Notice: Harry Potter, Tom Riddle, and any other characters you may recognize in this story are the property of JKR and/or whoever had the brains, contacts, and cash (or other negotiable items) to secure the rights to them. Alas, I had the brains, just none of the other stuff.
AN: Harry's writing in the notebook will be in Italics, Tom's will be in Bold.
A good teacher
After eating the required three sandwiches (having no desire to see Winky in one of her 'moods'), Harry and Tonks pulled out the chain they had acquired on the way home. Ted revealed a beautiful near translucent piece of jadeite, which in his hand showed a Chinese dragon. Ted then fit the rune stone on the necklace, and bid Harry to put it on. With a look of trepidation, Harry slipped it over his neck. Nothing happened. Harry looked down at the stone. It was blank. He looked up to Ted in confusion, and the man grinned at him. "It's charmed to show how well you are doing in each of your subjects, Grass Hopper. In warding and curse breaking, it will show a Grass Hopper. When Andi starts you in Accounting, it will probably start you off as a Bookworm." There were groans from this statement. "In duelling and transfiguration, it will show something else. In Mind Magics, something else entirely. Now, considering that you just polished off three of Winky's sandwiches, chips, and four butterbeers, I expect that would earn you at least a Tiger in the subject of chowing down.
"It also has as many shielding and protective runes as I could fit on the back side of it. It works as a draw on your own magic, but it's minimal. I managed poisons, venoms, and most of the lighter weight curses. I thought it couldn't hurt.
"The other thing I did was make it into a permanent one way emergency portkey. If you get in trouble, just grab tight to it, and call out 'Bug Out Base.' That will instantly transport you back here from no matter where you are. The important thing is that you have to have it in your hand when you say that. If you don't, nothing happens. Got it?"
"Let's see, grab this and say 'Bug Out Base' to get back to here from anywhere. At least some measure of protection from various stuff, shows various runes for how I'm doing in various subjects. Got it. It sounds like you did a lot of work on this last night, Ted. Thank you very much. It's beautiful." Harry said.
"Aw, Shucks. T'weren't nothin'." Ted grinned.
"Humph." Andi said. "He whines and moans and groans to me about staying up all night to get that toy of his ready and then he says it's nothing. Men!" Then she grinned, with a gleam in her eye. "Really, dear. You did a very nice bit of charm work on the stone. It's beautiful. Now, when are you going to make the rest of us one? I think I'd like mine carved on Ruby. Nymphadora dear, what do you think? Emerald for you, or Sapphire? Remus? You look more like a tourmaline man to me. Ted? Hmmm... of course. A nice black opal."
"But I -" Ted began.
"I'm thinking Emerald, Mum. That will match Harry's eyes." Tonks interrupted, grinning.
"I mean -" Ted tried again.
"Tourmaline, Andi? You really think so?" Remus said.
"You can't -" Ted stuttered.
"Of course. It's beautiful after it's been polished, Remus, dear. You'll love it. And that will leave Sapphire for Sir Adam. That's fitting."
"You mean -" Ted said feebly.
"What are you waiting on dear? I will make it easier on you, at least with these, you don't have to put in the multiple engravings. With mine, I think I would enjoy a tiger on mine. I feel a wolf would be fitting for Remus, Nymphadora should probably go with a phoenix rising to match her new tattoo, Adam, being a huntsmaster would probably like a man on a horse in mid jump over a fence. Perhaps with a coursing hound beside him. You keep going on and on what your little toy can do for fine work. Oh, and you may have whatever you wish. If it were my choice, I'd say an old goat, but I know you better than any one else." Andi smiled at her husband.
Ted sighed. He knew when he'd been beaten. It had happened the second that Andi had decided to enter the conversation. "Yes, dear. I'll purchase the stones and get started on them immediately after we ward the training room."
The rebuilding of the wards of the training room went fairly quickly, with all of them helping. Ted made Harry work a lot of the time with his Mage Sight up, in order to strengthen it.
Before starting, Ted went through a detailed analysis of why the wards shattered the day before. "As you can see, the physical shields were placed on the outside of the magical shields. When your magic went off, it scrapped them first, and then while the magical shields were trying to recycle, they got hit with that heavy Plexiglas shielding, which wiped out the actual runes here, here, and over there. The field tracings, as you can see here, there, there, and there were also interrupted. The feed back from there, there, and there disrupted it at this point, this point, and that one. Now, we can repair it to as it was if we just do a rewrite of the runes and tracings, but I think we should go a bit above and beyond the call, just to keep something like this from happening again. Now, Since we have plenty of power to call on, if we divide each wall into sections ..."
The next two hours were murder for Harry. He was sitting on a board, which he was concentrating on levitating six feet in the air. His Mage Sight was up, and he was carving either runes or field traces to connect the runes to strengthen the walls. A fair portion of the time, he was laying on his back on the board, carving into the ceiling. By the time the training room was completed, his magic was depleted from holding eleven stone in the air for so long, his arms felt like they were about to fall off from the hammer and chisel, and he had a Voldemort sized head ache from holding the Mage Sight so long. Each time he had made a new rune or connection, he would touch the closest rune with his wand and see the grid to that point take shape. If a connection was bad, it would fail to light up. If he had mis-carved a rune, the entire section would do nothing, and he would have to repair the stone and start over.
In the end, the job was done. Harry dropped the board he was sitting on to the ground, shifted out of his Sight, and gratefully grabbed the bottle of Dr. Phil Goot's Marvelous Mixture that Winky had placed beside his drink. As his headache began to quickly subside, and his arms and back regained their usefulness, he thought to himself, 'Less than twenty four hours, and I'm getting used to having a house elf. If only I could get her to quit calling me Master all the time...'
