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Harry / Tonks ship

Ginny,

You all will be school shopping on the thirty-first?  I plan on being there, then.  No promises, though.

This may sound odd, but I'm glad it isn't you that you had in mind for my "wooing".  While I don't quite see you as a younger sister (never having had one, I don't know what THAT feels like), but . . .  No offense, but I don't feel "that way" about you, Ginny.  I'm therefore relieved to hear that you don't feel that way toward me.  Not that I wouldn't be honored if you did, of course.  Oh, bollocks.  You know what I mean.

By the way, I think I found "a witch worth wooing" on my own.  I'll let you know if it works out.

Hermione's snitching.  I kinda figured the answer was something like that.  You're forgiven, Ginny.  You were just holding a promise you made to them.  I can't blame you for that.

And you, Miss Weasley, are as much a Gryffindor as I am, so stop saying otherwise.  I know you don't like thinking about it, but holding off Tom's memory for as long as you did as an eleven year old shows incredible strength and bravery.  So I don't want to hear you putting yourself down anymore, you hear me?

Your friend,
Harry


Tonks frowned at Harry a week later, breathing heavily.  "This isn't going to work."

"What do you mean?" he asked through his own panting breaths.

"This," she said in aggravation.  "You, me, here, doing this!  And stop doing that," she added in a growl.

"What?"

"THAT!  That thing you do with your wand.  You know that drives me mad."

"You mean this?"  He duplicated the maneuver that he was very well aware she was talking about.

"Yes," she hissed after a little jump, "THAT.  Stop it."

"Yes, Nymph," he agreed cheerfully.

"And don't call me Nymph."

"Why not?" he asked, finally straightening up after a particularly difficult dueling session.  That little wordless shocking spell he'd been using to distract her forgotten as he realized there was a real problem brewing.

"Actually, that might be the problem," she said thoughtfully.

"Now what are you talking about?" he asked.  He absently conjured a towel and started wiping his face off.

"Us dating is a problem for your training."

Harry's face started to close down.

"I am NOT talking about breaking up with you, you prat, so stop doing the turtle thing.  No, I mean how you view me during the training."

"I rather enjoy viewing you during the training," he admitted, grinning at her.  Her shorts and sleeveless training shirt showed off her petite and feminine frame.

"You can enjoy viewing as much of me as you want during your free time, Harry, but it's distracting you during our lessons."

His eyebrows rocketed.  "Just how much is as much as I want?"

"Which word didn't you understand?" she asked sweetly, grinning in a truly disturbing manner.  "Just remember that I have reciprocal rights."

Harry goggled and blushed simultaneously.

She laughed.  "Poor, naïve little Gryffindor.  You'll never be able to win these fights against me, Harry, and you know it.  No, what I was getting at is that while we're dating, you're not taking me seriously as an instructor."

He frowned at her, putting aside their secondary conversation.  "I do take you seriously.  You're an auror, and you're teaching me loads."

"But you're unwilling to duel me properly.  You're more likely to take a painful curse than curse me in return.  That's no way to teach you to duel."

Harry's face contorted, but he had no real answer.  She was right, and he knew it.

"How about this?  During lessons I'm Tonks, and you're Potter.  You were willing to duel Tonks last week."

"True.  Okay, I can try that, but what do I call you when we're NOT in lessons?"

"I'm sure I'm going to regret this," she lamented toward the ceiling.  "Give me some ideas," she finished warily.

"Oooh, I can come up with nicknames?"

She gave him a withering look.

Grinning in a totally unrepentant fashion, he said, "Nymphadora and Nymph are too obvious.  What'd your parents call you, anyway?"

She frowned.  "My mother INSISTS on calling me by 'Nymphadora' despite how much I ask her not to.  Dad calls me 'Tonks'."

"Hmm.  I don't like Nimma.  Dora or Nim, maybe?"

"'Dora' is my unofficial name among co-workers and the Order.  That's what Shack and Remus sometimes call me.  I guess I don't mind that, but it's not exactly romantic to me."

"Oh, you're looking for romantic?"

"From a boyfriend?  You bet your cute little arse I do."

He managed to ignore her comment regarding his posterior.  "'Nim', then?  I can't think of anything else that we can derive from your name."

"Nim," she tried the name out.  "Maybe.  Go ahead and use that for now.  I'll let you know if I don't like it.  Meanwhile . . ."  She pulled him back to his feet and gave him a quick, hard kiss before leaning forward and resting her forehead to his.  "You understand that I have to be kinda mean to you to train you, right?" she asked quietly.

He sighed.  "Yes, Nim.  I'll make you a deal.  I won't take it personally if you don't.  Good idea on the Tonks and Potter versus Nim and Harry, by the way.  This way we can separate work from play."

