Disclaimer: J K Rowling owns the rights and likenesses of all the characters in the Harry Potter series. This story is meant to add to the world she created. Any conflicts are accidental and they yield to her reality (canon).
This is a post-OOTP story during the summer before Harry's Sixth Year. Very few items of HBP will be used.
Harry Potter And The Summer Of Change
1. 'Home' Again
The sunlight was warm on his face and the heat of the quickly fading day perked up his hope that this summer would be different than all the others. His relatives, if you could call them that, had just been warned by Moody, Lupin, Mr. Weasley, and Tonks to be nice to him. The aforementioned relatives were following in his wake to the car. Harry looked to either side of the nearest car park and realised that he didn't know where the car was and he was unlikely to find it without some direction. For all he knew, Vernon could have gotten a new one while he was away at Hogwarts trying to stay alive. 'Or getting others killed. Or risking the lives of my friends.'
Harry had goals for the summer. He hoped
they were simple enough since he had just formulated them on the train ride
1. Stay Alive
2. Protect Your Mind
3. Take Control Of Your Life
4. Get Information
5. Keep Your Loved Ones Safe
6. Learn How To Win
The list wasn't in any particular order, but he needed to achieve all of them. Failure would only lead to someone else's death. He would be lucky if his was the only death that came from a failure. At least then he wouldn't have the guilt he was dealing with at the moment. Sirius was his fault. He had failed to save him. More over, he had led Sirius to his own death. He'd had a chance to save him in the chamber, but he had just stood and watched. And then when he'd had the chance, he couldn't even avenge his godfather's death properly. 'I will not be useless next time,' Harry thought to himself while trying to cope with the anguish and frustration he was feeling.
He had failed on so many levels this year; Umbridge being only one of them. The list could take up rolls of parchment. 'I have to succeed. I have to win. I have to…to find my bloody 'family',' Harry thought, as he realised he was alone in the crowd on the street outside King's Cross Station.
A quick scan of the throngs of people showed him two lumbering masses making their way to a car park across the road. With a deep breath and a tight grip on his trolley, Harry made to follow the dreadful people he stayed with during holiday break.
'Remember, Harry, they are on notice to treat you well. They will be better. They won't be the same.'
Harry dodged a Renault that accelerated past him to make a turn. Remembering the basic lessons of childhood Harry thought, 'avoid Dudley and his friends if you can, if you can't you are faster than them, and look both ways before crossing the road because Dudley will push you in front of traffic given the chance.' Navigating the hazards of London's city streets as well as he could, Harry reached the car and knocked on the boot so his Uncle would release the latch. Ten seconds went by before the boot popped open with a metallic click. The 'relatives', as Harry planned to call them for the duration of his sentence, were seated in the car with Dudley behind his father and Petunia in the front seat.
As Harry hefted his trunk off the trolley and into the boot, he noticed that the car leaned heavily to one side. Laughter welled up in his mind as Harry figured out the cause of the lopsided vehicle. 'I wonder how often the car will try to make right turns on its own.' Hedwig would be riding inside with Harry. That situation was not debatable. She deserved better, but an owl in a cage was 'abnormal' enough. No need to push it by releasing her in front of the evening commuters.
Harry closed the boot and slid into the back seat. Dudley, taking up nearly two thirds of the backseat alone, tried to distance himself from Harry as much as possible but failed miserably in his efforts. Vernon barely flinched at the quiet hoot Hedwig made when the car was backed out of the space abruptly still listing to the right.
Harry watched Vernon carefully, keeping his humorous observations to himself. The next two hours would set the terms for the summer. Vernon looked straight ahead as he aimed the auto through the congested streets. He was still white-faced. He hadn't come to terms with the warning yet. He hadn't made his decision to listen to it or fight it. Harry decided it was a very volatile situation as far as his Uncle was concerned.
Shifting his eyes left led him to Aunt Petunia sitting straight-backed in her seat. She only looked backwards quickly enough to reassure herself that Dudley was the same beached whale he always was and hadn't been 'changed' by any of Harry's magic. She paid Harry no mind as far as he could tell but something somehow was different all the same.
Dudley kept his maw fixedly pointed out the window. He never turned his head nor asked any questions. Harry was reminded of a saying he'd heard once. "See no evil, Hear no evil, Speak no evil." Only in this situation it would be, "See no Harry, Hear no Harry, Speak no Harry."
'This I can handle,' Harry said to himself. 'I can live with this. Silence would be good for a summer.' It didn't last long.
About every half hour, Harry noticed that Vernon was changing colours. At first it seemed like the twins might have slipped him something, but an hour into the ride 'home' Harry knew it was a normal Vernon reaction coming out. His face was a shade of white, then normal colour followed by a pinkish-red. Only one colour remained and they had less than twenty minutes left to the trip.
'Same pinkish-red,' Harry noted as they pulled into the driveway of Number Four, Privet Drive. 'I might just make it to bed before he snaps.'
The car was switched off, the boot was popped, and the Dursleys exited the car as swiftly as possible. Harry slid out of his seat and closed the door. The locks snapped closed and the interior light was extinguished letting him take note of the darkening sky. Harry went to the rear of the car and pulled his trunk out of the boot before closing it sharply. He gripped Hedwig's cage in his left hand and the trunk in his right and headed towards the front door.
'Well, let's get this over with, eh.'
Harry closed the front door with his foot while balancing his weight carefully on the remaining foot. The Dursleys were in the living room judging by the lights that were on in the house. A faint bluish flicker and the noise droning on from the room most likely to house Dudley when he was awake was proof enough.
'So far, so good.' Harry set his trunk down and quickly carried Hedwig up to his room. He opened the window, glad that it hadn't been nailed shut, and opened the door to the cage telling Hedwig to help herself. He returned to the entryway and grabbed his trunk planning on repeating his quick escape from his 'relatives'.
Unfortunately, he felt a presence behind him. It wasn't the same feeling he got around Voldemort or the Death Eaters. It was similar to slipping on black ice and catching yourself rather than the empty feeling of being halfway to the ground after your feet leave the earth. Harry spun around smoothly and was met by Vernon's hand on his throat lifting him slightly off the floor. An errant thought ran through his mind, 'Things were too good to be true.'
"Thought that was funny, didn't you, boy?" Vernon hissed, spraying spittle on Harry. "Thought your freaky friends could scare me, eh? Had a good laugh you did. Well, now it is time to pay up, boy."
Vernon swung a fist into Harry's gut at that moment. Harry doubled over as the air was pushed from his body by the force of the blow. Things went white and a burning sensation flared in his lungs. Things were definitely not going well this summer. Another swing and Harry saw stars in addition to his white, hazy vision.
Letting his instincts take over, Harry kicked out his foot and caught Vernon in a very advantageous spot. He felt himself being dropped and ended up striking his head on the banister and collapsed into his trunk on the floor. Neither object moved enough to save Harry from additional injuries. 'Bloody hell. Another, normal, summer at the Dursleys', but I have my list of things to achieve and I'm not going to fail. I can't.'
Harry regained his vision and footing before Vernon could gather himself for another attack. Harry fingered his wand as he looked at the Dursleys and scowled. 'The poster family for pathetic Muggles according to Voldemort,' Harry thought. 'This is not going to happen. I'm better than this. I've had enough abuse in my life and I'm not going to let these people continue it.'
"Not this time, Uncle," Harry said coldly. "I will not be beaten by you or anyone. I have had enough of the pain."
Harry noticed the vision in his left eye take on a slightly reddish tint. With a sigh and a swipe of his hand, Harry found blood running down his face. "Always bleeding. I'm tired of this."
Vernon regained his footing and stood in front of his wife and 'child'. The purple colour had finally found its way onto his face. The bulging vein in his forehead was pumping away. His fists were clenched and he was ready to throttle Harry. He made to charge but paused when he saw the look on Harry's face. It was one of resolute defiance. The smeared blood added to the look, too. This boy wasn't scared. He wasn't cowering. He was standing on his own feet, relaxed, accepting, and waiting.
"Think this is over, Boy?" Vernon snarled trying to change the feel of the situation. "I will beat the magic out of you this time."
"I doubt that very much, Tubby," said a voice from the doorway.
Harry spun around with wand in hand, as he was prepared to fight Vernon, training it on the new target. He paused for a second slowly recognizing the spiky red hair and heart-shaped face of the clumsy Auror before turning the wand back on Vernon.
"Tonks," Harry said pleasantly, not showing any effect of the current situation. "Nice of you to stop by. Care for some tea, maybe some Dursley-abuse while it steeps?"
"Thanks for your offer, Harry," Tonks said cheerily. "But I think the Ministry might frown on that, considering."
"I won't say a word, Tonks," Harry returned. "I was just thinking of what curse to use myself. Surely, there are laws permitting me to save myself from assault by animal life. At least one law that says I can protect myself from 'them'?" Harry commented casually tilting his wand in Vernon's direction.
"Maybe one or two, Harry," Tonks smiled as she took in the situation. "I have a few laws that I could enforce right now as well. I saw you attack Harry, Muggle. Apparently our warning did little to impress upon you the seriousness of… Oh, to hell with the legal crap. Listen you fecking tub of lard. I should curse your whole family to within an inch of their lives for hurting Harry. I might just do it anyway. But if you touch him again I will hurt you. I will hurt you really badly."
"Dumbledore will not…" came a squeak from Aunt Petunia.
"Dumbledore won't know about it, Horsy," snapped Tonks, her eyes blazing in the dim light of the entranceway. "I am an Auror, Scotland Yard to you, and do you think anybody would bother after they heard what you did to Harry?"
"He is a nothing of a boy," Vernon yelled for the first time. "He is nothing but a piece of…"
"He is ten times the man you could ever hope to become, Dursley," Tonks replied forcefully. "Harry is the kind of man everyone wants as their son or son-in-law, but you are too blind to see it, bastard."
Harry kept his wand pointed at Vernon, but looked at Tonks. This was the first time, ever, anyone had stood up for him inside the walls of Number Four. He thought about what he could do to salvage the whole night from Vernon yelling at him or worse once Tonks left. According to Dumbledore - a small nugget of anger burned in him as he remembered what happened in his office - he had to stay here. He was protected here. He needed to think about that. How could it still work? Voldemort used his blood when he came back. Movement brought reality to the forefront and pushed the wondering to the rear.