In another portion of the manor, Winky was cleaning the silver and thinking as well. 'Less than twenty four hours, and Master is working out well. He is slipping into the traces very nicely. Soon he won't mind being called Master at all.' This thought caused her to giggle. Sensing that the bottle she had left for Master Harry was now empty, she banished it to the inside of Mt. Etna with a snap of her fingers. She felt rather than heard Master Harry call out "Thank you Winky!" Another snap, and she was in the newly warded Training Room.
"Youse is very welcome, Master Harry. May I get anyone anything?" Winky asked.
Harry turned around to ask her not to call him Master, when he caught sight of her new uniform. It wasn't quite a dress, nor was it a robe, although it did have a sash holding it together. It was sleeveless, and came down to knee height on the little elf. In fact, it looked more like a large black silk pillowcase split down the middle, a Vee neckline at the top, and with holes for sleeves, hemmed in gold cloth, and a gold sash. Over the heart was the Black Family Crest and "Tujours Pur" written under the crest. "Winky, I like your new uniform. You wear it very well."
Winky giggled and curtsied for Harry. "Thank youse, Master Harry. If no one needs anything I has cleaning to get back to. Calls if youse needs Winky." Before Harry could say anything about being called Master again, she was gone, leaving behind a stack of sandwiches, tea, and a note that said "Master, Youse eat!"
With a sigh, Harry turned around and muttered "wish she wouldn't call me master."
Ted heard this and laughed. "Harry, my boy. You're dealing with a thousand years of history with that elf. I know you're stubborn, but I don't know if you're that stubborn."
Harry sighed and said "I know. I guess we're going to have to find out, aren't we." Without even thinking about it, he picked up the first sandwich and started to eat. Ted quickly turned to hide the smile on his face.
After the "light" snack from Winky, Tonks and Remus spent the next two hours working with Harry apparating around the training room. After the first time, Remus conjured he and Tonks ear muffs, which prompted Harry to say "Oh, haha. Very funny." After half an hour, Remus decided that the noise level had dropped to the point his sensitive ears no longer needed the protection. After an hour, Harry was no louder than most beginning wizards. By the end of the session, an exhausted Harry was as quiet as most adults.
Adam stepped into the training room and watched as Harry popped from one place to the next. Harry caught sight of him, grinned, and popped right beside him. "Good afternoon, Sir Adam. How were your rounds?"
Startled, Adam jumped as he turned to the teen. "Hello, Harry. Rounds were fine. I enjoy the patients, but I could use a break from the residents. I swear that some of them need to go back to primary school. You seem to have gotten the hang of apparating fairly well."
"Actually, he's gotten the hang of apparating to places that he knows fairly well," Remus corrected. "Tomorrow we'll black the side he's in out and have him concentrate on apparating to a person. The last will be going to co-ordinates. Are you ready for Harry to begin your lessons, Adam?"
"Ready and willing, but still not too sure about able, even with this beautiful piece of wood Mr. Ollivander found for me." Adam said, holding his new wand in his left hand.
Harry inspected Adam's new wand. Adam was correct. It was a beautiful piece of white ash, fourteen and a quarter inches long, and carved into the base were a series of birds of prey in flight, from Peregrines to Gyre Hawks. "You're right, Adam. It is beautiful. What is the core?"
"Mr. Ollivander sounded quite pleased when he sold me this wand. He said that the core was from a unicorn filly, and the wand itself was made by the original 'Olive-Hander,' whatever that means." Adam replied.
Harry whistled reverently. "Adam, that wand is roughly twenty three hundred years old. You know that sign over his door? The one that says 'Makers of Fine Wands since 382 B.C.?' That wand was made by Willen 'the Olive-Hander', the man that opened that store. Mr. Ollivander told me his tale when I was helping him inventory the place three years ago."
"You mean that sign was for real? I just thought that to be a joke!" Adam said, stunned.
"No joke. His family is one of the oldest in magical Britain, and has been making wands since 382 B.C. The Potters were some of his first customers. Willen's wand and mine are both Holly with a Phoenix feather core. The wand you hold is more than a tool. It's a work of art and a piece of history. There can't be many of his wands out in the world any more." Harry said solemnly.
"I... I've got to take it back. I can't take an heirloom from him like that." Adam said, mortified.
"No. The wand chose you. That is YOUR wand, and Willen made it for you. Be proud of it, use it well, and take care of it. Mr. Ollivander will be happy. Knowing him, he was probably turning cartwheels when that wand chose you. I can't imagine that it would be the first one he tried for you. It took him about fifty wands to find mine, and he was bouncing for joy when he got the right one."
"Well, perhaps not cartwheels, but he did almost knock over an elderly lady with a funny hat and a boy that came in at the time." Adam smiled.
"That was Augusta Longbottom that Mr. Ollivander bounced into, Adam. She was bringing Neville in for a new wand, as his was broken in the Department of Mysteries a few weeks ago. He was part of Harry's ill fated rescue attempt." Remus supplied. He turned to Harry and handed him seven galleons. "Harry, Neville said to tell you not to worry about the wand, or for getting him into trouble. He and Augusta said to thank you, and that she was so proud of Neville, as his helping you was exactly what Frank would have done. Augusta also said to tell you that she would be more than happy to have you over any time you wish. She was quite... forceful in her insistence that you come to see her before school started again. Is there anything I should know about?"
