Finally Harry and Tonks had completed their one month ban from doing magic. The night before they took the second potion that completed the ritual. That potion was the final step and would stabilize their magical core during the night. Both of them could hardly wait to see what kind of results of the ritual would be and were eager to use their magic again.
During breakfast both of them were forbidden to do any magic so they had to wait until they reached the training room. Harry felt like her magic was about to explode out of her body and she almost skipped breakfast but one glare from Hermione, Emma and Andromeda made her change her mind.
"You're doing this on purpose aren't you?" Harry said complaining.
"Now Harry, it's not good to rush breakfast." Emma said grinning.
"That's so not cool." Tonks agreed. "You're all purposely eating much slower than usual."
"I have no idea what you're talking about." Susan said innocently.
"Careful Susan, you're up next for the ritual and what goes around comes around." Harry said menacingly.
"Okay, enough teasing them." Dan said laughing. "Let's just go before they do something we might regret. I'm sure you all remember last time Tonks got revenge for something. 'Mione, I'm sure you haven't forgotten about your ban from the library? Susan, don't forget they make you train with them so they could give you a very harsh schedule in revenge."
"Dan, I like the way you think." Tonks said interested while smirking evilly at Hermione and Susan.
"Okay, I'm done." Both Hermione and Susan said quickly.
Laughing, the entire group went down to the training room so Harry and Tonks could cast their first piece of magic after one month. Everyone was on edge but seeing as neither Harry nor Tonks had shown any signs of discomfort (except the discomfort of not being able to do magic), they were fairly sure no side effect would cause issues.
"Any idea what spell you'll use first?" Hermione asked Harry.
"The Patronus Charm." Harry said softly. "I know I said I'm okay with it and I am but I still need to see it and get used to it. I need to face it and get comfortable using it."
"I see." Hermione nodded given Harry a small, friendly hug to show her friend support.
"Don't worry honey, I'll do the Patronus as well." Tonks said smiling. "I'm curious to see if it changed as well."
"Well, get on with it." Andromeda said. "People waiting to be awed here."
"Yes, mother." Tonks rolled her eyes on to yelp in pain when she felt a stinging hex hit her on the bum. "Ouch, what was that for?"
"Don't roll your eyes at your mother." Andromeda said simply.
Tonks grumbled but turned back to Harry who smiled in amusement at her. Knowing that Tonks wouldn't like being chastised by her mother in front of everyone, Harry quickly grabbed her hand and gave it a squeeze to make her relax and calm down.
"Ready?" Harry smiled. "Together?"
"Always." Tonks answered.
As one both of them aimed their wands in front of them and cast the charm, still holding hands. The room lit up in a white light and everyone felt the magic in the air, giving all of them goose bumps and left them feeling very happy and loved. Even Dan and Emma, who were Muggles could feel the love and magic that saturated the air in the large training room. Harry's Phoenix burst out of the wand, taking flight and searching the room for anything that might try to hurt her master. Harry looked at the magnificent creature and noticed that the Phoenix was easily twice as big as the first time she saw it.
Now that she was over the shock of not seeing Prongs, Harry allowed the Patronus to reach down to her and admired her from close by. The Phoenix hovered in the air and let her master examine her. Harry marveled at the creature and how good it made her feel. She could feel love and acceptance from it and she couldn't help but admire the new form of her Patronus. The large bird was made out of white, fire like substance but felt cool and pleasant to touch. It wasn't like the Phoenix had an actual body but rather that Harry could touch the magic out of which the Phoenix was made. The large wings spanned over three meters and the sharp beak and claws showed the power this Patronus had. Behind it, several tails completed the creature.
"Hi there." Harry said softly. "I'm sorry for last time. I just wasn't ready to see you yet but I am now. I know you're not Prongs but I can tell you feel just like him. Thank you for coming to my help."
Harry watched as the Phoenix flew upwards once more, circling the room before it let out a soft song and then vanished into thin air.
"Just like Fawkes." Harry said hearing the familiar song.