Tonks moved to the side of Harry. She looked sideways and saw the blood trickling from his head. His hair was becoming matted down from the liquid. His eyes were glaring at the Muggles. His wand was steady and ready to strike. He handled things better than most. He knew who he was and how to take care of himself one way or another at least.
"Harry," Tonks prompted, "did you lose consciousness?"
"Nope, just fog and stars," Harry answered. "No big deal. I've had worse from falling down."
"At least your sense of humour isn't damaged," Tonks quipped. "Now, stupid Muggle family, that is you by the way, you are on official notice. If I hear or see anything like this again, you will all spend some time in Azkaban. That is our prison if you didn't know. You assaulted your nephew, who happens to be Harry Potter no less. For that, you would get no leniency from our courts. Now, I am going to take Harry upstairs and heal his cuts and make sure you leave him alone. Any problems with that?"
"I will not have a trollop like you in my house," Vernon yelled again.
Harry stepped forward and in front of Tonks. "Watch your words, Uncle. She happens to be my friend and I will defend her or her honour if need be."
"Thank you, Harry," Tonks said playfully. "I appreciate the offer, but this pillock here isn't that big of a deal to me. I have been called worse."
"Doesn't matter," Harry said quietly, while staring his uncle down. "He won't make the same mistake again, will you, Vernon." 'I will not let him threaten me anymore. I will not let him threaten my friends. I will not be threatened any more by anyone. I will take control of my life right now. I will fight the fights that need fighting. I have lived by determination so far and I will keep it up. You will not beat me Voldemort. I will not be beaten. I start my war right now. Start small, then go big.'
Vernon Dursley was mad, very mad. He wanted to kill his worthless nephew. He wanted to crush him like he should have when he was a little brat. Now though, he stared down two wands being held by a trampy little floozy and that same nephew. The only thing stopping him, really, was the look in the boy's eyes. It was different than before. It was dangerous. The kind of look you see before a dog attacks. It was unsettling at the very least. Something had changed in the last year. The boy was not sad, scared, or depressed this time. He was sharp. He was menacing. He was intimidating, frightfully intimidating. The night had gone terribly wrong and it had all started when they had seen Harry.
"This is still my house," Vernon tried to change the subject. It was his house; they were 'guests', right? "I will speak as I wish in my own house." As he finished his words, he saw a flash of faint light flare around his nephew. 'Oh shite, can this get any worse?'
Tonks felt a burst of magic, it was unfocused, but it was there. She looked at Harry and saw his aura. It was greenish-blue and it had ripples flowing through it. An aura from a fifteen-year-old kid? Most people never managed a visible aura at any time during their life, let alone at fifteen. She had to rethink her opinion of Harry. 'Kid' didn't fit any longer. He had been through too much for that. He had a visible aura and it was still showing.
"Your house or not, you will watch your mouth, Uncle," Harry said sternly. "You know nothing about her and you will not speak about her like that. Now, I am going up to my room. Hopefully, we can move past what happened here tonight. I assure you I will remember it though. Tonks?"
Harry returned his wand to his back pocket and grabbed his trunk. He started up the stairs to his room. 'One foot in front of the other. Keep your eyes open. Fight the grey cloud. Stay strong or this will all be for nothing. One lesson I learned from Voldemort: always make a grand entrance or exit as it keeps the cattle impressed.'
Tonks felt more than saw Harry turn and make his way up the stairs. She also felt his aura flicker, badly. She looked the Dursleys up and down. "Have a pleasant night, Muggles," she said with an air of intimidation, to her words and hurried up the stairs after Harry. She found him at the top staggering slightly with the fingertips of his empty hand running along the wall. He stepped into his room stiffly and released his trunk as quickly as he could, letting it drop to the floor with a thud that rattled the contents of the small room. He took one more step before roughly falling onto his dilapidated bed. Tonks entered the room and closed the door.
'Bloody hell, he passed out. He must have got a harder hit than I thought. Well, first aid training here we go.' With a few flicks of her wand, she healed the cut on his head and reduced the swelling of the knot at the base of his skull. She discovered he had a slight concussion, but it was minor and would heal by itself. She remembered hearing from Moony that Harry hated hospitals. Something he shared with his father, according to the stories. 'Probably some macho thing.'
Harry didn't move from the place where he collapsed. Tonks found herself in an odd position. Harry Potter was unconscious in front of her, and she was supposed to be on guard duty protecting the house. 'I protect Harry, not the house. Definitely not the Muggles.' Mind made up, she levitated him into the air, rolled him over, and lightly set him on the bed properly. She removed his shoes, noting that they desperately needed to be replaced.
As she looked him over, she saw that all of his clothes needed replacing as well. 'How could Harry Potter wear clothes like these? They are even worse than what can be found at the goodwill. He is Harry Fecking Potter for Merlin's sake and he looks like a street rat. He has money; I know the Potters were a wealthy family. Doesn't he care? Doesn't he know about his financial situation? Doesn't he…'
"Fucking Dursleys, no doubt," Tonks said venomously. "They're the real reason." She looked around the room. It was tiny and cramped. Just her presence seemed to make the room bulge at the seams. She didn't want to know what it would look like if someone decided to add more furniture. "The best way to protect you is to watch you. The greatest danger you have are from the people downstairs, Harry. The Death Eaters are secondary, at best, for now. I will stay until the morning then I will see what can be done." Tonks's eyes searched Harry's form as she tried to decide what to do in the morning about everything that had happened.
"Don't bother," came a muffled reply. "No one cares. I am out of sight here and everyone figures I am safe from Voldemort. There aren't any other dangers, right?" Harry had lifted his head slightly and a smirk was visible. "Dumbledore just wants his weapon and the Order just wants me to be quiet and leave them alone. I am a mushroom as far as most are concerned. Keep me in the dark and the bullshit coming." Harry wavered for a moment before continuing. "No more, Tonks. I need to be ready. Can you help me? Sirius died because I didn't know things. Sirius died because I couldn't do things right. Sirius died because of me."
"Harry!" Tonks couldn't believe what Harry was saying. He wasn't completely with it at the moment. He was saying things that he normally wouldn't or shouldn't, but he knew things most didn't. "Sirius died because he got cocky. He taunted Bellatrix and she beat him. If you learn anything from that terrible night, learn never to hesitate in a fight. Fight it to the end and be done with it. Gloat, taunt, sulk, and cry later. Worry about things after the fact, never during. I have seen too many people die from getting that process mixed up. Now, what do you mean about a weapon?"
"The weapon against Voldemort," Harry said oblivious to Tonks's slight jump at the name. "Keep me alive so I can kill the bastard later. No one ever bothered to ask if I care about winning. There's only so much a person can take before they give up."
Tonks was beside herself. Not only by what Harry said, which was nearly earth shattering if it were true, but how he said it. The matter-of-fact way he spoke of Voldemort and death really unnerved her. "Do you care about winning?"
"Yep," Harry said, groggily forcing the words out. "I have to, but you're the first to ask me. If I fail, everyone dies. Everyone I care about will be killed. I can't lose. I made myself a promise to win. I can't afford to lose. I...just…sleepy…night."
Tonks watched as Harry fell asleep. She had learned more in the few minutes listening to Harry ramble on than she had in all of the Order meetings over the last year. He had said some things that made sense. Actually, all of it made sense really. She had heard the term 'weapon' before but nothing specific about what it was. She had never heard of anyone, other than Moony, talk about Harry as a person or his feelings. Molly was different though, she reflected. Molly wanted to coddle him. Wrap him in cotton and stick him away in a closet for safe keeping so he wouldn't get hurt.
"Oh, Harry," Tonks mourned, "what has happened to you? What is going to happen?" She looked around the room thinking what she could do. Many things came to mind, some good, some bad, some just not appropriate to think. "I will help you, Harry. That is my promise to you. I will help you somehow."
Tonks covered Harry in a blanket and conjured herself a chair and pillow. She tried to get comfortable over the next ten minutes but failed. Huffing, she stood up and vanished the chair. "Well, what the hell." She expanded the bed and lay down next to Harry. She covered herself with the blanket and settled in for the next eight hours before she would be relieved. She set her wand to wake her up a few minutes early.
As she began to drift off, Harry rolled over slightly and wrapped an arm around her. She stilled for a second not knowing what to do. Harry's grip tightened and she found that she couldn't get away unless she really tried. Harry sighed lightly and breathed deeply once. She waited for him to wake up. 'Surely he isn't used to this? Well, Harry Potter has probably had half of Hogwarts by now. Probably used to a female sleeping in his bed. Maybe he is still hurting from the injuries?'
But, Harry didn't wake up, and Tonks fell asleep thinking a variety of things. She made a mental list of things to do the next day. Talking to her boss was one of them; Dumbledore was another. She knew the wards would be triggered if anyone else entered the property. She was linked to the wards so she felt safe falling asleep. After all, Harry was right next to her. She would know if anything happened.
A vibration caused Tonks to wake up. She found herself staring into the eyes of Hedwig who was sitting on the headboard. Tonks could swear that the owl was giving her a look of thanks. Hedwig ruffled her feathers and looked behind Tonks at what must be Harry. The look on the bird's face changed. She seemed concerned. Tonks thought to herself that she must still be groggy from sleep. 'Owls don't show emotion like that. They are birds for Merlin's sake.'
She realised that Harry's hand had moved slightly during the night and was cupping her breast. She felt safe and warm inside along with the uncertainty of the situation. Try as she might, she could only think that their bodies fitted together well. Taking a chance, Tonks turned over slowly and finally managed to face a sleeping Harry. His dark hair was sticking up in all directions adding to his youthful appearance. His face was more relaxed than she could ever remember seeing it. He seemed to realise that his previous 'arrangement' had been disturbed. He gripped her sides and pulled her closer to him. Tonks just watched and waited. She still had ten minutes to get downstairs and outside before she was relieved.
