trying to find the balance point for the two of them. The laughter gave way to kissing as Harry maneuvered his way down the stairs.

On the path, Harry led the way to the north and deep into the trees. They walked for a time before coming to an elegant gate amidst the trees. Pushing it open, Harry stepped into a scene that both warmed his heart and sent chills up his spine. White stones marked the graves of a few dozen people. Some of the stones were plain; some were adorned with scrollwork, while others had images or busts of phoenixes and griffins topping them. The stones were aligned in a spiral patterns starting in the center and spinning outward.

Harry looked around seeking and dreading the names chiseled into the stone. He began a trip around the site looking for the names of his parents. Half way around the clearing, he saw a stone reading ‘James’ and ‘Lily’ above two sets of dates. There was room to the right of the headstone for additional ones. Harry took a deep breath before he stepped forward to stand in front of the grave.

He read the names slowly as he absorbed their meaning. His parents were buried at his feet. The same ones who gave their lives so he could live; the same ones who were stolen from him years ago by a madman. His anger and pain swelled in him as he broke down into sobs.

"Mum?" Harry shuddered while dropping to his knees. "Dad?" Harry touched the letters that formed the names. He traced them with his long fingers as he said each letter softly. Harry remained on his knees as he cried for his lost childhood and all the love that he had never experienced.

"I am sorry that everything happened the way it did. I am sorry that it took me so long to get here. I…" He paused as he thought all the thoughts that swirled in his head. "I promise it won’t be for nothing. I will do you proud. I will show you that I am worthy of living while you aren’t anymore."

Harry rubbed at his eyes and looked at the white flowers that bloomed around the grave. Lilies surrounded the site and seemed to sparkle brighter than any that could be found in the world. Harry stared at them for a few minutes before looking back to see if Tonks had followed him.

She stood right behind him, tears trailing down her own cheeks, as she looked not at the headstone but at Harry. "I am so sorry, Harry. If I could make it better, I would."

Harry smiled sadly at her and grasped her hand pulling her down to him. He enveloped her in a hug and cried on her shoulder. He felt his anguish ebb and flow as they held each other. Once he felt that he had purged the worst of his feelings, Harry turned to look at the grave again.

"Mum, Dad, this is Nymphadora. She has been a close friend this summer. I would do whatever I had to do to keep her safe. I care about her. I hope you would approve." Tonks rubbed his back and kissed his cheek brushing away the tears that remained.

"Do you want to be left alone for awhile Harry?"

"I, I don’t know. I want to sit here and talk to them, but that sounds silly. I want you to stay and share this with me, but I want to be alone too."

"How about I go over to the bench and wait for you. I will be here, but not too close. Tell them whatever you want to tell them. Tell them about your life, your hopes, and your dreams. They are your parents; they will listen as all parents do." Tonks stood and looked down at Harry. "Don’t hold anything back, Harry. They love you." She kissed his lips before moving away to sit on the bench in the middle of the cemetery.

Harry turned back to the marker and moved into a more comfortable sitting position using the stone behind him as a back rest. "I hope my relative won’t mind. I should try to figure out who he is at some point." Harry swallowed and focused on the present situation.

He thought about his life and all the good and bad things that had happened. Tonks words still rang in his ears as he began the process of telling his parents everything about his life. His hopes were few but determined. His dreams were frightening and joyous. He told them about his life and held nothing back. He poured his soul into his words as he spoke. He revealed fears that he had never voiced out loud before.

The whole time, he felt his parents watching and listening to him. He felt them embrace him when he needed it and cheer him on when he listed his accomplishments. He had never felt such an emotional rollercoaster before. As he reached the here and now, Harry looked back at Tonks and saw that she was watching him wearing a look of concern and pride.

Harry smiled at her and received the same in return. He turned back to the grave and smiled before getting to his feet. He leaned down to kiss the headstone and whispered something softly to his mum and dad before standing up straight. He looked ahead, into the trees, and then into the sky. A lone tear rolled down his cheek as he turned around with purpose.


Tonks watched as Harry stood and kissed the stone of his parents. She couldn’t help but cry for Harry. He had been through so much with so few to help. When he gazed off into nothing, Tonks looked at the names and whispered her own vow. ‘With my life, I will protect your son. I care for him so much. He will survive this fight.’

Tonks watched Harry turn and she felt his being focus on her. She stood and waited for him to join her at the bench. Harry strode towards her with determined steps as she watched.

"Nymph, thank you."

"For what, Harry?"

"For being you and being here. For being everything I needed and still do. I…do I have any of my childhood left now?"

"Oh Harry, I am not sure. You are still the same person that walked into this place."

"No, I am not. I am free of the fear, the self-doubt. I felt them listening to me. I felt them holding me. I felt my parents with me as I told them everything. I never would have gotten here without you, Nymph. I can’t thank you enough for this."

"Just stick around, Harry. That will be enough thanks. And never give up."

"I don’t think I know how to give up, Nymph. No matter how much I have wanted to, I could never do it. I…" Harry looked to the sides of the cemetery. He puffed out a breath before kissing Tonks as passionately as he could manage. "Thank you, Nymphadora Tonks. From me and all the Potters, thank you." Harry held on to her as he left the cemetery. When they reached the grounds, Harry seemed to weaken and held on to Tonks for support.

"Harry?" Tonks asked with concern.

"I think I wore myself out. I am awfully tired right now. Maybe a little too much excitement for one day, huh?"

"My guess is that you have never opened yourself up like that before. Pretty draining isn’t it?" Harry smiled weakly as he yawned. "How about you take a nap for a few hours? We have the meeting tonight and you need all the strength you can get for that."

"Oh, yeah, I guess I do. Well, maybe I should get back to the house then."

Tonks and Harry walked back to the house and up the stairs. Tonks settled Harry into the bed and rubbed his face until he fell asleep. Watching him snooze only endeared him to her more. ‘With my life.’ Tonks lay down next to him and drifted off after setting her wand for the meeting time.


The vibration woke Harry before Tonks. He felt alert and ready for anything as he Summoned his glasses into his hand and put them on. He saw Tonks smiling lightly in her sleep which caused him to smile as well. With a deep breath, Harry nudged Tonks awake and found her gazing up at him.

