A/N: I do not own Harry Potter
Picking himself off the ground from where he landed when the portkey dropped him, Harry turned to help Tonks from her fallen state getting a smile of thanks in return.
"Come on, we need to get inside. Shouldn't be sittin outside for very long." Moody growled his eyes scanning the street.
Rolling his eyes at Moody's well known paranoia Harry grabbed his trunk while Tonks and Remus grabbed the owl cages and went inside 12 Grimmauld Place. Entering the hallway Harry was almost immediately tackled into a hug by fast moving blur with bushy-brown hair.
"Hey Hermione," Harry said returning the hug.
"Harry! How are you?" Hermione asked as soon as she released him from the hug.
"I'm good," Harry said smiling at her look of incredulity. "Really."
Looking at her friend with disbelief Hermione just shook saying, "Fine come on, you'll be staying with Ron," before leading him up the stairs.
"Hey mate!" Ron said thumping Harry on the back as he walked into the room and dropped his trunk by his bed. "It's good to see you."
"Hey!" Harry replied greeting his friend in kind. "So what have you guys been doing?"
"Ung, Mums been havin us clean the whole time."
"Sounds like you've been having fun." Harry said laughing before sitting down on his bed to catch up with his friends.
"So what was that with Harry?" Remus asked Tonks with a grin.
"What was what?"
"You and Harry when we were picking him up. You were the only one who got a hug from him," Remus said grinning at Tonks.
Breaking into a smile Tonks replied, "So were you wanting a hug from Harry? I mean he is kinda cute but I didn't know you played for that team."
Hearing this Remus blushed slightly knowing he walked right into that comment. "That's not what I meant, and I am very attracted to women," he replied with an obvious leer in Tonks direction.
"I'm flattered, really," Tonks said dryly noticing his look. "And what's between me and Harry is exactly that between us."
"So there is something going on between you two?"
"We're just friends Remus." Tonks said. Which was true at the moment, what they would be later was irrelevant to this conversation.
"Whose just friends?" Mrs. Weasley asked walking into the dining room.
"Me and Harry," Tonks replied.
"Well that's nice, the boy needs more friends." Mrs. Weasley replied. "Oh Tonks dear, would you mind going to get the children, dinners ready and Albus, Minerva and Severus are going to here."
"Sure Molly." Tonks leaving the room.
"Wotcher guys!" Tonks greeted as she walked into Ron and Harry's bedroom, seeing the trio talking.
"Hey Tonks," they greeted.
"So what have you been doing? Not planning on overthrowing the school this year are you?" Tonks asked with a teasing grin.
"Of course not!" Hermione replied looking scandalized.
Grinning Tonks replied, "I'm sure, anyway Molly wants you downstairs for dinner."
"Yes food!" Ron yelled with a hand going to his stomach.
"Is that all you think about?" Hermione asked Ron the time-old question.
"I'm a growing boy," Ron replied using an answer just as old.
Rolling his eyes Harry got up from the bed and walked to the door standing next to Tonks "Come on let's go, I miss Mrs. Weasley's cooking." Turning he walked out the door with Tonks following.
Leaning in close Tonks whispered to Harry, "Dumbledore and Severus are going to be here tonight. Are you going to tell them now?"
Replying in kind Harry said, "I think we should, and the longer we wait the more upset people will be when we tell them."
"Ok," she whispered before raising her voice so Ron and Hermione could hear too. "You guys go on down I need to go find Ginny."
Watching her walk away, Harry waited for his friends to catch up. "What was that about?" Hermione asked suspicious.
"What was what?" Harry asked feigning ignorance.
"You and Tonks mate. You were standing awfully close and whispering to each other," Ron said with a sly grin on his face.
"Nothing," Harry said fighting a blush. "We're just friends. She came over during the summer and we hung out together."
"Uh huh…" Hermione mumbled still looking at Harry as if she knew Harry was hiding something.
"Really! Now come on," Harry said turning around heading down the stairs trying to get away from this conversation, not wanting to have it with them until later when he could tell everyone all at once.
Sharing a look Ron and Hermione followed Harry down the stairs.
Sitting at the table, Harry was joined a moment later by his two best friends who sat opposite him at the table. Harry was trying to ignore their glances in is direction, not wanting to answer their questions. Thankfully, Harry was saved from answering by the rest of the dinner guests arriving.
"Ah Harry, how are you?" Headmaster Dumbledore asked, with a kindly smile on his face.
