Disclaimer: Harry Potter is property of J.K. Rowling and whichever publisher she has a contract with in your territory. Warner Bros. has their hands in the pie somewhere. Wheel of Time is property of the Estate of Robert Jordan and whichever publisher he has a contract with in your territory. The only thing I have a claim to are any original characters I introduce, although I doubt I'll pay the legal fees to defend them in court.
AN: This is going to be primarily a Harry Potter story with Wheel of Time elements and a character or two. It is AU onwards for the Ministry Battle with Sirius falling through a mysterious redstone doorway instead of the veil. The Wheel of Time references should be canon up to Book 11. Constructive criticism is welcome. I'm also looking for a good beta - so please send me a message if you're interested.
The doorway called to him.
Harry Potter sat in his bed during the middle of the night contemplating his latest set of recurring dreams. Ever since he had visited that accursed room in the Department of Mysteries the doorway with its alien whispers and unnatural redstone form dominated his subconscious.
It didn't help that there wasn't much else to focus on. Thanks to the warning the Dursleys received from the members of the Order of the Phoenix, Harry was left alone. While he technically had free reign of the house, it was still unpleasant to be in the presence of the disdaining glares of his relatives. He already knew how to cook for himself, so it was simply easier for him to go down to the kitchen when no one else was home to have his choice of food to make. It was quite the pleasant experience to be able to enjoy one's own cooking for once.
Beyond the perk of enjoying his own cooking, there wasn't much else to celebrate. With Voldemort being ousted by Harry's Ministry battle, it had been deemed far too dangerous for him to leave the safety of the blood wards surrounding the property of his Aunt's house. Harry was certain that members of the Order were guarding his residence, yet to maintain the anonymity and perimeter security they had remained concealed so far. While Harry yearned to have human contact it was even more imperative for him to begin preparing somehow for the now inevitable conflict with Voldemort.
That damned prophecy. How could an entire organization justify the passiveness of their actions due to the half-crazed rant of that insane old crone Trelawney? In his opinion the only redeemable feature of that four-eyed bint was her capacity to interpret ambiguous stains. He'd love to submit her to one of those Rorschach inkblot tests that he was exposed to while in primary school.
Harry sighed again before walking towards the window to stare in the direction of downtown London. He glanced below to the immaculate lawn, wondering who was on guard duty tonight. After a few moments of contemplation, he looked out back towards London. The doorway that spoke to him as he crept through the Department of Mysteries, which swallowed Sirius in that desperate, frantic combat as Harry and his friends flew from the Hall of prophecies was there to the northeast.
For two weeks now Harry had suffered from insomnia. While he grieved for the death of Sirius it was not the murder of his godfather that dominated his mind.
The doorway called to him.
Two nights later Harry once again stared out the window. Everything was precisely the same as it had been the previous night. The streets were silent at 3am. The lamppost in front of #7 Privet Drive still flickered. He sighed as his thoughts returned to the doorway.
A soft yelp followed by a muffled thump interrupted his musings. Quickly glancing below to the lawn at this unexpected diversion he snickered to see a pair of worn down sneakers extending from nowhere. Seeing a chance to interact with one of his guards now that she broke cover Harry unlatched the window and swung it open.
"Tonks!" Harry whispered harshly. "I need to talk with you."
A hand extended out from nothing to grab onto an intangible object which revealed itself to be an invisibility cloak as a young woman dressed in homage to Sid Vicious became visible. Staring quizzically at Harry for a few moments, she nodded her head, withdrew her wand and walked towards the front door.
Harry scrambled to put on a shirt and shorts to make himself somewhat presentable before Tonks could enter his room.
With nary a sound his door opened as Tonks slid in. With a wan grin Harry raised his hand and waved to her.
"Wotcher, Harry," Tonks greeted as she sat down at the edge of his mattress. "So how may this fair lady be of service?"
"Wotcher, Tonks. I need some information," Harry muttered.
"Oh ho! And what knowledge of mine do you wish for me to impart?" Tonks winked suggestively as she began to twirl her wand absent-mindedly.
Harry blushed momentarily before he forced himself to be calm. "The doorway, the one that Sirius fell through, what precisely is it?"