"I was sleeping here, Harry. What’s the big deal with waking me up?"

Seeing her squinting with laughter, Harry tickled her for her cheek. The sun was fading fast and it was beyond time to eat as his stomach told him loudly.

"Hungry much, Harry?"

"Actually, yes, I am hungry Nymph. Shall we see what there is to eat?"

After an elf-driven meal, Harry and Tonks waddled out of the house. "Remind me never to say that I am really hungry to those two again. Even Molly can’t get me to eat that much."

"They didn’t get you to eat that much; they forced you to eat that much. They know that you have been skipping meals and they made up for it. Now as long as I don’t throw up before we leave, I only have to survive Apparating."

"Oh, I don’t know if I can do it so soon after eating that much. Maybe we should walk to the gate before Apparating. It might be safer all around." Harry waited for Tonks to agree before they walked hand-in-hand to the gate with Jules close behind.

"Well, the park again I guess?"

"Yeah, that should be safest, Harry."

With a soft pop, Harry and Tonks appeared in the rundown park near Grimmauld Place. Harry fought the uneasy feeling in his stomach before he took a step. "Mental note for next time, wait longer before Apparating on a full stomach."

"You get used to it the more you do it," Tonks replied while looking a little green herself in the failing light.

"Follow your own advice much?"

"Not often, Harry." Tonks smirked as she put a hand on her stomach and held her place until the feeling passed. "Better, you?"

Harry closed his eyes and settled his mind while trying to do the same to his body. "Getting there."

With a gentle pull, Harry was uprooted and walked with Tonks to Number Twelve. As they climbed the steps, Harry cleared his mind and blocked it as well as he could. He knew a few people were going to look at him differently than they did before but that didn’t matter. Since he had arrived at home, everything was going really well. He had never been happier. ‘Come to think of it, I have never been sadder too. Nothing is ever easy when it involves me.’

Tonks knocked on the door and it opened to reveal Molly. She smiled at Harry and hugged him lovingly while giving Tonks an evil stare. Harry noticed and whispered in her ear. "I care about her. I am happy."

Molly returned the gesture, "If you are sure, Harry. You know I want you to be happy, but couldn’t you find someone closer to your age?"

"Could any of the women my age handle what I go through on a daily basis?"

Molly sighed and shook her head. "Only a couple that I know of, Harry." Molly turned and looked into the living room where a few voices could be heard over the others.

Harry recognized the twins, Ron, and Ginny’s over the others. Molly offered her hand to Tonks in as diplomatically a way as possible. Tonks took it and whispered something in her ear. Molly reacted instantly by looking Tonks in the eyes. Harry watched Tonks smile and nod with determination. His adoptive mother gave Tonks a quick hug before ushering them into the living room with the others.

"Harry," called numerous people at the same time. He nodded to each of them in turn. Ginny presented Harry with a knowing look before purposefully looking in Tonks’ direction. Harry gave her a pointed one in return. Ginny smiled and giggled from her spot between Molly and Hestia Jones. Her mother watched her actions closely.

Ron was about to pat Harry on the back and hand him a butterbeer when the twins knocked him out of the way. "Harry old chap," barked Fred.

"Wonderful to see you again," continued George.

"Gits," shouted Ron from the spot on the floor where he landed. "He is my friend; now clear out before you get hurt."

"Not now Ronniekins," Fred waved him off.

"We have a matter to discuss with Harry," George added, not missing a beat.

"Prats," Ron said as he got up off the floor only to see Harry escorted out of the room by the pair of brothers. "Bring him back in one piece."

The twins moved Harry into the hallway and cornered him as best they could. The identical, devilish smiles caused Harry pause. "Uh, what’s this about, guys?"

"As if you don’t know, Harry old chap," Fred replied.

"Ready to tell us yet?" George asked.

"Ready to tell you what?" Harry questioned not knowing what they meant.

"As if you forgot," Fred continued.

"We want to know," George finished.

"Know what?" Harry queried.

"He is playing thick dear brother."

"Quite. Maybe we should force some wheezes down his throat until he spills."

"I had a very full dinner," Harry offered quickly. "So I am not hungry right now."

"Maybe we could hang him upside down until he talks or sicks."

"I know what we can do," George stated like he had the answer to the universe.

"Oh, but that would be cruel, brother of mine," Fred added.

"Perfect!" They said in unison.

"You guys are really frightening when you do that you know," Harry said in a bored tone.

"Yes, we know," they chimed again. "It is a gift."

"Yes, gift, right," Harry offered in a doubtful tone. "Well, if you are done talking amongst yourselves, can I get back with the others?"

"Oh, don’t you wish to know what we plan to do?"

"Not really. I have no idea what you are talking about in the first place."

"Three weeks and his mind has gone to seed," Fred stated sadly.

"Memory is shoddy too. What a loss and at such a young age."

"Nutters, both of you," Harry said.

"Who is she?"

"Who is who?"

"The bird that marked you all up last time," Fred asked with interest.

"We asked and you dodged the question," George included.

"Now, we aren’t playing nice anymore," Fred smirked.

"Tell us or we will unleash our wrath," George said with all the flair of a salesman.

"And just what exactly does your wrath entail?"

"The worst horror imaginable, Harry," Fred said leading into the climatic truth.

"Our sister," both twins finished with an evil smirk covering their own shudders.

Harry couldn’t help but laugh. He looked into each of their faces before bursting. He laughed deep belly laughs as he pointed at each of their shocked faces. "Ginny is supposed to scare me into telling you two?"

"Yeah," Fred said not understanding how Harry could be so flippant about it.

"She can be downright sadistic when she wants to," George countered.

"You don’t know her like we do," they said together. "She will find out and you will beg us to call her off."

Harry continued to laugh and had to grab onto the wall to keep from falling over. Every time he caught sight of their expressions he would lose it even more. The twins fixed him with identical looks of dismay. They couldn’t see the humour in the matter at all.

"Oh, that is the best laugh I have had in months, thanks guys."

