Disclaimer: Such a shame it isn't mine. Would've been different by my design.
Summary: After Harry learns the truth about himself he is driven to learn how to stay alive. But when his house is attacked and burned to the ground he is not able to stop the attackers. Meanwhile, Tonks, given the job of guarding Harry, proves that she's more than she seems to be. Full fledged fic. Pairing will be Harry/Tonks in the long run.
• eQuasarus •
• Dark Skies •
A breath of heat was a relief for the residents of Little Whining, and for the rest of England. The previous summer cars had baked and children refused to go out and play because of the heat. Yards had shriveled and died, water toy sales had shot through the roof, and rarely was someone seen outside for more than a few minutes.
Now it was different.
The rainfall had started in only a week into summer. At first seemingly a summer shower, but then it continued and dark clouds filled the horizon. Wisps of smoke curled from the chimney tops of nearly every house lining Privet Drive, The chill that came with the rain was too much and now the residence were using their fires regularly. Including the residents of Number 4 Privet Drive.
The fireplace had been rarely used for the past several years, even during the winter. Even though the residents were quite afraid of it, they'd still reopened it and left the fire constantly burning.
Inside that house, staring out the window at yet another gloomy day, was a dark haired, emerald-eyed boy. He knew all to well that it was more than just bad weather. In the past five years, he'd seen many strange and wondrous sights, and he knew more than most that such things were rarely just coincidence. Hidden inside, away from the never-ending storm he was afraid. The storm beat against his window and Harry just stared off into the darkness wondering who or what was controlling it.
It did stop occasionally, for a few hours here and there. In those few moments, Harry would dash out the door and go for a walk, or to the park, somewhere that was far away from the dreary household he'd been condemned to live in. As in summers past, he detested the vacation and longed to return to the only place he'd ever called home, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. But not this summer, it was good to be away from people that knew who he was.
On occasion, when he tried to escape he'd be caught by his Aunt Petunia. He'd then be sent back to his room with a stinging backside and a hungry stomach. She kept tabs on him all the time now and it seemed as if she barely allowed him out of her sight anymore. Harry thought it quite odd how she acted, not loving, but afraid of him and afraid for him. She'd been scared and angry because of what he was, but she'd never acted so strangely about it. Lately she'd even taken him along to the stores, making him stay next to her just to pick up some milk. Because of the rain, the group she was often found with had had a lot of Tea Parties and Harry was at nearly all of them. He sat quietly in the back corner of the room, doing nothing but thinking.
It wasn't really all that bad, compared to being marooned at Figg's house with those cats it was a picnic. It gave him time to think over the things that had happened last year, the death of his Godfather and the revelation that Dumbledore had given him. He liked the woman because they didn't want to talk to him, which meant he didn't have to talk to them. His problem was that he'd had since Sirius' death of wanting to have people around, but then not wanting them around when they were, was solved.
Still, he didn't get out by himself enough because of the rain and so, when one day the rain finally came to a halt Harry disappeared outside as quickly as the rain had. Petunia did her best to stop him, but she was quickly left behind and he was gone as soon as he'd seen his chance for freedom.
The park was soaked, but thankfully it was also empty.
Harry watched the clouds roll by faster than he'd ever seen. For a time, it seemed as if they were fighting the sun for dominance of the sky. The sun did not win, but neither did the clouds pour rain, though they seemed sorely tempted to try it. The sky's stayed dark for the rest of the afternoon, but Harry didn't much mind, he found it nice just to be away from everyone, included Dudley who'd become virtually impossible when his friends were around.
On his trip home Harry's eyes searched for danger, something to hurt. He desperately needed something, anything, to vent his mounting anger. Before it had been dogs that snapped at him, or even Dudley. Though no one ever got hurt, it was nice to just be angry at something, for some reason.
The rain clouds darkened and with them went Harry's mood. Someplace out there, someone was playing with more than just the weather. The vile man, if he could even be called a man, was trying to take control of the magical community, and then maybe even the world. That world would be a dark a destitute place, where no one would live without fear.
A short burst of rain didn't help matters at all, much less Harry's temper. Impossible as it was, it seemed to be centered around Harry himself.
