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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

11. Votes And Defense

                      The world swam into a blurry picture as a bouncing elf shook Harry awake. The sound of Dobby’s ears flapping against his head added to the limited humour of the moment so early in the morning. Harry shifted slightly feeling the pressure of another person resting on him. Looking down at the familiar brown hair caused Harry to remember the previous night.

Amorous thoughts dominated his mind as he quickly replayed what had happened. The heat from their bodies moving together was the first thing he thought of. The scent of their passion was not soon to be forgotten as Harry inhaled deeply catching a smell that only belonged to Tonks. ‘My Nymph. She said that she was my Nymph.’ As he continued to reminisce, the person sharing his bed laughed softly.

"Harry, what are you thinking about?"

Harry looked at Tonks and found her smiling up at him in a very suggestive way. Not sure what she meant, he decided to play dumb. "What do you mean, Nymph? What makes you think I am thinking about anything?"

In response, Tonks grabbed a hold of Harry and squeezed earning her a slight moan from Harry. "I wonder."

Knowing he was caught, Harry gave in. "Well, I could tell you, but isn’t it obvious?"

"I hope so, Harry." Tonks released Harry and moved to kiss him. After a few minutes, Harry managed to regain enough sense to remember they were not alone.

"Ah, Dobby, could you give us a few minutes."

"Make that a half hour Dobby," Tonks amended quickly.

"Dobby is most happy to leave since Harry and Tonks is happy."

With Dobby closing the door tightly behind him, Harry found himself pounced on by Tonks. Her hair tickled his nose as she kissed his lips, cheeks, and neck. She slowly moved around until Harry felt the warmth of a pleasant spot descending on him. Further movement led to a much more real repeat of the night before than any of his previous thoughts.


Harry and Tonks left the bedroom at the same time, dressed in their cloaks, and went down for breakfast. They found two elves arguing over the cooker, pots, and table settings. Harry almost burst into laughter at the sight, but stopped himself when he realized they were serious.

"Uh, is there something I can help you with?" Harry asked being met with one irritated look and one hopeful.

"Yes, Harry, you can help Tiki. Tell Dobby that Tiki runs kitchen. Tiki serve food not Dobby." The little elf held her ground and put her arms on her hips while staring at Dobby’s overly happy demeanor.

"Dobby only want to serve Harry. Dobby always serve Harry at Hogwarts. Other elves let Dobby serve Harry. Tiki not let Dobby serve Harry."

"That is cause Tiki serve Harry and Tonks. Tiki in charge of kitchen."

Sensing an impasse, Harry voiced his thoughts on the matter. "Tiki, how were things handled with my parents? There were the three of us and only two of you."

"Paul take care of Master James. Tiki take care of baby Harry and Mistress Lily."

"Well, how about you take care of Tonks and Dobby can take care of me. Will that work out for everyone? If you have a better idea, let me know." Harry looked to each elf and saw Dobby nearly falling over with excitement. Tiki seemed happier than before but she was no where near as happy as Dobby.

"Dobby love idea, Harry."

"If Harry want it, Tiki do it."

"I am only trying to avoid problems, Tiki. You are free to tell me what you think at any time you need to or want to."

"Tiki be happy to serve Tonks. Tiki be Tonks’ elf?"

"I would rather us be friends but I only want you to be happy, Tiki."

"Tiki happy Harry return. Tiki miss Harry. Tiki like idea."

"Wonderful. We have limited time in the mornings, because we both have to be somewhere by eight."

The two elves said nothing as they leapt into action. Eggs were cracked and the bacon was frying before Harry found a seat next to Tonks. They both watched the elves working side by side as they cooked the breakfast. Harry felt a soft hand slide into his and he held on to it. He knew Tonks was looking at him, watching every move he made and it gave him a warm feeling inside.

"I am glad I am here, Nymph. Even with the minor problems," Harry motioned to Dobby and Tiki. "I love it here."

"I know you do," Tonks said quietly. "I saw you holding the stag when I got out of the shower. You looked at peace with yourself. You looked so calm holding it."

"I don’t know what it is, but I feel calm holding it. I don’t think about Voldemort or Sirius or even the Dursleys. I just feel content."

"Sure it wasn’t the sex?"

"Well, it could have been that." Harry blushed slightly but smiled all the same. "That was brilliant. Thank you, Nymph."

"Play your cards right, and you might get more of it." Tonks put on her best seductive smile.

"Promises, promises, Nymphadora."

"Ones I aim to keep, mind you, as long as you don’t become some great sod over night."

"What are the chances of that happening, Nymph?"

"Slim to none, Harry. It isn’t in your nature. You are going to be as honest and forthright as ever."

"Now I sound like a sod. Thanks a lot, Nymph."

"Oh hush, you." Tonks leaned over and kissed Harry smartly on the lips. She followed that up with her tongue venturing around his mouth and teasing his own tongue. Harry responded as any teenaged male would, he let her do whatever she wanted.

A clearing throat interrupted the two before they managed to remove any clothing. Harry saw Tiki shaking her head and Dobby smiling brightly. "Just like Master James and Mistress Lily. Breakfast always worst." Tiki set the plate of food in front of Tonks and shuffled away to begin cleaning.

Dobby set Harry’s plate in front of him and Harry had to stifle a laugh. All the food had been cut up in the same way Harry tended to do so at Hogwarts. "Uh, Dobby, did you cut up my food for me?"

"Dobby always want to, but other elves not let Dobby. They say Harry be embarrassed. Dobby can do what Dobby want now. Dobby so happy to be Harry’s elf."

"Thank you, Dobby." Dobby scurried away and started to help Tiki but quickly found a soapy rag deposited in his face for his trouble. Harry watched Tiki chase Dobby out of the kitchen raving that he had served Harry but cleaning wasn’t mentioned. "Touched in the head, both of them." Harry murmured under his breath.

"Have you ever met a normal house elf, Harry?" Harry shook his head no. "Then it is you, Harry. You make them crazy. Most elves are formal, pleasant, and friendly. Yours are feisty, devoted beyond belief, and complete nutters."

"Imagine that, something else not normal about me."

Tonks shook her head sadly. "You are at the center of it all. Coincidence only goes so far, Harry. After awhile, you must accept that you are the cause of it all. You are so young too, sad really."

"Oh you are bad aren’t you?"

"As if last night wasn’t enough proof." Tonks smiled evilly at him and smirked. "I told you I am fairly flexible, but you didn’t believe me, oh no sir."

"Well, I had never seen someone do that before. I didn’t know it was possible."

"That and a lot more is possible, Harry. I will show you something new every day if I have to."

Harry choked slightly on his toast as his mind raced into action. His eyes grew in size until Tonks laughed at him. "We don’t have time to take care of that, Harry. You will just have to wait until later I am afraid. Now, put that away so we can get to work. I am not sure what is going to happen this week."

"Nothing easy, I am sure."

"That is the spirit," Tonks said offhandedly. "Now, away we go."

Harry settled in the living room with Tonks and pulled the journal off the table. He flipped through it until he found the pages on Apparating. He scanned it a few times before drawing his wand and chanting a few things over Tonks before she felt a tingling and a gust of warm air. Something clicked in her head and she could clearly visualize where Potter Estate was and how to Apparate into it.

"Did that work?"

"I can Apparate here now, I know it."

"Wonderful. You can come and go by Apparition now. No more long walks up the lane and you can avoid Jules too. I think she likes you, in a bad way, for some reason."

"Jules last see Master James with Mistress Lily. They leave by lane. Jules not like witches with Masters since," Tiki chimed in as she was fluffing the cushions on the couch.

"Jules will just have to get used to Tonks. She isn’t going anywhere as far as I can tell. Well, we are going to be gone most of the day. We should be back tonight. I hope you and Dobby can agree on things. I really don’t want both of you to be fighting over things."

Tiki nodded and continued on about her work happily. Harry could have sworn that he heard her humming something.

They appeared in their team room and exited into the hallway heading for the training room. Once they entered they saw Cal speaking idly with Marcus. Horace was nearby but wasn’t participating in the conversation.

"Ah, Ceps, just the man I needed to see," Marcus announced. "Please, could you and Chamel meet me in my office? I have something to request."

"Make it fast, Marcus," Horace barked. "I have plans for Ceps today. No more baby steps. Today, you walk like a man."

"Fucking wonderful," Harry murmured under his breath. "Just gets better, this."

Harry and Tonks followed Marcus back to his office and settled into the offered chairs. They saw a pile of folded papers sitting on the corner of his desk and Harry recognized his face among the headlines. He felt a slight chill rush through him as he watched Marcus settle into his own chair and steeple his fingers together.

"I was rather surprised to find you in my morning paper, Ceps. Quite the political operative you appear to be. Toppling Fudge with one article, impressive."

"He isn’t out yet."

