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Harry / Tonks ship

Author Notes:

This chapter is dedicated to Sally, daughter of one of my betas, who is currently in a partial body cast.

Dinner, the evening after Harry's meeting with Madam Bones, was just finishing when Harry told Tonks and Kingsley about her offer to re-hire the two former aurors. 

While they were quietly talking with each other and Kelly, Remus asked a question that had been bothering him all afternoon.  "Harry, why did you ask Max to buy that stock?"

"What stock?" Tonks asked, breaking from her conversation and looking over at the two.

"Harry asked his solicitor to buy stock in some muggle company."

"Not company, singular.  Companies, plural," Harry corrected him.  "In addition to the Black accounts, I also paid more attention to the Potter accounts.  On the Potter side, I saw that I owned a lot of stock already.  I just gave him instructions for buying more."

"Some of it, sure, but I haven't heard of some of those names, Harry.  Are you sure you're going to make money from them?"

Harry smiled mysteriously.  "Making money isn't my main goal for some of them.  There are other things you can do with it.  Besides, if given the chance, wouldn't you want to own your own quidditch or football team?"

Remus laughed, and Laura giggled.  "You could rename them . . ."  The werewolf paused.  "What could you call them?  Nothing goes well with 'Potter', does it?"

"Somehow, 'Potter's Flower Pots' doesn't strike fear into the opponent," Harry dryly agreed.

"Potter's Hotter Trotters?" Tonks suggested with a wide grin.

"Buy the Harpies, and you can rename them to 'Harry's Harem of Hotties'," Godric countered.

"Or you could go the gruesome route and take 'Potter's Poison' or 'Harry's Hags'."

"Potter's Quidditch Team!" Laura suggested.

Fighting his grin at the other suggestions, Harry smiled at the girl.  "I like that one, Laura.  Yes, if I do own my own quidditch team, I'll call them 'Potter's Quidditch Team'.  Do you want to play for me?"

She shook her head solemnly.  "I wanna be a seeker, but you'd already be seeker for your own team."  She brightened.  "But Dadda can be a beater!"

Harry smiled over at the big man.  "You played beater for Ravenclaw?"

Shack nodded.  "Played against your father once, actually.  I was a third year, and it was my first game.  We lost eventually, but it was a good game all around."

"I think I remember that one," Remus said.  "It was in our seventh year, wasn't it?  Didn't you end up breaking your arm or something?"

Shack nodded and ducked his head in embarrassment.  "Missed a bludger, and it broke my humerus."

Harry smirked.  "Sorry, but the proper response to that one is just too easy."

Tonks, Remus, and Kelly snickered.  Shack rolled his eyes.  Laura just looked confused.

"At any rate," Harry said in a total change of topic, "what did the two of you decide about Madam Bones's offer?"

"We'll be staying here," Shack answered.

"We appreciate the offer that she made to us, but we both think we can do more good in the long run by staying here and helping you than working through the ministry."

Kingsley nodded accord with Tonks's words.  "May I borrow Hedwig to deliver our note back to her, Harry?"


Harry was back in the phoenix-song cage, his wand and Voldemort's connected by a golden thread of power.

Just as Harry was gaining his bearings, the beads along the thread entered his wand.

A thick, gray smoke immediately began pouring from his wand.  Even as it coalesced into a body, another was flowing forth, followed by another, and then another.  Harry lost count of the bodies when they began speaking to him.

"You killed me," a figure in Death Eater garb accused him.

"You killed me," Sirius echoed.

"You killed me.  You killed me.  You killed me."  Over and over, the same thing was echoed.  The unknown Death Eater, Sirius, Cedric Diggory, Susan Bones, James and Lily Potter.  The faces, known and unknown, piled around him.

"I didn't!" Harry cried desperately.

"You did.  We are dead because of you."

"NO!"

"HARRY!"

Harry jerked awake as if a gallon of icy water had been thrown onto his face.

"Harry!  What's wrong?"

Harry just about lashed out with undirected wandless magic before his mind caught up and identified Remus kneeling beside his bed.

On the verge of hyperventilation, Harry screwed his eyes shut and panted out.  "Nothing.  Stupid dream."

"It was NOT nothing, Harry.  I heard you thrashing around, and you were shouting, 'No,' as I got here.  What was the nightmare about?"

