Harry Potter And The Summer Of Change
What A Wonderful Mess
By Lord Dwar
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
7. What A Wonderful Mess
The hazy morning light filtered into Harry’s room fighting away the darkness. Hedwig fluffed her wings nosily and waited for Harry to wake up. Her owner slept on wrapped up with his friend. Undaunted, Hedwig hopped out of her cage and took flight. She swooped around the room a few times and came to rest on the bed.
She bobbed her head a few times trying to wake up Harry. Failing again, Hedwig flittered further up the bed and stopped when she landed on Harry’s shoulder. From her position, her tail feathers were covering Tonks’ head completely. Hedwig nudged Harry’s head getting no response. She made a noise that could only be deciphered as frustration.
The snowy owl nipped at her owner’s ear and finally saw a stirring. She repeated the action two more times before she saw green orbs revealed by their opening eyelids. Hedwig gave Harry the unhappiest look and waited for a response.
"Hedwig?" Harry asked softly. "How did I slight you today, girl?" The owl held his gaze. "You have food and water. The window is open. What?" He received a blank stare in answer. "I have ignored you, haven’t I?"
For the first time, Hedwig moved and cuffed his head with her wing. "I am sorry, girl. We can go to the park today and you and I can play. How does that sound?" Hedwig closed her eyes and hopped into the air and settled on her cage.
"You are so whipped, Harry," called a sweet voice muffled by the pillow.
"What do you mean, Nymph?"
"Hedwig has you wrapped around her…wing. She chirps; you ask how high. You are so adorable with her."
"Glad you approve, Nymph." Harry buried his head into her neck and gave her a kiss and started nibbling lightly.
Tonks arched her back and wiggled a little in response. "Oh, Harry, I like that you know." Tonks giggled softly as she pressed herself into Harry. The minutes passed as Harry kissed and touched Tonks in various places earning the same attention in return.
Returning from a quick trip to the loo, Harry entered his room to find Tonks reading Sirius’s journal. Harry looked on eagerly awaiting his chance to read the contents.
"It will be worth the wait, Harry. I promise. I knew Sirius was out of control, but this is something completely over the top."
"Well, hurry up, Nymph. I am not getting any younger here."
"Thank Merlin for that, Harry, or I would be in some serious trouble."
"Back to my age again, Nymphie?"
"Hey, that is name is off limits, sexy. You stick with the others or no more fun for you." Tonks did her best to look resolute on that statement.
"It would work both ways, Nymphadora. If I don’t get to have any fun, neither would you."
"Well, bollocks on that then. I am not giving up on you now. I have too much effort put into your."
"I am glad to hear that, Nymph. So, what are the plans for today?
"Not much, Harry. You have to walk Hedwig or something or she will hate you forever and there is an Order meeting tonight. Otherwise, we have the whole day to ourselves."
Harry nodded and gathered what he thought he would need for the day. He was wearing another new outfit that Tonks had handed him when he left for the bathroom. He mentally checked for his wand, vault keys, the ring for portkeys, and his money pouch which he had shrunk for a better fit in his pocket.
Harry looked around the room and saw Tonks using the mirror to choose a hair style and color for the day. Pink gave way to blue, to red, to blond, to brown, to purple. The purple was a duller purple than normal, but Harry could see the color waiting to appear. Tonks decided to keep her normal style and spun to face Harry. She gave him a winning smile and Harry mentally paused.
"You like it?" Tonks asked brightly.
"I like it, Nymph. Let’s go." Hedwig launched from her perch and landed on Harry’s shoulder like she had done it a thousand times before. Tonks watched the pair lead the way out of the room and down the stairs to the kitchen. When they entered the room, Harry was glad Hedwig went to sit on the light over the table.
"What in the bloody hell is that pigeon doing in our kitchen?" Vernon bellowed. "It is bad enough the filthy animal stays in your room, but I won’t have it in the kitchen. No sir."
"Hedwig is cleaner than you are, Vernon," Harry spoke clearly. "She goes where I go. Don’t like that, too bad." Harry continued to the cooker and found that some food remained from earlier.
Harry split the food into equal portions on two plates and made his way to the table where Tonks had taken a seat next to Petunia, who was trying to scoot her chair away, and Dudley, who’s eyes never ventured further than her chest. With a sigh, Harry moved an extra chair into the gap next to Tonks.
"Keep your eyes to themselves, Dud, or you might lose them."
Vernon almost yelled at Harry for threatening his clone-of-a-son until he saw that Dudley’s eyes were locked onto Tonks’ chest. He quickly cleared his throat gaining his son’s attention.
"That is better. Remember that for next time, Dud, or I will defend her honour." Harry began eating as did Tonks. When she wasn’t eating, she put her hand on Harry’s leg and rubbed it.
The Dursley’s watched everything and two of them looked appalled while the last one looked hopeful. They were nearly finished when another owl entered the open window and landed on the edge of the table. It had a letter attached to its leg and it waited to be relieved of its burden.
"More owls," Vernon snapped. "No more owls, I am done with them."
Harry silenced Vernon wandlessly and removed the letter and gave the owl a bit of his bacon. It ate the offered food and took flight joining Hedwig on the light. Vernon went still when he realized what had happened. He was afraid of worse things should he continue with his outburst. Harry unrolled the letter and the included article. He gazed at the letter and sighed loudly.
"What is it, Harry?" Tonks asked not sure she really wanted to know.
Silently, Harry handed her the letter.
I told you nothing good would come of it. It seems that idiot didn’t learn his lesson the last time. Please be safe, son.
Oh, and the owl is Perman. We needed to retire Errol in the worst way, poor thing.
With love, Molly
The article was a cut out of the Daily Prophet.
Harry Potter Not Fan Of Fudge?
"Yesterday, Harry Potter attended the will reading of Sirius Black. Also in attendance, were a few selected others including Albus Dumbledore and Minister Fudge. We at the Prophet learned that Harry objected to the presence of the Minister and had him removed from the reading as was his right as the primary beneficiary.
"Reports say that the Minister challenged his removal, but his request was dismissed quickly by Director Ragnok in accordance with the rules governing will readings. Harry supposedly challenged the Minister and made certain threats against him.
"The Minister refutes our account of the meeting between the two stating, â€˜Mr. Potter and I have mended our past differences and are working together to fight the current problem plaguing our society. I have Harry’s full support.’"
"We would love to hear from Harry Potter on this matter to see what he has to say on this situation. Our readers should be aware that, with the inclusion of the Black estate, Harry Potter is now one of the richest wizards in the world. A current tally is not available and our requests to Gringotts have been refused by Director Ragnok himself."
Tonks finished reading and looked to find Harry concentrating intently. A few seconds later, a quill and a piece of parchment flew through the door and were caught by Harry’s quick movements. He started writing with an angry flourish and paused now and then to think through something before writing it down.
Tonks watched and waited until Harry was done. He asked Perman to deliver his letter to Gringotts immediately. The owl did as asked and left the kitchen quickly. Harry took a deep breath and calmed himself. He noticed how Hedwig was reacting and called her down as well.
"Sorry, girl, but we have plans for today. That letter wasn’t that important." Hedwig puffed out her feathers in an attempt to make herself look more important. Harry offered her a much larger piece of his bacon, a bit of toast, and some of his juice. Petunia scowled at the actions of her nephew.
"Harry, what did you do?" Tonks asked softly and saw Harry grow angry again.
"I did what I should have done yesterday. I just asked Ragnok to tell me everything he has on Fudge. I guess Fudge has never been a fan of goblins and the feeling is mutual. I intend to remove him from office. How dare he say I support him. The pompous arse won’t know what hit him."
"Look at you all fired up at the Minister of Magic, such as he is. You go get him, Harry."
"What have you done to my husband?" Choked out Petunia.
Harry turned to look at Vernon and saw him turning red from fury. "I silenced him when he was raging about the owls. Hedwig doesn’t like loud noises especially from Vernon." Harry went back to eating his food and stroking Hedwig now and then.
"Could you fix him?" Petunia asked quietly knowing that yelling wouldn’t get her anywhere. Harry looked up and removed the spell.
"Yell like that again and I will leave that spell in place for a few days, Vernon." Harry made eye contact and held it for a few seconds before returning to what was left of his breakfast.
"What Minister were you talking about?" Dudley asked refusing to look at Harry.
"Minister of Magic," Harry answered between bites.
"You can just remove a Minister like that?" Petunia questioned. "It is that easy? What kind of government do you people have anyway?"
Harry kept quiet and proceeded to finish his food and pet Hedwig.
"For the most part, we are just like the muggle system," Tonks offered. "The thing is, Harry kind of carries public opinion right now and he can back it up. If the goblins join him, then Fudge is sure to be out. After last year, Fudge won’t be hard to remove."
"How can you carry anything, boy?" Vernon blustered. He shrunk when he met Harry’s gaze.
"Harry can do pretty much whatever he wants, fatso," Tonks replied. "He is Harry Potter after all." The confusion on Vernon’s face remained until Tonks stood to leave the kitchen with Harry and Hedwig who led the way.
"What does that rubbish mean? He is Harry Potter after all. What kind of codswallop is that?" Vernon wanted answers to his questions.
"He is a hero in our world and everyone knows who he is," Tonks said. "You are looking at one of our most famous people and he can make a lot happen if he wants."
Harry hastily led the way out of Number Four with Hedwig on his shoulder. Tonks caught up and they headed to the park. Hedwig took flight after a few houses and soared ahead. Harry looked at the haze that hung in the air and wondered if that was how the rest of the day was going to be.
"Did I do the right thing, Nymph? Is ousting Fudge the right thing to do now? Did I just stuff up the war effort that much more by getting mad?" Harry watched the cracks in the sidewalk move beneath him as he mindlessly walked to the park.
"Fudge is an idiot that needs to be removed, Harry. You did what you thought was right and honestly I think it is the right thing to do. He isn’t the leader we need right now. He can’t be effective with his job sitting so precariously. A leader needs to have leverage over others to make things happen. Not that Fudge ever did the right thing mind you, but it is a fact."
"Ragnok told me yesterday that Fudge has been trying to make the goblins’ lives more difficult for years. He has either sponsored or supported every single law that restricts what they can do since he got into the Ministry. Ragnok told me he has tried to reason with Fudge over the years, but our git of a minister won’t listen.
"I just want to be left alone, Nymph. That is all I have ever wanted. The Ministry, Fudge, the Prophet, Voldemort, the Death Eaters; I just want them to leave me be. Is it too much to ask for that? Is my life so cursed that I will never have that?"
