A/N: And here is the long awaited next chapter! I really had to grind through writing the last of it because of the terrible writer's block I have with this story, so really, any twists or ideas you think would be interesting please send me them - because I have nearly zilch on what to do next.
And as always, reviews are appreciated!
Amelia Bones was not overly happy, and everybody could see it. She had just gotten home after a hard day of work when a snow-white owl had swooped right in through the heavily warded kitchen window holding a letter in its leg, and the woman had been more than a little confused. The only people that knew how to owl through the wards were Susan and Kingsley, and the former wasn't due to write for another week. She had taken the letter from the bird's leg, and was already drawing her wand when she felt the familiar tug of a continental portkey. She was now crouched down dangerously in the standard Auror fighting stance, and her wand was pointed at Draco's privates. Suffice to say that the blonde's hands were as high as they could possibly go, and the pair of tongs he had been using to tend to the barbeque with clattered onto the wooden deck. It took a few moments, but conversation quickly started again; a relaxed, friendly murmur in the warm night air.
Harry looked over at the silence, and then apologised to the Count before walking over to the still-very hostile head of the DMLE, who had her wand now pointed directly between his eyes. Harry smiled when he saw Tonks standing by the steps onto the deck; her wand covering him, and stopped two meters short of the crouching woman. ""Madam Bones, welcome to my home. Your niece thought that you might want to be made aware of her involvement with The Marauders."
Amelia immediately sharpened, and her wand spat angry red sparks at the young man. "Where is she? What have you done to Susan?"
Harry was just about to answer when Susan broke off her conversation with an invisible wind demon and turned around in her chair. "In order: I'm right here, and Harry has taught me how to take care of myself; save innocents; given me the opportunity to fall in love; given me and my lover our own house; made sure that we are safe from any and every law that the British Ministry has, and made me happy. Does that answer your questions?"
Amelia was shocked: the girl she had dropped off to the Hogwarts express at the beginning of the year hadn't yet made an appearance. No longer was Susan Bones a shy, weak, and mediocre little girl: before her was a sharp witted, clearly powerful, and self-assured young woman, and as Amelia took in the various company she began to perhaps fully comprehend just how out-of-the-loop and uninformed she and the Ministry really were. Draco was getting mercilessly teased by a boggart; Hermione was deep in discussion with the Countess – somebody that the Ministry considered so dark and dangerous that they had a bounty on her head; the Twins were laughing at something that Griphook had just told them; and Daphne was talking with Fleur Delacour, who had recently undergone a dark ritual to fully awaken her Veela powers, with a warm smile on her face.
The sight that perhaps shocked Madam Bones the most however, having not seen the demons, and not having realized quite a few of the guests as the vampires and werewolves that they were, was Dobby and Winky. Dobby was kicked back quite comfortably on a couch; one arm around Winky's shoulders and his other hand nursing an ice-cold fizzy drink…and he was talking quite familiarity with a dark haired vampire who Amelia knew from the hit-list that the Ministry issued bi-monthly.
"What the hell is going on here?"
She realized with a start that Harry had her wand in his hand, but felt considerably less tense when he pocketed it rather than holding in his hand. For some reason the sight and thought of Harry with a wand scared her to her very bones...excuse the pun. He walked her over to a chair and sat down before motioning that she should do the same with a smile. When she did his smile relaxed and he sunk back into the soft, worn leather. "What you see here is a group of beings that don't give the slightest damn about status. I am the richest, most powerful man in the Wizarding world at the current time; I am the head of two Ancient and Noble Houses; I have enough magic to flatten an entire army; and I am considered a national treasure by the British Ministry, and a friend to the Chinese Ministry." Amelia was just beginning to fully grasp the situation, but Harry shocked her yet again when he spoke. "But that doesn't get me merits with anybody here.