When it cleared again and Harry could see his path he found that his cousin, Dudley, and the rest of his gang were in an alleyway ahead waiting for him.
"What?" Harry snapped when Dudley rudely stopped him.
Dudley didn't even so much as flinch; he'd been pushing Harry around ever since the young wizard's return. His friends smirked over at Harry and one even bothered to, as cliché as it sounds, crack his knuckles menacingly.
They'd had this sort of confrontation before, almost every time that the rain had cleared up. Dudley wasn't about to forgive Harry for what happened the year before when the dementors had come. Dudley must have seen some horrible things and occasionally Harry wondered what it was, but right now that didn't matter. Harry was about to get into a fight. Even with four to one odds stacked against him he didn't bother with the wand. At some point after Sirius' death he had come to understand that he couldn't win every battle by magic alone.
Dudley, being the stupid git that he was, had thought Harry wasn't allowed to pull his wand and was using this to his full advantage. So far Harry hadn't been harmed at all, not really. Dudley was quite powerful because the mass of weight he was carrying, but he was also slow and Harry was far quicker. He was still changing; he had lost some size but still was gaining weight.
This time, Dudley's friends seemed to be participating in the fun. That worried Harry slightly. Around the town they were notorious for beating younger children up. The few people who ever spoke about it only did so in whispers. Harry'd heard it when he was brought along with Petunia to go shopping. Of course it was never spoken of at the tea parties, maybe because the adults were just oblivious to the truth or they refused accept it themselves.
At home it was alright, but when she left he followed. Vernon was quite angry about the way Petunia was treating Harry. He said so quite often. Lately between Dudley and Petunia's odd behavior around Harry that was all he talked about.
One of the boys stepped forward and Harry turned slightly, making sure he had the best perspective he could on his opponents.
The possibility of using magic in his defense occurred to him, and now he was sorely tempted to use it. Earlier in the holiday, he'd been sent a letter from the ministry. Someone high up was now very interested in his safety and had made a special allowance to use magic should it become a necessity. The letter had also mentioned that he would have Auror's assigned to his protection. Unfortunately, they must've forgotten to tell the Aurors'.
So far Harry had not seen any Auror's at all, even when he was away from his aunt or had snuck out. Sneaking out was his new favorite past time, getting away from the house altogether. He was actually waiting to see a Death Eater so he could take out all of his anger and frustration that was building up on him.
"What? Scared that you'll trip over your own feet and fall on your fat arse again Dudley?" Harry taunted, trying to use Dudley's pride to his advantage, so the fight wouldn't be so unequal.
It didn't seem to work and Dudley motioned to everyone else. The whole group tightened around Harry until there wasn't much more than arm-lengths between him and everyone else. No one seemed confident enough to swing though.
The reason they'd waited suddenly occurred to Harry when they hastened to make enough room for Dudley to squeeze in between them. He stepped just a little more forward and swung as hard as he could.
Once again his swing, though strong, was slow and Harry easily ducked and casually took a step back. It was a mistake. From behind a foot fit itself into the back of his right knee and his leg collapsed under him. Another foot found his way into the opposite knee only a moment afterwards and in the three seconds after he'd collapsed to his knees.
"Not so quick now, are you?" Dudley growled, swinging a ham sized fist downward towards Harry's exposed face.
The swing that was intended for Harry's nose never made it. Someone bowled right into the group and knocked three of the troublemakers out of the way. Dudley's swing was redirected and ended up in the gut of another of the group.
Harry was the first to see his savior. She was about his height, blonde and had a smile that was very familiar. She was actually quite a knockout. "Well, 'bout time that someone needed my help."
Her speech immediately gave it away and Harry's jaw dropped. "Tonks?" He asked, utterly surprised.
"Yep." She jumped up, smiling brightly as the dusted her hands off dramatically. "In the flesh. Well so to speak."
She wasn't in any getup that Harry had ever seen. Her clothing was pretty close to the latest style and she had luxurious blonde cascading down to her shoulders in ringlets.. For a moment after seeing her, Harry had trouble breathing. He took a deep breath and started to get his thoughts together. Unfortunately, the thoughts he got were entirely inappropriate for him to be contemplating at the moment. He pushed them immediately away. Tonks was an Auror and she was much older than him. She had to be at least 28. A fact that he repeated several times to himself.
