I've picked up some bad habits from several years of writing on Anime Addventure. Mostly an inability to write a chapter of any significant length. I'm working on it, though.
Jerking back to full consciousness, Tonks glanced around, confused, until she found the source of the sharp beeping noise that had woken her; a small alarm clock flashing '5:55am'. She cursed softly, hauling herself out of the steaming hot, rose-scented bath water, smacking the alarm clock's 'alarm' button and yanking a fluffy towel off of the rack. A couple of minutes later, she'd dried off her no-longer lobster-red body and pulled on a clean pair of panties, then a pair of pale grey cotton shorts and a matching baggy t-shirt.
With a good two minutes to spare, she hung up her damp towel, plucked her wand off of the counter, and fled the bathroom for the safety of...well, pretty much anywhere else in the apartment that didn't include her housemate's bedroom, the bathroom, and the stretch of hallway between those two rooms. Stepping into the lounge room, Tonks stopped and blinked, surprised by the unexpected, but not unwelcome presence of- "Harry?"
Turning away from the TV and his fruit loops, the winged teen waved cheerily. "Morning Tonks!"
Shrugging after her brief moment of surprise, the Auror bounded over and flopped carelessly onto the couch, pouring herself a bowl of multi-colored cereal from the supplies on the coffee table. "I didn't expect to see you around at this hour of the morning."
"I felt like raiding your cupboard for breakfast; even with phoenix powers, I think too many traditional English breakfasts will make me too fat to fly." Harry waited for the snickers to die down before speaking up again. "How were your night shifts?"
Tonks scowled darkly as the knuckles on her spoon-holding hand turned white. "Fudge, in all of his 'wisdom', has decided that Dark activity in England is at an all-time low, so the Magical Law Enforcement Squad is being forced to handle all of the cases while we Aurors are stuck sitting in our offices doing shit-all. It's only been a couple of days, and we're already so desperate for something to do when we've used up our training time that some of us are actively LOOKING for unfinished paperwork."
Harry winced in sympathy, then blinked when the muffled sounds of an alarm clock going off emanated from elsewhere in the apartment. Both witch and wizard were silent heard the alarm stop suddenly, followed seconds later by a door being slammed open. Harry and Tonks watched mutely as a disheveled Fleur stalked down the hall to the bathroom, a blistering stream of Parisian profanity spewing from the her snarling mouth and tainting the air until it was cut off by another slammed door.
"...what was that all about?"
Tonks chuckled a little nervously. "Don't worry, she's always like that just after she wakes up. She'll be fine by the time she's out of the shower."
Frowning, Harry pointed out a minor discrepancy in her explanation. "She wasn't like that after the housewarming party we had."
The metamorph blinked, vaguely recalling the finer details of the morning in question. "...huh, I think you're right." She grinned impishly. "Maybe you should try sleeping with her again sometime; see if you can tame the savage she-beast?"
Harry flushed slightly at the suggestion, but retorted. "If I remember correctly, you were sleeping with her too. Maybe you're the one who keeps her from going nuts."
Tonks mulled it over for a bit. "You've got a point there. I don't think I'll try waking her up, though; avoiding her for ten minutes is probably the safer option. In any case, I know it's only been a day or so, but has anything interesting happened at Hogwarts, yet?" She shoveled a spoonful of fruit loops into her mouth while waiting for the answer.
"I had my first lesson with Umbridge yesterday." Harry paused for a second as Tonks growled around her food. "Yeah, I wasn't exactly impressed with her either. On the other hand, I had a lot of fun in Potions class when Professor Slughorn handed out vials of polyjuice potion."
"Ah, the fun that can be had when you look like someone else." Tonks punctuated her statement by scrunching up her face in concentration, and about ten seconds later a fair likeness of one Fleur Delacour was sitting next to Harry and digging back into her breakfast.
