Harry confronts Justin, What happened with Remus is revealed, A night out, The Train ride home for Christmas, a dear john note, and Christmas at the Grangers.
Harry Potter and the Marriage Contracts.
Chapter Ten – Changes
December 1, 1997
Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry
The Muggle born Seventh year Hufflepuff looked up from the book he was reading. “Hello Harry.”
“How’s it going?” The raven haired Gryffindor sat down next to him.
Finch-Fletchly had been expecting this. Hermione’s relationship with Potter was well known. “I’m good.” He said placing a bookmark in his book, closing it and putting it into his book bag.
“So,” Harry said. “Dating Hermione?”
“Yes. You know I am.” He grinned at the guy who taught him to defend himself magically. “Is this the threatening the evil new potential boy friend talk?”
Harry ran his hand through his hair. “Am I that predictable?”
“I’ve got a kid sister mate. I did what you’re doing over the summer, and we aren’t nearly as close as you and Hermione.” His smile got broader. “Harry, I’m not pushing Hermione to do anything she doesn’t want to do. Not that it’s really any of your business, but we haven’t done much more than go for walks, talk and kiss. I don’t know where we’re going, but I’m looking forward to finding out.”
“Right.” Harry said uncomfortably. “So, you’re sufficiently threatened then?”
“It will hold me until her father does the proper job.”
“Good… “the raven haired Gryffindor hesitated. “Justin, all joking aside. Ron hurt Hermione badly. She means everything to me, you know? She means enough that the prospect of spending a few dozen decades in Azkaban wouldn’t stop me from doing some horrible things to the next guy that hurts her. I know you’re a good guy, I’ve asked around, but still…”
“I understand Harry, I do. Don’t worry; I won’t hurt her if I can help it.”
Harry nodded. “So, do you and Hermione have plans for this weekend?”
“Not really, we’re going out for a bit, she’s got Ernie holding down the fort. Dumbledore insists that at least one of them be available at all times. Not sure what we’ll be doing.”
“Well, see, I’ve got a couple of spare tickets to the U2 concert at Wembley for Saturday.”
“You’ve got extras? That show sold out in about 20 minutes, where did you get tickets?”
“I uh… I sort of own a chunk of their production company. The Goblins like to keep the portfolios they manage very diversified, or so they tell me. I asked, and a few minutes later I had 10 tickets. Want a couple for you and Hermione?”
“Bloody hell yes!”
“It will be Daphne and me, Tracey Davis, Neville and Hannah, and you two. I’m planning on spending the night at my home, and offer that as an alternative to coming back to the school to anyone who wants it.”
“I’ll ask Hermione.”
December 24, 1996
Neville spent the day sitting next to Harry as the Goblin Healer used a mixture of Goblin runes, Potions and an odd lying of hands to remove the layered Obliviations. It was evidently a painful process. Neville was repeatedly horrified at what Harry was going through.
Even after the Goblins were done, Harry lay shivering on the cot that had been provided to him. Watching his friend’s face as Harry integrated the freshly unblocked memories Neville found himself becoming more and more concerned. Slowly Harry’s expression shifted from pained, to confused, to surprised, to very angry. Neville found himself feeling very sorry for who ever that anger might be directed at.
Harry sat up. “Nev, you’d best get home. Your Gran will be going spare”
“I don’t care about some stupid Ministry function Harry.”
“But your Gran does Nev. I’m not going to be ready to talk about this for a day or two. Go, have fun. There will be girls there, just remember, you’re Longbottom of Longbottom.”
“No one cares about that Harry.”
“Sure they do. Get going. I’ll make sure the Secret Keeper shares the location of… that place, with you.”
“Go on Nev,” Harry said. “Go have a good time. I’ll see you Boxing Day, Ok?”
December 6, 1997
The seven students arrived in the foyer of Harry’s home, their ears still ringing from the amplifiers.
“That was a great concert!” Justin said loudly. “Thanks for setting all this up Harry.”
“So that’s a famous band in the Muggle world?” Daphne asked. “After I got used to the differences, I quite liked it.”
“Oh, yeah. U2 is huge” Harry said, leading everyone into the sitting room. “They’ve been around for a few years, and keep getting more popular… you saw the crowds.”