Tonks put an arm around Harry and hugged him tightly. She cooed in his ear softly trying to calm him. "You dictate your own life, Harry. You are your own man now." Tonks held him as his body relaxed in her embrace. With a quick kiss on his cheek, Tonks said, "Except for the part that I dictate." She smiled widely as she pulled back and nudged him forward.
Harry chuckled lightly but kept his head down the remaining distance to the park. When they entered the gate to the park, Hedwig flew down from her perch in one of the trees. Tonks followed her flight around the park as she flew up behind Harry who seemed to be lost in thought.
At the last second, Harry held his left arm up and Hedwig landed perfectly as if they had coordinated the whole thing. Tonks watched Harry stroke her softly in a loving way. Hedwig moved around so Harry would rub the spots she wanted. Tonks could see Harry’s lips moving, but she couldn’t hear the words he was saying.
She watched how the two companions bonded. She could see Hedwig controlled the majority of their friendship. Tonks had seen the owl get Harry to do things he never would have for someone else. She had seen how Hedwig kept a close eye on Harry when he moved about his room. She knew that she had also seen the snowy owl following them when they went to dinner the night before and around the neighborhood a few other times in the last week too.
At that moment, Harry lifted his arm and Hedwig took to the air pumping her wings a few times to gain altitude. She floated around the open area in a few lazy circles before heading north over the trees. Tonks looked to Harry and saw him following his owl with a lost look and a loving smile on his face.
"You love her, don’t you?" Tonks asked softly.
"She was my first true friend, Nymph. She is the only one who has been with me both at school and here. She doesn’t care if I am famous or unknown, hated or adored. She has no expectations more than a little care and attention now and then. If I stuff things up, she lets me know right away and you know she won’t give in." Harry caught sight of a brighter white in the sky when Hedwig flew in front of a chimney.
"Do I love her? If I knew what love felt like, I might be able to answer that question, Nymph. I know that I would do anything to keep her safe if she was in danger."
"Do you think that way about anyone else, Harry?"
"Sure I do. Ron, Hermione, Molly and Arthur, the rest of the Weasleys I guess, you. I would do whatever I had to do to keep everyone safe. I have so few real friends that I want to keep the ones I already have. Is that what love is?"
"It is whatever you make of it, Harry. Everyone is different, but you should be used to that comment by now. Love is the most confusing thing in the world. It is the greatest and worst thing as well. All I can say is that you will know it when you feel it. The rest is up to you to figure out. Now, what are we going to do now?"
"Well, Hedwig is about ten seconds away from landing on me so you better wait on doing anything right now." Tonks counted the time and at ten, Hedwig landed on Harry’s arm again.
"How did you know that she would do that?"
"It is the same every time we do this. She flies the same pattern and for the same amount of time. I am not sure why, but that is what she does. I knew what she was doing by how she took off. Hedwig has two other routines that she likes, but she takes off differently for them." Harry stared at his owl and caressed her soft feathers.
Tonks was captivated by the exchange between the two. She had an owl since she was in school, but they had never bonded like that. Tonks let her owl do his thing when he wanted and he always showed up in the morning for letters. â€˜I have yet to see anything normal about him. Not one thing is the same as another. He can’t even own an owl like most people.’
Hedwig took off again. "She will fly to the left, then the right a few times. Then she will do spirals before doing a fly by and circling around to land on my right shoulder," Harry spoke as if he was reading from a book and not describing what an animal was going to do.
Sure enough, Hedwig did exactly as Harry had predicted. Tonks could only shake her head a few times in surprise. When Hedwig took off again, Harry turned to Tonks.
"She is doing her own thing now," Harry said simply. "What would you like to do, Nymphadora?"
"I would like to sit under the tree, dear sir." Tonks grabbed Harry’s hand and pulled him over to a gathering of trees to the side of the park. Harry sat down first and Tonks followed him in an uncontrolled way. She ended up sitting on him rather than next to him. With a perky smile, Tonks kissed Harry forcefully.
The snog session continued for an hour or so as the haze remained hanging over Surrey. Tonks had pulled away to look into Harry’s eyes when movement drew his attention away from the sexy creature in his lap. Harry watched as people moved along the far fence line toward the other entrance.
The people emerged from behind the bushes and Harry saw that it was Emma, Jonathan, and Cathy Williams. He smiled when he saw the purple cast on her arm covered in writings and drawings. Tonks couldn’t help but smile at Harry’s reaction.
Tonks slid off of Harry and stood up brushing the grass from her pants. Harry stood up and unconsciously ran a hand through his hair. Emma ran ahead of the others and stopped short of hitting Harry at the knees.
"Hi, Harry," called the little girl.
"Why, hello, Emma," replied Harry offering his hand in a gentlemanly way. "How are you today?"
"I’m fine. Mum wanted me to come back here so I could, what was it, overcome my demands or something like that."
"Yeah, that is it. Demons. There aren’t really demons here, are there?" Asked Emma looking around the park quickly.
"Nah, I scared them all away for you." Harry smiled and nodded to Cathy and smiled at Jonathan. "Pleasure to meet you again, Mrs. Williams."
"Harry, it is Cathy," she smiled at Harry warmly and gave Tonks a quick once over before the smile returned. "Not the best weather we have had, but it is Britain after all. What are you two doing today?"
"We were enjoying our Sunday, Cathy," Tonks replied. "Emma here to get back on the horse, then?"
"Yes, she is," Cathy answered laying her hand on her daughter’s head. "Have to turn the other cheek on something like this. Can’t let one bad experience beat you."
"I couldn’t agree more," Tonks said elbowing Harry in the ribs.
"What?" Harry asked Tonks. "Anyway, I was just spending the morning with Tonks and Hedwig."
"What’s a Hedwig?" Emma asked showing a very confused look on her face.
"I’ll show you," Harry answered. "Hedwig!" Harry called out and waited for her to arrive. A rustle in the far tree revealed her location and she flew out of the dense cover. She circled the group twice and dive-bombed Harry but pulled up in the last second spreading her wings wide to slow herself.
Emma and Cathy ducked when the large owl flew at them. They watched the beautiful bird come to rest on Harry’s shoulder perfectly. Emma was bouncing with excitement and Cathy was speechless at being so close to a real owl outside of a zoo.
"Hedwig," Harry introduced, "this is Emma, Cathy, and Jonathan. Everyone, this is Hedwig."
Emma hopped forward and reached out to touch the owl. Cathy went to grab her hand away, but Harry lowered himself quick enough showing it was okay. Jonathan came forward next and Cathy did so last.
"She is a snowy owl and we have been friends for about five years now," Harry explained.
"What kind of name is Hedwig for a girl?" Emma asked.
Harry hesitated and looked at Hedwig. She turned her head to him and titled it expectantly. "Um, well, it just kind of came to mind when I got her. I am not sure other than that. If I say anything more, she might get mad at me so I won’t."
"Harry isn’t joking," Tonks added. "Hedwig will let you know if she is mad and Harry folds like baby when she does." Tonks laughed at Harry as he shook his head and made a face.
"I am smart for not trying to fight her, Tonks. You have never been on her bad side. It is not pleasant." Harry let everyone pet Hedwig before he stood up and let her fly off to her perch in the tree.
"Aren’t you afraid she will fly away?" Emma asked.
"Nope," Harry answered. "Hedwig knows her way home and I think she likes me enough to stick around."
"An owl as a pet?" Cathy said quietly. "You have any other surprises, Harry?"
"Maybe one or two more, Cathy," Harry replied coyly. "But I am not telling." Tonks burst into laughter and nearly fell over.
"What did I miss?" Cathy asked.
Harry scowled at Tonks and turned his attention to Emma. He reached a hand out, which she quickly grabbed, and led her over to the play park equipment. Jonathan followed but he was giving Tonks a few odd looks not sure what to make of the woman who was laughing uncontrollably.
"What did I miss, Ms. Tonks?" Cathy wanted to know if it was her or what she had said.
"It was Harry saying he had one or two surprises," Tonks forced out gaining some control of herself. "If that isn’t the biggest understatement I have ever heard. He surprises me two or three times a day and I know him." Tonks couldn’t stop most of the giggles from continuing.
"Well, he is not your normal teenager, is he?" Cathy asked watching the young man in question push her daughter on the swing.
"Normal is not a word that has ever been used to describe Harry," Tonks explained, "except when he is doing the describing of course. Look at him. You could not tell by seeing him, but he has never been around children before that were younger than himself outside of school. That alone is surprising considering how he is with Emma and Jonathan."
Cathy watched Harry move about the park assisting both of her children when they needed it. He always seemed to be in the right place at the right time. "Surprising, yes," Cathy said mostly to herself.
"You haven’t seen anything yet," Tonks chimed. "And those kisses…" Tonks’ sentence drifted off as did her thoughts.
"He is still a child, Ms. Tonks," Cathy assumed the voice of a disapproving mother.
"Cathy, Harry hasn’t been a child since he was one year old," Tonks said mournfully. "Every year since then has reinforced that fact. If I had to gauge Harry’s age most of the time, I would put it somewhere around forty. All the things he has been through. It would make you cry for days for him. Yet, there he is playing with your children trying to live a carefree life through them…If only it was that simple."
Cathy looked from Harry to Tonks and saw the true sorrow written on her face. "How bad has it been? He is â€˜only’ fifteen after all."
Tonks shook her head slowly. "I can’t even begin to tell you. Some you can’t know, others you wouldn’t want to know, and a few even I don’t know. He has seen more than I and that is saying something." Tonks turned to Cathy and weighed her opinion of the woman. "Have you ever seen death, Cathy?"
The shocked and surprised woman shook her head slowly. "I have seen my grandmother pass, but I don’t think that is what you are getting at, is it?"
Tonks dropped her head in a defeated way. "Harry has seen death, far too many actually. He has looked into the face of a murderer, a few of them, and held his ground while others would have run screaming. He has fought for his life and the lives of his friends too many times. I know one thing about Harry that many don’t know. As fragile as he may look, as quiet mannered as he seems; I will never stand against Harry. To do so would be your own folly."
"How can someone so young go through all that?" Cathy asked the first thing that came to mind. "How can I not have heard about that? You know little escapes the press."
Tonks barked out a laugh. "You have to know what to read first of all. Secondly, Harry either finds himself the center of the happenings or he puts himself there. That is just how he is."
"You care about him, don’t you?" Cathy asked simply.