"You are correct, but let’s see if you can finish what you started. I would like you to attend the recall vote at eleven. I have never liked Fudge and he has been a hindrance since he came into office. This is the first real chance we have had to remove him and I can’t see letting this opportunity pass. I spoke with Horace earlier and he agrees with me that you should be there in case anyone is swaying on their vote."

"I am not sure what you mean."

"Fudge has many allies and friends in the Ministry. Granted, they have distanced themselves from him in the last couple days, but these are people who go where the wind blows. I want you to turn on a fan for them." At Harry’s raised eyebrows, Marcus leaned forward and answered his unspoken question. "I never said I was a pureblood. I know a few things about the muggle world. Remind these people why they are going to vote Fudge out."

"And," Harry asked hesitantly, "why are they voting him out?"

"Because you want them to. People love a winner. People follow the strong and determined. Just be strong and determined and everything else will work out." Marcus leaned back in his chair resuming his original position. "Walk into the room with all the confidence you take into your training here. You have surprised Horace many times in the last two weeks. I have a rather large supply of alcohol because of it. Surprise the fools upstairs too. Set your mind to it. You have never failed when you have done that have you?"

"No, he hasn’t," Tonks answered for Harry while smiling at him. "He just needs the proper motivation sometimes."

Harry felt his face warm as he knew what Tonks was hinting at and that she was smirking at him as she spoke. "I will do what I can, Marcus. I still don’t think me being there will change anyone’s mind."

Marcus smiled as if he knew something Harry didn’t and wished him well on the day’s training. They left the room and reentered the training room. Horace snapped at them and directed them over to the classroom area that had been set up. On the board read one word and Harry knew he wasn’t going to like the day’s training at all. ‘Imperio.’

"The only Unforgivable you haven’t used. You can fight it off well enough, but you need to be able to use it. There is nothing like using your enemy to fight his own. While they are trying to figure out why their friend is killing them off, you are doing the same thing to them. It makes you twice as effective and there is less risk. Usually, you are further away than your victim, so they attack him first. If he dies, well that was the point in the first place, right?

"As with anything, you have to want to control your target. You have to want complete and total control over them. Every movement, every thought must be at your command. As I learned with you, never expect success just because you cast the spell. It doesn’t always work. Now, we will start out small. I have a few animals over here that you will practice with. Then, we will move to a willing person and finally, we will finish with an unwilling person."


Harry practiced the spell a few times on the spider Horace had provided. Harry managed to still the spider the first few times, but failed to cause any purposeful movement. With some ‘encouragement’, Horace directed Harry to dominate the creature. The total control over the poor spider left a very sick feeling inside of Harry. He could do anything he wanted to the spider or with the spider. His experimentation was quite limited much to Horace’s disappointment.

They moved on to a willing participant, Tonks. Tonks volunteered instantly when Horace mentioned that Harry would need to use the spell on a person who wouldn’t fight it off. Harry refused, outright, to cast the spell on Tonks. Only constant reassurances from Tonks allowed Harry to push down his honour and cast the spell.

As with the spider, the resistance was easy to break. Harry felt himself inside of Tonks, but only in a controlling way. He moved her arms and legs as he would his own only with more conscious thought required. Harry had her jump up and down a few times and spin in circles. Her normal clumsiness faded away as Harry tried very plain movements with Tonks.

"Most people love this part, Ceps. It is not often that people get complete control over someone else willingly. Where is the anger, the cruelness, the sadistic pleasure that people expose with this spell?"

"I wouldn’t want to do any of that to Chamel. I am not interested in dominating her like that. I have too much respect for her."

"Idealist, go figure," Horace grumbled. "Now, try it on an unwilling person, Ceps."


"Me. Go." Harry dove out of the way as Horace launched a spell at him nearly striking his left arm.

"Keep your appendages tight in to your body," Horace instructed as he kept firing curses. "Anything flailing about can be cut off easily. Stay low, Ceps. If you go high, so does your center of balance. A simple Wind spell could knock you off balance and it is hard to counter those while moving around." Harry tried to listen, but he was kept very busy avoiding the curses Horace continued to fire at him.

Becoming frustrated after a few minutes, Harry started casting the Imperius Curse at Horace. The second one hit, but Horace laughed it off. "This isn’t a Stunner, Ceps. You must focus the whole time. If you lose it at any point before you gain control, the spell fails. You have to overcome the resistance before you can relax. Again and make it count."

Harry proceeded to cast the spell time and time again. The fifth try actually caused Horace to pause, but it didn’t last. The seventh time caused a longer pause, but Horace broke free in time to knock Harry back ten feet with a partially blocked Repelling Charm.

"Pathetic effort, Ceps. Maybe I should show you how it is done. Maybe Chamel could provide me with some entertainment until you figure out how to do this right."

Horace watched Harry disappear from his location and didn’t know where he was until a spell struck him from behind. Harry had Apparated behind Horace and hit him with a rather forceful Imperio, his strongest of the day.

Horace fought against the spell but found his internal voice extremely muffled. Harry’s voice overwhelmed him and Horace couldn’t help but obey the orders. He walked over to Tonks and asked her forgiveness for his comments. It was Harry who received the answer from Tonks. Harry released Horace from the spell once Tonks had accepted the apology.

"Not bad, but it took you long enough," Horace snapped. "If you can do the spells with that much intent, why not do it that way from the beginning. You gave me too many chances to kill you or hurt you. I could have killed your entire team before you decided to fight for real.

"We do not have the luxury of time, Ceps. Every second counts against us out there. If I am an enemy, beat me as fast as you can and as badly as you can. Why use two spells to beat someone when one will work. Do not make extra work for yourself. If I threaten your team, kill me and be done with it. If you need to capture me, capture me with everything you have. If you need control over me, get it. Sooner or later, you will figure this out. I only hope it doesn’t cost someone their life first."

Harry looked to Cal then his gaze finally rested on Tonks’ hopeful smile. He knew what Horace was saying was true. He saw the reason behind it. He recognized a Slytherin ideal and knew why they did so well in these kinds of settings. They always put themselves first and anything that got in their way needed to be overcame.

As Tonks’ soft smile shifted to a more firm one showing her resolve to helping him, Harry nodded once to her and once to Horace. "I understand what you mean. I can’t afford to hold back when I know what needs done. I will work on it."

"Good, now again." Horace fired another curse at Harry and watched him throw up both of his favorite shields, deflecting the spell, and returning it with Imperio. The calm warmth of the curse enveloped Horace before he could begin to fight the effects.

The last thought Horace had before Harry gained complete control was one word he had been waiting to use in reference to Harry, ‘Finally.’


Harry adjusted the color of his robes to a more stately crimson before he and Tonks Apparated outside of the Ministry. They popped into existence, one silently the other near silently, and advanced on the out-of-order phone booth. Harry had affixed a light but determined sneer on his face. Tonks remained as impassive as she could knowing that Harry Potter was stepping up today and she was going to have a front row seat for the show.

The lift lowered into the noisy din of the atrium. Harry’s sneer became more of a smirk as he watched the colors of cloaks moving about. Many of the people were yelling and shaking their fists. Harry saw an organized group moving towards one of the lifts. He caught sight of a green bowler when the crowd was thrown back by a few Repelling Charms.

Harry strode purposefully forward from the lift knowing that he had to be wherever Fudge ended up. Tonks followed him closely and kept her wand out and at the ready. Harry pushed his way through the crowd as they continued to yell and shout about lies and deceptions. A few people caught sight of Harry and stilled as they watched him move to the guard stand completely focused on his goal.

One of the ten guards threw a hand in front of his face as he fought his way forward using his newly solid shoulders to leverage himself among the crowd. His penetrating green stare snapped to the face of the guard who had moved on to stop another over-anxious witch.

Harry stepped beyond the gold line marking the entrance to the guard station and earned himself three guards blocking his way. Tonks stood right behind him and kept her wand out as she exposed her auror badge. One of the guards waved her forward but tried to block Harry as she pushed him forward.

"Tonks can enter, but you can’t, son," the guard stated formally.

"I am not your son," Harry said above the noise, "and I intend to see Fudge tossed out on his ear if he is so lucky."

The guard looked more closely at him and Harry could see recognition dawn on the guard. His eyes grew in size and his mouth opened slightly. Tonks placed her left hand on Harry’s shoulder and urged him ahead. They parted the other two guards who seemed a little confused as the spokesperson of the three just backed up as Harry advanced.

"Thank you so much," Harry said in his most formal tone as he sidestepped the retreating guard. The pair of guards at the lift doors watched Harry and Tonks approach them without hesitation. They looked at each other, neither saying a word, and opened the doors.

Once Harry and Tonks started off for the proper floor, the guard on the left of the lift commented, "What does it matter? Fudge is out in an hour anyway. Hey you, get back in queue or you will be Stunned. I am only going to warn you…"

Harry took a deep breath as the lift gates opened to a slightly more organized chaos. Harry followed the same process as he had upstairs. Tonks directed him forward as Harry nudged who he needed to. They made it near the front where many of the press were bunched up and fighting for position. The aurors blocking the doors looked to be ready to pull their wands and put an end to the shouting people as their frustration was very clear.

