BEEP! BEEP! BEEP!
Harry James Potter groaned in protest at the vile intruding sound. It was far to early for this. Sluggishly reaching a hand across the purple-haired mound that was his wife, Harry felt around on the nightstand for the offending object.
"Harry?" The mound muttered from beside him, "Love, could you get that?" Tonks' words were even less understandable due to her preferred method of sleeping face down, head buried in her pillow, slurring the words so they sounded like, "Luss, culdou geh tha?"
"What'd you think I'm doing?" Harry rumbled back at her, slamming his fist on the clock a few times before the alarm silenced itself. Squinting as best he could at the bright red numbers on the clock's face, Harry attempted to determine what they said. A combination of missing glasses and early morning dullness made those numbers far to blurry for him. Still, if his clock went off, that meant time to get up.
Forcing himself out of bed with that legendary Potter will, Harry's bare feet hit the cold floor with a resounding smack. Shivers went up his spine as the air temperature struck him, being undressed did that to a person.
Nymphadora Tonks rolled over in the bed, still looking glorious to Harry despite her own early morning woes, the randomness of her hair at the crack of dawn. "Iss that early?" She slurred, massaging her sore temples with her thumbs.
Shuffling through his drawers for some socks, why'd he always put socks on first? That was a little odd come to think of it, Harry smirked back at his wife, "You kept me up late."
Giving a triumphant smirk of her own Nymphadora collapsed back onto the bed, gazing at the ceiling as her vivid purple hair righted itself. "You know, the kids'll be up already. You want me to make breakfast?"
Pulling his trousers up, the half dressed chosen one responded slyly, "Only if I want the house burned down."
That got a reaction out of Tonks, she might not be the best cook, quite the opposite actual, but she defended her craft with the best of them. Chucking one of the pillows at Harry, missing widely, Tonks shuffled to an upright position. "I'll have you know Mr Potter, that I didn't burn that toast, it burned itself!"
"Nymphadora, you set the whole pan on fire," Harry riposted, pulling down his sweater and fetching his glasses from the nightstand.
"Don't call me that Harry," Tonks said in a fake threatening tone, a coy smile working its way across her face. "Do I need to teach you a lesson?"
Standing at the other side of the room, Harry spread his arms outward, "You're welcome to try."
Tonks lunged across the bed, moving with incredible speed. Or she would have, had her feet not gotten tangled in the sheets. So Tonks' triumph was short lived as the clumsy Auror came crashing down to the floor. "You win this round!" She exclaimed fiercely from her position on the floor. Tonks managed to right herself before finding her lips locked with one Harry Potter. They'd been married for eleven years now and he could still melt her with that action. "Well good morning to you too Mr Potter..." Tonks responded in her usual chipper tone. "Care to stay in bed another ten minutes?"
"Why not?" Harry responded, shucking the clothes he'd just put on and jumping back into the arms of his beckoning wife.
"So you're gonna fight plenty of monsters and bad-guys right dad?" James Theodore "Teddy" Potter exclaimed, bouncing on his seat excitedly. In little James' mind, of the twenty odd people he'd met in his life none of them were close to being as cool as his daddy.
"Well," Harry responded over the sizzling bacon in the pan, "I don't know if there'll be lots of monsters, but bad-guys a plenty I'm sure."
Next to James, Sirius Remus Potter's eyes went wide, his hair changing to bright white matching his shock. Little Sirius was the Potter's lone metamorphis in the family, still learning to shift his appearance at will rather than with his moods. He was more like Harry in his attitude, calm thoughtful and very reserved. James on the other hand, though he resembled Harry had gotten all of Tonks' devil-may-care attitude and masterful sense of humor. He was bouncy and excitable, constantly speaking of his schemes and plans and idolizing the memory of Sirius Black.
"I told yah Teddy!" James stated proudly, puffing out his tiny chest, "Loads of guys! If you were seven like me you'd know these things!" Little Sirius just nodded his head, eyes still wide and hair still white, while Harry tried not to laugh at his eldest sons antics. James was a proud one.
The heavy impact of boots coming down the stairs informed Harry that his wife was up and about, boots were her specialty. Sure enough, a glance up the stairs showed Tonks strolling down, Lilly Minerva held in one arm. The youngest Potter had her head buried in her mummy's shoulder, cuddling away contentedly. Lilly hadn't really come out into her own personality yet, she liked cuddling with her parents and smiling, when she wasn't in a quiet mood.
