Authors Note: I'm back! Yay! And to commemorate my return, I'm posting the first chapter of my new story. Thanks to everyone who sent reviews on all the new chapters I posted last week before I left. You have no idea how much they all mean to me. Thanks to my beta Alexandra, who has added another of my stories to her long beta list ;)
Chapter 1 Lectures
The smell of bacon wafted through Harry's cottage as he prepared a breakfast for three. The sound of the back door drew his attention away from the pan. "Andromeda?" he called.
The woman came around the corner a moment later, her sleek black hair falling in curls around her face and he pale ivory gown blending in with her skin. "Harry dear, this bacon is much too underdone. You know I prefer mine nearly burnt," she said with a frown.
"That would be Teddy's plate," Harry said. "Yours is still in the pan," he added before she could ask.
"And where is Teddy? It's almost nine," she asked.
"I let him sleep a bit longer than usual. I caught him up late last night playing video games," Harry muttered in amusement and braced himself for Andromeda's lecture.
"Harry, you shouldn't reward the boy with extra sleep, you should make him wake up and realize why he shouldn't have stayed up in the first place," she said.
"I took the games away, I thought that would be better than having a cranky zombie child wandering the house today," he said with a smile.
"Zombie?" she asked, her eyebrow rose slightly in confusion.
"Er… inferi," he amended.
"Ah, yes. He is quite like the walking dead when he does that isn't he?" she asked. "And quite the terror for that matter," she muttered.
Harry laughed. "He'll be a teenager soon, he's bound to press on both of our nerves."
Andromeda shuddered slightly at the thought. She and Teddy had come to live with Harry only four years before. Andromeda had a small separate cottage behind his own, and Teddy slept in the room across the hall from Harry.
He had been happy since they arrived, and hadn't even realized how lonely he was before that. His relationship fizzled quite abruptly with Ginny when she left him at the altar and married Neville instead. Hermione and Ron were married the year after and had two children of their own, so they were far too busy to spend lots of time with Harry.
He had lived in London for a couple years, and then eventually found a nice quiet cottage in Hogsmeade when he took on the Defense Professorship at Hogwarts. His only stipulation was that he not have to live on school grounds, and Minerva had agreed, placing the same protection wards over his house that were on the school and creating a direct connection with the fireplace in his study to the one in his office at the school.
No one aside from the Headmistress, and his roommates of course, even knew Harry didn't live in the castle with the rest of the professors.
Harry served up the nearly black bacon and handed the plate, which also contained eggs and toast, to Andromeda. "He'll be going to Hogwarts this year, so you'll have more time to yourself," Harry responded to her shudder.
"You know I don't mind Teddy. I just vividly recall Nymphadora in her teens. She was a nightmare, very stubborn and very resistant to anything I said," she laughed.
Harry listened intently. Andromeda didn't speak of her late daughter often, and when she did Harry was like a small boy being read a bedtime story. He loved hearing stories about any of his friends and family from before he knew them.
"I recall the first time she refused to answer to Nymphadora," she mused. "She was thirteen and a boy at school had made fun of the name, so from then on she would only answer me if I called her Tonks. She was such a bratty little thing," she said with a wistful smile.
Harry had first been offended by the way Andromeda spoke of her daughter, but eventually learned that it was just her way. She loved the girl without a doubt, and you could tell by the way she treated Teddy that she missed her dearly.
Teddy padded groggily into the kitchen, his hair shifting from heavy black to pale blue and then to a dusty auburn within a span of five minutes. He had recently learned to control some of his shifting abilities, a trait he had inherited from his mother, and refused to stop using them since.
When he saw the bacon on his plate he changed his nose to that of a pig and Andromeda frowned. "You know Teddy, you should stop making faces like that or else your face might just stick that way," she said casually.
"Nuh uh," he protested, but then shot a quick questioning look at Harry.
"It's true. I once saw your mother look like a bird for a week," he fibbed with a smile.
