Harry has lost the magical protection that he had living with his relatives. He inherits Grimmauld place and spends his summer there. Tonks and Ginny Weasley volunteer to keep him company and train for the summer. Harry is presented with a number of options and must make appropriate choices that will have lasting ramifications on the wizarding world.Timeframe
The story takes place during July and August of 1996, the summer between 5th and 6th year.Introduction
The wizarding world began changing immediately after the news of what had happened on Friday 28 June in the Department of Mysteries began to spread. Minister of Magic Fudge who had been on thin ice politically before the news, felt his support cracking all around him. His most visible supporter, Lucius Malfoy was found out to be a senior Death Eater and was currently sitting in a holding cell along with ten of his cohorts. Fudge had publicly denied the existence of Voldemort for the last year, slandering the voices of Albus Dumbledore and Harry Potter in the process. In the face of indisputable evidence he was forced to publicly reverse his position and offer very painful public apologies. If that wasn't bad enough, his support of Delores Umbridge was found to have gone very, very bad. While he managed to keep her attempt at casting an unforgivable curse at Harry Potter quiet, her other abuses of power quickly came to light. Unless something happened, Fudge was likely in his last month in office. Meanwhile Dumbledore had been quietly reinstated as head of the wizarding court system, the Wizengamot, as well as his return as headmaster of Hogwarts. By the time school had ended for the term, charges were being filed against Umbridge, who had left Hogwarts the day before, and not been heard of since.
A piece of the story that had not yet been widely told was that of Sirius Black. Dumbledore had made a complete deposition to Director Bones, but was still trying to get Black's name cleared. His death had been officially recorded, but without Pettigrew physically in custody, dead or alive, there was insufficient evidence to publicly exonerate him. Interestingly enough, as there had been no trial, there was nothing to officially pardon him of.
Wednesday - 3 July
After depositing her school trunk into her room, Ginny Weasley went out to the back garden at the burrow and thought about the things that had happened in the last week. Her brother Ron and their friends Luna, Hermione, Neville, and Harry had survived a deadly encounter with the Death Eaters at the Ministry of Magic building. As she understood it, Harry and Professor Dumbledore had even faced Voldemort himself in the lobby.
Each of the participants from the battle had been injured to various degrees, Ginny the least with a broken ankle. Madam Pomfrey had mended her as well as Luna, and Neville in a matter of minutes. Ron had been counter jinxed to wear off the inebriation spell. He had been told that the scars from the brain creatures would take another week to clear up. Hermione had been injured the worst. She had been slashed by a weakened flame cutter curse and would also take another week to heal.
Ginny's thoughts lay with a raven haired, slightly built, emerald-eyed wizard. She'd had a varying relationship with Harry Potter over the years – an obsessed little sister, a helpless maiden needing rescue, a year or so of being ignored, and finally a friendship based not on her being someone's sister, instead simply being herself. Her concern at the moment had nothing to do with wayward thoughts of Harry, rather a genuine concern for his well-being.
Harry had emerged that night after a long visit in Dumbledore's office a changed person. While not physically injured, it was obvious to anyone who knew him that he was hurting badly. Certainly he was reacting and greatly affected by his Godfather's death. Certainly he felt grief over the loss and excessive guilt for having taking actions that allowed it to happen. However there was something else – Harry was acting like the weight of the world had been piled onto his shoulders. Hermione had noticed it as well, but she had her own problems to deal with, as well as Ginny's whining wanker brother incessantly asking her for advice about Luna Lovegood. Ginny made a promise to herself to be there for Harry.
That Saturday Ginny asked her Mum for permission to go and see Harry. She used the floo to get to Mrs. Figg's house and walked the two blocks to number 4 Privet Drive. Ginny saw Tonks lurking at the edge of the fence guarding the house. "Watcher Ginny?"
"Hello Tonks. Is Harry home?"
Tonks smiled at Ginny, knowing that the young woman had spunk. "Go on in. The people that he lives with are all gone for the weekend. She pointed to the window on the upper left corner of the house. Harry's room is up there. I expect he is still moping around. Try and get him to come out if you can. Maybe you could get him to go to the park down the street. It is a lovely day to be out."
Ginny walked in the door. She had never been to Harry's house before. Looking around, it didn't look like her expectation of Harry's house. It certainly didn't look anything like her parent's home. Everything was stacked up neatly looking like the occupants were afraid to touch anything. There were family pictures on the walls and bookshelves. Ginny noticed two things - The people in the pictures weren't moving, and Harry wasn't in a single picture. She remembered Hermione saying that his aunt or uncle did not really want him there. She walked up the steep stairway to the second floor and down the short hallway to Harry's room. There were at least a half dozen locks in the door as well as a cat flap at the bottom.
Harry was lying on his bed staring blankly at his transfiguration book. He had not heard Ginny open the door. She softly knocked on the doorframe. "Hi Harry. Can I come in?"
