Harry Potter and the seven
Rated for later chapters. The Trolley Lady is not what she seems.
DISCLAIMER: First off my initials are NOT JKR neither am I stinkingly rich nor am I female. Thus you can take it as read the Harry Potter and associated copyrights etc are not mine. However as many have done before now I am writing a bit of Fan Fiction. Said Fan Fiction is below and I derive no monetary gain from it, nor do I intend to do so. I also don't intend to walk naked through the centre of London singing old Boy Scout camp songs, to which I'm sure many would breathe a sigh of relief if they knew what I looked like or what I sounded like when I did something that could vaguely be called singing.
If you spot something in my story that seems familiar, it probably is. I've read a lot of Harry Potter Fan Fiction from various different sites, thus some things from other peoples stories may creep in. If something you see is from one of your stories then I thank you for sharing your creative genius and if you pop me a quick email with a link to the original story I'll add you to the references section, though I think most of what I've got so far is all my own (I've already written about 7800 words or so already).
Now something of a pet peeve of mine:
Before anyone gets snarky about age of consent go read up on age of consent in the UK. Here's a link for the lazy http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ages_of_consent_in_Europe#United_Kingdom_.28and_dependencies.29 for the extremely lazy I shall put it in a nutshell for you. LEGAL AGE OF CONSENT IN THE ENGLAND, SCOTLAND AND WALES IS 16!! The only exception to that is if you're in a position of trust to a person who is under 18, then you're in trouble.
Age of Majority is 18 in England and Wales but 16 in Scotland, this is the standard age at which you can get married, but in England and Wales you can do so at 16 with the consent of parents/guardians.
To the best of my knowledge that is how the law currently stands in the UK. This story takes that and runs with it, though argument could be made to use older UK legislation as the Wizarding world is known to take an age or three to catch up. For example back in 1275 the first legislation currently on record in England was made setting the age at 12. This wasn't increased until 1875, and then only to 13. I would like to point out that one of the oldest people ever living according to what I can dig up was born in 1875 and died in 1997 aged 122. Just to put things in perspective Albus Dumbledore is almost 150 in the stories, therefore back when he was at school the vast majority of students would have been past the then Age of Consent (12 - Any second year student or above and by the end of the school year most first years too).
Please remember, all students must be 11 before the start of the first year at Hogwarts, therefore, all students who start their 6th year are 16 already. Several stories I've read use 17 as both the Age of Majority and Age of Consent in the Wizarding World, though I've yet to find out anything from Canon that confirms this theory. If anyone knows if this is Canon please let me know, preferably with references to the chapter(s) that confirms it.
Just to settle every ones nerves, I have no intention of my human characters having sexual relationships below 16. Non-humans or non-human/human crosses are debatable as age of maturing may vary from normal humans. It could be argued that Wizards/Witches aren't standard Humans (Muggles) and therefore different rules may apply to them too, though that may be grasping a bit. Even so, no matter what rules I make for the Wizarding World, if both parties aren't of age of consent according to those rules, then unless there are death eaters involved (in which case I'll give warning) then they don't do anything more than kiss and maybe a bit of light petting.
OK now that's settled on to the story.
So... another school year finished. Harry sat in the back of his uncles' car watching out the corner of his eye as his uncles' face seemed to change colour like the skin of a chameleon. It was pretty much the same every year and Harry was still trying to work out exactly why. Even if the road was clear as it was now, with perfectly good driving conditions, his Uncle still managed to get angry whilst driving. Then again, his uncle was almost in a permanent state of anger, so it was sometimes hard to discern exactly what it was that had set him off this time, not that Harry actually cared right now, not after what happened in the department of mysteries anyway; oh what a complete and total cock up that had been, instead of saving his Godfather, it had actually lead to his death.
Harry sat in the back seat of the car and pondered the various adventures he'd been on in his school life. There was his first year and the Philosophers stone, which after having been retrieved by Harry, had been destroyed by Dumbledore and so Mr Flamel and his wife were going to die. Though they didn't appear to be that bothered, it was still as a result of one of his adventures. Of course, then there was Quirrell, though considering he was sharing his very soul with Tom at the time, Harry didn't feel too bad about that one. Harry stopped his original train of thought for a moment to ponder the current status of Mr Flamel and his wife, his thoughts dwelling for a short time on their current status and wondering exactly how long they had left, if they were even still alive.
Looking back on his second year at school, although things seemed at the time to be much more dangerous, as indeed it was looking back on it with a 30 foot basilisk roaming around the school, it actually worked out better than his first year... well if you went purely by the number of deaths involved anyway, though Lockhart might object if his memory ever came back. Harry snorted at that, getting an interesting colour change out of his uncle but little else. It was then that it dawned on Harry that the chamber would work perfectly as somewhere for him to train next year. He made a mental note that the first chance he got next year he was going to go back down there and have a proper look around.
Harry swiftly moved on mentally to his third year at Hogwarts. He sat there and reflected that though no one actually died that year, there was a certain rat Animagus who Harry really, really regretted saving. Harry sat there, much as he had at the beginning of the summer after the end of his third year of school, thinking about how cruel the world can be, to offer so much, only to have it snatched away in what seems to be the blink of an eye. If things had been different he'd be living with his Godfather now, mind you Harry reflected, if things had been different he'd be living with his parents right now. That rat had a lot to answer for.
Of course, it would be impossible to look at his previous school years and ignore the complete and total hell that was his fourth year. It was only later that Harry discovered the facts about the death of Bertha... something... who worked for the Ministry, which had sparked the whole fiasco, and then of course there was Cedric's death. Was that really over a year ago now, it seemed almost as though time itself was trying to distance itself from the happenings of that fateful evening.
Lastly of course, he had the fun and frolics that had been his fifth year at Hogwarts. Harry paused here in his thoughts and wondered why exactly he went back to that school every year and was wondering if he should have simply gone with the flow when the ministry tried to have him expelled when he saved himself and his cousin from Dementor's the previous summer. A health and safety inspector would have a minor coronary just seeing the staircases, let alone upon hearing about all the stuff that went on in the halls of that fine school. Harry paused again to chuckle slightly at the thought, but was bought from his introspection as he unconsciously rubbed the scar on the back of his right hand which clearly read "I must not tell lies". Well, the truth was really beginning to get to be a bit of a pain. There he sat in the back of his Uncles car, with his wand in his hands lengthways between his two index fingers wondering if it was really all worth it. He rolled the wand between his thumbs and forefingers, while staring into the middle distance between it and him, with his mind now blank in a subconscious attempt to avoid thinking about what the next year held in store for the-boy-who-lived.
Harry's mental fog lasted until they arrived at 4 Privet Drive, whereupon Uncle Vernon got out the car and stomped his way inside. It was a few minutes before Harry noticed the change; he was that out of it. He got out the car, grabbed his trunk and Hedwig's cage from the boot and trudged inside pausing only to shut the front door, then went straight up the stairs to his room. On arriving in his room he noticed that little if anything had changed since he went to school the previous September, the paint on the ceiling and the wallpaper were still pealing, the floorboards were still rough and covered in splinters and the furniture was still on the brink of falling apart. Harry put his trunk at the end of the thread bare bed and assembled Hedwig's cage on its stand, and then with an amazing amount of grace that showed his Quidditch training to its full, flopped onto the bed avoiding most of the exposed springs from the mattress.
All over the country students were arriving home from school preparing for the holidays, some were sitting with their parents while others were sitting with an Uncle or Aunt while others were busy in their rooms unpacking their school things while still others were outside playing or chatting with their friends catching up on local news.
In one of a multitude of back alleys in London, not far from Kings Cross Station, a Witch transfigured her clothes back to her normal garb all the while cackling madly. Who would ever suspect the sweet old lady who served refreshments to the little brats on the Hogwarts Express? It had been remarkably easy to waylay the old biddy and grab some hairs for a spot of Poly-juice potion, though that had indeed been one of the easier tasks for this self appointed mission. Getting the needed blood from that blasted boy had been harder than she'd hoped; it would appear that reports that he could throw off the imperious curse were true. Still, a quick sleeping charm on the compartment he'd been in and it had been the simplest of tasks to get the sample needed. Oh, what luck had been at play that all seven of her targets and the boy had been on the train; she'd been worrying for the last week or so how she'd get one of them, but she needn't have bothered. It was just a waiting game now, since the potion had now been administered to the chosen seven; it could be more than a year until this play came to fruition, oh but what chaos it should cause. She positively glowed as she cackled, and then dissapparated away to parts unknown.