"You don’t understand, Harry, she will find out."

"Don’t throw away your life like this."

"Tell us and we can save you," they chimed.

Harry calmed his mind as much as he could before shaking his head and splitting the pair when he walked back into the living room. Many in the room looked at him with questioning stares. "What?"

"What caught your fancy so much that you can barely walk straight?" Ginny asked.

"The twins threatened me," Harry answered while fighting another bout of laughter.

"And what did they threaten you with that was so funny?" Molly asked eyeing the pair as they entered the room completely confused. Harry could only point at Ginny who became even more perplexed. She looked at the twins demanding an answer by her glare.

"Fine, he made this happen," the twins rationalised. "He won’t tell us who his lady friend is."

Ginny worked it out as she watched Harry stifle his laughter. "So you threatened him with me?"

"Of course, Gin-gin. You can find out anything you want to."

"Well, that would work if I didn’t already know," Ginny offered lightly. "You two are really behind the times aren’t you? Taking after Ron I see."

She earned herself three reproachful remarks. Ron’s taking offense at the comparison being made and the twins’ showing hurt that she hadn’t confided the truth in them.

"Who is it, Gin?"

"We can make you talk."

"Yeah, you and which army?" Ginny squared her shoulders and stared the twins down.

"Bloody hell, when did we loose our partner in crime?"

"When I started my own group," Ginny answered. "I figured it out. No one told me a thing."

"Harry," Remus spoke from the chair near the fireplace. "You have a girlfriend?"

Harry shrugged a little before looking at the floor. "I guess so. We haven’t really discussed the finer points of it."

"Yeah, too busy shagging all night long, eh Harry?" The twins asked earning a smack upside the head from their mother who had left the couch to assume a position behind her sons.

"My boys do not talk like that," Molly shouted before moving back to the couch. "Especially not in mixed company."

Harry smirked until he met Remus’ eyes. The man looked lost with a slight far off look to him. "Remus?"

"Sorry, Harry," Remus said smiling all the same. "It just takes me back to when Sirius and James would try to worm girls’ names from each other. Sirius couldn’t help but brag. James always protected his. You wouldn’t happen to have taken after Sirius would you?"

Harry shook his head. "Not a chance, Remus."

"If we guess who it is, will you tell us?" The twins asked.

"No, I wouldn’t."

"Cho?" "Susan Bones?" "Alicia?" Both got an evil look on their faces, "Hermione?" Harry scowled at them as he glanced at Ron who was paying close attention to the conversation. "Luna?"

"Yes, did someone call?" Luna asked as she emerged from the hallway. "Did I miss something? Oh, hello Harry."

"Luna," Harry greeted welcoming a change of subject. "So, ah, are you in the Order then?"

"What?" She said airily. "No, my father is."

"Harry," Odd said as he joined the others in the room followed by Minerva and Filius. "Pleasure to meet you again. We had a spot of trouble and the fine folks here invited me to join them. Such nice people."

"Yes they are at most times," Harry relented. "A spot of trouble? So that means that the Death Eaters are after you?" Harry did his best to play dumb.

"It would seem so, but I wouldn’t change a thing, Harry," Odd’s face lit up. "I love the secret places and sneaking around stuff. Reminds me of my school days."

"Yes, well, it can be fun at times," Harry admitted as he caught a few forced grins among his friends.

"Did we interrupt anything of importance, Arthur?" Minerva asked noticing the group dynamic of the room. Harry was next to Molly, Ginny and Tonks while the twins and Remus had taken up the opposite side. Ron was in the middle along with his father and Bill while Luna and her father remained in the doorway.

"No Professor, nothing important," Harry quickly intervened as the chatter resumed.

Minerva caught Molly’s eyes and followed it to Tonks who was keeping a close watch on Harry the entire time. Both of the women noticed that her hand was on her wand at all times. They shared a look before Minerva mixed with the others that seemed to arrive in a steady stream.

Conversation flowed easily as Harry watched everyone and joined in from time to time. He spent time with Ron reassuring him that he didn’t tell Ginny anything about his girlfriend. Ron believed Harry when he said that she had figured it out and confronted him with it.

"Always a nosey one she is," Ron stated as if it was common knowledge. Unfortunately for him, Ginny was within ear shot and smacked him for it. "Oi, it is the truth you know."

"Yes, but you don’t have to announce it to the room, Ron," Ginny huffed.

"Touched, I tell you," Ron quipped earning another smack from his sister. He hit her in the head with a throw pillow as retaliation. She glared at him and mimicked slitting his throat with her finger. Ron laughed it off as he and Harry continued chatting about anything that crossed their minds. Quidditch was a popular subject and one that all of the Weasley men added their two pence worth.

The last group of people to arrive consisted of Snape, Dumbledore, Hagrid, and Dung. Mad Eye had shown up at some point during the conversation but no one had noticed him until Dumbledore called the meeting to order. As Harry joined the others waiting to get into the kitchen, Mad Eye gave him a look of warning.

Harry took it to heart and tried to improve his mental shields before he entered the room. Tonks stood right behind Harry and patted his back as they bunched up in the hallway.

Harry gave a quick look over his shoulder and smiled at Ron, Ginny, and Luna who remained in the living room. He entered the kitchen and found a place next to Tonks and Minerva against the wall. He caught the disapproving look from his professor and returned it with a smile before settling in to a comfortable pose.

"Friends," Albus spoke with a strong voice, "let this meeting begin. But before we get into plans and strategy, let us welcome Odd Lovegood into our number. The reason of which will be discussed later."

Odd accepted everyone’s well wishes and smiled at the concerned looks. Harry and Tonks followed the lead of the majority of the Order in greeting him. Odd made a particularly visible gesture by shaking Harry’s hand and thanking him for trusting his magazine to print the truth.

"Yes, welcome," Albus offered before changing his mood. "We should get on with the meeting now. First off, Kingsley, how is the new position working out?"

"I am busy every minute of the day, Albus," Kingsley said looking a little worn. "I am not sure how Amelia did all of it, but I am trying to keep up."

"She was particularly skilled in her time management if I remember correctly," Albus offered as a reason behind Kingsley’s overwhelmed attitude. "Any news to report?"

