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: I don't own Harry Potter
AN: Special thanks to Evan for his wonderful editing.
Harry called Hermione the next day while Aunt Petunia was out of the house.
"Hello, Hermione, how are you?" he asked.
"I'm fine Harry, how are you doing?" said Hermione.
"Erm, I'm good. Did you know you were coming here for dinner Sunday?" he asked.
"Oh, yes; I'm so excited. I couldn't believe it when your Aunt asked to speak to my Mother and then invited us over. I'm looking forward to seeing you. I've missed you Harry," she said excitedly.
"Yeah, about that, do you really think it's a good idea for your parent to come here? I mean I'm getting along better with Aunt Petunia but-"
"Harry, honestly, I'd think that you would be glad to have her finally taking an interest in your life," said Hermione with some exasperation. "Or are you ashamed of me?"
Harry sputtered, "No of course I'm not ashamed of you; you're my best friend. How could you think that?"
"Well, it sounds as if you don't want me there," Harry couldn't tell if she was teasing him or not.
"I afraid of what my Uncle might do and say, Hermione; he might insult your parents and they might decide to make you stop being my friend," said Harry softly.
"Harry that isn't going to happen. No matter what your Aunt and Uncle do or don't do, my parents will understand; they want to meet you, Harry. You will always be my friend."
"Ok, I guess I'll see you Sunday, then," said Harry. "If we get a chance to talk, just the two of us it would be a good thing."
"I'll see what I can do," promised Hermione and they said their goodbyes.
Aunt Petunia refused to discuss Hermione or the upcoming visit with either Harry or Vernon. Vernon kept giving Harry odd sidelong looks, but said nothing, and Dudley took to smirking and making kissy faces at Harry whenever his mother wasn't looking.
On Saturday Harry was looking forward to a day away from Privet Drive. Mr. Mann closed the shop for the day and they took the truck to the sale. The auction was to start at 11am and Mr. Mann wanted to browse before.
Harry wandered down the rows of household goods set out on the lawn of the old house. He briefly wondered just how all of this stuff had fit in to that house. He knew it wasn't magic as this was a muggle auction. However a wooden chest and two crates of books at one end caught his attention. Both the chest and the two crates of books were emitting a magical residue. He took note of the lot number and that the chest was locked and there didn't appear to be a key. Harry pulled his cap further over his brow and looked around for Mr. Mann.
He saw him across the yard and went in that direction. However as he was rounding the end of a long table displaying dishware he was nearly run over by a short blonde boy. They crashed together and only a stroke of luck kept them from crashing into the table of crockery.
"Blimey I'm sorry I wasn't watching-Harry?" said the boy, who Harry now recognized as Dennis Creevey. Dennis opened his mouth to yell and Harry covered his mouth with his hand.
"Hush, Dennis, I'm in disguise," said Harry.
Dennis's eyes grew very round and he whispered, "Harry is there going to be an attack? Are you here to save us?"
Harry shook his head and chuckled, "No, there's no attack I just don't want the attention that being recognized by wizards might bring. I'm here with a friend for the auction."
Dennis, you need to be more careful," came a voice from above them.
Dennis bounced to his feet and held out a hand to Harry. As Harry got to his feet Dennis said, "Dad, I like you to meet Harry Potter. Harry, this is my Dad."
"Pleased to meet you, sir, Colin and Dennis are some really great kids," said Harry thinking to himself that a least Dennis kept his voice down.
Dennis's Dad looked surprised and then smiled, "I'm glad to meet one of my boy's friends, I've heard a lot about you. I'm not quite sure that I believe it all though."
Harry grinned, "That's probably a wise idea, I'm sure that they've exaggerated."
"So Harry, what brings you to our sale?" asked Mr. Creevey.
"Oh I'm here with a friend," he pointed to Mr. Mann, "to help load the truck if he buys stuff."
"Summer job?" asked Mr. Creevey.