"The Marauders respect me and have me as their leader because I trust them; the werewolves trust me and pledge their loyalty to us because we all work night and day to create a potion that will allow them to permanently control their curse; the vampires because I treat them as my friends, unlike the Ministry which hates them and condemns them for their differences." He opened his arms slightly, motioning to everybody around them. "They are my comrades; my friends; my colleagues; my brothers and sisters; my family."
He shrugged with a smile. "I didn't try to get them on my side; I would've been more than happy with their assured neutrality in the coming war."
"That would never have done Harry."
Amelia looked wildly around for the source of the deep, powerful voice, and Harry sighed, but with a small smile. "Sebastian, it would've done just fine."
"You would." He turned back to Amelia, who was looking quite pale, and grinned sheepishly. "As you've probably guessed, Sebastian is a demon; my liaison with Hell as such. I was tempted to contact Lucifer himself, you know, just out of respect and all, but Sebastian intercepted my ritual about half way and kindly informed me that the Devil was in a bit of a bad mood, and would be liable to tear my mind and body to shreds before sentencing my soul to the tenth circle of Hell if I interrupted him at that moment." He smiled over Amelia's shoulder. "I am eternally grateful."
"Don't let God hear you say that."
"Say what?" A deep snort was Harry's answer from the demon and he returned his gaze to Amelia, who was looking more than a little fearful for her life. Harry saw her clear distress and smiled before leaning back in his chair, and then shuffling aside as Tonks took her rightful place with her head leaning on his chest. Amelia was clearly about to blow a blood vessel at the sight, but Harry beat her to it…minus the blood vessel. "Amelia, if I may call you that?" Without waiting for an answer he continued, "Amelia, what are you afraid of?"
She leant forwards, forgetting berating Tonks and Harry about their relationship for a moment, and hissed furiously at him. "You are as bad as Voldemort, fraternising with these creatures; from what I've seen you have the darkest creatures here at this very moment – even Demons from Hell!"
"And why are they bad if they come from Hell?" She opened her mouth to answer, but found herself at a loss for words – she simply couldn't come up with a reasonable answer to his question. Saying that Hell was evil was stupid; it was the people that were sent there that were evil. A prison wasn't evil because it contained criminals. Harry had intercepted her latest thought and smiled widely, "Likewise the guards in prisons, like the aurors stationed at Azkaban, aren't evil." She looked taken aback at his apparent answer to her unasked thoughts, which only served to make his grin widen even further. "By the same token why are Vampires evil? And Werewolves? And Goblins and Boggarts and Giants?"
She whipped her head around wildly; searching for the huge creatures and Tonks laughed. "They're here, I assure you Amelia – just hidden under a rather powerful glamour. You'll notice that Daphne is now talking apparently to a Leprechaun with a red hat." Amelia nodded, and peered closer at the small fellow, but fell back in her seat in amazement when Tonks finished explaining. "That Leprechaun is actually a representation of a Giant's soul that we are projecting so that they can join in the festivities; their bodies are asleep across the other side of the meadow."
Amelia's head whipped around to peer at where Harry was pointing to, and she blanched when she saw some large shapes in the darkness. "They thought it would be funny if they posed as Leprechauns," Harry explained with a shrug, "I really don't get their sense of humour but hey, what can you do?"
The head of the DMLE was astounded as well as completely shocked; in just mere minutes Harry had a great many of her beliefs instilled in her since her childhood coming down around her ears – and she hadn't even the least convincing argument against anything he was saying, quite simply because it was downright true. She was beyond surprise when Dobby walked by and waved his hand, causing a round of drinks to appear on the table in front of them, and she sipped gratefully at the German Glühwein. She didn't even think to ask how the small elf knew it was her favourite drink.
"So Amelia, you're probably wondering just why I brought you here tonight?"
"Just a little," she replied dryly, and Harry chuckled.
"Well I assume you now know of Fudge's corruption?"
Her eyes narrowed, and her fingers twitched slightly. Harry knew precisely why, and smiled to himself. "That's not exactly public knowledge."