Teddy looked horrified and immediately changed his nose back, missing the wink that Harry sent to Andromeda.
"So, have you had any luck finding a new Potions Master?" Andromeda asked.
"No," Harry grumbled. "Slughorn has already left and we only have a few weeks left before lessons start. I don't even know who would substitute if we don't find someone before then."
"Have you thought about Draco?" she asked with a subtle smirk, one that always tended to remind him of Malfoy's in fact.
"What? No? Why would I think about him?" Harry protested quickly.
Andromeda chuckled silently and shook her head. "I meant for the position. He's brilliant at potions, and has lots of experience now that he's been working for the Ministry all these years."
Harry sighed. "You sound like McGonagall. Sometimes I think you have tea in secret with her behind my back and exchange information," he grumbled.
"Not tea, no. Only the occasional lunch," she said with a wink and Harry groaned.
"Either way, I have no intention of bringing the ferret – no offense – to work here with me. That would just be too volatile a situation," he added politely.
"Don't you think it would be nice to have someone beside myself and a ten year old to talk to?" she asked.
"I'm almost eleven," Teddy exclaimed.
"Yeah, he's almost eleven," Harry said with a smile. "Plus I have plenty of people to talk to. McGonagall, Trelawney, Hagrid…" his voice trailed off as Andromeda laughed.
"Anyone your age, dear?" she asked.
"Ron and Hermione," he stated quickly and more curtly than he had intended.
"They haven't been over here in almost a year, and you rarely find time to go and see them either," she said.
"Even if I were to offer Malfoy the position of Professor – which I'm not – it doesn't mean we'll be friends," he said matter-of-factly.
"That's true. So why not offer him the job?" she asked innocently.
"He's Malfoy. I'm not going to do it," he stated firmly.
"You will do this, Harry," McGonagall stated, using her best schoolmarm glare.
Harry huffed and sat back in his chair. "You can't make me do it, you know." he answered petulantly.
She narrowed her eyes at him and glared balefully through her tiny spectacles. "I most certainly can. Do not think for a moment that you, Mr. Potter, are in control of this school or staff."
"That's not what I meant," Harry said defensively, but knew he had already fallen for her trap. Minerva knew him well enough to know that he would never desire the Headmastership, which is why she gave him the deputy headmaster position. She had told him that all the best Headmasters, including Dumbledore, had done such a good job because they never felt they deserved the title, so they spent their entire lives trying to.
"Then you shall go without question or complaint," she stated firmly.
Harry huffed again and unrolled the parchment that had the Malfoy's floo address written in tiny scrolling handwriting that he knew to be other than McGonagall's. She had dreadful handwriting. "Narcissa?" he inquired and she nodded.
"She'll be expecting you later today. She was quite surprised to hear that you would be calling on her son, and very pleased I might add. She seems to like you," she mused.
"I can't imagine why," Harry muttered.
He knew exactly why she liked him. Harry had personally testified in front of the Wizengamot in order to free Draco from Azkaban. He and his father had been thrown in immediately without even standing trial and that rankled with Harry. It was the only time he had used his celebrity on purpose and it worked out well enough. There wasn't much he could do for Lucius outside of making sure he was more comfortable in his cell and had a set of friendlier guards. He was a full-blown Death Eater after all, and no matter how much the man seemed to regret following Voldemort, he had done awful things.
Draco however was released immediately and Narcissa had come to Harry and thanked him personally afterward. Harry only requested that she not tell Draco what he did. She had seemed confused by the request, but agreed nonetheless.
Harry didn't want the boy feeling indebted to him, as he knew pureblood families were likely to do. He didn't need Draco pestering him or sulking that he owed him anything. It was just better for all parties involved if Draco had no idea why he was released.
"Fine. I'll go, but it's against my better judgment," Harry said stiffly.
"Duly noted," McGonagall said with a wry grin and dismissed him from her office.
Authors Note: Please review and let me know what you think of this new fic!