“Well, they certainly were loud.” Neville said sitting on one of the sofas.
Dobby popped into the room “Welcome home Harry Potter Sir.”
“Thank you Dobby. Could you bring in some drinks and light snacks please?”
“Of course Harry Potter Sir. Dobby and Winky have snacks ready for Harry Potter Sir and his friends.” The elf popped away.
“Dobby and Winky are not slaves Hermione.” Hannah said.
“They’re the highest paid House Elves in the World.” Daphne added.
Dobby and Winky appeared in the sitting room with drinks and a tray of snack foods. “Winky ashamed to be paid. Harry Potter Sir should bond elves. Make honest elves of Dobby and Winky.” Winky muttered.
“Ah, such excellent service. Thank you Dobby. Thank you Winky.” Harry said smiling broadly. “Service of this quality should be rewarded… Time for raises I think.”
“No!” Winky was aghast. “Winky work slower Harry Potter Sir, Winky take breaks. Please do not give Winky more money.”
“Just a joke Winky, you and Dobby are the best elves in the world.” Harry took his employee’s hand. “Never forget how much I need your help.”
Winky nodded, and then popped away.
“Bloody hell Harry.” Justin snagged a bottle of butterbeer. “I’ve never seen anyone get along with house elves as well as you do. Even after seven years, they frighten me a bit.”
“We get along with our elves.” Tracey sniffed.
“I’m sure you do.” The Muggle born Hufflepuff said. “I’ve been in several old line Pureblood homes and seen how the elves bonded to those families are treated, but Harry’s different. Take the Bones family for example. It was at the Bones home the summer after first year I met my first elf. The Bones’ are polite to their bonded elves, asking for things and saying thank you when they get them, but really, the elves are like animated furniture. If they aren’t be addressed, they’re pretty much ignored. It was like that at every one of the families with elves I’ve seen. Harry treats the elves that work for him like… well people I guess.”
“They are people.” Harry said. “Just a different kind of people.”
“Is this one of those ‘Muggles are more civilized’ things?” Tracey asked.
“Good lord no.” Justin shook his head. “My parents treat our domestics the same way… So did I for that matter, before I noticed that a lot of the Purebloods thought of me that way.”
“Domestics?” Tracey was confused. “I don’t know that term.”
“Domestic Servants. People who clean and work around the house.” Justin explained.
“You use actual humans for servants?” Tracey asked incredulously.
“Exposure to Harry and Hermione caused me to reconsider how I treated the Longbottom elves as well.” Neville admitted.
“Neville was the first one to join S.P.E.W. after Harry and Ron.” Hermione said proudly. “He never wore his badge though.”
“Hermione, I joined because you were dead scary.”
“Same reason Ron and I joined mate.” Harry said.
The group fell into laughter at the look on Hermione’s face.
An hour later Daphne emerged from the bath in the room that she and Tracey shared. She found Tracey looking at her in an amused way.
“I’m going to spend the night alone here aren’t I?”
Daphne smiled. “Am I that transparent?” Her smile took on an evil tone. “If you’d like, you could come with me.”
“I suspect that if we both showed up in Potter’s bed, the shock would kill him completely dead.” Tracey laughed. “That would almost be worth it.”
“It’s not like I’ll have many chances over the holidays…”
Her friend laughed. “Yeah I suspect your father might have a few words to say about that since Harry turned down his contract, even turning down his ‘special’ clause that would allow him to bed you… then sleeping with you anyway. Go on, get out of here… And if you’re too noisy, I’ll come in there with a bucket of water!”
Justin emerged from the bath in his room to find Hermione sitting on his bed. She was clad in the blue t-shirt and slacks outfit she had worn to the concert. Her shoes were off, in their place were a pair of white bunny slippers. His mouth went very dry.
“Hermione, what are you doing here?”
“Enjoying the view.” She said with a smirk at his boxers and t-shirt. “Seriously, I wanted to talk about us.”
