Unlikely Mentor
Chapter 11

Disclaimer: This work of fan-fiction is not intended for personal profit. All characters utilized herein which are not creations of myself belong to J. K. Rowling.


The visits from Remus in the morning and Tonks in the evening made Harry's next few days at Privet Drive almost pleasant; between Dobby making sure he got fed, and the Dursleys being reluctant to load him down with chores when "freaks" who could use their wands were nearby, Harry could almost vouch that he felt more at ease and at home than any other time outside of Hogwarts.

Both of them had stretched their Dumbledore-provided authorisations nearly to the limit with Harry in his room, their teachings running the gamut from minor household spells (which Remus had become quite proficient in owing to his years of living alone) to various defensive hexes (which Tonks was a veritable fountain of owing to her training).

Remus had grinned rather Marauderesquely and said quietly to Harry, "Because we're in the same room, your Trace will trigger with my spells, but as Albus gave me the dispensation to cast spells around here, the Improper Use of Magic office will ignore them, even if you cast the same ones."

Harry's grin had widened in response.

And it was fantastic! For the first time in about two weeks, he felt the ebb and flow of magic as it swirled around and through him as he learned one spell after another.

The night just before Harry was due to depart Privet Drive for good ("Mad-Eye's finally given up on the whole fly-all-over-London thing; he's agreed to help with another idea," Tonks had said. "I can't say too much right now. Operational security and all that.") he was ambling around the park, wanting to have a break from the Dursleys for a while without the sun shining down on him. The streetlights were beginning to shine in the evening twilight, and Tonks had just retreated to the entrance gate to quickly change shifts with Hestia Jones.

After a few minutes of walking, Harry looked over at the gate again. Tonks, looking frustrated, called, "I don't know what the holdup is. Look, stay put – and I mean, stay put! I'm going to get a substitute real quick!"

Before Harry could reply, Tonks dashed behind some bushes, apparently to search for something. A moment later he heard a crack that sounded a bit like Dobby's form of teleportation, and realized she had Apparated out.

As it transpired (unfortunately for Harry), Dudley Dursley happened to be walking through the same park, having just taken leave of his friends. The first that Harry was aware of it, he heard, "Seeya tomorrow, Big D!"

He looked up, and muttered, "Oh, bugger."

Dudley squinted, then barked, "Potter. The fuck you doing here?"

Harry snorted. "What people do all the time. Walking around the park 'cos it doesn't cost anything to just amble around. 'Course, in your case, it's obviously an excuse to just beat someone up. I saw Mark Evans a couple days ago. He had a bruise on his face, so I guess you finally got to do him for cheeking you. I guess 'Big D' needs to feel big by beating up – what, ten year olds?"

"Shut up, Potter." Dudley scowled and stalked towards Harry.

He stopped abruptly as Harry whipped out his wand, which he'd normally been carefully keeping in his back pocket and covered with his shirt. "Feel like dealing with this? Ickle Diddykins gonna beat up his cousin over a piece of wood, hmm?"

Dudley's lips worked. Harry could see fear warring with the desire to bully crossing Dudley's face, but just as Dudley lunged, the twilight suddenly seemed to blacken, and the temperature around Harry seemed to drop ten degrees.

Oh damnit, don't let it be what I think—

Harry whirled around, his eyes trying to catch the source of the sudden cold; his teeth chattered as the temperature kept plunging, frost now forming on the grass around him. A scream hit his ears, and his head whipped around. Dudley had collapsed, and Harry could see the outline of a Dementor forming in the night. Without a second thought he let his mind fill with thoughts of Ron and Hermione, and then he barked, "Expecto Patronum!"

The stag leaped out of his wand and charged towards Dudley and the Dementor in the nick of time. Just as the Dementor was about to remove its hood, the stag collided with it, provoking an unearthly shriek from the Dementor as it frantically tried to escape the stag.

Harry was so engrossed in keeping the Dementor off Dudley that it was only when the thin, scaly fingers of another Dementor curled around his shoulder that he whirled around, pointing his wand inches from the Dementor's face. The green light flashed before his eyes as he heard his mother's scream, as if faintly in the distance—

He shook his head and roared, "GET IT!" at his stag, which zoomed up and smashed the Dementor in the side, whipping it away from Harry's face.

