Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books, Raincoast Books, and Warner Brothers Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.
Opening his eyes and looking around Harry groaned to himself, he had spent so much time here over the years that he knew where he was with just a glance; Hogwarts' Hospital Wing. Between Quidditch and his yearly attacks he was sure he spent about as much time in here during an average year than most students spend in all of their seven years. Attacks! The memory of what happened clicked in his mind and he sat up to find out what happened. He gasped slightly in pain and realized just how stupid it was to sit up when his head was already pounding and he had no idea what else was wrong with him.
Harry snapped his eyes open in time to see Tonks sitting down next to him in his bed, and realized that she must've heard him gasp. Harry turned his head over to her and the smile died on his lips; she was crying, and by the looks of it, had been for a while. She hugged him tightly as she kissed his head lightly, whispering into his ear, "You had me so scared Harry! It was horrible not being able to do anything to help you."
"Your scar, Voldemort attacked three Quidditch games and Azkaban yesterday, I don't know all the details yet though. I only woke up a little while ago myself."
"Yesterday! I've been out for a day?"
She hugged him even tighter as she told him that it was morning and he had only been unconscious for the night. Tonks explained what she knew about what happened and Harry was shocked to learn that she had also seen the little he saw through Voldemort's eyes until he was able close the connection. Though he was a little happy to learn that she was fine after that and had not felt the pain he had. Tonks told him that after she came back to her own mind that he was screaming in pain and she couldn't do anything to help.
Unfortunately Madam Pompfrey chose that moment to come in and yell at them both for being up. It seemed even Tonks' protest as an Auror were not good enough for the healer and both were soon given several horrible tasting potions and told they needed more sleep. The both knew what she meant by that, Harry groaned while Tonks tried one last time to protest. Tonks' protest turned out to be as futile as Harry's normal protests and a few moments later both were giving a sleeping potion.
When Harry woke later in the day Tonks was gone and Harry soon found out from Madam Pompfrey that she had to report to the Ministry. After taking a few more potions and being ordered to stay in bed for the rest of the day Harry had become bored. Normally when he was in the hospital wing he had Ron bring him a book on Quidditch and Hermione, whether Harry wanted her to or not, would bring his homework for him to do. It was only after a few hours of boredom that Harry remembered Dobby was in Hogwarts and had him bring a couple books from his tent.
The next morning Harry woke up to find a letter on his bed from Tonks. It seemed she had visited during the night but he was already asleep, she stayed with him a few hours but had to leave to get some sleep. He was rather upset to learn that between the Ministry and The Order she wouldn't be able to see him again for a day or two, but that she would try for a short visit if she could manage it.
Harry spent the rest of the day reading from his books, and even managed to write several responses to letters from the members of the D.A. Madam Pompfrey wasn't staying in the castle during the summer, but would stop by every couple hours to check up on him. Though Harry wasn't sure what exactly she was checking up on, this wasn't the first time he had an attack from his scar and she had let leave after a night of rest before.
Finally on his third day in the Hospital Wing he got a visit from Dumbledore, who immediately put off Harry's questions asking first to explain what happened from his point of view. After Harry finished telling Dumbledore everything he could remember he wanted answers to a few of his own questions and was pleased that Dumbledore let him ask them.
"Sir, why is it I felt so much pain after I used the Occlumency? I thought it was supposed to stop it?"
Dumbledore was silent for a moment before he spoke. "While you were sleeping I examined the magic of your scar and have since learned more about your connection with Voldemort. What I saw of the magic during and just after the attack was significantly different than anything I have learned from the few other times I have examined it. While incredible complex the easiest way I could explain what happened would be to say that your mind was in so much pain it sought anyway it could to lessen it. I believe in its search for relief it forced your own consciousness through your connection to Voldemort's mind where there was no pain.
"Great, so Occlumency won't stop this will it? I either live with the visions or with the pain?"
"Now that I understand your connection slightly better I will continue to research a way to help you, but at the moment I am afraid that you are correct. Though I must stress the importance of continuing Occlumency; it will still prevent Voldemort from planting any false visions into your mind and interfering with your dreams. I am sure you now realize there are many benefits to mastering such a skill as well."
"Err, yes sir. I've noticed that it helps with my concentration a lot. What happened with the attack?"
"The attacks on the Quidditch stadiums were merely a distraction from his real purpose, which was to free his servants from Azkaban and promote terror. It was completely successful, due mostly to lack of communication and accurate information. This, it appears, was a major part of Voldemort's plan. Before the attack began several Ministry employee's created havoc with the Floo Network. Connections to and from popular locations, most specifically the Ministry, the effected stadiums, and St. Mungo's were redirected to random locations through Britain."