"Finally, relief," one of them said loudly. "How many you got with you, Tonks?"

"I am not here to help you out, Ben. I am here to get Harry inside. So let’s be a dear and budge over why don’t you."

"Uh, what?" Ben asked looking at Harry and put meaning to her words. "Oh, shite as if it wasn’t bad enough before," Ben said under his breath which only a few heard.

Sadly, a slightly redeemed Rite Skeeter managed to hear his words and sought out the cause. She found a very different Harry Potter standing even with her at the front of the line. Gone was the confused and timid boy she interviewed months prior.

"Harry Potter," Rita clearly vocalized.

"Not now, Rita," Harry returned not even looking at her.

Never one to take no for an answer, Rita hipped a fellow ‘reporter’ out of the way to get closer to Harry. She began listing off questions as she started scribbling words down in her notebook. She only stopped when Tonks’ wand poked her in the chin. She looked down to find a very unpleasant expression on the auror’s face.

"Like I said, not now, Rita." Harry stepped forward one step and the aurors blocking the door moved back a half step. "I wish to view the sacking today. If you would be so kind."

One of the aurors saw the look in Harry’s eyes and didn’t really want to keep staring at it. He also caught sight of the visitor’s badge Harry wore. He nearly laughed as he read the words, ‘Coup d’etat.’ He unlocked the door and cracked it open enough for a person to edge through. "We could only hope, Mr. Potter."

"It’s Harry, sir." Harry moved to the door and slid through.

As Tonks went to follow, she reached out and grabbed the top sheet of Rita’s notebook and ripped the page cleanly out of the book. "Thank you, bitch."

"Hey, that’s mine you hussy," Rita shouted after Tonks. "Give that back."

The doors closed with a deep thud and the locks were engaged once again. Harry looked over a sea of faces and people settling in about the room. He remembered a few of them from his trial a year ago and others from various meetings or Diagon Alley visits. He and Tonks had remained unnoticed until Kingsley moved to stand next to them.

"Tonks, I thought you were on special assignment." Kingsley looked from her to Harry and back again waiting for an answer.

"Kingsley," Tonks said with a bit of surprise. "Kingsley, have you met Harry? Harry this is Kingsley; Kingsley this is Harry. What a great chance to meet new people, eh? Well, we must be moving along now. Great talking to you." Tonks ushered Harry away from Kingsley by nearly pushing him over.

Ignoring the interesting way in which she spoke to her boss, Harry asked the question he couldn’t stop himself from asking. "In trouble, Tonks?"

"Not until now, Harry," Tonks replied through gritted teeth. "I am going to need to smooth this over somehow. He thought I was on some special assignment for the Ministry. Not that you aren’t special and all, but I doubt you fit into his idea of what special is concerning work."

"I am sure we can fix it, Tonks." Harry moved around the room at Tonks’ direction and soon found himself in a corner off to the left side of the room. He watched the witches and wizards find their seats as the time approached as they were only a few minutes away from the session being called to order.

"Harry?" Harry turned to find Susan Bones sitting in a chair against the wall.

"Susan," Harry responded. "How are you doing this summer?"

"Things have been crazy the last few days, thanks to you. Auntie can’t seem to calm down since the article."

"Ah, yes, that can happen I guess," Harry floundered wondering if her comment was out of anger or something else. Her giddy smile told him what he needed to know. "Had fun though?"

"It is rare to see Aunt Amelia flustered," Susan said happily. "She has been running around trying to keep things going as Fudge looks to be on his way out. Come to see the festivities then?"

"Come to make sure that he doesn’t sneak out of it," Harry said with conviction as they were joined by a rather frazzled Amelia Bones.

"I am not sure whether to thank you or kill you, Harry," Amelia said quietly to the small group. "Do you have any idea the storm you caused with that article? I know you understood my meaning, but did you have to be so blunt with it?"

"Susan was just giving me a quick rundown of how things have been." Harry cracked a smile for the first time since he had appeared outside the Ministry.

"Oh, and I am sure my niece has given you the fair and balanced account too," Amelia remarked staring Susan down. "Knowing her, she probably had me running around the house firing spells off in all directions like a mad woman."

"There might have been a few misdirected spells, but I am sure you had good cause for them." Harry watched as Susan laughed and Amelia tried to look furious.

"As cheeky as your father you are, Harry," Amelia informed him.

"Now you see what I put up with," Tonks added.

"About that," Harry offered as a matter of passing information. "Kingsley Shacklebolt may have a few questions as to where Tonks has been lately. It would be a terrible mess if he started digging around in her business. I am only concerned about a friend of mine."

"If things go the way I think they will, Harry," Amelia mimicked his tone. "I wouldn’t worry about his questions. He might be too busy to worry about the small things."

"I am here to see that things do go properly." Harry’s smile died a quick death as he focused on the matter at hand. Susan and Amelia couldn’t help but take notice of how sharply his mood changed. A chime sounded in the room getting certain people to their feet as they advanced to the front of the room.

"I have to go, sweetie," Amelia said softly to Susan. She nodded to Harry and Tonks and joined the others as they settled into their assigned seats.

Harry drifted into the shadows and stood next to Tonks against the wall. As order was achieved, Fudge entered from a side room. Parts of the room booed him and a few shouts of various crimes rang out. The chimed sounded again and with more authority bringing the discord under control in moments. Albus Dumbledore stood and raised his hands silencing the murmurs around the room.

"I bring this vote into session. We are here to decide whether Cornelius Fudge shall be given a vote of no confidence or remain in office for the duration of his term. We shall hear from Minister Fudge before we vote. Minister, the floor is yours for a short time."

Fudge stepped forward and smiled his best politician’s smile. He tried to make eye contact with as many people as he could before speaking. "I feel this is a misuse of our time. We should be concentrating on making our community safe not trying to punish me for things that were out of my control. I have done my best to protect us. I feel that I know how to finish the job. The only reason we are here is because of a boy and an article in a rather questionable magazine. I doubt the validity of the article wholeheartedly."

"Are you calling me a liar?" Harry stated firmly. "Again? How many times have I lied about Voldemort?"

The room shuddered as one and many shrieks and yells could be heard. Many in the room started looking around as if the Dark Lord would appear next to them and end their life in an instant. Harry stepped out of the shadows and into the torch light from a nearby source. Half of the room stilled while the other half looked on in interest.

"First off, it is just a name," Harry said to Fudge ignoring all the others. "The name, Voldemort," more shudders, "means nothing. It is made up anyway. Second, how many times have you seen Voldemort, Fudge?"

The room continued to shudder as did Fudge. People were noticing that their current leader couldn’t even hear the name without feeling the same fear they did. The people wanted a leader who was better than themselves. Otherwise, why not lead yourself. Fudge stared Harry down as he formulated his answer. Harry met his gaze with one of his own. Only Harry’s stare was filled his power, determination, and anger. Fudge hesitated before answering which much of the room noticed.

"I have seen You-Know-Who once, Potter. You know that since you were there."

"Yes, I was there. I could tell you how many times I have seen Voldemort," Harry put extra emphasis on the name getting a stronger reaction from Fudge. "But the number means little to me. All I know is that I have dueled him and I am still here. I have stared into his eyes, or what he calls eyes, and yet I still live. I have nothing to gain by lying about Voldemort."

"You have nothing to gain?" Fudge laughed. "You are trying to overthrow the Ministry. You are trying to put your puppets in power so you can continue your ways of breaking every rule that exists."

Harry kept his face impassive as he answered the charge. "You give me too much credit, Fudge, and Voldemort too little. I have no interest in politics. I am putting no one anywhere. I am still in school and have a lot to learn about magic. But I do know that you are as false a person as I have ever met. You have no idea what to do, and even worse you try to blame those who are doing something good for your failings. I should know as you have blamed me for many things lately. All I have done is tried to tell people that Voldemort is back and wishing him away won’t work, Fudge."

"You are a power hungry boy with delusions of grandeur, Potter."

"Your track record concerning who I am is not something you should bandy about, Fudge. You have yet to get it right."

Fudge fumed as Harry folded his arms and moved back into the shadows only the fire light had been increased near Harry preventing him from hiding completely. The room watched as Harry remained calm and Fudge became angry. Many of the quiet murmurs returned much to Fudge’s increasing displeasure.

"Minister," Albus asked with a touch of sympathy, "are you finished addressing the voting members?"

Fudge turned to look at Dumbledore catching an idea of how the room had taken in the latest information. Things did not look to be in favour of Cornelius Fudge. "I, uh, will close by saying that I stand by my record as Minister. I have done so much good since I was elected to office. This is just a bump in the road, as it were. Together, we can overcome this. Thank you."

