Scion of Gryffindor
20 - Trial Reactions and Metamorphs
Harry / Tonks ship
Harry and Godric entered the dining room of Gryffindor Keep, continuing their conversation from the magical theory session just ended.
"But why is the older version of the Anti-Apparition Ward any better than the newer one? The recent version uses less power and seems to produce the same effect. Hi, Nim." Harry absently hugged Tonks from behind as she was reading the paper at the table.
She folded the Prophet and followed the conversation taking place across the table.
"On the surface, yes, they're the same. There are actually two differences, however. If you wanted to key someone into the wards, yourself for instance, the older version allows exceptions with fewer adverse affects on the integrity of the overall ward. The second difference is that the older one, if cast by the owner of the property, is more resistant to being brought down by an attacker."
Harry thought about that for a moment as he sat down. Dobby silently brought out his sandwich and chips before Harry asked his next question. "It's a blood-linked ward?"
"So do you think I should recast the anti-apparition ward on Gryffindor Keep?"
Godric smiled. "I'm glad you asked. Yes, I think you should. Actually, you should redo all the wards. They'll be stronger that way."
"I thought you put them up?" Tonks asked.
"I did. A thousand years ago. Unsurprisingly, they've weakened a bit since then. Besides, who says Harry here isn't stronger than I was?"
Godric sighed. "Why does everyone assume I was so powerful?"
"Um, because you helped found Hogwarts and were the one who fought Slytherin to a standstill?" Harry offered as if it were obvious.
"As to the first, that only means I had enough galleons and that I saw a business opportunity. As for Salazar, who says HE was all that powerful?"
Tonks blinked. "For the sake of my house pride, please don't say he wasn't."
Godric smiled toothily at her. "Okay, I won't." He sighed again. "Modern magicians seem to have iconized the four of us. We were just as human as the next wizard, with all the faults that that implies."
Tonks appeared to think that one over for a few seconds before picking her paper up again without a word.
"She just doesn't want to hear about the scandal Salazar was in about inappropriate charms and a couple of boa constrictors," Godric stage-whispered to Harry.
Biting his lip to keep silent, Harry watched Tonks's knuckles whiten. Looking toward Godric, Harry tallied a point in the air for the ghost.
Godric smiled and bowed back.
"Nim, anything interesting in the paper?" Harry asked, changing the subject.
"Headline is an article on your testimony at the deez trial."
"Deez?" Harry asked.
"Auror slang. Death Eaters. Dee Ees. Deez. Anyway, it doesn't mention the apparation since they either can't explain how you have a license, or if they can, the ministry told them to keep it quiet.
"Apparently, Dewey and his two partners were accused of accepting ministry funds illegally and investigated a while back. There wasn't enough evidence - read, 'a bribe headed off the investigation' - and the charges went away. Now the Prophet is pushing for another investigation. Seems he didn't go after the defendants as hard as they thought he should."
Harry snorted. "He was too busy coming after ME to be bothered with trying to convict the defendants."
"Exactly. The Prophet reporter saw that and asked the Wizengamot Elders what they thought. Elder McComb is a real stickler for honesty, and she said they were going to put his barrister license up for review. The reporter upped that one and is calling for an investigation into the law firm and Dewey specifically."
"Did they even bother to report the case?" Godric asked.
"Yep. Right at the end they mentioned what the case was about. Most of the story is about Harry and Dewey."
"Do I want to know what they're saying about me now?" Harry asked in dread.
"Nothing bad. You handled the questioning with quote, 'unusual calm and poise,' end quote. You have your own keep, though nobody seems to know where it is. Short re-iteration of your history. Eligible bachelor, rich, Boy Who Lived, and all that. Says you're not dating anyone currently, though you've had a few girlfriends in the recent past." She looked over her paper and asked teasingly, "Is there anything there I should be told about?"
He rolled his eyes and answered the somewhat rhetorical question. "I took Parvati to the Yule Ball a year and a half ago. I took Cho to one - ONE date not quite a year ago. The paper seems to think I dated Hermione somewhere along the line, too."
"At least you have good taste in women," Godric said innocently.
Harry smiled at Tonks and winked at her. "I think so."
"Good answer, Harry." She folded the paper and said, "Eat up, Potter. We got training this afternoon."
"You're still predictable, Potter."