The gang that had been knocked down didn't take long to get to their feet and when they did Dudley immediately took control of the situation again. "Who are you?" He asked, angered by her intrusion.
"His girlfriend." Tonks said, matter-of-factly. "I've been looking all over for lover boy here. Thanks for holding him for me." She grinned wickedly.
Dudley's cheeks reddened and he looked at her for a long time. "You're the girlfriend of this git?" He asked, angrily.
"'Course. He and I met earlier in the summer and he asked me out. He's really cute." Tonks said putting her arm around Harry's reddening neck. She was obviously enjoying this.
Dudley didn't seem to know what to make of it. He just continued to stare at Tonks and whenever he looked to Harry it was with anger filling his eyes. "You know, he goes to St. Brutus's School for Incurably Criminal Boys. He may not look it be he's really a criminal."
Tonks looked over to Harry, her face enthusiastic and she winked. "Oh really. Harry? You never told me you were such a baaaaaad boy! Maybe we'll have to go back to my house and see how bad a boy you really are." She said overdramatically before licking her lips and looking at him in a very suggestive manner.
Several of the boys in the group blushed just slightly. Dudley looked insulted and tried to think of something else to say. "I'm a bad boy too." He finally uttered lamely. "We've got the meanest gang in Little Whinging." He added, hoping that she'd forget about Harry and go with him.
Harry began to understand both sides and decided to play along with Tonks for a while longer; he liked getting back at Dudley like this, with something not even Dudley could change.
"We could..." He looked up to Tonks, giving her his million-watt-grin and a wink. "Go to your house. I'd like to do something other than fool around with Dudley. He's such a bore, never really does much but beat up little kids on the street."
"I'm the Junior Southern Boxing Champion, I'll have you know." He replied angrily "The best on this side of London. Father even thinks that I might be able to go to nationals and win."
"Ooooh. Boxing." Tonks said, feigning interest. "But why does a big boxer beat up people smaller than him, wouldn't it be better to practice on someone your own size. Not that there's any..." She stopped her comment and looked over Dudley. "...one that could really compete with you anyway." Harry desperately fought down the snigger that was threatening to escape.
For some reason Dudley took the comment as a compliment and he puffed up even more than usual. He was really interested in Tonks. Harry almost laughed again, it was funny that Dudley would like Tonks. But he stopped suddenly, remembering that he'd also been briefly attracted to her as well. Only briefly of course.
Tonks stepped up behind Harry and flipped him around, planting a solid kiss on his mouth. Utterly surprised Harry just let it go on, enjoying it more than he thought he should be. "See." Tonks said. "He's an amazing kisser too. Maybe I'll have to wait until I've gotten through with him before looking elsewhere." She said, waving at them and dragging Harry behind her to leave.
Around the corner Harry just stared at her. The kiss was so unexpected he was in shock. Was it his imagination or had there been some tongue in that kiss?
"Don't you ever expect something like that from me again Harry." She said, turning to face him. "Don't let yourself get into trouble like that. You've been doing good all summer."
So she had been watching him.
"Wait a second! You mean to tell me you've been following me around all summer? You have haven't you?" He asked, staring accusingly at her. It took a lot to force himself to look away from her. Harry found himself reminded of Cho and what he'd been like around her. His stomach churned thinking about her though, and so he shifted his thoughts. If Tonks had been around all summer...
"You saw me fighting Dudley before." He said, a little angry. Before he might've been using it as a chance to learn to defend himself, but now that he'd found out someone else was there he didn't like it. He was trying to act foolish in front of people that thought he wasn't much more than the lint in your stomach, but he hated people he knew seeing him like that.
"Yeah." She said, slowing to a walk. "You didn't do too bad though I would have suggested some different moves when it came to you cousin. He's an oaf really, he might be able to swing a few good hits but he tires easily. It'd be best to try and wear him out before he gets in those swings. Make him run a little."
Unconsciously Harry took notes. He even felt like asking Tonks more questions. But it sill nagged at him that she'd seen it already. "Why didn't you help then?" He asked.