"Most definitely, I do," Tonks replied. "How could you not once you get to know the real Harry."
"Do I know the real Harry?" Cathy pondered.
"Yes," Tonks said pointing towards the group of three. "He is right there."
Cathy looked from Tonks to Harry and saw that he was holding Emma’s hand trying to get her on the see-saw. It was the place she had gotten hurt a few days ago. The mother in her wanted to go console her daughter, but the adult in her forced her to remain where she was. She watched the fear in her daughter’s eyes grow. She saw Emma wrap her arms around Harry’s legs in protest. She watched Harry lower himself and speak with Emma.
Emma’s face slowly changed from fear to determination. Her little girl turned away from Harry and stared at the see-saw. She held her left hand up and Harry grabbed onto it. Emboldened, Emma stepped towards the see-saw and sat on it. Harry slowly removed his hand and went to the opposite side and started working the toy. Her daughter’s smile grew with every cycle.
"That is the real Harry, Cathy," Tonks said softly. "How can you not care about him? How could I not fall in…How could I not do anything for him? You want a real hero in the world, you are looking at him."
"It took me this long to even get her to come to the park," Cathy spoke with a slight amount of awe to her voice. "She sees him and she forgets her fear. She didn’t even hesitate in running to him. He got her on that thing and she never doubted him. How does he do that?"
"That is another one of his surprises," Tonks supplied. "So that is two in the last what, fifteen minutes? And he told you that he only had one or two left. Now you see why I was laughing so hard. He can’t help himself. He is who he is."
Cathy watched how Harry worked with Emma and included Jonathan when it was possible. "I see what you mean, Ms. Tonks. I wish you both well in your life. I hope things get better for him."
"It’s Tonks and you aren’t the only one hoping for that. I know a whole group of people wanting the same thing. I am afraid that his life will never be boring enough for his wishes. If it isn’t one thing, it will be another that much is guaranteed."
The morning gave way to early afternoon and the Williams’s had to go home for lunch. Harry politely refused the offers to join them and remained with Tonks. Harry settled against the tree again, and Tonks returned to her original position in his lap.
"Miss me?" Tonks asked cheekily.
"Not really," Harry said earning himself a slug to the arm. "Hey! I was in the company of another cute girl. There is no reason to get violent." Harry rubbed his arm while fighting his smile.
"You were brilliant with her, you know. Cathy was so happy. You are a natural when it comes to children."
"Funny, that, since I never really was one." Harry started looking depressed.
Tonks leapt at the chance to change his mood and kissed him passionately. She snogged him in every way she could think of and even a few that she hadn’t. The flap of wings broke their embrace as Hedwig landed on a branch above them. She hooted a few times to get Harry’s attention.
"Yes, Girl," Harry said. "It is your day after all." Harry gave Tonks a peck on the lips and urged her off so he could stand up. When he did, Hedwig flew down and landed on his outstretched arm. After a few pets, Harry tossed Hedwig into the air and followed her movements with his eyes.
"How do you know what she wants?"
"After a time, you learn or she nips your hand until you figure it out. She is a slave driver when she wants to be, but I wouldn’t trade her for anything."
It was nearly two o’clock when Hedwig landed and Harry knew she was done for the day.
"I am hungry," Harry said. "How about you?"
"Same. Where to?"
"Let’s go get the motorbike and then we can find someplace to eat. I really don’t feel like dealing with â€˜them’ again today."
"That sounds like a plan." Tonks ruffled Harry’s hair a little and jumped ahead leading the way back to the Dursleys’. Harry, with Hedwig, followed.
When they arrived at Number Four, Harry hefted Hedwig into the air and she flew in the open bedroom window. Harry walked to where the bike was parked and took up the driver’s position. Tonks joined him from behind. Harry started the bike and they roared out of the driveway and down the street gaining quite a lot of attention from Mrs. Number Seven in the process as she stared out of her front window.
A very short ways out of Little Whinging, Harry felt a thump on his chest and saw a finger point to a deli indicating that he should stop there. Harry slowed and parked the bike then helped Tonks off.
Being the gentleman that he was, Harry bowed and swept an arm to the front of the business as Tonks walked by. She gave him a coy smirk and walked on. She never saw Harry come up behind her and grab both of her sides until it was too late. It took them at least five minutes to walk the final thirty feet to the restaurant.
The couple drove around the neighboring area for the remainder of the day. The haze had abated somewhat, but it still hung around for the most part diffusing the sunlight. Harry learned his way around Surrey and the surrounding towns in one afternoon. During a break at a nearby park, Tonks received a message spell from Dumbledore.
"Harry, guess what?"
"Albus would like me to bring you to the Order meeting tonight. What do you think this is about?"
"Knowing him, he probably wants a chance to corner me and get information out of me. That or he wants to yell at me for yesterday. Either way, I don’t really care. I am not going to apologize or back down. He owes me too much for what he has done. I hope he understands that."
"He isn’t your real enemy, Harry. Please remember that tonight. Now, it is around five so unless we are going to use magic to get there, we should start on our way now. I can direct you when we get closer to headquarters, but until then I will have to use Point Me. Think, you showing up on this thing should cause enough mayhem for the rest of the day. How much fun will that be?" Tonks’ smile turned evil looking.
"You are a bad influence, Nymph. You know that, right?"
"I am only following orders, Harry. I have certain expectations to meet, and I plan to do so."
"Alright, let’s go Nymph."
Harry turned left at the next major road and Tonks directed him with her wand. The journey took them a fair amount of time and a few wrong turns that didn’t go through as hoped. At the beginning, Harry tried to memorize the street names he took, but after the twelfth street, he gave up and just concentrated on driving. They were cut off twice and only Harry’s reflexes saved them from crashing.
At one point, a police car followed them for a few blocks, but Harry stayed within the law of the road and the car turned off. As the neighborhoods became nicer, then rougher, then nasty; Harry figured they were getting close. He knew they were nearby when Tonks stowed her wand and started directing him with more confidence. The familiar rundown homes told Harry that he was on the correct street.
The street sign had been torn off the corner post so Harry didn’t know for absolute certainty until Tonks tapped him on the shoulder and pointed to the house numbers. Eighteen, sixteen, fourteen, ten; Harry pulled the bike to the curb and shut off the engine. He dismounted and assisted Tonks.
"No matter what happens, Harry, please keep your temper," Tonks pleaded. "I know you will want to kick some arse, but don’t. You can yell, throw things, even hit them, but do not use magic. That is something you need to keep hidden as long as possible. Remember, I am here and I will help you when I can or when I have to. Oh, and if Snape gets in your face, smack him. He can’t do anything to you with all of us around. Spy or no, he doesn’t have many friends here."
"I will do my best, but no promises, Nymph." Harry closed his eyes and took a deep breath before opening them again. "I will not use magic on purpose, but if they get to me too much I am not sure what will happen."
"If you lose it here, Horace will kick your arse tomorrow. If that isn’t enough motivation, then I won’t sleep in your bed tonight. How you do like that?"
"Not much, Nymphadora," Harry said. "I will do my best."
"Then you will be fine, Harry. Your best is so much better than anyone else’s. Now what do you say we go get yelled at?"
"Sounds like fun," Harry said offhandedly. "Nothing new there at least."
Harry concentrated on Number Twelve Grimmauld Place and the house appeared between two other dilapidated homes. Harry kept walking up to the door and knocked lightly. Tonks joined him on the front step, placed a hand on his back, and started rubbing it softly. The front door opened after numerous locks were thrown open. Molly’s head appeared and she broke into a forced smile.
"Harry," Molly said with a hushed voice. "What was that noise we heard? It sounded like the twins were messing about out here."
"That was my motorbike, Mrs. Weasley." Harry waited for the reaction he was expecting. He got it and then some.
Molly pulled him in the house and Tonks followed closely. The door was thrown closed and one lock was secured. Molly put a hand in the small of each of their backs and hustled them into the partially filled living room. Molly gave a shove and both newcomers were sent in the direction of a couch.
"What in the world did you think you were doing, Tonks?" Molly raged. "Driving that deathtrap all the way here from Surrey, Harry could have been hurt or worse. You are an auror and should know about safety not to mention how much noise that thing makes. How could you take a risk like that? I am waiting, young woman."
"I was driving, Mrs. Weasley and it was my idea," Harry said evenly. He looked around the room and saw the twins, Ron, Ginny, Arthur, Bill, Hagrid, and a few others standing in the back of the room. Remus was directly across from Harry and Tonks, sitting on the other couch, wearing a large grin. "If you are going to yell, yell at me."
Molly seemed to deflate, but it was clear she wanted to continue yelling. "Harry, that thing is dangerous. You really should just sell it. You could probably get a new broom or something."
"I already have a good broom, Mrs. Weasley, and I like the motorbike. It is great fun and I am not going to sell it."
"Harry, please, think of your safety," Molly was becoming less angry and more concerned.
"I am as safe as you can be with Voldemort after you." Harry watched the shivers spread around the room and sighed internally. "Ron, Ginny, Twins."
"Harry!" They chimed at once.
"The meeting will be a little delayed," Remus said. "I believe Severus couldn’t get away until later. Why don’t you tell us how your summer has been so far, Harry."
Harry looked right into Remus’s eyes. "Enlightening, Remus." Harry scanned the room once more and found hesitant looks on the faces of his friends. "How has your summer been so far?"
"Not bad, Harry," Ron said.
"Good for the most part, Harry," Ginny replied.
"Smashing, Mr. Potter," Fred responded.
"You should come by the store, Mr. Potter," George said. "You might see something worth putting your money into."
Molly scowled and crossed her arms. Remus laughed as did Ron and Ginny. Tonks giggled. "Maybe I will, George."
"Enough of that talk," Molly interrupted. "Why don’t you kids go up stairs and visit." They stood up and turned to go up the stairs. Tonks was stopped by Molly’s hand. "You should stay, Tonks."
"If you are going to yell at her, then I am staying," Harry spoke. "She did nothing wrong and you need to understand that."
"Harry," Molly placated, "Tonks is the adult here and she knows better than to let something like this happen."
"I made it happen, Mrs. Weasley, and there is nothing more to it. Leave Tonks out of this."
"Oh, Harry, you are still a child and she is not," Molly seemed to deflate.
"I am as much an adult as anyone else, am I not?" Harry challenged.
Molly went quiet as Arthur placed a hand on her shoulder. "Sadly, yes, Harry," Arthur answered slowly with regret. "Molly just needs time to get used to that fact. What is done is done, right dear. No more yelling tonight."