Susan never looked away from Harry’s face once he had started speaking. She had never heard anyone, not even Dumbledore himself, speak of Voldemort in a way that made her feel that she too could challenge his power and succeed. She watched Harry lean against the wall with an intent air about him while maintaining his calm appearance. She saw his eyes rove the crowd slowly as many of them still watched The-Boy-Who-Lived. Susan felt Harry’s presence as he firmly held his place in the room.

Tonks managed to slide closer to Harry and worm her hand up to his shoulder without making any obvious movements. She patted and rubbed it slowly willing him to feel her support when she knew he needed it most. The conflict was over and Harry always questioned his actions after the deed was done. He always second guessed himself and he never had someone there to support anything he had done. Tonks did her best to let him know she supported him.

The people in the room moved about and those who could vote did so by raising their wands and announcing their intent. Harry waited as the votes were tallied. He watched Fudge as the votes were added together and a consensus was reached. Fudge frowned and dropped his head in defeat. He had been given a vote of no confidence and his term as Minster was over.

As he began to leave, a few aurors moved to either side of him and took his arms. A short scuffle was quickly quelled as Fudge was escorted out of the room. Amelia returned to her place by her niece. She managed a subtle smile in Harry’s direction which he returned before watching government at work once again.

"Now, that we have settled the first item of business," Albus spoke to the room. "We shall entertain candidates for Minister. Are there any nominations?"

Chatter broke out amongst nearly every person in the room. Harry watched as a few people seemed to stand taller and more official as their friends and supporters encouraged them to offer their name. A few members of the Wizengamot watched Harry as closely as he watched the room. Some seemed to come to an agreement and began to speak to their neighbors.

The first person to voice his candidacy was someone Harry had never heard of before. He received a second from a smallish woman on the far side of the room. His name was put on a list that had no others. Susan looked to her aunt and kept motioning with her head to give her name. Amelia kept her stern appearance in place as she ignored her well-meaning niece.

"I offer Charles DeLong," said a stout man with a wild mustache. The man named was tall and proper looking as he rose from his seat and accepted the offer. It was seconded and his name joined the first.

Harry was beginning to notice that he was getting more and more attention as the minutes ticked by. He found Albus watching him very closely as was Amos Diggory and Arthur Weasley. Harry worked to keep his posture and appearance stoic as more of the room seemed to follow Albus’ direction.

"I offer Amelia Bones," said Amos Diggory as he met Harry’s eyes.

Harry saw hope and sadness in his eyes. He felt the man’s emotions as if they were his own. He was doing this out of respect for Harry and everything he had done and tried to do for those who didn’t deserve it. Harry simply blinked in acceptance of the gesture. Amelia stood as all eyes spun to her. She accepted the nomination graciously.

"I second the nomination." Harry nearly lost his composure as he looked to the most unlikely of supporters. His white beard twitched as he smiled at Amelia when she nodded to him. Albus Dumbledore had voiced his opinion on a political matter and one as important as the office of Minister.

The entire room stopped as they assimilated what this meant to the Wizarding world. Albus had stayed neutral years ago when Fudge had run and won the position. All attempts to get Albus into the office had been politely rebuffed with as much respect and humility as Albus could manage. The other two hopefuls, who had once worn wide smiles, felt their chances crash into the dirt the moment Albus supported Amelia.

After people came to terms with Amelia being the obvious front runner, they all seemed to look to Harry once more. They were mostly surprised when his face softened to a smile and he broke from his place against the wall. The-Boy-Who-Lived turned and walked out of the room wearing a slight smile. The crowd allowed him an easy path out and Tonks followed him closely keeping her wand at the ready. He exited the doors only to be met by the members of the press and the aurors guarding the doors.

No one asked a question, no one said a word as Harry moved beyond them and into the lift. Once they fought their way through the atrium crowd with a little help from a few well placed Repelling Charms, Harry and Tonks climbed into the phone booth and left the Ministry only to Apparate back to the team room seconds later.

"Never a dull day with you, huh?" Tonks asked cheekily.

"What did you expect me to do?" Harry queried trying to be cheeky as well but failing as he was feeling the exhaustion from the last hour. "I couldn’t let that man call me a liar again. If he had gotten even a few more people to side with him, nothing would have changed but make him look even more right."

"Harry," Tonks said softly as she moved in front of him and pressed herself against Harry’s front. "I was only joking. You are wound way to tight right now. Maybe I should do something about that." Tonks smirked and bounced her eyebrows at Harry while nodding in the direction of the couch in the room.

Harry blushed before he could stop it. "You are joking, right? Here? Now?"

Tonks moved even closer and stretched her head to meet his ear. "Of course I am joking, silly. Do you have any idea how untethered Horace would get if he found us shagging in the team room? Oh boy that would be a good one though." Tonks laughed loudly and grabbed onto Harry to prevent herself from falling over. "It would almost be worth it." Tonks started looking hungrily at Harry as she smoothed her restored grey colored cloak.

"You’re funning with me again, aren’t you?"

"Wouldn’t you like to know?"

"We are back to the first week of summer again where you try to embarrass me for your own fun."

"Only this time, I am not teasing. If you call my bluff, you will most likely win in the end." Tonks smirked evilly before she changed to her normally happy look. "Well, back to it I guess. Come on Harry, better not keep Horace waiting." Tonks flipped up her hood and hopped over to the door.

"Bloody woman is going to torture me to death if she keeps this up." Harry donned his hood and followed Tonks to the training room for more punishment.

Before they could join Horace and Cal, Marcus caught them for a quick question. "So, who is Minister?"

"Not Fudge," Harry stated before walking off to Cal who was being instructed on a new curse by Horace.

"When we left, it looked like Amelia was going to get it." Tonks caught up to Harry a short distance away.

"Never stand in his way, Marcus," Marcus said to himself out loud. "It isn’t a wise place to be. Learn from others if you can. It saves time and embarrassment, and it’s more fun to watch, too."


Monday afternoon carried on with Harry being forced to learn how to use the Imperius Curse expertly and with exacting speed. Horace had to beat down Harry’s happiness from the voting before he was mad enough to use the Unforgivable like he should.

The vote had been held and Amelia had been elected as Minister with a majority of the votes even with two other candidates in the running. Tuesday morning when Harry came into the team room, Marcus was waiting for him and Tonks. He handed Harry a note and told him that any outgoing mail for him was being intercepted by the Department to avoid untimely mail delivery should he be training or on a mission.

The note was from Amelia and not as the Minister of Magic. It went on to debate whether or not Harry was good or a curse. Amelia settled on a wait-and-see approach until she figured out if being Minister was worth the trouble.

Her elevation in standing increased, Amelia had appointed Kingsley to her old position. As Harry thought about how everything had worked out, he didn’t know if Dumbledore had predicted it as such. Many questions ran through Harry’s head as Horace continued his learn-by-doing instruction technique.

As the day progressed and Harry learned a handful of new spells that compressed the air in the affected area, produced a blinding light, countered various Binding spells, or reversed the flow of blood where the spell struck; Harry kept dwelling on how Tonks had been used the day before. Repeatedly, Horace would attack Tonks with the Imperious Curse just to force Harry to fight back as strongly as he could. Harry refused to put everything he had into the dark curse unless Tonks was a victim.

Horace watched and waited for the right opportunity to tell Harry how his ideals were getting in the way of his abilities. He never saw the right time until Harry failed to protect himself from a nasty Repelling Curse while trying to deflect a Cutting Curse from hitting Tonks in the back.

"Ceps!" Horace yelled, halting the training program. "Room three, now!" Horace turned and walked out of the training room and down the hall without looking back.

Harry picked himself off the floor quickly, rubbing out the new bruise he knew was starting to form on his shoulder, and followed Horace. Walking the barren hallway, softly lit by magical light, Harry turned into the open doorway of number three. Horace was standing behind his desk looking at the rear wall showing his back to Harry. Choosing to stay silent, Harry moved to stand beside the only visitor chair in the room. The formal, straight-backed chair looked to be seldom used as dust could be seen on the seat undisturbed.

With a motion of his wand, Horace closed the door sharply without turning around. Harry calmed his mind and stayed at the ready to defend himself. The flicker of the torch from the moving air was the only source of light and sound in the room until Horace sighed.

"Do you hate me, Potter?"

Surprised by the direct question, Harry hesitated before answering. "At times, yes, I hate you."

"What times are those?"

"When you target Tonks when you should target me."

Horace turned and looked Harry over. His eyes wondered the strong and determined form that was Harry Potter. "Two weeks ago, you were scared, confused, and lost. Today, you have determination, drive, and focus. Do you know how that was achieved?"

Harry stayed silent as he could only guess at what Horace was trying to hint at. "I have taught people with less talent than you," Horace said calmly. "I have trained people more dense than you. I have killed people with a greater grasp on magic than you." Horace paused for a few minutes before continuing. "Never have I instructed someone so willing to protect another that their own life means nothing to them. Have you so little to live for that you don’t care what happens to you?"