Harry's eyes light up at the sight of his friend. "Hi Ginny. I'm happy to see you."
Ginny looked at Harry. He looked like a mess. It was not obvious that he had eaten, bathed or even slept since he had returned to Privet drive three days before.
"Harry, why don't you finished getting dressed, and we can go for a walk outside. Tonks said that there is a park not too far away. Come on. You'll feel better if you get up. I'll wait outside with Tonks. Go take a shower and I'll see you in five minutes."
She gave him a quick hug and walked down the stairs. After closing the door, she told Tonks that he looked terrible, and most likely had not eaten or slept in several days. A few minutes later Harry walked out the door. In the sunlight he looked even worse, pale and thin in his ill-fitting, ragged, hand-me-down clothes. Ginny took his hand and the three of them walked down Privet Drive and over to Wisteria way to get to the park.
Tonks discretely conjured a blanket for the two of them to sit on, and walked a comfortable distance away to allow them to visit.
"So did you miss me the last few days?"
Harry looked into Ginny's bright brown eyes. "Yes, as a matter of fact I did miss you Ginny. I am so lonely here. I'm really not supposed to leave the house for more than a few hours a day to strengthen the magic that helps protect me by living with my relatives."
Noticing Harry's attention, Ginny brushed her long auburn hair out of her eyes. "So what you're saying is that I could come over most any day, and we could have lunch together. Right?" She gave Harry a not entirely wholesome smile. "I also think that means that we could go to Diagon Alley together if we brought one of the Order guards along with us, and didn't stay too long. Right? It probably also means that you could come over and visit for a part of an afternoon if I didn't keep you too long. Right? Harry you would be doing me a huge favor if we could spend some time together this summer. Ron is spending every waking moment with Luna and they're both going to work at the joke shop for the holiday. I'd rather spend time with you. I know that you probably would have to write Professor Dumbledore and get his advice first, but I really would like to be with you, if you would be willing to keep me company?"
Tonks walked over. "I'll save you the embarrassing letter loverboy, and quietly ask Dumbledore tonight when I see him. I'll find out how long the leash really is and try and figure out how to give you some breathing room."
Harry looked more than a bit relieved. The two women walked him back. Ginny said good-bye and entered Mrs. Figg's house. Tonks and Harry continued their walk. "No one is trying to cramp your style Harry. I'll talk with the Professor and have a good answer for you tomorrow."
"Thanks Tonks. I've got some reading to do, and a few letters to write. Thanks again."
She looked at him and smiled. "No problem, kiddo." Her hair changed from red to purple.
She watched as he closed the door. She had received the unusual request the day before from Director Bones to keep an eye out for Death Eaters that might be in the vicinity of Little Winging. She took it to mean that she had received department sanction to complete Dumbledore's request that Harry's Aunt's home (specifically Harry himself) have a constant guard. The young man had grown a lot in the last year. She had met him a few times in the last couple years. His tantrums last summer had been a nightmare to put up with. Now he seemed a lot older than the last summer. Her friend Hestia who watched Harry's home at night had observed that some teenagers just seemed to have 'old souls." That observation seemed to have applied to Harry.
Her thoughts returned to the Department of Mysteries. Harry and those five kids had managed to hold their own against a dozen of the toughest Death Eaters and had beaten half of them during the battle. Unfortunately they had not known how to properly capture a downed opponent, and the Death Eaters that they had managed to stun had been continuously revived by the others. She wasn't sure if it was through dumb luck or amazing leadership that none of the teenagers had been killed.
The thing that Nymphadora found curious was Dumbledore's reluctance to explain exactly why Harry needed to have a constant guard. As head of the Order, he was usually quite forthcoming when it came to explaining the reasoning and purpose behind the various duties and missions that they were volunteering for. She certainly didn't mind keeping an eye on him twelve hours a day five days a week, but was a bit surprised when she had been officially stationed at his house for a month.
Unknown to Tonks, Dumbledore had been amazingly tight lipped regarding the prophecy. The only people who knew it in its entirety were himself and Harry Potter. Obviously Voldemort had learned the first two lines accounting for his actions in 1981 murdering Harry's parents, but even that part was not widely known.
A few minutes later Harry walked out with two plates, and cokes. "It didn't look like you had brought anything to eat. Are sandwiches and crisps OK?"
"Thank you Harry. That was very thoughtful of you." Tonks looked at him for a moment and thought that he might be finally be growing up a bit
Mrs. Weasley smiled at her daughter when she returned home. "How was your visit dear?"
"It was OK. Harry was pretty depressed about what happened at the Department of Mysteries. He was just sitting in his room staring at a book. Auror Tonks took us to the park by his house. I think it was good for Harry to get out of the house and get some sun. I told him that I would visit him again tomorrow. You don't mind if I go visit do you?"
Molly smiled at her daughter. She would like nothing more than for Harry Potter to take notice of her Ginny. "Of course not dear. Run along, and enjoy your afternoon."
