Harry Potter and the Unlikely Alliances
Chapter 1: How to Cope
Harry Potter the Boy who lived, that was how everyone in the wizarding world thought of him. He was the one they placed all their hopes in. But Harry didn't want to think about that, he didn't want to think about the prophesy Dumbledore told him about at the end of last year. He didn't want to think about the future. He didn't want to think or feel at all. He just wanted all of it to stop. Every time he started to think he saw Sirius' face as he fell though the veil and a fresh wave of tears cascaded down his face.
He was back at Number 4 Privet Drive and the Dursleys were leaving him alone. He was thankful for that; at least he could lie in his room without fearing Dudley or Uncle Vernon laughing at his tears. He misses Sirius terribly, his heart ached every time he though of his godfather. Harry still blamed himself for Sirius' death, if he had only worked harder on oclumency it never would have happened. Every time he thought this, a tiny little voice in the back of his mind told him that Sirius would have died eventually just because he cared so much about him. Everyone Harry loved as a parent died. He was all alone, he had no real family.
Another small voice at the back of his mind, a stronger one, reminded Harry that he was not alone. He had Ron and Hermoine. They were his best friends. They had been through everything together. Harry picked up his photo album that Hagrid had given him at the end of his first year at Hogwarts. He looked at the moving pictures of his parents and Sirius smiling at him. Even though his heart ached for them, he always felt better when he could see their faces. He turned to a photo of Ron, Hermoine and himself and laughed because the Ron and Hermoine in the picture were arguing.
Harry really missed his friends. They had been writing him every few days, but since the owl could be intercepted their letters were short. The letters usually told him to remember they care about him and to close his mind before he went to sleep. Every time he read the words 'close your mind' he would remember how stupid he was to let Voldemort trick him like that. He would always blame himself for allowing Voldemort to manipulate his mind and for dragging Sirius away from safety. But that pesky voice at the back of his mind told him that it wasn't entirely his fault. It reminded him that the only person to blame for all his sorrow was Voldemort. Voldemort had taken his parents when he was only a baby, had forced him to live with his aunt and uncle who hated him and were horrible to him. Voldemort had tried to kill him on several occasions, had tried to kill Ginny Weasley and his servants killed Cedric Diggory and Sirius, the only parent figure he had ever known. Harry decided to listen to the voice. "It's all Voldemort's fault!" Harry said through clenched teeth.
The words from the prophesy floated to the surface of his thoughts, "The one with the strength to defeat the dark lord will be born as the 7th month diesâ one cannot live while the other survives." Harry had been terrified at the thought that he would have to kill or be killed. He didn't want to become a murderer. The more he thought about all the lives that Voldemort had taken or destroyed: his family, Sirius, Cedric, Neville's parents, the list was endless. The more he thought of all these lives torn to pieces, the more he realized that he wanted to be the one to bring down Voldemort. Harry realized the only way to make sense of his parents and Sirius' deaths was to destroy Voldemort before he could hurt any more families.
For the first time in the month since Harry had been back at Privet Drive, he felt alive. He got out of bed and went downstairs to eat, finally hungry for once. His aunt Petunia was in the kitchen and jumped slightly when Harry walked in. Harry had been like a ghost since he returned, rarely moving from his room, not sleeping and when he did sleep he would wake the house with his nightmares, and he rarely ate. Harry ignored his aunt and took and apple and some cheese from the refrigerator.
"Um, Harry?" Aunt Petunia asked softly, she didn't want to upset him and have that awful man with the scary eye come to the house. When Harry turned to look at her she continued. "We are going to visit Aunt Marge tomorrow, with what happened the last time we though it better if we go alone." Petunia said trying to gloss over the incident where Marge got Harry so angry by insulting his parents that he blew her up to the size of a killer whale and the Ministry of Magic officials had to come and deflate her and modify her memory.
"Where am I going while you are gone, or are you letting me stay here by myself?" Harry asked her knowing he had a better chance of Professor Snape professing his undying love to him than to be left alone in their "perfect" house.
"You'll be staying with Mrs. Figg; she has graciously agreed to watch you for the day." Petunia Dursley told him, as if to tell him that he should be grateful to have someone willing to watch him. "She will be arriving tomorrow morning right after we leave."
"Wait!" Harry shouted in a state of shock, "You mean I don't have to go to her house?" He asked unbelieving his luck. He hated all of Mrs. Figg's cats.
"Well, we, umm" His aunt started, not knowing how to continue without upsetting her nephew. "You're not allowed to leave the house" letting it hang while looking around for Uncle Vernon who would get very upset if he overheard her talking with Harry about such things. "That man said you either had to be here or be with me at all times."
"Dumbledore said that?" Harry asked surprised that his aunt was brave enough to talk about it since she hated and feared magic so much. She had always treated Harry like sludge because of his magic ability.
"Shhh! Be quiet before your uncle hears you!" Petunia whispered. "Now be good and stay here when we are gone, we don't want a replay of last year." She shuddered at the memory of Dudley and the effects of the Dementors.
"Fine, I won't go outside." Harry said , even surprising himself with how nice he was being to his aunt before heading back up to his room with his snack.
Once back in his room, Harry decided to start his homework for the summer holidays. Since he had been so catatonic for the last month, dwelling on Sirius' death, the thought of all his homework had never crossed his mind. He had a 4 foot essay for Snape due on the "Proper Way to Brew a Potion," as well as essays for transfiguration, charms, herbologry and history of magic. Harry started with his transfiguration essay on "How to Detect and Anamagi." He had almost ruined the parchment when he cried after remembering Sirius in his dog form chasing the train at Platform 9 ¾ at the beginning of last school year.
After putting the rest of his assignments on hold, he decided to actually read the Daily Prophets he had been getting. Hermoine had scolded him last year when he had only been reading the front page. It seemed the Daily Prophet finally believed that Voldemort was back. There was even an article about the fight in the Ministry; luckily nothing was mentioned about his friend or him. Harry hated being in the paper, he hated being famous. Who wanted to be famous because your parents were murdered and an evil madman was trying to kill you? There was an article about the Death Eaters that were captured at the Ministry. Harry felt slightly better knowing that Lucius Malfoy was rotting in a cell at Azkaban, at least until the Dementors turned on them. Harry had no doubts that it would happen. If Professor Dumbledore said something was going to happen, it would, it was as simple as that.
Thinking about the Death Eaters reminded Harry of how Sirius died. Bellatrix Lestrange had stunned him and he fell through the veil. Harry wasn't sure which death eater he hated more, Bellatrix Lestrange or Peter Petigrew. Petigrew, aka Wormtail, had cost him his parents' lives, framed Sirius and killed Cedric Diggory. On the other hand Bellatrix killed Sirius, the only parent figure he had left, and she was evil. Harry knew that Wormtail was just a sniveling, scared wizard who wanted powerful friends, who would turn on those friends in a second if he thought it would help him. But Bella, she enjoyed serving the Dark Lord. She takes pleasure in torturing and killing, where as Wormtail is terrified of it. As much as Wormtail had cost him, Harry knew the one he wanted to see dead was Bellatrix. As Harry thought about it, he realized he really did want Bellatrix dead. He didn't want here behind bars again, she had been to Azkaban and survived, no she deserved death.
Harry had grown up a lot in the month since school had ended. He was only 15, almost 16, and he had to be the savior of the wizarding world. He was no longer the naive kid he used to be, he was now a warrior, a fighter in the upcoming war. He wad going to learn everything he could next year at school, anything that would help him defeat Voldemort and his death eaters, anything that would help him avenge the deaths of his parents, Cedric and especially Sirius.
Chapter 2: Surprise Visitors
The next morning Harry work up feeling fully rested. When he remembered the Dursleys would be gone all day he smiled for the first time since Sirius' death. "Time to start living again," he told himself, "and what a better day to do it then when the Dursleys are gone out!" Harry got dressed and went downstairs for breakfast. He hadn't seen his massive cousin Dudley in a while and thought he might enjoy teasing him a bit before they left.
"Now listen here boy," Uncle Vernon started after breakfast, "you keep your tongue around Mrs. Figg; we don't want the neighbors knowing about your abnormality."
"Yes sir," Harry said falsely sweet, "But I'm not sure Mad-Eye would appreciate me being a wizard being called and abnormality." He loved how they all flinched at the word wizard and paled when he mentioned Mad-Eye as they rushed to leave the table and get to Marge's house.
It wasn't long after the Dursleys left that the doorbell chimed and Harry opened the door to find Mrs. Figg and she had Remus Lupin, Ron Wesley and Hermoine Granger with her! "Harry!" Hermoine screeched wrapping him in a tight hug.
"Wow, this is great. Its great to see you guys!" Harry said letting them into the house. He had thought the day would go well, but he never imagined his best friends would show up at his door to make it fantastic.
"The Dursleys treating you well Harry?" Remus Lupin, friend to Harry's parents asked him. Harry nodded his consent before asking the most obvious question. "What are you all doing here? I mean I'm glad to see you and all, but how did you know to come today?"
"I owled them as soon as Vernon asked me to watch you. I thought since you can't go outside you should at least be allowed some company." Mrs. Figg said.
"Thank you, I was afraid I would have to go the whole summer without seeing you guys!" Harry said as Ron and Hermoine grinned at him. The three went up to his bedroom. "It's kind of messy, but here it is." Harry said as they went in. "At least it's better than the cupboard under the stairs!"
Harry and Ron sat on his bed while Hermoine sat in his desk chair. "I was wondering why I hadn't gotten a letter in a few days, now I know1" Harry said happily.
"Yeah, we were so excited about coming that we didn't want to write and spoil the surprise. The look on your face when you opened the door was priceless!" Ron sniggered.
"How are you doing Harry?" Hermoine asked trying not to show worry in her voice. Harry's letters had been very short and she knew he must be hurting.
"I'm doing much better. I finally decided that I wasn't totally at fault for what happened and that I needed to start living again." Harry said. "I miss him so much sometimes though, it's still very hard." He said on the verge of tears. Ron put his hand on Harry's shoulder to show he cared. Hermoine tried not to cry herself as she said" You know we are here for you if you need anything."
"Thanks 'Moine, but I think I'll be ok with time. Besides, I have a lot to focus on this year coming year. I want to start up the D.A. again as soon as we get back to Hogwarts." Harry told them, he wasn't ready to tell them about the prophesy yet. He knew Ron would flip out and Hermoine would cry hysterically. He just wanted to enjoy his friends company for a while without the prophesy hanging over all of them.
"That sounds like a good idea Harry, "Hermoine answered, "We all should be at the top of abilities with the war that we know is going to be starting."
"And now that Umbridge is gone, we won't have to sneak around as much!" Ron pointed out, smiling that they were freed of the worst teacher Hogwarts ever had. She made Professor Snape seem sweet and cuddly!
"Oh, that reminds me, there was an article in this mornings Daily Prophet saying that all educational decrees made last year have been rescinded! "Hermoine told them, "It says a ministry inquiry has been requested by Hogwarts board of governors wanting an investigation into how the decrees were placed into effect in the first place."
"Yeah, Dad said Fudge is getting a lot of criticism, especially now that everyone knows you were telling the truth about Volâ Volâ Voldemort." Ron said. Harry smiled that Ron was finally trying to say Voldemort's name.
"I wouldn't be surprised if the public calls for a new minister of magic. If he had listened in the beginning then maybe" Hermoine trailed off.
"Maybe Sirius wouldn't have died." Harry finished, and when he saw Hermione's horrified expression he continued, "But maybe now we'll be able to get someone who will do good for the magic community, not just for himself. Besides, I'm not sure it wouldn't have happened anyway. Voldemort enjoys killing those that I love." Harry said looking down.
"Oi, Harry, with Umbridge gone you'll be able to play Quidditch again!" Ron yelled out unexpectedly.
"Ron!" Hermoine scolded, "Don't you ever think about anything other than Quidditch?" as she shook her head, but she was thankful for the change of subject.
"What about Ginny? Won't she want to stay on as seeker, she was pretty good." Harry said bummed, he loved Quidditch but he wouldn't take the spot from Ginny.
"No, Ginny wants to try for chaser; she said so at the end of last year. So you can take your spot back and Ginny can stay on the team!" Hermoine joined in, it was so like Harry to worry about other before himself.
"Excellent!" Harry said feeling happy for the first time in a long time. "Wow, it's great to see you guys!" He couldn't believe how great his day was turning out; the Dursleys gone for a day and his friends coming to visit.
"Harry, Ron, Hermoine, lunch is ready!" Lupin yelled up the stairs. The trio went downstairs to see a table full of food.
"Wow, this look great," Harry said, "Dudley is still on his diet and I don't get anything good to eat."
"Well, I love coking and I don't get to cook for such a large crowd very often." Mrs. Figg said as they all sat down and began to eat.
"Arabella this food is fantastic. "Lupin said as they ate, stuffing themselves with the food.
"Yeah, you should open a restaurant!" Ron said, "I thought my mum was a good cook, but this is fantastic!" Mrs. Figg blushed and looked down at her plate.
"Well I used to be a cook before I moved here to" she paused, "to retire."
"You mean before you moved here to watch over me and keep an eye on the muggles." Harry said as Lupin and Mrs. Figg looked stunned. "I figured it out as soon as I found out you were a squib" Harry told her with a smile. "I'm sorry you had to give up job." Harry told her thinking that here was another person whose life was messed up thanks to Voldemort.
"Now Harry, I was only a cook in a very bad muggle diner, nothing special. I had fun watching you grow up, especially since your powers surfaced. It was fun to watch your magic grow." Mrs. Figg said.
"So how had the summer been treating you Harry? Are you doing alright?" Lupin asked as lunch ended.
"Yeah, I'll be alright, it will just take time." Harry told him, "how are you doing, he was your friend too."
"It's tough Harry, some days are harder than others, but I'll be fine. We'll get through this together Harry," Remus said giving him a hug, "We're the only Marauder's left to carry on the tradition!" Remus was the only real Marauder left, but Harry made him feel that James was close by.
"The map was very useful last year trying to bypass Umbridge and all her rules," Harry told him.
"This year will be much better I hope, at least it can't get any worse!" Hermoine said shocking the others; she was never on to say anything bad about school.
"I think you two are being a bad influence on her, "Lupin joked to Ron and Harry, "when I was teaching Hermoine never would have admitted to disliking something at school, well except for Draco Malfoy."
"Ha! Bet he's not so smug now that his Death Eater daddy dearest got tossed in Azkaban!" Harry said, the feeling of slight retribution from knowing he was partially responsible swelled inside him. "Now we just need to get the rest of these evil wizards in there and the Dementors out!"
"Why do they continue to let the Dementors control Azkaban when they know they will join Voldemort?" Hermoine asked the adults, "It doesn't make any sense!"
"The order is wondering the same thing; now that the public knows he is back they should have immediately seized control back. Fudge just won't budge on the subject." Lupin sighed.
"Maybe Fudge is under the imperious curse and is working for the Death Eaters!" Ron piped up, always the one to jump straight to conspiracies.
"I read the ministry is short magical law enforcement personnel as well as Aurors, when Voldemort disappeared Fudge had the personnel cut back believing they would never need full 'wartime' strength again." Hermoine added.
"That is true, they are training quite a few new magical law enforcement officers as well as Hit Wizards, but you can't just hurry and train an Auror." Lupin told them," Fudge just played right into Voldemort's hands."
"Hey, he might be under the Death Eater's influence, all this seems too much coincidence. I'm just saying the order should keep a closer eye on our 'beloved' minister." Ron added.
"I'll make sure to pass along your concerns to the order Ron. You're right; it never hurts to be careful." Lupin told him.
"Speaking of careful," Harry started, "My uncle was making such a fuss this morning making sure that I'm careful not to show off my 'abnormality' to Mrs. Figg." Harry laughed, "Oh what I wouldn't give to see his face if he found out that you knew what I was!"
"I bet his head would explode and your aunt would faint with fright that the other neighbors would find out!" Ron added laughing.
"Yes, but that wouldn't be safe for Harry, we don't want them locking him up under the stairs when they go out instead of letting him stay with me." Mrs. Figg said.
"They wouldn't dare, they are terrified that Mad-Eye is going to show up and do something 'unnatural' to their poor Duddikins!" Harry laughed.
"Oh, speaking of unnatural Harry," Ron said handing him a bag from inside his coat, "Sweets courtesy of Fred and George!"
"Now Harry, don't go feeding your cousin any of those!" Hermoine scolded seeing the plan forming in Harry's mind. "I know he was horrible to you when you were younger, but you are a better person than he is, don't sink to his level." She finished sounding just like Ron's mum.
"Oi, Hermoine, don't go spoiling the only fun he's going to have!" Ron exclaimed.
"Yeah, it's the only way I can torture him with magic without being in trouble from the ministry!" Harry added, "Besides the canary creams are harmless, they wear off very fast."
"Come on now Harry," Lupin said trying to hid his smile; Harry looked just like James when he was plotting a prank. "Oh, who am I kidding, I could never talk your dad out of anything, so why would I think you'd be any different." Lupin chuckled.
"But Professor!" Hermoine started to protest.
"You can call me Remus; I'm no longer your professor Hermoine." Lupin laughed. "Besides, if Harry's cousin was to 'accidentally' come across one of Harry's candies how anyone could blame Harry for his cousin not being able to control his sweet tooth."
"Yes!" Ron yelled, "I knew you were a real Marauder just masquerading as a professor! You were just too cool to be a real teacher"
"Yeah, I hope we have a good instructor this year. I really need to learn Defense this year; we all do since Voldemort is back. But either way, I'm starting the D.A. again as soon as school starts." Harry told them all.
"I think that's a great idea Harry. I'm glad to see you are thinking about teaching the D.A. again." Lupin smiled, "In fact, I was hoping you were going to say that, so here you go." He said taking a very tiny package from his pocket and placing it on the table. HE took out his want and did an enlargement charm on it. "These are three books I thought would come in handy for D.A. I thought they might give you some interesting reading over the summer."
"Wow," Harry said, "Thanks, these are great." He told him rising from the table and giving Remus a hug. "I'm lucky to have friends like you, 2 presents in one day and it's not even my birthday! Today is turning out to be a great day!"
"Time for tea!" Mrs. Figg said standing and gathering the tea and biscuits. "I hope you like the biscuits Harry; I know you haven't had any yet this summer."
"Thanks," they all said reaching for tea, chattering about the happenings in the wizarding world while drinking.
"Tea leaves" Harry mumbled, "I wonder who will be teaching divination this year? I hate having my death predicted every five minutes!"
"Let me read your tea leaves Harry," Lupin said taking Harry's cup, "I see a nice long life in a peaceful world with a family and kids." He said handing the cup back to Harry.
"Thanks, that's the nicest reading I've ever had." Harry laughed, but appreciated Lupin's faith in him. He knew about the prophesy and though Harry would be victorious.
"You should just drop that stupid class Harry, it can't teach you anything unless you are a true seer and we both know you just make up stuff in that class." Hermoine told him.
"You're probably right, but I don't want to pick up muggle studies or arithmacy so Ill just endure the torture. At least if Firenze keeps teaching he won't predict my death all the time." Harry told her.
They sat at the table discussing what was happening in each others lives. Mrs. Figg had adopted 2 more cats, Hermione's parents had received some sort of dental award (they were muggle dentists), and Ron's dad was getting a lot more respect at work with Malfoy being gone and Fudge admitting that Voldemort is back. Fred and George's shop was doing very well.
"Mum is actually proud of Fred and George." Ron said, "Once she realized how much money could be made, it helped. Plus they are helping the ministry develop covert spy ware." Ron laughed, "Or at least they gave the ministry a bunch of extendable ears and are trying to figure out how you guys made the Marauder's map."
"We never told them it was you and dad and Sirius." Harry told Lupin, "Maybe you could help them out a little bit, even though it is nice having the only one. I feel like it's our secret, the Marauders and now Ron, Hermione's and mine." Harry added.
"If you three had a nickname your little 'group' would probably have broken as many rules as we did!" Lupin laughed. "Except you three don't break the law and never go looking to break the rule, adventures seem to find you!"
"Yeah, who would have thought a group of first years were the only ones brave and clever enough to try and protect the sorcerer's stone!" Ron laughed, "We were so naive we didn't even stop to think what would happen."
"We have had some interesting adventures," Harry added, "The incident with the time turner is still the weirdest thing I've ever done, I don't know how you did it all year Hermoine!"
"I don't know how I managed it all either," Hermoine laughed, "That stupid hourglass caused me so many headaches."
"That day you stormed out of Divination was priceless, and then you went and slapped Malfoy. I've never been so proud to be your friend." Ron told her blushing.
"I know you three can handle yourselves, but be careful this year." Lupin told them, "Be even more careful who you trust with your secrets." Lupin said thinking off all the problems that Wormtail caused them. "I know the three of you are inseparable, but be careful."
"And be careful around the children of the Death Eaters as well. Most of them are well on their way to joining the Dark Lord themselves." Mrs. Figg added.
"I'll have to be even more on guard around Malfoy. He hated me before and now I went and got his dad thrown in Azkaban!" Harry commented.
"This should be a very interesting school year for you three. I have a feeling some old alliances will falter and some new ones will be made." Lupin said.
"Oh, don't go all Trelawney on us!" Harry joked, "But seriously, I think you're right. This is the time when everyone will be choosing sides; we may even have Gryffindors who go over to the side of evil."
"But maybe by having you there as a reminder that Voldemort is not all powerful, we can turn some of those who are on the edge over to our side." Hermoine added, "I'm sure Dumbledore will do all he can to keep his students from joining Voldemort."
"Oh dear!" Mrs. Figg exclaimed, "Look at the time, we better clean up and get you three out of here before Harry's relatives come home!"
Once the house was 'spotless' again, they all headed for the door. "Thanks for bringing my friends with you Mrs. Figg." Harry told her.
"It was my pleasure dear; just remember to make it sound as if you had a horrible time to keep your uncle happy." She told him, stepping aside so he could say good bye to everyone else.
"Thanks for the books," Harry told Remus giving him a hug. "Try and see if I can go to the Burrow or someplace before the summer is out. I don't want to stay here if I don't have to."
"I'll see what I can do, but the only place they are going to let you go is headquarters. Do you think you're up to going back there?" Remus asked wondering if he was strong enough to go back to the house Sirius lived at.
"As long as you are there and the Weasleys and Hermoine, I know I'll be ok. It will be very hard, but I'll have to go there someday, so there is no use putting it off." Harry said putting on a brave face as he went to say goodbye to his best friends.
"Tell Fred and George thanks for the sweets," Harry told Ron. "It was great seeing you guys; write me when you get you OWLs!" He gave Ron a short hug and then Hermoine buried her head in his chest in a tight hug.
"You know we are here for you if you need anything Harry," she said, "owl us if you need to." She hugged him again before heading out the door with Ron and Remus.
"We'll just floo from your place Arabella, thanks for everything." Remus told Mrs. Figg as they left.
"Thanks again Mrs. Figg," Harry told her once the other three were gone, "I didn't realize how much I needed to see them until they showed up."
"You are very welcome Harry, now I am going to set up my knitting in the parlor and you should probably be in your room when they return." She told him, "I hate how they treat you, but I don't want them to guess I have any ties to the magical community."
"I understand, they hate me for what I am as it is, I don't want them to hate and snub you too." Harry said going up to his bedroom to read his new books. The first book he picked up was called '5,000 Ways to Defend Yourself from Unfriendly Spells.' Harry hadn't even finished the introduction of the book before he heard the Dursleys' car pull in. It was a good thing his friends left when they did!
Harry stayed up very late reading his book. There were all sorts of defense spells and protective charms to guard entire rooms or groups of people. There was an entire chapter on the Fidelius Charm, Harry was amazed at how much it took to become a secret keeper. His favorite chapter was the one on Patronus', even though he knew the spell it was interesting to read about how you patronus forms from memories of times when you felt safe and secure. It made Harry sure that he felt safe and happy with his parents before they died, if he hadn't he wouldn't have his fathers anamagi form as his patronus.
Chapter 3: Sweets and Squibs
Harry awoke to a slight tapping on his window in the morning. There were two owls outside his window. Once Harry had taken the letters from them, they swooped away. Hedwig hooted softly to Harry. "You can go play for awhile girl, just come back later incase I have a reply letter." He told his beautiful snowy owl as he reached for the first letter. It looked like an official letter from the ministry. It read:
Dear Mr. Potter:
Due to the removal of all Educational Decrees issued during your last term at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, you have been reinstated as an active Quidditch player. Your broom will be returned to you at the start of the school year.
Dept. of Magical Games and Sports
Harry smiled and placed the letter back in the envelope. He had thought he would be allowed to play again, but it felt great to know for sure. The second letter was from Lupin, he recognized the handwriting. Except when he opened the letter there was nothing written on it. Harry turned the parchment over in his hands several time before he realized the message must be hidden in case the owl was intercepted. "Now what?" Harry asked himself, and then he remembered the Marauder's Map. Still Harry wasn't sure if the password to reveal the map would work without his wand. "I solemnly swear I am up to no good," he told the letter, immediately long lines of Lupin's scrawling handwriting appeared.
I discussed your desire to leave Privet Drive with professor Dumbledore this morning. We are working on safeguards to ensure your protection when away from your aunt. We will not owl you of when we will pick you up. It may be tomorrow or next month, try to be as ready as possible. I know it will be very difficult on you coming back to Headquarters. It was difficult for me as well. Talking about Sirius will help you start to heal. I hope when you arrive we can spend some time together. I would love to tell you about some of the adventures your father, Sirius and I had. There are some other personal things I hope we can talk about as well. Just know that I am thinking about you and will be here for you when you need me to.
Remus J. Lupin
Harry had silent tears falling down his face as he said, "Mischief managed," and watched Remus' caring words fade away. He wasn't as close to Remus as he had been to Sirius. Harry figured that it was because Lupin had been his professor, but it would be nice to talk about Sirius and his parents. He liked talking with Remus; he reminded him a lot of Hermoine. Harry smiled, he guessed Hermoine was the Remus equivalent, he was the James equivalent and Ron was the Sirius equivalent. It was funny to think that his dad had done some of the same stupid things when he was in school.
Harry decided to pack up all the stuff he had thrown all around his room in the hopes the Order would be coming sooner rather than later. He put away everything in his trunk, leaving a few changes of clothes at the top and his book out on his desk. He would be ready in less than one minute when they came to get him.
He smiled as headed down for breakfast with a pocketful of Weasley Wizarding Wheezes sweets. He would just accidentally drop one on the floor for Dudley to find. Fred and George had put a note in the bag explaining that all the effects would wear off over time, none lasting more than an hour, so that he wouldn't have to do magic to reverse the effect and could even try some himself if he wanted.
"Good morning!" Harry said as he sat down at the table helping himself to breakfast. The Dursleys looked scared at how cheerful Harry was being. "Did you have a nice time at Aunt Marge's?" He asked, knowing how much it bothered his uncle when he talked to them.
"What are you up to boy?" Vernon grunted, glaring at Harry. "You haven't said two words to us all summer and now you are all smiles. We go away for one day" Vernon said as he put two and two together. "What did you do while we were gone boy?" Vernon bellowed. Harry enjoyed watching his uncle turn purple.
"Nothing, I'm only smiling because I got a letter this morning, that my friends that you talked to at the station may be stopping by for a little surprise inspection sometime soon." The words had the exact effect Harry was hoping for, the Dursleys looked terrified. The rest of breakfast went quietly, with his uncle's eyes darting around the room like a caged animal.
"Would you like some more fruit Harry?" Aunt Petunia asked trying to ensure Harry told the wizards he was being treated well.
"No thank you, I'll just eat some of my candy and cakes I have in my room," Harry said smirking at the piggy look on Dudley's fat face. He 'accidentally' let a piece pf candy fall from his pocket to the floor. It was a Mirth-mellow, it makes the person happy and laughing for about a ½ hour. Harry went up to his room to read his book, listening for signs of Dudley's laughter.
Harry didn't have to wait for long, he soon heard Dudley laughing at the bottom of the stairs. "What's so funny Duddikins?" Aunt Petunia asked.
"Nothing," Dudley told her, Harry slipped out to the stairs, making sure nobody saw him, or they would know he did something to Dudley. Dudley had the largest stupidest grins on his face.
"Are you sure son, you look so happy all of a sudden." Petunia continued, looking intently at her son.
"Nothing mum, I'm just in a good mood I guess," Dudley laughed. Petunia looked worried, Dudley was never in a good mood, and something had to be wrong. "I'm going to go outside and see if Piers wants to hang out."
"Ok, sweetums, just be careful." Petunia said as Dudley headed for the door. Harry was disappointed that Dudley was leaving so he couldn't enjoy the show, but it was great that even Dudley didn't figure out it was the candy he ate.
"Dumb kid, probably thinks it's a sugar high since he's been on his diet so long." Harry mused to himself. "Next time I'll try a sweet with a little more prank to it." Harry decided to write a letter to Fred and George to tell them the Mirth-mellow could be a little stronger.
Dear Fred & George,
Thanks for the bag of sweets. I tried the Mrith-mellow on Dudley this morning; it made him laugh and smile. I was kind of hoping for some side splitting, fall down and clutch your gut hysterics, but I'm sure it will be a good seller during finals. It'll be a nice way to relieve some stress without having to take a calming potion. I'm planning on slipping him something more malicious later on. I'm glad the shop is working out well for you and that mum Weasley is on your side now. I was hoping she wouldn't blame me for giving you the start-up galleons. Tell Ginny 'Hello' for me and give my best to the rest of the family. Hope to see you soon.
Harry placed the letter in an envelope and waited for Hedwig to get back. He liked writing the twins; he could actually talk about the joke shop without fear of the letter being intercepted. Harry read his book the rest of the morning until it was time for lunch. Dudley was back to being his old piggy self, even though Aunt Petunia keep looking at him funny. Harry had to try and keep in a laugh as he though what his aunt would be like if she had eaten the Mirth-Mellow.
Harry decided the best time to slip Dudley another sweet was when his uncle was at work. So he slowly took a Coughing Caramel out and dropped it to the floor again. He knew Dudley was stupid enough to eat this one too. The effect of the candy only last 15 minutes, but that is 15 minutes of straight coughing! Harry smiled at how Dudley's eyes got large as he spotted the candy on the floor. When lunch was over, Harry walked very slowly up to his room. He hadn't even reached the bottom of the stairs yet when Dudley started coughing. Aunt Petunia went nuts, trying to get him to drink water, asking him what he ate, was he choking. "Oh, my baby is choking!" She screeched frantically running around the room. Dudley was crying he was coughing so much. But neither one of them figured out what the cause was.
"Oh, don't worry Duddikins, Mommy will figure out what's wrong." Petunia reassured a scared looking Dudley. Harry wondered when he would ever learn his lesson that you shouldn't eat anything that you pick up off the floor, especially with a wizard living in the house. "Potter! Potter get down here!" Petunia screeched.
"Yes Aunt Petunia?" Harry said going into the Kitchen, "Oi, what's wrong with you Dudley?" He asked feigning ignorance.
"I need to take Dudley to the doctor's office, you need to come with us. Go get in the car. Come on Duddikins, I'll just get my coat and we'll be off." She said heading to the closet. Harry took this moment to drop another piece of candy to the floor, this time it was a Puking Peppermint! The puking lasted 45 min, Harry couldn't wait to see the muggle doctors face when Dudley puked every 30 seconds and they couldn't find anything wrong with him!
"How thick can you get?" Harry thought to himself as Dudley picked up the mint and put it in his pocket on the way to the car. They were to the Doctors office in about 5 minutes. According to Harry's watch Dudley only had 2 or 3 more minutes of coughing. Dudley finally stopped coughing as they were waiting to see the Doctor. Harry flipped through a muggle magazine while watching Dudley out of the corner of his eye. As soon as Aunt Petunia walked up to see how long they were going to have to wait, Dudley popped the Puking Peppermint into his mouth. Harry grinned behind the magazine; Dudley really was as stupid as he thought he was.
Less than 2 minutes later Dudley jumped up and waddled as fast as his fat legs would carry him to the bathroom. Harry could hear him retching all the way out in the waiting room. "Dudley, are you alright sweetheart? Aunt Petunia said franticly from the other side of the door.
Dudley came out of the bathroom looking perfectly fine. "I think it might have been all the coughing." He told his mother, but didn't even make it to his seat before hurrying back into the bathroom for round two. Petunia raced up to the receptionist and told her what was going on with her "Poor Duddikins."
"Has he eaten anything odd this morning or for lunch?" The lady behind the counter asked as Harry buried his face in his magazine to hide his smile.
"No, of course not, my son is on a stringent diet. He only eats the freshest fruits, vegetables and other healthy foods." Petunia told to lady. Harry could hear Dudley starting round three in the bathroom; boy did he love Fred and George!
When they finally got home, Dudley was beside himself. The doctor had told him he could only have chicken soup and lots of fluids and to stay in bed for two days. "But I feel perfectly fine, I'm not sick at all, I got it all out!" He complained.
"I know you think you did, but the Doctor said bed rest, so off you go." She told him leading him upstairs. "I'll bring you up a nice bowl of soup in an hour; you just take a little nap until then to get up your strength."
"I don't need a nap, my strength is perfectly fine!" Dudley yelled as he went upstairs. Harry headed up to his bedroom to add this to his letter to Fred & George. They would be so proud of him, 3 prank candies in one day and nobody the wiser to what was happening.