Under his breath, Harry said, "yeah right." His friends heard him clearly enough. They resumed their trip upstairs and Tonks remained behind with a determined glare. "Tonks?"
"I am fine, Harry," Tonks said. "Don’t worry about me. If I need help, I will get you." She waved them on and Harry hesitantly walked away. They went up the stairs and turned into the room that Ron and Harry had shared last summer.
"Well done, Harry," Fred announced.
"Really well played, Harry," George said. "You have to get in front of mum before she gets going."
"Otherwise," Fred chimed in, "she will go on and on."
"Stop it," Ginny said. "You two are annoying when you do that."
"How about when we do this, sis?" Fred asked as he messed up her hair and knocked her back on the bed.
"Fred!" Ginny snapped from under her hair. "I know where the money came from so you better be nice to me."
"What was that little sister?" George asked.
"Are you threatening us?" Fred seconded.
"I am making a statement," Ginny answered while sitting up. "Take it however you want to. I know and mum doesn’t know…yet."
Fred and George shared a startled look. "You wouldn’t."
"You don’t hate us that much?"
"We love you like a sister."
"Since you are one."
"And you treat me the same, too," Ginny added.
"We treat you better than Ron at least," Fred retorted.
"Prats," Ron answered.
The sibling squabble continued for some time as Harry watched it. It was like a tennis match that Petunia seemed to enjoy when the neighbors talked about it. She always said that it was a respectable sport played by proper people. His spectating was ruined by one last comment.
"You wouldn’t endanger Harry like that," Fred said. "You like him too much."
"As you saw for yourself," Ginny answered. "Harry can take care of himself when it comes to mum. You know she has a soft spot for him."
"I was referring to the soft spot you have for him, actually," Fred replied then stopped instantly. "Ew, that was all wrong that was."
George paused, and then hit his brother on the head. "Pillock, that’s our Gin-Gin you are talking about."
"Sorry, got caught up in the moment," Fred apologized. "Either way, you wouldn’t risk Harry like that. He is Harry Potter after all."
"Yeah," George added, "who would save your life next time? If mum kills Harry then he is not an option."
"Hey, how did I get brought into this," Harry asked.
"You gave them the money to start up the business, that is how you got into this," Ginny answered. "Dug your own hole you did."
"Well, they put it to good use at least," Harry replied. "Good for them."
"You gave these two money?" Ron asked confused. "Where did you get it?"
"Oh, Ron, are you that thick?" Ginny questioned. "His own vault or the Triwizard winnings. Either way, it is not like Harry doesn’t have the money to give away. You read that article the same as the rest of us."
"Yeah, but Harry would have told me," Ron paused and looked at his best friend. "You would have told me, right?"
"You were jealous of me once already that year," Harry said plainly. "I didn’t want to risk it again. I gave them one thousand galleons and I was glad to do it. If you need more, let me know. And don’t be mad at me, Ron. I really don’t need more people mad at me right now especially if they are my friends."
"No worries, mate," Ron said quickly. "Just let me know if you want to get me a really nice Christmas present this year."
Harry smiled widely before he was tackled by one of the twins. The other followed closely behind the first. Harry quickly found himself on the bottom of a Weasley pile. A few shrieks from Ginny and a grunt from Ron signaled that the pile had fallen over onto the floor.
Harry moved a foot out of his face and discovered an armpit had replaced it. He poked lightly getting a response and more movement. Quickly a soft mound of flesh ended up in his face blocking all view of the room. Soon the pile stopped moving and a pair of cackles erupted from the silence.
Harry moved when others were removed from him and the laughter increased. He saw Ginny move off of him and back away turning red. Harry figured out what had happened and pushed away from the group quickly trying to get to his feet. He was â€˜helped’ by Ron.
"That is my sister you were feeling up there, Potter," Ron said clearly as he grabbed the front of Harry’s shirt balling it up in his fist. "You better apologize to her or I will pound you into the floor."
Harry looked at Ron and saw the conflicting emotions of pride and humour battling out. He smiled and calmly apologized to the reddening Ginny. The twins’ mouths dropped open when Harry moved around Ron to speak to Ginny.
They stepped forward and pushed Ron away and pulled down on Harry’s shirt. "Where did you get these, Harry?" Fred looked quite angry.
"Did those worthless muggles do this to you?" George asked.
"Do what?" Harry asked completely lost. He looked down and saw that the hickeys from the night before were uncovered. There were many of them and Harry didn’t know how to explain it. "Um…well you see…" Harry started turning bright red.
"Oh, I get it," Fred said quickly changing his stance. "You got these by choice. I see. So who is the lucky girl, Harry?"
"Anyone we know?" George asked continuing the interrogation.
"Um, maybe, but I am not going to answer any questions," Harry stated. "I will not say anything about it. Sorry guys."
"You know that an entire generation or two of women just became insanely jealous of some poor bird, right?" Fred asked.
"She better be able to hold her own or they will tear her apart," George said shaking his head.
"Our poor Gin my never be the same now," Fred spoke solemnly shaking his head.
"Sorry, Gin-Gin, it looks like he is taken," George said sadly. "You will have to find someone else to drool over."
Ginny looked at the bit of Harry’s exposed chest and stilled for a minute. "Like I said, I got over Harry last year." She nodded her head with emphasis. "So, Harry, who is it? Does she make you happy?"
Harry looked around the room and found he was the center of attention. "I am happy and I am still not saying who. She has helped me this summer and I intend to keep it that way. Do not say anything to anyone or they will try to lock me away even more. I have a lot going on right now and I don’t need more people in the way. Please don’t tell anyone."
"If you are happy, Harry, then I am happy for you," Ginny said. "You deserve some happiness. Now, does Tonks know about her? She has been watching you, hasn’t she?"
"She has been watching me and she knows who it is, but she won’t say either." Harry calmed himself as he knew he had to speak to Tonks before anyone beat him to it. He started edging his way towards the door so he could be the first one to it should the Weasleys decide to test Tonks’ resolve.
"Well, I guess we will have to hope you slip up," Fred said.
"Or better yet," George interjected.
"We drop in to visit you some day," Fred completed.
"Yeah, I would appreciate it if you didn’t just drop by," Harry explained. "I hear enough yelling from the Dursleys as is so I don’t need anymore thanks."
"Is it really that bad?" Ginny asked.
"Not as bad as before, but they won’t change," Harry admitted. "How can they? They have spent too many years hating me for one summer to fix it all. I just can’t wait to get out of there for good. At least now, I have a place to go if I have to."
"Really?" Ron spoke up.
"Yeah," Harry nodded, "here. I own all of it. Lot of good it does me. I would just be exchanging one prison for another. I have other places but I don’t know where or what they are."
"What terrible problems you have, Harry," Ginny joked. "Too many houses, not enough time, huh."
"Something like that," Harry said.
The conversation became lighter as Ginny infused it with humour and insults directed at the twins. Ron didn’t seem to let Harry’s financial news get to him too much, but he was more subdued than usual. It was a loud room that Tonks found after she escaped the other Order members in the living room.
"Hey, Tonks," Ginny chirped as the door opened and closed letting Tonks slip in the room.
Tonks smiled and greeted them all as she walked across the room to the small group. She tripped over the throw rug and landed on Harry knocking him to the floor. In the confusion, Harry whispered that she had to refuse to answer their questions.
Tonks slid off of Harry and settled into a sitting position between Harry and Fred. She wasn’t sure what Harry meant, but she quickly found out.
"So, Tonks," George asked, "who is it?"
"Who is who," Tonks played dumb.
"You know,’ Fred continued. "Who is Harry’s girlfriend?"
"What girlfriend, twin number one?"
"The one who sucked all over Harry’s body," George finished.
"Harry has some nice marks on him from someone and we want to know who it is?" Ginny asked the real question.
"Harry," Tonks took up her teacher impression. "Have you been naughty with some innocent girl?"
Harry held his composure and replied, "I don’t think she is all that innocent, Tonks. I am sure she got what she deserved in the end."
"Oh, you think so, do you?" Tonks queried with a smirk.
"Who is it dear Tonks," Fred asked.
"We must know," George added.
"I can’t say," Tonks shook her head. "I have given my word to Harry not to reveal her identity. Think of the scandal that would fall on her head if the press found out. Scary thoughts I tell you."
"So you aren’t going to tell?" Ginny asked outright.
"Nope," Tonks replied. "I will not say who she is. I can say that she is a sweet girl and much too good for Harry, but she likes a project."
"Project?" Harry shouted. "What kind of project?"
"Now, Harry, be good," Tonks chided. "I can’t say anymore at this time. Ask me no questions and I will tell you no lies."
"No fun, Tonks," Fred quipped.
"But this is, brother," George said right before he pulled out a balloon and launched it at Tonks.
Not thinking, Harry reached out and grabbed the balloon with his hand stopping it from hitting Tonks in the face. The problem was, the balloon exploded in Harry’s hand turning it green and purple as a liquid showered over him and the floor.
"Bollocks, Harry," Fred yelled.
"That was going to be really funny," George said.
"Until you show off and grab it," Fred uttered.
"Poor sport, Harry," George said while shaking his head.
"How long does this last?" Harry asked.
"Not really sure, Fred answered.
"Had it last up to four hours before, but it varies depending on cooking time," George explained.
"Tonks, could you clean this stuff off me?" Harry asked.
"I wouldn’t do that, Tonks," Fred said quickly.
"Gets worse," George said before Harry could ask.
"Guys, I need this cleaned off before the meeting tonight," Harry spoke clearly to both of them. "No messing about on this one. I need to be normal for this thing or I am wasting my time."
The twins looked at each other and nodded at the same time. "Okay, Harry, we will help you out." Fred drew his wand and started mumbling and waved it all around Harry countering the new colors. After a few minutes, Fred put his wand away and looked at his work.
"It isn’t perfect, but it should be cleared up within the hour," George said.
"Thank you for helping me out here," Harry said quietly. "This is my only shot at getting control of my own life this summer."
"I think we should go down stairs now," Tonks interjected. "I think Snape was going to be here about now."
The room cleared out but Tonks held Harry back and closed the door. "Everyone here is an ally, Harry. Please remember that and do not use any magic in front of anyone. Now, let’s go see what is going on."
"Thank you for helping me out, Nymph. I really appreciate it." Harry leaned forward and gave Tonks a solid kiss on the lips.
