I don't own Harry Potter.
Hi everyone, sorry for not updating for so long. Life get in the way. I got a new job and new place to stay (again lol) so it took me some while before things got settled in. Doesn't help that I spend two hours a day getting to and from work so my free time is seriously lessened.
Anyway, enjoy the chapter and I promise to update more regularly from now again.
Chapter 46: An afternoon with the Tonks'
It was now the day after Easter and Harry was getting up early to get some mild training in. While they were at the Grangers they mostly ran some laps around the neighborhood in order to keep their stamina up. Now however Harry had his entire training room at his disposal and he started his usual exercises. Hermione soon joined him once she got up. Dan and Emma had stayed the night as they didn't have work today but they would head back home later that day. Harry had asked him them to stay as Andromeda and Ted Tonks would be visiting today.
Tonks had explained everything to them a few weeks ago and had invited them over so they could meet Harry and the rest of the gang. When Tonks had mentioned how emotional her mother had gotten, Harry thought it was a good idea to have a few more grownups around. Tonks had assured him that they understood what was going on but she still thought it best to have Harry explain it all once more. Harry told her that he didn't mind at all. He was actually looking forward to meet her parents as he often wondered what two people that had a daughter like her would be like. That had earned him a slap on the head from Tonks.
Harry wasn't the only one that was looking forward to seeing Andromeda and Ted. Sirius too was excited to meet his favorite cousin again. Andromeda had always been the one other person he felt he could rely to in the Black family. While growing up Sirius was submitted to most of the Pureblood beliefs that he hated so much. His father and mother were fervent believers of the Pureblood nonsense. The Black family had always been positioned at the darker side of magic and it was no wonder that they family motto was 'Toujours Pure' which meant 'always pure'. One could argue that it might have meant pure of heart but Sirius laughed at that one. The Blacks had never been pure of heart, on the contrary, they were as dark as they could get. One only had to look at Bellatrix Lestrange nee Black to see that.
No, of all the Blacks still alive Andromeda was without a fact the best of them. When he was little she never teased or ridiculed him like Narcissa and Bellatrix did. Those two made any sleepovers they had quite the horrific experience. Andromeda was also the one who had shown him that he could rebel against his parents' beliefs even when it got her blasted off the tapestry. Sirius was older then and he had understood what Andromeda had done all too well. She had followed her heart and choose to date and later marry Ted Tonks, who was a simple Muggleborn Wizard from a small, humble family. That had put his mother's knickers in a knot and she had disowned Andromeda on the spot. Sirius vowed that day to follow her example and not let his parents' deluded beliefs destroy him.
It took him quite a few more years before he finally took the steps that got him blasted off the tapestry as well. During his Hogwarts years, Sirius had made some very good friends. One of which was none other than James Potter. James came from a Pureblood family as well but his family didn't care for blood status nor for who your parents were, all that matter was who you were. Sirius had never seen such a loving family as his own was anything but that. Finally at age sixteen he had broken with the family he had come to hate. From that time on he lived with James and his family though he could have survived on his own thanks to the money he received from his uncle Alphard.
Then everything happened at once, or so it seemed. He and his friends graduated from Hogwarts while the Wizarding world was at war, Peter betrayed James and Lily and he spend twelve years in prison. How he had managed to stay sane he didn't know but he did it. When he finally broke free he found his godson and got the surprise of a lifetime when Harry clued him in on what he was doing. Now here he was, healthier and happier than he had been in the past fifteen years. The only people that he missed were James and Lily. He shook his head knowing that nothing could bring them back and that he would see them again eventually.
"Sirius, what time did Tonks say they were coming?" Harry's voice said bringing him back to reality.
"Euh I think it was about eleven." Sirius guessed not really having paid attention when Tonks told them the day before.
"Well, you had better be getting ready then." Hermione lectured him. " You don't want to meet them unshaven and in your pajama's do you?"
"Right you are Hermione." Sirius laughed and raced upstairs to get ready.
While Sirius was getting ready, Tonks was about to rip her hair out in frustration. Her mother was a wonderful woman and she loved her dearly but at times she drove Tonks up the wall. Andromeda wanted to look her best and nothing what Tonks said could change her mind.
"Honestly mum, it's not like you're meeting royalty or anything." Tonks sighed tiredly.