Tonks watched as her Patronus jumped out of her wand and her eyes went wide when she saw the form. A proud and powerful lioness stalked the room for any prey or threat, only to find nothing. Tonks watched as the lioness approached her and she stuck out her hand, like she was about to pet a dog or cat. Like Harry next to her, the Patronus was not corporal in any way but she could feel the magic just as well. The lioness lied down at Tonks feet, seemingly protecting her and ready to respond at anything that might harm her master.
'Hi girl, you're amazing." Tonks said softly. "I knew something had changed but I never expected you but now that you're here, I know I can protect Harry. Nobody will touch as much as a single of her hairs as long as we're around." The lioness bared her fangs at the mere mention of someone hurting Harry. It jumped up and took one last look around before it vanished.
Tonks and Harry looked at each other and smile broadly. Both of them were breathing a bit harder than usually but neither of them was tired. If they wanted they could easily perform several more spells without being winded. They turned around and saw the crowd staring at them. Tonks grinned before she addressed them.
"Well, are you awed?" She said to her mother and the rest.
"Awed? Stunned is more like it." Her mother snorted. "That was amazing."
"Harry, your Patronus was easily twice as big as last time." Hermione mentioned. "Did you push more magic into the charm?"
"No, not really." Harry admitted. "I put about the same amount as before but Hope seems much stronger than Prongs was."
"Hope?" Emma asked picking up.
"I named her Hope." Harry smiled. "Because she gives me hope and strength."
"It's a wonderful name." Tonks said hugging Harry.
"What about you, Tonks." Susan said. "I mean, that lioness was much bigger than a real one."
"Wasn't she great?" Tonks nodded excited. "Devona is very protective just like a real lioness is of her cubs. I bet she'll have those Dementors shaking in their robes. Together we'll protect Harry and everyone else from danger."
"Seems obvious." Ted said. "We all know how protective you are of Harry. Lionesses are known to engage any enemy that threatens their cubs, no matter who it is, male or female."
"Devona is Anglo-Saxon for 'Protector', isn't it?" Susan asked Tonks who nodded. "I like that, it suits her."
"Thank you." Tonks smiled.
"I think it's safe to say that both your magical powers have increased quite a bit." Hermione said changing the subject. "Does it feel differently?"
"Not really, only that I don't have to pour as much magic into the spell." Harry said after thinking a bit. "In fact, it did feel much smoother to focus the magic into the spell than before. Like when you're on a road with lots of traffic, you'll get there but you'll need to pass other cars and let others pass you. But now it felt like when you're the only car on the road. Everything just flow much faster and easier."
"Interesting." Hermione mused.
"You'll soon find out." Tonks said with a smile on her face. "Tonight you and Susan undergo the ritual and then, no magic for a whole month. It's going to be awesome."
"For you at least." Susan snorted.
"I'm just having a go at you two." Tonks said smiling. "I'm sure you two will do fine."
"Still, a whole month." Hermione said not looking forward to it at all.
"Don't worry 'Mione, there's plenty of things you can do to help out and keep busy." Harry said to her friend.
"You're right of course." Hermione said nodding. "I don't know why I'm complaining. If you and Tonks can manage then so can we, right Susan?"
"Hell yeah, we can." Susan said confident.
For the rest of the morning Harry and Tonks practiced the things they had learned during that one month break. They each learned several new spells in theory so now was the time to try them out in practice. They had a little trouble to judge the right amount of magic that they needed to use but two hours into the training things were back to normal.
Tonks had learned several spell aimed at capturing enemies and keeping them subdued. One spell conjured thick chains around the prisoner, which then shocked them into an unconscious state. It was a bit darker than the usual spells she used but it was very effective. On top of that, only the caster could remove the chains without harming the prisoner even more. Once she had the hang of that spell she moved on the next spell she had learned. This one was even more painful as it was a spell that gave the victim the sensation that they pulled every muscle in his or her body. She chose that one because it caused no real physical damage but still put an enemy out for the fight.