Life on Privet Drive seemed to pass at a crawl for Harry. It seemed that Uncle Vernon had spent his time while driving back from the train station thinking hard about how to deal with Harry once they got home. From a purely objective perspective had Harry bothered to look at things in that way, he'd be pretty much forced to agree that his Uncle had indeed managed to come up with a rather cunning plan. He'd have to admit that as cunning plans went it was rather good. His Uncle had realised that Harry had to be well enough to write the letters that the Order were expecting, but otherwise, given the right motivation, Harry would write what he told him to write. Thus, Harry's Summer was not exactly pleasant. Uncle Vernon had decided that now was the time to get the attic ready for a conversion. This meant of course that first the attic had to be emptied, which wouldn't have been too bad all told, if they hadn't been in the middle of a Summer Heat wave. The temperature in the attic space was, well... through the roof, so to speak.
It was obvious to Harry that Aunt Petunia had never been in the attic; it was a right mess. Stuff had been thrown all over the place and little of anything was boxed up. At least that was Harry's first impression. Having emptied almost half the attic space by boxing up all the old junk, like with like, it was as Harry was approaching the back of the attic that he found it, or rather them. A pile of old scrolls and a couple of old trunks absolutely covered in dust. Most of the old scrolls were still sealed, and as Harry was sorting out who the scrolls belonged to, he noticed that the only scrolls that had been opened were the ones addressed to his Aunt Petunia. By the time he'd finished sorting them out he had three separate piles; one pile addressed to his Aunt and Uncle as a couple, one addressed to solely his Aunt and curiously a pile addressed to Harry himself. Harry was not in the least surprised that his relatives had intercepted his mail, but he was surprised that they had kept them. Harry quickly piled all of his relatives' scrolls into two separate bags according to the piles he'd made and put them with everything else he'd sorted out on the other side of the attic, and then he gathered all the scrolls addressed to him and carefully hid them near the loft hole. He then looked at the two trunks and using one of the many cloths that seem to be scattered everywhere up here, quickly dusted the two off.
As the dust settled again and Harry recovered from a bit of a sneezing fit he looked back at the trunks in front of him and almost sat down between the joists that everything had been precariously balanced on. Clearly, on the front of each trunk, was a Hogwarts crest and above that on one was the name 'Lily Evans' and on the other 'James Potter'. Harry just knelt on the joists in front of the trunks as though he'd been hit with a light stunner right between the eyes. After who knew how long, Harry came out of his trance like state and reached out for the trunks, one with each hand. Touching the crest on the front of each trunk delicately with the very tips of his fingers and feeling the solidity of each trunk, tears slowly made their way unnoticed down each of his cheeks. Here, unknown to Harry, all these years, were his parents trunks. He simply sat for a while with his hand on each trunk crying silent tears. After the longest time, a thought struck Harry. How on earth was he going to get these down to his room and hidden? The scrolls would be relatively easy to move, but these trunks would be something else. As these thoughts were passing through his mind he still had his hand on each trunk. Suddenly each trunk glowed slightly and then shrunk down to the size of small toy trunks, each small enough to easily fit in his pockets. Harry quickly snatched the two trunks up which hardly weighed anything, and stuffed them each into the pockets of his oversized jeans. Harry had no idea why the trunks had suddenly shrunk down, but he wasn't going to miss the opportunity presented. It was then that he realised that there was a third trunk that had been hidden behind the first two. This trunk reminded Harry of the one that the fake Mad-Eye had in his office during Harry's fourth year at school; the only difference being the number of keyholes, there were literally dozens of them in an intricate pattern covering the front of the trunk. The first thought to cross Harry's mind was 'Smegging hell, that's a lot of keyholes!' swiftly followed by 'Where the merry hell do I find the keys?' and on the coat-tails of that thought was 'I wonder if I can get this one to shrink too?' and as he had his hand resting on the top of the chest at the time, it obligingly did so. Slightly startled, but otherwise ok, Harry quickly pocketed the third trunk, though he noticed that it weighed a fair amount still and pulled on that side of his jeans quite a bit but the length of his hand me down t-shirt hid that fact quite well.
After a few more hours in the attic everything had been sorted into boxes ready to be put into storage for when work was being done to convert the roof space into a large master bedroom with en suite. As the access to the attic was through a small hatch just outside his bedroom door, it was a relatively simple matter to take a few seconds diversion to put his bag of scrolls in his room under the loose floor board along with the three shrunken trunks while he moved the now filled boxes out of the attic and down into the small freight container that had been left in the driveway. By the time that the sun had gone down Harry was exhausted, but the loft was now completely empty and the container in the driveway was almost completely full, and there were a few full rubbish bags of the odds and ends that every attic seems to accumulate no matter how tidy it's been kept. Of course, the whole thing would have gone much faster but his Aunt Petunia had insisted on inspecting every box and bag before it was taken outside; oddly, the bag of scrolls were kept instead of being thrown out as Harry had expected. When Harry had at last indicated that he'd finished, he was told to go wash up. While he was in the bathroom, his Aunt inspected the attic; much to Harry's amusement his Uncle Vernon was too large to fit through the hatch.
Apparently passing his Aunts inspection of the attic, Harry was swiftly marched downstairs once he left the bathroom and handed a small plate of food, which he quickly took to his room. The Dursley's had made it plain that they didn't want him in the rest of the house any more than necessary, which meant that unless he was doing some chore or other, he was either in his room, or if he was swift enough to grab the chance, roaming around the neighbourhood. When he managed to get free, if you wanted to find him, then your first bet should be that he was at the local park, though this had been extremely rare so far this summer due to the rarity of actually getting away from the house.
There was one advantage about the large amount of chores that his relatives had him doing this summer and it was this: by the time he was done for the day, he was so totally exhausted that he just didn't have the energy to be depressed about the death of his Godfather, neither did he have the time to think about it. This unfortunately didn't mean that Harry wasn't depressed however, just not about his Godfather, or maybe not as the currently prominent cause anyway. No, the first few days back had been... educational... in just how much abuse his Uncle could inflict on him and yet leave him capable of writing to the order to tell them he was perfectly ok. As a result of all of this, and having had far too much unsupervised access to the garage, Harry now had a Stanley knife in his room, which he had taken to lightly dragging over the inside of his forearms with, to lightly to draw blood the first time, or even the second or the third, but if done enough times over the same spot, thin red lines began to form, and after a few more passes with the blade these would be deep enough that they might start to show signs of blood seeping from the cuts at irregular intervals along the path of the blade. Most of the inside of his forearms were like this, though they were hidden by the baggy jumpers he always wore, though this tended to irritate the cuts. There were precious few nights when there weren't more red lines added to his arms, and only then because he was simply too exhausted and fell asleep before his depression got that far after his miserly dinner. Many an evening after taking his plate back downstairs he'd sit cross legged, Indian fashion, on his bed staring seemingly through the wall of his room into the house next door, or even further down the road from the look in his eyes, dragging the blade of the knife across his arm, over and over and over until either sleep claimed him or the sun rose. Sometimes one arm, sometimes the other, and some nights he'd even switch. Many a night sleep had eluded Harry as he sat on his bed, yet on such nights there would come a point when he stopped all movement, and simply sat there, eyes open, staring at nothing, yet seeing everything; his childhood such as it was, the times at school when everything seemed to be against him, the manipulations of the Headmaster, the doubts of his friends and classmates, the outright gullibility of the wizarding public when it came to anything printed about him in the press. Under this, almost unnoticed, were his feelings about the death of his Godfather and his smashed hopes of a better life than that which he had with the Dursley's, and even further under that, the wish for his parents, his desire to have grown up in a loving environment cared for by those who had loved him the most. Mixed into all of this was his almost limitless anger at those who had bought about his current life, at that... that Rat, who had betrayed his parents and him, at the system that allowed him to be 'cared for' in such an environment such as his, at those who simply looked past what was and only saw what they wished or expected to see. Surprisingly, little of his anger was directed at Voldemort himself, Harry somehow knew that he was simply a product of the corrupted system such as the one currently holding sway in the Wizarding World, yet he knew that he'd have to be dealt with as well as there was the minor detail of him having killed Harry's parents. Have no doubts, Harry was far from suicidal, though if everything was put to rights tomorrow, he may well be. No, Harry had far too much to do for thoughts about ending it all, though they had come occasionally only to be dismissed almost instantly. Harry would not let people like Fudge and his cronies, that... Rat, or even people like that Skeeter bitch off that easily. Of course, he had the Dursley's to deal with at some point too. The night of clearing out the attic Harry was too exhausted for any of those thoughts though and simply fell into a deep dreamless sleep.
