Kinsfire - Sorcerors Apprentice By Kinsfire Harry finds out a particularly disturbing thing over the summer after Sirius' death, and with it comes other problems. He begins to come out of his shell with the help of some ladies, but no one ever said that life was easy for the Boy Who Lived...Home | About | Email Alerts | Other Formats | Change Look | Favourite Stories | Yahoo! Group Back to: Harry Potter » Sorceror's Apprentice Reviews (6) Printer Friendly Format Sorceror's Apprentice Chapter 1 By Kinsfire Previous Next Chapter I It was another lousy summer at Number four Privet Drive for the young man with the lightning bolt scar on his forehead. He was still working like a dog for the Dursleys, doing work that would cost them a large sum of money to get someone else to do. They still fed him barely enough to survive on. That wasn't the worst of it, however. This year, he'd been told that he was staying at Number four until the beginning of the next school year. His supplies would be purchased for him, since it was far too dangerous to permit him to leave the confines of the Little Whinging household that had been his prison these past fifteen years. He was sitting behind some of the bushes in front of the house, hiding from his aunt, fuming. Quietly he grumbled, "I'd love to see the records they're making of my time at this house. 'Sat in yard. Mowed lawn. Weeded lawn. Weeded flower garden. Hit with frying pan by aunt. Contemplated inventive ways to tell Snape to go fuck himself.'" He heard a very quiet snort off to his left, behind the bushes in the neighbouring yard. He waited a few minutes before rising to his feet and muttering, "Well, I suppose I ought to get out the pruning shears and trim these bushes. Of course, she'll hit me with a frying pan for being pre-emptive about it. Let me see which ones need it worst." He looked at the ones he had been sitting behind first, and then aimlessly walked to the others. When he was by the one where he'd heard the snort, he whispered, "I see I'm not the only one who found that last one amusing. I'm surprised they're allowing neophyte members of the Order to guard me." He continued his checking of the bushes before getting the shears and trimming the bushes. With luck I've just pissed off one of my guards by calling him a rookie. I'll also know if I hear someone make a reference to neophytes in my hearing. ##### He snarled at his school books as he quietly closed the door to his room. It was July seventeenth, exactly two weeks before he turned sixteen. His summer homework had been finished for a while, and he'd even gone so far as to finally begin reading Hogwarts, A History. I need other books, he thought. Y'know, I think that my current attitude on my minders is that they have to keep me safe. I'm going to the damned library tomorrow. Screw them if they don't like that. He threw himself into his bed and surprised himself by falling asleep quickly. The next morning, after breakfast and the morning chores, he waited until 'Dudders' and his aunt had left on different missions before he stepped out to go to the library. He'd gotten halfway there before he felt someone approaching him from behind. "I'm going to the library," he said quietly. "End of statement." "Turn around and go home, boy," growled Moody. "You're not safe out here." "I assume that you're ready to Stupefy me and Mobilicorpus me back to Privet Drive?" Harry asked, continuing his progress toward the library. "I'm going to the library, because I need things to read, and I'll be damned if I'm going to let everyone else decide what I should read, because I'll start getting books on how to defend against the Dark Arts, and other such books, and a 'request' from Dumbledore or someone for a thirty foot scroll on the exact uses of various curses in defence and attack." He picked up his speed very slightly, and prepared himself for what he was sure was coming. In fact, he took a route that most people didn't, through some somewhat thick weeds, almost neck high. He suddenly leapt to the left, having noticed a tendency in fights to leap right. As he did, a red beam shot by him. Nice! Moody just taught me something that I'll bet he's going to be unhappy about. Nice Stupefy, though. He rolled to his feet and looked for the new beam to shoot out at him. It took a few moments, but he finally saw the red glow begin at the start of the spell, and he leapt under it. Rather than trying to tackle Moody, he grabbed for the Invisibility Cloak, and felt it come with him. He rolled carefully in the tall weeds, and held it such as to be able to use it as a weapon. I'd wear it, but Moody can look right through them. He stood. "Well, I've learned something, obviously. Now that you're visible, I expect that I'll be zapped by the others that I haven't noticed." "Excellent thinking, Potter," sneered a familiar voice before he lost consciousness. ##### He awoke in his bedroom and found a scroll sitting on his desk. Potter, It has been left to me to inform you that you shall not be permitted to leave the Dursley household again until it is time for you to catch the Hogwarts Express. Do not force us to take stronger methods to ensure your safety. Professor Severus Snape He snarled at the letter, but very carefully folded it. You will learn to regret this, Snivellus, he thought darkly. He walked to the front door and opened it. "Better tell Snivellus to get the stronger methods ready," he said conversationally to the air. "I'm going to the damned library, or I'll die trying." As he turned to walk back inside, he added, "By the way, I meant that last." ##### He slid over the fence and headed through the back neighbour's lawn, getting to the street in short order. He began to take a somewhat zig- zag path to the library. He was surprised to actually succeed in making it to the building without being stopped by anyone. He walked in and looked around for a bit. It was actually the first time he'd been in a Muggle library, and it certainly looked cleaner than the Hogwarts one. In one section, along a wall, there were a number of machines sitting on a table. He recognized them as computers, although he'd never used one before. He sat down in front of one of them and looked at the sheets next to him. It seemed that if he moved the odd oval thing next to the keyboard (it looked enough like a typewriter keyboard that he was at least comfortable there), the screen came up with something called a search engine. He began to play around, and rather quickly got the hang of how to do a proper search. Gods, I wish I was an adult right now. I wonder how many years I have to wait until England considers me one? After a few abortive searches, his jaw dropped. Sixteen, if I have access to proper monetary assets? Given what's in those vaults, I think I could live for a while…but how do I keep the money up while I work on …hmm, I have a lot to think about, but I have some ammunition for the next time they get pushy. He noticed that there was a printer connected, so he sent the information he found to the printer and headed out after grabbing it. He laughed softly to himself as he left the library, and waved to Remus Lupin as he walked past him. The gaunt man caught up to Harry as he walked. "Harry, do you have any idea how dangerous the game you're playing is?" "Let's see, I could be grabbed in broad daylight by someone. Yesterday I discovered that this means that my attacker could be either an Auror or a Death Eater, considering Snivellus and Mad-Eye ganged up on me and Stupefied me home. I then was informed that I was forbidden to leave the Privet Drive home." "It's for your safety." "Who cares!" he shouted back at Remus. "I am a prisoner in the household of a family that abuses me. I don't think that anyone has ever really grasped that. I spent the first ten years with them sleeping in a cupboard under the stairs. Someday you'll have to come visit me, and I'll show you how large that space was. Now, they let me sleep in a room where they can lock me in, six ways from Sunday. I can't choose to lock them out, but they can lock me in. The only reason that my stuff stays untouched is because they know nothing about what I do, and think that my 'freak' heritage is contagious." He stopped to take a breath and calm down. "I don't care if you got Tonks to come over to the house looking like Herm … her sexiest form and got her to dance naked in front of me for several hours. The sexiest prison guard is still a prison guard." "Now, I'm returning home. I never did get the books I was looking for, because I found other interesting information. I expect that I may actually find the doors bound with Coloportus tomorrow, if I try to leave." He spun on Remus. "I know you think you're doing it for the best, sir, but I will tell you now – if I continue to get scenarios like yesterday and today, I guarantee you that the Order will not like the results." "Really, Mister Potter," drawled Severus Snape, who had just come from his hiding place. "Yes, Snivellus. That's a guarantee you can take to Gringott's." He stalked off down the street. "POTTER!" Snape yelled. "Get back here!" Harry's only answer was to lift his right hand in a fist, with his index and middle finger extended. ##### "That went well," snorted Remus. "Really, Lupin? Has your disease driven you even more insane?" "Snape, perhaps you ought to learn the meaning of a few words. Sarcasm comes to mind. Has it ever occurred to you why you haven't been able to break him?" "Who says I'm trying to break him?" "Anyone watching you. That boy has his father's looks, mischievousness, and talent. But he has his mother's eyes, brains, and stubbornness. Trust me on that one. I knew them far better than you ever did. In a battle between you and Lily, I guarantee you that she could out-stubborn you. Think about that for a while." Remus ran off to catch up with Harry. Previous Next Like it? Leave a review! Logged in as Wim Vincken (Log out) Site generated in 0.0904 seconds, 3 queries. Home | About | Email Alerts | Other Formats | Change Look | Favourite Stories | Yahoo! Group Back to: Harry Potter » Sorceror's Apprentice Reviews (4) Printer Friendly Format Sorceror's Apprentice Chapter 2 By Kinsfire Previous Next Chapter II Harry was already on Privet Drive by the time that Remus caught up with him. "Harry!" he panted slightly. Harry actually stopped. "Ought to be interesting this next year. Assuming I actually did well enough to get into Potions, these last two days have guaranteed a failing grade. Well, actually, breathing guarantees me a failing grade. At least he can look forward to the fact that he will someday get the last of his wishes." "What do you mean?" Remus asked. "How long was Voldemort a wizard before he went Poof! trying to kill me? Thirty-something years? Mind you, I'm counting only his post-school years. How many years have I been a wizard? By the same reasoning I used for him, negative two years." He looked Remus solidly in the eyes. "There is not a logical outcome, no matter what damned power that Dumbledore thinks I've got, that will give us any result better than a mutual take-out, sir. There is no way in hell that I am going to be able to take out a wizard with more than thirty years on me and survive. It's that simple." Remus simply blinked at him for a long moment. He opened his mouth to speak, but found that they were back at the Dursley home. "Sorry, sir, but I need to prepare for my next six weeks of imprisonment. I'll see you sometime." With that, Harry opened the door and stepped inside, leaving a stunned Remus Lupin standing outside. Harry stalked upstairs and thought for a moment. Pulling out a sheet of parchment, he wrote to Hermione. Hermione, I need a journal to start writing my thoughts down. I don't need one that copies what I write elsewhere, just something for my own private thoughts. What can you suggest? Since I am forbidden to leave Number four Privet Drive without permission (and don't think I'm joking, either), I'll probably have to ask you to pick it up for me. Of course, this will probably be intercepted on its way to you, so if you do buy one for me, give it to me when we see each other in six weeks, since I expect that I would be given a journal that wrote my thoughts to a different journal elsewhere, if I let them deliver it to me. (Know where something keeps its brain, and the Order is not about to give me access to the second journal that they chose for me.) This, of course, assumes I haven't ended up in Azkaban for using my wand for lighting my way downstairs or something. Harry He sealed the envelope and gave it to Hedwig. "Go on, girl. Enjoy yourself. At least one of us can be free to fly. Take your time coming back." She nipped him affectionately on his finger, and he closed his eyes to fight back tears. She hopped onto his arm and hooted quietly at him. He opened his eyes to see her large ones staring back at him. He laughed quietly. "Go on, you silly girl!" he chuckled softly. He gently petted her feathers a few strokes before she was satisfied, hooted softly again, and was airborne. Harry lay down on his bed and his dark mood came back. Why bother? They don't care. They can't possibly. The one who comes closest to understanding is Professor Lupin, and even he's more worried about me being locked in this damned house than anything else. I'd be tempted to offer old Moldie a deal. I mean, what's the difference? Supposedly, Voldemort wants all non- purebloods killed. Who told us that, though? Dumbledore. Who's willing to lock someone away with no contact with anyone he cares for? Dumbledore. After this last year, can I even trust that what he tells me is true? He seems more than willing to keep me locked away for good, until I can be aimed at Voldemort and fired like a God damned crossbow or something. He snarled and rolled over onto his side, dark thoughts following him down into his dreams. He woke up on the morning of the twentieth in no better a mood than he had gone to sleep in. He took a quick shower and started in on his chores as soon as he had swallowed some eggs and toast. Outdoors, he set about his chores quite methodically, almost robotically. ##### “At least now the ‘conquering hero’ has realized that he’s going to be prevented from leaving,” said a familiar sneer nine days later. “No more attempts to escape. Perhaps he’ll be a worthwhile student for once, but I won’t count on that spot of luck.” He picked up his cup of tea and took a sip. They were sitting at the table in 12 Grimmauld Place. “Severus, must you open your mouth and prove yourself an ass?” growled Alastor Moody. “Now see here …” Snape began, but was cut off. “No, Severus, you see here. Potter’s not the only one who doesn’t trust your ‘conversion’ to the side of light. And personally, I don’t like the way he’s been doing his chores recently. Not even the slightest sign of rebellion. He turns sixteen in two days, and he’s even letting the Dursleys get away with everything they can.” “He’s only got one more month there, Alastor. He survived this long there, he can make it another four weeks.” “You really are an ass, Severus,” Moody growled. Turning away, he almost walked into Dumbledore. “Wondering if you were ever going to announce yourself.” He stomped past Albus. Dumbledore walked over to Snape, who was still sipping his tea. “As much as you would like to keep him at the Dursley home, Severus, where it is much easier to watch him, we are bringing him here tomorrow. Giving the boy a birthday party will perhaps lift his spirits.” “Headmaster, you continually coddle that boy …” “I do not believe that celebrating his birthday is coddling him,” Albus said coolly. “While keeping him at the Durlsey household is an unfortunate necessity, I do not believe that treating him as a prisoner, which has been your attitude toward him these past weeks, serves any good. I agree with Alastor; the boy should be rebelling more. Instead, he is an automaton.” The front door opened, and a very attractive woman stepped through the door. As soon as the door was closed, she grinned and shook her head violently. When she was done, her hair was shorter and a brilliant green. “Ah, Nymphadora, you are here. Excellent. I need for you to make a pick up for us.” “Wotcher, Dumbledore! Please, it’s Tonks; you know that. What am I picking up?” “A very important package. Harry Potter.” He smiled suddenly. “Forgive me for using your full name, dear, but I happen to find it to be a beautiful name; fitting for such a young lady as yourself.” “Why Headmaster,” she replied, blushing, “are you flirting with me?” “If it improves your mood to believe so, then by all means, yes,” he replied, eyes twinkling. “Excuse me,” Severus said. “I feel a need to be sick.” He swept from the room. “Lighten up, Sevvie!” Tonks yelled after him. “You need to get laid!” She started to laugh, and even Dumbledore appeared to chuckle. ##### Tonks had been told some disturbing things about Harry, so she had decided to show up at Number four Privet Drive in clothes guaranteed to get a reaction from him. Her hair was red, although not Weasley red, and her clothes were both tight and small; the fantasy version of a girls’ school uniform. When she got there, Harry was just finishing up mowing the lawn. He was sweating, and his shirt was off. Damn! she thought, when did Harry get built like that? Just what kinds of chores has he been doing? If I were one of his classmates, I’d shag him. Stop that! He’s your charge! Cute one, though. “Wotcher, Harry!” she said as the mower stopped chugging. He turned to face her. “Hey Tonks,” he greeted her. Not smiling. Not good. Damn, not even eyes bugging out, whether or not he finds me pretty. Definitely not good. Time to make use of my famed clumsiness. She walked up to him and as she got closer to him, ‘accidentally’ tripped. His reflexes being what they were, he caught her waist and helped her back to her feet. “My hero,” she laughed and kissed his cheek. He smiled, but she could see that it was devoid of any real humour. “So, you’re my jailer today?” he asked. “Escort, actually. You’re leaving for the summer,” she grinned. “Ah. Prisoner transfer time. Mind if I get a shower first? I’d hate to make the air at my destination any Blacker,” he replied, stressing the final word only a little. “Shower, huh? Need someone to scrub your back?” she wiggled her eyebrows at him. As he finished putting the mower away, he answered, “I somehow think that would be frowned upon, Tonks. Fraternizing, that sort of thing.” His mood was serious; almost utterly devoid of emotion. “Only if we tell them,” she purred. He turned to look at her directly. “This is Dumbledore and company we’re talking about, Tonks. If you’re not recording this in some way to get it back to him, then there are about fifteen other members out there in the bushes, probably including that rookie who let me hear him snort one day when he overheard me.” “I’ll have you know that I’m not a neophyte, Harry,” she whispered with a grin. “That explains why my invisible listener found it funny, at least.” Harry had not yet cracked a real smile yet. “Snivellus is only getting worse.” “I told him he needed to lighten up and get himself laid,” she laughed. “I don’t even hate Voldemort enough to wish him that punishment,” Harry said. “I can’t see anyone sane loving that Dementor-in-training.” He turned and walked to the house. “I’ll be just a minute, and then you can help me pack.” He stepped into the house. “I’m killing that …relative of mine when I get back to the house,” she said darkly. “He should have laughed at least once, and the only part of him that I raised was his eyebrows when he saw me.” While she waited for him she stepped into the shed and transfigured her clothes into something more acceptable to the public by lengthening the skirt and Transfiguring the blouse into something less form-fitting, since her act for Harry had done nothing but proven that he was in serious trouble. What would you have done if he’d taken you up on the back scrubbing comment? she asked herself. Chuckling, she answered, Probably tried to shag him senseless in the shower. It’s not like he’s not attractive, you know. She scowled next. From what I’ve heard, he’s not a poof, so he should have at least reacted to me dressing like that, and throwing myself at him. She stepped out of the shed and saw Harry walking to the back door. She met him there, and saw his expression disappear when he saw her. He still didn’t have his shirt on, and she finally noticed some scars, including what looked to be an old one in the middle of his chest, where he appeared to have taken a knife, from the shape of the wound. “Come on in. I’ll get a shirt on, and we’ll head out to my new jail cell.” Upstairs, she quickly loaded his trunk with her wand while he pulled a handed down T-shirt over his head. She bit her lower lip for a moment before saying, “Harry? I have a question that I swear to you is for my own enlightenment. I’ll even swear an oath with a particularly ugly curse attached to it to prove I’m not lying.” When he nodded at her, she quickly Apparated her clothes onto his bed. “Do I do anything for you at all, Harry?” He looked at her for a long moment. “You would have a few months ago. I’d have been stammering and trying to get you covered back up again, and I’d have fainted if you’d offered to scrub my back in the shower.” He reached over and picked up her blouse and held it out to her. “Now? It’s unimportant.” He looked at her face. “If it helps you any, I do think you’re very pretty, and I’ll admit to wishing I was a few years older once.” With a worried crack, her clothes were back on her body. She looked at him. “I will not tell anyone what I did, but please, Harry – promise me that you’ll talk to someone about the way you’re feeling. I like you, and my offer earlier wasn’t just a test – if you’d agreed, I like to think that you would have enjoyed yourself,” she said, blushing. With my luck, it’ll be a one-time offer, if I ever find myself interested, he thought. “Let’s get going,” he said as he grabbed Hedwig’s cage. She hooted at him. When Tonks held out the length of rope that was the portkey, he opened the door to Hedwig’s cage and said, “Just for safety, girl, grab it with your beak, okay? I don’t think you’d be splinched, but why risk it?” She hooted once again, and then grabbed a piece of the rope in her beak. ##### They appeared in Grimmauld Place, in front of Albus Dumbledore. “Harry! Good to see you again.” “Likewise, sir,” he replied, his voice betraying no emotion. “At least my cell is larger for now.” “Your cell?” Dumbledore asked in alarm. “I’m not to leave where I am for the duration of the summer. That was the order I was given. To be more precise, I was informed that I was not to leave the Dursley house until it was time to catch the Hogwarts Express, but since I’m here now, I assume that the only difference is that I’m not to leave Number twelve Grimmauld. Do I have the same room as last year, sir? If so, I’d like to drop my stuff up there.” “Yes, Harry.” Without a word, Harry grabbed his trunk and headed up the stairs. Albus looked to Tonks with puzzlement. “What happened?” “I promised him I wouldn’t say, sir. I know you trust him, sir, but my … relative’s ham-fisted, hate-filled treatment of Harry this summer may very well have destroyed a fine young man.” “Hoping to bed another one, Nymphadora?” came the sneer from the doorway into the kitchen. “Isn’t he a bit young for you?” Before anyone could react, she had her wand out and had fired off a spell at Severus. He slammed up against the wall, tightly bound. “I will let you slam me all you want, you greasy little bastard, but I am sick and tired of you abusing students.” She turned to Dumbledore. “I recommend that you make a check of his grading. Don’t be surprised to discover that the test results from the O.W.L.s don’t match up with the grades that Sevvie here gives, at least as far as one specific House is concerned. I have verifiable reports of him destroying certain students results in order to be able to fail them for a given section. Interestingly enough, four of them were involved in a certain incident in May. I don’t know about Virgina Weasley’s results or Luna Lovegood’s, though.” “Nymphadora, release him,” Dumbledore said. “I cannot permit such fracturing within the Order to take place. Infighting serves only Tom’s purposes. I must remind you that I trust Severus, for reasons that I cannot make public.” She locked eyes with Dumbledore. “How do you intend to explain to Harry that he can kiss any hopes of being an Auror goodbye, then?” she asked, letting Snape go by vanishing her ropes. “With him teaching, and looking for the slightest excuse to grade him poorly, Sevvie will end up destroying any chance Harry has at being an Auror.” “I’ve given up on that anyways,” Harry said from the stairway. “I’m not going to survive long enough to be one.” “Ah, now comes the Potter ‘pity me’ speech,” Severus snarled. Dumbledore turned to give him a stern look. “Just shut up, Snivellus,” Harry snarled. “You should be happy. The last remnant of your childhood enemy is going up against the Dark Lord someday, and you get to enjoy the fruits from whichever side wins. If I kill Voldemort, you can be happy because it will have been a mutual takeout. If he wins, you can simply revert to being the Death Eater you’re trying to pretend that you aren’t. You win either way.” He snarled and turned away, starting to walk upstairs, but came falling back down the stairs when “Petrificus Totalis!” was cast on him. ##### He awoke in his room, with Tonks sitting next to him. He had a blinding pain in his head, only this one was at the back of his skull. “Ow,” he whispered, tears of pain leaking from his eyes. “I’m sorry, Harry,” she said, her eyes a bit red. “I tried to protect you, but this time my aim was off. I managed to shield the chandelier from being petrified.” She laughed weakly. “It’s okay. I supposed that Dumbledore is giving him a stern talking to right now for potentially damaging the weapon?” “What are you on about? You keep saying that you have to face You-Know- Who. Why?” “It’s that prophecy that I almost helped him get last year; the incident where I killed your … what was he, first cousin once removed? Ask Dumbledore for the entirety of it, but it started off by narrowing it down to Neville or me, but Voldemort narrowed it to me by trying to kill me. Let’s see if I can remember the wording – ah, yes: ‘The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches...born to those who have thrice defied him, born as the seventh month dies...and the Dark Lord will mark him as his equal, but he will have power the Dark Lord knows not...and either must die at the hand of the other for neither can live while the other survives...the one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord will be born as the seventh month dies...’ That’s what Voldemort was after.” He closed his eyes again. “So, I’m hoping to kill Voldemort before whatever he has planned takes me out, because there’s no way I can survive that battle.” “Why not?” Tonks asked, honestly puzzled. “In a battle to the death between a first year Hogwarts student and Mad- Eye Moody, who’s going to win?” he asked, never opening his eyes. She was silent for a long time. “That’s why you’ve completely shut yourself off, then? No contact, and try to drive everyone away?” “Exactly. It’s my job to die versus Voldemort, hopefully taking him out at the same time. I see no reason to leave people behind to mourn me. Honestly, I hope Snape enjoys the party he’s going to throw when I’m dead. He’s certainly looked forward to it for enough years.” “Are you sure he wants you dead?” she asked. “Ask Dumbledore or Hermione about that rant of his the year Sirius escaped Azkaban, after we saved Buckbeak’s and Sirius’ lives.” He laughed mirthlessly. “Ow. Funny thing was, as insane and hateful as his rant was, he was absolutely right. I did have something to do with Sirius’ escape.” He sighed. “Be that as it may be, Tonks, it’s best if I just learn what I need, die killing Voldemort, and let people get on with their lives. I can’t die until then. The prophecy says so.” “Why do you want to die so much?” He snorted. “Maybe I’ll find out if love really exists after I’m dead. It certainly doesn’t exist here. Or if it does, it’s not allowed to the likes of me.” He sighed again. “I’m very tired. May I please sleep again?” “Before you do, I need to ask you – where did you get that idea about love?” She sounded as if she were ready to cry, but he simply could not bring himself to open his eyes and care. “Ten years in a cupboard under the stairs at the Dursley home, followed by the last few in a room where I can be locked in, but can’t lock anyone out. Dumbledore pretending to be a grandfatherly type, but showing his true colours last year by ignoring me at times when I could most have used his advice. Let’s not go into Cho Chang and that debacle – all I was was a conduit to her dead boyfriend. Ah, not last, and certainly least – me. Someone that I profess to care for; to love, after a fashion, gives me a gift so that I can talk to him. When do I actually open this gift? After he’s dead. How’s that for love? I loved him so much that I couldn’t be bothered to talk to him for five fucking months. Love, my dear Tonks, is a crock. I’m just glad I learned it early, before I had a chance to really get hurt. Now, if you don’t mind, I’m going to sleep again.” He returned to the slow breathing of sleep very quickly. Tonks simply sat and shivered for a long while. Previous Next Like it? Leave a review! Logged in as Wim Vincken (Log out) Site generated in 0.1219 seconds, 3 queries. Home | About | Email Alerts | Other Formats | Change Look | Favourite Stories | Yahoo! Group Back to: Harry Potter » Sorceror's Apprentice Reviews (3) Printer Friendly Format Sorceror's Apprentice Chapter 3 By Kinsfire Previous Next Chapter III Harry awoke to a dull ache in the back of his skull, and a vial beside his bed that simply said, Drink Me. It tasted foul, but the pain in his head went away immediately. He looked at his watch, which told him that it was almost 11 AM, which meant that he had apparently slept the entire night through. Climbing from bed, he dressed haphazardly. He wasn't about to start wearing wizarding clothes yet, and since he had no clothes other than the Dudley hand-me-downs, he wasn't terribly worried about his looks. He looked back to see if he'd forgotten anything, and then headed downstairs. At the bottom, he was surprised to see a small dark spot, as well as a dent, about where he thought his head might have impacted with the floor. Kneeling, he reached out and touched the dark spot, and pulled away his hand to find that it was dried blood. "Huh. I guess I am as hard-headed as Snape and Hermione say I am." "Right again, am I?" asked a bright female voice. He looked up to see Hermione wearing an outfit that looked nothing like what Tonks had worn yesterday, but covered just as little skin. A tiny part of him enjoyed the sight, but he quickly squelched that. "Hi, Harry. I'm glad they got you out of that awful house." "Exchanged one prison for a bigger one, that's all," he said. "What do you mean?" she asked. She caught sight of his fingers where he had touched the dent in the floor, and gasped. "Why is there blood on the floor?" she asked, loudly enough that Tonks came running out. "I'm assuming it's from where my head hit the floorboards," he replied. "I suppose if I'd read my textbooks more closely, I'd have realized that Petrificus Totalis still leaves you able to bleed. Explains the headache yesterday." He walked toward the kitchen, but Hermione stopped him. "Why were you falling downstairs petrified?" "Because the relative of mine whom I will gladly kill if I see him again got angry at Harry storming off after telling him off," Tonks answered for Harry. "I originally thought that calling him an unrepentant Death Eater was uncalled for, but now I'm not so sure." "No, Tonks," Harry said. "He taught me a valuable lesson I need to remember. Never turn your back on an enemy." Of course, I won't tell her that it's best if I consider everyone a potential enemy. He motioned toward the kitchen. "Ladies first." Hermione smiled, but Tonks didn't; she merely nodded after a moment. Her scowl said that she completely understood his unspoken thought. Harry found that some things that didn’t need heating had been left around for him, since it had become obvious that he had been allowed to sleep until he needed to wake up. As he sat down with a somewhat fuller plate than Hermione was used to seeing him with, he looked at her again. She was still standing, and he finally paid attention to the outfit. It was very unusual for her, or at least what he was used to with her. It was a form-fitting sleeveless minidress, starting at a turtleneck collar. There was a circular hole at breast level, such that any brassiere Hermione might have been wearing had to be rather low cut. The hem of the skirt was about six inches below where Harry suspected her legs met, and he suddenly found himself wondering if she was wearing hose, because he would have expected to see a few lines telling where her knickers were. Why couldn’t she have worn that around me a few months ago, when I would have given a damn? Then again, she’s Ron’s girl. He paused for a moment, and shook his head. “Sorry, wool-gathering.” She’s known me long enough – I’d better try to convince her I’m basically okay. “Um, Hermione? Can I ask you something that’s likely to get you angry? I don’t mean to, but you know how I am with words.” She laughed. “In other words, you’re afraid you’ll offend me, but you can’t think of any other way to ask it, right?” He smiled and nodded. “Um, I assume that Ron and anyone else aren’t here yet?” “Correct,” she smiled back. “Well, you might want to change into something more like what you wear at Hogwarts before they get here, unless you feel like helping pick Ron’s eyes up off the floor, first when he sees you, and then every time you need to bend over or kneel to pick something up.” He grinned a lop-sided grin. Her eyes sparkled. “You like how I look in this dress, Harry?” “I can honestly say that you’ve gotten my attention with it.” He popped a small roll into his mouth and chewed. “I’ve decided that I’m going to change my image this year. I’m thought of as this bookish thing at school, but I got whistled at on the beach this summer. Actually had to punch one person when his hand ‘accidentally’ came to rest on my rear end. I ‘accidentally’ caught him … oh, what’s that American phrase I heard once? Oh yes! ‘Between the uprights.’ Hit him perhaps a little harder than I intended, but he stopped.” She was grinning. “At least one boy called me a knock-out, and he hadn’t even seen me deal with my attacker.” “I would not argue with anyone calling you a knock-out,” Harry replied. Grinning, he added, “Especially after that story you just told me.” He looked down to realize that he had emptied his plate. “Man, I’m starting to feel like Ron. I need more food.” “Well, it has been almost twenty-four hours,” Tonks said. “You get a new plate of food, and I’ll grab Hermione for a moment. I need some help with something, and most guys get a little squicked dealing with ‘girl stuff’.” “Works for me,” Harry said, and watched the two leave the room. Once they were gone, the animation disappeared from his face once again. ##### As Tonks led her into her own bedroom, Hermione looked very puzzled. “What’s wrong, Tonks?” “Don’t be fooled by that act Harry was putting on down there.” “What do you mean?” “What did he say?” “He liked the way I looked in my dress.” “No, Hermione – think. What did he say?” Tonks watched as the younger girl thought, and her eyes opened. As the penny dropped, she pulled out her wand and tapped the mirror, which swirled and showed the table they’d just left. Harry was sitting expressionless as he ate slowly. “What’s wrong with him?” Hermione asked in alarm. “A very deep depression. He hasn’t been able to grieve for Sirius, unlike the rest of us, and Dumbledore, for some god-awfully stupid reason, put Severus in charge of Harry’s security arrangements this summer. His choice? Forbidding Harry to leave Privet Drive, except maybe to go to Arabella’s house.” “So how many times did he slip out?” Hermione laughed. “Twice. First one led to Severus stunning him and sending him back to Privet. The second time, Harry actually made it to the library. Something that night broke him, though. He’s been … nothing … since that day. He referred to me as his jailer yesterday.” Tonks stopped and looked Hermione in the eyes. “You fancy him, right?” She blushed in response. “I wasn’t going to tell him this down there, but if that had been Harry at the beach, I certainly wouldn’t have moved his hand.” “I thought so,” Tonks smiled back. “Don’t take what I’m about to do wrong – I’m doing it to make a point.” Tonks was suddenly nude again, and shifted into the form she’d worn yesterday. “What should his reaction be to what you’re seeing right now?” Hermione’s jaw dropped. She thought for a moment in that position before finally closing her mouth and saying, “He didn’t react, right?” “Right,” Tonks responded. “Nothing except to tell me I’m pretty, and that he wished I’d done it back when he cared.” She grimaced. “When he went for his shower, I offered to scrub his back. I think you know what I mean. I would have, too, and if he comes out of this and asks me to follow through, I intend to. I basically promised him, whether or not he sees it that way.” “And if he comes back to us, then he’ll pretend you never said it. You’ll have to remind him.” She grimaced. “You’d better hope that I succeed in landing him, because I’ll understand, and remind him.” She blushed deeply enough that she knew it was colouring her breasts. “I’d probably offer to help. Could you get dressed again, please? Guys aren’t the only ones who can be affected by female nudity, you know.” “Oh,” Tonks said, blushing. “You and I should have a talk later on.” Her eyes sparkled. “Enough flirting, though,” she said suddenly, getting serious. She looked at the mirror, which showed Harry robotically cleaning up the kitchen. “There’s more. Not only is he depressed, or actually, it’s part of it … damn. You know that the prophecy existed, right?” She popped her clothes back on. “Uh, yeah,” Hermione laughed. Getting suddenly serious, she said, “Something tells me that Harry knows it, somehow.” She pulled her dress over her head, and started to pull more demure clothes out of her armiore. A happier Harry would have had to pick his own eyes up if he’d known I was wearing nothing but this dress, she half-chuckled to herself. She was interested to note the look in Tonks’ eyes, and realized she had just reversed the situation between them. “Yes, he does know. And he’s suicidal over it. Except that he can’t die.” “What?!” “I’ll get him to quote it to you, but it basically points out that it was him or Neville, but Voldemort chose him. Neither of them … hell, I remember the important part because it sent a chill up my spine. ‘…and either must die at the hand of the other for neither can live while the other survives…’ He is rather certain that the best possibility is a mutual kill. As he phrased it to me, Hermione – in a fight between Moody and a first year, who wins? Voldemort’s got more than forty years on him, I think.” Hermione, who had just gotten her jeans zipped, fell to her knees in shock. “No!” she gasped in horror. “No! Not Harry!” she sobbed. “Not my Harry!” She noticed absently as she sobbed that Tonks came over and held her as she cried. ##### They had been gone quite some time when the emotion of curiosity came to Harry. He walked up the stairs until he reached Hermione’s room. They hadn’t completely closed the door, so Harry took a slight peek through the crack, and would have smiled under other circumstances. The two were standing, hugging each other, and it also appeared that their mouths were busy too. Hermione was in jeans and a brassiere. Good. At least I know love can exist. I wish it was for me, but I’m glad my friends can find it. Ron might be devastated, though … He carefully headed back downstairs toward the study. He knew that the Weasleys would be along sometime later, and knew that Molly would immediately take to cleaning the place. He figured he’d get a head start on her, considering he was a prisoner here, just like the previous year. He grabbed a feather duster and headed up to the library, being extra quiet as he passed by Hermione’s room. About an hour later, he heard footsteps coming toward the library, but kept dusting. “Wotcher, Harry! Why you doin’ that?” “You really think Molly won’t get us cleaning when she shows up? I might as well just get going in advance. Picked a room, and started.” He looked for a moment. “Where’s Hermione?” “Downstairs for the moment, reading in the drawing room.” Upon hearing that, he motioned her closer. When she was almost close enough to kiss, he whispered, “I’m glad you and Hermione are starting something. You both deserve to be happy.” “You … saw?” she squeaked. “Yeah. So? The snog looked pretty intense.” “It was,” she whispered. “I didn’t know she liked girls.” “Neither did I until about an hour ago. One thing though, Tonks. I don’t expect that you would, ‘cause I think I know you well enough, but it’s sort of a requirement in this sort of situation. If you ever hurt her intentionally, Tonks, I will make you wish I’d used the Crucio on you.” “You love her, don’t you?” Tonks asked with a smile. He paused just a little too long, and his eyes dropped. “No. I don’t even know what love is. I have nothing with which to reference against.” He snorted with some small amount of real humour. “I sound like Hermione.” “There are worse things,” Tonks said with a smirk. “Well, yeah, you would say that,” he smiled, but the smile disappeared. “We had this talk already, and I’ve been doing further thinking. I’ve got no more than three years before I have to face that maniac down and die with him. He’s new enough to his body that he’s still learning about it. If I give him more than another three years, he’ll be too solid in his understandings, and I won’t stand a chance against him. So it has to be fast and hard. So I have to start training hard, which may require dropping out of Hogwarts and finding someone who can teach me the really serious combat magics.” He sighed. “I’m a dead man walking, Tonks. I know that saddens you, but I have no choice but to accept it. That’s why I won’t get involved with anyone, Tonks. I’m happy for you; I really am, but don’t try to convince me to find someone, when I’m just going to break their heart before I reach full Muggle adulthood.” They heard a gasp in the doorway, and turned to see Molly Weasley. “Hey, Mrs. Weasley!” Harry said. Her response was to bustle into the room and sweep him into a hug. “Harry, you mustn’t say that!” the woman was almost sobbing. “You’re going to live and have lots of fat babies for Arthur and I to spoil when you and your wife come to visit.” He smiled. “Yes, Mrs. Weasley.” “I’m serious, Harry Potter! You put that thought out of your head right now! Now come downstairs!” Harry looked to Tonks for a moment and saw the look that spoke volumes about Molly Weasley's timing and mothering skills. It almost made him want to smile. Almost. He was led downstairs to meet with the rest of the Weasley clan. Ron was trying to get to Harry, but Molly had apparently decided that he would be at her side until his mood improved. Previous Next Like it? Leave a review! Logged in as Wim Vincken (Log out) Site generated in 0.0923 seconds, 3 queries. Home | About | Email Alerts | Other Formats | Change Look | Favourite Stories | Yahoo! Group Back to: Harry Potter » Sorceror's Apprentice Reviews (3) Printer Friendly Format Sorceror's Apprentice Chapter 4 By Kinsfire Previous Next Chapter IV An hour later, Harry was certainly showing emotion, but it was not one that anyone wanted to see. Molly was eternally the mother, and unfortunately the type that smothers their children when they worry about them. Everyone was watching him, treading carefully, waiting for the inevitable explosion. Tonks was impressed to note that Harry had kept his temper this long. I’d have blown by now. Let’s see if I can get him freed from her – maybe take some of her wrath, and give him the chance to be with his friends. “Hey, Molly, can I talk with you for a minute? Privately?” The red-haired woman fussed for a moment, and finally headed over to Tonks, leaving Harry to finally escape. Tonks watched as Ron, Ginny, Fred, and George quickly snuck him into the drawing room where Hermione was, apparently hiding now. She walked over to the Weasley matriarch and said, "Please don't take this wrong, Molly, but you really need to give Harry some space." “Really! I have raised several children,” she huffed at Tonks. "I'm not trying to interfere too much, Molly, but the guy's fighting a major depression, brought on by Sirius and then the treatment Snape gave him this summer." She frowned. "I was playing with him when I went to collect him, so I showed up in the Hogwarts skirt and blouse, only the blouse was too tight, and the skirt was too short. You know I can look like any sixteen year old's fantasy, right?" Molly nodded with a disapproving look. "Well, he didn't react. At all. Not to get too crude about it, but I should have made his pants tighten. Nothing. And I've seen what he thinks is attractive, so I patterned myself that way. Nothing at all. He's been like that since somewhere around the twentieth, I understand." "But what does that have to do with …" "It's one of those odd things. He needs his space, but we need to keep an eye out for him to try to catch the worst of it when he breaks. He feels trapped, what with Dumbledore and Snape informing him exactly where he can and can't go. Snape was forbidding him to leave the Dursley property, even to go to the local library." Molly winced. “And I was making him feel trapped again, wasn’t I?” “Probably.” She apologized with her eyes, but suddenly stopped, realizing that it had gotten quiet. “Are you as curious as I am about why it’s quiet, especially when those twins of yours are here?” “Yes. I think we should find them.” The two women headed in the direction of the drawing room. ##### Harry held up his hands to the group when they’d dragged him into the room. He needed to get the anger under control, so he carefully shoved it away. Finally, he looked up at the group. “Sorry. I love your mom, but she misunderstood something I was saying to Tonks, and decided that I needed to be kept in arm's reach.” “Ooo, Tonks and ickle Harry-kins?” Fred said. “Setting his sights high, isn’t he?” “Not that way, you prat,” Harry said. “I was continuing a conversation from yesterday, and she walked in at just the wrong moment.” He looked at Hermione, sitting in a chair with a book in her lap, but looking at the group with a smile. There was an odd look to her eyes, though. “Hermione, get over here. When I saw you earlier, I was too interested in food to greet you properly.” She carefully bookmarked her place and stood. Harry pulled her into a hug and whispered in her ear, “Careful letting Ron down. I know about you and Tonks. I saw it. Congrats, by the way.” Pulling away, he grinned, although there still did not seem to be any real emotion there. “Now that’s how I should have greeted my friend, rather than letting my stomach do it.” “Yeah, we’ve already got one Ron!” Ginny giggled. “Shush, you!” Ron laughed in response. Hermione was blinking at Harry in shock. "What did you say to her?" Ginny asked. "Ask her to marry you or something?" That broke Hermione out of her reverie. "What? No!" she said, blushing. "He just told me something I didn't know he knew." "Okay, good," Ginny said, and pulled Harry into a hug. "It's me he's supposed to ask!" she laughed. "What about Dean?" Harry asked. "Oh, it's first come, first served," she said. She got an evil twinkle in her eyes, and Hermione squeaked, "Ginny!" "What? I didn't say a thing," she replied just a little too innocently. Ron was looking puzzled, while Fred and George were staring at their sister, trying to decide whether or not to laugh or kill Harry. "I don't get it," Ron complained. Harry looked and said, "Correct me if I'm wrong, Ginny, but after saying that it was first come, first serve, she was thinking of asking me if I'd come yet." Ginny just grinned in response. He shook his head. "Right," said Fred. "We kill him later," said George. "Get in line," Harry grumbled. He looked up to see the shocked looks on everyone's faces. "What?" "What do you mean, 'Get in line'?" Ron asked. "Think about it, Ron. He's been after me since me first year at school. Hell, the fact that he's already been across the wards probably makes it easier for him to get at me. Name starts with a V and makes you feel squicky every time I say it? If there's anything left of me after Voldemort is done with me, then the twins can have what's left." Ron shivered on cue at the mention of the name. "What are you talking about?" Ron asked. "It involves the prophecy that Voldemort's so damned interested in; the one that he managed to fool me into going after, where I killed my godfather?" He sighed. "Okay, I need to tell you guys about this just so I'm not constantly repeating myself to everyone. What I tell you here is not to go out of this room. I mean, your mum is the next best thing to having my own mum still alive, but you saw how she was a while ago. I'd never have a moment's peace if she knew what I'm about to tell you. The wording of the prophecy is …" "Potter! I forbid you to continue this conversation! Molly, out of my way." Mrs. Weasley was about to respond when Harry surprised everyone by saying, "I'm going to tell them, Snivellus, unless you kill me to stop me. Oh, that's right – you can't. Unless it's Moldiemort doing the killing, I'm a fucking immortal!" he screamed at the end. The room was silent. "You can't be serious," Ginny breathed. In answer he opened his shirt and pointed to the scar that Tonks had noticed the previous day. "See this one? Butcher's knife. One week ago, on the twenty-third. I can't take a mortal wound. Heals right up as soon as it happens. I could slice my wrists, but someone would either come along, or before I hit the danger point, the cuts would seal." "Who tried to kill you, Potter?" Snape was asking in shock. "How did they get past our defences?" "This summer's defences weren't the greatest