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Harry / Tonks ship

Harry didn't bother to knock.  Instead, he sent the door crashing inward.

"Why the hell didn't you stop this?" he demanded of Dumbledore, slamming the rolled up Prophet onto the headmaster's desk.  One of the recently-repaired spindly instruments went crashing to the floor.

Tonks silently and unobtrusively entered the room behind him and took up station in a corner.

Without even trying, Harry saw that the room was awash with magic.  Most of the items in the room had at least one magical aura around them.  Even as his eyes were sliding around the room, Harry noticed the slight golden glow of a spell over Dumbledore.  Based on the color and shape, Harry tentatively identified it as some form of low-level compulsion or influencing charm.  Deciding not to say anything about it, Harry silently thanked Godric for his Mage Sight tutoring.

"Good morning, Harry, Nymphadora.  How have you been?"

Glaring, Harry folded his arms and demanded, "Answer my question."

"I had no control over the situation, Harry.  You are perfectly well aware that the headmaster of the school has  no control over the laws passed by the -"

"That's bullshit and you know it!" Harry interrupted.

The portraits, naturally, took exception to this.  "Now see here!"  "How very rude!"  "Such disrespect in the younger -"  "In my day, a student -"

Harry whirled and shouted at all of them, "Shut up!"

Instantly, each and every one of them snapped their jaws shut so fast that there was an audible click.

Smiling coldly, Harry turned to Dumbledore.  "Seems that being the heir of a founder does have a few perks, doesn't it?  No wonder you never told me about my birthright."  He paused before going on in a pseudo-thoughtful tone.  "I find myself wondering what I could do to the wards if I really wanted to."

Dumbledore's expression didn't flicker.  "Speaking of your ancestry, Harry, you never answered my question of where to learnt about your relationship to Godric Gryffindor."

"And you never mentioned who told you I would be in Gringotts that day.  Now, why didn't you stop this?"  He waved a hand at the paper.

Dumbledore peered at him for a few moments.

Harry felt a niggling tickle in the back of his mind.  Knowing exactly what that meant, he lashed out with a mental roar of anger.

Dumbledore blinked and leaned back in his chair.

Harry smiled coldly.  "I'm still waiting for an answer."

"I have no answer that would satisfy you, I fear.  I had no hope of winning the vote."

"So you didn't even try?  I seem to remember a quote from someone.  'We must do what is right, not what is easy.'"

Dumbledore had the grace to look down at his desk in shame.

Harry threw his hands up in disgust.  "I give up.  I quit.  I'm not coming back."

Dumbledore looked up in alarm and half stood.  "You must come back to school."

"I MUST?" Harry asked in a very quiet voice.  "Didn't you hear about the result the last time someone told me what I MUST do?"

Dumbledore sighed.  "It would be better for all concerned if you returned to school with the other students, Harry."

Harry gave a mirthless grin.  "Better for whom?  Me?  Hardly.  Here in your school I have had to fight for my life nearly every year.  Or are you going to claim I'd get a better education here?  I have several capable tutors right now, as you're well aware.  And I haven't been attacked, abused, belittled, or raped once by them.  Can you say the same of the teachers here?"

Dumbledore's face fell into stern lines.  "I am quite certain you are exaggerating, Harry, but I must insist you tell me what you meant by the alleged rape."

"Repeatedly, violently violating my mind when I had no chance, nor instruction, of defending myself."

"He was attempting to teach you -"

Harry waved it off.  "Never mind.  You won't believe anything I say against Snape, so what's the point?  No matter how much everyone in the school complains, you never censure him, so why should this be any different?  I'm curious, though, about what would happen if I took a few pensieve memories to the Hogwarts School Board or perhaps the Ministry of Education."  He tilted his head for a moment.  "Does Gryffindor have a seat on the School Board, you think?"  He waved the thought off.  "Back to Snape, I'm sure the auror recruiters have to know about his absolute pro-Slytherin bias."

"They do," Tonks acknowledged, entering the conversation for the first time.  "They're close to asking for an investigation on their own since eighty percent of the qualified applicants have been Slytherin for the past ten years."

"Good," Harry said.  He turned an accusing stare onto Dumbledore.  "Maybe if someone ELSE, outside the school, tells you the same bloody thing, you'll actually start to listen."

Dumbledore looked pained.  "Harry -"

"Lord-Baron," Harry interrupted once again.

"Pardon?" Dumbledore asked, momentarily thrown off balance.