"I am not sure what you mean."

"Tonks can take care of herself," Horace explained. "She has been doing this for awhile and she is still here. She counts on you doing your job so she can do hers. If she lacks the ability to stop a simple Cutting Curse, she deserves what happens to her. You allowed your concern for her to shift your focus and you were beaten for your trouble.

"I am a bastard so those I train will want to win just to prove that I am wrong about them. I am hard on them so they will be stronger when it counts most. I watched how you handled yesterday’s training. You wanted to kill me for attacking Tonks. You wanted to hurt me so badly that you nearly did so. I see you holding back when we are training. Why won’t you use all that magic that you have at your fingertips? Are you afraid? Are you too weak to control it?"

"I have seen what becomes of those who give themselves to magic," Harry blurted out before railing on. "I have seen what dark magic can do to someone. I have felt what it is like from the inside. I have felt that way recently, now and then. I don’t like what it felt like."

Harry found himself out of breath as he finished his words. A constant gnawing had been growing in his mind as he became more skilled in the magic Horace had been teaching him. Harry lowered his head and it shook slightly. "I will not become like him. Keeping her safe helps me keep the urges at bay. Every time I use an Unforgivable, the urge becomes stronger. I feel the power waiting for me to grab on to it. It calls to me. I can’t take it. I must not take it."

For the first time since Harry entered the room, Horace softened his mood. He moved to sit in his medium-backed chair gesturing for Harry to do the same. "Knowing dark spells does not make you evil, Potter. Using them does not make you evil unless you use them for evil. Hell, any spell can used for dark reasons. I could levitate someone off a building or summon their broom out from under them while in flight. As you well know, intent is the key to so much in dealing with magic.

"You have more intent than you know what to do with and you are conflicted because of it." The confused look on Harry’s face forced a clarification. "What is the one thing you must do in your life? What do you feel so compelled to do that you know you will do it? I see the effects of it in you. Every action, every thing you do seems driven by something."

Harry sighed as he knew the answer regardless of some prophecy made years ago and only recently revealed. "I must kill Voldemort." Harry spoke simply and with no emphasis. He merely stated a simple fact that he had been wrestling with since the shock of learning the prophecy had worn off.

Horace let out a nervous chuckle. "That explains a lot, Harry." Horace smiled and pulled open a drawer on his desk. He pulled out a bottle of muggle whiskey and uncorked it with one hand as he pulled out a pair of glasses from the same drawer with the other. He filled one glass full and half for the other. Seeming to contemplate the situation, Horace pushed the full one towards Harry while picking up the remaining one.

"Quite some thing you have to do," Horace stated while raising his glass in a toasting motion. Harry followed his lead and did the same with the full glass. "To revenge for the fallen." Horace took a drink as Harry wavered.

"Revenge has nothing to do with it," Harry said staring at the liquid moving around in his glass. "It’s just the way it is." Harry took a mouth full of the smooth liquid and swallowed it down. The effects were slightly delayed, but Harry soon felt the burning creep up his throat causing him to cough at the sensation.

"I will not ask you to explain, but do not see it as a bad thing. Killing that, thing, will be one of the greatest accomplishments in this century. Heroes have done less and gotten more. I have lost eight people that I cared about to that man. If I have the chance to kill him, I will do it without a second’s thought."

"You would fail and he would kill you for trying," Harry answered while staring at the glass deciding whether or not to finish his drink. "I have lost my family to him. I have seen him kill. I have seen him torture. I have felt his emotions. I am afraid that I will become like him if I give in to my magic. He did that and you see what he is now. All he had to live on for thirteen years was his magic. I would rather die than become what he was. You asked why I hold back, why I protect Tonks like I do. That is why. If I give up my humanity, then I become just like him."

"You do not have the ability to give up enough to become like him," Horace said fiercely. "I see who you are every day I force you to use these spells. You have resisted me from the beginning and you have more innate skill with them than any others yet. I can not tell you how completely enjoyable and utterly frustrating it has been teaching you. I see your potential, and it is amazing, and then you fight me when I try to bring it out."

Horace smiled a distant smile as he watched Harry puzzling at his comment. The confusion faded as Harry downed the rest of his glass. Harry fought the coughs as he set the empty tumbler on the desk. A green, penetrating stare fixed Horace and prevented any thoughtful movement. Horace planned out his next statement carefully.

"I am not training a murderer, Harry," Horace admitted. "I am training a survivor. Both one that is and will be so again. I have no doubt that you will defeat the Dark Lord. I have seen the fight in your eyes when you are left with few options. My only saving grace is that you know I am not your enemy. When you kill for the first time, you will be broken for a time. I can tell you that it will pass with a little help from friends. Remember, we are all potential killers. Most of us just haven’t been put in a situation to prove it."

"I almost killed someone recently," Harry confessed and stared at a spot on the floor. "I wanted to. I didn’t think about it, I just wanted to do it."

"What stopped you?"

"Tonks stopped me. I was going to do it for her, but she told me to do it for myself if I wanted. I couldn’t do it for myself, because it seemed wrong. Why was it so easy to do it for her and so hard for myself?"

"The responsibility can be rationalised over two people instead of one. You can feel less guilty if you think it was for another person. Every life I have taken has been in defense of another or my own. Soldiers kill to stay alive or keep their mates alive. Murderers kill for pleasure, power, or personal gain in one form or another. You do not have it in you to murder someone. Neither does Tonks. A few of the Operatives do have it in them and are watched closely to prevent them from going too far."

"How can you be so sure? I have wanted to kill a few people in my life. I have felt it in me. I have come close a few times before but I never knew how. Now, I know how and I seem to be rather good at it."

"In training only, Harry. You have killed in training and you know it is training. In reality, I am not sure what you will do. In the past when you wanted to kill those people, what happened?"

"Nothing, really."

Horace settled back into his chair and smiled again. "Exactly my point. Everyone wants to kill at some point in their life, but most never do it. Their morality or whatever stops them. I do not mean this in a bad way, but your morality is getting in the way here. I know you are afraid to give into your magic and use it fully, but you must. Tonks and Cal hang in the balance. I have said it before but hesitation kills in this business. Besides, if you start drifting to far away from who you are I think someone will help pull you back." Horace raised his eyebrows and looked at Harry intently.

"I think that she would," Harry relented and inhaled deeply.

"Trust that I will continue training you to use magic in ways to survive and keep your friends alive. I have yet to teach you to abuse your magic or others." Horace watched Harry think over things. The young man sat a little taller in his chair as the seconds ticked by. Horace compared the Harry sitting in the chair in front of him to the pictures of the Harry at the vote. Slowly, the images were becoming the same.

"You are not one to take the easy way out. That is the reason I can be so sure that you will never become like that arse. Well, now we best get back to it, Ceps. Enough lying about for one day, get the job done. Now, go."

Horace stood and watched as Harry rose to his feet. The older man extended his hand in understanding and support. Harry accepted it graciously.


The days rolled by filled with Harry working hard trying to learn all he could from Horace. As other Operatives came and went during the week, they all noticed how Ceps and Horace seemed to work together as opposed to against each other as had been the norm before.

Tonks had noticed and mentioned the change in mood between them. She never got a straight answer to her questions, but she knew that Horace had found a common link the same as he found with every trainee. She knew how the man worked and what he used to motivate others. She recognized the connection between him and Harry the very same day that it had formed.


A letter had arrived for Harry on Wednesday, via Hedwig, from Hermione. Once she had finished scolding Harry for tampering in the affairs of the Ministry, she congratulated him in ridding their world of Fudge and his politics. She finished the letter with her thoughts on how Hedwig knew she needed to send Harry a letter and various theories on the occurrence. As the berating gave way to compliments, Harry couldn’t help but picture Hermione standing before him saying exactly what she had written.

Tonks had read the letter wanting to know what had been so funny, but she didn’t understand how the rather unpleasant letter could be funny. It took Harry describing the images in his head before Tonks joined in the laughter.

Harry had laughed to himself until Tonks, not able to take it any more, fought him into a rather willing submission hold that led to many adult happenings. The elves had to return to noisier chores until the couple had succumbed to sleep.


Friday morning Harry awoke to find Tonks curled into him and sleeping soundly. He watched her nose twitch as it often did when she dreamed. Harry couldn’t help but be fascinated by it. Her hands curled and relaxed as her eyes darted back and forth behind her lids. Her breathing sped up and slowed down in tandem with her restlessness.

Harry couldn’t stop himself from petting her head and pushing her dark brown hair out of the way. Tonks had spent more and more time in her real form since they had moved to Potter Estate. Harry had encouraged it only to find Tonks using it as leverage to get things she wanted such as Harry smiling more, laughing more, and even dancing with her for a few seconds before fleeing from the room for over an hour.

As the dream ended, Harry waited for her cheery eyes to open and find him looking down at her. A shiver, running from her head to her feet, led to her eyes popping open. Harry held her tightly as Tonks’ brain kicked into action. "Harry, is everything okay?" she asked slightly scared.

