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Harry / Tonks ship

Author Notes:

I want to thank Dale and Cami for all the beta work that they've put into this story. It is a far superior story thanks to their constant efforts.

On the morning of Harry Potter's sixteenth birthday, his sole surviving relatives celebrated it in exactly the way Harry expected them to do so.

They completely ignored it.

That's assuming, of course, that they even knew when it was.

Instead of lavishing him with good wishes, cake, and presents, the Dursleys forced Harry to prepare their breakfast, begrudged him the pathetically small portions they allowed him, and generally berated him for the unmitigated gall he had for merely existing.

Not that it mattered to Harry.  He'd already gotten more for the day than he was expecting.  At one minute after midnight that morning, he'd let a dozen owls into the smallest bedroom of Number 4 Privet Drive.  The mostly well-behaved owls queued up for him to relieve them of their burdens, and then they'd all flown out except for Harry's own Hedwig, Ron's Pigwidgeon, and the Weasley family owl Errol.  Pigwidgeon was apparently expecting a reply to the note he'd brought, and Errol had passed out from exhaustion.

Most of the gifts weren't all that unusual.  Meat pies, rock cakes, sampler packs of Wheezes, candy, teaching guides, and so on.  Among the more unusual gifts Harry had gotten included So You Think You're a Man Now? from Fred and George (Harry was honestly afraid to open it); auror quality dragonhide wand holster to attach to his belt and dragonhide boots from the Order; and a small pensieve from Dumbledore.

The most surprising note, however, was from Gringotts bank inviting Harry to come in for a reading of the Last Will and Testament of Sirius O. Black.

Harry had pushed aside his melancholy to read Ron's note:

Hey, mate!

Happy birthday!

Dumbledore finally gave the go-ahead for you to come to the Burrow on the twelfth.  Dad and I will be around at noon.

Don't let the muggles get you down!

Ron

As Harry fixed breakfast for his relatives much later that morning, he smiled.  He only had twelve more days until he would escape.

"What are you grinning at, boy?  Finally gone batty, have you?  Touched in the head, no doubt.  Well, get that unnatural smirk off of your face and get breakfast on the table before Dudley comes downstairs," said Uncle Vernon.

Yes, a normal birthday for certain.


Early that afternoon, Petunia answered the doorbell.  She found a powerfully built man with engaging hazel eyes.  She felt that she should recognize him, but she couldn't quite place him.  "Hello?" she asked hesitantly.

He smiled.  "May I speak with young Mr. Potter, please?" he asked politely.

She hesitated.  The man appeared to be dressed normally in a polo shirt and jeans.  But if he was normal, what could he want with HIM?  Knowing it was useless to fight it, she grudgingly stepped aside.  After the man entered, she closed the door and called up the stairs, "Get down here!  There's someone here to speak with you."  Suddenly realizing that what she had said could be taken the wrong way, she added, "Please."

Harry made it down the stairs just in time to see a stranger throw his aunt a tolerant smirk.  The man turned to Harry and smiled in a way that Harry found strangely familiar.  He stepped toward the young wizard and extended his hand.  "Hello, Harry Potter.  I'm Godric Gryffindor."

Harry's hand, which had come up in automatic response, froze short of its goal.  "Godric Gryffindor?  LORD Gryffindor?" Harry asked in wide-eyed amazement.

Godric shrugged in amused acceptance and folded his arms.  "If you'd rather call me that, that's fine."

"Lord?" Petunia asked, trying to remember where she'd heard the name before and whether any of the high society types had that name.

"Indeed," Godric said.  "I was given the title by the Ministry of Magic after my friends and I founded Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry."

Her face scrunched up.  "Oh.  One of THEM."

"Yes," he agreed.  "I'm one of them.  Now, may I speak with Harry, please?"

"If you must," she sniffed.

He turned to the wizard still standing nearby.  "We have a great deal to discuss, my young friend.  Is there somewhere we can speak?"

Glancing at his aunt, Harry shook his head.  "We'd better go outside, sir."

Godric nodded agreeably.  He opened the door again and waved Harry out.  "After you, young lion."

Fighting their smiles, the two left a flustered Petunia Dursley sputtering behind them.

They'd gone an entire block before Harry burst out, "Lord Gryffindor?"

"Hmm?" Godric asked absently.

"Um, please don't take this the wrong way, sir, but aren't you . . . well, dead?"