"Ouch," Harry eloquently replied, rubbing his ankle.
"You handle just about any spells correctly except anything that's green. I suppose with your history that makes sense, but it's still something you need to work on. You always, ALWAYS dodge to your right. If anyone else besides me notices that, it'll get you killed."
"You made your point, Tonks," Harry groused, still holding his ankle.
"Have I?" she asked quietly. "It's Tonks's job to train Potter until he's as good a dueler as she is. On a more personal level, I'm kinda fond of you and don't want you to get killed."
Harry grinned impudently. "Well, I can't let a lovely lady down, now can I? So I just can't get killed."
She rolled her eyes. "Prat."
Harry gave her a mocking half-bow before he winced in pain.
"How's your ankle?"
"I twisted it pretty good. I'll have to have Remus look at it."
Tonks raised her wand and a small, silver form shot out of it and flew out of the room.
"What was that, anyway? I saw you use one at Kingsley's place, too."
"Messenger Spell. It's a derivation of the Patronus Spell, actually - completely secure but visually obvious."
"Hmm. Could you teach me that one?"
"Sure thing," she answered as Remus entered.
"You called?" he asked. He saw Harry sitting on the ground and went over to him, pulling out his wand. "She finally convinced you that your dodging green spells is predictable?"
Harry looked at her in surprise as Remus was muttering spells over Harry's ankle.
She smirked at him. "I told you so."
"I'm no Madam Pomfrey, but that should do it," Remus announced. "Just no running around for the rest of the day." The werewolf glanced sideways at Tonks before adding, "Or any other physically strenuous activities."
Tonks stuck her tongue out at him.
"Thanks, Remus," Harry said, testing the ankle gingerly, completely oblivious to the innuendo.
"Remus, are you available later?" Tonks asked. "Potter here wants to learn the Messenger Spell."
"Sure. I'll be in the library."
Tonks nodded, and Remus left. She turned to Harry. "Well, with that ankle we can't finish the dueling lesson. How about the first morphing lesson?"
Harry nodded eagerly. Ever since being told of the chance of his being a metamorphmagus, he had been intrigued by the possibilities for anonymity and disguise. Not to mention that it would be really cool to be able to do.
Tonks conjured a couple of chairs and seated herself in one, waving her student into the other. "Okay, let's start with some basic information first. I, obviously, am a metamorphmagus, metamorph, or morpher. There aren't all that many of us around. I'm only the third one I'm aware of in the UK. My teacher, Tim, and an old witch in Glasgow are the other two. The metamorphmagus skill doesn't seem to follow genetics - I'm the only known morpher in the Tonks or Black lines - nor is there any other known common factor. It is not an unlimited ability. I can't change my mass or my current nervous system. So no growing another eye out the back of my head, for instance."
Harry blinked at that mental image. "Well, of course not. Think about how strange the sunglasses would look."
She rolled her eyes. "Funny. No, looking out the back of my head would be a nice skill to have for an auror. Only Mad-Eye has that one, though. You've seen me change my hair color and length, eye color, and nose shape. I also subtly alter the lines of my face, but you may or may not have noticed that."
"Your cheekbones are slightly lower today and the chin is just a shade more rounded," he promptly answered.
She just stared at him.
Seeing her reaction, he squirmed uncomfortably, not knowing how she took his close observation.
Her smile put him at ease. "Very good. I'm not upset with you, Potter. In point of fact, I'm rather impressed. Okay, I generally do that by altering the muscles, cartilage, and fats in my face or nose. Glamours can change my appearance in the same ways, of course, but a morph won't be reversed by a Finishing Spell. I can also affect the length of fingernails and make slight changes to my height. I can change body shape by manipulating the muscle and fatty tissues." She peered at him threateningly. "And not one smart word out of you if you know what is good for you."
He managed to avoid any of the several dozen thoughts racing through his mind, ranging from sexist to snarky to downright perverted. Instead, he asked, "You said you couldn't add or remove mass, right?"
"Then how do you grow your hair out? That's adding mass, isn't it?"
"Good question. I don't actually change the mass. Just move it around a little. In the case of hair, it's so slight that it isn't obvious."
He frowned in thought for a second. "Please don't take this the wrong way, Tonks, but is this the cause of your clumsiness?"