"Nothing," Harry insisted, sitting against his headboard, drawing his knees up to his chest.

"You're an awful liar, Harry.  You'll never make a good Marauder until you learn that basic skill."

Something finally gave.  "I'M NOT A BLOODY JUNIOR MARAUDER OR WHATEVER THE EFFING HELL YOU AND PADFOOT THINK I SHOULD BE!  The whole damn world expects me to save them from Voldemort, but then they crucify me if anything at all goes wrong.  Sirius treated me like James Junior.  Dumbledore thinks I'm some bloody weapon he can lock in a drawer when I'm not needed.  My only family treats me like I'm two steps below a leprous slave.  Hermione thinks I'm about to crack from the pressure.  And YOU are trying to treat me like a younger version of your best friends!  I'm TIRED of it, Moony.  I'm not my parents or Sirius.  I GOT THEM KILLED!  Don't you GET that? 

"I'm just Harry, not Lord Gryffindor, not Lord-Baron Potter, just the Boy-Who-Is-Bloody-Unlucky-Enough-To-Still-Be-Alive."  Anger spent for the moment, his head fell forward to his knees.  He finished in a whisper, "I'm so many things to so many people.  The only problem is that I don't know who I am."

Head down, Harry heard but didn't see Remus stand and leave the room without a word.  Voices murmured in the hallway for a moment before someone else came in and sat in the chair in the corner.

"What now?" Harry asked tiredly.

"Feel better?" Tonks's voice asked.

"Not really."

Silence stretched for nearly a minute before she asked, "Do you know what you need?"

Harry snorted.  "I can think of many things.  What'd you have in mind?"

"You need a good shagging."

Harry finally reached for his glasses and looked over at his visitor.  "Why, Nymph, are you volunteering?"  He tried for lighthearted banter but didn't quite manage it.

Grin in place, Tonks shifted into the form of Ginny Weasley.

Far from what she was expecting, Harry's face slipped into a mask of horrible anger.  "OUT!  If you think that was funny, then you clearly don't know a damn thing.  GET OUT!"

Eyes wide, Tonks bolted for the door and slammed it shut behind her.

Harry let loose a series of Bludgeoning Hexes at it anyway.

Two minutes later, Godric stuck his head through the closed but now dented door.  "Is it safe to enter?"

"Why the hell are you here?" Harry demanded rudely.

"Everyone figures I'm the safest choice.  You can't kill me, after all."

"Don't tempt me.  I've been researching a way to get rid of a really annoying poltergeist."

"Yes, Peeves.  I'd point out the differences between poltergeists and real ghosts, but I don't think you need a lecture on magical theory right now."

"Wonderful.  Someone ELSE deciding what I need or don't need."

Godric almost smiled as he appeared to seat himself in the same chair that Tonks had used.  "Very well, do you WANT the lecture?"

"No," Harry admitted.

Godric nodded.  "Okay, then what DO you want?"

"I don't know!" Harry exclaimed.  "Why the hell can't I have a normal life?  I should be spending all my time owling a girlfriend and trying to figure out a way to get her into a broom closet, skiving off my divination homework, tormenting Mrs. Norris, and complaining about Snape.  Instead, I'm in the center of this bloody war, no idea what to do, nor even a clear idea who I bloody well am anymore."

"Snape is a greasy git, isn't he?"

Harry glared at him.  "You're not helping, Grandfather."

Godric Gryffindor shrugged.  "I thought you wanted someone to commiserate with you about snarky potions masters.  Sorry, but that's the only one I can help you with at the moment.  I can't help on the girlfriend thing, and I'm even worse at divination than you are.  That was Salazar's thing, not mine."

Despite himself, Harry snorted in amusement.  "Slytherin was into divination?  That's just funny."

"Isn't it?"  Godric watched his descendant slowly calm down.  "Do you want to talk about it?" he asked eventually.

"About what?" Harry asked tiredly.

"Anything.  Everything.  What do you think of the chances the Cannons have at the championship this year?"

"About as good as the past generation or so.  Ron's the one you want to talk with about the Cannons."  Harry sighed.  "I'm just so damn tired of everything everyone expects from me, Grandfather."

"I know.  To some degree, I had the same problem when I was alive.  Everyone kept expecting the four of us to solve all their problems.  The fact that I was just as mortal and fallible as the next man seems to have been forgotten somewhere along the line."