"I am a Marauder!" Harry laughed to himself, thinking that his father and Sirius would be proud he finally gave Dudley a little payback. Harry finished the letter to Fred and George and sent it with Hedwig who was back. "Take this to Fred and George, Ok girl?" Harry said as he stroked her feathers. She gave him an affectionate nip before flying out the open window. Harry pulled out the bag of candy and unwrapped a Levitation Lolli, the more you lick the higher you go, is what the not said. He stuck it in his mouth and felt a tingling sensation before lifting an inch or so off the ground. "Cool!" Harry said out loud, taking another lick and going higher. Pretty soon Harry was floating in a sitting position above his bed reading his book. Every time he would sink a little he would take another lick of the lolli. Harry decided that giving his Tri-Wizard winnings to Fred and George was one of the best decisions he had ever made. They had already made his life more fun! Now if only the order would come and take him to Headquarters it would be a perfect day.
Harry looked at his calendar that counted down the days until he would go back to Hogwarts. It was only two weeks until his birthday! He was going to be sixteen. Dudley had turned sixteen a few weeks ago and the Dursleys were going to buy him a car for next school year. His aunt had told Dudley it was to be used to come home and visit, yeah right! Dudley and his gang terrorizes people when they were on their bikes, Harry was scared to think what would happen with Dudley behind the wheel of a car!
"AHHH!" Aunt Petunia screamed from the Kitchen, she sounded terrified. Harry grabbed his wand and rushed downstairs (Always the Hero).
"What's wrong Aunt Petunia?" Harry asked running into the room ready to strike if they were under attack.
"What is that horrible creature in my garden? It's hideous, oh Harry get it away before the neighbors see it!" She shrieked pointing out the window. Harry looked out and gasped. There was a thestral in his backyard. A thestral was a magical being that only could be seen by those who had seen death, and even then only by wizards! Harry spun around staring at his aunt.
"The neighbors won't see it; in fact you shouldn't even be able to see it!" Harry said narrowing his eyes at her. "That is a thestral; they are magical creatures that you can only see if you have witnessed death. Who did you see die?" Harry said. There was something about his voice that made Petunia answer him.
"I watched Vernon's mother die, she took her last breath with us watching. It was before Dudley was born." Petunia whispered, "But what if the neighbors have seen death also? What if they see that horrible horse thing out there?" She asked again.
"Like I said before, they won't. The only people who can see them are magical." Harry told her, waiting for realization to hit her. His aunt was a squib, or maybe even a witch! How could that be possible?
"Butâ Butâ That's just not possible, why would I see them then?" She asked looking scandalized.
"That's a very good question," Harry said, "Now, tell me about my grandparents, your parents. What did they do when they found out my mother was a witch?" He asked her. He vaguely remembered Petunia saying they had been proud when she got her letter.
"They were very excited, they kept telling her how wonderful it was and how they knew she had hidden talents." Petunia told him, she was too shocked to even think about refusing to answer the questions.
"Did anyone from the school come and explain things to her?" Harry asked.
"No, she seemed confused at first, but the next day seemed happy and excited. I thought maybe the letter explained everything." Petunia said.
"How did she get her school supplies?" Harry asked. He had a suspicion that Petunia was a squib and her parents never told her.
"My parents just told me to go to one of my girlfriends houses for the day; they were going to take Lily to get her supplies. I had seen the list. That was when I realized what a freak she was, there was no way I would touch half of the stuff on that list and yet she seemed very excited, giddy almost." Petunia told him, staring off into space remembering the past.
"What did your parents do for a living?" Harry asked, by now very curious. It sounded like his grandparents were wizards!
"My mother worked as a nurse in a hospital in London, she took the train to work everyday. I remember asking her why she didn't work closer to home and she told me the best hospitals were in London, and she liked working for the best. She was always too busy when she went to work; we never went to visit her." Petunia told him.
"Do you remember the name of the hospital?" Harry asked.
"It was Saint something; I think it started with an M." She said.
"Saint Mungos?" Harry asked. If his grandmother worked at St. Mungos she was definitely a witch! Petunia just nodded; amazed that Harry could have guessed the name. "What about your dad?" Harry asked.
"He did something with insurance or appraising. He would go to people's houses and asses the level of insurance they needed or something like that. He went all over the country, sometimes he would be gone for weeks at a time." She said, "He never went into too much detail, but I never asked. His job seemed boring."
"Could you call Mrs. Figg and have her come over, I want to talk with her about something." Harry asked his aunt, "If I'm right she can clear this whole mess up." Petunia went to call Mrs. Figg and Harry sat deep in thought on the sofa. Why would no one have told him? He was positive his aunt was a squib now, but he didn't think he should tell her. She had lives her whole life thinking she was "normal," sure she had made his life a living hell, but he was afraid what his uncle would say if he knew. Mrs. Figg was in the order; she would know what to do with this information.
As Mrs. Figg arrived she noticed the Thestral and wondered if it was the reason for the phone call. She was let into the house by Petunia, who looked rather paler than normal. "Mrs. Figg, can you see thestrals?" Harry asked once they were sitting in the kitchen, Petunia had gone to check on Dudley.
"Yes, squibs can see them just like wizards, I saw the one outback. But don't worry no one else will be able to see it." She said wondering why Harry hadn't been taught that in school.
"But my aunt can see it; she screamed and told me to get the ugly horse like creature out of her garden!" Harry whispered to her, "do you realize what this means?"
"Oh, dear!" Mrs. Figg said eyes popping, "I need to get to the order, they will need to know this piece of information. Very good thinking of calling me over Harry."
"But what do I tell her?" He asked, "Surely not the truth, it would destroy her perfect little life."
"Make something up dear, whatever it takes. I'll let you know what the order says as soon as I can." Mrs. Figg told him leaving.
"What was all that about?" His aunt asked him when she realized Mrs. Figg had left.
"I told her I thought I saw one of her cats run up the tree in the backyard. I wanted to know if she could see it too. She couldn't. She went home to check on her cats. I'm guessing the only reason you can see it is because you are related to wizards." Harry told her, it was the best lie he could come up with.
"Well, if that's true you better get it out of her before Vernon gets home. We will not talk about this again; you know how he gets about your abnormality." Petunia said going back to cleaning the kitchen.
"Yes, I'll go send it away right now." Harry said going out into the backyard. He was still curious why the thestral showed up in the first place. He walked up to it, petting it. "You have to get out of here, and you can't show anyone where this place is ok? I need you to try and forget you have ever been here. Now go back home." He told it. He wasn't sure how smart thestrals were, but he knew they had a great sense of direction, so he hoped this one would listen and not come back."
Harry went back inside, still thinking about the fact that his grandparents were wizards. He wondered if his mother knew that she wasn't muggle born like she thought. He wished Hermoine was here, she would know exactly what was going on. What Harry really wanted was a book on pureblood ancestry. He wanted to see if he could really be a pureblood. Oh, wouldn't that just make Malfoy mad. He loved to tease Potter for being a half-blood, if her turned out to be a pureblood, he'd love to see Malfoy's face when he found out! Harry was still contemplating his ancestry when he heard a loud 'pop" from the hallway. Someone had just apparated into his house!
He grabbed his wand just to be safe and slowly opened the door. Remus was standing in the hallway with Tonks and Mad-Eye Moody. "Come on Harry, we have to make this quick!" Lupin said walking into his room. Harry tossed his book into the trunk and locked it. Tonks shrunk his trunk and Hedwig's cage and stuck them in her pocket, before Harry was herded out the door and down the stairs. Harry saw the startled and scared look on Aunt Petunia's face when she saw the wizards. Lupin handed her a letter and told Harry they would be using floo powder, they were going to the Burrow first.
"Bye Aunt Petunia, I'll see you next summer." Harry told her as he followed Remus to the fireplace in the living room. "The Burrow," Harry said and was engulfed in green flames.
Chapter 4: Back at Headquarters
As soon as the swirling stopped, strong arms were pulling him out of the fireplace. "Good to see you Harry." Mr. Weasley said dusting the soot off. "Now we really must be going." He led Harry through the Kitchen and into the living room. "We're using a portkey to get us near Headquarters." He handed Harry a corner of a knitted blanket that was usually on the back of the arm chair. "Hang on; it'll be any second now." As soon as the words had left Mr. Weasley's mouth the familiar sensation of being tugged started at his navel. Then his feet hit solid ground. They were in an alley way, about a block from headquarters. "Come on Harry, we need to be quick, it's not that safe out here." Mr. Weasley said, moving them quickly to 12 Grimuald Place, Harry still clutching the blanket from the armchair.
Harry saw number 12 appear as if out of thin air. He took a deep breath, "Here goes nothing," he thought. He was still unsure how the house was going to affect him, but thinking about Sirius made his feet feel like lead.
"Come on Harry, I know it's hard, but it's not safe out here." Arthur Weasley told him, half pushing him through the door. The first thing Harry noticed was that it seemed brighter in the house and it smelled cleaner. Once he looked around he noticed that the house looked cleaner as well.
"Harry!" Ginny yelled from the top of the stairs, "Oh, it's so good to see you!" she said coming down the stairs to hug him.
"Hey Gin, it's good to see you too." Harry said breaking out of the hug. Something was very different about the house; he knew it was something big. Then it hit him, the portrait of Mrs. Black wasn't screaming. "What happened to Mrs. Black's portrait?" Harry asked.
"We'll tell you about all that when we get inside the kitchen, I'm sure everyone wants to see you first!" Mr. Weasley told him. There were a lot of changes to the house since Sirius' death and he didn't want to be the one to tell Harry, they had all decided it would be Lupin's job. "Look what I found wandering the street." Mr. Weasley joked walking into the kitchen with Harry.
"Harry!" Ron, Hermoine, Fred, George and Mrs. Weasley yelled. "How good to see you dear." Mrs. Weasley said wrapping Harry in one of her motherly bear hugs. "You must be starving, you look so thin, weren't the muggles feeding you? Here have some stew." She said pushing him down into the chair next to Ron and shoving a huge bowl of beef stew in front of him.
"Thanks Mrs. Weasley," Harry had known her long enough to not argue and just eat the soup.
"We weren't expecting you this early Harry, we though we'd have to wait until at least next month!" Hermoine told him smiling, "This is great!"
"Yeah, what are you doing here so early?" Ron asked, "Did something happen with the muggles?"
"You didn't feed your cousin any of that candy did you?" Hermoine asked, hoping that wasn't the reason he was there.
"I did give him some of the candy, which by the way work very well, but no that's not the reason I'm here." Harry told them winking at Fred and George. They were beside themselves in laughter so Harry assumed they had gotten his letter. "I asked Remus to talk the order into letting me come early." Harry said. "So I think that's the reason they hurried me out of there." Harry said looking at Mr. Weasley would not meet his eyes. That confirmed Harry's suspicions, as soon as Mrs. Figg had talked to the order about his aunt, they pulled him out. There was definitely something going on.
"I'm sure you have lots of questions Harry, but Remus wants to talk to you as soon as he gets back." Mr. Weasley told him. Harry ate his soup in silence, wondering what Lupin needed to talk to him about. But he was definitely going to be asking about his aunt! "Ah, there they are now. They were just patrolling, making sure no one saw us enter." Mr. Weasley said as Remus, Tonks and Mad-Eye came into the kitchen.
Remus led Harry upstairs to his and Ron's old bedroom. "There are a lot of things we need to talk about Harry," Remus told him. "I'll start with the question you probably want answered the most. Yes, your aunt is a squib. She has no idea that her parents, your grandparents, were wizards." He could see Harry starting to form the question 'why?" "You see, when your grandparents married, they were cursed. They were told their children would not be magical, they would be squibs. So when your grandparents found out they were having a baby, they moved out of London and began a partial existence as muggles. They knew that their children would be harassed in the wizard community, squibs are treated horribly. So they never told their daughters what they were. Your grandmother kept her job as a healer and commuted on the train everyday, just to keep up the appearance of being a muggle. They even changed their name in the muggle world. Your grandfather, he took a muggle job as an insurance appraiser. He also was employed putting up protective charms around wizards houses. Petunia never knew, she of course is a squib, but for all accounts and purposes she's a muggle. Now your mother, she was the surprise. She started showing magical powers. Just small ones since she wasn't around magic she didn't know how to copy it. Then she got her letter from Hogwarts. Your grandparents were so happy for her, but since they had built her and Petunia's lives around a lie, they didn't tell her. She just assumed she was another muggle born witch." Remus paused; he knew this was a huge piece of information for Harry to digest so quickly.
"So, am I a pureblood then?" Harry asked incredulously. He had been right, Petunia was a squib, and his grandparents were wizards!
"Yes Harry you are, in fact there is no mixed blood in your lineage. You are more of a pureblood that even Mr. Malfoy. They have Veela and Vampire in their blood line. They are still pure, but your heritage has never been crossed with magical creatures, not once." Lupin told him, he knew Harry would enjoy knowing that he was more pure than Draco Malfoy. "Now that brings us to the reason Mrs. Black is so quiet." Lupin said. "When we told her Sirius died, she became adamant that we leave her house. She said only a true heir of the Noble House of Black could inherit the house. So we did some digging, and it turns out that the House of Black actually stems from your lineage, so you are in effect a true heir, able to inherit the house. You see, Sirius left you his estate." Remus finished. "He left you almost everything he had, this house and most of his Gringotts vault. He left me with a little money and he made me your guardian." Remus stopped to let all the information sink in.
"You mean this is my house now? Wait, did you say that you're my new guardian?" Harry asked disbelieving he could be so lucky to escape the Dursleys.
"Yes, but only if you want me to be. I'll understand if you want to stay with how things are now. "Remus said quickly, he didn't want Harry to feel uncomfortable.
"Of course I want you to be. You were one of my parents' best friends. You helped me find Sirius and have been great. Why wouldn't I want that?" Harry told him, he was glad Sirius had left a will. Even though he was still pained by Sirius' death, his leaving a will helped things out a lot.
"Ok, well then as your guardian, I have to ask your permission for the Order of the Phoenix to use your house as its Headquarters. You will not be able to discuss it's location with anyone not involved with the Order. Professor Dumbledore wishes to remain secret keeper." Lupin asked, getting the formalities out of the way. He had a sneaking suspicion that Harry was going to use this info to his advantage. He could see the wheels spinning in Harry's brain.
"I will agree with allowing the Order to use my house on one condition," Harry said, seizing his opportunity. "I wish to join the Order, so that I am aware of what is being conducted on my property." Remus smiled, he knew Harry would come up with this condition. The Order had already discussed it. Since Harry was the only one who could defeat Voldemort, there was really no use of an Order without him.
"I believe that can be arranged." Lupin told him, enjoying the look of disbelief on Harry's face. "We don't want to have to start from scratch, so I'm sure the Order will agree."
"You knew I would come up with that condition and have already cleared it with them!" Harry laughed, "Great minds think alike."
"There are a few other things; for starters, you will need someone to keep the house clean. You are going to need to take on a few house elves." Remus told him, "Kretcher was turned over to the department of Magical Creatures for disposal. He wasn't in very good shape once Dobby got through with him."
"Dobby?" Harry asked.
"Yes, once he found out that you had been tricked by Kretcher and that Kretcher betrayed his master to his master's death. The other house elves turned on Kretcher. Dobby had been taking care of the house with the help of Winky since Kretcher was taken away." Lupin told him. Harry smiled, that was why the house looked so great. "I know Winky loves it here, she has asked to stay on as here. She wants to belong to a family again. Dumbledore has told me that he wants you to have both Winky and Dobby. Dobby is completely devoted to you and Winky is desperate for a new family to serve."
"I would love to have them. I will continue to pay Dobby what his wages were from Hogwarts, but I am sure that Winky would not accept them. "Harry told him. "Is there anything else?"
"Yes, if you order Winky and Dobby, they can remove the portrait of Mrs. Black using their special magic. But they have to be told to do so by the master of the house. I think it would make Sirius happy knowing we got his mother out of the house." Remus told him.
"Yes, I agree, I'll tell them very soon." Harry said shuddering.
"The other thing is that Sirius said I could continue to live here as your guardian, and I have been. I wanted to make sure that is alright." Remus said, smiling at Harry's approval. "And we have finally been able to free Buckbeak. He is back in the Forbidden Forrest under Hagrid's care. It seams the committee for the Disposal for Dangerous Creatures was put under the imperious curse and only woke up when Malfoy was sent to prison, so Buckbeaks sentence was revoked."
"Great!" Harry said happily. "I know there is a lot more to discuss, but my brain is numb from all the information. Can we finish up tomorrow?"
"Sure, go have fun with the Weasleys and Hermoine!" Remus said, surprised when Harry hugged him.
"Thanks for everything." Harry said running downstairs to find Ron and Hermoine.
Harry could hear Ron and Hermoine talking when he neared the kitchen. Hermoine was reminding Ron to give him time to heal over Sirius. They couldn't rush him into being able to tell them everything that happened at the end of last year. Harry was grateful that his friends cared so much for him. "Hey guys," Harry said as he went into the kitchen. "This had been one full day! I have a bunch of stuff to tell you. Let's go upstairs so we're not interrupted. I feel like my head is going to pop off if I have to process any more information today!" Harry laughed.
"Sure Harry, Dobby was hoping to see you before you went to bed. I'm sure it can wait until morning though." Hermoine told him.
"Dobby? Winky?" Harry called to his little house elf friends. He did want to see Dobby and tell him what a great job they had done on cleaning the house.
"Harry Potter Sir!" Dobby squeaked, running toward Harry with Winky following shyly behind him. "Dobby was hoping to see Harry Potter today!"
"It's good to see you too Dobby, and you too Winky," Harry told the elves as he hugged Dobby. "You two have done a magnificent job with the house, it looks spectacular." Harry could see the elves eyes glow happy with the praise.
"We does all we can to make Harry Potter's house clean," Winky told him.
"Yes, I heard that you can get the painting of evil Mrs. Black down if I ask you to?" Harry inquired.
"Mr. Harry Potter sir would have to order us to remove the painting with our magic, we is not able to use it without being ordered to." Winky told him.
"How am I supposed to order you to do it, you are free elves, you don't have a master." Harry said gently, knowing it was a sore subject with Winky.
"We is not wanting to be free anymore, Mr. Harry Potter sir. We is wanting to serve a family again." Dobby piped up. Harry smiled, he would love to have them working for him.
"I am in need of two good house elves to take care of the manor. But I'm afraid I have different rules than other masters." Harry told them, "Would you like to hear the rules?"
"Yes, please Harry Potter sir." They answered.
"First, I like that you are dressed in clothes, I would want you to continue to wear clothes. You would be bound to secrecy with what you hear in the house, but if you ever want to leave or feel you are being mistreated I want you to come talk to me. If I want to free you from my service I will tell you since I may present you with clothes as presents for good deeds. What do you think so far? Could you live with these rules?" Harry asked as their eyes were wide with astonishment.
"You would treat us as free elves, even though we is bound to you? Harry Potter is most kind." Dobby said and Winky nodded.
"The other rules are: no punishing yourselves, there will only be punishments if I order them." Harry said as Dobby looked like he was going to start jumping up and down with joy. "The last thing is that I will be giving you each a small allowance to purchase things from Diagon Alley or the like, so that Dobby will not have to give up on his clothes making, I rather enjoy my socks. So those are most of the rules, but the main rule is, this house is protected by a secret keeper, you must not lead anyone to the house or allow anyone entry that either Professor Dumbledore or myself do not tell the location to. You will be helping us fight against Voldemort. What do you think now?"
"I would be honored to have you as my master Harry Potter sir." Dobby answered, looking to Winky who looked like she was close to crying.
"Dobby always said how great you were Harry Potter sir, but Winky did not believe a wizard could be so good to a house elf. You would make Winky very happy to let her serve you. I will be a good house elf and follow all of Harry Potter's rules." Winky said, tears spilling down her cheeks.
"Thank you, I could not have asked for two better house elves." Harry said giving each one a hug. He could see Hermoine crying in the background, she loved when wizards treated house elves with respect. "Now the first thing I would like done, is for you two to remove the painting of Mrs. Black, but you may wait until morning so we can all watch and dispose of the foul canvas. We will be heading to bed." Harry said.
"Have a good night Mr. Harry Potter and his friends." Winky said bowing low.
"OK, I thought of one more thing," He said looking at their expectant faces, "How about you just call me Harry, and this is Ron and Hermoine. You only need to call me sir or master or Harry Potter when we have guests that are not like family. I consider the Weasley's, Remus Lupin, Hermoine, Tonks and Dumbledore to be family."
"Thank you for allowing us to serve your family. Good night Harry." Dobby said as the trio went up to Harry and Ron's room.
"That was so sweet Harry!" Hermoine said hugging him. "I have never seen Winky so happy!"
"But Harry, why do you need house elves? I mean you don't even have a house!" Ron said, obviously not paying that much attention to the conversation downstairs.
"This is my house now. Sirius left it to me." Harry told him as Ron's eyes got larger with understanding. "They will be working here to keep it in good condition and help out with the Order."
"But I thought only a blood relative of the Black's could own the house. That was what Mrs. Black was screeching for days once she learned Sirius died." Ron said.
"That's true, but she stopped screaming when she found out that her blood line actually stems from mine. I am a pure blood." Harry told them, he could understand their shocked expressions, he was too. "As it turns out, my grandparents on my mom's side were really wizards. They pretended to be muggles because there was supposedly a curse on their children to be non-magical. They were terribly surprised when my mom got her letter. You see, my aunt Petunia is a squib, and she doesn't even know it!"
"How did you find all this out? If it's been secret so long, why did they tell you now?" Hermoine asked shocked.
"I figured it out this afternoon. My aunt screamed because she saw a thestral in the back yard, well only magical beings can see thestrals. She told me she had seen Vernon's mum die, that's why she could see them. Then I asked a bunch of questions about my mom and grandparents and she answered them. I told Mrs. Figg and she went straight to the Order, they were there to pick me up less than an hour later." Harry told them. "Lupin told me the rest just before. Oh, and the Order had to ask my permission to continue using the house, so I told Remus that I would allow it if I could join and they said yes!"
"Not fair! You're going to be in the Order; you have to tell us what is going on!" Ron said. He was happy that they would have at least a little more info, but he doubted they would tell Harry too much.
"I'll try, but you know Dumbledore, he'll probably come up with a way to keep me from telling you. Maybe we can convince your mum and dad to let you two join too, that way we don't have to keep secrets!" Harry told them.
"Yeah right, this is my num we are talking about here; she still thinks we are first years!" Ron laughed shaking his head, there was no way mum would let him join, she wouldn't even let Fred and George join and they were of age!
"How come you get to join, wouldn't the Dursleys have to give their permission?" Hermoine asked skeptically.
"That's the best part, in Sirius' will, he named Remus my legal guardian! I'm practically free from the Dursleys!" Harry said giddy with happiness.
"I'm happy for you Harry; maybe you can try and have a normal relationship with your guardian now." Hermoine added looking down; she didn't want to depress Harry.
"I'm still hurt over loosing Sirius, he was my godfather and who my parents had picked to be my guardian, but I'm sure they had a hard time choosing between Remus and Sirius in the first place. At least I'm still with a Marauder!" Harry told them.
"I'm tired," Hermoine said through a yawn, "I'll talk to you boys in the morning."
"Night 'Moine," Ron said with Harry calling "Night!" after her as she headed to her room. "Night Ron," Harry said pulling on his pajamas and crawling into bed, his bed in his house! He could hardly believe it, he finally had a home.
Chapter 5: The Vault
"Harry wake up, come on everyone wants to see the painting of that horrible woman get ripped off the wall." George said jumping on Harry's bed, laughing as Harry groaned and tried pushing him away.
"Gerroff Fred!" Ron yelled at his brother who was smothering him with a pillow.
"Come on, Mad-Eye thinks there is a secret room or something past the painting since he can't see through the wall!" Fred told them.
"A secret room? Wonder what kind of dark arts stuff is in there?" Harry questioned while getting dressed. "I can't wait to get rid of that evil hag's portrait. I feel like it is the one thing I can do for Sirius is to make sure that painting is out of this house!" They all made their way downstairs, where the rest of the house was waiting as well as Tonks, Mad-Eye, Kingsley, McGonagall and even Dumbledore.
"Good morning Harry," Dumbledore said, his eyes were twinkling more than Harry had ever seen them. "I see you have taken our two faithful house elves into your service."
"Yes Professor, they have agreed to help me keep this house in good condition as well as to remove this ugly painting from the wall." Harry told the old man with the long beard. "So, shall we see what's behind her?" Harry asked the eager crowd.
"You'll never get me out of this house you disgrace to the name of wizard! How dare you defile my house with these blood traitors and mud-bloods!" Mrs. Black screeched.
"I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but this is my house now and I demand to be treated with respect in my own home!" Harry said forcefully. Mrs. Black shut up immediately. "Now, if you would be so kind as to get yourself unstuck from the wall that will save me the trouble of burdening my house elf friends here from doing it." He told her, and to everyone's surprise (except Dumbledore's, his eyes were twinkling for a reason) they heard a sound and her painting slid down off the wall and to the floor.
"Good, now you will remain silent unless spoken to and you will treat guests in this home with respect or I will have this portrait disposed of." Harry told Mrs. Black as Dobby and Winky moved the painting aside. He couldn't believe the old bat had listened to him.
Where the painting had hung was a door. It was a thick wooden door, but it looked like even Hagrid wouldn't be able to break it down. "Can you see anything through it Alastor?" Professor McGonagall asked him, wary of opening a door in a house that was once owned by a family full of dark wizards.
"No, there is either five feet of solid rock or a highly powerful spell, I cannot see through it like I can the other walls." He told them.
"Can you open the door Dobby?" Harry asked as the room collectively backed away from the door. "Be careful, you know the type of wizards the Blacks were."
"Yes sir, Dobby will try." He said as he attempted to gain entry to the room, even with the help of Winky they could not open the door.
"Stand aside," Harry said as he walked up to the door. "I Harry James Potter, master of this house, demand that this door be opened to me." He said in that same powerful voice he had spoken to Mrs. Black with and the door swung open.
"Very nicely done Harry," Dumbledore told him as the others stood gaping at Harry. "Shall we see what lies beyond?" Harry followed Dumbledore into the room and gasped. It was a vault! There were piles of galleons, gold, silver and gemstones. There were cabinets lining the walls full of priceless artifacts. "Ahhh, I see we have found the hidden Black treasure. You see it has been missing for years. Mrs. Black emptied her vaults at Gringotts right after Sirius ran away from home in order to protect her fortune from him. Seems she succeeded, but never the less, this all belongs to you now Harry." Harry was too shocked to respond, he just looked Dumbledore in the eyes, and he knew his Professor could read all that he needed in his eyes. "I'll be back after dinner; we can discuss the order and the other things on your mind then Harry." He said placing his hand on Harry's shoulder for a moment before leaving the room.
"Oi! Look at all that gold!" Fred said walking into the room, "No wonder the old bat was keeping this door hidden!" He laughed running his hand over the gold bricks. They heard a soft thump behind them and turned around to see Mrs. Weasley passed out on the floor. "I guess it's a little too much for mum to take!"
"Holy cricket, what are you going to do with all this money Harry?" Hermoine asked in awe. She and Ginny were lovingly stroking all the gems.
"I don't know." Harry said honestly. "Let's go eat breakfast and we can figure out what else is in here afterwards." He said stepping out of the vault. "Dobby, can you set this door up to only open for Remus, you, Winky and me?" Harry asked him.
"Yes sir, now that the door is open, we can control it with our elf magic." Dobby said and got to work on putting the charm on the door. Harry led everyone else into the kitchen where Winky was setting out plates full of breakfast food.
"Looks like you get a break today mum," Ginny said cheerfully grabbing a waffle. Ron was already stuffing his face.
"This looks wonderful Winky, thank you." Harry said as he started to eat.
"It is my pleasure Harry sir." She added turning pink and bringing out more food.
Kingsley, Mad-Eye and McGonagall left right after breakfast, saying they would be back after supper for Order business. The rest of the 'family' headed back to the vault to explore the cabinets and see exactly what other surprises awaited them. Tonks looked longingly at the vault and said to Harry, "I'll just see you after dinner; I don't want to intrude on family business."
"Technically, you are family. If I'm related to the Blacks then I'm related to you. Besides, you are always welcome here." Harry told her as they walked into the safe. Winky pulled on Tonks robes.
"You is all his family Miss, he told us to treat you like that, you and Mr. Lupin and all the Weezeys even Professor Dumbledore! He will not mind if you want to stay, I can tell." Winky told her, "I heard you taking with Mr. Fred that you is looking for a new place to stay. I is sure master Harry will let you stay."
"You are very sweet Winky, thank you." Tonks said smiling. She had been living at her parent's house while she looked for a new apartment, but she would love to be at headquarters.
"Then it's settled. You can move in whenever you like." Harry winked at her from behind. "It'll give Remus someone to talk to when I go back to school!"
"Thanks Harry!" Tonks said, she couldn't believe how easily Harry had accepted her into his 'family,'
"Hey Ron! Check these out!" Harry said as he opened an armoire. There were at least a dozen invisibility cloaks inside. These would be great to have for the order, but Ron, Hermoine and Ginny got one first.
"Invisibility cloaks! Way cool, now we won't have to all try and fit under yours." Ron said, and then whispered, "It'll make sneaking out a whole lot easier!" They both laughed and moved over to show Hermoine their find.
"Oh, wow, look at these gorgeous gowns. Ginny, Tonks come here and look!" Hermoine said, spying the beautiful gowns and robes that filled the rest of the armoire. The girls kept pulling gowns out and holding them up to themselves and spinning around, soon even Mrs. Weasley joined in.
"Better not let them look in here then," George told Harry pointing to a beautifully engraved cherry wood box. Inside were magnificent jewelry pieces, all colors and shapes, necklaces, rings, earrings.
"Yeah, let's keep this a secret. That way it's an even bigger surprise later when they get to wear it." Harry told the guys as he locked the box and put the key in his pocket.
They found two orbs with exact replicas of the solar system in them, just like the one Harry had been drooling over in Diagon Alley before his third year. He would never have to do a star chart again! There was a trunk like Mad-Eye's that was full of Dark detectors.
"This had to have belonged to an auror!" Tonks exclaimed, "What is it doing in this house?" Upon closer inspection it had a monogram on the front of the trunk: H. Potter. "It has your name on it Harry! How is that possible?" She asked perplexed.
"Harry's grandfather was an auror; he was killed by Death eaters before Harry was born. His name was Harold Potter. You were named after him Harry." Lupin told everyone. "Now you have a bigger trunk to take your stuff in back to school!" Lupin laughed, trying to lighten the mood.
"I guess it just shows that you were meant to open this room and to have this house." Mr. Weasley said. "And all this equipment will be very helpful to the Order as well as the invisibility cloaks."
"The order can use all but three of the cloaks and all the dark detectors, except I think I'll hang the foe glass over my bed, just in case." Harry told him as he opened another cabinet to find it full of china and crystal and silver. There were tea sets and place settings, enough for a grand party.
"Harry, come look at these." Remus told him, he was looking in large stand up chest. It was full of portraits and beautiful tapestries. There were a few that caught both Harry's and Remus' eye. One was of the four Hogwarts founders. They pulled it our carefully, for it was over a century old.
"Good day fine gentlemen. At last we have been freed from our wooden cage," said the portrait of Godric Gryffindor. Harry smiled; Gryffindor was the brave once, that's why he spoke first.
"It is an honor to be the one to remove your painting from its bonds." Lupin said with respect to the four greatest witches and wizards of their age.
"I see that you young sir are of the age to attend Hogwarts, we would be pleased to hear of its condition." Helga Hufflepuff asked Harry.
"Hogwarts is as magnificent as ever Madame. I shall return there for my 6th year in a few months." Harry told her, he didn't want to offend her by saying he was a Gryffindor. He heard the painted Salazar Slytherin snort in the background. "Ah, and I must say, you should have done a better job of hiding your Chamber of Secrets, Slytherin." Harry said drawing out the name to show he did not respect the wizard. "I had no problems killing your basilisk." Harry tried not to smirk at the glare he got from Slytherin.
"Spoken like a true Gryffindor." Rowena Ravenclaw said proudly. "No other would risk their life to save the school and the lives of the muggle born witches and wizards."
"Thank you mam, I am humbled to receive such a compliment from the cleverest witch of the age." Harry said bowing slightly.
"Definitely a Gryffindor, he is both brave and charming!" Godric Gryffindor spoke as Harry and Remus gently laid the portrait off to the side. The next portrait was of Godric Gryffindor as well. It was magnificent. Gryffindor was painted in the foreground and a beautiful phoenix was painted in the background. The unique thing about the painting was that only one of them would move at a time.
"Fawks" Harry breathed quietly, recognizing the beautiful bird. The phoenix in the painting tilted its head in recognition. As Harry watched the painting, he began to realize why only one or the other would move at a time. They were the same being. Godric Gryffindor was an anaimagi, he was Fawks. Lupin had gone to get the others to show them the paintings. "You are Fawks." Harry whispered to Godric, who nodded solemnly. "Shall I keep this a secret?" Harry asked quietly as the others headed towards him.
"Only my heir and the Headmaster may know." Godric said before Fawks came to life again. Harry was stunned into silence. The phoenix that had helped him out so many times was actually Godric Gryffindor himself!
"Harry, these portraits are the largest historical find in a very long time!" Hermoine said. "I can't even image what they are worth, they must be priceless."
"I just called Bill over; I wanted Harry to have an inventory of the gold and all the possessions." Mrs. Weasley said, "He will be able to help determine the value of all this."
"Harry, are you OK? You seem kind of pale?" Remus asked him.
"Yes, I'm just in shock at all we have found," He told them, fingering the corner of a tapestry of King Arthur, Merlin and the Knights of the Round Table. The tapestry was rich in color and the knights waved at them. "I think I would like to hang this one over the entrance to the vault, to replace Mrs. Black. She can go in the attic."