Harry nodded, "Yes sir, you might say that. Did you say that this is your sale, sir?"
"Oh, yes. This was my Great Aunt's house; she passed away several months ago and we've finally gotten through all of her things and organized for the sale," he said.
"I'm sorry for your loss, sir, Dennis," said Harry.
"Thank you, she had been ill for sometime."
"Er, did you realize that you had some magical items here?" asked Harry.
Dennis and his dad both looked very surprised. "We do?" asked Dennis.
Harry grimaced, "I probably shouldn't have said anything as Mr. Mann is a wizard and would have gotten the lot cheap but I thought you might want to know. There's a locked chest and a couple of crates of books that give off a magical residue."
"Dad," Colin interrupted, "the fish and chips vendor is here where do you want him to set up?"
"Just a minute Colin I'm talking to your friend here," said Mr. Creevey.
Colin looked at Harry and his mouth dropped open, then he drew in a breath just as Dennis clapped a hand over his mouth.
"Quiet Colin, Harry's in disguise. He says there's some magic stuff here. Show us where Harry?"
Harry led the three over to the chest and crates. As Harry pointed them out Mr. Creevey suddenly stopped and said, "Oh, I have to take care of the vendor." He walked away.
"Dad, wait," called Colin.
"Don't bother, there's some sort of anti muggle charm on this stuff. Is there some place I can take a look at this stuff where no one will see?" said Harry.
The three boys carried the three boxes in Lot number 78 to the shed behind the house where Harry was able to use his secondary wand to decipher the magic on the items. Both Colin and Dennis were impressed with the detection spells and watched carefully.
The books in the crates were all magical texts and the crates themselves had the distraction charm on them. Harry dispelled the charm. The chest was three foot by two foot and three feet deep and a dark mahogany wood. A simple Alohomora opened it. Inside was several robes, a heavy winter cloak, a pair of dragonhide boots, a box of letters on heavy parchment, a dark wand and a silver dagger in matching sheaths, a small box with a set of rings and in another small box a gold Order of Merlin medallion.
Harry sat back on his heels, "So Colin was your Dad's Aunt magical?"
Colin shook his head, "If she was we didn't know."
"Well you have a mystery then, the letters may give you some answers. Do you want to keep this stuff or should I have Mr. Mann bid on it?" asked Harry.
Colin and Dennis exchanged a look and Colin answered, "We'll keep it, Harry, I want to find out if the wizard who owned this, who earned this," he clutched the Order of Merlin, "is related to us."
Harry nodded, "I understand."
Harry helped them cart the things to their dad's vehicle and stow them in the boot. Colin went off to let his Dad know to withdraw lot 78.
When the sale was over Colin and Dennis helped Harry load Mr. Mann's truck and Harry introduced them to him and told him about the chest. Mr. Mann told them that the library would have a list of Order of Merlin winners and the reason they were awarded.
Mann and Harry stopped at a pub for dinner on the way back to Little Whinging and then Mann dropped Harry off at the end of Privet Drive.
Sunday morning dawned bright and sunny, it looked to be a beautiful day; Harry Potter rose with a feeling of doom. Hermione Granger and her parents were going to meet the Dursley's and have dinner with them.
Dudley made himself scarce after lunch and Harry helped his Aunt as she bustled around, cleaning things that were already clean and cooking the huge dinner. Vernon sat in his chair and glowered for part of the time but, when he loitered too near the liquor cabinet for Petunia's liking, she sent him out to polish his car and tidy the garage. He looked rather cowed and Harry had to run to the loo and hide in order not to laugh at his Uncle.
Finally it came time and the Granger's arrived, Harry greeted them and they settled into the lounge to make small talk.
Before he knew it, he and Hermione had been banished to the garden so the adults could get to know each other.
As they sat down on the lawn glider together Hermione spoke, "You look good Harry, how are you doing?"
Harry grinned, "You look pretty good too, Hermione, I'm doing all right mostly," his expression turned serious, "I still have bad days when I feel bad about Sirius and worry that you and Ron are in danger because of me and that I should try to get you to not hang around with me."