With little emotion in his voice Harry replied, "I'm fine sir," causing the twinkle in the Headmaster's eyes to dim slightly.
"I'm pleased to hear that," Albus said as he and the other teachers sat at the end of the table.
Tonks having entered at the same time as the professors shot Harry a look of support before she and Ginny sat down on either side him.
In an effort to break the silence that ensued from the Headmaster and Harry's short conversation professor McGonagall said, "I thought you would like to know that I brought your OWL results with me."
Hearing this Hermione perked up asking, "Can we see them now?"
"No, Ms. Granger I believe it might be better if I gave them to you after you've eaten, otherwise I doubt you would eat anything at all," McGonagall said with a slight smile on her face. Knowing what her favorite student's reaction would be; running off to the library to find a listing of all the career choices she had based on the NEWT courses she could take.
Blushing slightly Hermione simply nodded her head as she began to pile food onto her plate before eating at a rate that would have matched Ron's at his hungriest.
Seeing this everyone started laughing as they, at a much more sedate pace, began to help themselves to the food Molly had prepared. The rest of the meal was spent eating and enjoying small talk.
When everyone had finished eating, Hermione being the first done, McGonagall passed out the Trio's results.
Despite not attending Hogwarts in the Fall Harry was still nervous about his results. Opening his letter, he found:
OWL Results for 1995-1996 School Year
Recipient: Harry James Potter, Gryffindor
For each test taken the possible scores are Outstanding, Exceeds Expectations, Acceptable, Poor, Dreadful, and Troll.
Care of Magical CreaturesE
Defense Against the Dark ArtsO
Total: 7 OWLS out of a possible 9
Congratulations, you are eligible to take the following courses: Care of Magical Creatures, Charms, Defense Against the Dark Arts, and Transfiguration.
OWL Examination Board.
Harry let out a sigh of relief. It was not as good as he hoped but he had done much better than he thought he would, especially in Potions. Looking up from his letter he said, "I got seven OWLs! What did you get Hermione, Ron?"
Smiling at her friend "I got 10 OWLS! O's in everything but History. I only got an E in that," she finished with a small frown on her face making everyone else snort in amusement.
"Oh no! Only an E, now you'll never be able to get a good job." Tonks joked at Hermione - well aware of the girl's perfectionist attitude from her time with Harry – causing her to blush.
"I know Hermione, you're still the smartest witch in our class," Ron said smiling at his friend. "I only got six OWLS."
"That's wonderful Ron, I'm so proud of you!" Mrs. Weasley exclaimed at her son. "You did very well too," She said to Harry and Hermione.
"Yes they did," Professor Dumbledore said. "Ms. Granger scored the highest in almost all subjects. Only Mr. Potter scored higher than her in Defense and Mr. Longbottom scored higher in Herbology."
Hearing this Hermione blushed again at the Headmaster's praise.
"Yes, very well done Ms Granger," McGonagall praised before turning to Harry. "Mr. Potter I know that when we spoke last term that you wanted to become an Auror. To do that you need to have a NEWT in Potions, however I have spoken to Professor Snape and he has agreed to allow you into his class on a probationary basis."
"Yes Potter, you will have to show that your score on the OWL was not a fluke. If I see anything less than an E potion then you will be dropped from my class." Snape sneered at Harry as if the very thought that Harry could do it was impossible.
Dropping his face into an emotionless mask Harry replied in a cool voice, "Thank you Professor for the kind offer, however I must decline your generosity."
At this Snape started to turn an impressive shade of red and was about to rebuke Harry with his usual animosity when McGonagall spoke up, "Mr. Potter you will need Potions to become an Auror, you really have no choice in the matter."
"I'm aware of that Professor McGonagall, and while I appreciate what you did for me to be allowed into Potions I will not be enrolling into Potions this year," Harry said giving his professor a slight smile in gratitude.
"So Potter, do you think that just because you're famous that the Aurors will allow you to join them." Snape sneered at him, making Harry wonder if Snape had spoken to him without a sneer.
"No." Harry replied calmly not lowering himself to Snape's level. "I still intend to become an Auror, however I will not be joining your Potions class because I will not be returning to Hogwarts this fall."
This statement caused all heads at the table to snap to him with wide eyes.
"So school finally becomes too hard for you and you're just going to quit," Snape said, again with the sneer on his face.
"Professor Snape, Harry." Dumbledore corrected. "And you must return to Hogwarts this Fall, you need to finish your education."