Harry's mouth was open slightly and he breathed just a little bit through it. Tonks couldn't help but think how cute it was. This was a side of Harry that she had never seen. She wondered how many people had seen it. 'Probably every Gryffindor female within two years of him and a few Ravenclaws and Hufflepuffs too. Oh, to be in school again.'
Tonks waited a few more minutes and slowly slid out of Harry's tight grip. 'Quidditch hands.' She moved to the door and stepped into the hallway. She looked back, once, before closing the door. Walking down the stairs, she heard a noise coming from the kitchen.
She made her way down the rest of the stairs, nearly falling down the last five steps, and entered the sterile room she remembered from the year before. Petunia was beginning to get the food ready for breakfast. Tonks cleared her throat softly causing Petunia to turn abruptly and drop an egg on the floor. The yoke broke and ran with the white into a small pool mixed with broken shell.
"I will not forget what happened last night, woman," Tonks said in her most authoritative voice. "You have allowed Harry to be abused his entire life. You have no idea what some people would do to you if they knew that."
"What do you mean?" Petunia said, snottily trying to hide her fear of the witch. "He has had a roof over his head and that is more than he deserves."
"Say that in front of a few people, and you will not live the day, Petunia," Tonks said, controlling her anger.
Petunia seemed to deflate. A flash of guilt washed over her face. Her imaginary life seemed to fall down around her. "He looks so much like him. He is a constant reminder of her, too. Those eyes. They never let you go."
"Harry is his own person," Tonks explained. "He is the sum of Lily and James. I've heard many things about the both of them, but I know things about Harry. You should consider yourself privileged to have him here. Many would do anything to have Harry Potter stay with them for the summer. From what I have seen, your family is not worth the effort Harry seems to put into you."
"What do you mean?" Petunia asked, truly confused and looking slighted.
"Harry could go anywhere he wanted in our world and have a loving home to stay in with a loving family all too willing to share. He has friends willing to fight for him. He has people willing to kill for him. The thing is, he doesn't realise what people will do for him. People who get close to him will follow him anywhere. He has that ability."
"Lily had that ability," Petunia said softly after a few seconds of thought. "She always was the centre of attention. She, I don't know, held people somehow. Was that her ma-magic doing that?"
"Never met her, so I don't know. Most likely it was just the way she was. Do you know anything about Harry's life at school?"
"No," Petunia said. "We don't know anything other than the nightmares he had last summer. He would scream and wake everyone up though."
"If you saw and went through what he did, you would too," Tonks said angrily. She decided to diffuse her frustration by asking the woman a question instead of hexing her. "You never asked him about it?"
"Even if I did, he wouldn't tell me anything anyway. Those things are not to be spoken of here. He knows that."
"You should find out," Tonks countered, losing her patience in the process. "He has done so much. He has made such a difference in our world. You might learn something if you took the time."
"He would never tell me." Petunia looked lost. "I've given him no reason to trust me."
"If an owl shows up with a paper, would you read it?"
"One of your papers?" Petunia asked. "Moving pictures and all?"
"Yep. I could probably get you a book that would be more accurate, though. Our papers are just like yours; thirty percent truth, twenty percent half-truths, and fifty percent rubbish. Harry has had his share of rubbish, bloody gits. But he has kept on."
"He has been in your papers?"
"Has Harry Potter been in the papers?" Tonks couldn't believe they were this out of touch. "You really have no clue, do you? How could I make a comparison? Tony Blair would have less coverage than Harry. Harry, alone, can sell out whole printings. He goes for weeks on the front page. Hates every moment of it from what I can tell. I will send you a book if I find one that is accurate. Will you read it if I did?"
Petunia took a moment to think it over. She thought and seemed to decide but was apprehensive in her response. "Yes, I will read it. I will have to keep it hidden from Vernon, but I will read it. If he is as popular as you say."
"He is a hero, champion, winner, athlete, and hottie all rolled into one."
Petunia gave Tonks a disapproving look on the last comment. She also seemed to maintain a level of scepticism about the rest of what was said.
"Well, I must go since my replacement is nearly here. We are watching Harry so don't think you can go back to the way things were before, after I leave. Leave him alone for today. I will be back tonight and we might be able to work out a tentative truce."
Tonks watched Petunia look down at the floor and saw the egg drying on the floor. Tonks waved her wand at the egg and it disappeared without a trace. Petunia let out a slight squeak, but did nothing else.
"Handy thing magic." Tonks turned and left the kitchen. She breezed out the front door and went to her guard position. She was there for less than a minute when someone came up behind her.
"Dung, you are terrible at stealth," Tonks said, jokingly. "I couldn't hear you, but the smell gave you away long before that was possible."
"Sup' Tonksy," slurred Dung. "I am what I am."
"Yeah and drunk, but who's complaining," Tonks replied. "You messed up last time, Dung. Do it again, and even Dumbledore won't be able to save you. Watch the Muggles carefully. Our warning didn't do much good. Don't be afraid to hurt the fat one if need be."
"Whi' fat one?"
"Either, I am not particular. I will be back at six." Tonks Disapparated to the Ministry leaving Dung to put on his invisibility cloak and settle in for a long day.
Tonks entered the atrium with a crack and headed past the guard station. The Ministry was quiet this early in the morning. Only a few night shift people and early risers were about. The lift was as slow as always to arrive. It dinged and Tonks entered and pressed the button. It rattled and descended into the depths of the Ministry. She was lost in thoughts about what she was about to do. Could this be the way to help? Could this help at all? Could this ruin whatever plans had already been made?
It didn't matter. Harry asked for help and he never did that from what Tonks knew. Sure he was delirious, but it was sincere. She would figure out the rest later. He needed help against You-Know-Who and she could give that. She knew people who could help a lot. She was still lost in thought when the lift dinged and called out the floor, "Level Nine, Department Of Mysteries."
Tonks exited the lift and walked down the hallway. She stopped half way and turned to the left. She drew her wand, tapped the wall in a specific pattern, and spoke a set of words. A door appeared and Tonks opened and entered the newly created doorway. 'It was now or never.'
Harry woke up feeling rested for the first time in as long as he could remember. He reached for his glasses and found them in a different place than he would usually put them at Privet Drive. As he turned his head to put the glasses on, a pain sparked across his head.
"Ah, what the hell happened?" Harry thought for a bit and began to remember Vernon attacking him. He hit his head, there was blood, Tonks was there, and then darkness. He searched the room for anything else that was out of the ordinary. The same old furniture was there. Hedwig was in her cage with her head tucked under her wing. His trunk was at the foot of his bed.
"Wait a minute; the trunk's a lot smaller than the bed. That isn't right." Harry looked at the bed and noticed there was more of it to either side of him. The bed was bigger. 'The Dursleys didn't do this. They would be more likely to get a smaller bed. It must have been Tonks.'
Harry looked around again. No note from the Ministry was waiting, so at least they could tell that Harry didn't do the enlargement charm unlike the hover charm before his second year. Harry pulled himself out of bed and sat up fighting off the bout of dizziness that washed over him. The room swirled a little bit but righted itself quickly enough. 'No quick movements for the day, I guess. I hope the Dursleys stay away until this passes.'
After a quick wash up, Harry dumped his dirty clothes in his room with his enlarged bed and made his way carefully downstairs. The steps were a little difficult to navigate, but nowhere near as bad as the night before. At the bottom landing, Harry listened for the Dursleys. Hearing nothing, Harry advanced into the living room scanning for 'relatives'.
He found nothing but the usual pillows, couch, chair, and obnoxious wallpaper. The clock on the mantel told him it was one o'clock in the afternoon. 'I hope Tonks didn't kill them. That would be…tragic.' Harry couldn't think of why he had been left alone for the day. He had never been allowed to sleep in. It was a workday so that explained the absence of his uncle. Dudley was most likely out terrorising the neighbourhood kids or worse.
That left his aunt. She had to be out shopping or something. She wouldn't leave him alone this long. There was work to be done for sure. Harry crept to the kitchen door and listened for a minute. The only sound he could hear was the sound of an occasional page being turned. His aunt read every now and then, but it was usually circulars or the tabloids. A book was something she hardly ever read.
Deciding it was time to test the waters and hopefully begin a different summer holiday; Harry opened the kitchen door and entered the very clean room. He saw his aunt sitting at the table with her back to the doorway hunched over a book. He could tell that she hadn't moved since lunch, because the dishes from lunch were still sitting on the table. Some food remained on the table and Harry figured now was his chance to see if things were going to be different.
Mustering his Gryffindor courage, Harry began the short trip to the table and sat opposite his aunt. She failed to notice him at first, but it was obvious when she did see him. She grabbed a creased bit of paper from the side of the table and quickly covered the book she was reading with it.
Harry saw a few emotions on her face the most prominent being fear. Fear of what, Harry didn't know. Another was apprehension and the third was one Harry had never seen when she looked at him. The best he could figure the emotion was pride.
"Good afternoon," came the forced form of greeting from Aunt Petunia. "Help yourself to whatever you would like that is on the table. I advise you to be scarce when your uncle returns at six. Dudley will be home later."
"Yes, Aunt Petunia," Harry said automatically. She had made the first move and it was positive, or at least neutral. Knowing when the others should arrive would help him avoid the inevitable confrontation that was sure to follow. 'Tonks must have talked to Petunia before she left last night. That has to be the reason she is being nice to me right now.' "I will clean off the table before I eat then."
Harry was met with a raised eyebrow that could rival Snape's. "No need. Just take what you want, but I'd prefer to be alone in the kitchen."
"Okay." Harry figured that the request was more than favourable compared to what he had been expecting to get. He grabbed food keeping a careful watch for the slightest hint that he had taken too much. His aunt's eyes followed his fluid moments as he piled the leftovers onto a plate. Harry had taken bread, ham, cheese, crisps, an apple, and a glass of juice. He ran out of room on his plate before he received any indication from his aunt to stop.
'First meeting – success.' Harry didn't know if this was the quiet before the storm or if this was for real. He decided he should take it as a victory and retreat to safer waters to watch the reaction. He nodded respectfully to his aunt and left the kitchen and hurried up the stairs to his room. Only when the door closed did he think he was safe to eat more food than he had ever had inside Number Four.