“Ok.” He wasn’t going to flinch just because he was in his skivvies and she was fully clothed on his bed. He crossed the room and sat on the bed, leaning against the headboard. “We’ve been going out for a little more than three weeks now, I don’t know if there is an ‘us’ yet, we’re still Hermione and Justin.”
“And I appreciate your take it slow approach, Justin. Really I do. I just wanted to know where you wanted to go if and when there is an ‘us’.”
“I don’t know if I’d thought that far ahead Hermione. After we leave Hogwarts, I intend to attend Uni so that I can be in a position to assume my family responsibilities when the time comes. Having magic is wonderful, and I’ll never give it up, but my life is out in the Muggle world.”
Hermione nodded. “I will be going to University as well. I want to work in the Medical field, perhaps ultimately combining Muggle medicine with Healer skills…” she hesitated. “I love magic as well, but I’ve got a much clearer picture of the Wizarding world now than I did when I was eleven. I also believe my life will be in the Muggle world, with the Magical world being a place to visit, and perhaps learn from.”
Justin laughed. “You know when Hannah suggested that you and I were alike, I thought she was crazy. I mean plain boring Hufflepuff me, and the dangerous Gryffindor thrill seeker Hermione Granger. The only things we had in common was being Muggle Born and spending part of second year petrified.” Hermione moved to end up sitting next to him against the headboard. Justin sighed. “I like you Hermione, a lot. The last three weeks have been about the best I’ve had at Hogwarts, mostly because I’ve spent what time I could with you. Where are we going? I don’t know. But I look forward to finding out.”
“I think I’d like that as well Justin.” Hermione laid her head on his shoulder. “Would you like to come to my house for dinner Boxing Day?”
“Only if you’ll come to mine the next day.”
She dimpled. “Deal.”
“Good.” Justin paused. “I don’t know if I should tell you this, but I will. Harry tried to give me the ‘big brother’ speech about you.”
“The ‘big brother’ speech? What’s that?”
“Ah, it was intended to be a generalized ‘hurt her and they’ll never find your body’ threat. But Harry was, well, Harry. He couldn’t be seriously frightening unless he was totally pissed at me. As long as I don’t hurt you, I have nothing to worry about. It’s funny, this summer I made the same speech, almost word for word to my younger sister’s new boyfriend, one would think that a threat from Harry ‘I killed the Dark Lord, ask me how’ Potter, would have been just a little more intimidating…”
Hermione moved to straddle him, took his face in her hands and kissed him. “Don’t worry about Harry,” she said breathlessly after breaking the kiss. “Worry about what I might do.” And she kissed him again.
Justin just marveled at what she was doing to him, as he kissed her back for all he was worth.
“I’d best go.” She said gasping at the sensation of his hands on her body. “Before I can’t.”
Justin watched her walk from his bed to the door, staring opened mouthed at her retreating body. As the door closed behind her, he thought about Ron Weasley, the biggest idiot in the world who had cheated on her, simultaneously amazed at Weasley’s stupidity, and thankful that Weasley had wasted his chance, ensuring that Justin would get his own.
December 24, 1996
#12 Grimmauld Place:
Standing on the street Harry looked up at the houses he stood in front of. The tall man standing next to him handed Harry a slip of paper. Harry unfolded the paper and read the message it held.
Harry Potter lives at #12 Grimmauld Place.
Following reading the note he looked up and watched the two buildings jump apart as #12 appeared as if from nowhere.
“Thank you Lojack.” Harry said. “Could you come in for a moment?”
“Certainly Vault Holder Potter.”
The pair entered the house, and the portrait of Sirius’ mother immediately took notice
“Half Blood Filth! How dare you defile my home bringing this cavern dwelling troglodyte?”
“I guess your glamour doesn’t fool her Lojack.”
“I believe you are correct Vault Holder.” The tall man removed a bracelet from his left wrist, and the tall man was revealed to be a short young Goblin. “Do you have a list of people you wish to be informed of your secret?”
“Yes, thank you. One second please.” Harry stepped to the center of the room. “Dobby!”
There was a sudden pop and Dobby was standing next to Harry. “Yes Harry Potter Sir?” The elf looked around, confused “Where is we Harry Potter Sir?”
“Dobby, this is Lojack. Lojack, Dobby is one of the people who need to know the secret.”
