Categories > Books > Harry Potter > Moments in Love

Truth and Consequences

by Gandalfs_Beard 0 reviews

Thanks to Moody's new assistant, Harry discovers he has a hidden talent while training for the Second Task. ... Suggestive Themes

Category: Harry Potter - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Drama,Romance - Characters: Harry,Hermione - Published: 2017-08-09 - 9613 words

The headmaster’s eyes twinkled as he regarded the pained expression on his deputy headmistress’s features, her furrowed brow and pursed lips a sure sign of distress. The Phoenix on the perch ruffled his carmine and gold feathers and averted his eyes, looking as if he were considering flight to avoid an oncoming storm. The headmaster gestured towards the steaming hot cup of Earl Grey he had poured for the deputy headmistress and the accompaniments on the tea-tray.

“Lemon and honey? Cream and sugar? The lemon-ginger biscuits are also quite nice,” he offered brightly.

“Really Albus,” snapped Professor McGonagall, ignoring the cup of tea and the biscuits, “look what has become of your meddling. Gryffindor will be in an uproar - indeed, no doubt the whole school shall be awash with rumour and innuendo. How can this possibly be of benefit to Mr Potter and Miss Granger...?”

“I believe the proper terms of address are now Mr and Mrs Potter,” said Albus Dumbledore politely, his eyebrows raised. Professor McGonagall let out an angry huff.

“That is my point precisely! First allowing them to share private chambers - then this! How you could allow this to happen - at their age...”

Dumbledore raised his hand slightly and Professor McGonagall quieted.

“You must believe me Minerva. I have only the best interests of Harry and Mrs Potter at heart. Indeed, their formal marriage now puts me in a much stronger position for defending their cohabitation in private quarters to the School’s Board of Governors. Such arrangements have been made in the past for young married couples...”

“Yes, but in the entire history of Hogwarts, only during the sixth or seventh year of the students in question,” Minerva McGonagall interrupted acidly, unable to help herself. “And it is exceedingly rare in any case.

“You know as well as I do that once such an arrangement is formalised, private housing necessarily becomes permanent and the standard rules of House affiliation no longer apply. That is generally not so much of an issue for those who have reached the standard age of majority, and who usually only have a number of months of schooling left - but the Potters are only in fourth year.”

“That is true,” Dumbledore nodded, his twinkles vanishing as he suddenly realised where Professor McGonagall was going with her line of argument. He stroked his long silvery beard pensively when he began speaking again.

“As to Harry and Mrs Potter’s treatment by the school populace, I daresay that their new status as husband and wife shall make very little difference at the moment, given the scrutiny they have already endured this year. Many teenagers can be fickle and sometimes unwittingly cruel creatures, but quite frankly, they are no more or less easily swayed by vicious propaganda and the prodding of their peers than many adults.

“There is very little that we can do about the effects of outside propaganda such as to be found in the pages of the Daily Prophet... Regardless, it is our duty as educators to guide our students as best we can to treat each other in a kind and respectful manner and to not succumb to an unruly mob mentality. And it is also up to us as the Order of the Phoenix to protect those who are at greatest risk.

“These are dangerous times Minerva. Voldemort has returned to Britain as you well know, and a possibly competing Darkness is growing within the Ministry itself. And might I remind you that you were quite in agreement with me regarding Harry’s emancipation?...”

Minerva McGonagall inwardly groaned. Indeed, when they had been discussing options for dealing with Harry’s mistreatment at the hands of the Dursleys, she had been very much in favour of pressing Fudge to emancipate Harry on his authority as Minister.

Ultimately, it was the Dursleys’ ignoring of the first Ministry Warning, and the escape of Black from prison which had compelled Dumbledore to follow through and finally make that call. She turned her attention back to the headmaster as he went on.

“It is true,” said Dumbledore, “that I alone am responsible for asking Mrs Granger to emancipate her daughter for Harry’s benefit - his protection - but can you truly be so quick to dismiss her agreement to do so, given Hermione Potter’s exceptional degree of maturity and intellect?

“The choices that Harry and Hermione Potter made were their own entirely, and they made them deservedly so. And can you truly disagree that the Potters are now much safer together, in a wing of the castle not so easily accessible to those with the passwords to enter the Houses - as Sirius himself and Alastor both reminded me?...”

Professor McGonagall flushed, recalling how easy it had been for Sirius Black to gain entrance to Gryffindor Tower. And despite the efforts which had been made since to teach the portraits guarding the Houses not to let in anyone who was not a student or staff member, if the experience with the False Alastor Moody - Barty Crouch Jr - had taught them anything, it was that anyone under the influence of a polyjuice potion with the right passwords could enter Gryffindor Tower.

Minerva McGonagall’s lips grew thinner and her consternation grew deeper as Dumbledore continued to speak.

“...And the Potters have both - even at such tender ages - proven themselves deserving of being treated as adults time and time again. It would be quite unfair for us now to disallow them to make their own choices, legal adults that they now are both, as long as they are kept fully informed of the potential consequences of their acts...”

“Well there you go then,” interjected Professor McGonagall haughtily, arching her eyebrows, latching desperately onto the last, best argument that Dumbledore had just tossed in her lap. “...Consequences indeed! Mr Potter clearly cannot have known that by his impetuous act, he has made himself ineligible to be Seeker for the Gryffindor Quidditch team for the remainder of his time at Hogwarts.”

“Yes,” said Dumbledore in a small voice. He went on with a sigh, “That is most unfortunate for Mr Potter. However, it is possible that there may be a way around the bylaws regarding Unaffiliated students - Harry and his wife were originally chosen by the Sorting Hat for Gryffindor after all.”

A wry expression crossed Dumbledore’s features as he was reminded of his deputy’s very considerable degree of determination, and a twinkle returned to his eyes as he peered at her over the top of his half-moon spectacles.

“I must say Minerva,” he continued, “that you were quite proficient in finding a means to bend the rules to afford young Harry the opportunity to play for the team during his first year; therefore I shall leave researching a means to allow him to continue playing in your quite capable hands. I have no doubt that you shall...

