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Harry / Tonks ship

Harry slowly drifted back up from a deep sleep.  As his mind started working again, his memory of the fight at the Shacklebolt home came flooding back and threatened to throw him back into unconsciousness with guilt.  He groaned.

"Awake, are you?" a voice quietly asked.

Harry opened his eyes and could make out the blurry form of Godric sitting next to his bed in the Keep.  Harry groaned again.  "Did I really kill him, or was it all an awful nightmare?"

"Hmm," Godric made a non-committal noise.  "You helped save three lives and capture nine Death Eaters."

Harry pried himself into a sitting position and took the glasses Godric handed him.  "You didn't answer the question, Grandfather."

Godric sighed.  "One of the attacking Death Eaters, who would have cheerfully killed you and everyone you hold dear if he could've, did die as a result of your spell, yes."

Harry groaned a third time, dropping his head into his hands.

"Harry, do you hate me?"

Harry's head shot up.  "Of course not!"

"Do you hate Remus?"

Harry vehemently shook his head.

"Tonks?  Kingsley?"

Again, Harry shook his head.

"All four of us have killed, Harry.  Yes, you killed that man.  But it wasn't at the whim of a psychotic madman.  It was in defense of your friends and two innocents.  Don't you dare feel guilt for that."

Harry sighed.  "I know that.  It's just that I feel guilty anyway.  That was the first person who died as a direct result of my actions."

Godric nodded and laid a hand on his shoulder.  "I'm not saying it isn't an easy burden to bear.  I still remember those that I was forced to kill, one of whom had been a good friend at one point.  Let your heart grieve for them, yes, but not because you killed them.  Rather grieve their poor choices that led them to their fate."

Harry nodded tiredly.

Having given his heir something to think about, Godric leaned back in his chair.  "Nine Death Eaters were turned over to the ministry.  Remus got you back here before anyone else showed up, so it's possible your presence at the fight won't be known.  We'll have to wait for this morning's Prophet to know for sure.  The Shacklebolts moved into the suite you asked Dobby to prepare.  Did that answer all your questions for the moment?"

"Who were the ten Death Eaters?  Who was the one I . . ."  Harry choked up, unable to finish his question.

Godric shook his head.  "I haven't heard any names.  You can ask the others at breakfast if you still want to know."

"Did you hear about it?" Harry asked in a small voice.

"Remus told me about it."

"How did I do that?  I mean, I can't believe Remus or Tonks hadn't hit their cover with a Reductor Curse before I tried it."

"We keep telling you and telling you, Harry.  You're powerful.  Got that?  Pow-er-ful.  Your Reductor Curse was at least twice as strong as anything else that hit it by that point, thereby causing it to explode into shrapnel.  Same thing with apparating to Remus like you did, by the way.  Apparating to a person instead of a location requires intense mental focus and power that only a handful of wizards can claim."

Harry skeptically said, "I don't know about that, but I suppose I did try to focus on putting a lot of power into the blast before I fired it off."

"Then the spell was three times as powerful as Remus can do instead of only twice.  That explains why you were sick and weak, as well.  Your body isn't used to channeling that kind of energy, and it reacted in the only way it could.  We'll be working on channeling that kind of power in our future lessons.  Meanwhile, I'm going to keep telling you the same thing until you start to believe me, Harry.  In raw magical power, you're probably in the top ten living wizards on the planet right now."

"This can actually be measured?"  Honest curiosity was finally piercing the blanket of gloom that Harry was trying to fight off.

"Not really.  Oh, you can compare yourself to another by both casting a spell and seeing which is more powerful.  Stone cutting spells or heating massive amounts of water are good for that kind of comparison.  After you teach for a while, though, you can recognize these things in students."  He winked.  "And I've taught more than a few students in my time."

Harry smiled a little at one of the founders of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.  "Yeah, I heard rumors to that effect."

Godric laughed.  "Well, now that you're perhaps feeling better, shall we go down and get you some food?  It's about time for a late breakfast."


Harry found Remus and Tonks, both looking like they hadn't gotten any sleep, sitting at the table and reading copies of the Prophet.  Harry's face fell a little.  "Dare I ask?"

Remus looked up.  "Morning.  How'd you sleep?"  He paused and asked more quietly, "How're you doing?"

Harry's instinctive response of, "I'm fine," died before it passed his lips.  He flopped down into a seat and smiled thankfully at Dobby as the loyal elf placed a gargantuan breakfast in front of him.  "Thank you, Dobby.  If we interrupted your sleep with everything overnight, please go back to bed."

Dobby shook his head.  "Dobby needs less sleep than Master Harry.  Dobby does not need more sleep."