"Yeah.  Maybe we do have some things in common after all."

"Well, you ARE my forty-eight times great grandson."

Harry smiled briefly.  His face calmed, and his eyes remained shut for so long that Godric thought he'd fallen asleep despite sitting up in bed when he spoke next.  "In my nightmare I was becoming as bad as Voldemort.  Priori Incantatem on my wand was pulling shades out.  Sirius, Susan, Cedric, my parents, lots of others that I didn't know.  Logically, I know that only that one Death Eater is my fault, but all the rest of them accused me of causing their deaths."

When Godric didn't respond, Harry looked at him curiously.  "What, no comment?"

"What do you want me to say?  You already know only one of them can really be attributed to you.  That one was more than justified, as it was in self defense and defense of several others.  The rest aren't even partially your fault.  You're just feeling undeserved guilt over them.  Now I'm not trying to make light of that guilt, but I don't know of anything I can say to help other than, 'It wasn't your fault, you know.'"

"Yeah," Harry whispered.  He took a deep breath and said, "Thank you for coming in, Grandfather, but I'd like to get some sleep."

"Of course.  Sleep well, Grandson."


Harry hesitantly entered the dining room the next morning.  Kingsley looked up from his breakfast and nodded politely.  Kelly smiled sympathetically at him. 

Laura waved cheerfully.  "Guess what, Harry.  Dobby made me banana pancakes!"

Harry approached her with a quizzical expression and peered at her intently.  "He did?  Maybe he did it wrong.  You still look like Laura and not banana pancakes."

She giggled.  "No, silly!  I mean, he made them for me to eat."

"Oh!  Well, you should've said so."

Again giggling, the young girl went back to her breakfast.

As Harry was sitting down, Tonks entered the room and stopped abruptly at seeing Harry.

He stood again immediately.  "I apologize, Tonks.  Last night wasn't very easy for me.  You were just trying to make a joke, and I took it badly.  I am sorry."

She nodded slowly.  "In retrospect, it may not have been in very good taste, so I apologize as well.  If you don't mind my asking, why did you react that badly, though?"

Harry frowned.  "My heart is one of the few things I still feel that I have control over, Tonks.  And considering what you were offering, even if it were in jest . . .  Well, let's just say that there are some things that I don't want to joke with, and that's one of them, okay?"

Kingsley's eyes were darting back and forth, a slight scowl on his face.  Kelly was watching them in fascination.

"Friends?" Tonks asked, stepping forward with hand extended.

Harry smiled and was about to agree when she tripped on the rug and fell into him.  His reflexes kicked in, and he caught her smaller form against his chest.

The tableau held for a moment before Harry turned to the Shacklebolts and asked, "Do friends always fall into hugs with each other?"

As they laughed, Tonks pushed herself upright again and lightly swatted his shoulder.  "Only special friends."  She moved around and sat next to Laura.


Harry was half done with his breakfast when Remus and Godric walked in together, talking quietly.

"Remus, I'm sorry," Harry blurted out.  He immediately flushed.  That had come out much more abruptly than he'd wanted it to.

Remus looked tired.  "No, I'm sorry, Harry.  I shouldn't be trying to mold you into a Marauder."

"But you aren't," Harry objected.  Indeed, Remus had done very little aside from the occasional joke.  Sirius was the one who had done the most to Harry in that regard, and it was one of the few things Harry resented him for.

"I am, at least a little bit," Remus countered.  "If you said it, even under so much stress, then it must be at least partially true."  He sighed as he dropped into a seat.  "Look, I'll try to remember you aren't a - What'd you call it? - Junior Marauder.  Or even want to be one.  You're as mischievous as the next teenager, but real pranking is something you have to WANT.  Considering your personality and upbringing, it clearly isn't for you."

Not knowing what else to say, Harry whispered, "Sorry."

Remus shook his head.  "Nothing to be sorry for, Cub.  Not your fault that I couldn't see what was in front of me."

"But I feel as if I've let you down."

"Nonsense.  I'm sorry if I led you to that conclusion.  In fact, I'm quite proud of everything you've accomplished.  You're not a prankster.  Fine.  I'll try to remember that.  But I DO know that you are not James Junior."  He grinned.  "His transfiguration skills were far better, and your charms and defense beat his scores by a fair margin."