“And when you do, I expect you to explain to Harry in full that he, as an Unaffiliated student, is being granted another rare opportunity - and to this time leave the choice to rejoin the team in his hands.”

Professor McGonagall appeared somewhat disconcerted by Dumbledore’s final pointed remarks. As she departed the headmaster’s office, Dumbledore couldn’t help but feel that Harry Potter might yet surprise them both with whatever choice he made.

Dumbledore took another sip from his own teacup and glanced at the parchments on his desk, weighing the pros and cons of some of the other decisions which lay before him.


The day after the New Year had begun, Parvati and Lavender both giggled excitedly as they helped Hermione lug the rest of her things to Harry’s - no, Hermione corrected herself - her and Harry’s private chambers. They had waited until they were certain that nobody else was in the Gryffindor Common Room - especially Ron, uncertain as Hermione was about his possible reaction to the news.

On the one hand, over the holidays Ron had continued to telegraph indications that he wanted to be friends with Harry again. But on the other, judging from the looks Ron had been giving them during the Yule Ball, it still seemed that he had little control over his jealousy.

Hermione peered anxiously at Lavender and Parvati while they helped arrange her things next to Harry’s in the wardrobe and dresser drawers while she filled the bookshelves with her books. Crookshanks sat on the bed grinning at them, flicking his bushy orange tail lazily.

“You won’t tell anyone yet, will you?” she asked.

“Well, it won’t be a secret that you and Harry are married for long, especially as you’re wearing that lovely ring,” Parvati fairly pointed out. “And everyone will be wondering why you aren’t living in Gryffindor Tower anymore.”

“Besides, marriages are recorded by the Ministry and reported in the paper,” said Lavender sympathetically. “By the time term starts, everyone will know.”

“Anyway, even though some people will probably think it’s a bit weird - you both being married so young - at least they won’t be able to say rude things about you two living together not married,” Parvati added.

“I suppose you’re both right,” Hermione sighed. “I’m just being silly.”

“And it’s not like you’re the first people to ever get married as teenagers.” Lavender sighed happily with a dreamy expression. “I think it’s romantic.”

“That’s because you want to run off and marry Viktor,” giggled Parvati.

“Prat!” retorted Lavender, giving Parvati a swat with a cushion.

The last few days of the Christmas Holidays seemed to pass without incident, but as it turned out, Parvati and Lavender were correct; by the time term began, nearly the entire school was aware and the whispers had already begun. But at least the Potters still had their closest friends for support, and the whispers surprisingly remained as little more than quiet talk and the occasional giggle.

Luna, Neville, and Ginny had been at least as congratulatory as Parvati and Lavender. And Viktor Krum, the Twins, and Dean Thomas had all been quite impressed with Harry. It was hard to tell what Ron and Seamus thought, as they had been a bit more subdued and kept to themselves somewhat since the Yule Ball.

And for those few who were still in the dark when term started, they could hardly miss the fact that most of the professors found themselves stumbling over the proper way to address Hermione in class. Professor Sprout was among the first to keep calling Hermione Miss Granger, and then catching herself and calling her Mrs Potter, but she certainly wasn't the last. Hermione had blushed furiously as the class fell into a fit of giggles.

“Blimey Hermione!” a crimson faced Harry muttered as they departed from their first Herbology lesson of the year. “Sorry - I never thought about that. If you want to, you can keep your last name - I’m not fussed about that sort of...”

“No!” Hermione said firmly, giving Harry a hard stare. “I like being Mrs Potter, and don’t you ever forget that, Harry!

“...Besides, it’s too late for that now. And yes... I was a bit worried at first about what people would think, but then I realised that it didn’t make one bit of difference. Lots of people have been rude and horrible about both of us since first year anyway, but as long as we have each other and our friends, I can put up with anything!”

“I hope so Hermione,” Harry sighed as they made their way through the snowdrifts to Care of Magical Creatures, “because we’re about to have a lesson with the Slytherins.”

But when they reached the paddock in the clearing near Hagrid’s hut, the topic on the top of everyone’s mind seemed to be something quite different. Ron, Seamus, Neville, and Dean were frowning at Draco Malfoy and the Slytherins, who all seemed to be quite gleeful.

“What’s going on?” Harry asked Neville. “Where’s Hagrid?”

“See for yourself,” Neville muttered, passing Harry a copy of the Daily Prophet as the Slytherins continued to chortle nastily. Seamus and Ron averted their eyes shiftily when Harry glanced at them. Hermione frowned at the headline.


Hermione scanned through the article quickly while Harry tried to keep up.
“So what if Hagrid is Half-Giant!?” she snapped crossly, “It’s just bigotry... they can’t all be horrible - it’s just like the prejudice against Werewolves... Look how Skeeter goes on and on about Lupin as well in the second, third, and fourth paragraphs - and he’s as sweet and mild-mannered as a lamb!”

Ron and Seamus looked at each other and shook their heads in disbelief, unwilling to argue with Hermione, torn between their affection for Hagrid and their preconceptions about brutally savage Giants.

“How did that Skeeter cow find out anyway?” growled Harry, his blood boiling. “I thought she’d been banned from Hogwarts.”

Seamus and Ron looked a bit shifty again.

“Dunno,” Ron muttered awkwardly, the first words he had spoken to Harry since before Christmas. This wasn’t exactly the way he’d planned to try and get Harry to speak to him again. “Seamus and I overheard Hagrid and Madame Maxime chatting a bit about their childhoods while we were... erm... getting smashed during the Yule Ball. I suppose Rita Skeeter could’ve heard too, but we didn’t see her anywhere.”

“Mebbe she’s got an Invisibility Cloak,” Seamus proffered with a shrug.

“Whatever! Skeeter’s just doing a public service! That should put an end to the Halfbreed Oaf’s teaching career...” sneered Malfoy, “I can’t see anyone wanting their kids to be taught by a savage giant - they’ll be worried that he’ll eat them. Haha..!”