to begin with, Snivellus. After all, a fifteen year old boy got through them twice. Once you had to stun him and Apparate him back to his house." "Who was it, Harry?" Ron asked. "It was Harry," Hermione answered quietly. "That's the answer to both questions, isn't it, Harry? That's who slipped through the defences, because he was already within them as the one being guarded. And given the fact that you said you were forbidden to leave the house under any circumstances, you were the one who got through them twice, leaving." She walked over to Harry and hugged him tightly. "You tried to kill yourself, didn't you?" "Yes," was his only response. He was answered by Hermione breaking into sobs against his chest. He blankly put his arms around her. "I wonder if anyone has thought of the fact that telling the prophecy to Voldemort is likely to drive him away for many years. He's looking to be immortal. As long as the two of us never meet, he is. Might actually give me time to train to a point where I stand a better chance of taking him out when he kills me." The room was silent. "Let me explain. The prophecy says that …" "Petrificus Totalis!" Snape shouted, and Harry fell to the floor, petrified again, this time landing on his face. "Finite Incantatum!" he heard Molly say, and he was able to move again. He got to his knees and noted that he was bleeding from the nose. "Broke by doze, I tink," he slurred as he examined his nose. "Yup," he winced. Molly came over to him and murmured a few words, and his nose began to feel better. He swallowed a few times, swallowing a small quantity of blood, and then said, "Thanks, Mu … Mrs. Weasley." He walked over to Snape, who was being held at wand-point by Tonks. Before anyone could react, Harry had cocked his fist back and then impacted his fist with Severus's nose. He could feel it break, and the copious blood flow echoed that suspicion. "That's twice in two days that you've managed to attack me and cause injury, you lousy excuse for a human being. Wave your wand in my direction again and I'll break more than your nose." "That will be enough, Harry," Dumbledore said as he walked into the drawing room. "Severus was merely attempting to keep you from divulging information that should be carefully disseminated, if indeed it is released at all." "So what was his excuse for cracking my head open yesterday? You trust him, sir, but I do not. He has hated me from the moment that he heard that I would be attending Hogwarts, and has made me quite well aware that I am useless. He takes great pride in informing me of this at every chance. I am the Golden Boy who has the fame that he feels that he so richly deserves. This summer has finally given him the opportunity to act with impunity on all those sadistic little impulses he's had toward me. Every time he has raised his wand toward me this summer it has led to either unconsciousness or bleeding. I feel safe in believing that if he raises his wand toward me again that I can expect further pain. Therefore, I am telling him simply to be careful in where he points the wand, since logic says that it pointing in my direction implies bad things for me." "Still, I cannot condone threats from students toward professors. I will not permit the disrespect. And I am more than capable of backing up my statements, Mister Potter." Albus Dumbledore looked at Harry with a calm but implacable look on his face. Harry met his eyes and did not back down in the slightest. Finally, Harry said simply, "You're right, professor. A student should not threaten a teacher, no matter how many times the very same teacher has threatened or belittled said student. Since fairness in such dealings is not to be found at your school, it is only proper to arrange things such that we need not worry about me threatening Snivellus ever again. Effective immediately, I will not be returning to Hogwarts. I quit." Previous Next Like it? Leave a review! Logged in as Wim Vincken (Log out) Site generated in 0.1006 seconds, 3 queries. Home | About | Email Alerts | Other Formats | Change Look | Favourite Stories | Yahoo! Group Back to: Harry Potter » Sorceror's Apprentice Reviews (3) Printer Friendly Format Sorceror's Apprentice Chapter 5 By Kinsfire Previous Next Chapter V Harry managed to get out of the room while everyone was standing around shocked at his actions. He had gotten partway up the stairs when he heard Snape bellow, "POTTER!" Without turning around, he said, "Wait 'til I get to the top. You'll have a better chance at breaking my skull this time. If you're really trying, you won't petrify me this time. Accio Harry’s skull should work better." "Severus," came the quiet but extremely firm voice of Albus Dumbledore. Harry continued along to his room, refusing to listen to the susurrus below. Damn, he thought. I'm going to have to share a room with Ron, and I really don't want that right now. He's either going to try to make jokes to cheer me up, or say something really dumb. He's like a brother, I guess, as if I'd know, but … He stood and left the room, heading down to the library again. On his way there, he passed what he knew to have been Sirius' old room. In there. With the rest of the old memories and useless thoughts. He stepped inside. He would have been surprised a few months earlier. Rather than the dark house, living up to the family name of Black, this room was obviously used by someone from Gryffindor, with it's bright red and gold highlights. The room glowed in comparison to the rest of the house. Walking around the room, Harry was drawn to a large thick envelope on the small table next to a beautiful mahogany roll-top desk. He was surprised to discover that it was addressed to him, in Sirius' handwriting. As soon as he ran his finger over the beautiful wax seal, it flared momentarily and unsealed the envelope. As he reached in to pull out the papers inside, a small wand, no longer than six inches in length, fell out. At the top of the sheaf of papers was a letter. Harry, If you're reading this, then it means that I probably died fighting Voldemort. Maybe even saving your life. Know this one thing – no matter how it happened, my death was not your fault. I chose to be there, because you mean that much to me. If I know you, you're blaming the whole thing on yourself. "If only I'd done this, if only I'd done that." Harry, I've spent a few years blaming myself for not seeing Wormtail's betrayal. In retrospect, it's so damned obvious. Note those first two words, Harry. "In retrospect". We all have 20/20 hindsight. It's easy to blame yourself. Most importantly, I know that you did the right thing. You couldn't do anything else, Harry, because you're the son of James and Lily, and you're Gryffindor, through and through. I can never tell you in person now just how much you mean to me, and what it means to me that you risked your life to save mine. (Think Buckbeak - you risked yourself against a hundred Dementors for me - and possibly whatever happened that led to you getting this package.) We haven't talked anywhere as much as I'd have liked, but if I'd had my way, I'd have been back at Hogwarts with you, in your dorm, talking with you even more than Ron does. Don't think that I don't know how much you love me. You've put your life on the line for me. That one sentence says everything we never had the chance to say to each other, and know that I love you that much as well; that's most likely why I died. You'll cry for me, that I know. Know that I'm happy, though. I'm with Lily and James again. I'll see you there someday, too, but it had damned well better be a long time. Cry for me, and get on with the business of living. Find a girl (I think that Hermione might be sweet on you, but I can't be sure), get married, and have a few fat babies for Molly and Arthur to spoil. But live, Harry. Live for me. Maybe name one of those fat babies after me. Love, Sirius P.S. – the wand is a hold-out wand for you. I've heard of that little problem with Voldemort's wand, and it hurts you more than it helps. Yes it can stop his A-K, but it also can stop anything you send his way. This thing packs a punch, I warn you. Harry's howl of pain echoed throughout the house. ##### "I'm glad the boy is not returning!" Snape had been saying a few minutes earlier, through gritted teeth. "He becomes more and more like his father every year." "Perhaps that is because you seem to be shepherding him in that direction," Albus said quietly. "I am not unaware of the incidents during the past five years. There is a reason that there are suits of armor and talking paintings about the castle, Severus." He stopped and sighed. "I expect that I will be able to convince the boy to return to the school, but I doubt that he will ever trust you, and given that I was the one who assumed that you could set aside your hatred long enough to properly keep the boy safe, rather than use it as a further chance to abuse him, he may never trust me again either." He looked at Snape. "You need not worry about assignments involving Harry again, Severus. I shall not make the same mistake a third time." Severus blanched slightly. "So what do we do now?" Ron asked. "Other than set Hermione on him?" She glared at Ron. "Hey, don't blame me if you're the only one who can talk him into things that the rest of us think he should pay attention to! We can talk to him until we're blue, and all he'll do is get mad. You tell him, he gets mad for a minute, and then does it your way." She had to shrug at that. "True. I guess you're right. But you could learn how to say it better, you know." "What, and ruin my perfect record?" he asked impudently. The scream rent the air of the house, and Hermione was in motion before anyone else, shouldering Snape out of the way without realizing it and taking the stairs three at a time. She spun around the corner and found Harry on the floor in fetal position, sobbing uncontrollably. Her eyes fell on the table, and saw the sheaf of papers and the wand. Something made her pick the small wand up and decide to hide it. After a seconds thought, she tucked it into her brassiere, between her breasts. She looked at the letter, and nodded her understanding of Harry's situation. It's good that he's crying about it now, at least. It's the beginning of healing. And I'll …we'll be here for him. She knelt next to him and started stroking his hair. "I'm here, Harry. I'm here for you if you need me." He uncurled somewhat and lunged for her waist, knocking her backwards onto the floor. Holding her waist tightly as she lay flat on the floor, he continued to sob against her. She stroked his hair and repeatedly cooed, "We love you, Harry, and we're here for you." Laying on the floor as she was, she looked back toward the door (a much easier thing to do in this position), and motioned everyone in. All but Severus stepped into the room, and took positions near him where they could at least be in sight when he finally stopped crying. Ron, Ginny, and Tonks, lay hands on him and spoke soothingly. Eventually, the sobbing turned to simple crying, and he let go of her waist and tried to sit up, but she gently told him, ""No, stay there. Just rest, Harry. You've needed that cry." "It hurts so much, Hermione. I never told him I loved him." "But he knew, Harry," murmured Albus. "Do not dwell on regrets. There are too many things in life to regret, and he died the way he wished – fighting Voldemort, and helping the godson he loved to survive." He motioned to the letter. "Do as he says, Harry. Live. Do not merely exist, but live and enjoy life for him.” A sad laugh. “Even, as he said, name a child after him.” He turned his head to say something, and suddenly realized exactly where his face was resting. His entire body stiffened, and he thought he hear Tonks whisper “Yes!” into the silence of the room. Why she would do this, he had no idea. “Um, Hermione? I’m sorry, I didn’t …” She helped him sit up. “Shush, Harry. I gather you didn’t ever have a chance to really mourn for him, did you?” He shook his head. “Then you needed this.” “Well, it’s just that …” His eyes quickly motioned downward, and she noticed that her jeans were damp where his tears had flowed, and his face had been resting on her pelvic area. She laughed. “Just be glad I hadn’t been taking a shower when you broke. Imagine how embarrassed you’d be in that circumstance!” ##### His eyes bugged for a moment, and he tried to ignore the threatening feeling of tightness in his jeans. No! Now is not the time! He smiled, though, and carefully got to his feet, and offered his hands to Hermione to help her to her feet. “Why thank you, good sir,” she said brightly once she had regained her footing. “You are a gentleman, but not much of a scholar,” she finished impishly. “Well, when you go to school with the most brilliant student in over 350 years, it does tend to make you feel a bit dumb,” he said with a smile. “350 years? Where did you get that figure from?” The mischievous grin on his face both surprised and heartened everyone in the room. “Really, Hermione! If you’d only read Hogwarts, A History, you’d know that in Chapter 47, there is a reference to the best students prior to 1975, which is when my copy was printed.” The sputter from Hermione made everyone in the room laugh. “I hate to ask everyone this, but could I take a few moments to get myself together? Take a shower or something?” “Excellent idea, Harry,” Dumbledore said, attempting to shepherd everyone from the room. Tonks and Hermione were the last ones out, after Hermione gave him a warm hug. “Welcome back, Harry,” she said quietly. “Thanks, Hermione. I’ve got a long road ahead of me, and I’ll probably be a bloody arsehole at least once more before the worst is over. Thanks for being here.” “Harry, you’re my best friend. I am here for you, even when you are being an … arsehole.” She blushed furiously at the crudity and shot from the room, leaving Tonks. She grinned. “You’re feeling better now. Need your back scrubbed?” He looked at her, and truly paid attention to her this time. She wasn’t dressed provocatively this time, instead wearing sedate clothes – at least for her. She wore a spaghetti strap summer dress that came to her knees, decorated in a floral pattern. Of course, it was form-fitting enough to show Harry that he’d never really noticed that she had some rather pleasant curves, and he became aware again of an uncomfortable tightness in his trousers. “I’ll take that as a yes,” she chuckled. He shook his head, violently. “No!” He looked around the room, as if there might be something that could protect him – or at least something to hide behind. He could see that she had noticed the reaction he’d had. His eyes fell on the sheaf of papers. “Yes! Um, Tonks?” “Yes, Harry?” she purred. He could hear laughter just below the surface. “Would you take these papers and keep them safe for me? No, wait …” He scowled. I don’t want to think this about her, but she is a member of the Order, which is run by Dumbledore. I don’t think I can trust him anymore, and I have a sneaking suspicion that those papers might just ‘accidentally’ disappear if I let him at them. “Harry? What’s wrong?” His scowl deepened. “I want to tell you, Tonks, but you’re going to get right angry over it. And you should, too.” She walked over to the envelope and slid the papers back inside, and then closed the flap. There was another flare. “This was spelled for you. Only you can open this now. Do you want me to keep this safe for you?” He walked over to her. “I don’t dare. Dumbledore runs the Order, and you’re a member. I can’t trust the man anymore. He’s lied to me over the past five years, and just this summer put a man who wants me utterly humiliated, if not dead, in charge of my security; a man who he has to know can’t stand me. It means that Dumbledore was either intending what happened this summer, or is trusting of certain people potentially to the point of stupidity!” His voice was rising. “He lies to me by carefully telling me certain snippets of information, knowing that I’ll make certain assumptions. For God’s sake – he put me into Occulmency lessons with a teacher I’m quite sure would like to burn my brain out, whether or not he actually is an unrepentant Death Eater.” “Let’s not forget that Dumbledore is also a master of making you feel guilty when need be." Harry was shouting now, although he didn't seem to realise it. "‘Any time you needed information, you could have come to me.’ When you cultivate such an air of omniscience? ‘Any time this last year, you could have spoken with me – you made no effort.’ When you’ve actively been avoiding me all year? I think it’s safe to say, based on the reaction I got from him all fifth year, that the assumption that he wouldn’t have given me the time of day if I’d asked was a correct one!” Harry stopped, having suddenly realized that he’d been pacing. “All this comes down to why I have to basically insult you by not giving you these papers for safekeeping. I have the feeling that they contain something that Dumbledore is quite seriously not going to want me to see, and I would not put it past him, after this summer so far, to either hide them until after Voldemort’s defeat, or to flat out destroy them.” He started pacing again. “Moody would both applaud me for not trusting anyone and berate me for caring so little for the wizarding community as to even think of suicide, when the fate of the fucking universe is on my shoulders! ‘Stop whining and suck it up, Potter! Want more people to die because of you?’” He clenched his fists and suddenly spun and punched the wall. There was a sickening crack, and pain shot up his arm. The wall was completely unhurt. He snorted. “More proof of my stupidity. Take the papers, Tonks. Let Dumbledore destroy them, or whatever he’s going to do with them. He’s certainly a good enough wizard to break past any charms on them to keep them for my eyes only.” He sighed. “Time to go downstairs and show them my broken hand, and be berated for wasting the Order’s precious resources again, either in our stores of Skele-Gro, or by forcing someone to take me to St. Mungo’s, which they’ll probably want to do once they know where the knife wound came from.” “That the one right here?” Tonks asked quietly, touching his shirt where it covered the wound she’d seen yesterday. He realized that she hadn’t been there when he’d opened his shirt and explained to people. “Yup. Plunged it through. Hurt like a right royal bastard; didn’t half hurt, let me tell you – almost passed out from pain. I didn’t though, and felt it hit my heart. Figured, ‘Good, be over soon.’ Wrong. I could feel my heart beating against the blade. Hell, I could see the blade moving. Pulled the thing out, and nothing. Only result was this damned scar.” He growled. “Then they’ll want to study me, to see how I’m effectively immortal.” He stopped for a moment and then screamed at the ceiling at the top of his lungs, “I just want my life to be my own, to do with, or do away with as I want! Not some fucking Order’s decision, and not some God damned prophecy’s!” He spun and struck the wall again in the same spot, with the same fist, breaking it far worse. Blood began to drip slowly from his hand, unnoticed by him. “I forgot – I have a responsibility to the world. Defeat Voldemort first, then I can do what I want. Oh, I forgot again – I’ll be dead!” He stalked past her. “Well, here’s hoping Fred and George have at least pulled the Extendable Ears out of the way, so that I don’t break any when I leave the room.” Stopping at the door, he turned, deflated. “I’m sorry, Tonks. I don’t mean to explode at you all the time. You must think I hate you, or something.” She walked over to him and carefully hugged him, then kissed his cheek. “No, I think that it means that you trust me enough to treat me as a friend.” She pulled away from him slightly. “I want you to know something, Harry. I’m not just teasing you when I offer to scrub your back. I really mean what you think I do. Not for one night, either.” She leaned forward to kiss him again, but this time on the lips. The experience with Cho Chang had been … nice, and that was being charitable about it, to be honest. He couldn’t think for a moment, because he’d never actually been kissed by anyone before who really meant it – not like this. When the kiss broke, he said the first thing that came to his mind. “Wow, I never knew there was a good reason for your heart to pound against your ribcage.” He blinked. “Glad that knife attempt failed now.” He shook his head, and saw the smile on her face, and the fact that her eyes were just a little shinier than they had been before. “Um, did I just say what I was thinking out loud?” “Yes you did, Harry,” she said, sniffing slightly. “That’s what made it so sweet.” Thinking of something suddenly, he said, “Um, how’s Hermione going to react to that kiss?” “She’ll just have to deal with it, won’t she?” Tonks chuckled. “Might be jealous.” “I couldn’t be that lucky,” Harry said as he turned and left the room, dripping blood on the floor as he walked. When he reached the top of the stairs, he could see a large group down there, including Alastor Moody and Kingsley Shacklebolt, all looking in worry up the stairs at him. “Don’t worry, Moody. I’ll learn how to punch a wall better next time. Can’t have the Order’s weapon getting distracted by pain or bleeding.” He reached the bottom of the stairs, gritted his teeth, and suddenly unclenched his hand, straightening it out using pure force of will. The scream was manageable this time, not a lung-ripping one. “Can I assume that we have Skele-Gro around, or have I just wasted resources by making someone take me to St. Mungo’s?” Molly murmured something as she waved her wand over Harry’s hand, and everyone saw an angry red glow radiate not only from his knuckles, but from his entire hand, and up past his wrist. “How hard did you hit that wall, son?” Moody asked, surprisingly gently. “Full force, sir, from roughly the distance from my wrist to elbow. Proof that my Potions professor was right about my level of intelligence. That looks like a St. Mungo’s visit.” “You’re right, unfortunately,” Molly said. “Let me get my cloak …” Tonks was at the bottom step, still holding the envelope. “Let me, Molly. I still need to talk to Harry about a couple fairly important things.” She frowned. “Actually, I think I need to borrow Hermione too for something, while they’re looking at Harry. Mind if I steal her as well?” Previous Next Like it? Leave a review! Logged in as Wim Vincken (Log out) Site generated in 0.2012 seconds, 3 queries. Home | About | Email Alerts | Other Formats | Change Look | Favourite Stories | Yahoo! Group Back to: Harry Potter » Sorceror's Apprentice Reviews (2) Printer Friendly Format Sorceror's Apprentice Chapter 6 By Kinsfire Previous Next Chapter VI At Number Twelve Grimmauld Place, Moody was looking at Albus Dumbledore. “You mind telling me what that whole thing he barked at me was about? I know how I come across, but I didn’t think I sounded as heartless as he just made it sound.” Ron gulped audibly and responded, much to everyone’s surprise. “You don’t, sir. The comments about constant vigilance get to us after a while, but you’ve got to understand …” “Take your time, son,” Moody growled. Ron gulped, but realized that this was his normal voice. “He’s depressed,” Ron finally said. “Not the usual thing, either. If I understood him right, he tried to kill himself a week ago.” “Exactly a week ago,” Ginny said in a small voice. “Butcher’s knife, he said.” “Somehow, he didn’t die from it, and it healed up like an old wound.” Ron spun on Albus Dumbledore. “He said something about the prophecy, as if the reason the knife didn’t kill him has something to do with it. He’s my best chum, and if knowing this prophecy can help me keep him alive, then I want to know it.” He stared the headmaster in the eyes for a long moment. Albus met the gaze unflinchingly for several moments before nodding at the surprised young man. "If Harry wishes it, when he returns, we will ward a room and either I or he will tell you the Prophecy's exact phrasing. I must stress to you that this is very important to Voldemort - Sirius passed through the Veil because of this Prophecy, one could say. People have died and may yet die again for this information." He frowned. "I will not tell you at this time, because I believe that Harry should be here for it, and will have the final say as to who hears it." He looked to Severus Snape, who had re-entered the room after repairing his broken nose. "Personally, I think the information should be Obliviated from the brat's mind," the Potions Master sneered. "Maybe we should get Lockhart to do it," Ron snarled at him. "That should make you happy - a drooling and stupid Harry Potter." Severus opened his mouth to retort, but Albus interjected quickly. "Enough, both of you. Severus, they see you as attacking their friend, so they defend him. Do not antagonise them please. Harry will keep his memory of the Prophecy." ##### Harry lay back on a bed at St. Mungo's. Tonks had told an interesting story about a cursed section of wall, with Harry ending up victorious in the end, but at the cost of a broken hand. "Wrist and forearm too," replied the doctor. "Well, it'll actually be easier to remove the bones and regrow them with a dose of Skele-Gro," he finally said. "I won't lie to you, it's going to hurt." "I know. An incompetent teacher removed my right forearm once." "Good lord! What did they do with the moron?" asked the doctor, horrified. "He's up in the same ward as Frank and Alice Longbottom. It was Gilderoy Lockhart," Harry replied. "Why am I not surprised?" the doctor chuckled. "Well, this will be of shorter duration, but might feel more painful, since the hand is a more sensitive area. We'll leave the radius and ulna, since those are only cracked, and not actually broken." He grinned. "If you'd like, I can ask your old teacher down here on a consultation." "No!" Harry laughed. "I appreciate the thought, but I'll trust you." A few minuted later, Harry was laying on the bed with no bones in his right hand or wrist, and a dose of Skele-Gro in his system. The doctor left. "Interesting story, Tonks. Kind of wish I'd been there for that one. I'd earn the Order of Merlin, First Class for sure." "Well …" she said, blushing, "I wanted to make it sound heroic." "Rather than admitting that it was a simple Muggle bit of stupidity?" "What happened?" Hermione asked him, tears threatening. "I got stupid by getting angry. Needed to hit something, and if you think it was going to be a woman, you're crazy. So I spun and hit the wall. Twice." He looked at her. "Why do you keep me around?" Tonks chuckled. "I think now is a good time to tell him, girl. Get a few things out of the way. I've already told him how I feel about him." Harry interrupted. "She says that she cares for me …" "Loves you," Tonks interjected. He blinked. "… loves me, but I also saw that kiss you two shared. If I'm going to cause a problem with your relationship, then I'm going to step back. I really shouldn't get involved with anyone, anyway." Hermione crossed her arms under her breasts, which moved pleasantly upward as she did so. "Harry James Potter, if a woman as beautiful as Tonks says that she would like a relationship with you, I expect that you will listen to her, and give her a chance. She mentioned the reaction you had to her kiss. Do you regret her kissing you?" "No," he answered quietly. "I rather liked being kissed like that. Am I not going to cause a problem with you two?" His question was almost painfully pitiful in tone, and both ladies knew that he wasn't aware of it. Hermione answered by leaning over him on the bed. "Harry, I think I'm even more scared right now than I was during the Ministry battle." He opened his mouth to ask why, but she shushed him. "Harry, I need to tell you something, even though you probably …" "Hermione, I already know about you and Tonks, and I'm not going to stop being …: "Will you just shut up and let me tell you already?" Hermione barked at him, and then blushed. "I'm sorry, Hermione," Harry said quietly. "So am I, Harry. I'm very nervous right now, so please, let me say it in my own time. Yes, I am very attracted to Tonks, and I certainly am not going to complain if it becomes something stronger. I am also not going to complain when she starts something with a certain hard-headed black- haired Gryffindor." She smiled at Harry and then grimaced slightly. "The interesting wrinkle in this scenario, however, is whether this becomes a true triangle, or remains more of an A-frame." "I don't understand," Harry said, and then winced. "Sorry, didn't mean to interrupt." "It's okay. Harry, the thing that scares me the most is that you don't love me back." He started to respond to her, to tell her that he treasured her friendship, but never made it past opening his mouth as the final word of that sentence struck home. "Back?" he asked. "You … love me?" he asked in a voice so small that neither woman heard him easily. "Yes, Harry, I do. I didn't really realize it until we were at the Ministry, and fighting for our lives. I … I know I'm only sixteen right now; I'm not seventeen until September, but part of me dreams of someday …" She blushed furiously and stopped speaking. Harry felt his mouth dry out as he realized that he still needed to say something, and ask her something else. "Hermione? Uh, I … I wasn't sure how to say it … you really love me?" he asked, stronger this time, wonder creeping into his voice. She nodded demurely. "Even knowing what you do about me? That no matter what he said, that I killed my godfather? That someday I have to … wait, you don't know the … well, it's not good to talk about it here. Tonks, take her somewhere safe and explain … you know what to her." "I know about the most important part of … it," Hermione replied, "and I love you, even knowing it. I know you think the best you can expect is to go with him, but I'm betting my heart that you're better than that, Harry James Potter. After all, you're the son of a Marauder," she grinned. "What about Ron?" he asked. "You know that he's at least sweet on you." Hermione frowned. "Yeah, and I'm not sure how I feel about him. I've always liked him, and even … well, I just don't know. I'd feel as bad about him … dying," she gasped the word out, "as I would about you … dying, Harry. But I know I love you. I don't know about him." "Then I think you need to talk to him, Hermione," Harry said. "Especially if you and I start seeing each other, it could break his heart." "But what do I do?" Hermione asked. "You're asking me?" he laughed bitterly. "Considering my first and only girlfriend so far has been Miss Hosepipe?" He looked at the snorting Tonks. "Everytime we were together, she ended up crying. Not good for a guy's ego, you know?" He noticed that she was still carrying the envelope and his face fell. "I'm sorry about earlier, Tonks. Feel free to slap me as hard as you want for saying what I did to you." "Okay," Tonks said, and leaned over to kiss him again. The blood roared in his ears and his heart felt like it was trying to find a way through his ribcage again. He saw her lips move when the kiss was over, but she had to repeat herself before he heard, "I prefer that method. The effects linger a bit longer." "Yeah," he breathed. "And that way is more likely to give me trouble getting to sleep." He looked to the envelope again. "Should we take a look at what's in the envelope? I think the more people who know about it, the less likely it is that it can be disappeared." "Do you really think that the headmaster would do that?" Hermione asked, worried. "I don't know, honestly," Harry answered her. "But I do know that the end of last year, and this summer so far … well, I'm less likely to consider his motives pure than I would have at the end of fourth year. I'll never know if he's really told me everything, as he said he was doing in May, or if he told me enough to make me content. So I'm learning to make my own plans." He paused for a moment before adding, almost under his breath, "I don't know if I'm going to survive this battle with Voldemort, but I certainly have reason to want to now." He looked at both of them. Both ladies faces took on looks of wonder, puzzling Harry for a moment, and then he blushed furiously. "I said that last out loud, didn't I?" Tonks eyes were shining as she nodded, and Hermione impulsively leaned over and kissed Harry on the mouth, catching him with his mouth slightly open. He was surprised enough at the kiss, but even more surprised when she melted against him slightly and slid her tongue into his mouth. The kiss lasted for a long moment before they finally broke for air. "Did you know that you can keep kissing if you breathe through your nose?" Tonks asked conversationally. "Although Harry appears to have raised a reed to breathe through, I think it's safe to safe that you can't breathe through that thing, Harry." They looked down the bed and realised that Harry was non-verbally stating just how the kiss had affected him. Harry proceeded to turn a brilliant red colour, and Hermione attempted to match the shade. "I'm sorry, Hermione," he started to say. "For what?" she asked. "For telling me that my kisses made you want to pull me into the bed and make love to me? For telling me that you think I'm sexy?" She smiled brightly at him and stood, straightening her clothing. “I’m not kissing you again, however, until you’re sixteen years old. I think that gives me a chance to calm down a bit more.” “Agreed,” Harry breathed. He reached out for the envelope with his left hand, and when Tonks held it toward him, he brushed his fingers across the seal, which flared again. As it did, the air turned ultra-violet purple for just a moment. “Well, that was interesting,” he murmured. “That didn’t happen before.” “That wasn’t your seal, Harry,” Tonks said. “I’m going to let others deal with this unless I get a call otherwise.” She got an evil twinkle in her eyes. “Protect my future husband.” Harry tried very hard to keep his face neutral. Luckily, the twinkle had given him warning. “So what do the papers say?” he asked, intentionally ignoring Tonks’ last comment. She pulled the sheaf from the envelope and thumbed through them quickly. It became obvious that there were two distinct groupings of papers. Harry looked at the letter at top, but only shed a tear this time, rather than falling apart. The topmost sheaf of papers had a simple note reading, “Both sets of papers are important to you, for similar reasons. If you receive the bottom set at the same time as the top set, please forgive me for not telling you before. It was to be one of my birthday presents to you. I hope you’ll find the surprise enjoyable.” Tonks handed him the bottom sheaf of papers, and his eye bugged out almost immediately. Dear Harry, If you receive this letter, it means that your mother and I did not survive to see you become the stunning and honourable man we know you’ve become. We’re sorry for that, son; we never meant to make you an orphan. (The stunning comment came from your mother. Considering she thinks you’ll look like me when you grow up, I can’t say as I’d disagree with her. Ah, she just slapped me to make sure I tell you that I was laughing as I write that. I’m looking at you in your high chair as I write this letter to you, hoping that you never have the chance to read it. You’re mashing carrots in your hair, and you’re being thorough enough about it that I’m wondering if they’ll still be there when you’re sixteen. Gods, Harry, do we love you!) Enclosed with this, though, is a series of documents that should help you if you are, in fact reading this letter. You are the sole remaining heir to the Potter name, Harry, and with that comes all the property – the ancestral home, and all the contents of the vaults. These documents grant you title and the legal emancipation necessary to claim the same. Effective 12:01 AM on July 31, 1996 - your sixteenth birthday - you legally become the last scion of the Potter name, not only in name anymore. You will also find that, per the signed documents involved with taking over the Potter lands and property, your underage restriction concerning magic use has been lifted. (After all, son, you need to be able to furnish the home in the manner befitting a Marauder!) Enough of that. Know that we love you, Harry, and will even into the next world. Know also that we died to try to help you grow up in a world without the taint of such an evil wizard as Voldemort. I only pray that we succeeded. Your loving father, James Potter Harry’s eyes filled again for a moment, before he ruthlessly squashed it. I need to read this first, and let these ladies go home. I’ll cry later, when they aren’t around. “Oh no you don’t,” he heard Hermione say. “You’re going to try to be stoic again, and not cry, and hold it in until you explode. I’m not going to let that happen, and I doubt Tonks will either.” “No macho crap around us, Harry,” Tonks whispered. “We love you, and we’ll help you through this, if you’ll let us. It won’t be easy, but learn to rely on your friends and loved ones.” He sniffed. “I’ll try. It just hit me – this is a message to me directly from my dad. They knew they might die fighting Voldemort, and wanted me to know that they loved me. No, love me. He talked as if he was certain that there was something beyond. So did Sirius.” He thought for a moment, and then smiled. “Well, if they both were sure, then I suppose I ought to as well. So I’ll see them again some day.” He thumbed through the papers and began to grin. “This looks interesting. I’m supposed to claim things at Gringott's before I can go to Potter’s Field.” He thought for a moment. “My dad was a smart-ass, but I knew that,” he laughed. “Apparently its proper name is something long and convoluted, but the name of the village it’s in is named for the ancient Potter family – Ynys Crochenyddion. Roughly translated? Potter’s Field. Apparently having that sense of humour runs in the family.” He looked up at Hermione and Tonks. “Well, I apparently become the next best thing to an adult one minute after midnight. The stuff that most of our classmates seem to look forward to is unimportant.” “Oh?” Hermione asked, interested in what he meant. "Basically the smoking and drinking bits. I like my lungs just fine, thank you very much, and I see no reason to find out whether I'm a friendly drunk or an angry one. More likely that I'm an angry one, and I have too much power available to make that a safe thing. Keeping an eye on my own affairs, though? That I think I can do.” He snorted. “I’m just sorry that thing worked the way they did, though. I just find love with a classmate, and suddenly, she’s not a classmate anymore.” He snorted. “I was serious about that comment, though. He has abused me for the last time. I will hex him within an inch of his life if he looks cross-eyed at me. That alone will get me expelled. So I don’t return to Hogwarts.” “You’ll forgive me if I try to help with a workable solution?” Hermione asked in a small voice. “I’d like to see you a little more often than holidays and summers, now that I’ve admitted my feelings to you.” “I’ll make a deal with you. If you can make a workable deal, then I will gladly come back. Hell, I’ll scream out my feelings for you from the top of the castle, if you want.” “Only if you want, Harry,” she blushed. “Let’s put it this way, Hermione – if they decide to hold a dance of any sort at the school this year, then I am asking you now to be my date.” “And I’m accepting!” she squealed, throwing her arms around him as best she could. A moment later, she looked up and asked, “Did I just squeal like a little girl?” “I took it as a sign of enthusiasm,” Tonks chuckled. “It’s so undignified,” Hermione said, straightening up and blushing. “I thought it was cute,” Harry murmured. “Nice to know I can make a girl squeal happily.” Tonks’ and Hermione’s faces lost all expression for a moment, except for their eyes, which were twinkling madly. “We’ll just have to put that to the test someday, Mister Potter,” Tonks said in a voice that made it obvious she was stifling a laugh, which she let loose when Hermione could no longer hold her laugh in and let loose with a stifled snort. Tonks let loose with a braying laugh that got worse when she looked at Harry, who was looking extremely confused at the moment. He finally shook his head and said, "I supposed I'll understand later. What was the other sheaf of papers about, Tonks?" "As for the first thing, it does involve screaming and squealing, but it tends to involve someone's name in the process. As for the other sheaf of papers? You'll have to be there for the reading to make it official, but you, me, Mom, and Remus get the majority of the Black family fortune. To be precise, you end up with one third. Remus gets one sixth, as do Mom and I. Each, that is. The final sixth goes to Narcissa Malfoy, on the condition that she renounce Lucius Malfoy and all his associates, divorce him, and take back the name of Black. If she, at any time in her life, returns to Lucius Malfoy, she will be cursed with a rather ugly curse. Sirius didn't say what it was, but the language hints that Narcissa will have a good idea what it is. If she dies before your twenty-first birthday, what is left of her Black family inheritance goes to you, Harry, rather than to Draco." "Is that legal?" Hermione asked. "I didn't think inheritance worked that way." "You can set up a will that way in the wizarding world. I wasn't finished, though. Except for three very specific properties, the entirety of the Black family property, between real estate and goods, goes to Harry." She paused. "However, this entire scenario takes place under one and only one condition, Harry." She looked up at him. "Sirius wanted to adopt you. If he had, you would have become a member of the Black family, and in the line of succession." She pulled out a sheet of paper. "As much of a smartass as he was, he worked very hard to get things he wanted done right. I'm betting we'll find this same sheet around … you know where, too." She handed it to Harry. It was surprisingly easy to read. It basically stated that, if Harry agreed to be adopted by Sirius Black, all he need do was place his thumb against the seal and state, "I accept". He would feel a moment's pain, no more than a pinprick, as a drop of his blood would be taken to seal the contract. He would then be Harry Black, as far as the Black family was concerned. "Am I still a Potter if I accept?" he asked, more than a little worried. "Oh yes, definitely," Tonks said. "You'll still be Harry Potter, you'll just be, depending on which family you're dealing with, Harry Black- Potter, or Harry Potter-Black. It doesn't kick in until you're able to handle your own affairs, however." Her eyes shot open wider. "Merlin's left testicle! That means…" He grinned. "That means that as of 12:01 tonight, if I accept this adoption, I not only control the Potter family properties, but the bulk of the Black Family properties as well." He looked at her. "Answer me a question, Tonks. I don't mean it to sound like an insult to Sirius, but the answer I have may just be wishful thinking." She smiled and interrupted him. "He would have adopted you as his own when you were a baby, if he'd been able to. This wasn't an attempt to stick it to anyone at your expense. It's an added bonus, admittedly …" she laughed. "Does it bother you if I do this?" he asked. "Nope. This way Mom and I are assured of getting some of the money. Otherwise it would have gone to cousin Draco." He grinned and carefully moved his right hand to the parchment, set his thumb on the seal, and said, "I accept." The pinprick was nothing compared to what his right hand was feeling anyway, due to the Skele-Gro. "Oh my goodness, my hand stings," he finished through tightly gritted teeth. "Something tells me you would have liked to say something a bit stronger," Tonks chuckled. "Just a few words I learned from Dudley, which are wonderful for when you mash your hand in a door or something where strong language would be useful. However, none of the words should be used in front of ladies, and you are ladies, as well as a great deal else." He stopped for a moment before saying, "When I go to the Potter vaults to claim my inheritance tomorrow, will you two ladies accompany me to the vault? That way, I'll have an Order member with me, which should please the other Order members like Moody and Dumbledore, and I'll also have the two women I want beside me most at such a time." "Harry," breathed Hermione, "That's quite an honour, you know. Are you sure you want me along?" "Yes, Hermione. I want the two people I trust most in this world to accompany me there. You can keep your mouths shut. Ron runs off at the mouth sometimes. He's usually good about it, but he sometimes pulls a Hagrid." He paused and looked at Tonks. "'Merlin's left testicle'?" Before she could answer, the doctor came back in. "So, Mister Potter, how's the hand doing?" To answer his own question, he waved his wand over Harry's hand and rather than glowing red over most of it, it now glowed yellow and chartreuse over most of his hand. "Good, another couple hours, and I should be able to send you home! Most people can't handle this kind of pain, and need to be stunned, but you're sitting here carrying on a conversation with two lovely ladies. Either you're tougher than I thought, or we're going to need to hire them to be a soothing balm for our other patients." "They're my balm, doctor," he said with a smile, and reached out with his left hand toward them. His face darkened then. "Besides, this is nothing compared to a Crucio." The doctor blanched. "I forgot, to be honest, who you were. Who did it to you?" "First two times were Voldemort, and the third time was Barty Crouch, Junior." The doctor was surprised by how matter of fact Harry was about it. The doctor gulped. "You've actually faced the … the Dark One?" "Four times now. Once he was a spectre, once he was a very powerful memory trying to take physical form, once was the time of the Tri-Wizard Tournament, when he returned to a body, and the last a month ago. Don't worry, Doctor. He won't reappear for a few months, probably. He has to regroup and come up with another plan." "I don't care what anyone says, but anyone who can face the Dark Lord and be as calm as you are about it, well, I know we're going to win. Thank you, Mister Potter! Thank you!" He nodded and hurried from the room. "He mistook depression for calm. Whoops. You know that I'm going to have visitors like crazy now, and that both of you are going to be linked to me, possibly romantically? Expect that the Daily Prophet will somehow get a picture of us here." "Do you want one?" asked a voice with an almost ethereal quality to it. He looked to see Luna Lovegood in the doorway. "Hello, Harry. How are you?" "Not bad, Luna. Are you all right?" "I am now. I was with my father at the Quibbler offices. We had some people there recasting the temperature moderation charms, and they left some things around the floor. We had the windows open, I tripped over a box, and I fell out the window. At least I kept the box of photographs from opening. I sent it back up into the office and told Daddy I was coming here to St. Mungo's. Drank some Skele-Gro, and I'm just fine now." Harry noticed that her eyes never really seemed to focus on anyone in the room as she spoke, but now they focused on him. "Please don't try again, Harry. It won't work, and I have too few friends as it is." He blinked at her. "What are you talking about?" She walked over to him and ran the index finger of her right hand over the exact spot where his knife scar from the previous week was. "I think you know, Harry. Please don't. You are my friend and I love you." He blinked for a moment. "Umm…" "No, not that way, yet, although the future may hold interesting things for us." She turned and looked at Tonks and Hermione. "Congratulations all around, I'd imagine. Don't listen to people, if you're happy. Well, I must return to father. See you on the train," she finished, and breezed from the room. Hermione had a look of mild disgust on her face. "That girl is not quite all there," she murmured. "Her name is Luna," Harry said sternly. "I know that, Harry," Hermione replied sharply. "Yes, but I know what you were thinking. You're too nice to ever verbalize it, but you fairly obviously are thinking 'Loony' Lovegood." "Where's the harm in thinking something?" she asked, still with some asperity in her voice. Quietly, Harry simply said, "Mudblood." His answer was a sharp slap across the face from Hermione. He looked to Tonks. "Please take her back, and maybe explain what I was saying. I think you understand, Tonks. Come back for me in a couple hours, okay?" Tonks simply nodded, left the papers with Harry, and ushered a stunned and still angry Hermione from the room. Well, I may have the record for not only the most disastrous romantic relationship on campus, but now the record for the shortest. ##### Finally back at Grimmauld Place, Hermione finally exploded. "How could he say that? He knows how offensive the term is!" "Exactly, Hermione. I'd head somewhere and think about it for a bit, and see if you can make the connection." Tonks turned and headed for the drawing room, where she could hear other voices. Ron's was the most obvious. "All I'm saying is that he needs to watch his step. I'm not threatening him in the slightest. I don't like him, but then again, he'd say something like, 'I'm not teaching to be liked.' He's never given us a reason to think kindly about him, and Harry and Neville have been his special whipping boys since our first day in classes! From what I know, it's because Harry made the mistake of being the son of one of his Hogwarts tormentors. I don't know all of it, and I don't want to. But Harry being Harry is the only thing that can save 'Professor' Snape's life right now. Harry can't be killed until Voldemort is dead. Harry's gotten so angry at Snape that he's threatened to kill him. How do you stop him?" He got a dark look to his eyes. "If he really decides that killing 'Professor' Snape is what he wants to, there's not going to be anything that will permanently stop him." "Utterly brilliant, Mr. Weasley," came a droll voice. "Would you care to enthrall us with your further grasp of the obvious?" “Actually, it’s not that obvious,” Tonks said, joining the conversation at this point, “until you consider everything we’ve learned in the last few days. None of us knew before today that Harry is immortal, for all intents and purposes. However, knowing this, also take into account the state that the individual in question is experiencing.” She metaphorically had her Auror hat on at the moment, and it showed. She began to stroll as if she were teaching a class. “We have a subject who is in a depressed state, and wishes to die. We also know that he knows that he can’t die until a very specific individual is dead. Now, that individual is in far greater danger than he realizes, because Harry is in the position of what the Muggles call a suicide bomber. He doesn’t expect to survive this last battle, so he’s making no plans to; he’s simply planning on making sure that Voldemort is dead, and he’s willing to do this at the cost of his own life. Voldemort, on the other hand, wants to remain alive, at all costs.” She stopped. “Then, of course, we have Voldemort’s inside agents to worry about,” she said, looking darkly at Severus for a moment before continuing. “Now, ignoring that, let’s look at the other problem that Ron here has brought to our attention. Harry has such a hatred of a specific individual that he has promised to kill him if he looks at him threateningly. Remember that Harry can not be killed at this time. So, assuming that the future corpse is determined not to be that future corpse, what needs to be done to prevent this course of action?” She looked at Severus. “Mister Snape, your suggestions?” “This is even less amusing than your usual sophomoric humour, Nymphadora,” he snarled, trying to hide the fact that the concept was obviously bothering him. She dropped the Auror demeanour. "If you have so little worry for your safety, then feel free to leave. I, on the other hand, feel like keeping a rather close friend of mine out of Azkaban, where he will be a sitting duck for Voldemort." She stared at him for a long moment. "Go on, leave! Unless you happen to admit that Ron might actually have an idea what he's talking about, and feel like learning how to stay alive a bit longer." She walked over to him. "Just a bit of information for you, Sevvie – he means a great deal to me, and I have no bones about taking you down if it will keep him out of prison. And quite honestly, speaking from the Auror's point of view, your actions toward him this summer have been suspicious.” Ginny, surprisingly enough, was the voice of reason. "As impressive as all this is, with everyone waving their manhood around," – she flashed an impudent grin at Tonks, who returned it – "it's not solving any of the questions. First, and most important, how do we get him out of this depression of his; make him want to live? If I thought it would solve anything, I'd sleep with him, and you know what I mean." Molly looked startled. "Mum, I won't lie – I'd enjoy the idea. But I'm talking about keeping Harry from even thinking about offing himself. I will not do it just as an excuse." Ron piped up. "Mum, if I thought it would help him, I'd shag Harry." He glared around the room for a moment, daring anyone to make a joke, but the only responses he got were a sniff from Tonks, and a hug from Ginny. "Right. Glad everyone understood." He slumped in his chair, blushing madly. Ginny grinned at him for a second before continuing. "Next, how do we get Harry back to school? He really needs those last two years of schooling, especially if he's the only one who can face Voldemort. Certainly last, at least from the point of view of those of us around his age who love Harry, how do we keep Professor Snape alive, since we want to keep Harry out of prison?" Severus opened his mouth, but Ginny bulled forward. "Sir, you have spent this summer effectively torturing him. You drove him so far as to actually try to kill himself, and you should thank whatever deities exist that he can't die right now, especially after hearing that prophecy. If he weren't protected like that, your vindictive attitude would have doomed us all to living under a Dark Wizard, possibly forever. It's not all about you, sir. Either back down on Harry, or step aside until this is over." She stared at him, blushing furiously at speaking thus to a teacher. Molly came over to her daughter and hugged her. "I'm proud of you, Ginny, and you too, Ron." She looked sternly at her daughter and opened her mouth to speak, but Ginny interrupted. "Mum, I have no intention of making you a grandmum before I've left Hogwarts." She grinned. "Even though you are a grand Mum." Molly had the good grace to blush. Ron nodded his agreement, motioning to let Molly know that he agreed with Ginny’s entire statement. Albus turned to Tonks. "I note that you are no longer carrying the envelope. I take it that it is with Harry?" "Yes, it is. Hermione and I helped him look through the paperwork enclosed." She grinned evilly. "I think Draco and Narcissa are in for an ugly surprise come the reading of the will, considering it was one of the things included in that package." She paused for a moment. "I think that a lot of people will be surprised in the next month or so." Albus cleared his throat. "When he has returned from St. Mungo's with Miss Granger, I shall need to talk to him, to see if I can convince him to return to school." "Hermione's upstairs – they had a little bit of a fight, and I brought her home to think about it." "What did they fight over?" Ron asked. "Luna Lovegood showed up, and Hermione's not entirely pleased with her, I guess." "You have to admit that Luna comes across as a little … off. Not quite completely there, if you know what I mean," Ginny said. "I like her - she's one of my best friends - but she can act a little strange." "Not surprised," Tonks said. "She seems to give off all the signs of someone who's a genuine seer, even if at a very low level. She tends to see the person within, and caught a few things that I know no one knows about yet. The reason she may seem so odd is that she literally doesn't see the world the same way we do. She sees it the way Sybil Trelawney wants people to think that she sees it." "An extra word of caution to you," Tonks added. "Don't call her Loony around him, or he's going to tear you a new one. He's decided that she's his friend, and you two know what that means," she said to Ron and Ginny. I'm learning just how loyal he is to his friends. "I'm heading back to St. Mungo's to pick him up shortly." Previous Next Like it? Leave a review! Logged in as Wim Vincken (Log out) Site generated in 0.139 seconds, 3 queries. Home | About | Email Alerts | Other Formats | Change Look | Favourite Stories | Yahoo! Group Back to: Harry Potter » Sorceror's Apprentice Reviews (3) Printer Friendly Format Sorceror's Apprentice Chapter 7 By Kinsfire Previous Next Chapter VII Why did I do that? Hermione asked herself. She was lying on her bed, face down, and hovering on the edge of tears. I could have just complained, but no; I had to slap him. I'm not a violent person by nature; why did I do that? Because he's right. She was startled by her own response. You sit there so smug and superior, and that shows. It showed in the hospital room. 