"I intend to finish my education, just not at Hogwarts," Harry said ignoring the first part of the Headmaster's statement.
"You must return to Hogwarts. It is the safest place for you to be during the year when you're not at your Aunt's," Dumbledore said a hint of steel in his voice.
"Yes Harry, besides Hogwarts is the best school in Europe," Hermione said finally coming out of her shock.
"Hogwarts is not the safest place Headmaster, despite what you think." Harry said, seeing the Headmaster about to comment Harry continued. "Every year I have been put into the Hospital wing, usually because of your teachers. First year when Ron, Hermione, and I went after the Sorcerers Stone and I was attacked by Quirrell. Second year I was put into the Hospital wing because a teacher you hired vanished the bones in my arm and because of a basilisk. Third year because an escaped convict that you believed was out to kill me was able to break into Gryffindor House and even into the very room I was sleeping in. In my Fourth year I was entered into a tournament that ended with a student being killed and me facing Voldemort again. And finally in Fifth year I was mind raped by a teacher of yours and tortured with a blood quill by another teacher," Harry said not looking away from the Headmaster except to glance in Snape's direction when he talked about being mind raped.
"And Hermione, I doubt Hogwarts is the best school in Europe. In five years we have only had one decent DADA professors. Two worked for Voldemort, one was a fraud, and the other was a ministry lackey. The Divination professor just predicts that I am going to die every time I have her class. And in Potions we have been taught nothing, every class we sit down and then are told to follow the directions on the board as if we we're doing nothing more complicated than cooking. We were given no instruction on how to prepare the ingredients and when a student does make the correct potion, it is ridiculed or we have points taken off because we didn't help the people next to us make their potion as well theirs," Harry said having turned to Hermione.
Despite not wanting to believe it Hermione was unable to refute what Harry had said, especially when he didn't get hysterical when describing the poor education at Hogwarts, and sat there with her mouth open.
During the whole explanation, Snape was becoming even more apoplectic at Harry's lack of respect towards him. "Why you little-"
"Yes Snape?" Harry said cutting him off still not showing any emotion. Turning to Dumbledore Harry continued, "I find it interesting Professor that you continue to say that I should show respect to Snape, when he has shown none to me. From what I have learned during my time at Hogwarts is that respect is earned not given and he has done nothing to earn respect."
"He is a professor and the position if nothing else requires you to show respect," Professor Dumbledore spoke sternly.
"If he had taught us anything, I would," Harry replied just as firmly.
It was at this time that Snape finally lost control of his temper and drew his wand on Harry. Seeing this Harry flicked his wrist sending his wand into it from his forearm holster and cast the strongest Expelliarmus he could sending Snape's wand into his hand and sending Snape into the wall behind where he collapsed unconscious.
"Put away your wand Mr. Potter!" Dumbledore said his twinkle gone and his wand in his hand pointing it at Harry as McGonagall went to check on Snape.
"Certainly Professor," Harry said calmly putting his Holly and Phoenix feather wand into his holster. "I hope you don't mind but I am going on to hold onto Snape's wand."
"I think you should give it to me. Having his wand on you when you get a letter from Madam Hopkirk will not help you," Dumbledore said, his voice quiet, threatening.
"Why would I get a letter?" Harry asked. "I was defending myself from someone who is a marked Death Eater. And even if you say he is a spy for us. It would be my word versus his and right now, I am very popular with the people. Who do you think would win?" Harry said causing everyone's jaw to drop.
"I am very disappointed I you Harry. I thought you were better than this," Dumbledore spoke trying to use his grandfather card.
At this, Harry simply raised one of eyebrows and said "And…?"
"And I would have to defend him in court if it came to that."
"Yes you would defend him wouldn't you. However, it won't come to that. I won't be getting a letter," Harry said confidently looking directly into Dumbledore's eyes while bringing up his mental shields.
"You are still underage, and no amount of fame will help you," Dumbledore said as he tried to enter Harry's mind and met a solid shield.
"While it's true that I am not 17, I was declared an emancipated minor earlier this month," Harry said pushing Dumbledore's gentle probe out of his mind causing the old man to flinch slightly.
"I find that hard to believe. The minister would not approve such an act," Dumbledore said equally confident.
"The minister has no choice in the matter. Sirius emancipated me when he made me the new head of the Black family," Harry said smirking at Dumbledore's shock.
"How?" Dumbledore finally asked.