“Very good Vault Holder Potter.” The Goblin gave a slip to the confused elf, who glanced at it, then became somewhat less confused.
“Thank you Lojack. In the short term I only need two people told the secret of this house. Neville Longbottom and Hermione Granger.”
“They will be notified before close of business today Vault Holder. If you need me I can always be contacted via the bank. Once again I thank you for this opportunity.”
December 20, 1997
The Village of Hogsmeade
“Are you sure you don’t want me to come with you?”
“I’m sure. I need to speak with my parents about you.”
“About us.” Harry said his green eyes burning into her violet eyes.
“About us. My father is going to be a bit put out that you declined his contract and we are together anyway.”
“He can yell at me later.” He leaned forward and kissed her. “Can I call you?”
She considered. “You had best wait until Monday. That will give my father a chance to calm down.” This time she kissed him. “I think I love you Harry Potter.” She stepped back and apparated away.
Harry stared at the point from which she had disappeared. He experienced a momentary sensation of emptiness with her leaving, then he finished processing what she had said, and his spirits soared.
December 20, 1997
The Hogswarts Express
The Last Compartment in the Last Car:
Harry was the first in the car. Hermione had asked that he be aboard the train so that the Seventh years would have more representation than just the Prefects. At first Harry did it only grudgingly seeing the seven hours spent on the train as being something of a waste, but given the way Daphne had said goodbye, he was walking on air, and even the seven hours for the trip were now meaningless.
Neville and Hannah joined him after a few moments. Hannah fixed him with a look.
“Ok, what happened?”
“What do you mean?” Harry asked.
“You are entirely too happy Mr. Potter. What did Daphne do.”
“She just gave me a happy thought when she left.”
Hannah raised an eyebrow. “A happy thought? How happy?”
“Oh, a thirty foot patronus happy…”
The door opened and Luna stepped in removing her cloak and scarf. “Hello everyone. No Weasleys?”
“Not this time Luna.” Hannah said.
“Good, I am quite vexed with them over their behavior this year.” She sat primly. “I expect no one is going to allow Ginny to forget her actions toward you when she believed that silly Prophet article. The almost every girl in sixth year is quite upset at her.”
The door opened again, revealing Megan Puckle, the red haired Gryffindor first year that Harry had assisted back on September first. “Hello everyone. Could I sit with you?”
“Certainly.” Luna said. “You allowed me to sit with you back in September, return the favor is only fair.”
The young girl sat between Luna and Harry.
“Why here with the old folks Megan?” Harry asked. “Why aren’t you with your friends?”
“Oh, for the extra credit.” The firstie replied.
“Extra credit?” Neville asked. “Why would you get extra credit for sitting with us?”
“Oh, the Head Master promised extra credit if I could get Harry to tell me how he beat the bad wizard.”
The compartment was silent for a moment.
“Well, why not.” Harry said. “Let me tell you what happened. Not a lot of people know this, but the homunculus that Voldemort was using for a body since I destroyed his original body was actually snake based. It had human parts but it was mostly snake.”
Megan looked up from the notes she was taking and nodded. “The third years were talking about that in the common room.”
“Well,” Harry continued. “Neville and I did a lot of research about how you would go about killing a snake, we tried to get samples of fast acting snake diseases, we tried to get hold of snake parasites, but none of that seemed to be what we were looking for.”
Neville nodded. “That was when we realized that the reason that we had so little in the way of Snake related resources is that Britain is too cold for most snakes. So we said, why not use cold to kill him.”
“But we couldn’t just, you know, open the door, that wasn’t fast enough, and besides it was May, and it wasn’t all that cold anymore.” Harry said. “That was when I remembered a film I saw in primary school about Muggle industrial processes.”
“Neville found out where Voldemort was hiding.” Luna put in helpfully.
“And Harry attached some timed portkeys to several Muggle devices called ‘Cryo tanks’”
“Neville and I were hiding in the rafters of Voldemort’s hideout when the portkeys activated, and dropped fifteen thousand liters of liquid nitrogen into the middle of Voldemort’s meeting. Voldemort and his minions were something less than thrilled, but they froze solid in a few seconds. We waited for the nitrogen to boil off, and with bubblehead charms to protect us against the remaining fumes. Neville is the one who actually finished Voldemort off. He walked up and kicked him, making him shatter into several pieces.”