"I can say that recruitment is starting to pick up," Kingsley began. "We are moving to increase pay and accelerate training. It helps to have a pro-auror minister. I have retasked many of our personnel from the stupid assignments Fudge had ordered them to be put on. Amelia had tried to cancel their assignments, but Fudge had refused to allow it."

"No more monitoring of the known werewolves, then," Tonks asked with hope.

"Thankfully, no, Tonks," Kingsley replied. "We are working out the details with the goblins on tracking the finances of the known Death Eaters. This never would have been possible with Fudge in office, but we are finding Ragnok to be most accommodating with us."

"Ragnok is helping you out?" Harry asked. "Well, at least Gringotts is on our side at least to a point."

"Harry," Albus interjected. "Ragnok is the not only the head of Gringotts, but he is the leader of the goblins as well. You made a rather well connected friend in him."

Harry allowed his surprise to show on his face as he looked from Albus to Kingsley to Tonks. "You never asked and I didn’t want to change how you interacted with him. You were genuine and he seemed to respond well to that," Tonks offered as an excuse.

"Ragnok made it very clear," Kingsley continued, "that the only reason he was willing to work with us was because of you, Harry. You believed in Amelia and her abilities so he offered to help us. Of course we had to agree to give them certain rights that they hadn’t had for many years, but the Minister didn’t even hesitate in agreeing to their terms."

Harry smiled in a confused way as he asked what rights they had been given. "Representation in the Ministry separate from the liaison office," Kingsley ticked off his fingers counting them out. "Direct negotiation rights with foreign governments on business deals with taxability by the Ministry, naturally. A non-voting seat in the cabinet and a few other things they had wanted for years. All-in-all, they made out rather well, but I wouldn’t expect less from them."

"Wow," Harry said. "Good for them then. I am glad Ragnok was able to help his people out. Why haven’t we heard about it in the newspaper?"

Quite a few of the people in the room nodded in agreement with the question. Apparently, the information wasn’t common knowledge as only Albus, Minerva, and Kingsley seemed to know it.

"The goblins are more than happy to keep the details secret for now," Kingsley explained. "They know how the majority of the Wizarding world views them. They understand that discretion was essential in the deal going through. Once they have proven that they are doing what is best for everyone, and not just themselves, both sides will allow the specifics to leak. Public support is crucial right now and the Ministry can’t afford to lose what few old families they have on their side. Allowing non-humans this level of equality and autonomy would most likely force them over to ‘His’ side. I was never one for politics, but I seem to have little choice in the matter now."

"An amazing improvement in their situation," Albus added. "You should be pleased with how things worked out, Harry. Your circle of friends seems to have grown as of late."

"Yeah, well, I really never planned on any of this happening," Harry admitted. ‘I just wanted to be in charge of my own life and everything else sort of happened.’

"I know that we are expecting their results later this week," Kingsley said. "They were going to compare all of the accounts and see who, if anyone, they had in common. They wouldn’t let any of us look at the records. Said it was a violation of their customers’ privacy or something or other. Anyway, most of my time has been spent organizing watches and coordinating contingency plans should certain events transpire. Rather tedious work but it must be done."

"Invaluable work, Kingsley, I am sure," Albus congratulated. "In addition, I would like to thank Harry for assisting in the removal of the former Minister. You made much of the last week possible. Thank you."

Harry nodded his acceptance and watched as Dumbledore received it with a genuine smile. "I did what needed done, and thank you Mr. Diggory for offering her name. You too, Professor, you are the one who really made it possible."

"You’re welcome, Harry," Amos said from his spot next to Hagrid. "I did it for my son and the rest of us." He frowned but his smile returned with the steely glint of resolve.

"You are welcome, Harry," Albus offered amiably. "Now is not the time to remain neutral for the sake of keeping a distance from something you wish to stay out of. Maybe I should have voiced my opinion years ago, but I can change nothing now. We can only move forward and learn from the past."

Harry thought over what Dumbledore had said. He read between the lines and figured that Albus had taken a wait-and-see approach when Fudge had been elected the first time. Harry guessed that the wind had changed at the recall and it was the only time that Dumbledore had been forced into a situation by others. He knew how the Headmaster worked. He knew that an opportunity had presented itself and the old man had to make a choice. Harry smirked in as friendly of a way as he could.

"Now, Hagrid," Albus redirected the meeting. "You have been hearing things among the forest inhabitants. Please explain."

Hagrid described in as clear a way as he could what he had been hearing. The goblins had apparently been sharing their new found faith in the Ministry with other beings and beasts. He explained that the centaurs were "watchin’ tha stars or some ruddy thing." The rumours about vampire covens joining the Dark Lord had been exaggerated. It seemed that a few of the British ones were in the beginning stages of talks with the Ministry now that it appeared they could at least be heard out and not killed on sight.

Lupin was next and detailed what he had been hearing amongst the werewolves that he knew. The more violent and aggressive members of the werewolf community had joined the dark side almost immediately, but the more hopeful members had decided to lay low until there was reason to speak out. It seemed that Amelia had contacted a few of the better known members and offered to speak with them in hopes of at least achieving an arrangement of sorts. Lupin expressed his joy for the possibilities that were open to others afflicted with his disease.

Elphias Doge gave a quick report on what he had been hearing in his circle of friends. Tonks had murmured "retired farts" forcing Harry to stifle a laugh. Once he controlled himself, he poked Tonks in the side for her joke. She finished the fight with an errant stretch that caused her elbow to glance his head sharply. Only Minerva had caught the entire exchange and was forced to look away from the two to avoid attracting additional attention to them.

Emmeline Vance provided the same sort of report only from her circle of friends. She mentioned certain high society functions and suggested that many were scared of what a new war would do to their lives. She hinted that Harry should join her at the functions as his fame and current political position would loosen many people’s lips and open their minds. Harry declined the offer almost as fast as he could.

Others gave their reports and added tidbits of info here and there. Harry forced himself to pay attention even though his mind started to drift. He was waiting for Snape’s report. He wanted to know who the others had been at the Lovegoods. The moment came and Albus cleared his throat.

