4 Privet Drive, Little Whinging, Surrey. A suburb of the most ordinary houses and lawns a person could ever see. On one of its lawns, a young man worked rather tirelessly to weed the lawn, a look of apathy on his face. Harry Potter was not a well young man.
'No matter what I try, it just won't go away' he thought wearily, looking at his palms.
The Battle of the Department of Mysteries, the papers would call it, Remus Lupin would call it the Last Stand of Sirius Black. Harry called it the worst mistake he'd ever made in his short, and frankly miserable life. The scene replayed in his head over and over, like that slow motion shot from a bad film you'd believe that if someone else moved fast enough, it would play a different way.
'But not matter how fast I move, I can't stop him falling' Harry screwed his eyes up, gritting his teeth.
Sighing after his momentary lapse in apathetic disregard, Harry returned to his weeding. Casting his eyes next door, he saw what had become the talk of the neighbourhood.
Little Whinging was a very 'English' suburb. English trees, English tea and English cars. Most of the residents owned Rovers, while the more affluent would own older model Rolls Royce. Harry even recalled an elderly gentleman in the street whose retirement present to himself had been a Jaguar E Type.
It was no surprise then that the three vehicles that sat in the drive way next door were causing a ridiculous uproar: two were foreign cars, the other a motorbike. It looked nothing like the large one that Sirius had owned. Harry knew next to nothing about cars, but he did know that he liked the black one; it looked angry all the time.
"Shame you can't talk, I could use some company" he muttered.
Nymphadora Tonks watched from her perch in the tree as Harry worked. Grateful for the cooling charms in this appalling heat, she couldn't help but smile sadly. She'd observed the seemingly invincible Harry Potter at great length and she could come to a single conclusion.
He needed to get a friend, here in Surrey. Trouble with that plan was that most of the residents here believed Harry to be a juvenile case. It was with restrained anger that Tonks kept the snort to herself. If these people knew half, even less, of what he put himself through to stop evil itself blasting down their doors, they might be a little less cruel to him.
'Morons, these are people of the worst sort' she thought, retraining her gaze to the young boy.
As the clouds darkened over the suburb, Harry leaned against the fence, not sure if wanted to cry, scream or just curl up and tell the world to go hang. They'd had their chance to defeat Lord Voldemort, they failed at it and now expected him to clear up their stuff ups.
Groaning and standing up, Harry decided to go for a jog. He'd done that a lot lately, focusing on nothing but the movement of his legs. Tonks saw him go and jumped down, following him. When both were out of earshot, the black car Harry admired so much turned over its ignition. Smoothly it pulled out of the driveway and drove down the road, its engine humming.
Harry's jog had taken him to a familiar park: the one where he often came and thought of Cedric, Sirius and him. Voldemort. The single most evil being he'd ever come across, despite encountering both Malfoy men and knowing the Dursleys.
"Wotcher, Harry" a sad, melodic voice broke the young man's reverie.
"Hey, Nyp-Tonks, how are you?" he asked, nearly forgetting the young Auror hated her first name.
"I've been better, you?" she asked back, carefully removing her cloak.
"I don't know. I really don't" he replied, putting his head in his hands.
"Did you know when Sirius and I were little; one of the things we used to do on our few occasions together was to race?" Tonks said out of the blue.
"Who won?" Harry asked, a small smile gracing his face.
"I did usually, Sirius was stronger than me, but I was thinner and faster. You might be able to give me a run for my money though, skinny britches" she jabbed.
"That a challenge?" Harry asked, his eyes momentarily coming to life.
"Only if you make it one" the pink haired Auror shot back.
As the two bantered, the black car came to a stop just on the outskirts of the park. People passed it by, young men looking over it with appreciation. Without warning, it startled some of the young men around it by pulling out and tearing around the corner to an overpass, tyres screeching in protest.
While all this was happening, Harry and Tonks, for no other reason than because they could, started running full pelt down the path that lead out of the park. Eventually they made it to an underpass and Harry was out of breath.
"I give up, you're too fast, witch" Harry blurted out.
"Oh yeah, can't keep up with little old me in a running race. Want me to morph into an old woman, so next time you can beat me?" Tonks asked, chuckling.
"Oh you're funny, really funny" Harry hacked out, laughing so hard he also coughed.
"We best get you back to Number 4, before you get in trouble" Tonks said, glad to see Harry was getting better, slowly but surely.
"Oh come on, I'm with an Auror, what can possible go wrong?" Harry asked.
Harry's words were poorly chosen. No soon had he spoken that an explosion ripped up the overpass, dropping rocks on both their heads and sending them out cold and practically entombing them. People screamed and ran, panic ensued.
And during it all, that same black car had appeared in the underpass near Harry and Tonks. There was a groan of gears and a clank of metal. Those were the last sounds Harry heard before he passed out.
Vernon Dursley was watching the news: apparently a bomb had gone off near the park. Vernon thought it was the IRA, but Petunia wondered if perhaps it was that man Harry sometimes mentioned in his sleep. After all, Harry wasn't back yet and they'd received no visits from those scary friends of his.