"That sounds lovely dear." Mrs. Weasley said, "Oh, here's Bill now, I'll just show him in."
Bill said it would take the entire afternoon to catalog and count, even with the help of Dobby and Winky. Harry gave him the key to the jewelry box and told him to keep it secret from the girls. They all left to let Bill get to work.
Fred and George went to work at the shop saying they had to pollute the young minds of their customers. Tonks and Lupin said they had some errands to run for the Order and would see them for dinner. Harry reminded Tonks she could move in whatever she wanted. Ginny, Hermoine, Harry and Ron then played exploding snap in the living room while Mr. and Mrs. Weasley went upstairs to take a nap.
"I can't wait until Professor Dumbledore gets here tonight," Harry told his friends. "I want to give him the portrait of the four founders for Hogwarts to have. It's only right that it be displayed in the school they founded."
"That is great Harry, I'm sure he will cherish the painting. What are you going to do with the one of Godric Gryffindor?" Hermoine asked him.
"I'm not sure, but I want to keep it. I feel connected to it somehow, I can't explain it. I think I will find a place for it here in the house, a special place." Harry told them.
"It's a shame it's just a moving portrait, it would be so neat if he could speak!" Ron said as Harry looked at him weird, "He could have given us advice on how to defeat Voldemort!"
"Why do you think it can't speak?" Harry asked curious.
"That type of painting can't, you can tell by the way there were two subjects. The artist just made them mobile. Shame though." Ron said.
"Ginny, what have you been up to this summer?" Harry asked changing the subject. "Are you still going out with Dean?"
Ginny giggled and looked at Ron's angry face. Ron hated the idea of his little sister dating anybody. "No, we never were going out; I just said that to get a reaction out of Ron!" Ginny laughed, even Hermoine was trying to hold back a smile at Ron's reaction.
"You what!!?" Ron yelled, "I was going to have to kill him when we got back to Hogwarts, it's a good thing you told me the truth before I broke his neck!"
"You know Ron, if you are going to overreact every time I like a boy; we are going to have some serious problems." Ginny told him matter-of-factly. "I happen to like boys, so you're going to have to get used to the fact that I'll have boyfriends."
"I know you'll have boyfriends, just make sure you pick somebody who deserves you next time." Ron told her, "Right Harry?"
"I'm staying out of this one, far out of it!" Harry laughed getting up and moving over next to Hermoine.
"Dean is a Gryffindor and one of your friends, how is he not good enough for me?" Ginny asked shocked.
"He is a total flirt! You need someone who will treat you right, who will protect you when this war breaks out, someone who is caring, strong, brave, smart and funny. Someone who is going to treat you with respect, not parade you around like some trophy." Ron told her seriously.
"That is a really sweet idea Ron, but there are not very many guys out there like that, and the ones that are," she said glancing at Harry, "would never want to go out with me." She told her brother with her head down. Ron gave Harry and Hermoine a pleading 'please help me with this look.'
"Ron's right Gin, you deserve the best. Don't settle for someone, you'll find a guy that will be perfect for you, just give it time." Hermoine told her.
"Like I said, a perfect guy would never pay any attention to me." Ginny said looking right at Harry, almost challenging him to disagree. But being the brave Gryffindor he was he took the challenge.
"That's not true Ginny. You are an amazing girl. You are strong willed, brave, very smart, even Snape can't mark down your potions, you have a great sense of humor and adventure and you are loyal to your friends and family. All of that and you are very pretty; any guy would have to be stupid to not want to be with you." Harry told her smiling. Ginny was shocked; did Harry Potter just say all those amazing things about her? Did he really believe that about her?
"Yes Harry, any guy would be stupid to pass up Ginny once he realized she has all those amazing traits." Hermoine said smirking at how thick headed boys really were.
"See Gin, even Hermoine agrees." Harry added, heading into the kitchen for a snack. Hermoine just sat shaking her head as Ginny glowed; she never thought Harry could possibly think those things about her after what happened in the Chamber of Secrets. Too bad he only meant that she would find some other guy who would be all the things Ron said. Too bad the only person she had ever met to fill all those traits was Harry. Ginny went up to her room to write in her diary (just parchment this time, not dark wizards hiding inside using her); she didn't want to forget all the great stuff Harry had said about her.
As Ron sank down into the couch, he turned to Hermoine. "I think we cheered Gin up. I don't think she's going to go running after the first boy who flirts with her this year." He said proudly.
"Yeah, maybe just the first one to compliment her and tell her she's amazing." Hermoine mumbled, but Ron caught it anyway.
"Wait! Did Harry just tell my little sister she was amazing and then list off almost a hundred things about her?" Ron asked, "And he even said she was pretty!" He said with his jaw hanging open.
"Don't worry Ron; I don't think Harry realized he told her that any guy would be stupid not to want to be with her." Hermoine laughed at the look on Ron's face, it was a mix between realization, shock, anger and happiness. "You boys are too thick to realize you like someone and are even thicker when it comes to catching the hints that a girl likes you."
"That's not true, I would know it if I had feelings for a girl. And I know for a fact that there are no girls at Hogwarts interested in me!" Ron protested. Hermoine just smiled.
"Sure you wouldn't Ron. You wouldn't realize you liked the girl until she showed interest in someone else and you wouldn't know a girl liked you until she either told you flat out or showed you. I know for a fact that there is a girl that likes you that will be going back to Hogwarts soon as well." She told him, enjoying the shocked look on his face. "Maybe you should take some lessons from Dean, he may be a flirt be at least he can pick up on the fact that someone likes him." Hermoine teased.
Chapter 6: New Members
Tonks and Lupin returned shortly before dinner. Remus looked upset about something; Harry made a mental note to ask him about it later. They all sat down to a meal Mrs. Weasley had made. She had absolutely refused to let Winky do all the cooking after helping Bill all afternoon. Bill had enjoyed inventorying Harry's vault. He told him the goblins at Gringotts never let him do that kind of job alone because they are all so suspicious of wizards.
"I really appreciate your help Bill; it's nice to know what's in there." Harry told him. He loved how the Weasley's were always willing to help out. "I can't believe how much all of that is worth!"
"Yeah, I don't think even your great-grandchildren will have to work Harry, and that's if you have a Weasley size family!" Bill told him. "And you still have your vault at Gringotts along with Sirius'. Harry shook his head; he had never imagined so much money.
"Ok, that settles it." Harry said standing up as dinner ended and holding up his glass. "I would like to propose a toast." He told them as they all picked up their glasses. "You all have been the only family I have ever known, I love each one of you as if we were actually related. I just wanted to thank you for being there for me. To show my thanks, I would like to split my Gringotts vault between each of you." He said smiling at the shocked look on their faces.
"That's your money Harry dear; we wouldn't feel right taking it." Mrs. Weasley said blushing. Harry wasn't going to take no for an answer, he knew how much it would mean to the Weasley family.
"Let me do this for you Mrs. Weasley, you have been so good to me, treating me like one of your family." Harry told her.
"You are one of our family now Harry, and Hermione too." Mrs. Weasley said getting up to hug Harry, "But I won't take your money."
"Yeah, you already gave us your tri-wizard winnings to start our shop, we don't need anything else." The twins added.
"We appreciate your generosity Harry, but we love you and don't want to take your money." Mr. Weasley told him.
"Ok, but you all better give me a long list of things you want for Christmas!" Harry told them laughing. "And don't hesitate to ask if you need anything."
Lupin got up and walked over to Harry, Tonks followed. "There's something I want to talk to you about before the Order meeting Harry." He said leading him upstairs into the drawing room. "Tonks and I found a way to extend the protection your aunt provides."
"It would mean you would never need to go back to the Dursleys and you could move around freely without fearing for your safety." Tonks added smiling. Harry couldn't believe it, it sounded too good to be true.
"There's a catch though Harry," Lupin told him. "The only way is to transfer your mother's protection to another living person. You would be safe whenever you were near that person or in their house."
"But to get the full effect of the protection, so that you could go outside and still be protected, you would have to be adopted by the person." Tonks said. Lupin was grateful that she was here to ease the blow.
"I could be free from the Dursleys forever?" Harry asked still unsure. Lupin nodded his head in response. "It sounds great, but I don't want the Weasley's to do it. I love them and all, but..." Harry said looking at Remus.
"I just remembered that I have paperwork to do before the meeting!" Tonks said jumping up and leaving the two to talk.
"Remus, Iâ Do?" Harry said looking down. How did you ask someone to adopt you without sounding like a fool?
"Harry, I wasn't thinking about the Weasleys. I thought you would want someone separate, so you could have your own family." Remus said stalling. He loved Harry like his son; he knew Lily and James would want him to take care of him. But he was afraid Harry wouldn't want a werewolf in his family.
"You see the reason I was so excited when I found out that Sirius was my godfather was because I've needed someone to look up to. I need someone to fill in and be the father figure I've always needed." Harry said looking pleadingly at Remus.
"Harry, I know we haven't been as close as we could have been. But I would love to have you in my family. I don't want to pressure you, but I already think of you as family." Remus told him, hoping it wouldn't ruin their relationship if Harry said no.
"Are you serious?" Harry said jumping up, "I wanted to ask you!" He laughed at how silly they were both acting. They had been trying to ask each other the same thing. He surprised Remus by catching him in a hug.
"Are you sure? You can't change your mind once we transfer the protection." Remus told him, happy that Harry seemed to want it as much as he did.
"Of course I'm sure. I know my parents would be happy that we are going to take care of each other." Harry said as Remus put his arm around him and steered him toward the door.
"We better go tell Tonks before she knocks something over trying to listen in on our conversation." Lupin laughed, just then they heard a thud and an "ow" from the hallway. "That's what you get for being nosey." He told her as he helped her up.
"Oh, this is great! I'm so happy for you two. We should go tell Albus, I think he just arrived!" Tonks said grinning like a Cheshire cat. They all went to the kitchen to find Mrs. Weasley and Dumbledore in an intense conversation.
"They are too young Albus, all of them, even Harry!" She told him.
"Molly, you know we are going to have a hard time keeping things from them with Harry in the Order. We'd be better off letting them join than risking their conversations being overheard when Harry tells them everything he hears." He told her calmly, his eyes sparkling.
"But what if something happens to them? How am I supposed to sleep at night knowing my entire family is in the Order?" She asked him, they had found out last year that her greatest fear was loosing her family.
"We will not be sending the young ones out on missions, merely telling them of our plans and asking for their opinions. Besides, they will be invaluable to our cause by bringing other students to us." He told her.
"I can't believe that Hermione's parents agreed with this!" Molly said shaking her head. She knew she had lost the battle. "You knowâ Iâ Fine, but they had better be kept safe!"
"Now that's settled," the Headmaster said standing, winking at Harry. "We have an Order meeting to get to. Would you like to call your family down Molly?" Harry couldn't believe that Dumbledore had talked Molly Weasley into letting her youngest children join the Order. That man could do anything he set his mind to! "Remus, Harry, I need to speak with you after the meeting." Remus nodded in response, Harry just smiled.
"Ron, Hermione, Fred, George, Ginny!" Mrs. Weasley yelled upstairs. "Come down stairs please." They all climbed down the stairs. Harry winked at Ginny, he knew she had been listening on an extendable ear, he had seen it when he walked into the room.
"What is it mum?" Ron asked, "I was just about to beat Hermione at wizards' chess again." Ron was the best chess player out of all of them. Harry had never beaten Ron, and he didn't think Hermione had either.
"Well the meeting is about to start so I thought you had better get down here." She told them smiling. She knew here children would be excited they got to join. "I thought you'd all like to see Harry get initiated as a member." She said winking at Harry.
Harry finally realized where Fred and George got their prank-full nature from. Mrs. Weasley wasn't going to tell her children until the meeting started; now that was a good one! "Everyone into the Kitchen," Mr. Weasley said as the other members started apparating, flooing, or coming in the door. Harry thought it was remarkable how punctual they all were as he headed to the kitchen for the start of the meeting.
"Thank you all for coming. As you can see, we have quite a few additional faces here tonight. The first order of business is the change in ownership of this wonderful house we use as our headquarters. Sirius Black was the godfather of Harry Potter and has left him the estate. Harry has agreed to allow us to use the house for the Order. As the owner of our base of operations it is only fitting that he be admitted into the Order." Dumbledore spoke as many people turned surprised heads towards Harry. "Harry and his friends will play a pivotal role in the upcoming war and we must prepare them the best we can. Therefore we shall be assigning them the task of recruiting other students to our cause." He said smiling at Dumbledore. "So let us initiate our new members."
Harry smiled at the look of comprehension on his friends faces. Hermione looked like she was about to pop she was so excited, Ron's mouth hung open in shock and Ginny winked back at Harry, confirming his suspicion she had extendable ears. Fred and George gave each other high fives. They all took an oath to protect the muggle and magical community from evil forces to the best of their ability. To search out, capture and hinder all death eaters and followers of Voldemort. To maintain secrecy for all maters discussed within the Order. When they were official members they all shook hands with the other members.
As Harry shook Snape's hand he whispered, "This doesn't mean you're special Potter." Harry smiled as he imagined tossing Snape out of his house on his ear. "Just because you and your little friends are in the Order, don't expect me to treat you any differently when classes start."
"Of course Sir, but as you expect me to treat you with respect while I'm at school, I expect you to treat me with respect while you are in my home." Harry said still smiling, he loved getting under Snape's skin, and he wasn't at school so he couldn't take house points or get a detention.
Snape narrowed his eyes as he let go of his hand and stiffened up. It seemed the entire room was watching them shake hands. "Welcome to the Order, Harry." He said fighting to get out Harry's name.
"It will be a privilege serving with you Severus." Harry said with a huge smile on his face as he waked away from the fuming Professor Snape. Harry didn't have to call him sir or professor when they were not in school and Snape knew it.
"Let's get back to business shall we." Dumbledore said with a slight smile on his face and the twinkle in his eye. Ron tried to hold in his laughter at the exchange between Harry and Snape. The meeting went on for another hour before it adjourned. "Harry, Remus a few moments if you please."
They all sat at the table once everyone else had left the room, some could still be heard milling about the living room commenting on the cleanliness and the removal of Mrs. Black's portrait. "We will want to transfer your mother's protection from your aunt to Remus as soon as possible Harry. I believe Tonks is already working on drawing up the necessary paperwork for the adoption." Dumbledore told him, clearly this man knew everything. "The real reason I wanted to speak with the two of you is about your emerging powers Harry."
"Emerging powers?" Harry questioned, he didn't understand what Dumbledore was talking about.
"You have power in your voice Harry. When you tap into your power you can make things happen. You used it yesterday to command Mrs. Black off the wall and to open the vault door." Dumbledore told him smiling. "It is a very rare gift."
"I still don't understand Professor." Harry said, he had felt something when he opened the door and had been shocked when Mrs. Black's portrait listened to him.
"Your voice has the power of authority. When you speak, objects and spells listen to you. It works on people as well. You cannot control their actions or thoughts, but when you tell them something they listen. You have the authority in your voice to make them think about an idea they had never considered or to answer a question they would not normally. If I'm correct you first used this power on your aunt the morning when she saw the thestral. You asked her who she had seen die, a very personal question that she would not have normally answered." He told him.
"So that's why she was so forthcoming with answers?" Harry asked, somewhat scared of his powers. "But effecting peoples free will, that sounds like a bad thing."
"You cannot effect their choices Harry," Lupin broke in, "It's more like you make them feel the need to respect you, like when a teacher asks a question or asks something of you in class you answer since the teacher is in a position of authority." Remus said trying to put it in terms Harry would understand.
"I couldn't have put it better myself." Dumbledore said, "But we need to be careful of who knows about your power Harry. We do not want Voldemort or his supporters to hear of this power. Keeping it secret will help you fight him."
"Yes sir, now that I am aware of it, I will learn to control it." Harry told him, he wanted to control his powers; he didn't want his friends to feel uncomfortable around him.
"You should tell your friends about the prophesy." Dumbledore told him, "The Order is aware of it and it may be mentioned during meetings, I know they would appreciate hearing it from you first."
"I knew I needed to tell them, I just didn't want to scare them." Harry said, "But I will tell them tomorrow, I think we are celebration joining the Order this evening!"
"We will go to your aunt's house tomorrow morning to transfer the protection. It will be draining on your powers so try and sleep tonight." Remus said as they all stood up.
"Oh, Professor, I almost forgot. I have a gift for you." Harry said excitedly, "I found this in the vault and want you to take it to Hogwarts." He opened the vault and pulled out the portrait.
Dumbledore's eyes widened as he looked at the four founders. They all waved before going back to 'sleep.' "Well, they will definitely fit in well in your office, they can already fake sleep just like all the previous Headmaster's portraits!" Harry laughed as Salazar Slytherin opened his eyes to glare at him. "Don't mind Slytherin, he's just upset that I killed his basilisk."
Both Dumbledore and Godric Gryffindor laughed at that. "Thank you Harry, this is a priceless treasure. It will hang in Hogwarts where it belongs." It had been a long time since one of his students had surprised him, but Harry Potter was definitely not one of his average students.
"I'm sure Fawks will agree that it belongs in your office." Harry said pointedly. Dumbledore's eyes sparkled more than normal as he realized Harry knew who Fawks was.
"Yes, I'm sure Fawks will appreciate the painting." He said as he prepared to floo to his office. "Don't forget what Professor Snape taught you about oclemency, you will have to continue your lessons this year." He told Harry as he disappeared in green flames.
"And I thought this was going to be a good school year." Harry groaned to Remus. "Do you think we can get me a pensive?" He asked his guardian.
"I think Bill came across one in the vault," Remus told him. "Why, is there something you don't want Snape to see?"
"There are plenty of things I don't want him to see. I know he is on our side and Dumbledore trusts him, but he's still an awful git in my book." Harry told him as they headed upstairs. "I'm going to go party with Ron and Hermione."
"I'll see you in the morning; just remember to sleep so you are strong enough when we go to your aunt's." He said giving Harry a fatherly hug before heading off to his room.
"Harry!" George said slapping him on the back, "How did you do it? How did you get mum to let us join?"
"It was actually Professor Dumbledore; he can talk anyone into anything." Harry told them, "He knew I was just going to tell you everything so he thought it would be safer to just let you all join too."
"I love that man!" Fred said raising his bottle of butterbeer and shoving one into Harry's hand, "To Dumbledore!" He said in a toast.
"To Dumbledore!" They all chorused.
"So did you hear any other good gossip?" Harry asked Ginny sitting next to her on his bed.
"Yeah," She said lowering her voice "is it true that Lupin is going to adopt a son?" She didn't want to speak to loud in case she had heard wrong. "I wonder why and who it is." Harry winked at her and stood up.
"I have an announcement," he said getting their attention. "Remus found a way to extend my mother's protection to him. He is going to adopt me as his son and I will be protected wherever I go, not just when I am with him." They spent the rest of the night discussing all the changes going on in Harry's life and what they expected the Order would have them do.
Chapter 7: A New Family
Remus came in to wake Harry and Ron the next morning. Harry had listened the night before and went to bed at a decent time. He pulled on one of Dudley's old t-shirts and a pair of jeans 3 sizes to big that had to be held up with a belt. Remus didn't look much better in a ratty pair of tan corduroys and an oversized polo shirt, the best muggle clothes he owned.
"When do we leave? Do I have time to tell the others about the prophesy?" Harry asked as they headed for breakfast. Winky had insisted on cooking breakfasts so Mrs. Weasley did not need to be up so early.
"Yes, we don't want to get to your Aunt's until your Uncle is gone." Remus told him. "Why don't you tell them right after breakfast? I can be there for support if you like." They entered the kitchen; the others were half way through their meal. When they were done Harry cleared his throat.
"There's something else you all should know. It's something Dumbledore told me at the end of last year." Harry said, he suddenly had everyone's undivided attention. "The reason Voldemort was at the Department of Mysteries was to obtain the prophesy, the one that smashed. Dumbledore told me what was in the prophesy, he was the one the prophesy was made to, before I was born." Harry went on to tell them everything Dumbledore had told him at the end of last year. When he finished, Hermoine and Ginny were crying and Ron looked like he had been hit with a bludger.
"That's why we got to join the Order. I need to learn everything I can to be able to defeat Voldemort." Harry said to his friends, who were taking the news as badly as he thought they would. "I just wanted to be the one to tell you, I didn't want it to come up at an order meeting."
"We will help you Harry," Hermoine said trying to stop her tears from falling.
"You can count on us to do whatever it takes to get you trained, just like with the Tri-wizard tournament." Ron told him. Ginny just jumped up and hugged him tightly, not having the ability to talk through her tears.
"Harry, it's time to go." Remus said gently.
"It's ok Gin," Harry told the redhead who was trembling in his arms. "We'll get through this," he whispered reassuringly in her ear before pulling out of the embrace. Both Ron and Hermoine hugged him before he was ushered out of the house by Remus.
"He never gets a break does he?" Ron asked out loud. "Every time we think things are starting to go our way, something happens to bring us back to reality."
"At least we have an idea of why Voldemort killed his parents and why he keeps trying to kill him." Hermoine added, "It's just so intense, kill or be killed." Ginny broke down in sobs and ran up to her room.
"Why is she so upset? We're his best friends; we should be the ones that are upset!" Ron questioned, shrugging his shoulders. Hermoine just shook her head at how dense boys were.
Harry and Remus arrived back on Privet Drive. "I thought it would be longer until I had to come back here." He joked, "But this is the first time I've ever volunteered to come here."
"Let's hope it's the last time you have to." Remus said putting his arm around Harry's shoulder in a fatherly way. Harry had never felt so secure with the prospect of seeing his relatives. Remus rang the doorbell.
"What are you doing here?" Petunia asked both angry and scared. "I thought we were through with you until next year."
"That's what we are here to discuss Mrs. Dursley," Lupin said, "If we may come in, I'm sue you would not want the neighbors to overhear our conversation." Those were the 'magic' words to get her to usher them into the living room. "We have determined a method to transfer the protection that Lily gave to Harry so that you would not have to be his guardian anymore."
"Good, now get out of my house." She said, thinking the conversation was over.
"It's not that simple Aunt Petunia, the only way is to transfer the protection to another person with a complicated spell." Harry told her, "If you don't let us do the spell, you'll still be stuck taking care of me. I'll probably even have to stay the rest of the summer."
"This is the only way?" She asked, if Vernon knew she let them do magic in their house he would leave her for sure.
"Yes it is," said a voice from behind them, startling Harry as well as making Petunia give out a little scream. Harry turned around to see Professor Dumbledore standing in the living room. "Shall we get started, this may take a while." Petunia just nodded, too scared of the man with the long beard that just appeared out of nowhere. "Harry you will need to sit in the middle of the couch, Petunia you and Remus need to sit on either side of him." Dumbledore stood in front of the three of them with his wand drawn.
An hour later the process was complete and Harry was taking his last look at Privet Drive. "So how does it feel to be free?" Remus asked him, Dumbledore had already taken his leave of the two.
"It's an amazing feeling. I feel lighter, like a weight was just lifted off my shoulders. I've never told anyone this, but when I was little I always wished that I had died in the car crash with my parents, I was so alone all my life. But then I met Hagrid and went to Hogwarts. I have true friends and now I'm going to have the family I always longed for." Harry didn't feel stupid sharing his feelings with Remus, it felt natural.
"Is there anywhere in muggle London you want to go before we head back to the Leaky Caldron?" Remus asked, "We might as well stop while we are here?"
"Yes, now that I'm free of the Dursleys I want to be free of Dudley's hand me down clothes." Harry said, "We are going shopping!"
They spent the rest of the morning going from shop to shop. Harry bought jeans and pants, trainers and dress shoes and a wide assortment of shirts. He had ditched his old clothes at the first shop and was now dressed in a pair of dark denim jeans and a perfect fitting green polo that showed off his muscles and accented his eyes. Remus had gotten himself a few new muggle outfits as well at Harry's bidding.
"You knew we were going to go shopping here huh?" Harry asked as Remus pulled a wad of muggle money out to pay for their purchases.
"I was going to make you go, I figured if you have more money than you could spend in three lifetimes, you shouldn't be dressed like a beggar." Remus laughed, they had a great time in muggle London. Harry was impressed with Remus' knowledge of muggles. "Your mother was always teaching me about the muggle way of life, I was the only one who would listen. I found it fascinating." He told him.
"There's one more stop I want to make," Harry told him, leading Remus into an eye care office. "Hello, I would like to have my eyes checked." He told the lady behind the counter. It was one of those places you could walk into and walk out with glasses in under an hour. Harry hadn't seen an eye doctor in over 10 years; he figured it would be smart to get his eyes checked. He needed new glasses and wanted to try contacts as well.
He picked out a pair of glasses the same shape as his old ones, except these were slimmer and didn't hide his eyes as much. He got a few boxes of disposable contacts as well; the lady was surprised his 'father' was going to let him get both. Remus thought that was very funny, they looked nothing alike.
"What do you think of the new me?" Harry asked doing a 360 for Remus. His clothes fit, they looked nice and the glasses made him look older.
"You just need a new pair of boots and you'll be perfect. I know just the place in Diagon Alley." Remus said as they entered the bar saying hello to Tom the innkeeper before venturing out to the shops. "We'll have to come back again when you get your school list, but I think we can afford to splurge a little."
Harry laughed; 'a little' was the understatement of the year. He could buy everything he ever wanted and still have money to burn. They went to the shoe store that Remus had been talking about and got Harry a pair of black dragon hide boots as well as another pairs of shoes, black again of course to match his school robes. They went to Madame Malkin's Robes for All Occasions and they each bought new robes. Harry got a set of midnight blue and a set of burgundy with the Potter family crest embroidered on them. He also purchased a lot of wizard clothes and made sure Remus restocked his wardrobe as well. If they hadn't been wizards they wouldn't have been able to carry everything, but thanks to Remus' shrinking charm they only had one pocketful each before they were done.
"We better be getting back before the others get too worried. I don't want Mrs. Weasley to send the Order out looking for us." Harry laughed as they headed back home.
"I'll take your stuff up to your room and enlarge it," Remus told him.
"Thanks for everything today," Harry told him, "For taking me away from my horrible relative and for the fun day of shopping. I actually felt like a real kid for once."
"It was my pleasure Harry, and we'll be able to go out a lot more once we get the adoption finalized." Remus told him leaving him to find his friends and show off his new look.
He went up to the drawing room; it was his favorite room of the house, to see if anyone was in there. Ginny sat with her head buried in a journal, writing up a storm. She didn't see him as he approached. "Hey Gin." He said quietly. She looked up smiling at his voice. Her eyes became bright as she took in his new look.
"You look wonderful Harry!" She gushed blushing. "I really like the new glasses; your eyes look so much greener."
"That might just be the shirt." Harry smiled, he knew he looked better, but Ginny couldn't take her eyes off of him. "It's a lot different having clothes that are your own size, I had to have the lady measure me because I didn't know what size I was."
"Wait until Ron sees you, he's going to be jealous, he never gets his own clothes either. The only new thing he's gotten was dress robes from Fred and George." She said setting her diary down. "Is it fun to shop in muggle London?"
"Very much, maybe as soon as the adoption is final Remus will take us all again. I'm sure Hermoine would love to show you all her favorite stores." Harry told her.
"Window shopping in London would be interesting," Ginny said looking down. She knew she couldn't afford to go shopping in muggle London when all her clothes came off the second hand rack as it was.
Harry seemed to read her mind; he took her hand and made her look at him. "You don't have to worry about money anymore Gin, I would be offended if you didn't let me take you and Ron shopping." She smiled in thanks.
"Just don't tell mum, you know she'll go all crazy." She laughed looking into Harry's piercing green eyes. "Your eyes are so amazing Harry, I wish my eyes had the sparkle yours do."
He had been staring into her eyes as she said that and noticed the specks of red and purple and blue in the soft chocolate brown. "The do have it, you have all kinds of colors in your eyes, it's like a kaleidoscope of colors. I'm sorry I never noticed before, they really are beautiful." He told her, tenderly brushing her flaming red hair out of her face.
"Am I interrupting something?" Hermoine asked with a smirk from the doorway to the hall. "I didn't know you were home yet Harry."
"I was just showing Ginny my new look," He said turning around, not before noticing Ginny turning a deep shade of red at Hermione's comment, "So what do you think?" He said turning full circle for his friend.
"It's an awful big day for you Harry; you got rid of everything Dursley. New guardian, new clothes, new glasses, even new boots! Are those dragon hide?" She asked amazed at Harry's new appearance. He was handsome. His new fitting clothes showed off his Quidditch figure and the shirt showed how toned his biceps and chest was from flying. His eyes looked larger and it was if he could pierce you with his emerald gaze. Ginny better watch out, not only was Harry Potter one of the most famous wizards, but he was hot too. His groupies were never going to go away now.
"Remus and I had a lot of fun in muggle London, and we went to Diagon Alley too. I'd only ever been clothes shopping when I got my Hogwarts robes!" He laughed.
"Nice threads there Harry!" Fred said walking in and inspecting Harry.
"Yeah, I dig the boots, and the new glasses are way better." George added.
"You'd think you have money to spend now or something," Fred teased.
"Nah, he just didn't want us to steal all the girls!" George winked, noticing the menacing look his sister gave him for that comment.
"You're going to have to fight them off with a stick," Fred added, not noticing Ginny fuming at the course of the conversation. "You could send some our way when you get through with them."
"Come on now, Harry is not like that." Hermoine scolded the twins.
"Yeah, I'm sick of girls who only want me because I'm the bloody Boy-Who-Lived! I'm not some trophy to parade around the school." He thought bitterly of Cho and her never ending stream of tears. "Where's Ron?" He asked realizing his best mate was not in the room with them.
"He and Hermoine were at it again and he said some things mum didn't approve of and now he's cleaning the kitchen with mum watching." Ginny giggled.
"What did he say this time?" He asked noticing Hermione's cheek flushing.
"He was upset when he found out I was writing to Victor." Hermoine told them, "Then he went into a rant about him, I had stopped listening even before Mrs. Weasley yelled at him." She said tired, Ron was such an idiot. "I swear you boys are so thick it surprises me you don't bang your heads into things they are so heavy."
"Oi, that's not fair. We all know Ron's as big a git as they come, but the rest of us are not as bad!" George told her.
"So why were you writing to Victor anyway?" Harry asked to change the subject.
"We still keep in touch, we owl every two or three months with what has been going on in each other's lives. He just owled me to tell me about his new girlfriend and I was writing back to tell him congratulations when the king of overreacting came in and got the wrong idea." She told them.
"If he'd just get over it and admit he liked you things would be a lot calmer." Harry said sitting down in his favorite lounge chair.
"What?" The others said. Hermoine smiled; maybe Harry wasn't as thick as Ron when it came to picking up on feelings.
"It's obvious he likes you 'Moine, he just hasn't even realized it himself. He gets all upset anytime someone says something about you and look how he reacts when anyone even mentions Krum!" Harry told her, "I'm not a total idiot, I can see he does."
"Little Ronnikins loves our dear Hermoine, its just way too cute." Fred said, "Almost sickening really."
"Next thing you'll be telling us is that you fancy Ginny and that the four of you are off to kill Volde before he gets you so that you can all live happily ever after." George kidded, not knowing how close he was to the truth. Ginny immediately started crying and Hermoine looked like she had just failed an exam.
The two girls sat on the sofa and Harry explained the prophesy to Fred and George, who looked like they needed one of their Mirth-Mellows to cheer them up. "We're sorry Harry, we didn't know." Fred said patting him on the shoulder.
"Tough break mate," George added, "You know we've got your back when you need it."
"Thanks," Harry said standing, "Let's go down and get some lunch; I'm starving."
Chapter 8: A Lovely Birthday
It took two weeks for the paperwork to go through for the adoption. All Harry and Remus had to do was go to the ministry and sign some forms and it would be complete. They used the floo network to get there and arrived in the middle of the large atrium by the fountain that only a few months ago contained the statues of a wizened wizard, witch, centaur and house elf. They had been destroyed when he fought against Voldemort after the prophesy was smashed.
"I see they didn't rebuild the statues that were in the fountain." Harry mumbled on the way to the registration desk. The ministry seemed more subdued and less friendly since the last time he had been there during business hours.
"They did fix the statues, but they refused to be placed inside the fountain, so it remains empty. There was an article in the Prophet about it. It seems they kept wandering out of the fountain when they tried to place them back in there." Remus seemed to find the situation funny.
"I owe my life to those statues, it they hadn't been guarding me I'm sure I would have been hit with a few unforgivables." Harry told them as they stopped at the desk to check in. They handed the man behind the desk their wands.
"Harry Potter!" The young man exclaimed, "Is it true you fought against Voldemort right here in the atrium?" He seemed thrilled with the idea that a famous battle had taken place inches from where he worked.
Remus had his wand weighed and they left without answering the man's questions. They headed for the elevator and met Mr. Diggory on their way up. "Amos," Remus acknowledged.
"Hello Remus," Amos Diggory replied, he had lost a lot of the spark he had before Cedric died. "Harry. The house elf that was brought to me was disposed of, it would not cooperate in any way and used its magic to try and escape." He told them referring to Kretcher.
"Thank you Amos, it was a danger to the Order." Remus told him, Harry looked surprised that Remus would mention the Order in front of a non-member. "Amos is a member Harry, don't worry." Remus smiled seeing the look on his face.
"I want to do everything I can to help you stop that man, after what he did to Cedric" Amos trailed off.
"I will make him pay for all the lives he's taken and destroyed or I'll die trying." Harry told the father of the first person he ever saw die.