"So what're you're plans today guys?" Harry asked casually, adjusting the temperature on the sizzling mushrooms.
"We're going to see George! And watch TV And..."
"Shhhh," Tonks told her eldest, ruffling his hair with her free hand, "Don't spoil the surprise. Otherwise daddy's gonna be bored at work today."
When Tonks had been pregnant with James, she and Harry decided then that their children should always have at least one parent around, that way they'd always be protected and loved. Because neither of them felt a strong desire to quit working, they came up with a rotation, one week Harry would work, Tonks the next. It wasn't the most normal arrangement in the Auror office, but Minister Shacklebolt wasn't going to say no to his friends. This week the work of an Auror fell to Harry.
"Bring home lots of bacon," Tonks told her husband cheerfully, kissing him lightly on the lips before putting Lilly down. "I'll stay home, watch the telly, play with the kids, get fat." She blew a purple strand of hair out from her eyes. "Don't forget. Molly's birthday tonight, we're all going."
Giving a smirk, Harry flipped the bacon in the pan before glancing back at his wife, "Honestly... I doubt anything I do today is going to be interesting enough to forgot that..."
"It's certainly going to be an interesting day," Kingsley told Harry when the chosen one arrived in his office. The Minister had summoned Harry after about ten minutes of desk work with his, "something important has come up" face on. Served Harry just fine, he'd rather go on some raid than fill out another form pertaining to, "Minor infractions involving a duck and some charm spells." You'd think some wizards would be smart enough to avoid prodding the muggle animals, but no, it seemed like jolly good fun. Slamming his quill down on the desk with glee, Harry advanced to Kingsley's office with as much hast as possible without looking like he was in a hurry.
Shacklebolt had had his work cut out for him when he took the role of Minister for Magic, corruption had polluted the very heart of the ministry, cleaning it was still a work on progress, but that wasn't Harry's job. If he was being summoned that meant only one thing... Death Eaters.
"Who is it this time?" Harry knew he was excited, maintaining his composure at the thought of action was a feat he managed somehow.
Kingsley slid a folder across his desk casually, its simple design not diminishing from its contents. Inside that simple folder would be a file, a file on a known Death Eater now spotted. Flipping open the folder, Harry's eyes widened at the name inside.
"I didn't think we'd ever find Deloris Umbridge," Kingsley mused, chin resting in his strong hands. Harry wasn't quite sure what to think or say, Umbridge, the woman who'd made his life a living hell, who'd tortured him, had been found. "She's been recruiting," Kingsley continued nonchalantly, not bothering to comment on Harry's obviously mixed emotions. "Our intelligence reports suggest that she has gained almost two dozen of Voldemort's old followers, plus some of her own. We also have a location." The Minister paused dramatically, removing a second file from the top drawer of his desk. "Would you like it?"
"Die Harry Potter! Die and take your filthy mudblood friends with you to the grave!" Deloris Umbridge somehow managed to still look intimidating and murderous despite being dressed entirely in pink. Maybe it had something to do with the fact she'd dropped three of his men already.
Umbridge had ditched her little hat, or lost it Harry wasn't sure, but she would still be a comical figure, if not for the backing Death Eaters and killing spells she was tossing about. Throwing himself into a forward roll, Harry dodged a bolt of red energy Umbridge fired at him. The tree behind him wasn't so lucky, bursting into flames from the spell's impact. Harry silently thanked his foresight once again for remembering to stick his glasses to his face with magic, he'd have lost them already were that not the case. Well foresight and Tonks, who'd come up with the idea. ("Now darling, no need to be stumbling around, you're Harry bloody Potter after all, and my husband besides. Use some forethought man.")
Even as his wife crossed his mind he was idly aware of her voice shouting, "Ha! I knew those cloaks were a mistake!" A quick glance showed him that Tonks had lept out from under a bush, tackling one of the passing Death Eaters. He'd taken a swing at her, but she'd dodged, grabbed him by the cape, and yanked hard enough to topple the dark wizard. Apparently she'd taken him down with her fists and feet only. Harry almost felt sorry for Umbridge's toady; Tonks wasn't afraid to fight dirty.