"I wonder where that useless boy is" Vernon muttered aloud, drinking his glass of Scotch.
"Out causing trouble I dare say" Petunia said, taking a sip of her wine.
"Serve him right if the ruddy police pull him up and toss him in jail I think" pipped up Dudley from the kitchen.
Oblivious to their relative's plight, the neighbour's black car roared into the street, a loud hiss from its blow back valves causing great irritation to all in the street. With a low rumble, it pulled into its driveway, precious cargo in its seats: Harry and Tonks.
Harry woke up in a bed that was not his own. He knew this because it was large and soft and he was warm too. Groggily he began to sit up but his aching body immediately protested.
"Getting up, hurts. Not a good sign" he moaned.
"No its not, but since you had close to a ton of stone fall on you, it's none too shocking" a strange voice said.
"Who are you?" immediately Harry went for his wand.
"Whoa, no need for that kind of caper son, I'm not going to hurt you" the voice sounded, more or less Irish.
"Answer my question…Tonks, where is Tonks?" Harry was still looking for his wand.
"You mean your pink, or whatever coloured haired piece of crackling? Oh she's in the next room mate, out colder than a bare bum in a storm" the voice replied.
"I swear if you've hurt her…" Harry was without his wand, but not his bravery.
"Well that's bloody gratitude, we bring you in and fix you up-" the Irish voice was interrupted by a crackle of radio.
"If you don't shut up in the next ten seconds I'm going to use you for spares. If the boy is awake, get him some food and water and brings him downstairs" this was a woman's voice.
"Okay, okay, don't get your crotch wiring in a spin, I'm going" he answered.
As the body belonging to the voice left, Harry felt the ground shake a little, as if something very heavy was moving around. Finally laying his hands on his wand, and glasses, he got out of the bed and nearly collapsed too. Pain shot up his legs and back.
'Come on Potter, suck it up, gotta find Tonks and leg it' he thought.
He made it as far as the door before he had to drop to one knee. He managed to crawl to what he thought was Tonk's room before passing out again. It was in that position his benefactor found him again.
"Balls of solid rock. Best get you back into bed" he muttered.
Harry however had been playing possum. With a scream and a grunt, he swung his fist like he'd seen them do on television, aiming for roughly the jaw. Harry was nastily surprised when his fist smashed head on into something that felt like solid steel, breaking his hand open.
"That really did hurt you more than me, trust me kid" that same voice replied.
"Lumos" Harry muttered, the Ministry be damned; he had to see this thing.
He nearly dropped his wand. In front of him stood something roughly human in shape, but not in construction. Metal gleamed under the light as Harry made out feet, legs and four fingered hands. Then he came to the head: it looked like a man wearing a Roman helmet, a small nose like protrusion and what appeared to be a mechanical mouth. A pair of green eyes, eerily like Harry's own stared right back at him.
"Who are you?" Harry asked, the pain in his hand momentarily forgotten.
"The name's Burnout. You?" Burnout offered Harry his hand.
"Harry Potter" he winced as pain spiked his hand, reminding him of his costly attack.
"Hmmm, best let me take a look at that, come downstairs" Burnout hefted Harry to his feet as gently as possible and took him down the stairs and towards the garage.
Inside the garage, Harry saw the two cars his whole neighbourhood had complained about. He was now able to take a good look at them and see what they were. The black one, according to its boot was a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution V. The other one, a light blue colour was identified as a Subaru WRX STi.
"Where's the motorbike?" Harry asked in a daze as Burnout placed Harry's hand on a steel bench.
"Motorbike, shite mate I'm not just a motorbike, I'm a Kawasaki Ninja GPX 250, one of the fastest ever bikes to be created. I'll trounce you any day of the week" Burnout replied, obviously offended.
"Um, I'm a, oh God" Harry stuttered.
"Ignore him, he's grumpy old bugger" another voice made Harry jump as a small cylinder device was run over his hand.
"Shut your gob, Drift or the next time you split your aft in two it can stay that way a week" Burnout muttered.
"The car is speaking, why is the car speaking?" both Burnout and Harry turned at that voice.
Tonks stood uneasily in the doorway, her wand trained on, whatever she thought Burnout was.
"Could you please put that down, I'm working here" Burnout muttered.
"Harry come and stand behind me" Tonks said.
Before Harry could explain, the black Lancer began to shift its form. The whole front of the car split down the middle and moved outwards. The front wheels rotated sideways 180 degrees and parts of the engine and engine bay split apart and became arms. The lower section of the front body kit that held the car's spotlights rotated and folded down, allowing the kit to act as armour for the shoulders, the front doors wrapping around the lower arms. The bonnet moved between the shoulders and covered the bottom of the car, clearly a chest piece.
A head popped up, made of parts of the dashboard, the rest of the rear of the car compacting and twisting in ways Tonks's couldn't see from her vantage point, so where once there was a car there now stood a robot.
"Hello, my name is Drift, I am an Autobot" he said, bright yellow eyes looking at them.
Both Harry and Tonks, finally hitting their psychological limits, fainted dead away.