"Hush Nymphadora, it's always important to make a good first impression." Andromeda said smiling when she saw her daughter's face and hair redden when she said her first name. She always enjoyed that.
"Must you really call me that?" Tonks asked frustrated. "You know I hate it when you call me that."
"It's the name your dad and I gave you, so yes I must." Andromeda said closing the door of her closes. "Now I'm ready so let's go, shall we?"
"Finally!" Tonks said to the heavens before following her mother downstairs. "It only took you a little over two hours to get ready." Once they got downstairs and dragged her father out of his comfy chair, Tonks told them one very important thing.
"I'm about to call one of Harry's dearest friends." Tonks said seriously. "He has helped us tremendously and we all consider him part of our group. Harry however considers him family so please treat him with respect and care. You talked about a good first impression mother, well this is how you make it."
"We understand dear." Ted said while Andromeda nodded her understanding as well.
"Thank you." Tonks smiled brightly at them. "Dobby?" Almost before she finished his name the house-elf appeared beside her and gave her a small hug before stepping back to face her."
"Tonksie called for Dobby." Dobby said excited. "What can Dobby do for Tonksie?"
"Hi Dobby, it's good to see you." Tonks smiled at the elf. "Dobby, I want you to meet my parents. This is my mum, Andromeda and my dad, Ted. Guys, this is Dobby."
"Dobby is honored to meet Tonksie's family." Dobby said slightly bowing to them.
"Thank you Dobby, we're very glad to meet you as well." Ted said a bit shocked. Andromeda smiled as well at the elf.
"Dobby, I need you to take my parents and me to Harry's place. Can you do that?" Tonks asked gently.
"Dobby can do that." Dobby nodded his head. "But Dobby can only take one at a time."
"That's okay Dobby, thank you." Tonks assured him. Dobby smiled and gently took hold of Andromeda's arm and with a barely hearable 'pop' they both vanished. Dobby returned instantly and took Ted and Tonks in a matter of seconds. Tonks laughed softly when she noticed her parents looking around only to see nothing of interests.
"Well?" Her mother asked somewhat annoyed.
"Don't worry, mum." Tonks grinned. "Harry will be here soon enough." And just that moment Dobby and Harry appeared behind Tonks.
"Hello Tonks, it's good to see." Harry greeted her while Tonks smiled and gave him a small kiss on the cheek as a greeting. "These must be your parents. It's good to finally meet the both of you. My name is Harry."
"Thank you Mr. Potter, I'm Ted and this is my lovely wife Andromeda." Ted said introducing himself and his wife.
"Please, just Harry is fine. I'm not one for formalities." Harry told them. "Let's go to the house instead of standing on the street."
"What house may that be Harry?" Andromeda asked curiously.
"Ah excuse me. I forgot that you don't know the secret yet." Harry hit himself in the head. He quickly pulled out a piece of paper and handed it to Andromeda. "If you and Mr. Tonks would please memorize what's written on this paper."
Both Ted and Andromeda looked at the piece of paper and saw that an address was written on it. They had only just memorized it when Tonks snatched it out of their hands and burnt it before vanishing the ashes. They glared at her until they noticed a gate behind her and Harry. Both of them were well educated and instantly knew what had happened.
"Your house is protected by the Fidelius Charm?" Ted asked surprised.
"That's right, if you would please follow me?" Harry nodded before leading Tonks' parents to his house with Tonks following, looking like the cat who had caught the canary. She loved seeing the surprised faces of her parents. Especially when she knew what was going on and they did not.
"Wipe that grin of your face Nymphadora." Her mother said without looking back.
'Busted.' Tonks sighed before she told her mother not to call her that.
When they came up to the house Ted and Andromeda were very impressed. It was obviously a very large property judging by the size of the driveway but the house was marvelous. Andromeda liked it immensely while Ted whistled at the size of the lawn and what seemed to be a part of the veranda.
"I have never heard anything about the Potters owning such a property." Andromeda mentioned to Harry. "Or is this from your mother's side of the family?"
"Oh no not at all." Harry quickly explained. "My parent's place was at Godric's Hollow and was almost completely destroyed on the attack. I purchased this house on my own and together with Remus and Sirius I placed enough wards around to protect us."