They snogged for a few minutes before breaking away. "I will keep my temper, Nymph, but I will not lie down. I will fight for what is mine."
"I never expected you to lie down, Harry. Now, let’s go out there and see what they have in mind for you, sexy."
Harry opened the door and walked out into the hallway with Tonks following him. He heard movement behind them and turned to find Ginny standing in the hallway. She looked surprised but there was something else, Harry figured.
"Ginny," Harry said. "Everything alright?"
"Everything is fine, Harry," she answered. "How about you?"
"I am about to find out, actually."
Harry turned and continued down the stairs. Tonks watched him go before turning to look at Ginny. She raised her eyebrows at the young woman to find Ginny doing the same thing to her.
"Oh, nothing much, Nymph," Ginny said with a smirk.
Tonks’ smile dropped as she walked right up to Ginny. Tonks looked at her severely. "You are never to utter what you think you heard to anyone until he says it is okay. Do you understand?"
Ginny dropped her joking mood. "I was only having a little fun at you, Tonks. I would never hurt Harry, never."
"I just want to be sure, Ginny," Tonks explained. "Harry is in a very tedious position. He has the ability to become the Harry we know he can become or the Harry we fear he could end up as. I gather that you used some of the twin’s products to listen in?" In answer, Ginny pulled out an Extendable Ear. "A Weasley through and through. This will be our little secret then. Tell no one."
"Can I ask one question?" Ginny posed getting a hesitant nod in reply. "Is he a good kisser?"
Tonks face relaxed and she seemed to drift off for a minute before giving a whimsical reply. "You have no idea. It is worth the risk and then some. And the rest is just…Oh I should stop, considering the meeting and all."
"Is it really that good?" Ginny asked acting more like the fourteen-year-old that she was.
"Yep, and don’t you dare say a word of it to anyone. Don’t even think about it. People can read minds here you know."
"I will do my best, Tonks." Ginny looked very serious when she answered Tonks’ request.
"Well, I better get down there before Harry hurts someone like a certain Potions teacher." Tonks walked ahead of Ginny and saw Harry as she descended the stairs. He was leaning up against the door frame and looking into the living room. "You can go in, Harry," Tonks said. "It is yours after all."
"I am not sure I really want to, Tonks. Am I ready to be the Harry I have to be? Will these people accept that person? They are used to controlling my life not letting me live it."
"Enough of this drivel, Harry," Tonks scolded. "Get your sweet arse out there and be who you want to be," Tonks whispered in Harry’s ear. "Oh, and Ginny figured it out. More like she eavesdropped and heard, but she knows all the same. Now, go." Tonks gave Harry a nudge in the back and he stepped forward from the doorway.
With the step, Harry calmed his mind and his emotions. It wasn’t enough to fight off a Legilimency attack, but it was enough to convince a spectator that he was there with a purpose. Harry walked slowly into the living room looking at every person waiting for the meeting to be called.
Most of them smiled or waved at Harry as he walked into the room. A few watched him with the same level of intent that Harry was giving them. He took up a position near the fireplace and waited for Dumbledore to arrive and call the meeting. He managed to create a preoccupied air about him causing most of the Order members to give him room and not approach him.
Tonks joined him along the wall and kept up a conversation with Ginny who was not looking in Harry’s direction. Most of the conversation was kept at a low volume out of fear of waking Mrs. Black even with the sound reducing spells on the room.
Harry ran through his mental preparations as he waited. He had built up a wall around his thoughts concerning Tonks when the doorbell rang. His resolve was tested immediately as the vile portrait started screeching.
"Mudbloods, scourge of the earth, lesser beings, should all be put to sleep!" Called the horrible woman.
The front door opened and two figures entered the entryway. One cloaked all in black and the other dressed in dark blue. Albus and Snape were the last two members to arrive for the meeting. Molly moved to cover the painting with the drapes, but the screaming woman put up a determined fight.
"Vermin, wretched creatures, out of my house, you are soiling this fine home!" Harry turned to listen to the words being yelled. "Kreacher, remove these evil things from my home! Out, bitch!"
Harry felt his anger escape his tight control for a second. â€˜How dare that woman call Mrs. Weasley that. I should…No, remember what Nymph said.’ The screaming continued as Albus drew even with the painting.
"My apologies," Albus called over the shouts. "I must have forgotten not to ring the bell." He smiled lightly trying to diffuse the mood as the horrid canvas continued.
Harry couldn’t take the way Albus had seemingly apologized. â€˜He meant to do that. There is no way he could have forgotten about the bell. He is trying to throw me off my target here. I will show him.’
Harry stepped away from the fireplace and strode towards the still spouting image. Tonks watched the poker fly from its holder and into Harry’s hand, but fortunately everyone’s attention was directed at the painting.
Harry brought the poker up to a resting position on his shoulder and walked past Remus and Moody who stood near the doorway. "Molly, move!" Harry called out.
Molly stepped sideways and saw Harry looming over her with the poker moving backwards. Albus turned to see Harry standing next to him with the poker already swinging forward.
With a loud scream, Mrs. Black was impaled with the poker wielded by Harry. The wrought iron instrument went through the canvas and into the plaster wall behind it. The tearing sound nearly drowned out the dying noise escaping from the mouth of the painting.
Albus had jumped back when the poker swung in front of his face. He watched the scene with a sad look on his face. "That wasn’t necessary, Harry. She was old and set in her ways. This outburst would have passed."
"If it was that easy to shut her up, you should have done it last year, old man," Harry said evenly as he watched the image become less animated. Harry pulled on the poker and drug the hook down the wall until it caught on the frame. Harry gave a tug and the painting ripped from the wall and clattered to the floor as plaster dust gently followed.
With a smirk, Harry stepped forward and picked up the portrait. He turned and walked to the empty fireplace tossing the dying painting into it. He turned to Tonks and nodded authoritatively to her.
A flash of a flame spell erupted from the auror’s wand and ignited the fireplace. Harry watched the flames devour Mrs. Black with a slight smile. "That was for you, Sirius. You always wanted to do that and now it is done."
The whole room had fallen silent when Harry had plunged the poker into the painting. Everyone watched and listened to the Boy-Who-Lived as he removed the constant annoyance in the House of Black.
"Harry, why did you do that?" Albus had joined Harry in front of the hearth.
"It needed done and you wouldn’t have done it," Harry answered clearly. "You don’t seem to be able to make things happen, Professor. Why is that? Are you too careful? Afraid you will let yet another detail slip through."
"I am not sure what you mean, Harry." Albus was looking right into Harry’s eyes.
"Voldemort of course," Harry spoke while holding the aged wizard’s eyes as well. "You know you should have stopped him before he graduated, right? Inaction seems to be your biggest failing in life. You aren’t willing to take the risk. Well, considering my options, I am going to take the risk. I have nothing to lose but my life and that isn’t worth very much right now."
"Harry, you know that isn’t true," Albus argued.
"I am what you made me, Albus," Harry said quietly. "Remember that when you fall asleep at night. I know I do. I wondered why I was being punished every day since I could remember. I thought I had wronged someone in a past life or something to deserve the Dursleys. Funny thing is you were responsible for it the whole time. Even still I am being punished for having lived that night. You have no idea how many times I wished I had died with my parents.
"Anyway, you could have removed that painting at any time, but you left it for what purpose?" He received no answer from his Headmaster. "As I thought. Now, why am I here?"
Scanning the room and seeing a sea of shocked, surprised, and confused faces; Albus urged everyone into the kitchen who was a member of the Order. Ron and Ginny wore dejected and angry looks when Molly blocked their entrance into the kitchen. The twins just moved to either side and pushed past her. Arthur stopped the outburst before Molly could object vocally.
A quiet conversation led to a sniffling mother being directed into the kitchen by her husband. Harry was pushed into the kitchen by Tonks and he stood next to the door as the members took their places. Soft murmurs sounded a few times as Harry made eye contact with more than half of the attendees.
"Let us bring this meeting to order," Albus announced, ending most of the conversations.
"If Potter could refrain from another childish outburst," began Snape in a very acidic tone. "We might be able to start our meeting. Who knows who could die next time he loses control of his impulses."
"Severus," warned Albus, "Please control your normal tendencies."
"Yes, Snivellus," Harry called softly, "Do choose your words carefully. I might mistake you for another portrait and the fireplace might not be big enough for you. That would be a shame wouldn’t it?"
Everyone in the room turned to see Harry staring down the hateful man. A few had to look away when they caught sight of the intensity in Harry’s eyes. Even Snape couldn’t prevent his right eyebrow from arching at the challenge. His lip curled as he prepared to insult Harry in kind.
"Severus," Albus snapped. "You may be under a lot of pressure as of late, but that does not excuse your behavior. Harry, Professor Snape is still your teacher and you will show him the respect he is due."
"Then he deserves none since he has done nothing to earn my respect in any way, shape, or form," Harry spoke evenly never removing his eyes from the spy. "He isn’t my teacher either. Never really was much of a teacher to be honest. I know I didn’t get an O in Potions so he won’t be my teacher moving forward. Besides, this is summer break in case you forgot. That makes Snivellus just another bastard in a black cloak and a white mask. Isn’t that right, Snivellus?"
"Why you little, shite," Snape snapped pulling his wand. "I should have let the Dark Lord…" Snape stopped himself as he caught sight of a few people leaning back in their chairs as Harry drew his wand in a blur of movement besting the speed of Snape’s draw. The tip started glowing red as Harry lowered himself into a fighting stance.
"Yes?" Harry said. "You were saying something about the Dark Tosser? Something like you should have let him, what, kill me? He has tried a few times and he has yet to succeed. What makes you think you could help him get me? Maybe you aren’t so much of a spy after all. Maybe you are more of a double agent. You may have Dumbledore fooled, but I think you are evil through and through. People never really change."
"Enough!" Albus yelled. "I will not have this, Harry. Severus has my trust. Severus, you will let go of your animosity towards James Potter. Harry is not him. Now both of you put your wands away or I will take them from you for the duration of the meeting."
"Your’s is the only trust Snape has, Professor," Harry said. "He will never have mine."
"Spoken like a true idiot, Potter," Snape retorted.
"You would know, Snivellus," Harry answered finally looking away from the greasy-haired man.
"Harry," Albus said with some level of pleading to his voice. "We are not here for you to challenge Severus’s loyalty."
"Then why am I here? You always seem to forget to tell people why they are where they are and for how long. Is that by design or is it a failing of your overburdened mind?"
"You are here so I can ask you if the Order may continue to use Grimmauld Place as our headquarters."