At this Tonks's face sobered and her hair flicked from pink to drab brown to black. "I didn't expect you to ask that. I thought you would be asking about the dearth of owls I've seen coming and going or something a lot easier to answer."
"You mean Dumbledore didn't tell you that we agreed to suspend owl travel for the summer so no one can track them?"
"Nope," mused Tonks. "That does make sense, but I'm surprised you agreed to that. Remus told me a few days ago that you and the headmaster were practically re-enacting the cold war."
Harry chuckled briefly at this. "I'm curious as to how Remus even knows what the cold war was. And yes, when consulted with and not instructed I am capable of being reasonable with the Headmaster. "
"Good for ya squirt," chirped Tonks. "Back to the issue of the doorway. I have no clue what it is. I asked Shack about it, but he didn't know and decided that for my inquisitive nature I would get the night shifts for guarding your cute arse."
"Is there any chance you could ask Dumbledore? Tell him it's for my curiosity only and that he doesn't have to worry about me attempting a half baked rescue plan."
Tonks stayed silent at this for a few moments before walking over to him and gently embracing him. "Sure kiddo, I'd be glad to ask for you. Are you sure that you're ok here?"
Harry gave a half-crooked grin back at Tonks as she pulled away to hold him at arms length. "I'm dealing. It still hurts for sure, but I'm dealing with it."
"So why do you want to know about that doorway?"
Harry stared at Tonks briefly before replying. "Promise that this part stays between the two of us?"
"Want me to swear on my magical core and my firstborn child?"
For the first time in his recent memory Harry full out laughed. "Isn't that a little too much? Just please keep this to yourself."
"Sure thing. On Gryffindor honor," Tonks pledged as she raised her hand and put her fingers into a nonsensical gesture.
"Weren't you a badger?" Harry retorted.
"Shh, now don't be a contrary bloke. Go ahead and spill your sorrows." Tonks said as she let go of him and walked back towards the bed. Harry waited for her to get comfortable before he began to speak.
"It's hard to explain without me sounding nutters," Harry stated. He saw Tonks look at him impatiently so he hurried to continue. "When I first saw the doorway, I could hear voices coming from it."
"Huh? I've been in that room a couple times since that night and I haven't heard anything from it."
Harry simply shrugged. "If you hadn't interrupted I would have told you that only me and Luna could hear the voices." Tonks made a contrite face before signaling for him to continue. "Well, every night since I went to the ministry...I've been hearing those voices in my dreams. Actually every dream since that night has just been those voices."
Tonks's face straightened out at this and her hair flitted back to pink. "Sure you aren't just hearing things from your personal Dark Lord hotline?" Tonks said in an attempt to lighten the mood.
Harry's face cracked into a smile as he mentally thanks Tonks for her efforts. "No, I'm pretty sure that this is something different. If anything it feels like these voices are protecting me from Voldemort. My scar hasn't hurt once since that night."
"Oi, that's just strange," Tonks mused. She then walked over to Harry and mussed his hair. "I best be going now, seeing as I am supposed to be guarding you. My next shift is in three nights, so I hope to have some answers to bring you. Want me to pass on any letters to anyone else while I'm here?"
"Nah, I've been too busy trying to convince myself I'm not crazy to write anything. Just let them know that I'm fine," Harry responded. "Thanks for listening Tonks."
Tonks gave him a wink, before quietly slipping out of his room. Harry returned to his position at the window as he saw footprints appear on the grass below before they magically disappeared. Basking in the feeling of benevolent human contact Harry decided it was time for him to attempt to sleep again.
In his dreams he heard the whispers.
Three nights later Harry was going stir-crazy. Now that he had an expectation to get answers the days couldn't go by fast enough. He had now completed all of his homework that did not involve a wand and discovered that he truly didn't miss anything on the telly while he was at Hogwarts.
To kill the time he had taken up meditating. To be more accurate he was attempting to meditate. After being told repeatedly the previous school year to 'clear his mind' before having his occlumency shields tested he figured that there would be a correlation between meditation and being a competent occlumens. Unfortunately, watching the Karate Kid on TV did not impart the methodology of meditation correctly so all he did was learn to sit with his eyes closed.