"Harry, nothing you could do will make me abandon you. I'd be in danger anyways even if I wasn't friends with you, and you know that, don't you?" said Hermione.
"Yes, I know that, but I can't help how I feel sometimes. There is something you need to know too," said Harry softly.
She lay one hand on his arm, "Tell me, Harry," she whispered.
"It's about the prophecy," he said, looking away from her.
"Dumbledore knew it and told you didn't he? What ever it is we can deal with it, Harry. Prophecies aren't set in stone; they can be interpreted in different ways. Most come true because people believe in them and don't try finding a different meaning," said Hermione in a rush clutching his arm.
Harry looked at her in surprise, "How did you know that?"
She almost shrieked, "Tell me it doesn't say you have to die, before I kill you Harry!"
His jaw dropped and then he snorted with laughter, she gripped his arm so hard Harry knew he'd have a bruise and he could hear her teeth grinding.
"Harry," she growled.
He held up a hand, "It says I have to kill him or he will kill me. I'll tell you the whole thing if you promise not to tell anyone. You can analyze it all you want but what I need is to know how to kill him. I would understand if you don't want to be friends-"
She smacked the back of his head and made him stop talking and then grabbed him around the neck and cried, "I was so worried, Harry, I thought it might say you had to die."
Harry patted her back and hugged her tight. He had a stray thought that it would be very nice if only she wasn't crying. He pushed the thought from his head and hoped Aunt Petunia didn't look out the window.
Hermione had seemed to stop crying but hadn't let him go either; he noticed that her breath on his neck tickled in a way he couldn't explain. He was just about to say something when he heard a snicker behind him.
"You should be glad Mum sent me out here to call you to dinner instead of coming herself," said Dudley.
Hermione pulled away and Harry said, "Shut it, Dudley."
"That's not very nice, cousin, aren't you going to introduce me? Or should I go back in and tell everyone you're snogging in the garden?" said Dudley.
Hermione had pulled a handkerchief out and wiped her face then turned to Dudley, "Oh, please do, I'd like to see how upset your Mum might get if you embarrass my parents and I," she said sweetly.
Dudley paled and replied, "Never mind, you are supposed to come in for dinner now." Then he turned and stomped into the house.
Harry helped Hermione out of the glider and she didn't let go of his hand as they headed in.
"How did you know that would work?" asked Harry.
Hermione rolled her eyes and grinned slightly, "Really, Harry, I've been calling here nearly every other day and chatting with your Aunt when you aren't home. I've heard all about your job, which you and I are going to talk about, and all about Dudley and those friends of his your Aunt is worried about."
She stepped into the dinning room and Harry couldn't ask the questions she'd brought to mind, just what had Hermione told his Aunt.
Dinner for Harry was a tense affair, Vernon and Mr. Granger, discussed politics and golf. Harry didn't know Uncle Vernon knew anything about golf, Petunia and Mrs. Granger discussed, cooking and gardening and the latest scandal in the gossip rags.
Then it happened, Harry knew it would sooner or later just as Aunt Petunia served the desert Dudley opened his mouth.
"So Hermione," said Dudley, "Harry never talks about your school, what can you tell me about it?" The all other conversation stilled, Harry peeked at Vernon whose mustache was beginning to quiver.
Hermione smiled a vicious little smile that terrified Harry and should have warned Dudley, "Well there's not really a lot to tell, it's a boarding school, and we have lessons and do a lot of studying. This was our OWL year of course which equates to your GCSE, I did really well, how did you do?"
Dudley gaped at Hermione, Harry knew this was a sore subject for Dudley who had told his parents that his scores had been delayed and he wondered how Hermione had known that.
Hermione's Mum broke in at that moment. "Petunia this cake is absolutely fabulous, you must give me the recipe."
Mr. Granger laughed and said, "That's our Hermione, she's always been so competitive with her marks."