Harry sat back down and looked at his plate.  "Not even done with breakfast and it's already felt like a long day.  What else can go wrong?"

Harry's heart nearly stopped as four owls picked that exact moment to fly into the room.

Henry perched on Harry's chair.  Two owls went to Kingsley and Remus with copies of the Daily Prophet.

Nobody paid them any attention, though.  Every eye was on the red envelope that Pigwidgeon carried in and dropped in front of Harry.

Staring at the smoking envelope, Harry gave serious consideration to casting a Finite Charm or a Silencing Spell.  No matter what Hermione may have sent back, he didn't expect that he really wanted to hear it.

"HARRY JAMES POTTER, HOW DARE YOU SEND ME SUCH AN INSULTING DISPLAY!  NEVER HAVE I BEEN SO HUMILIATED IN ALL MY LIFE!  NOT ONLY THE WEASLEYS BUT ALSO PROFESSORS DUMBLEDORE, MCGONAGALL, AND SNAPE HEARD YOU TELLING ME OFF!

"YOU BROKE THE WINDOWS IN THE KITCHEN, AND MADAM POMFREY HAD TO DISTRIBUTE HEARING REPAIR POTIONS AFTERWARDS!

"IT'S A WONDER THE MUGGLE NEIGHBORS DIDN'T HEAR IT!

"HOW DARE YOU DO THAT TO ME!"

The resulting silence was broken by Godric.  "She just doesn't get it, does she?"

Harry sighed.  "Nope.  Dobby, parchment, ink, and quill, please."  Items in hand, it took only a moment to write his response.

Next time, listen instead of just hear.
- HJP

"Pigwidgeon," Harry called. 

The little owl continued fluttering around, drawing a disapproving look from Henry. 

"Pigwidgeon," Harry called more firmly.  When the owl again ignored him, Harry cast, "Accio Pigwidgeon!"

A startled squawk later, Pigwidgeon was in Harry's outstretched hand.  He deftly tied the short note to Pig's leg and whispered to the owl, "No spell on you this time, Pigwidgeon.  If you can manage it, crap in her hair, though, okay?  Now, off you go."  He released the little owl out the window before returning to Ginny's note.

Harry,

A hint about what I meant?  Naw.  I'm well aware you're handicapped by being a guy and, therefore, clueless about some things.

I was indeed in the room when Hermione received your howler.  What'd you do to make Pig fly that fast, anyway?  It took Ron nearly a half-hour to catch him later. 

Anyway, back to the howler.  You got a pretty good audience.  Fred and George thought it was quite entertaining until they realized you were honestly angry with her.  They came to that realization about the same time the windows cracked, I think.  Snape rolled his eyes and muttered something about overbearing attention-seekers, but what could you expect from him?  Mum, Professor Dumbledore, and Professor McGonagall all had VERY disapproving looks on their faces.  I'd be careful of them for awhile. 

I overheard Ron and Hermione talking later, and I think she's planning on sending you a howler in return.  The really annoying thing there is that Hermione is now mad at you.  Not for what you said, mind you, but just because it was a howler.  She didn't understand what you were trying to say, I think.

I'm glad to hear that Henry is welcome there, wherever you are.  He came back looking very full of himself.  He's asleep now, so I'll wait until tonight to send this out.

As for any owlets, I'm entitled to half the proceeds when they're sold!  Maybe we can start a trend at Hogwarts for students to own snowy owls.

Sorry, I have no information for you regarding the other night other than they indeed were guarding more places.  They're keeping any other interesting news to themselves again this year.  I definitely sympathize with your comment last year about being left in the dark.  What's that muggle phrase?  Something about mushrooms?

Well, Mum is yelling for me to help with lunch.  Gotta go.

Found a young witch worth wooing, yet?

Yours,
Ginny

Shaking his head over the mysteries of young witches, Harry reported, "Ginny confirms more attacks than just at your place the other night.  She doesn't know where, though."

He looked up and saw a look of growing horror etched on Remus's face.  "Remus?  What's wrong?"

Kingsley, face grave and holding the other newspaper, answered, "The ministry just passed a new law regarding werewolves.  They're now required to register and check in with the ministry both the day before and the day after each full moon.  Failure to do so for any reason is an automatic death sentence."

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Author Notes:

Today's bunnies were brought to you by Finbar, Cami, and Brad.

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