Harry sat at his desk, tapping his fingers impatiently on its surface as he waited for Tonks to show up. He knew that he couldn't rely upon her to trip up again so there was no point in watching the lawn for signs of her appearance.
Twenty minutes later Harry's door cracked open and a black haired Tonks slid into his room before closing his door. He heard her whisper under her breath and flick her wand around a few times. It appeared that she was taking steps to insure that their conversation would not be interrupted. Tonks finally nodded and then turned around.
"Wotcher yourself," Harry replied as he watched Tonks fling herself onto his bed. "Feel free to make yourself at home."
"Will do guv," Tonks retorted.
Harry sighed as he watched Tonks sprawl out further on his bed. Her capacity to continuously be whimsical and upbeat was a source or amusement and ire to him. "So, were you able to find out anymore about the doorway?"
"And not even a 'how you're doing?'" Tonks said as she shook her head disapprovingly. "We really need to work on your people skills."
"Sod off, if I was able to talk to a decent person more than twice a month maybe I'd learn some decent people skills." In retaliation Tonks stuck out her tongue and morphed into his Aunt. "Gah! Alright alright, how are you Ms. Tonks?"
Tonks chortled and switched back into her standard form with pink hair. "I'm doing quite fine myself. And how are you Mr. Constipated?"
Harry blinked dumbly and asked "How did I get that name?"
"Oh, Moody was peeping on you for fun today and told me as we switched shifts that you had spent most the day sitting on your chair imagining that it was a wc."
"Oh, that. It's actually more than a little disturbing that man is watching me like that," Harry pondered as he tried to reckon with the concept of an elderly man watching his every move. "I'm trying to teach myself to meditate in order to help with my occlumency. Problem is that so far I've only taught myself to sit down with my eyes closed. Does meditation even help one master occlumency?"
"Bugger if I know," Tonks answered. "If you don't want me going to Snape and asking him a question, I have a good feeling that Mr. Peepers will be able to answer. Want to ask him tomorrow afternoon?"
"Yes! Does that mean Moody will break cover for once and interact with me?" Harry inquired with an excited gleam in his eyes.
"Hah, you wish. No, once I told Albus that you were having questions about that doorway he managed to inform me that there will be a reading of Sirius's will tomorrow in the ministry." Tonks informed Harry who gaped before concealing his facial expressions. It was one thing to acknowledge on an intellectual basis that his godfather was dead; the distribution of Sirius's material possessions hit him on an emotional level. Tonks stopped speaking as she watched and then continued with a kind expression on her face. "I know the timing is bollocks Harry. I'm a beneficiary in the will as well and Albus didn't inform me until last night either. I'm just guessing that he's the executor of the will since due to the ambiguity of Sirius's legal status he would need a very reputable person to be executor in order to ensure that the will wasn't challenged successfully by Aunty Bella or Cissa."
Harry said nothing for several moments as he compiled what Tonks had just told him. "Alright, I understand why Dumbledore is in charge of the will. So how am I getting there?"
"Oh, you'll love this part," Tonks said as she raised her right arm in the air with her fist clenched as if she was delivering an uppercut. "Since Albus knows that I've broken my cover with you, I get to keep you company all night long to make sure you have sweet dreams. Then, tomorrow morning I'll make sure you're dressed appropriately and then pop you over to the ministry. We do the will reading there, then I pop you back over to Grimmauld Place to get you nice and drunk, take you to the Burrow to let you interact with your peers and then pop you back here so you can pass out."
As Tonks spoke with a suggestive lilt Harry's face progressively became redder. "K-k-keep me company?" Harry stammered out.
Tonks dropped her head back and full out laughed. "Apologies mate, not that type of company. I just woke up, so you'll get the bed while I'll take the chair."
"That'll work," Harry commented. "So, what did you find out about the doorway?"
"Not much. I asked my co-workers and Dumbledore. All that they knew is that it's been in England since before Hogwarts was found and that no one has ever returned once they have gone in."
"Oh. So there's no explanation as to why it's talking to me?" Harry inquired.