Harry gulped and hoped he wouldn't throw up as Aunt Petunia smiled at Mrs. Granger and Vernon, after a huff or two, began to tell Mr. Granger about Dudley's boxing skills.
Hermione clutched his hand under the table and Dudley dug into his dessert after a scowl at Hermione.
After dinner, Mr. Granger and Vernon went out to look at the Granger's automobile, Dudley retreated to his room, and Petunia and Mrs. Granger went into the lounge with tea.
Hermione pulled Harry back out to the glider and forced him to tell her the prophecy and about Mr. Mann's shop.
"Hermione, what have you told my Aunt, you said you talked," asked Harry.
She smiled at him, "Why, are you worried?"
"Hermione, how much do your parents know about what you do at Hogwarts," hissed Harry.
"Now, Harry, no need to fight dirty. I haven't told her much, she asked me questions. Apparently the Headmaster has sent her letters about things at school and she never felt she could ask you. It's been very odd, you know, she wants to know about you but then acts like she didn't care in the first place. I think she's very conflicted, Harry," she said.
"Yeah, I know she's been strange all summer," he snickered, "Dudley asked Vernon if she was going mad."
"So, when are you leaving here?" asked Hermione changing the subject.
"I've accepted Neville's invitation to spend August with him and his Gran. Do you think Ron will be to upset?" said Harry.
"Oh, probably, but, Harry, that's his problem not yours. Has he even invited you?"
"Well, he says things like 'wish you could come here but Dumbledore says no'," complained Harry.
"He will just have to get over it then. If he was nicer to Neville, maybe he would have been invited there, too."
Hermione's Mum called that it was time to go, then. Harry walked her to the car and she reminded him to send Hedwig to pick up his birthday present.
After the Grangers left Harry cleaned up the dinning room and kitchen and went up to bed feeling much better about the visit.
Harry sat at the table finishing his breakfast after Vernon left for work. Petunia sat her teacup down and looked at Harry.
"Are you leaving the 1st?" she asked.
Harry who'd been in a bit of a daze startled and looked up, "Yes, Aunt Petunia, I plan to. Is that a problem?"
"No, I was just curious about your plans, the protections are good then?" she asked.
"Yes, nearly full strength," he replied.
"Have you gotten your grades yet?" she asked changing the subject.
"No, not yet, my school letter usually comes around my bir-er the end of the month but I'm not sure when the grades will come."
"I'd like to see them when they do," she said firmly.
"Yes Aunt Petunia," he agreed.
"What do you intend to do with the money you've made working?" she again changed the subject.
"I thought I'd get contacts."
"Hmm, if I buy you a mobile telephone, like Dudley's, can you use it to let me know how you are doing? Or I can call you if I need too?" she asked.
He goggled at her and then nodded his head, "I think so. Electronics don't work well around-umm but I think I can fix it so it will."
"Do you know what Dudley is doing?" she asked suddenly.
"Sleeping?" replied Harry a bit stupidly.
Her lips pursed and Harry realized his error. "Er, sorry no I don't see Dudley outside."
"He smelled funny when he came in the other night," she said.
Harry raised his eyebrows, "Well, cigarette smoke can-"
"Do not try to cover for him, I know what cigarette smoke smells like and what alcohol smells like; this was something else. I thought if you knew, never mind, I'm sure it was nothing."
She gave Harry an odd look and left the kitchen. Harry sat there thinking, 'she gets stranger and stranger.'
When Harry returned to his room later he had a flock of owls waiting for him. He wondered why he was so popular. He gave them water and treats and removed the letters. Most left but one stayed obviously waiting for a reply. He read that one first.
I have the potion to test for talents. Can I come by this afternoon? If so I'll meet you in your back garden at 2pm. If not let me know when would be good. Send back the owl either way, please.
Harry wrote back.
2 is good, see you then.