"Oh, no, not really. I just wrote to Neville and to Luna this morning, and had sent the galleons to replace the wand that we broke in the DOM, and asked if I could meet with her and Neville later this Summer. I'm going to need her help in dealing with the Wizengamot, as well as proper etiquette in sessions and the like. Don't tell Hedwig this, but I really was writing the letters to give her something to do while sending the letters off to Ron, Hermione, and Ginny with Dobby. I hate to think what would happen if Hedwig knew I was having Dobby deliver mail." Harry shuddered. He knew he had enough scars without what Hedwig would do to him if she was in a snit.
Remus laughed. "Whipped by your own owl. That's pitiful, Harry."
"I don't know. I saw what Hedwig managed to do to Brantley and she didn't have to lay a talon on the poor man. She certainly has my respect." Adam said with a grin.
"See, Moony? I'm not the only one scared of my owl!" Harry laughed.
"Actually, I'm more than a bit nervous of what your owl would do to me, too." Remus admitted with a laugh of his own.
"Okay, I think it's unanimous now, we're all scared of Hedwig. Shall we get on with Adam's lessons?" Harry said.
"Oh, Harry? I did have a question for you before we start. Should I keep my ring on? I use it as a focus for my kind of magic, and I wasn't sure if it would interfere with your kind of magic." Adam said.
"Well, to be honest, I don't know if it will interfere or not. Let's try it once and see what happens." Harry said. He walked over to a table and picked up a quill.
"Now, let's try levitating this quill. The motion is a swish and flick, ending while pointing at the object that you want to levitate." Harry demonstrated the desired technique. "The words you say are 'Wingardium Leviosa.' Pronunciation is important, but not nearly as important as your mental image of what you want to happen. In your mind, 'see' the quill floating. Now, give it a try." Harry said.
"Wingardium Leviosa" Adam intoned, while trying for a perfect 'swish and flick,' and visualizing the feather floating in front of his eyes. There was a loud BANG and the smell of scorched feathers filled the room.
"Um. Maybe we should try it without the ring on for right now, Adam." Harry deadpanned.
"Quite... right... Harry." Adam coughed.
Remus was unable to say anything, due to the fact that he was rolling on the floor laughing at the two men and the missing quill. Just as he was getting himself back under control, Winky popped in the room and began berating her master because the 'whole house smells of burnt feathers!' Winky glared at her master and his student for a moment, snapped her fingers to banish the smell, and was gone. Harry was just glad that the sound proofing of the room meant that no one else would know that the werewolf was now clutching his side as fresh peals of laughter issued forth from his now oxygen starved body.
"I'm sorry, Harry. Adam." Remus chuckled. "It's just that I've always wondered what would happen if someone were to try a spell through multiple foci. I just didn't think that a levitation spell would turn into an incineration spell. Wonder what would happen with a shield spell? Adam?" he smirked. "Care to try that in a couple weeks?" None of them could contain their laughter any more.
After Adam removed his ring, a few tries were necessary before he got the incantation, movements, aim, and mental commands meshed into a whole. As the feather floated in front of Adam, Harry turned to him and congratulated him. "Adam, you managed to beat Hermione's time on that spell."
"Oh, great. I just beat the time of an eleven year old."
"No, you beat the time of an equally beginning student who happens to be the smartest witch of her generation." Harry said. Adam felt a bit better about his progress after that. He was a bit irritated at himself for comparing himself to kids, but that was what he was learning. "Adam, remember, you didn't even find out you were a wizard until this past week. Sure, you've used your kind of magic before now, but this is a whole new quidditch match. Err. Ball game. If you wish to compare yourself to someone, don't compare yourself to an adult wizard, compare yourself to others who are starting out. We would be worse than those residents you were talking about when you came in if we were with you on rounds, because we have no idea what you would be talking about, other than 'this guy over here is sick, and that one over there is almost dead.'
"Comparing you to an eleven year old Hermione for this spell is the highest praise I can give someone." Harry continued. "She was the only one in our class that didn't have homework on this assignment, and it was a spell that Ron and I used to save her from a Troll that Halloween. It was also the spell that I just used to hold a board I was sitting on for two hours to carve all these runes in the ceiling and the top of the walls this afternoon. Just because it's basic doesn't mean it's not useful."
"You held yourself on a board for two hours with that spell? I'm wiped out after a few minutes with a quill feather!" Adam said, astonished.
"Well, I've had more time to practice it, and use this kind of magic. It's just like any other muscle when you're starting out. Weak and flabby until you get used to doing it, and then it gets easier." Harry said. "Now, care to lift the feather again?"
Adam sighed for a moment. "I'll try."
"To steal from a muggle movie, 'There is Do, and Do not. There is no Try.'" Harry said in a horrible Yoda imitation.
Adam laughed. "Yes, Master Harry."
"Hey, I could be calling you Grass Hopper."
"Try it and we'll see if your wand is better than my ring and skean dubh." Adam smirked.
"I know. It's not a contest I really want to have right now, and probably not ever." Harry replied.
"And don't forget, after this, we trade places and you're back to being the student."
"How could I ever forget? You get to wander through my mind in little leaden booties." Harry grumbled.
"Well, I like to think that my version of teaching is a bit better than lead boots." Adam said.
"I guess we'll see what you think after you see how bad your student is." Harry said.
"I think you'll find you're a better student when you have a competent teacher." Adam replied.
"I truly hope so, for both of our sakes."
After Harry had Adam work through the first few lessons in Charms and Transfiguration, they paused for a few sips of water before trading places.