She chuckled.  "I thought I was the older one here.  That sounded almost profound."

"You ARE the old one.  You can't keep up with me, old-timer," he challenged with an impudent grin.

"'Old-timer'?" she asked in mock outrage.  She took five quick steps back and raised her wand.  "Okay, Potter, you asked for it!"  Without a sound, spells started pouring from her wand.

Harry conjured a shield and threw himself into the duel with a grin.


Hours later, Tonks dropped into a chair in the dining room with a grunt.

Kingsley looked up.  "You okay?"

"Yeah, Potter is finally starting to duel me again."

"You're calling him Potter suddenly?"

She explained their name deal and ended with, "We've been almost-dating for a week, and his dueling has suffered the whole time.  I finally got him past that."

He nodded and sighed.  "This is a dangerous path you're walking, Dora."

She scowled.  "We've been over this before, Shack.  He may be sixteen, but -"

He waved that off.  "I'm not talking about your ages.  I'm talking about the fact that he's your boss, AND he's Baron Black.  You know how the Prophet will treat that if they hear it."

She rolled her eyes.  "Yes, he's my boss.  Yes, he's my family Patriarch.  Neither of those points has come up.  Can you really see him ever trying to use either of those against me?"

"No," Kingsley freely admitted.  "I'm just worried what everyone ELSE will think."

"Screw 'em," she answered bluntly.  "I know the truth.  He knows the truth.  Everyone living here does.  Who else matters?"

"Public opinion matters to Lord-Baron Potter even if Harry hates it."

"You think we should break up?"

Kingsley raised a hand in a calming motion.  "I didn't say that.  I'm just saying that you two need to consider the image you're presenting to the world."

Tonks was getting upset.  "We shouldn't break up, but we shouldn't be seen together?  Is THAT what you're saying?"

"I don't know WHAT I'm saying, Tonks.  It just . . ."  He sighed.  "It just looks bad."

"He doesn't care, and I don't care.  Do we need a third vote?" she repeated her opinion.

"No, I'm just trying to warn you two as a friend.  You'll get a lot of howlers out of this if it becomes public."

"Yeah," she agreed with a resigned sigh.  "Anything in the paper?" she asked.

He allowed her to change the topic.  After all, he'd said his piece.  "Voldemort struck against a muggle hamlet overnight.  Fifteen victims.  Fudge is giving his same old excuses."


Nearly a week later, Harry and Tonks apparated to Hogsmeade shortly after the Shacklebolt family had flooed out.  The two groups met outside the Three Broomsticks and started walking toward Hogwarts.

Laura spent her time looking around and chattering excitedly.

"She's looking forward to seeing Hogwarts?" Harry asked Kelly dryly.

"How'd you guess?"

"Maybe because she hasn't stopped talking about it since I got that owl from Professor Flitwick?"

Kelly gave Harry an aggravated look.  "It was a rhetorical question, Harry.  While you two are having fun wandering around the grounds with Professors Flitwick and McGonagall, Kay and I have to try to keep our daughter under control in the most interesting castle in the world."

"Have fun," Tonks cheerfully offered.

Kelly glared at the younger magicians.

"Hmm.  I don't think she's terribly happy with us," Harry observed to Tonks.

"Apparently not."

Kelly gave them a half-hearted growl.  In truth, she was happy for the young couple.  They were both noticeably happier and more easy-going since they had started dating. 

If "dating" was the right word.  So far, it wasn't anything more than hugs, some light kissing, and long talks over butterbeer in the parlor, but under the circumstances, that was as close as they could get without exposing themselves.

"Dora, have you two talked yet about your extra training?"

Harry and Tonks exchanged a confused glance.  Harry answered, "We train three times a week, Kelly."

Kelly shook her head.  "Not that."  She turned to Tonks, deliberately tapped her hair, and then pointed to Harry.

Tonks's eyes brightened in understanding.  "Ah.  That.  No, not yet."

"What are you two talking about?" Harry asked.

"Meet you all later, right?" Tonks asked the Shacklebolts, ignoring Harry's question.

Kingsley waved her off.  "We're fine.  Just try to keep him out of trouble, would you?"

"I'm not the one getting INTO trouble," Harry objected, grinning back at the teasing.  "Trouble seems to find me without my help."

"Sure, sure.  Just go cast some wards or something, would you?"

Laughing, Harry and Tonks broke away from the other three and headed toward where they could see Professor McGonagall and the diminutive Professor Flitwick standing near the lake.  "What extra training?" Harry asked.

"Kelly seems to think you might be a metamorph," Tonks answered casually.