"Neither is how to summon demons, make friends with vampires, or project souls into artificial bodies." Amelia had to give it to him; he was completely right. She huffed, put off, and Harry chuckled. "Really though, you're here because you're not corrupt. If I told you that I killed somebody with the Avada Kedavra what would you do?"
"Throw you in Azkaban," she replied immediately, and Harry nodded with a wide grin.
"Precisely; you're exactly the kind of person that I need."
Her eyes narrowed, and she leant forward in her seat. "You wouldn't by any chance know about a group of vigilantes that fought against Death Eaters in Diagon recently, would you?"
Harry sat back, his face expressionless. "And what, theoretically speaking, would you do if I told you that every single person here is a part of that group?"
Amelia's eyes darkened. "Only theoretically Mister Potter?"
"Potter-Black," he corrected, "and yes, at the current time only in a theoretical capacity."
"I would take you back to Britain and charge you with murder, all of you."
Harry looked at her, still unreadable. "You know of the Order of the Phoenix, do you not?" She nodded, still very wary, and he continued. "Dumbledore leads that group like the sheep they are. I am delighted to say that my Love is no longer a part of all that; it became too dangerous once they discovered that she was, in their eyes, trying to seduce me."
"And she wasn't?" Amelia questioned with a disapproving tone to her voice.
Harry shook his head with an easy smile. "No, she wasn't trying to do anything of the sort when we first met." Amelia moved to interrupt and Harry held up his hand with a stern look, "Don't put words into my mouth Amelia. What I was going to say was that she can indeed seduce me, and does so frequently now. The first time we became intimate however, had only the slightest thing to do with lust; we were already bonded by that point."
Harry lifted up his hand, as did Tonks, and Amelia's eyes widened at the rings that rested on their ring fingers. "Yes," he replied with a smile, "bonded. Now we are different; we're…well we're lovers – but more so than you could possibly imagine."
She huffed and crossed her arms; her hot drink long forgotten. "Fine, but let's get back to this theoretical situation shall we? Give me one reason why I would not arrest and charge these…individuals."
Harry hummed with a grin on his face, "Well, maybe because they hold Chinese citizenship, have the highest clearance from the Ministry in said country, and are more powerful than you could possibly imagine? Perhaps because to even get to their place of hiding you would have to get through wards stronger than Gringotts." He grinned wider, "And to apprehend them and get back out again, you would have to fight the wards that prevent unwanted removal."
Her eyes were wide. "Oh."
Tonks grinned at her ex-boss and winked as she kissed Harry's cheek. "I think we can drop the theoretical Harry."
He smiled down at her and nodded, "You're right." He turned his attention back to the stern woman and his own expression turned dark, and to her surprise slightly pained. "I hate what we do Amelia. I hate taking lives; I hate destroying families because of one of their member's mistakes, but it needs to be done. I'm the only one that can defeat Voldemort, and the only way to defeat him completely is to defeat all of his support."
Tonks tightened her hold on him, and a flicker of happiness glinted across his eyes before they sunk back into inner-turmoil. "Tonks and I already know what we want to do after this is all over; we've already been made an offer to ward and tutor at Gringotts; where we can help protect people against the Dark. We don't want to take another single life after this is all over; we just want to live out our lives here, have children here, have barbeques in the weekends with friends, laugh and joke, and live." His eyes locked with hers, and the elderly woman found herself unable to look away, "I will do what I need to do to make sure that Voldemort dies and stays dead; I will make sure that each and every one of his followers pay the price for what they have done; and I will drag wizarding Britain kicking and screaming into the light."
