Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling. No money is being made and no copyright infringement is intended.

Chapter 1

Nymphadora Tonks had been watching Harry Potter all evening. It was the summer before Harry's sixth year at Hogwarts, and he, Ron, and Hermione had just arrived at Number Twelve Grimmauld Place, the Order of the Phoenix Headquarters, to receive some special training before school started back. Remus Lupin, Mad-Eye Moody, Kingsley Shacklebolt, and Professor McGonagall were all there, as well, to give lessons. It had been several months since Tonks had last seen Harry, and he had definitely changed, to say the least. He had shot up in height, and where once had been a scrawny boy, now stood a lean and muscular young man.

Must be the Quidditch, she thought to herself.

She looked at Ron. He had grown, too, but there was still an air of boyish immaturity about him. Not so with Harry, however. He was mature beyond his years. Even at the dinner table, subtle differences could be seen. Ron was loud and impulsive, while Harry was quiet and pensive. Ron liked to argue, especially with Hermione, and Harry was the peacemaker. Ron seemed carefree, and Harry seemed to carry the weight of the world on his shoulders.

Well, who could blame him? She thought. His parents were murdered, he had to grow up with those horrible Dursley's, and he had to watch his godfather die. Not to mention the fact that he's already faced Voldemort several times himself. He's done what most grown wizards have never done. And then there was the prophecy. He knows he either has to kill Voldemort or be killed by him.

Her heart suddenly went out to him. No 16-year-old boy should have that placed on him. But was he just a boy? She asked herself.

"Tonks?" Kingsley Shacklebolt suddenly said. "Are you okay?"

She was immediately jolted out of her reverie. "I'm fine," she said hastily, dropping her eyes in embarrassment as she suddenly realized that she'd been staring at Harry.

"As I was saying," droned Professor McGonagall, "tomorrow we will start our training." "We'll need to pair up. Hermione, you'll work with Professor Lupin. Ron, you'll be with Kingsley Shacklebolt. And Harry, you'll take Tonks. And I'll take turns helping you all."

Tonks immediately looked up to meet Harry's eyes. He was looking at her intently and he smiled slightly when she caught his eye. Even from across the table she could see how deep green and shiny they were. Really beautiful, she thought. And that hair. It was ever so dark and it stuck up in the back. Ultra sexy. How she wanted to run her hands through it!

Damn! She chided herself. Why the hell am I thinking about him like that? He's just 16!

But as dinner wore on, she couldn't help herself. She eventually gave up trying to abandon her thoughts and just succumbed to them. He was definitely like no 16-year-old she'd ever known. She lay in bed that night trying desperately to figure out how she was going to face him the next day without giving herself away.

The morning finally came, and she headed downstairs. She had decided on pale purple spiky hair and lavender eyes. When she reached the kitchen, it was empty. Except for Harry. He was wearing muggle jeans and a t-shirt and was eating some toast.

"Hi," he greeted her as she came in.

"Hi Harry!" she answered happily, trying her hardest to remain her chipper self, which was very difficult at the moment with all the butterflies that were in her stomach. "Where's everybody?"

"They're out training."

"Already? Gee, I didn't know I was so late. Sorry to have kept you waiting."

"That's okay," he laughed. "I wouldn't have been up either, but Ron dragged me out of bed."

Bed. Harry. Shit. She tried hard to banish the images that kept popping up in her mind. She quickly grabbed some toast and started to eat.

"What's on the agenda today?" he asked, as he took some more toast.

"Well," she began, "since you are eventually going to have to face you know who, we were thinking you should start learning how to apparate. It could help you if you need to make a quick exit."

"Really?" His eyes lit up.

"Yeah. Really." She said smiling, thoroughly amused by his boyish enthusiasm. "And we also thought you need some more practice in occlumency."

"Snape?" he blurted out, with a horrified look on his face.

"No. Me, silly."

"Oh good!" he sighed in relief. "Occlumency with Snape was torture!"

