As it turned out, Gryffindor ended up winning the House Cup. Harry didn't mind that so much, since Ravenclaw trumped everyone at Quidditch. Snape still acted the same towards Harry, though he did seem strangely absent at meals from time to time. Harry figured he was down in his office, trying to think of poisons to use on his students. Just because he tried making peace with the man didn't mean that he had to up and start liking him.
Luna Lovegood had barely left Solieyu alone, which amused both Harry and Tonks to no end. The two could often be seen walking through the halls of the school, Luna latched onto one of Solieyu's arms. Coincidentally, Solieyu spent much of his hall-walking time scowling and trying to escape Luna's clutches.
Harry ended up having a little talk with Dobby, as well. He got the house elf to promise him not to stop by Number Four that summer, which helped him relax a bit more.
"Wonder who's gonna get the Defense position next year." Harry wondered as he, Tonks, and Solieyu made their way onto the Hogwarts Express.
"Dunno." Tonks said. "I'd stay away from it if it was offered to me, though. Seems cursed."
"Yeah. Maybe we'll get lucky, though." Harry said, finding an empty compartment and slipping into it. Tonks and Solieyu followed behind him. Harry flopped down into a seat, with Tonks scooting up next to him. Solieyu stretched his legs out on the opposite site.
"I see your girlfriend couldn't make it." Tonks commented, grinning.
"She isn't my girlfriend." Solieyu stated.
Harry and Tonks exchanged an amused glance. "Sure she isn't, Leon." Tonks said. "Suuure she isn't."
"Oh, believe what you want." Muttered the long-haired boy. "She's got a bad case of hero worship. She'll outgrow it."
"And if she doesn't?" Harry asked.
Solieyu thought for a moment, shook his head a few times, then made a face. "I have no idea." He finally said. "I just hope she stops attaching herself to me. It's...embarassing."
"Oh, I dunno. Having a cute girl around you all the time has its perks." Harry commented airily, glancing out the window.
"Awww..." Said Tonks, playfully punching Harry in the shoulder. "You really think I'm cute, huh?"
"Oh, now don't you two go getting all mushy on each other in front of me." Said Solieyu, swinging his legs down. "It's way too early in the trip for that and I'd rather not watch you two lovebirds snog the whole way back to King's Cross."
"Snog?" Said Harry and Tonks at the same time. Turning to look at each other, they quickly looked off, both blushing.
Solieyu slapped his forehead.
"Alright, now remember - we wanna come over to your place at least once this summer, Leon." Tonks said as the three pushed their carts across King's Cross. "I'll send a hundred angry owls if you forget."
"I won't forget, I promise." Said Solieyu, smiling faintly. "I'll send you a letter after I ask my mother."
"Sounds like a plan. So, all I hafta do is bust Harry outta his own personal Azkaban before then, huh? Sounds easy." Tonks said, nodding sagely.
Harry, who was walking along behind the other two, rolled his eyes. "Yeah, good luck. Let's hope no random barriers pop up this time."
"Hey, I'll bring backup if I sense anything out of the ordinary." Tonks said, saluting over her shoulder.
The three made their way up to street level, where they parted ways with Solieyu, who hopped in a taxi to get home. Harry and Tonks leaned back against the nearest wall and waited for Andromeda to arrive.
"Why's she late, anyway?" Harry asked.
"Work, probably. She warned me she might be a bit late." Tonks said, shrugging. "Anyway... Look, did Dumbledore say how long you needed to stay at your relatives' house each year? I wanna show up the minute I can."
"Dunno... he's never said, really. And I've never really thought to ask. Just to play it safe... and I can't believe I'm saying this willingly... I'd better stay there a week." Harry said.
"A week!" Exclaimed Tonks. "Are you mad! After what they did last year!"
"No house elf to cause me to get pummelled." Harry said, tone dark. "And I don't exactly plan to let them walk all over me this year. I've got a secret weapon."
"Ooh, what is it, what is it?" Tonks asked, leaning in close.
Grinning, Harry leaned over as well. Mouth inches from one of Tonks' ears, he hissed quietly, ":I've got THIS...:"
Tonks squeaked, bolting upright and staring at Harry for a moment before glaring. "That isn't funny! I don't care how useful it might be, it still sounds really eerie when you do that. Especially when you do it right by my ear! ...And what did you say, anyway?"
Chuckling, Harry repeated what he had said in English.
"Ohh. Well, that's true. I suppose it would creep those stupid Muggles of yours out. Say, Harry...?" Tonks said.
"What're you gonna do about the Hogsmeade stuff?" She asked.
Frowning, Harry shrugged. "Dunno. I know that my aunt and uncle won't sign the permission slip. Anything that would allow me to have fun? Hardly."
"You could always explain to them that Hogsmeade is what us wizards call a torture chamber or somethin'. Y'know, for the really bad students to get punished in." Tonks said.
"It'd probably work on them, too." Harry said, smirking. "I might try it if I'm feeling particularly daring about it..."
"Best of luck to ya." Tonks said, patting Harry on the shoulder.
A few minutes later and a familiar car came around the corner. After Andromeda had stopped in front of them, the three quickly loaded the luggage into the vehicle, piled in it themselves, and took off again.