Tonks nodded her head in agreement and sat up straighter, the pride for her husband shining in her eyes. "At just seventeen years old Harry has killed over fifteen people. I've never heard of anybody doing such a thing for somebody else; saves perhaps Blaise Zabini, and he killed and tortured for his and Voldemort's mutual pleasure. My Love doesn't kill for pleasure; he kills for those not willing. He kills for those that are helpless and enslaved, and he kills so that the future is bright and not overwhelmed by darkness." She leant up and kissed him, and then looked Amelia right in the eye. "What he has done – what we've done, isn't wrong. The attack on the Dursleys…that was mostly me. When I saw what they had done to him I just snapped."
Harry frowned and leant forward. "What happened to the Dursleys?"
Amelia sighed and leant back in her chair; her eyes still wary. "Vernon Dursley won't walk again and has needed skin grafts for virtually his entire face; Petunia Dursley will be mostly deaf for the rest of her life, and Dudley Dursley suffered a head injury which led to severe short-term memory loss. He'll likely be in an institution or home for the rest of his life."
She watched the two lovers with her keen eyes, and waited. After several long seconds Harry leant down and pressed a kiss to the top of Tonks's head. She was expecting words, but just saw the two look at each other for a long moment before turning back to face her again; Tonks's eyes now devoid of the worry that had plagued them before Harry had kissed her. Harry's piercing green eyes met her pale grey, and he smiled. "They tortured me more than you could imagine, and Tonks is perhaps the only person who can fathom what it was like. I hold her responsible for nothing of what she did that night, nor the fates of the Dursleys; she, in a way, is me, and if she hadn't struck out at them then I would have been the one worried."
Amelia found this disgusting, almost to the level she considered the Death Eaters to be on and her expression didn't escape Harry, whose face turned decidedly stern and warning. "Don't even think you know what I went through. I can quite easily say that Voldemort's cruciatus curse doesn't even hold a candle to what they did to me Amelia – so don't talk of things you don't understand."
A small silence had spread over the assembled guests at Harry's raised voice, and after a few moments pregnant with tension Draco walked over before sitting down in a chair he conjured beside the two lovers with a wave of his hand. Amelia's eyes widened at the Scion of the House of Malfoy sitting amicably with Harry and Tonks – both of whom, rather than sending him looks of hostility, instead sent him grateful nods. Draco, on the other hand, was directing the glare she expected directed at him, at her. "Don't think that Harry is exaggerating. I've seen his scars; over three hundred of which lattice his back. It's only because I knew a spell in year one to reduce and soften the tissue that he can bend his back at all, and it's only because he was determined to fight against it that he discovered the potion to reduce them further and restore full mobility in second year.
"I've met his 'caregivers'; the people that you speak of, and who you believe should have had a chance. I hid under his invisibility cloak before our fourth year started, snuck into his house, and watched as he was beaten to within an inch of his life because his cousin decided that it had been too darn long since the 'son of that backstreet whore' and 'fuckwit of a wifebeater' was knocked unconscious by his hand."
Amelia gasped, and Harry cocked his head at her, "Still pissed off about my reaction?"
She couldn't speak, and Harry shrugged before smiling reassuringly down at his wife; assuaging her worry. He turned back to the speechless woman, and then got back on track; his past no longer had the hold on him that it once had. "So I brought you here specifically to warn you that Dumbledore plans on allowing a Death Eater raid go ahead on your sister's wedding. He plans on letting them kill the majority of you, then apparate in before dealing with the stragglers," he pointed at Amelia, who was now gaping quite conspicuously at him, "and that includes you, if you're still alive by that point. If you're not, then it means that he'll move onto everybody else straight away."
He leant back, and Tonks kissed him sweetly before continuing on in the new, far more effective tone Harry had taught her. Of course, the magic imbued into her voice certainly helped garner attention. "Instead of what Dumbledore plans, we intend to arrive at the same time that the Death Eaters do." She cut off Amelia before she could speak, answering the question even before it was voiced, "The wedding will be portrayed using an illusion powered by Earth Magic and Elemental Magic, which ensures that only Harry and I will notice it. We will dispose of the Death Eaters, yes I do mean dispose, as in kill, and then await the arrival of the Old Goatfuc- Albus; it is high time that he knows that he's been had, and by one of his own students to boot.