"I can imagine," she said wryly. They both laughed. Harry immediately felt comfortable with Tonks. Since she wasn't really a professor, he could talk freely about Snape, or about anyone else, for that matter. He could never do that around Professor McGonagall or the others. She also was closer in age to him, more like his contemporary. She couldn't be that much older than me, he thought. Maybe six or seven years at most.

When they finished breakfast, they went looking for a place to practice. As they made their way down the hall, they could faintly hear Hermione and Lupin talking in the parlor, behind the closed door. Harry wondered where Ron and Kingsley were.

After exploring several rooms and finding them too cluttered, they finally found a large guest room upstairs that was practically empty. "Now the key to apparating," she told him, as he sat down on the bed, "is intense concentration." "You have to imagine your body moving to the new place. Now watch this." She then walked to the other side of the room, and with a soft popping sound, she was seated beside him on the bed.

"Incredible," he marveled. "But there's no spell or words to say?"

"No. You just have to focus intently on the place you want to be. Imagine how it will look, feel, smell. Feel yourself there." He nodded.

"But what about all those apparating accidents I've heard about? Like when people get half their body stuck in one place and the other half in another?"

"Ah. That happens when they aren't concentrating hard enough. But don't worry, you'll be starting off with simple stuff, like going from one side of the room to the other, so you'll be fine." "Are you ready to try?"

"Okay." He had no idea what apparating was supposed to feel like, or how to go about it, but he tried his hardest to concentrate on the opposite side of the room. He closed his eyes and imagined being closer to the opposite wall, seeing the tiny, floral pattern on the old wallpaper, feeling the cold wood of the bureau under his fingers, and feeling the creaky floorboards under his feet. He kept adding details. Just as the image was getting more and more real, he felt a tingling feeling swirl throughout his body. He opened his eyes. He was exactly where he imagined he was! He could now see the wallpaper and feel the bureau, just as he imagined. It worked!

Tonks looked at him in shock, and Harry had a huge grin on his face. "That was excellent, Harry! I've never seen anybody do it on the first try before! It took me about a week!"

He then began concentrating on the bed again. The softness of the mattress, the texture of the bedspread under his fingers, the way the light played through the curtains of the windows, Tonk's perfume. Wait a minute. Where did that come from? He asked himself. But it was true. He could smell it when he had been sitting there. As the image got more detailed, he felt the tingling again, and he was where he'd been before.

He smiled at Tonks. "Harry, I can't believe you. You're too quick for your own good," she told him. "That was brilliant." For some reason, he got some strange sweet pleasure from impressing her so. "We'd originally allotted several days for apparating, but you won't need that much time at the rate you're going. Why don't you try apparating to a different room?"

He decided to try the kitchen, since he could get a good mental picture of it. In a few seconds, he was there. And come to find out, he had apparated right behind Professor McGonagall. She turned around with a start and spilled tea all over the floor.

"Good heaven's Potter! You scared the daylights out of me!" she said, shocked, but pleased.

"Sorry Professor," he said sheepishly.

"Already apparating, are you? She shook her head knowingly.

He nodded. "Well, I'd better get back."

He closed his eyes and once more imagined the bedroom. And in a flash, he was there, back beside Tonks.

"Did you make it okay?" she asked him. "You were gone for a little longer than I expected."

"Oh, I made it okay," he said, smiling lightly. "I just happened to run into McGonagall in the kitchen. I scared her so bad she spilled her tea all over the floor."

With that, Tonks burst into laughter and fell back onto the bed. "That's my boy!" she cried. Harry laughed with her.

After practicing apparating for another hour, Harry had become quite adept at it. He could now do it like second nature, and the popping sound he made when he did it was barely audible.

"Harry, you've been doing great. Let's take a break," she said after a while.

"That's fine with me," he said in agreement. "All this apparating has worn me out."