Lunch was eaten quickly and the plate left clean except for the apple core. Harry looked around the room trying to figure out if he was still asleep. Nothing so far today had made any sense. His aunt had never been violent towards him, but she'd always been the most hurtful. The coldness and lack of caring from her had been more scarring than the belt or punches from Vernon or Dudley.
As his aunt - his blood - she was supposed to be the most loving person towards him. She had never been nice to him. She had never shown any warmth. Something had changed with her and he didn't know what it was or what had caused it. He needed to talk to Tonks to figure out what she had done or said to them after he passed out.
Family issues aside, Harry needed to begin working on his summer plans. He was staying alive by being in this house. 'Staying here is enough effort on that. Protecting my mind on the other hand needs a lot more effort. I need a book that can help with that and I need it now. Something to ask Tonks if she comes back.
'Taking control of my life, well I guess I am starting that one. The events of last night were evidence enough of that. Information will be a hard one to work on. Dumbledore will not tell me anything unless he has too, and even then it will be too late to do any good.
'Keeping others safe means I have to be able to help them. I have to be able to protect them. Staying here won't do that. I have to be out there either guarding them or stopping Voldemort from attacking them. Both of those options suck and are even harder to accomplish. My guards won't let me leave and Voldemort is not likely to take it easy on me. The Death Eaters will be after me worse than before since I basically got some of them arrested.
'Learning is another thing entirely. Books only go so far and I learn better by doing. That will be the hardest thing to do this summer. I can't practice since I'll be expelled immediately if I do. Or will I?
'Dumbledore can't expel me. I am the only person that can kill Voldemort. If I am expelled, it would be that much easier to kill me. Dumbledore can't let his weapon be killed that easily. He would do everything he could to prevent it. That means I am in a position of control. He needs me, the whole Wizarding world needs me whether they know it or not. I am marked whether or not people know I can kill Voldemort. He and all of his lackeys are after me even without knowing I am the key. So I would go from the top of the list to what, higher on the list. Hahaha, whatever. It's my life, not theirs. It is my future, not Dumbledore's. I will do this one my way unless I find a better way and people willing to let me participate in it.
'I have little choice since I am in this to win or die. Shitty options, but those are the only ones I've got. So, I keep working the 'relatives' angle and I start my fight on my own terms for my own ends. Life and a reason to live it.'
Harry unpacked his trunk as much as he dared. He kept the important items and some food under the loose floorboard and his school things in the trunk. Harry started reading a book of curses he had. Later, he looked around and found the shadows getting longer. Harry figured his uncle would be home soon and prepared for that meeting. He knew it wouldn't go as well as the one with his aunt.
Tonks left the lift feeling better than she did when she went in. Her meeting with her boss had gone well considering she hadn't got an answer at the end of the meeting. She was on her way to Diagon Alley now to find a book for that hateful Muggle. Maybe Petunia could be saved, but she doubted it. With a crack, Nymphadora Tonks appeared in Diagon Alley. One thing that stood out was that everyone who was in the Alley was looking over their shoulders waiting for the next attack. Those that remembered the last time were the most nervous of the bunch. She passed her fellow Aurors who had been stationed in the Alley since the Ministry had been forced to admit You-Know-Who had returned. Fudge was only hanging onto his job because he had greased the wheels of government for years prior.
Tonks was convinced that, with a little push, Fudge could be tossed out on his head. If Dumbledore had asked for his resignation publicly, the Wizengamot would have supported the request and Fudge would be gone. The best she could figure was that Dumbledore could manage Fudge and control how things were handled. His control had waned for a few years, but now Fudge knew his job rested in the hands of the Headmaster.
'So much for separation of powers,' Tonks thought. She continued to Flourish and Blotts and entered the bookstore. It was mostly empty, but a few people were about browsing the shelves. They acted much in the same way as those in Diagon Alley by looking over their shoulders and jumping at the least bit noise.
Tonks found the section for biographies after nearly scaring two people out of their socks. She located the Harry Potter shelf easily enough since there was a display for it. The recent vindication of The-Boy-Who-Lived had put him back on top of the popularity list. She remembered hearing Remus and Sirius talk about some of these books. Apparently her cousin had taken an interest in them. Knowing his sense of humour, Sirius had most likely planned to read them and use them to embarrass Harry when he could. Now, Tonks was trying to remember which one had been the most accurate.
She found one written by F.L.D and thought that rang a bell. The title, 'Harry Potter: Not A Fantasy Story' sounded like the one. She flipped through it and read a bit about this first year of life. The book was really vague about his years with the Dursleys since it only took up one chapter. Every year of school had at least two chapters dedicated to it and the book stopped after Harry's fourth year. Tonks figured that was good enough.
She doubted that it would do any good, but she had to try for Harry's sake. She bought the book and went to post office to send the book to Petunia. At the very least, the owl would remind Petunia that Tonks was still out there and returning soon enough. She left the post office and prepared herself for her visit to Hogwarts. Dumbledore was an imposing person and even worse when he was in his office. She knew he wouldn't go to headquarters for a few days and this issue needed to be resolved fast. With another crack, Tonks was at the gates to Hogwarts.
The imposing castle sat on the hill up the path. Tonks took a deep breath and began the long walk to the confrontation she had been dreading since last night. Her mind wandered to what Harry had done and what he had said. This was important and she was not going to leave without doing what needed to be done. The trip had taken less time than she'd planned and she soon found herself standing in front of the oak doors. With a steadying breath, Tonks opened the door and entered the school.
She walked up the stairs hearing her every step echo off the walls. She made her way to the office stairwell. Halfway there she heard a cackle and Peeves appeared in her way.
"Oh, me sees an oldie," Peeves said delighted. "You had best not forget your knickers this time, Nymphy. Peevesy remembers the good things."
"Watch it you ghost-wannabe. I know how to exorcise spirits like you. Give me a reason not to?"
"Oh, you were never any fun. Only funny-looking when the boys would ask you to change into someone else. Peeves remembers how you used to cry." Peeves floated away as a spell ricocheted off the wall where he had been moments before. Tonks tried to calm herself, but she was mad, upset, and full of self-loathing.
'That fucking ghost had to bring that up, didn't he? He had to remind me of how I was then. What I did. Next time, I won't hesitate to kill him for good.' She gathered her wits trying to calm herself because she knew that Dumbledore would probe her mind. He would do what he needed to do to find out everything. He only needed to know certain things and she was determined to see that he learned only what he had to know.
Tonks arrived at the entryway and sent a message to Dumbledore using the spell he had devised. A silvery bolt shot from her wand and went through the wall. A few seconds later, the gargoyle moved aside and Tonks was riding the stairs upwards. The office door came into view and Tonks hesitated before stepping forward. She cleared her mind and shielded her thoughts. She stepped forward and the door opened of its own accord.
Tonks entered the circular office to find Dumbledore sitting at his desk looking at a silvery device that wasn't spinning properly. A box was next to the desk and inside were pieces of damaged bits of silver. Dumbledore was concentrating on his wand movements and she could feel the magic at work. The device shuddered and spun slowly until it popped and the spinning stopped. Seconds later the device fell apart and clattered to the desk and floor. The old man sighed and smiled slightly.
"Nymphadora," he began, "For future reference I would advise you to avoid angering Harry Potter to the point that he destroys anything that you enjoy. Unlike most people, when he breaks something it stays broken. I must say that I have not been able to repair a few of my more complicated trinkets. I assure you I have tried and failed every time with this one. The others are in much the same condition." Pushing aside the pieces of the object, Dumbledore said, "Now enough rambling about my excessive bits of junk. You would not be here if it wasn't important. You would never risk a meeting with Peeves for a trivial matter."
"Yes, Albus it is important." Tonks sighed inwardly. She didn't understand how he could know what had just happened with Peeves. "I was at Harry's when 'they' returned. The uncle tried to kill Harry once he got in the house. I must ask that Harry be moved for his own safety."
"Was Harry injured?" Albus seemed more interested in Harry's condition and not the reason Tonks was before him.
"If I wasn't there, you would have a fat Muggle to dispose of and Harry Potter's death to explain. Harry is resting now, but he was hurt badly enough that I had to use some healing spells. Now, what are we going to do about this?"
"What did you do to the Dursleys?"
"Not as much as I wanted," Tonks said, getting angry. "I should have killed the uncle, but I didn't. Harry got to him first. You are lucky that he didn't use any magic to protect himself. Isn't Harry on a short list when it comes to underage magic?"
"Yes, he has received a warning or two, but right now I believe the Minister has more important things to deal with that don't involve reminding the public that Mr. Potter was right and he was wrong. All-in-all, Harry is in a much safer position with the Ministry in mind."
"So, what are your plans on handling the situation?"
"You have taken care of the injuries and warned the Dursleys again?" Albus asked, hinting that the situation was resolved.
"They were warned, but I doubt the uncle learns that fast. Is that all you plan to do?"
"I consider the matter closed, Nymphadora. If any further abuse occurs, I will look into the matter personally. Is there anything else you wished to discuss?"
Tonks couldn't believe it. A student, - an important student, - was being abused by the people that Albus placed him with and he was doing nothing. "You consider the matter closed? How can you consider the abuse of Harry Potter closed? It has occurred for years. Ever since you put him there he has been abused one way or another. How can you?"
"If you look at the bigger picture, Ms. Tonks, you will see that Harry has turned out to be a wonderful person. He only has one more summer with them after this and then he will have no reason to return there again. Have you been getting enough sleep lately? Working all night and then being awake during the day as well can place a dramatic toll on the body."
"I am fine, Albus, but Harry isn't. I find it hard to believe that you plan to do nothing about what happened and what has been happening. At the very least, the Order should be made aware of…"
"I believe us knowing is enough for now. If others learn of this, then there is a greater chance Voldemort will find out. We must limit the number of people who know what. Do you understand, Nymphadora?"
"Do not call me by that name, Sir. You know I hate it." Tonks paused, and controlled her mind again. "I will be leaving now, Sir. I have a few things to take care of before I get back to Harry's. Will I be able to switch schedules with Dung the day after tomorrow? I believe the switch might work better for both of us."