"We are joined by Odd due to a recent incident," Albus spoke solemnly. "Death Eaters planned to attack his home but were stopped prior to causing any damage or threatening him and his daughter. I understand that there were others involved but I have yet to hear who they were."

"Professor Dumbledore," Odd began, "I believe there were three Death Eaters on our property obviously planning to make an example out of us. I know that one was caught, but the other two got away. There were two other people there, but they don’t exist if you get my meaning."

"Honestly," Snape snapped. "Do you expect us to believe that ‘they’ had people watching you? Why would they bother?"

"I have voiced opinions most don’t want to hear," Odd defended. "Maybe they were investigating us. Could have been tracking us. I really don’t care at this point. They were there and saved our lives."

Snape wore a disbelieving scowl. "Am I correct in understanding that there were Unspeakables at your home?" Albus asked with a great amount of interest.

Odd didn’t confirm the assumption but wavered in his denial enough to get the point across. Many in the room seemed to take sides one way or the other on the matter. Some completely doubted their existence while others found it to be logical. A handful of members remained quiet and Harry was included in that group.

"Please," Albus announced, "may we have some decorum? Kingsley, can you confirm Odd’s account of events?"

"I can neither confirm nor deny anything related to the department of which you speak," Kingsley said formally. "My secrecy oaths prevent me from saying anything about the matter."

"We all know that they research stuff," Dedalus Diggle shouted over the crowd.

"Yes, but the rumours about the ‘other’ group have never been proven," Hestia countered. "All we know are the stories whispered after one too many drinks have been consumed."

"Alastor?" Albus queried.

"I have seen things I can’t talk about, Albus," Alastor replied. "But I do know that if you get enough stories together you usually find some truth to them." The room seemed to fall quiet at the statement.

"So it would appear that another faction has joined the fight then," Albus puzzled out loud. "Maybe Amelia is more willing to utilize her resources than Fudge was comfortable doing so. Severus, I believe that your report will shed more light on this matter."

Snape nodded curtly and assumed his superior posture as he began listing what was going on inside Voldemort’s circle. "The Dark Lord has recovered fully. He has already killed two people one of them being a Death Eater. He sent three after the Lovegoods. Your willingness to print Potter’s words has made you targets."

"I would do it again," Odd told Harry directly. "I seem to be doing something right." He chuckled softly.

"It takes all kinds," Snape retorted snidely. "The captured one was new and knows nothing of consequence. The others were tortured at length for their failure. He is under the impression that the Headmaster had people guarding the Lovegoods. It was reported that there were five or six people defending the Lovegood home. He will send more on subsequent attacks to prevent future failures. A small ‘victory’ for our side may carry future costs higher than previously possible."

"Severus," Albus interjected, "ever the bright ray of sun shine you are. The future has not happened and was never set in place. Two people are alive and Voldemort has lost one of his number to people we know little about. It is a victory that we would have lost had it not been for them."

Snape begrudgingly acquiesced to Dumbledore before continuing. "Plans are being made for other attacks as well as recruiting and a possible release of those captured at the Ministry. There is only a handful of active Death Eaters right now, maybe twenty or so, but I expect the number to increase rapidly now that he is publicly known to exist again. I expect Potter to be at the top of the list of targets."

"No surprise there," Harry answered evenly.

"Now let us not speculate, Severus," Albus chided. "What do we know about his plans?"

"Little, as I have not proven my loyalty as of yet."

"And how would you do that, Snape?" Harry asked directly. He knew there was something not being said by Snape but he couldn’t figure out what it was.

"Care to accompany me to the next meeting Potter?" Snape shot back venomously.

"No thanks," Harry answered. "Voldemort and I aren’t all that friendly at the moment, and I have been shown his hospitality before. I don’t suggest it to anyone. Kind of hurts for awhile, doesn’t it, Snape." Harry was met with a scowl that rivaled all others. He smirked back in response.

"Gentlemen," Albus cut in. "Not again. Do you two need a quiet room to resolve your differences?"

"Wouldn’t be quiet for long, Professor," Harry answered.

"If I wouldn’t be held responsible for my actions, Headmaster," Snape offered, "I would accept the opportunity."

"You wish," Harry added before Dumbledore raised his hands and sighed deeply.

"Just like before, no room for compromise," Albus shook his head. "Back on task, Severus, if you please."

"I get the impression that future incidents are going to be more personal for the Dark Lord," Snape continued while staring Harry down. "If I had to guess, it would be a settling of scores or revenge. He seems to be looking forward to them, but I have not been told of their targets or goals."

"Thank you, Severus, your efforts are appreciated," Albus thanked him. "Now, our final bit of business for the evening. The entire Order is not needed for this. I ask that Harry and Tonks remain with those previously identified."

The room started to break up but Harry stopped them before anyone left the room. "I ask that the Order remain. Anything you have to say to me can be done in front of the others. You will not leave others in the dark. That backfired once before." Harry looked into Albus’ eyes and waited for him to agree.

"If you are sure, Harry," the old man relented. "You all may stay but please do not interrupt." Once everyone had resumed their places he looked from Tonks to Harry. "Harry, I have heard that you have not left Privet Drive for a few days. Is there something wrong I should know about?"

Harry stopped his smirk from showing as he answered. "Nothing that hasn’t already been shared, Professor. Maybe if you are clearer in your question I might be able to help you out."

"As you wish, Harry. Have you left Privet Drive in the last week?"


"And why not?" Albus asked knowing the spectacle they were offering for the Order.

"There has been no reason for me to leave Privet Drive."

"And why is that?"

Harry laughed once before answering. "Because I am not living there any more."

Many of the members started asking questions of all kinds. Albus watched who remained quiet and made a mental note of it. "And why do you not live there any more, Harry?"

"Vernon went too far and I had had enough," Harry replied.

"Fool," Snape added. "The Dark Lord will find you now."

"The chances of him finding me are less now than they were before, Snivellus," Harry countered. "You knew where I was before and now you do not."

Snape’s eyes burned as he restrained himself from grabbing Harry and throwing him up against the wall.