"That means more to me than I can say Harry." Amos said before Harry and Remus got off the lift. They finished signing all the paperwork. Remus was officially Harry's father; they were a family forever now.
"Now you just need to find me a mum," Harry joked as they left, "You know, Tonks is a nice girl." He loved the stunned look on Remus' face.
"That's just the thing Harry, she still is a girl. I'm almost old enough to be her father." Remus told his 'son' he liked that Harry thought Tonks wasn't too young, it made him feel young.
"So what? I say that if you like someone, there should be nothing stopping you from being together." He told him, he knew that Tonks had a crush on his 'dad' but he wasn't going to say anything to Remus yet. Harry was much more perceptive than Hermoine gave him credit for.
"You are one to talk; I don't see you going out with any girls." Remus told him
"I don't want to put anyone else in harm, everyone that Voldemort thinks I care about he tries to kill. You knew what you were getting into, how can I expect a girl to like me enough to risk dying just because I care about her?" Harry said as they arrived back home.
"But if you let him decide who you care about, you're just letting him destroy more lives." Remus said, it was sad that Harry couldn't be a normal teenager. "Let's just go to the kitchen and get some dinner." He said steering him to the door.
Harry opened the door, "Surprise!" Everyone yelled out. "Happy Birthday Harry," they said smiling.
"Birthday?" Harry asked he hadn't even realized what the date was; it was the first time he hadn't stayed up the night before to watch the clock turn over. "I didn't even realize." He said smiling at all his friends.
There was a giant spread of food and Fred and George had decorated with magic streamers that floated around the ceiling. There was a cake and everything. "I've never had a birthday party before." He told them all.
"The Weasleys throw the best birthday parties!" Ron said clapping him on the back as they all sat down to eat. "First we stuff ourselves and them we dance and open presents."
"Dance time!" Fred said excitedly standing up and grabbing Ginny. Mr. Weasley flicked his wand an upbeat song filled the air. Fred and Ginny danced and twirled around. Bill and Mrs. Weasley were cutting a rug too.
"Come on Harry, the birthday boy has to dance!" Ginny called out laughing as Fred spun her around.
"I can't dance!" Harry said putting his head down, "Why do you think I hated the ball during 4th year so much?"
"Come on Harry, let's give it a try," Tonks said holding out her hand, "You can't be any worse than me, you know I'm a klutz!" She said laughing as they joined the rest of the group that was dancing. As it turned out, Harry wasn't a bad dancer once he relaxed and started enjoying himself.
"Ron, Hermoine, come on, if I'm dancing you two better get dancing too!" Harry called to them; he knew they wanted to dance with each other but wouldn't admit it; they just needed a little push. "Let's go, get up, and get over here!"
They got up and started dancing together. Harry winked at Ginny and gestured toward Ron and Hermoine, she giggled at how easily Harry got them to dance. "I need a drink" he told Tonks, "why don't you dance with Remus for a while." Harry told her with a smirk as she went up and started dancing with Lupin, they looked good together, just like Ron and Hermoine did.
Harry watched his friends dancing while sipping his Butterbeer. Fred and Ginny came over to get a drink too. "You having fun Harry?" George asked, "Why aren't you dancing?"
"I lost my partner to my new parent." Harry smiled, "Looks like I get to sit this one out." He drained the last bit of his Butterbeer, he loved the warm feeling it gave him.
"Nonsense, you're the birthday boy, dance with Ginny." Fred said pushing Ginny into his arms, making her blush.
They started dancing, Ginny was a great dancer. He felt more at ease dancing with her than with Tonks. He looked over to Tonks and Remus and then to Ron and Hermoine with a smile on his face. "Looks like you're playing match maker." Ginny whispered so no one else could hear.
"Ron's an idiot for not realizing he's fallen for her, and Remus is too worried about the age difference to realize Tonks fancies him. Are all of us men this dense?" Harry asked looking deep into her kaleidoscope eyes.
"Yes, "Ginny smiled, "unless you want to prove the theory wrong." Just then the music changed to a slow song. Mr. and Mrs. Weasley were dancing very close; the other four were as well. "Do you still want to dance?" Ginny asked trying to sound like it was not big deal either way, when she really just wanted to wrap her arms around Harry.
"Sure, I'm not too good at this so don't be surprised when I step on your toes." Harry said pulling her close to him. He wrapped his arms around her waist and smiled as she snaked her arms around his neck, playing with his shaggy black hair.
"Does your hair ever look any different?" She asked, she loved the feel of his hair, it was so soft.
"Only when it's wet. Once my aunt cut it all off except for a piece to cover my scar I was so scared to go to school but when I woke up the next morning, it was back to normal." He told her, reaching up to touch her mane of red hair. "You're hair is beautiful. It sort of reminds me of my mother's hair. Except yours is even shinier."
"I used to think my red hair was a curse, but when you talk about it, it almost seems special." Ginny smiled, looking deep into his green eyes.
"It is special, only special women get to have natural red hair. In the muggle world women would pay a lot of money to get hair like yours." He told her, not realizing he was pulling her even closer to his body while they talked.
Remus looked over smiling at Harry and Ginny. "Looks like Harry found himself a dance partner." He told Tonks who looked even happier than she had when he had asked her to dance. Remus had a suspicion that she fancied him, he figured that was why Harry mentioned him dating her.
"Ginny must be having fun, if the boy I liked was holding me that close I'd be positively glowing." Tonks said looking into Remus' blue grey eyes that seemed both so full of life and so full of pain and sadness. Remus caught the hint and decided to test his theory. He pulled her closer in his arms watching her smile and her eyes twinkle in an almost Dumbledore fashion. "Well now Mr. Lupin, I heard you were a Marauder, but I wasn't sure you still had it in you." She smiled and batted her eyelashes at him.
"You and Lily would have gotten along great, she used to tease me that I knew all the tricks, I just never used them. I guess I'm just a shy wolf." He said, trying to remind her of his dangerous side.
Tonks leaned closer to whisper in his ear, "Yes, but you are the sexiest wolf I've ever met." Well there it was she had laid it all out on the table. Now he knew for sure, even though she knew he had suspicions. It was his move now.
"You wouldn't think that if you saw me during the full moon. I'm a monster when I transform." He said quietly looking at his feet. He knew she liked him, but could she still care even with the monster that lurked below the surface.
"I'm not afraid." She told him, smiling and running her finger along his neckline. In response Remus pulled her even further into his arms, and buried his face in her currently jet black hair (for Harry's birthday).
The slow song ended and all the couples broke apart. "Let's let Harry open his presents now." Mrs. Weasley said smiling at Harry as the all sat around the table which now had his gifts stacked on top of it.
Mrs. Weasley had knitted him a blanket to put on his bed here at home. They also gave him a red shirt with golden snitches on it that moved around the shirt. Dobby had made Harry two more pairs of socks and Winky gave him a plate.
"If you asks it for food it will appear on the plate, now you won't be hungry at Hogwarts." She squeaked and then blushed when he hugged her in thanks.
Ron got him a book titled "The Everyday Guide to Pranks, Jokes and Breaking Rules" Harry laughed as Mrs. Weasley scolded Ron. Remus laughed loudly, just the book the son of a Marauder needed! Hermoine gave him an autographed poster of the Bulgarian Quidditch Team and England's Team (courtesy of her friendship with Victor Krum) as well as a book on "Spectacular Seekers and Special Moves".
Fred and George whispered that they had a huge box of items that was better if their mum didn't see as they handed Harry a small box with a key in it. "It's a copy of Filtch's office door key. Now you can see what else he's confiscated." They smiled as Mrs. Weasley looked questioning at the key (she didn't hear what it opens). "Don't worry mum we wouldn't give Harry anything that he could get in trouble with at school." The told her sweetly.
Remus brought out the pensive Harry had asked for. "I couldn't think of anything to get you, so I thought you might like to visit one of my memories of your mother and father. He pulled a silvery substance from his temple and placed it in the stone bowl. Harry approached cautiously and finally touched the vapory liquid. Instantly he was thrown into the pensive and his feet touched soft earth.
Looking around he saw he was at Hogwarts by the lake. He saw Remus and Sirius hiding in a clump of bushes spying on his parents. Harry walked closer to his parents to hear their conversation.
"Why do you still hate me Lily?" James asked gently, scooting closer to her on the bench they were sitting on.
"I don't hate you James," Lily responded quietly, "I don't hate you at all." She said looking deep into his hazel eyes.
"I've changed a lot this year Lily, I hope you see that I'm not the insensitive jerk I used to be. You've made me want to change for the better." He said taking her hand, "Please give me a chance. Let me spend my life proving how much you mean to me."
"James," She said smiling placing her other hand to his cheek. "You didn't need to change." James looked hurt; he had tried so hard for nothing. Lily sensing his despair turned his face towards hers. "You didn't need to change because I like you just the way you are, arrogant jerk and all."
James looked stunned. Harry smiled; this was where his parents finally got together. "I love you Lily Evans." He said while looking into her piercing green eyes. "You would make me the happiest man alive if you would go out with me."
"I love you James, I just never realized it before. I'm sorry it took me so long." Lily said pressing her lips to his in a tender kiss. Harry smiled, that was what Remus wanted to show him, their first kiss. The world suddenly righted itself and he was back in the kitchen.
"That was the best present!" Harry said running to hug Remus, "Their first kiss was great, I can't believe you and Sirius spied on them through all that!"
"We couldn't help ourselves, we had overheard Lily telling one of her friends that she liked James and then when he asked her to go to the lake with him and she agreed, we just had to know what was going on. We spent 6 ½ years trying to keep them from killing each other and less than a month from school being over for good they stopped fighting and two weeks later was their first kiss." Remus told Harry. They all ate cake and the adults went up to bed along with Fred and George. Ron and Hermoine went to finish their game of wizards' chess they had started before the party.
"Harry," Ginny said, "I didn't want to give you your present in front of everyone." She told him handing him a purple wrapped package, inside was a red leather bound journal with his name sparkling in gold letters. "I thought it might help on days when you need someone to talk to about things. You have so many responsibilities. I know you miss Sirius and are worried about Voldemort. I know you haven't been talking about it to Ron and Hermoine. Maybe this will help."
"Thanks Gin," He said hugging her. He suddenly became very aware of how close together they were. Her presence soothed his nerves, made him feel secure almost invincible.
"Can I ask you something?" She said only slightly puling away. He nodded so she continued. "Did you really mean what you said to me a few weeks ago about me being amazing and that any guy would be stupid to not want me?"
"You know I did Gin," He told her softly smiling.
"So if I liked someone I was friends with, you think he'd end our friendship if I told him how I feel if he didn't feel the same?" She asked looking straight at him, reading his face.
"He's a very lucky guy; I just hope he treats you with respect. I'll help Ron curse him if he hurts you." Harry told her, not sure why it felt like his heart just got ripped out. When he imagined Ginny with some guy, he felt a tight pain in his chest. That was when he realized why Hermoine had been calling him dense; he hadn't realized that he had fallen for Ginny.
"Promise?" Ginny asked, scared of what she was about to do. Harry nodded not wanting his voice to show how it pained him to know she liked someone else. "OK, then." Ginny leaned in on her tip toes and kissed Harry on the lips. It was tender and sweet. Electricity shot down both of their spines. She smiled at him as she pulled away, "Happy Birthday Harry." She said walking out of the room to go to bed.
Harry stood there stunned with his hand to his lips where she had just kissed him. It was the best kiss he had ever had; it sent shivers up and down his body. He so wanted to do that again! He walked out of the kitchen in a kind of trance, not even noticing the two smiling house elves in the corner of the room who had witnessed the entire thing. He lay in bed trying to sort out his feelings, not noticing that Ron didn't seem able to sleep either.
Harry liked Ginny, she was one of his closest friends, but he had never really thought about it being more than that. He knew she had a crush on him up until last year. It was last year they had become friends. He was also afraid of what Ron's reaction would be to him liking his little sister, or any of the Weasleys for that matter. He loved them all and didn't want to ruin that relationship for a teenage romance. He sighed out loud.
Ron was laying awake thinking about how it felt nice dancing with Hermoine. He hated the thought of her going out with Victor Krum, and hated Malfoy for the things he said about her. Could he really have fallen in love with one of his best friends? What would Harry think? What if he liked her too? Ron was afraid to loose their close friendship. He sighed loudly, at the same time Harry had. They looked at each other and laughed. "Trouble sleeping mate?" Ron asked him.
"Yeah, but I'm guessing you can't sleep due to girl problems." Harry told him.
Ron looked suspiciously at Harry, had he been that obvious that Harry already knew he fancied her? "Sort of, I'm just trying to figure some stuff out."
"If it helps, I think she fancies you too." Harry told him smiling at the shocked look on Ron's face. "Did you ever think that the reason you two fight and argue all the time is because you like each other? Look at what happened when she went to the Yule Ball with Krum, you were practically foaming at the mouth you were so angry, but the only reason you were mad was because you really wanted to be there with her." Ron shrugged, "And look how many times you've gotten into trouble because you tried to curse Malfoy for saying something bad about her. We are both her friends and both hate Malfoy, but you're the one always rushing to defend her honor."
"When did you become so observant about girls?" Ron asked him, "And am I just an idiot for not realizing this?"
"I'm trying to be more observant in general, you know what Moody says, 'Constant Vigilance!' besides you're a guy; we're not supposed to understand girls." Harry told his friend.
"But if you figured it out and you're a guy, she has to have realized, she's the cleverest witch in our year." Ron said miserably, "She must think I'm a total git."
"She's always thought that, so you don't have to worry!" Harry joked as Ron hit him with his pillow. "Besides, would she have danced with you all night if she didn't at least like you a little?"
"Girls are so frustrating!" Ron called out.
"Tell me about it." Harry said sighing again. Ron looked over at his friend smiling.
"You having girl problems too?" he asked Harry.
"Kind of." Harry said, knowing he couldn't tell Ron about Ginny. "I'm just afraid that Voldemort is going to hurt anyone I'm close to, I need to distance myself so that nobody else gets hurt. You guys are stuck, he already knows about you."
"So is there someone special you like?" Ron asked him, "You do not still like Cho do you?"
"Cho? No, I'm totally over her. In fact, I'm not sure I ever really liked her, I just thought she was pretty, as soon as I got to know her I didn't like her anymore. Besides, I don't need someone that high maintenance. I want someone who I can talk to and have fun with, someone who gets along with you and Hermoine so we can all hang out." Harry said, trying to be a vague as possible.
"Don't forget about Ginny." Ron told him.
"What about Ginny?" Harry squeaked out, hoping Ron wouldn't notice his red face and figure out he liked his sister.
"Whoever you hook up with, she'll have to get along with Ginny too." Ron said.
"Yeah, I don't think that will be a problem." Harry said turning to his side to sleep. He didn't want to talk about girls anymore in case Ron figured out about Ginny.
Ginny and Hermoine were sitting smiling on Ginny's bed. Ginny had told her that she had kissed Harry. They were sitting listening to the boys through extendable ears. "So my idiot brother finally figured it out, it sure took him long enough," they laughed as Ron talked about Hermoine knowing. Ginny sat up very straight when Ron asked Harry about his girl problems. She was touched that Harry would sacrifice having a love life to keep more people from getting hurt and was glad to hear him say he was totally over Cho. Hermoine giggled at Harry's last comment about it not being a problem having the girl he likes get along with Ginny.
"What's so funny?" Ginny asked confused, she really had hoped Harry didn't like anybody, but it sounded like he did.
"Nothing," Hermoine said, she wanted the two of them to get together on their own terms. "I was just picturing Ron's face when I gave Harry those posters Victor helped me get," she said trying to cover what she actually found funny. The girls put the extendable ears away and went to sleep.
Chapter 9: OWLS
As Harry and Ron entered the Kitchen they saw that Hermoine looked like she was about to hyperventilate. Harry looked questioningly at Ginny who tried to suppress a giggle as she handed Ron and Harry each a letter. It was from Hogwarts, it must be their OWL results. Now Harry understood Hermione's panicky expression, she would be devastated if she didn't get the best grades. He sunk down into his seat fingering the thick parchment of the envelope before slowly tearing it open.
He took a deep breath and opened the results. His hand shook at he tried to focus on the paper:
Care of Magical Creatures: E
Defense Against the Dark Arts: O
History of Magic: D
Harry couldn't believe it, he had gotten 7 owls! He even got the O he needed in potions to become an auror! He jumped out of his set and ran to Remus hugging him, "I did it. I can still be an auror!" He showed Remus his grades. Remus smiled, Snape was going to be very upset that Harry had gotten an Outstanding.
"Great job son, I'm very proud of you." Remus told him, not realizing he had called Harry son until he noticed Mrs. Weasley start to cry and everyone else was staring at them. "What?" He asked everyone, looking at Molly Weasley.
"It's so sweet, you called him son. I'm so happy for you two," She told him. Harry just smiled, he had been surprised by the name, but he liked it a lot. He had never been called that before.
"How did you do Ron?" Ginny asked her brother, smiling at Harry who had obviously done well. Ron opened his letter; he knew Harry was smart, so he just hoped he had studied hard enough.
Care of Magical Creatures: E
Defense Against the Dark Arts: O
History of Magic: D
"I got 7 owls!" Ron said surprised. "I even passed Divination!" Ron said as he and Harry swapped results to look at each others. "Wow Harry, you got 4 Outstandings, that's great. You even got an O in potions."
"You got an O in Defense Against the Dark Arts, I bet old Umbridge is all pissed off that we did well." Harry laughed, "Looks like we both get out of History of Magic, it's a shame though, I enjoyed my sleeping time in there!"
"I'm so proud of both of you boys." Mrs. Weasley said hugging them both and kissing Ron. "I think you should open it now dear," she told Hermoine who still looked pale.
"Yeah 'Moine, if I got 7 owls, you had to have done well. You are way smarter than Harry and me!" Ron said trying to reassure their friend.
She finally slowly opened her results. Her eyes got huge; she screamed and ran out of the room in hysterical tears. Ron ran after her, Harry looked to Ginny who picked up Hermione's results. "FRED, GEORGE!" Ginny screamed. Harry had never seen her look so angry, "GET IN HERE NOW!" Harry looked at Hermione's OWLs, they were straight Ds. He knew how important these exams were to Hermoine, he also knew her greatest fear was to fail everything, he was going to kill Fred and George. The twins walked into the kitchen trying to look innocent, but everyone could tell they were guilty. "YOUâ I" Ginny couldn't even begin to say all the nasty things she wanted to.
"Go fix it!" Harry bellowed, scaring everyone in the room at the forcefulness in his tone, "She is hysterical, her greatest fear is to fail everything and you went and faked her OWLs! How could you be so cruel?" Harry didn't have to say another word, for at that exact moment Ron came back into the kitchen and punched Fred who was closest to the door and then rounded on George who backed out of the way. All the Weasleys started screaming at each other, nobody noticed Remus slink out of the room to find Hermoine.
She was curled up on her bed, still bawling when he found her. "Hermoine," he said tenitively, "They were not your real OWLs. The twins switched them as a prank." She looked up at him with hopeful eyes. He had been there when she tried to fight the boggart that told her she had failed everything; he knew how important her grades were to her. "Come on, let's go back down and find out what they did with your grades." She looked up to him with hopeful eyes.
"Iâ Iâ I didn't really fâ fâ fail?" She sobbed, she trusted Professor Lupin, if he said it was a prank, she would believe him.
"No, you did not fail." He told her steering her back to the kitchen where the Weasleys were still arguing. Ron was being held back by Mrs. Weasley who's face was purple with anger, Fred had a broken lip and black eye, George had a red hand print across his face from being slapped and Ginny was cradling her hand and being restrained by Harry who looked like he would have loved to hit the twins as well.
They all turned to look at Hermoine when Remus dragged her into the room. She looked awful, her eyes were swollen and puffy and her hair was stuck to her face in spots. Ron broke free of his mum and raced to her side. "It's ok 'Moine, they played an idiot prank on you, it's not real." He put his hand to her face and moved the hairs that were stuck out of her way in a very touching gesture. She turned to look at the twins who had their heads bowed looking at their feet.
"We're sorry Hermoine, we're insensitive and stupid." George told her.
"We didn't think you'd be so upset, we're sorry." Fred said, "We intercepted the owl and had him deliver our fake letter instead."
"We were planning on making up fake ones for all of you, but we ran out of time." George said, "Here's your actual letter." He handed her a letter from inside his robes. "I really am sorry."
She took the letter and sat down at the table to open it. It couldn't get any worse than the fake one, so she took a deep breath and opened it.
Ancient Runes: O
Care of Magical Creatures: O
Defense Against the Dark Arts: O
History of Magic: O
She started crying again, but this time out of happiness. She put her face in her hands and handed her results to Remus who smiled. "10 OWLs, 9 Outstandings and 1 Exceeds Expectations. Very well done Hermoine, I'm sure your parents will be very proud."
"And I'm sure you would have gotten an O in Astronomy if Umbridge hadn't attacked Hagrid and Professor McGonagall." Harry added hoping to cheer her up.
"This proves that you are the smartest witch in our class." Ron told her smiling; he knew she would do great, but 9 O's! "You did better than both Percy and Bill and they were both Head Boy, I bet you did the best of the year."
"She did," Ginny said, "It says so right here in the letter. You got the highest score on all your exams except Astronomy and Defense Against the Dark Arts."
"I wonder who got the best in Defense Against the Dark Arts?" She asked happy now that she got the grades she wanted.
"I did." Harry said surprised as he looked over his letter. "I got the highest score ever. I didn't miss a single point on the written and had the highest ever practical score."
"Way to go both of you." Remus said, "Between the two of you, you received the highest scores of 9 out of the 12 classes! Those Revenclaws will be eating their words now, they can't say they have the smartest students anymore, not with you two being in Gryffindor!"
"We got our book lists for next year too." Ginny said finally opening her letter. "Oh my!" Ginny exclaimed as a silver badge dropped out of her letter. "I got made a Prefect!"
"Way to go Gin," Harry said giving her a hug, "You'll make a great prefect."
"I'm so proud of you Ginny, now what kind of present do you want for being made prefect?" Mrs. Weasley said smiling at her youngest child.
"I was hoping to get a pet." She said shyly. "I don't know what kind I want yet though." She told her mum.
"I'm sure we'll find you one when we go to Diagon Alley." Molly told her, "Is there anything special you need for 6th year?" She asked Ron, Harry and Hermoine.
"What?" Harry said jumping up, pulling a silver prefect badge out of his Hogwarts letter too. "But you get Prefect in 5th year." He was confused. "Maybe it's a mistake?" He said looking at Ron.
"Mine letter still tells me to be in the prefect car for orders." Ron said looking as confused as Harry was, "So at least they didn't take mine away.'
"There's another badge!" Harry said staring shocked at the beautiful red and gold badge in his hand; it read 'Quidditch Captain.' "Did you guys mess with my letter too?" He asked the twins.
"No, you can't fake those, Dumbledore makes them that way." Fred explained.
"Wow, then I'm Quidditch captain too." Harry said shocked. Ginny hugged him, she knew how much he loved Quidditch.
"This calls for a celebration! Everyone has had such good news today. Let's all go to Diagon Alley to get their supplies and then we can have dinner at 'Le Wiz' to celebrate everyone's success." Remus told them all.
"We can go to Diagon Alley, but 'Le Wiz'? That might be a little much for us." Mrs. Weasley said blushing. 'Le Wiz' was the nicest restaurant in Diagon Alley, only the rich could afford to dine there.
Harry saw the dreamy expression on Ginny's face at the mention of the restaurant; he had heard it was the nicest wizarding restaurant in England. "I like the idea, it's my treat, if you won't let me give you my Gringotts vault at least let me buy us all dinner." It was settled, they all ran upstairs to change into their good robes. Harry put on his new silk Midnight Blue robes with the Potter Crest and wore one of his nicest shirts and pants beneath with his new dress shoes as well. Even he was impressed with how he looked. Harry was glad the twins had gotten Ron new dress robes so he didn't feel awkward. Hermoine wore her light blue robes she had worn to the Yule Ball and Ginny was in pale yellow robes that looked amazing against her red hair.
"You look breathtaking." Harry whispered to her as they stepped into the fireplace. "Yellow looks amazing against your beautiful red hair." Ginny could barely breathe; Harry had acted like she didn't kiss him all morning, but now he was whispering sweet nothings in her ear.
"I like your robes too; the silk with your family crest is very nice." She whispered before taking his hand and yelling "Diagon Alley."
Harry helped her out of the fireplace and leaned in close to her, brushing his lips against hers quickly. "Blue and Yellow go together very well." He said smiling. She was shocked, did Harry just kiss her? She was also aware that he was still holding her hand. When they heard someone in the fireplace behind them, he dropped her hand and moved away slightly. She realized that he didn't want any of her family to see them. She was going to have to talk with him later about this.
They got all their school supplies. Harry bought five or six extra defense against the dark arts books for his collection as well as bought Hermoine a book called "Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Continuing Your Magical Education." They refilled their potion stores and went to buy new parchment, quills and ink. Harry saw Ginny looking longingly at a purple quill and rainbow ink. Mrs. Weasley reminded her that she only needed black ink and that she had plenty of quills. Ginny didn't even bother looking at the nice parchment, before she felt Harry's hand on her arm.
"You don't want such thin parchment, just tell me what you want and I'll get it. I won't tell your mum." He winked at her as she pointed to a stack of beautiful ivory parchment that was thick and wouldn't smudge. Harry saw a stack of purple parchment and got that as well as the ink and quill she had been looking at. Remus handed him what looked like four empty ink bottles to purchase and told him he would explain later. Once they had gotten all their supplies, Tonks left to take them back while they all went to find Ginny's new pet.
They went to three different stores and Ginny was starting to get depressed, she hadn't found an animal that she loved. Her parents had insisted on going back to the first store and left Remus and the trio to wander around until they got back. They walked closer to Fred and George's shop and Harry stopped. There in a window was a perfect pet for Ginny. It was a black kitten with green eyes and a lightning bolt shaped patch of yellow fur between its ears. Harry went into the shop and picked up the kitten, it started purring immediately.
"She's a feisty one, lots of people want her for her looks but she hisses and bites at them, she's waiting for the right owner." The shop keeper told him.
"She is pretty." Harry said scratching the kittens head.
"I wanted to nickname her Potter, since she has a lightning bolt like Harry Potter, but it just didn't seem like a fitting name. I wonder why she is so taken with you." The shop keeper mused.
The shop door opened and Ginny and her parents walked in. She looked from the kitten to Harry and back, "She looks just like you Harry," she whispered taking the gorgeous black cat from him. The kitten purred and batted at Ginny's hair playfully.
"Well I'll be that cat hasn't been nice to a single person until you two walked in." The owner said smiling. "You must be who she was waiting for."
"I love her," Ginny said smiling at the little black cat in her arms. "This is the pet I want mum, I couldn't let someone else have a cat that looks so much like Harry here." She laughed.
"If she's like me then she's been looking for a good home, and I'm sure she'll love you Gin." Harry said petting the purring kitten in her arms.
"She's a magical cat," The owner told her, "She'll never get any bigger, and she'll always look like a kitten. Her parents were very intelligent cats with different magic abilities. She hasn't showed any of her abilities, but I know they're in there."
The Weasleys paid the woman for the cat and bought Ginny a carrier for her as well. "We're going to dinner; can we come by and pick her up afterwards?" Mr. Weasley asked.
"Sure. I'm open late. Besides I want to say my goodbyes to her. She is the most unique cat I've ever sold. I wanted to keep her, but she doesn't want me." The lady said bidding them farewell.
They all headed for Le Wiz, Remus had made reservations so they were seated right way. "Wow!" Hermoine said as they were led to their large table.
"It's magnificent." Mrs. Weasley said as she took her seat. They all ordered and were talking happily before they were interrupted.
"If it isn't Potty and the Weasels," Drawled Draco Malfoy sneering at their table.
"Malfoy." Harry said, he knew Malfoy wouldn't try anything in public. "Is there something we can help you with?"
"I didn't know they let trash like you into a place like this." Draco said, "Are you going to have to sell your house to pay bill?" He laughed at Ron and his family.
"We are having a nice meal here Draco; I would suggest you go join your mother before she gets lonely. I'm sure it's difficult for her with your father in prison." Remus said trying to avoid an altercation. Draco just glared and then stalked off.
Draco sat across the restaurant at a table with his mother. He kept staring at Potter and his friends. He wouldn't let anyone know, but he wished his family was as caring as the Weasleys. They had seven children and treated them all with kindness and love as well as embracing Harry and Hermoine as one of their own. Then there was Professor Lupin, his father had told him that Lupin and James Potter were friends. Harry had more people that cared about him than Malfoy could ever imagine. He wished he had someone that cared about him. His father never cared about him and his mother only cared about money. He hated Potter; he had everything Draco had ever wanted. And to top it all off, he had two beautiful women with him. He recognized one as the Weasley girl, who would have thought she would have turned out so well and the other was a woman he had never seen. She had long flowing blonde hair, purple eyes, a very pretty face and she actually looked good in hot pink robes. She was gorgeous. Draco also noted that she was sitting very close to Remus Lupin. "I bet she doesn't know he's a werewolf!" He said watching her excuse herself to the powder room. He got up and followed her.
"You are too beautiful a woman to be with a creature like Remus Lupin," He said cutting her off on her way to the bathroom door. "You deserve someone who can treat you the way you deserve. My name is Draco Malfoy." He said kissing her hand, "And I can give you everything you've ever dreamed of."
"I'm" Tonks said thinking fast, using her real name would get her nowhere, she might be able to get information out of the little Malfoy, "I'm Amanda Theodore," she smiled at him, "It's a pleasure to meet you Mr. Malfoy."
"I think you should join me for dinner this Friday evening, we could be very good together." He told her using his Malfoy charm, women never said no to him.
"I would have to make sure Remus hasn't made plans for us first," She fake laughed, pretending to seem sad at the thought.
"Oh, you won't be able to be with him on Friday, that's the full moon. I wouldn't want a beautiful woman like you to be hurt by him." Draco said pausing for effect, "I'm sure he's mentioned that he's a werewolf and is not safe around the full moon."
"Werewolf?" Tonks said putting on her best 'scared' face and feigning innocence.
"Oh, he didn't tell you." Draco said pretending to be sympathetic. "Let me help you forget about him.
"I would love to meet you. I'm staying at the Leaky Caldron; you can pick me up at 7 on Friday." She said batting her eyelashes. Draco smiled, he knew he could win her away from his pathetic ex-teacher.
"He was too old for you; let me show you what kind of life you could have with me." Draco said kissing her hand again, "until Friday." He said and went back to his table.
Tonks headed back to her table. "We need an Order meeting, I just talked to Malfoy." She whispered without moving her lips. "I need to pretend I'm having a bad time and leave early. Get the meeting set up."
Remus looked confused but agreed. He was surprised when she stood up and said fairly loudly, "I don't think we should see each other anymore, you're just not the man I thought you were." She winked quickly before walking out of the restaurant. She went to the Leaky Caldron and got 'Amanda Theodore' a room for the week.
Remus pretended to be confused and hurt; he could see Malfoy smirking across the restaurant. Harry understood that it was all and act, and figured it was for Malfoy's sake so he moved to the seat next to Remus and put his arm around his shoulder for show. They had been finished with their meal before Tonks went to the bathroom, so they finished their drinks and left quickly.
"What was all that about?" Ron asked when they got back, Remus ran off to call an Order meeting.
"I'm sure Tonks will explain as soon as the Order is here." Molly told him. "You should all go and change out of your dress robes before they get here." They went up the stairs, Ginny and Harry in the back.
"I hope you had fun tonight." Harry said to her, "You looked like you belonged in that restaurant, you are so beautiful." He whispered to her so they could not be overheard. "Meet me in the drawing room at 11 pm; wear your new invisibility cloak so you don't get caught." He winked at her before going to his room to change. He wanted to talk with her in private about what was going on between them.
They all sat in the kitchen waiting once they had changed. Tonks arrived shortly after they were all assembled. "Sorry it took me so long, I was getting a room at the Leaky Caldron, and I'll explain it all at the meeting."
The Order was mostly assembled, and she told them all of her conversation with Draco Malfoy. "I thought that playing along might get us some inside information. I gave him a false name and registered under that name at the inn. Now I just want to know if I should proceed."
They voted to have her continue her charade and Dumbledore sent a few others out to set up her false identity in the ministry database. She and Remus were to come up with a believable story of how they met and their dating history. Hermoine reminded her to memorize the features she was wearing now so she could make sure she duplicated them exactly.
When the meeting was over she apologized to Harry for ruining his night. "You didn't spoil anything, just be careful with Malfoy, he won't stop until he gets what he wants." He said smiling. "There is something you could do for me, sort of like a belated birthday, congratulations on Quidditch Caption kind of thing."
"What?" She asked curious what Harry would want from her.
"I want to see the real you. Can you show me what you really look like?" He asked her, "Please."
"I'll show you and Remus, but nobody else but my family knows what I truly look like." She led them into the drawing room and closed the door. She morphed into a woman with hazel eyes and medium length sandy brown hair. She has a small nose and is only about 5' 5" tall. Harry thought she was perfect for Remus, exactly his type. She even looked older.
"You are beautiful." Remus said walking up to her and touching her face. "I like the real you." They stared at each other for sometime, both forgetting that Harry was in the room. "I want you to promise to be careful around Draco; you know he's related to you through his mother."
"I'll be very careful, I promise." She said moving closer to him. They were practically hugging they were standing so close. "I've never shown my true self to any man before, I always wanted to save it for someone special"
"You are an amazing woman, you are smart and funny and beautiful. Why would you choose me?" He said, finally asking the question he had been dying to know.