"Nope. Mum was the word on crazy voices in your head. Nobody mentioned anything about voices and the few transcripts I found from when prisoners were being tossed into the doorway didn't mention anything about them being able to hear anything." Tonks stood up and then walked towards the door. "Now its bed time for ya scamp. You have a big day tomorrow. I'll just sit here and browse amongst your personal belongings."
The following morning began far too early for Harry. He had awoken twice from his dreams during the night only to have Tonks chat with until he fell back asleep. Now for the first time since summer began he had to worry about his appearance and personal hygiene. It had been fortuitous that Tonks was there to use her wand so she could press Harry's robes into a presentable state for the reading.
It was fortunate that the reading was at 11am. That gave time for Harry and Tonks to avoid seeing his Uncle prep himself for work and enough time for his Aunt to dress herself and leave for a neighborhood association meeting. Thankfully Dudley was out with his friends and was a non-factor.
At 10:30 sharp Harry stood in front of his room dressed in his robes waiting for Tonks to finish tidying herself up. He was frustrated that he had been instructed to leave his wand behind. Not only was it summer and he was still a minor, but apparently a long-standing rule barred the presence of wands for beneficiaries at the reading of wills. According to Tonks, in 1758 the entire Corkewash family wiped itself out to the last member as they dueled to inherit a larger share of the former patriarch's estate. That was also the last will reading permitted on Gringotts territory.
"Ready to see your chums?" Tonks inquired as she walked out of the bathroom ready to depart. He noted that her hair was in a respectable light brown shade at shoulder-length.
"It'll be nice. You sure Mrs. Weasley isn't going to clamp down on our plans at Headquarters?"
Tonks simply smiled slyly. "What she doesn't know won't hurt her. Bill was out in April with some of his co-workers and locked down the Burrow with wards. So she'll be there cooking a big meal for a nice supper. Now all we have to do is drink our merry way beforehand and then tell her that Fletcher had trick bottles of butterbeer laying around."
Harry smiled and shook his head. He knew that this ruse wouldn't stand up to scrutiny, but was thankful that Tonks was willing to put herself on the block to the other adults in the Order to make sure that today was as bearable as possible. It helped to know that one of the Sirius's closest relatives did not hold him responsible for his death.
After his furious meltdown in the Headmaster's office after the battle, Harry had gone out to the Quidditch pitch to brood. There he had reached a satisfying conclusion. While Voldemort, Bellatrix Lestrange, Dumbledore, Kreacher, Sirius and Harry himself had played roles that resulted in Sirius's death, Snape was the most culpable for his death. If that bastard hadn't insisted upon ramming into his mind with all the delicacy of a glow-sniffing unicorn without any relevant instructions, Voldemort wouldn't have had easy access into his mind.
Harry truly questioned his Headmaster's wisdom in appointing Snape to teach him the art of occlumency. Both Dumbledore and Snape had deigned not to divulge any relevant theory behind the obscure art, but he could assume that trust between the student and teacher would be beneficial to the process of learning. Harry was pretty sure that while Dumbledore may have just been negligent in his ideas and oversight, Snape was quite complicit in insuring that Harry did not properly learn the rare art.
Additionally the poor timing of the reinforcements to the ministry meant that Snape must have sat on his greasy ass for quite a while. It had taken over three hours to fly from Scotland down to the ministry. Amazingly, it had taken nearly four hours upon notification for Snape to rally the Order to the ministry. With a reaction time like that Harry didn't have the slightest bit of confidence of his survival if Voldemort were to launch a direct attack upon his location.
Returning from his inner monologue, Harry focused back on Tonks.
"Now come here and give me a nice'ol hug. I'm going to side-apparate you to the ministry entrance." Tonks stopped speaking as she saw Harry's wariness and rolled her eyes. "Don't worry, I'm not going to splinch you. You'll just fell an odd squeezing sensation and then you'll be there."
"Alright," Harry agreed.
Seconds later Harry and Tonks were outside the phone booth entrance to the ministry in London. Upon reaching the front desk Harry's nerves grew when Tonks submitted her wand for safekeeping at the front desk upon announcing that they were there for a will reading. Other than Tonks and her parents, the other members of the Black family were the Malfoys and the Lestranges. He did not want to gamble his life on the odds that a member of either of those families would adhere to ministry policy.