At Adam's suggestion, they retired to the library to begin the lessons. Before Adam allowed Harry to enter, he first knelt in the center of the room, replaced his ring, and took out his skean dubh. After a few moments, Adam arose, and holding the small knife pointed downward, walked clockwise around the room. He made a second circuit counterclockwise holding the knife pointed upwards. A third clockwise circuit was performed holding the knife point outward.
"Okay, Harry. It's safe to come in now. I've sealed the room to all psychic presences except ours for now. Later on, you might want to choose a room and consecrate it for ritual work, but that won't be necessary for a while yet." Adam said.
"Consecrate a room?" Harry asked, feeling stupid momentarily until he remembered the Curse Breaker's first rule.
"Yes. Ritually cleanse and remove all psychic presences from the room, imbue it with a sense of purpose for Higher work, and seal it with wards to prevent any entry from a different plane of consciousness. As I said, that won't be anything to worry about for a while, so we'll deal with it at that time." Adam answered.
"Oh. Okay. I think I understand." Harry said. "So, sort of clean it up, set it up, and lock the doors, figuratively speaking."
"In a manner of speaking," Adam said. "Yes."
As Harry entered the room, he felt as if a sense had just left him. One that he missed and dreaded at the same time. He couldn't quite place it, until he remembered what Adam had said he had done in the room. 'Sealed the room to all psychic presences.' He couldn't resist the grin that came to his face, and felt no desire to.
"What's the grin for, Harry?" Adam asked.
"Voldemort. He's out of my head. I haven't felt this free, ever, I think. My scar connection with him has been there ever since I could remember, and now it's not. It's brilliant!" Harry smiled.
"Interesting. I didn't realize that your connection with him was a constant thing. I thought it was just when one of you wanted the other to know about it." Adam said.
"No, not really. I can always 'place' him in my mind. Like I know he's somewhere south, and just a touch west of south from here, and it's a good ways away. When we get close, it goes on overload, and hurts like the devil. Our connection is more like a tunnel through a mountain, with one of us on each side. You can wall it up, but the hole is still there, and he's on the other side. He may or may not have his side bricked up, but I'm still on this side, you know what I mean? This feels like the mountain just fell on the tunnel roof and closed it all." Harry explained. "I can't feel him anywhere, and it's like the tunnel is gone completely."
"Well, I hate to say it, but when you return outside of this room, the tunnel will be back." Adam said.
"Oh, I know that. I'm just enjoying the feeling right now. Besides, given the connection we have, I'm not really worried about Tom right now. I know what he feels like and I think I can guard against it. It's the other two Master Legilimens in Britain I'm worried about hiding what I'm doing from. " Harry said.
"Well, let's see what we have to deal with. Do you know how to clear your mind?" Seeing Harry's nod, Adam continued. "Good. Clear your mind, and I'll try to just gain entrance to your mind. I'm not going roaming or anything, but I want to see if you can 'feel' me in there. Give me a nod when you're ready."
At Harry's nod, Adam slid into his mind. Almost immediately, Harry noticed a presence. It was similar to what he felt with Voldemort, but in place of a cold and dark tunnel, it felt warm and light. Harry 'moved' towards the presence, and immediately 'saw' Adam. Adam 'stepped' out of Harry's mind, and looked at his student. "Very good, Harry. I thought you said you were rubbish at this."
"Well, your style is a bit different than shouting 'Clear your mind' and immediately attacking." Harry replied. "Needless to say, I think I like this version a lot better."
"I can well imagine. Your teacher should be beaten severely about the head and shoulders, Harry. 'Sink or Swim' doesn't work well for most people."
"Tell me about it. You feel a lot different than Voldemort does. His is like a cold, dark tunnel, and yours is a warm, light presence. What's the difference?" Harry asked.
"There are several things it might be. It could be our orientation, I'm oriented towards Light, while he is towards Darkness. It could be our intent. I'm there in a teaching role, while he is there for information. It could even be the way the connection was first started. I understand that a Killing Curse is not exactly a pleasant thing for either party, especially if the victim lives through it. It could be our emotions, both now and when the connection was forged.
"Now, shall we try again? Try to get to me faster."
The lesson continued throughout the evening.
In the end, both were sore, tired, and ravenous. They staggered into the kitchen, and Winky began to pile the food on their plates, all the while berating both of them for not eating sooner.
Finally, Adam had to explain to the irate house elf that the magic they were working with did not work well on a full stomach as their minds and bodies would be grounded by the food and the processes to digest it.
She relented, but told them to inform her when they would be doing this kind of magic so she could be properly prepared for her Master and his teacher. "Yes, Winky. You are correct. I should have told you what we were doing prior to your preparing dinner. It was thoughtless and I apologize." A shamefaced Adam informed the little house elf. Winky grinned and blushed, hugged both men, and forgave them before going back to her work.
"Adam, how did you get away with that? If it was me, she'd still be laying into me and calling me Master the whole time." Harry complained.
"Well, Harry. For one thing, she was perfectly in her rights. We should have told her that we would need a late dinner. That's why I apologized. For another, I'm not her Master." Adam grinned.
"I didn't want to be. I would much rather have her call me her friend." Harry groused.
"Harry. Stop. Winky is proud of what she is, which is a House Elf. To her, a proper House Elf must have a Master, and she must call him such. From what I have heard from you, she was used by her previous master, but not really abused by him. That's the difference between her and Dobby. Dobby is proud to be a free elf, because he had been abused for years, and knows as a free elf, he can never be abused again.