"You make me smile, I feel safe when I'm near you. You are smart and charming and loyal. I just think you are amazing." She told him smiling. Harry knew he should leave, but he was afraid they would be embarrassed if they remembered he was there and stop what was about to happen.
Remus took her face in both hands and leaned in and kissed her. She smiled at the touch and responded. She was glad he got over his fear of their age gap; she had a feeling that he was the one for her. "You better get back to the inn before someone misses you." Remus said breaking away from the kiss. He had never been kissed like that before.
Tonks was on cloud 9, she had never been kissed like that before, with such feeling, like he was toughing her soul not just her lips. "I'll see you later; I'll keep in touch about Malfoy." She said turning towards the door and laughing when she saw Harry sitting on a sofa with a smirk on his face. "Keep an eye on him for me Harry."
"Oops." Was all Remus had to say with a shrug. They both laughed hard and Harry told him that he was glad.
"I told you that Tonks was a nice woman." Harry laughed, "I'm glad to see you working on finding me a mum."
Harry went and lay down in bed waiting for 11 when he would see Ginny.
Chapter 10: Hiding Our Feelings
Harry walked quietly to the drawing room at ten to 11 to wait for Ginny. He wanted to show her his secret study, he hadn't told anyone about it, even Ron or Remus. It was the one place he could get away to be by himself. Dobby had told him about it the day he arrived.
The door to the drawing room opened slowly and then shut. "Harry?" Ginny asked slowly taking off her invisibility cloak. She looked beautiful in her dressing gown. Harry couldn't believe he had never noticed in all the years he had know her how pretty she was.
"Over here," He whispered approaching the bookcase that the secret room was behind. "I want to show you something." He took her hand and whispered "Slytherin Sucks," to the book shelf and it moved sideways, revealing a small but beautiful study. It was decorated in red and gold and looked a lot like the Gryffindor common room. Harry had had Winky redecorate; it was Slytherin colors when he found it. There was a very comfortable red sofa in the middle along with two armchairs with bookshelves on one wall, a large cherry wood desk on another and a small fireplace on the other wall.
"This is a great room." Ginny said as the bookshelf closed behind them.
"You don't have to whisper anymore, it's soundproof." Harry said hanging her cloak on the back of one of the chairs. "This is my private retreat, I haven't told anyone about it, except now for you." He said turning to look at her.
"Harry," Ginny started placing her hand against his face. He just smiled at her, and she became lost in the endless emerald pools of his eyes.
"Gin, you are the most amazing woman I've ever met," He said taking her in his arms and whispering in her ear again he said, "I'm falling in love with you."
Ginny was too shocked to speak, had the boy she'd been in love with since the moment she laid eyes on him, had he just told her that he was falling in love with her? She knew he felt something, why else would he have kissed her, but falling for her, it was more than she ever hoped for.
Harry leaned down and kissed her again. "I'm afraid Gin, for the first time I'm afraid of fighting Voldemort." He told her as they sat on the couch. "He tries to hurt everyone I care for; I couldn't stand it if he hurt you just to get to me." Ginny could see that Harry had tears in his eyes just thinking about her getting hurt.
"He already knows we are friends, I knew the risk when I became friends with you Harry, and yet I'm not afraid. I believe you are going to beat him; you are the strongest person I've ever met. I could tell it from the first moment I saw you, even before I knew who you were." She told him, leaning in to embrace him.
"If he knew what I would go through to save you though Gin," he said shaking his head, "You'd be in more danger than anyone else."
"What do you mean Harry?" She asked, "You'd risk your life to save any of us, he already knows that."
"He doesn't know that I'd willingly give my life up if it meant saving you," Harry whispered looking away, he was afraid he would scare her with how much he cared. Ginny forced him to look at her.
"I love you Harry, and that isn't going to stop just because Voldemort may be after me because of it." Ginny said, kissing him again. This time neither one pulled away for a long time.
"What about your family?" Harry asked when they finally broke apart, "Your mum's scarier than Voldemort sometimes." He said trying to lighten the mood.
Ginny realized Harry was right, her family would freak out that her and Harry were together, they still thought she was a little girl. Ron would be so mad at Harry for 'taking advantage' of his little sister. "Then we'll just have to keep our feelings a secret." Ginny said smiling at him. "As far as anyone else knows, we're just friends."
"You are amazing Gin," Harry told her, "I'm sorry it took me so long to see." He kissed her again, pouring all his feelings into the embrace. They held each other for a while longer until he saw Ginny yawning. "You need to get to bed." He said helping her put the invisibility cloak back on and checking that no one was in the drawing room through the peep hole in the wall before opening the secret door.
"I'll meet you here tomorrow night after Hermoine falls asleep." Ginny said kissing his cheek before they headed off to their rooms.
The next morning at breakfast Remus, Ginny and Harry all wore smiles on their faces. They seemed to be in very good moods. Hermoine was the only one who noticed, of course. She smiled to herself; she would have to ask Ginny about it later.
They spent the morning going through their new school things and talking about the upcoming school year. Ginny and Ron had thanked Harry about a thousand times for the good parchment. "Look guys, I have way too much money, let me spend it on you. You guys are my best friends, I love you. I don't want this to become a big deal."
"Ok mate," Ron said holding out his hand, "I promise not to let it, and you can buy me whatever you would like." Ron looked at Ginny, giving her a look that said she should make the same promise.
Ginny got up and gave Harry a kiss on the cheek, enjoying watching him blush. "I promise that I won't make a big deal about it, but I'll also continue to kiss you every time you buy me something." She said with a wink that the other two didn't catch.
"Ginny!" Ron said looking scandalized, "What if he gets a girlfriend when we get back to school, I don't think she'd like you kissing Harry every time he buys you a Butterbeer or something."
Ginny tried not to look upset with the idea of Harry getting a girlfriend. "Any girlfriend of mine will just have to be ok with the fact that Gin and I are close." Harry said, "Besides everyone at school knows that we are all friends."
Hermoine giggled, her suspicions were confirmed, there was definitely something going on between Harry and Ginny and seeing Ron's face she knew he was one of the main reasons they weren't telling anyone they were together.
Dumbledore had called another Order meeting for that night, so they all put their school stuff away to get ready for it. Harry really liked his new trunk, it had 6 different compartments. He liked that it used to belong to his grandfather; it was nice to have a few things that were his families.
They all gathered in the kitchen for the meeting. Harry loved the look of loathing Snape gave him as he shook his hand when he arrived (an Order tradition when time permitted). "Good evening Severus, I trust you had a safe trip." Harry said knowing that his potions professor would rather strangle him than play nice.
"Yes, it was quite uneventful." Snape responded curtly, he was never one for small talk, least of all to Potter. "I hope you have been practicing your Occlumency Harry, we will begin lessons again as soon as classes resume." Snape smirked; he knew how much the boy hated him probing around in his thoughts.
"Professor Dumbledore mentioned that to me earlier, I'm sure the lessons will be handled more effectively than last time." Harry fake smiled, it took every ounce of strength in him not to wipe the smirk off of Snape's face.
"Good evening Severus," Remus said, knowing the two of them could not maintain their fake conversation much longer without curses or foul language being exchanged. "I'm sure you heard Harry and my good news."
"Yes, it was very good of you to take Harry here in as your son." Snape did not disguise the disgust in his voice at Harry's name or the word son.
"It was the least I could do, I'm sure Lily would have wanted me to make sure he is treated properly," Remus told him. Harry didn't miss the flash of emotion in Snape's eyes at the mention of his mother. "Did you realize that his aunt and uncle locked him in a cupboard every night until he got his Hogwarts letter and that his cousin used him as a punching bag until this very summer?"
Snape had never thought of what it must have been like growing up for Harry, he had always assumed he was pampered and spoiled just like his father had been. He looked at Harry who had looked away at the mention of his relatives. "Yes, they didn't even tell him he was a wizard, lied to him his whole life. Can you imagine how upset Lily would be to know what a horrible childhood her son had? He never had any friends until he came to Hogwarts, he didn't even know why so many people stared at him. Can you imagine, he never even knew he was famous, all he wanted was to do well in school, make his professors proud?"
That was all Snape could handle, everything he had ever thought about Harry had been wrong. He had been horrible to the boy thinking he was just like his father, when he actually was more like his mother than even Harry knew. He looked at Harry in an entire different light. "Well, it was a good thing you got him out of there then Remus." Snape said the edge out of his voice. "I'll see you back at school Harry." He said before walking away.
Harry just stared, all the spite had left Snape's voice, but more than that, Harry could see in his professor's eyes that most of the hate had disappeared. "What was all of that about?" He asked Remus shocked.
"He never knew what you went through," Remus told him, "I tried to tell him when I was a professor but he wouldn't listen, he thought you were raised to be a spoiled prat like James was when he went to school." The meeting was called to order.
"The public has called for Cornelius Fudge to resign; the Wizegammot had agreed to elect a new Minister of Magic." Dumbledore told all assembled. There were a few cheers. "I have been asked to submit names of those who I believe would well serve the community." The room was silent; they were all waiting for the list of names he would submit. "I told them the only man I thought would be good for the job was Arthur Weasley. The other members agreed."
The Weasleys looked stunned, none more so than Arthur. "They are putting together a list of two other names, and the elections will be held in two weeks." He told them. "I believe all the names will be Order members, so we will once again be able to count on the support of the Ministry." Everyone gathered around Mr. Weasley to give him their support. Dumbledore winked at Harry and motioned him closer.
"I believe you and Miss Weasley made a good decision to keep your relationship a secret for now. You two will be facing many trials this year that would be made more difficult if your feelings were known." He told Harry.
"Sir, may I ask about being made prefect?" Harry asked.
"This year prefects are given their own rooms, I wanted you and the others to be able to discuss Order business away from the rest of the school. I also thought it would make running the D.A. easier for you." He said eyes twinkling, "I was able to make you a prefect since the 7th year prefect was made Head Boy."
The meeting went on to discuss the plan for Tonks and Malfoy's date. They were assigned security details to follow them using the invisibility cloaks that Harry found. Remus pulled Tonks aside after the meeting. "Please be careful, Draco is very much like his father. He may even be a death eater already. I'm sure he is still in contact with his father in Azkaban. I don't want anything to happen to you." From everyone else's perspective they looked like two close friends talking, but Harry knew they were more.
"Remus, I'll be careful. Remember that if you see him you have to pretend that he stole your girlfriend and that you are still upset about it." Tonks told him.
"As long as he doesn't really steal my girlfriend I'll be ok." Remus whispered smiling at her reaction to being called his girlfriend.
"There's no way he could steal my heart, you already have it." She whispered back, they had decided to keep their relationship a secret for a while. "I will have to pretend to be with him, I'll have to hold his hand or arm, even kiss him to get the information." She warned him.
"I know I'm just worried. He may be a kid, but he's a very manipulative kid that had been trained by his father." Remus said as they broke apart. "Just be safe."
The next night was the date. Tonks was frantically going through her clothes in her room when Harry came in and shut the door. "Be careful. I know what Malfoy is capable of. Remus would be devastated if something happened to you, and so would I." He told her, watching her scramble around trying to pack her nicest clothes. "Why don't you go buy new robes in Diagon Alley, that way no body could possibly recognize your clothes."
He said handing her a pouch of galleons.
"Thanks," She said, "About last night, what you saw." She started, "We decided to keep out relationship a secret until this whole Malfoy business is over with."
"I understand, it's safer, you wouldn't want the Death Eaters to find out and use it against you." Harry said smiling and leaving her to pack what little of her things she was going to take to the inn.
Tonks had a good time shopping that afternoon. She got much better service once she 'accidentally' jingled her money bag showing she had money to spend. She bought a mint green dress that hugged her curves and matching robes to wear over top. She bought silver shoes and a hair ties. She also bought a short black skirt with a silver top and silk black robes with them, as well as a strappy knee length black dress, black heals, a satin silver pants set and matching silver robes. She also bought some everyday clothes and assorted accessories, she knew Harry would never take any of the money he gave her back. She also bought a few books to occupy her time and ate lunch at her favorite bistro.
She dressed in the mint green dress and robes for her date. The dress was strapless and showed her figure and almost touched the floor, the robes were almost see through they were so thin and delicate. It was the most expensive clothing she had ever owned, but Malfoy was used to expensive things and would be expecting her to look the part like she had at Le Wiz.
She put her long hair up in a twist at the base of her neck and put silver shadow on her eyes and pale pink lipstick. She twirled around the room in her dress and robes. "You look wonderful honey." Her mirror told her. She tried to get into character; she needed to impress Malfoy so she could get information from him. She went down to the bar to wait for him, and sipped a cup of tea to calm her nerves. She didn't even notice the place get quiet when he entered.
"Good evening Amanda," Draco said standing to her side holding out his hand to help her up.
"Good evening Mr. Malfoy." She said smiling and taking his hand as he led her from the bar.
"You look exquisite tonight," He said placing her hand on his arm, "Green is my favorite color." He was wearing black robes with his family crest on them and black pants with a crisp white shirt. He looked quite handsome; Tonks could see why all the women were staring at him.
"Thank you; you look very handsome as well." She said pretending to be shy. "Where are we going for dinner?"
"To my manor," He said helping her into a carriage. "I wanted us to be able to get to know each other. If I were to take you to a restaurant we would not be able to converse without interruption." They made small talk about the weather during the carriage ride. Malfoy Manor was spectacular. It was made of white brick and had black marble accents. The main entry was spectacular. The polished black marble hall was spectacular and the windows were dressed with deep green curtains. Draco led her into a magnificent dining room off of the main hall. The table was set for two but could easily sit 20 people. He helped her to her seat and called to the house elves that they were ready for dinner.
"Your house is magnificent." Tonks said truthfully, flashing him another shy smile. She never expected to be inside Malfoy Manor, her mother had told her about it when she was little and she used to dream about living there. "Is your mother not joining us?" She asked noting that the table was only set for two.
"She is staying at our villa in France for the rest of the summer." Draco told her, he was glad his mother was gone; dinners were always full of strained conversations when she was around. The elves brought out champagne and appetizers. Draco filled her glass and proposed a toast. "To your beauty." He said smiling at her. She was one of the most beautiful women he had ever met.
She smiled sweetly at him, "You are too sweet Mr. Malfoy." She batted her eyelashes at him as she brought her glass delicately up to her lips.
"Please," he said, "Call me Draco." They finished their appetizers and waited for the main course. "So, Amanda, tell me about yourself."
"What would you like to know?" She asked smiling, going over the fake identity the Order had constructed in her head.
"How old are you?" Draco asked curiously, he knew she was older than him.
"I'm 25," she told him, she was actually almost 30, but everyone had assured her she didn't look a day over 25. "Does it matter to you that I'm older than you?" She asked faking concern.
"I'm not concerned with what others think anymore." He told her thinking of how he had always done whatever his father had wanted and never gave any thought to what he himself wanted. The main course was served and they ate in comfortable silence. Tonks had never thought a Malfoy could be good company, but he hadn't said one conceited or arrogant thing yet.
Draco got up after they were finished, "Would you like to dance?" He said taking her hand and leading her into an adjoining ballroom. He held her securely in his arms as they danced around the room. He told her how his family didn't really care about him and how he had never been a good person.
"I don't think you're a bad person," She told him, trying her best to sound sincere. He had sounded truthful when he was telling her about his family.
"You wouldn't say that if you had heard all the awful things I've said to people over the years. My father raised me to believe that the only people worth living were pure-bloods. I never doubted it until he was sent to prison." He said pulling her closer, it felt good to tell someone all this. "It was as if a veil was lifted and I could see the entire world for the first time. I realized that no one has ever liked me for who I was, they only cared about my name and money."
He went on to tell her how his mother only cared about possessions and money, how the two people he had thought were his best friends were just mindless goons that would do anything he ordered them to do. Everyone in his house at school was obsessed with being better than everyone else and looked to him as the leader of the house.
"I understand, I remember being picked on by the Slytherins when I went to Hogwarts. I was in Ravenclaw." She told him, sticking to her made up identity. "They would do anything to be on top, even if they had to bribe or cheat their way there."
"That is how we were all raised, and I was the worst one of them all. I had my father buy my way on to the Quidditch team so I could try and show up my nemesis Harry Potter." Draco told her.
"Why don't you get along with Harry?" She asked, "He is always so nice to everyone."
"He is, he has everything I don't have, I guess that's why I'm always rude to him. I was even worse to Hermoine and Ron." He told her looking down, he knew that she probably already knew this since she had been sitting with them at dinner the other night. "I guess I am jealous that his friends would do anything for him, and he's a Gryffindor who always has to play hero."
"They are nice people," She said playing with his silver hair as they danced, she was surprised how fine and silky it was. "They were very kind to me when I was dating Remus."
"May I ask why you were dating someone old enough to be your father? You are a beautiful and smart woman; surely there are plenty of men who want you." Draco said.
"Remus was so kind and gentile, I met him at Flourish and Blots and we started talking. We went to lunch and then dinner; he was a very nice guy. I can't believe he would lie to me." She said shaking her head like it was a horrible thing. "How did you know about him?"
"He was my defense against the dark arts professor for a year; he resigned when the school found out." Draco told her, enjoying the way she played with his hair. He liked the way her light robes flowed around her while they danced and how he could hold an intelligent conversation with her. All the girls he had ever dated were only good as trophies; he had hated it when they talked.
"Draco," she said, "Could we take a break from dancing, as much as I enjoy it; my feet are starting to tire."
"Let's go sit on the veranda and have a cup of tea," he said leading her out the large glass doors to a balcony overlooking luscious flower gardens.
"This is beautiful," Tonks said sipping her tea and admiring the gardens.
"They pale in comparison with your beauty," Draco said turning on the charm, he wasn't going to let her go without getting at least a goodnight kiss. He smiled as she placed her hand on his arm. "When will I see you next?" He asked. Tonks smiled at how easily she was reeling him in, she would have to be careful so he wouldn't expect anything other than a few polite kisses. She loved Remus, and as much as the Order would benefit from Malfoy's information, she would not betray him.
"When would you like to see me again?" She giggled, oh how she hated girls who did that!
"How about in the morning when I wake up next to you?" Draco said with his trademark Malfoy smirk.
"I see you haven't completely changed then Mr. Malfoy, or you would have realized that I am not that kind of girl." She said taking her hand from his arm. Draco realized that he had made an ass out of himself and apologized.
"Amanda, I am sorry. I slip back to being a jerk so easily, I am trying to change. Let me make it up to you with dinner at Le Wiz tomorrow evening." He said kissing her hand like he did the night he met her.
"I would like that," She said as they stood to walk to the front door. "I'll be waiting for you at 7 pm again." They walked to the carriage, she waited for Draco to open the door for her, when he didn't she turned to him.
"May I kiss you goodnight?" He asked, almost shyly. She had never heard a Malfoy or a Black for that matter act so shy, perhaps he was telling the truth.
She gave him a peck on the cheek, "I had a nice time," she said as he helped her into the carriage. She sighed as the carriage pulled away; she hadn't expected the night to go like that. Draco practically spilled his soul to her. She felt bad for deceiving him, but she also remembered the stories Harry and Ron had told her about him, even Remus had nothing good to say about him and he could get along with anyone.
When she had locked the door to her room at the Leaky Caldron, she called out, "You can come out now. I know you're here." She smiled as Remus took off the invisibility cloak. "I knew it would be you." She said embracing him.
"I was so worried when he took you to the manor; I thought we were found out for sure." He said not letting go of her.
"We ate dinner and danced. He spilled his heart out to me. It seems his family has never treated him right and he was most relieved when his father was arrested. He actually told me he hated how he acted and how he had never thought of living life other than how his father had raised him." She told Remus, recounting her evening.
"Did you have a good time?" Remus said, trying not to show his hurt that she enjoyed her time with another man.
"I was intrigued, the manor was magnificent." She said noticing the hurt look on his face and smiling, "But you know I would have rather been with you." He pulled her into a deep and passionate kiss. He wanted her to know how much he cared.
"You look breathtaking tonight," he told her as they held each other close. "The up side of this whole thing is your having this room here, I was afraid we would never have any time alone until the school year started."
"So, Mr. Lupin, what do you do when you've got a woman who is crazy about you alone in a hotel room?" Tonks asked, curious as to where exactly they were in their relationship.
"I'm not sure," He said kissing her again, "I've never had a real relationship before." He told her looking at his feet. There, he had told her his secret, he had never been with a woman before. He was too afraid he would hurt them. Malfoy had been wrong; the full moon wasn't until next week, so he wasn't a danger to her until then.
Tonks smiled and morphed into her real self, "I've never been in a good relationship before. I tried dating, but most men only wanted sex, they never got to know me." She told him, looking down, "I've neverâ I've never" she started to say blushing a violent shade of red, "I've never been with a man before." She said barely over a whisper. She looked up to see Remus smiling.
"I guess we are both beginners then," He told her, taking his hand in hers. "We'll just have to figure it out when the time is right." He stroked her face with his other hand; he loved how she was so shy around him. "I better get going; I need to make sure Harry is behaving himself."
Tonks laughed, "I'm sure Harry is fine, he can't get into too much trouble locked up at home. I still can't believe you're a dad now."
"Do you know what he said to me right after we finished signing the papers? He told me I needed to find him a mum!" Remus said shaking his head as she laughed.
"What did you say?" She asked smiling.
"Well as soon as he said that, he told me that he thought you were a nice girl." He told her, "Then I might have said something about being old enough to be your father." Remus said looking at his feet; he didn't want to see the disappointed look on her face.
Tonks laughed, "Harry is definitely observant, he must have figured out that I had a crush on you. And you are not old enough to be my father; you are only 8 years older than me." They talked for a while longer until Remus apparated home, leaving her with a nice long kiss. She sank down onto her bed and had happy dreams of her and Remus' future together and the day they wouldn't have to hide their relationship.
Chapter 11: The Malfoy Scheme
Tonks was eating lunch at her favorite bistro the next day when she ran into Malfoy. She wondered if he was looking for her. "Draco!" She called over to him as he entered the café. He smiled when he saw her and sauntered over to her.
"Good afternoon Amanda, this is a welcome surprise." He told her, pretending he would have normally come into the restaurant if he had not seen her through the window. They chatted while she finished her lunch. She noticed he looked like he wanted to ask her something.
"Is there something bothering you Draco?" She asked in her sweetest voice.
"Are you sure you want to see me? I'm just concerned you may still have feelings for Lupin." He said, he had never felt so exposed as when he was with her. She made him want to be a different person.
"I don't want to see anyone who lies to me." She said truthfully, "We were over the moment he decided to lie. Besides, I enjoy your company."
"Alright then, I was just making sure I wasn't pressuring you into anything. I have a tendency to get my way." He said smiling at her. "Well, I will see you tonight, have a pleasant day." He kissed her hand and walked out of the restaurant towards the Quidditch supply store.
Tonks finished her lunch and headed to her room to apparate to headquarters, she had an idea of how to get Draco to trust her even more. She walked into the kitchen and smiled when she saw Harry and Remus, they were the two she needed to see.
"Good day Amanda," Remus said in his most professional voice, making Harry laugh. "Is there something we can help you with?"
Tonks chuckled, there was a lot more to Remus than most people gave him credit for. He was incredibly funny if given the chance. "Yes, I need you and Harry to go out to dinner at Le Wiz tonight. I ran into Draco this afternoon and he was concerned that you and I still might have something going on. I thought if we staged a little confrontation it might help me get in better with him."
"Draco Malfoy concerned about not getting something he wants, I wouldn't miss this for the world." Harry said with an almost wicked grin on his face. They made all the arrangements, and discussed how the conversation would go so as not to foul things up. "I'll go watch the door to give you two a minute, if you hear me talking you better break it up." He said walking to the door with a wink.
"You know I can't kiss that face," Remus joked watching her morph into her hot pink hairdo and face she used when hanging out with her friends. He kissed her and told her that he would be waiting for her again after her date.
"You are an amazing man Remus Lupin, how did I get so lucky?" Tonks said kissing him again as they heard Harry say good afternoon to Ginny. They broke away and Tonks turned back into Amanda before apparating back to her hotel room.
There was someone knocking on her door when she got back. She went and opened the door to find Tom the innkeeper with a package in his hand. "Miss Theodore, this was sent over with a note for you." He handed her the parcel and bowed his way out. She laughed at how different he would act if he knew it was her. He had seen Malfoy escort her to dinner last night and had been getting even better service since. People definitely catered to the rich.
Inside the package was a gorgeous deep green silk gown, it had long arms and a flowing skirt. It was detailed in silver beading and had a layer of silver satin underneath the silk. The bodice was fitted and tied in the back almost corset style. There was a silver necklace with a pendant in the shape of a dragon with emerald eyes. As soon as she saw the pendant she knew the dress was from Malfoy. She finally noticed a card hidden in the folds of fabric.
My Dearest Amanda,
I would be honored if you would wear this gown to dinner tonight. You are the most beautiful woman in the city and therefore you should have a gown to match. I look forward to our evening together.
She smile and held the dress up to her, the silver beading sparkled like diamonds. She laughed at his choice of Slytherin colors, but thought it fitting of him. He had told her his favorite color was green. She left her hair down in soft curls, pulling the sides away from her face with a silver hair clip she had purchased to go with her silver robes. She would not need robes with the gown Draco had bought her, with the way the arms we cut, it almost looked like a cross between robes and a dress. She slipped into her silver shoes and admired herself in the mirror again. She wondered what Remus would think of her dress and hoped the planned altercation would go well. She knew she only needed to give Draco another little push and he would be hooked.
She smiled at the looks of longing on the men's faces when she entered the bar. "You look lovely this evening Miss Theodore, shall I order you a carriage?" Tom asked.
"No thank you Tom, I'm waiting for someone." She said smiling; it was fun playing Amanda, the men were putty in her hands. She hadn't even sat down when Draco entered. He was in black again. He looked stunningly handsome; she realized they must look quite the pair in their expensive clothes and good looks.
"Good evening Amanda." Draco said offering her his arm. "You look absolutely stunning." He said leading her to the carriage.
"Thank you Draco, you look dashing yourself." She said as they got into the carriage.
"I have never seen a woman look so beautiful." He said kissing her hand. "I am glad you wore the dress I sent to you."
"The gown is lovely Draco," Tonks said purring his name, she knew he was hooked. His eyes were smoldering with desire when she had purred his name. He helped her out of the carriage and into the restaurant.
"Mr. Malfoy, right this way," the Maitre D said leading him to the same table in the back of the restaurant that he was sitting at last time She watched Draco's face as he noticed Remus and Harry glaring in his direction. He got his trademark smirk on his face and put his arm around her shoulder to show them they were here together.
Once they ordered she excused herself to the powder room, careful to take the route that brought her past Remus' table. She took a deep breath and said, "Good evening Remus, Harry." She acted like she was about to walk off and on cue, Remus placed his hand on her arm.
"You look beautiful Amanda," Remus said, "I'm so very sorry for not telling you the truth." He made sure he said it loud enough for Draco to hear. Draco had gotten up and was making his way over the minute Remus touched her. "Please, can we give this another shot? I never meant to deceive you, I was only afraid you would leave me."
"I'm sorry Remus, whatever chance we had at a relationship died when you decided to lie to me. We are over." She said firmly. "Now if you will excuse me I must get back to my date."
"How could you go out with Malfoy?" Harry said, also on cue, with a sneer on his face. "He is only with you for your looks!" Malfoy came up next to Tonks.
"Is there a problem here Amanda?" He asked sending an icy look at Remus and Harry, "These men are not bothering you are they? I can have them removed from the restaurant."
"I'm fine Draco, thank you." She said smiling at him and taking his hand in hers. "Remus was just expressing his regret in lying to me."
"Please Amanda," Remus said in an almost begging tone, "Don't throw away what we had for, for him." He said gesturing to Malfoy.
"Draco has been a proper gentleman; he treats me with respect and is honest. He is also honest. There is nothing left for us Remus, there never will be." She said starting to turn away.
"Malfoy being honest? He is only using you, just like all the women he's ever dated!" Harry said, Tonks thought he should be an actor, he had perfect timing with all his lines and the performance was so convincing.
"What would you know about women Potter? I don't see you here with anyone other than the wolf." Malfoy sneered. Tonks gave him a squeeze on the arm, reminding him to play nice. "What are you doing here anyway; I thought you lived with muggles during the summer."
"Harry lives with me now; I adopted him as my son." Remus told Draco smiling at the look on his face, he had no scathing comeback for that comment.
"Let's go enjoy our evening Draco," Tonks said pulling him away before they ran out of lines they had rehearsed. "I do not want them to spoil our night." Draco grinned at Remus and led her away. He had gotten the girl and Potter and the werewolf were upset, this was turning into a good night and it had barely started.
They talked late into the evening. Draco seemed to open up even more after their run in with Remus. Tonks was glad her idea had worked without any curses being thrown. "May I walk you back to the hotel?" Malfoy said as they left the restaurant. "It is such a nice evening; I don't want it to end yet."
"I would enjoy that." She said smiling and looking at him through her eyelashes in a sexy way. She held his arm and he had his hand over hers on the way back. They looked up at the stars and he pointed out a few constellations. "I didn't know you enjoyed Astronomy so much." She said smiling.
"Yes, in fact I got the highest score on my OWL in it, it is one of the classes I actually enjoy attending." He told her as they reached the door to the inn. He walked her up to her door. "May I come in for a glass of tea?" He asked smiling seductively.
She showed him into her room, hoping that Remus was securely under the invisibility cloak. "You make me want to be a better wizard Amanda." Draco told her taking her hand and they sat on the settee. "I was thinking of writing to Professor Dumbledore to see if I could be resorted. I don't think I want to be a Slytherin anymore." Tonks looked at him unbelieving; his entire family had been in Slytherin.
"I don't understand Draco, why would you want that?" She asked.
"I don't want to become a Death Eater, I'm afraid if I stay in Slytherin, somehow I'll be forced into becoming one. I hate the Dark Lord; he is a vile and repulsive man. Don't tell anyone, but I actually hope that Potter can defeat him." Draco said, he didn't understand how he felt so comfortable telling his deepest secrets to this woman he had just met.
Tonks just sat there stunned; Draco Malfoy didn't want to join Voldemort? This was huge news. "Won't the Slytherins come after you if you deserted them?" Tonks said trying to see if he was just pulling her leg.
"Better them, than all the Death Eaters when I refuse to take the mark." He said shuddering, "Although they'll probably want to kill me either way."
"You should talk with Professor Dumbledore, maybe there is something he can do." Tonks told him, if he went to Dumbledore he could tell if Malfoy was telling the truth.
"Do you think he would believe me after all the horrible things I've done to boy wonder and his followers?" Draco asked miserably, when he saw her confused face he said, "Sorry, that's just one of my names for Potter and his friends."
Tonks smiled at how even the enemy thought of Harry as Wonder Boy. "Dumbledore is a great wizard, he will listen to you. He cares about all his students' well being, I'm sure that is still the case." She said smiling as she finished her tea.
"School starts again in a couple weeks; I'll talk to him when I get there." Draco said taking her hand, "Thank you for listening to me; I've never had anyone listen to me like this before. You are a very special woman." He leaned toward he like he was about to kiss her, Tonks was thinking fast.
"Draco, what happens between us when you go back to school?" It was the only question she could come up with to keep him from kissing her, she wasn't sure that Remus would be able to refrain from hexing him.
"I will write to you as often as I can and I'll see you on holidays. I can even tell you when our Hogsmead weekends are and we can meet in the Three Broomsticks." Draco said smiling, "I like what we have started and don't want it to end just because I'm going to school."
Tonks stood and put their cups on the tray by the door. She knew Draco was going to kiss her and she couldn't see a way around it. "I had a wonderful evening Draco." She said standing by the door to signal it was time for him to leave.
"So did I Amanda. I would love to see you again." He smiled taking both her hands in his. "How about a picnic lunch on Monday afternoon?"
Tonks had to work on Monday, "I have an appointment on Monday, how about a rain check for Tuesday?" She said smiling.
"Sounds wonderful. Do you ride horses? I was thinking we could ride out to a lake near my manor and lunch there. How about I pick you up at 11 am?" Draco asked.
"I would enjoy that, I'll see you then." She said reaching for the door. Draco wasn't going to leave without getting a kiss this time. He leaned in and pressed his lips against hers. He smiled and left. He shook his head when he got to the landing; there had been absolutely no spark when he kissed her. He wondered if he was just tired or if there really was no chemistry between them. It would be a shame, she was so beautiful and he enjoyed her company immensely.
Tonks turned around after locking the door, waiting for Remus to show himself. He slowly emerged from the corner, looking down. "I know you didn't want to kiss him, I just didn't realize how much I would hate watching it happen." He told her as she fell into his arms. The kiss with Draco had been like kissing her father, there was no feeling in it. "I can't believe all the things he said, if I hadn't been listening with my own ears, I never would have believed you."
"I just hope that he talks to Dumbledore about it, he would make a good ally, and we need someone keeping tabs on the Slytherins." Tonks said making Remus turn around as she got ready for bed. He tucked her in and she giggled, "After everyone joking that you're old enough to be my father you tuck me into be like I'm your child!"
"Yes, but most fathers don't do this do they?" He asked crawling under the covers with her and wrapping her in his arms. He just held her until she fell asleep. She felt so safe in his arms, not that she couldn't take care of herself, but she felt safe none the less.
Harry was sitting in the drawing room waiting for Ginny when Remus came home. "What are you doing up so late?" Remus asked him.