Viewing the Atrium made the muscles in Harry's stomach clench. Less than a month had passed since he fought Lestrange and Voldemort in this room. He stopped when he realized that all of the damage to the Atrium had been repaired.
"Hey Tonks, how did they fix up this room so fast?"
Tonks snorted and scowled. "Fudge, in realizing that You-Know-Who had finally returned, decided that his first act in combating him would be to repair all of the damage so that the ministry could create the image of business as usual. Bleeding fool."
Harry just shook his head in dismay. He had thought that it was impossible for his opinion of Fudge to drop further, but the fool was hell-bent on lowering it.
The pair resumed walking again until they reached the lifts. Harry awkwardly grabbed a copy of the Prophet from a stand and held it up to his face in order to obscure his scar. Tonks simply chuckled and dragged him onto the lift.
"So who is going to be here?" Harry inquired after being led off at the 4th floor.
"Dunno. Dumbledore just told me that I was to come and to bring you. As far as I know…oh no," Tonks groaned as she saw the couple waiting outside of a conference room.
"Nymphadora! It's so good to see you. It's been nearly a week since you last called," a middle-aged woman called out.
"Hello mum. Dad. It's good to see you."
"Hello princess, it's good to see you as well," Tonks's father greeted. "Who is this young man you're escorting? Your date?"
Both Harry and Tonks blushed deep red at this question. At a much later date Harry would look back and cherish the memory as the first time he saw Tonks blush.
"Daaad! No, this is Harry Potter. I'm escorting him to the reading. Harry, this is my dad Ted and this is my mum Andromeda. You can't call them Tonks because that's my name."
"Nymphadora really," Andromeda chided softly. "You have a beautiful name and you need to accept it. Harry it's a pleasure to meet you."
"You too ma'am. Mr. Tonks it's a pleasure."
"Call me Ted, please. We're just waiting for Albus to arrive to get things underway."
"I really hope we're the only people attending," Andromeda said with a nervous look. "I am not looking forward to seeing either of my sisters."
"Alas, you shall not be reunited today," Dumbledore pronounced as he opened the conference room from the inside. He immediately made eye contact with Harry before gesturing to the group at large to follow him. "Unfortunately the only other beneficiary to attend would be Mr. Lupin, but he is beyond our reach at this time so I will serve as both executor and proxy. Come in dear friends, so we may partake this sad business."
An icy chill overcame Harry upon the sight of Dumbledore. Despite coming to a mutual agreement for his conditions during the summer, he could not forget that Dumbledore had virtually trapped Sirius in his home and set Snape upon Harry. Compounded with the fact that the rationale Dumbledore had given to Harry for stranding him with his relatives seemed to violate his "do right instead of easy" creed, any fondness Harry may have once held for his Headmaster had severely diminished.
With a polite nod Harry followed the Tonks into the conference room. A large rectangular hardwood table dominated the room. On one side an attractive blonde witch sat with a neat pile of paperwork to her left. Dumbledore walked around the table and sat to her immediate right. Harry attempted to sit on the far right of the opposite side but Tonks shoved him to her left that placed him in between Tonks and her mom. Was he to be a human shield from her parents?
"Now that we are all here, let me do the introductions. Beneficiaries, this is Abigail Smith, Sirius's barrister. Starting from your right Abigail are Ted and Andromeda Tonks, Harry Potter and Nymphadora Tonks." Dumbledore stated gesturing to Abigail who waved politely.
"Before I divulge the contents of the will, there is some paperwork that needs to be filed immediately to ensure a smooth process," Abigail began. "Mrs. Tonks, would you be so kind as to sign this paperwork which recognizes you once more as a member of the Black family? Sirius went to great care to make sure that you could once again be a Black while still being a Tonks."
Blinking owlishly Andromeda grabbed a quill and quickly inked her name upon the appropriate line.
"Excellent, you are now the eldest member of the Black family. While your sister Bellatrix is older, due to the fact that she was actually convicted of her crimes and is intended to be serving a life sentence in Azkaban she is disqualified to inherit the status of the eldest member. It would be nice if you were to change your last name officially to Black, but you are now the principle branch of the Black family, which gives you and your descendants de facto control over the Black family assets and properties."