Shaking her head she started to drag Harry behind her again. Come on, let's go somewhere a little more private." Then, nodded her head back to the street they had come from. The whole of Dudley's gang were standing on the corner watching the exchange intently. They were too far to hear what was being said but it was quite obvious that they were enjoying themselves.
At the park, with no one around Tonks shook her head and her face changed to one that Harry recognized, her hair changed color as well. "There, " She said and plopped down in the grass." I hate looking so young, not that it's bad or anything..." She trailed off.
"So?" Harry asked.
Tonks looked at him confused. "So what?" She asked innocently.
"Why didn't you help then?" Harry glared at her.
"Oh. That." She shook her head. While Harry wondered where exactly she had been, he didn't remember anyone else seeing him or the rest of the group. No one was around at all of they wouldn't have done what they did. "Well I was trying to see if you had any experience defending yourself. You don't have the best form but you're rather fearless. Not the smartest fighter on the block, but that doesn't make a difference when you're fighting brainless gits like them."
In her mind, she suddenly decided something and hopped up. "Come on, I'll show you how to incapacitate that cousin of yours without working to hard." She took a step towards Harry, "Here, watch. You'll love this." She made a sweeping motion and jabbed softly into Harry's neck, barely even touching the skin. Nothing seemed to happen for a moment but then he started to loose his breath. After choking for a few seconds the sensation was lost and he was clear enough to breath again.
"How did you..." After pausing to take a breath and trying to figure out what she'd done he looked at her again, "do that?"
"It's magic..." She said jokingly and Harry grinned at the joke. "No, really, you put a little magic into it. Like when you're trying to apparate you have to push magic out of yourself, not just through your wand. Or when you... no never mind. Just push magic into it. You can push magic into anything or anyone."
Trying again and again for what seemed like hundreds of times, Harry finally gave up. He just couldn't seem to push magic out of himself like she could.
When he'd given up Tonks stepped forward to console him. "It's alright, really, it took me some time too." She patted his shoulder.
Feeling a little better Harry nodded and waited to see what Tonks wanted to do. He hadn't received more than a letter or two from Ron and Hermione. He understood why, Dumbledore was trying to keep him out of the loop again and it frustrated him. Now that Tonks was here maybe he could get some information out of her.
"So... how's the fight going?" Harry asked finally. She seemed to easily just drift in the silence, not at all uncomfortable.
The silence still continued and Harry shifted, then eventually sat down. He was very uncomfortable because of the silence.
"Have you ever just stared at the clouds?" Tonks asked. "It's amazing how much they change, they just form into whatever they want to be. Anything you can imagine. One second you see something and then you blink and it shapes into something totally different."
Looking up at the clouds Harry couldn't see anything. They were just clouds, nothing really special about them as far as he could tell. So he didn't answer, not knowing what to tell her. What she saw and what he saw were two completely different things.
"The minister himself assigned me to your protection team. I screwed up on one of the missions and Riley got injured. Dumbledore wasn't very happy with me so he spoke with the minister about this assignment." She said, sounding sad. "I don't even know much right now, I haven't been around to hear anything. If I knew I'd tell you, really. I know what it's liked to be out of the loop." She trailed off sullenly.
Harry felt sorry for her. He remembered the last summer when she'd been in Sirius' house and was knocking over umbrella and chairs along with all the other accidents that just seemed to magically happen around her. But then, when she was fighting in the Department of Ministries she seemed to have done just as good as any of the others there. Except for Dumbledore of course. Harry was still amazed at what Dumbledore had done.
"Sorry Tonks." Harry said, feeling partially responsible because of what had happened.
"Nah. S'alright. I ain't suppose to be talking to you anyway. Not unless you go and get yourself into trouble. Been bored a lot lately. It was fun to play with those boys' minds. They're pretty daft anyway, using Drax and all."
"Drax?" Harry asked, curious.
Tonks paused for a minute and looked down. "Drugs maybe? Keep forgettin' you were raised a muggle. Don't know everything about Wizards still. Drax or potions usually stuff that makes your feel really good for a while, but they're not the best thing for you. Addictive and all. Not too many wizards use 'em, but they're really effective."