Crabbe and Goyle sniggered sycophantically.

“Shove off Malfoy!” snarled Ron.

Harry briefly felt a moment of kinship with Ron before he remembered that he was still cross with him as well. Harry was about to furiously respond to Malfoy too, but at that moment, a witch with short steely-grey hair and a jutting chin entered the clearing.

“Alright now, that’s enough of that then! It’s time for class to begin...”

“Where’s Hagrid?” Harry interrupted the substitute professor heatedly.

“Too ashamed to show his stupid face I reckon,” Malfoy smirked.

The witch ignored Harry and Draco, speaking briskly and loudly over the both of them. “My name is Professor Grubbly-Plank, and I shall be teaching this class until further notice. This way please.”

The professor wheeled about and led them past the Beauxbatons horses to the far end of the paddock. Harry’s breath caught and the girls all “ooohed” and “aaahed” when they spied the gleaming white Unicorn tethered to a tree, its luminous brightness making the glistening snow look dingy in comparison.

Harry was so overtaken by its beauty that his fury at Malfoy and being ignored by the professor melted away. The last Unicorn he had seen had been lying dead on the forest floor, its silvery blood dripping from the mouth of Voldemort’s Shade. Harry blinked back the unbidden tears and stepped towards the Unicorn; Hermione grabbed his hand.

“Harry, no!” she squeaked anxiously, eyeing the Unicorn pawing nervously at the snow-covered ground with its golden hooves.

“Stay back, boy!” snapped Professor Grubbly-Plank. “Unicorns prefer a woman’s touch...”

But Harry didn’t seem to hear as the compulsion drew him closer. The world had gone silent and for a moment it only seemed to contain him, Hermione and the Unicorn. Falling snowflakes stilled and sparkled in midair, frozen in time as Harry bowed and reached out his hand. The Unicorn calmed and bowed its own head.

Hermione gasped and beamed at Harry as he gently petted the Unicorn’s nose and stroked its silky white mane. Still holding Harry’s other hand, she stroked the Unicorn too, feeling a strong urge to kiss Harry and ride off with him into the forest on its back.

Professor Grubbly-Plank quieted and held her breath, eyes wide with shock, afraid that she might break the spell and spook the Unicorn. As she watched the bushy haired girl reach out her own hand to touch the Unicorn, it finally registered with the substitute professor that the irksome boy was Harry Potter.

“Well done Mr Potter!” she said quietly when Harry rejoined the rest of the students with a glowing Hermione at his side.

As she looked him over to see what could possibly account for the Unicorn’s unusual behaviour, Professor Grubbly-Plank noticed that there was something quite different about Harry Potter’s shining green eyes, something that seemed almost feminine. She snapped out of it with a shake of her head and returned to form.

“Right then class!” she said brusquely, “Now, what you just saw was very unusual. If you value your lives boys, I highly recommend that you keep back! Unicorns can be quite dangerous towards males. Girls, please form a line...”

Malfoy snorted and glowered at Harry and Hermione. Draco felt a nearly overwhelming urge to ignore the Professor’s warning and have a go at touching the Unicorn. If Halfblood Potter and a Mudblood could do it, then he knew he could do it too. He was a Pureblood - a Noble - of course a Unicorn would accept him. But then he remembered his experience with the Hippogriff and thought better of it.

“Big Deal!” sneered Malfoy. “So you touched a Unicorn, Potter! ...Just proves how girly you are.”

Harry raised his eyebrows at Malfoy and smirked. “Yeah, maybe I am. So what?”

Draco felt a surge of bewilderment and anger, unable to conjure a response as Harry and Hermione turned and walked away. After classes finished for the day, Harry and Hermione traipsed back down through the snow to Hagrid’s hut and banged on the door, to little avail.

“Hagrid, open up!” Harry yelled, thumping loudly.

“It’s just us Hagrid!” shouted Hermione.

But the door remained shut, and Hagrid remained silent; all they could hear was Fang barking and whining as he scratched from the other side.


Worry about Hagrid ate at Harry and Hermione, but when they reached the Room of Requirement for training with Professor Moody, they were distracted by the presence of a girl who looked like she might be in seventh year, though neither of them had ever seen a girl with spiky violet hair at Hogwarts before.
“Right then Potters,” growled Moody, unable to resist grinning at them both and giving them a wink, “before we begin, I’d like you to meet Nymphadora Tonks...”

“But just call me Tonks for now alright,” said the violet haired girl, sticking out her tongue at Moody. “I hate my first name - and Mad Eye bloody knows it.”

Professor Moody chuckled and the Potters took to Tonks immediately, both of them grinning at her.

“Heh, be that as it may,” Mad Eye continued, “Tonks is here for a couple o’ reasons. One is to help continue the trainin’ as it’s plainly obvious to me that Mr Potter’ll be far too soft on his missus to get the job done right when we begin hand to hand fightin’ techniques. She’ll be workin’ with Mrs Potter... And the other reason - the main one really - is that she’ll be keepin’ an eye on you both for the Order. She’ll be movin’ into quarters right next to yours...”

“The Order? What’s that?” asked Harry, suddenly suspicious. “And why does someone need to keep an eye on us?”

“Don’t worry,” said Tonks hastily, glaring at Moody. “It’s not the way Mad Eye makes it sound. I’m Sirius’s cousin - he thought you should have a protection detail on you and Hermione, Harry, given the circumstances of You-Know-Who’s return and the fact that someone in the Ministry with connections here at Hogwarts seems to ‘ave it in for you too...”

“The Malfoys and the Minister,” Hermione hissed.

“Perhaps!” Moody chuckled. “Anyway, Dumbledore agreed, and so Tonks is in. She’ll be shadowin’ you between and after classes. You should both be grateful - she’s put a promising career as an Auror on hold to be part of this...”

Tonks rolled her eyes at Mad Eye and shook her head. “Don’t let Mad Eye guilt you - I’m here because I volunteered for it.”