"A House Elf with a good master need never be abused, if she is working in her Master's interest. It's my understanding of your world that to beat another's House Elf is to issue an insult to the owner of that Elf. Her calling you Master is also telling all others that she's your property, so don't mess with her or they will have to deal with you. It is a statement of trust in the bond between the two of you. A House Elf gives up its freedom to its Master in hopes that the Master will protect it and allow some measure of that freedom back to it. It does not necessarily have to be only bond of subservience, but one of caring and respect as well. With a good master, that caring and respect is mutual."
"I... I never really thought about it that way before, Adam." Harry said. "I'm still not exactly comfortable with it, but I'll think some more on it."
"Okay. That's good enough, Harry." Adam said. "Now, on to Homework. After you get up in the morning, and before you eat breakfast, you need to work more on organizing your memories. This is likely to take the longest amount of time, and is largely a solo operation. Remember how I was helping you at the tail end of our lesson..."
After showing Adam to the door, Harry staggered into the sitting room and collapsed on the couch.
Tonks looked up from her book and smiled. "Tough day honey?"
Harry groaned as he looked at her. "Let's see. Got kicked out of my own kitchen for trying to make breakfast. Sent Dobby off to spy for me. Warded a manor house against werewolves. Had my girlfriend set me up for a date with a prospective girlfriend. Spent two hours levitating and carving wards. Spent another two hours practicing apparating. Taught beginning wand work 101 to Adam. Had Adam gently running through my head with little leaden booties. Got yelled at again by my House Elf for not letting her know my eating schedule. I'd call that a pretty busy day."
Tonks put her book down and slid over onto the couch next to him. "Oh, my poor baby..." She kissed him lightly. "Care to go take a bath and relax a bit? Mum and Dad said they'd be here tomorrow for lunch, so we have the morning to sleep in a bit."
"A bath sounds wonderful. You might be able to sleep in a bit tomorrow, but Adam gave me homework to be done before breakfast. I have to work on the rough organization of my mind, and food will ground the mind as well as the body. That means I'll probably have to do it early."
"Aw... So no sleep in for you?" Tonks pouted.
"Well. Maybe a little sleep in. I just have to get some work done on it. He said it'd probably take the most amount of time, so it's not like he expects it to be done before he gets here tomorrow."
"Good. So we compromise on the sleep in and I'll make sure that you get some of your memories sorted out." Tonks said. "Now, come on. We have a tub that's calling your name... And I'll make sure that you're nice and clean when you come to bed with me..." She whispered seductively in his ear, and nibbled for a bit on his earlobe before getting up and holding out a hand to help him up.
"Mmmm. Sounds like good clean fun." Harry grinned, grabbing her hand. He was shocked to find that his impromptu intention of pulling her down on his lap lifted him up without the lithe Auror moving.
"Balance is everything, Harry." Tonks smirked.
"This coming from the clumsiest person ever to go through the Auror Academy?"
"I will have you know that my clumsiness is mostly an act. It makes people underestimate me, which can be useful. I almost always know exactly where my center of gravity is, and if it's too far out of whack I can adjust for it."
"Oh really? And how do you explain your crash and burn in the training room?" Harry teased.
"Simple, really. Have YOU ever tried to dance in stiletto heels?" Tonks rejoined.
"I think I can honestly say that even the thought of my trying to dance in stiletto heels has never crossed my mind, much less my feet." Harry laughed. "But I do understand what you are saying. I doubt that I could even stand up like that, much less what you were doing."
"Come on, you!" Tonks said, dragging Harry up the stairs.
After they were in the tub, Harry noticed a slight crease in Tonks' brows. "Love, are you okay? You've had a bit of a hard day as well."
"Well, I don't think it's anything I can't live with, and I'd hate to bother you with it after your day today, hon."
"I don't care if it's something you can live with or not. I don't want you to have to deal with anything on your own, so spill."
"Okay. It's Hannah and Susan. I didn't exactly mind being undercover as the 'Puff bicycle when I was thinking it really was Eloise that I was acting like. Now I find out that I was tricked into it, by a prospective co-wife, and I really don't know what I think about it. I mean, yeah, it was a good prank, but I think they took it too far, and threatened my cover as well. If I had been anyone but Eloise, I would have been so busted in the first week."
"It's okay, hon. I didn't want to tell you this, but Susan's prank kinda turned me off on her as a partner, even if you were okay with what she did." Harry said.
Harry could see that she was close to tears about being duped by a pair of teens, about being tricked into being a toy for the rest of the house, about the thought of having her cover blown, about the whole thing. He wrapped his arms and legs around her and gently kissed her neck while whispering comforting words in her ear. Tonks lost it. For the next ten minutes, sobs wracked her body. After she had cried herself out, she turned around in his embrace, and hugged him back. "I'm sorry, Harry." she whispered.
"For what? Getting me wet? We are in a bath tub after all. I thought that was the idea." Harry grinned.
"No, silly. For ruining your shot with Susan. If I hadn't-"
"Stop!" Harry interrupted. "You had nothing to do with it. Susan ruined my shot with Susan. Now, all we have to do is come up with a suitable revenge."
"What? Wait... What do you mean 'revenge'?" Tonks sniffled.
"Well, she did mess with a Black. It's not something that can be left as is. This requires swift and just punishment." Harry said as his grin returned.
"So... Does this mean that we are still going on the date with her on Sunday?" Tonks asked.
"Sunday... Yes, I think I can put something together by then." Harry replied.
"Okay. Nothing permanently disfiguring, though. Right?"
"Of course, dearest. Just humiliating and maddening," Harry replied. "I'm shocked that you would think I would actually hurt a young girl like that." he mock pouted.