Harry looked around the room quickly before pulling her closer to him. "I am fine, Nymph. Everything’s fine. Why are you shivering?"

Tonks breathed out and closed her eyes. She hugged him firmly before snuggling into his warmth. "Must have had a bad dream. It’s nothing. Don’t worry about it." Tonks moved slowly and deliberately against Harry trying to lessen his worry.

"Um, if you keep that up, Nymph, we will be five for five this week on our morning hellos."

"Imagine that," Tonks smirked and became more intent on where she touched and rubbed. "Some would think that I like you, Harry. Others would think something completely different."

"And what would that be?" Harry asked as he busied himself with kissing Tonks’ bare neck.

"Something more than like." Tonks never finished her thoughts as they wound their bodies together for another late morning entry into the kitchen. The elves had gotten used to limited time for breakfast as Harry had yet to arrive with more than ten minutes to spare. Tiki could only shake her head and mumble about James and Lily as she happily prepared Tonks’ food.

At first Harry was troubled by Tiki mentioning and comparing Harry and Tonks to his parents, but as he realized her meaning he grew to appreciate the references. It made him feel closer to his parents even though he couldn’t remember them very well. Every once in awhile Harry would get the feeling that he remembered a room or an event as he moved about the home.

He would spend an hour nearly every night sitting in the nursery just looking around. It was in the nursery where his memories were the most acute. Sounds and smells would pop into his head for no reason and vanish just as quickly. Tonks had figured out a perfect way to bring Harry out of the funk he would be in when he emerged from that room. Tiki could be found in the cellar or the garage cleaning during those times.

Friday’s training followed the pattern of the week. Horace would teach Harry about five curses and push him until he learned them. Horace wanted to see Harry master one of the spells wandlessly before he could leave for the day. Harry chose to learn a Binding Hex that had a form of Petrificus Totalus added to it. Tonks told him that many aurors used it when arresting a suspect.

Harry and Tonks had just returned to Potter Estate, Apparating into the living room, when Harry felt a sharp stab in his head. Stumbling to his knees, Harry gritted his teeth against the pain as images that swam into his mind. Various faces and voices moved about and one name could be seen floating ghost-like in his vision, "Lovegood."

Tonks watched Harry fall and quickly moved to support him as he took laboured breaths through his clenched teeth. "Harry, what is it? Are you okay?"

Harry managed to move his left hand to Tonks’ leg and held on as he fought against the agony. In the haze of the rippling pain, Harry tried to use Occlumency to control the intrusion into his mind. He was making little headway since the attack had been so unexpected he was completely caught off guard.

Tonks held him close to her as she floundered about trying to think of something, anything, to do that would help Harry. She saw his right hand covering his scar and figured that it must be the cause of the pain. "Deep breaths, Harry, dear. Slow, deep breaths. You are in control remember that. Come on, luv, fight it."

Tonks rubbed his back and held him even tighter as he seemed to gain some ground against the throbbing. As Harry slowly relaxed, Tonks began kissing his cheek and forehead. When she pulled his hand away from the scar, the angry red mark was hot on her lips as she kissed it intently. She kept whispering consoling words to Harry as his body softened and starting moving purposefully again.

The first real movement Harry did was to hug Tonks and bury his head into her chest. She kept her spot on the floor and held him as he clung to her. Only when his eyes opened did she see the true agony of the experience. Torment hung in the green orbs that searched her face desperately for something concrete to hold on to. Tonks smiled and waited for Harry to speak.

"Voldemort is sending Death Eaters after the Lovegoods. I have to help them. They are only being attacked because of me. Luna helped me in the Ministry and Odd printed the article about Fudge. I can’t let them get hurt or worse because of me. I have to go."

"We have to go, Harry. Do not forget that I am here to keep you safe among other things. When is it happening?"

"I’m not sure, but it should be tonight I guess. I have been able to see certain things in his mind before, but everything was hazy this time. Maybe he is trying to block me out since last time hurt him or maybe I am keeping him out better. I don’t know. Still hurts though."

"Well, what would life be like without a little drama now and then?"

"I have no idea since my life is full of drama all the time." Harry managed a forced smile as he looked up at Tonks. He saw concern and a little playfulness in her eyes. "What?"

"Nothing, it is just not that often that I end up being the one not on the floor first. It is a nice change." Tonks leaned down and kissed Harry softly on the lips before kissing his cooling scar once more. "I know that the Lovegoods live near the Burrow so we should start there and try to find it. Do you know how many lackeys he is sending?"

"No, but think they are new ones. I never saw faces, but their voices weren’t familiar. As nasty as this thing is," Harry said pointing to his scar, "it comes in handy once in awhile."

"Well, it is still light out so I doubt that they will attack now. We should eat the food that I smell before we run off and test out your skills. Trust me; I know how these sorts of things work. Ninety-five percent waiting, five percent terror. We eat, then we go, okay?"

"If you are sure," Harry asked concerned for his friend and her father who was willing to help. Harry let Tonks pull him to his feet and they hurried into the kitchen to eat a nasty meal before Apparating to a place near the Burrow.

Not wanting to trigger the wards again, Tonks had suggested a location down the lane away from the Weasley’s home. Tonks used the "Point Me" spell to find a direction to the Lovegoods’ home. The property lied to the south beyond a grove of trees and the stream Harry had visited a few times while staying with his ‘adoptive’ family.

Harry and Tonks wrapped their cloaks around themselves and activated the invisibility feature before traveling down the lane. Ever watchful, Harry’s eyes darted back and forth as he walked silently next to Tonks. His memory concerning the Silencing spell had been consistent all week. Horace had barked at him when Harry forgot to use it before starting one day. Harry did his best to remember to use it every time it might be needed from that point on.

Tonks could feel the tension rolling off Harry as they advanced on the property. She knew Harry could handle himself and wasn’t worried about his safety, but she was concerned about what might happen if Harry had to really let loose with his magic. She knew Horace had found a way to get Harry to increase his levels, but she didn’t know if Harry was ready for everything that would follow.

They found the lane leading to the house and approached the building. Harry wasn’t sure if it was just a Lovegood thing or what, but the house looked even weirder than the Burrow. It looked like someone had but boxes together and built a home. There seemed to be a pattern to the construction, but Harry couldn’t figure it out. The roof line was broken in so many gables; Harry couldn’t keep a count of them. He turned to see Tonks staring open-mouthed at the house.

"Well, they are a different sort of people," Tonks rationalised shaking her head. She directed Harry to a location near the side of the house where a bench and a stone-carved creature sat beneath a large tree.

Settling in to wait for the unwelcome visitors, Harry inspected the creature in the failing light from the setting sun. He almost spoke aloud when he read the inscription on the base. He was looking at the headstone for Luna’s mother. He looked at the house and wondered why he hadn’t sought out his own parents’ grave site. The only idea he could come up with was that seeing it in writing like that would be proof that his parents were gone.

Tonks drew her wand and cast a Silencing Sphere around them and proceeded to fade the dome into nothing. "What are you thinking about, Harry?"

"My parents. Luna probably sees this every time she comes outside. I know I could find the same thing if I looked for it, but I haven’t. I am just thinking about why I haven’t yet."

"Because you know there is no going back once you see it. You haven’t closed that page in your life yet. Even after all these years and what everyone has told you, you still hope that they are wrong. Sadly, that is the last bit of childhood you have left."

"I want them back, but I don’t know what it would be like to have them. I can only guess what they would be like."

"I guess they would be a lot like you only two separate people. Many have compared you to each of them in different ways. I think I would like them, but I know they would love you. How could they not?"

Harry sat in silence as he tried to focus on the reason for him being where he was as the night washed over them. He listened to the wind rustling the leaves above the bench and watched the lights come on and go out inside the odd shaped house that would fit into an original architecture design book. Nerves getting to him, Harry asked if they should go inside and wait or maybe try to get the Lovegoods out of the house before the Death Eaters showed up.

"Are you positive that they are coming here? Are you willing to risk the Lovegoods asking certain questions? We should wait out here until they come or until we get a better idea about when it will happen. This is how it works. Remember, ninety-five percent waiting."

Harry sighed and leaned back trying to control his quickly beating heart. He saw Tonks pull her legs up under her bum and lean over to him resting her head on his shoulder. "Normally, the waiting is with someone who isn’t interesting beyond a work relationship, but this time…" Tonks smiled coyly and laughed softly when Harry blushed lightly. "I will just lean against you until another arrangement can be thought out. No funny business, it is distracting."

Harry sighed as Tonks settled against him and put an arm around him. She seemed perfectly at home waiting and watching. Harry could barely contain his urge to knock on the door and tell them to leave, but he decided Tonks knew best in this situation. So he waited, and waited.