“...And if Tonks would quit interruptin,’ maybe I could finish,” Moody grumbled. “As I was saying, Tonks finished her Auror training last summer, but she’s also a part of the Order - the Order of the Phoenix that is. Dumbledore started it way back when to fight Voldemort the first time around - your mum and dad were part of it Mr Potter.

“So were Sirius and Remus and half the professors at Hogwarts... and the Weasleys too, among others. Some would’ve thought we might’ve stopped after you apparently finished Voldemort, Potter. But we’ve been keepin’ our eye on things and layin’ low is all. After the business with the Philosopher’s Stone we’ve been on full alert again. And with everything that’s been goin’ on this year, Dumbledore thought it was about time you were in on it too...”

“Sirius!” said Tonks in a loud stage whisper, giving Harry and Hermione a wink.

“Yeah, I s’pose Tonks is right about that,” said Moody, with another gruff chuckle. “Sirius and I kinda pushed the issue a bit with Dumbledore - we figure that given what you’ve both accomplished already, you’re old enough now, and you’ve got a right to be part of it all. So now that bit’s outta the way, I need to ask you if you’ve worked out the Egg yet, Potter?”

Harry swallowed when Professor Moody’s electric-blue eye gave him a penetrating look, glad that he and Hermione had managed to work it out, and not given Moody the chance to berate him.

“Yeah, I got it just before New Year’s,” Harry nodded.

“Excellent Potter! Right - well I reckon we’ll need a swimming pool in here to train in for part of the week then. You might as well swim in place of your regular daily calisthenics for now. But as I said - we’ll also start doin’ a bit of hand to hand, though we’ll focus more strongly on that once we’re past the Second Task now that we’ve got a good idea what this one entails.”

“Er... The only thing is, I don’t really know how to swim,” said Harry, flushing with embarrassment. “The Dursleys never took me swimming whenever they took Dudley, and my primary school didn’t have a pool.”

Tonks scowled, remembering some of the things that Sirius had told her about how the Dursleys had apparently treated Harry.

“That’s alright Harry,” said Hermione, looking sympathetic. “I can show you how to swim. I’m not brilliant, but I know all the basic strokes.”

“Good enough then,” Moody nodded. “Finally, you’ll need to be able to breathe underwater for the duration of the task. I’ll leave you to work that bit out yourself - gotta give you somethin’ to figure out on your own. I’ll give you a couple of weeks tops... Anyway, you can start workin’ on that tomorrow Potter, today we’ll get you both started on some fightin’ techniques...”

Harry was glad that he and Hermione had kept up a bit with their calisthenics over the holidays, as Moody put them both through their paces before he and Tonks showed them how to do a few basic blocks, strikes, holds, and throws. Moody grinned at them both while they were groaning on the mat at the end of the lesson.

“Heh! Count your lucky stars we’ll only be doin’ that about one lesson a week till after this task is done with. There’ll be a lot more of that coming to prepare for the Third Task. So get crackin’ on swim practice Potter.” And with one final chuckle, Professor Moody stumped out of the Room of Requirement.

When they had finally managed to recover a bit and catch their breaths, Harry pushed himself up off the mat with a grunt as Tonks helped Hermione to her feet.

“Sorry about that,” said Tonks apologetically when Hermione winced in pain as they made their way back to their private chambers to clean up before dinner. “Mad Eye seems to think he’s still runnin’ the Auror Training bootcamp...”

“No, I’m fine... really!” Hermione lied.

“Yeah... we’re used to it now.” Harry groaned again. Every muscle and joint in his body hurt.

Tonks peered at them both wryly as she pulled several vials of potion out of her pocket.

“Here you go then - a couple of pain potions for you both,” she said with a grin. “I got ‘em off Pomfrey before I headed up here with Mad Eye. I knew ‘e’d be a bear about it... He ran everyone through the ringer when he was trainin’ us at the Auror Academy. It really will get easier eventually... after you actually do get used to it...”

“So what’s it like being an Auror?” Harry asked after gratefully swigging the pain potion. A flicker of uncertainty crossed Tonks’ features.

“It’s alright I suppose - I like gettin’ the bad guys...” she replied, “but to be perfectly honest, I’m sorta glad to be out of it and back at Hogwarts. Aurors tend to be a bit of a stiff lot... and me, well... I like to ‘ave fun...”

“How come you joined up then?” asked Hermione, her eyes glazing slightly as the pain potion began to kick in.

“Mad Eye!” Tonks muttered. “He recruited me after I got in a spot of trouble at Hogwarts during sixth year - I couldn’t really say no...” Tonks trailed off. Neither Hermione nor Harry pressed her; it was quite apparent that she wasn’t keen to revisit what was clearly a painful memory for her.

“Anyway,” Tonks continued, brightening, “when Sirius asked me if I wanted to go undercover for the Order and come back to Hogwarts for a bit, I jumped at the opportunity. Most of the Aurors working security for the Triwizard tournament know me - they think I’m doing plainclothes undercover security for them, but really, I’ll just be watchin’ your backs for the Order... I’ll try to stay outta your hair though...”

Feeling cheerful and slightly buzzy from the pain potions by the time they reached their quarters, Harry and Hermione were both intrigued to see the new door in the corridor very near their own. Tonks looked like she wanted to say something else, but instead turned towards the new door, which apparently belonged to her.

“Well, I suppose I’d better let you two get cleaned up for dinner then...”

“Wait,” said Hermione after sharing a brief look with Harry, “why don’t you come in for a bit and have dinner with us? We’re a bit too worn out to go downstairs tonight anyway.”

“You sure about that?”

“Yeah... absolutely,” said Harry quickly with a grin, eager to find out more about whatever it was Tonks seemed keen to talk about.

Dobby was only too happy to bring them all dinner in the Potters’ private chambers. Tonks soon had Harry and Hermione in stitches as she regaled them with stories about her time at Hogwarts, and some of her funnier moments training to be an Auror. They were fascinated to learn that her father was a muggleborn. Tonks peered at Harry sympathetically as she chatted about the favourite bits of visiting her muggle relatives.