Early the following morning, as Harry was preparing breakfast for the industrial vacuums that were his Cousin and Uncle, and the bird like appetite of his Aunt, there was an unexpected knock at the front door. His Uncle was as quick as normal to bellow at his nephew to answer the door. Having just finished plating up the last of the food, having also stashed a small amount of the food into a bag in his pocket, Harry quickly moved to comply, not wishing for any more bruises to add to his already impressive array that he'd gained since he'd been back or any of his other injuries. Quickly unlocking the door and opening it too see who was there, Harry was surprised and a little worried to note that there, standing in front of him, was none other than Nymphadora Tonks and Alastor 'Mad-Eye' Moody, both of whom seemed to be wearing formal robes.
"Watcha 'arry" said Tonks as Harry opened the door.
Mad-Eye nodded and quietly said "Potter".
Harry narrowed his eye slightly as Tonks winced when she saw the shiner of a black eye he was sporting from a few days prior, and Mad-Eye's fake eye seemed to start scanning up and down Harry's body and as it did so Mad-Eye's expression seemed to grow more and more intense.
Tonks' hair started cycling through various different colours and her face seemed to get more pinched the more she noticed of Harry's appearance.
"So much for those blasted letters!" muttered Mad-Eye and when Tonks went to hug Harry, Mad-Eye held her back tapping his fake eye with the other hand indicating his reasoning. "We were actually here to escort you to the Leaky Cauldron before Sirius' Will reading on Friday at Gringotts, an' it looks like 'twas a good idea we arrived as early as we did". All the while Mad-Eye's fake eye was going over Harry then seemed to stick all at once when it reached his forearms "but not nearly early enough by the look a' things" and if it were possible, his face seemed to take on a more haggard look. "How you can even stand with ya collar bone in that mess I'll ne'er know, an' ya have at least 4 cracked ribs an' at least one full break. Sit down 'fore ya fall down man." And with that he sent off a spell Harry didn't know which seemed to fly off into the distance. Harry just seemed to slump where he stood, then tensed a bit a straightened up slightly.
Only moments later Uncle Vernon came storming out of the kitchen to see who was at the door and to see why Harry wasn't back already. "BOY, who's at the door? BOY!" he bellowed from only a few feet away.
As his Uncle Vernon went to grab his bad shoulder to move him out the way and before Harry could react, two stunners flew over that same shoulder from outside and knocked his Uncle back a good 5 or 6 foot to land sprawled out on the floor. Both Tonks and Mad-Eye were glaring at where his Uncle had been moments before and Mad-Eye's fake eye was looking to where he was now laying out cold by the kitchen door. The look in both Tonks' and Mad-Eye's eyes saying far more than words that they hadn't finished with the walking mountain of blubber that was Vernon Dursley.
Harry moved slowly away from the door, not wishing to move faster than was absolutely needed due to his injuries. The pain from his shoulder had been unbelievable when it first happened, but as with everything, it's amazing what a body can get used to when it needs to. But Mad-Eye's comment had drawn his attention back to his injuries, and he found it difficult now to stand or even think where yesterday he'd been lifting boxes down from the attic with hardly a problem. His Aunt Petunia and his cousin Dudley were watching everything from a small crack in the kitchen door, though Harry would have been hard pressed to tell you what colour the wall in front of him was at that exact moment.
Mad-Eye seemingly spotted Harry's state and quickly went over to the lad, realising that Harry was going into both Psychological and Magical Shock, a dangerous combination at the best of times. "Com'on Harry, stick with us now lad. Don't you go passin' out on us now. 'Ere, Tonks get over here an' do somethin' useful."
Tonks, who was standing about a foot behind Mad-Eye rolled her eyes and came round Mad-Eye and started to stroke Harry's back as she muttered words into his ear about staying with them while Medical help arrived, but paused to stare at her hand for a moment as it came away bloody, then to exchange a dark look with Mad-Eye and to briefly send an even darker look in the direction of the Dursley's. 'Someone was going to pay for this' she thought 'no one hurts her Harry and gets away with it'. In her anger she totally missed the possessive in that thought.
The minutes seemed to drag by for all in the house, when finally Headmaster Albus Dumbledore, Remus 'Moony' Lupin and Madam Poppy Pomfrey all came striding up the drive and into the house. Tonks raised her bloodied hand to wave and then thought better of it, while Mad-Eye turned to look gravely at the headmaster. "I tol' ya it were a mistake ta send the lad back 'ere Dumbledore." As Dumbledore reached out to take Harry by the shoulder to steer him into the sitting room Mad-Eye raised his hand to intercept the Headmasters. Mad-Eye just shook his head while muttering about his broken collar bone. Several sharp intakes of breath could be heard from the newer arrivals.
Madam Pomfrey immediately assumed command of Harry and started running medical scanning spells all over him, raising her eyebrows and narrowing her eyes more and more the further she progressed through her scans.
Having had plenty of experience with medical scanning spells being cast over himself due to his condition, Moony had long ago learnt what the results all meant, and his eyes were turning decidedly yellow while he stood watching. Whoever had hurt a pup of his pack were going to learn what the results of doing that were.
Eventually Madam Pomfrey indicated that she'd appreciate some help getting Harry upstairs and Tonks and Mad-Eye moved to assist. The pair exchanged a quick glance and once Harry was supported under his good shoulder by Tonks, Mad-Eye quickly cast a stunner at Harry and then Madam Pomfrey cast a medical petrification spell to avoid any complications while he was being moved. The adults all looked at each other and all of them noticed that the headmaster was looking every day of his almost 150 years, though nothing was said.
With a sigh Tonks cast a levitation charm on Harry and guided him upstairs while being followed by Madam Pomfrey. On reaching Harry's room however, the two took one glance at the door, then the room and then each other before Tonks cast a scene of crime recording spell which recorded a three dimensional image of everything within the room including the doorway itself. Once the spell had finished recording Tonks banished the bed, magically expanded the room, and conjuring a new bed that was a replica of one of the Hogwarts beds to replace the one they'd banished.
Using far more care than one would actually need to move a petrified person, Tonks manoeuvred Harry's still form onto the bed, but kept the levitation charm active as he had far too many injuries to be able to lay him down in the bed itself. While Tonks comforted Harrys stunned form, Madam Pomfrey lightened the petrification spell he was being held under and began to remove various items of clothing so she could more easily apply the various healing charms he needed. As injuries of various degrees of severity were revealed, Pomfrey and Tonks exchanged looks and various evidence recording spells were performed documenting each one for later analysis. Having rotated Harry slowly over the bed and finally having finished cataloguing and recording each of his injuries they had found upon his body, the tricky job of healing the multitude of injuries began. During this whole process Tonks had remained at Harry's side, within view trying to comfort Harry as best she could even though Harry had been stunned and Madam Pomfrey knew he was totally oblivious to her actions. Truth be known, Madam Pomfrey felt like doing exactly what Tonks was doing herself so she let the younger woman continue.