Harry almost tripped.  He turned to stare at her.

She laughed.  "I thought *I* was the clumsy one."

"Me?  A metamorphmagus?" Harry asked.

"You.  I thought you said you heard that conversation."

"Oh, was that what you were talking about first?  I only heard the part about you fancying me."

"Egotistical git," she answered with a grin as they came up to the professors.  "Yes, you, a metamorph.  You haven't had a haircut for six years plus, correct?"

McGonagall raised an eyebrow at Harry.

Flitwick looked absolutely delighted.  "Is this true, Mr. Potter?"

"Uh, yes.  More like ten years, actually," he answered cautiously, looking between the three.

"That is often a sign of someone who does very well in self transfiguration, Mr. Potter," McGonagall explained.  "Specifically, a metamorphmagus."  She nodded in Tonks's direction.

"Fascinating, and from such a young age," Flitwick said, looking at Harry in interest.

"I showed the same signs before coming to Hogwarts," Tonks told Harry.  "I didn't come into my full powers until thirteen or so, though."

"Good luck to you, Mr. Potter, if you decide to pursue this.  In the meantime, I believe we are here to reinforce the wards?" McGonagall brought them all back on track.

Tonks said, "Unless you object, I'll just follow along quietly.  I promise not to get in the way."

"Not at all, Miss Tonks," Flitwick agreed.  He turned to Harry.  "Imagine my surprise when Min told me of your line, Mr. Potter.  I'm so very glad that you're available and willing to help with the wards.  Now, the first step is to prepare the wards for a recharge of their power.  We begin by waving our wands thusly . . ."


Flitwick looked at Harry suspiciously.  "What was that last spell you cast, Mr. Potter?"

Finished with the last wards, Harry chewed on his lip for a moment as he put his wand back in its holder.  "Let's just call it a preventative measure, Professor."  He turned to McGonagall.  "Deputy Headmistress, I strongly recommend you have professors and some aurors stationed at the ward boundaries on September first.  I'm afraid you'll find several students will have an . . . adverse reaction to crossing the ward I just put up."  He winced.  "Damn, I forgot to ask.  Is Snape here?"

"Professor Snape is scheduled to arrive earlier on the first," McGonagall answered, peering at Harry in that "Explain yourself before I turn you into a newt" expression she had spent decades perfecting.

"Then you may want to get him inside the wards and keep him quarantined until AFTER the students arrive, Professor.  Specifically, I don't want him warning certain other parties ahead of time."  Harry did his best to match the stare he was receiving from the stern Deputy Headmistress.  Though he did not know it, his recent confidence boost and magical power made his expression much more intimidating than it had been before the end of the previous school year.

"Oh, dear," Flitwick said quietly as he put the information together.

McGonagall was only a moment behind her colleague in figuring out what Harry had planned.  "'Oh, dear' indeed.  Are you sure you want to do this, Harry?"

"I think we've established that the headmaster and I disagree on several things.  Allowing Death Eaters into the school under the guise of being students is one of them.  Merlin knows I'm not doing this for the publicity.  I'm doing it to make the school safer.  Surely you two can understand that goal."

McGonagall let out a long breath.  "I applaud the goal, Harry, yes.  It's just . . .  They're children," she finished almost sadly.

"Children who have willingly agreed to follow a dark lord," Harry corrected.

McGonagall winced but didn't try to deny that.

Surprising him, Flitwick gently said, "This is not the first time we've spoken about this, Min.  You may agree with Albus that they can be redeemed.  They might.  I do not know.  But do we really want to gamble the safety of the rest of the school on that?"  He sighed.  "Besides, like it or not, Lord Gryffindor DOES have the right to do this and demand our silence and obedience."

"I would never demand anything of either of you," Harry immediately objected.

"I know that, dear boy.  The fact stands, however, that you legally can do this."

McGonagall slowly nodded.  "And quarantining Severus gives him the excuse he needs to not report it.  Very clever."

Harry almost smiled.  "Despite my Gryffindor tendencies, I've been told that thinking things through can have its benefits."

The head of Ravenclaw laughed delightedly.  "Indeed, Mr. Potter, indeed."

McGonagall's lip twitched.  "It shall be as you say, Lord Gryffindor.  As I suspect what his reaction will be to this development, I shall not inform Albus until after . . .  After."

Harry nodded.  "Thank you, both, for everything."

Flitwick nodded back.  "Certainly.  Do come and visit us sometime, Harry.  I'm quite curious to see the focus that I suspect Hector is crafting even as we speak."

Harry and Tonks took their leave of the two professors and headed toward the castle and the meeting they'd arranged with the Shacklebolts.

"You'd have made a good Slytherin, Harry," Tonks commented.