“...yeah, I love muggle comic books and movies,” she was telling them, “especially sci fi/fantasy and superhero stuff. I love watchin’ Dr Who and Star Trek on the telly when I visit my muggle grandparents and cousins, and Star Wars is one of my favourite movies...” Tonks seemed to be drawing nearer to the topic she had wanted to talk about to begin with when she gave Harry a conspiratorial look.

“...I’m sorry you had such a rough time of it with your muggle relatives Harry. But Sirius mentioned something you told him about which I thought was interesting. Is it true that when your aunt tried to cut off all your hair that you regrew it overnight?”

“Yeah,” Harry nodded, wondering where Tonks was going with this. “I got in loads of trouble for that, even though I didn’t know how I did it. I still don’t really... I suppose it was just accidental magic... like the time I turned Aunt Marge into a balloon.”

“Hmmm... It’s a bit more than that, I should think,” said Tonks excitedly. “That’s not something just any wizard could do, even accidentally. That sorta self-transfiguration nearly always requires a wand... unless you’re a metamorphmagus.”

Hermione gasped, but Harry looked puzzled.

“A what?”

“A metamorphmagus Harry,” said Hermione, her eyes boggling. “They can transform their anatomy - even make bits into animal forms... though you’d have to be an animagus like Professor McGonagall or Sirius to transform into an animal completely. Mostly though, a metamorphmagus can make themselves look like whoever they want - without polyjuice potion - and they’re incredibly rare...”

“Hermione’s right, Harry...” Tonks eagerly confirmed. “I oughta know... because I’m one myself!”

“And... and you think that I’m one too?” Harry gaped incredulously at Tonks.

“You’d ‘ave to be to regrow your hair like that overnight - though you could’ve done it in three seconds flat if you’d’ve been trying... look...”

And before their eyes, as Harry and Hermione gawked in amazement, Tonks’s spiky purple hair lengthened and billowed into long flowing golden locks as her face transformed until she looked like another girl entirely.

“Blimey!” gasped Harry.

“I can teach you how t’do it Harry... if you’d like,” offered Tonks. “You have to be born with the talent, but it still takes a bit of work and practice to figure out how to use it to its best advantage. You can even change gender if you’re good enough...”

“When do we start?” asked Harry, grinning from ear to ear.


When the Potters saw Tonks the next morning waiting for them in the corridor as they made their way to breakfast, her hair was bubble-gum pink, and she was wearing Gryffindor robes with a badge that said Teacher’s Assistant.
“‘Plainclothes’ Undercover work and disguises is my speciality as an Auror of course,” she said with a grin. “Easier to blend in a bit and shadow you without drawin’ too much attention...”

“Er...” said Harry, as he and Hermione both glanced skeptically at Tonks’s hair.

“Oh, yeah...” Tonks giggled. “Well really, if anything, that oughta make it a bit easier for me to mix with a bunch of teenagers... Most’ll just think I’m a recent Hogwarts graduate trainin’ to be a professor.”

And as it turned out, Tonks was correct and most just accepted her as an older teenager doing postgraduate work. Except for the occasional glances at her hair, the only real questions she got at the Gryffindor table were from a few older students wondering why they hadn’t noticed her in previous years (“...been out sick for a year and a half since I graduated, and I didn’t colour my hair back then...” was her pat answer), and what professorship she was in training for (“ a substitute for a bit, until a permanent position opens up. Course... I’m hoping Dumbledore starts a music programme so I can teach you lot how to start wizard rock bands...” was an answer well received with lots of giggles).

Harry took his first metamorphmagus lesson with Tonks after classes and his swim practice with Hermione that afternoon. Hermione had found everything she could in the library on metamorphmagi and piled it into her bookbag, making certain that she had plenty of extra parchment, ink, and quills to take notes. Harry raised his eyebrows when he saw Hermione’s preparations, peering at her with bemusement.

“Er... anyone would think that you’re the one taking metamorphmagus lessons, Hermione,” said Harry with a puzzled grin. Hemione blushed slightly, then turned and gave Harry The Look.

“You don’t think that I would miss learning about something, just because I can’t do it myself, do you?” she responded a bit haughtily.

Harry turned pink himself, and looked chastened.

“No... No, of course not! I’m sorry Hermione, I don’t know what I was thinking,” he said quickly. “Of course we’re taking all of our lessons together.”

Hermione’s features softened and she gave him a quick kiss. “It’s alright Harry. Besides, I’ll be able to take notes while you keep your focus on the practical aspects.”

And as Hermione was the only one with any experience swimming, she was the one to ask the Room of Requirement for a swimming pool when they reached the tapestry of Barnabas the Barmy. Harry was very impressed with the heated pool, not to mention quite happy to see Hermione in a bikini again... and quite embarrassed when he had to adjust his swimming trunks.

Hermione grinned when she saw his goofy flustered expression, secretly pleased that Harry was still easily abashed by the sight of her less than fully clothed. She found Harry’s shyness about such things to be one of his very endearing qualities.

Harry turned out to be a quick study - as with quidditch, dancing, and the basic fighting techniques that Professor Moody and Tonks had begun teaching them both the previous afternoon, Harry picked up the basics of swimming rapidly and with ease once he got over his initial nervousness. Hermione was certain that he would outstrip her own skills within a matter of weeks; which was good, because the Second Task was now less than two months away.

They were both startled when Tonks suddenly appeared while they were in the middle of a giggly water-fight, having lost track of the time. Hermione reddened and felt herself growing a bit warmer when she recognised the eagerly appraising glance that Tonks gave her, so much like the one that Fleur had given her when she had offered up the secret of the Golden Egg. The glance was briefly followed by a goofy flustered expression much like Harry’s before Tonks quickly recovered herself.