"Harry intends to duel him while I apparate back here with the few captives we will keep alive for interrogation."
Harry grinned, "You haven't seen half, hell, a thousandth of what I can do Amelia. The magic that us, The Marauders, use is intent based; an ancient, and lost branch of magic which actively interacts with the flow of magic around us while simultaneously expanding our cores through the symbiotic relationship; we wish for pure power, it wishes to experience our positive emotions. The more we provide, the more it gifts us – which is why you cannot comprehend just how much power both myself and my wife hold; our love is simply not comprehendible."
Tonks smiled at Amelia with a nod to her questioning look, "It's true, and perhaps afterwards we will project the battle in the Meadow for everybody to watch – but really it will serve a more important purpose." Amelia, for the life of herself, couldn't think much more than 'what the hell is going on?' and so Tonks helped her out with an explanation. "Harry is powerful, more powerful than Dumbledore by far, but he's humble and smart enough to realize that he is over ninety years younger, and by extension only has a small fraction of the experience that Dumbledore has. He needs to know that he can hold his own against the self-styled Wizard of the Light before facing Voldemort."
Amelia, as much as she hated to admit it, agreed on a tactical level, but stared at Harry with a disapproving expression. "I want a demonstration, or else I will not participate in this plan of yours. I don't want your death on my hands."
Harry smiled and nodded his ascent before standing up and raising his hands around his mouth to call across the patio. "Ikrarda, Ivorn, could I trouble you for a moment?"
Amelia's jaw dropped when she saw the Count and Countess nod with matching smiles, and excuse themselves from their respective conversations before walking over to Harry. "How may we be of service Harry?"
Harry smiled at the Countess and pointed to Amelia, "This is Amelia Bones of the DMLE. She's willing to help in our plan if I give her a demonstration that I will not be killed by Dumbledore."
Ivorn nodded and bared his fangs in a competitive grin, "Wonderful, a rematch!"
Harry chuckled, "Still bitter about your defeat at my oh-so-skillful hands?"
The Count grumbled some obscenities under his breath, and Ikrada smiled her own scary smile. "But this time you have called to face the both of us, which adds an entirely different spin to the challenge."
Harry smiled at Amelia's already gaping expression and tapped his foot against the floor with an almost feral smirk. "Ah yes Countess Calerdo, but this time I will have my wand."
The smile dropped almost immediately from the vampire's face, and she whined pitifully. "What's the point in facing you when you've got that bloody powerhouse in your fingertips?"
"To prove to her that I won't die," he ended with a finger pointed in Amelia's direction, and a moment later said woman found herself face-to-face with a very irate vampire countess.
"I am not going to be blasted back to Romania just because you're too bloody stubborn and untrusting to accept that Harry won't die against Dumbledore, okay? You are going to go along with this plan, because it'll work. It'll work because Harry says that it will, and because my husband and I have looked over it for the past three days and can't find any flaws in it!"
Harry looked over at Amelia and pocketed his pure white wand before re-joining Tonks on the loveseat, and then raising an eyebrow at Amelia's terrified expression at being told off by a being over two thousand years older than her. "So I'm assuming that that's a yes?" Amelia's response was a gurgle, and Harry chuckled. "Wonderful." A series of cracks echoed out on the patio, and Harry turned around with a wide grin at McGonagall, Filius, and Hagrid who had just arrived via their portkeys. He stood from his chair and immediately stalked over to them before giving the half-giant a huge hug, the small Filius a firm handshake, and a very flustered Minerva a kiss on the cheek. He spread out his arms to them, and then winked.
"Welcome to the home of the Marauders."
A/N: R&R, and send me ideas if you have any! I can't guarantee that I'll use them, but any reasonable ideas/requests I'll consider thoroughly!