"House-elves really do need less sleep than humans," Tonks said, looking at him over the top of her own copy of the Prophet.  "Now stop trying to avoid the question."

Harry took a sip of his pumpkin juice as he framed his answer.  "Angry, upset, and depressed."

None of the adults could think of anything to say.

Harry continued, staring into space introspectively, "I have all this power, it seems.  Too much even for my body to keep up with it.  I'm fated to kill someone.  Here I go and kill someone else instead.  Everyone around me keeps getting hurt or killed.  Cedric and Sirius were killed, not to mention how often Ginny, Ron, and Hermione have been hurt just by being near me.  Not to mention most of the Order.  I'm a danger to everyone, aren't I?  Maybe I should just go -"

"NO!" three voices shouted their denial.

Startled out of his mood, Harry looked at them in confusion and shock.

"Don't you DARE go anywhere, Harry James Potter," Tonks said vehemently.  "People keep getting hurt?  Perhaps so.  But remember that we all are choosing, of our own volition, mind, to stand with you against a greedy, murderous psychopath."

"Yes, you have the power," Remus said.  "Patronus at thirteen?  Those things are rare and difficult enough to do once a witch or wizard reaches their full potential at eighteen or so.  Thirteen is unheard of."

"You also nearly tore through my anti-apparition ward," Godric added.

Remus looked over at him.  "He did?  Come to that, why did you let Harry come to the fight?  I thought you said you'd keep him here."

Godric grinned.  "I never promised that.  I just said that this place is too dangerous to attack with us both here.  As for why I 'let' him, as you call it?  You two went to the aid of a friend.  Are you denying Harry has the right to do the same?"

Remus scowled.  Tonks grinned and nodded in acknowledgement of the point.

Harry was enjoying the minor dressing down Remus was getting.  "He's got you there, Moony."

Ignoring the ghost's point, Remus said to Harry.  "Are you listening to us?  Leaving won't solve anything.  Voldemort will just have an easier time taking over the wizarding world and killing Ginny, Hermione, and everyone else."  He took a breath to calm down and continuined in a calmer tone, "Harry, running away to try to protect us won't accomplish anything.  It'll just make us all worry.  It probably wouldn't work either, as Voldemort would just find you.  Now, the only thing I can see for you to do is to become strong enough to survive the war that's coming our way.  And by Merlin I'm going to be here to help you avenge James, Lily, and Sirius."

Harry looked stricken.  "Moony -"

Tonks interrupted as Remus shook his head.  "He's just pointing out that we all have our own reasons to be in this fight."  She paused, and Harry slowly nodded his head as the information sank in.  "As for having killed that idiot last night, that is something that is tough to deal with."

Harry gave a small smile.  "What, you aren't going to give me some platitude about his deserving it by following a sociopathic wanker?"

She grinned at his phrasing and answered the question, "You've never struck me as wanting to dance around the issue.  Like most aurors, you'd rather get a straight answer."

Harry blew out a breath as he sank back in his chair.  "Yeah," he agreed in a whisper.  He shook his head.  "Grandfather talked with me after I woke up.  That helped."

Tonks and Remus both nodded and sighed identical sighs of relief at the minor crises they'd averted.

Changing the topic, Harry waved a hand at the paper and asked, "Should I ask what the rag that claims to report news is saying?"  Not waiting for a response, he picked up his fork and started in on his breakfast, surprised at his own appetite.

Remus smiled in approval at Harry's actions.  "Two articles you'd be interested in hearing about.  Sirius's Will was reported.  Done more or less accurately, actually.  Even got the terms to the Malfoys and Severus right."

"That was only yesterday, wasn't it?  Come to think of it, I was surprised to see them there," Harry said around a mouthful of eggs.

"The goblins invite everyone who is named in a Will.  Then it is open to anyone else as well.  The Black family is big news, so that's why there were so many other ministry people and reporters there."

Harry's face fell.  "Bloody hell.  Did anyone check for Skeeter?  I don't remember seeing her, but she could've been there as a bug."

Remus nodded.  "I checked after you started talking to Snargtooth.  She wasn't in the room.  Now, on to the second article.  They got the story about the attack in this edition of the paper, as you were apparently worried about.  All ten of the Death Eaters are named.  The wounded have all already been treated at St. Mungo's.  Kingsley and his family are named as the targets, though his position as former auror and currently your employee isn't mentioned."  He took a breath and dropped the bad news.  "We tried Harry, we really did.  Somehow, the Prophet learned that the three of us were there.  They even learned that you were the one who . . ."  He grimaced.

"Cast a spell that killed one of the attackers?" Harry asked with a slight catch in his voice.

"Yes," Remus asked quietly.

"Who was the . . . fatality?" Harry finally asked.