Harry had also learned several new spells but mostly she had started working on her own battle style. Like she had seen Dumbledore do, she wanted to use Transfiguration, DADA and Charms all at the same time. She had learned several new spells for each field. She liked the spell that created a whip made out of fire and was itching to practice it. So that was the first spell she used now she could do magic again. The chair she used as target was not only broken into several piece but she then used the piece of wood to Transfigure them a wooden soldier that she could order around. Granted, its movements were still not what it needed to be but it was pretty good for a first try. Maybe she could owl Prof. McGonagall and ask for some pointers?
"Alright, let's stop for now." Tonks called to Harry. "Remus will be here soon to discuss the spying devices."
"Already?" Harry said disappointed. "I wanted to practice some more."
"Easy there, hot stuff." Tonks smiled. "We got plenty of time to practice afterwards. Besides, Susan said it was better not to overdo it the first few days just to be sure."
"Oh, ok then." Harry sighed and she banished the piece of wood with a wave of her wand.
"I see you got pretty good with that fire whip." Tonks grinned. "Does my sweet, innocent Harry have some fetish with whips?"
"What? No, that's not why I…." Harry quickly said blushing beet red. "I just thought it was a really cool spell."
"Relax baby, I'm just teasing you." Tonks laughed at Harry. "Besides, I know you prefer spanking a lot more."
"Here they go again." Susan and Hermione sighed. "Do you really need to lay out your love life like that?"
"Now see what you did." Harry glared at Tonks. "What mustn't they think of us now?"
"I bet they're pretty envious of us." Tonks laughed. "You and I have an amazing love life, nothing wrong with that. We love each other and we're not afraid to show it either. I'm not going to hide the fact that you can make me want you with only a few words or a simple touch. What we have is too beautiful and precious to have to hide it."
"When you say it like that, I can't simply stay mad at you." Harry sighed before kissing her girlfriend. "I love you too."
"Glad to hear it." Tonks smiled resting her forehead against Harry's. "Now what about a shower?"
"Way ahead of you." Harry nodded before she slapped Tonks' right butt cheek and raced toward to bathroom laughing before yelling back. "Hey, you're right. Spanking is fun."
"Why, you little….." Tonks said rubbing her sore cheek before chasing after Harry with an excited smile on her face.
"She's totally corrupting Harry." Hermione sighed with a small smile.
"I think it's a good thing." Emma said. "I've noticed that Harry is way too serious at times. I don't blame her of course but she needs to learn how to relax more often or else she'll burn out. Tonks is helping her to relax and like she said, what they have is too precious to hide it. You'll understand when you find that special someone."
"Doesn't mean I'll tell everyone what I like concerning sex." Hermione countered.
"I should hope not." Emma laughed. "Your father would have a heart attack. Best to keep these things to yourself but remember that if you have questions, you can always talk to us. You too, Susan. It's better to get past that little embarrassment and learn than to regret things later."
"Thanks mum." Hermione said while Susan nodded her thanks.
Later that evening, elsewhere, a group of people came together to discuss the war against Voldemort. This was the Order of the Phoenix, led by Albus Dumbledore. Like many times before, Albus updated everyone about the status of things at Hogwarts and the rest of the Wizarding World. He then gave word to the other so they could report about their assignments.
"Kingsley, can you please give us your thoughts about how the Ministry is getting along." Dumbledore asked.
"Sure. Well, one thing is that Amelia is very dedicated to get rid of any Death Eaters in the Ministry." Kingsley said. "Like I reported last meeting, we've been conducting investigations after questioning every Auror in the force. We found several Death Eaters and they led us to several other criminals but unfortunately, no other Death Eaters were found."
"It's good to see that the Ministry is trying to clean house." Arthurs Weasley said. "It's a lot nicer to get to work now and everyone feels a lot safer already."
"That's good. What about you Moody?" Dumbledore nodded to his old friend.
"It will take a lot more than I thought to get those Aurors ready but I have hope." Moody grunted. "I don't know what they've been teaching at the academy but most of them were pathetic when we started. Now at least they don't fumble their wands whenever I bark orders at them."
"Yes, well please continue your efforts." Dumbledore smiled. "We'll need the Aurors to be ready so we don't get caught off guard."