Harry thought through the request. "You may, but on one condition."
Snape snorted but was silenced by a hand wave from Albus. "What is the condition, Harry?"
"I be allowed to join." Harry watched a few members visibly object including Molly and Snape. Most of the others seemed to contemplate the proposal seriously.
"Absolutely not, Harry," yelled Molly through her hand as it covered her mouth in shock.
"For once, I agree with a Weasley," seconded Snape.
"Harry, you are still not of-age," Albus said diplomatically. "I could not in good conscious, allow you to join."
"Lucky for you, it is not up to you to worry about my status," Harry said forcefully halting all side conversations. "I will be able to make my own decisions on my sixteenth birthday. Until then, Tonks gets to worry about me as she is my guardian. You didn’t forget what happened yesterday, did you? Your manipulations of my life are coming to an end one way or another, Professor."
All eyes in the room turned to Tonks who had been standing next to Harry the whole time. "I will permit Harry to join if that is what he wants to do."
Albus sighed in defeat. "Be that as it may, you are unable to use magic outside of school until you turn seventeen, Harry. You would not be able to go on missions or really help the Order do much of anything."
"Who said that I wanted to go on missions for the Order?" Harry asked. "From what I know so far, all the Order does is watch the Death Eaters get stronger and kill people, have meetings like this one, and watch me sit at the Dursleys’. I only want to know what is going on. I have no interest in going on your missions. They are a waste of time if you ask me."
The room went mostly quiet at that admittance. Many of the members thought Harry wanted to participate in their missions. No one really expected he would be willing much less wanting to sit on the sidelines and watch. People were looking at each other having conversations with head nods.
Albus watched the tenor of the room and asked the big question, "And if I refuse your terms?"
"The Order will not be welcome in Grimmauld Place," was the simple reply.
"Delusions of grandeur," Snape said.
"Better than the reality of being pathetic like you, git," Harry retorted. "You are trapped in your own hate for someone who has been dead for nearly fourteen years."
"I believe," Albus interrupted the brewing argument. "The terms are acceptable, Harry. We only need to vote on it as a group. All those in favor…"
Harry looked around the room and saw that Tonks was the first with her hand up quickly followed by the twins. Everyone slowly agreed except for Snape and Molly. Molly was prodded in the back by Arthur until she noticed she was the lone hold out aside from Snape. In the end, she too voted for Harry.
"You are admitted into the Order in a non-active role only, Harry," Albus announced. "You may not participate in missions or actively fight the dark forces unless your life is in danger. Is that understood?"
"I agree with the terms, Professor," Harry accepted. "The Order may continue to use Grimmauld Place for whatever purposes they may need it for as long as I am kept informed of those purposes among other things. You know what I am referring to."
"I believe I do, Harry," Albus admitted. "Thank you for the continued use of this house and welcome to the Order of the Phoenix."
"Yippie," was Harry’s bland response.
"Just can’t get enough of yourself can you, Potter?" Snape asked.
"I had enough of you after the first class you bastard," Harry replied with a dismissing hand wave.
"Fame going to your head, Potter?" Snape retorted. "You should watch yourself. There are a lot of Death Eaters that are mad at you right now for what happened at the Ministry."
"Well, bully for them," Harry answered then lowered his voice. "Maybe they will do better than their leader. So far, he has been rather impotent in his attempts to kill me. Also, I would try to get control of your emotions. I think your true motives are starting to show."
"Enough!" Albus interrupted. "Gentlemen, we have important business here and trading insults is not on the agenda. Since you are warmed up, Severus, please tell me what is going on with Voldemort and the Inner Circle."
Snape shifted his cloak while he settled his mind. "The Dark Lord has been quiet since the battle at the Ministry. There were rumors that he was not well, but I have no proof of that being the case. The Inner Circle, what remains of it, has also been staying quiet. No meeting has been called and I know of no current plans."
"Interesting information, Severus," Albus commented. "Harry has your scar been active in the last week?"
"No," Harry replied.
"More good news for us," Albus said with a thoughtful look. "I hope that with his last attack on you, Harry, Voldemort has learned that you are not an easy target."
Snape snorted but was silenced with a cross look from Albus. Harry didn’t move nor did he comment on the small bit of information supplied by Snape. â€˜I hope it hurt him as much or more than it did me. I hope his head hurt for days after that.’
"Alastor, any news?" Albus asked Mad Eye.
"Nothing, Albus," the aged auror said. "Everything has been quiet."
Albus looked to Kingsley. "I have heard nothing through the auror department. Madam Bones is pushing us hard to find and arrest the Death Eaters. Interrogations of the captured Death Eaters have been on-going since the break-in. Next to nothing has been learned from them. I believe that Amelia is close to calling in the Unspeakables to assist with pressuring the prisoners to reveal what information they know."
"Let us hope that your colleagues are able to uncover the needed information before that is necessary," Albus added. "Times are such that I fear for the safety of anyone resisting the Ministry."
"Even the Death Eaters?" Harry asked as neutrally as he could.
"Yes, Harry, even the Death Eaters," the old wizard said. "The Unspeakables can be quite ruthless in gathering intel."
"You reap what you sow, Professor," Harry spoke with indifference.
Albus watched Harry carefully as some members murmured agreement with Harry’s statement. "Even the guilty deserve justice, Harry."
Harry matched gazes with Albus. "While the innocent receive nothing. I guess I have a more direct view of the situation, Professor. I know what some of those people have done. I have no sympathy for them."
"As you get older, Harry," Albus spoke with sadness, "you will see that things aren’t black and white. There are many different levels to every thing that happens. Motivations, circumstances, and details can make a simple event very complex."
Harry smirked at the man’s words. "If that is how you rationalize your actions or inactions, then I leave you to it. Malfoy deserves nothing but a horrible existence right now. They are all killers. They kill innocent people for fun. I have no sympathy for them or what happens to them."
"In time, you may, Harry. Please keep an open-mind moving forward in life." Albus turned his attention to Hagrid who was standing in the far corner trying to fit as best as he could into the rather full room.
Hagrid was looking at Harry with a depressed look on his face. "I have â€˜eard nothin’ Dumbledore. Tha forest has been quiet an’ Grawp ain’t â€˜eard nothin’ neither."
"Thank you, Hagrid," Albus said.
Albus systematically went through the room asking others what they had heard. No new information was revealed. The meeting seemed to wind down as time drug on. Harry grew bored as person after person had nothing to say.
"I would like Tonks, Alastor, Mungdungus, and Severus to stay behind," Albus requested as the meeting was ended.
Harry turned and was the first person to leave the room. He nearly tripped over Ginny and Ron as they scattered away from the door gathering up their listening devices. He looked them in the eyes and found awe, surprise, and a little bit of fear. Harry pushed away his current emotions and continued into the living room taking up a place on the couch.
Ron and Ginny joined him before anyone else left the kitchen. "Bloody hell, Harry!" Ron exclaimed. "You really told off Snape and Dumbledore if you think about it."
"Shush, Ron," Ginny silenced her brother. "Harry, are you okay? That isn’t like you."
Harry held Ginny’s gaze with his own. He settled himself before speaking. "I am done with those people deciding what happens to me. I am making the decisions now and if they have a problem with that then too bad. Snape is irritating and not a concern of mine."
"Did you really pull your wand on him?" Ron asked with the beginnings of an evil smile on his face.
"He drew first," Harry answered idly. "Next time, I will curse him. I am through taking his shite sitting down. He has no right to do that to me. Git better watch it next time."
The trio continued to discuss the meeting and anything else that came up as the dismissed members left the house. Many came over to shake Harry’s hand and congratulate him on his admittance. The remainder waved shyly as they exited.
In the kitchen, Tonks prepared for the real fight she knew was coming. The remaining members were chosen for a reason. Dung kept his place in the dark corner as Moody sat at the table across from Albus. Snape hovered around the room like the bat he resembled. "Get on with it, Professor."
"Nymphadora," Albus began.
Tonks bristled at the name. "I have asked you never to call me that, Professor. I wish you would respect me enough to refrain from using that blasted name."
"Tonks, then, I have a few questions concerning Harry," the wizard stated. "What happened to him since school let out? Why is he so hostile? Where is he getting his information about certain things? Where is the Harry we used to know?"
"Ha," Tonks started off. "I find it funny to hear you asking those questions. You know well enough the answer to a few of them, but I will humour you anyway. Since school let out, Harry has made some decisions concerning his life. You are beginning to see the results of those choices. Have a good time with that.
"He is hostile because he has been lied to by so many people and you are one of the worst," Tonks continued. "He knows so much right now and he is going to learn all of it soon enough. I suggest full disclosure right now if he will have it. He is getting his information from many places. If there is a place to learn things, Harry has access to those places. If he sets his mind to it, he can find out anything. You should know that considering the last five years of school and what he has figured out.
"Lastly, the Harry you used to know died with Sirius. He is not going to sit back and let others tell him where to go and what to do. He is calling his own shots now and the sooner you accept that, the sooner you might be clued in on what he has planned. I will tell you one thing though. Fudge should have learned his lesson at the reading. Now, I think you should seriously help who ever his replacement is going to be."
"What do you mean, Tonks?" Albus asked.
"Fudge is on his way out," Tonks said happily. "Harry told him and he ignored the opportunity to keep his job. Name me one person who has fought Harry and won. If you think of someone, let me know."
Albus looked to Alastor and Snape. "I fear that Cornelius has pushed young Harry too far. I understand that Harry has a kind of friendship with Ragnok?"
"I will not tell you anymore than I already have concerning Harry," Tonks refused.
"Ragnok and the goblins have stayed neutral with Cornelius at my request thus far," Albus said while in deep thought. "Taking into consideration the events of the reading, I would say that Ragnok has found a new ally in the Wizarding world. Am I correct in my assessment, Tonks?"
Tonks held her composure and said nothing. She looked at Alastor and saw a faint smirk on his lips. Dung was openly smiling and his dreadful teeth shone in the poor light like the yellowed bits they were.
"I have sympathy for poor Cornelius then," Albus commented. "I have angered Harry and been witness to the results. History tells us of the revenge goblins can exact. A merger of the two would be disastrous at this stage of the war. Would Harry listen to my suggestions on the matter?"
"I think you have a long way to go before Harry will even listen to what you have to say about the weather, Professor," Tonks revealed. "I do not know the whole story, but I know enough to understand his feelings are completely justified."