Of all the injuries that they had found however, none worried either woman so much as the marks they had found on the insides of his forearms. Both of them knew exactly what those meant, and although neither wanted to acknowledge those thin uneven cuts, both knew they indicated a far more serious problem that wouldn't be healed with a simply charm or potion. Although Madam Pomfrey treated all the bruises and scrapes on his arms that weren't related to those cuts, she knew better than to remove all trace of the cuts themselves. Madam Pomfrey simply cleaned the cuts up and performed some mild healing charms that would prevent the cuts from scarring, but would let them heal at almost natural speed. They would, however, need to work carefully on Harry's mental well being over the next few months or things could deteriorate to a much more serious level. Once most of the physical internal injuries had been dealt with, and at this Madam Pomfrey was amazed that Harry had been standing when they arrived, and all of his cracked ribs and the one broken rib checked and put back into proper alignment, she moved onto that collar bone. At first glance and even having performed a few diagnostic spells, it looked to be a bit of a mess, but after having cast a few more spells and having cleaned up the rest of him, it appeared that it wasn't anywhere near as bad as it first seemed. After having cast a few localised muscle relaxing spells, and made sure his broken rib was still ok, she had to very carefully re-break the bone as it had begun to set out of alignment as it had been broken for some time, and then she realigned it to where it should have been. Tonks' face and hair went an interesting shade of green as she did this. Once satisfied that the bone was where it should be, she cast a medical pinning spell on it to hold it in place.
"OK Tonks, if you could just sit behind Harry and support his upper body and we'll get the last of these potions into him including the bone knitting potion. With any luck he'll be physically back to full health by morning, though..." and as she trailed off she glanced meaningfully at his forearms.
Tonks nodded in understanding and raised the still levitated Harry slightly higher off the bed and climbed up behind him. Madam Pomfrey lifted the last remnants of the petrification spell she'd used and then Tonks lowered Harry so he was sat with his freshly cleaned and healed back against her front. She looked down at the face of the boy... no she corrected herself, she knew what he had been through over the years since he started at Hogwarts, and he was definitely not a boy, but a young man... especially with a lunch box that big. She blushed slightly at that thought, and pulling herself together she used her innate skills to dissipate the blush. An odd thought crossed Tonks mind as she settled him in front of her; this felt right somehow, that this is where he belonged while she comforted him. Yes, this is where she should be, comforting her master... wait... 'master'?, where in the name of Merlin's left eyebrow did that come from. She shook her head slightly trying to shake the thought, yet no matter how hard she tried to dislodge it, it still felt right. She sat there subconsciously stroking her right hand down his arm while her left curled around his abdomen to hold him against her, and looked at his face as his head leaned against her left shoulder. Sitting there holding Harry, she could not help but notice how gaunt he had become in the few weeks he had been back here, and she added yet another strike against the Dursley's. To be honest she was seriously beginning to wonder if the Dursley's were actually Human or not, but then thought of all the non-humans and couldn't think of one that would treat one of its charges like this either. She was bought back to reality when Madam Pomfrey spoke "Well, get comfortable, after he's had these you'll need to keep him supported for at least a while." Tonks widened her eyes slightly at this, but said nothing. If Tonks didn't know better she'd say that Madam Pomfrey was being slightly Slytherin, of course, she didn't see the slight smile on Madam Pomfrey's face as she left the room once the potions had been administered.
As Madam Pomfrey descended the stairs she hoped that she was doing the right thing. She knew that the boy was in need of some serious care, and it appeared that he'd had little of it in this house judging from his room, but she hoped that she'd read the signs that Tonks had been displaying correctly. Those two had got on from the first they'd met from what she'd heard, and from what she'd seen lately, Tonks had it bad for the boy. Poppy rethought that, no, Harry wasn't really a child. From everything he'd gone through she doubted he'd ever really had the chance and lately, if you looked into his eyes... she shivered... those were the eyes of a much, much older person, one who'd had a rough life all their life. No, few could class Harry as a child if they but looked into those eyes. She just hoped that Harry would return the feelings that Tonks had for him, but then... first he needed to heal, she just hoped that Tonks could help him with that. It had been a long day and not just because of the number of hours she'd been awake since she got out of bed this morning. It had been touch and go a few times while she and Tonks had dealt with the injuries Harry had sustained in his relatives 'care', but he was now stable and should be ok by morning, not that it was many hours away now anyway as it was almost midnight now.
Downstairs, Moony, Mad-Eye and Dumbledore had taken up residence in chairs in the living room opposite Petunia and Dudley while Vernon was still flat out in the hallway. The atmosphere in the room was oppressive and silent. Even the headmaster, for all he was the one who had sent the boy here and overridden many objections about his treatment in the house in the process, could no longer ignore what he had thought had been exaggerations. If anything they seemed to have been quite a ways short of the truth of the matter. He'd gone upstairs when it seemed that Poppy and Tonks weren't coming down and he'd seen the door to the room with its many locks and the flap. He'd seen the state of the walls and the splintered state of the floor in that room. He'd come back downstairs then and gone outside through the front door for some fresh air and on impulse looked up at the window to Harry's room. He could see the remains of the bars that had once sealed that room and remembered the Weasley boys mentioning them before, though he thought it a fabrication at the time. He was quickly learning that little if anything of what he'd heard about the Dursley's treatment of Harry was a fabrication or even an exaggeration. The comments that Harry had made in passing about his treatment here that most had taken as bad jokes, he was now seen in a new light, and the slightly off kilter laugh and look to Harry's eyes when he made them now took on a whole new meaning. These had been his cries for help, yet at the same time, he had been truly making light of his situation, as though he had accepted that nothing he said or did was going to change things. They were the words of a boy who believed deep in his heart that he deserved the treatment he received here and as soon as Albus realised this, he knew in his heart that he'd failed the boy completely and utterly. At some point while he'd been moving about the house, someone had moved Vernon into the sitting room with everyone else who was downstairs, and glancing down the hallway his eyes rested on the door to the cupboard under the stairs. Wishing with all his heart the worst of the rumours about Harry's life here had been a fabrication, but unable to resist confirming the truth of it, he glanced back into the sitting room and caught the attention of Moody signalling him to join him in the hallway. Moving over to the cupboard door, he took a deep breath and opened it, letting out an almost explosive breath when the evidence of Harry's early years was still there as fresh as it had been when he'd been sleeping there when he'd been younger. To Moody, who was stood there watching the headmaster with his good eye and looking at the cupboard with his magical one, the headmaster appeared to age a good twenty years when he opened that door.
Gently taking the old Headmaster by the shoulder and steering him back to the sitting room, Moody went back to the hallway and started casting evidence recording spells. While he was working Moody's respect for the boy who had been bought up in this environment increased several notches, and understanding of the boys' current mental state slowly began to form. Once done with the cupboard, Moody touched his fingers to the small crayoned words 'Hrrys Room' that he'd found on one of the cross beams supporting the stairs overhead and if anyone was watching they would have seen something that would make them doubt their eyesight; a single tear trailing from Moody's good eye. He'd already seen the door to Harry's current bedroom while the headmaster had been outside, and had realised that many of the rumours circulating the Order about Harry's early life were far from fictional, though many had thought they were. It was as he was stood there in the hallway, trying to work though how someone who had the childhood that harry had experienced could turn out to be such good young man that Madam Pomfrey came down the stairs. Though she wore a small smile on her lips, there was a look in her eye that boded no good for someone, and Moody had a pretty good idea who those 'someone's might be. Coming up to Moody and seeing the open cupboard and noting it contents and the obvious ramifications, her smile disappeared and the light in her eye seemed to dull almost completely, but the intensity of her look seemed to grow exponentially. With a short nod to each other, they moved into the sitting room and the Headmaster conjuring up chairs for the two of them.