"CONSTANT VIGILANCE!" Moody yelled out causing several others to snicker and others to glare at him for scaring them.
"Indeed." Dumbledore said. "Remus, any news on the Werewolves?" This was the first meeting since Remus had gone on that last mission to persuade the Werewolves from joining Voldemort, so naturally they weren't aware of what had happened.
"Only that I almost got killed by the last pack I visited." Remus snorted. "Let me tell you, they weren't kidding around."
"What happened?" Minerva said worried.
"I was visiting one of the last packs on my list." Remus told them. "At first things went okay, or at least I thought so but they were simply allowing me to do my thing. When I tried to convince them to stay neutral in the fight, their leader snapped at me. Told me that V-Voldemort made them some very fine offers if they joined him."
"That's not good." One of the members sighed.
"I argued that joining Voldemort wasn't a good idea and that he was only given them empty promises of a better life." Remus sighed. "They asked me what I could offer them so I explained about how Amelia was working on something to help the Werewolf community but once they realized I had nothing concrete, things went sour. No matter what I said, they seemed to be sure that following Voldemort was the only way for them to improve their lives."
"Surely they know that You-Know-Who will not fulfill his promises to them?" Minerva asked.
"You don't know what it's like." Remus shook his head. "We werewolves are treated as nothing more than beasts by most of the Wizarding World. Before you say anything, I know you all well enough to see that you don't think like that but sadly, people who treat Werewolves kindly are an exception. We're shunned from participating in society, can hardly find any work, don't receive any help from the Ministry at all and so on. So it's not surprising that when someone offers them a chance at a better life, they'll take it."
"Even if they know that there's a very small chance at getting that better life." Arthur Weasley said in understanding.
"Yes, a bit of hope is better than no hope at all." Remus nodded.
"But we have Amelia as the new Minister of Magic." Molly argued. "She'll do something to help them, I'm sure of it."
"Molly, they won't just join our side because we have a new Minister of Magic." Remus sighed. "After decades of being scorned and shunned, after several Ministers who persecuted and hunted them, why should they believe or trust us simply because Amelia is now Minister of Magic. I know that she'll do her best; we have had some very good ideas but these things take time. We can't expect her to make everything happen in just a few weeks. It will take months, if not years, to set everything up and get things started. So for now, nothing really changes for the Werewolves in Britain."
"So what should we do?" Hestia Jones asked. "We can't let them join You-Know-Who."
"I will speak with Amelia again to see if we can't figure something out to speed up the process." Remus proposed. "Maybe if we can get some of those old laws repelled? That might show that we're trying to change. It's a long shot but it's worth a try."
"Very well Remus, please talk to Amelia about this." Dumbledore nodded in agreement. "Just one last question, you said you almost got killed by them?"
"Yeah." Remus said. "Once I noticed that things were going wrong, I tried to leave but they attacked. I managed to fight off several of them but they still managed to disarm me and pin me down on the ground."
"So how did you get away?" Dumbledore wanted to know.
"One moment I had several of them around me and was about to be turned over to Voldemort, when all of the sudden, they were all flung across the room." Remus explained. "I looked up to see a house-elf standing in front of me, glaring and pointing his finger at them. He then told me I had to leave with him and a second later, I appeared just outside of Hogsmeade." That last part wasn't true but he wasn't about to tell the Order anything about Harry and what she had been doing all this time.
"That wouldn't be a house-elf called Dobby per chance?" Dumbledore asked.
"Yep, that's the one." Remus smiled. "The little guy saved my life."
"But how did a house-elf know that you were in trouble?" Kingsley asked perplexed. "That doesn't make sense."
"It does when you know that Dobby is Harry's friend." Remus grinned. "Apparently, Harry asked him to keep an eye on me and help me if necessary. We all know house-elves are pretty much invisible when they want to be so it's not so strange that nobody noticed him. When he saw that I was in trouble, he rescued me."
"Did he say anything about Harry?" Molly wanted to know.
"Molly, you know a house-elf would never betray his master." Minerva said. "They would rather die than reveal anything about their master's secrets."