He fastened the note to the owl and it took off. Harry wasn't sure he wanted to know what talents he might have. He worried that there might be something to make him stand out even more.
I thought you might want to know, all of the Death Eaters captured at the Ministry have been sentenced to Azkaban, including Lucius Malfoy. The Headmaster managed to convince Amelia Bones that you and the other students shouldn't have to testify so you weren't summoned to the trials.
Dumbledore was looking for Sirius's will, when he checked with the goblins he discovered that it had already been read. I will try to convince Dumbledore to allow you to go to Gringotts to claim anything that Sirius has left for you. We have left Sirius's place as a new Head of Black has been named and Dumbledore doesn't think the place is safe.
I'd like a chance to meet with you again. Please let me know when a good time would be and I'll meet you at Arabella's
Harry chuckled at the thought of Dumbledore not being able to use Sirius's house anymore. It served him right and also explained why no one had told him about the will reading.
Harry had another letter from Ron complaining about the Cannons and telling him that once again Dumbledore has said that Harry couldn't come to the Burrow.
Harry wrote back with the now standard reply. That he understood and that he hoped the Cannons would do better soon.
When Tonks showed up in the back garden Harry was waiting for her. Her hair was back to pink and she briefly changed her nose to a pig snout for proof of her identity.
"Say, Tonks," asked Harry as he watched her lay out quill and parchment, "if someone took your hair and polyjuiced as you could they morph too?"
She shook her head, "It takes practice to learn how even if the ability is inborn. They wouldn't be able to control it without a lot of practice."
"But with practice it could be done," argued Harry.
She shrugged this time and said, "Well to get enough time they'd have to shave me bald, I think I'd notice."
Harry laughed, "Ok, how does this work and just what are talents?"
"Well, we'll use a bit of your blood mixed with this potion to soak this special quill in. Then we set a spell on it and it will list any talents or gifts on the parchment. This is an old pureblood ritual. The Ministry frowns on any kind of blood magic but can't actually ban it. The potion is quite expensive and hard to get so only the oldest and richest families use it any more," she said.
"Do you need money for the potion then?" he asked.
"Gods no, Harry, I could have paid for it myself what with the all the money in that shiny new trust you set up for me, but I mentioned it to Mum and she told Bonecracker who provided Black funds for the potion and quill."
"Oh, so I paid for it," said Harry, "okay. What kinds of talents are there?"
"Oh all sorts of things, Metamorph, Animagus, Beast speech, Healing, Elemental affinities, Mage sight, and the mental abilities like Empathy, Legilimency, and Mind Shields; those are the most common and there are a lot of others I'm sure."
"Wouldn't I already know if I have something like that?" asked Harry amazed with the list.
"Well, no, not necessarily; all this test will do is reveal what abilities you have that you can develop. Like the Metamorph ability, if you have it, will still take a lot of hard work to develop into a usable skill. I have a really strong talent and it manifested in changes to my appearance based on my emotions. I had to work at conscious control."
"But wouldn't Parseltongue be a talent, I can just do it. I didn't need any training," protested Harry.
"Ok say something in Parseltongue," said Tonks.
"Well I need to see a snake to speak it," said Harry, frowning.
"That proves what I'm saying, it's a talent, with practice you should be able to train yourself to speak it without a snake present," said Tonks smugly.
"Ah, ok, I understand. So what do I have to do?"
"Take the quill and prick your finger. Allow four drops of blood to fall into the potion," she said handing him the quill and uncorking the small vial of inky looking potion.
Harry did that and then stuck the wounded digit into his mouth. Tonks recapped the vial and shook it for a moment.
"Now place the quill, nib down into the vial."
They watched as the quill absorbed the entire potion.
"Now hold the quill to the parchment as if you were going to write," said Tonks and she cast a silent spell on the quill.
It shook itself free of Harry's hand and began to write on the parchment. Harry watched for a moment and shook his head.
"That's brilliant, Tonks thanks for helping me. How long does it take?"
She shrugged and recapped the empty vial and replaced it in her pocket.
