AU, Post OotP summer story: Summer at the Dursleys has always meant Harry is overworked, underfed and lonely. All Harry wanted was a normal summer, what he gets is anything but normal. repost
Disclaimer: Not mine
AN: My thanks to Evan for his wonderful beta skills.
Harry was getting ready to run down to the shop and begin practicing Apparition. He'd studied the theory the night before and it didn't seem as if it would be hard. Now, recognizing just how he'd gotten on the roof of the school so long ago gave him a sense of relief. He'd done it before without thinking so it shouldn't be too hard to do now.
"Harry, come down here!" called Aunt Petunia, startling Harry out of his thoughts.
"Coming," he called and raced down the stairs only to pull up short at seeing a girl he didn't recognize.
"Wotcher Harry," said the girl.
Harry dropped his wand into his hand, stepped off the bottom step and between his Aunt and the woman who might be Tonks.
"Hey there Tonks, prove you are who you're supposed to be."
"Oi, Potter paranoid much?" she asked as she cycled her dark hair to pink, neon blue and back to black, then produced a pig snout in place of her nose.
Harry heard his aunt gasp at the display and returned his wand to its holster.
"Can you grow your hair?" asked Petunia to Harry's amazement.
"Sure," said Tonks and her black hair grew out past her shoulders then shrank back to it original short 'do.
Petunia turned to Harry a look of outrage on her face, "Is that how you did it?" she demanded.
"What?" ask Harry.
"What?" echoed Tonks.
Petunia turned to Tonks and said, "I gave Harry a haircut, a bad one I must admit, and the next morning his hair was that mess again." She gestured toward Harry's hair.
Tonks looked surprised and replied, "Sounds like Harry could have a bit of Metamorph talent. There's a test for it. Why didn't you ever mention it, Harry?"
Harry shrugged, "I never thought about it. I don't think I've had a haircut since that one."
Petunia sniffed and turned away, "You can visit in the back garden, there's lemonade but leave the cake alone it's for my garden club meeting this afternoon. There may be a package of biscuits in the cupboard."
Harry led Tonks through the kitchen, pouring them drinks and grabbing a plate of biscuits.
Once seated in the garden Harry got right to the point.
"So what brings you here, Tonks?"
"Mum said she saw you in Gringotts yesterday, that Sirius made you his heir, and that you accepted us back into the Black Family. She insisted I come and give you my oath. I want to know what you thought you were doing going out without letting Dumbledore and the Order know," said Tonks with a scowl.
"I'm the Head of two Families, I don't have to ask anyone especially Dumbledore or the Order for permission to go anywhere," said Harry calmly.
"It isn't safe for you to just go roaming around, Harry, Dumbledore only has your best interests at heart."
"That's what he'd like everyone to believe isn't it? Well I don't believe that, Tonks. I was in no danger, as I went by floo straight to the Gringotts Security Entrance. I can use magic now to defend myself if I'm attacked. I believe that any Death Eaters attacking me would get an unpleasant surprise and as for Voldemort, well, I have to face him sometime anyway."
Tonks looked shocked. "Harry you don't have to face Voldemort, Dumbledore and the Ministry will take care of him."
To Tonks surprise Harry laughed, "No, Tonks, Dumbledore can't defeat Voldie and the Ministry is incompetent. The prophecy you were protecting is about him and me."
"But-but, it was smashed no one knows what it says," she protested.
"No one but the one who heard it to begin with 16 years ago and he told me," he countered.
Tonks just sat there a frown on her face. Finally she said, "Dumbledore's known all along? When did he tell you?"
"That night, after he portkeyed me back to his office," said Harry.
"He portkeyed you to his office? Not the hospital wing? Was someone there to treat you?" she asked.
"No I was locked in until Dumbledore got done at the Ministry and came back. He told me the prophecy, admitted he knew how I was treated here and then told me I still had to come back."
"Did you see the healer that night?" demanded Tonks.
Harry shook his head, "I wasn't hurt Tonks, there wasn't any reason to see Madam Pomfrey. I was just angry and upset. I felt like it was my fault that Sirius was killed. I know now that although some of the responsibility is mine, most is Bellatrix and Voldemort's and Dumbledore's."
She scowled again, "I agree with the first two but how is it Dumbledore's fault?"
"Dumbledore is playing chess with people's lives. If he had told me the prophecy earlier, or even that there was one and that Voldie could send me false visions, it could have made a difference. The only visions I'd had before that had been true. He could have monitored my Occlumency lessons with Snape a bit more; at least given me a book on the theory. He shouldn't have tried to keep Sirius locked up in that house." Harry threw up his hands and sighed. "No one likes to be locked up."