"My friends call me Harry.  You will call me Lord-Baron or Sire."

Tonks’s quiet snicker was the only sound for a few seconds.

"Very well, Lord-Baron," Dumbledore finally conceded.  "As I was saying, you are well aware of why I must keep Severus on staff."

"I will acknowledge that you need to keep him close, but for the sake of the school, it would be far preferable if he were sacked."

"I cannot allow that to happen."

"Yes, you can.  You've already proven you're quite capable of sacrificing your pawns.  You just choose not to sacrifice this particular one."

A tense silence was interrupted by the door opening and none other than Snape himself entering the room.  He glanced momentarily at Tonks and her drawn wand before turning his superior smirk onto Harry.  "Put your silly wand away, Potter.  What are you doing here, anyway?  No doubt pathetically pleading with the headmaster to force me to accept you into my N.E.W.T. potions class.  I can tell you right now that it won't work.  No matter how much you may grovel -"

"Shut up," Harry commanded flatly.

"Insolent brat," Snape snapped back.  "Now you see, Headmaster?  How much time and effort I've wasted on this ungrateful whelp.  Instead of thanking me on bended knee, he continues to believe himself above his betters."

Jaw clenched, Harry said, "For Remus's sake, I'm not going to answer that."

"Because you know I'm right."  Snape gave Harry a triumphant smirk.

Harry rolled his eyes and turned his back on the potions master.  "As I was saying -"

Harry felt the surge of magic in the room and dove to the side, but nothing came at him.  Harry looked back at his would-be assailant over the top of his drawn wand.  Snape had been petrified and silenced by Tonks in the act of drawing his wand, face locked into a grimace of hatred.

"How typical," Harry said, standing and brushing himself off.  "Cursing a student in the back.  I guess I shouldn't be surprised anymore by him, though."

He turned his head to Dumbledore.  "I notice that you made no move to defend me from Snape.  AGAIN.  Does he have some juicy blackmail against you or something?

Harry stared at Dumbledore for a long moment, mockingly awaiting an explanation that never came, before looking around the office for a moment, his eyes stopping at an ancient hat.  "Hello, Alistair."

To Dumbledore's wide-eyed amazement, the Sorting Hat responded, "Harry Potter.  Or shall I call you Milord Gryffindor?  No matter.  Are you ready for your inheritance?"

"Please.  And you're welcome to call me Harry, Alistair."

The hat paused for a moment, and Harry heard a small sound from under it.  "Lift me up, if you would, Lord Gryff - Harry."

Harry lifted the hat and picked up the heavy silvery ring that was underneath him before replacing the hat onto his spot on the shelf.  The crest was a solid red background with an exquisitely detailed golden lion overlay.   Tiny emerald chips were in place of its eyes.  With no hesitation, Harry slipped the ring onto his right middle finger.  After a moment of resizing, it settled comfortably.

Spotting another of his rightful possessions and seeing no need for subtlety, Harry drew his wand.  "Evanesco."  The display case now gone, Harry picked up the sword of Gryffindor.  A scabbard on a long chain popped into existence after he'd lifted the sword.  It was the effort of only a few moments to sheath the sword and loop the magically adjusting chain over his head and settle it comfortably around his waist.

"Thank you, Alistair."

"Of course, Harry.  Please feel free to visit again.  I have a story or two about your ancestor you may enjoy."

Harry laughed.  "Deal."

"Good day."  Alistair resumed its immobile state.

"That brings us back to how you knew of your lineage," Dumbledore said.

"And back to you refusing to divulge who ratted me out about going to Gringotts.  We're clearly at an impasse, Dumbledore.  I blame you for everything from repeatedly sending me to prison to allowing this incompetent and sadistic bastard," he waved at the unmoving and unhearing Snape, "to rape me due to lack of supervision.  I'm sure you can justify it to yourself by going on about the greater good.  I have no idea how many martyrs, from toddlers to adults, you've sacrificed on that altar.  Frankly, I'm sure the answer would horrify me."

"I have always done what I thought was for the best," Dumbledore countered quietly.

"That's the only thing keeping me from petitioning the Board of Governors to bring you up on charges like some others I could name."

"Is there any way I can talk you out of attempting to bring Severus before the Board?" Dumbledore asked.  Though he was clearly beaten, his tone never deviated from its grandfatherly tones.

"Yes.  You provide me, Kingsley, Tonks, and Remus unrestricted access to all intelligence the Order collects on Tom and the Death Eaters.  We'll talk it over at home and figure out a reasonable method of getting it from you."