"Harry, where are you living now?" Albus asked.

"Can’t tell you," Harry told the room without remorse. "Only two people here know where I am living and neither can tell anyone where it is."

"And who else knows, Harry?" Molly asked in a motherly tone that bordered on panic.

Harry looked to Tonks and smiled. "Since I come to these things with Tonks, she is obviously one of them. The other person doesn’t know he knows." Harry scanned the room and smiled at the anxious faces. He reached into his pocket and pulled out an item he had stowed there before leaving the house.

For the first time since he had entered, Harry moved away from the wall and made his way to Remus. He set the item in front of the weary man and smiled sadly. "Thank you, Remus."

The werewolf look down at the table and saw the stuffed wolf he had given Harry the day he had left St. Mungo’s. The wolf had a patch of abused fur on his back and one ear had been nibbled on. "I gave you this…"

"I know," Harry answered. "I found it when I moved home. Thank you."

"Home, you mean Godric’s Hollow?" Albus asked trying to figure out how Harry could live in a destroyed house.

"No," Harry corrected. "Home, my family home. You know where it is, Remus, but you can’t tell anyone because of the charms and wards. You can’t go back because I haven’t keyed you into the wards yet. I am back where I belong. I have the other ones too," Harry said pointing at the stuffed wolf.

Remus held the toy in his hand as a lone tear slipped from the corner of his eye. He closed his eyes and Harry knew he was remembering the past. The last friend of his parents held the animal out to him to take back. Harry took it gladly and returned it to his pocket. "I would be willing to invite you over if you want."

"I would like that, Harry, thank you." Remus smiled and grew quiet as others around him asked question after question.

"Harry, you are not safe there," Albus said above the noise ending all other conversations. "That is why your parents left in the first place."

"Actually, they left because my home’s location has been secret for hundreds of years. They were afraid that Voldemort was going to find it."

"And how is it different now?"

"I am the only one left," Harry replied. "If I die, the house will never be found. Only a blood member of the Potter’s can use the home. Kind of a waste if I don’t live there. It is such a beautiful place too. I am more than safe and there are no Dursleys’ to try and kill me."

"Now, Harry, it isn’t that bad," Albus said as three people stopped themselves from arguing or speaking instantly.

"Actually, it is worse than you understand," Harry informed him. "But that is no longer a concern since I am free of them. And I assure you I am safe where I am. There is more than Tonks to keep me safe."

"Such as," Albus prompted.

Harry weighed his choices before answering. "There are five people, or there abouts, at home. I would say that at least three would help defend my home."

"I am sure the other two would help, Harry," Tonks said. "You know they would."

"Fine," Harry relented, "there are five people then. Now, why are you so concerned about where I live? I thought we agreed that I was in control of my own life."

"You decided Harry, not us," Albus said. "We are supposed to be keeping you safe. That is one of our primary functions."

"Well, don’t worry about it," Harry waved off his concern. "I have the matter well in hand. Use the people for more important things like keeping the Weasleys, Lovegoods, Longbottoms, and Grangers safe. If Voldemort plans to get revenge, I would guess my closest friends are on the list."

"We are working on keeping them safe, Harry, but I am more concerned about you at this point. You are welcome to move in here and stay, but you can’t stay where we can’t find you."

Harry set his face before responding. "I am not sure when you thought this became a debate, Professor. I live where I want to and I chose to stay where I am. I kind of like being able to go outside and not worry about being followed."

"Speak for yourself, Harry," Tonks mumbled.

"Well, she doesn’t count."

"Easy for you to say, but it is completely different for me."

"That is true," Harry laughed at Tonks distress.

"Just wait until we get home," Tonks grumbled completely ignoring Minerva and Molly’s looks.

"It doesn’t sound safe to me, Harry," Albus commented while gesturing to Tonks.

"We are fine, just one of us is hassled a little more than the other." Harry couldn’t help but smile at Tonks as she mumbled about crazy animals. "Nothing you say is going to change where I live, Professor. It is not open for discussion. You are the reason I didn’t live there, earlier, as I was supposed to."

"What do you mean, Harry?" Albus asked.

"My parents wishes" Harry replied. "You ignored them when you knew they existed. You refused to abide by them when you knew they had written them out." Harry took a breath and calmed down. "You lost the ability to make decisions for my life. I make them now. If I need help, I will ask those I trust and who have my best interests in mind."

Albus watched as Harry remained in complete control over himself. He paused when he needed to collect his thoughts before they broke free of his mental shields. The professor was most pleased with the amount of progress Harry had made in a few short weeks. He guessed that Tonks had been helping Harry with his Occlumency skills.

Harry looked on as Albus watched him. He did his best to will Albus to let him be. He wasn’t in the mood to fight about his home, secret job, or his personal time with Tonks. His life might not be normal, but it was all he had at the moment.

"I do not like it, Harry," Albus conceded, "but I see that you are adamant about this. I object to the situation, out of concern for your safety, but I will allow you to make this choice for yourself."

Harry smiled but shook his head. "You are allowing nothing, Professor. I am responsible for myself and those who live with me." Albus didn’t argue the matter any further and simply nodded his head once in acceptance.

As a few members of the Order discussed various things between themselves, Harry felt a slight tug at his mind. It felt vaguely familiar but he couldn’t place it. He tried to figure out if it was Voldemort trying to plant things in his mind again or if it was someone else poking around. After a few minutes, Harry felt confident that it wasn’t Voldemort since his scar wasn’t causing him any pain.

He scanned the room trying to identify the source of the attack without alerting the person by making a scene. He saw Molly watching him with a very concerned look on her face. Harry could see that she wanted to pull him into another room and lecture him on disrespecting the Headmaster and about his relationship with Tonks. He found Minerva giving him sideways glances from time to time. Her rigid posture held as she gave him telling looks of disapproval.

He continued looking around the room trying to find the guilty party if they were present. He saw a few others watching him, but they seemed more confused or worried than probing. As his gaze neared the last area of the kitchen, Harry felt the feeling fade.