“Enjoy the nice hot water while it lasts,” chortled Tonks while Harry and Hermione dried off after clambering out of the pool. “If I know Mad Eye, he’ll be turning this into a mini-replica of the Black Lake in a few weeks.”

“Yeah, I was thinking the same thing,” said Harry with a grin as he pulled on a t-shirt. “He turned the Room of Requirement into a dragon arena before the First Task.”

Tonks grinned when she spotted Hermione ready to take notes, quill in hand. Though she was slightly disappointed that Hermione had covered up in a fluffy bathrobe. Putting that thought aside quickly, Tonks launched into her lecture.

“Right then! Before we start, I should mention that you probably oughta keep this to yourself Harry. Sirius thinks it’ll be safer for you the less who know that you have this talent...”

Harry glanced at Hermione, slightly puzzled at that for a moment, but then it hit him.

“Of course...” he gasped, “I might need to use it to avoid Voldemort...”

“...or the Ministry,” Hermione concluded, her own eyes widening as the full value of being a metamorphmagus sank in.

“Yeah, precisely,” Tonks agreed, before going on. “Anyway, the lessons won’t really take that long - maybe half an hour at most - as you’ll mostly be practicin’ on your own time, Harry. But it’s very hard to control the morphing process at first until you get used to it, so don’t be surprised if nothing happens this lesson, alright?”

Harry nodded attentively, eager to begin.

“Now, some teachers will probably tell you to concentrate hard,” Tonks continued. “At least mine did, but I find that’s the opposite of what you want to do. What you really wanna do is form an image of how you want to look in your mind, but just allow your thoughts to sort of swim around it. If you try too hard, you’ll just push it away.

“Once you ‘ave an idea of what you want to look like, it’s all just down to a lot of practice. It’s best to start out with something simple, like adding colour to a fingernail... But when you want to get more complex, and change loads of stuff, that’s when things get tricky.”

Tonks gave Harry the opportunity to attempt to change the colour of one of his fingernails. After about ten minutes of wrinkling his nose and furrowing his brow in deep concentration he remembered what Tonks had said about not trying so hard. He did his best to just picture it in his head in a more relaxed state of mind, but relaxing had never been his strong suit.

Finally, Harry thought about how he felt when he was soaring on his Firebolt or kissing Hermione and was startled when the fingernail he was focusing on turned the same bubble-gum pink colour of Tonks’s hair.

“Brilliant Harry!” said Tonks with a hint of awe in her voice. “Most people supposedly take at least two lessons before they get one fingernail. I did it in about the same time as you, but my teacher told me I was a prodigy...”

Hermione beamed at Harry and gave him a hug.

“It’ll stay that way until you undo it Harry,” said Tonks, “but to undo it is much easier as your body will always want to revert to its natural form. All you really ‘ave to do is just want it to go back to normal...

“Just practice that for a couple of days. If you can manage to change one fingernail within a few seconds, try two, and then three, and so on, until you can manage to do ‘em all in a few seconds. Don’t try anything more advanced just yet, unless I’m around, alright? Promise me...”

“Yeah, okay Tonks... I promise,” Harry reluctantly agreed. Hermione raised her hand.

“I’m not a Professor, Hermione, but alright,” Tonks giggled. “What’s your question?”

“I was just thinking about transfiguring parts of the anatomy to animal forms, and I was wondering how functional some of the parts might be,” asked Hermione.

“Well, that’s a bit far ahead,” Tonks replied, “but really, it all depends on how good the metamorphmagus is. A really good one can picture the internal structure necessary for functionality if they ‘ave access to a good image of how the cells all work. I suppose I could manage it if I gave it a go, but I’ve never really bothered with that myself.

“You’d ‘ave to be really brilliant at imaging it in your head, and be able to follow complicated diagrams. That goes for changin’ human gender too. It’s all cosmetic and superficial unless you can visualise all the internal bits.”

“So what was that all about?” Harry asked Hermione after they had returned to their quarters to get ready for dinner.

“Well... I was thinking about how you might be able to breathe underwater, Harry. At first I thought of Gillyweed, but there’s really no guarantee that it will last long enough for you to complete the task - it all depends on how much you eat, and the potency. So then I thought that perhaps you could actually use your metamorphmagus abilities to develop functioning gills...

“It might be difficult, but well worth it - as you would be able to use either your lungs or gills as needed without having to worry about one interfering with the other, or having to worry about whether your gills would last for a long enough time... or for too long - which could happen if you had too much Gillyweed.”

“That’s brilliant Hermione!” Harry exclaimed excitedly, beaming at his genius wife. “But what about you though? You won’t be able to breathe underwater...”

“I’m not sure,” Hermione admitted ruefully. “I’ve looked through some of the books in the library, but I haven’t found anything else yet... but there must be something - some sort of charm...

“I’ll keep looking though,” she sighed. “In the meantime, we’d probably better study the physical appearance and the effects of Gillyweed anyway. Because if you’re going to keep being a metamorphmagus a secret, you’ll have to make it look like you’re using Gillyweed for the task.”

“That makes sense.” Harry nodded. “There’s another Hogsmeade Day coming up. We can buy some Gillyweed in the apothecary in the village. And as soon as Tonks thinks I’m ready enough, I can start practicing that...”


The next week flew by in a blur of activity, and Harry found that he was as busy as he had ever been at Hogwarts, even without a full quidditch schedule or studying for exams. But he hardly noticed as his excitement at the prospect of reaching his full potential as a metamorphmagus was only matched by his happiness at being able to return to his private chambers every night with Hermione.

Professor Moody was pleased to hear that Harry had a plan for breathing underwater at their next session, and with the assistance of Tonks he began training the Potters how to fight and cast spells underwater in the pool. Tonks was thrilled with Harry’s progress when he showed up with Hermione at his next metamorphmagus lesson, all of his fingernails - and toenails too - every colour of the rainbow.

Harry was ready to move on to changing hair colour and skin tone as well, and then putting it all together. By the end of his second lesson, he’d managed to make himself as blond as Malfoy.