'She's obviously crazy' you were thinking. How do you know she's not a Seer? But divination … … is a valid science. You just had a fraud for a teacher. Severus Snape is a Potions master who hates to teach Gryffindor students. Does that make Potions an invalid class? But … I think what you need to admit is that you see Luna as competition. And is that so bad? How do you really see Harry? I love him. Do you love him enough to let him go, if need be? She gasped as she thought the question. Is that the solution? Do I need to give him up? Only if it becomes obvious that he'd be better off without you. The relationship's just a little too new to be making that kind of a decision. Really, Hermione, what are you thinking? Her inner voice was tiny. I don't think I am thinking anymore. I don't know what to do. Do something unusual, girl. Stop thinking, and just feel. Enjoy feeling what you feel for Harry. Her internal voice 'grinned'. Enjoy feeling Harry. She blushed to herself, and continued to let her mind wander for a time, until she heard someone enter the room. "Hi," she said, not looking. The someone sat on the bed and spoke, revealing herself to be Tonks. "Feeling better, kiddo?" "Well, it's not exactly fun realizing that you're a bigot, you know? Gives you an odd sense of power when you're the oppressed, if only because you can adopt the 'poor-put-upon' attitude when they call you something like Mudblood, but when you find yourself calling someone else something … well, it's not exactly something to cheer about." "Question is, what do you do about it?" Tonks asked her. "What else is there to do? I work at getting rid of that reaction. I give Luna a chance, based on Luna, and not on the fact that she comes across a bit strange. What if she's Seer material? That would be an explanation for her odd reactions, if she's literally not seeing the world the way that we so-called normal people do." She laughed sadly. "Besides, she's someone that Harry calls friend, and he doesn't abandon his friends. I know that better than anyone. So even if we don't become friends, I should at least learn to tolerate the girl. Who knows – we might do the unthinkable and become friends." "That's the spirit, Hermione," Tonks said with a laugh. She leaned down and kissed Hermione's cheek. "I'm going to get Harry at St. Mungo's. Want to come along again?" "Will he forgive me?" "You know him better than I do, and I know the answer. You tell me." Hermione's mind slid back to times when Harry had been wronged, and came to rest on their second year; the year the Chamber of Secrets had been opened. Stories of all sorts came to light about Harry, including a rather odd one by Hannah Abbot that proved she was never Ravenclaw material. Ernie MacMillan had been one of the more vocal people against Harry, until it was proven that Harry was not the perpetrator. Ernie had apologized and Harry had forgiven him. It had taken Ron a good deal longer to forgive Ernie. "Let's go, Tonks," she said with a smile. A short time later, after releasing Harry from durance vile at St. Mungo's, Hermione suddenly turned to Tonks and Harry and said, "Can we go to the Quibbler offices? I need to apologize to someone." She was mildly amused to see the look of intense pride in Harry's eyes, although he was fighting to not let it show. ##### They Floo'd to The Leaky Cauldron, and from there went down Diagon Alley to the offices of the Quibbler. Harry could see that Hermione was scared; one of her worst problems was admitting that she was wrong. They opened the door to find Luna behind the desk, reading one of her school books for the upcoming year. She looked up, surprise on her face, followed with a smile. "Hermione! I had hoped you would come here." She turned. "Harry. It's good to see you again, too, although it has only been two hours." She turned to Tonks. "You were … there, weren't you?" At Tonks' nod, she turned back to Hermione. "Thank you Hermione." "You are a Seer, aren't you?" Hermione asked. "You knew that I was coming here to apologize to you for what I've thought about you these past years." "I See things, yes, but I see things that don't happen, as well. That's why I was pleased to see you. A number of things won't happen now because of that, and I'm very glad of that. They were quite … unpleasant. Oddly enough, one of them involved me tripping and falling out the window, but landing on my neck this time. I don’t know why you showing up would prevent that from happening, and quite likely I will never discover why your arrival prevents my death. It simply is." "Well, I'm here to apologize to you for what I've thought, and I'm going to. Luna, I am sorry that I've thought what I have about you. It was unfair to you, since I didn't even know you. I do not ask for your forgiveness since that sort of thing is unforgivable; I just want you to know that I am sorry." "They were just thoughts, Hermione," Luna said with a smile that told Harry that there was more behind it. "Yes, but thoughts lead to actions. If I start thinking of you as Loony Lovegood, then I start acting that way. And that way leads to your possessions being stolen. Not by me, but that's the mind-set that leads to it." She blushed. "Harry has decided that you're a friend, and that means quite a lot. If he thinks you’re worthwhile, then I’m going to work to see what he sees. No promises, but maybe we can become friends.” “Even if I talk about Crumple-Horned Snorkacks?” Luna asked with a grin. “Yes, even then.” It was obvious that Hermione was trying not to roll her eyes at the concept of the Snorkack. Luna put her hand on Hermione's arm. "Thank you for trying, Hermione. It won't happen all at once, but it means a lot to me that you would try. And since you are trying, I forgive you." She looked up. "Ah, Daddy's coming." A few moments later, the door from the offices opened, and out stepped a man who barely looked older than twenty. "Luna, dear! Why didn't you tell me you had friends coming? You don't need to stay here if you would like to be with them." He turned to the three. "My name is Lawrence Lovegood." He held out his hand. Tonks blushed as he shook her hand and then kissed the back of it, and Hermione blushed as well when he repeated the action. "Don't worry, Mr. Potter, I'm not going to kiss the back of your hand." Harry chuckled in response. Luna looked to Harry for a moment, and smiled. "Congratulations again, by the way. I've heard nothing but good about your family name. You'll do the name proud, Harry." "Uh, thank you," he said, confused. Changing the subject, he said, "Don't ask me why I was carrying my money with me, but the fact that I am means that I can offer everyone a visit to Fortescue's, if you're interested?" "You go ahead if you want to, Luna," her father said. "I have to finish up some business here." He looked unhappy for a moment. "Go, Luna. Have fun with your friends." "Thank you, Daddy. I won't be gone long," she said, kissing him on the cheek. "If I haven't seen you by noon tomorrow, I'm sending out a search party," he laughed, joined by Harry, Hermione, and Tonks. "Muahahaha!" Harry chortled "Three beautiful women to have my way with!" He laughed again in a particularly over-the-top manner. When he stopped, all three were looking at him in surprise. "What, you didn't think I was serious, did you? Saying something like that in front of her father? I may be crazy, but I'm not that crazy!" Lawrence smiled and said, "I was simply going to ask if your will was prepared, in case you tried anything my daughter didn't want you to do. There wouldn't be enough left for me to do anything with," he finished with a laugh. "Of that I have no doubt, sir. She is Ravenclaw, after all. And if there was anything left, I think Hermione would deal with what was left. I dread thinking what my other lady friend here might devise." "They might have to charm the grin off your face," she purred at him, and Harry concentrated hard on not reacting. "Son, if you've got three ladies interested in you, then sit back and relax. You have no say in the matter," Lawrence said. "If you say so, sir. I'm just trying to figure out who the Oriental was who cursed me, so I could apologize to them." Lawrence smiled and nodded sagely, but the three ladies looked puzzled. "Chinese curse: May you live in interesting times. Maybe it was Cho's father, for breaking her heart, or something." "That bitch?" Luna barked. "Probably would have been her, from what I know about her." She paused and obviously pulled herself back under control. "I'm sorry. Let's go to Fortescue's." They got as private a table as possible for the place. He recognized a few of his classmates, such as Justin and Seamus, who looked at him with admiration, but didn't come over to talk to him. Harry turned to Luna after they'd ordered their ice cream (and Harry had been a little firm with Luna, making sure she ordered what she wanted, not what went gently on his purse). "From what I know of you, Luna, that outburst was out of place for you, so …" "I'm sorry. We don't get along. I shouldn't air problems within my own House," Luna blushed. "… so what has Chang done to earn your righteous anger?" Luna's jaw dropped slightly, and she stared at Harry for a moment before sitting straighter in her chair. ##### Hermione caught the fact that Harry hadn't used his old 'girlfriend's' Christian name this time. And he wonders why I'm sweet on him. I'll bet that if I asked Tonks, she'd say that's part of it, too. She also noticed that Luna was actually a fairly attractive girl, and winced internally. Please don't let that happen right now – I'm having enough of a problem thinking of a threesome with Tonks. "How can you tell that I'm not just going to use you for my own purposes, and maybe get back at someone I don't get along with?" Luna was asking. "Because I've never heard any stories about you being vindictive. Odd and withdrawn, yes. I don't think you could have hidden a vindictive streak that effectively during your four years at Hogwarts, so that's a check mark in your favour." He smiled a nasty smile as he finished, "Besides, remember that I was sort of romantically linked to Miss Hosepipe. She used me as a connection back to Cedric, and certainly stood up for Edgecombe when Miss Edgecombe betrayed us all to Umbridge. Again, from some knowledge of her, I choose to believe you." Hermione was not entirely surprised to see tears come to Luna's eyes. The look of panic in Harry's eyes was not all that surprising, either. "Thank you, Harry," Luna said thickly. "I may be able to See things, but it's not really 'on' all the time. I can be very surprised. You surprised me." She took a deep breath. "I've overheard some of the people actually planning things, not caring if I overheard it. It gets worse if I make an effort to stop it, or hide the things I really want to keep. That's part of the reason I wear mismatched things so often. They either hide the matching items, or if they haven't, it keeps them from destroying more. " Hermione looked to Harry, and was shocked to see fury in his eyes. She was also proud of him, and she turned to Luna. "We'll calm him down, all of us, but you're one of us, Luna. He's not furious at you, but furious for you." "This is going to stop!" he barked. "I don't care if I have to come grovelling back to Dumbledore, but I am going to be at the school this year, and I am going to put a stop to this harassment!" He gritted his teeth, and Hermione winced as she actually heard them grinding. "No one, and I mean no one performs that kind of harassment on my friends!" he finally said again, dangerously quiet this time. "Careful, love," Hermione said quietly. "That temper of yours is a dangerous weapon." Harry shook his head, and the sense of raw angry power subsided. "I'm sorry," he said. "I didn't mean to scare anyone." "I wasn't talking about that, Harry," Hermione said. She motioned with her eyes at Luna, and then whispered in his ear, "Can we at least talk about your building a harem?" ##### He opened his mouth to say something, but before he could, his look of shock and surprise was such that it made both Hermione and Tonks burst out laughing. He looked at Luna, though, and developed a sick feeling in his stomach. She'd found a hero, and he knew what that was like to deal with, since Ginny never quite seemed to have gotten over him. "In an attempt to get back on track, is it safe to say that 'Hosepipe' Chang was one of those you overheard plotting the theft or demise of your property?" Luna nodded. He grinned evilly. "Well, I'd say that's another bit of ammunition I have to use. I want Chang removed as prefect, and Head Girl, since I'll bet she's been angling for that." "Why do you need ammunition against our headmaster?" Luna asked, puzzled. "That's something I'll explain in a more secure area." He looked at Tonks. "I will explain it to both her and Neville. They were with us, and deserve to know what they've gotten involved with." "I know it has left a terrible burden on such a gentle soul," Luna said, reaching a finger toward his chest again, but pulling back. She turned to Hermione. "I'm sorry. I was just realizing how romantic that movement can be, and he is your beloved." They finished their ice cream over small talk, and headed back to the Quibbler offices. As they reached the bottom of the stairs, Harry grinned. "If things work out properly, Luna, I may be throwing a party before school starts. If it comes to pass, would you complain about an invitation for both you and your father?" He had his answer before she spoke, and his heart went out to the poor girl. Not pity, because she neither needed nor desired it. It was sorrow at the fact that such an offer made her so happy. When she spoke, it gave no hint of the excitement and joy that her face had shown a moment earlier. "I would be honoured to be considered, Harry, and hope that it can come to pass, and that we can attend." She pulled his head down and kissed his cheek, which he returned. They returned via portkey to Number twelve Grimmauld Place. "Hermione, Tonks, I want you to know that I'm not trying to lead her on. How do I make her see that?" "I'd say just be yourself," Hermione said, "but that's what got you into this position. I think honesty works best with that girl." "I don't love her though. What do I do if … I don't want to hurt her." Tonks smiled and said, "Don't borrow trouble; it finds us all easily enough as it is." "Who's in trouble?" Ron said from a doorway. "Harry! Feeling better?" "Harry's in trouble," Tonks said with a grin. "I'm afraid he's having my baby." She tried to look innocent for a moment, but the looks, ranging from flabbergasted (Ron) to amused outrage (Harry), were too much for her, and she started laughing. "I'm sorry, but that was worth it, just for the looks on your faces!" ##### As the group sat later, decompressing, Albus Dumbledore came to the door. "Harry? Might I speak with you for a while?" "Yes, sir," Harry said, standing. Probably going to try to convince me to come back to the school. I'm willing, but I want some things. He followed the headmaster to the kitchen. "Harry, I'm going to be honest with you – I'm hoping to convince you to come back to Hogwarts for your final two years. Are you agreeable to at least thinking about it?" I was right! "Yes sir, I am. I will admit that I want a few concessions before the agreement is finalized, but I think we can come to some middle ground." He paused. "Two conditions are non-negotiable on my part, sir. First is that if I must learn Potions, then I need to learn it from someone other than Professor Snape. Note that I give him the respect you feel he's due because of you, not because I think he actually deserves it." "Second is that if Cho Chang has any special duties this year, such as prefect or Head Girl, I want them revoked. She has been one of the plotters behind the disappearance and destruction of Luna Lovegood's possessions, and I really don't think that sets a good example for the other Ravenclaw students, or anyone else, for that matter." "Are you sure that this isn't revenge for the break-up of your romance last year? I understand that things did not end well." Harry laughed. "Please! Just being with Hermione will be revenge enough there. I gave up the girl that sits on the ten most beautiful Hogwarts students list, to be with Hermione? Never mind the fact that I think Hermione belongs in the number one spot. Besides, romance shouldn't be based on a revenge factor." "Forgive me, Harry; I needed to be sure." He scowled. "The problem with having someone teach you Potions is the fact that Professor Snape is, in fact, a Potions Master. That is not a title granted him by Hogwarts, it is a title granted by peers in the Wizard community." "He may be, sir, but there is no other head of house that is as blatant in their favouritism in classes as he is. I've never heard complaints from anyone concerning Professors Flitwick, MacGonagall, or Sprout blatantly favouring Ravenclaw, Gryffindor, or Hufflepuff respectively. Only Sn … Professor Snape makes his House affiliation obvious. He has hated me because of my father for years. He started in on me my first day at Hogwarts for not paying attention. I can remember exactly what I had been doing that day – taking notes on what he was saying! I still have those notes! And he accused me of not paying attention! I have watched him sabotage various Gryffindor students potion efforts, but who would believe a complaint by a student against a known disliked teacher?" "And I still don't trust that he's completely on our side. He still has access to Voldemort. How do we know that he's not feeding important information the other direction as well? You tell me to trust him, sir. Why? You can't tell me, because you're betraying a trust of his." Harry stood and slammed his palms flat on the table. "This is my life we're talking about here!" he screamed. "You are entrusting my existence to a man in whom I have no confidence! I'm supposed to be the last best hope for the Wizarding world, and I have to trust in a known Death Eater, on your say so!" He sat down again and said, "For that matter, given your actions last year, what reason do I have to trust you?" "How do you mean, Harry?" Dumbledore finally managed to say after several moments of shocked silence. "I know that you explained some of it to me immediately after Sirius died. Even there, that shows some cunning planning. Catch me when I'm at my most vulnerable, and tell me things guaranteed to calm me down and make me feel both guilty and even a little bit better. That prefect comment, for example, was below the belt." He stood again and began to walk around the room. "This is turning into a monologue on my part. Oh, well." He shrugged. "First I discover the existence of a group called the Order of the Phoenix, whose existence is supposed to be secret. I find out its purpose is the destruction of Voldemort. Okay, that makes sense. I'm still a not an adult, so I'm not really to be trusted with big secrets of the Order, because everyone knows that as soon as you reach adulthood, you develop the ability to keep your mouth shut about secrets, something no child in the history of the universe is capable of, apparently. Remember all the teasing I've taken over living in a cupboard for ten years?" he asked sarcastically. Dumbledore opened his mouth to speak, but Harry bulled on. "Ignoring that, I discover at the end of the year about a prophecy regarding Voldemort, and that he was after it. The person who had that prophecy placed in the Ministry tells me of the prophecy; in fact, he shows me the memory of it. All well and good, I suppose, except that the person who knows this prophecy, and has since before Voldemort was defeated the first time, also happens to be the head of the Order of the Phoenix. In other words, the man who knew full well that I am the only means of killing Voldemort, and has since the day I received this scar, has chosen not to bring me fully into an organization whose stated aim is, for all purposes that mean anything, helping me achieve my goal! Rather, it's deemed that I should be fed information carefully, but for what purpose I have no idea." He sat back down. "Now, tell me again why I should trust that you have my best interests at heart. Tell me why I should trust that you've told me everything, as you said you were doing at the end of the last school year, just a month ago. I can grant one reason for why I should continue my schooling, in one way or another. I need to be able to learn everything I can, just to get that bastard out of my life for good. No one I care about is safe while Voldemort lives." He paused for a second. "Well, to be honest, anyone having anything important to do with me, because even the Dursleys aren't safe. Snape should be happy, though. As long as Snake-Lips is alive, he's safe, because there's no way I can see that I'll ever give a damn about him." He looked at Dumbledore again. "I wasn't joking about those conditions, or what I said earlier. Chang loses all special privileges, because I got this information from Luna herself, and I've learned that she's not the type to act on vindictiveness. She apparently decided that I'm her champion, if Hermione read her right, when I decided that this was going to stop and that I'd see to it! Professor Snape will not teach me Potions, or anything else for that matter. And he keeps his distance from me, because I am willing to risk Azkaban if I think that he's threatening me." He stopped and stared at the headmaster. "So, what deal can you put on the table?" The headmaster looked at him for a long moment before speaking, starting slowly. "I am uncertain as to whether it is a better idea to simply have you return to school for your sixth year and find an alternate tutor for Potions, or whether to work out an entire tutoring schedule within the month we have left. I admit to a preference for the prior; we have enough on our plates at the moment. Does this possibility meet with your approval, Harry? If I locate a separate Potions teacher for you, will you be willing to return?" He looked at Harry, who could see the old familiar twinkle in his eyes. Harry's eyes narrowed, and he began thinking about the past month at the Dursley household, and was rewarded with a surprised blink from the headmaster. "Hmm, I begin to understand something, sir, and I'm not sure that I like it. Before I answer your question, may I ask you who will teach me Occlumency, since I assume that it's still a concern?" "You are learning, Harry," Dumbledore said with a smile. "An Occlumency teacher shall be found for you as well." "As long as it's not my least favourite one, I'll probably be happy with them. As for your plan, I see no real problems with coming back to school. I will tell you, however, that if I discover Snape as my teacher for anything, without a good reason beforehand, I will simply get up and leave the classroom, even if it means my expulsion from Hogwarts." "Isn't that a bit drastic, Harry?" Dumbledore admonished. "Is it? He was screaming at the top of his lungs at the end of my third year about how I must have been involved with Sirius' escape, when logic said otherwise, as you pointed out to him. He has made no bones about the fact, from my very first day in class, that he dislikes me. I said it before – I have watched him destroy my Potions results. The feeling I got from him during the Occlumency lessons was that he was seriously trying to tear my brain apart. Unless I am given a good reason for him being a temporary teacher, I will refuse to sit in a classroom with him." He paused to calm down. "By the way, I didn't particularly appreciate the ridicule he subjected me to with his Remedial Potions comment during our last Occlumency lesson. Therefore, I think the option should be left open for other students to take Potions from whomever you find to teach me. I think you may find the response from that intriguing. If there are more people in it than me, then I think I'm less likely to get ridicule. They'll find something else to ridicule me for, I'm sure, but I'll have stopped that angle, at least." "Very well, I shall find a new Potions teacher for you, and whomever else chooses to take classes with that teacher," came the headmaster's response, laced with some asperity. "Are there further conditions?" Harry snorted. "I'm sure I could come up with things, but that would be abusing the privilege. Part of me wishes I could have been prefect, but that would mean removing it from Ron, and I won't do that." He scowled. "He's jealous enough of me for things I have no control over, I'll be damned if I'm going to take away something he earned on his own." "Laudable, Harry," Dumbledore smiled. "Given the trouble that seems to follow you three, perhaps I should permit Gryffindor to have three prefects this year?" Harry laughed for the first time since they started. "Wouldn't that get some people's knickers in a twist? I trust that you will do what you think is best, but I do not want to be given something because you want to make me feel better; I want whatever I get to be given because I deserve the honour. Or the punishment, as the case may be." He stood. "I agree to come back to school, under the conditions we set down." He held his hand across the table, and Dumbledore shook it. "So, should we give them a few moments to get away from the door as if they weren't using the Extendable Ears to listen in?" Harry asked, and laughed as he heard a sputter from outside the door. Previous Next Like it? Leave a review! Logged in as Wim Vincken (Log out) Site generated in 0.174 seconds, 3 queries. Home | About | Email Alerts | Other Formats | Change Look | Favourite Stories | Yahoo! Group Back to: Harry Potter » Sorceror's Apprentice Reviews (2) Printer Friendly Format Sorceror's Apprentice Chapter 8 By Kinsfire Previous Next Chapter VIII Harry sat in the library, waiting for the clock to tick over to one minute past midnight. He was quite certain that it would cause some interesting conversation in the morning, when he informed them about the contents of the packet that his parents had left for him. The clock rang Westminster chimes as the midnight hour struck, and he heard breathing in his ear, but couldn’t think for a moment since the breathing was followed immediately by a gentle nibble to his earlobe. “Wotcher, Harry,” whispered Tonks in his ear. He turned to look at her and was greeted by a pair of soft lips. “Happy birthday,” she whispered after kissing him thoroughly. “Wow,” he responded quietly. “I can honestly say that’s the best present I’ve ever received.” He watched her eyes move to the clock momentarily, and wondered at the grin on her face. “It gets better, Harry,” she said, pulling him to his feet. He noticed that she was wearing a pretty wrap-around dress that was rather pleasantly following her curves. She led him by the hand down to the bedroom he’d found the papers in; the one that had so obviously been Sirius’ room. “This will be your room when the will is read, since you will be master of House Black. You might as well start using it tonight.” She actually blushed at him. “I was thinking to finish giving you my gift. Many boys consider that they’ve become a man the day they first make love. Might I be permitted to make you a man?” He gulped audibly. When he could finally find his voice, he said, “I have to ask you a question, Tonks, and you’ll probably hate me for it.” “Yes, Harry, I love you; that’s why I’m offering myself to you. You’re young, but you’re man enough to ask a question too many others wouldn’t. Besides - as soon as that clock was done chiming, you legally became an adult.” She walked to him and put her arms around him, and kissed him again. His reaction to it was rather embarrassingly obvious, and was only made worse by her throaty chuckle. “I am not offended by your question, because you show respect for both of us with it.” She backed away from him. “I’m making something of an assumption here, but I feel safe making it; if you wish to wait to give your virginity to Hermione, I will understand it completely.” She blushed and looked to the floor. “I would be honoured if you considered me, however.” He stood in the room, looking at Tonks, not believing what he had just been offered. Finally, in a somewhat incredulous voice, he asked, “You really fancy me? You’re … turned on by the thought of being my lover?” She looked up at him, and something in his face made her eyes light up in wonder. “Yes, Harry. I want to climb into that bed with you and make love to you; feel you making me a woman." She paused and looked at him before speaking again. "Let me phrase it differently, in hopes that you understand me better. I desire you, Harry. I desire to be in that bed with you, skin to skin, learning how it feels to be loved by a beautiful man.” He could feel his eyes shining. “I’m impressed with your willpower, Tonks. A woman as beautiful as you could have her pick of men, and you chose me to give your virginity to?” “I’m not beautiful, Harry.” “You are to my eyes, Nymphadora Tonks.” Her hand shot to her chest, and she breathed out an “Oh my!” She looked at him. “I’ve always hated my name. How is it you just said it and it sent a thrill through me?” He bit his lower lip before answering. “Have you ever had someone who loves you call you Nymphadora?” Her eyes widened. “I think that’s it.” Her eyes dropped a little sadly. “I’m not a virgin, though.” Harry looked at her, and studied how sad she seemed to be at that pronouncement. Does it really matter? he thought. Is it really important that she be as inexperienced as I am? He pondered for several moments before making a decision that proved that he truly was a man. “Nymph? Have you ever made love to me before?” “No, of course not,” she replied, obviously puzzled. “Then as far as I’m concerned, you’re a virgin. I don’t know about it; it didn’t happen.” He laughed. “Even if it did, it’s not important. At least this way, one of us knows what goes in whose ear.” He found himself being roughly hugged. “Harry, every time you say something like that, you just make me love you more.” She released him and stood back, grinning. “Now, would the birthday boy care to unwrap his present?” She held her arms out slightly, to make it easier to get at the belt that wrapped around the dress. He untied it and gently opened the dress to expose her nude body. “Oh my,” he said, voice quavering slightly. “I think I understand the concept of heaven now.” “Harry,” she growled seductively, “you may not survive the night if you keep saying things like that.” ##### Harry opened his eyes to the feeling of weight on his right shoulder. He looked to see Tonks resting there, eyes open, but still snoring gently. She was currently dark haired, with skin so pale she almost seemed an albino, but with startling eyes – one a shockingly bright violet, and the other as brilliant an emerald colour as his own eyes were. Her face could only be described as face shaped, rather than the usual heart shape she showed the world, but he found her far more attractive, looking the way she did asleep, than she did when awake. He could see her body outlined under the sheet, and felt his heart leap in his chest. Last night really happened! Someone loved me enough to trust me with that gift. He brushed his lips against hers, pressing a bit harder as she awakened. “Good morning, Nymph.” “If I could wake up to that every morning, I could be happy with nothing else,” she smiled sweetly at him. He watched her change before his eyes, and his face must have fallen slightly, because she asked, “What’s wrong, Harry?” “You revert to your base form at night, don’t you?” “I guess so. For obvious reasons, I’ve never watched myself sleep.” “I wish you could. I’ll bet you’d fall in love with your own face, just like I have.” She smiled at him and visibly relaxed, and the face he awakened to returned. “You really like the way I look? Even with my weird eyes?” “You like the way I look? Even with my scar and wild hair that never grows unless someone cuts it and can’t be controlled?” Her eyes took on a calculating look, but she shook her head. “I have some tests I’d like to run, but I think that we should get out of bed, and perhaps get cleaned up.” She smiled demurely, which somehow made the look remarkably erotic to Harry. “Third time’s the charm, lover. Need someone to scrub your back?” He climbed from the bed, his interest in what she had planned already evident. “I think that would be an excellent idea.” They stepped from the shower a time later, to find Hermione sitting on the bed, and Harry wished he’d been standing behind Tonks at the time, because he immediately reacted to the nightgown that Hermione was wearing under her bathrobe – what there was of it. Hermione’s eyes widened at the sight of his erection. “I was wondering if you were in here,” she said in a quavering voice, seemingly unable to raise her eyes to his face. He moved behind Tonks. “Umm, yes,” he said with a very embarrassed laugh. Her eyes shot to Tonks’ body, and she took in the hair, skin and eyes. “Is that what you look like normally, Tonks?” “Yeah. This maniac thinks it’s sexy, not that I’m complaining,” Tonks replied, pressing herself backwards against Harry. “Jeez, Tonks, we need to get to Gringott's sometime today,” he moaned. “You’re the one with the incredible recovery time, lover,” she laughed. “Well, I might not have recovered quite so fast if Hermione hadn’t come in wearing a nightgown that should be illegal to wear, but isn’t, thank God.” He looked to his still blushing friend. “What did Ginny say when she saw you in that thing?” “It’s what she didn’t say,” Hermione answered. “The conversation was normal, but I think she was, um, interested in what she saw.” She stood. “I should leave. I’m just intruding.” She started to leave, but Tonks grabbed her arm and pulled her into an embrace. Harry crossed his fingers and walked out from behind Tonks and moved behind Hermione to hug her from the other side. His reaction to her had not subsided yet, and she gasped when she felt it against her, but unconsciously pressed back against him. He moaned in her ear and pressed forward. "Yessss …" she hissed. "I need you both. Please?" "We'll need to get moving," Harry groaned in her ear. "I don't want our first time together to be a quick one. You deserve more. I'll go get changed, and let Tonks bring you down, okay?" He kissed her ear. "Not for lack of wanting, Hermione. Please believe that." She pressed back again. "I do, Harry. Later, then." She turned around and kissed Harry thoroughly. I’m going to wake up some time soon and discover that last night was actually an incredibly vivid dream, and that nothing since midnight has really happened. He quietly made it to the room he was supposed to be sharing with Ron and slid through the door to find him still snoring. He rapidly changed his clothing and then began to move around the room at a normal noise level. Ron’s response was to put a pillow over his head and groan. Harry chuckled and put his watch on, noting that the time was about seven AM. Hmm, slept late this birthday. Well, I had reason to, he grinned to himself. He left the room to almost run into a rather dishevelled Hermione, who was glowing. “You go get dressed; I need to talk to you and Tonks in a bit.” “Why? she finally asked. “How open is our relationship going to be? Think about it while you’re getting dressed.” She nodded and rushed off to the room she shared with Ginny. Tonks stepped out of Sirius’ room with a smile, which widened when she saw Harry. “Willing to kiss me where we might get caught?” she asked. “I’d be willing to kiss both you and Hermione publicly, if it wouldn’t lead to nasty stories about you in the Daily Prophet and Witch Weekly. That's why I need to talk to the both of you, together. How open are we going to be? Are we going to try to keep it quiet; are we going to let the Order members know; are we going to be open enough that pictures do show up in the Daily Prophet? I'd have no problem with the latter, except for the fact that I will not have the two of you exposed to ridicule. Again, in Hermione's case." Tonks looked at him and broke into an open grin. "I'll bet you don't even realize how attractive you are to us, purely because you think things like that." She leaned forward and kissed him briefly. Hermione finally stepped from her room, somehow looking even more dishevelled, wearing the dress she'd worn when Harry arrived. His jaw dropped, now that he was in a mood to appreciate it. "Jesus, girl," he croaked. "I'm not going to be able to hide what you do to me if you wear that all day!" "That's my decision," she smiled. "I want to be kissed by you at the breakfast table. And I won't complain if you kiss Tonks as well, although that's her decision." Tonks laughed, then mock-pouted. "I'll be hurt if you don't kiss me at the table." He looked at them both very carefully. "So you don't mind the people in this house knowing that the three of us are in a relationship?" He looked directly at Hermione. "What about Ron? I'm pretty sure he fancies you, you know." "He's my friend, and I'll admit that he can certain do things to make my heart race, especially when he's got his shirt off, but sexual attraction is not enough to start a relationship. I love you, Harry. I'm just attracted to him." She was blushing furiously by the end of her comment. "I don't believe I just said that," she smiled under her breath. He pulled her to him and kissed her. "Now I'm definitely glad I failed a week ago. I'd never have gotten to be this happy." I'm just worried that something's going to bring it to an end. I'll enjoy it while it's here, though. "You know that this becoming public puts you both in extreme danger." He turned to Tonks. "You can get some serious problems from the Ministry. Please think carefully about making the relationship public; I don't want you getting problems on your job. Especially while Fudge is still in charge." "You're not ashamed of us, are you?" Hermione asked in a small voice. He smiled. "Hermione, if you both don't mind the world knowing, then I'll give an exclusive interview to the Quibbler about it. I will never be ashamed of the two of you. I'm worried about your reputations. Do you want more Howlers at the breakfast table at Hogwarts?" "If I know you love me, I can deal with them." She looked at him, eyes shining. "Good. I'll scream it from the rooftops, if you'd like," he laughed. "Only if we're making love at the time," she quipped. "I'll settle for escorting me to breakfast right now." "Done, my lady. How about you, Tonks?" Her answer was to crook her arm, which he took, and the three of them walked downstairs to the dining area. Eyebrows raised as he escorted the two girls through the door, and then seated them, kissing them deeply once they were seated. He then took the seat between them. "Where's Ron?" Molly asked finally, giving both Tonks and Hermione disapproving looks. "Last I saw him," Harry laughed, "he had a pillow over his head, grumbling about being awakened by morning people. I assume he was going to make an effort to go back to sleep." "Well, he needs to get up. This is going to be a busy day." She looked back to Hermione. "Given what needs doing around here, I think that dress is somewhat inappropriate." Harry interrupted. "Well, since cleaning needs to be done, once my girlfriends and I get back from Gringott's and other points we need to visit today, we'll change and help clean." The silence in the room was deafening, and Harry worked extremely hard to keep from laughing uproariously at the looks on everyone's faces. Finally, Remus said in a voice unusually timid for him, "Correct me if I'm wrong, Harry, but did you just use the word 'girlfriend' in plural?" Harry finally laughed. "Yes, professor, I did. Calling them my lovers would have been inaccurate, and as true as it might be, beloveds just sounds a little odd." He completely lost it then, leaning forward into his hands as he laughed until his sides hurt. "What's up?" Ron said in a bleary voice. "Care to share the joke, chum?" he asked with a smile. Harry's demeanour changed immediately. I've been dreading this. As Ron headed for an empty spot at the table, his eyes took in what Hermione was wearing and widened. "You're not planning on going out dressed like that, are you?" he asked, although it was fairly obvious that he wasn't really asking her a question. Before Hermione could respond, Harry said, "Ron, that's her decision, isn't it? She wants to dress up in a very attractive dress and make us drool, well, I know I'm not going to complain." "Besides," Hermione said in a somewhat snippy voice, "shouldn't that be my boyfriend's decision as to whether or not he wants me to wear it?" She reached out and took Harry's hand. "What do you think, Harry? Should I wear it?" "I don't think when you're wearing that dress, which I'd imagine is its purpose. If you don't mind being looked at, then I don't mind doing the looking." He smiled at her and received a bright smile back. Ron was turning various shades between red and purple as he watched the display. Finally he exploded. "How long have you been hiding this from me?" he bellowed finally. Harry took a deep breath through his nose, and his response was chill. "If you're referring to our romantic relationship, I didn't find out her feelings for me until yesterday at St. Mungo's, which means that I don't believe that you have all that much of a right to get angry at me. And I'll thank you to keep your temper around her as well." "As will I, Ronald," Tonks said quietly. "Neither of us will take very kindly to you yelling at our girlfriend." Harry looked at Tonks in surprise. Tonks replied by saying, "I had her permission, if it came up." He smiled. "Well, then, I guess it's time to lower everyone's opinion of me a little more than it already is. I am making it official – these two ladies that have informed me they love me, and wish to be my girlfriends. I am both surprised and happy about this. They apparently have no problems with sharing me, and I'm certainly not going to argue with them. I'm going to enjoy it while it lasts." He turned and kissed both ladies gently on the lips. As his lips touched Hermione's, Ron stood and stormed from the room. "Well, he took it better than I expected," Harry said. "I can expect that I'm not going to be on speaking terms with him for a while, though. I think he took it as a given that Hermione was his." "Perhaps if he'd ever done more than argue with me, I might have considered him. The one time he asked me out, I was a last resort." She sounded more than a little angry herself. "I am not property for him to decide who has me!" The door opened, and Ginny walked through. Harry winced, remembering the crush that Ginny had admitted to. He was fairly certain she was still sweet on him, given her comments from the previous day, and he hated the idea of breaking her heart. She took a look at the three of them, and snorted. "Now I understand why ickle Ronnie is in a snit. I'm jealous of you two, but I'm not going to get so angry that I run the risk of ruining a five year friendship." She walked over to Hermione and said extremely quietly in her ear, but loud enough for Harry to hear, "However, if you ever decide to add another girl to the mix, I wouldn't mind be considered. Please laugh as if I told you a really bad joke." Hermione thought for a split second, and then laughed. Harry