After Remus joined them from his own exploration of the house displaying a set of eyes that almost glowed golden, there were several minutes of silence while everyone settled themselves. Poppy broke the silence to inform them that as Harry was showing signs of waking from being stunned when she'd left, Tonks was keeping an eye on him and so she wouldn't be joining them. This surprised Moody slightly, knowing how long most took to recover from one of his stunners, as without an 'Enervate' most took a few days at least, but then realised the boy had a habit of recovering unnaturally fast from things so shrugged it off. After nodding his head the headmaster turned to glare at Petunia. He sat there holding the gaze of Petunia as though with a vice and the longer he held her gaze the older he seemed to get and the more upset Petunia seemed to be. Eventually the situation changed and Petunia sagged where she sat. The headmasters' countenance was one of someone deeply offended and betrayed. Unknown to the others in the room, though some suspected it, he had just gone through all of Petunias' memories of Harry's childhood and the Dursley's treatment of him, both as a young child and during the summer holidays when he'd come back from Hogwarts. "Alastor, if I could ask a favour of you just once more... I know I have failed everyone more than can be put into words, but none more so than Mr Potter... please, while Harry is still recovering here I would like you and Remus to remain behind to guard him... I dare say there will be more volunteering when word of this gets out amongst the other members of the order." After a deep sigh he then says "I dread to think what's going to happen when Molly hears of this" and with that every member of the Order there winced. "So Poppy, much though I dread the answer, just how bad is he?"
Madam Pomfrey looked at the aged headmaster and began to report all of her findings in a clinic manner, which everyone there understood was her way of putting some distance between her and what she was saying. When she showed them the medical evidence recordings it was hard not to see the marks on the arms of the person being displayed and both Remus and the Headmaster reacted almost identically by bowing their heads and shaking them. Murmurs from both of them could be heard trying to deny what their eyes told them, but when both looked back up and glanced first at the display and then at Madam Pomfrey she could see both of them understood the meaning of the marks but were still looking to her for an explanation.
"Sorry gentleman, I'm not a mind healer, and that is what Harry needs now. The many years of abuse he has received here has left its mark upon his mind and it may well be that he will never fully recover" At this she sent a withering glare at the Dursley's. Turning back to the Order members she continued "that said gentleman, I believe that he has many friends who with little to no encouragement would certainly do their upmost to help in any way they can. The question we must ask ourselves is where would be in Harry's best interest for him to stay while he recovers? Looking at recent events, Order HQ might not be the best of place to take him due the psychological associations he likely has with the place" at this Moony nodded his head. Those few who were close to Sirius had yet to go back to Order HQ unless absolutely needed; there were just too many memories associated with the place. Madam Pomfrey continued again "Thinking of other possible places he might go, there are the Weasley's who would welcome him to the Burrow with open arms, but although the Weasley's are a good and kind family, I think their house may just be a little overwhelming for his psyche right now. He needs his confidence in himself building back up and nice and loving though Mrs Weasley is, she will probably smother him in kindness. Hogwarts might have been a possibility, and would be for most students, but with everything that has happened there to Harry in the last five years and the breakdown of the relationship I heard about between yourself and Harry at the end of the last school year Headmaster, well... anyway, I can't think for the life of me where he could go that would be either psychologically positive or neutral, yet not overwhelming, where he could get the rest and recuperation that he so desperately needs."
Moody spoke up now "I say we stick to our previous plans, take the young man to the Leaky Cauldron where he can rest up and use the private dining rooms and such for some quiet and then take him up to Gringott's on Friday. Who knows, what with the Black Will and the fact that the Goblins will likely want to sort out the Potter Will while he's there, well, it may all sort itself out in terms of him having somewhere to stay. The Potters weren't exactly poor and neither were the Blacks. Though thinking about it, any Potter residence may be overwhelming at first and any Black residence will probably need fumigating first."
"So we're all agreed then" murmured Dumbledore "we wait for after the will readings and see what happens."
Everyone either murmured their assent or nodded their heads, well, everyone except the Dursley's who just sat to one side trying not to be noticed... or should that be sprawled on the floor unconscious in the case of Vernon.
"As for the Dursley's..." Albus Dumbledore looked with contempt at the family off to one side whose conscious members had jumped nervously at being referred to "Harry needs the protections offered by living with someone of his mother's blood, Petunia, and as I reminded you in my last missive, he does NOT require the presence of either of the male Dursley's. It is too late for me to do anything about that now as not only have you and your family broken the trust in which you were placed, but you have also broken the magically binding contracts that you signed. You have left me no choice." The headmaster then formally stated "Vernon, Petunia and Dudley Dursley, I do hereby declare you trust breakers and contract breakers according to the contract you signed in regard to the maintenance and care of one Harry James Potter."
There was a sudden bright flash and a swarm of Goblins appeared, armed and looking decidedly ready to fight. A fairly tall and decidedly evil looking goblin walked up to Dumbledore and took a role of parchment that the headmaster was holding out. Unfurling the role of parchment the goblin scanned down it with his eyes. Once finished the Goblin looked at those present and sneered "and the evidence?" at which Madam Pomfrey and Mad-Eye Moody both presented the recordings they'd taken and Madam Pomfrey also supplied a copy of the evidence recordings that Tonks had taken from upstairs. The headmaster then placed his wand tip to his temple and extracted a memory which a goblin moved forward and collected in a small travelling Pensieve. The headmaster continued to add more and more memories to the Pensieve as the goblin stood holding it. The lead goblin, that had at first appeared dubious of the claims made, soon became more interested and when the headmaster had finished extracting memories, the lead goblin gave a signal and a few of his group moved to surround the Dursley's and the rest moved to one side of the room and began sifting through the information they had been given.
In a remarkably short amount of time the lead goblin returned bowing slightly to the headmaster. As he straightened he started to speak "My apologies Headmaster Dumbledore, my name is Falrog Lipsnatcher, Head of Gringott's Magical Contracts Breakages Department. After considering the evidence supplied I have to concur that a very serious break has been committed by the Dursley's and I shall be investigating the reasons why this was not discovered by our department sooner. I understand that the one referred to as Petunia is still required at this time by the subject of the contract until his 17 birthday in order to charge some blood based protective wards?" The head master tilted his head and responded "That is correct". Falrog continued having nodded his head "and the two Dursley males are not required?" the headmaster responded with a nod and verbally with "That would also be correct." Falrog nodded his head again and looked thoughtful for a moment and then glanced at the two Dursley males, a sneer on his face. With a flick of his fingers Vernon awoke and was forcibly sat in a chair next to Dudley. As his eyes opened and he saw the goblins, his face turned first red, then at a look at the weapons most of them had levelled at him, turned almost totally white. Falrog then proclaimed with a sneer "Vernon and Dudley Dursley, you have been found to be both Trust and Contract breakers to a degree I have never before seen in all my time in my department. If it were up to me you would be taken to the deepest, foulest mine I could find and spend the rest of your miserable existence there. If I had my way you'd spend the majority of your afterlife there as well. Think yourself extremely lucky it's not up to me. Scratchit, Sniff, take these two to the holding cells to await sentencing!" Two fairly bulky, well armed goblins trotted forward, grabbed a male Dursley each and then vanished with their charges. Although it may have looked impossible, as he turned to Petunia, his sneer grew "Petunia Dursley, you have also been found to be both a Trust and Contract breaker, however you have also been found guilty of a further charge of Abuse of a Child of your Blood, under Goblin Law, which contract breakages falls under, an even bigger crime than the first two, though they were heinous enough. Much though I'd rather just kill you now and be done with it, I find myself bound by the requirements of the injured party of the contract that you be living at least until he turns 17 and you are also protected by blood wards on this property preventing such direct action on my part. After much debate amongst myself and my colleagues it has been decided to bind you over in this house until after the Will readings of James and Lily Potter and Sirius Black on Friday where the injured party is due to attend, as many more options then become available." The goblin then walked out into the hallway and opened the cupboard under the stairs. The goblin seemed to stand there for a few minutes living the memories that he'd been given of another beings life and their time spent in this cupboard. The goblin looked back to the sitting room and spoke with a slightly malicious glee "It's now Tuesday evening, almost Wednesday..." the goblin nodded to itself "Get yourself in there bitch!" at which Petunia seemed to almost float quickly over to the cupboard and fold up into it. The goblin then uttered a long stream of Gobbledegook and the cupboard flashed "Now you are bound to that cupboard until such time as the Master of the House allows you out as the door is now keyed to him and him alone, speaking of which" Now the goblin seemed to draw itself up "I do declare as partial recompense for breaking both trust and contract, all property, monies and chattel, excepting any debts, belonging to Vernon, Petunia and/or Dudley Dursley are hereby awarded to Harry James Potter effective immediately." In a slightly less declamatory voice the goblin then went on to say "I shall be speaking to the Potter trust account manager about buying up all the Dursley notes of credit." The smile on the goblins face would have given a raging giant pause. "Please let Mr Potter know to be expecting me after the will readings are complete on Friday" and with that he signalled to the remaining goblins and with a bright flash they were gone.