"Harry, Snape didn't give you book on Occlumency? Did he go over the theory and have you take notes?"
Harry snorted, "It's not really that important any more. I found a book this summer and taught myself, but, no, Snape would shout 'clear your mind' then dredge through my worst memories and yell at me when I failed to keep him out."
She locked eyes with him and mouthed the word, 'Legimens'. Harry felt pressure on the edge of his mind and pushed back.
"Very good, Harry, you've done a good job," said Tonks, smiling.
"Tonks if you can do that, why'd I have to have Snape as a teacher? Dumbledore said he was the only one that could teach me," complained Harry.
Tonks shrugged, "Don't know Harry, but you've convinced me." She stood, "I Nymphadora Tonks swear my loyalty to Harry James Potter, Head of the Black Family."
She then collapsed back into her seat, "Please, Harry, don't asked me to do anything that will clash with my Auror oaths."
"If I do, tell me," he said; then asked, "So what are you going to tell Dumbledore?"
"Not a damned thing you don't want me to, Harry, or should I say Lord Black?"
"Harry is fine, I don't really think he needs to know anything about this for now. Are you on guard duty or does someone else out there know you are here?" he asked.
Tonks's face paled dramatically, "He didn't tell you? Gods, Harry, Dumbledore pulled the Order guards on you this summer. He said that you were aware you shouldn't leave the property and that it was a waste of manpower that was needed elsewhere. He should have told you."
She was shocked when Harry only grinned, "I suspected he'd pulled them, as no ones bitched about me coming and going. Plus you will be happy to know I've come to a bit of an understanding with my Aunt and I've strengthened the wards considerably, though I'm not going to tell you how."
"Probably for the best, Constant Vigilance, right?" said Tonks with a grin.
"Oh, you'll need to go past Gringotts and speak with Bonecracker. He's the Black Goblin; he'll have the key to your trust vault, but don't say anything about money in front of the Dursley's. Better let me know ahead of time if you want to come by again, too."
"Er, ok but I don't-" she began but he shushed her as Petunia came out the back door.
"Harry you have a phone call," said Petunia.
Harry jumped out of his chair and called over his shoulder, "Don't go anywhere." And he raced to answer the phone.
Tonks grinned at Petunia who watched Harry run past and said, "Must be a girl?"
Petunia smiled slightly and nodded, "It is, she has been calling all summer."
Tonks stood and walked over to Petunia, "May I ask you something, Mrs. Dursley?"
Petunia hesitated then nodded.
"Why do you treat Harry so badly?"
Petunia scowled and drew in a deep breath, "Do you have any sisters?"
Tonks frowned and shook her head.
"My sister Lily was beautiful, smart, and my parents' favorite. They were thrilled to have a witch in the family. My parents were killed just before Lily got out of school; their deaths were odd. Do you know how I found out my sister was dead? I opened the door one morning a found a baby on the door step with a letter that told me I had to take him in or my family would end up just as dead as Lily. My share of my parents estate bought this house, Vernon was just beginning to make a name for himself, I had been thinking about going back to work part time, but with two toddlers there was no way. There was no stipend or insurance money to provide for Harry. When the boys turned four I wanted another child. Because of Harry, Vernon refused. First he said we couldn't afford it. A year later he refused again and this time admitted that he didn't want to take a chance that I would produce a freak like Harry."
By this time tears were running down Petunia's cheeks. "I was angry, at Lily for getting herself killed, I was angry at Harry for being brighter and happier and better that my Dudley. I was afraid, too; I knew that one-day your kind, Harry's kind, would come for him, that they would take him from me and I would lose him. I couldn't let myself care for him because I knew that the pain I had at losing my parents, from losing Lily, would be so much worse when I lost Harry. I'm quite aware that that mad man who killed my sister wants to kill Harry. I don't want to-- can't -- care for him, it hurts too much."
Tonks was horrified; she wasn't sure what to do. She wished she'd never asked the question and it didn't help that Harry was standing just outside the back door listening to Petunia speak.
Petunia turned and saw Harry. He walked over to her, and took her hand.
"I'm sorry you weren't give a choice, Aunt Petunia; I'm sorry that my kind hurt you. I can't promise that I won't be killed, but I will promise that I'll do my best to kill him first," he said softly.
Petunia nodded once, pulled her hand from his and said, "See that you do." Then she turned and went into the house.
"What did you say to her?" demanded Harry.
Tonks stuttered for a moment, "I just asked her why she didn't treat you better? I didn't know that she'd go and have a break down."