snorted his own laughter. He actually was amused, and it got the better of him, His head went forward into his hands again, and he shook with silent laughter, punctuated with the occasional quiet snort. When he looked up, Ginny was sitting where Ron had sat, and was looking at him with raised eyebrows. "Sorry, Ginny. I don't know if I was supposed to overhear. I don't think I was supposed to get the joke, but it struck me funny." "You sure you're okay, Harry, if you're getting girl humour?" she grinned at him. "Why do you think we love him?" Tonks laughed. She whispered extremely quietly in his ear, "You'll have to tell me what she said that was so funny." The meal began in earnest at that point. Molly looked over at the three and said, "I thought better of you, Nymphadora, than to get involved in such immoral silliness. It's bad enough that children are wearing such outlandish and revealing clothing, but to get involved in a relationship with them both before they have any real idea of what love is?" Harry inhaled deeply and bit down the explosive insult he wanted to level at the woman. Instead, he turned to Hermione and said conversationally, "Isn't it amazing when people like Petunia Dursley and others of her ilk know what's bet for the world and everyone in it, and have no problem with telling the world how to fix it? And how they seem to think that if the conversation isn't aimed at them, that the people it's about can't hear what's being said?" Hermione was alternating between turning red in anger and white in horror at the bridge that was being demolished before her very eyes. Harry turned and looked at Molly directly. "Remember, Mrs. Weasley, at least this time, the scarlet one in the group is me. I'm at the centre of this, and I choose to be. Any complaints you have about this relationship will come to me before you take it out on these ladies. Do I make myself clear?" Molly drew herself to full height in her chair and responded in high dudgeon. "I have given you a great deal of leeway given your upbringing, but I will not sit here and be lectured to by a child, especially about matters he knows nothing about!" "Yet you'll sit there and lecture adults about a subject you know nothing about!" he barked back at her. "I saw how you treated the owner of this house last year at this time, and it bothered me then. Are you going to give me or Remus that attitude? If I know Sirius, it'll end up with one of us. A werewolf and someone you obviously consider a pervert. Think about that for a while, Mrs. Weasley." He stood quickly. "Well, I have an appointment or two at Gringott's. Ladies? Care to accompany me?" Molly's mouth set in a thin line, and Harry stood, followed by Tonks and Hermione. "We're off to Gringott's." He left the kitchen and headed upstairs into the shared room. "Let me get my backpack, and we'll head out. I can put our robes in them." He opened the door to find Ron scowling at the door as it opened. His scowl deepened as he got a good look at the hemline of Hermione's dress. "Going out to find a hotel for the day?" he snarled at Harry. Harry grabbed his bookbag and shoved his robe in it. "I know what you're hinting at, Ron, and I'd advise you to stop that line of thought." "Or else what?" "What do you think 'or else' means, you jerk? You're pissed at me for getting something you wanted. Did you ever actually tell Hermione you felt that way, or was she simply supposed to sit around and wait for your declaration of love? And did you ever actually think about her feelings in the midst of all this? She's not an object to do with as you will, Ron. She's a living breathing woman with decisions of her own to make, and assuming that she'd sit around waiting for you is possiblyt one of the most insulting things you've done to either her or me. I mean, that Tri-Wizard thing was pretty damned insulting to me, but this is beyond the pale. Try thinking for once in your damned life, you prat." He stepped back into the hall to the wide eyes of Hermione, who was carrying her robe rolled neatly under her arm. "I was letting him know that it is possible to push me too far, and that I'm starting push back. If he's going to start insulting you because you're with me, he'd best make sure he's got enough teeth to spare." He looked down at his white- knuckled hands. "Let's go get your robes, and get out of here." He unclenched his fists slowly. They quickly grabbed their robes and approached the door, where they found Remus and Molly waiting. "Remus is coming with you. You need two adults with you." Harry looked to Tonks, who grinned and nodded. Harry returned the grin. "Don't worry, Hermione will have two adults with her." He motioned to the package of papers that he carried with him. "According to papers done up by my parents back when they were uncertain of their fate, they granted me legal emancipation. In all but very specific things that I currently have no interest in, I am able to run my affairs as an adult. I'm tempted to do a Lumos spell just for the hell of it, because I can." Hermione cleared her throat. "By the way, Harry - I have that wand that Sirius left you. I'll give it to you later." "I was just thinking about that, and where it had gotten to." He was bemused by the blush on her face. He looked back to Molly and Remus. "Under normal circumstances, sir, I'd ask you along, but this is a point where I think I need to begin to assert my independence. If one of the things in my parents' vault is what I think it is, I'll invite you out to Potter's Field soon." Remus snorted. "I'd forgotten that your family called it that. If I know James, you've got that waiting for you. I look forward to visiting you, Lord Potter." He turned to Molly and carefully but firmly took her arm and led her away, listening to her sputter. "I feel sorry for Remus," Tonks said. "He's going to get an earful soon." Previous Next Like it? Leave a review! Logged in as Wim Vincken (Log out) Site generated in 0.1006 seconds, 3 queries. Home | About | Email Alerts | Other Formats | Change Look | Favourite Stories | Yahoo! Group Back to: Harry Potter » Sorceror's Apprentice Reviews (4) Printer Friendly Format Sorceror's Apprentice Chapter 9 By Kinsfire Previous Next Chapter IX At Gringott's, once the paperwork was verified against the copies that they had (and a key had materialised from the paperwork in Harry's possession), a goblin named Sojak led them to the carts, and took them down to the Potter family vaults. The ride took some time, because Harry was surprised to find how deep in the bowels of the earth his family's vault was. "What does the numbering mean, Sojak?" he asked their goblin guide. It had become warm enough, this deep within the world, that all three of them opened their robes to cool off as best they could. "There is no real importance to the numbering. As far as the first one hundred, they are for the oldest of the pure blooded families. The first four wait for the heirs to the Hogwarts founders to arrive and claim the contents." The goblin's eyes sparkled for a moment, as if a secret joke was in his mind. The cart continued to roll along, surprising them a few times with sight of dragons in the distance. When they reached 100, he started recognizing family names: Nott, Parkinson, Goyle. "Oh how the mighty have fallen," Harry laughed at the last name. "A little too much inbreeding, apparently." He was interested in the fact that he did not see the Malfoy name before reaching his families vaults at number 37. "Damn, I didn't realize how old the Malfoys must be, if they're between five and thirty-six," he murmured. Sojak made a noise that sounded suspiciously like a laugh. "I do not break a confidence to tell you that the Malfoy vaults are placed above vault one hundred. They are not as ancient as some would have others wizards believe." Sojak climbed from the car and smiled, which was more than a little frightening, given the number of sharp teeth contained within a goblin mouth. "Lamp, please." Harry handed the lantern to Sojak and then helped Hermione and Tonks from the car, his eyebrows rising when he saw a bit more thigh than perhaps Hermione had intended. "Key, please," Sojak intoned to the flustered Harry. Once the key was in Sojak's hand, he performed the ritual Harry had seen before at his own personal vault, but added one thing. "Please place your right palm flat within that circle,"" Sojak said, pointing at a large ornate circle carved into the door. As Harry did this, he felt his hand stick to the surface, and the circle lit up. "State your full name, please," Sojak intoned again. "Harry James Potter." At the last syllable, the inner workings of the door clicked, and the vault opened. Harry nearly fainted at the vision before him. The room was lit from within, not by torches, but by some of the items stored within. The size of the vault surprised him as well, and he laughed. "The space in here is easily two or three times that of the entirety of the Dursley square meterage! And it's my family's bank vault! If they had only known," he laughed, a not entirely nice sounding laugh. He walked inside to a piece of statuary; a familiar looking nude woman, quite beautiful (and very sexy, he had to admit), in the classical style. It was holding an envelope, and as he got closer, she winked and handed him the envelope, and then returned to her classical pose, although the eyes continued to look at him. Harry, Rather than your father this time, this letter is from me. I hope you'll put the statue that handed you this letter in a place where you can see it regularly. Then I can feel that I'm always watching over you. Yes, I was the model for the sculptor. I hope this doesn't embarrass you too much. I was never terribly ashamed of my body, and if you've grown up looking anything like your father, then you definitely have nothing to be ashamed of either. (Unless you still have those carrots in your hair.) If you're reading this, then we were not around to watch you grow up. For that I can never apologize enough. As your father has said, know that we love you, even from beyond. I don't know how old you were when we died, or whether or not you'd been told of your emancipation in the event of our deaths. The fact that you're here now tells me that you know now, however. We both hope that Sirius did a good job raising you. I do know that we had conversations about him legally adopting you if what we feared came to pass, so I'm hoping that this letter is being read by not only a Potter, but a Black. Yes, that means that your father and I will not hate you if he adopted you. He might be silly at times, but there is no one I would trust at my back more than him, at least as far as you're concerned. What you see in this vault is the entirety of the belongings of all the generations of the family Potter, plus a few things of my own. There are magical weapons of many sorts in here, furniture, and at least twenty chests of various jewelry. I have word from your father that if there is anyone special in your life, you may feel free to give them what you wish from any but the seven silver chests. Those must stay within the Potter family. (All that jewelry is magical, so you can imagine the curses if someone who is not your wife wears something from that selection.) Enough with the things that might scare. The contents of this room also contain the entirety of the family records insofar as business concerns and other monetary information. At the time we placed them in this vault, there were seven crates of records. If the economy has been kind, both here and around the world, you may find considerably more than seven. He looked around, and noted that the number of crates that seemed to hold records now numbered twenty. He also noted that the statue had changed position and was now holding out its other hand. When he reached up, 'she' handed him a ring. If I know human nature, Harry, you looked around and saw the crates. You may have also noted that the statue has moved again, to give you the Potter family signet ring. While most rings of this sort aren't usually worn at all times, this one is designed to be worn with everyday clothing. It also happens to be a personal portkey to the Potter family manor, which James and his family before him had taken to calling Potter's Field. You are now the sole owner of this home, and lord of the surrounding area. Yes, Harry, you are now Baron Harry James Potter. Please don't lord it over too many people. (Pun intended.) Surprised to discover that your Mum had as bad a sense of humour as your father? I was the unknown Marauder, and the reason some of their schemes blew up in their faces. You have quite the legacy to live up to. Or down to, as the case may be. One more thing. Please touch this note with the ring when you're done reading it, and state your name. A further bit of information will come to you that even your father has no access to. Let's just say that you have a distinguished heritage. I'll leave the rest for you to learn. There is so much that I would love to say to you, but I can't in a letter. Perhaps when you take possession of Potter's Field, you can hang the painting that is in this vault – a wizard portrait of your father and me. Yes, it talks, but it is currently spelled inactive. You will find the spells necessary to deactivate a portrait and reactivate it attached to it, in case you need to move our portrait again. Remember one thing, Harry – it will be us, but not us. If you have not seen us for years, do not forget to live. We will be proud of you, but we are gone. One thing never to forget, my darling son. Your father and I love you very much, and will even into the next world. We are watching you in whatever way we can. With deepest love, Lily Tears came to his eyes, and he cried for a time; a mixture of sorrow and joy at parents lost once again, yet found for the first time. He felt Tonks and Hermione come in and rest their heads on his shoulders. When he was able to look around without crying again, he found himself wondering where to start. "How in hell am I going to get all this stuff out to the Potter home? For that matter, how much of it should actually go out there? I think I should look at the place first." He looked up at Sojak. "What happens if I remove everything from the vault? Does it stop being the Potter vaults?" "Oh no, Lord Potter," Sojak replied. "The vault fees are taken from the money in the center of the room. I do not believe you would find it comfortable removing that much money to your home." He looked in the direction that Sojak pointed, and nearly lost control of certain bodily functions when he saw the money involved. "Holy … how much money is that?" "There should be a precise listing on the podium next to the coins, which will be replaced automatically should you remove that copy. I would recommend you keep that, by the way – it will update regularly when the amount changes, even if it is no longer in the vault. As for your other question – well, a specialized portkey system was created for Gringott's – you can regularly place items in the vault via a process you will find in those boxes over there, which are the inventory of items in this room. If you know precisely what you are requesting, you may also remove objects directly from the vault via the same process." He walked over to the many boxes and took a thin envelope from the top of the nearest box. "These are instructions from your parents. They include the instructions for removing and placing items back within the vault. I would recommend, Lord Potter, that if something is truly valuable and unique, and small enough to be carried, that you make the effort to come to Gringott's with the item, rather than trusting a portkey. It has not happened yet, but it is theoretically possible to lose something in transit." "Thank you, Sojak. I appreciate it." He looked at the letter from his mother, looked at the ring, and placed the ring on his right index finger before pressing it to the letter and saying "Harry James Potter." A new set of lines from his mother appeared, and the statue handed him another ring. You will undoubtedly recognise the insignia on the ring. Slide it onto the same finger as the Potter ring. They will, for lack of a better term, time-share the space on your finger. When you need to have the Ravenclaw ring be prominent, simple think of it, and it will come to the fore. You receive this ring through my family, Harry. I was not as Muggle-born as people thought. I was the first since my great-great-grandparents time to have magic, however. This passes down through the men in the line, so I never knew what was in the vault. Greeat-great-grandpa Wilberforce was too old and feeble to claim it when he found out. Thus it falls to you. If it was important enough for Rowena Ravenclaw to leave behind in the vault, then I should think that you'd want to know about it yourself, since you'll need all the help you can get. That reminds me - there is a Prophecy out there about you. If you have to, sit on Dumbledore's chest and find a way to force him to tell it to you. You need to know it. "Interesting. Sojak, could you take me to Vault Number Two?" Both Tonks and Hermione blinked at him. "That's what Mum told me." Harry placed some small items that he felt would be important soon into the book bag, along with the paperwork. He had nearly fainted when he saw the amount listed in pure cash, and knew that he'd need to talk to the goblins at the front desk when he got back topside. He handed the sheet to Hermione, and heard a gasp, followed by Tonks' whistle when she looked over Hermione's shoulder. "I think I need the same kind of accounting from my upper vault; the one that's purely mine." "Easily done, Lord Potter. Shall we visit your other vault?" "Not yet. We need to see Vault Two first." "That was the one I was speaking of, Lord Potter." "Please, Sojak, call me Harry, if you're going to call me anything. I haven't grasped what I read there, and I don't exactly want it going to my head." "Yes, Harry," came Sojak's repsonse. They climbed back into the rail car and rolled down the tracks until they ended in front of what seemed to be a single vault. As he looked, Harry realized that it was actually four vaults, cleverly designed to look like a single vault. "None of the Founders left large amounts of items in the vaults. Each left something that they felt a later generation might need." Harry stepped from the car again, and once again enjoyed the view as he helped Hermione from the car. I'll have to admit to ogling her later, but I think she'll forgive me. I hope she will, at least. As he stepped closer, he knew whose vault belonged to whom, with the emblems each had emblazoned on them. He had been expecting to discover that Vault Two was Godric Gryffindor's, especially after the sword incident during the year of the Chamber of Secrets. That vault was Number One. Two had the image of a raven upon it, Three had a badger, and Four the symbol of a serpent. On a whim, he said "Open," to the fourth vault in Parseltongue, and all were surprised to hear clicking coming from the door. "Place your hand upon the door, Harry," Sojak said, an interested look on his face. He found a similar circle to the one on his family vault, and placed his hand there. Who are you? came a voice in Parseltongue. Harry James Potter, he responded in kind. How come you to this Vault? I was sent here for another Vault, and spoke Parseltongue to this door on a whim. No disrespect was intended, nor was theft. You both are and are not the Heir to Salazar Slytherin. Explain. I was touched by the last Heir to Slytherin fifteen years ago. He passed things along to me he never intended, such as my Parseltongue. That gift is yours, not a transference. Does the last Heir still exist? Not in the form he once was. He has returned to a body through vile dark magics. He worships the Dark? I suppose that you could say that. He had been all but killed and performed a ritual to bring himself back into a physical body. Do you know it? Vaguely. I was forced to be part of it, unfortunately. Something about 'bone of the father', I remember 'flesh of the servant, willingly given' and 'blood of the enemy, forcibly taken'. I was the enemy. That is truly Dark magic. He no longer qualifies for the title. You are now truly the last heir to Slytherin, then. Enter freely. With that exchange, the door opened to show a small room, containing a simple podium with five large books upon it, and a parchment. A ring with the Slytherin crest materialised on the parchment, and Harry picked it up and slid it to time-share with the other two rings. May these serve you well. They are enchanted to shrink at my Heir's command. They will return to this vault when the Heir's male issue fails. Salazar Slytherin "Holy shit," he breathed. "Workbooks and his journal." He touched the emblem on each book and shrank them, placing the far more manageable books in his backpack, and then turning back to the door with a stunned look on his face. "It rejected Tom, and declared me the rightful Heir, because of what was passed to me. It rejected him because he is dark. I need to do some serious rethinking about Slytherins now." He almost staggered to the second vault. Placing his hand upon the circle, he stated his name. No conversation this time, merely a glow that preceded his entry into that vault. Again was a podium with books and a note. Greetings, my descendent! I hope that you find my books intriguing. My journal is merely a history of the school that we four founded. The others are my spell research and Potions research notebooks. I am particularly proud of my research notes. I hope they will serve you well in your efforts. The dagger is my personal one. It is balanced for throwing and charmed to return when thrown, either by calling it, or (less likely) when missing your target. I have also charmed it to aid in my Potions making. You will find more precise information on that function in the spell research notebook. Rowena Ravenclaw He touched the raven emblem on each of them, almost caressing it, and each book shrank to manageable size. "Wow," was all he could say for a while. "What are they?" Hermione asked him. "Are you going to need help with them?" He could see her eyes light up at the possibility of reading works written by two of the founders of Hogwarts. "I get to check them out first," he laughed. "After all, I'm the one that Rowena Ravenclaw left her research notes for." Her eyes grew wide. "She left you her notes on spell research? That means you have a course in spell design in there as well, if you know what you're looking at." He looked to Sojak. "What happens if someone not the heir of the original owner presses their palm to the circle and isn’t the one intended?" "Nothing. It simply will not open." "May I try on the other two, then? Given the way my life has been recently …" Sojak laughed. "Feel free. I already have a surprise to tell them about above. We knew of Vault Two, but not Four. If you open all of them? Who knows what you shall find?" Neither vault opened at Harry's touch, but he was surprised in both cases to have a name come to his mind after the glow faded. Vault Three made him think of Susan Bones, and Godric Gryffindor's vault caused him to think of Charlie Weasley. "Interesting," he murmured. "If that means what I think it does, then I am in school with the Heir of Hufflepuff. Well, I'm the heir of two houses." He shook his head. "Let's go check on my other vault. Gah. If Ron was jealous before, what's he going to be like now that I'm a frigging Baron?" Tonks just whistled tunelessly. "It gets worse Harry. It gets worse. You find that out at Sirius' will reading in a week or so." A few minutes later, they were at Harry's vault, which he now realized was more of a trust fund for him. As he expected, the money contained inside didn't look as if it had diminished; in fact, it appeared that it had actually increased. He took the sheet of paper that gave an accounting of the contents and added it to the other paperwork. "Now we go back topside and I work out a method of getting at this money without having to come down here all the time." Back topside, he was led by Sojak toward an office. As he approached, it he thought he recognized the goblin outside the door. "Excuse me, sir?" he asked. "I was wondering, since you look familiar – is your name Griphook?" The goblin looked quite surprised, as did all within earshot. "Why yes, Lord Potter. I will admit to surprise that you remember my name." "True, since the last time I remember seeing you was five years ago, when I was eleven years old." "No. The fact that you considered it worthwhile to remember a goblin's name. Most wizard's do not bother." "That's our Harry for you," Tonks said. "Smart as a whip, and caring as all get out." Her eyes twinkled with an unspoken comment, and the goblin smiled as Harry blushed. "How may we be of service?" Griphook asked. "I'm hoping to make it a little easier to get access to my money, both here and in the Muggle side." "Ah, yes, they will be able to help you. Please, go before me." "No sir. You were waiting to speak with whomever is in that office when I came up. I wait my turn, as I should." He heard the murmur of surprised goblin voices, and someone exited the office. "Griphook? Lord Potter? Come inside." All four of them entered the office, and Griphook delivered his paperwork, bowing before Harry on his way out. "It was good to see you again, Griphook," Harry said as the goblin exited the room. The goblin who had invited them into his office looked at him for a long moment. "My name is Kazar," he finally said. "I will admit to some surprise, Lord Potter, for many things. First, you manage to open two of the Hogwarts Founders vaults, when we knew of only one of them being yours." "Well, I actually had a whim to speak Parseltongue to the door, and it responded. It declared me the rightful heir to Salazar Slytherin, although I do not actually share his blood." "Intriguing. Might I assume that it has something to do with that scar?" Kazar asked. "You'd be right. What was your other surprise, if I might ask?" "That you bothered to remember any of our names. That is not a common thing for wizards to do." "Harry is anything but a normal wizard," Hermione said proudly, hugging his arm for just a moment. "I am gathering that," Kazar said with a many-toothed smile. "Now, what services may this bank perform for you?" Harry explained his desire to be able to more easily get at his money in both wizarding and Muggle circles, and Kazar smiled. "That is easy, and shall be prepared for you before you leave for the day. There is a usually a nominal fee for the conversion to Muggle money, but given the degree of wealth that you have come into, I believe that we can waive that. Is there anything else we can do for you, Lord Potter?" "Other than calling me Harry?" he laughed. He thought for a moment. "Actually, yes. I need a good accounting firm, and potentially an investment advisor. Do you perhaps have any recommendations?" A pin dropping in that office might well have deafened everyone. "What? If I said something offensive, Kazar, please forgive me. I haven't been …" "Are you stating that you trust us with your money as more than merely a holding agency, Lord … Harry?" Kazar asked significantly. "It would only make sense. A bank has to make money somehow, or else it's a losing proposition. Loans only do so much, so investments make up whatever difference, right?" Kazar nodded. "If I can't trust the accountants and investment people that the goblins use, then who can I trust?" "You are aware that we could steal you blind, if you gave us that degree of control over your money?" "Why would you? Word would get out eventually, and you'd be no longer trusted as the bankers for the wizarding world in Europe. It's actually in your best interest, pun intended, to leave my money mine, and make money hand over fist by investing right, and taking the fees from that, which I understand can get quite impressive." He smiled. Kazar smiled again. "Harry, I believe that we can come to an agreement on this. We will give you some information on our investment services, and you can contact us again once you have made a decision. As for access to your money in the Muggle world, do you understand the Muggle concept of what they refer to as a debit card?" He laughed and nodded. "We can set one up for each of your vaults, or we can combine the two vaults, if you so desire." Harry thought for a moment before saying, "Let me keep the vaults separate. I may someday have children, and I can use the vault I've known about for the past five years as a fund for them." "Very well. We can set up cards and pouches for each separate vault. All you need to do with the pouches is state what amount you wish to remove, and then reach in. The pouch will always seem empty, and will stop dispensing coins at the specified amount." "Are they set up for anyone to use them, or only me?" "Default is the vault owner only." "Can you set them both up to allow these two ladies to access them as well?" Tonks gasped loudly. "Are you sure, Harry? That was … well, that was a lot of money down there. You're trusting us with a lot." "I'm trusting you with the most important thing I have, Nymph. If I can trust you with my heart, then I think I can trust you with my money." He smiled at her. She shook her head in disbelief. "Still …" "Seriously, if it bothers both of you, I can drop that request." Hermione spoke up quietly. "I think that if you want to do this, then give us access only to your personal vault, not the Potter family one. That one should only be opened to us if we get married." He thought for a moment, and when Tonks nodded her agreement, made the change with Kazar. As they left, Kazar grinned again. "It will be a pleasure doing business with you, Lord Potter." He bowed before Harry. "And I'm certain I shall enjoy my business dealings with you, sir," he replied, bowing in return. An excited murmur ran through the goblins in view. As they left the bank, Hermione said excitedly, "You just advanced wizard/goblin relations about a hundred years, Harry! More! You treated them as equals, rather than servants, as most wizards seem to." She grinned and hugged his arm. "Status is very important to goblins, and wizards seem to instinctively know this, and treat them as servants. By treating them as an equal, especially since you are Heir to three very important lines …" "Four," Tonks corrected simply. "… four," Hermione accepted, "since you're heir to those lines, and at least two of them have noble titles, well, you're treating them as equal to you, Harry. Not just equal to a wizard, but equal to a powerful wizard." "Makes sense, though, doesn't it? They're thinking beings, why not give them respect? They handle our money, and could rob the entire wizarding world blind if not for their sense of honour." He shrugged. "Let's head off to Ollivander's for a new wand or two for me. That reminds me – where did the one Sirius left for me go to?" She blushed again. "I'll want to have you go after it later," she said quietly. She undid her robe slightly to show her cleavage. "Look closely." He did as she asked, trying not to be obvious about it, since they were in public. He noticed the handle end of a wand nestled between her breasts. "Damn, what a lucky wand," he murmured with a smile. Tonks chuckled. "You seem to have that sort of luck with your wands, Harry," she said with a purr. He blushed furiously, followed soon by Hermione, once she realized what Tonks had meant. He resolutely ignored the flaming of his ears and face as he walked toward Ollivander's, although he was laughing to himself. By the time he had reached the door, he had been joined by the girls, and they had each wrapped an arm around his waist. "I just hope you two don't end up with problems from the public for being seen with me. With luck, they'll ridicule me and leave you alone." "Why are you so worried about us being ridiculed, Harry?" Hermione asked him. "Because I can't stand the idea of you being subjected to hate mail again. I'm used to people hating me, but seeing you in our fourth year, when all those Howlers came berating you for leading me on – I was too stupid about things at the time to say much about it, but it was killing me, Hermione." He turned to Tonks. "And just because you're an Auror doesn't mean you don't have feelings. Fudge actively hates me – if he knows you're seeing me romantically, he might try to put you somewhere else, like the Centaur Liaison Office. I don't want you wonderful women being hurt by proximity to me." He paused in the street. "I said it before – I may not like it, but I'm used to being hated for my very existence, so my intentional flaunting of the 'rules of society' should just give them all the further reason to dislike me." Tonks released his waist and turned him to face her. "Harry James Potter, here's my response to that line of thought," she said, and then proceeded to kiss him in such manner that his thought processes ceased to make sense. The blood roared in his ears, and his heart rate climbed amazingly. When she released the kiss, he was mildly amused to discover that he was holding her as tightly as she held him. "I'm glad these robes are loose enough to hide my reaction to that kiss," he breathed. He felt a tap on his shoulder and turned to face Hermione. "I told you before. If you love me, then I can deal with the Howlers, since they'll just be founded in a jealous reaction. Now, get your lips down here and kiss me like you mean it." He leaned down toward her and gently brushed his lips across hers before deepening the kiss. He held her tightly; tight enough that he could actually feel her heart beating against his chest. The kiss broke and he continued to hold her, burying his face in her hair. "Oh my God, Hermione, I love you. I love you both. I don't know what I'd do if I lost either of you." He felt himself starting to lose control, and fought to hold back the sobs that wanted to burst free from his chest. "I am not going to cry like that in public, where the Prophet can plaster it all across their headlines." He got himself under control and continued the journey to Ollivander's. They entered the wand shop, and almost immediately the man appeared. "Ah, Mister Potter! I wondered when I would see you again. I heard of the unfortunate incident with your wand a year ago, and knew I would see you soon." "So, how was the headmaster doing when you spoke to him?" Harry asked, in a friendly tone that actually made Hermione wince. "He seemed well. I think I know just the wand for you, Mister Potter. The materials for it were delivered very recently, and it was a challenge to make them work together, but do it I did." He reached under the desk and pulled out a box, and opened it to show a simple white wand. Harry took it from the case and held it in his hand. A breeze grew around him, and a white glow surrounded him. "I was right," Ollivander said. "The materials are the bone of a basilisk, and the feather from the same phoenix that supplied your previous wand's core. It is a fourteen inch wand, quite fitting for a man such as yourself." He smiled. "It will also be harder for certain individuals within the Ministry to break, should they take a mind to." Harry smiled. "I'll bet I know where the basilisk bone came from," he laughed, looking at Hermione. "Only enough for one wand was brought. Do you know if you can procure any more of it, Mister Potter?" Ollivander asked hopefully. "I can't promise. I didn't think the thing had left anything behind. I promise to at least ask about it. You may well have received the only existing pieces. Just curious, were they delivered by the headmaster, or by a phoenix?" "Headmaster Dumbledore delivered them, but he had the phoenix with him at the time." Harry laughed. "More like the headmaster was with the phoenix, if I know Fawkes." He paused. "Do all wands have to choose an owner, so to speak, or can one purchase a general purpose wand?" At the mildly offended look on Ollivander's face, he explained quickly. "You know who I'm facing. In fact, this wand may well still be considered a brother to his. If so, I'd like to be able to actually affect him. Get one wand out while our brother wands are fighting it out, and perhaps hit him with an unexpected spell." "Ah, yes, I understand. Yes, this basilisk wand would be considered a brother to You-Know-Who's wand, since they both contain feathers from the same phoenix. The core is the most important part, of course. Let me see …" he murmured to himself as he walked into the back of his shop. "Ah, yes, here are a few possibilities." He walked forward with about thirty wands. Let us look through these. These will be excellent for fighting purposes." He began sorting them out, and then looked at one in confusion. "How did this one get in that group? Ah well, I shall return it shortly." As Harry picked up the first of the wands, they heard the door open. As soon as Harry repaired the glass that broke as he handled the first wand, he turned to face Neville and his grandmother. "Neville! How have you been?" "Quite good, Harry. Happy birthday, if my memory serves me correctly," Neville smiled. "It does, and the same to you. Yours was yesterday, wasn't it?" Neville nodded. Harry chewed his lower lip for a moment. "Neville? I have a question to ask you, and I don't know the wizarding etiquette, so if what I ask you is remarkably offensive, please know that I would never intentionally do that to one of my friends." Neville smiled. "You're going to ask if you can replace my wand, right?" Harry nodded. "It's not offensive. I do want to know why, though." All those in the room looked at Neville with interest, because this was a far more forceful young man than they were used to. I like the change, Harry thought absently. "Honestly, Neville, I feel like I owe it to you. Your wand wouldn't have gotten broken if not for following me. You could have been killed. And all because you trusted me. That's a very powerful gift, and I don't think I can ever tell you what it means to me. But I can repay you in a very small way by paying to replace your broken wand." He grinned. "And if that doesn't work, how about letting me purchase it as your birthday present?" He finished with a laugh. Neville looked at him for a long time. "I understand your reasoning, and I accept. We all have to fight in one way or another in this war, Harry, and I know I'm on the right side. We either fight with him, against him, or fight to stay neutral. I'll be with you again, if you'll let me." He stuck out his hand, and Harry took it, shaking it solemnly. "I can't think of too many people I'd trust more, Neville." He let go of Neville's hand, and let him go to the counter. Ollivander looked at Neville, and then looked to the wand that he had considered the oddball. "Try this one, Mister Longbottom. It is twelve inches long, and has the only core of any that I have made that does not use dragon, unicorn, or phoenix." Neville took the wand and was surrounded by a gentle misty breeze, which swirled and coalesced into the head of a beautiful woman with a butterfly resting in her hair. She looked at him for a long moment and then flowed forward and kissed his third eye before disappearing back into the wand. "You are quite the herbalist, aren't you, Mister Longbottom?" Ollivander asked. At Neville's nod, he said, "This is the only wand I have ever made with dryad hair, Mister Longbottom, and I had despaired of ever finding a proper owner for this wand. Eleven and a half inches, oak, and dryad hair. May it serve you well." Neville nodded and stepped away from the counter. Harry spent some more time looking at wands, and eventually was ready to purchase three for himself, including the basilisk bone wand. He paid for all the wands in question, including Neville's and they stepped from Ollivander's. His grandmother was looking at the girls with some disapproval. "Hermione told us about the relationships," Neville explained. "If she can't handle the idea, that's her problem," Harry said quietly to Neville, "but you might want to make her aware that I protect my own – my friends and my family. If things eventually work out, they will be my family." "I understand. I'm jealous as hell," Neville laughed quietly, "because I happen to fancy Hermione a bit, to be honest. I'm partial to smart women. Congratulations, by the way." His grandmother cleared her throat. "Ah, time to leave and get an earful. See you at school." Harry watched the two of them head toward The Leaky Cauldron, and smiled. "I definitely approve of the changes in Neville," he said. "Me too," Hermione answered. "He's so much more self-assured now. Some girl is going to find that very attractive." "Present company included?" he laughed, and she blushed in response. "You know, I think I'd best go to the Quibbler offices and speak with Luna's father again. I know those kisses are going to be on the front page, if only in headlines. I'd prefer that a trustworthy paper print the interview that they'll all be clamouring for." He laughed again. "Make himself some more money selling rights to other papers to print the interview." Previous Next Like it? Leave a review! Logged in as Wim Vincken (Log out) Site generated in 0.1108 seconds, 3 queries. Home | About | Email Alerts | Other Formats | Change Look | Favourite Stories | Yahoo! Group Back to: Harry Potter » Sorceror's Apprentice Reviews (3) Printer Friendly Format Sorceror's Apprentice Chapter 10 By Kinsfire Previous Next Chapter X As they walked to the Quibbler, Harry turned to Tonks. "Is there any time we absolutely have to be back at the house, or do we have the entire day to ourselves? Basically, are they going to send out search parties if I don't come back in time for dinner?" "Probably," she responded, eyes twinkling. Hermione spoke up. "I'm curious about something you said in there to Ollivander, about the basilisk. You know you were probably lying to him about the basilisk bone, don't you?" "Yes. I don't want anyone getting more of that until I've talked to Dumbledore and Fawkes about it. I think Fawkes retrieved it and basically informed Dumbledore what they were doing." She nodded her understanding, and they quickly reached the Quibbler offices. Upstairs in the offices, Harry wasn't terribly surprised to find Luna behind the desk, and her father waiting for them. "Congratulations, Lord Potter," said Luna. "Second sight, or news travelling fast?" he laughed. Her father pointed at his hand. "The ring is a dead giveaway, Lord Potter. Wearing one without permission of the family is punishable with some rather stiff fines, assuming the ring hasn't already exacted a punishment." He raised his eyebrows. "That's good to know. By the way, I want it known that as far as my friends are concerned, I'm still just Harry, whether or not I ended up a Baron by accident of birth. I only just learned about it, anyway." He grinned suddenly. "That means I'll understand it if you insist on calling me Lord Potter, but I'd much prefer the both of you calling me Harry." Luna flushed momentarily before saying, "Thank you, Harry. You do me a great honour." "Far less honour than you do me by being my friend, Miss Lovegood," he said with a smile. "Oh, by the way, Luna, I have some good news for you," he said, returning to his normal way of speaking. "Off the record, of course, but I think Chang is going to find herself just a little bothered by this year. Losing her prefect status? And if they were going to make her Head Girl, discovering that it's going to someone else?" Luna's eyes widened. "How did you learn this?" "It was a condition of returning to Hogwarts this year. Which reminds me, since why my return to Hogwarts wasn't certain ties in with our Ministry visit, I'll be explaining to you and Neville about something – the reason Voldemort was there." "Harry, um, a certain individual doesn't want too many …" Hermione started to say. "I know that he doesn't, but I feel that the people who risked their lives with me deserve to know. I'll listen to him, but make my own decisions." He grinned. "I assume that you were told about my negotiations by the wielders of those Ears?" She blushed furiously. "Didn't have to be – I was one of them. Bit of hyperbole there, though, when you were talking about Cho Chang. I don't think that I belong at the top of the ten most beautiful students at Hogwarts." "I do," he said, looking in her eyes. "Hell, you deserve all ten slots, in my opinion." He kissed her gently. "But I'm biased." He kept the pain only to his eyes as he heard Luna murmur quietly, “I wish he were biased that way toward me.” He turned to Luna. “Luna, I am sorry. I wish that I could make you happy, but right now …” he said to her, letting her see the pain he felt at hurting her, even by accident. “Harry, we can’t control who we care for. If our souls are designed by Universe to be together, then we shall be. If not, then I shall glow in the knowledge that a fine man such as yourself calls me friend. That is quite the accomplishment in itself.” He blushed furiously and took her hand. “I thank you for your friendship, Luna. It helped me a lot a couple months ago.” He kissed the back of her hand. “Hope I did that right,” he said with his trademark lopsided grin. “If the intent was to make a girl’s heart beat faster, then you did it right,” Luna smiled. Pain shot into his eyes again. “Harry, I believe that one of the things you treasure about my friendship is my honesty. I will not complain if you kiss my hand again, but I will be honest about the effect you have upon me. I have no intention of trying to force romantic feelings between either of us, because such attempts always fail.” She grinned widely, an unusual look for her, but not unpleasant. “I reserve the right to fantasize about you, however.” He looked stunned for a moment, and then burst out laughing. “Thank you, Luna. I needed that.” After a few moments of laughter, he finally became more serious. “The real reason I’m here is because, well, the relationships became known a little while ago. We kissed in public, in Diagon Alley. You know that Witch Weekly and the Daily Prophet are going to make up some stories, so I thought I’d give an interview to a trustworthy paper.” Lawrence’s eyes widened. “You are aware of the attitude that some people have about this paper? We publish articles that are either considered crazy, or that no one else will touch. This won’t necessarily help your reputation, Lord Potter.” Harry grasped immediately what Lawrence was saying. “Mr. Lovegood, you treated me well before. You printed an interview with me that was proper, not the … thing that the Prophet chose to print, knowing that it was a pack of lies. You treated me properly.” He snorted. “If I have to drop into some sort of noble thing, then …” he grinned. He stood straighter and said in a put-on pompous voice. “Let it be said that Baron Harry Potter does not forget who his friends are.” He laughed again, and his voice was normal when he spoke again. “I’m serious, though. Ask them. When I said that I was going to have to do an interview with a paper, ask them how many papers I went through before I settled on yours, sir.” Lawrence stood straighter with pride. “I don’t need to. I thank you for your trust, milord.” “I’m actually going to tell the both of you about the Ministry scenario as well, but for reasons that will become obvious, I think, I’d rather that information never ever reach the public. I will not talk about other things that I have no permission to mention. All I ask is a private place where we can’t be overheard.” A while later, Tonks, Hermione, and Harry left the offices of the Quibbler, having left behind two somewhat stunned Lovegoods. As they reached the bottom of the stairs, he smiled. “Let’s go get something to eat, and then I need to run out and buy some Muggle clothes, and maybe some better wizard clothes.” They reached the Leaky Cauldron and stripped off their robes. Tonks frowned and Transfigured some other clothes for Harry, and they stepped out into Muggle London for a pleasant lunch. Hermione was definitely getting some appreciative looks, and Harry had no problems with the way she leaned on his arm, effectively telling everyone, “I’m his.” While they ate, Harry quickly scanned the paperwork he'd taken from the Potter vault. Without looking, he chided with a smile, "Hermione, I get to read the books from those vaults first. They were left for me." He frowned and looked up. "Besides, they might be spelled to prevent anyone but an heir, or someone the heir designates, from opening them." "I hadn't thought of that," she said unhappily. "I'm willing to risk it, though," she said, brightening. He took her hands in his. "I, on the other hand, am not. You mean a great deal to me, and I will not see you hurt." He kissed both her hands, and then turned to Tonks and took her hands. "I love you too, Tonks. I may have paid more attention to her today, but that's because I'm looking forward to later today." "Harry, I understand. You can't pay attention to everyone all the time. There will be days that I get all your attention, and days she will. It's the way things will be." She grinned impishly. "Don't worry your pretty head about it," she said, floofing his hair. He laughed and returned to the paperwork, finally finding the information about the ring. "When we're done with buying me some Muggle clothes, we'll head back to the Cauldron and go to Potter's Field from there." He chuckled quietly to himself to note that Hermione was showing a pointed interest in that. He leaned over and whispered in her ear, "I rather like the knickers you're wearing today, love." When her eyes went wide, he said, "Helping you out of the Gringott's car. That's where I saw." She whispered back. "I think this entire day has been foreplay, Harry. I think if you kissed me right now I might well … uh, react. Gods, Harry, I'm so damn … sorry, darn worked up right now that part of me wants to move over onto your lap and take you inside me here in the restaurant." He closed his eyes for a moment, imagining that, and trying in vain to ignore the reaction the image caused in him. Finally he forced himself to say, "So, what clothing shops should we visit?" Tonks eyes gleamed as she said, "Is it safe to assume that now is not a good time to suggest a certain Diagon Alley leather shop for some skin- tight pants for you?" she asked quietly. Hermione answered by gripping Harry's arm tightly and biting her lower lip. She looked like she was fighting a battle for a few moments, and then obviously lost it as she leaned against Harry and shivered for a short time. "Tonks, you're evil," she whispered across the table. "You knew what that image would do to me." "Of course, considering that's one of the things we talked about while he was changing clothes this morning." She grinned at Hermione, who shook a fist at her, but did not let go of Harry. He was looking stunned. "Just thinking about me in tight pants did that to you?" he asked in wonder. "You really think I'm that good looking?" Tonks looked at him. "I'll bet you fifty Galleons that you are in the top five most eligible bachelors in the next Witch Weekly poll, now that you're officially an adult. Another fifty says it's because of your appearance, and not your money." His eyebrows rose. "Can you handle that much pay-out to me? You can afford to give me one hundred Galleons?" Hermione let go of him and said, "Ten Galleons says you have the number one position." She shrugged. "I don't have fifty to spend." "I can't take your money, Hermione!" he exclaimed quietly. The look she gave him smouldered with unspoken feelings, the most obvious being lust. "Harry, you'll be paying out one hundred and ten Galleons to us when the next Witch Weekly comes out. I guarantee it. If I could afford to bet on that, I would." "I'll tell you what," Harry said in disbelief. "I'll even give you ten- to-one odds on your bet. If you win, you get the same hundred that Tonks will." "Ooh, shopping trip after the next Witch Weekly!" she said. Harry shook his head knowingly. They left the restaurant after Harry cast a quick drying and cleaning charm on Hermione's dress, considering the spot she'd been sitting on had become somewhat damp. A significant number of pounds and shillings later, they headed back to The Leaky Cauldron. Grinning, he said, "Ladies, I know that the concept bothers you, but you'll need to hold on to me." His answer was the two girls tightly gripping his arms. He touched the ring and concentrated on activating the portkey, and the familiar tug behind his navel struck him. ##### They came to the world again in a meadow of chest high grass. “Hmm, looks like I’m going to have to mow,” he murmured as he put his packages down. He heard a rustle behind him, and turned to find Tonks helping Hermione out of her dress. His jaw dropped. Once she was nude except for her sandals, Hermione said, “Harry? I’ve always fantasized about giving my virginity to my lover out in the open, under the sky. Would my lord care to make my dream come true?” He gulped loudly, and carefully removed his own clothes, then revelled in the feeling her bare skin against his. The height difference was such that her head easily rested on his shoulder, and she murmured, “Your heart is beating so hard and fast, Harry.” “I’m not surprised,” he responded. “I have the two most beautiful women in the world here at my ancestral home. One has already graced me with the utterly priceless gift of her love, both emotional and physical. The second has gifted me with one, and asks if I’m willing to accept the gift of the other. And in doing so, I get to fulfil her dream as well.” He looked up at Tonks, who was also now utterly without clothing. “Dante may have talked of circles of Hell, but I’ve discovered that there are circles of Heaven as well.” He could feel the tears flowing from his eyes , and made no effort to stop them. “What’s wrong?” Hermione asked in alarm as she heard him sniff. “Absolutely nothing, my beautiful Hermione.” He pulled back for a moment to look at her, and looked at Tonks as well. “I can tell you that the next time I try to cast a Patronus, I’ll be using this moment in time as the thought to call it forth.” He bent slightly to brush his lips across hers, and she quickly responded in kind. He spent some time kissing her, not always on the lips, and proceeded to torture her sensually before giving her what she so wanted. As they lay in the tall grass, enjoying the afterglow of their lovemaking, Harry looked up at the sky and said, “I finally understand the phrase ‘It doesn’t get any better than this.’ I don’t think I could get any happier than I feel right now.” He felt Tonks lay down beside him. “That won’t stop us from trying,” she said, kissing him rather thoroughly, and he heard Hermione chuckle as she absently ran her fingers along the length of his ‘wand’. “Hmm, ten inches, thicker than in normal, delightfully inflexible. The core is of an ineffable material especially designed for unlocking spells, at least those involving ladies thighs.” She nuzzled his ear. “Two ladies, at least.” Harry blushed as he groaned, and then laughed as he remembered breakfast that morning. “Ginny’s hoping to make it three, I think. I get the sneaking suspicion it’s to have access to you two, more than me.” "We'll burn that bridge when we get to it, Harry," Hermione said. "Personally, I'd like to just spend the rest of the day with you, enjoying being with you and Tonks." He saw the ladies eyes meet for a second, and then Tonks said, “Good idea, Hermione. I have a much better idea of what Harry can do with his tongue than use it for speech.” She proceeded to make her intentions quite obvious, while Hermione proceeded to find something to do that would leave her hands free to caress Tonks. Previous Next Like it? Leave a review! Logged in as Wim Vincken (Log out) Site generated in 0.1047 seconds, 3 queries. Home | About | Email Alerts | Other Formats | Change Look | Favourite Stories | Yahoo! Group Back to: Harry Potter » Sorceror's Apprentice Reviews (4) Printer Friendly Format Sorceror's Apprentice Chapter 11 By Kinsfire Previous Next Chapter XI They eventually stood, dressed, and headed for the Potter Manor. They could see a roof over a hill, but when they reached the top of that hill, Harry was rendered speechless at the sheer size of it. There were several large trees out in front that gave him a sense of scale, and he thought for a moment that might just rival Hogwarts for size. A closer look told him that it didn’t, although he wasn’t sure that it wasn’t half the size of the Hogwarts castle. “Big,” was all he managed to say. “I agree,” breathed Hermione. He looked over at her and smiled, and then reached to the hem of her dress and pulled it down to more completely cover her shapely rear end. “What did you do that for?” she smiled. “If we want to get down there before they have to send out search parties, then you’d better cover that up.” He blushed as a thought came to him. “What?” she asked, intrigued. “Nothing,” he said, his blush deepening. After both ladies badgered him for a short time, he finally relented. “Don’t think I’m a pervert, but I was contemplating the thought of pressing you up against a wall in that dress, and … well, doing it standing up.” Hermione simply lit up and nodded her vigorous approval. “Really?” he asked, grinning suddenly. “You granted my fantasy; I have no problems with yours. I’m looking forward to it.” She lowered her face, but then looked at him as if over non-existent glasses. “Maybe we’ll be lucky enough to get to try that at Hogwarts.” He snorted. "Yeah right. I can dream, though." They walked down the hill toward the house, and noticed a second, much smaller house a distance away. "Looks like a guest house or something." "I definitely am going to need to hire someone to help me around this place," Harry said. "Think Dobby and Winky would hire on to help me? There's no way I can handle a huge household like this all by myself." "Dobby would work for free for you; you know that," Hermione said with a scowl. "Doesn't mean I'll let him," he said. "He gets paid. I just wish he'd accept what I think he's worth. Damn. I'm going to need elves around this place. I'm finally understanding. Ah, the joys of being a home- owner." He sighed. "I'll see if Dumbledore has connections with any freed house-elves looking for work. I'd much rather be paying them than enslaving them." They found a wall in front of them finally, and chose to walk left in order to find a gate. When they found it, they also found a disused walkway leading to the house. Try as they might, Tonks and Hermione simply could not open the gate, but Harry's hand on it made it open as if it had never been shut. "Hmm, it seems to recognize a Potter is here." As they passed through the gate, an utter non-sequitur thought came to Harry. "Where did that wand go, Hermione? I haven't reclaimed it from you yet, and I think I'd have noticed it out there in the meadow, given where you had it stored all day." He shook his head. "I still say that was one damned lucky wand." She didn't respond for a moment as they continued to walk toward the manor. Finally, close enough to one of the walls to touch it, she said, "Harry, you say we need to be here for a little while and get back before they send out a search party, and then you say things guaranteed to make me want to make you late." Her eyes went wide for a moment, and he spun to look toward the house. "Sorry," she said, sounding as if she were smiling. "I thought I saw something." "And in answer to your question, I built a wand holster. I made another one, but I very rarely use that one," she said, blushing furiously, much to Harry's bewilderment. "I promise to show you later. The one I'm talking about, though, is sort of a necklace, but rather than hanging between my breasts, it wraps around outside them; not terribly tightly, or else the thing would hurt. The handle sticks up far enough to be able to get at it easily, and when there's no wand in the holster, you can't really tell I'm wearing it." She laughed. "Moody is always telling us to be prepared, so I designed this one." Her voice dropped an octave, and Harry felt his brain shutting down as the blood left it. "Care to go in after your wand?" "Are you sure you can trust my hands to go only where they're supposed to?" he asked with a shaky laugh. "Oh, I hope not!" she purred in response. He leaned down and kissed her neck, and began to fondle her gently through the fabric of her dress, and quite shortly she was fulfilling Harry's fantasy. ##### Tonks watched the two of them, smiling. She was quite enjoying herself today. She had never realized just how insatiable a sixteen year old boy … no, man … could be. He's loved her for how long? He's at least known her since he was eleven. He's only known me since last year. He's probably fantasized about her for some time. I love him, and I am quite certain that he loves me, or feels something so close to love that there's no real difference. She smiled. He's getting used to being loved; to knowing that someone really does care for him. She had to admit that watching two people making love was also somewhat … invigorating. She'd have to see about sharing his bed tonight, just to bring her down from her rolling boil. He'd already proven, even when at his most passionate with both girls, that while he was certainly inexperienced, he made up for that with being a remarkably caring, even adoring lover. He was far more interested in his partner enjoying herself. They were finally able to get to the door of the Potter Manor house (it was large enough to be a castle, but certainly not shaped like one), and Harry opened the door. Curious, he closed it again, and asked Tonks to try opening it. She found herself completely unable to get the door to budge. "My lady Nymphadora Tonks is granted access to my home," he said while she touched the door, and as soon as he touched his ring to the door, it suddenly moved as easily for her as it had for him. "Hermione, touch the door," he said. "My lady Hermione Granger is also permitted access to my home." They closed the door, and Hermione successfully opened his ancestral home's entry portal. "Right now," he smiled, "we three are the only ones who can come and go as we please when on Potter property. Me, I assume, because I wear the ring, or maybe it recognizes the aura, and now you because you are specifically granted full access to this house." He surreptitiously touched the wall with his ring as he said it. They stepped inside and immediately soft light began to spill from the walls. The hallways were wide enough for him to walk with an arm around the waist of his ladies, so he did so with a smile on his face. Gods, it is so good to see him happy after the way he was just a few days ago! I'd better make sure Hermione thinks about that, too – he may crash sometime soon, and we're really going to need to be there for him. But for now, let's enjoy his happiness. About an hour later, he laughed as they stood in this home's great hall. "I guess I'm already starting to think as if I really am the owner of this place. I was going through here with you two beautiful women, and deciding where various furniture needed to go. I already know where the statue needs to go – in the room I told you I'd be using as the informal gathering room. In other words, where most of my friends will meet, and where the painting of my parents will go." His face fell, and he bit his lower lip for a minute. "I have some questions to ask you ladies, and I hope you'll still care for me after I ask them." He had a very worried look on his face. "What's wrong, Harry?" Tonks asked in unison with Hermione. "Well, two of my questions have to do with statues, and they all sort of have a common thread to them, I guess. First one is this: that statue was of my mother. Would you ladies be willing to pose for statues – for my private study?" "Erotic statues?" Tonks asked with a grin. "Only if you want it that way, although if I got nudes of both of you, I can't help but think they'd automatically be erotic." He smiled at them both. “I agree to it,” said Tonks. “I’ve never posed for something like that before.” She blushed. “I feel honoured that you admire me enough to want me in statue form.” “Gladly, Harry,” agreed Hermione. She got a sly look. “If you get a good sculptor; one that can be trusted, perhaps you could get an erotic statue of the two of us,” she said, motioning at Tonks. “Oh my goodness!” she breathed. “I can’t believe I just suggested that!” “You don’t have to do that,” Harry said. “That’s the thing, Harry. I want to. Both because it’s for you, and the thought of … well, giving you my virginity in front of another person was part of the reason my response was so … umm …” “Loud? Vigorous?” Harry laughed. “I will tell you, that did wonders for my ego!” “You’re welcome,” she giggled, and playfully slapped his arm. “What was your second question?” He stopped laughing. “The second and third questions deal with the same subject in extremely different ways.” He took a deep breath. “If I hadn’t been so shocked at the contents of the vault, I could easily have reacted to the figure of that statue the same way I’ve been dealing with you two – an erection. That was my mother’s body, though. Doesn’t that make me a pervert?” They looked at him for a long moment before Tonks spoke. “When was the last time you saw your mother?” “Other than in wizard photos? When I was fifteen months old.” “Okay, so you have a vague memory of her, and you’ve seen photos of her, and had an idea of her figure whether you knew it or not. Now, stand back and look at Hermione and I, and compare that with your mother’s figure. Neither of us is a big-titted, big-arsed girl; we’re decently toned, not terribly thin but neither are we overweight. No one would ever mistake any of our figures for Lily’s, but …” “… but there are a lot of similarities,” Harry finished. “But what does that mean for me?” he asked, now even more worried, as far as Tonks could see. “It means that you’re normal,” Hermione said. “I’m betting that every one of the Weasley boys that gets married is going to marry a girl that’ll look like Mrs. Weasley in a few years. That would count me right out,” she laughed. “Mum is a bit over 160 centimeters tall … sorry Tonks, about five-foot-four, and built like I am right now.” She bit her lower lip. “And to answer the question you asked, if fancying your Mum’s figure is being a pervert, then I’m something of a pervert too. I’d never sleep with her – that idea just squicks me beyond belief – but my Mum is sexy, and that’s that. I enjoy looking at her, and that’s as far as it’ll ever go.” Tonks saw Hermione relax as Harry sighed with relief, and Tonks knew that she was also relaxing. “My last one deals with possible perversion, and you two are the best to ask.” He closed his eyes tightly and winced as he said, “Is it wrong of me to … I like … what I’m wondering is … isitwrongformetofancyRonorNeville?” Hermione said with some asperity, “What? You’re already thinking of running off with another man?” As Harry opened his mouth to respond, she added, “Can I come too?” “What?” was all Harry could manage after several moments. “Well, if you’re thinking of adding a guy to our little group, can we at least help you choose him?” Her eyes took on a particularly … naughty was the only word that managed to make it into his brain … particularly naughty look to them. “He’s got some serious standards to measure up to,” she purred at him. Tonks walked over, grinning. “To stand a chance of filling your … shoes, he’s going to have to be as good at getting as deep into a subject as you are, sexy,” she growled seductively at him. “Yeah, but…” “In all seriousness,” Hermione said, still smiling, “I have no problems with it if you find a man who can help you fulfil that side of your life. We’re already flouting custom by being a threesome. It would be nice if it could be a foursome, but that’s not a requirement as far as I’m concerned.” She kissed him. "If it's all right for Hermione and I to share a love,” Tonks said, “then why would it be wrong for you and Ron, if you're lucky enough to have him return the feeling?" "It just seems that it's more accepted between girls," Harry said quietly. "Thank you." He drew both of them into a heartfelt hug. He knew he was shaking slightly. “If you two support me in this, then I have no problems with the Prophet raking me across the coals as a pouf.” Hermione growled. “Trust us, if necessary, we’ll go into extreme detail to prove you’re not.” She waggled her eyebrows at him. Finally, regretfully, Tonks pulled from the hug. We need to be getting back to Number twelve. If we're not careful, they will send out parties to find us." "Spiffing," Hermione grumbled. "We get to listen to Molly Weasley take shots at us for our unnatural lifestyle choice. Just what I want to listen to." "I'll say it to her again if I have to," Harry said. "I will not put up with that from her, or anyone else. They can skewer me all that they want, but I'll not have them dragging your names through the mud." "Well, we'll see," Tonks said. "Is there some way of getting back to HQ, or am I gonna have to Apparate?" "Apparate, and get someone to make a portkey, and then the three of us can go back together," Harry said. "Uh-huh," Tonks laughed. "You'll just use it as an excuse to snog while I'm gone." "And this is bad – how?" Hermione laughed. Harry said, obviously speaking to someone or something, "I'm giving you the Potter family ring, since we know it has a permanently reusable portkey for this place built into it. You have full access to the property, so you should be able to get a little closer than we did when we landed here the first time." Only then did he remove the ring from his right index finger and hand it to Tonks. "Safety. I wanted the ring to know that you were supposed to be holding it." "Ooo, he's given me his ring!" Tonks said in a sing-song voice. "Should I call the caterers?" "Let's wait until August fifteenth at least," Hermione laughed. "Gives him a chance to get the house furnished." Harry was blushing furiously, but laughing uproariously. "You ladies are exactly what I need," he finally said. "I've never …" He closed his eyes, and Tonks could see tears starting to leak from them, and he began to cry softly, obviously fighting it, but losing. Tonks was pleased that Hermione didn't need to be told to move forward; the two women moved in unison to hold him. "Well, we're going to get you used to being loved, my darling Harry. We want you to get used to the feeling." She carefully pulled away from them both and kissed their cheeks before stepping out of the house and cracking to Number twelve Grimmauld Place. "Tonks! Where are they?" Molly asked frantically. "Home, Molly," she answered quickly. "Is Albus still here?" "Yes, but what do you mean about them being 'home'? Whose home?" "Don't mean to be rude, Molly," Tonks said politely and walked away purposefully toward the kitchen. Sure enough, Dumbledore was in the kitchen with Severus, drinking tea and talking. "Wotcher, you two!" "Nymphadora, how good to see you again," Albus said pleasantly. "I assume that Mister Potter and Miss Granger are well?" "They were a few seconds ago," she replied. "She was holding him as he … dealt with a problem," she said, changing her phrasing at the last minute to avoid giving Severus more ammunition. "I do not need to hear about the children's sex lives," drawled the Potions Master. "And I wasn't talking about them, you pervert," she snapped. Before he could respond, she turned to Dumbledore. "I need a portkey to get them here from where they currently are. Neither of them can Apparate yet, or else they'd have come that way." "Where are they?" Albus asked. "I think that's for Harry to say, sir," she said. "Let's just say that he's had quite a few birthday surprises today," she laughed. "I wouldn't dream of taking the chance of surprising everyone else away from him." Albus nodded and poured the last of the tea from the pot, cooled it down, and then handed it to Tonks. "You know how to activate it. We shall see you shortly?" "Yes, sir," she replied, and touched the emblem on the ring, which they both saw for the first time as she touched it, but she knew they couldn't see the crest. She was smiling as she reappeared next to Harry and Hermione, who were simply standing looking into each other's eyes as they held hands. "So kiss already!" she laughed. The both of them jumped in surprise. "Tonks!" Hermione squeaked. "How long have you been there?" "Not long, but the way you guys were, I could have returned the second I left and you wouldn't have noticed," she said with a smile. "Sorry, Tonks," Harry said, suddenly frowning. "I've been ignoring you all day. Here I am supposedly …" "Stop right there, sexy," she commanded, although her eyes were twinkling madly. "I know where this one is going, and you need to know a couple things. First, I wouldn't consider the rather maddeningly sensual lovemaking we did after midnight to be ignoring me. Multiple times, mind you. You've got stamina like none I've ever seen before, Harry, and I am personally happy to discover that." "Me too!" Hermione blushed. "Three times with me so far." "Same here," Tonks grinned. "The third was in the shower, just before we walked out and saw you." She looked back to Harry. "Six times making love today, and one of the times pleasuring Hermione, you were pleasuring me too. Plus, ignoring the sexual aspects of the day, we have experienced kisses and cuddles from you all day, and you stood up to the group at breakfast, including us both. You have not ignored me, Harry." She sighed. "It doesn't help that this is probably your first experience with real love. Cho Chang, as I understand what I've heard, wanted you as a connection back to her dead boyfriend. Don't talk to me about the Dursleys. Can't say you've ever really gotten any from the teachers either, even if Dumbledore professes to care for you. So now the girl you've known since you started school, and the girl you met last year are officially your lovers." She snorted. "Nice one this morning, by the way. Lie without lying. You couldn't call us both lovers at that point. You know how they took it, though." He laughed. "Well, I wasn't really in the mood to listen to that conversation first thing in the morning, after such a wonderful night before. I can listen to the fight that it'll start tonight, after we get back. Who accosted you about where we were, and how dare you leave the last best hope for the wizarding world alone?" Tonks snorted again. "Molly first. She was getting a little frantic, so I told her I didn't mean to be rude but … and was rude by walking away to find Dumbledore. Sevvie-poo made his usual snide comment, and Albus made the house teapot into a portkey. Let's go back so more people can have tea." "Works for me," Harry said. Before they left, he said a little shyly, "Diagon Alley again tomorrow? To that leather shop you talked about?" Hermione looked smoulderingly at him. "Why do you say these things when you know what it does to me?" She kissed him roughly. "You will pay for hitting me with that concept just before we head back, you know." He blinked. "Wow. I thought you just liked the idea of me in better looking clothes, Hermione. I really didn't …" Tonks couldn't help but laugh at the look of stunned wonder on Harry's face. "That'll teach you, sexy," she said as she activated the teapot portkey. Previous Next Like it? Leave a review! Logged in as Wim Vincken (Log out) Site generated in 0.1566 seconds, 3 queries. Home | About | Email Alerts | Other Formats | Change Look | Favourite Stories | Yahoo! Group Back to: Harry Potter » Sorceror's Apprentice Reviews (3) Printer Friendly Format Sorceror's Apprentice Chapter 12 By Kinsfire Previous Next Chapter XII They reappeared in the main hallway, and Hermione kissed Harry on the cheek before running upstairs. "Harry, you're back!" Molly said, hugging him, but not before shooting a rapid disapproving look at Hermione. He decided to stop this before it could go further. "Mrs. Weasley, we need to get something out in the open. This is the second time today that you have looked at Hermione that way, and it bothers me. You don't approve of the relationship that the three of us have, either." He took a deep breath. "It's my life, though. Right now, these two ladies are crazy enough to think that I'm worthy of being loved as more than merely a friend, or as a son in all but blood." "Harry, I just don't want you being attacked in the papers." "True," he replied. "Some people believe anything that they read in the Daily Prophet." He looked knowingly at her. She had the good grace to blush. "I said it before and I'll say it again. It's my life. I choose to be with these ladies, and they choose to be with me. Our choice. We're not going to let anyone else harass us and try to break us up. I will state right now that I will defend them and their reputations." Dumbledore walked into the room. "Admirable sentiment, Mr. Potter. I whole heartedly agree with it. My brother is looked down on by most of society, but he is happy, and that is by far the most important thing to remember. If your happiness comes from them, and not from how others look at you, then you are fine." "Thank you, sir." "How was your day, if I might be permitted to ask?" "I need to get a meeting with Madame Bones," Harry replied with a grin. "And Charlie as well." Dumbledore's eyebrows rose. "Indeed? May I be permitted to ask the purpose of this meeting?" Harry grinned, and in answer, pulled the bookbag to the fore. Reaching in carefully, he pulled out two of the books and 'asked' them to grow to normal size. The look of shock on everyone's faces as they saw the crests of Rowena Ravenclaw and Salazar Slytherin was a gift beyond price to him. "It appears that I am the last Heir of Rowena Ravenclaw, and since Tommy chose to gift me with a portion of himself, I was told by Slytherin's vault that it denies Riddle, and that it chooses me as the Heir of Slytherin." As he spoke, the two other rings came to the fore long enough for everyone to catch sight of them. "So, in a way, everyone was right in my second year, but it means something far different than most people think." He paused as everyone looked at him in shock. “Okay - long story short. I had paperwork from my parents, to be given to me today. I found it yesterday; it was part of what sent me barking. Well, eventually I came out of it, and decided to take my ladies with me to Gringott’s to see what was in the Potter vault. A statue of my mother handed me an envelope with some information, and also handed me this.” He scowled deeply as he held up his right hand to show his index finger. “As if I didn’t have enough effing problems, now I have this crap to worry about as well.” He shook his head. “Anyway, the letter from my mother, which was in that envelope, told me to press the ring to the letter for further information. I was told to go to Vault Two and press the Ravenclaw ring to the door.” That ring took precedence again. Everyone there gasped. “Yeah. Oh, by the way, I learned an amusing fact about the Malfoy family. The first hundred vaults are for the oldest families. One through Four are for the Hogwarts Founders. The Malfoys vault is not in the remaining ninety-six vaults. They are not as old as they would have some believe.” “What number was yours, Harry?” Fred asked. “Twelve-hundred and something, I think. I never checked.” Remus laughed. “I think they were asking about the Potter family vault, Harry, not your trust fund.” “Oh! Sorry, Gred,” he laughed. “The Potter vault is number thirty- seven. Well, anyway, I went to the Founder’s vaults. It’s four vaults shaped to look like one. On a whim, I spoke Parseltongue to the fourth vault, and it started to open. I placed my hand in the circle, and we talked. If that’s Salazar Slytherin’s mind guiding the locks in that vault, then Slytherin would have fought as hard against Voldemort as the Order did last time. The vault declared that since Riddle had gone dark, he had forfeited his rights as Heir. Since he had passed some of himself to me, I was declared rightful Heir and given the ring that goes with it." That ring came forward. "Oh, Professor?” he said suddenly, turning to Dumbledore. “Turns out that the Parseltongue is mine, not a ‘gift’ from Tom. Anyway, I took the contents of the vault, and then opened Two, as I had intended to, and took those books. On a whim, I tried to open the other two. Susan Bones face came to my mind when I tried to open the Hufflepuff vault, and when I touched the Gryffindor vault, I had the image of Charlie come to mind.” He looked up at Ginny and Ron. “I think your brither might be the one to open the Gryffindor vault.” “Cor!” Ron exclaimed. “Seriously, chum? You’re not making this up?” “Why would I? All it would do is open you to ridicule if I made it up and he tried to open that vault.” He grinned suddenly. “Besides, in Gryffindor Tower, I get to brag that I’m going to school with the heirs of Godric Gryffindor. I might be the heir to a founder, but it’s not my House. See what I’m saying?” “I’m looking forward to getting into these books, however. I don’t know how protected they are. It might take the headmaster several days to get through whatever charms may be on them for anyone other than me to look at them.” He turned to see Albus Dumbledore looking with interest at the first page or two of Rowena Ravenclaw’s History of Hogwarts founding. Laughing, Harry added, “Or not.” “I apologize, Harry,” Dumbledore said, looking at Harry. “These are quite the treasure, my boy, and I would ask that I be permitted to be in the queue to peruse them when you and Miss Granger have finished with them.” He looked up the stairs at Hermione. “I assume, of course, that you have already requested access to the journals?” She nodded with a smile, and quickly stuck her tongue out at Harry, who laughed. Molly cleared her throat. “Well, it’s late afternoon. I think we’ve done enough for the day. There’s other things to do today yet. You two go get cleaned up,” she said, pointing at Ron and Ginny. “Hermione, will you help me in the kitchen?” “Yes ma’am,” she said, coming down the stairs. She paused for a moment before Harry and kissed him. “For all the fact that it’s your birthday, you gave me a wonderful gift today, my lord.” “But that was in response to the most precious gift you could have given me, my love,” he said, kissing her again, then gently swatted her on the rear as she moved to join Molly Weasley. He was amused to see Ginny’s reaction, her jaw dropped at Harry’s openly affectionate action. She then smiled and blew him a kiss before disappearing into her room. Ron looked confused as he headed into his room. Tonks walked over and chuckled in Harry’s ear. “Ginny does things to you too, doesn’t she?” “Built like that? I think you’d have to be either dead or a complete pouf to not react to her if you’re a guy.” He paused. “Or her brothers,” he added with a laugh. “I was thinking of going into the drawing room to read,” he said next. “I want to read these journals left to me, and since I insisted on reading them before Hermione, I ought to get to them sooner, rather than later.” He looked at her for a long moment. “Or we could go in there and snog for a while, and I could read later.” He pulled her into an embrace and whispered, “Maybe see what I can do to bring you down from the boil you said you were dealing with.” They walked into the drawing room and sat down on the love seat in there, her on his lap, while they passed time kissing. ##### In the kitchen, Molly was bustling around for a few moments while Hermione moved things to where Molly needed them. Finally, the older woman turned to Hermione. Oh boy; here it comes. “Hermione, please forgive me. I’m an older woman, with older sensibilities. I’m going to try not to roll my eyes at you, or say nasty things. You and Nymphadora make Harry the happiest I’ve ever seen him, and that’s the most important thing. If I do start to treat you badly, please tell me. Please forgive an old woman her foibles.” She sat down in a chair, her eyes beginning to water. "It's so hard to see them grow up. He's not mine, but I love him as if he were, and … I just … it hurts to see them grow up. And to know that there's some prophecy hanging over his head … I just want to be there for him, and I'm chasing him away." She looked up to Hermione. "I really is something, not just chasing The Boy Who Lived?" Hermione impulsively hugged Molly. Huh, I was wrong, she thought to herself. “I love him so much, Mrs. Weasley. I care for Ron, and I’m sorry if my relationship with Harry ends up hurting him, but Harry means so much to me.” She sighed. “I’ve also fallen for Tonks, too. I’m just glad Harry can handle that his lovers love each other as well.” She paused. “Did that make sense?” She paused. "I'm sorry. I didn't even really realize it myself until the summer hit. I never thought of myself as this great beauty, and then on the beach this summer I had to drive the boys away by telling them I had a boyfriend. Harry was in the back of my mind every time I said that. I kept wishing he could have seen me in my bikini." She blushed. "If I start getting a little … umm, 'out there', I guess, Mrs. Weasley, I'd appreciate you letting me know." "It's a deal, Hermione." She hugged the girl tighter before letting her go. "And I know that you'll do right by my boys," she said with a laugh. "Harry included. Now, we have a lot of work to do for his party," she whispered conspiratorially. "Sorry I couldn't be here, but he'd asked Tonks and me to be with him when he went to his family vault, and I couldn't think of a way to back out that wouldn't have hurt him." Hermione snorted. "If I know Tonks, she's figured out a way to keep Harry occupied and away from our party work. Expect her to walk in for dinner, holding his hand, and with her hair noticeably mussed." She grinned. "Just wish it was me getting my hair mussed. He's a good kisser." "When did he have time to learn?" Molly asked absently. "He's either a quick study, or a real natural," Hermione blushed. "Cho doesn't know what she gave up." She huffed. "And that's the last I mention her name today." ##### A while later, Molly couldn't help but laugh as she called everyone to dinner, and Harry escorted Tonks to the table. Somewhere along the line, Tonks had managed to put on some lipstick, and it was no longer quite as perfect as when she had put it on. Harry had lipstick marks all over his face, and his normally unruly hair was noticeably messier. Tonks was none the better in that department, and the both of them were glowing. Fred and George were looking at them in undisguised amazement, and more than a little jealousy and awe. "I think we need to call the girls after watching that kind of snogging," Fred finally said. "Put me in a mood to do some of my own, and Harry's just not my type." Fighting to keep from laughing, Harry pushed out his lower lip in a pout. "I'm hurt, Fred. You don't love me anymore?" As George simply blinked for a moment, Harry laughed. Fred rose to the occasion, though, and quickly came over. "I didn't want them to know yet, so close on the heels of you and them," Fred said with a grin. Harry grabbed him and dipped him. "Come here, you!" and made as if he was going to kiss him, but neither of them could hold back the laughs anymore. It was only made worse by Arthur Weasley walking into the room and saying with a grin, "You know Fred, I had always wondered about you. Welcome to the family, Harry." The twinkle in the man's eyes made it quite obvious where the twins had gotten their joking side from. Harry couldn't help it; Fred dropped to the floor with a thud, with Harry on his knees next to him, laughing so hard he was about to fall flat. Gasping for breath, Harry got to his feet finally and bowed to Arthur Weasley. "I am humbled before a true Master, sir. I see where the twins got their meagre skills from." "Meagre? Meagre?!" Fred and George asked in mock horror and disgust. "Yes, meagre," replied their mother. "Who do you think the Marauders were trying to outdo when they were at Hogwarts? It took four of them. At least Fred and George were good enough to only need themselves." She smiled at the stunned looks on everyone's faces. "Who do you think his cheering section was?" ##### They all carefully sat down to dinner, with Harry between Hermione and Tonks, both of whom took his hands. "Um, ladies?" he said with a smile. "I love holding you in any way I can, but it may make it a little difficult to eat if I don't have the use of my hands." Tonks' eyes twinkled for a moment, but she released his hand, as did Hermione. The dinner went nicely, and Harry stood when it was done, ready to help clean up, but found himself being held down by Hermione and Tonks. He discovered why a moment later when Molly and Arthur walked out carrying a large cake. "Happy birthday, Harry!" the group cried at him, and he was stunned to see sixteen candles and a happy birthday message written on the cake. He blinked at his cake for a moment, and then blinked back tears. He got himself under control very quickly, and looked up at the assembled group. “Sorry. It’s been an emotional day for me, and this was the icing on the cake, so to speak,” he said with a chuckle. “Considering it’s the first birthday party you’ve ever had in your life, I think crying is acceptable,” Tonks said to him quietly. “So blow out the candles, make your wish, and cut the cake.” “I’ll blow the candles out, but I’ve already gotten my wish,” he said with a smile, looking at her and then Hermione. “And I’m shaky enough right now that I think it’s a bad idea for me to cut the cake. Maybe you could, Tonks?” She laughed. “Only if you want to clean icing off the third floor ceilings. Don’t ask how; you know me. I’m clumsy enough I’d manage it.” He laughed. “I think I’d pay money to see that. “What do you guys say?” he asked, looking at the group. Molly was trying to look stern, but Harry could see the laugh in her eyes. Tonks was blushing furiously. He hugged her. "I'm sorry; I shouldn't be ridiculing you. I don't like it when it's done to me, either." She kissed his cheek. "It wasn't ridicule, it was teasing. There's a difference, lover-boy. Besides, it's tradition for the birthday boy to cut his cake. So blow out the candles already!" He blew out the candles and took the knife. Shakily, he slid the knife through the cake, and cut a small piece for himself. "Oh no you don't!" Molly said, and gently took the piece from him. With quick strokes she had sliced a noticeably larger piece and added it to his plate. "This is your party, and the cake is large enough for everyone to have a good sized piece of cake." She made quick work of the cake, and Harry melted into the experience – he'd never had a birthday cake made just for him. Well, that's not true, I've had several, but I've never had a party wrapped around them. He smiled at everyone when they'd finished eating cake and said, "Thank you. Given how I felt just a few days ago, I never expected so many moments that would easily help me make a Patronus in just one day. I know that's not a normal thank you, but then again, I'm not a normal sixteen year old." He snorted. "How many sixteen year old barons do you know?" he asked Arthur Weasley with a chuckle. "Well, one now," Arthur laughed in response. "You do know that it's not really over, don't you? It's time for gifts." "What about the dishes?" Harry asked. He grinned suddenly. “Besides the two sitting next to me, that is.” He received a kiss on the cheek for each girl. He noticed that Ron was laughing as well, absently scratching his arm. The welts from the brains were mostly healed, but a faint residue of welts could be seen still. At least his laughter seems sincere. "We will deal with the food dishes, birthday boy," Molly responded. "You go back into the drawing room." He started to protest, but she shooed him from the room. Hermione and Tonks started to drag him from the room, and Ron got behind him and pushed just hard enough to let him know that he was not going to be allowed to work. Reluctantly moved in the direction of the drawing room, he stepped through the door ad was surprised by the pile of presents on the floor before him. "But why … it's not Christmas," he said, quite honestly confused. There shouldn't be so much there!" "Wrong, Harry," Remus said quietly. "This is what life should have been like for you, rather than having to deal with the Dursleys attempts to break your spirit. Perhaps you won't find thirty-nine boxes there," he said, getting a grin from Harry, who recalled Dudley's tantrum a few years back, "but what you will find there is a lot of love." "Cut the speeches, Remus," grumbled Alastor Moody with a grin, "and let the boy open his gifts!" "Oh Harry?" Tonks interjected before he could sit down. "In regards to the gift your parents left you, and the one Sirius left you? The reading is on the third." "What are you talking about?" Ron said. "I heard something about Harry being a baron, but didn't quite get that." "Honestly, Ron," Hermione started to say, but Harry interrupted. "Remember, Hermione, that we have been rather busy these last few days, and I haven't had the time once we got back today to tell him. It's not his fault he doesn't know." He turned to Ron. "My parents were afraid that they might not live to see me become an adult. For that purpose, they emancipated me as of one minute past midnight today. For all intents and purposes, I am an adult, except that I can't buy alcohol or tobacco. I now own a small barony out in an area called Ynys Crochenyddion, which is somewhere in Wales. Once I have things set up, I'll throw a party for everyone." He looked to Dumbledore. "When my parents were killed, the house went into shock or something, didn't it? Why weren't they there? The protections felt strong." "It was known where the house was. The worry was that they would work hard enough to break through the protections there. That worry still exists." Harry stopped Dumbledore before he could go further. "I'm not going back to the Dursley home ever again; I'll tell you that much. It may sound heartless of me, but I really don't give a damn if Voldemort finds them. I can move into this place permanently on the third. After all, it will be mine, I believe." He looked to Tonks, who nodded. "This place is already covered under the Fidelius, if my memory serves." "Yes," Dumbledore said. "Are you sure you cannot be convinced to move back in with your aunt?" "I'm not getting into it on my birthday, especially since I started this, but the short answer is 'yes, I'm sure.' I think I should get to my other presents, now that the most shocking ones are out of the way." His eyes sparkled as he looked at Tonks and Hermione, and they had the grace to blush. He was handed presents one by one, and the first one was from Hermione. She winced. “Whoops, that one was supposed be just handed to you. The thing I intended to give you hasn’t been wrapped yet. That’s …” “Shh, let me open it. I don’t have a problem with it.” He tore the wrapping open to find a journal. “Is this what I’d asked you to pick up for me?” She nodded with a blush. He opened it and a sheet of parchment fell out, and she blushed more furiously. She tried to grab for it, but he got to it first and opened it. Harry, I'm hoping by the time you receive this that I've shown the famed Gryffindor courage and taken the plunge in telling you something very important. If you don't feel the same way, then just throw this sheet away, and we can pretend that it never happened. Even in writing it's hard to say it, because I'm so scared that it's a one-sided connection. Let me build to it, and maybe that will grant me the courage to admit it. (You're smart enough that I'll bet you suspect by now, though.) Over this summer, Harry, I was on the beach, and finally started to feel pretty. Well, there was one boy at the beach who kept ignoring my refusal of his advances. He finally pushed it too far by deciding to rest his hand on my rear end. Not my hip, which would have been bad enough, but on the cloth. Considering the bottoms of the bikini were somewhat limited in coverage, you can guess how familiar he was getting. He was having a little trouble after I punched his testicles, but that's not the important part. I realized afterward that if it had been you being that forward (I know, you wouldn't have been, but work with me here), I never would have moved your hand. You can't see me right now, but I'm blushing unbelievably as I write this, knowing that you'll read this at some point. Harry, somewhere along the line, I fell in love with you. There, I've admitted it. Harry James Potter, I love you, and I hope you feel the same. I doubt I'll have the courage to say anything to you before you get a chance to read this note. I stated it earlier in this letter, though – if you don't feel the same way, then I'd rather we pretend this never happened. I think pity would hurt more. Meaning it as more than a simple ending to a letter, Love, Hermione P.S. – I have pictures of me in the swimsuit. Mom took them. Maybe someday I'll show you the photos of the suit I wore on the beach at Sandy Hook, New Jersey, in the United States. We went there as soon as we got home from school this year. Harry was grinning widely by the end of the letter. He looked to everyone and said, “Excuse me, but I need to answer a letter before we go any further.” He leaned over and kissed her gently on the lips. “I’m framing this letter and finding a spell to keep it permanently. This letter alone is gift enough.” He continued opening presents, getting quite the chuckle from one of Moody’s gifts. The first was a book on dirty tricks a wizard can pull, but the second was the one that made him laugh. To all appearances, it was a Sneak-o-Scope, but he was informed by Moody, “Actually, Harry, this thing will tell you whenever Severus is nearby. In other words, I turned it into a Snape-o-Scope.” “Brilliant!” Ron said, still absently rubbing his arm, but finally he stopped. “Mind if I borrow that when we’re back at Hogwarts?” “You realize the first time he had a chance to, it would be confiscated?” Harry laughed. “If you children would like, I could leave the room so that you might continue your mirth unimpeded by my presence,” came the Potions professor’s comment from behind them. “You never make that offer during the school year,” Harry said with a grin. “Why offer now?” “Consider it my present to you,” came the droll response. Harry spun in time to see what he thought was a twinkle in the man’s eye. Harry snorted to himself and nodded his thanks with a real smile on his face. Snape’s look of surprise was definitely a plus to Harry. There were many gifts of various books, almost all of them involved with various magics he could learn to defend or attack with. The ones that weren't were from Ron and Ginny, respectively. Ron's was a new book on Quidditch plays, while Ginny's was a book on captaining strategies. "Thinking a little ahead, hmm, Ginny?" Harry asked with a grin. "That assumes that my lifetime ban on ever even thinking about the existence of brooms has been lifted." At the amused look from Ginny, he said, "You have to admit, if Umbridge could have phrased an edict that way, she would have. As a Ministry official who is probably back in her old job, she was capable of saying that I can never play Quidditch again in this life. I think she outranks whoever runs the Magical Games department. I think the only one who can overturn her edicts is Cornelius Fudge." "Getting maudlin again?" drawled Snape. "Well, you enjoy potions, don't you? Not necessarily teaching, but the research and development of new ones?" Harry asked quite seriously. "And the occasional teaching job, when my students aren't too hopeless," came the grudging reply. He shot a look at Hermione. "Imagine that the Ministry told you that you had a lifetime ban on working with potions in any way. No teaching how to make them, and certainly no making them yourself. How would you feel?" Snape looked at him for a long moment. "I believe I see your point. Quidditch, however, is not necessarily a career choice." "It might have been for me. Part of my wanting to be an Auror was for the same reason that Professor MacGonagall was willing to do everything to get me into the program. To spit in Umbridge's eye. But I hear some of what's involved, and I'm not sure I want to spend the rest of my life doing the exact same thing I'm already supposed to be training for. I was born to fight dark wizards. Well, a specific one, to be precise. Assuming I survive that, Quidditch just might be the right choice for a career." He stopped speaking for a moment. "Actually, no. I've even had that choice taken from me, even if I ignore the edict's existence." "How