While Harry was concerned for her safety as always, though Tonks let him know perfectly well that she could handle herself fine, he was glad to have her along for the ride. Kingsley had pulled out all the stops, bringing the very best Auror's for this mission, even coming in person. Tonks, being one of the best, had left the kids with Grandpa Arthur and come along all smiles and dirty jokes. The team had tracked Umbridge to a small cave in one of England's denser forests, where they'd launched an ambush. Harry's former tormentor had been less than thrilled at that.
"Behind you Harry!" Kingsley shouted, firing a stunner passed the chosen one's shoulder. Harry didn't have to look after hearing the low groan coming from the now prone Death Eater. Just because he was taking a desk job didn't mean Mr Shacklebolt had gone soft.
"Thanks very much," Harry stated casually, throwing a stunner of his own towards Umbridge, who blocked the spell almost disdainfully. A loud burst of laughter and a few taunts told Harry that Tonks was doing well enough; time to go for the prize.
One of the Auror's, a rookie named Avery Locke, made his move at Umbridge, dashing across the fallen leaves towards the outcropping of rock she'd claimed as her own. Locke was a muggleborn and somehow the former defense against the dark arts teacher seemed to know it. "Crucio!" She laughed manically, locking the young Auror with the cruciatus curse. Avery hit the ground, screaming in pain as the magical energies set the ends of his very skin a flame with magical torment. The look of agony reminded Harry of being in a similar position during sixth year. It made him mad.
One of the remaining Death Eaters was foolish enough to cross Harry's path as he made his way towards the woman in pink. "Sanctum Sempra!" He snapped, making a sharp cutting gesture with his wand. Magical energy slashed the Death Eater's hamstrings, leading the masked adversary to collapse in a squeak of pain, his legs failing him. Stepping over the fallen Death Eater casually Harry locked eyes with Umbridge, "Deloris." His words were calm, simple and all the more threatening for it.
While Harry might have been calm, Umbridge was far from it. Releasing the Auror from the curse she turned her eyes towards him, eyes clearly burning with the fires of madness. "Potter," she spat the name out like it was the foulest curse she could think of. "Slayer of the Dark Lord." She jabbed her wand at him menacingly, "I should have killed you all those years ago when I had the chance. It would have been so easy..."
Harry shrugged, "Pity. It'll be much harder now." He gave a very light smirk.
"We'll see." Without another word Umbridge launched the killing curse at Harry, driving it onward with all her fury and power. Fury and power that were no match for Harry's cold skill, deflecting the green energy blast up into the sky, the chosen one launched a counter curse of his own. Showing surprising skills, Umbridge blocked Potter's shot, using the failed momentum to respond with a couple of particularly nasty curses. Harry was forced back into defense mode, unprepared for Umbridge's fury. His former dark arts teacher was throwing killing curse after killing curse at him, backing him up, pining him down with the need to constantly block.
Umbridge kept coming forward, her eyes dancing with dark, insane powers. "Where are your witty replies now Potter? Where is that fabled defiance?" Harry didn't have an answer for her, he just grit his teeth and sent a few stunners at the woman in pink, trying to catch her off guard. Unfortunately Umbridge was too focused, to determined to kill Harry and she let nothing slide by. Harry had bested Voldemort, and now this insane, short woman dressed in pink was testing his very limits. It seemed surreal to him. "And now Potter, you are mine!" Before Umbridge unleashed the spell to crack Harry's bulwark of defenses a different voice cut her off.
"Harry's mine actually; Petrificus totalus!" The full body stunner slammed Umbridge in the back, petrifying the short woman in an instant. The Death Eater toppled onto her face like a bowling pin, revealing Tonks standing behind her, wand held in an outstretched hand. "I'm the jealous type." Looking up at her husband Tonks grinned, "Wotcher Harry."
"I didn't hear you coming," Harry told her honestly enough, glancing about the forest for signs of the other Death Eaters. With Umbridge down most had lost the will to stick around, the few that weren't already captured had apperated or fled by more basic means.
"I can be pretty stealthy when I want to Mr Potter," Tonks stuck her tongue out at Harry playfully before doing a scan of her own. A few groans from fallen Death Eaters and Auror's alike were all that could be heard now, a stillness descending over the clearing.