Megan was writing furiously. “And that’s how you did it?”
“Yep.” Neville agreed.
“Thank you.” she said. Folding her completed notes in half and tapping them with her wand. The pages disappeared with a soft pop. “I can’t believe that I’m the one you finally told the real story!”
“Oh, that wasn’t the real story Megan.” Luna said.
“That was this week’s story for the Headmaster.” Neville explained.
“We’ll most likely never tell him the truth.” Harry said.
“But my extra credit?”
“You fulfilled his assignment, a story on how the Dark Lord was defeated. He can’t be mad at you for not finding out the true story since he himself has failed to get it… How many times Nev?”
“Yeah, twenty three times.” Harry nodded. “If you don’t get your extra credit, come to me, I’ll get it for you.”
“Thank you Harry.” Megan gathered her things, and exited the compartment, and headed forward to find her friends.
They waited until the girl was out of sight before the laughter started.
“I wonder how long it will be before Dumbledore figures out he’s been had again?
December 25, 1996
#12 Grimmauld Place:
“Harry?” The door opened to her touch and Hermione Granger stepped into the foyer of the ancestral Black home. The first thing she noticed was the portrait of Sirius’ mother was gone. She wondered how that had been done; she had watched Sirus and Remus spend hours trying to remove it with no success. Then she noticed that they wall itself was new.
If you can’t remove the portrait, remove the wall it is adhered too. Brilliant.
There was a sudden pop. Winky was suddenly standing in front of her.
“Good Evening Miss Harry Potter Sir’s Hermie. Is you here to see Harry Potter Sir?”
“Yes I am Winky. Can you tell me where he might be?”
“Harry Potter Sir is in the Library.”
“Thank you Winky.” Hermione hesitated. “Winky, are you bonded to Harry?”
The elf’s face clouded. “No. Winky is still free elf. Winky is much ashamed.”
Hermione fought to keep the smile off her face. “Thank you again “
Leaving the elf to her business Hermione made her way to the library. She found Harry there, sitting in front of the fire in one of the high back chairs that she loved so much.
“Harry, what’s going on? The Weasleys are in an uproar, when I told Molly I was coming to speak with you she started screaming about my loyalty to the Weasley Family. Then Ginny accused me of trying to steal you from her.”
“I won’t be going to the Burrow anymore Hermione. Why isn’t important. I’m just won’t. This isn’t about Ron, and it’s not about you. I’m no longer dating Ginny, and I’m not going to have anything to do with her.”
Hermione blinked. “But Harry, why? You’ve always said that they were the family you always wanted.”
“I’m not going to talk about it Hermione. The Weasleys and I are done. Dumbledore and I are done. The Order and I are done. Remus and I are done.”
“Harry, you’ve got to tell me what’s going on.”
“No, Hermione, I don’t.” Harry ran his hand through his hair. “Are you and Ron happy?”
“Look after each other. Molly is going to force Ron to choose between her and me. If the two of you are happy, you’re going to have to stay away from me as well.”
“Harry, I’m not going too…”
“Yes, Hermione, you are. You and Ron are happy. You both deserve that. If you continue to try to hang around me, you’ll probably lose Ron. Ron is my brother in all but blood, but if forced to choose between his mother an me, he’ll choose her.”
“No Hermione. Go back to Ron. Be happy. I’ll be alright.”
December 22, 1997
The fire turned green, Harry knelt and stuck his head in the fire and clearly said “Daphne Greengrass.”
A green tinged House Elf clad in an immaculate pillowcase appeared before him. “This be Greengrass Estate, can Tilict help you?”
“Thank you Tilict. I am Harry Potter, may I speak with Daphne?”
“Miss Daphne is unavailable Harry Potter. Could you call later?”
“Thank you Tilict, I will.”
Harry pulled his head from the fire and the flames lost their green hue. That was odd. Daphne had told him to call. Maybe she was shopping.