Dumbledore hesitated and Tonks felt a light probing at her mind. She held steady and found Dumbledore looking puzzled. "Yes, I believe the switch would make better sense, but has your work schedule changed? That was the original reason you were put on nights."
"Yes, I have been reassigned to nights," Tonks said. "This will workout better for everyone."
"Very well, I will make the change on Wednesday. Please tell Mundungus that he will need to alter his busy social calendar." Dumbledore's eyes twinkled at his own joke.
"I will handle guard duty on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning then. Thank you for your time, Sir." Tonks turned and left the office. She couldn't believe what had been said. He didn't even flinch when he learned what had happened. He either knew beforehand or he didn't care. Either way, Harry had been right. He said no one would care and the one who should care most, didn't. Tonks hurried down the steps and out of the castle. Her plan made even more sense now that she had confirmed the truth. Checking her watch told her that she had a couple hours left before she had to get to Harry's before the uncle made it home. She knew he wouldn't have learned just from one night.
Leaving the grounds at a quickened pace allowed Tonks to Apparate away earlier, she appeared in the Ministry for the second time that day. With her plan coming together and her chances of abandoning it fading, Tonks went in search of Kingsley. He needed to know where she would be or at least a good enough excuse preventing him from asking about her.
Harry sat in his room reading about dangerous curses that were almost banned by the Ministry. "Stab, slash, twist, pull, flick. Eww, that is a nasty one. Liquefy the eyes, how can that be legal?" Harry flipped the page and checked the legal section of the spell. "Oh, there is a counter-curse and a potion to repair it. But it would work in a fight since they can't see until they are treated. The Bone Breaking hex looks effective too. Ooh, Bone Exploding looks really bad. It could kill if you hit them in the right place. A few places actually, but this is war, right? I am literally fighting for my life." Harry looked up and found Hedwig watching him. "Sorry girl, I might be losing my mind since I am talking to myself." Hedwig ruffled her feathers and stuck her beak in the air.
"Sorry, Hedwig, I didn't mean anything by it. I was talking to you, okay. You're the only one who has stuck by me from the beginning no matter what anyone has said." Hedwig calmed down and seemed to relax. Harry returned to his book memorising what he could. As page after page flipped by, Harry found spells that he could use to protect himself and others. A few showed strong promise for serious situations like another Ministry debacle or a graveyard scenario. 'I wish I knew some of these then. Things may have been different. People might still be alive enjoying their lives or making mine better. I will not let you down, Sirius.'
The hours slipped by peacefully in the house with the only conflict occurring in Harry's mind. The battle between his morals and ideals and the reality of his life was a difficult one for Harry to come to terms with. 'To survive, I may need to stoop to their level. To live, I'll probably have to kill.' The turmoil gave Harry cause to reassess many of the things he had seen and done. Alternatives reared their ugly heads at many stages revealing better and worse outcomes. Shaking the images from his head, he said "What did Tonks say? Never hesitate in a fight and worry about things afterward." Harry sighed as he realized that was the only way to win a real fight. The Death Eaters never hesitated. Voldemort never hesitated. Neither ever showed regret for their actions.
The process of attempting to learn the spells and the mental justification for actually using them continued until his stomach gave a rumble breaking his concentration and turmoil. Harry marked his page, closed the book, and stood up. He didn't want to test his luck again since the last time was far too positive of an experience. He contemplated his choices, but always came back to his decision to take control of his life. His 'relatives' would not stop him from enjoying his summer. He needed food and they were not going to stop him from eating either.
A choice made, Harry opened his door and headed down stairs slowly while remaining determined on controlling his life. When he opened the kitchen door, he found his aunt sitting in the same place as before. The dishes had been cleaned away but there she sat reading the same book. Harry watched her for a few minutes seeing her subtlety shake her head a few times and tilt it from side to side as if trying to figure something out.
Choosing to announce his presence, Harry cleared his throat causing Petunia to jump. She turned to look at him and covered the book with the paper again. What startled Harry the most was the look of horror on her face. Not sure how to handle the situation, Harry held his ground and stared at her with a scowl growing on his face. 'She is going to snap at me. I knew it wouldn't last.'
"Harry," she said pausing to correct her voice that cracked. "Help yourself to whatever you want from the pantry and fridge. Vernon is bringing take-away for us. You know he won't let you touch it so get what you can now and be off before he gets here."
"Thank you," Harry said, trying to understand what had happened to his aunt. 'Not what I expected. Maybe it's the Imperious Curse. Maybe Tonks threatened Dudley's life if she was mean to me.' Harry quickly got some cold chicken out of the refrigerator and put it on a plate. He poured himself some juice as well since it had been awhile since his last drink.
Thoughts still rolling through his head distracted him enough that when he opened the pantry and reached in, he bumped a glass jar that held the rare preserves his aunt would make once a year. Without breaking his thought process, Harry instinctively snatched the jar out of the air as it fell. He returned it to its shelf and found the crisps he was after.
Petunia had just finished reading about a Quidditch match Harry had played a few years ago. She doubted that her nephew could play any sport and read the section with a sceptical eye. 'He was always so skinny and weak-looking. He would get killed during a sport even for fun let alone one for real.' After giving him permission to eat, she watched him move about the kitchen. She noticed that he didn't display any of the awkwardness that teenagers often had. His movements were smooth and precise.
When the jar fell, Petunia almost yelled at him, but she stopped herself when his hand shot out and grabbed it instantly. She couldn't believe he could do that. The description of his sport was vague, because it was meant for a reader who already knew the basics. But Petunia had figured out that speed and precision were keys for the 'Seeker' position, and she just saw him use those skills. Petunia debated with herself, but she had to be sure.
She saw her empty teacup sitting on the table. With a quick and very un-Petunia-like thought, she said Harry's name and threw it into the air near him. She watched Harry spin around on his feet and capture her eyes with his. The green held her for only a second then darted away and returned to hers. She saw his hand reach out and save the cup from a loud, disastrous landing.
Harry's stare was all consuming. He held her where she was sitting. She saw him place the cup on the counter while he seemed to be figuring her out like a cat would before striking a mouse. Only when he asked what was going on did she feel the gaze lessen.
"I wanted to see it for myself, that's all," she said. "Is that what you do? You catch things? That is what your sport's about?"
Harry didn't know what to think. She had just asked him about Quidditch. A wizard sport was being talked about in this house by her own choice. Harry scanned the room quickly looking for anything out of place and focusing on the only thing, the book that his aunt was hiding from him. The paper looked like the parchment Flourish and Blotts used to wrap their books when they were sent by owl. Harry saw a bit of twine sticking out of the book too.
Something was wrong and it involved that book. It was the only thing that made sense. Harry took two steps toward the table. Petunia looked down at the paper and slid her chair backwards slightly, making a scraping sound on the floor. Harry pulled the paper away and found a moving picture of himself looking up. A scowl appeared on his face. This was not a good situation.
"How did you get this book?" He wanted the truth and he was going to get it.
"Why?" Petunia asked with a smirk. "Is it all a lie? Did you get someone to write all this as a joke?"
"I didn't even know this book existed," Harry snapped. "But you haven't answered my question."
"I sent it, Harry," was Tonks's cheery answer as she entered the room. "I bought it and sent it here for her to read. She wanted to know," Tonks paused, "well, she was somewhat interested," She amended after Harry gave her a look of disbelief. "It looks like she's been reading it too. Why not let her finish it? She might treat you better if she knew the truth."
"I highly doubt anything written about me, especially in a book, will be accurate. No one knows the real truth of any of it except me and a few others who were there. Only one article has been accurate and Hermione more or less wrote it. This is most likely just more lies about me either to make me better or worse than I really am."
Harry stared down both of the women in the room. He wanted to leave and vent his anger. 'Why can't I be a normal person?'
"Did you really lose all the bones in your arm?" Petunia asked tentatively, not truly recognising the anger Harry was trying to contain.
"What?" Harry couldn't believe she had asked that question. "In second year?" A nod. "Yeah. Idiot teacher tried to mend the bones, but he vanished them instead. Hurts to regrow them and the potion tastes dreadful. At least they got that right but what about the real stuff? Really messed it up, I am sure. They always do."
"Dementors, a lot of them, just like last summer?"
"Third year, which time?" Harry felt like he was in some twisted dream where everything was the opposite of reality.
"At the end of school, I guess." Petunia seemed more inquisitive than judgmental for the first time in her life.
"They were trying to kill Sirius," Harry paused and fought off the sad thoughts that tried to overtake him. "I guess they were trying to kill me too, but they'd almost got his soul. So I used my Patronus and saved us. There were only about a hundred of them. It wasn't like someone was shooting spells at me or anything. That was the next year." Harry went quiet dealing with his dark thoughts and emotions.
"A hundred of them?" Tonks knew a little bit about the incident, but she didn't know the details. "How in the name of Merlin did you fight off a hundred Dementors? Most people can't fight off one let alone multiples."
"He fought off, two was it, last summer and saved my Dudley," Petunia defended much to Harry's shock. "Is more than one really that much of a difference?"
"You have no idea of the difference when there are more of them," Tonks was openly gaping at Harry. "I've been tested against two of them, and I barely made it. If there had been three, I would've needed to be rescued. It was part of my final phase to graduate from the Auror Academy."
"I did what needed to be done," Harry said quietly. "I always have. I've never had a choice in the matter, really. Have to stay alive, right?"
Tonks was getting depressed listening to the casual way Harry talked about deadly situations. "Harry, how many times has your life been in imminent danger?"
"Ha ha ha," Harry couldn't help but laugh. "Define 'imminent danger' please. Voldemort I will give you, but falling from a broom or flying away from a dragon would be a matter of opinion wouldn't it?"
"Anytime your life could have ended by the action of others and dragons count." Tonks couldn't help but be surprised as Harry grew very serious and started thinking. He ran out of fingers quickly.
"I'd say at least twenty times, but I am probably missing some or counting them differently than you would. That's as good as I can guess without having Hermione here to add them up. She would know better than I would actually."
