It had been a week since end of term, and Harry Potter wasn't doing well. Every two days, his aunt gave him two slices of toast with a glass of milk, and once every day he was allowed to use the bathroom. The only good thing he could think of was that they weren't making him do chores.
But the emotions Harry Potter was dealing with were the worst. Less than a month ago, he had seen another person die in front of him-and this time, it was his godfather, Sirius Black. Then, to make matters worse, Dumbledore suddenly decided then that Harry needed to know about the prophecy. Just in case he hadn't been through enough. And it was those two things that The Boy-Who-Lived was thinking about.
Harry was taking a leaf out of Hermione's book and trying to think things through logically. Unfortunately, his conclusions were far from good. So, Voldemort's going to keep coming after me, and my friends are going to try and protect me, the Savior of the Wizarding world, he thought. Take me out of the picture, and there's less chance the people I care about will die. So, the upsides to killing myself are: my friends will be that much safer, and I'll be able to see my parents and Sirius. The downside is… He paused, unable to think of one. He wouldn't go forever without seeing his friends, after all. Yes, the wizarding world was in trouble, but the damn pureblood supremacists ensured that, anyway.
And so, unable to think of a downside, he decided that now was a good time, and walked to his window. From what he remembered, his guard was stationed across the street, so there would be no one to stop him. Since he knew the Dursleys were lazy, they wouldn't be doing anything in the backyard, and even if they were, they wouldn't care anyway. He tried to think of the best way he could do it, but he figured that just diving out the window would be best.
Tonks had long ago realized that standing across the street was an extremely stupid place to guard Number 4 Privet Drive from. From the backyard, she had a view of Harry's room, and could see through the sliding doors to the front of the house. As an added bonus, she was much closer if there was trouble. Strategically, she couldn't think of a downside. However, she was perfectly aware that it wasn't her only reason for being this close-she was worried about Harry. From the little she had seen of him, she knew he was a caring young man who had seen and down far more than he should have had to.
She was watching through his window closely (turning her head when he changed, of course), when it opened suddenly, revealing Harry. She was surprised to see that, instead of his usual sadness, his expression was determined. Her surprise turned to horror as she watched him jump out the window head first as though in slow motion. For a moment, she was too shocked to do anything more than watch. Thankfully, when she recovered, her wand was already in her hand and she was casting the levitating charm on him, followed by a quick stunner.
She quickly made her way way over to the floating boy to check on him, not noticing the pounding of her heart or the tears in her eyes. Upon arriving at Harry's side, her pulse quickened even more as she realized just how close she had cut it-Harry was inches from the ground. But what struck her the most was the look of peace on his face. He's not even sixteen yet, but he's been through so much, she thought, her heart going out to the young wizard.
She took a deep breath to calm herself down, took off her invisibility cloak, and then cast an enervate on Harry. For a moment, Harry's eyes remained closed, and the peaceful look stayed on his face. But the peace quickly turned to puzzlement, and he opened his eyes to see an upside-down Tonks who had tears in her eyes.
"What were you thinking Harry?" Tonks asked, trying to sound stern. "Don't you realize how many people would miss you?" She wanted to continue, but her voice cracked at the end of the sentence.
Harry at least had the grace to look embarrassed for a moment, but it quickly turned into anger. "Would they miss me?" He asked. "Or would they miss their bloody weapon?"
What the hell is he talking about? Tonks asked herself, perplexed. "What do you mean? You're not a weapon," she said aloud to Harry.
"Nice to know someone thinks that," Harry grumbled. "Why'd you stop me?" He asked suddenly.
The situation they were in came back to Tonks. "I was one of those people who would miss you," she responded heatedly, before blushing and looking away. Why am I embarrassed?
Harry, completely missing the look of embarrassment, snorted, replying venomously, "Yeah, right. You're just here on Dumbledore's orders; protecting his precious weapon."
Tonks frowned at him. "That's the second time you've mentioned being a weapon," she said. "Want to explain it?"
Now it was Harry's turn to be embarrassed as he flushed and looked away. "Ummm... not really," he said, hoping she would let it go.
"Let me rephrase that," Tonks said in a voice like steel. "Explain it." Her tone left no room for argument.
Harry, however, had had enough. He was tired of everyone trying to control what he did. The Dursleys were always trying to force him to do chores, and Dumbledore was forcing him to live there. He was a person damn it! He wanted control over his own life, including whether or not he would end it. "No."
Tonks was surprised-when she used that voice, only Dumbledore and Moody hadn't given in. Frowning, she started, "Now listen here, you can't just go around saying things like that about Dumbledore-"
"Oh, of course not," Harry interrupted sarcastically. "The great Albus bloody Dumbledore! He says jump, the world asks how high! Stop following his orders blindly! I'm here because the blood wards will supposedly protect me from the Dark Snake, but he used my blood in the ritual to come back to life! How safe does that make me, exactly?" He asked the auror scathingly.
Tonks blinked in surprise at the rage in the young man's voice, but she realized that he was right; if Voldemort did use Harry's blood in the ritual-and she had no reason to doubt him-then he wasn't safe here at all. "You're right," Tonks said, watching with faint amusement as Harry jerked in surprise. "I suppose everyone got so used to listening to Dumbledore, they stopped thinking for themselves."
Harry was surprised at the concession, and it was making him dizzy. Oh, wait, that was because he was hanging upside down. "Er, can I get down now?" He asked the pretty auror.
"Oh, yeah," Tonks said, embarrassed, before cancelling the spell.
Harry, for some reason unprepared, fell on his head. Unfortunately, his head was right above a rock, and it made a sickening crack! sound as the rest of Harry fell to the ground, unmoving.