"By the time the Floo Network was working properly the third attack was nearly finished. Shortly afterwards it was found that Azkaban had been attacked and most set free. The lack of accurate information between the different sites and the Ministry fueled the already panicked public and it took sometime for the Ministry to restore order. In the end there were over 400 injuries, almost all of which were caused by the panic created and not actually Death Eaters. Of the seventeen Aurors and Magical Law Enforcement officers guarding Azkaban five were kissed by Dementors and three died in battle, the rest were injured but will live. Most of the inmates in Azkaban were set free, even those serving for crimes that had nothing to do with Voldemort or the Dark Arts. We believe he offered them the chance to join his ranks and their freedom or death. Of the Death Eaters still sane there were only two who were not set free, Avery had been killed and Lucious Malfoy was injured and left in his cell."
"What! Malfoy! Why would Voldemort attack and leave Malfoy when he took the rest why wouldn't he take him as well?"
"The Malfoy family name is far more important to Voldemort than having one more Death Eater free. Lucious is using his being attack during the breakout as a way to strengthen his plea of innocence, claiming that it is proof he had been under the Imperious Curse and not acting of his own free will. If he succeeds he will be able to save face and once again be a prominent member of society. Furthermore he would use this as a way to increase his fame, making it seem that he was a victim and start taking a more active part in the war against Voldemort because of it."
"But, no one will believe that! He's a Death Eater; he has the bloody mark and was caught trying to kill us!"
"That is true, however many people remember the terror of the last war Mr. Potter, a claim of being held under the Imperious will create great sympathy. There is however a way to prevent this from happening and I am most pained to say that it is you who is our best chance to do so."
Harry ran his hand through his hair aggravated, why did it always have to be him! "Why am I not surprised?"
"Your meeting with the Ministry has been made for this Monday. Since the attack there has been more pressure to investigate the Minister's actions over the past year. While the meeting will still be used to prove both Sirius' innocence, it will now cover a much broader range; including the actions of Minister Fudge, Former Senior Under-Secretary Umbridge, and Hogwarts Governor Lucious Malfoy."
A grin appeared on Harry's face as he heard this, each of them had hurt him and his friends and Harry couldn't be happier knowing he would be part of their downfall.
"Yes, I thought that might make you happy." Dumbledore said chuckling lightly at Harry's reaction.
"Now then, there are two other matters I wish to speak with you about. I spoke to Bill Weasley about the Gringotts keys he gave to Nymphadora, and while neither he nor I know the specifics, is it safe to assume that Sirius has named you his heir?"
Harry then told Dumbledore about his trip to Gringotts and as much as he could remember about how he gained control of the family vaults and combined them into a new vault. Dumbledore was silent for a minute afterwards and Harry couldn't tell if he was pleased about it or not.
"With your permission, I would like to investigate your Gringotts contracts, I believe that there could be further implications that you have not yet realized." At seeing Harry's reaction he added, "Do not worry I do not believe any are necessarily a problem, in fact I believe overall you may have improved things."
"What exactly are we talking about sir? No offense meant Professor, but your surprises generally don't turn out well for me."
"Yes, I'm afraid it does seem to be that way doesn't it. Hopefully though this time will be different and break that pattern. I will speak to Ratchak about it tomorrow." Dumbledore waved his wand and a scroll appeared on the table next to his bed. A few more waves of his wand and quill and ink appeared next to it.
"If you could just sign this Mr. Potter, it will grant me the permission I need to investigate my concerns with your new vaults. It will in no way grant me any ability to change your contracts or enter your vaults, only to read."
Harry signed the paper and handed it to Dumbledore, who with another wave from his wand, made it disappear.
"Now that we have that taken care of, I only have one other item to discuss with you. I spoke quickly with Remus yesterday, he had wished to speak with you but I required a task finished from him first. He will, however, be finished tomorrow and have plenty of time for a conversation while he escorts you home, if that is acceptable with you."
"Of course sir, I've been hoping to talk to Professor Lupin."
Harry was woken up by Remus Lupin early the next morning, and told to get ready to leave. Remus looked, if possible, even worse than he did the last time he saw him on platform 9 3/4, and Harry felt bad for not thinking of how hurt he must be having lost the last of his childhood friends.