Those remaining in the sitting room were looking a tad bit green. Goblins didn't mess about when someone broke faith on a contract, but what they had just seen certainly underlined the fact. After about ten minutes during which everyone sat silently absorbing what they had just seen, the headmaster spoke "Well. It's getting late and I for one have had a far longer day than any in recent memory. I do believe it is time for me to depart for the night. Remus, Alastor, I'll leave you to work out guard duty." Extracting a piece of string from his pocket, Albus cast a quick Portus spell and then held it out to Poppy "If you'd like to grab on Poppy and we'll get back to Hogwarts. Gentlemen, I bid you a goodnight".
Madam Pomfrey also said her goodbyes to the two and then grabbed hold of the piece of string; within moments the two had gone. Moony and Mad-Eye looked at each other briefly and with a quick nod, Mad-Eye ceded the night watch to Moony, who after all was a Werewolf and much more alert at night. Mad-Eye stumped upstairs to the spare room to go to bed.
Back upstairs, one Nymphadora Tonks was experiencing something decidedly odd and had been ever since she'd acknowledged that Harry was indeed a young man and not a boy. From that moment on her thoughts had turned decidedly... well NC17 sprang to mind. No, she had to control herself... she looked down at Harry who was laying in her arms and wondered exactly when his birthday was anyway. She sat there for a few moments trying to recall the details of what she knew about Harry, and then it hit her, of course, 31 July 1980. She almost face palmed herself, how could she forget that when hers was the day after. So... yes he'd be 16 in... oh... OH! Tonks smiled. He'd be 16 in exactly... she looked at her watch... heh 27 minutes. Tonks smiled a particularly predatory smile as she sat against the head board of the four poster bed they were in, while supporting Harry's weight so he was more or less sat up in bed as per Poppy's instructions. She looked back down at Harry face who seemed to be waking slightly in her arms and realised she needed to put her thoughts on hold, he really wasn't in any fit state to be doing what she wanted him to be doing to... erm with... her. Then a really terrifying thought hit her... what if... what if he didn't want her. She faced the facts; she was a day shy of 7 years his senior. Would he think she was too old for him? She lay there holding him in her arms and started to bite her lower lip, unsure what his feelings to her might be. True, they'd spent a fair amount of time in each other's company during each summer since she started guarding him during the summer after his second year when she'd joined the Order. She'd joined even though she'd still got a year of Auror training to go; it had been difficult for the two of them to fake not knowing each other the previous summer when she, along with other members of the order, had rescued him from the Dursley's and taken him to Order HQ. All of Harry's guards were under orders not to make themselves known to Harry, but Tonks and dismissed that order rather quickly when she saw just how bad things were in the Dursley house. She'd sworn to herself that she'd not forget his birthday this year; his present was tucked away in one of her there-not-there pockets of her cloak. Her present was looking more and more useful as the evening wore on, though she was still trying to work out why she had bought what she had, well part of the present anyway.
It was to this sight that Harry slowly opened his eyes; Tonks sat behind him supporting his torso in bed, looking down at his face just a few inches away, biting her lip looking slightly worried. To say Harry found this sight to be both extremely cute and endearing would be an understatement. He also felt that the whole situation was exactly right; this is where both of them belonged. He also found the whole situation to be an immense turn on. With a slightly hoarse, slightly roughened voice, Harry murmured "Hiya Tonks".
Blinking, Tonks realised that Harry had his eyes open and was looking at her with a slight smile on his face. That smile sent sensations up and down her and she only just managed to suppress the shiver that was her instinctive response to it. Finally she managed to breath out a slightly husky "Watcha Harry." Oh how she wanted him right then. He could do anything to her at that moment, and with just a word or two she'd help him do it to her, not that Harry knew that of course; at least she hoped not... or did she? She reached over to a cupboard by the side of the bed and lifted of a glass of water that had been put there earlier for when Harry woke up and helped Harry take a few sips.
Harry, on his part was getting slightly confused by Tonks at this point. If he didn't know better, though he was slowly wondering if in fact he did, the look in Tonks eyes right then as she'd looked deep into his was a mixture of equal parts submission, lust and a much greater part than the other two combined that was something far more comforting and warm, though Harry didn't know what it was; anyone who'd had a half decent childhood would have recognised it immediately however. The look changed slowly to include a hint of thoughtfulness as though she were contemplating something and a hint of worry started to enter her eyes. As Tonks turned away to the side table Harry lay there thinking about what he had seen in her expression and with a flash of clarity that surprised him, realised that she was worried that he didn't return her feelings, or at least the right feelings. Somehow though, it made him wonder exactly how much of what he was seeing was his own fantasies being mirrored back to him, he thought she wanted him to dominate her, though how could he be sure, and if he cocked it up would it ruin their friendship? He'd read the leaflets that did the rounds in the boys dorms, including a few of the hidden sections that only the older students were supposed to be able to access. He mentally thanked the Weasley twins for their forethought in providing the passwords, all four of them, even though the vast majority of the male population of Hogwarts thought there were only two, including most 7th years. Some of what he'd read had been eye opening; who knew Wizarding culture was so into that sort of thing. Of course there were advantages to the parties involved, and certain formalities you had to abide by. Harry looked over at Tonks and held her gaze while bringing his hand up to rest against her heart shaped face, his thumb along her jaw line, his fingers cupping her face. He slowly curled his fingers under on that hand slowly drawing his nails lightly down her cheek and then drew his finger tips back up that same cheek again to stroked her hair back from her face. Cupping her head now with that hand and stoking his thumb over her ear lobe and lightly brushing the back of her neck with his fingers, he murmured lightly "So... Pet, mind telling me where I am and what's been happening while I've been out of it?"
While he'd been moving his thumb and fingers Tonks' eyes had been slowly dropping until they were half lidded, but at the word 'Pet' her eyes widened slightly and her face lit up with the biggest smile you could imagine, confirming Harry's thoughts. Hesitantly Tonks responded "Well... um... master, as to what's been happening, from what Madam Pomfrey told me earlier, when Moody mentioned your injuries it bought your attention to them and well... in combination with our appearance at the door and the sheer number of injuries you had sustained, well, it overwhelmed you and you started going into both Psychological and Magical Shock, which well, one isn't good, both at the same time is well... it was a close call. You had been using your magic to sustain yourself and quite frankly with the sheer number and severity of some of the injuries we healed, we're both quite frankly amazed that you were even standing, or that you were strong enough to overcome that level of injury simply with your magic. Just a fraction of those injuries would have totally incapacitated most Auror Hit Wizards let alone the average wizard on the street." Throughout this mini rambling speech by Tonks, Harry could feel she was holding back her tears by simple force of will and began to understand just how close he had come to being well... dead. He'd known Tonks cared about and for him for a while and had been trying to work out how to tell her that he cared for her for ages; this situation seemed to simply be the perfect opportunity. Tonks seemed to gain a new breath from somewhere and continued "as to where we are, well, this is your bedroom at number 4 Privet Drive, though I admit it's been magically expanded and we replaced your bed. Um... did I do good... master?" When Harry had said 'Pet' and each time Tonks had said 'master' it had been almost silent and said with a hint of both nervousness and shyness coming through in both their voices.
Harry lay there for a moment thinking about what Tonks had said, then with a quick glance at what he could see of the bed and his newly expanded room, nodded his head slightly and murmured "Yes Pet, you did good" and with this started to stroke the right side of her head with his free hand again. By this time Tonks was almost purring. Now that Tonks had acknowledged Harry's initially calling her 'Pet' by calling him 'Master' although very quietly, Harry relaxed a bit. "Pet?"
"Is this your true form?"