On the way back to Number Nine, Tonks nearly made Andromeda swerve off the road on two seperate occasions as she retold her and Harry's 'adventure' that year. It seemed as if Tonks had been waiting for just the right moment to tell her mum about everything. Harry was clutching at the seat, quickly giving Tonks' mother answers when she looked around and asked him something.
"A basilisk... that's insane! Why didn't Albus do anything?" Andromeda asked, her voice a bit high-pitched. "I'm going to have a talk with that man when we get home. Honestly!"
"Ah, it turned out fine in the end." Tonks said, looking over at Harry and blushing faintly. Harry caught her glance and quickly stared at the back of the driver's side seat, also blushing.
"Even so!" Andromeda said, missing the exchange between the two. A short trip later and the three were getting out of the car again.
"This time..." The elder Tonks began, putting her hands on Harry's shoulders, "We won't get tricked by some barrier. Now you take care of yourself, alright? No showing up in the same condition you showed up in last year, understand?"
Harry nodded. "Me and Tonks have gone over the basics. The two of you can work out how you want to break me out. Might bring along some healing potions, just in case. You never know. By the way, could you look after Hedwig? I'd rather her not get stuck there with me."
"Sure thing." Said Andromeda, taking the snowy owl's cage from Harry. "We'll take good care of her for you."
"Thanks. Be a good girl for them, alright?" Harry said, looking at his pet.
Hedwig hooted in reply, ruffling her feathers.
"Well... I guess I'm off, then." Harry said, sounding completely put-out by the thought.
Bouncing over, Tonks threw her arms around Harry, squeezing him tightly and giving him a quick peck on the cheek. "Don't worry, we'll getcha out soon enough. Just think about all the fun we'll have. ...And possibly what our new Defense professor will have wrong with him. One had a second face, the other was a lying jerk. It can't get too much weirder, can it?"
Blushing again, Harry shrugged. "I dunno. There's a lot of strange things out there, Tonks."
"Oh, leave Malfoy outta this." Tonks said. Upon Harry's snort, she grinned and gave him another hug. "Take care, Harry."
"You too." Harry said, hugging back with one hand. "I'll see you two in a week, okay?"
"Have fun scaring your relatives!" Tonks called as Harry made his way up the street.
"Scaring his relatives?" Andromeda asked, blinking. "What do you mean?"
Grinning even wider, Tonks looked up at her mother. "It's a long story. C'mon, let's get inside. I'm starving."
Author's Notes: HALLELUJAH, I'M DONE!
Holy crap, I thought I'd never finish. But then I wrapped up the last few parts in like a single week. Buh. Why can't I keep to that kinda schedule?
Anyway... I know it was short, but it was meant to be. I've got some talkin' to do about the future plans, so that'll beef the length up a ways. I just wanted to wrap up a few things, set up a few others, that sorta thing.
Now! All that bein' said... I have bupkis for The Prisoner of Azkaban Returns.
Yup. Nothin'. Squat. Zilch. Zero. Nada.
So... expect a fair wait on PoA:R Chapter 1. ...Or no, actually, I lied. I do have ONE chapter planned out. But only the VERY basics. I know how I want to start it, I just dunno how I want to TAKE it.
I'm very glad I have a Weasley connection, so I can still use the old setup for Sirius' escape, though. It'll just be Fred and George who write to Harry rather than Ron.
The first truly big appearance change for our three leads is going to happen over the summer, too! And I'm not telling what it is, so nyeh!
In addition to having two of my favorite characters in the series showing up next book, I'm planning to put a little character development into Leon to flesh him out a bit more. I hope nobody minds. Given that his big secret's finally gonna be revealed, I thought it only fair to give the poor lad more screen time than he's gotten in the first two books.
I can't believe I started Chamber like... last November. Take me a long time to do something much! ...But I guess it's better this way. Remember, I retconned SIX chapters and rewrote things a LOT. Some of you might remember that, some might not. I still have the chapters around, so maybe, after I'm done with things, I can either upload a fake book filled with outtake and rewrite chapters, put in all those bits and pieces that never make it (like the dream sequences)
and stuff like that. If FFN will lemme. You know how they are.
So...yeah. I'm not sure what I'm-a do for Prisoner yet. I'd hate to say that the first chapter will be out in OCTOBER, but it may be. I need some time to think.
I'd LIKE to get to Halloween BY Halloween, if you catch my drift. I've got a FEW drafts of Solieyu's speech written out, so I think I can use one o' those if I pull off the approach right.
Um... plus... um... I plan to have lots of stuff in October. My birthday's on the second of the month, see... And with Advance Wars DS and the sixth season of The Simpsons out on DVD already... and Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow coming out on the FOURTH... Well...
You guys know how I get when games hogtie my attention span.
Still! I promise the first chapter will be up before long. I'm totally taking a week off before even attempting a first-draft chapter guide. Powering out the last few chapters here's kinda burned out my circuits, if ya catch my drift.
Thank you all for reading and reviewing - it's you guys that've kept my spirits up and kept me going through times I've wanted nothing more than to stop writing entirely. And also thank you for sticking by the fic despite the sometimes horrifyingly long update gaps. You guys mean a lot to me, and I hope I can keep entertaining you with the R-Series for a long time to come.
As I seem to be averaging one book every eight or nine months... I can't help but wonder if I'll get my series finished before Rowling gets the final book out. Hmm...
Anyway... Until next book, folks, take care!