His chest heaved as he took deep shuddering breaths, trying not to imagine just how close he'd been to dying that night alongside his cousin—

Shit! Dudley!

He rushed over to Dudley, trying to drag him up off the ground and get him walking, but Dudley seemed barely conscious of his surroundings and stumbled as though he were drunk. Footsteps thumping up toward Harry made him look up, and he sighed in relief. "Hestia! Thank God! Two Dementors were just here and they nearly got me and Dudley! Help me get him home, please."

The next few minutes whizzed by in a blur as Harry and Hestia half-dragged, half-pushed the lumbering Dudley back to Number Four Privet Drive. Once inside the door, all hell broke loose as Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia, in turns, bellowed and yelled at Harry for "harming their precious Dudley".

Harry finally was fed up enough to bellow, "SHUT UP! JUST! SHUT! UP!"

The sitting room fell dead quiet as Uncle Vernon, eyes narrowed, growled, "And just what did you say, boy?"

Harry, forgetting that his wand was still in his right hand, raised his hand to point at his uncle, causing sparks to fly from his wand. The sparks harmlessly flew off to the side, but Vernon abruptly stood still, not sure what this portended from his nephew. That didn't stop him from self-righteously smarming, "You can't use that thing outside of school! You'll get expelled!"

Harry snarled, "Well, I just had to do magic to save your precious ickle Diddykins from Dementors, so excuse me if I don't feel much like that's a threat tonight!"

Aunt Petunia's gasp drew his attention. Uncle Vernon, not quite realising the significance of her reaction, barked, "And what the ruddy hell are Dementors?"

"They guard the wizard prison, Azkaban," admitted Aunt Petunia.

Both Uncle Vernon and Harry Potter stared, gobsmacked, at Petunia, who was trying to make Dudley comfortable on the couch. She snarled defensively, "It was your mother and her friend, that awful boy, chattering on about it one day!"

Vernon hesitantly said, "So these… Dementoid thingies, they actually exist?"

Harry snorted, "Figured that out finally, have you? Yes, they do, and any minute now—"

An owl swooped in through the still-open front door, dropped a letter in front of Harry, and then swooped back out. Harry, having almost forgotten that Hestia was still in the room, belatedly registered her presence as she shut the door, then came up next to him. "Damn, that's a Ministry seal, Harry. Hurry and open it!"

To the room at large, Harry muttered, "I was expecting this."

He tore the envelope open and skimmed over the contents. "Great. The Ministry's decided I did magic in a Muggle area and so not only do I get kicked out of school, I get my wand snapped."

Uncle Vernon barked, "HAH! Well, that just serves you right. Go on, then, get your things and bugger off, and good riddance to you freaks!"

The front door banged loudly. Tonks bellowed, "Open up, Harry!"

Harry dashed over, whipped the front door open and saw Remus, Tonks, and Mad-Eye Moody all outside. Tonks said, "Wotcher. Listen, we don't have a lot of time. Get your things. We're going to transfer you to HQ now, tonight!"

"What about the expulsion and the wand snapping and all that?" asked a befuddled Harry. He held out the letter. Tonks skimmed it. She barked, "Dumbledore knows. He's taking care of it as we speak. Get your stuff packed up."

Harry didn't need to waste another second. Leaving his aunt and uncle to argue with the Order of the Phoenix, he thundered upstairs along with Remus Lupin. Inside his room, Remus said, "Open your trunk. In for a penny, in for a pound and you're with me so just use the packing spell."

"Right!" Harry opened his trunk, swirled his wand, and barked, "Pack!"

In the blinking of an eye, everything Harry owned (and thus needed for school), except Hedwig and her cage, was neatly folded and stacked in his trunk. He said to her, "Follow me, all right?" and then released his owl, who promptly took to the air.

Lupin quickly shrank the cage, and tucked it into Harry's trunk then closed it. They each grabbed a handle and had it back downstairs in a jiffy.

"—not coming back next year! I won't have it, I tell you! I bloody well have HAD IT!"

Harry looked in the sitting room. Dudley was beginning to come around, and Uncle Vernon was currently attempting to outdo an eggplant in the authenticity of the purpling of his face, while Petunia seemed at a loss how to answer. Before she could, an owl rushed in through the open patio door, and dropped a red envelope in front of her.