Harry inclined his head towards Tonks, "I have misjudged you, well done."
Tonks rolled her eyes at his serious tone, "I suppose I should go pick up the kids before Arthur loses the rest of his hair; have fun with the paper work."
Harry smirked. "Somehow I doubt that..."
Well the paperwork was every bit as dull as he'd expected; on the flip side the sandwich was delicious. Harry had never put mustard on the ham sandwiches he always made for lunch, until today. The effect was tangy and surprisingly good. Nothing surprising or good about the forms though.
Harry loved his job, making the Wizarding world a better place, rounding up the likes of Umbridge and her gang thrilled him, leading a successful raid and finding out everyone of his people made it out without lasting harm also thrilled him. Filling out a dozen forms for each spell he'd used; that wasn't thrilling.
Taking a massive bite out of his sandwich with one hand and dunking his quill pen in ink with the other, Harry's eyes fell over the next paper on the stack. In cheerfully written letters it read, "Spells used with possible permanent ramifications." In layman's terms, how many Death Eaters wouldn't walk properly for the rest of their lives because of things he'd done to them; name those things! A few words ended up coming out of his pen and onto the page, not as fast as they should but Harry wasn't really in a hurry, he still had half an hour of lunch. Why rush?
"Reducto," Harry wrote casually, scratching the words onto the paper without much thought. A glob of mustard fell from the corner of his mouth, landing on the table with a splat, none of it got on his report so Harry didn't bother wiping it off. Reaching his hand across the table, Harry's fingers wrapped around the warm Styrofoam cup of coffee sitting on his desk, filling the room with its pleasant aroma. Harry was taking a nice long draft of coffee when the door to his office burst open.
"Harry!" Kingsley shouted, his head sticking awkwardly into the room, "Hogwarts needs you!" The sudden intrusion of his boss led Harry to spit all the coffee in his mouth across his desk. Dropping the sandwich to the floor, the Auora had his hand wrapped around his wand before Kingsley could continue. "To teach a substitute Defense against the Dark Arts class, provided you aren't busy."
Feeling a bit sheepish, Harry put down the coffee cup gingerly, doing his best not to spill the little that remained. Spinning around in his chair to face the Minister, Harry saw Kingsley had one eyebrow raised, "Of course I'm not busy; I'll be apperating over shortly."
"And so in conclusion, when faced with devil's-snare resort to spells that replicate sun light. Any questions?" Harry had slipped back into the roll of teacher rather easily; it reminded him of the Dumbeldore's army meetings back in fifth year. He'd met Tonks for the first time that year, she'd come strolling through his door, her hair that vivid purple...
Ahem. Back to reality.
One of the students in the back of the class raised his hand, almost timidly. Even as he answered the question Harry knew it would be something unrelated to the lesson. Second years, they asked what was on their minds. Harry liked that, the honesty was refreshing.
"Did you really out-fly a Hungarian Horntail?" The young boy's eyes were slightly wide with anticipation; the other students looked on, clearly anticipating the answer to this question. Why not, Harry thought, leaning slightly forward.
"Yes, back in forth year." Tonks told him he was a masterful storyteller, captivating the kids with his tales. Well apparently these students had the same interests as his kids; they were hooked. "It was scary, after all, Horntails are vicious and fast. Luckily I knew my way around a broomstick; dodging its fiery breath as best I could." Grinning sheepishly Harry admitted, "The back of my broom did get a little crispy." His eyes momentarily lost in the things of the past, Harry glanced out the classroom window. "It was terrifying. When I finally got my hands on the golden dragon egg that fear changed to exhilaration. I'll never forget that feeling of victory." Glancing up, Harry spied Professor McGonagall, standing in the doorway tapping her fingers; time to wrap up the lesson. "And that concludes the teaching for today."
Shoving back from their desks, each student rolled up their various parchments and slid along. A few shot nervous, "Thank you Mr Potter,"'s his way but most simply putted off. Shooting a little smile at the kids running off on their way to class, Harry turned back to his old professor.
Head-mistress Minerva McGonagall still looked just as indomitable as Harry remembered. She was unyielding, being battered by time and war did little to slow her down. She was more than a professor, she was a fixture and Harry knew Hogwarts wouldn't be the same without her. "You did good up there Potter."