"Baby, I'm just trying to make sure that you don't do anything to get Amelia too upset with you." Tonks said, running her fingers through his hair.
"I don't think Amelia will be too concerned when the all facts come in. Not with us, anyway. It's probably a good thing that Susan likes to be spanked, though." Harry said, deadpan.
Tonks giggled as the strange thought ran through her head. Her giggles shifted to groans as Harry began to "wash" her with his hands.
The next morning, Harry did, in fact, sleep in. He awoke at seven, instead of his usual five o'clock. He carefully extracted himself from Tonks' grip and went to the loo to get ready for his day. As he was in the shower, he got hit in the ear with the notebook. With a sigh, Harry put the notebook outside the shower and finished washing his hair. He'd deal with that after he got out.
After his shower, Harry grabbed the notebook and stopped by the kitchen to inform Winky that he would need to skip breakfast that morning, other than a quick cup of tea. Winky was irritated at this until he told her that he had to do some more occlumency work, much like the night before. Winky agreed, but made him promise to eat a very large lunch to make up for it.
"Does Master Harry wish to see his mail? Dobby dropped it off for youse earlier. He is saying that they is all at Grimmauld Place right now, and Miss Hermione is crying a lot at night, but no one has given her a potion since Dobby started watching her."
Harry took the three messages and a cup of tea from Winky and sat at the table, sipping the tea and reading through his correspondence.
The first was from Ron.
Good to hear from you. What happened at the Muggles? Did the twins
finally blow the place up like they had threatened? Or did the Death Eaters
manage to attack you? Mum has been very close lipped about it, but as
soon as that happened, she moved us all here to HQ.
Good thing you missed out on all the fireworks at Kings Cross, Mate. Mum
was going to give you a right royal Weasley arse chewing for going to the
Ministry. Don't worry about it now, though. I think she's calmed down enough
to listen to reason. I call it all no harm, no foul, but you know how Mum gets.
I think she was more upset about Ginny's broken ankle than my getting attacked
by the brains. Maybe that's cause Ginny's her ickle perfect ickle girl.
Fred and George are upset with Mum. They petitioned to join the Order since
they were out of school now, but Mum managed to talk Dumbledore into not
letting them in, since they didn't take their NEWTs. Doesn't matter that they are
now owners of one of the hottest properties in Diagon Alley, nope. Not to Mum.
They're too young and that's it. Hope this doesn't cause them to do a Percy and
bail on the family.
Bill is working at Gringott's here in London now, and Mum keeps trying to find out
his new girlfriend's name, and when we can meet her, and all that.
Hermione's parents died on the way home from someplace about a week ago, so she's
staying with us right now. She said a muggle lorry driver had a heart attack and forced
them into the Thames, right off the bridge. She gave me a funny look when I asked if
they had tentacles like the brains did. Dunno what I said wrong.
I've been having my hands full trying to comfort her. Been kinda nice, really. She first
kept pushing me away and wanting to write you, but then she just started cozying up
to me real nice. Girls. I know I'll never figure them out.
Anyhow, I'll get more to you later, mate.
Hermione's parents were dead? and RON was comforting her? Mr. Emotional Range of a Teaspoon himself? Fred and George would have been better at comforting Hermione than Ron! That bit about the sudden change in Hermione's attitude was disturbing, though. Sounds like something had happened there.
The next was from Ginny.
Well, Mum was a bit upset at the thought of you taking us to the Ministry, but she's
pretty much over that now. She's going wild about you doing a runner, though.
Why didn't you go to the Burrow? You know that we'd have taken you in in a second.
Well, I know I would, anyway, and I'm sure I could have convinced Mum that you
needed to be there as well.
Did you know that Hermione's parents died in a car accident? The Headmaster said that
it seemed to be just a sad happening, and that You-Know-Who had nothing to do with it.
We're all at HQ right now, as the Headmaster wants to make sure that someone is always
here in case of a Death Eater attack. It's dead boring, really. Hermione and Ron are either
in the Library or the sitting room all the time and Ron seems to be wanting to check to see
if her tonsils are all right.
I wish you were here, then there would be someone to carry on an intelligent conversation
with and explore some of the various rooms with. I found a great hidden room with the
door actually IN the stairs to the basement. It'd be perfect for the two of us to explore
Well, Mum is calling us for Dinner, so must be going.
Harry was glad that he hadn't eaten yet. If he had he wasn't sure he could have managed to keep breakfast down after reading that. 'Bloody Hell.' Harry thought with a shudder. The last was from Hermione.
I hope you are well. To borrow a line from you, I'm fine.
My parents' car was pushed into the Thames River on their way back from a visit on the
south side of London when a lorry driver had a heart attack and lost control. Professor
Dumbledore said it was not a Death Eater attack, but I'm not too sure. I don't think I'll
ever be too sure of anything any more.
I now know what you've felt like all these years. I miss them so much, and while Arthur
and Molly are nice people, they aren't my parents. Molly seems to be pushing Ron and
I together any time I see her. She doesn't seem realize that Ron wouldn't recognize a
higher emotion than hunger if it bit him.
The only time I can get any time away from him is when I tell him that I need to write
to Victor. Then he gets in a huff and leaves me alone for a few hours. He keeps wanting
to kiss me. This is RON! At first I resisted, but then the last time I did that he gave me a
look like I was acting out of character. Now I let him in order to keep his suspicions down.
I really need to see you, Harry. Something is wrong. I'm missing huge pieces of time out
of some of my days. At first I thought it was just my grief, but now I'm not so sure. I've
taken to pulling a Moody and am only drinking water from the tap in a glass that I never
let leave my sight. I don't know if I'm just paranoid as part of my dealing with Mum and
Dad's deaths, or if someone really is out to get me.