Harry blew out his breath, "Bloody hell, I can't believe you people are that stupid. Tonks, that kind of question could have caused all sorts of trouble. You know, I couldn't believe you would threaten Vernon either. Do you know I actually expected to be beaten senseless when we got back here from the station?" He shook his head wondering at the stupid things wizards could do.
Tonks looked at him for a long moment trying to figure out if he was exaggerating or not and finally decided he wasn't.
"Well I suppose I should go then," she said.
"Yeah I have things to do, too," he said.
"Do you? Like meet the girl who called," she asked in a teasing voice.
"No, like learn how to Apparate so I can go get my license," said Harry.
"You can't just do that on your own, Harry you really need someone who know what they are doing to teach you," she said worriedly.
"So what makes you think I don't have someone to teach me?" he asked.
She frowned, "Who is it, and are you sure that they are safe and not a dark supporter?"
"Gah, Tonks, I'm not a child. I can take care of myself. Don't worry so much. You can go." Harry made shooing motions with his hands.
"All right, but if you need anything let me know ok?"
"Yeah, yeah, I will, mother," he said with a laugh.
"Hey I'll get the stuff to test you for talents and owl you for a meeting."
"Great. Goodbye Tonks."
She ruffled his hair, laughed and popped away.
Harry walked through the house but didn't see his Aunt, he left a note by the cake that he was going out and, grabbing the Apparition Theory book, left for Mann's shop.
Mr. Mann went over the theory and coached him through the steps several times; then left him to practice. After about three hours of practice, Harry could apparate from one end of Mann's cellar to the other. Mr. Mann had checked on him several times just to make sure he hadn't splinched himself.
As they sat talking over tea in the afternoon, Mr. Mann told him that he would close the shop the next afternoon and they could go out and practice longer jumps.
"Sir, not that I don't appreciate it, but why are you helping me? I mean what's in it for you?" asked Harry setting down his cup.
Mr. Mann blinked once and said, "What brought this on, then?"
"Er, nothing, I was just wondering, I mean if you close the shop you could lose money. I just-"
"Ah, you've started to wonder if I'm a bad guy, if I'm after something or want to use you? Is that it?" asked Mr. Mann.
Harry blushed, "I don't think that but I well, what do you want? I mean everyone wants something, don't they?"
Mr. Mann looked sad for a moment and said, "Harry, lad, I don't want anything from you. I will admit that I've missed having a boy around. You're bright, you're well mannered, you know how to work, and you ask intelligent questions and make me feel young again."
Harry looked confused and shook his head, "I don't understand."
Mr. Mann said softly, "Lad, you know I was married? I had three sons and a daughter. My daughter, her husband and children live in Australia. I don't get to see them much. My eldest son was an Auror; a dark wizard he was sent to arrest killed him and his wife left Britain, they didn't have any children. My second son was a curse breaker for Gringotts; I lost him to tomb in Egypt. My third son was studying for his Mastery in Potions when there was an accident and he was killed. I had a choice, I could become a miserable lonely old man, snapping and snarling at anyone who gets close, or I can take a chance on friendship. Occasionally a boy wanders in here in need of a friendly ear or a helping hand. I do what I can. Now, I will admit you're the first wizard boy I've befriended, what with being in a muggle town and all, but that just adds a little spice."
Harry was listening intently and questioned, "I'm not the safest person to befriend, though; Voldemort wants me dead. You have to know that, you lost all your sons and, if he kills me, won't it hurt you if you start to care for me?"
Mr. Mann's eyebrows went up and he said, "You're right. If something happens to you, it would hurt me, but, Harry, I think the risk of being hurt is outweighed by happiness you bring into my life. Lad, I enjoy teaching you and being friends with you. It's a risk I'm willing to take."
They chatted a little longer and then Harry went home, he had a lot to think about.
Harry was still thinking of the events of the day before as he weeded the garden and trimmed the lawn the next morning. The things he'd heard from both Aunt Petunia and Mr. Mann made him consider his own actions. He'd lost his parents and Sirius and stood to lose more of his family and friends in the conflict with Voldemort. He had thought of trying to push them away for their own safety, not that Hermione, for one, would let him but he certainly didn't want to become cold and cruel like his Aunt.
He would have to give them the choice of staying with him. It wouldn't do to treat his friends like Dumbledore had treated him; making decisions for him with out telling him the things he needed to know. Once that decision was made, Harry felt much better.
At noon after a quick lunch Harry headed off to the shop. Mr. Mann locked up the shop and took Harry out the back to a white panel truck with One Man's Treasures painted across the side.
"We'll take a drive to where we can practice, lad," said Mr. Mann. Then with a sideways look he asked, "Do you know how to drive?"