"I'm just reading," Harry said trying to sound innocent. Showing Remus the defense against the dark arts book he was holding. Harry thought he was about to buy the story when the door opened on its own. Remus smiled at the forced look of calm on Harry's face. Anyone who didn't know him well wouldn't have noticed the panicky expression he was trying to hide.
Remus just chuckled and headed for the door, "Good night Harry, don't stay up to late." Then speaking to mid air he added, "I wouldn't want your mother to find you out of bed Ginny." He just smiled again and winked at Harry before closing the door.
Harry just smiled, "He was a Marauder you know," he said to the invisible Ginny and they headed into his secret room for a bit of snogging.
Ginny giggled, "You're lucky he's on our side Harry. I almost had a heart attack when I opened the door and he was in here!"
"Don't worry Gin, he won't say anything. I'm keeping a secret for him too. We're even now." Harry said pulling her into his arms.
"I'm going to have a talk with my parents and brothers before we go back to school. I'm going to tell them that I'm old enough to start dating and get the whole sex talk out of the way. I'm hoping that my parents will help me make Ron understand that I am allowed to like a boy." Ginny giggled as she snuggled into Harry's arms.
"At least we'll know where they stand in case we get caught, I'll now if I need to put myself into protective custody or just try and hide." Harry said smiling, "You know that Ron will still be overprotective even if your parents are ok with you starting to date. What did they say about you and Michael last year?"
"I didn't tell them and I had to give Ron 20 of my chocolate frog cards to keep him quiet!" Ginny said. "But if Dumbledore thinks it's a good idea to keep it secret, I think we should wait, even if they are ok with it. As soon as they know, we won't be able to keep it a secret from the whole school."
"That's why I love you Gin, you are just so smart," Harry said kissing her forehead as they held each other on the couch.
"Where were you Harry?" Ron asked sleepily when Harry crawled into bed.
"I was just reading. I didn't want to wake you." He told his friend, he hated lying to Ron, but it was better than Ron hating him for toughing his little sister.
The next morning Tonks showed up and related everything Malfoy had told her from last night. She thanked Harry and Remus for their good acting. "Don't mention it, it's not a big stretch for me to insult Malfoy." Harry said as all his friends laughed. She told them that she had talked with Dumbledore that morning and he didn't think they needed an Order meeting yet; they would wait until after their next date.
Tonks was wearing her silver pants suit for the picnic. It had flowing silver pants and a slightly revealing silver tunic top with short flutter sleeves. She really liked the silver robes she had bought; they had an almost iridescent shine to them. She was wearing a pair of black lace up boots and had her hair pulled back into a loose bun. She would have rather worn jeans, but she didn't think Malfoy would be so she stuck with the silver pants.
"You look beautiful every time I see you," He told her in the carriage. She had been right; he was wearing a pair of black slacks and a tight fitting black shirt that showed off his surprisingly muscular chest.
They arrived at the Malfoy stables to find two horses already saddled and waiting for them, the larger one, a pure black stallion, had a picnic basket attached behind the saddle. The one she determined was her horse was also black, but it had white feet and a white patch on its face. They were very grand steeds. Tonks loved the feeling of her robes billowing out behind her as they galloped along the path. Malfoy was impressed with her control of the animal. They slowed down when they reached a wooded area and they took the path at a leisurely rate. The trees opened up to reveal a stunning little lake. Tonks thought it was a very romantic spot and she realized why he had picked it.
"I didn't think you could impress me even more, and then you got on the horse and showed me an entire other side of you." He told her helping her down from the horse. He put his hands on her hips and lifted her easily from the saddle; she was surprised at his strength. He held on to her for a few moments enjoying being close to her. He took his robes off, it was too hot a day for long black robes and set out the blanket and picnic basket. Tonks took her robes off too, enjoying the feel of the sun on her skin.
"I love riding, the feel of the wind in my face, it reminds me of flying." She said wistfully, she loved to fly but with being an auror and Order assignments she hadn't had much time to enjoy herself.
"I love to fly, I feel the most alive when I'm in the air." Draco told her, "I have a Nimbus 2001, what kind of broom do you have?"
"I only have a comet 260, but it does the job. I asked Harry to let me fly his Firebolt, but it was confiscated last year." Tonks said sadly, not even realizing she had mentioned Harry.
"So you really get along with him?" Draco asked, the way she had mentioned Harry it was as if he was an old friend.
"Yeah, he's a good guy. I think you two could get along if you put your differences behind you." She told him smiling.
Draco walked up and wrapped his arms around her, "You make even the most ridiculous things seem simple." He told her staring deep into her eyes. "It will take a lot for Potter and I to get past our differences."
"You could start by not calling Hermione a mud-blood and insulting Ron's family all the time. If you make the first move it will be a big step in showing that you have changed." Tonks said trying to pretend she was comfortable with his embrace. Draco leaned in and kissed her again. Just like last time there was no spark.
"Let's eat," Draco said pulling away, she was an amazing woman but it was like kissing his mother. They talked at length during the meal and then rode around on the horses for a few hours. Draco smiled; he had never spent so much time with a woman and shared nothing but two innocent little kisses. He wondered if she felt anything when they kissed. He held her hand and led her into the gardens of the manor to pick her some flowers.
"I wrote to Dumbledore this morning," Draco told her, "I told him I wanted to meet with him before school started."
"I'm happy for you, I'm sure you'll realize what a great guy he is then," he had told her how his father had always said what a crazy old fool Dumbledore was.
"You're the first real friend I've ever had." Draco said looking at her for her reaction. "I know things are going to be hard for us when I go back to school, but I don't want to loose this friendship, it means a lot to me."
"I'm glad we are friends as well," Tonks said, surprised by the truthfulness of the statement, "I'm sure we'll keep in touch." Draco plucked her a yellow rose from the garden and put it in her hair.
"I had a fun afternoon. I hope I can take you to dinner again later this week." He told her smiling, "Maybe we can go dancing at the new club."
Tonks liked dancing; being at a crowded club would be a good way to keep him from kissing her. He had told her that Malfoys did not approve of public displays of affection. "Sure, how about Friday night, it can be our last night out before you have to go back to school."
"I'll pick you up at 6 pm and we can grab a bite to eat and then go to the club." He told her, thinking he couldn't wait to see what she would wear to go dancing. He helped her into the carriage with a peck on the cheek. She was glad he hadn't kissed her again; maybe he could feel the lack of chemistry between them as well.
Chapter 12: Tonks Surprise
Tonks went back to Headquarters smiling; she wanted to see Remus before he locked himself in the basement. Snape had come over last night and was teaching Ginny how to brew the Wolfsbane potion, so at least he wouldn't be dangerous. He still locked himself away just in case; his worst fear was biting someone he loved.
"How are you feeling?" She asked as she saw him looking like a ghost. She hated that he had to go through this pain every month. "Did you get the basement remodeled to your liking?" Remus nodded, he had had a few mattresses placed on the floor for him to curl up on as well as backup protection installed. There was now a large cage that locked once he was inside of it. That way if the worst should happen, even if someone was to open the door to the basement, they would still be safe from him.
"Come on, let's get you down there before you pass out and I have to carry you," Tonks told him, pulling him from his chair.
She helped him into the caged room and sat him on one of the mattresses. It really was rather cozy she guessed for a wolf. He even had a light switch so he could turn the lights on and off with his snout. She was just about to kiss him when she heard footsteps on the stairs. Harry and Ginny were coming down. Ginny had his wolfsbane potion with her. "Thanks Ginny." Remus croaked out downing the disgusting tasting potion.
"It's a good thing Gin is so good at potions, that is a very complicated thing to brew. I've never even heard of half the ingredients, Mr. Weasley said he had to go to three different stores to find them all. We should have enough for a few years now though, just in case." Harry said trying to make conversation. He hated to see Remus looking so frail, now he understood why his Dad and Sirius had wanted to become animagi to keep him company.
"You better go upstairs now; it's getting close to sunset." Remus told them. Harry winked at him as he pulled Ginny up the stairs so Tonks and he could have a private moment.
"Let me stay with you tonight." Tonks asked pulling him into a hug. "I know you think it's dangerous, but I'll be outside the cage. I just don't want you to have to go through this alone anymore."
"I couldn't live with myself if something were to happen to you." Remus told her as she kissed him and locked him into the cage. The sun was almost set. "Please, if I bit you I would die inside."
"Good night love," She said touching his hand through the cage before going upstairs. She was going to stay with him wither he wanted it or not.
"Harry," Tonks said, "Tell everyone that I've gone back to the inn for the night."
Harry smiled at her; he could tell she had no intention of going back to the hotel. He had been reading a book he had found about Aurors (from a dark wizard perspective but still interesting) and it said that most of them were animagi. The ministry did not register them so they could spy on dark wizards easier. "So what animal do you turn into?" He asked her quietly so no one could overhear.
Tonks smiled, she knew Harry was perceptive, but she didn't think her plan was that obvious. "That's something you don't need to know yet Harry, I'll save it for when you're an auror too." She smiled, kissed him on the cheek and went back down into the basement. Harry locked the door behind her.
She could hear Remus transforming, he was crying out in pain. She hurried down the stairs and transformed into her animagi form. She was a chameleon; she thought it was fitting for a metamorphmagi. It seemed she could never keep one appearance. She slipped in between the fencing and the door to the cage Remus was in. She could tell he recognized her scent, even though she was a lizard, she still smelled like herself.
She walked over to the bed he was lying on. He pulled her close using one of his paws. He was surprisingly gentle considering he was in wolf form. They couldn't communicate with each other but he was comforted by her presence none the less. If he still had any doubts about their relationship, they were gone now. Not only was she not scared of him, she was lying next to him while he was transformed. He never thought anyone else would care about him enough to do that, he knew wherever James and Sirius were they were happy that he had finally found someone to love and who loved him.
Harry was sitting in the drawing room reading another defense against the dark arts book; he had a lot of spells he wanted to try when he got back to school. He felt something nuzzle his leg and looked down to find Ginny's kitty. "Hello there girl," he said picking her up and petting her. "Do you like my house? Caught any mice lately?" Harry thought she was her shake her head, "No mice huh, too bad, I'm sure there will be some at Hogwarts for you to chase." He watched her curl up in his lap and continued reading.
"Lightning? Are you in here girl?" Ginny asked opening the door. She smiled when she saw her kitten asleep in Harry's lap. "You know, I think she just might like you better than me." She joked to him.
"That's because she finds me as irresistible as you do." Harry teased, "So you found a name for her, Lightning does seems appropriate."
"She seemed to like it, she is very smart, I can tell she understands everything I say to her." Ginny told him sitting next to him and pulling out a book Snape had lent her on the Wolfsbane potion. "You should have seen Professor Snape when I made the potion correctly on my first try, he didn't know if he should be mad or praise his own teaching. He even told me I was the first Gryffindor who was ever any good at potions. I almost passed out; I'd never heard him compliment anyone other than the Slytherins."
"He seems different since Remus told him about how I was raised. He was even civil to me without spitting out my name like it was poisonous. But I'm sure he'll be right back to being Snape the evil git as soon as school starts up, he wouldn't want to ruin his reputation by treating me nicely." Harry said as Ron and Hermoine walked in. Hermoine smiled at Ginny and Harry on the couch, it was even cuter to see Ginny's cat sound asleep in his lap.
The four of them played exploding snap the rest of the night before heading to bed. Ginny winked at Harry on her way out to tell him she would see him soon. Lightning was still asleep in his lap. Neither one of them noticed that Hermoine saw the wink and was going to keep a close eye on Ginny tonight. She knew there was something going on between them and she was determined to find out what.
Ginny slipped on her invisibility cloak and went to the drawing room; Hermoine jumped up and followed her, also wearing an invisibility cloak. Ginny opened the door of the room to find Harry asleep on the couch, with Lightning still sound asleep on his lap. She didn't notice that the door opened and shut again, seemingly on its own. Hermoine watched with a smile as Ginny leaned down and kissed Harry on the lips. She tried to suppress a giggle as Harry turned to the other side, mumbling Ginny's name. He was obviously dreaming about her. Ginny kissed him again, watching him smile as he opened his eyes to her.
"I was dreaming about you," he said yawning. Then he surprised Hermoine by kissing her full on the mouth. "We were dancing in the Great Hall and Ron told me he was glad we were together."
"We'll just have to wait for a while, I'm sure my family will be ok with us being together when I'm older. They just still think of me as a little girl and don't realize that I'm old enough to fall in love." Ginny said picking her cat up off his lap.
Harry smiled and stood up to wrap her in his arms, "I love you Gin, and someday we'll be able to tell everyone." Harry turned his head; he thought he heard someone sniffling. Hermoine realized too late that she was crying and that she had just sniffled, she was sure Harry would hear it. Sure enough he started walking toward her; she decided it was best to just come clean so she pulled off the cloak with a guilty look on her face.
"It's not what it looks like Hermoine," Ginny said quickly, "I was just coming to find Lightning." She hoped Hermoine wasn't going to tell Ron.
"It's ok Gin, I can't lie to her face," Harry said pulling her close. "We're together 'Moine, but you know how the Weasleys will react, so we are hiding our feelings."
Hermoine smiled, she was glad that Harry didn't try and lie when it was obvious what was going on. "It's ok, I won't tell anyone. I'm happy for you two; I knew there was something up between you two, that's why I followed you Ginny. I'm sorry I interrupted your little meeting," Hermoine giggled. Harry let go of Ginny and gave Hermoine a hug, thanking her for being such a good friend. Ron walked in just then, Harry was glad he wasn't still holding Gin. He stopped hugging Hermoine and turned to Ron.
"I was wondering where you went again mate." Ron said sleepily, looking suspiciously at Hermoine. He was afraid Harry and Hermoine were together behind his back. Harry had said he liked someone and that he was sure she would get along with Ginny. He had told Harry his feelings for Hermoine; he hoped Harry didn't have them too. "So what's going on, why is everyone up?" He asked.
"I was in here reading and the girls just came in to find Gin's cat." Harry told him, part of it was the truth. Lightning meowed and looked at Harry with a "Yeah right" expression. "I was just saying good night when you walked in."
Harry didn't even chance a glance back at Gin before he followed Ron back to their room. Ron sat on his bed and looked seriously at Harry. Harry was afraid Ron had figured things out. "Is there something going on between you and Hermoine?"
Harry was relieved, if he was worried about Hermoine, there was no way he would suspect him and Ginny. "Of course not Ron, I know you fancy her, I would never go behind your back like that and take your girl." Harry said pretending to be hurt by the accusation.
"It's just that, well when I saw you hugging I thought maybe." Ron said feeling stupid for thinking Harry would do that to him. "You had said that you liked someone, I thought it might have been her."
"Hermoine will only ever be my friend; she is like a sister to me. I do like someone, but it's not her." He told his best friend, "If you would just hurry up and ask her out, you wouldn't have to worry about it."
"I will, as soon as I get the courage. Girls are so hard to understand, how will I know when the right time to ask her is?" Ron asked head in his hands.
"Just ask her sometime you two are alone." Harry suggested.
"What do I say; I know I'm going to sound like a prat." Ron told him sadly.
"Don't say anything then," Harry told him, enjoying the confused look on Ron's face. "Just kiss her and see what she does." Ron looked at him like he was insane.
"Are you crazy? If I don't have the guts to talk to her to ask her out, how do you think I'd be brave enough to just kiss her?" Ron said shaking his head.
"You do realize that you were sorted into Gryffindor right? We are the brave ones, but yet you still see Ravenclaws and Hufflepuffs with girlfriends, so it can't take that much courage." Harry told him.
"Sure I'm brave when it comes to spells and monsters but when it comes to girls and spiders, my courage is wasted." Ron told him getting under the covers to sleep.
The girls were giggling in their room after listening to the boys' conversation. "I love extendable ears; they have to be one of Fred and George's best inventions!" Ginny laughed. "If you want to go out with Ron any time this century you might have to take matters into your own hands."
"I'll try and get us alone in a romantic setting and see if he asks me before I take matters into my own hands." Hermoine told her, "Not all guys are as open with their feelings as Harry."
"I still can't believe he told me he loves me." Ginny said in a dreamy voice, "At the end of 3rd year I finally realized that he would never want me and tried to forget my feelings, I was doing well until he said all those nice things about me."
"I was as surprised as you were, you should have seen Ron's face. He was like 'did Harry just call my sister amazing and then list off about a 100 things about her and he even said she was pretty' he looked so funny like a cross between anger and shock and happiness."
"That was why I decided to kiss him on his birthday. I just kissed him and walked out saying 'Happy birthday Harry' I knew that if he didn't like me back he could just ignore the whole thing as something I did since it was his birthday." Ginny told her.
"So how did it all happen?" Hermoine asked, they stayed up late that night talking about how her and Harry got together and how hard it was keeping it secret. Ginny also told her that both Remus and Dumbledore knew.
Remus woke the next morning stiff and sore as usual after a transformation, but happier than he had been in years. He nudged the chameleon next to him and said, "Wake up sleepy head, you can be a person again now." He smiled as Tonks transformed back into her real self then straight to her pink hair everyday body. "Good morning beautiful." Remus said kidding her gently. He was worn out from the transformation, but he wanted her to know how much he appreciated the company.
Tonks smiled and snuggled up against his body, trying to get back to sleep. She had never spent an entire night in the arms of a man before, granted she was a chameleon and he was a wolf, but it still felt amazing. "I told you I wasn't scared of you, do you believe me now? I would have slept next to you as myself if I knew you wouldn't have been angry with me."
"It's been a long time since my transformation was so bearable, since James was alive." Remus said sadly. "You are amazing. I love you." He whispered. She smiled, she loved him too, but it felt so great to know he felt the same. "I always thought you were incredible, but I knew you would never want an old man like me."
"I was afraid you wouldn't want me because of my wild hair and klutzy personality. I was afraid I'd end up with one of the twins when you found someone you could really love." Tonks told him kissing him again and helping him from the mattress.
"We really are quite the pair aren't we," Remus said laughing.
"Yes, we were meant for each other, all our crazy idiosyncrasies and everything." She told him, "I just can't wait till we can tell everyone. I'm sure my assignment with Malfoy will be over soon and we won't have to hide anymore."
"I think it's funny that your anamagi form is a chameleon, do you ever keep your appearance in any form?" He joked with her as she helped him up the stairs. "It was interesting watching you blend in with my fur."
They reached the top of the stairs and Tonks took out her wand on unlocked the door. They headed in to breakfast. Remus was always starving after a transformation. He ate like he hadn't been fed in a week. Harry smiled at him, "Who dad, slow down you're going to explode!"
Tonks smiled and hugged Harry as everyone else looked at him funny, Remus had stopped mid bite. Had Harry just called him dad? He had never expected Harry to call him that, he knew Harry missed and loved James and didn't think he would ever be comfortable calling him that.
"What?" Harry asked everyone, not realizing what he had called Remus. Tonks told him and he smiled at Remus. Who also smiled then continued eating. The rest of the morning was uneventful, the Mrs. Weasley was grocery shopping, Remus was sleeping and Tonks, Mr. Weasley, Bill and the twins had to go into work. The election for Minister of Magic was Friday and Mr. Weasley was spending a lot more time at the office. Lots of people were going to vote for him, Dumbledore had announced that he felt Arthur was the best man for the job, and everyone trusted his opinion.
The four of them spent the next few days going over their homework and making changes and additions to get the best grades possible. Harry was sure he did well on his defense against the dark arts essay with all the reading he had done over the summer. Hermoine didn't even have any suggestions on his potions work, which was a first. He was determined to show Snape that he deserved to be in his NEWT level class.
Friday morning they all went to the Ministry to be with Mr. Weasley for the elections. Charlie even came in from Romania. The three candidates and their families were all positioned in different areas of the atrium to field any questions the press or voters had. A journalist recognized Harry.
"It's Harry Potter!" He yelled and instantly there were cameras flashing, "Mr. Potter, who do you support for the next Minister of Magic?"
"I give my full support to Arthur Weasley. He is a wonderful man and will do great things for the Wizarding community." Harry told them all, now that everyone knew Voldemort was back, they were treating him like a hero again and hanging off his every word. The Weasleys all grinned at Harry, they knew if the community knew both Harry and Dumbledore supported Mr. Weasley he had a good shot of winning the election.
Just then Professor Dumbledore arrived and walked over to shake Arthur's hand. "I also give my full support to Arthur Weasley. I nominated him before the Wizegammot and believe he is the man to lead us to a brighter future."
The journalists ran off and within an hour there was a special addition of the Daily Prophet with a picture of Harry and Dumbledore standing on either side of Mr. Weasley. The article went on to say that Mr. Weasley had the support of the two most influential wizards of all time and the reporter himself was going to vote for him if he had that many supporters.
The elections ran smoothly, the poles were closed and the winner would be announced shortly after 8pm. Tonks had left earlier to get ready for her last date with Malfoy, but had kissed Arthur for good luck before leaving.
She decided to wear the revealing strappy black dress to the club, she wore her black heals and left her hair all the way down. She threw her black silk robes on over top the dress for diner and was only had about five minutes before Draco showed, he was always punctual. He could barely contain himself when he saw her dress. It was short and showed her cleavage. He knew he would be the envy of every man in the club.
They ate a quick dinner at her favorite bistro and made their way to the club. "You know I'm going to have a hard time keeping my hands off you." Draco smiled at her. "I'm going to have to beat the other men off you."
"I'll have to make sure the other women know you're with me, you look very nice tonight." Tonks said flirtingly. The bouncer let them right into the club without waiting in line like the rest of the crowd. Tonks shook her head, being a Malfoy made people bend over backwards to try and please.
The club looked a lot like a muggle dance club; she had been to a few with her cousins on her father's side who were muggles. There were bright multi-colored lights and a loud thumping music. Draco turned out to be a very good dancer. She had fun and almost forgot she was on assignment. He was a nice guy, even though he did seem to have a hard time keeping his hands off her. She supposed it was partially her fault for wearing such a revealing dress as well as the fact that they were dancing very close. She wondered if Remus would ever be seen in a place like this.
They danced for a while longer until the music stopped for an announcement. The owner of the club got up on the stage. "We have a new minister of magic, Mr. Arthur Weasley!" The crowd went wild clapping and cheering, Tonks along with them. Draco just shook his head; there would be no teasing the Weasleys now. They went from being poor and insignificant to being one of the most influential families in the Wizarding world, not to mention the Minister of Magic was a very well paying job.
"This is great!" Tonks said, hugging Draco in her excitement. She was so happy for the Weasleys; Arthur would be a great boss.
"If you say so," Draco said, less enthusiastic. He knew that Dumbledore supported Mr. Weasley, and Amanda kept telling him to trust him, so he would accept the new Minister, but he didn't have to be excited about it.
Back at the Ministry the Weasleys were all celebrating. Mr. Weasley had still not grasped the fact that his lifelong dream had come true, he was going to be Minister of Magic. A photographer was there and took a picture of all the Weasleys with Harry, Hermoine, Remus and Dumbledore. Harry paid the guy to send him a copy when he got back to school. Mrs. Weasley was crying she was so happy and Fred and George let of some of their fireworks to soar around the atrium. Bill and Charlie were laughing and patting their dad on the back. Mr. Weasley looked happy but still in shock. Ron had his arm around Hermoine almost jumping with joy. Ginny grabbed Harry, who picked her up and spun her around in the air. Nobody even seemed to care when Ginny kissed him full on the mouth before running up to hug Bill. Remus was shaking hands with Arthur telling him how he was going to be a great minister. Fred and George insisted that was true seeing as how he couldn't do any worse than Fudge.
The party went on late into the night. It seemed like almost every ministry employee turned up to congratulate their new minister. Even Snape showed up and shook Arthur's hand and offered his best. He thought he even saw Snape smile when Mrs. Weasley hugged him in her joy for her husband.
Harry was happy for the Weasleys, they deserved respect and would finally be appreciated in the wizarding community. Remus finally told them it was time to go back home, they had a big day tomorrow with the inauguration tomorrow evening. He promised he would watch the 'kids' as he escorted Ron, Harry, Hermoine, Ginny, Fred, George, Charlie and Bill back to headquarters. Charlie congratulated Harry on the nice transformation of his house and was told he could visit anytime, he was always welcome.
The older boys went up to their rooms to talk about the day's events. Ron pulled Harry aside to say he wanted some time alone with Hermoine. "Sure, I'll keep Ginny busy." Harry said smiling at his friend. "Now that your dad's minister you have more confidence huh?"
"I just figured if I screwed up I could blame it on the excitement," Ron said.
Harry grabbed Gin and lead her to their secret room, where he proceeded to snog her senseless. "You kissed me in front of your entire family and I had to stand there and not kiss you back." Harry fake pouted.
"I couldn't help myself, I was so happy I just did what I wanted to." Ginny giggled as she pulled Harry onto the sofa to snog some more. Harry finally pulled away out of breath.
"So do you think they are snogging yet?" He asked her, hoping Ron got over his fear and just went for it.
"They better be, Hermione's going to have to make the first move if Ron doesn't hurry is ass up!" Ginny said covering her mouth when she realized she had just told Harry that Hermoine liked Ron too. "Oops," She shrugged.
"I knew she wanted him already, I'm much more observant than she thinks, I knew she liked him in 4th year, same for Ron. It's surely taken them long enough," Harry said running his fingers through her hair. "I'm taking you shopping tomorrow to buy new dress robes for the ceremony." He said kissing her again.
"Ok, but I get to pick out your new robes." Ginny said, "I want them to match mine."
"You have me wrapped around your little finger Gin; I'll do anything you ask." Harry said looking deep into her brown eyes that were so full of sparkle.
"So if I tell you to take of all your clothes and run starkers around the house you will?" Ginny giggled at his shocked face.
"Don't you think it's a little early in our relationship to be thinking about me naked?" Harry asked with a smirk, enjoying the wide eyed look he got from her before she hit him with a couch pillow.
"Harry Potter you are insufferable, I'll have to punish you for that comment." She said standing up off the couch with a fake look of anger. "You'll have no more snogging tonight."
Harry just grinned mischievously at her and started tickling her and chasing her around the room until they were both so tired they collapsed on the couch. Harry pulled her close and she laid her head on his chest. "I think they've been alone long enough, shall we go spy on them?" He asked, knowing she was more devious than anyone gave her credit for. Her eyes sparkled with glee as they approached Ron and his door with their invisibility cloaks and extendable ears. There were no noises coming from the room, Harry looked at Ginny confused. She went to quickly check her room, but there was no sign of Hermoine. She came back and shrugged at Harry, they went back to listening.
"Do you think your family will be ok with us?" Hermoine asked, she had her head leaning against Ron and was very happy he had told her how he felt.
"Sure, why wouldn't they be, they were happy for Percy when he had a girlfriend at my age and he's an insufferable git." Ron said touching her hair.
"It's just that everyone is so concerned about Ginny possibly getting a boyfriend so I didn't know how they would react with us." She told him.
"That's because Ginny was dating someone who didn't deserve her, she needs someone who will protect her and take care of her and most of all get along with all her brothers. We don't just want her to date some boy, who will break her heart, she was already sad enough when Harry started dating Cho." Ron told her.
"Do you think Percy will come crawling back now that your dad is minister?" She asked. It was better not to dwell on the subject of Ginny liking Harry it could lead to ugly questions better left unanswered.
"I'm sure; I hope dad gives him a job mopping cells at Azkaban." Ron said fiercely, "its one thing to be loyal to your boss, but family comes first. I don't think I'll be able to forgive him after what he put mum through."
"What are you two doing?" Remus asked scaring the lights out of Harry and Ginny who looked guiltily at their feet. Remus picked up the dropped extendable ear and listened. "Spying on the new lovebirds huh?" He laughed and handed them back the ear end. "I'm going out Harry, I'll be back way past your bedtime, so be good you two." Harry knew that meant he was going to check on Tonks.
Malfoy was walking Tonks back to the carriage when they spotted two death eaters coming out of an alleyway. Tonks threw Draco against the carriage and pretended they were making out; Draco caught on and played along. Tonks already had her wand in hand and was ready to pounce at the opportune time.
"We were supposed to land in Knocturn Alley you idiot!" They heard one say as they passed the 'involved' couple. As soon as they were past them, Tonks turned and stunned both of them before they knew what happened. Draco was amazed as he watched her summon apparition proof binds and levitate their bodies.
"Draco, could you be a dear and wait back inside the club, I have to turn these idiots over to the authorities, any Death Eater stupid enough to wander around in plain sight in their uniform deserves to be put away." She said giving him a peck on the cheek before apparating to auror headquarters and handing them over to the Aurors on duty, who looked like Christmas had come early.
"Brilliant Tonks! Way to go." They told her.
"I'm on assignment undercover as Amanda Theodore; just remember to put that name in any report that may be seen by the public, or anyone other than the Aurors." She told them disapparating back to get Draco.
"Did you miss me?" She asked chuckling as he tried to fend off three women asking him to join their party.
"Of course," He told her leading her out to the carriage for the second time, "You handled those men very well, you must have gotten top marks in defense against the dark arts."
"Yes, it was one of my favorite classes." She said needing to change the subject fast, "I had a very fun time tonight Draco." She said putting her arms around his neck and regretting that she was going to have to kiss him to change the subject.
"I'll miss you when I'm at school. I'll write and tell you when my first Hogsmead visit is, I'd love to meet you there." He said placing his arms behind her waist and pulling her close.
"You just want to show me off to your friends," Tonks joked, "Don't forget what I said about Dumbledore, he is a great man and you can trust him to figure out what's best for you."
"Promise me that no matter what happens when I get back to school, we'll still be friends." He almost pleaded with her.
"Yes, we'll be friends no matter what, even if something happens while you are at school." She said knowing he was going to kiss her soon. Surprisingly he helped her into the coach and escorted her back to the hotel.
"Good night Amanda, I look forward to when we will next see each other." He told her giving her a tight hug and a very short kiss before leaving her standing in front of her door.
"Where have you been? Are you all right? He didn't hurt you did he?" Remus said hurrying out from under the cloak and wrapping his arms around her.
"I'm sorry I'm late, while we were leaving the club I spotted a couple of lost death eaters and captured them and took them in for questioning. I'm fine; Draco didn't do anything to me." She said soothingly, enjoying how worked up he got over her, it had been a long time since someone cared that much to worry about her safety.
Remus took her face in his hands and kissed her, he no longer cared that she was still in her 'Amanda' face, he only cared that she was safe with him. "Come on, throw on your pink hair and funky clothes and let's go see if Arthur and Molly are still celebrating so you can shake hands with your new boss and then check on your new prisoners."
Tonks smiled at how well he knew her, she was already thinking of how to convince him that she needed to go into the office. They had become close friends through their time with the order last year, and now they were in love. She had to be the happiest girl on the planet; she didn't realize that Ginny and Hermoine were sharing the exact same sentiments at that very moment.
They all enjoyed shopping the next day, Ginny decided Harry needed Emerald green robes to match his eyes; she had the lady embroider the Potter crest on them as well and picked him out a black collard shirt and black dress slacks to go with them. She decided against matching robes when she saw a beautiful purple dress with exquisite bead work and matching silk robes. She was running her fingers over the fabric lovingly when a sales witch came up and said, "That's expensive dear, why don't you look over there where the rest of the girls are shopping," the rude lady said pointing to a group of giggling girls at a rack in the back of the store. Ginny had always been treated badly for being poor by sales witches and just let go of the dress and started to walk away when she felt Harry's hand in hers.
"Excuse me, I don't believe you know who you are talking to or you'd be eating your words." Harry said coldly. He hated when people judged you before they even gave you notice. "Now she wants to try the dress on and I expect you to apologize for your rude behavior before I have to call over your manager." Harry's voice must have traveled to the manager for she came rushing over.
"Is there a problem here sir?" She asked eyeing his tailored silk robes (the black ones) and expensive footwear.
"Yes, your sales witch here was very rude to my friend who was looking to purchase a gown to wear to her father's inauguration this evening." He saw the witch's eyes flash to his scar and then to Ginny's red hair and realized who she was dealing with. "I'm very sorry about that Mr. Potter; I'll just get one of my other ladies to help Miss Weasley with her selections." The lady said dragging the rude witch away who looked like she might pass out once she realized who she had been speaking to.
Harry squeezed Ginny's hand and turned to see her trying not to laugh. "No more sales racks for you Gin, you're the minister of magic's daughter."
Ginny couldn't hold it any longer she burst out laughing, "Did you see that rude woman's face when her boss said your name, then when she said mine she looked like she might just faint. I never expected my name to carry any weight, and now my dad's the Minister of Magic!" She dissolved into giggles again and finally composed herself as a younger witch approached and led her to a changing room to try on the dress. Harry bought her the dress and robes as well as matching shoes and handbag. He noticed her eyeing the costume jewelry fondly, but he already had an idea for her jewels for the night. They met up with everyone else for lunch and they all showed each other their purchases. Ron was sporting deep blue velvet robes with the Weasley crest on them; Hermoine had gold robes with a cream colored dress to go underneath. Fred and George had bought matching lime green robes with pinstripe suits to go underneath, they said in memory of Fudge, Bill had royal blue robes and Charlie had red robe. Tonks smiled and kept her robes to herself, she whispered to Harry that they were pale pink but not to tell Remus, who had bought himself dark green robes. Mrs. Weasley had ivory colored robes and dress and looked like she might have a panic attack if they all didn't get back home immediately.
Harry went into the vault and looked thought the jewelry pieces. He found a stunning pearl necklace for Mrs. Weasley with matching earrings, bracelet and hair comb. He picked out a gold chain for Hermoine who wouldn't want anything fancy. He found a silver necklace with stones that looked like pink sapphires for Tonks. They were a vivid hot pink, just like her hair with matching bracelet and earrings. He finally found the amethyst necklace he wanted for Ginny, she loved purple. It was a platinum chain with diamonds and deeply purple amethyst. The amethyst surrounded the diamonds in the shape of a rose. He picked a pair of simple amethyst stud earrings to complete the picture.