Godric laughed.  "Yes, indeed.  By your standards, I am indeed dead.  However, I'm sure you're aware that some people come back as ghosts."

Harry nodded.  "Yes, sir.  However, if what Sir Nicholas said is true, it's due to unfinished business or fear of what comes after."

"Absolutely true.  I had some unfinished business.  That's part of what I wanted to talk to you about.  Tell me, young man, how good is your knowledge of history?"

Harry flushed.  "Honestly, not that good, sir."

"With that dry, old ghost Binns, I can't really blame you," Godric laughed.  "For our purposes, the important part is that Salazar and I had a blood feud going when we died.  Actually, we ended up killing each other.  At any rate, I swore that my family would continue defying his family so long as they continued trying to take over the wizarding world.  After I died, I stayed to help my family."

"As fascinating as this all is, sir, what does this have to do with me?"

"You haven't guessed yet?  Even after what Albus told you?  How'd that go?  'Only a true Gryffindor could have pulled that out of the hat.'  For what it's worth, I'm glad that my sword could help you against Salazar's little pet."

Harry's jaw was hanging open.  "I'm your heir?"

Godric smiled at him fondly.  "Yes, indeed.  About this 'Lord Gryffindor' thing, just call me Grandfather.  There are too many 'Greats' in front of that to bother with.  Besides, technically YOU are the current Lord Gryffindor."

"You . . .  I . . .  But . . ."

Gryffindor laughed at Harry's expression before sobering.  "My eldest son's family was all hunted down and eventually killed off by Slytherin's family and their supporters.  My second son, however, left Scotland, moved to Wales, and took the name of Potter in order to hide from the war.  By the laws of the time, you are the most direct descendant of that branch."

"Most direct?  Does that mean there are more heirs around?"

"Oh, heavens yes.  The Weasley family, your friend Neville Longbottom, even that crazy Quidditch captain of yours, Wood.  There are hundreds of living witches and wizards who are descendents of my sons and daughters.  But by the laws of Magic, primary inheritance goes down the lines of the males.  You, therefore, are the legal and magical heir."

"I . . .  I don't know what to say," Harry quietly spoke as they were passing the dilapidated park.  Harry absently noted that Dudley and his gang had recently applied another layer of graffiti over the Welcome and Rules sign.

Godric shook his head.  "Nothing needs to be said.  I know I'm dropping a lot on your head all of a sudden.  Oh, before I forget, happy birthday."

"Thank you."  Harry still couldn't quite comprehend the conversation he was having.

"It is because you are now sixteen that I can have this conversation with you just as I had it with your father on his sixteenth birthday.  I have a few gifts for you."  He stopped walking and turned to Harry. 

The young wizard nervously watched his many-times-great grandfather wave his hands in the air in front of him, mumbling quietly.  Vaguely, Harry thought he felt SOMETHING but couldn't even make a guess as to what it was.

Finally Gryffindor stopped and studied the young man, nodding his head in satisfaction.  "There.  I have thus far given you two gifts, Grandson.  First, I unlocked your full potential as a wizard.  All that this means for you is that you will now grow as strong as you would have if Riddle hadn't damaged your magical core with his Killing Curse all those years ago.  Second, I have also given you the gift of Mage Sight."  He raised his hand to Harry's gathering frown.  "In simple terms, you can see magic.  The next time you're around a spell being cast, you'll see what I mean."

Harry nodded, looking intently at Godric.  Upon close examination, he was slightly translucent; a fact that Harry was certain hadn't been noticeable before.

Godric nodded, pleased.  "Yes, you can see that I'm a ghost.  Very good."  He reached into what appeared to be his pants pocket and pulled out two objects and held them out to Harry.  "This key is to the family Gringotts vault.  There is no money in there, but rather something much more valuable.  Knowledge.  This vial . . .  Actually, I don't want to tell you about it yet.  Just hold onto it.  I will tell you when it's useful."

Harry took both items in hand and studied them.  The key was a larger version of his own Gringotts key, with "Gryffindor" etched into it.  The small vial appeared to hold a single hair.  Something occurred to him and he looked up.  "Wait a second.  If you're a ghost, how can you be holding these things?"  He blushed and looked down.  "I'm sorry, sir.  My mouth has a way of running off.  I apologize."

Godric smiled.  "Not at all.  And what did I tell you about this 'sir' business?  Call me grandfather."

"Yes, s - Grandfather," Harry tried the title out.  He found it oddly satisfying to say.