"Oh my God!" Tonks yelled. I save him, then drop him on his head and break his neck, she thought bitterly, sobbing over what she thought was his dead body.
After a few moments to collect herself, she gathered him in her arms. She frowned upon lifting him and realizing how light he was. That's not right! She thought angrily, stomping towards the house, not even realizing that she wasn't tripping over things like she usually did.
When she reached the back doors, she entered without knocking, surprising the Dursleys. Vernon was the first to get over his shock, and jumped up with surprising speed, yelling, "WHO ARE YOU AND WHAT ARE YOU DOING IN MY HOUSE?"
Tonks glared coldly at him with tears still streaming down her face as she replied in an oddly even voice, "My name is Tonks, and I thought you'd like to know that your nephew is dead."
To her horror, the expression that spread across the faces of the two elder Dursleys was joy. Dudley looked confused, but Tonks was pretty sure that it was because he didn't know the meaning of the word 'nephew'. "Petunia, go get some champagne for a celebration," Vernon said. "Ms. Tonks, as the bearer of such excellent news, would you care to join us?"
Tonnks gently laid Harry on the ground, and pulled out her wand, causing Dudley to run screaming from the room, and Vernon's face to go an ugly purple color. "You're one of the freaks who thought it was funny to threaten us at the train station," he hissed in sudden recognition.
"Yes," Tonks replied in a detached voice. "And if you continue to be so derogatory towards your nephew, you'll realize that there is a reason to fear us." Unfortunately, Vernon was smarter than to do that, so she couldn't hex him and justify it. She was seriously tempted, though.
Before she could actually break the law, though, the supposedly-dead Harry let out a groan, causing Tonks to freeze. "Harry?" She whispered hopefully.
"Uh," Harry grunted. "I think I landed on a rock," he said, rubbing his head and wincing as he slowly got to his feet.
Tonks wrapped him up in a crushing hug, sobbing happily as she whispered in his ear, "You're alive."
"As long as you don't choke me to death," Harry gasped out, causing Tonks to jump back a little. She was surprised to see tears in his eyes.
"What's wrong Harry?" She asked gently.
"You meant it," he said softly. "When you said you'd miss me, you actually meant it." After that realization, he gripped Tonks in a surprisingly fierce hug, given his starvation, and whispered in her ear, "Thank you."
Tonks sent a glare over Hary's shoulder to Vernon who had wisely stayed quiet before whispering, "Of course I meant it Harry. And after what you told me, I think it would be best if you came to live with me at my flat," she added, not mentioning that the reactions she got when she told the Dursleys he was dead had played a part, as well.
Harry stiffened in her arms at the thought of living in her flat and shook his head fiercely. "I can't," he said simply.
Tonks was surprised and confused by his answer, she couldn't think of a reason he'd want to stay here. Did that mean it was her? "Why not?" She asked in a broken whisper.
Harry, knowing that Vernon, at least, was right there, and knowing his reaction would be bad at his reasoning, said, "I'll explain it upstairs."
Puzzled and a little hurt, Tonks followed him up the stairs, both of them missing the confusion that ensued downstairs when Petunia returned with the champagne bottle. When they reached Harry's room, Tonks had to once more repress the urge to go hex the Dursleys; she'd seen the room from outside, but seeing locks and a catflap made the entire thing different. "Alright, what's thte reason, Harry?" Tonks asked.
"Voldemort's after me," Harry began, ignoring Tonks's flinch at the name, "and he'll kill whoever is living with me. If I have to choose between you living or those three living, it's not even a choice," he explained.
Tonks felt both better and worse at the explanation, which was a rather odd conundrum if she dwelt on it. Better, because it didn't mean that Harry loathed her, but worse because he had the worst Dark Wizard in history after him. "Harry, I have the Fidelius charm on my flat, and the only people who know where I live are my parents, with my father as Secret Keeper. Not even You-Know-Who could get my flat out of him, he's too stubborn," she said, trying to lighten the mood a little.
Harry, though, wasn't in the mood to be cheered up. "You'd be surprised what the cruciatus from Voldemort can make you do," he said grimly, with the voice of experience.
Tonks sighed. "That's probably true," she conceded, before the way he said it caught up to her and she stiffened. Cautiously, hesitantly, she asked, "Did he...did You-Know-Who...did he hit you with the cruciatus?"
Harry, not quite able to handle the sympathy, looked away and gave a slight nod. "Bellatrix, too," he admitted softly. He gave a grim chuckle, saying, "It's almost funny, he's used all three of the Unforgivables on me."
Tonks just stared at him, unaware that she was making slight whimpering sounds. "I'm sorry," she finally managed to whisper.
"You didn't cast them," Harry said.
"No," Tonks agreed, "But you shouldn't have had to go through that, and I'm sorry that you did."
"Me too. Before that, I thought the cruciatus would feel the same way that basilisk venom did; it actually hurts much more, but without the knowledge that death will release you."
Tonks gasped. "You've faced a basilisk?" She asked. Just how much had he been through?
Harry gave her an odd look, before it turned to anger. "Doesn't Dumbledore tell anyone anything?" He seethed.
"I don't know," Tonks replied, feeling a bit upset that the man she had looked up to may not be as good a person as she thought. "But I do know that you're coming to my flat," she said, flicking her wand to pile all of his belongings into his trunk.
Harry rolled his eyes, knowing she wasn't going to give up; he'd seen that look on Hermione many times before. Besides, it was hidden, it had a beautiful woman, and that beautiful woman lost her cousin, who was his godfather, so they might be able to help each other. "Fine," he agreed.
"Great!" Tonks said, returning to her cheerful nature before grabbing his arm and his trunk and apparating to her flat.
A/N: Thanks to my beta, Inzainiac, for his help!