Dumbledore looked very unhappy with this line of discussion.

Harry rolled his eyes.  "Fine, I'll make it easy on you.  What is the primary goal of the Order of the Phoenix?"

"Protect the wizarding public from dark elements."

"Including dark lords like Tommy.  Now, who's the only person prophesied as capable of defeating Riddle?"

"You are."  Dumbledore looked VERY unhappy by this point.

"So the Order, by rights, should be doing its damndest to help me in any way.  Like training me properly after first coming to Hogwarts, letting me be raised in a loving and stable home environment, protecting me from sadistic professors, minor things like that."  Sarcasm was absolutely dripping from Harry's words.

Shaking his head sadly, Dumbledore asked, "Why do you hate Severus so?"

Harry stared incredulously at the headmaster.  Huffing a breath out in exasperation, Harry turned on his heel and addressed the portraits.  "I have a hypothetical situation for you all.  I place before you an incoming, muggle-raised student.  He has no idea he was even a wizard until a month ago and only received his textbooks shortly thereafter.  He has not been permitted to study them.  In one of his first classes, this student politely answers the professor's questions with, 'I don't know, sir.'  The professor continues asking him magic-related questions.  The student politely continues to admit ignorance.  Then the professor takes points and insults him for not knowing the answer.  Now I ask you, former Headmasters and Headmistresses of Hogwarts, is this a fair teacher?"

All the portraits shook their heads, muttering negative answers.  None of them appeared to be angry at Harry any longer and were all watching the unfolding scene avidly.  Even Phineas Nigellus was looking at Snape with something less than neutrality.

Harry turned to Dumbledore.  "This is one of the best classes I had with him, as he didn't actively try to hurt me or permit one of the Slytherins doing the same.  This started in my very first class with him.  And it's all years before he repeatedly mind-raped me on YOUR orders.  Now, you STILL wonder why I don't like him?"

Dumbledore slumped back in his chair.  "I suppose not.  I agree to your terms.  Thank you for coming in.  You may go."

Harry smiled coldly.  "You're still assuming you have control over me.  You do not.  Next and lastly, I wish to officially tell you that I will not be returning to Hogwarts in September."

"You must not do that."

"There's that word again."

Dumbledore sighed.  "I wish you would reconsider."

"I wish you hadn't consigned me to hell on earth fifteen years ago.  I wish you'd actually followed my parents' Will - oh, yes, I've read it - and placed me with Remus, Andromeda Black-Tonks, the Weasleys, or with Neville.  I wish you'd told me about my godfather earlier.  I wish you'd told me about the prophecy earlier.  I wish you'd told me about my ancestry earlier."  He paused for a moment to let his words sink in before ending in a bitter, resigned tone, "We don't all get what we wish for, do we?"

"I suppose we do not," the headmaster quietly agreed.

Harry gave a sharp nod, finally having gotten at least some of his point across.  "Goodbye, Headmaster.  I'll be in contact about passing the intelligence to us."

Dumbledore silently nodded.

Harry left, followed closely by Tonks.

Two hallways later, Tonks asked, "Was Mum really listed in Lily and James's Will?"

Harry nodded.  "She was the only family of Sirius's that anyone trusted.  She could've raised me with all the right traditions and knowledge.  At least that was the thinking in my dad's notes."

"She's never mentioned it."

"Oh, she didn't know.  She was just listed as one of the people to contact about possibly doing so in the worst case.  Weasley, Longbottom, Bones, and a bunch of the professors were all also listed."  Harry snorted softly.  "Dursley was way at the bottom with the notation, 'Do NOT leave Harry with them.'"

Tonks stopped and stared at Harry.  "Dumbledore violated your parents' Will?"

"You sound surprised.  After all the meddling you heard me accuse him of in there, do you really think something like ignoring their Will is unexpected?"  He shook his head.  "Come on, Tonks.  We have one more stop to make today."

The pair walked toward the Entrance Hall silently.  Everywhere they went, the portraits watched closely.

"This is getting spooky," Tonks commented after a few silent minutes of walking.

Harry grinned at her, slowly relaxing after the stressful meeting.  "Big, bad auror scared of a drafty, old castle?"

"When the castle is magical, rumored to be alive, and hosts ghosts and polter -"

"Nimmy and Rotter Potter!" Peeves cackled from just above them.