Harry thought that they would be taking a port key back to privet drive but was surprised when he learned that they'd be taking the Hogwarts express instead. He tried to ask Professor Lupin why but was told to hurry up so they wouldn't miss the train and that he would explain once they were in their compartment. Harry followed Remus out of the hospital wing and was again surprised when Remus brought him to the statue of the One-eyed Witch instead of the main doors. They took the secret passage to Hogsmeade, where Professor Lupin handed Harry and invisibility cloak and told him to keep close. He was even more surprised when he saw him a couple dozen witches and wizards were already on the express. Remus led him to the very first compartment.
Once they were inside, Harry began asking questions about why they were taking the Hogwarts Express, instead of a port-key. Remus, as he preferred to be called, told him that at the moment the department of magical transportation was currently being investigated and that most manners of magical transportation were temporarily suspended while they put extra precautions in place to provide greater safety and security. Harry learned that the entire Floo network had been taken down and was being redesigned. In the meantime, the Hogwarts Express was taking passengers between London and Hogsmeade twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening.
Harry asked why he just didn't Apparate to privet drive and found out that Remus had no idea that he was allowed you use magic, or that he could Apparate. Harry was glad that Professor Dumbledore had not told all the Order members what he was allowed to do, but then had to decide for himself what to tell Remus and what not to. He ended up telling him about everything except for his relationship with Tonks and the Prophecy. In a way he wanted Remus to know about the Prophecy, but just didn't want to talk about it right then. It was while Harry was explaining everything that Remus had an idea as to why Dumbledore had them using the Hogwarts Express instead of Apparating. Long-distance Apparation is a lot harder than Apparating around a yard and Dumbledore probably did not want Harry to try to Apparate from northern Scotland to Surrey as his first attempt.
Most of the train ride was spend talking about, what Harry had been studying so far this summer, and what you should be studying. Remus was extremely impressed by what Harry had accomplished so far and what Tonks had been teaching him, and offered his services to help tutor when Tonks was busy. He was especially interested in the fact that Harry was a Metamorphmagus and had Harry try several different faces before they reached Platform 9 and 3/4.
When they were not talking about Harry's progress in magic, Harry had Remus tell him a few stories about his parents and about Sirius. Remus didn't seem very keen on telling stories about Sirius yet, but did tell Harry several stories about his parents. Harry was surprised to learn that his mother had been extremely popular in Hogwarts and had dated a great deal starting from her third year, including going out with Remus for a couple months. Harry learned that his mother absolutely hated prejudice and stereotypes, believing that each person should be judged individually. Remus told him that when it became known that he was a Werewolf, towards the end of his fifth year, most the school began avoiding him and quite a few tried yelling at him to get out of Hogwarts. Lily had apparently had enough of it and during breakfast one morning she sat directly on his lap and began kissing him until the professors came and broke them apart. They started dating after until the end of the year, much to his father's annoyance. It was during one of the stories about Remus' date with his mum that they were interrupted by a knock on their compartment door. Remus told him it was probably just Mad-Eye but wanted Harry to put on the invisibility cloak just in case.
Remus left to talk to Mad-Eye for a minute and Harry became angry, Remus and Dumbledore never mentioned that there were other Order members so he thought it was just Remus and himself. When Remus came back Harry asked him about why he hadn't said anything about the other Order members. Remus explain then he didn't know what Harry's had thought it was only himself, and never thought to tell Harry about it because it didn't come up in any of their conversations. He then went and told Harry about the details of how he would be getting to privet drive. Mr. Weasley and Bill would be meeting them at platform 9 and 3/4, where Kingsley was already patrolling, and Mad Eye would be following them from the air. Harry did not feel like talking very much once he found out there plan for getting him home, but he could not help but get involved when Remus continued telling stories about his parents.
Once in the car and on their way to Surrey Harry learned that Bill's first two years in Gryffindor had been his parents last two years. Bill told a couple stories about the pranks they have played, and also how after she graduated his mother was assisting the professors and helped tutor him in Ancient Runes. Bill told him it was actually Lily who sparked his interest in curse breaking hoping to get him interested in studying more. Later during the trip Bill laughingly admitted that Lily had been his first crush and responsible for his first girlfriend. During his fourth year Bill worked up the courage to kiss her only to learn that she was engaged and instead of being mad with Bill she found a girl that had a crush on him and set them up on a date; they ended up dating for most of the year.
Harry was in high spirits by the time they arrived at his house and wanted to stay in the car and talk some more but knew he couldn't. Before he left the car though, both Remus and Bill promised to tell him more stories next time they had free time. Unfortunately his high spirits started to decline as the day turned to night and he still hadn't heard a word from Tonks. Part of him knew he was being foolish, but he had sort of expected that Tonks would be there when he got back. It was a grumpy and angry Harry Potter that made his way to bed, alone, that night.