December 24, 1997
Harry stroked Hedwig, stared dully at the package lying on his desk. His Christmas gift to Daphne returned unopened, the attached note, succinct and to the point.
I’ve reconsidered our relationship and have determined that you are not what I am looking for in a life partner. Your repeated attempts to contact me have become tiring; please refrain from continuing in the attempt. We had fun Potter, but we are through.
Some minor part of his mind was wondering if his life was going to go to crap every Christmas for the rest of his life.
December 29, 1996
Harry Potter paused outside Gringotts, and turned to see Nymphadora Tonks rushing up to him. Behind her came another. Harry felt his soul chill.
“Hello Tonks, how are you?” Harry turned his gaze to Remus Lupin. “This is your only warning Werewolf. Stay away from me, or I will kill you.”
Tonks paled. “Harry?”
Remus puffed himself up. “Harry, you need to listen to Dumbledore, he knows what’s best.”
Harry stepped forward until his face was inches from the older man. “Dumbledore’s memory blocks are gone Werewolf. I know. I know everything you did. I know everything he did. I have taken steps to ensure that I can never be obliviated again.” The boy smiled when he saw how pale the werewolf had become since they have begun speaking. “The next time I see you, you die. For what you did to my parents, what you did to Sirius, what you did to me you gutless bastard.”
The angry young man turned on his heel and entered the bank.
Nymphadora Tonks turned to her lover. “Remus, what the hell did you do?”
December 29, 1996
Tonks hauled a sobbing Remus into her apartment, and pushed him into one of her chairs. She then went to the sideboard and removed a bottle of Ogdens and two glasses. She poured two fingers of the Firewhiskey into each glass, shoved one in front of her lover, and downed the other.
“Drink it.” She said.
Remus reached for the glass with trembling fingers. Tonks watched as he took a sip then set the glass back down on the coffee table.
“Now. Tell me what you did.”
“You don’t want to know.”
“That kid is a friend, and the head of my family. He didn’t need to, but he returned my mother to her place in the family, something that ate at her my whole life. He says you did something to him, to my cousin Sirius, to James and Lilly Potter. Tell me what you did, tell me now, or by Merlin’s Beard I will haul you into headquarters toss you into an interrogation room and let the professionals sweat the truth out of you. I love you Remus, more than I could ever say, but you are going to tell me the truth.”
The man sagged in the chair. He picked up the glass, downed the contents, and started to speak.
December 29, 1980
Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry
“Remus, it’s good to see you, please sit down.”
“Headmaster, I’ve discovered something horrible. It’s Peter, he’s the leak to Voldemort. I spotted him last night and something just wasn’t right, so I followed him. Headmaster, he went to a Death Eater’s meeting. He has to be the leak in the order.”
Dumbledore looked pensive. “Peter? You are sure?”
“As sure as I’m speaking to you now.”
“This could be useful, useful in deed.” The ancient wizard mused. He looked up. “Remus, you must tell no one, as long as I know who the leak is, I can ensure that the information he has access to is… creative.”
Remus looked confused for a moment as he put the puzzle together. “So we use Peter to feed bad information to Voldemort?”
“But shouldn’t James and Sirius and Lilly know?”
Dumbledore thought for a moment. “I think not, they might react differently toward him, and in doing so, raise his suspicions. No, for now, let us keep this between the two of us.”
November 05, 1981
Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry
“But Headmaster, Sirius is innocent, you know that. He’s Harry’s godfather, Harry should go to him. The only reason Lilly and James are dead is that we didn’t take care of Peter when we had the chance. We can’t do this.”
“Remus, it has to be this way. There’s a prophecy about Harry.”
The discussion went on for several hours, in the end Remus agreed that Dumbledore’s way was for the best. Nothing that Remus or Dumbledore could do would return James and Lilly to life, and Sirius was at least responsible for the Muggle’s killed when he confronted Peter. Remus had never really been a believer in the greater good, but the debt he owed the Headmaster for allowing him to attend school in spite of his affliction pushed him to agree.