Tonks sighed in resignation.  They were temporarily caught on a landing without any stairs available to them, so they were at the mercy of the poltergeist.  "Hello, Peeves.  Long time."

"Peeves.  Do you recognize this?" Harry asked, showing the Gryffindor signet ring and playing a hunch.

The unpredictable spirit peered at the ring for a few seconds before dropping into a low bow, much to Tonks's astonishment.  "Lord Gryffindor.  How may Peeves be serving you?"

As tempting as it was to send the spirit after Dumbledore, Harry didn't want his few remaining friends at Hogwarts to pay for his spite.  "We're just passing through.  Have a good summer."

Peeves nodded and left them after a quick look at Tonks.

"That was . . . weird."

"Yes it was," a child-like voice said from beside them.

The pair looked over and saw a portrait of a young girl.  She had her hair done up in pigtails with purple bows and was holding a book that Harry couldn't quite make out the title of.  She stood from her chair and quickly curtsied.  "My name is Sally, Milord."

"Hello, Sally," Harry smiled at her.

"Peeves is always so mean to us.  I am glad that he respects you."

"As am I," another voice came from the portrait.  An image of Godric Gryffindor stepped into the picture of a young girl's playroom.  "My apologies, Miss Sally, but I need to speak with my young heir."

She curtsied again, this time to Gryffindor.  "Milord."  She smiled shyly at Harry and Tonks.  "Good bye."  One step and she disappeared off the other side of her frame.

"Grandfather," Harry greeted him.

"Grandson.  Just so you know, I have been in touch with my ghost self, so I know what you've been up to at the Keep.  I overheard your conversation with Albus just now as well.  I must say, I am disappointed in him.  Your biggest question, at least at the moment, of him was who told him you were going to Gringotts, correct?"

"Yes, Grandfather.  I have a suspicion of who it is, but I don't know for certain."

"I heard Albus speaking about it in his office.  The Granger girl told him, apparently, after convincing the young Weasley lad that it was a good idea."

Harry closed his eyes and let out a sigh at the minor betrayal.

"That doesn't surprise you," Tonks noted.

Harry shook his head.  "Of all the people who knew ahead of time, she was the one I figured was the most likely to tell Dumbledore.  For my own good, of course," he added bitterly.

"According to the fire call I overheard, the young Weasley lass was against the other two," Godric offered.

Harry nodded.  "Thank you for the information, Grandfather."

Godric nodded.  "Farewell."

"Wait!" Harry called back the retreating portrait.  When Godric looked at him with a raised eyebrow, Harry asked, "Your ghost didn't mention where your portrait was here in the castle?"

Godric grinned.  "In the headmaster's office, of course.  Just in a direction that nobody ever seems to look."  Nodding pleasantly, Godric left.

"In a direction that nobody looks?" Harry asked in confusion.

Tonks grinned.  "What direction are you least likely to look when you're in an office?"

At Harry's blank look, she pointed upward. 

Harry, not understanding, looked up for a moment before realizing what she meant.  After a moment of thought, he began to laugh.  "A portrait on the ceiling?"

She shrugged.  "Why not?  Who would ever think to look there?"

Godric poked his head around the side of the portrait again and winked at her.  "Very good, young lady."  He turned to Harry.  "Incidentally, that ring of mine is good for more than demanding obedience from portraits, armor, gargoyles, ghosts, and the like.  You can also affect Hogwarts herself."  When Harry continued to look confused, he appeared to lean forward and added in a whisper, "The house point system, for instance."  Smiling at Harry's wide-eyed look, he waved and disappeared again.

A thoughtful Harry changed the direction of their movement and went toward Professor McGonagall's office.

"Mr. Potter and Miss Tonks," the transfiguration professor greeted them in surprise.  "To what do I owe your unexpected presence?"  She waved the pair toward chairs in front of her desk.

"I need to warn you about something, Professor," Harry explained, seating himself.  He took a few minutes and explained that he would not be returning in September and outlined, in vague and non-specific terms, his grievances against Dumbledore.

McGonagall sighed.  "I tried to warn him fifteen years ago, Harry, I swear to Merlin I did.  But he wouldn't listen.  Like you, I have repeatedly tried to warn him about Severus's actions as well.  For my failures to convince him, I do apologize."

Harry smiled sympathetically at her.  "I have made mistakes with him as well, Professor.  We can't change the past, bar borrowing that time turner."  Student and professor shared a smile.  "As I said, we can't change the past, only the future.  That's why I've come to this decision."