He wasn’t sure whether it disappeared because he was looking or if he was just imagining things. Harry felt Tonks standing close to him and allowed his anxiousness to subside. He didn’t see anyone staring at him that appeared to have an improper motive. He put his worries away for later to be figured out as the meeting came to a close.

Being close to the door, he and Tonks filtered into the queue and left the kitchen for the living room. They found Ginny and Luna talking about girly things while Ron simply waited patiently for someone else to arrive. Harry caught a bit of hesitation from his best friend, but it passed quickly.

"Hey, mate," Ron said plainly. "Come to save me from these two?"

"Torturing you, are they?" Harry asked with a smile.

"Non-stop babble about blokes, clothes, and creatures I have never heard of." Ron gave a quick look at Luna on the last to emphasize his point. Harry nodded as he held back his snort.

Tonks sat next to Harry and watched everyone leave or mill around the house speaking in hushed conversations. She kept a safe distance from Harry as not to arouse any suspicions but was close enough to keep up appearances. Everyone knew she was basically Harry’s personal protector. As more people left, the movement lessened in the house giving Tonks a chance to join in some of the conversations between Harry and his friends.

"So," Ginny prompted, "what is with everyone?" She pointed to the people who kept giving Harry odds looks. "Everything okay, Harry?"

"For me, yes, it is," Harry answered. "Most people just don’t seem to agree."

"Why not?"

"Well, I left Privet Drive last week. My uncle went too far. I couldn’t take it anymore."

"You did?" Ron asked with slight amazement. "Where you living now? I am sure mum would let you stay with us."

"I am living at the home I was meant to live in. I found out that it existed during a visit to Gringotts. I learned all sorts of things then. Anyway, it is where my family lived before they moved to Godric’s Hollow. They didn’t want to risk Voldemort finding it. Now, it would just go to waste if I didn’t live there. This way, no one is a bigger target because I am living there. I guess most of them just think of me as a little kid who needs taken care of. I think I am doing pretty well so far."

"You are doing just fine, Harry," Tonks added. "Tell them about your find the other day. The fun one."

"Oh," Harry looked at Ginny and Ron. "I have a Quidditch pitch. No stands or anything but there are goals and a boundary line. I have a full set of balls too. We think the snitch is charmed to keep it from flying off since it was pulled into the field of play by some kind of spell. We played a bit the other day. It was brilliant."

"You really have your own pitch?" Ron asked not hiding any of his surprise. "Can we come play some time? It would be great."

"Sure," Harry said with a genuine smile. "I would need to figure out how to get all of you there, but I’m sure we could manage it. Give me some time."

"Are you going to be back on the team this year?" Luna asked during one of her more lucid moments.

"I am not sure, but I hope so." Harry looked up to see Minerva coming to a stop next to him.

"Mr. Potter," she said formally. "I believe you requested this earlier today." She held out his Firebolt waiting for him to take it which he did without a second’s hesitation.

"Thank you, Professor," Harry offered. "Ever since I found the pitch, I have been missing it dreadfully."

"Your own pitch?" She asked as she inclined head. "That answers an age old question of mine that your father refused to give me. He always improved far more over the summer than many other students did. I always asked him how, but he would cheekily refuse to answer the question. Now I know at least."

"Sorry, dad," Harry mumbled quietly but loud enough for everyone to hear. Minerva smirked in response.

"You are your father’s son, no doubt," she said. "And yes, you will be back on the team, Mr. Potter. It was rather easy to lift the ban that, woman, placed on you. Only one staff member opposed it, but there was no surprise there."

"Snape just couldn’t help him self," Ron snapped earning him a reproachful glare.

"Professor Snape," Minerva corrected. "No he couldn’t. I think he is tired of losing every year. I, on the other hand, have grown used to winning every year and reminding him of it every chance I get." Minerva said the last in a hushed tone while her lips almost curled into a smile. "Keep practicing."

Minerva gave everyone her normal, penetrating look before leaving the house. Harry held on to his broom tightly as the conversation continued on around him. Ron was telling Ginny that she should start practicing the Chaser position since Harry would be Seeker again. Tonks watched Harry for a few minutes before nudging him back to reality.

"What you thinking about?" Tonks asked.

"Flying, my friends, and the fact that you don’t stand a chance of beating me now." Harry smirked at her as she smacked him in the arm.

"I could do what I threatened to do." Tonks was the one smirking as Harry went quiet and shifted a little in place. "What is wrong?"

"Nothing at all," Harry said trying to rid his mind of the images that dominated it. Try as he did, he couldn’t get the picture of a naked Tonks on a broom out of his mind. Harry spent the next few minutes avoiding looking over his shoulder at Tonks.

Molly entered the room and told Ron and Ginny that they needed to get back home. She waved a portkey at them telling them that they were returning the same way they had come. Ginny hopped off the couch and gave Harry a quick hug goodbye before waving to Tonks and joining her mother.

Ron tapped Harry on the shoulder and led him over to a corner of the room. Not sure what was going on, Harry raised his eyebrows in askance. "Your girlfriend isn’t Hermione, is it?" Ron was completely serious as he asked.

"No, Ron, Hermione is not my girlfriend. Why do you think she would be?"

"Because you and her have always gotten on so well."

"As friends, Ron, only as friends. She is a great friend, but I don’t think there is anything else to it. Besides, she is a little too nagging for my tastes."

"Oh," Ron waved him off, "that is just how she shows she cares. You know, just like mum."

"Thought about it much?" Harry asked giving Ron a knowing smirk as he squirmed a little before becoming more aloof.

"Not really, it is just with Ginny knowing who it is and all, I didn’t know why you never told me is all."

"Ginny figured it out and confronted me about it. I hadn’t planned on anyone finding out for at least awhile, but there she was with her hands on her hips knowing everything."

"She has a tendency of doing that," Ron admitted. "Annoying it is and a little frightening too. Looks like mum when she does it. So do I know her or is she some muggle you know?"

"I will tell later, okay, mate. I would rather keep her unknown until we figure out if it is going somewhere. No sense in endangering her life more than it already is, eh?"

