Testing Defenses

A/N: This is the last chapter in this version of the story. Thanks to all who have reviewed, and for chemprof for all of his help on this chapter. Additional comments at the end.

Disclaimer:Not my characters, no money being made, etc., etc.


Chapter 9: Amelia's Visit

Harry Potter had a content grin on his face, which only grew bigger when Hermione let a semi-conscious moan escape from her lips. She tried to use her arms and legs to draw him closer to her body, only to end up grinding her crotch tighter against her friend's hip. Harry didn't mind at all. He lifted his head just enough to put the mass of bushy-brown hair within range of his lips.

"Good morning, Hermione," he whispered with a kiss.

"Morning, Harry," she murmured, her words muffled by his bare chest.

"Are you okay?"

Hermione lifted her head from the pillow, caught his look of concern, and chuckled. "Mmmm…..sore."

Harry nodded as he reached over and traced the faint scar line between her breasts. "Need me to apply more salve?"

Hermione snorted. "I don't think that the salve can be applied internally."

"Why would you be sore intern….oh, sorry."

"S'kay," Hermione said with a sparkle in her eyes. She leaned over and dropped her head down onto his chest. "It's sore in a good way."

Harry nodded. "Need some more pain relieving potion?"

Shaking her head, Hermione said, "Need more practice."

Harry smiled. "What a coincidence…so do I….think we can help each other?"

"I think so," Hermione said, as her fingers trailed down Harry's front. They stopped when they reached his erection.

"So, this is the infamous 'morning condition' that I've heard so much about."

"You have, have you?"

"Yeah…so why don't you go pee," she asked, wrapping her fingers around him. "I want to know that this has more to do with me than your bladder."

Harry snorted. "So what if I told you that I took care of my bladder an hour ago?"

Hermione arched an eyebrow and licked her bottom lip. "Well, I guess that means I have work to do."

"Are you sure?" Harry teased. "I could always handle it."

"I might like to see that," Hermione cooed. "But this time, I think I'd rather relieve that swelling myself."

"Be my guest," Harry offered, with an impudent grin.

"My, you're a cheeky one!" she chided, as she started to stroke his shaft.

Harry was about to quip that he was obviously more cocky than cheeky when a house-elf popped into his bedroom.

"Miss Mione, you's mum's alarm clock just rang!"

"Mmmm…thanks, Daisy, she'll hit the snooze button. Come back in ten minutes."

"No, Miss Mione, she's putting on those special glasses from her nightstand."

"Damn!" she swore. Those glasses (courtesy of a 'helpful' headmaster) allowed her parents to bypass her muggle-repelling Post-its. She quickly gave Harry a kiss and a squeeze.

"Gotta go…see you at nine!"

Hermione reached for the house-elf's outstretched hand, and the two disappeared with a pop.

Harry stared at the empty space for a moment, then let out a deep breath and muttered a much coarser expletive. It looked like he'd have to "handle it" after all.

After a shower and some stress relief, Harry made his way downstairs and started on breakfast. With his mind focused more on shagging than servings, Harry reflexively cooked as if Dudley and Vernon were still in the house. It wasn't until everything was plated that he realized that there was enough food to feed a half-dozen "normal" people. Not wanting the food to go to waste, he walked out to the front porch and called out, "Breakfast's ready!"

Harry regretted this offer just as soon as he saw the skrewt-eating grins on Mad-Eye, Tonks, and Shacklebolt as they stepped out of their concealment.

"Wotcher, stud muffin," Tonks snarked, waggling her eyebrows as she walked past him.

"Surprised you're still standing, after hearing Moody's play-by-play," Kingsley said, as he followed behind Tonks.

Harry turned towards Mad-Eye, expecting something worse. He wasn't disappointed.

"Randy bugger, wasn't she?"

Harry decided to play along. "I'll have you know, Mad-Eye, that there was no buggering going on last night."

"Are you sure?" asked Mad-Eye. "Because from the angle you were banging her that fourth time around, it seemed like you…."

"Get inside!" Harry snapped, using his arm to shepherd the retired Auror through the threshold, and into the kitchen.

"So where'd Hermione pop off to?" asked Tonks, as she took a seat at the kitchen table.

"Weybridge," Harry responded, hoping to steer the conversation away from his love life.