They changed positions as blood flow required. As Harry pondered the last few years he had spent at Hogwarts and everything that had happened to him, he heard faint pops of Apparition in the distance. Tonks managed to hold him down stopping Harry from jumping to his feet and charging after the arrivals.

"Wait for them to come to us, Harry," Tonks advised. "We have a vantage point from here. Never give up an advantage unless another one presents itself. We should wait and see how many are here before we plan our course of action."

"I am not good at planning," Harry grumbled as he searched for movement.

"You are, just not advanced planning. You do really well when you plan as you go. Most likely, we are outnumbered but we know they are here."

Slowly, dark figures emerged from the lane and spread out along the nearby trees. Harry saw three people wearing Death Eater robes and carrying their wands in their hands and at the ready. Tonks whispered in his ear to follow the one on the right. She said she would take the one on the left.

"What about the one that is left?"

"After we silently take care of the other two, we can finish him off together. It should be easy from that point on. Oh, and this is just like training. Don’t get caught up on thinking it is different. Do what you always do, win."

Tonks drifted off after the figure moving to the far side of the grounds. Harry knew he needed to trust Tonks and her abilities so he sought out his own target. He crept up behind the cloaked person and watched. The person moved nervously to the rear of the house. Harry could tell that he was a new member because of the lack of confidence the person moved with.

As the person stopped and pointed his wand at the house, Harry chose which spells to use. He figured that quiet and colorless spells would be the best ones to use. Moving behind the person, Harry thought the words ‘Conligo Totalus.’ His enemy went stiff and fell to the ground with a slight thud. Harry moved and grabbed the wand out of his wand and stowed it in his pocket.

The Death Eater stared into nothingness trying to see his attacker. Only when his wand was yanked from his hand and disappeared did he know that his decision to follow the Dark Lord might have been the wrong choice to make a few weeks earlier.

Harry smiled to himself as he felt a wave of success wash over him. He had done what he needed to do and no one had been hurt. Returning to the matter at hand, Harry moved towards the final person. He saw the Death Eater looking at his watch seemingly waiting for the arranged attack time. Harry tried to find Tonks who was supposed to help him, but he couldn’t see her anywhere.

Panic began to rise up as Harry thought through the worst possibilities. He managed to refocus as the Death Eater put his watch away and continued counting down as he mouthed the numbers. Harry knew that he had to act before the time came, so he fired a Stunner at the Death Eater.

Red light lit up the night as the unsuspecting Death Eater dove out of the way and cast a Lighting charm on the area. The front yard was bathed in magical light as the figure moved to the trees and out of the open. He looked around quickly trying to find his would be attacker. Seeing no one, he began to cast a Fire spell only to jump out of the way of another Stunner from Harry.

Growling, Harry heard the Death Eater shout out his spells as he fired in all directions attempting to strike Harry down. Only two spells were close and Harry had time to move out of the way instead of using a Shield spell.

Watching a tree catch on fire and huge holes spring up from the ground, Harry began his assault on the Death Eater. Spell after spell rocketed towards the man in black who moved out of the way at the last second. All thoughts of an easy victory vanished as the Death Eater moved gracefully in his defense of his freedom. Time and time again, Harry didn’t know how the Death Eater had managed to at least partially predict what spell was being launched at him.

His infrequent shields were a perfect match when used and he moved like a cat just inside of the tree line. Harry pursued him but stayed far enough away as not to get trapped by his normal tendency to rush in. Horace had beaten that habit quite hard in the last week by letting Harry fight his way into the middle of a fight only to find no way back out.

Harry kept moving and firing while trying to bring the man down. His frustration grew as no matter what spell Harry used, it missed or was countered. Harry toyed with using unblockable curses but decided against it. Not once had the man used any spell worse than a Reductor Curse. Harry fought on launching spells as fast as he could. He began to see flashes of light deeper in the trees near where Tonks should have been.

The panic that he had fought down came back full force. Knowing that Tonks needed his help, Harry increased the power and the severity of his magic. A couple trees were utterly decimated by his Reductors and more than a few holes had been dug by missed Piercing hexes. His enemy moved away as fast as Harry advanced.

A returned Cutting Curse almost hit Harry in the arm which caused him to put even more intent into his spells. The air was beginning to shimmer around Harry as he poured his magic into the fight. He never noticed it, but the Death Eater did.


A shimmer appeared in the distance and it was about the size of a person. The shimmer moved quickly and with purpose. The cloaked man knew that things were not going as planned. He knew that there was no hope of completing his mission since the occupants of the house had to have noticed the spell work by now.

Watching the figure move and attack, the man decided that retreat was his only option. Any doubt vanished as a Severing Ribbon sliced through a foot and a half thick tree immediately before him. As the shimmer continued to increase, the Death Eater Apparated away as a Bone Shattering spell advanced on his location.

Knowing that pain was in his future for his failure, the man stopped off at another location, first, to ponder what story to have ready for the Dark Lord. He knew that it had to have as much truth as possible, but certain things had to be embellished or the torture would last longer.

‘Six attackers would be more convincing than one or two. Yes, six, and I lost the new guy right off. That should work for now. Oh, the Old Man owes me for what I do for him.’

Showing up last was always the worst place to be. The Dark Lord would save the last one for his object lesson. The hooded man Apparated away and appeared in the entry hall of the Dark Lord’s current lodging. The aged tapestries hung from the rafters above as he moved to the meeting room.

Opening the door, screams met his ears immediately. As he worked through the reality of the situation, only one word came to mind, ‘Fuck.’

"Last I see," Voldemort queried sweetly while turning away from the crumpled and broken man lying prostrate on the ground at Voldemort’s feet. "What story have you to offer for this latest defeat, Potions Master?"

"My Lord, I have no story to offer," Severus provided. "I only have what occurred."

"Your comrade has given me a tale of two people besting the three of you before you both fled in disgrace. Care to add to it?"

‘Bloody idiot,’ Snape thought. "We lost the new guy immediately, but there was more than two. He may have had only one, but I had five against me. I stayed until I couldn’t see how our mission could be salvaged considering how things had gone. The house would have been empty by the time we defeated our opposition. I accept whatever punishment you chose, Master." Snape bowed low and waited for the burning knives to pierce his skin.

"No matter the number of adversaries, I expect success." Voldemort fumed at the most recent failure of his followers. "Crucio," was the last word spoken that met Snape’s ears before he collapsed under the effects of the spell.


Harry watched as his opponent disappeared right before his Bone Shattering spell would have connected. Harry turned to see flashes of light sparking some hundred feet or so away from his current location. He crashed through the trees and undergrowth desperately wanting to help Tonks. He broke through a shrub to find Tonks moving around the trees firing spells at another Death Eater who was far less calm and collected than Harry’s had been.

He shot a spell at the man and watched as a tree shattered a fell into others with a resounding noise. Harry continued his assault by Banishing large rocks at the Death Eater followed by Stunners and the Binding spell. Harry saw Tonks move behind a large tree and spend a few minutes catching her breath.

Harry was happy that she was okay and even happier that she wasn’t fighting at the moment. The Death Eater fired a few spells at Harry hitting a nearby tree and sending wooden shards in all directions. Feeling the faint sting, Harry figured that he had been hit by some of the splinters.

He drove on in his attack and launched even more curses at the man pushing him further away from Tonks and the Lovegoods. A Bone Breaking curse hit the man in the arm with a loud snap followed by a scream of pain. Harry pressed his advantage and moved against the injured man only to see him portkey away before any additional spells could find their targets.

A shout of frustration erupted from Harry’s mouth at only getting one of the three Death Eaters. He wanted all of them. He wanted every single one. Any that escaped meant they could show up again and in greater numbers too. He decided that the night was a missed opportunity as a whole. One out of three was terrible since they had an even fight from the start.

Harry turned to find Tonks making her way to him. Harry looked in her eyes and saw shame. He ignored his own thoughts and closed the distance with her quickly. "Nymph, what is wrong?"

"I messed up, Harry," Tonks hung her head. "I buggered up my approach by being my normal clumsy self. That bastard heard me and away we went. I am sorry."

"No, don’t be. I couldn’t finish off my guy either. He seemed to know what spells were coming right as I cast them. I didn’t get into it until the end right before he Apparated away. Don’t blame yourself, it is my fault."

"Exactly my point, Harry. It is neither of our faults. You will not take the blame for this since we are both responsible for it. I know you well enough to know how you would handle this outcome. We got one and that is one more than before. Every little bit helps and this one might lead us to others. I just need to make a portkey to the holding room and we can send him on. He will be kept idle until released by an Operative."

Harry thought over how Tonks had worked him. She tried to take the blame so Harry took it instead. She showed him how stupid it was to blame himself for the outcome when much of it was out of his control anyway. "You knew what I would do and used that against me, didn’t you?"

"Sharp tonight, Harry. I like that. You are your worse enemy. At least you can work on that without risking your life and I plan to help you. Now, are you hurt at all?"