When the women entered the living room they looked beautiful. He noticed none of them had any jewelry on like he had asked them. He sat Mrs. Weasley down and handed her the pearls. She smiled and allowed Harry to put the necklace on her and went upstairs to change her hair to incorporate the hair comb. Hermoine tried to protest saying she didn't like jewelry but even she couldn't protest to the simple and elegant gold chain. Tonks told him she didn't want anything unless he had hot pink stones and almost passed out when he showed her the necklace and matching bracelet and earrings. She squealed in delight and happily put them on.
Lastly Harry came to Ginny; Hermoine knew it had to be good. If she knew Harry he would make sure his girl had the most beautiful of all. Ron and the rest of the boys were still upstairs playing exploding snap not wanting anything to do with girls and jewels. Harry opened the box with Ginny's necklace and she couldn't believe it. "Oh, Harry, it's beautiful." She said tears welling up in her eyes and she got up and hugged him. "I've never seen anything more perfect."
"I have Gin," Harry said making sure none of the boys or Mrs. Weasley was around. "You are 100 times more beautiful than this necklace." Tonks looked funny at Harry until Ginny pulled him into a deep and passionate kiss. Then she looked at Hermoine who was smiling at her friends and told Tonks it was a secret with a wink.
"I love you Harry." Ginny told him letting him go and blushing when she realized Hermoine and Tonks had seen her kiss him.
"I love you too Gin, now you three better go finish getting ready." He told them as Ginny rushed upstairs to show her mother the necklace with Hermoine following close behind.
Harry laughed at the inquiring look he got from Tonks, "I figured I could trust you with our secret seeing how you are on your way to being my mum."
"I would hex you right now if I still wasn't so excited about the necklace," she said punching him playfully on the arm. "Don't worry; your secret is safe with me."
I figured that Remus knew so you should too, I wouldn't want to cause him to lie to you." Harry said giving her a hug. "You look beautiful tonight mum."
"Will you quit with that!" Tonks joked, "You're more like a very annoying little bother than a son anyway." She said knowing how crazy the new nickname would make Remus and finding it funny.
The inauguration went well. It basically consisted of a lot of hand shaking, picture taking and a speech by Mr. Weasley who was wearing black robes with purple trim instead of the optional purple robes like Fudge had worn. Harry was surprised to see Draco Malfoy there, and even more surprised when he politely shook Mr. Weasley's hand. "That was a very nice speech Minister. I wanted you to know as current head of the Malfoy Estate you have my full support." Draco said, trying to undo some of his father's misdeeds. "I hope that we can finally bring an end to the hostilities our families have held on to for these past many years."
"Thank you Mr. Malfoy, I too look forward to ending the rift between our two families," Mr. Weasley said politely before moving on to the next handshake. Harry almost believed he was seeing a fake copy of the Draco Malfoy he knew when Draco turned and smirked at him.
Chapter 13: Prefects
"Come on Harry wake up," said Remus' soft voice. "You're a prefect now, how would it look if you missed the train?"
Harry sat up quickly, remembering that he was going back to school today. He smiled at Remus before jumping out of bed and getting dressed in his muggle clothes. He smiled as he looked in the mirror at his black jeans and green t-shirt it was nice to have clothes that fit. "Are you going with us to the station?" He asked hopefully. He was going to miss Remus terribly when he went back to school.
"Yep, Tonks is coming too." Remus smiled and pulled him into a hug, "You going to miss me?"
"Yes," Harry said looking at his adopted father. "I've always been so excited about going back to school, but I'm going to miss being able to talk to you all the time."
"You'll have a great year; Dumbledore has a few surprises for you." Remus said, his eyes twinkling.
"You have very mischievous twinkle in your eyes; I'd say you're up to something!" Harry laughed as he put his last few things into his trunk and Remus levitated it down the stairs.
They stored their trunks in one of the front compartments near the prefect's compartment along with Neville's and Luna's trunks before going outside to say goodbye to their families. Hermione's parents had come to see her off and she was introducing them to Tonks and Lupin. Many of the older students were coming up to shake Mr. Weasley's hand. Fred and George winked at Harry and handed both him and Ginny a small box. "You can enlarge them when you get there." Fred said hugging his little sister.
"Make the Weasley name proud." George said is his best imitation of Mrs. Weasley, Ginny giggled and stuck the box in her pocket before hugging Bill and Charlie. Bill picked her up and spun her telling her to have a good year and Charlie told her to have fun playing Quidditch.
Tonks gave Harry a quick kiss and hug telling him to have fun. Remus wrapped Harry in a strong hug. "Try and stay out of trouble this year." He said smiling, "Or at least don't get caught. Good luck with Quidditch and being a prefect, I know you'll have a great year."
Harry was hugged by all the Weasleys and was about to get on the train when he ran back to Remus and hugged him again. "Bye dad, I'll miss you." Then he got on the train with his friends. They all waved as the train left the station.
"Come on we have to go to the prefects meeting," Hermoine said to the other three. "We'll come back as soon as we can," she told Neville and Luna. They made their way into the prefect cabin. Harry walked in behind the other two fastening his prefect badge on to his t-shirt.
"You lost Potter? Or could you not be away from your precious friends?" Draco Malfoy drawled as the other Slytherins laughed, obviously not noticing Harry's shiny new badge. Ron smirked in Malfoy's direction; he knew it must irk Draco that his dad got named Minister of Magic.
"Are you blind Malfoy?" Harry said pointing to the badge on his chest and taking a seat as all the other prefects laughed. Draco scowled and sat down almost pouting he thought only 5th years were made prefects, damn Potter had to have everything.
During the meeting Draco kept looking over at the little Weasley. He remembered seeing her at the restaurant the night he met Amanda. Did he felt guilty for looking at the pretty red head? He had never felt guilty before, Malfoy's do as they please with no fits of conscience! He snuck another peek at the red head, she was exquisite. Her hair was light and bouncy and she has a great figure. Her eyes were full of laughter and she had full plump pink lips. Draco imagined kissing those lips and smiled. That pang of guilt hit him again, he tried to shake it off, and there was nothing wrong with watching a beautiful woman! He cleared his head and went back to his compartment to find Crabbe and Goyle, his henchmen.
Ginny was so excited about have a separate room that she got to share with Hermoine; she didn't get along with any of the girls in her year. Supposedly the prefects rooms were right off the common room, they were each told that they could make up their own passwords when they got there. The rooms were separate for boys and girls but there was no charm to keep the boys out of the girls' room, they were prefects and were therefore trusted to behave.
She smiled thinking about Harry being able to come in and kiss her goodnight. "What you smiling at Ginny?" Neville asked her, they were back from the prefect carriage now.
"I'm just excited to see my new room." Ginny said blushing. Harry saw her blush and knew she wasn't telling Neville the truth. She only got that look when she was with him or thinking about him.
"Did you have a nice summer Neville?" Hermoine asked him.
"It was ok, my gran was happy that your dad won the election," He told Ron, "She had been bad mouthing Fudge all summer. She thinks it's nice that I'm friends with both you and Harry. She was saying that your dad will be able to help the order, whatever that is. She was on and on about doing all she could for the order and the cause, I think she might finally be loosing it." Neville said sadly.
The others all looked at each other, except for Luna who was reading her Quibber. Neville's grandmother new about the Order? She was trying to help? Harry made a mental note to write Remus or mention it to McGonagall if he got the chance. "Did you really get adopted Harry?" Luna asked in her dreamy voice.
"Yes, by Professor Lupin, he was one of my parent's best friends." Harry said smiling; he wasn't ashamed of the fact.
"Who do you think is going to teach Defense Against the Dark Arts this year?" Ron asked, "We're about due for another good teacher, the last two were insane."
"My Gran told me that I would really enjoy defense classes this year, she knows whose teaching but she wouldn't tell me. She told me that we had to keep practicing." Neville told them.
"I hope she's right." Harry told them, "I want to keep up with the DA, but if we have a good instructor I'll be able to focus the DA on more complex things, not just what we should be doing in class."
Ron, Harry, Neville and Ginny played exploding snap while Hermoine was reading her transfiguration text book and Luna the Quibber. Harry had just won the game, and was doing a victory dance, when Cho opened the compartment door. She had been made Head Girl. "Hello Harry," She said smiling. Harry tried not to roll his eyes.
"Hello Cho, congratulations on Head Girl." Harry said politely. Ginny was shooting Cho a dangerous look.
"Could I talk with you for a moment in private Harry?" Cho asked sweetly.
"I'm sure whatever it is you can say in front of my friends." Harry told her, watching as Cho's fake smile faltered slightly.
"Oh, ok." She said looking down to quickly compose herself. "I wanted to apologize for how I acted last year and I was hoping you would give me another chance."
Harry glanced at Ginny who looked like she might jump up and start hexing Cho any minute. "Aren't you dating Michael Corner?" Ron asked in a rough tone.
Cho looked away, she hadn't planned on his friends being there, she thought she could sweet talk Harry if she got him alone. "We broke up over the summer, I told him I still liked you Harry."
"I don't like you that way Cho," Harry said feeling slightly bad for hurting her, but knowing she only liked him for his popularity.
"Do you already like someone else?" Cho asked shocked, no boy had ever turned her down before.
"Yes," Harry said sitting back down to indicate the conversation was over.
"Oh," Cho said turning and leaving the compartment, as soon as she left Ron burst out laughing. Harry looked at him questioningly.
"Her face was priceless when you said you liked someone else," Ron said still laughing. "I bet she only decided to want you back when your picture was in the paper again."
"Yeah, I'm done with girls like that." Harry said looking at Ginny, "I don't know what I ever saw in her."
"She's pretty." Neville told him, looking at Harry like he was crazy to turn down the most popular girl in school.
"Not really. She may look nice on the outside, but she's ugly underneath and that makes her ugly all over." Harry told him. "When a girl is beautiful on the inside it makes her even prettier on the outside."
"Wow Harry!" Hermoine said, "That is the most mature thing I've ever heard a guy say. Every girl wants to know she is liked for who she is not what she looks like."
"I think you're pretty on the inside Hermoine." Ron said blushing as Harry and Ginny started laughing. Hermoine just smiled, he really was a git sometimes.
They were just finishing their lunch from the trolley when the door opened again and there was Malfoy flanked by his goons. "So Potter is your old wolf all upset that I stole his girl from him?" Malfoy laughed.
Harry jumped up; he knew he had to make it look like Malfoy had stolen Tonks away and that he was upset about it. "Anyone willing to go out with you isn't worth his time," Harry told him. "Besides, I'm sure she's only going out with you for your money, it's not there would be any other reason to spend time with a Death Eaters son." Harry was fingering his wand in his pocket and could tell the rest of his friends were ready to strike.
"You only wish you had such a beautiful woman," Malfoy gloated sneaking a glace at the little Weasley.
"I wouldn't be too sure of yourself Malfoy, I bet Amanda's moved on to bigger fish now that you're back in school and can't keep tabs on her." Harry said smirking. Malfoy pulled his wand out but before he could say a word he had 5 wands pointing at his head and Harry twirled his wand in between his fingers. "I think you should leave now Malfoy, I wouldn't want to have to report a disturbance to Dumbledore when we get there." Harry said adjusting his prefect badge. Draco just glared and then turned and left.
"Well that was fun," Ron said as he sat back down and pulled out his chess board.
"He's not to sure of himself anymore is he?" Hermoine smiled, she liked the fact that Malfoy was forced to tuck is tail between his legs and turn and run. It was a nice change from him calling her every name in the book.
"I surprised he even attempted at all, we way out number him." Ginny said.
Malfoy was in a foul mood when he got back to his cabin, he had only wanted to go bother Potter to get another look at the little Weasley. He knew that Potter's friend would protect him, but he didn't expect Longbottom and the Ravenclaw Loon to join in as well. "Damn Potter!" He growled. Crabbe and Goyle nodded in agreement. Draco wondered if he told them to jump off the Astronomy tower if they would, they seemed only to exist to do his bidding. Their fathers were the same way for his father; he wondered what they were doing now that his dad was locked up.
"Our dads got arrested on Friday night," Goyle told him putting his head down; "Someone ambushed them from behind."
"My mum says they were questioned by the Aurors for two days before they were sent to Azkaban," Crabbe told Draco, who was now mildly interested.
"Where were they arrested at?" Draco asked wondering if they were the two stupid death eaters Amanda had caught.
"Someplace in Diagon Alley." Goyle shrugged, confirming Draco's suspicion. He would have to thank Amanda, not that Crabbe and Goyle's fathers were locked up they couldn't get any information to his father. Draco was free to do as he wished without fearing what might get back to the death eaters. He knew a few other students had parents in Voldemort's circle, but most of their wives and children didn't even know.
Draco got up and headed towards the prefect carriage, he wasn't paying attention and knocked into someone.
Ginny was heading off to go say hi to Colin and Dennis Creevey when she knocked into someone. "I'm sorry," she said her hair was in her face and she couldn't see who helped her off the floor. When she tossed her hair out of her eyes she was staring straight at Draco Malfoy.
"Careful there Little Weasley, wouldn't want you to hurt your pretty little head." Malfoy smirked. He looked the red head up and down, she was definitely beautiful. Ginny didn't know what to say, Draco hadn't insulted her or been rude, when she thought about it he had helped her up and basically complimented her. She just walked away without responding. Draco smiled; he would have to bump into her more often.
The six of them piled into a carriage and walked into the Great Hall for the sorting and opening feast. Luna said goodbye and headed for her table. They all sat at the head of the Gryffindor table so they could welcome the first years like they had been instructed, Neville went to sit by Dean and Seamus. Harry looked up to the staff table and grinned. Remus was next to Snape and some other new teacher with short brown hair. He waved and smiled, he knew who the Dark Arts teacher was now, he just wondered who the other lady was, and Remus seemed to know her for she was talking to both Remus and Snape. Harry elbowed Ron and pointed Remus out to him, Hermoine was just as excited. In fact most of the student body seemed happy to see their old professor. Harry heard several students saying they were glad there would be a good dark arts professor this year.
The sorting was soon over and the new Gryffindors had all been welcomed to the table. Dumbledore stood and the hall went silent. "Welcome, Welcome to another year at Hogwarts. I see you have all noticed the new faces at the staff table. I'm sure most of you remember Professor Lupin who will be resuming his role as one of your Defense against the Dark Arts teachers." It was then that Harry recognized the other woman.
"It's Tonks!" Harry whispered to Hermoine and Ron.
Dumbledore continued, "As you are all aware of Professor Lupin's condition the Ministry had agreed to lend us and auror to assist with teaching the Defense Against the Dark Arts class. This will be your most important class work this year. You are all aware of the rise of Voldemort and must be able to defend yourselves. Let me introduce your other new instructor, Professor Tonks." The entire hall clapped for her, none harder than Harry and his friends. She smiled and waved at the hall. "Let the feast begin."
Ron stuffed his mouth as usual; the first years were looking at him like he was some sort of circus show. Harry was very happy for his adopted father; he knew how much Remus enjoyed teaching. He was also happy to see Tonks, Remus was off for almost one week per month due to his transformations and he didn't want Snape covering for him again.
Dumbledore gave the standard start of term reminders before dismissing them to their dormitories. Harry and Ginny led the first years; Ron complained that he had to do it last year. They showed them the portrait of the fat lady and the common room and where the dorms were before sending the frightened looking kids up to bed. They now had to find their room.
Hermoine and Ron were waiting by a portrait of a little girl playing with kittens. They decided their password should be Marauder. It had a small entryway with a little table that would work well for leaving each other notes between classes. They went into the girls' room first; it was large with two queen size four poster beds, their trunks waiting at the bottom. "Where's the 7th year prefect sleeping?" Ron asked them.
"She transferred to Beauxbattons, I heard she wants to get a job in France." Hermoine told them. The boys' room was almost identical to the girls down to the queen size four posters. "I wonder why he didn't appoint a 5th year prefect?"
"Who cares, now we don't have to worry about slipping up and talking about the order, if we need to talk about anything private we can come in here?" Ron said smiling as he plopped down on his bed.
The next morning McGonagall handed out their schedules at breakfast. "Why do they do this to us?" Harry groaned, "Double NWET level potions first thing Monday morning!"
"Tough luck mate, of course I'm still stuck in Divination, but I'm glad I don't have to put up with Snape anymore." Ron told him. "I'll see you two in Transfiguration."
Harry and Hermoine said goodbye to Ron and Neville, who not surprisingly was no longer taking potions, and headed down to the dungeons. They were the only Gryffindors who had high enough OWLs to get into the class. Malfoy was without his trusted body guards and was sitting next to Pansy Parkinson. Justin Finch-Fletchy the only one from Hufflepuff, the rest were Ravenclaws and Slytherins.
Snape billowed into the room and tapped the board; instructions for a very complex potion were on the board. "Potter, can you tell me what potion this is?" He said smirking. He would see just how smart the boy was.
"It's Polyjuice potion sir." Harry said recognizing the ingredients from both his second year and the textbook that he actually read over the summer. He had tried to memorize it to the best of his ability to keep Snape from giving him detention.
Snape seemed surprised that he knew the answer, but he smiled. "And can you tell me how long it takes to make and why a student such as yourself should not be able to make it."
"Yes sir, it takes a month to make and many of the ingredients such as boomslang skin are not part of our student potion ingredients." Harry said, he loved the look of loathing Snape gave him at the mention of boomslang skin. That was what he accused Harry of stealing in his second year, when in reality it was Hermoine that had taken it.
Snape tapped the board and the ingredients to a simple potion appeared, "Mr. Malfoy what is this potion?" The class went on like this for most of the hour, Snape taking house points from everyone who answered incorrectly. Harry could tell he was very upset that he had no cause to take points from Gryffindor since he had answered every question correctly, including the follow-up questions designed to trick him.
When class ended he was in a good mood, it was the first time he could remember not loosing house points or getting detention from Snape. He was going to study hard so Snape couldn't find fault with his work. "Mr. Potter a word," Snape said holding him back. "Your oclumency lessons will be on Tuesday afternoons directly after your last lesson; I expect you have been practicing clearing your mind this summer."
"Yes sir. I only have Herbologry after lunch on Tuesday, am I supposed to come directly after or am I to wait until the end of classes?" Harry said using his most polite voice.
"Directly after Herbologry." Snape told him dismissing him.
Harry hurried to transfiguration where he sat next to Ron, "I did it!" Harry said triumphantly. "I made it through an entire potions class without loosing a house point or getting detention!"
"Harry didn't answer a question wrong; you should have seen Snape trying to trick him so he could take points away!" Hermoine giggled. Harry looked up at Professor McGonagall who smiled at him.
That day they were reviewing last years work, they had to vanish a few items. Harry was the first one to vanish his mouse; Hermoine looked at him surprised as she then successfully vanished hers. "Well done Mr. Potter, Miss Granger ten points each." Professor McGonagall told them. They went to lunch and met up with Ginny who looked like she wanted to kill someone.
"That man asked me every single question he could think of until I finally missed one," She said fuming about Snape. "He only asked everyone else one easy question but the asked me at least 20 until he asked about a potion that isn't even in the book, I only knew part of it so he said, 'you'll need to study harder than that to succeed in potion making Miss Weasley' like I would know to study the 7th year text, I'm only in 5th!"
"He tried the same thing with me Gin," Harry said reassuringly, smiling at her as she instantly calmed down. Harry's presence always soothed her. They headed out to the Greenhouses to join the Hufflepuffs for class then went to Care of Magical Creatures.
"Will we ever get away from the Slytherins?" Ron complained. Draco and his goons walked down to the paddock they were working at. Hagrid came out of his hut with Fawks on his shoulder, who immediately took flight and came over to Harry.
"Hello Fawks, I hope you had a nice summer." Harry said petting the beautiful scarlet bird.
"We will be studying the phoenix today, who can tell me about them?" Hagrid asked smiling at how much the bird liked Harry.
"The phoenix never dies; it is reborn from its ashes." Malfoy drawled looking at the bird. He wouldn't admit it to anyone, but he was fascinated by the phoenix. They were one of his favorite magical creatures.
"That's right, 5 points to Mr. Malfoy," Hagrid told him; nobody could ever accuse him of playing favorites like Snape did.
"They have incredible strength." Another student said, "They are capable of carrying tens of times their weight."
"Their tears have healing properties." Ron added.
"Their song strikes fear into the hearts of their enemies and strengthens those with good intentions." Hermione told him smiling at Fawks. Hagrid gave everyone who answered 5 house points.
"Can you think of anything else Harry?" Hagrid asked him.
"They are very loyal," Harry said, "They can also move from place to place like apparating. If they trust you and love you enough they will help you fifth or will willingly, like for example getting in the way of a killing curse."
"Very good Harry, 20 points." Hagrid smiled, "Will you please stand so everyone can see Fawks." Harry stood with the bird on his shoulder for the class to see.
"Hagrid, where did you get the phoenix?" Seamus asked, "They are a very rare magical creature and most are peoples pets."
"Fawks here is Professor Dumbledore's. As you can see he is very loyal, he knows and trusts Harry that is why he flew to him." Hagrid spent the rest of the class describing the phoenix and assigned them a foot long essay on the creature.
They rushed up to the castle to get to charms, their last class of the day. They also reviewed last year's charms and discussed their OWL results. Professor Flitwick gave Hermoine 5 house points for scoring the highest on her OWL. He told them that they would be starting disillusionment charms tomorrow and he wanted them all to be ready.
"We only have homework in one class, and that's Care of Magical Creatures?" Hermoine asked almost sounding scandalized at the lack of work. They ate dinner and went up to do their phoenix essay before their prefect rounds. Harry was patrolling on the fourth floor near the defense against the dark art classroom when he heard laughing and went to investigate.
"You really think he's scared of the moon?" He heard on of them say.
"Yeah, hurry up before we get caught." Another boy said. Harry could see that they were trying to levitate a fake moon into the classroom. Harry smiled; he was going to enjoy punishing these boys, no one messed with his dad.
"You having a good time?" Harry asked as they turned scared to look at him, seemingly relieved when they noticed he wasn't a professor. The one boy turned like he was going to run but Harry shouted, "Yes, run so I can practice my full body bind hex on you." Both boys stood frozen to the spot. Harry could tell by their robes that they were Slytherins, probably second years. "And what are you doing out of bed after hours?"
"Nothing," the smaller of the two added, "We were just decorating the werewolf's classroom to make him feel welcome."
"Yeah, what does it matter to you?" The larger one asked, he still looked fearfully at Harry's wand after the threat of the body bind.
"I am a prefect, therefore I must insist on accompanying you back to your common room and you will be serving detention with Hagrid tomorrow after classes. The unicorn paddock needs cleaning, without magic." Harry said smiling and then vanishing the fake orb with a flick of his wand. "Come on lets go."
"I will not serve detention with that half-breed." The little one said, this kid was not insulting another person Harry cared about.
"Is there a problem here boys?" Lupin asked stepping out of the shadows before Harry hexed the two little brats. The two boys just glared at him. "I think that your detention will actually take two days to serve out, don't you Harry?" Remus said smiling at the faces of the boys when they realized they were definitely in trouble.
"Now I don't want to see you two out after hours again or I will take house points. I will be informing Professor Snape of this incident as well." Remus told them, "Now I believe you can find your way back to your common room, and I would be quick about it before another prefect catches you and gives you detention."
The boys went off in the direction of the dungeons and Remus turned to Harry. "Can you believe they thought a fake moon would scare me?" Remus laughed patting him on the back. "I did like your punishment though, much more effective for those two than writing lines."
"Yes, their spoiled little rich hands scooping manure, I might just go watch if I didn't have oclumency." Harry laughed, looking at his watch he saw that he was done with his rounds.
"How's your first day go?" Remus asked walking with Harry back to Gryffindor tower. "I saw you had double potions this morning, did you have any trouble?"
"He tried to trip me up, but I read the potions text three times this summer, I answered every question right, it's the first time I haven't lost house points or got detention." Harry told him. "In transfiguration I was the first one to vanish my mouse, even faster than Hermoine, and Hagrid gave me 20 house points for my knowledge of Fawks. It was a pretty good day."
Remus recounted his day and told Harry that all the students are being good, only a few Slytherins acting up of course. He hugged him goodbye at the portrait hole. "Good night son, enjoy your new room."
"Night dad, I'll see you at breakfast." Harry said going in to find Ginny to say goodnight. She was sitting on the sofa in front of the fire reading the 7th year potions text book. "I think you should just tell him he's a git, it would save the time of reading." He joked sitting down next to her; she leaned into him and continued to read, throwing her legs over the arm of the sofa and using Harry to hold her up. He took out one of Defense against the dark arts books and started planning the first DA lesson.
Ron came in dripping wet and looking furious, he stomped over to them. "Peeves! He was waiting with a full bucket of water! Now I have to go change!" He said heading towards their room.
"Ron, you're a wizard, you shouldn't need to change," Ginny giggled still reading. Ron realized what she meant and dried himself using his wand then sat down and opened a Quidditch magazine.
"I have a lot of ideas for the team this year Harry, I spent the summer studying plays. We need to hold tryouts as soon as possible so we can figure out what are strengths and weaknesses are," Ron told him seriously. Harry hadn't given much thought to running the team, he guessed as captain her would be expected to put in hours of time preparing plays and making diagrams, but he just wasn't up to it.
"Sounds good Ron, I'm sure everything you come up with will be great." Harry told his friend, he decided to let Ron handle all the extra Quidditch work and concentrate on the DA.
The next morning Harry got up before his friends and went to see Professor McGonagall. "I'm very honored to be captain, but I really don't have the time to dedicate to it with oclumency and DA." Harry told her sadly. "Ron has been strategizing all summer, I think he would make a much better captain."
"I will make you two co-captains. I know the team will listen to you that is why I made you captain. By having Mr. Weasley the co-captain he can strategize and you can inspire and command." She told him, "I'm glad you came to me with this, I wouldn't want to overwhelm you."
"No, that's for next year and the NEWTs right?" Harry joked as he left her office to head to breakfast and see his friends.
Chapter 15: Secret Admirer
Harry hurried and sat down next to Ginny, he wasted to see her reaction when the post arrived. A large barn owl swooped down and dropped a small parcel in her lap. She opened the package to see the purple quill she had begged her mother for and smiled. She opened the card, thinking it was from her mum.
My Dearest Ginny,
I think of you both day and night. I wish that I could hold you tight. I tell you this with all my might. When it is dark you are my light.
All my love,
Ginny frowned as she read the card, she didn't want a secret admirer, she only wanted Harry. She turned to look at him and noticed the smile in his eyes as he innocently asked her what she had gotten and who it was from. "It's from an admirer," she said smiling at him as he squeezed her leg and she realized it was from him. She showed the card to Hermoine who smiled and Ron who glared.
"He's chicken," Ron said, "He knows you would never like him if he told you himself so he's trying to buy you off."
"Stop it Ron," Hermoine warned him, "I think it's very romantic and how do you know he's not a great guy that wants her to get to know him without her friends and family trying to hex him into oblivion."
Ginny just smiled and pressed her foot to Harry's under the table. "I think it's sweet. So lighten up Ron." Ron just kept looking around the great hall trying to notice someone looking her way. He wasn't just letting anyone court his sister!
Professor McGonagall came up to Ron while he was still looking for the guilty party. "Mr. Weasley, when the letters went out your Quidditch captain badge was forgotten," she told him handing him his badge. "I decided that it would be in the team's best interest to have co-captains this year."
"Thanks," Ron said unbelieving looking to see Harry smiling. "You sure this is ok Harry?" He asked not wanting to upset his best friend.
"Yes, you have all those new moves to teach the team, besides I'm not really into the strategizing part of the game, I just love to play." Harry said patting Ron on the back. Ron skipped off to DADA with Hermoine almost running to keep up with him. He walks faster when he's happy.
"That was nice of you to talk to McGonagall Harry," Ginny whispered in his ear, just hearing her say his name made him weak in his knees.
"Don't tell Ron," He said grinning and then running off to class. It was his first DADA class, he couldn't wait to see what Remus and Tonks had planned. Harry sat at a table with Neville behind Ron and Hermoine. It seemed that being made captain made Ron forget about Ginny's admirer.
"Good morning class," Lupin said walking in as the rest of the class sat down, Harry noticed Tonks came in looking like a student and took a seat in the back of the room, he could tell that no one else noticed, even Ron and Hermoine. He looked questioningly at Remus who winked telling him to let it go. "Today we are going to revisit something you were taught in your 4th year, Constant Vigilance!"
The class jumped as Remus croaked the phrase out just like the fake Moody had. "You have to stay aware of your surroundings, know every person in the room. You need to take in your surroundings so they can't catch you off guard. How many of you can point out the dangers in this room?" He called upon Hermoine first.
"The large tapestry in the corner, someone could be hiding behind it." She told them; Remus smiled and pulled on the tapestry to reveal a sign that said, "You could be dead." Some of the class laughed, others took it to heart.
"The windows are open, someone could get in that way," Malfoy drawled. The class went on to address every possible danger in the room, except Tonks.
"Now how many of you think we have discovered every possible threat?" Remus asked as everyone raised their hand except for Harry. Remus smiled, "Harry here is the only one correct, and can you tell me the general nature of the danger Harry?"
"We are still in danger from the people in the room," Harry generalized; he realized Remus wanted to get the class to find Tonks.
"Very good, 5 points to Gryffindor." Remus told him, "You all neglected the largest threat, your classmates. You trust everyone here who is Hogwarts robes, but what if I was to tell you there is an intruder right here who could have taken out half or more of you without anyone noticing?" The class gasped and looked around the room.
"Constant vigilance includes looking at every person in detail. If you had, you would have noticed a student that does not belong." Remus said as finally some of the class started noticing Tonks. "From her position in the back of the room, she could have taken out half of you before you had time to react. Harry was the only one to notice the stranger."
"Professor Lupin, how did an unauthorized student enter Hogwarts with all the charms and protections?" Dean Thomas asked him.
"You see, she is not a student at all, she's actually a highly trained ministry official. She is an auror who specializes in infiltration. Can anyone guess how she accomplished passing herself off as a student?" Remus asked motioning Tonks to come to the front for a better look.
"Polyjuice potion," Malfoy drawled, "She could have taken a hair from anyone in the right age group to make the potion."
"That would be a good way Mr. Malfoy; I'll give you 3 points for that, the person who guesses correctly will win 5 points." Remus smiled as hands flew up from all over the class with ideas from shrinking charms (Ron's idea), to some sort of herb (Neville's) to transfiguring herself (Hermione's). Harry just sat back and smiled that his friends that new her couldn't even guess.
Once the entire class had given their best guess, Remus turned to Harry, "Harry why don't you tell us how she infiltrated us so easily."
"She works in the castle so she did not have to get past the protection wards, she is an auror so she undoubtedly had no problem nicking robes from the laundry and most importantly she is a metamorphmagi and can change her appearance at will." Harry said, enjoying being good at the class.
"Very good Harry, you get the 5 points. Now I'd like to formally introduce all of you to your other teacher, Professor Tonks." Remus said as Tonks morphed in front of them into her pink haired self.
"Good morning class." Tonks said smiling as the class looked at her stunned. "For your homework assignment I would like you all to write a 3 foot essay on the characteristics of a metamorphmagi, ways to spot one and the benefits and dangers." She said right before the bell rang. Harry loved the stunned looks on Ron and Hermione's faces that they hadn't recognized their friend.
The class all left the room except for Harry and Draco. Draco approached Remus. "I wanted to thank you for not letting our personal business with Amanda influence your teaching," Draco said, surprising Harry and Remus, Tonks just smiled.
"I cannot blame you for our breakup, even though I suspect you were the one who told her of my condition," Remus said smirking at how Draco tensed. "I should have been honest with her."
"Thank you sir," Draco said, he was still surprised at Remus' maturity. He then realized what a nice man he was and realized why Amanda had been with him in the first place. "I would also like to apologize for all the rude comments I made about you the last time you worked here." Harry shook his head to clear his ears, had he just heard Malfoy apologize to someone? "Potter," Malfoy nodded walking out of the room.
Harry looked to Remus who shrugged and looked at him just as bewildered. Tonks just said very softly, "Told you so." Harry rushed off to charms, with a note from Remus just in case. He arrived just before the bell and the only seat was next to Malfoy. Ron shot him a sympathetic stare as Harry sat down, wondering what had happened to the Malfoy he knew and hated.
Harry earned house points again when he described the effects of the disillusionment charm especially how it felt to be under it. The class practiced the charm on white mice. They were not allowed to try it on a partner until they could successfully charm the mouse and perform the counter. Harry and Draco were the first pair to finish and had to perform the charm on each other in front of the class. Many of their classmates held their breath waiting for something to go wrong. Hermoine even stopped trying to help Ron with the charm to see if one of them would hex the other by 'mistake.' They both performed the charm without any incidents. Even Professor Flitwick was surprised.
Harry told his friends as he headed down to the dungeons for his first oclumency lesson of the year. Remus had shrunk his pensive so Harry could carry it with him. Harry deposited as many memories of Gin and him as he could remember into the basin; he didn't want Snape to find out about their relationship. The potions master was still depositing memories into his own pensive when Harry entered. Harry had his wand in his hand and had tried to clear his mind before he walked in; he suspected Snape would pounce without warning.