Harry inclined his head in her direction, "I learned from the best."
Minerva snorted, "With the way you carried on, I'm surprised you learned anything!" The thick Scottish accent only added the perfect snap to the words, making them well and truly something his old teacher would say. "That job offer is still open you know."
Harry smiled, "Its good to know Hogwarts will take me in when Kingsley finally fires me!" He chuckled a bit, "Don't think I haven't considered it deeply, I'd love to teach here. I just, feel like being an Auora is the right choice for me. When I'm out in the field making a difference, I just know I'm doing the right thing? Do you understand?"
Minerva nodded her head sagely, smiling with the wisdom of someone who's truly lived. Her pointed hat wobbled a bit from the motion but her smiled didn't. "I understand perfectly Mr Potter." Adjusting her square spectacles with a practiced hand, McGonagall looked at Harry with a curious expression, "Send my best to your children Mr Potter, particularly miss Lilly, she seems the one most likely to end up like her namesake." Smiling a little, McGonagall turned and went about her way. Harry would vaguely hear her shouting "Professor Longbottom! I need some answers about today's herbology lesson!"
Hearing his old professor maintain her unstoppable personality gave Harry almost as much comfort as feeling the solid wood beneath his hand. Wood that was part of the top of a desk, a desk at which a much younger and far less mature Harry Potter sat. Time flies.
Thinking of time prompted Harry to check his watch. 2:50. He had time to head back to the office and get a bit more of that paperwork done. Then after that it was time to prep for the party. He was a family man after all.
"Why do I hafta wear this?" Little James complained sourly, pulling at the collar on his turtleneck. The eldest of the Potter children really didn't like collars. It wasn't that restricting of a getup but James would have none of it regardless; of course, if James had his way he'd wouldn't be wearing a shirt period, and possibly not pants on top of that. Harry had heard all these lines before, so he simply nodded.
Tonks on the other hand pipped up, "Look James, its grandma Molly's birthday, so for her you'll wear something nice, 'kay?" Harry noticed that Tonks' hair had gone from being a pleasant chocolate brown to a obvious auburn color. That tint of red was all the hint James needed. His mum wasn't backing down on this one.
At least neither of the other kids were bothering to complain, either Sirius actually liked his nice shirt or he was bearing the discomfort with his usual stoicism. Lilly was of course too young to care much, simply babbling happily while squeezing one of the rubber balls Harry had bought her.
While the chosen one had just slapped on a nice jacket and shaved a bit, Tonks somehow managed to look spectacular; in a dress no less. It was a simple outfit, unusual for Tonks, yet this was Molly after all, perhaps a little laid back was good. Still that woman managed to pull it off, leaving a little of that typical Tonks flair, walking with pride and a good sense of humor.
The rest of Harry's day had been typical. Paperwork, wrapped up a debrief with Kingsley about the day's mission, a quick visit to Avery Locke in St Mungo's(he was doing alright) then a quick bite to eat. Prepping three young kids proved to be the most difficult challenge of Harry's day, even with Tonks' capable help. But at last the trio were prepared to a halfway decent appearance and Harry could breath again.
Tonks ran a hand through Harry's messy brown hair with a flirtatious smirk, "They'll be fine...more or less."
Feeling oddly like the overprotective parent Harry shrugged, "I wish I shared your confidence." Double-checking his pocket for his wand Harry gave a nod. "All right then, time to floo our way to the Burrow."
Apperating was too much of a strain on the young Potters, so the floo network would have to do. Arthur was expecting them anyways; or at least the family hoped. Tonks went through first, followed by all the kids then Harry last. He heard George tell Tonks that they were, "Cutting it a bit close, don't you think?"
Molly arrived soon after that and the details blurred in Harry's mind. Between refilling Sirius' punch four times and telling James not to run on the stairs he lost track of things. Everyone he knew was present. Bill, Fleur and Vittoria obviously, but so was Charlie and the entire Weasley clan. Ginny had dragged Dean along, of course. Remus sat in the corner, smiling fondly at everyone, keeping his tired old eyes closed. Hermione was present with her husband, Krum, and their children, Ivan and Rosie. Ron had brought some new woman, one clearly fixated on his every action. Neville was talking to everyone present, while Luna seemed to reserve her attention for the trio of brightly blue eyed, brown haired children the couple could claim as their own. She kept pointing out various things in the Burrow, whispering secrets about each one. To Harry, being surrounded by those who meant so much to him, was the greatest possible feeling he could feel. It was warm and inviting, like being wrapped in a fluffy wool blanket.