so?" Ron asked him. "I'll bet they could get the thing overturned." Harry held up the ring he wore on his right index finger. The Potter crest glinted in the light. "I'm a ruddy Baron, now. I was just realizing the number of other duties I'll have to deal with. I've got a barony to run, and there's the House of Lords now that I need to be prepared for. How in hell do you learn to be a frigging baron when you've been a commoner all your life?!" he nearly screamed. "That's not all of it," Tonks said quietly. "In three days, you become the Head of House Black, Lord Potter. Or should I say Baron Potter- Black?" She hung her head. "Two baronies?" he asked incredulously. He looked up at Snape, who nodded. Harry sighed. "Okay. Who here has the greatest knowledge on how a nobleman is supposed to act in situations?" "It actually gets worse, Harry," Dumbledore said quietly. "The two other titles you have carry ancient lands and duties with them. The are wizarding titles only, but no less important than the Muggle titles." "So I need to hire someone to teach me how to be a nobleman. Wonderful," he grumbled. "I could suggest someone," Snape said, "but I think you would reject him out of hand." "Given our history, I will not accept Draco Malfoy as a teacher," Harry said. "I assume that's who you were thinking?" Snape nodded. "He has been trained to move in those circles, Potter, and does in fact have the knowledge that you need." "Yes, and would take great pleasure in training me to do everything wrong and most offensively to other lords and ladies. He has quite a backlog of dislike built up, sir," Harry said. As Snape opened his mouth, Harry said, "Yes, I am willing to admit a part in causing that dislike, but he has not made any efforts to improve relations either." Snape nodded. "I am certain a tutor can be found for you." He snorted suddenly. "Can you imagine the Dursleys when they discover that they raised a baron in their household? One who knows any number of really dirty secrets about them?" He laughed, a not-altogether nice sound. "Proper clothing, I think. Get proper outfits and visit them before the summer is out, letting them know that I shan't be returning to Number four Privet Drive again next summer." He shook his head. "Watch Vernon trying to fall all over himself making up for fifteen years of abuse, and trying to figure out how to cover himself when he realizes I'll have the power to have my allegations checked out." Harry scowled. "Sorry. That way leads to ugly things, even if they deserve them. Sorry, folks, thoughts taking another downturn. I'm trying to avoid getting depressed again." George laughed. "Hey, Ron! You could always offer to cheer him up the way you promised to yesterday." The room erupted in laughter while Ron turned a colour to rival his hair. "What's this about?" Hermione asked, which caused the group to laugh even harder. Fred was trying to catch his breath. "Well … Ronniekins here … offered to … hoo …" He lost it again, rolling on the floor. Ginny was giggling furiously. "We both offered to … we said we'd shag Harry if we thought it would cheer him up from a really bad funk." She fell off her chair at Ron's look. His face was purple, and he looked as if he were trying to Apparate by main force. Harry was smiling. "As a pair, or separately?" he laughed. He fell off his own chair as Ron stood, let loose with a strangled "Gkk!", and tore from the room. Finally, as the room got under control, Harry stood. "I ought to go find him and tell him I understand, and I appreciate it. Let him know that he can show his face in public again." He walked from the room and headed up to the room he was supposed to share with Ron. Opening the door, he found Ron laying on the bed, scowling. "Hey, Ron?" "Here to laugh some more?" Ron barked. His arm had started itching again, obviously, because he was rubbing his hand along the welts. "No, I'm actually here to apologize for laughing, and to let you know that I understand about what you said. You don't swing that way, do you?" Ron stared him in the eyes and blushed furiously. "How could you think that? Would you even be able to sleep in the same room as me if I was a pouftah?" "Well, if you were, or are, or whatever the tense should be, you have been already, and I've not awakened with you fondling my bits in the night, so why would you suddenly start now? Ron, you're my friend, and whether or not you feel that way, I understand that you offered it out of friendship, and that means more to me than I can begin to say." Ron nodded, still rubbing furiously along his arm. Harry said, "I'll let you be, now. You're going to have enough problems with the twins; you don't need me adding to them." He turned and left the room. Outside the door, he ran into Ginny. "Did you hear anything of what I said to him?" "What? Do I look like someone who would stand outside my brother's bedroom with an Extendable Ear trying to hear every word said inside?" Harry grinned. "Are you a Weasley?" "I have to admit that I am, and proudly so," she said, sticking her chest out to show that pride. Harry blinked – while he was with the other two ladies, he wasn't exactly immune to pretty girls. Ginny's chest wasn't big, but it was just right for her frame, and he wasn't complaining about the view, especially since she didn't seem to be wearing a brassiere. "Well, then," he said slowly at first, "then I would have to say that the answer to your question is 'Yes, you do look like the type.'" He laughed. "The same holds for you. I appreciate the offer, although I'd imagine you're probably a little more willing to follow through than him." Her eyes twinkled. "You look like you wouldn't complain too much yourself." Grinning, she asked, "See something you like?" His eyes slid past her shoulder for a moment to see Tonks and Hermione looking at him and smiling. "As a matter of fact, Ginny – yes I do. And I'm not talking about the beautiful women behind you." Knowing they were close enough to hear, he said, "Honestly, Ginny, I'd have to say that I am attracted to you, but right now I have my hands full trying to get used to Tonks and Hermione. Besides, I already put the ball in their court. I will make no effort to add anyone to the relationship. Tonks and Hermione get the decision. If someone is added, then that person is added to the decision process. I have nothing to do with the process." "Other than enjoying the decision process when they add someone," Ginny said with a smile. "No arguments there." He stopped and looked her in the eyes. He was amused to see her flush at the serious stare. "Ginny, you are a beautiful woman, and I don't want you hurt by waiting for me. If you find someone who makes your heart pound, then go after him; I won't be hurt." He pulled her into a hug. "Right now, Harry, you're the only guy who makes my heart pound," she murmured into his chest. "No matter what I said at the end of the school year." A look of ineffable pain crossed his face. As his eyes fell on the other two ladies, he saw them look at each other, nod, and then Hermione mouthed "Kiss her." His face asked the question without having to mouth it, and they both nodded with a smile. "I'm sorry, Harry," Ginny said, letting go of him. He on the other hand, did not let go of her shoulders. With a smile, he said quietly, "It has been recommended by my girlfriends that I do something. I find that I have no problem with the advice, but you should probably talk to them afterwards." That said, he pulled her closer and gently kissed her on the lips. He was finding it amusing that he was becoming enough of a connoisseur of kissing that he could classify the difference. So far, he had discovered that he had yet to experience a bad one, thankfully. Well, there was Chang, he thought for a moment. The kiss with Ginny never went past closed lips, but was sweet and a little sad. Previous Next Like it? Leave a review! Logged in as Wim Vincken (Log out) Home | About | Email Alerts | Other Formats | Change Look | Favourite Stories | Yahoo! Group Back to: Harry Potter » Sorceror's Apprentice Reviews (2) Printer Friendly Format Sorceror's Apprentice Chapter 13 By Kinsfire Previous Next Chapter XIII The next day, he excused himself from Grimmauld Place and headed out to Potter's Field. He asked Ron, Ginny, and Hermione to come along with him while Tonks headed off to her job, but not before Harry could kiss her good morning. He was curious about the long conversation that she appeared to have with Hermione under a silence spell of some sort. Once at Potter's Field, he went into the house, where he laid out the inventory on a long countertop that he had noticed, while Hermione showed the other two around the grounds. Once he had found the most necessary pieces, he followed the procedure for using the Gringott's specialized portkey mechanism, and began moving furniture into the house. He went to the master bedroom first, and ported the entire bedroom set in as a unit, and carefully Leviosa'd items into better positions. “Want to give it a quick try out?” he heard a voice say from behind him. Without turning, he grinned. “Sure, Ginny, bounce on the bed all you want.” “It’s more fun when there’s more than one doing the bouncing,” she replied. He laughed. “Okay. Hermione, you can bounce on it too.” The next thing he heard was two high pitched “Whee!” and then the two girls landed on the large four-poster bed. Hermione rolled over and caught Harry’s eyes and motioned with them toward Ron, and then at the door. He nodded imperceptibly and grabbed Ron’s shoulder. “You know them, they’re going to be silly for a while.” He leaned over conspiratorially and said, “Probably want to talk about us as well. Let’s make them happy, and I’ll show you the rest of the place.” By the time the girls got downstairs, Harry and Ron were both shirtless, having stripped them off to move some of the heavier things. The last two things he brought in for that day were the painting of his parents, and the statue. "Bloody hell!" Ron breathed when he took a look at the sculpted marble. "I'd love to meet the model for this! I'll bet she's still as impressive." Hermione winced, but Harry laughed. "Give me a bit, and I'll introduce you to her." He aimed his wand at the painting, which was still covered, and carefully levitated it onto the hook above. Upon uncovering it, he cast the spell to activate it. "Hello, Harry," said a beautiful contralto voice. "You've grown into a fine young man, I see. No carrots in your hair, either," she finished with a laugh. "I have to agree with your mother, but then again, she's always been the intelligent one. She married me, didn't she?" The man who almost could have been Harry's twin said with a laugh. "Hello, Mum, Dad," he said thickly. "I'd like you to meet some of the most important people in the world to me." He introduced the three others, and with a twinkle in his eyes, said, "Ron wanted me to introduce him to the model for that statue over there. He thought she was quite impressive. I think he was avoiding trying to refer to her as dead sexy." "Why, thank you, Mr. Weasley!" Lilly Potter beamed from the portrait. "That was sculpted by a man trained in the Pygmalion school of sculpture. Finest sculptor they'd produced in almost five hundred years." Her eyes moved along the group. "I see Miss Granger understands the ramifications of the school. I can also see that she won't tell anyone who doesn't know what it means." Eventually they had to leave to return to Grimmauld Place, but Harry promised to return soon, since he was going to be moving in permanently. "Should I deactivate you, or should I allow you to hang around for a time?" "We aren't really here, Harry," his father said from the painting. "Get used to deactivating us when you know you'll be gone for long periods. Gets boring just hanging around with nothing to do, and nothing to talk to but the dust." Harry smiled sadly. "It just seems wrong to have the power to make your parents shut up at your command." "Remember, we're just an echo of them, the same way the Phineas, in Dumbledore's office, isn't really there. He can just jump from picture to picture because there are more than one painted for him." "I wish there were other frames for you to go to. I'd bet you'd love to talk to Professor Dumbledore or someone." His look darkened. "Maybe you could talk some sense into the old fart." "Harry!" he heard Hermione gasp behind him. He could hear her suppressed laughter. "Seriously, though," it would be nice if you had other places to visit. I'll check into it, okay?" "Thank you, Harry," Lily said sweetly to him. He looked up at the painting and cast the spell to deactivate it. "I'll talk to you later," he said with a sad smile as he left. ##### August 3rd came. The Weasleys were degnoming the gardens at the Burrows, as Molly had ‘predicted’, and Harry was preparing for the reading of the will. He was getting nervous as noon approached. He'd seen the will, but he hadn't really seen it all, so he was wondering what surprises the document held for everyone. Tonks stepped into the bedroom where he was pacing nervously. "Wotcher, Harry! Ready to go?" "Yeah, I guess so. I dread it for so many reasons. If I go to this, it's sort of the final proof, isn't it? I have to accept once and for all that Sirius is dead. He is, though, so we need to do this. As someone one said, 'T'were best done quickly.'" They appeared in the solicitor's office two minutes early. "What are you doing here, Potter?" snarled a familiar voice. "I hate to tell you this, Malfoy, but I was mentioned in the will, as I understand it, and thus have a reason to be here." "Well, you're not getting any of the Black property, I can promise you. I'm the closest male heir, so that means everything is mine, and that should do quite nicely for me." As an afterthought, he added, "And Mum, of course." "Of course," Harry said with a smile devoid of warmth or humour. "For all we know, he left as much as he legally could to Hermione's Society for the Protection of Elf Welfare." He looked at the woman who did not yet realize that she was his relative. Narcissa was an astonishingly beautiful woman, still with the look as if something particularly vile smelling were in the room. Harry looked to her son 's sharp features. It's almost as if she weren't even his mother. Too damned much influence from his father; more than merely genetics. He noted her softer features, and was reminded suddenly of Daphne Greengrass. He nodded to her respectfully. "Mrs. Malfoy," he said warmly. "I see that you have learned lessons in courtesy that Draco has yet to learn." She smiled. "I also believe that we can get this reading underway, since I would like to see what pranks my cousin placed in the document." Her eyes twinkled, and he had a sudden feeling that she knew exactly why he was there. He looked around to see Nymphadora and her parents, and Remus. The solicitor stepped from the office exactly on time and led them to a conference room. "We are gathered here for the reading of the last will and testament of Sirius Black. If you each would speak your name, we can verify that all are here that should be here." The solicitor looked up at Harry. "He requested that you speak your full name, and that you be the last to speak." Harry nodded, and one by one, everyone stated their names. "Draco Ananias Malfoy." "Narcissa Black Malfoy." "Theodore Nicholas Tonks." "Andromeda Black Tonks." "Nymphadora Cassiopeia Tonks." "Remus John Lupin." "Harry James Potter-Black." Draco erupted. "That's not funny, Potter!" "If you insist on using my last name, Mal … Draco, then I suggest you at least precede it with either my title or the honorific." "What are you on about?" "Son," Narcissa interrupted, "you address a Baron. Actually, if I understand Sirius's strategy … no, I leave that for the reading. But Draco, you address him as either Baron Potter or Lord Potter. He holds the ancient Potter baronial title again." She looked at Harry for a long moment, and he couldn't help but blush. "Speak with me afterwards, Lord Potter. I understand that you need proper training, and I have some suggestions for you, as a relative." Harry nodded and turned back to the solicitor. "Yes, as I thought. Several more bits of information have become available to me now that Mr. Potter has publicly acknowledged the adoption. This will has none of the practical jokes that I would have expected of Mr. Black. I guess his mere references in here are considered enough. Well, let us get on with it. You can look at the exact text if you so choose, but I will get to his bequests." He pulled out a Pensieve. "He wanted to say something to each of you, in a way, so I'll let each of you hear it from him." The solicitor tapped the edge of the Pensieve and a small image of Sirius appeared. Harry was not surprised to hear voices other than his own suppressing a small sob. He was surprised to note that one of them was Narcissa. "Well, you're all here, so I'm all dead," came the voice. "This is going to be short and to the point. The split of the moneys is simple. If Ted had let me, It would have been more difficult, but I guess it's easier to split something into sixths than sevenths." Draco looked smug at this statement, and Harry hid his own smirk. "First off, two of you in the group I requested here get no shares of the Black family fortunes at all. Ted, because you specifically told me you'd give it to your wife and child anyway, and Draco, because you are by far one of the most annoying and spoiled children I have ever met, and I lay the blame for that squarely on your father's shoulders. The rest is as follows: Remus, Nymphadora and Andromeda each get one sixth of the Black family wealth. Harry, my son, you get one third, and one hell of a large headache that I apologize for. This, of course, assumes that this is after your sixteenth birthday that you hear this. If not, then it remains in trust for you, with Remus as executor, until the Potter will kicks into effect." The image grinned. "If you're under sixteen when you hear this, then you have quite the shock coming at one minute past midnight on your sixteenth birthday." He lost the smile. "The final sixth goes to you, Narcissa, under a condition that I hope you'll agree to. If you agree to divorce Lucius, renounce all his associates, and take back the family name, then that last sum of money goes to you." Draco started to speak, but Sirius kept going. "A condition that goes on top of this is that if you predecease Harry before Harry's twenty-first birthday, then the money remaining becomes Harry's, not Draco's. An aside, Narcissa – don't even think about divorcing him and remarrying him after the cash is yours. Remember that little curse we talked about when you turned sixteen? I learned how to make it permanent. If you divorce him and remarry him, you get that for the rest of your life." Harry looked over at Narcissa and noticed that she had blanched, although one of her eyebrows was raised quirkily. "If you agree, Narcissa, simply tell the solicitor, and everything will be ready for you." "On to property. Number 12 Grimmauld Place goes to my son, on the condition that Remus always be welcome there." A grin came across the face in the Pensieve. "I Siriusly doubt you'll have a problem with that condition." This was followed by groans from everyone else save Draco. “Ted and Rom, you get that little place in Scotland you went for that vacation. Might want to take Nymphadora there too, since she might want to see the place where she was conceived. Cissy, the last place falls under the same decision as above. You know the property I’m thinking of to give you. But you only get it if your last name is Black. I think you all can guess my opinion of Lucius Malfoy. Remus, you get that bothy in Scotland that you love so very much.” “Harry, my son. You’ve been hit with a lot. Hang onto your hat. When you hit sixteen, you become Baron Black. All the remaining properties in the Black holdings will be yours to do with what you will. If Cissy – sorry, Narcissa. If Narcissa divorces her husband, I’d talk to her about getting lessons in being lordly. She knows how to train you well.” "I'm sorry this message can't be longer, but you know how these things are. A year wouldn’t be enough time. Harry, again, I'm sorry that I wasn't there for you when you needed me, and I'm sorry you're left with the headache that I'm dropping on you.” The image disappeared, and several sniffs were heard. Narcissa had tears coming from her eyes. “Mrs. Malfoy?” the solicitor asked. “I apologize for the possible crassness of this question, but do you intend to fulfil the conditions that Sirius set down in the will for you?” “Of course she doesn’t, you fool!” Draco barked. “She’d never leave my father.” Narcissa turned to her son and aimed a very cold eye at him, causing him to blanch. “I do not recall signing any documents granting you power of attorney for my decisions, Draco.” She turned to the solicitor. “Can I assume that my cousin ‘just happened’ to have prepared divorce paperwork for just such an occurrence?” she asked with a smile. The solicitor merely smiled and pushed a small sheaf of papers toward her. It had small tabs sticking out at various points. “I updated them upon Lucius’ capture and subsequent sentencing to Azkaban. That makes the process so simple that the moment your signature goes on these papers in the final line, you are a free woman.” She took the offered quill, and a few moments later, she was handing it back, no longer Narcissa Malfoy. “You’ll regret that, mother!” Draco shouted. “You betrayed father! There will be a reckoning!” He stormed to the door. Before he could exit, Harry quipped, “You forgot to say, ‘You will rue the day!’ Draco. You’re slipping.” He heard a few chuckles, and was surprised to note that Narcissa was one of them. Draco stared daggers at Harry, who merely smiled sweetly at him. “Don’t think you’re going to walk away free, Potter,” Draco snarled. “You’ll be dealt with in good time.” He stormed from the office. “Well, that went well,” Tonks said with a laugh. “When we’re free of here,” Narcissa said with a smile, “I need to talk to you about the disposition of a certain house elf, and information that he carried. Right now, however, I would like a moment to mourn the loss of my favourite cousin.” Tears began to flow from her eyes. Without thinking, Harry stood and took the woman into his arms and let her cry on his shoulder. "I miss him too, Mrs. … sorry, Miss Black." He could feel tears threatening to flow from his own eyes, but he ruthlessly quashed them. She sniffed, and a handkerchief appeared from nowhere. "You're the son of my cousin. Call me Narcissa, or if you can't bring yourself to do that, call me Aunt.” Harry looked at her, and noted that she no longer appeared so haughty. She turned to the Tonks. “I don’t expect you to believe me, Mr. Tonks, but now that I’m free of my parasitic husband, I can welcome you to the family. Andromeda, can you ever forgive me for abandoning you?” “It’ll take time, Cissy. But I think we’ll be a family again. I’m sorry about your son, though.” “I have no son,” came the response. Harry started at that. “Isn’t that a bit harsh? I mean, I know he’s a real prick, and gives lessons in being a jerk to some of the other Slytherin, but ….” “I was quite serious, actually. I have no blood relation to that boy. Perhaps his true mother will accept him and give me my daughter back.” “Daphne!” Harry said. “You’re Daphne Greengrass’s mother!” “I won’t go into the situation that led to such a scenario, but suffice it to say that it is one that I would not willingly put myself in again. If you get the chance this upcoming year, could you contact Miss Greengrass and let her know that I wish to speak with her?” “I can’t promise anything, but I’ll try,” Harry responded. “I’ll admit that I’d like to get to know you and your sister better, for something of an ulterior motive. I don’t really know Sirius, and I’d like to. Remus and you two are the only ones around who can really tell me. Sni … Professor Snape is out of the question, and everyone else who really knew him is dead. Well, Pettigrew isn’t yet, but I intend to change that someday.” He shook his head. “Looking at who is here, is it possible for us to go somewhere and perhaps have a drink and get to know each other a little better?” The solicitor spoke up. “There need to be a few signatures in various places on the paperwork, but we are essentially finished. I can give you all copies of the will, which says what he did in the Pensieve, but in legal language, detailing exactly which properties and monies go where they do. There were no jokes hidden in the language, so there need be nothing to warn you of.” Tonks spoke up. “He’s right. I’m not a solicitor, and I got it. Sirius treated this one thing in his life, if you will, with the solemnity that it deserved.” Remus snorted quietly off to one side, which drew a smile to Narcissa’s face. “Agreed, Mr. Lupin,” she smiled. “We are in full agreement there.” A short time later, they were in a pleasant little establishment in Diagon Alley. Narcissa broached the subject that none of them really felt comfortable mentioning. “I do not expect you to trust me when I say this, but I support what Sirius was and the rest of you are doing. I was almost put into Ravenclaw when I was at Hogwarts, so I like to think that I know how to use my brain. You-Know-Who is back – that I unfortunately know to be a fact, and he wishes Har … my apologies. He wishes Lord Potter-Black here dead.” “Call me Harry. I know I need to get used to being a Baron, but until recently, I was simply a boy living with particularly slimy Muggles, definitely not representative of the breed.” “You will need to learn to be a Baron soon, Harry,” she admonished. "I know. I should start soon, but I don't know who can teach me." "I believe that I can help you there. I moved in those circles, and there is really no difference at that level between Muggle and wizarding society." "First we need to get you moved out of Malfoy Manor," Harry said. “The sooner the better, to be honest. May I draft a few people to help me?” She laughed. "Draco is going to find a slight problem getting home. He can't apparate yet, and the wards recognize me still. He can’t get home until I let him home.” She looked around and cast a quick charm. “No one will pay attention to us now. I need to speak to Albus Dumbledore, soonest. Kreacher came to me. Luckily, he did not talk to anyone but me. He was directly involved with the reason we met today, so I gave him the fate that he deserved. He is dead, and can give no more secrets. Unfortunately for you, what he did tell me was quite dangerous to those of too Orderly a mindset.” Harry’s eyebrows rose. “Understood. I’m sure that Remus might know how to contact the Headmaster." He turned to Remus. "After all, you did teach at the school for a while; I’m sure he gave you some method of talking to him in an emergency. And he doesn’t change those too often, I gather.” Remus nodded. “Let me see if I can contact him, and I’ll be back in a while, all right?” He nodded his parting to the table. He returned a surprisingly short time later. "He authorized a meeting as soon as Miss Black is available." "Well, then, shall we leave my husband's child to fend for himself for a while? I'd have trouble locating the little bastard anyway." Even knowing what they did, it was still something of a surprise to hear. The group stood and headed out into the alley, where they activated the portkey to take them to Number 12 Grimmauld Place. ##### They appeared in the hallway, near the portrait. The curtain flipped slightly, and the woman in the portrait caught sight of Harry. "FILTHY HALF-BLOOD! YOU HAVE NO RIGHT TO …" "Shut up you old harridan!" came a voice that managed to surprise them. "You are dead, your son is dead, and the only one of your nieces who could still love you is a worthless sycophant to a ridiculous mockery of a wizard. I deny you, and Andromeda denies you. You will never see Bellatrix alive again, you foul spawn of a meaningless lesser demon." The woman in the painting gasped. "Narcissa! How could you! YOU TRAITOR!" "Bloody hell!" Ron grumbled as he stumbled into the room. "Who set the old … what are you doing here?" Harry turned. "Ron, please keep a civil tongue until you've heard everything, okay? It's important." He turned back to the painting and pulled out his wand. "As the head of the Black family, I deny you, grandmother. I cast both you and Bellatrix from the family, and that is said with three members of the Black family present. You have no rights in this household anymore, and I deny your very existence." He pointed the wand directly at the painting. "If you have another one to move to, I suggest that you do." She stood her ground in the painting. "You can't. None of you can, and when the Dark Lord returns to power, you and your filthy Mudblood whore will …" No one would ever know what she meant to say, because Harry shouted "REDUCTO!", and the painting went away. So did the wall behind it. "Whoops?" he said as the dust cleared. "Umm, Reparo?" he asked, more than a little embarrassed, and the wall reappeared, minus the screaming painting. "Important safety tip," Narcissa quipped with a small smile. "Never insult anyone important to Harry. If only the old biddy were still around to hear that." "Okay," Harry chuckled. "We're here for a reason. Can I assume that he's in the kitchen, as usual? Oh, Ron? By the way, I'd like to introduce you to my first cousin, once removed, by adoption – Narcissa Black. As of a little while ago, she is no longer married to Lucius Malfoy." Ron blinked a couple times. Narcissa held out her hand to shake his, and old training obviously kicked in. Ron gently took her hand, bent over it, and pretended to kiss the back of her hand. Narcissa's eyebrows rose, and she bowed to Ron. She then looked up at Molly. "My compliments, Mrs. Weasley. Your son has been given proper training. It is excellent to see him greeting someone he would rather throw bodily from the house." She smiled to Ron. "I understand your feelings, Mr. Weasley, and do not hold them against you. Perhaps Lord Potter-Black can explain certain things to you a little better." She looked to Harry. "You have my permission to tell whom you wish, Harry." "I promise to update you later, Ron, but this is important." They walked to the kitchen, getting interested looks from Alastor Moody and Eliphas Doge. Harry stepped through first to see Severus Snape and Albus Dumbledore in conversation As Narcissa stepped through the door, Severus looked to Harry. “Of all the incompetent, idiotic things for you to have done, Mister Potter, I believe that this takes the cake. May we assume that Draco Malfoy is out in the study? Have you perchance invited Goyle and Crabbe here as well?” He paused for breath. “You demand to be treated with respect, and then you do something like this. Even your godfather wouldn’t have done something this thunderingly stupid!” He stopped and glared at Harry. “Well, boy? What’s your half-brained excuse going to be this time? Brains addled from all the fame and fortune heaped upon you now, Baron?” Harry simple stared at Severus and cracked his knuckles. He turned to Dumbledore. “Professor? I believe that you had requested to meet with Miss Black? I’ll be waiting out with Ron and the others while you talk to her.” He spun on his heel and stalked from the room. He was seething, but he was also pleased that he had kept his temper in there, and he somehow thought that Dumbledore was pleased with him too. As the door closed behind him, he heard a loud slap. Chuckling, he met with Ron, who had now been joined by Ginny and Hermione, both of whom seemed mildly rumpled for some reason. He told them of the meeting, and the fact that he was now hideously wealthy, as well as the owner of this household they were in. He also told them the secret about Draco and Daphne, and requested that neither say anything until Harry had a chance to speak with Daphne. A few minutes later, Snape exited the room, looking a bit like he had been sucking on a lemon the size of Hogsmeade, and with a bruise forming on his left cheek. “Potter,” he said, and motioned Harry over. When Harry arrived, he sneered slightly and said, “It appears that I spoke without knowing the facts, and for that I apologize. Things were said that were uncalled for.” Harry stared at his Potions teacher for a long moment. “I can only assume that the Headmaster informed you that your job was forfeit unless you apologized. Well, your job is safe. However, since it wasn’t sincere, and only said to save yourself and your job, I don’t accept your apology. Good day.” Harry turned and headed up the stairs before Severus could even respond. ##### Albus walked out to stand by Severus. “Do you begin to see the results of your five years of treatment of the boy, Severus? You have done many things to him that you should rightfully have apologized for, and only now do you apologize for something?” He turned to look at his Potions teacher. “I have let you get away with it for too long. Unless something is done soon, I am going to have to tell the boy that I must break our bargain. Hogwarts is becoming too dangerous for many people, and I can simply not find another teacher willing to teach him Potions.” He caught Severus eyes and held them. “When will you realize that Harry is not his father?” “I would make plans for after the defeat of Voldemort as well, Severus,” Narcissa said as well. “If that boy chooses to become Minister of Magic afterward, your safety is not guaranteed.” She smiled. “Are you aware that he now commands family Black? That you have earned the hatred of a young man who is now a Baron twice over? And to whom you now owe some small duties, as the head of your household? Let us not forget that he is the heir of two of Hogwarts founders.” She turned to Albus. “He holds his temper magnificently, by the way. He will do well.” “That is a new development, I will admit,” the headmaster replied. “I am uncertain as to whether it is a good development.” ##### The others came up the stairs behind Harry. “What was that about?” Ron asked. “He called me about fifteen different types of idiot for bringing Narcissa here. I figure that Dumbledore actually called him on it, and that led to the apology. The stupid git actually thought I’d accept it? After all this time? Too damned little, too damned late.” “I still don’t trust her,” Ron grumbled. “Based upon Snape’s reaction, and the fact that Dumbledore wanted to talk to her, I’m willing to give her the benefit of the doubt.” They raised their eyebrows at him, and he smiled. “No, I haven’t entirely forgiven him for what happened these past few years, but he does have the Order in mind, and if she isn’t on the up and up, I have no doubts that something will be done about it.” He blushed. "It doesn't hurt, either, that she's … well, she is in a league with Hermione and Tonks. She's Daphne's real mum, remember?" He thought for a moment and the shuddered. “I don’t think anyone gets it, really. I’m destined to fight Voldemort, and if the fates smile on me, walk away the winner.” He smiled at Hermione, and reached out for her hand. “Problem is, guys – how many people have I killed in my lifetime? Me directly, that is, wielding the weapon that caused so-and- so to die. How many?” Ron thought for a moment, absently rubbing his arm. Ginny looked at Ron for a moment, and said, “Talk to Mum about something for that, Ron. I don’t think you want to rip your arm open again.” She looked back to Harry. “To be honest, Harry, I don’t think you’ve killed any people. The only deaths you’ve caused that I’m aware of were the basilisk and the personality of the diary Tom Riddle. I don’t think that really qualifies as killing a person.” “Neither do I,” replied Harry. “That’s where the problem lies. No matter what anyone says, I have to become a murderer. Fine, it’s self defence. Okay, if he doesn’t die, Europe, if not the world, would be in grave danger from him. I understand that the world needs him gone.” He growled. “Name me another sixteen year old who has this much to worry about right now. Two frigging baronies that I have no idea how to handle; heir to two of the Hogwarts houses, again with no knowledge of how to handle that; knowing that I’m destined to at least attempt murder someday; and trying to figure out what this power I have that Moldieshorts ‘knows not’. Dumbledore has hinted at love, but what am I going to do – go up and screw him to death?” He thought for a moment, and then shuddered, laughing afterwards. “Okay, go get Remus or someone – that image needs to leave my brain right now.” Remus poked his head in the door. “Someone call my name?” Ron laughed. “Yeah. Harry needs to be Obliviated – actually, I think we all do now. Gah, what an image!” He shuddered theatrically. At Remus’s bemused look, Hermione told him with a laugh what the conversation had been. He awarded the thought a shudder as well, and then looked at Harry. “Unfortunately, Harry, as for your other problem, you’ll have to deal with it. It has to be done, and it appears to be that you are the only one who can manage it. I understand your problem, and like it even less than you do, if that’s possible. After all, not only do I know that my best friends’ son has to kill someone someday, but I have to help him learn to do it.” He shrugged. “These are ugly times.” He suddenly turned to Ron and Ginny. “Weren’t you supposed to be de-gnoming today?” “It may be clear here, but it’s raining in Ottery-St. Catchpole,” Ginny shrugged. Harry took a moment to enjoy it, the way he would if Tonks or Hermione did it. “So, we came back here to help out.” "I think I'll let Remus work on that, since he'll likely be staying here most of the time until I graduate. As long as the whole place isn't Chudley Cannons orange, I shouldn't have a problem with it." "Oi! What's wrong with the Cannons?" Ron asked. "Nothing, and I even like their colour scheme. But not for an entire house! Tell you what - I'll see to it that the room that we share is redone in orange, since it'll likely stay your room." Ron nodded at that. "What to do with myself," Remus mused. "Well, make the master bedroom comfortable for yourself as well, Remus, and pick out a good room to use when I am in the house. This house just as likely could have been yours, so I think you should have the pick of the rooms." "You remind me of Lily at times like this, Harry. Heart as big as the whole outdoors, and never willing to let me settle for second best." "Well, you deserve better than second best. Did you know that you're the best Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher we've ever had? We started with someone hosting Voldemort, followed by the fraud who was a walking advertisement for himself. After you came a Death Muncher disguised and Mad-Eye Moody, and then the Um-bitch." He paused. "What does it say when the best teacher for the subject was removed from it simply because of something that he has no control over?" "Second best," Remus said with an impudent grin. "I'm led to understand that a certain student of mine took it upon himself to teach his fellow students Defense Against the Dark Arts, including those in classes above him? The Patronus is not an easy spell, yet my best student was able to teach others how to cast it. Have you considered teaching as an option, Harry?" “Teaching? I’m not ….” “Before you finish that statement, Harry,” Hermione interrupted, “I think you ought to be aware of how well Dumbledore’s Army was doing. It was unofficial, but I got word from Professor McGonagall that all the members except Marietta Edgecombe did better on their O.W.L.s than should have been the case.” She paused. “That reminds me. Where are our O.W.L. results? They should have been here by now.” At that moment, Minerva McGonagall called up the stairs. “Remus? Are Potter, Weasley, and Granger up there with you?” “Yes, they are. Are they needed downstairs?” he asked as he reached the doorway. “Only if they happen to be interested in finding out how well they performed on their Ordinary Wizarding Level examinations,” she replied with a smile in her voice. Hermione let loose with something that sounded suspiciously like “Squee!” and took off for the stairs. She started down them skipping every other stair, but roughly halfway down tripped, and her momentum shot her out and downward at an alarming rate in what was most likely going to be a fatal collision with the floor. Harry moved as if he could actually catch her, wishing with all his heart to stop her fatal plunge, moving as if he could somehow leap and catch her himself. He found himself beside her in midair, and instinctively grabbed her and spun to take the blow himself, cushioning her from the worst of the blow. There was a loud crunching noise as they hit the floor, and Harry felt pain explode in his spine from the back of his skull clear to his tailbone. As they slid to a stop, he felt his legs go limp. Pain blinded him. “Harry, are you all right?” Hermione asked, crying. “Harry?” “Ow?” he shuddered, the pain so great in his back that tears were simply forced out of him. “My back – it hurts.” He took in a breath, and new pain rippled through him. “I don’t know where, but I think I broke something.” That took everything out of him, and he greyed out, in too much pain to actually think. Previous Next Like it? Leave a review! Logged in as Wim Vincken (Log out) Site generated in 0.1612 seconds, 3 queries. Home | About | Email Alerts | Other Formats | Change Look | Favourite Stories | Yahoo! Group Back to: Harry Potter » Sorceror's Apprentice Reviews (4) Printer Friendly Format Sorceror's Apprentice Chapter 14 By Kinsfire Previous Next Chapter XIV He awoke in St. Mungo’s to find Narcissa standing next to him. He was quite glad not to be in pain anymore. Outside the room, he could hear what sounded like the beginnings of a rousing fight between what sounded like Cornelius Fudge and Professor McGonagall, who was being backed by Remus. “… without a license! The law is clear on this, McGonagall!” “Agreed. It was accidental, with the intention of saving someone’s life. The only reason you are after him right now is because of who he is!” “Not even Harry Potter can flout the rules! Surely you can see that!” There was silence for a moment, and Harry knew that Professor McGonagall was preparing another blast, when Remus said in a neutral tone, “So Miss Granger’s death was the preferable outcome, Minister Fudge? Two adults were present in the room at the time, sir, and the angle that Miss Granger was plummeting at was such that it would have broken her neck, and most likely her skull. As it is, we are waiting to see how Harry is doing, since the impact broke his back and left him paralyzed, hopefully only temporarily. The impact would have killed her.” “I have the word of a werewolf and one teacher from Hogwarts, both of whom are known to be fond of the boy. Give me a reason to believe that you’re telling me the truth, and I’ll drop the charges.” ‘Tell me, Fudge. Is it wand-snapping, or ‘only’ Azkaban for this offence?” McGonagall asked dangerously. “That is for the Wizengamot to decide, Professor,” he huffed. “Now I demand to see the boy to deliver this to him!” Narcissa looked at Harry. “May I, Baron?” He started slightly, but nodded. She walked to the door and opened it. “Minister Fudge! How nice to see you! We couldn’t help but hear you out here, and the head of House Black sees no reason for there to be any delay in your proceedings. If you would?” Minister Fudge followed her into the room, where his eyes lit upon Harry. He opened his mouth to speak, but she interrupted him first. “I know you’ve seen each other before, sir, but might I formally introduce Baron Harry James Potter-Black, head of both the Potter and Black houses?” Fudge looked startled at that. “That can’t be!” he complained. “He’s not even of age yet!” “Actually, Minister,” she corrected, “the paperwork has been properly signed and delivered to the necessary parties. I can’t speak for the Potter side of things, but as for the Black family, Sirius’s will was read today, and since he had never officially been charged with a crime, and rather was summarily thrown into Azkaban without a trial, his will was legally capable of being probated without undue problems. He had never claimed it, but Sirius was rightfully Baron Black, and that title goes to his adopted son, Harry Potter. Harry is legally an adult, and as such is legally permitted to do all magic except for Apparating, which he did today, for what I understand is the first time, in my presence in order to save the life of his friend, Miss Hermione Granger.” She smiled. “Now, may the Baron and I help you?” Fudge seemed to crumple in upon himself. “No, Mrs. Malfoy. It appears that there has been a grave error made. I apologize to you both for any undue distress in this matter.” He sketched a bow toward Harry. “By your leave, Baron, I should be returning to work.” Harry nodded, and Cornelius Fudge slinked from the room. He waited for roughly a minute before finally letting loose with a snort. “Aunt Narcissa, that was ruddy brilliant! Thank you! I'd kiss you if I could stand up.” He smiled and took her hand and squeezed it in thanks, and then a thought struck him, driving the smile away. “Hermione! How is she? I know she’s alive, but …” “I’m fine, Harry,” came a small voice from the door. “You saved my life. And I broke your back in thanks.” “No, my back broke because I was trying to keep a woman I love from dying. It’s a price I’m willing to pay, even if it happens to be permanent. Come here and kiss me, okay?” He smiled at her, and she smiled a weak smile back at him. When she had reached his side and leaned over him, he put his hands to either side of her face and kissed her deeply, letting her know wordlessly that he truly felt that his condition was worth it. When the kiss finally broke, her smile was wider. “To blatantly change the subject now,” he said, “does anyone happen to have my O.W.L. results? I’m kinda curious about them.” Hermione laughed. “I must be rubbing off on you, Harry,” she said. As he began to get a humorously lecherous look in his eyes, she playfully swatted his arm and said, “Not that way, you perv!” A moment later, much more quietly, she added, "At least not in public." Her eyes twinkled mischievously He laughed. “Well, what are they? Actually, how did you guys do?” She smiled and handed him her letter. ##### Ordinary Wizarding Levels for Hermione J. Granger Written Practical Overall Ancient Runes E N/A E Arithmancy O O O Astronomy A* A* A* Care of Magical Creatures O O O Charms O O O Defense Against the Dark Arts O O O Divination N/A N/A N/A Herbology O O O History of Magic O N/A O Muggle Studies O O O Potions O O O Transfigurations O O O Total 11 * Due to an incident during the examination, all results were set to Acceptable. A retest will be available to all who wish to attempt to better this result. ##### “I’m definitely retaking the Astronomy O.W.L.,” she said. “Acceptable! Hmmph!” He laughed. “Understood. I’ll probably retake it as well. I know I can do better than an Acceptable. I think I was going to, honestly.” He turned to Ron, whose head was now poking in the door. How’d you do, chum? Got your letter with you?” “Yeah! I was showing it to Mum. She’s bouncing off the walls for joy right now.” He handed the letter over to Harry. ##### Ordinary Wizarding Levels for Ronald B. Weasley Written Practical Overall Ancient Runes N/A N/A N/A Arithmancy N/A N/A N/A Astronomy A* A* A* Care of Magical Creatures A A A Charms A A A Defense Against the Dark Arts O O O Divination A A A Herbology A A A History of Magic A N/A A Muggle Studies N/A N/A N/A Potions E E E Transfigurations A A A Total 9 * Due to an incident during the examination, all results were set to Acceptable. A retest will be available to all who wish to attempt to better this result. ##### “Imagine! Me getting nine O.W.L.s! Is that a surprise or what?” “You still could have done better, Ron,” Hermione huffed at him. “You need excellent grades to get the good jobs out there. Not just anyone can be an Auror, you know.” “I know. Actually, that one’s blown out of the water as it is. Snape … sorry, Professor McGonagall … Professor Snape won’t accept anyone into N.E.W.T. Potions without an O on their O.W.L.. That’s me gone right there.” He frowned. “Have to see what else I can do.” “Well, I’ve had an idea, thanks to Remus,” Harry said. “But I ought to look at my O.W.L.s first, to see if it’s feasible.” He took the envelope and ripped it, pulling out the sheet of paper. ##### Ordinary Wizarding Levels for Harry J. Potter Written Practical Overall Ancient Runes N/A N/A N/A Arithmancy N/A N/A N/A Astronomy A* A* A* Care of Magical Creatures E E E Charms E O E Defense Against the Dark Arts O O*** O Divination A A A Herbology E E E History of Magic D** N/A D** Muggle Studies N/A N/A N/A Potions O O O Transfigurations E O E Total 8 * Due to an incident during the examination, all results were set to Acceptable. A retest will be available to all who wish to attempt to better this result. ** A retest will be offered, since there has never before been a student attacked during an exam. *** The proctor stated that if there were a grade above Outstanding, this student would have been granted such a grade. ##### “Well, I’ve already said I’m retaking the Astronomy one, and if they’re offering on History, then I’m going to see if I can at least raise it to a Poor. Yeesh! At least I didn’t earn a T on the thing!” “One troll in our lifetimes is more than enough, thank you very much,” Hermione said. “Although I finally got some real friends in my life because of one.” She leaned over and kissed Ron on the cheek, and then kissed Harry’s cheek as well. Hating to change the subject, Harry said, “Professor McGonagall? Remus suggested to me, since I’m not as eager to be an Auror anymore, that I should consider teaching. What’s your opinion on that?” “First I should ask you why you wish to abandon your Auror career thoughts, Harry,” she responded. She turned to shoo everyone else from the room. “No, let them stay. Honestly, Professor, that debacle that I caused at the Ministry in June shows that I don’t have what it takes to be an Auror. I was utterly useless when Hermione was downed by Doholov. If she’d been my partner in an Auror mission? That likely would get us both killed. Plus, honestly, I’ve already seen too much death. I don’t want to see