Albus’s face fell instantly. "I have made many mistakes in life, and I am afraid most of them have involved Harry. He has confronted me on most of them, thus far, and I can only hope he has as big a heart as I think he does. Sadly, most of the burden lies with him since I can’t make him forgive my wrongs. Please express my wishes to him if you will."
"Enough of this hand holding, Headmaster," Snape interrupted. "The boy needs to toughen up if he hopes to survive this conflict. There are only two sides in this for the living and we are one side. The other is clearly defined."
"You got lucky, Snape," Tonks warned. "Harry was about to curse you tonight. I would suggest you never pull your wand on him again. I doubt you will get a second chance."
"The boy is lucky, that is all," Snape defended. "His first spell would have been a stunner. Amateurs always use that one first and he is hardly anything more."
"One day, very soon, Severus," Tonks added smugly, "you might learn the truth to that scenario. For your sake, I hope you are near a healer when you do."
Snape paused as the normally juvenile auror spoke with such deliberate intent. He wasn’t sure if it was a joke or if she was serious. His ponderings were cutoff by Albus.
"Tonks, is there something I should know about Harry?"
"I am sure there is," Tonks said. "But you will have to find them out on your own. Harry is his own person and his trust is a rare commodity lately. I will not jeopardize what I have for your benefit. You know the reality of being Harry Potter better than most. Do you blame him?"
With a sigh, Albus shook his head in a resigned way. "Being Harry Potter is probably one of the hardest things in our world right now. I know many of the challenges he is facing. I have been through many of them myself though I was much older at the time, and I had a support structure that was far more vast than his. Hearing me say those words, I am beginning to understand what Ragnok had meant. He is the future and to stand in his way is folly. My concern for him has blinded me. Much to his detriment."
"Ego-driven child is what he is," Snape snapped.
"Enough, Severus," Albus chided weakly. "I have dug my own hole and now I must try to get out of it without it collapsing in on me. I am at fault here and I know this now. Again, tell Harry if you will Tonks. Now, on to the real reason we are here. I believe your mission of helping Harry get over the recent death is concluded. I would like to utilize your abilities elsewhere."
Tonks knew something like this was coming. â€˜He was snooping in other people’s heads. He knows something and he wants to know more.’ "I believe Harry is at a point where he could get better or worse quickly. If you leave him to those muggles, I can promise you he will get worse. Maybe too bad to be saved. A person can only take so much."
"I am working on plans to have Harry moved to the Burrow or here by the end of the month," Albus admitted.
"That is too long," Tonks said. "The friction in the house has been increasing since the time I told you about. If it gets too bad, Harry will fight back and where will you be then? He could disappear on you and stay missing you know."
"Where would he go, Tonks?" Dung asked drunkenly.
"He has two families worth of property to choose from," Tonks said bluntly. "I think there are a few places he owns where he could go and remain out of your reach."
"This is the safest place we know of, Tonks," Albus said.
"Harry cares more about being somewhere he likes than some place safe," Tonks stated. "He is a Potter and his godfather was Sirius. You know safety isn’t something he worries about in reference to himself."
"An understatement if ever there was one," Snape said under his breath.
"You have little room to talk, Severus," Albus said with a smirk. "You do spend time with a rough crowd, do you not?"
Snape’s mouth drew into a tight line and he crossed his arms forcefully. Dung laughed at the dark man’s actions.
"I know what I saw, Albus," Mad Eye spoke up. "Potter is not to be discounted. He is all action and he worries about the consequences later. I see a lot of myself in him and that is scary. We have a fine line to walk here and I for one want to be on the right side of that line. But, enough of this filler, Albus, get on with the real point here."
"Yes, always the direct one, Alastor," Albus offered. "I am concerned about how close Harry seems to be with you, Tonks. Yesterday and today, I noticed how Harry seems to depend on you or your counsel. I fear he has simply shifted his grief on to you. I think you should distance yourself from him moving forward."
"I disagree with your opinion, Albus," Tonks said evenly. "Harry may appear to depend on me because I will not lie to him. I will answer his questions honestly and without hesitation. He has earned that from all of us. He is handling his grief well because he isn’t alone with those muggles all day. That alone would be enough to drive most people barmy."
"Still, I think you should be removed from Harry’s detail starting in," Albus paused appearing to be in deep thought. "Oh a week sounds good. That should give you enough time to get Harry on his own feet before you move on to other things."
"You are misjudging the situation, Albus," Tonks said sternly. "I would let Harry decide who he wants guarding him. It would be a good first step towards regaining his trust."
"I wish it was that easy, Tonks, but it is not. I have to do what is best for Harry."
"Isn’t that what started everything in the first place?" Tonks asked irritably.
"His safety is paramount and that is what I am trying to ensure. Please, do as I have asked."
"Harry may not like your decision and I wouldn’t disagree with him," Tonks replied before turning and leaving the room.
"You have concerns, Mungdungus?" Albus asked.
"Wha, no," the man replied. "No concerns, â€˜ere, Dumbledore."
"You know that few can lie to me," Albus challenged.
"It is just tha’ Tonks been missin’ a few changes," Dung seemed to force out while he looked at the floor.
"That is a funny accusation coming from an unreliable crook like you," Snape grated.
"Lik’ I said, it just been a few," Dung restated. "I ain’t lookin’ to get â€˜er in trouble, but you made me say it Dumbledore."
"That I did, Mungdungus," Albus admitted. "We should be free to speak of our concerns. How many has she missed?"
â€˜Jus’ a few. I know I ain’t one to talk, but everythin’ seems fine. â€˜Arry is alive and well and tha’ is wha’ counts. We been doin’ a good job."
"Thank you, Mungdungus," Albus dismissed. "Why don’t you join the other stragglers in the living room." Dung left the room quickly and once the door closed, Albus looked to Mad Eye.
"Alastor, I want you to check up on Harry and Ms. Tonks from time to time. Things aren’t adding up like they should. Mungdungus is hardly one you point out others mistakes considering his own faults, but this issue was weighing on him quite strongly. I never would have pressed him about it if it hadn’t been."
"Do you think it wise to monitor them, Albus?" Mad Eye asked. "You saw the same thing I did tonight. Harry is not the same kid he was last year. That look in his eyes was not that of a child. He has seen so much and been through it as well. I am starting to lean in favour of Tonks’ suggestion. Tell the boy what his options are and let him decide. The worst that could happen is he picks the least of the choices offered. All would be perfectly safe for him."
"We need him to work with us more closely not farther apart," Albus retorted. "The less control we have the worse his chances are."
"My opinion is known on this subject, Albus," the old auror said.
"As is mine, Headmaster," Snape added.
"I know and I respect both of your opinions, but I feel that giving him everything or nothing is not the best course of action. I will tell Harry what he must know and some of what he wants to know, but there are things that are best left untold at this time."
"I will do as ordered, Albus, but please note my objections to it. Good night." With that, Alastor left the kitchen with a steady thump from his leg.
"The Dark Lord has been too quiet, Headmaster," Snape said in a whisper. "I am starting to believe that the battle was harder on him than he is willing to admit. You must have fought him fiercely to hurt him as he must be."
"I would accept your praise, but I fear I had little to do with it, Severus," Albus confessed. "I believe it was the attempted possession of Harry that injured Tom so. The lack of pain in his scar lends more credibility to that assumption. Tom has always underestimated Harry’s abilities. I fear that moving forward, Tom will give Harry his complete attention."
From the hallway outside the room, Tonks removed the Extendable Ear from her own and rolled it up. She adjusted her footing on the stairs as she thought over the implications of what she had overheard. She walked down the stairs and into the living room. â€˜Yet again, he is underestimated. Maybe you should listen to your own worries, Albus. Harry is going to be seething over this. Spy on us will you?’
Tonks turned to look at Harry sitting on the couch and saw him laughing half-heartedly with the Weasleys who had stayed to talk. The others were having a great time telling stories of past holidays and family trials. Tonks could tell Harry wanted to laugh with them, but he was thinking of what he missed out with his own family.
"Ready to go, Harry?" Tonks asked cheerfully.
"I guess so, Tonks," Harry answered. "Well, I should leave guys. Stay safe." Harry stood up and passed by Remus who had taken up a position right inside of the doorway.
"Harry," Remus prompted, "could we talk about things soon?"
Harry met his eyes. "Ask Albus what he did to both of us first. Then we can talk about it. I am not the only one he has wronged over the years."
"I will do that, Harry," Remus replied seriously. "It must be pretty serious if you are having this big of a problem with it."
"Once you find out," Harry started saying but couldn’t finish as he felt his anger rising too much.
"It is bad, Remus," Tonks said. "Some things are just too much to discuss openly. Well, I need to get Harry home before he turns into a pumpkin. Night all, let’s go Harry."
"Pumpkin?" Ron asked. "Why would Harry turn into a pumpkin? I think Tonks has finally morphed her brain."
The door closed and the sound was cut off. Harry took a calming breath as he walked over to the motorbike. He mounted it and reached for the ignition. Tonks joined him and put her head on his shoulder while wrapping her arms around him.
"Get us home quickly," Tonks said. "I need to tell you some things and you aren’t going to like them."
"What did they say to you in there?"
"It wasn’t what they said to me, really, it was what they said after I left."
Tonks felt Harry tense in her arms. She hugged him tightly as he started the engine and pulled away from the house quickly. Tonks knew that Harry was thinking the worst thoughts he could, but she hadn’t figured out how to tell him exactly what was said.
With the hour being late, traffic was far less making the return trip shorter. Harry was letting his frustrations out through his turns and accelerations. When they pulled into the driveway, Harry turned off the engine and leapt off the motorbike.
"What did they say?" Harry demanded.
Tonks swept forward and grabbed his arm directing him to the front door. "Not here, Harry. We are being watched by Dung and most likely another by now." Tonks kept her voice low but loud enough for Harry to hear her.
They entered the house and were met by Vernon before the door had even latched closed. "What in the bloody hell do you think you are doing, Boy?"
Harry wasn’t in the mood to deal with his uncle when an unknown problem was waiting for him once he got to his room. "I am not in the mood, Vernon. Get out of the way and let us pass."
"Listen here you ungrateful bastard," Vernon yelled, his veins popping out on his head. "I have had just about enough of you…"
"Well, I have had enough of you," Harry said evenly as he drew his wand and dropped Vernon with a stunner.
The large man crumpled to the floor instantly. A screech from the other room alerted Harry to the fact that his aunt had witnessed Vernon fall. As expected, Petunia ran into the hallway and covered Vernon with her own body.