Harry barked, "That's a Howler! Get it open!"

Petunia, too shaken to respond, whispered, "It's for me. Me! Mrs Petunia Dursley, The Sitting Room, Number Four Privet Drive—"

As though impatient to be heard, the letter exploded at that minute, and a deep, sonorous voice spoke: "Remember my last, Petunia."

She rested her head in her hands and wearily said, "The boy must stay here next year."

"But Petunia—" replied an utterly flummoxed Uncle Vernon.

Her head whipped up sharply. "The boy must stay here when he comes back. If he doesn't come back the neighbours will talk." To the Order at large, she hissed, "The price of that – you take the boy tonight and don't come back this summer."

Harry spat, "Fine. I've had it with you for the summer anyway. Good riddance till next year."

He dragged his trunk outside, past Uncle Vernon's shiny new car, and at the edge of the driveway he let it fall with a loud thunk.

Tonks came up beside Harry and said, "Damn it, I shouldn't have left you!"

"Huh?" said Harry. Realisation came to him and he said, "Oh! Look, you couldn't have known. I mean, you didn't send the Dementors, right?" He grinned wanly.

Tonks chuckled weakly and slung her arm around Harry's shoulders. "Thanks for being such a sport. You'd have every right to be narked off at me over figuring leaving you for a moment in the park to go fetch Hestia was all right."

Hestia came up beside Harry on the right and said, "I also must apologise, Harry. In fact, I was close by and was finishing up having tea with Arabella – that is, Mrs Figg. When Tonks Apparated inside Arabella's house, we wasted time going back on foot instead of Apparating, because of the Statute of Secrecy. It was only when we felt the cold and heard you use the Patronus Charm that we realized something was terribly wrong. At that point, Tonks went to get the others and I tried to come to your assistance, only you'd driven off the Dementors already."

Tonks clapped his shoulder, "And hey, good work on that, all right?"

At that moment, another owl-letter got dropped at Harry's feet; Harry could only make out the dim shape of the owl's wings flapping away in the full night. He reached down, picked up the letter and began reading, the streetlight throwing enough illumination for him to read:

"Harry—

I have managed to convince the Ministry to rescind your expulsion and wand destruction. You will still be required to attend the disciplinary hearing, but that should be a formality as the only reason for a Patronus Charm is to repel Dementors and I, for one, am curious as to why Dementors are wandering around away from Azkaban.

I will see you at HQ.

Yours,
Albus Dumbledore."

Harry heaved a sigh of relief. He shoved the letter at Tonks, who read it and whooped. Her hair flared bright pink. "See? Told ya. Dumbledore comes through when he says he will!"

The thumping of Mad-Eye's foot and cane, along with Remus's lighter footsteps, rounded out the party. The old Auror said, "Right. Tonks, you know how to use one, so get the vehicle and let's get our young charge out of here."

Tonks grinned and nudged Harry with her elbow. "You'll love this."

Remus groaned as she took off. Harry turned and said, "What?"

"You know those countries where 'defensive driving' means 'drive offensively'?"

Harry, having seen one or two shows on the telly when Dudley didn't notice, said, "Oh, crap."

As if on cue, Tonks roared up in a Range Rover that looked like it had been ripped from the pages of an American SUV ad. "C'mon in! Mad-Eye, you've got shotgun."

Mad-Eye, in turn, grumbled, "Only because I can't fit in any of the other seats."

The remainder of the group piled into the rear with some treipidation, Harry's trunk safely ensconced in the rear of the truck. Harry sat in the middle of the rear seat, wedged in between Remus and Hestia. He looked in the rear view mirror and thought he caught just a glint of madness in Tonks's eyes as she said, "And takeoff!"

She punched the gas pedal to the floor, and they roared off into the night.


Author Notes: Some text has been adapted directly from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.

That being said, I'm not writing this to reproduce every last bit of what happened in canon OotP, so some details have been purposely glossed over for the sake of brevity. So the contents of the first letter Harry gets can be assumed to be essentially identical to what he got in canon, and as for why - well, it's pretty obvious the dispensation he was able to take advantage of only covered the times when he was inside his house.

Also, anyone who'd like to beta this, please let me know :)