“Don’t forget to change your eyebrows too though,” Hermione giggled as she ruffled Harry’s platinum moptop. “You look really funny with light hair and dark eyebrows...”

The only thing that really marred the first week was the continued absence of Hagrid. Harry was hopeful that he’d find Hagrid in the village on Hogsmeade Day, and would be able to convince him to return.

When Saturday arrived, the Potters left the castle and set off through the snow-covered grounds towards Hogsmeade. Tonks walked on ahead of them and kept her eyes peeled. Harry and Hermione both waved and grinned at Viktor Krum when they passed by the Black Lake. Dressed only in swimming trunks, Viktor waved back, then dove from the side of the Durmstrang ship into the frigid waters of the lake.

“Blimey! He’s bloody mad!” said Harry, his breath clouding in the freezing air. “There’s still ice over half the lake...”

“It’s probably warmer than where he’s from,” Hermione giggled. “Or at least warmer than wherever Durmstrang is located. I think it must be very far north...”

“Yeah... but there’s still the giant squid if we’re lucky,” said a familiar, rather hopeful sounding voice behind them, followed by a familiar sounding snigger.

Harry and Hermione whirled around and spotted Ron and Seamus trailing behind them. Harry scowled and Hermione rolled her eyes.

“Just ignore them,” she said. “They’re just jealous because you’re Viktor’s friend, and because Lavender’s going out with him.”

Harry huffed angrily and began to walk a bit faster, trying to put some distance between him and Ron. He’d almost hoped the other day in Care of Magical Creatures that he might be able to patch things up with Ron eventually, but apparently Ron was still too bloody self-absorbed to put much effort in from his end of things. Hermione trotted along beside Harry, trying to keep up.

Once in the village, Harry and Hermione made a beeline for the local apothecary, where Harry bought a substantial amount of Gillyweed. Not only for Harry’s practice though; they still hadn’t found anything else in the library which would allow Hermione to breathe underwater, and they had decided that she should keep a small pouch of it just in case she needed it.

They stopped for a bit in Honeydukes and Harry stocked up on some of their favourite sweets. In Zonko’s they spotted Fred and George whispering and taking notes; Neville and Dean were hanging out together nearby, seeming strangely listless. For a moment, Hermione thought that she and Harry had lost their “secret escort” Tonks as they made their way to Tomes and Scrolls for a browse; but when Tonks reappeared, scurrying breathlessly beside them with a bag of Zonko’s products, Hermione giggled.

“Don’t you dare tell Filch,” Tonks hissed under her breath. Harry chortled at the idea of an Auror sneaking a bagful of banned items into Hogwarts.

Tonks hovered near the front of the bookshop, flicking through comics while Harry and Hermione had a good look around. Harry found an intriguing looking book about Asian monsters and magical creatures written by a Japanese wizard. It had information on several creatures including Yeti and Kappa which seemed to directly contradict Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, but it was much more detailed and Harry reckoned that a Japanese wizard probably ought to know a lot more about Asian monsters than someone from England.

He was puzzled by the Seventeen and Over warning on the cover, but he ignored it and put it in his shopping basket. Wondering what Wizard fairy tales would be like, Harry sidled into the children’s section where he found a book that looked like just the thing: The Tales of Beedle the Bard. Into the basket it went, next to the book of Asian monsters.

Harry heard a squeak of happiness and looked up to see Hermione squeezing into the narrow aisle to find him.

“Look Harry - I found something that will work in this book...”

“Er... hang on - it’s in French,” said Harry, grinning at Hermione’s excitement.

“Oh... right! Sorry!” Hermione turned a bit pink. “It’s got some newer spells that don’t seem to have made it into the Hogwarts syllabus yet. There’s a spell in here that translates more or less into ‘Bubble-Head Charm.’ It’s perfect for breathing under water, Harry!

“Well, perfect for me at least...” Hermione dropped her voice to a whisper. “You should probably stick with the plan though - the flippers will make swimming much easier and faster...”

“Excellent! ... Bung the book in the basket then, and I’ll buy it for us,” Harry responded eagerly. “Maybe you can translate some of the other spells as well, so that I can learn them too.”

“Of course I will Harry,” Hermione beamed.

The shopkeeper gave Harry an odd look when he rang up the book of Asian monsters and checked Harry’s wand on his scale, muttering something that sounded like “emancipated and married at your age?” under his breath and shaking his head. Harry, his face flushed with irritation, stood with Hermione and waited for a few more moments near the door while Tonks purchased a small stack of comics and glared at the shopkeeper as he rang her up.

“You know, you two really aren’t the youngest who’ve ever got married,” Tonks muttered once they were outside the shop. “Back in the old days, some folk even got married as young as twelve and thirteen - when hitting puberty used to be considered the age of adulthood. Bein’ a teenager is a relatively modern invention...”

“It’s weird, I thought more students at Hogwarts would be having a go at me and Hermione,” said Harry, “but it seems like it’s mostly the grown-ups that get fussed about us being emancipated and married.”

“That’s because when you’re a teenager you want to be treated like an adult, and when you’re a grown-up, you want to forget what it’s like bein’ a teenager,” said Tonks wisely. “Me... I don’t care... I’m still just a teen at heart anyway.”

Tonks commiserated with the Potters for a few more minutes when a shop caught her eye. She whispered something in Hermione’s ear. Hermione reddened and giggled.

“I’ll be right back Harry,” said Hermione with a shy grin as Tonks led her towards the shop.

Puzzled, Harry looked up at the name of the shop on the sign - Dezzie’s Delicates - and turned pink when he realised what they’d gone in to have a look at. Hermione was blushing furiously when she came back out of the shop clutching a bag, and couldn’t meet Harry’s eye for a while.

The Potters both kept an eye out for Hagrid as they made their way through more shops - even the wizard supermarket - without any luck. Harry and Hermione eventually found themselves in the Three Broomsticks for lunch. Hagrid wasn’t there either, but Lavender and Parvati were. They both gave Harry and Hermione warm hugs and invited them to lunch together.