Remus slowly shook his head.  "Does it really matter?  As far as I know, the name doesn't mean anything to you."

Harry took a shuddering breath.  "No, I suppose not."  Shaking off the morbid mood threatening him again, he asked, "Any interesting names in the ones caught?"

"The father of one of your classmates, I think.  Geoffry Crabbe?"

Harry nodded, not really surprised.  His expression flattened out into a scowl, and he asked sarcastically, "Have either of you written to Dumbledore to THANK him for all the help the Order gave to us?"

"Yes, I owled him," Kingsley answered as he entered the room carrying his daughter, his wife trailing behind the pair.  "As we didn't have the time earlier, I'd like to introduce you to my wife Kelly and daughter Laura."

Harry smiled at the two.  "I met Laura for a few minutes, but she wouldn't tell me her name."

Laura responded by turning to bury her face in her father's shoulder.

The adults chuckled.

Kelly approached the table and knelt beside Harry's chair, taking his hand in hers.  "Kingsley tells me that this is your home, and you've invited us to stay.  That, plus rescuing us last night . . .  Well, that is a debt that we'll never be able to adequately repay."

Harry almost flushed in embarrassment.  "Well, after all that Kingsley's done to help me over the past year, I couldn't very well turn you away, could I?"

"Most would, very easily," Kingsley corrected him as he placed Laura in a chair beside Tonks.  "And call me Shack.  That's what all my fighting comrades call me, even if they are only just sixteen."

Laura looked over from the funny faces Tonks was already entertaining her with.  "Harry Potter can't be only sixteen, Dadda.  He has to be at least a hundred."  She turned to a suddenly laughing Harry and said, "Dadda says you've fought the REALLY BAD wizard five times and a giant snake and dememtos and lots and lots of bad guys.  You hafta be lots more than sixteen!" she insisted.

Desperately fighting to maintain her composure, Tonks said, "I know you're a very big six years old, Laura, but that really is Harry Potter, and he really is just sixteen years old."

She turned skeptical eyes to Harry.

Smiling, Harry lifted the fringe of his hair from the infamous scar.  He hated the attention the thing brought him, but it was universally recognized.

Suddenly wide eyes stared at Harry.  "Wow."

"Tonks says you're already six?" Harry asked as Dobby put an already cut apart waffle in front of the oblivious child.

Laura nodded.  "I'll be seven in March!"

"You're getting to be a big girl, then.  Do you know what house you're going to be in when you go to Hogwarts?"

She frowned.  "I don't know.  Momma was a Huffpuff, and Dadda was a Rafencaw."

"You don't have to be in Hufflepuff or Ravenclaw.  You could be in Gryffindor.  Or Slytherin," he added, almost grudgingly.  "I am in Gryffindor.  Remus," he pointed to the watching werewolf, "was in Gryffindor, too."  He glanced over at Tonks.

Looking vastly amused, Tonks addressed Laura, "I was in Slytherin.  So there is someone from each of the houses here in this room!"

Blinking momentarily in surprise at the unexpected information, Harry leaned over toward Laura and caught her attention.  "Have you met my grandfather?"

She shook her head, clearly trying to keep up with all the information pouring in at her.

"I call him my grandfather, but he's not, really.  He is my ancestor, though.  Kind of like my grandfather's grandfather's grandfather.  He's a ghost."

Laura's eyes darted over to the only unidentified man at the table.  Godric let his Glamour lapse for a moment, and he took on the normal, translucent appearance of a ghost.

Kelly, too, appeared surprised by this.  Harry began to wonder how much, if anything, Kingsley had told his family.

Harry stood and walked around behind Tonks to whisper into Laura's ear.  "His name is Godric Gryffindor."

Her suddenly wide eyes showed starkly against her dark skin.  She turned to stare at Godric, apparently at a loss for words.

Kelly looked from Godric to Harry, a question clear in her eyes.

Godric threw Harry a tolerant smirk before he addressed Kelly.  "Allow me to introduce myself as my young heir doesn't seem to recall his manners."  He stood and swept into a formal bow toward her.  "Godric Gryffindor, at your service."

After thirty seconds of silent staring, she turned to her husband.  Kingsley merely nodded. 

"Wow," she silently mouthed.

"You're pretty good with kids, Harry," Remus observed.

Harry shrugged as he took his chair again.  "One of the few places I could walk to from the Dursley's was the park.  As everyone over the age of ten had been told I went to a school for criminal boys, the young kids were the only ones willing to talk with me when their mothers' backs were turned."

"You'll make a good father someday," Kelly observed.

Harry grunted in morbid amusement.  "Assuming I live long enough," he said very quietly. 

Remus shot him a look, but nobody else seemed to have heard him. 