more, but I’m going to anyway before this war is over. I know for a fact that friends of mine are going to end up dead, fighting. I don’t want that. If I didn’t have something to live for now,” he said, squeezing Hermione’s hand, “I’d want to walk right out and do a mutual takedown. But since I have something to live for now, I thought maybe a hopefully less deadly profession. Can’t play Quidditch, though, so I’ll take the middle road, and go for teaching.” He laughed at the end. She was smiling. “I see you have paid attention to some of the mishaps of your fellow classmates. Remind me to tell you of some of the more interesting ones over the years someday, Harry, including the charm gone awry that turned Hogwarts into a nudist haven for a day.” Her eyes momentarily shot to Narcissa with amusement. “Yes, as I recall, I received seventeen proposals of marriage from that one. I also recall everyone looking to Professor Flitwick with new respect after that incident.” She looked to Harry. “Your mother received quite a few proposals as well. Some of them were for marriage.” She smiled. “She said yes to one of them.” “That was when Dad proposed to her? When she was stark naked?” He frowned. “The more I learn about him …” “Ah, before you jump to conclusions, Harry …” Narcissa interrupted. #### Narcissa heard the slapping of feet coming down the corridor. She spun to find the lovely Lily Evans hurrying toward her. “Cissy! Do you have any idea what happened? I mean, I was in Charms when everyone’s clothes disappeared, and – by the way, did you know that Flitwick is – I mean, wow! – but he cancelled classes and sent everyone back to their rooms. I headed this way because there are roving gangs of photographers around, and I really don’t want my picture all over everyone’s walls.” “Just James’s wall, right?” Narcissa Black asked with a smirk. “Well, if he ever gets the courage to ask, he’ll get more than just a photograph,” came the demure smile. “It’s amazing how someone can go from being such a thick-headed, thundering prat to the sweet and loving man he is now. Am I just ignoring his faults, or did he really change?” “I think when he discovered that you weren’t interested in the Quidditch Star persona, he went back to being who he really is. Think about it, Lily – would Remus really hang around someone as annoying as what James was just because he needed a friend that badly? After all, he has you as a friend, and you certainly don’t act like that.” Lily was about to answer her when they heard footsteps approaching at a run. Lily jumped into the nearby broom closet and closed the door most of the way. Narcissa stepped such that Lily would be behind whomever the runner was. “Narcissa!” The voice belonged to James Potter. “Narcissa, have you seen Lily anywhere?” The poor man was out of breath, even for someone as fit as he was. “Why are you looking for her?” Narcissa asked with a smile. “To protect her. There have been a few incidents of more than mere photography taking place, and I’ve already sent a few people to the hospital wing. Sirius is escorting Gina Diggers to the wing, because a couple Slytherin tried to … well, I don’t think I have to say.” He blushed furiously. “And you jumped in to protect her?” He snorted. “Actually, I didn’t want her expelled for murdering the two snakes. Her right shoulder seems dislocated, at least it looks that way, but she did it so that she – well, let’s say that a certain part of their anatomies will need to descend from their bodily cavities before being useful again. I actually had to protect the Slytherins!” He shuddered slightly. “I’m pretty sure she could defend herself like Gina did, but the thought of Lily, with some other guy forcing her to … well, I’d kill the bastard. You’ve seen how gorgeous she is! She’s a target …” Narcissa laughed to herself as she saw the realization that he was talking to the other girl who topped the ‘Prettiest Girl at Hogwarts’ list (she and Lily traded places quite often) finally hit him. “Umm, that s to say, uh, I mean that … well, you’re not exactly … umm …” “Thank you James. I know you’d much rather look at Lily naked than me.” She was surprised to watch his face fall. “What’s wrong, James?” “This has scotched everything. We’ve got a Hogsmeade weekend, as you know, and I was going to … well, there’s this ring she really likes, and it’s just the style that would make an engagement ring, you know?” He looked at her earnestly, and she nodded. “I was going to ask her to marry me once we get out of Hogwarts. Now I can’t.” “Why not?” “You know what a jerk I was all those years, trying to impress her. Part of it was trying to get her naked, so that I could score again, you understand. Then I found out what kind of a girl she really is, but I didn’t know any other way to impress a girl. Then I just started being me, and she started getting interested. How do I know I’m not going to go back to being the royal jerk when I see her without her clothes?” Narcissa smiled as she watched Lily walk up behind his and put her arms around his waist. “Because you’ve been talking to the prettiest girl in Hogwarts without trying to shag her up against the wall?” His grin made Narcissa’s day. “I like my bits right where they are, thank you very much,” he said. Lily actions made her actually laugh, however. She reached down and quickly fondled his genitalia and said with a smirk, “Oh, I like them as well, but I can think of somewhere else for them to be.” His face went white, and she spun to look Lily in the face. “Lily, please don’t. I don’t want to be that idiot I was once. I love you, and I was going to ask you to marry me before this happened.” “Why not now?” He opened his mouth to respond, and she said, “I was in that broom closet. I heard the whole thing, James. When you ask me, the answer will be yes.” He dropped to one knee so hard that Narcissa winced to hear the impact, but James didn’t seem to notice. “Lily Evans, I don’t deserve a woman like you, but I’m asking anyway – will you agree to marry me when we’re done here at Hogwarts?” “I’d marry you today, if I could,” she smiled. “My answer is yes, James Potter. I will marry you.” He leapt to his feet and spun her around in a huge hug, and then let go and repeated the performance with Narcissa. “She said yes! She said yes!” He suddenly realized that he was holding a naked woman that was not his fiancée, and gently set her back down. “Umm ….” Both women laughed. “I still want that proposal in Hogsmeade, when you give me that ring, but you already know my answer,” Lily laughed. Her eyes sparkled, and she looked to Narcissa, who nodded. “You know, James, we’re right near a perfectly empty broom closet, and we even have a guard. Care to celebrate our engagement?” #### She smiled sadly. “I wish I’d been able to find a man like that. Never let anyone tell you that your father was worthless, or good for nothing. Once he got past his need to prove himself, to play the clown, trying to impress Lily – that was actually when he impressed her, and then they fell in love.” Her eyes twinkled as she asked him, “Did you mean to squeeze my hand when you said you had something to live for now?” “Well, you are family, and Sirius loved you even when you were married to the man who tried to kill Ginny Weasley in my second year, whereas he hated Trixie, from what I can tell.” “Well, there’s a difference,” Narcissa murmured. “Belle – she hates being called Trixie, mind you – she went over willingly to V … He Who Must Not Be Named.” “Moldieshorts. You, on the other hand, only married a Death Eater, and Sirius hoped for your redemption.” “I do as well. I wish he could have lived to … with Lucius in prison, I was going to divorce him, but I must admit that Sirius made it easier – paperwork already prepared and paid for? Much easier.” She looked to the group, and realized that, for the moment, it was only people who had a knowledge of the Order. “I don’t expect you to trust me, but I hope someday to earn that trust.” She was going to speak further, but a St. Mungo’s Healer entered the room. “Mister Potter? We’ve looked over the results of the tests, and we have something to tell you ….” Previous Next Like it? Leave a review! Logged in as Wim Vincken (Log out) Site generated in 0.1123 seconds, 3 queries. Home | About | Email Alerts | Other Formats | Change Look | Favourite Stories | Yahoo! Group Back to: Harry Potter » Sorceror's Apprentice Reviews (2) Printer Friendly Format Sorceror's Apprentice Chapter 15 By Kinsfire Previous Next Chapter XV Harry sat in the chair in the ballroom of Potter's Field. He was throwing a party, but no one would let him do anything. Every time he tried, he'd suddenly find Hermione or Tonks in his lap, which tended to distract him for a while. Ginny embarrassed him greatly when she sat on his lap right after a particularly enjoyable snog session with Tonks, when his interest in the beautiful Auror was particularly noticeable. "Oh, Harry, for me?" she asked coquettishly. He smiled at her and hugged her. "Ginny, Please don't do that to me. I haven't gotten permission from Tonks and Hermione yet, and I won't deny that you're an enticing little morsel." "Was that a short joke?" she asked, eyes narrowing. "Actually, no. I happen to think that you're particularly sexy at that height, and I'll admit that I'd like to have my hands a little lower than your mid-back, Miss Weasley." He hugged her tightly and whispered, "That kiss from my birthday was incredible, Ginny." "Thank you," she whispered back. In the ear that Ginny wasn't whispering in, he suddenly heard Tonks murmur, "You have my approval, sexy. Remember, I run the risk of being gone for long periods of time as a part of my job. And I trust Ginny. If Hermione okays it, then you're good to go." She nibbled his ear, and chuckled when Ginny moaned quietly at the twitch she had caused. He closed his eyes, took a deep breath, and gently disengaged her from his lap. “If I don’t, I may not wait for Hermione. And the three of you mean too much to me.” He kissed her forehead. She smiled lovingly at him. “Thank you, Harry. Your reason why you won’t means everything to me.” She kissed his cheek and flounced off, Harry watching with some enjoyment. Straightening his clothes, he stood. He heard several people gasp, and he looked down, to see if perhaps his zipper was undone. “Harry, dear, don’t exert yourself!” Molly said, bustling up to him. He’d been the one throwing the party, but she had insisted on helping out with things once she was there. Dobby, who Harry had hired to help him out, had been slightly put out, but Harry had explained that it was simply the way she was, and that she meant no insult by it. “Mum,” he said, “standing is not going to exert me. The healers were talking about me trying to run a marathon, or any number of other strenuous activities. Walking is good.” He hugged her. “Thank you for your concern, and I promise not to strain myself. I’m going mad just sitting, though. I’m supposed to be throwing this party, and everyone else is doing my work!” Grinning, he turned to start working the party. He hadn’t invited a large number of people, but there were surprises all around. More than a few of the guests were surprised to discover Narcissa there, but when he introduced her as Narcissa Black, the conversations took an interesting turn. He found her alone for a moment, and murmured to her with a smile, "If it weren't bad form, I'd be tempted to write up a checklist of questions and the answers to them about this whole thing. 'Yes, she really divorced him. No, I don't think it's some ploy of Voldemort's. Yes, I know there's some bad blood going back.'" He looked at her, and apologized to her with his eyes as he finished, "'No, I haven't entrusted her with my secrets.' I have gotten that one more than I care to think about." He chuckled for a moment. "Feel free to tell me to mind my own business on this, but you had an interesting reaction to Sirius' curse that was mentioned." She actually blushed very slightly in response. "In case you hadn't gathered from his voice, he was rather fond of me. Well, had the marriage to Lucius not been arranged since I was six years old, and the newer laws not been in effect, we likely would have been married." She quirked an eyebrow at him when he didn't react. "Either that does not surprise you, or you are far better at hiding your shock than I thought." "I've practice hiding my emotions," he murmured flatly. "I'm sorry," she replied honestly. "Well, to answer your question, there are charms that can be used when your lover isn't around. We used to enjoy embarrassing each other by casting them on each other at inopportune moments. Now, he may have trained me to be able to, shall we say 'not be obvious,' but from his statement, he learned how to turn it into a permanent curse. That I am quite certain that I would not enjoy." Harry stopped and thought for a moment, then suddenly realized what she was referring to. His mind went unbidden to an image of what she might look like with a bit less clothing, and he blushed and scowled at the same time. She merely smiled slightly and said, "From what I know of you, Baron, I will take that as a compliment." He laughed. "Am I that transparent?" "Only to women," she laughed in response. "Seriously, Harry, I am flattered that I can affect someone almost half my age." "A guy's got to be a complete pouf or dead not to react to you," he muttered under his breath. "You're the mother of the Slytherin Centrefold, for goodness sake." "Thank you," she replied and kissed his cheek. "Now, before we accidentally discover whether or not it is possible for you to blush to death, may I ask you how you are feeling?" "Well, I'm a bit weak still, and I have to avoid anything overly strenuous, but I'm largely healed. My back starts to hurt if I overdo it walking, and my legs get weak occasionally, but for the most part I'm good." He stopped and looked at her. "Back to what was embarrassing me before, however. Doing what I was doing at that moment was terribly bad form, and I would like to apologize to you. While I might not be able to stop myself from thinking such things, I should make every effort possible to ensure that you are not discomfited by such." He stepped back and bowed carefully to her. She smiled and curtsied. "Baron Potter-Black, while no apology was necessary, I appreciate both your honesty and your caring. Thank you." She leaned forward and kissed his cheek. "You've been practicing your lordly manners, I see," she said in a more conversational manner. "I need to practice them, and when better than during an apology that I felt had been needed, although correcting a lady is also bad form, I understand," he finished with a grin. Hermione walked up to him and kissed his cheek. "Trying to add to your harem, my lord?" she asked with a laugh. "I mean, you've already got me, Tonks, and Ginny. Trying to add your Aunt Narcissa?" He snorted. "Oh, wouldn't that frost Draco's shorts!" He shook his head for a moment, and then noticed the amused look on Hermione's face. "What? What's got you so amused, love?" "Just wondering how long it's going to take you," she smiled in return. "Take me to what?" She merely grinned and walked away to mingle. He looked to Narcissa. "Okay, I know I missed something there. Willing to help out someone hampered by being male?" He was liking the fact that the Narcissa he'd gotten to know since the third was a much nicer person than the one he'd met once or twice before. She smiled again. "As much as the admission tempts me to help you, I think that I shall wait to see your reaction once it does strike you." He continued to mingle, finally approaching Albus Dumbledore with a smile. "How do you fare, Harry?" "Not too badly, sir." He motioned to a couple squashy chairs. "Care to sit, sir? I know that I need to, at least for a moment." They both sat and smiled at each other. "I'd like to apologize for … well, I'm sorry for the language, but it's a good description of my attitudes – I want to apologize for being an arse this summer. The points I made to you I still feel are valid, but I could have found a better way to express them." "And probably not gotten as much action on them, Harry," Albus smiled. "I have thought of you as somewhere between the fifteen month old boy I held in my arms that evil October night and the wide-eyed eleven year old that walked through the doors to Hogwarts, even after seeing the physical growth you have undergone. Those outbursts reminded me that you are, in fact, a young man now, with a man's responsibilities." He looked quickly and then said in a low voice, "The next meeting is Friday. It would be a good idea to be there, if you can." Back in a normal voice, he continued. "After the party, we shall need to talk. I am having extreme trouble fulfilling part of our bargain." "The Potions part, right?" Harry asked with a laugh. "Precisely. I have sent out roughly one hundred letters requesting of various Potions Masters and have received one positive response, from an American Grand Master. Unfortunately, obligations prevent him from accepting until early December. All others have rejected the position." He looked sadly to Harry. "I promised you a new teacher for your Potions, but I am unable to fulfil that promise. I would likely teach you myself." He looked Harry in the eye. "May I at least be involved in helping you decide how to continue your schooling, since you had stated that those two conditions were non-negotiable?" "Can you show me the rejection letters?" Harry asked. "Yes. I thought you might ask such a thing. Come to Hogwarts tomorrow and I shall show them to you." "No need. You've made a good effort to fulfil the bargain, and through no fault of your own, were unable to complete it. It would be as petty of me as a certain professor at school thinks that I am to not take your efforts into account. I will return to school, and take Potions with Professor Snape until the Grand Master from America can be hired on." He paused and met Dumbledore's eyes. "He needs to be made aware, however, that I am no longer going to take his abuse. Someday, perhaps, I will show you the past five years of the treatment he has given the Gryffindor students." He paused. "I won't automatically kill him, but if there is uncalled for treatment, I will respond in kind. And I will not decide on my own that it is uncalled for. Hermione is trustworthy, as are people such as Susan Bones, who I expect will be taking Advanced Potions as well. I will run any situation that strikes me as debatable past them. If I don't get a consensus from them both, then I leave it alone. If both of them agree, then I respond. Don't take this wrong, sir, but you would do well to make him aware of that." Dumbledore nodded. "Would it surprise you to discover that the apology he tendered on the third was actually from him, and not ordered by me?" "Actually, sir, I would be surprised. It explains the look on his face, however. I suppose if you had ordered it, the underlying emotion would have been anger." Albus Dumbledore nodded. "Let me know when is an agreeable time for you, Harry. I would like to see those memories you speak of." Harry nodded. "Other than that, sir, how do you like the party?" "It has been quite enjoyable. I will admit that I have spent some time in your study, with your parents' portrait. It has been good to speak with them again, after all this time." "I understand. Ron keeps trying to come up with excuses to be near the statue of my Mum. I think he's kind of smitten, in an odd way." "Lily had that effect on people, Harry. I'm certain you've discovered how charming she was, in talking with her." "I thought that was just me, since I never knew her." "Oh no, Lily was such a pleasant lady that everyone loved her in some way or another. The fact that she was also 'easy on the eyes', as I believe the saying goes, also helped a great deal," was the smiling response. "That she was, sir – that sculpture she posed for proves that." He smiled. "I suppose that I should continue mingling, before we sit down for a full meal. I'll see you in a bit, then?" The headmaster nodded, and Harry continued to walk around. He finally came across Luna and her father. She was resplendent in a sky blue off shoulder gown that he knew must have cost a tremendous amount. Smiling, he greeted her with a kiss to the hand, and then to each cheek. “Please, Luna, tell me you didn’t buy that purely for this party? It must have been terribly expensive.” “When one is invited to the home of a Baron for a party,” she replied with a shy smile, “one dresses properly.” “Well, then, I think I shall be forced to talk to the headmaster and see if it is possible to set up a formal dance again this year.” He grinned. “I admit that I like the idea of watching Chang’s reaction at such a ball, since I guarantee that gown will draw everyone’s attention.” He frowned. “Please know that I don’t intend to lead you on, Luna, when I tell you that you are absolutely beautiful, and will truly be the belle of the ball.” “Harry, I know that you don’t love me. You don’t have to preface your compliments with statements intended to … Baron, I know that you don’t love me, and can’t, if only because of my station in life. My father is a merchant and you are a nobleman. We can be friends, but nothing more, even if my heart desires it.” His heart plummeted in his chest, although he kept it from his face as best he could. He turned to her father and said, “What would it take to make you outsell the Daily Prophet?” Lawrence started. “Well, most importantly would be better circulation. We have a limited budget, and that truly hampers us the worst. We could use better equipment to print with – honestly, I have a wish list of various things I’d like to do with the paper.” “Need a silent partner? Someone to bankroll you, but not try to force you into a certain direction?” “Are you offering, Lord Potter-Black?” Lawrence asked carefully. “Yes. I will sign a contract specifying that I am to have zero control over business decisions, leaving that purely in the hands of those currently running the business.” “Why?” asked Luna, a little shocked. “Two reasons. Perhaps neither of them is good enough for the purpose, but they’re what I have. First off, the Prophet has made a large sum from all the negative reporting about me. I’d like to put them out of business, honestly, but we need a paper to get the news to people. The Quibbler has been good at getting the truth out there.” He blushed before continuing. “The second is because of you, Luna, to be honest. She is someone I’m proud to call friend. If I can help a friend by helping her father, who I also happen to like,” he added with a smile, “then it’s worth it. And plus,” he said, wincing, “that dress must have truly gobbled up a significant portion of your cash. I never stated in the invites that it wasn’t formal, so we have mixtures of formal, such as you and Aunt Narcissa, and informal, such as the Weasleys and some of the Aurors I invited. If I had been more careful, you wouldn’t have laid out that much money, so …” He shrugged. “Thank you,” Lawrence said, “but she assured me, once the invitation came, that she needed this dress. She apparently Saw that this dress was important in some way.” Harry looked to her, eyebrows quirked in question. “My Visions never lie. Sometimes they don’t come true because something prevents them, but all the possibilities that I See are valid, Harry. The money spent on this dress is worth it, because there are several excellent things that will come about because you saw me in it. One has just happened, because I seriously doubt that Daddy will turn down your offer to be a silent partner.” “You don’t have to be silent, you know,” Lawrence said. “What do I know about publishing?” Harry laughed. “Besides, this way I can make an attempt to do some of what my parents did. They invested and tried to make money. My turn, now that I’m the last scion of the House.” “For now,” Luna said with surety. ##### The party wound down after quite some time, and the only ones left were Ron,, Ginny, Tonks, and Hermione. “Wasn’t Luna astonishing in that dress?” Ginny asked. “I think we ought to ask the headmaster to throw another ball this year, just to give her a chance to show off that thing.” “I think we should hint around a little,” Hermione said. “Get her a date for this non-existent ball.” “Yule,” Harry said. “I talked to the headmaster and he liked the idea. There’s going to be a Yule Ball. Now we just have to find her a date.” He looked with a grin at Ron. Ron stared at him for a long moment. “Y’know, chum, it almost feels like you’re giving me your cast-offs. I know you’re not,” he added quickly, holding up his hands. “Show her some gentleness and true compassion, Ron. I think that’s why she thinks she’s in love with me right now. I’m one of the first people ever to really stick up for her. Don’t laugh at her, and try to be her friend. I’ll bet you’ll be happy. And to be honest, Ron, if you ask her to the Ball, everyone will be looking at you. You saw the way everyone was staring at her. Hell, Aunt Cissy was treating her as an equal, because she saw how hard Luna was trying.” “Actually,” Tonks said, “it was because she was drop dead gorgeous in that gown. Whoever takes her to the Yule Ball will definitely be the talk of the school, in a very good way.” “You could ask her,” Hermione said to Harry. “Well, first of all, that might seem like I was leading her on. Second, I happen to already have asked a very beautiful and alluring woman to whatever official dances there may be this year.” Hermione grinned and said, “Tonks! You didn’t tell me you were going to be going to any dances with Harry!” Ron snorted. “Even I know who he’s talking about, Hermione.” He turned to Harry, rubbing his arm again. “I am stating it in front of witnesses, Harry – you are one lucky bastard to have Hermione on your arm like that. I only wish she looked at me that way.” The rubbing got more vigorous. “I fancy someone, but there’s no way that they return the feeling.” “Never know until you tell them,” Ginny said. Ron nodded absently and then yawned widely. “Sorry,” he said. “With Mum not letting Harry host his own party, we got run a little ragged.” “I understand,” Harry said. He led them upstairs toward the master bedroom, but turned into a large suite area. “The Master bedroom is next door. There are three bedrooms here, and each has its own W.C., at least while you’re here.” He laughed. “This whole house is sort of like a Room of Requirement. Every time I’ve needed a certain type of room, I eventually find one. These bedrooms weren’t here before you guys arrived.” “Nice!” murmured Tonks. Ron staggered into one of the rooms and almost immediately fell to sleep. Harry grinned and closed the door. “I’m heading over to my room. If any of you want to get dressed for bed and come over to keep talking, I have no problems.” “Or – more than talk?” Tonks said with a grin. “Not fair to Ginny,” Harry said. The three girls looked at each other, and then burst out laughing. “Pity – I was hoping he’d get it himself,” Hermione said. She looked to Harry. “Remember what I said while you were talking to Narcissa? A comment about harems?” He closed his eyes for a moment, thinking back to the numerous conversations he'd had. His eyes suddenly shot open as he remembered Hermione's quiet comment. "You listed Ginny as well!" "Yup," Tonks said. "Now, since we haven't been worrying too much age- wise, since you and Hermione seem to have been rather cuddly recently. Since we don't want any baronial scandals …" She pulled out her wand and murmured a few words as she pointed it at Ginny's stomach. Biting her lip lightly, Ginny said, "When you cast that on yourself, do you find that tingling sensation … umm … sexy?" "Very much so," Tonks replied with a grin. "Tell you what Harry," she started to say, and then carefully opened the door to Ron's room again and cast a quick sleep spell on him. "Just to be sure," she laughed. "Anyway, how about you go into your room, and we'll get Ginny ready for you?" "Works for me," Harry said with a smile. Just as he closed the door, he added, "Don't tire her out too much!" He chuckled as he heard a pillow slap the back of the door. He took a few steps down the hallway when his legs gave out on him, and he fell against the wall. He gripped tightly, and by sheer force of will kept from slamming to the floor. He did, however, fall somewhat heavily, causing the three ladies to exit the room at high speed. "You okay, Harry?" asked Ginny as she skidded into the hallway. She was wearing a calf-length white silk nightgown that clung to her body and was just translucent enough to make him aware that the only thing under it was her. "I'm speechless," he finally said. He shook his head. "My legs gave out on me, and I kept myself from going face-first into the floor. One of you sexy ladies willing to help me back to my feet, and into my room? I seriously doubt I'm going to be doing much of anything tonight, unfortunately." The three of them helped him to his feet and carefully got him to his bed. "Harry?" Ginny asked shyly. "May I stay with you tonight? Please?" "Hmm, Would I want to spend a whole night sleeping peacefully against a beautiful and cuddly woman, or spend it alone?" He reached out and touched her face gently. "I'm just sorry that events are going to keep me from doing what you'd like me to." He leaned forward and brushed his lips across hers. "Harry, you're letting me sleep next to you in sexy nightwear – well, I feel sexy in it, at least …" "You look it, too," he interrupted. "Thank you. But I'm getting to sleep next to you for the first time knowing that you see me as more than merely a sister. You're worth waiting for." "Well, if you're my sister, then I'm having some very strong thoughts about incest," he laughed. "And you're worth waiting for as well." He stood long enough to slide the comforter and sheet out from beneath himself, and then sat back down on the bed. He laid down, and Hermione covered him up before kissing him sweetly. Tonks followed with an equally sweet kiss. They then performed the same with Ginny, and her reaction told him beyond a shadow of any doubting that Ginny's interests did include other girls. Hmm, maybe she should contemplate asking Luna to the Yule Ball. When Tonks and Hermione left the room, they moved under the covers to be cuddled together, with her spooning with him, her back against his chest. His arm slid around her waist, and he murmured in her ear, "Thank you, Ginny. Thank you for waiting for me to realize." He slid down into sleep, satisfied by the warm, beautiful girl in his arms. Previous Next Like it? Leave a review! Logged in as Wim Vincken (Log out) Site generated in 0.2525 seconds, 3 queries. Home | About | Email Alerts | Other Formats | Change Look | Favourite Stories | Yahoo! Group Back to: Harry Potter » Sorceror's Apprentice Reviews (2) Printer Friendly Format Sorceror's Apprentice Chapter 16 By Kinsfire Previous Next Chapter XVI Harry awoke to find his arms still around Ginny. He lifted the blankets gently and saw the nightgown again, and felt himself stiffen against her. She murmured out a happy moan and pressed backwards. "I don't know when, Harry, but that wand of yours is going to get properly sheathed." She carefully rolled over. "If you were on your back, do you think that maybe we could …?" "Are you sure, Ginny?" he asked. "This is a big step." She pressed forward against his erection. "I can tell," she said with a throaty chuckle. "Feels like a very big step." "If you're stepping on it, then there's a problem," he responded with a smile. She pushed his shoulder gently, and he allowed himself to be rolled onto his back, and she rolled atop him, her warm body easily felt through the thin silk. She pulled on the fabric of the nightgown to raise the hem and he helped her. Finally it was at her waist, and she sat up straddling him. "You know Harry, those boxer shorts are in the way." She tugged down on the waist, and he raised his hips slightly, grinding into her for a moment and causing her to gasp. "Oh yes, Harry!" She climbed off him to make sure that his boxers were off, and then slid back atop him, pinning his erection against his stomach. "Mmm, you feel so wonderfully wet, Ginny," he murmured. He grabbed the material bunched at her waist and moved his hands upward, sliding the silk off her body, leaving them both nude and against each other. "You feel so marvellously hard, Harry. Please – let me give myself to you completely." "Are you ready?" he asked. "I woke up about fifteen minutes before you, Harry. I was … teasing myself through the nightgown." "Well then," he said with a smile. "Slide up my body and we'll do this right." In short order, he was deeply within her, and she was crying on his shoulder. "What's wrong? Did it hurt?" "Nothing's wrong. It hurt for a second, but … Harry, it's perfect." She squeezed him with the muscles surrounding him. "I'm a woman now, Harry. Thank you." "Thank you," he whispered in her ear. "For letting me be the one." He pressed upward, and she moaned again and closed her eyes. They began to gently rock back and forth together, and soon she was bucking atop him and panting out her joy-filled cries. The door opened to allow Hermione and Tonks access just as Harry was fulfilling his part of their contract of bodies. "Hell of a way to wake up, isn't it?" Tonks asked with a grin. Ginny simply smiled at her, eyes half-closed, as she continued to quiver, mini-orgasms still shuddering through her. Finally they stopped, and she reluctantly climbed off him. "I suppose I ought to go and shower." She looked down and saw that there was a little blood on Harry. "Are you okay?" she asked, alarmed. "That's your blood, I think," Harry said. "Remember how it was painful for a moment?" "Oh. Well, at least there's not that much of it, but I definitely need a shower now." "Take a bath instead," Harry said with an evil leer. "Imagine me in there with you." "Ooo, I like that idea," she murmured. "I think I will." She slid the nightgown over her head and walked to the door, but turned to say something before she left. A look of shock crossed her face, "What? Why are you all staring at me?" "You have no idea just how sexy you are in that, do you?" Hermione asked. "Silk is a wonderful fabric, and right now it's adorning a wonderful body." Ginny blushed demurely. "Thank you," she finally said, and escaped from the room. Harry looked at them. "Let me get a quick shower, and I'll meet you in the suite outside your rooms?" "No," Hermione said. "Given last night, we're waiting right here for you." He thought for a moment, and then nodded. "Actually, would one of you be willing to be in there with me, just in case?" Before they could say anything, he added, "I'm only doing a shower. Anything else while standing would be too strenuous." Tonks snapped her fingers, but was grinning. "Let me do it. I've had to do time doing some nursing before, so I've got an idea or two of what support you'll need." They headed into the shower together. A few minutes later, they exited, laughing. "I'm glad you caught the soap finally," he said. "I was about to A-K it, after the way it kept trying to get away from me!" "Umm, Harry …" Hermione said with a grin. "I know – but trust me, it would have found a way! That soap was evil, I tell you! Evil!" Tonks had been chuckling, but that was too much for her, she started to laugh her braying laugh at Harry's antics. Ron poked his head in the door right then. “What happened?” “Harry fought a bar of soap in the shower,” Tonks laughed. “And lost!” “Hey, I said it before, and I’ll say it again – that bar of soap was possessed! It had a mind of its own! I’ll bet there’s a black tattoo on it somewhere! Make sure it’s not trying to skulk out of the shower, okay?” He saw something out of the corner of his eye, and watched something drop to the floor as if to hide. He looked at it, and it was the bar of soap from the shower. He then looked to the girls, but neither of them seemed to be acting terribly oddly at the moment. As he knelt to pick it up, just before his hands touched it, it shot forward and under the bed, then out the other side. Ron burst out laughing as he saw it, and watched as it shot out the door and down the hall. A moment later, he nearly fell to the floor as they heard, “Hey, what the …” from Ginny, followed by a small splash. That was too much for Hermione. “You … you should see … see the look on your face!” she gasped. “Oh gods, that was worth it! I am so glad that we can cast spells here!” She produced her wand which she had palmed. She fell forward on the bed, laughing. This was the scene that Ginny walked into a few moments later. “Can I assume that this bar of soap in my bath is due to Miss Hysterical over there?” She was wrapped in a towel that covered her, but barely, and was grinning. “Anyone care to explain what led to it leaping into my bathtub?” A few moments later she was laughing as hard as everyone else was. ##### During the day, Luna dropped in, dressed to hang out, as Harry had requested. Harry and Hermione taught the other four an enjoyable day of various Muggle games, but they seemed to enjoy throwing a Frisbee™ around. It was fairly hot, so they’d all shed their T-shirts. They didn’t think anything of it until Ron took a shot to the head while staring at Luna. It turned out that Luna was the only girl not wearing a brassiere. “Is something wrong?” She asked when she noted that the game had stopped. “No, Luna,” Hermione said, reaching behind her back and undoing her brassiere. “Nothing is wrong.” Harry laughed. “Would it help it I took my shorts off too? Naked co-ed Frisbee™?” Everyone laughed, even Ron. “Sorry. I’ve just never … uh … well,” “You can get used to it quickly, Ronald. It’s surprising how fast it stops being important, or even noticed.” “Even when the girl is as pretty as ….” He suddenly stopped, and it became difficult to tell where his hair ended and where his face started. “Yes, even when they’re as pretty as Hermione,” Luna said. Ron mumbled something very quietly and very fast in response. “I’m sorry?” she asked, honestly puzzled. “Iwasn’ttalking’boutHermione,” he said louder, but equally as fast. She looked at him puzzled for a moment, and then gasped. “Ronald? Were you talk about … no, it must have been Miss Tonks, then.” He looked at her for a moment, annoyed, and then his face changed. “You really don’t think I could be talking about you, do you?” “Why would you? I know I’m not all that pretty, and I am seen as somewhat eccentric at school. What is there to notice about me?” “That you’re a friend of Harry’s, first off. That means a lot. As for …” He blushed furiously. “I’ve never seen anyone but family naked before, and you’re not supposed to find family attractive, so seeing a girl who isn’t your sister with her shirt off … and … well, suddenly realizing that she’s pretty, and I actually mean above the neckline too, Hermione …” He faded off, embarrassed to be this forward with her. “You think my breasts are pretty?” she asked incredulously. “I think that you’re pretty,” he said. “And I’ll fight anyone who says otherwise.” “Well, you won’t be fighting anyone here,” Ginny said. Ron turned to smile at her, and his eyes bugged for a moment as he realized that all the girls were now dressed like Luna. He opened his mouth to say something, and then thought better of it. Ginny applauded, which got the highly mature response from him of sticking his tongue out at her, making everyone laugh. The game continued for a time, with Ron discovering that Luna was, in fact, correct concerning nudity. He didn’t even react when she rewarded him with a quick kiss on the cheek for a particularly spectacular catch, other than to blush at the kiss. Most of the day was spent just having fun, with Harry bowing out occasionally as his back would act up. Around five o’clock, Luna reluctantly got dressed again. “I’m sorry, but I must be getting home. I had quite a nice day, Harry.” Before she Floo’d home, however, she turned to Hermione and said, “Think twice, Hermione. That’s all I can say about it. Think twice.” “About what?” came the response. “If I knew, I’d give you greater warning. I’m sorry.” She tossed the powder in the fireplace and was gone a moment later. "Yet another reason to hate Divination," Hermione murmured. "I just hope I figure out what she's talking about before it happens." The others nodded, and they headed quickly to clean up. A short while later, they were sitting around the table, eating a meal, fabulously prepared by Dobby. Harry mused, "Y'know, before September hits, I need to get to the Dursleys and get the very last of my stuff. Finally get away from those bastards for good." He snorted. "I think I'll have some fun with them, and go dressed up in 'comfortable' baronial gear. Basically, dressed down for a baron, but dressed up as far as they're concerned. Get 'em a little worried about me trying to bring the law down on them for their treatment of me." Hermione looked at him. "Harry, are you willing to talk to us about what you went through with them? Sometimes talking about something helps." He scowled. "Hard to even think about some times. I grew up thinking that sleeping in a cupboard was a normal thing." "You slept in a cupboard?" Ginny asked in horror. "Yeah. Pretty much until I came back from my first year at Hogwarts. I can cook pretty well because I was often the one ordered to do breakfast. If there was a chore around the house, I did it. If I was going to be a Muggle or Squib, I could start any number of various businesses – landscaping, painter, maid …" "I don't think you'd look good in one of those skirts, chum," Ron laughed. Harry looked at him for a moment and then laughed. "I think I need to ask Dobby if he slipped some interesting chemicals into our food." He shook his head. "I thought that the treatment I got from them was basically normal until I met you guys. I'm just glad that this came about, because I didn't … I was there because of the blood protections that my mother gave me when she died for me.” “I don’t mean this to get maudlin. I just didn’t have a good home life, and even being here alone in Potter’s Field feels better than at Privet Drive.” He shrugged. “Only way I’m going back there is to get the last of my stuff, and I will do it dressed to make sure they’re aware of my rank.” “I wish I understood your treatment better,” Hermione said. Her eyes opened wide, and she stood suddenly, pulling the short wand that Sirius left Harry from the holder between her breasts. “Harry, I’m making a wizard’s oath that I will spend a week here being treated the way that the Dursleys treated you. I want to understand, and I’m not likely to talk about things I know nothing about then.” Before he could stop her, she had cast the spell for the oath and said, “It is my intention to experience a week of the treatment that Harry James Potter underwent at the hands of the Dursleys, beginning now." A sparkle filled the air, and flowed between herself and Harry. He shook his head. “I really wish you hadn’t done that,” he said, and gripped the edge of his chair. “How could you be so blindingly stupid!” he screamed. “I have to treat you like … because of your spell, I have to … you idiot girl!” He stood and stalked out of the room for a moment. He came back in carrying some rope and two towels he had obviously stitched together with magic. “You want to be a house elf for a week, you dress like one. Strip and put that on instead.” As she stood and stared numbly at him, he looked at her in disgust. “Now!” he bellowed. She rapidly undressed to her skin and put the towels over her head through the convenient neck hole, and then tied the rope around her waist. “Now get in there and help Dobby with clean-up from dinner.” He paused. “First, give me your wand. All the wands.” She handed them over. “Now get in there, you stupid freak of a girl.” She gasped, but walked into the kitchen area. Harry turned around to be hit with a Petrificus Totalis, followed immediately by someone pummelling him and kicking him with extremely rapid blows. Even petrified, he felt the shock run up to his head and down to his feet as one of the kicks impacted with his lower back. When he found himself back to normal, he found Ginny and Ron lying on the floor, quite obviously Stupefied. “Sorry I didn’t get to them faster,” Tonks said. “You okay?” He got to his feet extremely shakily. “Ow. Even when you’re petrified, you can feel the damned blows. Ow.” He looked at the two of them. “You’d think that a couple of kids raised in the wizard world would realize what Hermione’s oath is doing to me.” Closing his eyes, he said, “Get them to Grimmauld, or someplace. Don’t let them come back until the week is up, okay? Even if they want to apologize when it’s explained to them. I’m going to try to stay away from her as much as I can, but I think that oath is going to force me to look her up occasionally.” Tonks nodded. “Can I come and check her out? Make sure she’s okay?” He started to scowl. “No! Are you stupid … argh! You can hear how it’s affecting me with others, too. That’s another reason to keep them away. The Dursleys kept others away from me as best they could, so now I have to do the same to her, damn it to hell.” “Try not to hurt her too much,” Tonks said. He closed his eyes tightly. “I’ll try, but I may not have any choice. Please, just go now, before I do something stupid to you, Tonks.” She nodded sadly, grabbed the still numb Weasleys, and Disapparated. ##### Tonks appeared in the main hallway of Number 12 Grimmauld Place. Setting them on the floor as several people came forward, including their mother, she pulled her wand and cast Ennervate on both of them. “We need to get back there!” Ginny yelled. “He’s …” “If he’s not crying right now, he will be before the night is through,” Tonks said. “What happened?” Molly asked, having beaten Dumbledore to the question by a matter of seconds. “At dinner, we got talking about Harry’s treatment at the hands of the Dursleys, and Hermione stupidly made an oath to experience life the way Harry did for one week. For a week, her oath is going to force Harry to be the Dursleys.” “For the most brilliant witch of her age, she can be really stupid sometimes,” Remus said. “You’re blaming this all on her?” Ron bellowed. “Yes,” Tonks said in a tone of surprising finality. “He adores her. I’ll lay that hundred Galleons I won from him that when the week is up, he’s going to be trying like crazy to withdraw from everyone – especially her. Her oath is the absolute worst thing for his psyche that she could possibly have done to him.” “I fear that may be our fault – the wizarding world, that is,” Dumbledore said. “Wizarding children are raised knowing that you don’t lightly make an oath, but it is never truly explained why. Muggle-borns are never truly taught the truth behind them, since the oaths are so seldom used anymore. She was unaware, even with all her studying, that to make an oath such as that would force him to become that which he hates most. Quite likely, even if she was taken from Harry, whomever she ended up with would treat her the same way.” ##### Hermione's Internal Diary – Day One I do this in hopes of remembering enough of this to write down at a later time. That sort of thing seems to work if I think of something in book form. I made a wizard's oath today, and already regret it. Not for what it's doing to me, but for what I've cursed Harry with. I wanted to understand what it was like for him, so I swore an oath to experience life the way he did for one week. Well, that's forcing him to be the Dursleys from what I can tell. I am such a stupid girl! I should have realized that the magic would have to force the situation. I heard some fighting in the room after I left it to help Dobby. Ron and Ginny apparently attacked him, and I’m wondering if one of them got him in the back. Before Harry put me in a cupboard for the night, I was watching him walk around. He’s hunched over, as if he were as old as Dumbledore looks. I offered to help him, and that earned me a slap. I hope Harry never forgives me. I heard him crying afterwards. Crying as if he hadn't a friend in the world. He may not, after that oath I cursed him with. Day Two Dragged out of the cupboard fairly early and forced to make breakfast. Now, I'm a decent cook, but I'm damned if I can remember a single good thing he liked about my cooking. The toast was too light, the eggs were too dry, the bacon was too soft … He then had me work on the lawn. It's a big lawn. A really big lawn. And he had me using a reel style push mower to trim it. (If this is ever read by someone other than me, that’s one of those muscle powered mowers.) I worked from some time in the early morning until well after noon, when Dobby snuck out and brought me a pitcher of cold water. I drank straight form the pitcher, and drank almost half of it. Harry came out, nearly puce in colour, and took the pitcher away from me, pouring the rest of it on the ground right in front of me. I made the mistake later that evening of talking back to him about something, and the next thing I knew I was running from him, him swinging a frying pan. He connected with my head. I'm still seeing stars. I don't like the way he looks. He's badly bruised about one eye, and he moves like an old man, favouring his ribs. Why won't he cast healing magic on himself? Day Three The mowing continues, and Dobby continues to sneak me water when he can. He makes sure that Harry is elsewhere in the manor house. About noon, Harry came out and informed me that he needed to leave for a while. He dragged me back to the cupboard and made me climb in. I'm still wondering how he managed it. I'm going stark in here. It's so hard to get comfortable. I hurt from the blisters on my hands from the mower, my head still rings from the frying pan, and he keeps looking at me as if he's trying to figure out exactly what to do to me next. It scares me. It scares me a lot. What scares me more is hearing him cry every night as if his soul has been torn from his body. If he's smart, he'll never forgive me. Day Four Well, more lawn, and I can see that I won't get it finished before the week is done. That in and of itself may send him around the bend. Uh-oh, maybe I shouldn't have thought that. Here he comes, and I swear he looks like that fat cousin of his. It's as if I can tell who he's 'being' when I look at him. Right now, he's Dudley. He's got that bully look about