"Hmmm, Tonks, I'd like us to be honest with each other. Too many people keep things from me and I'd like for there to be at least someone who I can be totally open and honest with and who will be totally open and honest with me."
At the change from Harry calling her 'Pet' to calling her 'Tonks' again, Tonks' smile vanished and her mind raced, but as she processed what he had said, she understood what he was asking and she calmed again and her smile returned. "I understand and Master, I'd be delighted". Sliding slightly out from behind Harry so he could see how she changed, but close enough to continue supporting Harry's torso, she began to morph into another form. Her clothing was charmed to adjust to her size as she morphed so there were no embarrassing clothing malfunctions, though both parties on the bed were wondering if that was actually such a good thing. Her face remained unchanged, but her hair became a light strawberry blond in colour and her arms and legs seemed to become longer and thinner, while her torso seemed to shift slightly so she was the classic hour glass figure with a slightly larger bust than she'd had before. In looks she resembled a life size Barbie doll and after a quick glance Harry thought he knew why she hid her looks; too much happened in the Wizarding world based on appearances and Tonks' new appearance screamed 'Blond Bimbo' which few if any in the Ministry would have taken seriously. He thought that as Tonks was an intelligent Witch she had probably hidden her looks to avoid the classic stereo typing that would have otherwise caused her so many problems in the Auror department and beyond, though it obviously ruined her sense of balance.
Harry nodded "Ahh, I see. Thank you Pet, that means a lot to me." Harry sat there looking at Tonks and shook his head "If we're to be honest with each other then I have to tell you something" at this Harry looked Tonks in the eye "I got to know you with that other appearance and in my mind's eye this just isn't you. Sorry, I think I prefer you as you were...".
Before Harry could say anything else he was suddenly engulfed in a huge hug, though she was careful of his newly healed ribs. "Oh, master, I'm sorry, so sorry, but I made a Witches oath many years ago that if ever someone asked that question this is what I'd show them and see what their response was. You're the first to have ever reacted as I'd hoped someone one day would" and with that she morphed again, her breast size reducing slightly to that which it had been before and her arms and legs shortening but only slightly, so they were still longer than they'd been originally but not as long as they'd been just moments ago. Her body filled out slightly so she no longer looked like someone had put an extremely strong hair tie around her waist. Her hair also turned a strange bluish black. Overall Harry thought the new package was jaw droppingly gorgeous instead of so... well, artificial. Harry thought that there was now a cuteness factor to her whole appearance that had not been there in either of the previous two forms, except in her face which was still unchanged. "Please master, please, I beg you, please forgive me. I'm driven by my old vow when that question is asked and it would be dangerous for me to answer any other..."
It was Harry's turn to interrupt Tonks this time, which he did by the simply expedient of laying a finger over her lips, though Tonks' eyes took on a desperate appearance "Shhh now, apology accepted. So is this the real you now?"
"It is master."
"Thank you." Harry paused here to look at her true form and then looked deep into her eyes. "I can see in your eyes that you are telling me the truth now, and to be honest, I find the real you holds a certain appeal that the Barbie clone could never have for me. This matches your face where I don't think either of the other two really did."
Tonks dipped her head, shyness simply rolling off her in waves as she murmured only just on the edge of hearing "You honestly find me appealing, master?"
"Pet, In all honesty I believe the first few thoughts that ran through my head when I saw the real you were 'I can't believe how jaw droppingly gorgeous Tonks is' and 'ye gods, Tonks is cute normally, but when she goes all shy she's just so adorable'. Does that answer your question?"
Now playing with a fold of blanket and paying close attention to the weave of cloth Tonks mumbled "Yes, master." Just visible due to the angle of her head was a shy nervous smile on Tonks' face but otherwise her whole countenance was of extreme joy. He preferred her True form over that Barbie clone. At that moment Tonks couldn't have been happier. Her master, Harry, liked her true form, in fact thought her true form to be 'jaw droppingly gorgeous' and cute as well. Tonks was now so amazingly horny that she thought she'd cum with little further action and she was virtually about to orgasm right then and there.
"Now pet, I'd say we need to make a quick stop in Diagon Alley tomorrow or possibly Margin Alley hmmm?"
Tonks went decidedly red and her head shot up. With a raised eyebrow she asked "and just how do you know anything about Margin Alley?" Suddenly realising how she'd phrased her question her head shot back down and contritely murmured "Sorry master."
"Well, Pet as to your question, I spent three weeks staying at the Leaky Cauldron just before my third year; you don't honestly think the son of a Marauder stayed in Diagon Alley the entire time do you? Though I do admit, first time I walked down there I had never felt so embarrassed... mind you, I took my invisibility cloak the next few times." And with this he hooked his arm around her and then went on "as to how you phrased the question, I'm sure we'll find something suitable in Margin Alley as punishment hmm?"
Tonks couldn't have gone any redder even using her Metamorph skills but managed to continue valiantly anyway "Y... y... yes master, B..b..but, if I may enquire, how'd you get in there? All the Archways to it are age restricted." Tonks stuttered.
"Well, Pet as we're being honest with each other, I'll tell you, though this is just between us."
Immediately Tonks responded "Of course master, I will keep masters secrets."
"and I yours Pet, and I yours." And he stroked the back of her neck lightly with his fingers. "Well, while I was sat outside the Florean's Ice Cream shop I noticed people disappearing down several side alleys that didn't lead anywhere and then leaving a while later with small plain bags, well eventually my curiosity got the better of me and I followed a few of them and found some interesting hidden entrances to some of the other main Alleys."
"But, master some of those Alleys are dangerous, even Margin Alley has its more extreme clientele."
"Yes, Pet, my first time there I had to make a run for it when a couple of what I can only think could be slavers decided to take a more... active... interest in my presence there. Gave me nightmares for a few nights, let me tell you. I'll show you the hidden archways I know of and when you're back at work you can get some age restrictors put on them like the main entrances have; let's not have any lost kids ending up in any of the seedier Alleys. Better make the age restrictors' one way so any lost kids can get out if they do somehow find a way in; those main archways block underage travel both ways which is odd. Knowing where the hidden archways are should help next time you need to do a raid down there too." Harry lay there for a few minutes thinking things through and then tentatively started talking again "Uhh... Pet, I ahh... if... is..." Harry frowned not sure how to phrase his next question. Harry scratched his head then asked "Are there going to be any problems at your work with this?"
Tonks smiled "Actually master, no. In fact, quite the opposite; when this gets out I fully expect there'll be parties held. You see, you're an extremely powerful and wealthy wizard, and the folks at work have been wondering about when I'd get hooked up with someone for a while now." Tonks sat there for a few moments thinking things through herself "Actually master, I wouldn't be surprised if there were small private parties in several houses up and down the country when news gets out; many didn't think you'd go for having Pets." At Harry's quizzical expression Tonks continued "You see, you're only limited in the number of Pets you can have by the amount of guaranteed income you have and the number of girls who are willing. Gringotts actually has a special account type specifically for Wizards with Pets." Tonks sat looking pensive for a moment or two "Though Master," Tonks again seemed to find the weave of the sheets to be of utmost importance "I...".
Harry was watching Tonks and could see her inner turmoil. "Pet... look at me." When Tonks refused to look up at Harry, he took hold of her chin and slowly lifted it, ducking his head down so that he could see her eyes that little bit quicker "Pet, Look at me." When Tonks finally looked at Harry he continued "Well Pet, I won't say that I'll never take another Pet as I didn't even plan on you, not that I regret it mind, but I will say this: You are my First, you are my Primary and I shall not be seeking to replace you, so unless you know something I don't, which I admit is a possibility, you're stuck with me."
The look in Harry's eye as he said that quite frankly did it for Tonks and she blushed madly as she came quite spectacularly. Harry raised an eyebrow and simply cast a mild cleansing charm that tipped Tonks over the edge as it gently cleaned her up and brushed her most intimate areas with a delicate touch. It was all Tonks could do not to scream her orgasm out but even so her breath quickened and she had to clutch tightly to the sheets as it hit. It was only as Tonks came down from her high that she realised that Harry had cast the cleansing charm without using his wand and silently to boot; she didn't bring Harry's attention to it but filed that event away for later thought. At least they didn't have to worry about the ministry being annoying with so many magical folk in the building at the moment. Leaning into Tonks, Harry kissed her lightly on the lips. Though it wasn't a long kiss, Tonks was still glad that she wasn't standing as she doubted her knees would have held her up. She sat there for a minute or three until she was shaken from her trance by Harry glancing at her watch; why he didn't get a replacement for that hunk of junk he'd ruined back in his fourth year she didn't know.
