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Harry / Tonks ship

The Playboy Who Lived?

Harry Potter, dubbed the Boy Who Lived after surviving a Killing Curse at fifteen months of age, has long been held up as an icon for the Light.  Throughout five years at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, rumors ran rampant about his repeatedly thwarting He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named; killing basilisks, trolls, and acromantulas; winning quidditch matches and Tri-Wizard Tournaments; and unraveling more than one mystery.

But has it all been an attempt to gain yet more fame?

In the past two months, Harry Potter has been spotted in public no less than six times, the most recent instance being two weeks ago at the ministry's Equinox Ball. 

"What is wrong with this?" the reader may ask.

Nothing, on the surface.  However, Mr. Potter had a lovely young lady (presumably a witch, though that is not confirmed) on his arm each time.  Moreover, it was not the SAME young lady who was Mr. Potter's escort each time.

In fact, during the Equinox Ball, this reporter noticed that the lady (a brunette known only as "Tee") took a drink supplied to her by Mr. Potter more often than once an hour.  As many of our readers will no doubt know, this is the maximum length of time that Polyjuice Potion holds its effects.

Whether it's been the same individual under polyjuice or whether Mr. Potter is "playing the field" with regards to his dating habits, one is forced to wonder about the moral fiber of someone who forces these kinds of choices upon any person (presumably female(s), but that is also yet to be conclusively determined) he wishes to date.

What is next for the Boy Who Lived?  Flesh golems?  Demands for a personal harem?

"What the hell?" Harry yelled.  Throwing the Daily Prophet to the table and standing, he snarled, "They're calling me some sort of sexual deviant now?  What's next, another Dark Lord in training?  Assassin going after Fudge?  Do they MAKE THIS SHITE UP?"

"Yes, they do," Tonks answered calmly.  "You already knew that."

"Better not mention to the Prophet that Dark Lord in training or assassin thing.  They'd probably quote you as saying that was your intention," Remus added, unruffled by Harry's anger.

Harry just growled at the werewolf.

"There is an easy way to refute these rumors," Tonks said, still reading the article.

"What, leveling the Prophet building?"

"Not a bad idea, but not what I had in mind.  No, I meant taking our relationship public."

"Dammit, Nim!  We've talked about this before.  It's just too dangerous, and you know it."

Remus and Kelly both winced, though neither Tonks nor Harry saw them.

Tonks's eyes narrowed.  "Well, excuse me for thinking I actually had any choice in the matter.  Silly me, I thought this was supposed to be a relationship and not just you having the chance to live out every adolescent male's fantasy!"

"You know that isn't what's going on, Nim.  I'm not dating you just because you're a metamorph."

"That's not what I meant, you bloody idiot.  I meant -  You know what?  Nevermind."

"Whatever.  I'm just trying to keep you safe, Nim."

"For Morgana's sake, Potter!  I'm an auror.  I know how to handle myself, so stop trying to keep me safe!  I know what I'm doing."

Harry just stared at her for a few seconds.  "I'm not going to talk about this right now.  Remus, Shack, you coming?"

Tonks gave an inarticulate scream of frustration as she stormed out of the dining room.

Harry, with Remus and Shacklebolt following, headed toward the parlor.  "The Three Broomsticks," Harry growled out.  Rolling back to his feet after the floo system spit him out, he stomped over to an empty table and dropped down into a seat.  Remus joined him less than thirty seconds later.  Kingsley, under Harry's invisibility cloak, took up an overwatch position in a corner of the room.

"Can I offer a bit of advice?" Remus asked.

"No," Harry snarled.

"Good morning," Madam Rosmerta cautiously said, eyeing the fuming young wizard.

"Morning, Rosy," Remus cheerfully greeted her.  "Hope you don't mind, but Harry has arranged to meet a few friends here later."

She nodded.  "No problem.  The students should start arriving soon.  Would you two like something in the meantime?"

"I'd like some tea.  Do you want a butterbeer, Harry?"

A grunt was all the answer that Madam Rosmerta heard, which she took as an affirmative.  As it was still before the lunchtime crowd, service was quick.

"What the hell's wrong with her?  I'm just trying to keep her safe," Harry eventually said.