"Show off. I also apologized to the Patil twins for being a crappy date during the Yule Ball last year..." He cleared his throat a tad uncomfortably. "...uh, they accepted my apology, but I kinda have to take both of them out on a date."
Tonks arched a thin eyebrow, swallowing hard to clear the way for speaking. "Not at the same time, right?"
"Of course not! Parvati on the first Hogsmeade visit, Padma on the second."
The off-duty Auror chuckled. "Heh, thought not. I mean, you're cute, don't get me wrong, but nobody's THAT cute. Not on a first date, anyway..."
Harry eyed the metamorph warily. "So...you don't have a problem with me going out on dates with the Patils?"
Tonks sighed melodramatically. "Harry, Harry, Harry; I'm not your girlfriend yet, remember? As long as you aren't a total prat about it, I think it's great that you're going out on dates with other girls; it's good experience. Feel free to come to me and Fleur if you need a few pointers."
Black eyebrows rose. "Pointers? Like what?"
"Well, for starters; broom closets are crappy places to take a date. They're clichÃ©d, dark, cramped, poorly ventilated, and filled with dirty old foul-smelling cleaning gear. Witches are far more impressed and turned on by a wizard that can spruce up any old abandoned room with a few flicks of his wand."
Harry filed the advice away for later. "And what do witches do to impress and 'turn on' wizards?"
The witch shrugged. "It depends, really. If the wizard is really lucky, we'll transfigure our panties into a mattress." Ignoring the clearly forced-casual interest on Harry's face, Tonks shoveled another spoonful of cereal into her mouth and slowly chewed it. When she gulped it down, she picked up right where she left off. "It's not an easy piece of transfiguration, turning a skimpy little pair of knickers into the perfect mattress, but after a couple of weeks of practice in my sixth year I finally nailed it; comfortable, supportive, and springy enough to be nice and bouncy."
For a long minute Harry just stared at the metamorphmagus while she ate, her words having conjured up certain images that were even now burning themselves permanently into his brain. Eventually- "You'll have to show me that spell sometime. It sounds like it could come in handy."
The blonde grinned. "Maybe next summer, if you're a good boy." Leaning forward and depositing her now empty bowl onto the coffee table, Tonks sat back up and leaned way back, arching her nubile body and yawning wide as various joints cracked and popped. She stayed stretched back as she grimaced, her flesh shifting from it's Fleur-like form back to the standard pink-haired Tonks. She yawned again as she slumped forward. "Man, I need to get some sleep." Before Harry could comment, a fluttering at the window drew both his and Tonks' attention to a newspaper-bearing barn owl. "Can you get that? There's some change in that jar next to the window."
"Sure." The spliced wizard did as Tonks asked, hauling himself up off the couch and striding across the room, dropping a few Knuts into the pouch around the owls leg, then retrieving the newspaper that the bird only let go of once it had been paid for. He unrolled the Daily Prophet and checked the front page. 'Ministry Appoints Dark Witch as Hogwarts High Inquisitor!' He grinned. "It looks like Sirius' mission was a complete success." He turned back around to face his Auror friend. "I should probably get back to Hogwarts before Umbridge...hmm."
Nymphadora had her back to him and apparently wasn't listening. It looked like she'd taken advantage of Harry's absence to highjack his place on the couch, her toned body now taking up the entire length of that particular piece of furniture. Judging by her soft snoring, she was also very much asleep.
"...I guess I'll catch you later, then." Leaving the newspaper on the table, Harry made his way to the kitchen. Once he was far enough away that he was sure he wouldn't wake the sleeping witch, he burst into flames, then vanished from the two-bedroom apartment.
Harry's chosen destination was a dusty old classroom not far from Gryffindor Tower. Said room was in a short stretch of hallway that was rarely traveled by the living or the dead, for the simple fact that there were no secret passages entering or leaving the area, no paintings, and only a few abandoned classrooms before a dead end.
In other words, boring as hell.