"Fine, keep your secrets, Harry. I see how you are. Tell your best mate’s sister but not your best mate." Ron smiled as he finished. "She is a troll of a Slytherin isn’t she? Too hideous to name out loud. That or she is made up. You would figure with your fame you could land a decent looking bird, but I guess not everyone is that easy. Of course, you could bugger up a simple thing like getting a girl."

"Watch it, you," Harry warned Ron matching his humorous tone. Ron smacked him on the back before joining his sister, brothers, father, and mother for the journey home. Ginny gave him a knowing look before the portkey activated and whisked the family away.

Harry saw Tonks speaking to Albus in the doorway and it appeared to be a very intense conversation judging by the way his beard moved as he talked. The normally soft spoken wizard was more animated in his speech and his hands were clasped in front of him as if stopping them from moving about as he spoke. Harry moved to join them and try to prevent anything bad from happening when Moody stomped up to him.

"Best to leave them be for a time, Potter," Mad Eye told him. "She is a big girl and can take care of herself. You set a few on their ears tonight and The Headmaster is one of them. He didn’t expect you to move out without his knowing about it first."

"Is he mad that I am not one of his pawns anymore?"

"He seems to be frustrated at himself more than anything. He knows that he is the cause of the problems between you, but I do not know what they are," Moody explained as Harry studied him carefully. "I only know that the man carries some guilt with him. I have known him for many years so I see it where others don’t. So much is happening now and Albus isn’t on top of all of it like he wants. He was used two years ago and he couldn’t figure it out how to stop it. Last year, he was outmaneuvered by ‘Him’ and he lost your trust. I think that bothers him the most."

"It would have been easy to avoid losing my trust. All he had to do was tell me what was going on."

"Looking back, it is easy to see the wrong choices, but in the moment it isn’t. Between us, I think he got too close and that prevented him from being as objective as he should have been. He cares about you and he wanted you to have as normal a life as possible."

"My life has never been normal and it will never be normal. When is everyone going to realize that and start letting me live what ever kind of life I am stuck with?"

"We all know now." Reading Harry’s look he clarified. "Including Dumbledore. I don’t think he will hold anything back from you just because he is trying to protect you from learning something terrible. He didn’t tell me what it was that caused the problem, but even that old dog can learn new tricks albeit slower than you seem able to."

"If it involves me, I want to know what is going on." Harry took a breath and watched as Albus nodded to Tonks and left the house. "I may not know what to do with the information, but at least I have it to think about. If you told Hermione everything that was going on I am sure she could give you a few ideas."

Moody barked a laugh and patted Harry’s shoulder. "I don’t doubt she would, smart girl that she is. Keep your eyes open and your head down, Potter. Something tells me you have a purpose in life that is more than the average person." Moody walked away as Tonks met up with Harry.

"Miss me?" She asked sighing with relief.

"Yes," Harry answered with a concerned smile. "Anything you want to tell me?"

Tonks looked at him and sighed again. "When we get home?"

Harry saw her weary state and nodded in agreement much to her relief. Harry gathered his broom and followed Tonks out of the house and to the park. With a quick look around, they Apparated home. As Tonks dodged Jules using Harry as her barrier, they made it inside the house and Harry laid his broom on the couch only to have Tiki pop into the room and pop out taking the broom with her.

"Apparently, it doesn’t go there," Harry said with a slightly puzzled look wondering where Tiki took his broom.

"Master only in name I guess," Tonks joked as Harry turned around and gave her an evil glare. "Oh, you couldn’t hate me if you tried, Harry."

"Yeah, well, I am trying anyway." Harry continued staring her down and fought the laughter as Tonks rotated her appearance. The pig’s snout almost broke his resolve, but the long white hair she used to fashion a beard finally got Harry to break.

Tonks raised her arms in victory and started dancing in place only to be swept up in Harry’s arms as he picked her up off the floor and headed towards the stairs. When she was tossed over his shoulder, she started giggling only to be tickled into a squirming mass of laughter. Harry deposited her onto the bed by throwing her in the air and followed close behind. Tonks wrapped her arms around his neck and pulled him to her waiting lips.

The minutes passed and their clothing was hastily removed and flung around the room. As Harry hovered above Tonks heaving chest, he looked into her eyes searching for something. She allowed him his moment as she slowly pulled his body to hers with her legs. As he made contact with her, she shifted to align them properly.

Harry let Tonks control the movement as her legs pulled him forward and to her warm body. As the initial sensation passed, Harry managed to ask his previous question again. "Anything you want to tell me?" Tonks cutoff further questioning by tightening a certain place getting Harry to take a deep breath.

"He was just trying to reinforce how important you are to us, Harry." Tonks smiled her most caring and vulnerable smile before slipping her fingers in his hair and pulling his mouth to hers again. "I don’t need to be reminded how important you are by him. You remind me well enough, like now for instance."

Tonks moved giving Harry all the motivation he needed to match her pace and they proceed with their previous actions. Harry let himself be overcome by the sensations as he focused on the woman beneath him. He felt the heat pour off her body as they moved together. He smelled her returned-to-normal hair and sighed in her ear as she purred in his. They slowly made their way to climax and collapsed into the bed.

Harry remained on top of Tonks as she held him, in place, with a tight hug for a few minutes. With her eyes closed, Tonks murmured, "He wanted to know if I had been working on Occlumency with you this summer. I guess he tried to read you and couldn’t."

"I felt someone trying to get in but I couldn’t figure out who it was. I wish they trusted me enough to let me be."

"You know it has nothing to do with trust. They are used to you being a kid that needs taken care of."

"What about you, Nymph?"

Tonks opened her eyes and Harry could see something swimming in them. "Oh Harry, I am the one needing taken care of." She kissed him passionately and tightened on him again causing an instant reaction. "Oh how I love this. Always ready you are."

"What did you expect?"

"Expect - nothing, but I got what I hoped for."

They drifted to sleep still wrapped in each other’s arms. Dobby entered the room and levitated the sheet to cover them before straightening up the room happily. It was the happiest day he could remember. He was serving the best wizard in the world. He was a part of a family again, and the family didn’t abuse him. He nearly hopped up and down in place before he caught himself. With the room tidied, Dobby closed the door without a sound.  

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