"Oh well fucking done, Drift, now I gotta carry em both" Burnout grumbled.
"Don't the need medical attention?" the female Subaru asked.
"Yes, Rally they do, but I don't know where to take them. The local hospital is up to its neck in wounded" Burnout said.
"Wait, I remember the boy mentioned a place in his sleep as I was bringing him here, the only trouble is I can't find it on any maps" Drift offered.
"Hmm, I'll wake the woman up, her injuries were less severe than Harry's" Burnout stepped gingerly over to Tonks.
Very cautiously removing the wand from her hand and placing it inside a subspace storage unit on his left hip, Burnout started shaking Tonks. At first she didn't stir, and then Burnout, getting aggravated, lifted her up and jolted her with a small dose of electricity.
"OW SHIT" she cursed.
"Well at least you're awake now. I'll cut to the chase; the young man there needs medical attention. Where can we take him? He mentioned…" Burnout drifted out and clicked his fingers, pointing to Drift.
"Number 12 Grimmuld Place, ring any bells?" the more polite and larger robot asked.
Tonks was hesitant to answer. If these things were servants of the Dark Lord or just downright hostile entities she'd be revealing the main stronghold for the Order of the Phoenix to an enemy. On the other hand, if Harry was hurt…
"Look lady, we don't have time to figure out the whys and who's at this point. Just direct Drift to where he needs to go and we'll leave you in peace" Burnout gave Tonks another shake.
"Okay" she agreed, hoping to Merlin she hadn't made a huge mistake.
"Drift, get back in to your alt mode" Burnout said, depositing Tonks on her backside.
The friendlier robot quickly reverted to his Evo alt mode, opening his front doors. Tonks gently picked Harry up and placed him in the passenger seat. Once he was seated in it, Drift rearranged the seat's configuration to ensure that Harry's was well immobile to prevent injuries if he had to lather on the speed.
Tonks very warily, wand in hand after getting it back off Burnout, got in the driver side of the car. The doors automatically shut and seatbelts and other safety devices encasing them. Seconds later, Drift roared to life, dark blue lights springing across his dashboard as the garage door opened. Headlights and spotlights on, he all but flew from the garage and began speeding down the streets, Tonks directing him as best she could.
They had been travelling for a very short time, but Tonks soon discovered that not only was Drift friendly, he was a chatterbox. He spoke of things he'd noticed since appearing in Little Whinging almost a month ago, not the least of which was Harry's perpetual loneliness.
"What's the matter with him anyway, he walks around as if the weight of the world on his shoulder struts?" Drift asked.
"He sort of does, it's a long story that is better told by the young man himself" Tonks said with a sad look.
"Hmm, reach into the centre console there" Drift said as he took a particularly hard corner.
Tonks opened the centre console: inside was a device that looked a lot like those devices that muggles used to contact one another. It was made of sleek black metal and had what she assumed was a viewing screen like a TV on it and a few buttons.
"Give that to Harry, if he wants, he can use it speak to any of us, even Burnout if he's in the mood for a good verbal" Drift said, Tonks could almost feel the car smiling.
"And in return?" Tonks asked.
"What do you mean?" Drift queried.
"I've been around the park a few times, Drift, and I know that you're not a human creation. What's the catch with this on call stuff?" Tonks elaborated her question.
"Just keep the existence of our little home between yourselves, that's all we ask" he replied.
"Fair enough" Tonks leaned back, the gentle vibrations from Drift's chassis lulling her to a more relaxed state.
Inside Number 12, Alastor Moody stood at the window, watching with his magical eye. He was used to seeing muggle automobiles pass by the house. What he wasn't used to seeing was a car so black that if not for the lights at both ends of it and his eye, he would never know it was there. His surprise turned to suspicion when he saw Tonks get out of the car.
"What the?" he muttered.
His surprise and paranoia increased as he saw Tonks gingerly take Harry out of the other side of the car. Moody didn't need his magic eye to see the boy was in trouble.
"Remus, get outside, Tonks and Harry are here, and the boy looks hurt. I'll get Poppy" he muttered, heading over the fireplace.
Remus didn't need to be told twice, he tore out of the house and onto the lawn where Tonks was carrying Harry in a fireman's lift. Remus paid no heed to the car that sped away, tyres screeching. Gently taking Harry off Tonks who was also clearly injured he guided them both into the house.
"What the bloody hell happened?" Remus asked, laying Harry on one of the opulent couches in the main room.
"There was a bomb explosion on the underpass we were under, we'd been running. Anyway, I got out thanks to a quick Protego, but Harry was out. I had no broom and was too injured to Apparate and there were muggles everywhere, so, I borrowed that car" she explained, using a white lie or two to cover up Drift and his friend's existence.
"Quick thinking, well done" Remus smiled and pointed the newly arrived Poppy Pomfrey to Harry's prone form.
Tonks took the opportunity to finally collapse and relax in a chair. Her body ached from bones outwards, and it didn't take long before she went straight to sleep, vaguely aware of someone throwing a blanket over her.