Still, the abandoned classrooms were just what Harry needed to take unscheduled and unnoticed excursions away from school life. Yanking open the top drawer to the teacher's desk, Harry found the neatly folded school robe exactly where he left it. Likewise, his book bag was in the second drawer down. Once properly attired and equipped for the day, Harry pinned his Prefect badge in its place, straightened out his robes, and made to leave the room.
He paused briefly at the door, before turning and sweeping his wand from one end of the room to the other, uttering a spell he'd used often during his time under the Fidelius wards of Grimmauld Place. "Scourgify!" Slipping the magical focus back into his pocket, Harry frowned at the results of his not-so-little cleaning charm. The floor was scoured clean in a semicircle stretching about ten meters away from the teenage wizard, beyond which a thick mat of dust still lay. Likewise, the teacher's desk and the blackboard where as clean as new, while the desks stacked up in the back of the room still looked as filthy as Snape's hair. The wizard ran his hand through his hair thoughtfully. "...well, it's a start." Stepping back through the doorway, Harry shut the heavy old door, then made his way down to the Great Hall.
Five Minutes Later...
Strolling through the giant-sized doors into the Great Hall, the Gryffindor Prefect glanced around at the few scattered students up and about at this time of the morning. A dozen or so Slytherins, a couple of Hufflepuffs, a larger number of Ravenclaws, and a small scattering of Gryffindors were all seated at their respective tables. As Harry moved to the table located beneath the red and gold banners, he spotted a certain pair of Indian siblings seated together and eyeing him keenly. The two beauties shifted apart a couple of feet and waved him over, and Harry had every intention of accepting their invitation when a stern voice caught him mid-walk.
"Mr. Potter, the Headmaster would like to see us in his office."
Swearing colorfully - in his head, mind you - Harry turned to his Head of House. "I'm guessing this has something to do with the front page of today's newspaper?"
McGonagall nodded sharply. "You guess correctly, Potter." The mild frown on the educator's face deepened slightly, though it was clearly an expression of concern for her student rather than any kind of anger. "Minister Fudge and Professor Umbridge are already there, so I recommend you be on your best behavior, and think very carefully before speaking; fool though he may be, the Minister is also a politician with some very devious and questionable advisors."
"Duly noted. I suppose the silver lining of that little storm cloud is that the worst of Fudge's advisors has mysteriously disappeared."
The feline animagus' reply was unusually bland. "Yes...mysterious. We should be on our way, Mr. Potter; Minister Fudge is not a patient man."
"Ok, I'll just be a second." He turned to the curiously watching Patil twins and shrugged helplessly, shaking his head. The girls pouted, and Harry drew his wand, writing 'lunch?' in the air before flipping the word around. When the twins smiled and nodded, Harry waved goodbye and faced the waiting teacher. "I'm ready when you are."
Minerva was staring at him oddly. "Both of them, Mr. Potter?"
Green eyes rolled. "I should write this down so that I don't have to repeat myself. Come on, let's walk and talk."
After much talking and walking through the otherwise silent halls of Hogwarts, the Gryffindor duo soon found themselves standing next to the gargoyle guarding the door to the Headmaster's Tower, the elderly witch of the pair looking distinctly reassured.
"Forgive me, Mr. Potter; for a moment there I was afraid that you'd taken a page out of your Godfather's book. He's a good man, don't ever think otherwise, but as a teen...well...he 'dated' a lot of witches."
Harry caught on quickly enough and chuckled. "Playboy, huh?"
McGonagall sniffed, not nearly as amused as the winged teen. "That's putting it mildly. Lemon Drops."
The gargoyle hopped aside obediently, and the two magic users stepped onto the escalator-like rising staircase. Less than a minute later they'd reached their destination, and, on hearing muffled yelling through the polished oak door, Harry took the lead and pushed the door open, not bothering to use the knocker.
He immediately regretted doing so when he found a blazing fireball roaring towards his face.
Mwah ha ha! Cliffhanger!
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