They sat and talked for a long while, and Harry was really enjoying himself. Tonks was so easy to talk to. She didn't get all emotional like most of the girls he knew. She had a great sense of humor, too, and she never got offended by anything he said, like Cho had. Of course, Hermione was easy to talk to, too, but she lacked the experience and maturity that Tonks had. Hermione was also pretty emotional, and she sometimes had difficulty taking a joke. Yes. Harry Potter was definitely enjoying being around her. She also was easy on the eyes. He looked at her thoughtfully. Yes. Very easy on the eyes. He decided. Her lips looked full and kissable, and her snug shirt outlined her breasts. He suddenly blushed at his thoughts and looked at his lap.

"Harry?" she said softly. "Are you okay?"

Yeah, I'm fine. He thought. I'm just having extremely inappropriate thoughts about you, that's all. "I'm fine," he murmured. There was silence for a moment.

Finally, he worked up the courage to ask her what he'd been longing to know all morning. "Tonks?" he said tentatively, meeting her eyes for the first time. "I know you're a metamorphagis and all, but I was wondering..," he trailed off.

"Go on," she urged, as she sensed his embarrassment. "It's okay."

He took a deep breath. "I was just wondering what you look like naturally, you know, without any changes."

"What? You don't like my purple hair today?" she teased.

"No! It's not that!" he said quickly. "I was just curious."

"I know Harry! I was just teasing you!"

He looked sheepishly at her. "Of course if you don't want to, I understand," he added quickly.

She looked at him for a long moment. He looks so sexy when he's nervous! So innocent, yet sexy at the same time. She was having to force herself to keep her hands off him. And why is he suddenly interested in the way I look? And he keeps blushing. He wasn't making her already hard task any easier for her.

"I don't mind," she said quietly. "Just don't laugh!" she added as an afterthought. Her purple hair suddenly turned a dark blonde color. The color of ripened wheat, Harry thought. And it grew to a little below her shoulders. And her lavender eyes suddenly became a deep brown. Her face shape changed slightly, too, leaving her with higher cheekbones, but the full red lips remained the same. Overall, she looked a few years younger than she had before. When the transformation was complete, she looked awkwardly at him, suddenly feeling very self-conscious.

He was staring at her. She was so beautiful. So natural. The attraction he'd felt for her earlier suddenly multiplied ten-fold. He wondered why he'd never seen her like this before. "Tonks," he breathed.

"Yeah?" she murmured.

Their eyes locked. "Why don't you ever stay like this?

"I don't know. Do you like it?" she asked tentatively.

"Yeah. I do," he nodded. She blushed. "How old are you?" he said, asking yet another question he'd been dying to ask her all morning.

"Now Harry," she teased, "women don't like to be asked their ages! You should know that!"

He knew she was teasing. "But you can't be old enough to care," he went on.

"Fine," she said. "I'm 21."

A huge grin broke out on his face. Only five years difference. Less than I thought.

"And just what are you grinning about, Harry Potter?" she said in tones of mock irritation.

"Oh nothing," he said airily. "I just didn't know we were so close in age, that's all."

"Harry! I'm five years older than you are!"

"Still, it's not that much!" he argued.

"Whatever!' she said, giving up. The tone of the conversation had definitely taken a drastic turn. What was once friendly and innocent was now a little flirtatious. He's flirting with me! She thought. And he probably doesn't even know it! Damn him! And why does he have to look so hot?

They suddenly heard Ron yelling something up the stairs. "Lunch time," she said, finding herself feeling a little disappointed that their conversation was ending.

"Right," he nodded. They looked at each other awkwardly for a moment. Each sensing that the other didn't want to leave.

"Well, I'd better change back," she sighed, reluctantly getting off the bed.

"Oh. Right."

In a flash, she was back to purple hair and eyes. "Okay?" she asked.

"It's fine," he said, knowing instantly the look he preferred.

"And Harry," she whispered, as they were leaving the room, "don't tell anyone, okay?"

He looked at her searchingly. Was her true self some kind of secret? He wondered. Did she change just for him? "Okay," he agreed. They went downstairs to lunch.