Andromeda continued to stare blankly and gripped Ted and Harry's hands for support. Shocked at this unexpected contact Harry looked for assistance from Tonks to pry him loose from her mother. No assistance would be forthcoming from her as her brain apparently took a vacation at the news that she was now the heir-apparent to the most noble and ancient family of Black.
A soft cough from Dumbledore brought the Tonks family back to reality and thankfully liberated Harry's hand. Harry strived to remain calm at the twinkle present in Dumbledore's eyes. How could the old man find humor in this solemn occasion?
"Now to the next order of business," Abigail continued in a bored tone. "Mr. Harry James Potter is currently without a magical guardian. Mr. Black filled this role, which was filled by Mr. Dumbledore, with dubious legality I may add, during Mr. Black's confinement." A frown overcame Dumbledore's face as Harry's calm broke and he openly scowled at the headmaster.
"Mr. Black has drafted paperwork to make you Mr. Potter's magical guardian," Abigail gestured to Andromeda Tonks. "Is this permissible to both of you?"
Harry attempted to weigh the pros and cons of this move by Sirius. It would help to take him out from the direct control of Dumbledore. Positive. He had no clue who Andromeda Tonks was beyond Tonks's mother. Negative. Tonks was a lot of fun, so anyone who spawned her couldn't be that bad. Positive. What exactly was a magical guardian?
"What does a magical guardian do?" Harry asked.
"A magical guardian is responsible for the magical education of their charge, managing their personal finances until the charge reaches maturity and may be held responsible for magic related crimes committed by the charge if they are underage."
Harry opened his mouth and then hesitated. It sounded nice, but what did Andromeda think? More importantly with his penchant for finding trouble that last clause could easily complicate the lives of the Tonks.
"What are your thoughts on this Mrs. Tonks?" Harry inquired.
"It's Andromeda. I'll admit that this is unexpected, but I don't see why this should be much of an issue. You'll reach majority in just over a year," Andromeda shrugged.
Harry smiled wryly at this. "You are aware of who I am? Less than a year ago I was in this ministry on trial for defending myself against dementors. It would be a safe bet that I end up in the crosshairs of the ministry once again this year."
"Mr. Potter does raise an excellent point Andromeda," Dumbledore interjected. "If you were to assume this position you must prepare for the full wrath of the ministry."
Harry glared openly at Dumbledore. Where was the subtle politician? That statement so deliberately riled Harry that he nearly believed that Dumbledore was purposely driving a wedge between them. The ludicrousness of that thought gave Harry the capacity to calm down though and regain his center.
"I don't want to place your family in danger Mrs. To…Andromeda," Harry amended at the sharp look she gave him.
"But mum! I've always wanted a Harry Potter doll. If Harry becomes my legal magical brother I can take him shopping and make him dress in funny ways…" Tonks trailed off at the strange looks she was receiving from everyone in the room. At least she looked excited at the possibility of having closer ties to Harry.
Ted leaned into to whisper to Andromeda for a few minutes while Harry glanced at the barrister. If Sirius was involved in the selection of her, it wasn't necessarily her legal skills that caught his attention. He smiled at the thought of his fugitive godfather taking time during Harry's fourth year to go hook up with this bird of a barrister.
"Harry, we've discussed this and if you're willing we'll sign the paperwork," Andromeda murmured in what he assumed was a motherly tone.
"Mrs. Tonks, are you sure you wish to place your family in such a risky position?" Dumbledore inquired before Harry could respond.
"I don't see much risk involved seeing as how he is only at Hogwarts while actively participating in the magical world," Andromeda retorted.
"Wait wait. If mum's now the head of the Black family, does that mean she now owns Headquarters?" Tonks inquired.
Dumbledore's expression tightened into neutrality. "That would appear to be the case. It appears that there would be a most secure location for you and your husband to live at as long as I live to maintain the fidelius charm."
"See Ted, we'll be safe," Andromeda affirmed to her husband before turning back to Harry. "So are you interested?"