"Yet you're still here," Tonks smiled, trying to cover up her awe. "Anyway, I figured your aunt might like to read a little bit about you. I've heard that this was the most accurate book about you."
"Is a Basilisk real?" questioned Petunia.
"Yep, dirty great snake too. I got lucky that time thanks to Fawkes. Well, I'd best get out of here before Uncle Vernon shows up. I would like to talk to you, Tonks."
"I'll be with you shortly, Harry," Tonks answered. "I have a few things to discuss with your aunt. Go on, I'll be fine."
Harry gathered his food and left the kitchen giving a sharp glare to Tonks as he left. He went up to his room and started eating while waiting impatiently for her to come up.
Tonks looked at the book and Petunia. "I'm glad you started reading that. I see you've paid attention to it. I guess it is somewhat factual since Harry didn't make much mention of things being wrong."
"I'm not sure I can believe much of it. It's all so, unnatural. How can all these things happen to him? How can these things happen at a school?"
"Hogwarts is a different kind of school, no doubt. But it's the best we have here. The thing is, Harry is the difference. He's not like anyone else. He is Harry Potter. He's been a celebrity since he was one year old and his celebrity status is only increasing. There's nothing he can do about it either since he's only being himself. Think on that, why don't you. Just being Harry, and he is more famous than anyone else. Every witch and wizard in the world knows his name.
"Keep reading that book and then think about the boy who grew up here. They are the same person. Now, I have someone waiting to yell at me for giving you that book. I'd best not put this off any longer. Keep that 'man' under control or last night will look like a party compared to the next time." Tonks turned and left the kitchen steeling herself for the coming storm. Harry was going to be mad.
The door opened and Harry turned on the spot. His eyes blazed with a fire that could set the room alight. Tonks entered the room and closed the door. She waved her wand and cast a silencing charm. 'She knows what's coming. She knows and she's going to take it because she knows what she did was wrong.'
"What in the bloody hell do you think you are doing giving that woman a book about me?" Harry said biting off the ends of his words. "What did you hope to accomplish, huh? Why the fuck would you do that? Tell me."
"I had a discussion with her this morning when I left and she seemed interested."
"Ha, not likely," Harry quipped. "She only wants information to use against me. They'll probably put out an advertisement offering me to Voldemort for a few quid. Wait 'til Vernon gets wind of this. He'll jump at the chance to be rid of me and make a little money on the side. Besides, you had no right to do it. This is my sentence. Every summer I am locked away here until Dumbledore sees fit to release me. Now, you're trying to make it worse. Do you hate me that much?"
"Harry, I don't hate you, quite the opposite. I'm trying to help, and I think it's working. She seemed intrigued and has she yelled at you or been mean yet?"
Tonks looked victorious.
"Give her time, she'll sweep in and get you when you aren't expecting it. That's her way, you know. Oh wait, you don't know, do you? I do 'cause this is where I grew up. I know how things work around here. I don't need your help fixing things. I had my own plan for that."
Tonks's patience was running out. She could take a little bit of dressing down, but this was getting irritating. "And just what were you going to do? Do magic and get expelled?"
"Can't happen," Harry said definitively. "Dumbledore wouldn't let it happen. He can't let it happen. If I am expelled, he loses and Voldemort wins. As I said, never happen."
"You're sure of that, aren't you?"
"Yep, one of the few things I am sure of. I don't know who I can trust, but I do know that I can't be expelled. He would lose control over me. He couldn't monitor me as closely as he wants. I would be free and he can't have that. Did the same thing to Sirius and look what happened there. I won't be controlled like that anymore. So you can go back to him and tell him off for me."
"I'm not here as his spy, Harry," Tonks was beginning to see that this had less to do with the book and more to do with the Headmaster. "I'm your guard for the night and I'm here as a friend. You asked me to help you last night and I plan to do just that. Do you remember asking?"
"No, I don't remember anything about last night after I came upstairs. What did I say?" Harry looked nervous for the first time Tonks could remember and it wasn't a comforting sight.
"You asked for my help in learning things. You said that it was your job to kill 'Him'. If you died, he won. I'm not sure what makes you think that, but that's what you said."
Harry looked downright sick at that point. His eyes were shifting around the room quickly searching for something that wasn't there. He almost had a caged animal feel about him. Tonks stepped back to the door afraid to find out what would happen if he decided to act. This man had stood up to You-Know-Who more than once and lived. He'd done something no one else had, and she didn't want that ability directed at her.
"Harry, what's wrong? You didn't say anything wrong. Please, calm down. Things aren't that bad, are they?"
Harry had let his worst fears out and Tonks heard them. Thinking fast Harry decided he should work with what he had and not make things up. "Think about it, Tonks. How else could it end? It isn't like 'He' has it in for someone else, is it? I am the only one that got away. I'm a living example of his failure. Everyday I live is that much more of an insult to him. I'm proof 'He' isn't infallible and he hates me for it. Moreover, Dumbledore won't kill him. He could have, but didn't. I watched him let 'Him' go."
"Then use that Harry. You're an example for everyone."
"And how would I do that from here? The Ministry is just waiting for a chance to try and get me chucked out of school or tossed into Azkaban if that doesn't work. They tried before. And who knows what Dumbledore is waiting for. Why would I care about all those people? They'll turn on me the first chance they get. They always do."
"Harry, you need to take this one step at a time. Don't get all worked up thinking of everything at once. You're quick on your feet, but strategy isn't your strong point."
"Ha, you're right about that. Just ask Ron about chess. I couldn't beat him if he was in a coma."
"There's the happy Harry I want to see more of. I have the same problem, Harry. I can think on my feet, but planning isn't what I do best." At Harry's smirk, Tonks dove for him and knocked him over. She landed on top of him and held him down as best she could. "You were about to make a crack about my balance issues, weren't you, git?"
"Yes, Tonks," Harry said jokingly, but quickly got a serious look on his face. "I was going to comment on how well you walk on your own two feet."
With Tonks thinking about his words, Harry rolled them over. "Now, why did you give her that book?"
"Harry, we've been over that already. I gave it to her to help you while you're here. Now, on Wednesday, I might have another - a much better way - to help you. I'll be here Tuesday night and Wednesday morning. Now, unless you plan to get more familiar with me, cutie, I think we should sit down like civilized adults."
Harry looked at the situation. Tonks legs were on either side of his, and he was holding her arms above her head. His head was inches away from hers and he could feel the rise and fall of her stomach against his lower regions. Having a pathetic amount of experience with this type of situation and conversation, Harry stood up quickly and turned red from embarrassment.
Tonks watched as her comment had the desired result. Harry was embarrassed and he was cute like that too. She'd paid attention to what had been said at Grimmauld place when it had been only the girls. Ginny had a terrible infatuation with Harry; and Hermione, being the diplomat, had said that he didn't know what to do about it since he'd never known love or affection. Tonks figured that Harry had gotten over that in the past year. He'd grown into himself at least.
Harry sat down and fought the battle with his blush. 'I am not going to turn bright red in front of her. She's helping me and I am not going to do this. She's one of the only people who treat normally'
Tonks watched as the blush faded quickly. She didn't know what to do. Blushes didn't fade that fast. Something caused it and she had to find out what it was.
"Harry, how did you do that?"
"What, deciding to have at me some more?" Harry said trying to keep his head up.
"Nothing like that, Harry. People can't get rid of blushes that quick. I can, but you know why I can. Now, have you ever done anything like that before? Changed any physical things that can't be changed?"
"Not that I can remember, Tonks." Harry was trying to think of anything other than Tonks lying beneath him. Those thoughts would just get him in trouble. "I guess I made my hair grow once. Aunt Petunia cut all of mine off once and I didn't want to go to school looking like that. I was enough of an outcast as it was without being the bald headed freak too." Harry saw her eyes widen and thought she was trying to make him feel better. "Thanks for trying Tonks, but I can handle embarrassment on my own."
"I'm serious, Harry. You could be like me. There's a chance based on what you said. Of course, there are varying levels of Metamorphmagus. I'm the only one as advanced here. There are a few others who can hide their wrinkles or change the tint of their hair. None of them can change as much as I can. Now," Tonks said bouncing on the bed making it squeak, "what else have you done?"
Harry saw the eagerness on her face and in her body movements. Laughing to himself, he knew it was only a matter of time before she fell off the bed at the rate she was going. Concentrating, Harry tried to think of any other times he had changed his appearance. None came to mind. Shaking his head, "Sorry, Tonks, I can't think of any others. I've wanted to vanish this scar more times than I can count, but it has never worked."
Undeterred, Tonks explained, "Did you really want to hide it Harry? It is a part of you. You have had it as long as you can remember. Have you really, truly, wanted to hide it?"
"Yes, I hate this damn thing. It makes me stand out. It makes me that much more different than everyone else."
"Is that a bad thing? You are different. I'm different. We all are."
"But do you get stopped on the street and gawked at because you can look different? Do you get written about because of something you 'didn't' do? I didn't die and everyone is in awe of that. Big deal. What kind of life have I had up to this point, huh? Locked away here or fighting to stay alive out there."
"Harry, you are who you are. People care about you for who you are, not what you have done. You really need to stop getting down on yourself. It's unbecoming." Tonks screwed her face into a look of superiority and stuck her nose in the air and made it grow a little bit.
"Cute. Thinking of challenging my aunt with that act? You would fit in perfectly with her crowd. I am surprised they ever wear the right shoes with the way they're always looking up."
"Funny, Harry. I spend most of my time looking down to avoid tripping over things."
"Do you really think I'm a Metamorphmagus? No joking around, am I?"
"Let's see if you are, OK?" Tonks tapped Harry with her wand a few times and mumbled some words. She continued the actions all around his body. "What do you know about us, Harry? Our limitations or abilities."
"I only know what I've seen from you, Tonks. Is there more than that?"
"Harry, I am the most accomplished Metamorph in the country, well, known to the Ministry at least. I can change my face, hair colour and length, the tone of my skin, colour of my eyes, too many things to say really. I do have limits though. I can't change my body size more than a little bit. My bones and joints aren't really changeable. I can grow or shrink about an inch or so, but I can't get as tall as you. I can change my soft features, if you get my meaning, but the hard ones are beyond my ability. Any questions so far?"