The next afternoon Tonks entered Harry's tent to find him looking at what she thought must be Hedwig's cage, or what had once been a cage. With just a glance she knew that Harry most have put a lot of time into improving it for her, a testament of just how much he cared for the owl. She had no doubt that Hedwig would love it when she came back from hunting. As she looked at the cage more closely she was a bit confused as to why he had removed the top and a good portion of the sides. It now was an open stand with branches and twigs for three of the sides and a canopy of what looked like leaves to provide shade, the rest of the cage however had been removed, leaving it open to the outside.
"I realized something when I began working on Hedwig's cage."
Tonks was startled by his talking, she had thought that Harry was concentrating on what to change next and had just stood silently waiting for him to finish.
"I've been in a cage so long I don't even know what it's like to not be in one. I was thrilled to get something other than the bedroom that it didn't even enter my mind. I even asked for this cage." Chuckling slightly he added, "Granted this is a much nicer cage than my room or the cupboard, but it's still a cage. Even before, when I thought I had been free I wasn't. The Burrow or Diagon Alley I was always kept under watch. Last summer, even walking around I was watched to make sure I couldn't go free. Hogwarts, which was the only place I had ever thought of as a home was really just a bigger cage, Dumbledore admitted that he had been watching more closely than I could ever have realized." He paused for a moment to look at the cage again, "I didn't want it to be like that for Hedwig. I didn't want her to be trapped in a cage and not be able to get out."
Tonks took a moment to silently curse Dumbledore under her breath before going over to putting her arms around him.
"Let's break you out of yours then."
"Let's go somewhere, no telling Dumbledore or the Order. Just leave for the night go out into Surrey. Or if you want I still have some places I wanted to show you in London, we could take off for the weekend, get a hotel. Angelina and Katie mentioned getting together with us when we met them in Diagon Alley, we meet up somewhere with them if you want."
"You'd do that? I mean not tell anyone and let me go out like that?"
"Of course! Did you really have any doubt about that?"
Tonks wasn't sure what she had expected him to say, but his silence and a guilty look was not it.
"You did, didn't you?" Letting out a sigh of frustration she let go of him, "Harry, I've yelled at, lectured, argued, and nearly cursed Dumbledore. I've completely disregarded the Order's rules and my missions for you. And all that was before we even started dating! I know it'd be against what Dumbledore and the Order wants, but can't you see that it's your happiness that is important to me! As long as we take a few precautions I don't have any problems with breaking the rules if it makes you happy. I've already told Dumbledore that if it came down to it I'd quit the Order or the Ministry to be with you. After all of that how can you still think I'm just some Order member babysitting you!"
Harry looked abashed and a bit shocked by what she said. He knew what she had done for him already, but hearing about it like that made what he had said seem much more real. He felt even worse when he realized how stupid his anger at her last night was. "I'm sorry Tonks… I just don't know what gets into me sometimes."
Tonks wanted to be angry at him, she really did, but Harry just looked so young and innocent as he stood there looking at the floor, she felt her anger dissipate and enveloped him in a hug.
"I'm sorry too Harry, I know it's tough for you. You're still trying to deal with it all, but don't think you're the only one that has to deal with what the world throws at you. The Ministry is a bloody mess, everyone is switching blame between Fudge and the MLE for what happened. I got chewed out and an official sanction in my file for not responding during the attacks, and then found out that they're moving up my Auror tests by a full month! I now have to take it at the end of the month, which also means I won't even be able to see you near your birthday because the tests can take up to a full week to complete! On top of that they're keeping my active shifts this month. We normally have almost no other duties while we prepare for the tests, and even then only about half pass the first time around."
Harry didn't know what to do, Tonks was normally so upbeat and happy, and while he knew she had a serious side, and quite enjoyed her sensual side, he hadn't expected anything like this from her. The fact that he had partially caused this made it even worse. He knew he had to do something but all he could think of doing to help is to kiss her and try and take the pain away like she did with him. They kissed for a minute or two but Tonks pulled back to suggest that they take a bath.
The bath was much longer than Harry had ever taken before and quite a bit different. Once in the bath Harry began to kiss her passionately like he normally did but Tonks kept pulling back and didn't seem to want to kiss, or at least not deeply. At first he thought she was till mad at him, but when he tried to sit further away she would pull him back to her, keeping him locked in her strong arms. After a while though he began to understand; holding each other so closely was, in a way, just as pleasing as fooling around.