Gryffindor waved them into motion again.  "As for the objects . . .  Well, without being modest about it, I was a very powerful wizard.  Still am, as it happens.  It was a simple Levitation Spell to carry the items around."

Harry blinked.  "Ghosts can cast spells?"

"Certainly."

"But if you can't hold a wand -"

Godric sighed.  "Just because I can't hold a wand doesn't mean I can't cast spells.  You've seen wandless magic before.  Animagus transformation and apparition are forms of wandless magic.  Your casting of a Light Spell from your wand when you weren't holding it last summer was another."

"So ghosts can cast spells, but only if they can do it wandlessly?" Harry asked, not paying attention to Godric's entire explanation.

Gryffindor snapped his metaphysical fingers and pointed at Harry with a flourish.  "Precisely!" he exclaimed.

The pair continued their walk in silence for a few minutes.  "Just so you know, I've modified your guards' memories.  They'll think you spent all this time in the front room of your house.  They won't remember seeing me at all."

Harry nodded, relieved.  He hadn't been sure how he could explain this to the Order guards.  "Thank you.  That certainly simplifies some things.  Before we go any further, though, I have a question."

"Shoot."

"You're not talking like I'd have expected."

Godric smiled.  "Wouldst thou prefer I spake thusly?"

Harry shook his head with a grin.

"I've paid attention to you youngsters all this time.  I've tried to change how I talk so that it's more comfortable for my heirs when I speak with them."

"It's worked.  Thank you."

"You're welcome.  Incidentally, you may notice some things change at Hogwarts when you return.  As my acknowledged heir, you'll find the castle provides you certain . . . benefits.  You might also want to speak with Alistair."

"Who's Alistair?"

"The Sorting Hat.  He has another item of mine that he'll give to you."

"Should I ask?"

Godric chuckled at the hesitant question.  "Nothing bad, I assure you.  It's just the Gryffindor signet ring.  Speaking of which, you may want to visit the Potter vault and get the Potter signet ring.  I noticed you aren't wearing it."

"The Potter vault?"

Godric's face clouded over.  "He never told you?"

Harry blinked.  "Who never told me what?"

"Albus never told you about your family vault?"

"I know my parents left me one to pay for school -"

Godric waved a hand, cutting Harry off.  "No, not the trust vault.  I mean the family one.  The one with family heirlooms and such."

"I . . . what?"

Gryffindor's expression became darker and he started to mutter quietly.  "What are you playing at, Albus?  Keeping his heritage from him?  That's reprehensible."

"Grandfather?" Harry asked fearfully.

Godric's expression softened.  "I'm not upset with you, lad.  I'm angry at Albus.  He's withheld so much from you."

Harry snorted.  "Yeah, I know."

"Even I don't know all of it, I'm afraid.  Being my heir and the existence of the Potter fortune and vaults are the obvious ones I can suggest you inquire about."

"'Vaults, as in more than one?"

"Oh, yes.  Most of the old families have several.  Having one for ready cash, one for material items, and one for paperwork is quite common."

"I wonder why I'm named in Sirius's Will," Harry wondered aloud a short time later.

"Sirius's Will is active?"

Harry looked sideways at his grandfather.  "I thought you knew everything."

"Hardly everything, Harry," Godric denied with a chuckle.  "My portrait at Hogwarts knows a great deal, and I often speak with him, but even between the two of us, we hardly know EVERYTHING."

"You have a portrait at Hogwarts?"

Godric grinned mischeviously.  "Yes.  He's difficult to find, though, so I'm not surprised you don't know about him.  I'll let him know that I spoke with you, so if you need him, he'll make an appearance.  What was this about your godfather?"

"I got an owl this morning to attend the reading of his Will.  I just have no idea why he may have wanted me there."

Godric smiled slightly.  "Knowing Padfoot, just about anything's possible."

Harry blinked in surprise.  "You knew him?"

"I spent a fair amount of time with your father, as I mentioned."

"Right."

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Author Notes:

I've been accused of letting Harry trust Godric too quickly in this chapter. In my defense, I'd like to point out a few items: Harry knew (or at least suspected) that the wards would prevent evil wizards from approaching; he's more likely to trust someone he recognizes, even if he can't quite place him; Harry knew there were Order guards there and presumed they'd follow if he walked off; by the time he'd been told Godric had confounded the guards, Harry was already convinced of Godric's identity (who else would know what Albus had told Harry about the sword?).

Hope that helps

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