"Yes. It will be nice to have a magical guardian who puts my wellbeing first," Harry said in an unsubtle dig to Dumbledore.
"Very well, will both of you please sign here?" Abigail gestured to the document. Andromeda grabbed the quill and signed first before handing the quill over to Harry to sign.
"Our next order of business is the actual distribution of the estate," Abigail continued while grabbing another paper from the pile. "Sirius's real estate and liquid assets were to be given to a non-present party, so that will not be at issue here today. To Harry Potter, you are to receive three trunks of personal belongings which can be found labeled in Vault 572 and an item labeled 'motorcycle.' To Nymphadora Tonks, you are to receive one trunk of personal belongings which can be found labeled in Vault 572. Are there any questions or clarifications?"
Both Harry and Tonks shook their head in the negative.
"Good, that concludes our business here today. Incidentally, this is the last of my outstanding business I had on the British Isles. I wish you all the best of luck with this You-Know-Who business. Have a pleasant day." Abigail promptly stood up and sauntered out without looking back.
Silence reigned for several moments for the remaining occupants. Finally Dumbledore excused himself saying that he had a meeting to attend and would forward to seeing Harry tonight at the Burrow. With that Tonks's parents said their goodbyes before affirming that they would be glad to coordinate with the Weasley's to meet up with everyone that night.
"Oi brother. C'mon, we got to head out to do our six hour Irish wake," Tonks cajoled Harry as she began to walk out back towards the lifts.
"Are you sure this is a smart idea? Won't your parents be upset?"
"Nah, remember we have our air-tight alibi. Fletcher spiked our butterbeer. Now let's go speak of fond memories of Sirius."
Harry had to hide a smile at this as he entered the elevator. Tonks really had done her best to make this day as good as possible. Looking over, he was surprised to see her frown. She merely pointed to the arrows, which were pointed down as they descended further into the ministry.
It was when they had dropped down to the sixth floor that Harry began to hear faint whispers. He stiffened, recognizing them for those from the redstone doorway. By the time the lift had passed the eighth floor it was if he had tapped into a clear radio signal. The phrase sedai kept getting bandied around, but he was utterly clueless as to what it meant.
"Oi, alright mate? You're looking mighty pale there," Tonks observed with a worried expression.
There was no harm in confiding to Tonks. She already knew of the voices.
"Remember those voices I told you about?" Harry whispered to Tonks as he leaned in so no one else in the lift would hear. "The closer we get to the Department of Mysteries the louder I hear them."
He could see Tonks's face scrunch up in further concern. It reminded him of his second year when he was the only one to hear the voices in the wall. Did the doorway lead to a realm of snakes?
"Huh. Well, the fact that you seem to be consistent in your crazy may mean that you're not crazy," Tonks whispered back.
"Thanks for the vote for my sanity."
"You have been fixated on this doorway apparently," Tonks mused. Her eyes lit up and Harry could practically see the image of a light bulb turning on above her head. "Well, we may as well just check it out. Follow my lead."
Harry gaped as they reached the level of the Department of Mysteries. Tonks exited the left along with three other passengers as they headed for the now manned entrance. Seeing an opportunity to learn more of the doorway with its voices, he followed her. By now he felt as if he were in between two individuals in a heated conversation. Why couldn't he understand a blasted word of this language?
He dutifully followed Tonks up to the checkpoint. He was astonished to see her gain entry for the two of them by simply flashing her badge and stating that she was escorting him to the doorway to pay homage to his dead godfather. Security truly was pathetic at the ministry.
His heart clenched as he approached the room with the doorway. This is where he and Neville had attempted to make their last stand and where Sirius had died. He nearly stumbled as he entered the room. The voices were now a symphony cascading through his head virtually deafening him.
He could not hear Tonks yell his name as he approached the doorway in a dazed manner. His tunnel vision did not see her run towards him in an attempt to stop him from getting too close nor the people run in to the room alerted by the yells.
Harry also failed to see Tonks trip right before she reached him, pushing the two of them forward through the doorway.
The voices were silent.
Harry sighed in relief as he stopped hearing imaginary voices. He did groan as he heard a slight wail uttered by Tonks.