"Rather surprised to hear that she owns a house elf," said Shacklebolt, as he sat across from Tonks. "What's the story with that?"

"An odd series of events," Harry replied. "Sirius Black left her the Black family library and 100,000 galleons to maintain it. But on way out of Gringott's, Hermione noticed a goblin-run estate sale that included a female house elf."

"So how did she rationalize buying a house elf with that money?" asked Mad-Eye.

"Claimed that the library needed a full-time librarian," Harry replied. "Of course, her real goal was to give Daisy clothes just as soon as she could."

"Had a change of heart, then?"

Harry nodded. "She finally figured out that the need for a bond wasn't just a lie propagated to make the house-elves accept their plight…she was rather embarrassed."

Mad-Eye nodded. "Surprised it took her that long to come around."

"I'm not," said Harry, eager to defend his girlfriend. "After all the only close contact she had with house-elves was Dobby, and as much as I love the little guy, he is an odd-duck."

"Dobby…that was the Malfoy house-elf you tricked into freedom?"

Harry nodded. "His lot in life improved drastically once he got clothes, so it wasn't unreasonable for Hermione to think that the same would apply to others."

"So she's gone from abolitionist to slave-owner?" mused Mad-Eye.

"Looks like it," Harry replied. "Although I'd rather think of it as her shifting focus towards the better treatment of house-elves within the bond."

"And the fact that this Daisy can pop her owner in and out of your bed in a flash is just an incidental benefit?"

Harry snorted. "That, or one more way to show how porous the defenses are around here."

"Yeah, well, don't expect that to matter too much longer," Mad-Eye stated.

"How's that?" asked Harry.

"The Bones girl got everyone's knickers in a twist yesterday," Moody explained. "It's one thing to obliviate Hopkirk and her staff…quite another to propose memory charming the whole bloody Wizengamot!"

"So what's that mean?" Harry asked.

"Means you'll be carted off to Headquarters sooner than you think," Tonks chimed in.

Mad-Eye nodded. "Wouldn't be surprised if the old man showed up today."

Harry was surprised by the news….or better stated, he was surprised by his reaction to the news.

"What's the frown for, Potter?" demanded Shacklebolt. "You won…got what you wanted….should be jumping up and down for joy."

Harry nodded, as he poured himself a cup of tea and sat with the others.

"So let me guess, the Weasley family will be there as well?"

Tonks nodded. "Dumbledore thinks that the Burrow might be a target this summer."

"Fabulous," replied Harry. "So I'll have to deal with Ron's jealousy, Ginny's misplaced possessiveness, and Molly's smothering desire to keep me in short trousers."

"Not to mention her eagle eye on who's sleeping in which bedroom," Tonks said with a grin.

Harry rolled his eyes. "So I go from one house that I own where I've finally gotten some control over my life to another house that I own where I'm back on a short leash and choker….lucky me."

"But at least you'll be safer at Headquarters," said Shacklebolt. "That was the whole point of testing the defenses here, right?"

Harry shook his head. "So the defenses surrounding this house are lacking….is the solution abandoning the house, or fixing the holes?"

Shacklebolt snorted. "So you think you can do better than Dumbledore?"

Harry shrugged his shoulders. "Maybe…you know, I could almost live with Molly's chaperoning if it meant I could start getting my mail, but that won't happen even if I move, right? Can't have me getting a swelled head with all of my fan mail."

Moody barked out a laugh. "Based on what I've seen of it, I'd expect both of your heads to swell."

Harry furrowed his eyebrows. "What do you mean, Mad-Eye? Have you been reading my mail?"

There was a pregnant pause, before Moody nodded. "Dumbledore's asked me to help check your mail for curses and tracers from time to time."

"For how long?" Harry demanded.

"Since you were a wee one," Mad-Eye replied. "Didn't think it a bad idea when you were a baby…can't imagine the Dursleys thinking much of the constant stream of owls."

"But what about now…when I'm in school…or at the Weasley's…or Headquarters?"

"Ah, yes…Dumbledore's orders…brings us back to your head swelling."

Harry rolled his eyes. "Let me guess…the old man was afraid I'd be distracted from my studies by the perfumed love letters?"

The retired Auror snorted. "A bit, but he was more concerned about the pictures that would have curled your toes and stiffened your willie."