They watched the quill write for a short time until it stopped and fell over.
"Well aren't you going to read it?" asked Tonks when Harry made no move to pull the parchment closer.
Harry gave her a sickly grin and said, "I'm a little afraid of what I might find, what if I'm a slug animagus, or have completely useless talent or worse yet something so rare it will make me even more of a freak?"
"You mean rarer than Parseltongue and the ability to live through a killing curse? Or something like deadly flatulence?" she asked with a snicker.
He groaned and pulled the parchment over.
Harry James Potter Black
Mage Sense 85
Elemental Affinity/Air 10
He read the list and handed it to Tonks.
"So what do the numbers mean?" asked Harry.
"The numbers are percentages, the amount of the ability. Not bad at all. This shows you can become an Animagus, which is the active use of the Animorph ability, you already know about Parseltongue; with Mage sense you should be able to detect active magic nearby and possibly figure out what spells are being used with out hearing the incantations, maybe even sense wards and the like."
"Would feeling a tingle going through the barrier on 9 and 3/4 be mage sense?" asked Harry.
"Yes, it would, I'll see if I can find you books on your various talents. Hmm, you know what Legilimency is and it goes hand in hand with Empathy, which is sensing emotions. You might be sensitive to animals as well. 50 percent Metamorph means you can probably learn to change your hair, eyes and skin tone but not bones or musculature."
"Do you think I can get rid of the scar?" asked Harry.
"I don't know, Harry it can be goal but it's a curse scar so you shouldn't feel bad if you can't," she said.
"Figures," he said with a sigh.
"Ok, what else? Healing may be that you heal faster, or that you can use healing spells on yourself and/or others easier and with less magical drain once you learn them. I'll pick you up a book on healing spells as well. Air affinity might explain why you are so good on a broom. So nothing too horrifying there, most of this if pretty commonplace the Metamorph is rare like the Parseltongue. Animorph takes a lot of hard work."
Harry laughed with relief, "Yeah, well, I think I want to be a animagus eventually, you know, and even a bit of disguise could help. Thanks Tonks."
"So, are you going to tell me about this girl who's been calling all summer? Is it someone I know or a muggle girl?" asked Tonks wiggling her eyebrows suggestively.
"Merlin no, there is no way I'm telling you," said Harry.
"I could ask your Aunt," Tonks teased.
"Don't you dare," yelled Harry. Tonks abruptly sat up straight with a hiss.
"Merlin, that's odd," she said.
"What?" asked Harry.
"You gave me an order and it tingled. It has to be the oath. I was just teasing you, Harry; I won't try to cause trouble with your Aunt. I think I'll ask Mum about this if you don't mind?" said Tonks.
"Ok, let me know what you find out. You're alright aren't you?" asked Harry.
"Yes, it didn't hurt more like a warning that I was pushing the boundaries or something. I guess I should go. If you don't want others to know about your abilities you should put the parchment away someplace safe."
"Sure thing, when do you think you'll have the books?"
"I'll go tomorrow morning. I don't have to work," she said.
"Do you need money or will Bonecracker give you some?" he asked.
She hesitated for a moment. "You can give me access to the family money. Mum told me. You just have to touch my member ring," she held up her right hand showing the small sliver ring with black B on the index finger, "with your ring and grant me permission to purchase items in your name. You'll get a summary of any thing I buy for you in the family ledger."
"Brilliant, give me your hand. I, Harry James Potter, Head of the Black Family grant permission to Nymphadora Tonks to use the Black monies to purchase items in my name."
Tonks's ring flared for a moment and they grinned at each other then said their good byes.
The next morning he got a note and books from Tonks:
I talked to Mum she said she'd like a chance to meet with you to explain some of the family stuff. I can escort you if you like. You probably don't want to invite her to your Aunts.
I have enclosed my books from when I was learning to control my abilities. If I'd really thought about it I would have brought them with me yesterday. I'll be trying to find the others this morning and will send a package this afternoon with whatever I find.