"You want to make us believe that a fourteen year old boy bought a house like this?" Ted said somewhat disbelieving.
"Dad, you'll find out that Harry is anything but a boy except in age." Tonks said to her father. "Remember, not everything is as it seems."
"Your daughter is right, sir." Harry smiled. "I bought this house in the summer after my second year. Unfortunately I can't tell you more than that for the moment. Please follow me out the back, there are a few people that are expecting us."
When they reached the veranda they could hear several voices talking away. When they passed the corner Ted and Andromeda saw a very familiar face. Sirius who had been waiting patiently shot up from his chair and ran over to his cousin before giving her a small hug. Andromeda didn't hesitate one second and happily returned the hug, already a few tears in her eyes of happiness.
'Andi, it's so good to see you again." Sirius said when he let go of her. "You too, Ted."
"Sirius, you have no idea how happy I am to see you again." Andromeda said. "Why didn't you come visit us since you escaped or acquitted?"
"I'm sorry Andi but things have been hectic. At first I didn't want to cause you trouble, you're house was surely monitored after my escape." Sirius explained. "If I had come by, I would have put you and your family at risk and that was the last thing I wanted. Once my innocence was proven, I planned to come see you but we've been busy."
"So we've heard." Ted said. "Been preparing for the return of You-Know-Who."
"I'm sorry? Been preparing for the return of who?" Sirius looked at the rest who nodded. They had agreed that the ridiculous name calling of Voldemort had to be stopped straight away. It was to tiresome to call him anything else than Voldemort or Tom Riddle.
"You know who I mean." Ted glared at Sirius who looked confused.
"I'm sorry Ted but I don't know any You-Know-Who." Sirius said.
"Come off it Sirius. We know you know who we mean with You-Know-Who." Andromeda said joining the conversation.
"Maybe you just think you know that I know You-Know-Who." Now Sirius was having fun and he wondered how long he could make this last.
"Cut it out Sirius. God, I thought you would have matured a bit since we were kids." Andromeda yelled irritated.
"Alright Padfoot, that's enough fooling around for now." Remus said putting an end to Sirius fun. "Ted, Andromeda please ignore Sirius. Come, let us sit down and talk like adults." Here Sirius snorted and muttered something that sounded like 'Stupid Moony takes all my fun away'. Remus ignored him.
"Thank you Remus, you always were the most sensible one of the group." Ted said with a small grin.
Once everyone was seated and Dobby had brought out some refreshments, introductions were made. Tonks introduced her parents to Hermione and her parents while Harry did the same for Hermione and she introduced her parents as well. Dan and Emma seemed to hit it off pretty good with Ted and Andromeda and this pleased everyone. They had hoped that this would happen.
"Okay, this is all fun and all but I believe you invited us to talk about what was going on here." Andromeda said once introductions and the small talk was over.
"You are right of course." Harry said taking the lead. "Let me tell what you want to know. Before I say anything, I must warn you of the importance of keeping everything you hear and see today a secret. If people were to find out what we've been doing, it wouldn't go well for all of us." When they nodded, Harry continued. "All of us here plus two others that couldn't be here today are part of group dedicated to fight Voldemort." Here both Ted and Andromeda shuddered visibly at the name. "Please do not let his name get to you. You're giving him power over you when you allow something as stupid as his fake name frighten you."
"That's what Nymphadora here says all the time but you kids have no idea what that name means to us." Andromeda glared slightly. She wasn't about to be lectured by a teenager after all.
"With all due respect Mrs. Tonks, of all the people here I'm the one who understands the best of all." Harry said seriously. "I've faced Voldemort several times now and I won't let a silly thing as his name scare me. Yes, he's one of the most powerful Dark Lords that ever existed. Yes, he has done some bloody horrible things. But being afraid of his name isn't going to change anything. If you can't call him Voldemort than call him by his real name, Tom Riddle."
"T-Tom Riddle?" Ted asked shocked. "I've never heard that name before. I didn't even know his name was known."
"Me neither." Andromeda nodded.
"It's not widely known that Voldemort was once a student called Tom Riddle." Hermione smiled. "While we don't know where he came from or what he did after he graduated from Hogwarts, we do know that he was sorted into Slytherin. He told Harry his real name was Tom Marvolo Riddle. Anything else about his past is clouded in mystery."