"What have you done to him?" She screamed.
"Stunned him," Harry said distractedly. "He will wake up in a couple hours. He is still breathing so he is fine. Now leave us be."
Harry pulled on Tonks’ hand and led her up the stairs to his room. Once inside, Harry asked what was said.
Tonks stilled him with a hand as she pulled her wand and starting mumbling a spell Harry wasn’t familiar with. Once she had walked around the whole room twice, she stopped in front of Harry stowing her wand again. She looked at him in an odd way that Harry had never seen before on her face. It was something he had gotten used to from Hermione though.
"When I was in there, Albus wanted me to distance myself from you. He wants me moved to another Order assignment by the end of next week." Tonks watched as Harry grew calm physically but his eyes told a different story.
"He can’t leave well enough alone, can he? Why must I fight for everything in my life? Can’t it just be easy for once?"
"Now comes the bad part."
"There is a bad part? Bloody hell this just gets worse." Harry’s eyes continued their fury but it wasn’t close to what they were going to achieve.
"He asked Moody to watch us. He is going to check in on us now and then. To his credit, he wants Albus to tell you everything. Albus isn’t going to, but it seemed like Moody tried to talk some reason into him. At this point, it seems like Moody is just following orders."
Harry’s stare became lethal after those words. If a sleeping dragon was scary and dangerous, Harry was a whole brood of them in one small package. "I need to get out of here and away from him. There is no other option at this point. He is going too far, again."
"The spell I just did was an obscuring spell. It is designed to block the monitoring devices we use and what Moody’s eye does. All he will see is a blurry square where the room should be. We are safe while in this room at least. Dung ratted me out, but Albus pressed him on it before he told."
Harry started to pace the room. He only got a few steps in before he had to turn around and retrace his path. "I will not sit by and let this happen. I must stop this, now."
"Harry, I said it before, but Albus is not your enemy. He is just a pain in the arse that thinks he is doing the right thing. Fudge is a little worse since he is doing what is best for himself. Keep your focus on this, please."
"I am tired of people fucking with my life, Nymph. I want it to be my life. Why can’t I get that? Other people have that. Why not me? Am I really that different from everyone else?"
"You are who you are, Harry. You have me as long as you want me. I am not going anywhere. No matter what he says or does, I will be here for you."
"I am afraid you will die just like the rest of them. Anyone who gets close to me, dies. Why is that? Am I cursed to lose everyone I care about?"
"I am here now. I have no intention of leaving. You need to enjoy what you have right now and worry about the rest later. You are young so worry about the big stuff when you get older."
"Aren’t I old enough to worry about things now?"
"You are old enough to worry about which girl you take to a dance, where you go to eat for a date, and whether or not you got her preggers the night before." Seeing the shocked look on his face, Tonks smiled seductively. "I see I have your attention."
"You seem to know how to get it, Nymphadora." Harry felt very confused, overwhelmed, and excited all at the same time.
"Enough of the gloom and doom, Harry," Tonks said while stepping forward to wrap her arms around Harry. "Nothing is changing now and I took care of Moody watching us. Let’s have a little fun while we can. I would hate to miss out."
Tonks planted a firm kiss on Harry’s lips and began the simple process of making him forget all his troubles. She moved him to the bed and followed him down onto the mattress. She wiggled her way up his body slowly as her hands ventured to various places. As the minutes ticked by, Harry found himself in only his underwear and Tonks in her knickers.
"That happened much faster than the last time. Still, I hope we work on our disrobing speed. We are taking much too long for my tastes. Speaking of…" Tonks forced her tongue into Harry’s mouth and proceeded to wrestle him for control.
Her breasts were moving over his chest stimulating Harry even more. He needed some way to at least even the odds a little. His hand moved from her hair, down her back, to her bum. Harry grabbed hold of a cheek and moved her to the side quickly earning him the top position.
Tonks didn’t fight and let Harry proceed with every bit of support. She found Harry kissing her mouth, face, neck, and chest. She sighed as she reveled in the attention.
"What are you planning to do, Harry?" Tonks asked during a break in their fun. She arched her eyebrows before looking down at him. Harry followed her eyes and saw exactly what she was looking at.
He became self-conscious and started pulling away from her. Two hands grabbed his shoulders and pulled him down to a waiting mouth and warm body. Harry felt Tonks shift under him and he realized that she was wrapping her legs around his back forcing him closer to her.
With another sigh, Tonks moved again putting Harry right into position to carry out the one thing Tonks had said to get his full attention earlier. Harry stilled as he caught on to what she was offering.
"Nymph, what are you doing?"
"I am doing what I want to do, but you get to make the last decision on this one. I am ready when you are. When ever you want to, just let me know. If you are ready now, then get rid of these clothes so we can continue. I am rather worked up here." Tonks breasts moved in time with her deep breaths.
"I would like too, but I think we should wait a little while longer. I am not sure why, but it just doesn’t seem like the right time now."
"That is a first, Harry. I never heard of guy turning down an offer like this. It isn’t me, is it?" Tonks put on a mock-worried look.
Harry realized for the first time since they got back that Tonks was her real self again. â€˜I guess I am getting used to her different looks.’ "I like it when you are the real you."
"Thank you, but stop changing the subject."
"It just doesn’t feel right. Not right now. I want to, but something isn’t right." When he saw the saddened look move across Tonks’ face, Harry forced his mind into hers. He showed her what he was feeling and a soft moan escaped her mouth before his lips covered it again.
Harry snogged Tonks until late in the night. They had played and teased each other until the limits had been broken a few times. Tonks marveled at how talented Harry’s fingers and tongue had become in the short time they had been involved. She said as much a few times.
"I have a good teacher and she knows how to motivate me to do my best," Harry said from his position behind Tonks as they were curled up together. "It isn’t every day that I enjoy my life and you have made that happen quite a few times lately."
"I aim to please and thank you so much, Harry."
"For doing the same for me in exchange. I haven’t had the best luck with men in the past. You are proving that you are better than all the rest. Besides, you are so damn cute I just can’t enough of you." Tonks turned over and smiled impishly as she kissed Harry hungrily.
"You are incorrigible, you know that?" Harry loved every minute he spent with Tonks doing what he was doing at that moment.
"I am what I am, Harry. I can’t be any other way than like this. You bring out the real me even when I don’t want it out."
"I like the real you more than the rest. I can’t seem to get enough of you actually."
"Well, here I am nearly starkers and most definitely ready for more."
Harry smiled and began to run his hand down her front once more in an attempt to repeat his earlier actions. He was confident that he could drive her insane within a few minutes as he had done so a few times already that night. He felt very confident until Tonks latched on and returned the favour.
After Harry had left Vernon in a pile on the floor and went upstairs, Petunia called Dudley to help her. She directed her son to heft the limp body of her husband onto the couch. After the shock had left, Dudley did as requested. The grunts and pains from moving such a large person left Dudley very tired and exhausted.
"Mum, what happened to dad?"
"Oh, Dudders," Petunia started to tell him a lie, but realized that it wouldn’t work anymore. "Your father thought he could stop Harry from doing what he was doing. As you can see, it didn’t work. I have seen magic done, Dudley. I used to watch my sister practice her magic before her last year of school. She was always so intent when she would do a spell. Harry didn’t do that. He just kind of distractedly made it happen. At first, I thought he had killed your father, but he didn’t. The scary thing is, I think he could have very easily."
"Mum, Harry can’t do that. He couldn’t even kill the worms we studied in school. How could he hurt anyone? He is Harry after all."
"Did you read that book?"
"You should, Diddykins."
"Will dad be okay?"
"Harry said he would wake up in a few hours so I plan to wait until that happens just to be sure."
"I am going to go to my room then, mum."
"Good night, Dudley. Thank you for helping with your father."
Harry awoke to a knock on the door. He turned over and touched his wand saying, "Time." He was given the time and it was half three. Harry grumbled and slowly extracted himself from Tonks soft and warm body. He covered her with the sheet and grabbed his cloak to cover his own body. He moved to the door, but Summoned his wand before opening it. He saw his aunt looking very worried and slightly scared.
"What, aunt Petunia?"
"It has been more than a few hours, Harry. It is many hours more than that. He hasn’t woken up yet."
"Really? I wonder if it has something to do with him being a muggle."
"It is because of you Harry," called the muffled voice of Tonks. "You are more powerful than normal wizards. Go bring him back or he might be like that for hours more."
"Fine, fine. Where is he?"
"He is on the couch," Petunia said. "We couldn’t get him upstairs."
"Alright, I will levitate him into your room and Ennervate him. He may think it was a bad dream or something then. Does that sound good?"
"What ever you will do, Harry." Petunia tried to steal a look into Harry’s room, but he closed the door when he saw her craning her neck.
"Let’s go." Harry went down the stairs and into the living room. He saw the lump of human that was his uncle. He levitated the man into the air and directed him up the stairs past his aunt. She gaped at him as he moved up the stairs towards the bedroom. Harry used the levitating body to open the door by pushing it through the opening. Harry moved him over the bed on the sunken side of the mattress and released the spell. His uncle dropped the two inches onto the surface and sunk down into it.
Petunia entered the room and stood by the door. "How did you do that?"
"What, Levitation? It is one of the first spell we are taught."
"Not the spell. You did it without your wand."
"Oh," Harry looked at his hand and saw that his wand wasn’t there. "Yeah, that happens now and then. I seem to have the aptitude for it. So, do you want me to wake him now?" Petunia paused before nodding.
Harry moved to the doorway and got ready to close the door when he revived Vernon. A flash of a spell left his hand and the door closed immediately after. Vernon grunted and snorted a few times before he came to.
"What in the hell happened, Petunia?"
Thinking fast, she asked innocently, "What do you last remember?"
"Bloody boy is the last thing I remember."
"Then please leave him alone next time. I don’t think he will be this nice next time. He could have hurt you if he wanted to."
"Harry, what happened?"
Harry slid into the bed and wrapped his arms around the sexy creature sharing it with him. "He didn’t wake up so I put him in his bed and Ennervated him. She can deal with him now."
"Hmm," Tonks mumbled as she ground her face into the pillow. "Sleep time now. Talk tomorrow."
"Yes, Nymph," Harry whispered in her ear earning and bum wiggle for the trouble.
Two contented people drifted off to sleep while two others seemed to realize the truth of their own situation.
<<Props to cj_cold for the idea with Dung during the meeting. It led nicely into another situation I was going to do>>