For right now, I've decided that I need to practice some constant vigilance and see if
that doesn't help me get my mind together.
Take care, and please write soon,
Hermione was alternating between scared and hurting, knowing that something was wrong. What really worried Harry was her first line. Harry knew what 'I'm fine' meant when he said it. He also knew that for Hermione to be using that phrase, she was in a very bad way. 'Hermione suspects something strange is going on.' Harry thought. He had to agree that things did sound suspicious, not just from what she had written, but from Ginny and Ron as well.
Ron could possibly be looked at as a horny teenager trying to balance between helping a grieving friend and wanting to have a relationship with her. Ginny hardly mentioned Hermione, other than to say that Ron was getting at least to first base and wanting more. She seemed more to be throwing herself at Harry through the letter and trying to tell him that there was already a relationship going on between Ron and Hermione. Ron didn't mention any snogging, but maybe he had implied it in the "comforting."
Harry thought it was interesting that the Order was still using HIS house as their Headquarters. Wouldn't Hogwarts be just as easy for them? Dumbledore might be the secret-keeper for the place, but that didn't mean he OWNED it! Taking back Grimmauld would have to be a priority.
Harry knew he would have to let the others in on the letters and get their opinions before answering any of them. In the mean time, he had to have a chat with Tom and then work on organizing his memories. Finishing his now cold cup of tea, Harry left the kitchen and went back to the parlour. This would do for his talk with Tom.
Good Morning, Harry. What happened last night? You were gone for several hours. I couldn't feel you. It was... strange.
Well, my new teacher put up a psychic ward around a room in the house for practicing occlumency. He felt that any possible intrusions while we were working on it would be considered a 'bad thing.'
Your teacher is correct. I am impressed. I will have to research psychic wards. It's something I've not encountered before. So who is your teacher?
You're not going to believe this. He thought he was a muggle, until the day before yesterday. He's had a lot of experience with the unusual, though. His approach to it all was quite interesting.
A muggle? How... interesting. And you say that he found out he wasn't the day before yesterday? Very interesting, indeed. The best teachers know how to make their subject interesting to their pupils, no matter what it is. That's what I really hated about Hogwarts. I love history, and having a ghost as a professor would be quite intriguing, but I'm convinced that Binns could make a duel to the death boring for the participants.
Oh, so you had Binns as well? Was he a ghost then, or did he die after you left?
Actually, he died in my second year. The running joke was that he had finally bored himself to death. I've always wondered if he actually had an unhealthy obsession with the Goblin Wars, or if it went against school policies to teach anything prior to 1800.
I've wondered that myself. Look, I really hate to cut this short, but my teacher gave me some occlumency homework to do before he came by today, so I really need to get busy with it. I hope you don't mind.
Of course not, Harry. Homework first. Pleasure later. Oh, if you want to kill some time, do a check on the history of the world between 1800 and now. You will probably find it as enlightening as I did.
What do you mean by that, Tom?
Just what I said. It will take time, but I think you will find it very enlightening. Oh, and compare the magical and muggle histories as well. It's always best to get as many views of the same thing as possible.
Well, I have to be going. I don't know just when I'll have the time to read up on history, but I will try.
Certainly, Harry. Have a good day. Just read as much as you can as soon as you can. I will let you draw your own conclusions from it all.
Thanks, Bye Tom.
With that, Harry snapped the notebook shut and headed back for the small library. As he closed the door, Harry once again felt the freedom of his mind being his own. Sitting in the center of the room, he slipped into a meditative trance and began the long task of sorting once more.
Just outside the village of Little Hangleton, in a house that only a select few could see, in a room with a throne made of bones and a desk made of ivory, a rare smile crossed the face of the Dark Lord. 'Perfect,' he thought to himself.
Harry was feeling a bit better after two hours in his own head. He'd made a start with the easier memories. He'd worked his way through his Hogwarts lessons, doing a rough sort and file them. For right this moment, he'd created mental trunks of each for Transfiguration, Charms, Defense, Herbology, History, Astronomy, Divination, COMC and Other. After a quick examination of a memory, he sorted it into a 'trunk'. The 'Other trunk' was by far the largest, as it was everything except what he was working on at the time. It wasn't much, but it was a start.
Harry went to the kitchen and asked Winky for a quick snack, and was served three monstrous sandwiches and a pitcher of pumpkin juice and was informed that he WOULD eat it like a good Master, or else. Not wanting to know what the 'or else' was, Harry shut up and ate. Winky grinned and with a -pop-, was gone.
Tonks joined him at the table. "Hey, Hon. Want a bite?" He asked.
"And get on that elf's bad side? I don't see that happening any time soon, Love. So, did you have a good time running around inside your head with little leaden booties?"
"It wasn't too bad. I didn't get very far, just the stuff I learned at Hogwarts, but it's a start. Everything else is going to have to wait for later. I don't think I can deal with some of that alone if I get lost somewhere in a memory." Harry grimmaced at the thought.
"Yeah, I imagine that it could get kind of ugly in some of it, huh?" Tonks said sadly.
"Yeah, some of it is, but some of it's really good, too. Like the memories I have of you."
"Ah... How sweet you are, Harry." Tonks chirped.
"Thank you, I try." Harry grinned back.
"C'mon. Hurry up and finish up. We've got some exercise to take care of before the others get here." Tonks said.
Harry groaned, but perked up when Tonks gave him a quick kiss on the lips. "Don't worry. We'll work on limbering you up a bit, so you can digest your meal."