"Indeed and Dobby is particularly faithful to Mr. Potter." Dumbledore said stroking his long beard. "It's a shame you didn't get to see or talk to Mr. Potter."
"I know but all the same I was glad Dobby was there." Remus lied with a straight face. He was lucky he had such a good poker face. It was something that had saved him from many detentions during his Hogwarts years. He wasn't a Marauder for nothing and he and his friend had lied their way out of many detentions like that. You needed to be good to fool McGonagall when your pranks happened. Being able to say things like 'I have no idea what you're talking about Professor' or 'I had nothing to do with that, Ma'am' and get away with it was not an easy thing to do.
"Of course Remus, we're all glad you're okay." Minerva said smiling at the man.
"Do you think Dobby would come if you called him?" Dumbledore asked Remus.
"I don't think so, Albus." Remus shook his head. "Why do you ask?"
"I have some things to discuss with Harry that are vital to our survival." Dumbledore explained. "I hoped to do that this year at Hogwarts but that turned out to be impossible. Still, it's important that I speak with him."
"Sorry, Albus but I don't think that will work." Remus sighed. "I suggest you contact Harry by letter. Write the letter and try to call for Dobby. Maybe he'll come, maybe not but at least you tried. One word of advice, don't do anything that might harm Dobby. Harry cares a lot for the little elf and hurting him will not do you any favors."
"Of course, thank you Remus." Dumbledore nodded. "Let's move on, Severus ?"
"Yes Headmaster." Snape said. "The Dark Lord has been getting restless but he won't do anything before Christmas at the earliest. He's training his Death Eaters for battle and waiting for the Giants to arrive. Malfoy and the rest who were sentenced to Azkaban have recovered and are now working with the new recruits. I managed to find out that the Dark Lord gave Draco Malfoy an order but I've been unable to figure what it is."
"Whatever it is, it can't be good." Hestia said.
"Can't we do anything about that little ferret?" One other member asked.
"No, I'm sure Voldemort gave that order in private and if we simply took out Draco he would know he has a spy in his ranks." Dumbledore said. "Let's keep an eye on him for now but let him be. I'm sure everything will be alright."
"I'll keep you informed if I learn anything new." Snape nodded.
"Why is You-Know-Who keeping low anyway." Someone asked. "I thought he would attack immediately when his return was found out."
"The Dark Lord has learned a lot from the previous war." Snape explained. "He knows that he needs to prepare his army first and then strike. He knows that the Ministry is preparing as well, that's why he wanted Amelia dead, but he doesn't consider them a threat just yet. He's pretty pissed that several of his men have been found out but in the end it doesn't matter to him. He's got plenty of manpower at his disposal and more join every day."
"By your estimate Severus, how many men does he have?" Albus wanted to know.
"I can't say for certain but from what I've seen I would say he has now close to a hundred and fifty Death Eaters." Snape answered. "That's not counting the Dementors, Giants and Werewolves yet."
"That's a lot." Remus said worried.
"Indeed, most worrying." Albus agreed. "It seems Tom has learned a lot from his earlier mistakes. I'm afraid dark times are ahead of us."
"I say we strike first." Moody yelled. "Take some of them out before they can hit us. Snape, you know the names so give them to us. I'll inform Amelia and we strike now."
"No Alastor, that might provoke Tom to strike back and we're not ready for that yet." Albus disagreed. "We need to continue preparing ourselves first. Once we're ready we'll fight back but not before that."
"But in the meanwhile people will get killed!" Arthur said. "I agree that we can't attack but surely there's something we can do to prevent people from dying."
"Arthur, I understand and believe me when I say I feel the same pain." Albus sighed. "The unfortunate truth is that in war, innocent people will always be the victims. We need to be patient; we can't afford mistakes. Amelia knows this as well and that's why she's preparing the Ministry to the best of her abilities."
"So what do we do now?" Molly asked.
"We continue to recruit people to aid us." Albus said. "All help is appreciated even if it's only some help in form of information. The more people join, the more we learn and the stronger we get. That's our goal for now."