"You can change some things, most things, but for the most part your body stays the same?"
"Yes, I can't change my core. I can't change any of my vital organs like the heart or lungs. I could try, but I could mess up and kill myself. Early on I decided to leave those things alone. It just wasn't worth it really."
"So, what do you really look like? No changes or anything like that. What does Tonks really look like?"
"You want to see the real me, huh? I'm plain, Harry. I like the added bits of flair, honestly. If you really want to though…" At Harry's nod, Tonks closed her eyes and focused on returning to her normal self.
As Harry watched, the heart-shaped face remained with its features keeping their sharpness, but the hair lengthened to shoulder length and turned a dark brown. Harry watched her figure for any changes and found that her breasts seemed to grow a little bit as her shirt stretched more across the front. Tonks opened her eyes and looked right at Harry finding him looking intently back.
"I like it, Tonks. It fits you. I guess it should since it's you." Harry let his eyes wander around her face studying her features more intently. Her eyes caught his and some of the nervousness he had felt faded away.
"Most people wonder what I can become, not what I started off as. I still like the colour though, so with your permission, dear sir…" Tonks scrunched up her face. The short pink hair returned and the breasts shrunk back to their previous size. "Would you like to work on this and see if you have the ability?"
"Can I do it without a wand? I don't want to test my theory that I can't be expelled just yet."
"Yes, everything's based on willpower and intent just like most magic." Harry got a puzzled look at that statement. "Oh, that's right you are only up to fifth year material. You'll get exposed to all that this year. Well, no time like the present."
Tonks shifted herself slightly and assumed a tone a teacher would use. "Now, class, magic is made up of three parts: willpower, intent, and magical ability. Wand movements and words only assist wizards in casting spells because they force the proper mental state and intent when casting a spell. Now, class, have you ever seen or heard Dumbledore do a swish and flick or utter the words Wingardium Leviosa?"
Harry smirked at her tone but couldn't honestly remember Dumbledore using words to cast his spells. Shaking his head, Harry thought if he could do the same. Announcing your spells was a decided disadvantage in a fight.
"You are correct, he doesn't. Dumbledore performs wordless magic or intent-driven magic. His intent is his words. He commands the magic to happen and it does. It helps that he has more magical ability than anyone else, but that's beside the point. No one can do anything about their magical power unless they are willing to delve deeply into Dark Magic. Now, since there is only one of you," Tonks smiled brightly at Harry, "I will ask you for some examples of intent magic."
Harry decided to play along since things were going well. "I have had problems of accidental magic since I was about three, I guess."
"Harry, Remus told me about problems you had when you were only a month old. I believe your father ended up with a nappy on his head once for teasing you. I know Sirius used to get the soiled nappies though. I believe he was more consistent in his 'fun'. I've heard that you had very few accidental magic episodes and more intentional magic episodes. Think hard about this."
Harry racked his brain thinking of all the times he'd caused things to happen that shouldn't have occurred. "I was being chased by Dudley and his friends at school and the next thing I knew I was on the roof. I turned my teacher's hair blue. Grew my hair. I blew up my aunt third year, but that was accidental."
"At third year, Harry, you have control of your magic unless it is a life or death situation. My guess is that was a combination of both intentional and accidental. I get the impression your anger is an effective trigger for your magic judging by what happened last night."
"What do you mean?"
"You were mad and I saw your aura, Harry. A real, visible aura that you sustained until you started up the stairs and began to lose consciousness. That is a form of willpower magic, but it isn't really a separate type of magic. It's only a driving force that works with your intent. I will explain it all later. Keep thinking of examples."
"I guess I opened my cupboard, too, when I was leaving here once. Last year when the Dementors were attacking us, I'd lost my wand. I couldn't see it, but I was calling out Lumos trying to find it. The wand lit up and it was a few feet away from me. Other than that, I can't think of anything else. Does that help?"
"Yes, it does. You've quite a few examples, Harry. That's a good thing because it will make this very easy for you to understand. I told you that words and movements are just triggers for the magic to happen. People with little magic in them or who are weak-minded need those triggers to cast spells. Inexperienced people need the same aids. That's why they teach it in school. Everyone will be on the same level then, the powerful and gifted as well as the weak and new.
"Now, most of your examples are of intent or willpower. You wanted or needed something to happen so it did. You wanted to get back at Sirius for teasing you, so you levitated a dirty nappy onto his head. He loved that story by the way. He was so proud of his Marauder-in-training, as he put it. He was a bit touched in the head, but I loved him all the same. You getting away from your cousin, your hair, your wand lighting up; are all examples of your intent to achieve a specific outcome. Your willpower drives your intent. I can intend to Apparate to China and I can put all my willpower into it, but my magical ability won't let it happen. I do not have enough magic to do it. If I am fighting a mental battle with someone and we have the same level of intent and magical ability, our willpower will decide the victor. Do you understand?"
"You mean like Legilimency and Occlumency?"
"You know about that? How? Better yet, why?"
"Dumbledore had Snape trying to break into my mind last year since Voldemort can do it. They were trying to get me to a point where I can block out his intrusions. I failed at it. Snape isn't a good teacher to begin with, but when you're doing things like that. Well, I am sure you can understand." Judging by the look of horror on her face, Harry figured she understood completely.
"He had Snape teaching you that? Is he mad? Are you sure he hadn't been at the bottle when he made that brilliant decision?"
"He said Snape would be the best person for the job since he understood how Voldemort used Legilimency. The lessons were a bloody nightmare; they didn't help at all."
"No shite they were worthless. That git couldn't teach a cat to meow let alone someone he hates to protect their mind. I doubt he tried very hard, too. I bet the bat just loved beating up on you, didn't he?"
"Got it in one, Tonks. That was until I looked into his Pensieve and saw some memories he wanted to remain hidden. He kicked me out after that. I managed to see some of his memories though, but it only happened after he got me mad. I guess, looking back at everything, anger does seem to work for me."
"We can talk about that later. Anyway, that's exactly it. You can have all the intent you want, but it would be your willpower that wins that fight. Magical ability won't play into it at all. You learned about the Imperious Curse, right?"
"Yeah, the fake Moody put all of us under it during fourth year. I was the only one to fight it off."
Another horrified expression told Harry that he had done something else weird. "What is Albus doing at that school? Has he lost his mind?" Tonks was mostly talking to herself. "So, you were the only one to fight it off?" At his nod, she continued. "That's an example of willpower. It's completely and totally, willpower. I hope that's the only time you have had to do that."
"Nope, Voldemort got me with it in the graveyard after the Triwizard Tournament. I fought that one off too. I also had the whole Priori Incantatem thing too. That was willpower, right?" Harry saw looks of awe and horror on Tonks face. Since she was a Metamorph, it was kind of funny to watch her face contort to accommodate both expressions.
Tonks recovered somewhat and managed to get her mouth under control enough to speak. "You fought off You-Know-Who's Imperius Curse? That was what you said, right?" She couldn't believe he had done that. She couldn't believe he had just said it like it was no big deal. "I am in awe, Harry. That's an amazing feat. I have no idea what you mean by the Priori Incantatem though. I will just take your word for it."
"So, I understand the first two, but what's Magical Ability then?" Harry asked trying not to make a big deal out of something else different about him.
"The raw magic inside of you. You are born with it. Purebloods are mistaken in the belief that they are born with more 'magic' in them than others. If it were true, then why are more Squibs born to purebloods? Answer that, if you can? An example would be your ability to cast the Patronus Charm. That takes both magical ability and intent. If you don't have enough of either, you get mist or nothing. Now, I see you ready to say it's the proper emotions that cause that, right? Well, aren't emotions just another form of intent? They have their own kind of power to them. Happy, sad, anger, hate; they carry their own intent in a way.
"The Unforgivables carry with them a life sentence because they are driven by intent. You cannot accidentally cast one. You must want to kill, to hurt, or to control another. A person can fight off two of them. The Imperius is the easiest to fight off if you want to call it that. I can't fight it off. It would take someone quite a bit weaker than me casting it before I could fight it off. The Cruciatus Curse would be next. I have heard of only a few people in all of history who were able to fight off the effects of the curse and that is more rumour than fact as far as I can tell.
"I know you have felt that one, Harry. I know that You-Know-Who had you under it. I know it hurts, but he's probably the worst there is with that spell. You lived through it, but I thought I was going to die when we had our test with that one. I am very in tune with my body. It's part of being a Metamorph. It hurt me worse than the others."
"Bellatrix is pretty good with it too. I, I, everything we talk about stays between us, right?" Tonks nodded her head. "I tried it on her, you know. After she killed Sirius I wanted her to hurt. I felt I'd earned the right. I was justified in using it, but it didn't work properly. It only lasted a few seconds and then she was on her feet again. She mocked me and proceeded to give me a lesson in how to use the curse. I'll remember that lesson next time I meet her."
Harry had became more vengeful as he spoke. The room seemed to cool as his mood got darker. Tonks felt the power in his voice. It was palpable. She didn't know whether to agree with him or talk him out of it. He'd just admitted to using an Unforgivable. A teenager had cast an Unforgivable Curse, with little to no training, and he did it against one of the most accomplished witches in recent history.
"Harry, I am surprised that you were able to cast the spell at all. Anger doesn't drive it. You have to have the intent and power to cast the spell, but to sustain it you must stay focused on your intent and the result. The spell is very complex and you managed it, at least a little, on a very dangerous person. My aunt has killed and tortured so many people in her life. The fact that you survived the experience means a lot in my book.
"Harry, I'm going to tell you how I live my life as an Auror. It's the same thing soldiers live by. I'm going home at the end of the day. I'm going to live through this. I fight for myself, but I fight for my buddy, too. I fight, because he fights. I win, because he wins. In the end, after it's all over, if I live and my buddy lives, I did the right thing.
"Do you regret what you did, Harry?"