"We do know however that he's the one who opened the Chamber of Secrets and blamed Hagrid for it." Harry smiled at his girlfriend. "Other than that nothing much is known about him. The only ones who do know something about him are Prof. Dumbledore and his former classmates. Even if they knew something of importance, I doubt that they would forward the information like that."
"Anyway, we're getting sidetracked." Remus said taking control. "We can discus Tom Riddle later. First of all, Ted and Andi need to understand what we're doing here."
"Right you are Mooney." Harry nodded. "Like I said, we're a group of friends and family who're preparing for the return of Voldemort. I started out alone and soon Hermione here joined me. Together we started preparing ourselves for the war that we knew was coming. We started by learning as much magic as we could and to strengthen ourselves and our bodies. At the beginning of third year, Sirius joined us when I confronted him and finally found out the truth of who betrayed my parents. Later that year Remus and the Weasley twins, Fred and George, joined as well. The last to join us was Tonks here."
"So what exactly have you been learning and doing?" Ted wanted to know. "I mean, how in the world do you prepare for war?"
"Well, we learned how to fight, we learned spells that would help us." Hermione answered that question. "Everything that could come in handy, ranging from weapons to potions and safe houses are being prepared or already in place. We are currently trying to find a way to communicate with each other over long distances without anyone noticing."
"Surely all of that must cost a serious amount of Galleons?" Andromeda said. "I didn't know the Potters were that well off."
"We're not." Harry smiled. "Or at least my parents weren't. But thanks to some inside information, I've made a small fortune by making investments in the Muggle world. You'd be surprised at the kind of money one can make in the Muggle World."
"Just being curious but how much are we talking here?" Ted said interested. He knew a little bit about investments and the likes but not enough to risk putting his money into it.
"I believe the going rate is Five pound for a Galleon?" Harry asked Hermione who nodded. "Let's see, I think it would be safe to say that at the moment we have about a few million Galleons in reserve. The biggest investment will be made this summer, which should more than double, even triple that."
"A few million Galleons?" Andromeda said shocked. "How in the world did you get such a fortune?"
"Like I said, there's a lot of money to make in the Muggle World. You only have to know how." Harry shrugged. He didn't care all that much about the money, sure it was easy and necessary to have it but if it wasn't for the use against Voldemort he couldn't care less. "So you see, money isn't a problem for now. The problem is that Voldemort also has a lot of money at his disposal thanks to his Death Eaters who all give generously to the cause. We've been trying to come up with a way to attack his money but so far we haven't found anything. It's clear however that Voldemort doesn't have a vault at Gringotts in his name so we concluded that he either kept his gold under a different name or stashed it somewhere safe."
"So what is your part in all of this?" Andromeda turned to her daughter.
"Well, I'm teaching all of them some magic and spells that I as an Auror have learned." Tonks smiled. "Though I learned just as much from Harry and Hermione. Other than that I use my Auror status to find out information in the Ministry of Magic. So far nothing really spectacular has been discovered but every piece of information might be important in the end. Right now I'm trying to see where my fellow Aurors loyalties are."
"But you said that the ministry isn't doing anything to prepare." Ted asked.
"Like I said, the ministry has no clue whatsoever that Voldemort is getting stronger." Harry nodded. "Fudge and many others refuse to see the signs and prefer to stick their heads in the sand. Take the attacks at the Quidditch World Cup for instance. They all passed it off as distasteful joke but they should have investigated further. Surely they could have found something if they only looked closer."
"Problem is that Fudge is in Malfoy's pockets." Sirius added. "And we all know that Lucius is one of Voldemort's inner circle. It was his gold that saved him a trip to Azkaban all those years ago. Fudge refuses to see the problem and has, over the years and on Lucius' advice, cut down on funding for the Auror Force. There are hardly enough Auror's to keep things going now so imagine when Death Eaters start attacking again. The ministry will get caught with their pants down."
"Do you think that T-Tom Riddle will start attacking so soon again?" Ted wanted to know.
"We don't think so." Remus answered. "He's a very intelligent man so he knows that attacking while not ready would be counteractive. No, we believe that he'll take his time to prepare and gather strength. Luckily that gives us a bit more time as well. Time we'll use to better ourselves and perhaps find a few more people to fight alongside us."