If Dudley ever got caught using drugs he'd be in a heap of trouble, Vernon wouldn't even believe them and neither would Petunia likely. They never believed anything bad about Dudley.
Petunia was different now though. She never smiled at all, she had lost a good deal of weight since last year and her eyes seemed to sag when she looked at Harry. Since the summer started she hadn't once called Harry a git, in fact she'd rarely said more than two or three words to him at once.
Harry stood but Tonks pulled his feet out from under him and rolled on top of him. "You should get into trouble more often.
Harry gave her a grin and there was a definite mischievous twinkle present in his eyes, not unlike the one Dumbledore sometimes sported. "I'll do my best." He drawled, or at least tried too.
"Ah, that's the spirit!" she laughed as she playfully ruffled his hair.
Nearing the house Petunia appeared, throwing the doors open and rushing out in the rain to Harry. "Where have you been Harry?" She demanded, her voice full of fear again.
For a moment Harry almost yelled back at her. She was really getting him angry and he didn't want to have to answer to her. Dudley was probably back by now and had invented some story.
Vernon showed up at the door a moment later and grabbed Harry by the arm, tightening his grip around it as best as possible. "I've been hearing some things about you boy. Dudley here says that you're going with one of our kind. Is that true?" He asked after dragging Harry into the house.
So Dudley was home. He must've been quite angry at Harry because of Tonks and wasn't going to give up on getting her.
"Yeah, and?" Harry replied casually.
For the first time he could remember Vernon did more than just get angry. His hand came down quicker than Harry expected and marked his face with a bright red hand. "You will not give me such disrespect boy. I never want to hear you talking like that again! You're one of them. You should be seeing your own kind and stay away from regular people! I'm warning you to stay away from normal people or I'll see to it you never go to that blasted school again!" Vernon bellowed in rage.
The shock of the events left Harry speechless for only a few seconds, not long enough for everyone else to compose themselves. In the next moment, he had his wand drawn and pointing it into Vernon's belly. If you ever do that again," Harry said in a dangerously quiet voice, "You'll be meeting my godfather in the afterlife. And he won't be as generous as I am."
For the first time since Harry'd come home he'd revealed the truth of things, why he was so angry at everyone. Vernon didn't seem to care. "Serve's him right. That wretch of a man never deserved to live anyway!" He screamed, his voice outrageously loud. He didn't seem to care at all that Harry had pointed his wand at him and he brought his hand up again and started to swing.
Harry was not about to let it happen and had his wand up and a spell chosen to cast onto Vernon. "My godfather," he spit at Vernon, infuriating him even more, "was more of a man than you'll ever be." Petunia shrieked and jumped between Harry and Vernon, making everything stop.
"Please." She begged Vernon. "Don't. He'll hurt you and there's nothing we can do about it."
Dudley looked so frightened he'd about wet himself. He was standing in the corner and had been watching with some degree of satisfaction, not caring what happened to Harry as long as it was bad. Now he was loosing a battle in his head and was genuinely frightened of the threat Harry had just posed.
"Never!" Roared Vernon after Petunia had moved away, thinking he was alright and wouldn't try and hurt Harry again.
A knock on the door caught everyone's attention at such an inopportune time. It did however save Vernon's life, he stepped away and rethought matters for an instant. Harry was not about to take another hit and was about to punish Vernon for a life of misery that Harry had gone through and for insulting his godfather. Had Vernon's hand continued it would have never struck its mark.
A postman was standing there looking confused when Petunia opened the door. In his hand was a stamped parchment with two words on the front. It was written in large, smooth loopy letters. Harry Potter. Harry barely caught a glimpse of it, he instead was watching Vernon, waiting for something to happen in order to hurt the man that had raised him.
Petunia snatched the letter from the postman and slammed the door. Probably making the postman even more confused. He didn't seem to know how he'd reached the door with the piece of mail in his hands, especially one without an address.
"Open it!" Yelled Petunia throwing it at Harry violently. She looked at the thing as if it were evil.