"I went to Gringotts to get money for some purchases this summer, when I was there I was told to go see a goblin about the Wills of Sirius and my parents. Sirius left me almost everything. My parents did the same. However, I do have a question. When I was at Gringotts, the goblins acted as if they expected me, saying that they had sent me a letter informing me of Sirius will. Do you know why I didn't receive that letter?" Harry asked staring hard at Dumbledore.
"I didn't think you would be ready for hearing his Will so soon after his death," Dumbledore said calmly.
"So you intercepted my mail. The very thing you tried to prevent from happening last summer and you do yourself this year. I should be shocked but somehow I'm not," Harry replied anger apparent in his voice.
Hearing the anger in his voice Tonks reached and held his hand with hers, squeezing it for comfort.
"I did what I believed best," Dumbledore replied.
"Without giving me a choice in the matter?"
"I fear that I have abused your trust once again. I'm sorry."
"Yes you did, but I found out anyway so it doesn't matter."
"You are correct. However, I would like to continue on about with your schooling. I still think that it would be best to continue on at Hogwarts," Dumbledore said trying to regain control of the situation, not used to Harry staying in control of his emotions.
"Be that as it may Headmaster. I have already made arrangements for alternative schooling," Harry said calming down with Tonks' help. "I have been accepted into an apprenticeship by a man whose knowledge is unrivaled."
"Who have you been apprenticed to?" Dumbledore asked shocked that a student not even out of Hogwarts was able to gain an apprenticeship.
Smirking Harry said, "I believe you have heard of him. His name is Nicholas Flamel," causing Dumbledore to gape again.
"That's not possible! His stone was destroyed at the end of your first year," Dumbledore replied shaken.
"If you say so Headmaster. However that does not change the fact that his name is on the list of available masters and that he has already accepted me as an apprentice," Harry said inwardly happy that he has been able to keep the Headmaster off balance.
"I'm sorry Harry but I cannot allow you to go. You need to be protected," Albus said trying to force Harry top stay at Hogwarts.
"No. You do not have the authority to keep me from going," Harry said his voice laced with steel. "You are the Headmaster of a school. You are not my guardian and I am not a member of your Order, so you have no right to stop me."
Dumbledore couldn't believe that he had lost so much control over Harry. The boy had been so reliant on him the years before but now he wouldn't do what he told him to and the boy was no longer throwing temper tantrums, he was calm and composed. Sighing he decided to play his card, "You leave me no choice Harry. It's obvious that Nymphadora here is more than just a friend to you. Despite being emancipated, it is still illegal for her to be dating you. Unless you return to Hogwarts I will be forced to inform her superiors of your relationship."
At this, the rest of the people gasped in surprise that the Headmaster, the leader of the light was making threats against a 16-year-old boy.
Smirking at both the reactions Dumbledore's statement received and at the useless threat Harry said, "Go ahead. Madam Bones is already aware of our relationship and nothing that is happening between us is illegal. Tonks is my betrothed. She and I are arranged to be married by my 17th birthday. The marriage was arranged by my parents."
At this Mrs. Weasley shrieked, Remus, Ron, Hermione, Dumbledore, and McGonagall looked shocked, and Ginny looked sad. Ginny's look did not go unnoticed by Harry, so he decided to go talk to her later.
"Why? Why would your parents force you into an arranged marriage?" Hermione the first to overcome her shock asked. "From what you've told me your father's family was not the type of pureblood to have arranged marriages. Your father certainly wasn't in an arranged marriage."
"You're right Hermione," Harry said with a smile. "My Father's family did not abide by arranged marriages. However it was not because of my Father's family that I am betrothed to Tonks."
"What? Then why?" Hermione asked confused.
"My mother was not actually a muggleborn. It turns out that she is descended from a long line of Squibs that belonged to a very powerful family. It is because of the customs of that family that I was betrothed to Tonks," Harry said explaining.
"Which family did your mother descend from?" This time it was McGonagall that asked.
"One of the founders, not Gryffindor though," Harry said looking at McGonagall with a smile.
"Certainly not Slytherin," she said as if the idea was crazy.
Laughing Harry said, "No, not Slytherin. Can you imagine Snape's shock if I was, I think he would die. No, my mother was the last heir of Ravenclaw."
In the ensuing shock-induced silence Harry grabbed Ginny and Tonks leading them out of the room.
A/N: I know that I didn't mention anyhting about Harry's Birthday in this chapter. I will get to that next time. Also, i will be starting the investigation against Umbitch soon.