him. ##### Harry grinned and dragged her back to the house. "Time for some fun, Mynee," he said in a sing-song voice. Before she could even think to ask what he meant, his fist came out and struck her in the stomach. That began the worst thirty minutes she could ever remember. He was very careful in the blows he rained upon her body. He ended up splitting her lip, and she knew that she was going to bruise spectacularly about the face. In fact, she expected to find her left eye swelling shut. She had watched his face, and the looks were astonishing and frightening. He'd have an unholy glee as he swung, mixed with horror as he actually struck. He had finally quit the beating when she had seen lust enter the mixture, and she watched him fight that one down. When he was under control, he simply scowled and pointed at the closet, which she climbed into gingerly. As she shut the door and locked it, she could hear his sobs beginning. I have to make this up to him, somehow, she thought to herself It's directly my fault that he's going through hell. I wanted to know what he went through, and instead I torture him worse than they ever tortured him. There was another purple flash, and she heard Harry suddenly shout, "What the fuck are those?" The anger in his voice was frightening. She could hear him run over to her cupboard and undo the lock. "Get out here. I need you to help me chase something off." He dropped her wand next to her and tore out of the manor house. When she had reached the place where Harry was, she saw a woman in a simple dress running barefoot away from a group of humanoid … things. They were … well, walking wasn't quite the word for it, but it would serve. Shambling was perhaps better, but not quite right either. Quit wool-gathering, girl! She fired off a Stupefy at one of them, and he seemed to shrug it off. Eyes shining as she looked at the back of Harry's head, she shouted "Expecto Patronum!" and the largest otter she had ever seen shot out of the end of her wand and gambolled over to the creatures. As it struck them, they fell, and Harry turned to her, eyes wide. She smiled at him, and she could see his return smile. He turned back to the creatures and fired off his own Patronus, surprising them both by its golden colour, and its sheer size – it would have made an Irish Elk look like a midget version of itself. It ran through the woman, who gasped and fell. It then proceeded to run through all of the attackers, even those already down. Each one literally exploded as the stag touched them. Harry looked back to her, and then his eyes grew haunted. She could see him fighting himself, and she stepped closer to him. The fight grew stronger, and suddenly he threw his head back and screamed, "No! I will die first! Never again!" A burst of white light exploded out from him, and knocked Hermione off her feet and away from consciousness. ##### Harry watched Hermione as she flew about fifteen feet from where she’d been standing. She was obviously unconscious before she even struck the ground. He ran to her, terrified of what he might find there. As he reached her, the woman that they had saved reached her as well. The both of them gasped to see blood coming from Hermione’s mouth, nose, and ears. The woman spoke, surprising Harry by speaking his language. “She is in grave danger. She must be seen to immediately.” Harry agreed, not even really looking at the woman. He grabbed her, grabbed Hermione, and willed himself to Number 12 Grimmauld Place. Previous Next Like it? Leave a review! Logged in as Wim Vincken (Log out) Site generated in 0.1519 seconds, 3 queries. Home | About | Email Alerts | Other Formats | Change Look | Favourite Stories | Yahoo! Group Back to: Harry Potter » Sorceror's Apprentice Reviews (2) Printer Friendly Format Sorceror's Apprentice Chapter 17 By Kinsfire Previous Next Chapter XVII They appeared in the hallway of Harry's home. “Anyone here!” Harry bellowed, mere seconds away from breakdown. The blood trickling from her ears had him terrified – there was nothing good that would cause that. Remus, Molly, and Dumbledore came running into the room. Molly gasped and ran over to Hermione. “What happened? Why is she so bruised? Why is there blood coming from her ears?” “She’s bruised because I beat the hell out of her earlier today. I assume the blood comes from when I fought off the oath a few minutes ago.” He stopped. “You all saw the purple flash. Well, I looked out my window and saw her,” he said, pointing at the dark-skinned woman who had come with him. “She was being chased by these … things. I handed Hermione her wand back and told her to come help me. We cast the Patronus, and destroyed the things chasing her. I trust her, because the Patronus ran right through her, and she’s still here.” He closed his eyes. “Hermione started to step closer to me, and I could feel the hatred coming back, so I fought it. There was an explosion of sorts that threw her a good distance, and when I got to her, she was bleeding like that.” He stood, and the action was more than a little painful. “I’m heading upstairs before I can kill or maim anyone else who means something to me.” He started up the stairs, stepping very slowly as he walked. “Harry, what’s wrong with you?” Remus asked. “Strained the back today, with all the work I was doing tried to beat Hermione to a bloody pulp. Trying to kill the woman you love is hard work, after all.” He turned and continued up the stairs. He didn’t stop until he had reached the room where Buckbeak had been kept until very recently. They hadn’t had a chance to clean it yet, and it was still littered with broken bones and rat droppings. He quietly closed the door, cast a Colloportus and a Silencio on it, and lay down on the bones and rat feces. ##### “What is wrong with her, Molly?” Albus asked. “Not sure. We need to get Poppy here immediately.” She looked up. “I want to be angry at him for doing this to her. I want to hurt him badly, Albus, but I know it was the curse that she cast on him, not knowing she was cursing him.” She shook her head. “I love that boy as if he were my own. Why does everything have to happen to him?” “Molly, please move,” said Madame Pomfrey as she bustled into the room ahead of Remus Lupin. She knelt next to Hermione and passed the wand across her a few times, murmuring, and then smiled. There were spots that were glowing yellow about the girl’s body, but nothing was obviously life threatening. “Let’s get her into a bed, and I’ll start working on the worst of her injuries. How did she get all these bruises, anyway?” “Long story,” Remus said. “Suffice it to say that it was an oath gone bad, and that you should take anything Harry says with a rather large Siberian salt mine, rather than merely a grain of salt.” Albus lifted her and carried her to the bedroom that she shared with Ginny when she was at 12 Grimmauld. "Remus, I think that you should locate Mister Potter as well. I do not like the way he was moving, and I fear that he may have done permanent damage to himself by not treating his wounds. I shall help you to find him." The two men left the room, and Albus paused for a moment, making Remus stop as well. "I believe we can find him almost immediately. If you were in the mood that Harry undoubtedly is in, where would you go to settle in? Where would you feel you belong?" Remus stared at him for just a moment, and then strode purposefully to the third floor, stopping in front of Buckbeak's room. He listened at the door. "Too quiet, Albus. He's got to be in there." He tried the lock, and found it locked. "To hell with lockpicking. Evanesco!" The door simply vanished, to display Harry curled on the floor in the fetal position. Broken bones lay around him, and some were poking into him. "I hate to do it, Albus," he murmured. "Stupefy!" He quickly picked up Harry's now limp form and carried him downstairs. "Do we put him in with Hermione, or in his own room?" "Neither is truly a good solution," Dumbledore responded, "but I feel that rooming him with her for the time being may serve best." Remus nodded and carried him into the bedroom, where Poppy gasped to look at him. His face was still slightly swollen where he'd been struck, and she ran the wand down his body. His back glowed an angry red. Vanishing his clothing, she gasped again to see his back – a mass of dark purple. "This is beyond my immediate capabilities," she said. "I need to … he needs St. Mungo's healers. Can we take him there, or should we find a way to bring one here?" Albus thought for a moment. "Give me about ten minutes. If I cannot find someone trustworthy within that time, then we shall take him to the hospital. I have misgivings about taking him there this time, although I cannot say why." He headed down the stairs and Disapparated away. A few minutes later, he returned with a beautiful woman in a healer's cloak. "He is this way, Healer Astarte." She was led to Harry's bed, barely nodding at Madame Pomfrey as she passed by her. She opened her bag and pulled out several things, surrounding Harry with various crystals. She gently rolled him onto his stomach, tapped the crystals in a peculiar manner, and a fine web spread across Harry for a moment, before fading. "Excellent. Now I can awaken him. Ennervate!" Harry jerked slightly as the beam struck him, and made a motion to move. Upon finding himself unable to, he sighed, in a manner that disturbed the listeners – he seemed happy to be immobile. "Now I can work on your back, Mister Potter," the healer said. "I need you to tell me when something hurts, or else I could permanently cripple you." "No." "Excuse me?" she asked. "If I'm crippled for life, then it's no more than I deserve for what I've done these last four days. I state that I love her, and then beat her nearly unconscious. I treat her like garbage. I am what the Dursleys made me – an abusive bastard who shouldn't breed." "Harry, that was the oath forcing you to do that," Remus said. "Oh really? The oath she made forced me to beat on her with my fists for half an hour, until I started to become aroused by it? The oath made me dress her like a house elf? I was humiliating her! She’s still wearing it! Look at her! I made her strip to her skin in front of her friends! And I laughably said that I love her some time before. These last few days show me that I don't even know the meaning of the word." He sighed again. "Work away, doctor. I'm not saying a word." "Harry?" a soft voice from the other bed said. "I'm fine, and I forgive you. It was my fault you did those things." "Don't you dare take the blame for my being scum, Hermione," he replied. "I was getting sexually aroused beating on you! If I'd continued, I would have raped you, Hermione, because I guarantee that you wouldn't have been in any mood for sex." "Harry, you've never been like that before. Why now? Because I forced it on you with that vile oath I swore. That's what Luna was talking about. I should have thought twice about swearing an oath like that." She took in a shuddering breath. "You're not like that, Harry. It was forced on you." "Came to me awfully easily, though, didn't it? Hitting you with frying pans, forcing you to blister those beautiful hands, beating on you until bones broke … just what you need in a boyfriend. Ask Professor Dumbledore how calm I can be. Ask him just how reasonable and polite I was after the Department of Mysteries. Ask him how non-violent an individual I am. Ask Bellatrix Lestrange, for that matter. Ever hear which spell I cast at her? Hint – it's one of three big ones, and it starts with the letter 'C'." He snorted. "Don't tell me I don't have the temper to do what I did to you without a curse behind it. I know better." His left leg spasmed suddenly as the healer worked on him, and he blinked for a moment. "Wow," he finally said. "That was … interesting. Safe to assume you won’t do it again?” “That would be a safe bet,” the healer said. She continued to work on him, occasionally causing another twitch, and finally moved five of the crystals onto his back and tapped them in a star pattern, clockwise. His back glowed, and suddenly a dome arose over the area of his back surrounded by crystal. She pulled out a vial of some crystalline powder and measured out a very precise amount, which she then poured onto the dome. “Whoa, that’s cold!” Harry squeaked. “What’s it for?” “Strengthening the bones in your back,” Astarte responded. “I’d love to meet the jerk who did this to your back. I’d give him the same injury, just to let him know what it feels like.” “Should’ve asked first, then,” Harry said. “I broke it doing one of the few worthwhile things I’ve done in my life. Saved her from a fatal fall, but I landed on my back to do it.” “That much I knew. I was one of the ones working on you at St. Mungo’s. I’m talking about the fresh injury.” “Me again. Just getting what I deserved.” “Bullshit!” Hermione exploded, and then blushed at the profanity. “I went off half-cocked and made a wizard’s oath that was basically a curse, and you had reacted to that over the last few days. My curse forced you to become what you hate more than anything else, and if I’d studied more, I’d have known that would be the result.” He shook his head. “You just don’t get it. My entire life has been aimed at one thing. The fucking prophecy about me was said before I was born. I need to aim my life at studying in order to kill Voldemort. Taking time to the side for unimportant things like family and friends – well, this once again proves what happens when I take my mind from the task. I let myself fall in love, and I’ve been reminded by the universe that I let my concentration slip. Nothing extraneous belongs in my life. I need training, and I need it in things that Voldemort has no knowledge of.” “Harry, you’ve forgotten our conversation of two months ago,” Dumbledore said. “‘The power that he knows not’?” “Mind explaining to me how the Ministry has a room full of love? Is it the honeymoon suite or something? What am I supposed to do, invite him to the Department again and seduce him? Screw him to death?” He snorted viciously. “Love won’t do a damn thing for me in this fight, except make me weak.” “Then you have already lost,” Dumbledore replied. “Oh really? How can you be sure? Love has already made me weak. Rather than teaching me what I needed to know from the beginning, you kept information from me until two months ago, out of love for me, and a desire not to shove too much on my shoulders. Remember back in my first year, when you sent Hagrid for me? He mentioned a letter you wrote for me. I assume that the Dursleys burned it. Did it explain the truth about my parents, or was it further information that I should have known, but you decided to keep from me in worry for the concerns I already had?" Dumbledore winced. "So love has proven to be an excellent weapon – for Voldemort. All he has to do is rely on the fact that our side is susceptible to mistakes based on feelings like that, and then he wins. No, I need to become tough. I need to be willing to sacrifice anything to win.” The room was silent for a long moment before Harry broke it with a quiet addition. “By the way, when I do fight Riddle, someone will need to be there to kill me immediately after I destroy Voldemort. These past few days have proven that I’ll be just as bad a Dark Lord as Riddle is. I just won’t come up with a silly name is all.” “Is this a real fear, sir?” asked a new voice. Everyone spun to see who it was, and suddenly remembered that Harry had brought someone else when he’d portkeyed to 12 Grimmauld. The woman was dark skinned – not the dark brown of Kinsgley Shacklebolt, but the dark colour of charcoal. She was short, about the height of a first or second year girl, but her figure proved that she was certainly older than that, as did the sword she wore at her side and the way she carried that body. Her silver-white hair was swept haphazardly over her left eye. The eyes in question were a brilliant gold in colour, as if the irises of her eyes had been beaten from the metal. She was inhumanly beautiful – literally so, as they noticed the graceful points to her ears sticking up through her hair. “Is this a true fear, Sir Harry? Are you likely to become a dark lord? I sense no evil in you at this time.” Her voice made the men in the room contemplate adjusting their robes. It was obvious that she had no idea she was having this effect. “You can sense things like that?” he asked in shock. “Yes. I ask because I owe you a life debt, as I do your beloved on the other bed. If this is a true fear, that you will merely replace your dark lord here, then I shall follow you, help you defeat him, and when necessary, dispatch you with speed and gentleness.” He blinked at her. “You’re serious, aren’t you?” “Yes,” was the simple answer. He looked at her for a moment. Even in his mood, he wasn’t immune to her effect. Something other than his hormones, however, told him that she was safe. “I accept. Perhaps you can teach me a few things while you’re here, like how to use that sharp pointy thing you carry.” He tried to move, but the web held him down. “I’d shake your hand, but I’m kinda immobilized right now.” “I understand. I shall need to talk with your elders here, to work out certain things, but I shall return shortly.” She looked to Remus and Dumbledore, and the three of them left the room. ##### She looked to Dumbledore first. “From your speech, I assume that you are in a position of authority over them?” “I am the headmaster at the school he will attend for the next two years.” “Excellent. With them saving my life, I now owe them a debt, both of gratitude, and … I do not know how to phrase it …” “We understand wizard debts here. You owe them the chance to repay in kind if necessary.” “Precisely!” she said with a smile. “My problem is simple, however. When they are at this school, I need to be able to be near them as much as possible. Is your school segregated into male and female, as many such schools are?” “Yes,” came the simple answer. “What may be done to remedy this? I am no good as someone to guard their bodies if I am unable to be near them. Perhaps I could be in the same room as her, but that does me no good for protecting him, and I somehow think that my sleeping in the same room as him would cause more problems with his roommates than are truly worthwhile, and that simply ignores that I would be unable to be near her for her protection. How may I be placed near them both?” “I am loathe to put young people of opposite genders in proximity such as that which you request,” Albus murmured. “What are their ages?” she asked. “He is sixteen years of age, and she will be seventeen in a month. You appear to be of a similar age.” She laughed. “At my last birthday, I turned one hundred and six, sir. I could likely chaperone them.” Before he could stop himself, Remus had said, “Looking damned good for passing your century mark.” He shook his head. “My apologies. That was unbelievably rude.” After bowing to her in apology, he turned to Albus. “That could be a solution. Give them an empty teacher’s quarters, and she can be their guardian. Fulfils her part that she needs, and puts them together to work out their problems, since you know them both well enough to know that they’ll hide from each other, if possible.” "And I can ensure that they stay together to talk." She grinned for the first time, and it seemed slightly feral. "I am a bit more dangerous than I at first appear." "Of that I have little doubt," Remus replied with a slight smile. ##### Back in the room, Hermione lay on her bed, tears in her eyes. "Harry, can you ever forgive me?" "For what? For making me finally show you the real me? No apology necessary." He closed his eyes. "For taking the sweetest, gentlest, kindest, most caring man I know, and making him believe that he's just as bad as those creatures that he grew up with. For making the man who risked his life when he was eleven years old to save a nightmare girl from a troll; who fought a basilisk to save the school, and more importantly his best friend's little sister; for making him feel like he was worthless." She paused. "My heart is still yours, if you'll have it, Harry. I still love you. I know that I don't deserve you after these last few days." He opened his eyes and looked at her in shock. He couldn't speak for several minutes. When he did, he said, "Please tell me you aren't serious, Hermione. You can not be that earth-shatteringly stupid as to want to stay in a relationship with an abuser. Are you really hoping to have your parents looking down at your headstone saying, 'We miss you, Hermione'? Do you want to have to force Ron or the rest of your friends from Hogwarts to hunt me down and slaughter me like the mad dog I am? For what I did to you this week, I deserve to die, like any abuser does. But I have to stay alive until I can get rid of that psychotic bastard, Riddle. So the world relies on me to get rid of him. Maybe then my death sentence can be carried out." "Harry, you don't deserve to …" "Hermione, I abused one of the most beautiful women I know. I struck her repeatedly. Today alone I pounded on her for thirty minutes. A man who beats a woman deserves death. Plain and simple, black and white. I beat you. You're the logical one – work it out." He closed his eyes again. "Healer Astarte, how much longer do I need to be held down?" "I'm not sure. You sound like you're likely to do something stupid and fatal if I release you." "Suicide? Tried that already. Damned uncomfortable. Won't make that mistake again. You needn't worry about me hurling myself off a building, either. I don't like the feeling of Skele-Gro regrowing my bones, and that's all that would end up happening. I literally can't die yet." Astarte’s eyebrows rose in disbelief. “Set me loose, and I’ll show you a scar. Inflicted it myself less than a month ago.” She carefully undid the wards holding him down and he sat up slowly. “Back feels better. Thank you. I don’t mean to take my anger out on you two ladies. You’re doing your life’s calling and doing it quite well, I might add.” He looked down and pointed to the scar beneath his left pectoral muscle. “Butcher’s knife. Near the end of July. Felt it enter my heart. I’m sitting here talking to you. You tell me about it.” “Unfortunately, Healer Astarte, the young man tells the truth,” Dumbledore said as he, Remus and the girl entered the room once again. “You are a member of the same organization as I am. He is the one we are here to support.” Her eyebrows rose. “Then we need to get him talked to by someone who can properly explain curses. What exactly did you curse him with, and why?” she asked Hermione. Hermione explained the intended purpose of her oath, and the healer blanched, as did Madame Pomfrey. Dumbledore lost the twinkle from his eyes. Remus, on the other hand, went white for a moment, before turning a colour Harry had only ever seen Vernon turn. “Albus,” he finally said when Hermione was done explaining what had happened, “we are not letting them get away with what they did to him over the years. Despite what he did to her because of her curse, what he experienced had to have been far beyond that, if only because hers would only have been a week. His was never-ending. I will not allow his abusers to get away with this, Albus. They had a duty to treat him like a human being, not a punching bag for their little pig of a child. I will not let them get away with treating James and Lily’s only child as worthless!” Harry started to respond, but wisely stopped as Remus glared at him. “I will not hear you refer to yourself as worthless, Harry. No child that James and Lily could produce could ever be worthless. Who was it who created the only Patronus I’ve ever heard of that chased away a hundred Dementors?” Remus took a deep breath, visibly calming himself. “You’re in so much pain right now, Harry, because you care so much. You love so deeply. Don’t lock that away because the Dursleys are trash. Don’t let them win. Come back and be the caring, loving man you’ve always been.” Harry looked shocked at him for a moment, and then a large tear appeared in his left eye, followed by another in his right. They had obviously brought friends with them, because soon Harry stood to cry on Remus’s shoulder. “I tried to kill her, Remus!” he sobbed into the man’s shoulder. “I don’t care if it was a curse or not – it was me doing it! I was trying to kill her!” “Harry,” Hermione said from behind him, “prior to this curse I inflicted on you, how many times have you beaten me in the last five years?” He sniffed, a sort of “snork”of a sound, and turned to face her. “I don’t think I ever have.” “Exactly, Harry,” she murmured. “It took me being a remarkably stupid girl to magically force you to do that. And something else, Harry. I said a week, didn’t I? You broke the curse. How? Why did it break when you forced it? Did it have anything to do with the golden Patronus you cast?” “Golden?” Remus asked in shock. “I’ve never heard of a golden Patronus before.” “Precisely,” Hermione said. “Whatever he was feeling made a Patronus that passed through her without harming her, and yet made whatever was chasing her explode. I mean literally, Professor. They exploded.” She looked back to Harry. “I was serious about that question, Harry. What were you thinking?” “Well, I was …” He blushed furiously. “For the Patronus, I was thinking about the situation that led to my circles of heaven comment to you and Tonks.” He was answered with a demure blush from Hermione, and an amused look from Remus. “The breaking of your oath was when I decided that if someone was going to die because of the treatment I was giving you, then it was damned well going to be me. So of course there was backlash and I made you bleed from the ears.” “Harry, I cursed you! Of course there’d be backlash on me if you broke it! I deserved it!” “What if … what if it had killed you?” he asked in the smallest voice she’d ever heard him use. “Well, I’m standing here right now, aren’t I? So don’t borrow trouble.” She pulled him into a hug, and pulled his face down to her. The kiss she gave him made him start to cry all over again. “It’s all right, Harry. We’ve both got a long road ahead of us to get over this, and I’ll be apologizing to you for years to come.” She patted his back in a motherly style. “I don’t know what I’d do if I lost you, Hermione. I don’t feel I deserve you, or Tonks, or even Ginny caring for me.” He’d had the presence of mind not to mention what had happened nearly a week ago, especially with Molly hovering around the periphery. “But if I lost any of you, or Ron, or even Luna – what would there be to live for anymore?” She blinked at him, and tears filled her eyes again. "The rest would help you make it through, Harry. That's what friends and loved ones are for." Almost too quiet for her to hear, he said, "But what if it's you? I wouldn't want … I couldn't …" "Shh, Harry," she crooned to him. "I'm here. I love you. With those two things, we can manage anything else." She kissed his neck in a comforting manner, and he cried quietly into her hair. Finally, he got himself together. "Some man I am," he said. "Crying over things that haven't happened." Remus cleared his throat. "A real man is willing to show weakness around those he cares for, Harry. Never let anyone else tell you differently." He put his hand on the tortured wizard's shoulder. "I'm proud to know the man you've become, Harry." "As am I Harry," Dumbledore said. "You have dealt with things already that would have killed a lesser individual. And those were as a child, so how much better a man will you be?" "And I'm proud to call him my lover," Hermione said. "I always will be, too." The new woman spoke. "One who evokes such feelings in others is always worth knowing, Sir Harry. I have no doubt that I too shall consider myself proud to know you." She walked over to him. "I am called Delphine. I am pleased to meet those who saved my life." “Wait until you get to know me,” Harry grumbled. Previous Next Like it? Leave a review! Logged in as Wim Vincken (Log out) Site generated in 0.1924 seconds, 3 queries. Home | About | Email Alerts | Other Formats | Change Look | Favourite Stories | Yahoo! Group Back to: Harry Potter » Sorceror's Apprentice Reviews (60) Printer Friendly Format Sorceror's Apprentice Chapter 18 By Kinsfire Previous Next Chapter XVIII Vignettes preceding Hogwarts "Ronald Bilius Weasley, what do you think you are doing?" she had yelled at him when Albus Dumbledore confirmed with Ron that his request would be honoured. Turning white, Ron said, "Mum …" "Don't you 'Mum' me, young man!" "I'm just …" "You're trying to avoid the extra work is all! I will not stand laziness in my sons!" She took a deep breath. "Well, that choice is too late to change. I want you to degnome the garden, young man. You may be able to get away with it at school, but you'll work extra hard for it here." Ron stalked from the house, barely keeping himself from stomping, since he knew that would bring more punishment down on his head. Harry watched and then turned back to Molly. Very quietly he said, "I begin to understand Percy." Arthur inhaled deeply in shock while Dumbledore's eyebrows rose. "What do you mean by that, Harry?" Molly asked, eyes narrowing. "He learned at your knee. He enjoys lording over people that he's always right, whether he is or not, just like you." *SLAP!* "At least it wasn't your favourite humiliation weapon, the Howler," he said. "I'm used to physical abuse." He bulled forward as her eyes went wide and she opened her mouth to speak. "Percy humiliates by his imperious attitude. You do it by berating people publicly. You've made it an art form. You spent my fourth year treating Hermione like garbage because you believed Rita Skeeter, of all people. I honestly don't know how Hermoine forgave you for it. I remember that Howler of yours to her. I remember the Howler from second year, after Dobby tried to prevent Ron and me from getting to Hogwarts, although we didn't know it at the time." His eyes narrowed and his voice got colder. "I remember that delightful screaming match with Sirius last year when I first got to headquarters. You got into a screaming match with him because he was trying to steal your son, as you saw it, and you got vicious about it. Never mind that my parents wanted him to raise me - you’d adopted me, and you had to take care of any rivals, so you belittled him publicly." He paused. "I wonder how much of that was going through his head when he went running for the Ministry in June?" "I want you to think about how much you hurt people in your attempts to help them, Molly," he said quietly. "I love your family, but you are beginning to worry me. I'm worried about Ron and Ginny because of you. You won't let go because we're children." He stopped and looked in her eyes. "We haven't been children since we started school. Ginny was mind-raped by Voldemort her very first year, and I faced Voldemort down in my first year. Also my second, fourth, and fifth. Think about that. Ron and Hermione were with me most of the time. We aren't children anymore." He sighed. "I lived with the Dursleys. I've never been a child, and I never will be." "Ron gave up his badge because he learned from somewhere that I had been the first choice for Gryffindor prefect, and he was chosen when this man decided I had too much on my plate already," he said, jabbing his thumb in Dumbledore's direction. "Ron decided, with more maturity than you're giving him credit for, to fix what he saw as an error. I never asked him for this, and I never would." He walked to the door. "Since I'm part of the cause for this, I'm going to help Ron degnome." He closed the door behind him. ##### Harry, Hermione, Delphine and Remus were sitting outside at Potter's Field simply enjoying the day after a training session with Delphine, who was teaching the three both magic and some swordplay. Dobby and Winky, Harry's new employees, were enjoying keeping the quartet's glasses full. With a gentle pop, Dobby appeared again. "Master Harry, sir, Master Dumbledore wishes to speak to you." "Would he rather I come to him, or would he like to come here? We can offer him some excellent lemonade." Winky blushed with the praise. A few moments later, Harry heard the response, "I believe that Winky's lemonade would be just the thing on a day such as this." A moment later there was a glass and a chair waiting for the elderly headmaster. Settling in, he said, "It appears that my original fears for you were wrong, Harry, and I am both most heartily sorry and exceedingly glad, if you understand my meanings." "Sorry that you mistrusted what might happen, and glad to see you were wrong?" came the smiling response, which received a nod. "I am even pleased in the manner in which you brought your displeasure to the attention of Vernon and Petunia Dursley." ***** Madeline Fitzgerald saw the limousine driving slowly down Privet Drive, and found herself curious. It seemed to have a crest on the side, meaning that it was the vehicle of someone highly placed; a Lord. What’s nobility doing on this street? And why isn’t Petunia Dursley out trying to get it to stop, so that she can brag about talking to them? She thought that last with a ladylike snort – the Dursleys were not terribly well liked in this neighbourhood. Given the way they put on airs? And I don’t care what school you say the boy goes to, you don’t scream at him the way Vernon does. Love to report the man, but there’s nothing we can use for proof. She watched as it turned the corner toward Magnolia Crescent, and curiosity got the better of her. She chose to walk closer, if only to see where the limousine stopped. When she got there, she was surprised to see that it had come to a stop in front of Arabella Figg’s home. Madeline was stunned when she watched the Lord in question climbed from the vehicle, however, and then let loose with a short laugh. The man looked up, smiled and walked over to her. “Mrs. Fitzgerald, isn’t it?” Harry Potter asked her. “Yes, my Lord,” she said in a quavering voice. “Don’t worry, ma’am, I’m still the same boy who did all that yard work for the Dursleys. I’m not going to get angry if you talk to me as if I weren’t stuck with this title.” He grinned at her; a very disarming grin, and she blushed. “In other words, you can call me Harry.” “What brings you here, if I’m not being too forward?” she asked. “You’re not. I wanted to talk to Mrs. Figg and make her an offer. I hope she’ll take it. She’s always been there for me, and I’d like to return the favour.” “Petunia Dursley will fall over dead when she realizes that you’re here,” Madeline blurted out, and then immediately blushed. “Wouldn’t that just be horrible, if she found out that the boy they were forced to take care of was now a baron?” He smiled an evil smile, and Madeline couldn’t help but laugh. “Would it please my Lord if I told her that there was a baron visiting Arabella, but not who it is?” she asked with a twinkle in her eyes. “If you would, please,” he laughed. “Well, time for me to go bother Mrs. Figg.” He walked toward the house, and Madeline’s eyes fell on the blonde woman waiting near the door. Quite beautiful, and the only proper descriptor for her was statuesque. Even more to hit Dursley with, she chuckled to herself. She walked briskly away, and headed back for her block. She headed quickly for the Dursley home. When Petunia finally answered her insistent knock, Madeline ignored the annoyed look on the woman’s face. “Petunia! I just saw a car pull up in front of Arabella Figg’s!” she said in the most breathless and brainless way she could manage. “It’s a baron! He’s got his crest on the side of the car and everything!” ***** “What would a baron be doing visiting Mrs. Figg?” Petunia wondered out loud. “I think I’d like to see this for myself.” She untied the apron she was wearing and set it carefully over a chair, and then exited the house. “Arabella Figg’s, you say?” The two women shared meaningless chatter until they reached Magnolia Crescent. Petunia’s jaw actually dropped slightly when she saw the long vehicle parked along the kerb, complete with the black and silver family crest on the vehicle’s door. It was when her eyes fell on the chauffeur that her line set into a thin line, and she stalked over to the vehicle. “What do you … you people think you’re doing?” she hissed at Remus Lupin. “Mrs. Dursley,” he said calmly, with a small smile gracing his lips. “I assume you refer to Baron Potter visiting with Mrs. Figg?” “If he’s a baron, then I’m Queen Elizabeth,” she snorted. “Be careful, Petunia,” he hissed in return. “You’re drawing attention to yourself, and things are not as you think they are. Harry is in fact a baron, and he will be proving it to you soon.” The front door opened, and Harry came out with the blonde woman. “It was good seeing you again, Mrs. Figg, and I’ll start the paperwork to help you with that. Let me know when you wish to move, and I’ll have my men come by to help.” “Thank you again, Baron …” Arabella began, her eyes twinkling. “You’ve known me as Harry for all this long, Mrs. Figg – there’s no reason to stop using the name now simply because of an accident of birth.” He smiled. “And it’s no problem. I have no real use for that second house on the property, and I know you like to be able to keep an eye on me. This makes it easier.” She laughed and curtsied to him, and he hugged her when she was done. “I need to be going – I still have things to do today, unfortunately, or else I’d visit longer.” He turned and started back for the car, his face going blank when his eyes fell on Petunia Dursley. “Harry Potter,” she said with more than a little asperity, “what do you think you’re doing?” “Visiting a friend,” he said calmly. “Mrs. Dursley, may I introduce my aide, Narcissa Black? She’s helping to ease me into the world I’ve just discovered that I’m part of.” “Are you going to insist upon this charade?” Petunia asked. “I think we would have been told if you were the heir to some title.” Harry smiled a humorless smile and turned to Narcissa, who was already removing a sheaf of papers from the case she was carrying. “This is proof of the claims that Mister Potter has upon both the Potter family baronial title and the Black family title, properly notarised.” Petunia took the papers and very quickly turned white. “We will await you at your household, Mrs. Dursley,” Harry said quietly. “I have some items that need to be removed in order to be permanently shut of your presence in my life.” He climbed into the car, followed by Narcissa. Remus closed the door and then climbed into the driver’s seat and began the drive to Number four Privet Drive. ***** “It is truly a far worse revenge upon them than if you had merely injured or killed them,” Delphine said quietly. “Now they will spend their lives knowing that they would be likely treated as nobles themselves, were it not for their treatment of you.” “That’s not all,” Harry said, nodding. “I discovered, thanks to Hermione, that I have a considerable fortune due to many Muggle businesses. It turns out that one of them is a drill company called Grunnings. I’ve had my business manager hint that it might be an idea to remove Vernon from his position. Considering that I own greater than fifty percent of the stock through various channels, this is likely to get listened to. I won’t stop him from working, but I will shake him up a little bit. Make him actually work for once in his life.” “Given his age, he might have trouble finding a new job,” Hermione said with a frown. “Are you sure you want to do that to him?” Harry looked at her with a particularly significant gaze, and then at Delphine. Her face fell, and then she scowled. “Right. Now that you mention it, you’re being kind to the man.” She fell to murmuring to herself, and Harry thought he caught the words “flouric acid enema”. "Um, Hermione?" he asked. "I overheard something – what does flouric acid do?" "Eats through flesh," she said simply, and with a cheerful lilt to her voice. Harry shuddered for a moment before adding, "I'm also going to be taking advantage of the tabloids. I've given the hint of the 'local boy makes good' to them, and since those sharks now smell blood in the water …" Hermione grinned. "The Dursleys will be in the papers all the time, but not the way that they want to be. Some overzealous reporter is going to break in and get pictures from under the stairs, get shots of those locks outside the room you slept in - you know, I don't think I ever heard you call it yours? It was always Dudley's second bedroom." "That's because it was. That was never my home. Home is where you and Tonks are. Home is where my friends are." He looked at the assembled group, who all had the good graces to blush, even the headmaster. "I am honoured that you still wish to call me friend, after what has happened between us." "Mistakes happen, sir. I can either dwell on them all, or worry about the real worrisome ones. You have done things with the best of intentions - please, no comments about paving roads - and I can't truly fault that. We're both trying to find a happy medium." "Indeed." "Sir?" Delphine spoke up. "Has you managed to figure out how I will be able to protect both Sir Harry and Lady Hermione while we are at your school?" "I am uncertain how your class situation may go, but as for sleeping arrangements, there is a suite just off Gryffindor Tower that dates back to the day when we had many married students studying at the school. This suite in question is large enough for a reasonably large family, which should suit the four of you just fine." "Four?" Harry asked, and then noticed the slight reddish tinge at the tips of Remus's ears. He grinned for a moment before he said, "I can't resist. You dog, you!" He quickly rose from his chair and began to run as Remus leapt from his own to chase him. A few minutes later a thoroughly tickled and laughing Harry returned to his seat, followed by Remus, who was still chuckling. "Quite seriously, though, both Delphine and I will be coming to the school as your bodyguards." "May I be permitted to inquire about the deal you worked out with Cissy concerning your pay?" Harry asked. "Helping to keep you alive is payment enough, Harry," Remus said. "So you're doing this for free." "Of course." Harry smiled. "Dobby," he said quietly, calling to the house elf he had hired. The large eyed creature appeared with a pop. "How may Dobby help Master Harry?" "If you could find Miss Black and tell her that I'll be needing two bodyguard contracts at standard pay plus twenty percent for hazardous duty, I'd greatly appreciate it." "Dobby will find her immediately!" Before popping out, he looked to Remus and said with a grin, "Dobby told Master Remus." As the elf disappeared, Remus shook his head. "Hazardous duty?" he finally asked with a raised eyebrow. "I'm hunted by a dark wizard, Remus, and I'm the only one on the planet who can kill him. I think that qualifies as hazardous." He looked to Delphine, who had a predatory glint to her eyes. "I take it that you like the challenge?" She answered with a simple nod. "You'll want to watch out for someone called Draco Malfoy when we return to school. He's been fairly ineffective, but he's good at getting under your skin and getting you angry." She looked to Hermione. "Is this Draco Malfoy a real threat to Harry, or merely an annoyance?" "He's never been more than annoying, but I won't discount the possibility that he could become dangerous. He has stated support for Voldemort where adults can't hear him. Yes, he could be dangerous." She thought for a moment. "His own guards are Crabbe and Goyle - Vincent Crabbe and Gregory Goyle. They don't tend to think fast on their feet. If you can bring Draco down quickly and make them aware that they're next, then you're golden. They'll never bother you again. They recognise force." Harry simply nodded his agreement. "What martial training has he shown?" "Not much, from what I can tell. If anything, his tendency is toward darker spells." "Then a physical attack is most likely to be successful against him. I shall remember this." "It'll be easy to point him out," Hermione said with a grin. "You'll be the most beautiful woman at the school, so he'll be on you faster than Trelawney can predict Harry's death." "One of the most beautiful," Harry said, correcting Hermione. "And to answer the question I'm sure you were going to ask, Trelawney is no danger that I've ever seen. She hovers in her tower and makes predictions that are either so vague as to be useful when something like it happens, or she predicts my death several times a year. She's a fraud who has a talent for making real predictions that really mess up my life. Twice so far." Delphine nodded. Hermione said, "One of the most beautiful, Harry? She is the most beautiful woman I have ever seen." Harry turned to Delphine and said, "No offence to you, dear lady, but I don't know you well enough to declare you the most beautiful woman I know." He turned back to Hermione. "She is stunningly attractive, I admit, and a lot of us at school will likely be finding reasons to sit down suddenly when she walks into a room. True beauty, though, is within. She may prove to be as beautiful inside at out, but until that point, my choice for the most beautiful at the school is going to be a certain bushy haired brunette." Hermione stared at him for a moment before jumping to her feet and running off. Harry frowned and stood to follow her, but Remus and Delphine held him back. "I shall go," Delphine said, and walked away. ##### Things were still tense by the time that September first rolled around. Hermione didn't seem to know how to react around Harry, and it hadn't helped when Delphine told him that Hermione thought he'd said what he had for pure flattery purposes. He had no idea how to convince her otherwise. He'd talked to Narcissa and got her to bring the headmaster in on the attempt to talk to Daphne Greengrass. Narcissa, Daphne, and Harry would all be invited to the Headmaster's office before the first week was complete, and it would be Narcissa and Harry's job to tell her. The only other thing of note before reaching the school was Draco Malfoy on the Hogwarts Express. He and his ever-present goon squad opened the door to the cabin that Harry, Hermione, Ron, Luna, Ginny, Remus and Delphine were in. "Well, Potter, I see you still have your worthless hangers-on. Doesn't it bother you to know that they only hang around you for the money? I understand you have to pay for her to hang around," he finished, pointing at Delphine. Harry snorted and looked at Ginny. "Isn't it interesting that I could change the name and say the exact same thing back to him?" He looked back to Malfoy. "Run along, little boy. Your threats to your mother and myself are meaningless. I came into the Black title through completely legally proper means, which is probably why you can't understand it, since your father has never done anything legally if he could avoid it." He stood. "Be careful that you don't anger me too much, or else I might officially eject you from the family. Could your reputation survive the humiliation?" "What are you on about?" he sneered. "Narcissa is a Black. I am the head of the family now. I will be officially accepting Andromeda Tonks back into the family, if she was disowned. I will be disowning Bellatrix officially. If I feel that you will dishonour the family through your antics, I will disown you. Can your reputation handle that?" "I'm getting your improper control of the Black family overturned, Potter, so don't get too familiar with it." "Tell you what, ferret boy. You know what the Blacks were like, and you know how they protect their things. I'll toss you the Family Crest ring, and you will put it on in front of me. If you survive the experience, I'll promise not to eject you from the family. I'll even promise an allowance until you hit eighteen. But you have to survive putting the Family ring on." "A likely story. You've already trapped it, I'm quite certain, especially with all these witnesses around to cover for you. I'll get the ring via the law." He turned and began to walk away. "Feel free to burn through the Malfoy fortune to do it!" Harry called after him. "What would happen if he'd taken you up on it?" Delphine asked. "This ring is part and parcel of a family famed for their Dark tendencies. They were … exuberant … in their protections. It is actually quite likely that the ring would have killed him, especially since his mother is not Narcissa. That was why I warned him." He shrugged. "My job is done. He's been warned, and if he chooses to ignore the warning, then on his own head be it." He turned to Hermione and wiggled his eyebrows. "Up for a little snogging?" She blinked at him for a moment, and for that moment, Harry could see the war inside her - If he's going so far as to flatter me, does he really love me? - seemed to be the thought in there. He sighed and stood. "Never mind. I'll be back later." He was out the door before anyone could stop him. Delphine followed. They walked silently to the very end of the train. Finally she spoke up. "Give her time. She is insecure and sees me as a rival." "I understand that, but you didn't see that look she was giving me. It was almost an actual set of words I was getting. Ever since I said what I did about you, she's absolutely sure that I lied to her just to get into her knickers. She thinks I was flattering her, so now she thinks I don't really love her. I can see that in her eyes." "She will come around, Lord Harry. I can see that you and she are meant to be together." "No she won't. She's more stubborn than I am, and that's saying something. She's gotten it into her head that I'm flattering her. She'll stay with me for a while, but it'll be over before October. I'll bet money on that. She'll find a reason to break things off." He snorted. "After what I did this summer, who can blame her? No one forgets a beating like the one that she took at my hands, no matter the reason it happened. She'll always remember my anger and my hands striking her. She'll flinch someday when I reach for her, I'm sure of it. And can you blame her?" Delphine sat quietly with him for a time, watching his back carefully, until he finally decided to return to the cabin with the others. "We should talk later," Hermione said quietly to him. He simply nodded. Previous Next Like it? Leave a review! Logged in as Wim Vincken (Log out) Site generated in 0.1561 seconds, 3 queries.
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