She smiled at him and nodded. "Again, very good. All of this shifting keeps me from an intuitive understanding of where my center of mass is like everyone else has. Just changing the shape of my face wouldn't alter it much - you wouldn't think - but it seems to be just enough. When I keep to one form for a couple days and when I'm recuperating from an injury, for instance, I'm not clumsy anymore. Well, as clumsy anyway."
"So why not pick one form and stay with it?"
"Aside from this skill being the main reason I was an auror? When I'm asleep, I revert to my base form."
"So to keep the same form for days means you'd have to stay in your base form?"
"Why not just do that, then? I understand needing to change appearance for auror or Order duties, but why not just let it go while we're all here?"
She frowned. "Honestly? I don't like my base form. Only my parents and a handful of healers and nurses have ever seen it."
He nodded slowly. "Okay, I guess I can understand that." He gave a mirthless chuckle. "Merlin knows I'd change my appearance anytime I got the chance. Between this bloody scar and hair, everyone in the entire wizarding world recognizes me in about three seconds."
She reached over and ruffled his hair playfully. "I like the hair. It's cute."
He gave out a little noise of irritation.
She just smiled back. "So let's start with that, then. We still don't know for sure that you're a morpher, remember. Let's experiment a little and see what we can do."
She conjured a standing mirror. She then stood and walked around so she was standing behind him. Meeting his eyes in the mirror, she said, "First, concentrate on changing the length of your hair. Based on the haircut story, you've already done it, so this is probably the easiest one for you to accomplish. We'll move on once we get this one figured out.
"Okay, concentrate and imagine your hair growing longer. Say to your shoulders . . ."
"Whatcha writing?" Remus asked as he sat down across the table.
"A letter to the Prophet. I'm telling the real story of Tom Riddle and the opening of the Chamber of Secrets," Harry answered.
Remus's eyes widened before he slowly nodded. "Telling the story of the origins of Voldemort."
Harry nodded. "And Hagrid getting expelled originally and arrested the second time around."
Remus thought that one through. "You're going to make the ministry look bad without pointing it out that way."
"What will Ginny think of this?" Harry had long since told Remus the full story, and so the former Marauder knew who the players were.
Harry tapped another parchment laying next to his elbow. "I asked, and she's okay with me telling the world about it. She was only eleven and was duped into it by Malfoy and Voldemort."
Remus whistled. "And a third fish falls into the net. Very clever."
Harry didn't look up. "Yeah, having a Slytherin girlfriend is having SOME affect on me."
Remus looked at him closely. "Harry, what's wrong?"
"You're an awful liar."
"Proving I'm a true Gryffindor. Too damn honest for my own good."
"And you're even worse at trying to avoid a question. What's wrong?"
Harry sighed and laid his quill down before looking up at Remus. "Nim. We were talking about metamorphs, and she mentioned that she doesn't like her base form."
Remus frowned in confusion. "Okay."
"She said that the only time she is in her base form is when she's asleep."
"Harry, I don't see where -"
"I WANT to see her, Remus," Harry quietly interrupted. He closed his eyes and finished in a whisper, "Preferably while she's asleep."
Remus was quiet for long enough that Harry finally dared to crack his eyes open.
Remus was smiling slightly at him. "What're you so embarrassed about, Harry? It's perfectly normal for a teenager to want to . . . see his girlfriend." His grin raised a touch. "Or so I'm told."
Harry rolled his eyes. "Funny. No, it's just that I don't want to ask her for something she doesn't want." He sighed. "I don't even know what the hell I'm doing, Remus. I've never really dated, let alone going any further than that."
"You two have had more than one late night spent talking in front of the fire," Remus observed.
Harry snorted. "I mean a real date. Like it or not, I'm one of the most recognized wizards in the country. I can't go on a date in the wizarding world, Remus. On top of that, I know even less about the muggle world than the wizarding one. So we just sit here, in the same house as my ancestor, my godfather, her former partner, and his six year old daughter. Yeah, real romantic environment."
Remus tilted his head in acknowledgement. "So think creatively. Put up proximity wards somewhere here in the Keep or the grounds if you want some time alone with her. Learn some Glamour Charms or perfect your metamorphing skills so you can go to Diagon Alley with her without the entire world knowing. You're smart, Harry. Just put your mind to work for you."
Today's bunny (third eye and sunglasses) is from Finbar.