Harry looked at Mad-Eye with disbelief. "So, the Headmaster has seen fit to confiscate all of my mail because someof it contains unsolicited pictures of naked witches?"

Moody nodded. "I've heard there's been a few naked wizard photos as well, but for some reason Dumbledore handles those himself."

Tonks giggled. "Well, maybe that explains why the old man can hold two wands at the same time?"

Mad-Eye spit out his tea when he heard that comment. Harry scowled…he would have been spitting nails instead of tea, if only he knew the right curse.

"This has got to stop…right here, right now," he declared.

Hermione had told Harry that she would be able to return to Privet Drive around 9:00am, just after her parents left for their surgery. This would give them about a half hour's time before the meeting with Director Bones (which Susan and Tillie had helped arranged the day previous). But before he met with either of these two witches, Harry decided that he needed to have a few words with his Aunt Petunia. After chasing the three Aurors out of the kitchen, Harry took a plate of food upstairs and knocked on her bedroom door.

"Aunt Petunia?"

"Go away, Harry."

"I brought you breakfast."

"Use the cat-flap."

"Sorry, but we need to talk….I'll leave the food, but I'll be back in twenty minutes time."

Hoping that his Aunt would use the time to get dressed (he'd seen enough elderly skin thanks to Tonks), Harry spent the time tidying his bedroom. He needed the full twenty minutes, even with the help of his wand, as the release of accidental magic during the night had trashed the room rather spectacularly.

When he returned to the master bedroom he found the door opened, and his Aunt sitting dressed on the edge of the bed. The two then had an amazingly civil conversation, during which time plans were made and agreements reached.

Citing the need for a housesitter when he was away at school, Harry offered to let his Aunt continue to live rent-free at Number Four until his seventeenth birthday (at which time he doubted anyone could safely live there). He also offered a monthly living allowance, at least until his Aunt got back onto her feet and got a job. Harry wasn't worried that he'd be paying this monthly allowance for very long, as he had come up with the ideal incentive…he told his Aunt that all of the neighbors would know that he was supporting her financially for as long as she was on the dole.

Petunia assured Harry that she'd be employed within the month.

Harry's aunt was rather skeptical about his generous offer, until she heard what he wanted in return. Her teeth ground together at the thought of doing all of the cleaning and yardwork, and giving Harry free reign of the house when he was there. The teeth ground a little more when he also extracted a promise that she would act civilly towards him and his guests at all times. But given the alternative of being thrown out onto the street without a pence to her name, she ultimately decided that it was a fair price to pay.

Harry and Hermione were waiting for Amelia Bones's arrival in the front entrance of the house. They were therefore quite surprised when a female voice carried down the stairs.

"Hello? Mr. Potter?"

The two teenagers looked at each other, first with surprise, then with concern. Harry dashed up the stairs, with Hermione close behind. They found Amelia and her house-elf standing in the middle of Harry's bedroom.

The elderly witch's monocle looked in danger of dropping, given the altitude of her eyebrows.

"Erm, Director Bones, thank you for agreeing to meet with me," Harry said, as he quickly entered the room and offered his hand.

Amelia took the offered hand warily. "Though I was happy at the thought of meeting you in less formal circumstances, I wasn't expecting it to be this informal."

Harry laughed nervously. "No doubt your house-elf realized that your appearance would be least noticed in my room."

Amelia snorted. "So may I assume that is the only reason why you entertained my niece in your bedroom, Mr. Potter?"

"Erm…that works for me," Harry replied.

Hermione decided to rescue Harry by suggesting that they would be more comfortable meeting downstairs.

"What about the muggles that live in this house?" asked Amelia.

"It's just my Aunt right now," Harry offered. "She's in her bedroom, and shouldn't bother us."

"Are you certain?"

Harry nodded. "We've reached an understanding, which I've backed up with a muggle repelling charm on the inside of her bedroom door."

The elderly witch paused to consider how to respond. Discarding a rebuke, she praised Harry for his ingenuity. Harry was quick to defer to Hermione, and the muggle-repelling Post-its. They showed Amelia downstairs to the sitting room, where he began to describe for her his life on Privet Drive.

Fifteen minutes into the meeting, Director Bones asked if Harry had anyone who could corroborate his story. He responded by suggesting she ask the Order member on guard to join them inside. Amelia wasn't at all happy to discover that it was one of her people "guarding" Harry, despite his assurances that Auror Tonks had been actively helping them over the past few days. Shacklebolt and Mad-Eye were quickly summoned by messenger patronus spells; once they arrived, they received the same dressing down from their boss that Tonks had enjoyed.