"Oh god mum said my clumsiness would be the death of me one day," Tonks moaned in mortification.
Slightly alarmed at her statement Harry took in his surroundings as he laid face down. The floor felt like stone and was a polished glass-like white. Raising his head he nearly gaped in astonishment as he sat amongst a forest of pillars. Each pillar appeared to be star-shaped with eight ridges and made of a glassy black substance. The sharp edges of the ridges emitted a dull yellow light that illuminated…wherever they were. Looking further up Harry could only see the lights disappear into an unnatural murky blackness that truly failed to inspire any hope for his situation.
"Wot the bleeding hell?" Tonks exclaimed as she stood up and took in her surroundings. She reached down and yanked Harry to his feet while she continued to stare. "Are you with me now Harry? Oh sodding hell, we don't have our wands!"
"Yeah, no more voices. How did we end up here? The last thing I remember we were approaching the room with the doorway."
"Well, you decided to do a nutter and walked towards the doorway like an automation and just before I could swoop in and rescue you…I err…kind of tripped and knocked us through," Tonks muttered in an embarrassed tone.
"Another one so soon?
Harry and Tonks spun around to where they had fallen in only to find the redstone doorway gone. In its place stood a tall pale white man. Although Harry couldn't pin it, his physical characteristics screamed 'not human' to him. He was clad in a kilt and leather straps with silver studs that crisscrossed his arms and chest. Scrutinizing his face Harry was faced with large colorless eyes and…fox ears that lay across the top of his head?
"Who are you? And what do you mean so soon? Do you know where Sirius is?" Harry asked as he struggled to grab his wand only to remember that it was back at the Dursleys.
"So many questions. If you were not meant to be here I would say that you should be speaking with my brethren. But the wheel weaves as the wheel wills and here you are meant to be," the strange fox-like man replied.
"Do you know what happened to Sirius?" Harry repeated. He was proud that his voice could sound so firm while he was defenseless in an alien land.
"He violated the rules. I am joyous that neither of you have. You have no iron, no devices for making music and no devices for making light on you," the man stated in a flat tone.
"What happens to violators of the rules? And how did Sirius violate the rules?" Tonks asked in a sober tone.
"He brought a stick that made light. Violators have their threads come to an end."
"You killed Sirius?" Harry asked in a low voice.
"He violated the rules that bind our treaty with your kind," the man growled out in a rough voice. "But that matters not. You were never supposed to exist Harry Potter. Only due to the mechanizations of Ba'alzamon were you spun here. Fear not, another has already paid the price. We shall return you to your proper place in the wheel so you can fulfill that which you were meant to."
Harry and Tonks shared a concerned glance at this. That definitely sounded ominous.
"I'm afraid I can't leave," Harry stated with a confidence he did not have. "I have an obligation to the people here, I am bound by prophecy to fulfill a task here."
A harsh guttural laugh in reply did little to raise their spirits.
"You mean that lady who can barely see the pattern two stone throws ahead of her?" sneered the man. "She cannot even touch the true source and yet you dare to claim that she can see further than us? You are bound by prophecies far greater in strength than that which resided in your ministry."
Tonks quickly morphed into a facsimile of Harry and pushed him behind her. "I won't let you take him!"
"What you want and what you receive are two entirely different things. Time grows short woman. Fear not, if your charge survives his task we shall return him to you in one form or another. He may even then wield 'the power the Dark Lord knows not,'" the man stated with a smirk.
Shock flowed through Harry's body. This man knew the prophecy? And what did he mean that he was bound by other prophecies?
Abruptly the unnaturally shaped redstone doorway appeared to their left. The man waived his arm casually and Tonks was flung through the doorway only to have it disappear.
"You have an impurity attached to your soul," the man noted as he approached Harry. "It will have to be purged."
Harry found himself frozen in place as the man reached with his right hand and grazed his scar.
Pain unimaginable ripped through his head from where his scar was. The pain spread throughout his body with an alarming speed that made him feel as if he were being burnt and frozen simultaneously. The pain reached a crescendo and then Harry knew no more.
On the slopes of the Dragonmount a newborn's cry pierced the air as he rested on blood soaked snow. The Dragon was reborn.