"Legimens," Snape said casting the spell as soon as he stood from his pensive, trying to hide his surprise that Harry had his wand out ready for him. Harry could feel Snape trying to break through the rather thin barrier he had constructed in his mind. Soon images were swirling before him. He was talking with Remus about being adopted, he was playing Quidditch, he saw Ton Riddle in the Chamber of Secrets, then he saw Sirius battling Bellatrix, he knew what would come next if he didn't push Snape out, he would have to relive Sirius' death again. Harry pushed hard and managed to throw off the spell.
"I see you have practiced," Snape said, it was the closed thing to a compliment Harry had ever received from him. They tried a few more times, reach time the barrier holding out longer and Harry pushing him out faster once he broke through. "This time I want you to try and hex me while I'm breaking into your mind. If you were in battle, you would still have to defend yourself physically while fighting off the mental attack."
Snape started trying to access his thoughts again, Harry sent a badly aimed jelly legs jinx at Snape, who had no problems blocking it. Snape sent a mild stunner at him and Harry cast 'protego' just in time. Instantly the roles were reversed and Harry was seeing into Snape's mind. He saw him being taunted by the Slytherins when he was young and he saw a man hitting the child him before Snape tossed off the spell. They fought back and forth for a few more minutes until Snape finally broke into his mind. He saw the vault opening, throwing mud at Malfoy by the Shrieking Shack, then he saw Ginny putting on her purple necklace and pushed Snape out as hard as he could before he realized Harry's attraction to Ginny.
"So you were at the Shrieking Shack that day," Snape sneered; he had known that Harry snuck out and messed with Draco, but he couldn't prove it. Even though he favored Draco in class, he did feel the boy deserved most if not all of what Potter did to him.
"Yes sir," Harry said looking at his feet, realizing he would most likely get detention. Snape looked surprised that Harry confessed and knew he could not punish him for something that happened 3 years ago.
"While we are clearing up past lies," Snape said in his fiercest voice, "Tell me, did you steel the boomslang skin and gilly weed from my personal stores?"
"No sir I did not personally take them, but I alone was responsible for their theft," Harry said, he would rather have a month of detention than get Hermoine into trouble. Snape sighed inwardly at the loyal Gryffindor.
"I will not pursue the actual culprit if you explain to me why you needed the ingredients." Snape said, he had always wondered what Potter wanted with them.
Harry paused, he knew he should just lie but he had a feeling Snape would look specifically for those memories the next time to see if he was truthful. "I needed the boomslang skin to make polyjuice potion," Harry said seeing Snape's surprised face that he had attempted polyjuice in his 2nd year. "I infiltrated the Slytherin common room to try and determine who the Heir of Slytherin was to try and stop the petrifactions and clear my name."
"So that was why Miss Granger was a cat for weeks? She must have mistakenly added cat hair rather than that of who she wished to turn into." Snape said, now understanding how Harry pulled of the potion.
"Yes and the gilly weed was given to me to use for the second task of the tri-wizard tournament. I did not know it came form your stores until after the task." Harry said honestly. "The night Filtch found the golden egg in the hallway; it was the imposter Moody in your office, not me." Harry told him figuring if they were clearing the air he would answer a question he was sure his Professor wanted the answer to as well.
"That is all for tonight Potter, make sure to clear your mind every time you go to sleep, do not forget. I can tell if you practiced. We will meet this same time every week." Snape said as he added his thoughts back to his temple. Harry went turned out of sight in the corridor and placed his thoughts back as well, stowing the pensive away carefully in the bottom of his bag before heading to dinner. Another letter soon arrived for Ginny at dinner from her admirer.
My Dearest Ginny,
Your beauty is endless. Your soft crimson locks are imprinted upon my mind. I could get lost staring into your melodious brown eyes. The rainbow of colors contained within would be enough to entertain my heart for life. You have a tender nature and are fiercely loyal to your family. I hope that one day we can share a life together.
All My Love
Harry had decided to give himself a name, signing letters 'your admirer' didn't seem personal enough. "The Phoenix," Ginny said smiling, "I like the name, the phoenix is my favorite magical creature." Harry was happy she approved. The gossip around the Gryffindor table was Ginny's secret admirer.
Draco Malfoy was sitting at the Slytherin table next to Pansy who was listening in on some Ravenclaws gossiping. She looked disgusted and turned to Draco, "Can you believe that ugly Weasley girl has a secret admirer? Ugh, who would want someone like her?"
Draco was upset he hadn't thought of the idea of being her admirer. Pansy was just jealous because she knew the little Weasley was beautiful. Pansy looked like someone had hit her in the face with a frying pan. Draco laughed inwardly as Pansy turned to him and started flirting again. "She is the Minister's daughter," Draco reminded her. "And will you stop batting your eyes at me, I am dating someone and even if I wasn't I would not date you." Draco had to tell her to lay off every year; somehow she always seemed to think the next year would be different.
The next morning Ginny received a pale pink rose, almost white in color, its tips were tinted a darker pink making it look like the flower was wearing lipstick. The note read "All my love, The Phoenix." Ginny smiled and brought the flower up to drink in its fragrance. The petals touched her lips and she shuddered, she had felt the same electricity she got when kissing Harry.
"That's a kissing rose!" Lavender Brown said in awe, "That is so romantic."
"The sender takes and kisses the rose and it turns a different shade around the tip. If the recipient touches the petals to their lips it is supposed to feel like the sender has kissed them." Pavarti explained, she was the Gryffindor expert on all things romantic and considered herself a match maker.
Ginny smiled and blushed, that was why she had felt the tingling sensation from the flower. She loved it, Harry was such a romantic. "He must really like you Ginny; the spell doesn't work unless the person sending it feels very strongly about the recipient." Lavender cooed, "I wish someone liked me enough to send me a kissing rose."
Ron just glared at the flower; he didn't want Ginny to be kissing anyone, even if it was through a flower. Draco was glaring from the Slytherin table as well; he knew what kind of rose that was. She had looked so beautiful brushing the rose against her lips that he was tempted to rush across the hall and kiss her himself. Guilt raced through him at he thought, he had momentarily forgotten Amanda. He stood up to go write to her before classes, trying to force his mind from the Gryffindor red head.
Potions went rather smoothly for Harry, Snape only insulted his potion once and that was only to tell him it was supposed to be robins egg blue not periwinkle. Harry looked around the class, the only one with a robins egg blue potion was Draco who had never messed up a potion in class. Hermoine looked upset that her potion was a royal blue and fussed over the ingredients to see if she could remedy it. The potion was for Madame Pomphrey, it stopped internal bleeding and healed damaged internal organs.
Harry left the classroom slowly, he knew Ginny had class right after him and wanted to say hello before transfiguration. He smiled as she was still carrying her flower in her hand. "Hello Harry, don't you think my admirer was sweet to send me this lovely flower." She asked him looking deep into his emerald pools of green. Draco Malfoy walked out of the classroom just then and saw her looking at boy wonder. She had a secret admirer and still she drooled over Potter! Draco deliberately bumped into Harry as he walked past. Harry scowled at Draco; he had been acting so weird lately. At least when they had been openly hostile toward each other he had known what to expect. He hadn't insulted Ron's family or called Hermoine a mud-blood once so far. Harry was beginning to wonder if Tonks was right and he was changing for the better.
Lupin had an interesting lesson planned for the day; Tonks was off on Order aka auror business. He taught them about occlumency about how someone could see into your thoughts. He handed everyone a permission form to send to their parents. He wouldn't use the spell on them without parental approval, since it involved entering the students mind. With about 10 min. left in class he called Harry forward, "I will demonstrate the spell on Harry since we have not gotten the permission forms yet." HE told the class as Harry took out his wand.
Before they started on of the Slytherins asked loudly, "How come he gets to do it without signing the form?" Remus smiled, he was surprised the news of him adopting Harry wasn't common knowledge. He looked to Harry, letting him explain if he wanted.
"Professor Lupin is my father, he adopted me this summer." Harry told the class, "He was friends with my parents before they died and after the death of my godfather last year he took over the role as my guardian." The class did not know how to respond to that information and kept silent to watch the demonstration. Remus had explained how all your memories go wising by like and open book to the one performing the spell, unless you learned occlumency and could block it out.
Harry knew his occlumency lessons were supposed to be secret so he did not try and close his mind, he trusted Remus. As soon as Remus said the spell, images flashed before him most involving him kissing Ginny. Harry could feel himself blushing and said "stop" out loud. That was the keyword for Remus that he couldn't handle any more, when in reality he didn't want his dad to see all his snog secession with Ginny. Harry knew he was still blushing furiously.
"The memories you want to keep hidden are usually the ones that surface the most often," Remus explained. "As you can see Harry is embarrassed that I saw something he didn't want me seeing." Some of the girls giggled. "Embarrassment is only a small portion of what you would feel if all your deepest secrets were revealed. How many of you have things about your lives that you would rather keep secret? Occlumency is a very hard skill to learn, it takes much practice and dedication. If you want to learn it you will have to take additional classes after graduation at a wizarding college. It takes a very powerful wizard to successfully navigate the chaos of a person's mind and pick out the information he or she desires, but anyone can attempt access such as I did with Harry."
The class ended and Remus asked him to stay behind. He told Ron to go to dinner without him; he didn't know how long it would be. He had a feeling he was going to have to discuss his and Ginny's relationship and that could take a while. Ron gave him a pitting look before leaving the room; he figured it was something to do with what Remus saw in Harry's thoughts.
Harry arrived at dinner about 30 min later to find Ron, Hermoine and Ginny still eating. He sat next to Ron. "So what was that about?" He asked seeing Harry's flushed and embarrassed face.
"He gave me the father son sex talk," he told his friends who started laughing at his misfortune, "I always thought I'd get out of that one."
"What did you do or what did he see to bring on the 'talk'?" Ron asked trying to suppress his giggles. Remus must have seen something good.
"He saw me kissing my girlfriend," Harry said quietly. He didn't know what else to tell them, so the truth seemed the best method, he would just not tell them who it was. Ginny almost choked on her mashed potatoes when Harry told them he had a girlfriend. Ron looked at her, realizing she must still like Harry a little to get upset by him dating someone.
"Girlfriend?" Ginny squeaked out, she hoped Harry knew what he was doing. If Ron somehow figured out it was her, it could be bad news. Harry just nodded and smiled at the look Gin was giving him, she was so going to kick his ass later.
"Why didn't you tell us? Who is she?" Ron asked grinning, Harry had told him he liked someone, he just didn't know he got the guts to do something about it.
"It's a secret," Harry said smiling, "We don't want anyone to interfere and her family is very protective of her, they would never approve of her dating."
"Why not? You're Harry Potter; you are like the safest person she could date!" Ron asked sounding incredulous, "I say if she likes you, she shouldn't let her family stop you from seeing each other."
"Is that so Ron?" Ginny said bringing her rose up to her lips and feeling the electricity again. She loved how that made Ron upset, it was so funny.
"You're too young to date Ginny; Harry's older, more mature." Ron said firmly.
"He's only a year older than her Ron," Hermoine said smiling; "Besides we don't even know what year this girl he's seeing is in, she could be younger." Ron looked to Harry to help him out, Harry just shrugged.
"Sorry, I'm not giving you any information, not even what house she's in" Harry said grinning; he was going to enjoy this little game for a while. "I'm even meeting her tonight for a bit of snogging." Ginny one again choked on her food. Harry had just invited her to meet him for a late night snog!
"Harry Potter!" Hermoine scolded, "A relationship is about much more than snogging!"
"I know that, if I never kissed her the rest of the year I would still like her, even though I do enjoy the snogging. She is a very good kisser." Harry said watching Ginny spit out a little bit of her pumpkin juice. Ron decided to change the subject. Ginny still seemed stuck on him, too bad he liked another girl. He always thought that Ginny and Harry should be together, that was why he gave her such a hard time about boyfriends.
Chapter 14: Secrets Revealed
The first few weeks of classes raced by and soon it was time for Quidditch tryouts. Ron and Harry spent lunch and dinner taking about nothing else. Ginny was trying to listen as they discussed potential chasers. They all went down to the pitch for tryouts. They would need two new beaters, the ones from last year quit, and two new chasers. Harry and Ron decided that Ginny got one of the spots without needing to try out; Ron had seen her play enough to know she was good.
Harry noticed Malfoy in the stands watching the potential Gryffindor players. He was the new captain of the Slytherin team and Harry couldn't wait to beat him again. Draco had come out to the pitch under ruse of spying on their potential team, but in reality he wanted to see the pretty little red head again. She looked great on a broom with her hair fanning out behind her like a mane. She was very good, could fly circles around those trying out for the other chaser positions. Draco knew she was even better than his chasers, the only positions he needed filled were beaters and Crabbe and Goyle would probably get them just for sheer size and brute strength. A bludger hit by them could kill someone.
Ginny tried to pretend she didn't see the Slytherin Prince watching her every move, it was quite unnerving. Tonks had been telling her how he was turning into a good person, but she still didn't want him staring at her. Harry and Ron stayed in the locker rooms discussing who should be on the team so she decided to take a walk around the lake. She was watching the giant squid and bumped into someone, again.
"Little Weasley we need to stop meeting this way," Draco said helping he from the ground like he had on the train. Ginny didn't know what to say to him, she didn't want to start a fight with no body around to help her if she got into trouble.
Ginny couldn't hold back her tongue, she was too much like the twins, and she just had to say the first thing that popped into her head. "And how would you rather us meet Malfoy?" She asked with a sassy tone that Draco found incredibly sexy.
"I would meet a beautiful girl like you anywhere you asked me to," He said before he could help himself. His natural reaction was to charm women, even if he was seeing someone. Damn it, how did he always forget Amanda when he was talking to the red head?
"I'm not accustomed to hanging out with dragons, they tend to breathe fire when leas expected." Ginny said making it clear to him that she did not trust him. "Besides, I am rather fond of phoenixes and you have a girlfriend."
Draco smiled at her referring to him as a dragon and he knew her secret admirer called himself the phoenix, but what really threw him off was her mentioning he had a girlfriend. Potter must have told her about him and Amanda. "Good day little Weasley." Draco said and walked off leaving her by the lake.
Ginny went back to the castle to find Tonks; she wanted her opinion of the whole matter. She knocked on her door and was surprised when Remus answered it. "Hello Ginny," he said with a smile and led her into the room, he excused himself and left the girls to talk. "We need to be careful Ginny, he is so close to taking the final steps over to our side, I'm afraid if he finds out about you and Harry he'll turn back to evil. Harry and he are rivals, now it seems they are rivals for your affections as well." Tonks told her.
"I better not tell Harry, he'll get Ron and we'll be picking up pieces of Malfoy all over the castle." Ginny said shaking her head. "He better not try anything or he's going to be seriously hurting, I am very good at my bat bogey hex. Last time I hit him with it he was in the hospital wing!"
Remus came back in with a frown after Ginny left. "This is going to end badly."
"Why do you think that?" Tonks asked intrigued, he was usually a positive guy.
"The same type of thing happened when I was in school. Didn't you ever wonder why Severus hates Harry so much? He's the spitting image of James who won Lily's heart. James and he were a lot like Malfoy, except James took it a step further, he enjoyed humiliating Severus. Lily hated the way the boys acted; she would scream at James for being such a jerk and would try and defend Snape. Snape started to like Lily, even though he didn't show it since she wasn't a pureblood, or so he thought. He finally got the guts to tell her he liked her but she had already fallen for James." Remus told her.
"They became bitter rivals after that, in effect pushing Severus to join the death eaters. He hated Voldemort though and started consulting with Dumbledore on what to do. He still hated James, especially since he and Lily had Harry. I don't think he would have come back to our side if it hadn't been for her. When Voldemort ordered the Potters killed he came straight to Dumbledore to warn him. He still blames himself for not realizing about Peter or Sirius as we thought, was a death eater. That was what drove him to flip sides and play informant." Tonks sat in silence, that made Snape's actions make much more sense.
An owl flew through the window and dropped a letter in her lap with the Malfoy seal. She opened it wondering what Draco was going to say. He was writing to tell her he was struggling to define himself. He was a totally new person when he was with her but at school he is still expected and treated like the same person he was. He didn't know how to mesh the two personas. He told her he has stopped insulting the Gryffindors. Then he told her that Remus was his professor again and assured her that he was behaving and that he realized what she had seen in him. Tonks handed Remus the letter smiling.
"I notice he doesn't mention anything about Ginny," She giggled. Remus laughed and captured her lips in a tender kiss. "But then I am gorgeous!" She squeaked out as he started chasing her around the room.
Ginny had to help Professor Snape that afternoon brew some potions for Madame Pompfrey, as much as Snape hated to admit it she was one of the best potions students he had ever had. Ginny was upset she had to spend the afternoon with Snape but at least she was getting extra credit. Ginny opened the door to the potions classroom and saw Draco Malfoy standing near a row of caldrons along with Professor Snape. He showed them how to do the potion and left them to make as much as possible.
Ginny couldn't believe she had to spend the entire afternoon alone with him. They got to work on the potions right away. Draco was actually very polite to her. "Could you pass me the farie tears please little Weasley?"
Ginny laughed and handed him the ingredient, "Do you even know my name?" He always called her little Weasley; she figured he never took the time to learn it.
"Your name is Virginia," He said smiling, Ginny was shocked she had never seen him smile.
"It's Ginny; I'm only Virginia when I get in trouble." She told him.
"You get in trouble? I can't imagine the minister's daughter getting punished." Draco said wondering what this perfect girl could do to get in trouble.
Ginny giggled, "I take after my twin brothers, and they always talked me into pulling pranks. I never get punished too badly being the only girl and the youngest they don't know what to do when I fake cry."
"I get whatever I want being the only child, but I'm also expected to be the perfect Malfoy child." Draco told her. "My father is quite demanding, and he gets very upset if I do something he doesn't approve of." He shuddered at the memory.
do you mean?" Ginny asked surprised the spoiled boy would ever not
get his way. "What wouldn't he approve of and what would he do to
"Talking to you for one," Draco said softly, "Or anyone who associated with muggles and mud-bloods. Although he may be ok with it since your father is minister, I could always tell him I was using you to gain favor with the ministry. But if he saw me be nice to Granger he'd most likely use the Crusacious curse on me to teach me a lesson."
Ginny looked wide eyed at him, "your father has used an unforgivable curse on you? I always figured you for a spoiled brat, how did you cope with that?"
Draco shrugged, "it was easy, I just did exactly what he said, got into Slytherin like planned and became the heartless prick you all know and hate." He sighed, he liked talking to people like her, and he wished Amanda was around to talk to as well.
"What made you drop your icy façade and stop listening to him?" She asked.
"He's in Azkaban and now I'm getting old enough to really question his beliefs. I don't understand why he follows the Dark Lord. I don't ever want to be a death eater. I am my own person, and I guess I realized that if I keep listening to him I'll be miserable all my life." Draco said. "They want me to marry a pure blood like Parkinson; I can't imagine being with someone I can't stand just because of their blood line. Being a pure blood doesn't make you a better wizard, look at Granger she got top marks and she's a muggle born!"
Ginny just stared at him in awe, Tonks was right he was different. "Malfoy, can you pass me the powdered rat spleen please," she asked pointing to a vial next to him.
"You can call me Draco if you like or anything really. I hate how everyone spits my name out like its poison. I'm sorry for talking your ear off, I just don't have anyone in my house I can talk to about this stuff and Amanda is the only other person I have to talk about this with and she's not here." He smiled and handed her the rat spleen.
"That's all right, I don't mind. It makes the potion making go faster and there isn't the awkward and tense silence." She told him. They talked for another hour about school and Quidditch. He was very knowledgeable about everything; she had never taken him for being smart. Professor Snape came back in to check their progress; he even seemed pleased with the quantity of potion they were turning out. They were working in silence while Snape sat at his desk.
"Hey Red pass me the dried tube grubs," Draco smiled at her; he liked his new nickname for her. He didn't like the name Ginny, he would rather call her Virginia, but if she didn't like it she could be Red.
"Here you are Dragon," Ginny said, if he was going to call her Red she was sure as hell not going to call him Draco. He smiled at the name, he liked how that sounded. They finished the potions right before dinner, cleaned up and headed out of the dungeons toward the great hall. Snape had told them to be there at the same time next week for another batch of medical potions.
Ginny sat down next to Harry. "Did you just walk in with Malfoy?" Ron asked.
"He was the other potions student picked to help make the medical potions; we just left Snape's room and came to dinner." Ginny said calmly. She saw the concerned looks on her friends faces, "Don't worry he actually behaved and was nice to me."
"Malfoy was nice? Has hell frozen over?" Ron grumbled.
"I think Tonks might be right about him changing, he told me some things about how he grew up that make Harry's uncle look like a saint." Ginny said as Harry looked at her with a questioning look. "I'll tell you about it later when no one else is around."
They finished dinner and Ginny headed up to the library to do her homework. Harry and Ron were going to decide on the Quidditch team and Hermoine was going to help McGonagall with something. Ginny sat down to finish her star chart for astronomy, she had class Monday night and didn't want to wait until the night before, and she was horrible at it anyway. She was seated at the very back table hidden behind rows of books, her favorite spot where she could study in peace. She barely noticed when someone approached and sat down across from her.
"That's not the right position for Mars," Draco said startling her. She looked up to see him sitting across from her smirking. "In fact you have a lot of them in the wrong position. Do you want me to look it over; I got the highest score on my OWL. I even beat Granger." She pushed her paper to him; she never turned down astronomy help. He showed her the ones that were wrong and showed her how she miscalculated the angles.
"Thanks," she told him as she started the corrections. "What are you doing in here?" She rarely ever saw him in the library or even more without his goons.
"I followed you," Draco said simply, smiling at the look between curiosity and annoyance playing on her pretty face.
"Why would you do that?" Ginny said hoping he wasn't going to do something horrible to her; maybe he had just been acting before.
"I wanted to see you again." He told her, "You are beautiful and we had a good time talking today."
"Thank you, I enjoyed taking to you as well, I think we might be able to be friends." She said, not liking where the conversation was going. Harry would murder him if he saw how he was looking at her, Ron as well.
"I want to be your friend as well. I don't have many real friends, just Slytherins whose parents tell them to be friends with me." He said still drinking in her beauty. "I was hoping we might be more than just friends."
"Draco," She said hoping he wouldn't explode and turn back into his old self. "You have a girlfriend."
"And even if I didn't you still would only want to be friends," Draco said reading it on her face. He had never expected her to like him, he just couldn't help himself. It was odd, he had never had a girl say no to him and yet he known she would before he asked. He just had to try.
"I'm in love with someone else." Ginny said quietly.
"Your secret admirer?" Draco asked watching as she nodded her head. "Would you believe me if I told you I was him?"
"I know who it is. He sends me the notes because my brother Ron doesn't want me to date anyone." Ginny said not wanting to lie to him. "I do still want to be your friend."
"Even though you know I like you and am willing to break up with a wonderful woman just to have you for one day?" He asked she was too good a person to waste her time being friends with him; she deserved someone like Potter who was perfect too.
"Yes, but I think you should be honest with Amanda, it's not nice to date someone if you think about someone else." Ginny said hoping to free Tonks of him. "She might want to stay friends with you too if you two were not too involved." She shuddered thinking about him being intimate with her friend.
"Don't worry Red; we were not intimate as you call it. You might be surprised to find that I'm much less experienced than you might think." He told her.
"There is nothing wrong with being inexperienced, I think someone should wait until they are truly in love before getting physically involved. I am planning on waiting until I'm married, or at least engaged." Ginny said blushing; she couldn't believe she was having this conversation with him.
Draco leaned closer so he could not be overheard before whispering, "I have the same plan." Ginny looked at him shocked. The girls around school all bragged about their nights with the Slytherin Prince yet he was still a virgin. Girls gossiped too much. He looked at his watch and noticed he had prefect rounds. "I have to go; it was nice talking with you Red." He said standing.
"Have a good night Dragon, thanks for the help with astronomy." She said also packing up to go back to the common room. She wanted to see who made the Quidditch team and tell Hermoine what just happened.
Harry and Ron posted the Quidditch team roster and hurried into their room to avoid having to see disappointed people. The new beaters were the Creevy brothers. Harry had expected them to be a disaster but they had amazing aim and could almost predict the other's movements. The other chasers were Dean and Seamus; Harry couldn't understand why they never tried out before.
When Harry and Ron emerged about a half hour later the four new players, Neville, Pavarti and Lavender were all hanging out laughing and having a good time with Ginny and Hermoine. Harry headed quickly down to the kitchen and sent a house elf out to get a couple cases of Butterbeer and Honeyduke's sweets. They were going to have a party for the new team members!
They moved the beds in Harry and Ron's room to the side and Hermoine and Harry transfigured the small carpet into a lush large shag carpet for them all to hang out on. They had a good time laughing and reminiscing. "Hey we should play truth or dare!" Dean said grinning, "Or spin the bottle or I've Never."
"Yes! Let's play a game!" Pavarti squealed sitting down on the rug. "What's I've Never?"
"You say something you've never done and then anyone who has done it has to take a drink." Dean said, "It's a drinking game. You say something that you know someone has done or you think they have done, you have to tell the truth and drink if you've done it."
"Sounds fun, let's play." Harry said sitting down next to Pavarti, they all sat in a circle, and Ginny sat on his other side. "Dean you can start since it was your idea to play."
"Ok, I've never slapped someone in the face." He said grinning at Hermione who he remembered slapping Malfoy back in 3rd year. Lavender was next to him and she grinned at took a drink, Hermoine did as well as Pavarti. The girls all smiled.
Lavender was next, "I've never snuck out to go snog someone." Hermoine and Ron both drank. Harry laughed at his friends' guilty look. Ginny took a drink and Hermoine had to hold Ron back. "What? Who have you gone off to snog?" She just smiled and shook her head at her brother. Harry quickly took a drink which made both Pavarti and Lavender giggle. Dean was the only other one to drink.
Seamus winked at Harry before saying, "I've never had a secret girlfriend or boyfriend." They all knew about Harry's secret girl.
Hermoine drank, mumbling something about Krum then Ginny drank again Ron looking at her sternly. Harry grinned as he drank; Ron was such a git sometimes. Neville was next and he said, "I've never kissed anyone other than my family." He seemed sad about that fact but he wanted to see if anyone else was behind when it came to girls.
The only one who drank was Dennis Creevy; he was younger than all of them so it wasn't surprising. Hermoine was next and she said, "I've never failed a class." They all laughed and all drank except for Ginny, Colin and Dennis who hadn't taken their OWLs.
Ron was trying to figure out a way to get his sister, "I've never lie to Ron about knowing who Ginny's secret admirer was." Ginny looked quickly to Harry who wished Ron hadn't said that one. Ginny smiled sweetly at Ron and took a long sip of her Butterbeer. Ron glared and was about to say something mean to her when he saw Harry drink as well as Hermoine. He just stared at his friends. "Why did you lie to me?"
"We knew how protective you are of Ginny," Hermoine said, "We didn't want you to be upset."
"Harry you are just as protective as I am, how come you are fine with this?" Ron asked his best friend, he couldn't believe they had all lied.
"He is very good to her and she seems to like him, so I figured it was ok," Harry said trying to be as vague as possible without outright lying to his mate.
Dennis Creevy looked scared to talk; he managed to say, "I've never got a detention before." They all seemed impressed with that fact; Snape was notorious for giving Gryffindors detention. They all had to drink. Dennis laughed.
Colin said, "I've never been in love." He watched as Ginny drank blushing. Harry also drank as well as Hermoine and Ron and surprisingly Neville.
It was Ginny's turn and she didn't have any idea what to ask, she decided to say "I've never been caught out of bed after hours." It was all she could think of, she was starting to feel the effects of too much Butterbeer. It was fine in small doses but she was on her 7th bottle! Harry, Ron and Neville all drank.
Harry wanted to think of something good, "I've never had a crush on one of my professors." He knew the girls all had liked Lockhart. They all drank and so did Seamus who smiled and told them he thought Tonks was hot. Pavarti told them she had never lie to her sibling, and Harry Hermoine and Neville were the only ones who didn't drink since they were only children.
"That was fun, let's play truth or dare or spin the bottle now!" Dean said since they had gotten all the way around the circle. They decided on truth or dare. Dean dared Seamus to lick the bottom of his shoe; Seamus dared Neville to go to DADA with pink hair like Tonks. Neville asked Ginny if she was still in love with Harry even though she had a boyfriend. Ginny blushed and looked at Ron who was just as curious as Neville. Ginny knew she had to tell the truth so she simply said yes and pretended she was afraid to look at Harry.
Ginny asked Ron if there was anyone he would ever approve of her dating. Ron looked at her and smiled. "Yes, there is one person that I know even mum and dad would approve of."
Ginny looked at him excitedly, "So who is it?"
"Sorry, you didn't ask that in the original question," he laughed at she jumped up to fake strangle him. He laughed and pushed her off. Once they all calmed down again he asked Harry, "How serious are you about this girl of yours, do you just think she's hot, do you love her, where do you think its going?"
"I'm 100 in love with her. She is the most amazing person I've ever met. I know we're young but I want to spend the rest of my life with her." Harry said honestly. Ginny had burst into tears at how strongly Harry felt about her, she had never felt so happy. Ron stood up and dragged his best friend into the corner of the room.
"What were you thinking saying that in front of Ginny? Look how upset she is, you could have just said you liked the girl. I know you're in love, but don't you care how Ginny feels?" Ron said trying to be quiet but everyone was quiet enough to hear it all.
"I just answered the question, what does it matter anyways, you wouldn't let her date me. I'm didn't mean to make her cry I was just being honest." Harry told Ron.
"You are who I was telling Ginny I would approve of her dating Harry. I know our parents would be proud to have their only daughter date you." Ron said shocking Harry. Ron had just given him permission to date Ginny!
"Are you serious? You're telling me that if walked over there right now and kissed her you would be fine with it." Harry said with a smile, trying not to show his joy in case Ron wasn't serious.
"Yes, I'd be happy for her, but I don't think your girlfriend would mind. And if you hurt her just to prove a point I'd have to kill you even if you are my best mate." Ron said not finding it funny that Harry would joke about his sister.
Harry grabbed Ron in a hug and ran to Ginny spinning her around. "Did you hear that?" He laughed as she giggled and wrapped her arms around him. She pulled him into a deep kiss before he put her down.
"Hey Ron I think I should introduce you to my admirer," Ginny said laughing at the shocked look on her brothers face. Ron didn't know what to make of it, Harry's secret girlfriend was Ginny. This was huge! "We got together over the summer." Everyone was laughing now, they were happy for their friends. Ginny and Harry were just happy they didn't have to hide their relationship anymore.
Draco was sitting in his room trying to write a break up letter to Amanda. He couldn't keep his mind off Virginia and he didn't think it was fair to Amanda to keep it from her. He was just hoping he wouldn't get a howler the next morning after she got the letter. He hated having others see his emotions and if it said anything about Ginny her would curl up and die. He had to tell her the entire truth so that they could stay friends.
The next day the talk of the school was that Harry and Ginny had been secretly seeing each other since the summer. "Figures that Potter gets the only girl worth dating in this school," Draco moaned to himself after hearing the rumors. He had seen how Virginia was enamored with Harry since her 1st year and she deserved to be happy. She was the nicest most beautiful girl in the school. She deserved a boyfriend like Saint Potter who would respect her and not end up hurting her like he would have most likely ended up doing.
Remus and Tonks were happy for the two lovebirds. "Now if we could only finish up with this whole Malfoy thing, we can actually start dating." Remus said taking her in his arms. They were hanging out in her rooms planning their next week's lessons, it was their Sunday tradition. Draco's owl flew in with a letter for Amanda.
"He's breaking up with me!" Tonks said happily. "It seems he values our friendship too much to not tell me that he has feelings for another girl. Even though he knows she doesn't like him and they are just friends he thinks about her and she has filled his heart. He tells me that my friendship is the most important thing to him and that he wanted to be honest with me since I've always been honest with him. Well that makes me feel bad since our whole relationship was based upon a lie." Tonks said handing the letter to Remus so he could read it.
"How are you going to respond, we still want to bring him to our side, you'll have to say that you would like to be just friends." Remus said with a shrug. They talked with Dumbledore about it and they agreed that she would have to write back that she understood and that she hoped everything worked out for him.
Draco was sitting at the Slytherin table with a sour look on his face; he had just seen Potter kiss Virginia and it made him jealous. Imagine that, a Malfoy jealous? He was also worried about Amanda's response; he prayed it wasn't a howler. Everyone in the great hall gasped as they saw the owl enter with the red howler envelope, most hoping it wasn't being delivered to them. Draco saw it and knew it was for him. He reached out and took the letter form the bird; he knew it would come to this.
Ginny watched as the letter landed before Draco, he looked like he even expected it. She wondered what he did to deserve a howler, and who would send a Malfoy one? Didn't they know that was suicidal?
Draco opened the letter expecting the worst, but no sound came out, the letter didn't say anything. He read the first line; it read "Got you! You so expected a howler I just couldn't resist. But since I know you despise public displays of emotion I resisted. I am glad we can remain friends. We both know that as much as we enjoyed each other's company, there was never any spark between us. I wanted you to know that I value your friendship as well. Good luck with the girl. Amanda" Draco laughed, she was good. That was one of the funniest pranks he had had pulled on him. Fake howlers were a good gag. He grinned and returned to his breakfast, ignoring the curious stares he was getting from around the hall.
Ginny looked up at Tonks who was shaking with silent laughter and realized who the fake howler was from. Draco must have done something or said something to Amanda and that was why he didn't look surprised at the Howler. She would have to have Tonks sell her idea to Fred and George. It would be a great idea for the joke shop. She caught Malfoy's eye on the way out and gave a quick smile. She just hoped he would still be nice to Harry now that he knew they were together.