Let me know if you want to meet my Mum.
As he was beginning to read the first book, it had a post it note stuck to the front reading 'read me first' another owl flew in his window.
My Lord Black,
Nymphadora has informed me of the problem she encountered recently. I would suggest a meeting where I can tell you what I know of the position you now find yourself in. I would be honored if you would visit me in my home sometime in the next few days. Please let me know when is convenient for you. Nymphadora has offered to escort you.
Harry wrote back offering to come in the afternoon whatever day Tonks was available to bring him.
A second package of books came in the late afternoon. He was sorting through them when Aunt Petunia knocked on his door. She opened it with out waiting for an answer and dropped a package on his bed.
"Don't mention this to Dudley or Vernon," she said.
Harry unwrapped the package and found the newest model of mobile phone complete with instruction booklet and a years paid subscription. 'Mental,' he thought, 'she's just plain mental.'
Tonks' next note came before breakfast the next morning.
Will pick you up 1pm today, Mum wants to feed you, be warned.
Harry grimaced what was it with women wanting to feed him. He'd wanted to take his new phone to Mann's shop to take apart and rework it to use magic but realized he wouldn't have time. After Vernon left he spoke to his Aunt.
"Aunt Petunia, Tonks is coming around at 1 to take me out for the afternoon," he said.
"When will you be back?" she asked.
"I'm not sure I'll ask Tonks when she gets here."
"Well leave me a note, I have garden club this afternoon and won't be here when she picks you up. She won't be coming through the fireplace will she?" she asked suspiciously.
"No ma'am, I don't think so," answered Harry.
Harry did the dishes and tidied the garden then got cleaned up and sat down with one of his new books.
At 1 Tonks rang the bell.
"Wotcher Harry you ready?"
"Sure, do you know when I'll be back? I'm supposed to leave a note for Aunt Petunia," asked Harry.
"I think I can have you back by 5pm," Tonks said.
Harry dashed off the note and put it up on the refrigerator.
"Do I need robes or is muggle dress ok?" he then asked.
"Muggle is good; Mum and Dad live in a muggle neighborhood. Have you learned how to Apparate to coordinates?"
"I know the theory but I haven't actually done it yet," he told her.
"Well then you'll learn something won't you?" she said with a grin.
She did a quick overview to make sure he knew what he was doing and then gave him the coordinates. They appeared in the back garden in a secluded spot between a fence and a shed. She led him into the house.
Mum, we're here," called Tonks.
Andromeda hurried from the kitchen.
"My Lord Black," she said with a deep curtsy, "welcome to my home."
Harry blushed and said, "Please Mrs. Tonks, just call me Harry."
She smiled and said, "Then you may call me Andy, Harry. Come into the kitchen we'll have tea and talk about what it means to be Lord Black."
They settled around the table and Andromeda asked, "Do you have questions or should I start?"
"You start and I'll jump in when I need too," said Harry.
"I take it no one has ever discussed the duties of Head of a Family with you?"
Harry shook his head, "Never."
"Very well, traditionally, the Head of a Family sets the direction of the Family, politically, socially, and economically. As Head you have the power to direct the members as you see fit, you are responsible for managing the estate, for increasing the Family fortunes. You can negotiate marriage contracts for underage males or unmarried females and make political alliances."
"Err- what does that mean?" asked Harry worriedly.
Andromeda smiled and said, "It's not as bad as it sounds, Harry. Most importantly you need to manage the financial aspects of the Black estate to pay the trusts of the family members. Every other aspect depends on the money available to you.
"Politically as the Head of two families you can lobby for a seat on the Wizengamot either for yourself or a family member. You may be able to claim a place on the Hogwarts Board of Governors. The Minister and others may attempt to convince you to support them in the next elections.