After the meal, Tonks led Harry through stretching exercises, and then walked over to the table at the side of the training room. She pulled a sheet off a stereo system and soon Barry White's crooning filled the room.
"Um, Tonks," Harry yelled, "I can't dance."
"Nonsense, Harry. If you can fight, you can dance." Tonks replied. "And I already know you can fight. You just didn't have any incentive to dance until now. Now, I know two methods of providing incentive. The first way is the Black method, which my mother learned under. It consists of me standing back over there and shooting stinging hexes at you in time to the music. The second way is for me to strip this top off and start moving against you in time to the music. Which one of these would you prefer?"
"Erm... I think I'd like to try the second one," Harry replied.
"Okay, then here's the deal. You work with me on this, and I won't have to use the other option," Tonks declared as she stripped off her T-shirt.
"Okay. Let's try this way first. When you get tired of my stomping on your toes, then we'll shift to the other way. Just let me know before hand that you're changing tactics." Harry said with a grin, his eyes never leaving her chest as her nipples mesmerized him.
"What? And take away all my fun?" Tonks chirped, wrapping her arms around his neck and swaying to the music. "Now dance, Love."
Harry grasped her waist, looked up at her eyes, and began moving with her slowly. He grinned and said "You know, you're a lot more fun to dance with than one of the Padma Patil."
"Well, Padma never tried to dance with you like this, now did they?"
"I can honestly say that I never even got to first base with Miss Patil, much less dancing with her half naked."
They danced in silence for a few more minutes. The radio shifted to a faster song, and Tonks shifted back away from him a bit and picked up the pace. Harry stumbled a bit and stepped on her toe. "Oh, bugger! I'm sorry Tonks."
"Don't worry about it, Harry. Steel-toed Doc Martens! Didn't feel a thing." Tonks chirped. "Now, work with the beat. Feel it flow through you and move with it. One Two Three Four. Thump thump thump thump. That's it. Now you're going with it. So, are you having fun?"
Harry was moving in time with the music, watching the interesting things that were happening to Tonks' breasts. "Oh, yeah. Great fun. I'd be having even more fun if I were just watching you do this."
"Well, keep this up and maybe we'll have to try it again some time with you sitting out a few dances. Just be warned, I want equal time." Tonks said.
"Equal time, eh?" Harry kept moving and stripped his shirt off over his head. "How about this?"
"Whoo hoo, Stud! Take it off!" Tonks shouted. "So, are you wearing boxers or a posing pouch?"
Harry stumbled for a moment. "A what? What's a posing pouch?"
"Um, basically, for you it would be a combination of a g-string and a sock that covers Harry Junior and his two friends." Tonks answered.
"Boxers. Definately boxers." Harry said as he fell to the floor laughing at the thought.
"Hey, You! Get up or we go with option one!" Tonks said to her prone student.
"Okay, okay. I'm getting up." After he got up, Harry started bobbing his head with the music to get the beat back and then started moving with the music again.
"Very good, Harry. You got right back into the beat of it."
"I try." Harry grinned. "It's amazing what I can do with a good teacher. I've heard that a good teacher can make anything interesting. You've just proved that point."
After an hour and a half, Harry was exhausted. He and Tonks were just dancing to a slow song when Moony slipped up behind him and tapped him on the shoulder. "Mind if I cut in?"
Harry turned around, grinned, and said "Hey Remus! Sure. Just watch where you put those paws." With that, he let go of Tonks, turned around and grabbed Moony's waist and continued dancing.
Remus laughed and said "Well, I guess I was asking for that. Don't you two think you should get dressed? Andi and Ted are going to be here in a few minutes."
Harry laughed. "I suppose we had probably better. Hon? Do you know what happened to my pants?"
"Oh, I banished those when 'Love in an Elevator' hit the radio." Tonks replied. "Winky! Harry's pants had a slight mishap. Do you think you could find him a new pair?"
There was a pop, and Winky said "Here youse is, Mistress Tonks. Is there anything else?"
"No, Winky. Thank you very much."
"Youse is very welcome, Mistress Tonks. Master, Lunch will be served in fifteen minutes. Youse will eat it all."
"But I just had those sandwiches, Winky," Harry complained.
"Youse will eat it all, Master. I don't want to hear anything more about it. Youse is a growing Master and youse needs your energy." Winky said firmly.
Harry shook his head in resignation. "Yes, Winky. I will eat it all."
Winky grinned and disappeared with a pop.
Moony was trying very hard to suppress a laugh. Finally he slid into a coughing fit that started with what Harry thought was the word "Whipped!"
"I know, I know. I'm whipped. I'm whipped by my owl, by my house elf, and my girlfriend." Harry grinned.
AN2:All rights to Dr. Adam Sinclair, Noel MacLeod, and Peregrine Lovat are owned by Kathryn Kurtz, Mercedes Lackey, and their publishers. I am just borrowing them for a minor bit part. If you haven't read the Adept series from them, I highly recommend it. Thanks to Drakensis for correcting Peregrine's name. I couldn't find my copy of the series and drew a blank on his name, other than Peregrine.
AN3: Willen The Olive-Hand's story was borrowed from Aaran St. Vines' 'Makers of Fine Wands since 382 B.C.' Excellent story if you want to know some Fanfic History of Magic in the Potter Universe. His stories are accessible from FanFicAuthors (dot) Net.
AN4: Sorry to take so long on this. I just couldn't get the chapter to come out the way I wanted it to after I had finally gotten my work schedule figured out to where I could write again. I hope that the next chapter won't take as long. - JaCee