"But what about Dumbledore? Surely he's aware of all of this?" Andromeda sighed.
"If you mean that he's aware of Voldemort still being alive and trying to return to his former glory then yes." Hermione nodded. "He doesn't know anything about us and what we're doing and we think that it's important that it remains that way. Not because we don't trust Prof. Dumbledore but because we want to do things our way. Don't get me wrong, I respect Prof. Dumbledore and what he has done for the Wizarding world over the years but he was a bit too lenient when it came to persecuting Death Eaters."
"We don't exactly blame him or anything but we felt that if he and the rest of ministry had punished Death Eaters and those who agreed with them more harshly then things might be better." Harry continued. "I know that one man can only do so much but if he had petitioned for harder punishments, I'm sure the people would have agreed. Some Death Eaters got away with a slap on the wrist or even less. Other were sentenced to a few years Azkaban or had to pay some money, something that isn't really a problem for most of them come from rich families."
"What about Bellatrix and her husband?" Andromeda wondered. "They received a life-sentence in Azkaban."
"Yes that's true but only because they refused to betray their master." Sirius said. "If they had pleaded guilty or being under the Imperious Curse, like so many others, they might have gotten lighter sentences. Bellatrix was crazy then and no doubt it only got worse after all those years in that prison."
"I can't believe this." Andromeda muttered before she turned to the Grangers. "And you're okay with your only daughter fighting in this war?"
"Not at all." Emma said immediately. "If it was up to us, we'd take her and Harry far away from all of this. Unfortunately, we can't. Harry and Hermione are too involved in this since the start. Let me tell, I cried for hours when they told me what they were doing and why. Kids shouldn't have to fight in wars but again there's nothing we can change about it. We raised our daughter to do the right thing and to stand tall for her beliefs. She's doing just that. She's standing by the man she loves and never once thought of running away. For that we've never been more proud of her." Hermione smiled and quickly hugged her mother.
"The thought that the two of them could get hurt or worse isn't a pleasant one, I admit." Dan said picking up where his wife had stopped. "The only thing we can do is support them and help them wherever we can, however we can. I have faith in Harry to keep my daughter safe and sound so they can give us lots of grandchildren once this mess is over."
"Don't worry about that, daddy." Hermione said releasing her mother. "We have every intention of giving you lots of grandchildren to spoil."
"We do?" Harry said shocked.
"Yes we do." Hermione nodded at her boyfriend. "Just say 'Yes dear', Harry."
"Yes dear." Harry obeyed with a smile while Sirius made a whip like sound making Remus hit him upon the head. "How about we take a break and show you around and what've done so far?"
Everyone seemed to like the idea and Harry led the group around the house and the grounds. Ted and Andromeda were very impressed by the beautiful house and Sirius invited them to spend the night at his house later, which they happily accepted. Once the tour was over, they got back to the veranda where Dobby had place some refreshments for all of them. During the tour, tension had somewhat lessened and they were all having a good time.
"Say, how many Animagus do you two know?" Sirius suddenly asked Ted and Andi.
"Euh, well there's you and Minerva." Andi said thinking about it. "Pettigrew of course but other than that I don't think we know any. Why do you ask?"
Suddenly Harry and Hermione transformed in front of her into a gorgeous leopard and a beautiful lynx. Ted and Andromeda were shocked as they both know just how difficult the Animagus transformation was to achieve. That two kids of fourteen years old could do this was nothing less of extraordinary. They watched as Sirius joined them and started running around the backyard, playing tag and roughhousing around.
"My word." Ted said shocked.
"Told you that those two would surprise you." Tonks grinned. "They achieved this at the end of last school year. Harry was first to transform and Hermione quickly followed a few weeks later. Fred and George are also trying to find their forms but they're having trouble to get used to meditating. Those two are too active for that but they'll get there eventually."
"Any more surprises because I don't think I can take much more of this." Andromeda said smiling. The last week had been a very emotional one and frankly she was exhausted. Ever since her daughter had come home saying that the most feared Dark Lord of the recent ages was still alive, her nights had been plagued with nightmares. She was dreading the day that man finally did return. She didn't want to believe it at first but she could no longer do that, seeing those memories and now spending the afternoon with Harry and the rest.