"As far as marriage contracts go, I must first say that I don't agree with that tradition," she chuckled and Harry grinned, "When the news gets out that you are the Head of Black, you may receive marriage offers for yourself and Nymphadora. You could conceivably receive an offer for Patrice Witherspoon although as a widow she should be allowed to accept or reject offers for herself."
"I don't want to get married, Harry," said Tonks.
"Me neither," said Harry.
Andromeda said, "As Head you may reject those offers of course."
Harry's brow furrowed and he asked, "What about Malfoy and Neville?"
"They are both Heirs to Families in their own rights and so the rules are a little different. If you were to receive an offer you would be obligated to bring it before the other family Head. I know that Draco Malfoy already has a contract. As for young Neville, I imagine that his grandmother is acting as Head for his father."
"What does that mean? Acting as Head?" asked Harry.
"Well you know that Neville's father, Frank, is in St Mungos and has been for a long time?"
Harry nodded his head.
"Frank's grandmother on his father's side was a Black. Frank's father passed away about seven years ago. So the Longbottom Family is with out a Head at this time as Frank isn't able to make the claim. Augusta is probably managing the estate until Neville comes of age and can make the claim. She probably can't sign a marriage contract though," said Andromeda thoughtfully.
"Well, if I receive any offers I'll just discuss them with that person. I intend to marry for love, like my mum and dad," said Harry with finality.
"I can understand that Harry," said Andromeda.
"What about the tingle Tonks got when I yelled at her?" asked Harry.
"Yes, by swearing the oath to you, family members are bound to obey your direct orders," said Andromeda.
Harry looked aghast, "I don't think I like that," he said.
"Then don't give orders, make suggestions. Your emotions will make a difference as well; it's the reason Narcissa didn't swear to you, only to the family. Oh, family members can still disobey but there is a price, usually discomfort for a period of time, so don't let it worry you too much."
"I think I understand, but I still don't think I like it. Next question; Neville's oath was different and his Gran seemed worried about it, why?" asked Harry.
"Neville is a brave boy, he was publicly committing the Longbottom Family, such as it is, to support you in your endeavors," she hesitated for a moment then, "Harry is it your intention to go against You-Know-Who?"
"Mum," protested Tonks.
"Yes," said Harry overriding Tonks, "I'd appreciate it if this didn't go any further but there is a prophecy about Voldemort and myself; one of us has to kill the other. I intend for it to be him that dies."
"Have you thought about naming an Heir?" she asked softly.
"Mum!" Tonks practically shrieked.
"I have," said Harry calmly.
Andromeda nodded her head and said formally, "My Lord Black, if there is anything I can do to aid your quest to destroy that mad man asked it and I will do it."
"Thank you," responded Harry while Tonks just stared at her mother.
They spent the rest of the afternoon discussing just how Harry was related to the remaining Black Family. Andromeda mentioned that the house where Sirius grew up had belonged to his mother's father, not to Arcturus Black, and told him where Arcturus' house was. He would need to check with the goblins for a key but there might be important items left there. Harry learned some of the old family gossip and they also discussed the political situation and what kinds of things might be asked of him once he revealed that he had claimed both Families.
When Tonks escorted Harry back to Privet Drive, Harry asked her a question.
"Say Tonks, do you think Dumbledore would find out if I went to the Ministry for my Apparition license?"
"I don't see how unless he's standing in the lobby when you go in. Do you want me to take you? Maybe day after tomorrow; I can make the appointment for you tomorrow. I know one of the testers; I bet he'd keep it quiet if I asked," she said.
"That would be brilliant, Tonks, if you don't mind?"
"I wouldn't have suggested it if I did. 10am all right?"
"Works for me, see you then," said Harry.
Tonks waved and started off back down the street.
That evening Harry sat down and planned out the rest of his time at Privet Drive. He needed to convert the mobile phone, order his contacts, take the test at the Ministry, possibly have another visit with Remus and hopefully his test scores and letter would come soon. There were after all only a handful of days until his birthday left and the day after that he would go to Neville's for the rest of the summer.