Harry hesitated before nodding. He held up his left arm and saw a few long pieces of wood sticking out of his cloak. The pieces were coated with a red substance that could only be blood. Tonks sighed and moved to look at the injury.

She examined it and shook her head while mumbling about not being able to take him anywhere. She smirked at Harry’s surprise. "What? Please, I know what you get up to at school and this is nothing compared to that. I may be concerned about you, but I am not Molly nor am I Poppy. I can get this taken care of when we get home. Now, let’s go get our ‘friend’ shipped off and go home."

Tonks moved to Harry’s uninjured side and pulled him along. They worked their way back to where Harry had left his first obstacle. They saw a man in a multicolored robe holding his wand on the bound Death Eater while another person held a torch aloft while aiming her wand in the general vicinity of the Death Eater.

"Who are you?" Demanded Odd. "Where are your friends? Well, answer me." Odd shot a Stinging hex at the trapped man who didn’t react.

"Maybe you need to kick him before he makes a sound just like a Whirling Manera, father?"

"Maybe, honey," Odd answered his daughter before kicking the Death Eater in the side eliciting a crack. "Oh, I think I broke him, honey. Maybe kicking him isn’t the right way. Maybe you have to dunk him in water like a Grubbling?"

"I will get you a bucket." Luna began to move back to the house when Harry and Tonks removed the invisibility feature on their cloaks.

Two wands snapped in their direction and Odd ordered them to raise their hands. Harry held his hands out and showed it devoid of a wand. Tonks slowly returned her wand to its holder and followed Harry’s lead.

"Mr. Lovegood," Harry began. "Pleasant evening, isn’t it? Ah, I see you found our lost Death Eater for us. Thank you so much. We have been looking for him since his friends ran off on us. Terribly sorry to disturb you, but if you would be so kind to let us deal with him from here on."

Odd kept his wand out but he seemed to be thinking something over. When his eyes widened and his wand started to drop, Tonks seized the opportunity to continue Harry’s line of thought.

"I see that you have taken good care of our, well, person, I guess. We can handle him from here though so you won’t need a bucket of water at this time. Though, I will tell you that the kicking idea was spot on. I think he might need another one just to be sure though."

Odd closed his mouth and gave another kick to the man’s side. Tonks moved forward and dropped the portkey onto the man’s chest and he was whisked away in a blink of an eye. "Thank you so much for minding him while we were busy with the others. I would suggest that you see about adding wards to your property since it appears that a certain, thing, has taken an interest in you."

"Yes," stammered Odd as he understood the situation. "I see that doing good in our world tends to attract attention. Oh well, if you are going to do something, do it right. Um, thank you for being here. Am I right in my guess as to who you people are?"

"If you think we don’t exist and were never here, then yes, you are right," Tonks hinted at the only way the evening could end.

"Well then," Odd motioned to his daughter. "Since you were never here and we never saw you then we must have been sleeping soundly all night. And what a wonderful night it is."

"Excellent then," Tonks turned to Harry and nodded to him to Apparate away. Together, they disappeared with hardly a sound.

"Father, who were they?" Luna asked in an airy and unfocused manner.

"They weren’t Unspeakables and they were never here, honey. Now why don’t you go on in while I see if I can remember those wards I learned so many years ago."

Luna had just entered the house and closed the door when Arthur, Bill, and Molly ran up the path wands out and ready to use. "Odd, is everything okay?" Arthur asked scanning the property which had been lit by Bill’s Flare Charm. Trees were toppled and dirt was scattered about. It looked as if a war had taken place.

"Arthur," Odd chimed in his near musical voice. "Everything’s fine here. How about over by you? Wonderful weather we are having, isn’t it?"

"Odd," Molly gasped as she surveyed the damage. "Is Luna alright? Did they get into the house?"

Odd looked at both elder Weasleys before inclining his head. "No one was here and they don’t exist, Arthur. If you get my meaning."

Arthur looked at the damage and met Odd’s gaze. "They weren’t here and don’t exist?" He asked trying to hint at what he believed to be the truth.

"Exactly," Odd nodded. "And the Death Eaters seemed to have run off before we could cross wands." Odd’s smile faded as he wiped at his brow thinking about everything that could have happened.

Molly nudged Arthur and gave him ‘the look.’ Arthur sighed and made his decision. "Odd, I was wondering if you would like to meet a few people I know who are interested in others who do what is right regardless of what could happen?"

Odd motioned discretely with his left hand as he answered. "I seem to have angered those who dislike Harry Potter." Odd looked at an ancient tree which lay in ruins on the edge of his property. "I would do it again. To hell with them and You-Know-Who. I like my chosen side."

"Well," Arthur said moving close to Odd and speaking in a whisper. "Then I think you should stop by Hogwarts and have a visit with Professor Dumbledore. Tell him a phoenix asked you to stop by."

"Really?" Odd queried. "What a night that didn’t happen."

"Do you need some help, Odd," Molly asked gesturing to the carnage. "Our Bill is rather good with wards and such."

Bill rejoined the group after having walked the grounds looking for more Death Eaters and at the damage. He was shocked at the level of destruction in the forest. "If you would like me to put a few wards up so you can sleep a little more soundly tonight, I would be willing. Tomorrow, we can plan out a complete system of wards and alerts like we have at the Burrow."

"That is so very nice of you," Odd accepted the offer. "I will make my visit after we have settled on a plan then."


Harry arrived in his living room next to Tonks and tossed off his hood. He grimaced as the adrenaline began to fade and the pain started to take over. Tonks went to his left side and cringed. She moved Harry to the couch and removed his cloak. Her concern was obvious and Harry was confused.

"What happened to I have had worse at school? How bad is it?"

"Shush, that was when we were in the field. If you can walk and aren’t dying right away, you are fine. We are at home now and I can let my emotions do what they will. Oh Harry, this must hurt. Um, Tiki, I need some help in here."

As soon as the words ‘Tiki’ and ‘help’ left her lips, Tiki appeared next to Tonks. The little elf’s eyes bulged before she got down to business. She disappeared and reappeared with a bag full of medical supplies. Tiki looked hopefully at Tonks as she awaited instructions. "Just like Master James. Always getting hurt. Tiki help like Tiki help Mistress Lily."

Tonks went to work removing the splinters and cleaning the wound. Harry had to fight through the pain as he felt every centimeter of wood as it was pulled from his body. "I thought these cloaks were supposed to protect us?"

"Without it, the wood would have gone clean through tearing everything in its path. At least none of it appears to be imbedded in your bones. That would be a completely different kind of hurt."

"As long as it isn’t as bad as the Cruciatus, I think I could take it."

"That is my Harry, always drawing on past experiences to make me care that much more."

The removal and repair from the injury went on for the better part of a half hour. Tonks left Tiki in charge and Harry to rest when she went to the holding room in the Ministry to sort out the captured Death Eater. When she returned to Harry, she found him still asleep and checked the bandaged wound. It had closed up and was healing quickly thanks to a Skin Knitting potion Tiki had in her kit.

"Harry," Tonks said softly. "Harry, maybe you should come up to bed. There is no sense in sleeping down here when you have such a wonderful place upstairs. You even have a sexy woman waiting for you."

With his eyes still closed, Harry replied. "Well, if you are here, then who is in my bed? And don’t tell me that it is Tiki." Harry opened his eyes and smiled at Tonks.

"If you give me a few minutes, I can chuck the usurper out on her ear. Then, I will be the sexy woman in your bed. How does that sound?"

"Like something to look forward to, Nymphadora. Let’s go, I am kind of tired."

Tonks walked Harry up the stairs and into the bathroom and helped him get ready. He was stiff from the fight and his wound was quite tender to the touch as Tonks found out when she grabbed the wrong arm trying to direct him into the bedroom. Once she had apologized and assisted Harry into his normal sleeping attire, Tonks kissed him passionately.

She messed his already unruly hair even more and proceeded to rub her body against his taking special care to stay away from his arm. "I am sorry about before. I am willing to try and make things up to you, Harry. Do you have any ideas in mind as to how I can do that?"

Tonks gave him a cheeky smile and kissed him from the top of his head to his waist. She never made it further than that much to Harry’s pleasure. As the night advanced, Harry and Tonks entertained themselves until Harry finally gave in to his exhaustion.

Tonks curled up and watched Harry sleep beside her. She thought how fast they had moved in their relationship. She had never talked to Harry about what they were, but as she had learned she doubted that Harry had any clue what to call them. She figured that they were what they were and to leave it alone. She knew Harry was not one to mess about and he had little chance to do so since he spent nearly every second with her anyway.

"You are an important part of my life, Harry. You had better stay that way or I will get Hermione and Ginny to help me haunt you forever." Tonks giggled at how silly her statement had sounded. She really was immature for her age. As she thought about it, she realized that it was Harry who made her act like she did. No matter how she put the pieces together, it always came down to the raven haired man next to her.

‘As it should be,’ she thought to herself as she hugged Harry to her and drifted off to sleep.

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