Luna and Ginny, who were having a “girls’ day out,” waved at them from a table nearby where they were sitting and giggling. Harry grinned back at the two third year girls, now understanding why Neville and Dean had both seemed a bit put out when he’d seen them hanging out together in Zonko’s.

Tonks pulled up a seat at the bar and kept watch; her eyes narrowed when she spotted Rita Skeeter and her photographer ogling the Potters from the other end of the bar. Tonks spied Ludo Bagman in a shadowy corner of the pub with a load of goblins and rolled her eyes, knowing that he was either paying off a gambling debt, or putting a new bet down, or both at the same time.

Hermione had spotted Ludo Bagman too, and pointed him out to Harry. Bagman seemed to have just noticed that Harry was in the pub as well; he gave Harry a shady looking smirk as he pushed a bag full of something which clinked and jangled towards the goblins.

Bagman’s attention was caught by a pair of redheads who had just entered the pub. He sighed.

“Er... sorry about that business with the Leprechaun Gold at the World Cup, lads,” Bagman said quietly to the Weasley Twins as the satisfied goblins left the table. “My mistake... got it mixed up with my own... Here you go then, this should cover it...”

Fred goggled at George in happy surprise when Bagman shoved a bag of heavy coins into his hand and hurried quickly out of the Three Broomsticks before anyone else could try and collect from him. Harry grinned and gave the Twins a thumbs-up, having overheard the exchange. Lavender and Parvati giggled when Hermione gave the Twins a half-smile and shook her head. Hermione was glad that Fred and George had got their due, but felt that they’d been a bit reckless to gamble their entire life-savings to begin with.

The grin slid from Harry’s face when the flash of a camera went off after the Weasley Twins had departed. When she saw who it was, Hermione turned livid.

“My, my, my, what a happy looking little gathering,” beamed Rita Skeeter, her eyes hungrily devouring the delicious scene of Harry sitting at a table with three girls.

Lavender and Parvati both shot daggers with their eyes at Skeeter. Hermione glared as the heavily made up reporter approached the table and Harry shot up from his chair furiously.

“Come to make more trouble, have you?” Harry snarled. “Why can’t you just leave us all alone!”

“You horrid woman!” Hermione shrilly snapped as she stood up next to Harry, trembling with rage. “You’ll do anything for a story! It was bad enough that you went after Harry and me, but what did Hagrid and Lupin ever do to you?”

The whole pub was watching in silence now; Rosmerta stood behind the bar absentmindedly wiping a glass. Lavender and Parvati shrank back in their chairs.

“Now, now, deary,” said Skeeter, her voice hardening as her eyes glittered icily behind her bejeweled spectacles, “You shouldn’t talk about things a silly little muggleborn can’t possibly understand. It’s nothing personal - just a matter of looking after the public interest...”

“And what ‘public interest’ are you serving right now then? We’re just trying to have some lunch in a pub!” Hermione fumed.

Rita Skeeter’s eyes darted towards Harry and she smirked at him nastily.

“Come along,” she said to her photographer, tugging on his sleeve. “We’ve got enough for now.”

As she turned to leave, Rita Skeeter stumbled and fell to the floor with a shriek. She peered angrily at her broken scarlet fingernail. Skeeter’s photographer helped her to her feet and she whirled around, glowering at the Potters and their friends, looking for signs of a wand.

Harry looked back at Rita innocently and she stormed out of the pub. Tonks winked at Harry from the bar and surreptitiously slid her wand back into the sleeve of her parka.

“Sorry about all that,” said Harry, flushing guiltily at Parvati and Lavender who both still looked a bit frightened. “I can’t seem to avoid attracting attention...”

“It’s not your fault Harry,” Parvati said quickly. “You don’t have to apologise.”

“Rita Skeeter’s just absolutely horrible!” Lavender added with a firm nod.

Hermione looked as angry as Harry had ever seen her as they walked back up to the castle, perhaps as enraged as the time she’d broken Malfoy’s nose, or the time she’d lit into Ron after he’d gloated about Moody killing the spider.

Harry was still furious himself - the way Rita Skeeter had sneered the word “muggleborn” at Hermione, she might as well have called her a Mudblood - but Harry’s anger was tempered by his feelings of guilt for having drawn Skeeter’s attention to begin with.

Hermione had had enough. She marched through the snow up to Hagrid’s cabin and began hammering on the door with both of her gloved little fists. Icicles fell from the eaves as the hut shook.


The door of Hagrid’s cabin swung open with a creak and Hermione tumbled backwards into Harry’s arms, shock and embarrassment all over her face at the sight of Dumbledore’s serene features gazing down at her...


Harry leaned back against the side of the marble bathtub, breathing in the soothing fragrance of the perfumed bath-oils and sighing in contentment as Hermione leaned back against him in his arms, foam and bubbles swirling around them as steam rose from the hot water. They both felt much better as the heat penetrated their bodies and their knotted muscles began to unwind.
The Potters had both been cheered that Dumbledore had refused to accept Hagrid’s resignation, and that Hagrid had finally relented and tearfully agreed to return to work after they both impressed on the half-giant how much they had missed him. But they were both still as tense as could be after they’d departed from Hagrid’s cabin.

Hermione had suggested a nice hot soak in the tub together, and Harry had readily agreed. But apparently Hermione had some other ideas for stress relief on her mind as well, and soon the kisses and caresses had become as steamy as the atmosphere in the bathroom. One thing had led to another, and washing each other’s backs had led to a watery romp.

They splashed about merrily, and surging bathwater spilled over the side of the tub. And when it was finished, Hermione showered her wet husband with little kisses as the tide of passion gradually ebbed, taking the tension of the day with it. She settled into Harry’s arms peaceably with a happy little sigh as he lay back against the side of the tub.

Dazed as they both were in that moment, neither one of them noticed the ghostly head of a bespectacled teenage girl slipping back through the marble tiles of the bathroom wall.
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