Ginny walked out the back door and sat by the stream that flowed near their home. She thought about all of the people that she knew. Harry alone had saved her life not once, but twice. The only thing Dean Thomas had done was to try and grope her on the train ride home last week, effectively ending that relationship before it had even started. She recognized that Harry had always stood by her side when she needed help. She sensed that at this time, he was in need of help, and she was happy to offer whatever comfort he might need.
At ten the next morning, Ginny used the floo to get to Mrs. Figg's house. She met Harry and Tonks in the back garden of 4 Privet Drive. Harry was rushing to finish weeding the garden. Tonks helped Harry finish, and he went in for a few minutes to get cleaned up. "Hi Ginny. It's good to see you again. Harry got up early so he could finish his house chores to spend time with you. It's great to see him out of his room. I talked with the Professor last night. He said that Harry shouldn't be gone for more than four hours in a day and asked that he doesn't keep going to the same place. How about an afternoon in Diagon Alley?"
Ginny was delighted at the news. "That sounds great. Thank you very much. I'd really like that."
Harry came back outside and they left to go to Mrs. Figg's House. From there they used the floo to get to the fireplace at Gringotts. Harry had some banking business that needed taking care of. Ginny and Tonks offered to wait in the lobby as his finances really weren't their business. Harry said that wasn't necessary. He waited in line at the counter and handed the goblin his key. The old goblin looked at it closely and said, "Mr. Potter, when you are done visiting your vault, please see Ragnot the Head Goblin. He has some papers for you to look at and sign."
"Yes sir. Could Griphook take us please?"
The old goblin was quite surprised. Rarely did a wizard bother to remember a goblin's name, and those that did invariably mistakenly placed a Mr. in front of it. "Griphook." The goblin walked to the teller from one on the other areas. "Please show Mr. Potter and his companions to his vault."
The four of them got into one of the carts. Ginny had rarely been to the Weasley family vault and Tonks took the time to explain that there were vaults of varying sizes – the smaller vaults in the upper levels were set up for students. Lower down were the regular vaults, lower still were the old family vaults and finally relatively few of the high security vaults were at the very deepest levels. Harry's was not in the student section, as both women would have expected, rather one of the larger vaults.
Harry wanted to withdraw enough money so that he could buy himself some decent clothes to wear. He did not want to spend another summer wearing impossibly large cast offs and sweatshirts that would be better suited for Umbridge than himself. He withdrew 5,000 Galleons, more than Tonks or the Weasleys combined had in their vaults. She only made 5,500 Galleons a year as a third year Auror. Neither woman said anything, but Tonks noticed that the balance parchment for Harry's vault read 255,000 Galleons after he had made his withdrawal! It occurred to her that being an orphan, and living as an unwelcome guest in his aunt's home he had probably never had physical access to any of his funds. No teen would want to go around wearing the rags that she had invariably seen him in. She looked again and realized that he probably didn't even own a decent pair of shoes. His old trainers were taped together. She would take him to Harrods the next time they went out.
When they got back to the lobby, Tonks was surprised to see Aurors Kingsley, and Hestia waiting in the lobby. Hestia saw her and waved them over. "Hello Tonks. Mr. Potter, you will need to come with us please."
Harry had no idea what they wanted. "I have an appointment with one of the goblins right now. Can I go with you in a few minutes?"
Hestia shook her head, "I'm sorry. You'll need to come now Mr. Potter. Tonks please meet us in Director Bones' office after you have advised the goblins that Mr. Potter will have to reschedule."
"I'll go with Harry," said Ginny.
A sense of dread came over Harry. What if they had found out that he had used an unforgivable curse against Bellatrix that night in the lobby? Would he be thrown into a cell with Malfoy or one of the other Death Eaters? Ginny could sense Harry tensing up, but wasn't sure of the reason.
"What's up?" she whispered.
"I don't know," he whispered back.
They got to Director Bones office. It was surprisingly businesslike, not cluttered with foe glasses, sneakoscopes, or old photos or awards like Harry would have expected based on his experience with Moody. Harry was unsurprised to see Professor Dumbledore there but quite surprised to see Mrs. Weasley. She was looking deathly nervous. The only time he remembered seeing her look anywhere near this nervous was that time in Professor McGonagall's office when they had all been in the chamber of secrets and everyone thought that Ginny had been killed. She saw them and pulled them both into a bone-crushing hug. "Harry, I'm so glad to see you. We were so worried."
Looking totally confused, Harry asked, "What's up?
Amelia said, "Harry I don't have an easy way to tell you this. Your aunt, uncle, and cousin were attacked on the M4 motorway this morning. Their car rolled over and blew up. Based on what we have been able to learn from witnesses, they were attacked by muggles. I'm sorry." In sixty years in magical law enforcement, she had never found an easy way of telling someone that their family had been murdered.