Harry stared at the letter for a moment, not quite sure who it came from. The writing wasn't any he could ever remember seeing, and the seal was completely new to him. It was a dragon wrapped around a stiletto, its fiery flames filling the background. It was ominous, but attracting at the same time. Finally, his mind made up, he carefully broke the seal and unfolded the parchment.
Inside, nothing was there, the paper was completely blank. Harry's face crinkled in confusion at the strange letter until a peculiar noise began emanating from it. A deep hollowing sound that resonated throughout the room as if someone were screaming deep within a cavern. Harry dropped the note in shock and then Petunia screamed before fleeing the house faster than Harry'd ever seen her move. She headed down the street towards some unknown place leaving the rest of the household standing there, confused.
Vernon looked at the empty letter and snatched it from the floor, throwing it towards the reopened fireplace. Harry tried to stop him, afraid of what the letter was for. He didn't seem to be getting any letters anymore, not from Hermione or Ron or even Luna, who'd swore she'd write him over the summer.
Some of the other members of the DA had sworn the same thing and yet, not a single letter had reached him. He hadn't received any owls at all. Hedwig spent long periods of time gone when he sent out letters, but never returned with anything. What really troubled Harry was his inability to receive the Daily Prophet.
The letter was gone in a puff of green smoke, but the fire turned green as well. Harry wasn't sure exactly what it meant, but he could feel right away he was in danger. His scar twinged slightly and that was enough for Harry to know that whatever it was that was about to happen was not good.
Surprisingly, Voldemort had yet to annoy him during the summer, but at the same time he'd been deprived of knowing what might be happening in the outside world. Both facts greatly troubled him.
A face appeared in the fireplace, one that filled Harry with such hate and deep loathing it made him stop in his tracks. "Leave!" The voice of Peter Pettigrew squeaked in the fireplace. "He's coming for you."
Then it was gone.
Harry stared into the fire as it turned orange again and tried to figure out what was happening. Peter Pettigrew, the reason that Sirius had been in Azkaban and not been able to see to Harry's care and growth was giving him a warning. Harry wondered for a moment if he should listen to it or ignore it. But the urge to ignore it was overwhelming. Peter was on their side and he wouldn't give Harry a warning like that unless he wanted him out of the house for some reason.
Vernon started to growl again, sounding remarkably like a bear. Harry took the moment to head for his room. But he'd only gotten part way up the stairs when he heard the front door blow in and strike the opposite wall with a resounding crash.
Brief thoughts of fear screamed through his mind again. No one would break the door down like that except a Death Eater. He didn't even turn to look, he just continued up the steps into his room, his wand in hand and at the ready. Now, given the chance, he wasn't sure if he really wanted to be fighting the Death Eaters, but neither did he want to be left totally defenseless. Someone was charging up the stairs behind him before he reached the top floor, and he quickly turned on his pursuers in an attempt to fight them off.
He called out the first hex to come to mind even before he'd seen the face. The person heard the charm and looked up to Harry before dodging it. Harry didn't send another off, he almost jumped back down on Tonks to hug her.
"Why are you here?" He asked quickly.
She shook her head and covered her mouth with a finger, then pointed upstairs. Harry hurried up again, followed closely by Tonks.
At the top of the stairs and in his room again Harry turned to her and repeated the question. Tonks ignored him momentarily and turned to the door, putting a spell on it. "You're in trouble." She said when she turned back to Harry. "A book was stolen from Dumbledore this morning that could help the dark lord overpower the charm that your mother put on you. I only just received notice. The fight's been furious and Dumbledore only just had enough time to send me word. We have to leave, and now, before they get here."
Harry looked around at his room. Again it was thrashed, books and clothing everywhere. His desk was filled with unfinished parchments and scrolls, some schoolwork, some letters. For the second time with Tonks in his room Harry felt ashamed of how he'd kept the room up. His mind was not too troubled though, he was thinking of what need to be packed.
An explosion caught both of their attention and Tonks pulled Harry behind her, closing her eyes for a moment. "They're here. We have to leave now. Forget everything."
"How are we going to leave?" Harry asked looking around wildly, he would not leave everything, and he dove for his trunk, digging in and producing his invisibility cloak. "How about this?"
Tonks shook her head anxiously. "There's bound to be dozens of them down there, we can't risk trying to get through them."