December 25, 1993
Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry
Defense Against Dark Arts class room:
“Well, what have we here?” It was common knowledge that Albus Dumbledore always knew what was going on in the school, what was less well known is that the reason for this knowledge was that the many portraits in the castle reported to him directly. He had received a report of a drunken Remus Lupin telling tales best untold to a certain trio of Gryffindors.
It was amusing the individual reactions of the three children, from Ron Weasley, fear, from Hermione Granger, disbelief, and from Harry Potter, rage. So much rage. His magic would be fueled by that rage when it came time for him to face young Tom again. Still the knowledge of why the events of October 31, 1981 played out the way they had couldn’t be trusted to mere children.
With a flick of his wand, he petrified the trio, and then set about obliviating their memories, tweaking their personalities just a little bit. Perhaps, he mused, perhaps Harry shouldn’t be getting too much help from Miss Granger… Perhaps her attentions would be better focused on young Mr. Weasley. Perhaps Ronald’s bit of jealousy at his friends skills should be amplified, just a bit…
A quick warning to the Werewolf, then the three children were levitated to their common room, where they found themselves waking an hour later, believing that they had dozed off following a lovely dinner.
December 29, 1996
Tonks listened to Remus’ explanation of what he had done, and his reasons for doing so without expression. When he finished she looked at him for a full minute without comment. Finally she spoke.
“But ‘Dora, I…”
“Get the hell out, and never, ever come back. Tell your master I resign from the Order. If I so much as hear that any of you approach within 50 meters of Harry Potter, I will arrest the lot of you. Moody, Shacklebolt and every other current or former Auror I know within the Order will be hearing this story.”
Remus sat looking at her in disbelief.
“I said get out. I won’t ask again.”
The broken man shuffled out the door and out of her life. As soon as the door was closed and locked behind him, Nymphadora Tonks began to cry.
December 25, 1997
“You’re awfully quiet tonight, even for you.”
Harry looked up from the sink. Invited to Hermione’s for Christmas dinner it had been too late to cancel, following the meal he had pleaded to be allowed to help with the dishes. His time with the Dursley’s had taught Harry that sometimes he could submerge his pain in physical labor.
“Daphne broke up with me.”
“What?” Hermione almost shouted, bringing her hand to her mouth. “When? How?”
“Yesterday afternoon, by Owl. She says we’re through.”
“So what are you going to do?”
“What can I do?” he sighed. “I accept it and move on I guess. If she says it’s over, it’s over.”
“What? If you told Justin that it was over and he kept bothering you, I’d remove his teeth, what makes me special? If Daphne is happier without me, I can live with that.”
Hermione pulled him into a hug.
“What did you do when you found out?”
“Oh, I threw quite a tantrum. Dobby was deliriously happy with all the things that needed repair.”
“What a difference a year makes“Martin Granger said. “Only last year I was praying that my beautiful genius daughter would pull her head out of her ass and see that that ‘Ron Weasley’ was no good for her”
“And I was sitting alone in a room wondering just where everything went wrong.”
Hermione’s father had invited Harry out on to their backyard deck for ‘a breath of fresh air.’ It was substantially warmer down here in England than the winter weather he was used to from the School in Scotland, but it was still very cold fresh air.
“I like you Harry. I speak, you seem to be frightened. Any chance of you dating Hermione?”
“No sir. For a lot of reasons, but mostly she knows me too well.”
“I had noticed that. So, tell me about this Justin.”
“Justin’s a good guy, Muggle born like Hermione, his father’s in finance or something, I don’t really remember. He was sorted into the house known for its cooperation and team work. Like I said a good guy.”
“Is he good enough for Hermione?”
Harry shrugged. “It’s not Justin’s fault, no one is good enough for Hermione. He’ll try to be, that’s what’s important.”
“Alright, I know why I think no one is good enough for my daughter; tell me why you think that.”
“She’s a bossy little know it all, who cares enough about me to save my life more times than I can count and kept me from killing myself stupidly more times than that. When I think perfect, I think Hermione.” Harry shrugged. “I am lucky to know her.”
A/N: Many thanks to Fenriswolf001 for his help with threatening Justin, to MathaisGranger1 for his assist in making Remus’ motivations more in line with the character, Canoncansodoff was instrumental in making Hermione’s molesting Justin just a bit more in character