Everyone nodded but several disagreed with the Headmaster. They kept their thoughts to themselves but knew that for now, there was nothing they could do. Especially Remus and Moody were somewhat disappointed. They knew Albus had a point about them not being ready to fight yet but the truth of the matter was that the Order hadn't done much yet. Heck, even the Ministry was more active than they were at the moment. Sure, it was important to gather resources and members but what good did it do if they didn't use those recourse to fight Voldemort in the end?
"There; that should do it." Remus said finishing up on the last spell they needed to put on the spying device. It had taken a bit of work to figure out the necessary charms and magic needed to get them to work but once Remus had found some of his notes from Hogwarts things went smoothly. The device was a small, hardly noticeable gadget that could be placed on building and inside and would transmit every conversation to a Auto-Dictating Quill. The device would only activate when certain words were spoken in order to prevent mindless conversations and gossip to be transmitted.
"Shall we test it out?" Hermione asked excited. "It's a brilliant piece of magic."
"Go on, then." Tonks laughed at Hermione's eagerness. "Take it to the hallway and start talking."
"I'll come with you." Harry said following Hermione.
Tonks, Remus and Susan watched as the two left the room and turned to the table where the parchment and the Quill were. Suddenly the Quill jumped up and started writing. They watched as the Quill wrote down 'Voldemort is into SM; I kicked his ass five times already and he still comes back for more'.
"That's Harry." Tonks laughed.
Another line was written down and this read 'Honestly, Harry James Potter, is that all you can think of to say?'. Here the three laughed as they knew Harry just got reprimanded by Hermione.
Harry and Hermione opened the door and asked if it had worked and Tonks showed them the parchment. It was obviously a great success and they all celebrated with a butterbeer and some snacks, given by Dobby. They were now discussing where they should place the spying device to get as much information as possible. Diagon Alley was a given as was Hogsmeade but these weren't the only Wizarding Places in Britain however so they had to select carefully. They couldn't have hundreds of device placed all around as that would take too much time to go through all the parchments.
"Knockturn Alley is a good idea as well." Tonks said. "Lots of shady people down there."
"Excellent suggestion." Remus agreed.
"What about the Slytherin Common Room?" Harry mentioned. "Lot of Death-Eater children there and while none of them might be marked or have the intention to be marked, they can still pick up things from their parents."
"Nice." Tonks smiled at her girlfriend.
"Perhaps we should inform Auntie about these." Susan said. "I'm sure she could use something like this to find some spies and traitors in the Ministry."
"Sure, but only to her." Harry nodded. "The less people who are aware of these the better. Question is how will we place them? I mean, it's not like we can walk into a place and just put a device there."
"Dobby can do that, Harry Potter Sir." Dobby said appearing next to Harry. "Dobby will not be noticed by Wizards."
"Are you sure?" Harry asked.
"Dobby is sure." Dobby nodded. "Dobby can even get in bad house' common room at Hoggywarts."
"Thank you Dobby, that would be wonderful." Hermione said. "And I'm sure Harry will pay you extra for this job."
"Oh no, Dobby could not accept." The little house-elf protested.
"Hermione's right." Tonks said sternly. "You will get an extra Sickle today for a job well done."
"Harry Potter's Tonksie is too kind." Dobby said with teary eyes.
"Alright Dobby, can you please these in the Slytherin Dorm Room with Draco Malfoy?" Harry asked giving the elf two devices.
"Dobby knows where bed-wetter Malfoy sleeps." Dobby nodded and 'popped' away.
"Bed-wetter Malfoy?" Harry asked surprised to the ones standing in the room.
"Remember Harry, Dobby used to serve the Malfoy's and while he can't give up their secrets he can let slip some minor things." Tonks laughed. "I'm guessing Draco used to wet the bed."
"That's one piece of information I didn't need to know." Susan said disgusted.
A few minutes later Dobby returned saying he had placed one device in Draco's dorm room and one in the Slytherin Common Room. He then started placing the remaining devices in strategic places in Diagon Alley, Knockturn Alley and Hogsmeade. Half an hour later all the devices were placed and the only thing that remained now was to wait and see what the results would be.