One hour and fifteen minutes into the meeting, Director Bones apologized to Harry on behalf of the Ministry of Magic, and Wizarding World as a whole. She then asked how she might make things straight. The strategy session lasted the rest of the morning, and included brief floo consultations with certain goblins, Ministry officials, and Hogwarts staff.

Three hours and fifteen minutes into the meeting, they broke for lunch. Tillie and Daisy fought over who would help, forcing Harry to delegate tasks, and to thank Merlin that Dobby wasn't involved in the mix.

Once the meal was finished, Amelia dismissed the two male Aurors, while Tonks was asked to send a messenger spell to Dumbledore announcing that Amelia had just arrived at Privet Drive. It took all of ten minutes for the Headmaster to come knocking.

"Good afternoon, Professor Dumbledore," said Harry, as he answered the door. "Won't you come in? Hermione and I are having a little chat with Director Bones."

The Headmaster walked quickly into the house and wandlessly shut the door behind him.

"Harry, these guests have compromised your safety within this house. I must ask that you pack your things quickly so that we can move you to the safe place."

Harry snorted. "Have a seat, Headmaster. I'm interesting in hearing how and why all of my….guests…have made this a more dangerous place to live, despite all of the protections."

"Yes, I'm interested to hear this as well, Dumbledore," said Amelia.

The Headmaster looked sternly at Amelia, Hermione and then Harry.

"I can not allow Miss Granger and her associates to make any more attempts to breach the wards surrounding this house. Their visits have put Harry's life in jeopardy."

"Why is that?" demanded Harry. "Because they've been so damn successful?"

"Simply put, yes."

"Why?" asked Hermione. "How is it that revealing how easy it is to breach the wards makes Harry's life any more endangered than it already was?"

"Sometimes," the old wizard pronounced sagely, "the best defenses are those that are constructed in the minds of one's enemies."

There was a pause, as the other three people in the room dissected this remark. Harry thought he knew what the Headmaster was suggesting, but asked to make sure.

"So…it was safe for me to live here so long as the Death Eaters didn't know just how weak your protection was?"

When the old wizard nodded, all hell broke loose.

Harry's voice carried over Hermione's and Amelia's protests.

"It was all a bluff!" he yelled. "You not only made my life miserable, you bet my life on a fucking bluff!

"Language, Harry," the Headmaster chided.

"Fuck that!" replied Hermione, shocking the others. "Harry is right, isn't he?"

The Headmaster sighed, and took the time to remove his eyeglasses and wipe them clean with the cuff of his robe. Once he placed them back on his nose, he turned towards Hermione and replied.

"Since it was inevitable that Death Eaters would be made aware of where young Harry's Aunt and Uncle lived, my only option was to convince them that even with that knowledge that any attempt to do Harry harm would fail."

Harry laughed derisively as he shook his head. "Your presence is no longer required here, Headmaster. Should I decide to return to school, I will see you on September 1."

Dumbedore's gaze shot back up as quickly as it had been cast down.

"I can not leave you here, Harry. You must go with me to the safe place."

"No thanks," Harry replied.

The Headmaster, stung by this rebuke, looked around the room for somebody to put Harry in his place. Unfortunately Molly Weasley and Severus Snape were not available.

"Harry, I will remind you that I am your Headmaster."

"Only if he remains in school, and in any event not during the summer," said Hermione.

"Come now, Miss Granger, surely you aren't suggesting that Harry's best interests lie outside of Hogwarts."

"No," Hermione shot back, "I'm suggesting that his best interests lie outside of your manipulative control."

You could have heard a pin drop in the room, so shocked was everyone else by the young witch's rebuke.

After a seemingly eternal pause, the Headmaster softly replied. "I am sorry that you feel that way, Miss Granger. I would never expect that attitude from a Hogwarts prefect."

Harry's eyes flared with anger, and he was halfway out of his seat before Hermione stopped him by grabbing his arm.

"It's okay, Harry," she said softly. "It's not worth it, and I'm not certain that he is either."

The arc of a silvery object reinforced the statement, as Hermione drew her prefect's badge from her pocket and threw it towards Dumbledore.