"No, I only wish that it had worked better that's all. I want her to hurt. I want to see her suffer. She ended a good man's life that day and she was happy about it. I want her to know what it feels like to hurt that much. She told me I had to enjoy it, but the way you explained it makes more sense. I think I could cast it on her again if I get the chance. I hope it's soon though." Harry wore a vengeful look on his face as his mind drifted back to Sirius falling through the veil.
"Well, on that happy note, back to magical ability. The duration and affect of a spell is dependant mostly on your power. The more powerful you are, the longer the spell lasts. Transfiguring an object will only last a certain length of time for most people. Conjuring is the best example of this. Conjuring something takes a lot of power, which is why not many people can do it very well. The size of the object also affects the power needed and the time it lasts.
"This is why we buy our clothes instead of conjuring them. Nasty surprise for all when your spell fails, eh? Well, maybe not for the women, but you get my meaning. Same for food too. Your body wouldn't do well if things started disappearing inside of it. Any questions?"
"No, it all makes sense to me. So, what do I have a lot of?" A refocused Harry asked, wanting to reassure himself of the mechanics.
"You have willpower, that's undeniable. You have power. I have felt it a couple times and your spell work is example enough. You have intent when it's needed. I think it's safe to say you have all of them, Harry. I wouldn't want to be on the other end of your wand. You only need to work on using them. Think outside of the Hogwarts's curriculum tonight and tomorrow. You might just get to practice it a little bit this summer."
Harry could tell Tonks was holding something back and he wanted to know what it was. He didn't like to be the last to know things. He stared into her eyes and willed himself to know what she was hiding. He caught a brief image of himself casting spells in a large room with Tonks watching him before he felt himself being mentally pushed out of her mind. The next thing Harry saw was Tonks looking at him.
Tonks felt the slight intrusion on her mind, but didn't know how it had happened. Harry had entered her mind and he did it quite easily. She summed up all her strength and pushed him out of her mind as strongly as she could. Once she had successfully removed Harry from her mind, she found herself breathing heavily and looking at a calm Harry staring at her with a slightly confused look on his face.
"How did you do that?"
"You were hiding something from me and I've had bad experiences with people hiding things from me. I just wanted to know what was going on, and I was in your mind. I apologise, but it just kind of happened."
"Well, you were very good at what you managed to do. It took everything I had to force you out. Were you trying to stay inside my mind?"
"No. Once I figured out what was going on, I just kind of waited for you to throw me out."
"You mean you were just waiting there? You weren't trying to stay and look around?"
"No way. I've had Snape in my head too many times messing about like that. I wouldn't do that to you, Tonks."
"Well, that was willpower, Harry. Your intent got you in the door, but your natural willpower kept you there and made it very hard to remove you. I'm rather skilled at both Legilimency and Occlumency too. If you would like me to help you with it, I can try. I couldn't be any worse than Snape at least."
"Ha, you would be a much better teacher than he could ever be. You don't hate me for one. I'd gladly accept your help, Tonks. I need every bit of it I can get. The explanation about magic helped a lot. Why don't they tell us these things when we start school? It would have helped me quite a bit. I am not much of a book learner. I just do it and figure things out as I go."
"I try my best, Harry. I am glad it helped somewhat." Tonks was happy. She had helped teach Harry something.
"You were brilliant, Tonks. Thank you."
Tonks couldn't help but bounce up and down on the bed a little bit. She was very pleased with herself.
Harry saw it happen in slow motion. The bed squeaked with every bounce. Tonks got a little air with her final bounce and to her detriment shifted her position. Harry knew what was going to happen and watched her land on the edge of the mattress. It registered on her face a moment before gravity took over completely, and Tonks slipped off the edge and fell to the floor with a crash. "Oof. That hurt my bum."
Harry couldn't help but laugh. It was the funniest thing that had happened all day. Harry only laughed louder when Tonks started laughing from the floor. Harry leaned over the bed and offered a hand up. Tonks's gleaming smile told him everything was all right. She took his hand and began to pull herself up.
The door burst open and a very unhappy uncle stood in the doorway, red faced and puffing away like he had just ran up the stairs. Harry turned to the interruption and sighed, realising that the last few hours had gone too well considering his luck. Harry turned back to look at Tonks and found her smile faltering.
"I knew it!" Vernon bellowed. "I knew you were nothing but a whore. I know what you were doing up here with the Boy. I heard the bed squeaking. Don't act like I made it up. I want you out, NOW!"
Harry finished pulling Tonks up onto the bed and stood up to face his uncle. "I warned you to watch what you said to Tonks. You have gone too far, Vernon. You will not speak to her that way. I will not let you." The room dropped in temperature and Harry stepped towards his uncle. "You will apologise, now. Then you will leave us alone. We weren't doing what you suggested. Being fully clothed should have been a hint."
"I will do no such thing, you ungrateful son of a bitch," Vernon roared, but didn't step forward. "I should've chucked you out the day we found you. I knew you would be the ruin of this family. I will not have your kind here anymore. Out, out, OUT!"
"Vernon," called a smallish but curt voice from the hallway. "He's clothed, so they weren't doing, that. They could hurt you if you keep this up. Please, let's go back downstairs." Aunt Petunia stood in the hallway behind Vernon looking small but determined. "You remember when he got mad at Marge. I don't want the same thing to happen to you. Please."
Vernon looked at his wife. He had forgotten about that. The boy did that without his stick and there was another one with him. He was clothed and so was she. He saw her wand pointed at him and it was slightly glowing at the tip. Deciding to make a tactical retreat, Vernon swallowed his words and took three steps out of the room never turning his back on his nephew. Once in the hallway, Vernon took a deep breath, thrust his chest out and went downstairs. Petunia quickly closed the door and hurried after her husband.
"She reasoned with him. She's never done that before. She always let him do whatever he wanted."
"She might have seen what the rest of us noticed a long time ago. Now, do you really understand how magic is used? I tried my best, but I don't know if it worked for you. Everyone's different when it comes to this."
"I get it. It makes sense. The only problem is practicing it and I can't do that here."
"In a few days you might be able to, Harry." Watching his eyebrows shoot up in anticipation, Tonks figured she should clarify a little bit. "I can't say more than that, so don't you go digging around for it. I've still not recovered from the last time. Just practice using your intent and willpower to make your magic happen. Everyone can do a little wandless magic from time to time, and I think you'll be better than average at it. Anyway, wandless magic is untraceable by the Ministry. Now, it's late and you should get to sleep. We talked for a long time about things. If you have any questions, just ask."
"Where are you going to sleep then?" Harry asked looking around his small room. There was only the bed and he was planning to sleep in it.
"I'll do what I did last night, Harry." Tonks stared at Harry waiting for him to get ready for bed. "What? Aren't you going to brush your teeth or something?"
"I'm waiting for your answer actually. Where are you going to sleep?"
"I'm going to bunk with you, of course. Why, do you have a problem with that?"
Harry didn't know what to do about what Tonks had said. Thinking fast he said, "No, no problem. I just don't know how you want to do this?"
"Oh, this was so much easier when you were unconscious. You lay down. I lay down. Then we get comfortable and go to sleep. Boy, Harry, you act like you've never done this before."
"I haven't, Tonks. This will be a first as far as I can remember."
That was not what Tonks had expected to hear. "You mean to tell me you've never slept with a woman? Even the sleeping part?" Harry shook his head confirming what she heard and destroying what she had thought about the Boy-Who-Lived. "I figured you for a lady's man, Harry. Athlete, cute, hero; you have it all. I figured you to have a long list of ladies waiting to keep you warm at night."
"Nope. My first shot at a relationship failed spectacularly. I really didn't have the time to get another one. I doubt many women would want to date someone like me."
"Oh, no. They would want the ugly ones or maybe an arse." Tonks smiled letting him know she was just playing around. "You should try, Harry. You're only young once and Hogwarts is full of women wanting the same thing."
Trying to turn the tables and save himself from more shame, Harry said what came to mind first. "Speaking from experience, Tonks?"
"Maybe, but that's for me to know and you to find out."
Harry hung his head hiding his red face. 'I set myself up for that one and she took her shot.' Cutting his losses, Harry left his room and got ready for bed. Tonks laughed to herself. She had got Harry to blush twice in one day. He really wasn't the suave man she had expected. He was more of the clueless young man they all were at that age. When Harry came back, he just stayed near the door.
"Come on, Harry, in you get. I'll just slide in where I can find room." Seeing his disbelief, Tonks grabbed him by the shoulders and pushed him to the bed. "Honestly, must the woman show the man everything?"
"I think I've had enough innuendo for the evening, Tonks. Thanks." Harry got into bed and chose the side closest to the door. If his uncle got any crazy ideas and found the courage, Harry would be the first one to get it. Tonks could get away then.
"Settled, Harry?" Tonks took Harry's annoyed look as confirmation and jumped over him to get to the open space. "More than enough room, Harry. If we fit together tonight like we did last night, then there will be enough room for a third if you have someone in mind. Do you?"
"One is enough, thank you. I wouldn't want to get ahead of myself now would I?"
"That's a very mature way of approaching it, Harry. Now if you start getting too frisky, I will let you know by smacking you."
'One step forward, two steps back.' "Thanks for the warning, Tonks. I'll keep that in mind." Harry found himself looking into a pair of dark eyes that didn't seem to stop. He watched her hair lengthen and darken. She had changed into the real Tonks. "Did you do that last night?"
"No, I stayed the same Tonks last night. As a peace offering for my bad behaviour, I will be the real me. Only tonight though or it could become a habit."
Feeling sleep trying to overtake him, Harry couldn't help but think of how nice a place he was in at that very moment. "Thanks, Nymphadora, I appreciate it."
Tonks wanted to yell at him, but she couldn't because he was being sincere. 'Might have overdone the sleeping charm a little bit, but he never would have fallen asleep at the rate his heart was beating.' Tonks watched Harry sleep for a few minutes before feeling herself beginning to drift off. Testing the link to the wards, she found everything as it should be. The last thought to cross Tonks's mind was how things could change for Harry in the next few days. 'He will be a different person if things happen the way they should. He will see things differently and act differently. Am I doing the right thing by helping him?'