Harry shook his head and Mann started to explain the various elements of driving the truck. They drove out of town several miles and then turned off the main road onto a dirt lane bordered by hedgerows; at the end of the lane stood a vacant house. Mr. Mann parked the tuck and motioned Harry out.
Harry spent sometime going from one side of the hedgerow to the other to get the feel of Apparating to a target he couldn't see. After a while Mr. Mann told him to take a break and put him in the driver's seat of the truck. They took several turns around the winding drive to let Harry get the feel and then Mann took them back out to the road and drove into Greater Whining.
They pulled up in front of a non descript building and Mr. Mann handed Harry a ball style cap that said One Mann's Treasures on it to hide his scar.
Inside the building Harry discovered it was a wizarding library. Mr. Mann led him off to one side of the entrance hall.
"Lad, look here at the floor. This is the Apparition point for the library. All the wizarding libraries in Britain have the same pattern in the Apparition area. Now look here on the wall."
The wall had a sign, 'Greater Whining Library' with a picture of a book and crossed quills under it.
"Every library has a sign just like this one at the Apparition point. What I want you to do is concentrate on the floor pattern and the sign saying 'London Library'; remember to step aside when you get there. I'll be right behind you. If you don't make it there come back here."
"Yes sir," said Harry and he concentrated.
From the London library they went to the small, walled courtyard behind the Leaky Cauldron; then back to the Greater Whinging library. Harry was elated with his success and Mr. Mann told him he was a natural and should have no problems with the test whenever he took it.
They drove back to the shop and Mr. Mann gave Harry a driving manual to study and promised to let him drive again.
"Sir, I'm not old enough to drive so why are you teaching me?" asked Harry.
"Well lad, what the muggles don't know won't hurt 'em and driving is a skill all boys need. You can get a license from the goblins for a small fee that will look legal but I want you to know what you're doing so no one gets hurt, understand?" said Mr. Mann with a grin.
Harry got home just in time to help Aunt Petunia with dinner.
Vernon was complaining about someone from work when Petunia made her announcement.
"I've invited guests for Sunday dinner, Vernon," she said.
"Oh, who?" he asked.
"The Grangers, their daughter goes to Harry's school,"
Dudley's fork clattered to his plate and Harry nearly got whiplash turning to see Vernon's reaction. Vernon's normally florid face paled and his moustache quivered.
"F..freaks for dinner, Pet, is that wise?" asked Vernon clearly shocked.
"They aren't freaks Vernon they are dentists," Petunia said very calmly.
"B...but, Pet, the girl is?" objected Vernon.
"I want to meet these people, Vernon. Are you trying to tell me that I can't have guests?" she said sharply.
"Of course not," said Vernon, "but-"
"Dentists use drills, Vernon, I'm sure you can find something to talk about."
Vernon started to shake his head, "Not the same thing at all, Pet dear."
Vernon Dursley," Petunia raised her voice, "I played hostess and smiled and made nice to your clients for fifteen years you can be polite to my guests for two hours on Sunday," she turned to Dudley, "That goes for you, too, Dudley."
Then Petunia stormed out of the room. Leaving Vernon to stare after her and Harry and Dudley to stare at each other.
"Dad?" said Dudley.
"Yes Dudley," said Vernon somewhat absently.
"Has Mum gone mad?" asked Dudley.
Vernon looked at Dudley and Harry and shook his head.
"No, Dudley, your Mum's not gone mad, it's just - well, there are certain facts of life that both you boys need to know," started Vernon.
Dudley and Harry both looked horrified at what might be coming.
"Women," Vernon continued ignoring the looks between Harry and Dudley, "take notions. If you want to keep the woman in your life happy then you have to indulge her notions. If you're lucky they don't happen often but when they do, well -" he shook his head again. "I need a drink."
Vernon pushed away from the table and went into the lounge.
Dudley eyed Harry for a moment. "So, cousin, this girl? Who is she?"
"Her name is Hermione, I can't believe your Mum invited them here," said Harry still in shock.
Dudley snorted, "It's not the one with the pink hair from the station is it?"
"No, she has brown hair," said Harry making a sort of vague motion with his hand.
"The one that hugged you? She's not bad looking." Dudley grinned, "So you're shagging her?"
"What? NO!" yelped Harry.
"To bad, 'cause Mum thinks you are, that's the only reason she'd invite her and her parents for dinner; say, do you think Dad's going to finish his dinner?"
Harry merely stared at Dudley in horror and watched him pull Vernon's plate over and finish off the roast.
When Harry's brain finally started working again he could only hope that Voldemort would attack and kill him before Sunday because there was no way this would end well.