Trying to head off the dark mood he was again falling into, Harry answered Kelly's question with a grin, "Doesn't that require a prospective mother somewhere along the line?"

She laughed.  "Don't tell me that there aren't any interested witches out there."

As if summoned by her words, a snowy owl flew in and perched on Harry's chair back.

Remus started laughing.  "Speaking of interested witches . . ." he trailed off with a truly wicked grin at Harry.

Harry tried for a dignified silence, but he figured the heat he felt pouring off of his neck gave away his embarrassment.  As a laughing Remus explained the significance of Ginny's owl to Kelly, Harry retrieved his post.

Harry,

Thank you SO much!  He's a very well behaved owl, and Ron is already jealous.  I have decided to name him Henry. 

It's before breakfast, so I have a few minutes to write.  Lucky you.

Things here are . . . interesting.  I am indeed somewhere that we're getting plenty of news.  Rumor has it that you recently inherited it, actually.  Gred and Forge keep us informed of the unclassified stuff, and occasionally we see a copy of the Prophet, so we're not totally cut off from the news.

Now that the place has been thoroughly cleaned, the number of household chores I've been drafted into has fallen.  That would be good news if there were actually something interesting for me to DO.

At any rate, on to the important things; namely, gossip.  Ron and Hermione are NOT sniping at each other anymore.  I've even seen Ron voluntarily doing his summer homework.

Combine these facts together, and see if you come to the same conclusion I have regarding my brother and your bushy-haired best friend.

To answer your other specific questions:

I asked Mum, and Errol was Dad's when he first when to Hogwarts.  That makes him in his late thirties!  For a tawny, even a magical one, that's positively ancient!

Without anything else to do, I've been revising like a good little fifth year.  While not exactly impressed, Hermione at least hasn't been nagging me about it.

Percy.  He's not so much unmentionable as unmentioned.  He's still working in Fudge's office, but nobody's heard anything else about him.

I can't tell you much about Dean.  In all honesty, I said that merely to twist Ron's tail.  Sorry to disappoint you.  No stories of lurid love affairs here.

Now, give Henry a piece of your bacon; ask Dobby for a quill, parchment, and ink; and write me back!  What're you up to?  You mentioned the three with you are tutoring you.  What are they teaching?  Where are you staying?  Are you having fun?  Have you found a young witch worth wooing?

Yours,
Ginny

Harry was smiling by the end of the letter, and he did as asked.  Or was that ordered?  Lifting a rasher of bacon, he offered it to Henry.  "Dobby?"

Dobby appeared in the room.  "Yes, Master Harry?"

"Could you please bring me a piece of parchment, my quill, and inkwell?  I have a letter to write, and I daren't wait until later."

Dobby bowed and left to carry out his orders.

"The fireball ordered you to write back immediately?" Remus asked in amusement.

"Would YOU cross a female Weasley if given the choice?" Harry asked back with an answering grin.

Dobby had delivered the requested items, and Harry was about to write back when Pigwidgeon arrived.

Henry looked downright sour at the owl's appearance.  Kelly and Godric looked bemused at the tiny owl's energy and enthusiasm.  Laura was entranced at first before giggling at Harry's futile attempts to catch the feathered menace.

"Immobulus," Harry cried in exasperation.  Pigwidgeon stopped moving abruptly and just gently floated.

Godric started laughing.  "Care to again try to claim you can't do wandless magic, Harry?"

Harry looked down at his hand only to realize he didn't have his wand in hand but rather was holding his butter knife.

Kelly goggled.  Laura giggled.  Everyone else just laughed.

Smiling in embarrassment, Harry retrieved Pig and unrolled his post.

Harry,

I just read the story in the Prophet!  Is everyone there okay?  Nobody here seems to know anything about it.  They were all at different targets, none of which made the paper.

Is what the paper said true?  I mean about what happened to the tenth attacker?  If it is, Harry, I'm sure you had no choice in the matter.  Between everything that's been happening to you recently, I hope someone there is talking to you about it.  I mean the anger and guilt that you must be feeling.

I know you looked okay at the Will reading, but I also know how you can hide your true feelings.  Harry, I know you don't want to, but you MUST talk with someone about it.  If you're uncomfortable talking to anyone there (wherever you are), then you can talk to me.  If you still aren't comfortable with that, I can recommend a few names of professionals.  Totally confidential, of course.

Speaking of where you are; where are you?  Nobody here seems to know anything.  Dumbledore and Mrs. Weasley are beside themselves with worry.  I know Tonks, Auror Shacklebolt, and Professor Lupin are with you, so I expect you're safe enough for the moment, but everyone would feel better if you were here with us where it is truly safe.

Please write back and tell us how you are doing, really.  Or better yet, come back here where it is safe.

Hermione

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