She nodded.  "I totally agree, Harry."  She smiled at his reaction.  "You expected me to try to talk you into staying?  No, I understand that you're simply doing as you must.  I cannot speak against that."  She sighed and leaned back.  "I presume you've thought this decision through?  Yes?  Good."

"You're taking this much better than I thought you would, Professor."

"I may not always show it, Harry, but I always have been on your side.  From trying to keep you from those wretched relatives of yours - forgive my language - to your current disagreement with Miss Granger."

"Thank you for that.  My parents thought very highly of you, Professor, and so do I.  Thank you for everything you've been doing."

"James and Lily?" McGonagall asked in confusion.

"Their Will lists various individuals to approach to raise me in the worst case of their original list all being unavailable.  You were on that secondary list along with many other noteable names.  I'm not telling you this to make you feel badly, Professor.  Just trying to show how much my parents trusted and respected you."

A smile played around her face.  "I do not have the time today, but if you would care to listen, I have one or two stories about their school days you may be interested in, Mr. Potter."

Harry smiled back.  "I'd be delighted, Professor."

She nodded agreement and then started slightly as she saw the ring on Harry's hand.  "Is that what I think it is, Mr. Potter?"

Harry smiled and held it out for her to inspect more closely.  As she was examining it closely, he gave a condensed version of Godric's visit on his birthday, finishing with the warning that Dumbledore knew that Harry knew his lineage but not who had told him.

"I shall, of course, keep it confidential.  I do suggest, however, that you come back before September and help Filius and myself with some of the ward work we do every August.  Having an heir of a founder in on the renewals will only add power to the castings."

Harry nodded.  He held no grudge against the vast majority of the students and saw no reason not to help.  "Certainly, Professor.  Now, on a completely unrelated request, and I am not asking this in exchange for the help with the wards,  I would like to ask you to donate a hair to a new magical focus for me."

She frowned.  "I beg your pardon?"

As Tonks was explaining the hair donation and the effect it would have on a personalized magical focus, Harry's gaze drifted around the room and came to rest on the four miniature hourglasses that represented the house points.  Remembering what portrait Godric had told him, Harry thought about it for a moment and then tried an experiment and focused on changing a few of the rules regarding the house points.

Meanwhile, the two women had finished their conversation and McGonagall had willingly donated a hair to the cause.  Harry stood and collected it into a small vial that he conjured for the purpose.

The professor nodded approvingly.  "Good conjuration, Mr. Potter."

Harry smiled in embarrassment.  "I know that solid conjuration is seventh year transfiguration, but Remus thought I needed it before then.  Mostly as solid shields for duels, I think."

She nodded thoughtfully.  "He is correct, of course.  At any rate, I would suggest you gather your hairs from the rest of the staff as you're here anyway if Miss Tonks was correct about the timing with Mr. Ollivander.  Filius and I will owl you with the date for the warding spells if that is acceptable to you, Lord Gryffindor."  The amused expression in her eyes belied the overly formal title she used.

As Harry and Tonks stood to take their leave, Professor McGonagall held them back for a moment.  She dug around in a desk drawer for a moment before leaning forward to hand Harry something.

Harry accepted the item and looked down at a miniature version of his Firebolt.  Smiling brightly, he nodded to her.  "Thank you very much indeed, Professor."

"Now off with you, scamp."  Though the words were brusque, the expression was anything but.

It took another hour of walking and talking with the school professors, but Harry eventually gathered additional hairs.  Hagrid and Professor Flitwick both willingly donated hairs without much persuasion needed.  Hagrid because he would do nearly anything Harry asked of him, and Flitwick because he understood the reasoning behind it and was honored to be asked.

The most surprising one was a small, red feather that appeared in a flash of fire while they were talking with Firenze.

The centaur managed to look surprised.  "The headmaster's firebird has taken a liking to you, Harry Potter.  As do I."  He reached up and pulled a hair from his own head with a small grimace of pain and presented it to Harry.

After thanking the centaur divination professor, Harry headed toward the Entrance Hall again, Tonks still in tow.

"Eventful day," she commented.

"Yep.  About this damn werewolf legislation though, I still need to speak with -"

"Potter!"

Harry looked up in surprise before a slow, feral smile formed.  "Fudge."

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Author Notes:

The plethora of bunnies (you didn't know they traveled in plethoras, did you?) is brought to you by Kinsfire, Treck, Cathal, and Finbar.

Finbar, incidentally, was the first to predict something that is started in this chapter.

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