"Coming from a former Slytherin, that's quite the compliment.  Thank you.  Alistair said the same thing."

"The Sorting Hat?"

Harry nodded.

She chuckled as they passed through the entrance hall.  "Wouldn't that have twisted Severus's tail?  Harry Potter as one of his Slytherins."

Harry chuckled along as he imagined the head of Slytherin's reaction to that scenario.  "Maybe.  I'm just as glad I wasn't under his control, though." 

A yawn escaped him.  "Excuse me.  Damn, but that was hard work.  Now I'm glad for those power throughput exercises Grandfather has been putting me through."

Tonks nodded.  "None of those looked particularly difficult; it was just the scale of putting them over something the size of this castle.  I didn't recognize most of them, though."

"Neither did I.  I thought Grandfather had been giving me a good education in the old magics, but some of that stuff was REALLY ancient.  I'm surprised the headmaster wasn't part of it."

"So was I.  I asked Professor Flitwick while you and Professor McGonagall were working.  Apparently Professor Dumbledore said that you, being from a founder bloodline, would do more good than he could, and so he wasn't needed."

Harry scowled.  He wasn't sure he believed that argument, but he couldn't find fault with it.  Besides, despite their working compromises and information exchanges, they were still trying to avoid each other.

"Explain to me again why we're here," Tonks requested as Harry led her into a seldom-used room.

Harry looked hurt.  "We hardly get any time to ourselves, Nim, what with a half dozen people living with us.  Here I go, find a place that hardly anyone visits, and you question me?"

Tonks looked amused.  "You consider a condemned girls' loo to be a good place for some private snuggle-time?  I think we need to talk about your taste in romantic locations."

Saving Harry from having to come up with an appropriate response, a tap on the door preceded Kelly poking her head into the room.  Spotting the two, she waved her husband and daughter in.

Laura, clearly more tired than she had been at the beginning of her tour, still managed to look around from her place in her father's arms.

Kingsley was also looking around the room but with a distinct lack of appreciation.  "Well, we're here on time as you requested.  Please explain to me again why we're here," he requested as he put Laura down.

Harry laughed.  He raised a hand and concentrated for a second.  His face clearing, but his hand staying up, he said, "Nim said the very same thing just before you got here."  He turned his head and hissed, "Open."  The sink obligingly moved aside to reveal the entrance to the Chamber of Secrets. 

As the adults were staring at the newly opened hole, the three school brooms that Harry had summoned zipped through the swinging door and came to a halt beside him.  Harry swung a leg over one of the brooms.  "Godric asked me to check the Chamber of Secrets.  It's potentially a security threat to the school.  I doubt it - Voldemort would've used it by now if he knew about it - but it's worth checking out.  Also, Kingsley, there is a huge basilisk corpse down there.  Do you think you could use some of it for potions ingredients?  Or at the least could you prepare it so we could sell them?"

Kingsley started to look excited, or at least as excited as the normally unflappable former auror ever got, and grabbed one of the brooms.

"Only three brooms?" Tonks asked.

Harry shrugged.  "I can't imagine Kelly and Shack would be happy if Laura came along -"

Laura pouted.

Smiling at the child, Harry continued, "So someone has to stay up here unless . . ."  A slow grin formed, and he turned to Kelly.  "Unless you'd accept Myrtle as a minder?"

Kelly blinked before giving a chuckle.  "Thank you, no.  I think I'll stay up here."

Tonks grabbed the last broom.  "Dead basilisk?  Now I know why you didn't want Remus to come along."

Harry nodded and led the three fliers into the nearly vertical tube slowly.  "Lumos maximus.  I imagine it won't smell all that good.  With his canine nose . . ."

Kingsley promptly cast a Bubble Head Charm over himself in implicit agreement.

Laughing, Harry and Tonks followed suit before moving further down into the bowels of the castle.


The next morning at breakfast, an owl brought a letter with the ministry seal to Harry.

Mr. Potter,

You are hereby summoned to appear as a material witness in the investigation of the events in and around the Shacklebolt residence in the early hours of August 11.

Know that you may be required to submit to veritaserum and charges may be brought against you if evidence comes to light that would require it.

Failure to appear at the Ministry of Magic courtroom 5 at 10:00 in the morning of August 29 will result in charges being brought against you.

Sincerely,
William Fitzhugh, bailiff

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Author Notes:

This bunny (Harry and company should visit the Chamber of Secrets to make sure it's safe) was donated by Fanfic lover38. I also seem to have subconsciously used a long-ago bunny by crazypc666 (Tonks unhappy with Harry's substandard dueling though she doesn't show it). My apologies for not crediting you originally.

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