Harry's eyes flashed even brighter at the realization of what Hermione had decided to sacrifice. He turned to her, only to have Hermione pull him into a kiss.

"Besides," she noted brightly, "I'd hate to have to dock myself points every time that I pulled you into a broom closet."

Hermione's joke broke a bit of the tension in the room, but only a bit. Harry insisted that Dumbledore leave, falling back on his authority as homeowner (another unshared secret that he was quick to rub in the old wizard's face). When Director Bones backed up Harry's request, the Headmaster showed himself out, deciding that it would be prudent to make a strategic retreat and return later with reinforcements.

Before he left the property, Dumbledore instructed Tonks to remain at Privet Drive and send word just as soon as Amelia departed. He then traveled to Grimmauld Place, where he called an emergency meeting of the Order of the Phoenix. Within an hour's time he had a contingent of fifteen witches and wizards ready to return to Harry's location and remove him (forcibly, if need be). This assault force then sat on their hands for several hours, waiting impatiently for word that the MLE Director had returned to the Ministry of Magic.

Tonks's Patronus spell delivered the "all clear" signal just after seven that evening. Dumbledore immediately gathered his troops, pulled a wool sock from his pocket and readied his wand for a Portus spell.

He then stood there silently, as he desperately searched his mind for Harry Potter's location.

After a few moments of embarrassing silence, he asked the other Order members if any of them knew where Harry Potter was staying. They all stopped…thought…and replied with blank expressions.


The next morning, Hermione's house elf hand-delivered The Daily Prophet to her bedside…which just happened to be a few feet away from Harry's side of the bed. The young witch eagerly woke Harry with the news. By the time he took care of his morning condition Hermione had already absorbed the front page and separated it out for him.


Chosen-One Chooses to Hide!

by Rita Skeeter

The Daily Prophet has learned that Harry Potter, the Boy-Who-Lived, also known as the Chosen-One, has gone into hiding. Alerted to this possibility, this reporter conducted an exhaustive search of Ministry records, and interviewed several witches and wizards who should have known where Mr. Potter traditionally spends his summer break. All parchment references to the Boy-Who-Lived's address appear to have been magically erased, as have the associated memories of Ministry officials. This reporter herself cannot recall the young wizard's address, even though she remembers that at one time she may have known this fact.

Ministry Officials refused to offer any explanations, and Hogwarts Headmaster Albus Dumbledore failed to respond to repeated requests for a comment. It appears that very strong magic has been used to protect the Boy-Who-Lived…the kind of magic that perhaps only Headmaster Dumbledore himself could wield.

We at the Daily Prophet demand an explanation from the Hogwarts Headmaster, and assurances that he has not conducted illegal memory charms on a massive scale in the name of the so-called greater good. As for Mr. Potter, we hope that he remains safe over not only this summer but also this coming school year, as he prepares for the next inevitable confrontation with He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named.


Harry smiled with satisfaction…for once the press had played along. "So what do you think?" he asked Hermione.

The young witch turned her head and gave Harry a brilliant smile. "I think that it turned out rather nicely. We didn't say that a Fidelius charm was used, but we gave just enough clues for somebody to figure it out if they wanted to."

Nodding, Harry replied. "And when Voldemort sorts it out, he'll assume that Dumbledore is the secret keeper."

"And since Dumbledore said himself that he's the only wizard that Voldemort fears…"

Harry leaned over and gave Hermione a kiss.

"I love it when a plan comes together."


A/N2: For your reading pleasure, I have rewritten/revised this fic and posted the new version on patronuscharm dot net (see my bio for a hot link). Why? The previous two chapters suffered a bit, as I tried to forcefully steer the story back towards my original outline (Sound familiar, Jo?). And there I was, so damn proud that I actually had a hard outline for once...oh well. In the rewrite, all of the preachy rants about Harry's failure as a boyfriend have been replaced with R-rated smut (e.g. Harry salves Hr's scar, Fleur cashes in her rain check, and Susan brings her toys). Hermione is now just a witch looking for a friend with benefits, and Harry isn't afraid to put a gift witch in his mouth.

If there is enough favorable response to the changes, I will eventually replace the entire story with the rewrite here on ff dot net. The original version will stay on portkey (since the rewrite breaks about a half-dozen of their rules).