"Heh, Pet, much though I'd like to keep chatting the night away, it's gone 1am; we really should be getting some sleep if we're off early tomorrow."
"Well, master, you rest up then. I'm supposed to be staying awake to keep an eye on you and make sure you don't put that rib and shoulder out of alignment before they heal properly." Saying this, Tonks slid back behind Harry so that he was supported more by Tonks' torso. As she slid back into place she realised that it was now Harry's birthday "Oh, before I forget in the excitement of getting you moved tomorrow and shopping in the afternoon, here's your present" Saying this she reached into her cloak that was hung on one of the posts of the bed and extracted a small package and after a moment or two where she seemed to be debating whether to give it to him or not, she handed it to him.
Harry, ever curious that he is, looked at the package and though he instantly recognised it to be a book he was wondering about the odd look that past over Tonks' face as she passed it to him. Removing the paper that wrapped the book revealed a slim tome entitled "A Master and His Pets: The rules, rituals and requirements" of which there couldn't have been more than about 20 pages all told and some of those were full of pictures. It turned out that there was another book tucked behind that one though called "Pets: A Treatise on Rewards and Discipline by Comte de Sade" which although contained an equal proportion of pictures as the first book, was much thicker. Harry raised an eyebrow at the two books as he looked back at Tonks over his shoulder that she'd been snuggling up on with her chin.
Tonks saw his expression and realised that she had some explaining to do. He did not look happy, far from it in fact. It was his reaction to the books that made her realise how things might seem to him and she suddenly tensed, as it dawned on her that she may have just royally messed up.
"Umm, Master, err, honestly, it's not what it looks like..."
"Heh, Master, I honestly didn't have this planned out... I bought those books as a bit of a laugh at the time... umm you know my sense of humour, always joking around... I told you no one thought you'd go for the whole Master Pet thing, riiiight?"
"Please believe me Master, pleeeease."
"Master, I know how you hate to be manipulated. Please, you honestly think I'd be dumb enough to set this up and then give you those books, especially that one?" she pointed to the thicker of the two books. "Come on Master, you honestly think I'd plan to set myself up as your pet when I'd bought you a book about rewards and discipline by a 'de Sade'? I'd need to have a serious kink or be slightly nuts... or both!"
There was a sigh from Harry. "So... that book isn't any sort of hint then?" Harry said with a decidedly evil smirk "and anyway, you're already my pet, yet you still gave me the book..." Although it looked impossible, Harry's eyebrow seemed to climb even higher and an indefinable something about his expression made Tonks shiver in anticipation. "Looks like our visit to Margin Alley might be more fun than I originally thought hmmm pet?" With this Harry started to stroke her hair again having moved his hand back to the side of her face after she'd moved back earlier.
On Tonks' part all thought seemed to begin and end at Harry's hand as it stroked her hair, but gradually the hand seemed to slow, then stop and when Tonks looked at Harry she realised that he had finally fallen asleep. She sat resting there for a while thinking over everything that had happened since her arrival. Tonks realised that one thing was certain, if you wanted an event filled day; just track down Harry and you'll get your wish. She started to think about her life and where she wanted to go and what she now wanted out of life; she'd recently been seriously wondering if the Ministry was actually worth working for even before the events of today. Sure, working as an Auror was all she'd been able to think of when she was at Hogwarts and had been a dream of hers for years, trouble is the dream and the reality didn't quite match up; too much hard work for those they caught just to simple walk out of Azkaban when Voldemort sent a Bankers Draft in to the right person. Her major problem now was that to get out of the corps she could either get herself drummed out and be totally unemployable by pretty much everyone, buy herself out, which was unheard of due to the vast amount of Galleons that it required to do so or she could do her 75 years of service and retire... in another 73 years... she almost groaned. At least the wages were good, but then they were hazard pay, the trick was to be alive at the end of the month to spend them; you didn't get a regular bed at St. Mungo's for nothing.
She sat there for a while thinking things over, then it finally dawned on her; the perfect solution. She smiled at her own cunning; she may not have been a slytherin, but anyone of that House would be proud of this plan. She'd need to get the papers filed as soon as she got into the ministry on Monday as she had the rest of this week off as personal time for the Will reading of her Uncle, and as he'd never been convicted, her head of Family. She'd need Harry to officially request it first though and once he did she'd need to move fast to prevent anyone else getting in the way. Hmmm, maybe the Goblins at the Will reading could help; they could usually get things done faster than the Ministry, even if it was normally an internal Ministry matter. While she thought about her future she didn't notice that she was subconsciously stroking his arm again.
Outside on the landing Mad-Eye smiled to himself; couldn't happen to a nicer pair of kids. Then his magical eye spun round and he stomped over to the spare room and having run every diagnostic spell on the room and its contents, nodded his head; the room was clear. He then set several traps on the door and window and then settled down to sleep... on the floor... behind the bed.
Downstairs Remus was looking at the garden through the kitchen window, looking at the neatly kept flower beds and the lawn cut to perfection. A single tear trailed its way down his cheek as he contemplated the life Harry had lead. Now that he was alone, he was free to mourn what could have been and quickly came to realise where Harry's anger came from.
The Headmaster and Madam Pomfrey appeared in the Headmasters office and Albus conjured up a pair of comfortable chairs in front of the fire. After offering one of the seats to Poppy, Albus sank into the other. The twinkle in Albus' eye had been absent all day and showed no sign of returning any time soon. He sunk his head in his hands and through his hands asked "What have I done Poppy? With all we're fighting against, why did I not see what was happening to the lad?"
Poppy simply sat there and looked at the aged headmaster for a moment. "Sometimes Albus, the actions of the people we fight for are more easily overlooked than those of the people we fight. We have a notion of the people we are protecting, and sometimes it's hard to accept something when it doesn't agree with our own understanding. Today... well yesterday now... it was quite forcefully proven by Harry's childhood... or lack of one... how easily our own perceptions of people as a whole can be our own undoing when dealing with specific people. Unfortunately we have to understand, simply because they are muggles, does not preclude them from being like the Malfoy's or the Lestranges; they simply find another way to manifest it than in magic." She was looking at the headmaster the entire time and he seemed to have taken the whole thing rather badly, but then he had placed the boy there against Minerva's recommendations. She decided to give him something to ponder apart from the tragedy that had been Harry's youth "While I was running those diagnostics on young Mr Potter, I noticed something most odd in his aura. I'll need to check of course, but it seems Mr Potter has several bondings of some sort waiting to activate when he comes of age. If what we think is in his Godfather's Will turns out to be true, then we need to find the girls quickly, though I think I already know who one of them is and I'd be surprised if I didn't already know who at least some of the others are."
Albus suddenly went pale at hearing this. "The boy is bonding... oh dear. If he gets magically emancipated the effects on the forming bond... wait you said several?"
"Indeed I did headmaster and it troubles me greatly. The last time he was in the hospital wing the bonds were not there, or at least not in the number they are now. Something triggered the forming of these bonds and I'm not sure they are natural which will make finding the girls that much harder. However, as you know, an artificial bond would dissipate quickly unless there was an actual basis for it naturally. My tests last night show that all of the forming bonds are impressively strong and yet they are only partially formed meaning that the bonds themselves are not unwanted by those concerned. From what I could see once the bonds have been consciously accepted by the concerned parties they will be stronger than anything I've seen before. The main thing that troubles me is not knowing what sparked the formation of the bonds or what sort of bonds were looking at."
Poppy and Albus sat in the Headmasters' office sipping their tea in silence for a while, then excusing herself, Poppy left for her rooms for the night while the Headmaster sat in his chair contemplating Harry's life. "Can't that boy catch any kind of break" Albus thought quietly to himself.