"So tell me Harry," Ron asked later, as he, Harry and Hermione sat together later in the evening, discussing old times, "How much are you considering that job at Hogwarts?"
Harry had his legs crossed, a smile on his face and a cup of warm cider in his hand as he gave his best friend and honest answer. "Yes, I'm considering it."
"Oh Harry!" Hermione gasped, "That's wonderful!" Harry knew that she had her own reserve on a job there; McGonagall assured her that after her children were old enough she would be teaching arithmaticy.
"Not for a bit though," Harry continued, "I've got some more time as an Auror yet."
Ron grinned, "Harry's not ready for the slow lane yet Hermione! To busy beating up Death Eaters and shagging his super hot wife!" Giving a lecherous smile Ron pressed on, "How'd you score that bird anyways Harry?"
"Ronald!" Hermione snapped, "Harry and Tonks have a deeper relationship than you give him credit for! Show some tact!"
Harry just smiled, some things never changed.
"Uh, I don't mean to panic you Harry," Ron muttered, pointing over his shoulder casually, "But my favorite nephew is getting awfully chumming with Lovegood's eldest." Harry turned his neck sharply and sure enough James was talking adamantly with Xenophelia Longbottom. She was the spitting image of a tiny Luna, though with her father's buck teeth and lanky frame. James seemed utterly focused on her; honestly Harry had never seen him sit still that long.
"Aw, how cute," Tonks greeted chipper, approaching Harry from behind and wrapping her arms around his chest. "Looks like the fat grandkids are all but guaranteed." She snuggled against his neck for a moment, blatantly ignoring the faces Ron started making.
"He's seven Tonks," Harry reminded his wife, not bothering to shift her position, "It's a bit early to be pegging romances."
"Pffft Harry," Tonks snorted, "No imagination."
Her hair(gone from its earlier chestnut shade to an electric blue) tickled his neck almost as fiercely as her words in his ears. Letting his head sink back into the head of the battered old arm chair, Harry closed his eyes. Behind him was Tonks, before him his two best friends in the whole world. Life was good.
Hermione began grilling Ron about where he got his newest flame, in less than flattering terms, while Sirius gawked at Charlie's dragon tattoo in awe. Krum was talking Quidditch with Bill, his enthusiasm making up for his still somewhat broken English(though it was considerably better than it had once been) and Neville held an equally passionate discussion with Molly about herbology.
The sounds of all those he loved talking around him began to blend into a low murmur; it was a truly wonderful moment. Harry Potter, the chosen one, Auror, husband and father, was at peace.
Well at least James was cute while asleep. The party had tuckered him out, causing young James Teddy Potter to hit the sack and not open his eyes. Even as Harry tucked him into bed the boy barely stirred, shifting ever so slightly but not waking. Ruffling his hair once Harry leaned back in the doorway, just watching the little rise and fall of James' chest.
"You're a good daddy."
Tonks had evidently finished with the equally sleepy Lilly and Sirius, sneaking up on Harry without much effort. Wrapping her arm around his waist, Tonks rested her head of blue hair on his shoulder, blowing a loose strand out of her eyes. "We make good looking babies."
"It's all you," Harry told her with a smirk on his face, putting his own arm around her.
Poking his nose playfully, Tonks smirked back at him, "You're such a smart man Mr Potter."
"And you're such a lovely woman Miss Potter."
"Oooh," Tonks gasped, "Cheesy but sweet. I like it."
"Glad to hear it..."
Somehow their lips found each others, locking in a contest of tongues and passion. Fumbling into the bedroom seemed the appropriate way to continue the exchange. Proving her Auror agility with an impressive display of speed Tonks discarded the pairs clothing.
After that the Potters were occupied for quite some time.
Harry lay in bed much latter, Tonks head on his chest, breathing peacefully as she slept. His eyes roamed the ceiling as the day's events went through his mind. It had been a good day, one of the best in fact. Harry Potter loved his life, he wouldn't trade it for anything.
Happy thoughts filled his mind as he drifted off to sleep.