"She doesn't want you to keep her safe, Harry.  If she wanted to be safe, she never would have agreed to be your bodyguard, let alone your girlfriend."

Harry didn't answer the comment, but he did appear to calm down a bit.

The first student to spot him was Hermione.  She sat down across from him without invitation and said, "I'm sorry."

Remus unobtrusively left the table and took a seat nearby.

Somewhat expecting Hermione to find him at some point that day, Harry raised an eyebrow at her opening.  "For what?"

"For ordering you around when I should have been asking you."

Harry nodded and relaxed a fraction.

"Even if I was being inconsiderate to you, I didn't deserve the high-handed treatment you gave me, though," she grumped.

"You're absolutely right, Hermione," he said to her visible astonishment.  "I apologize for ordering you about like I did.  Not much fun, is it?"  He spoke gently, trying to avoid rubbing salt into any wounds.

She flushed.  "You've made your point, Harry."

He nodded, satisfied.  "There, now that THAT issue is dealt with, how're you doing?"

Her face fell a little bit.  "Not very well," she admitted.  "Ron and I broke up."

Harry nodded sympathetically.  "I heard.  Is there anything I can do?"

"No, not really," she said.  "Please don't take this the wrong way, Harry, but it was because of you that we got together in the first place."

Harry blinked rapidly.  "How do you figure that?"

"You were a . . . buffer between us, Harry.  Both of us in orbit around you - we were drawn together.  Without you there to buffer us, well, we annoyed each other so much that it couldn't work.  He refuses to take his schoolwork seriously enough, and according to him, I take it too seriously.  Between that, quidditch practices, his refusing to help with prefect duties . . .  Well, the list is long.  After our big fight, we agreed to step back from each other.  We both know it can't work out, so we aren't even trying."

Harry leaned forward and laid a hand over her small, ink-stained hands that she'd folded primly on the table.  "I wish there was something I could do."

She shook her head.  "Don't.  We recognized the problem before it got too bad.  At least we're still on speaking terms."  She managed a small smile.

"Oooh, Harry.  You recruiting for your harem?"  A widely grinning Lavender Brown, trailed closely by the Patil twins, walked up to the table.

Harry grinned up at them.  He'd expected the question to sting, but strangely, the way Lavender asked it only amused him.  "Why, Lav?  You jealous that I asked Hermione first?"

Hermione and Padma laughed at Lavender's gobsmacked look.  Parvati smiled at him.  "You're getting much better at flirting, Harry.  Who do we have to thank for that?"

"You'll no doubt meet her eventually, Parvati."

"Oh, pooh.  I was hoping for a name today."

Padma rolled her eyes at her twin's words.  "Harry, what's the word on the D.A.?  Neville said you gave us your permission to continue without you?"

Harry nodded, to her and Hermione's relief.  "Definitely.  Just because I'm not there, that's no reason to not learn everything you can.  I heard Snape's not gotten any better in his teaching methods?"

All four girls got disgusted looks on their faces.

"Oy, Potter!  What're you doing to put that look on my girlfriend's face?"  Ron walked up and wrapped his arms around Lavender's waist from behind. 

She immediately snuggled back into him, to Hermione's vaguely nauseous look.

Harry ignored the byplay.  "I asked about Snape's teaching methods."

"That slimy git!" Ron snarled.  "It's obvious he knows the material.  He demonstrates it once and then tells us to practice.  If we don't get it right the first time he just yells at us instead of actually TEACHING us anything."

Harry nodded, not really surprised.  "Sounds like the D.A. is definitely needed again.  That'll give you all practice time."

"Who do you want to lead it?" Padma asked.

"That's not my choice to make," he responded.

"Yes, it is," the Ravenclaw calmly pointed out.  "Even if you don't have the final say-so, your opinion will be asked."

Harry's lip twisted when he mentally acknowledged the point.  "I would hope that everyone doesn't blindly accept my recommendations, though.  Okay, how about this?  If you took me out of the equation from last year, who does that leave?"

"Hermione doing the research for new spells and her, Ron, and Ginny doing the teaching."

"There you go.  You could start there and see how it goes.  If you need to make changes, then make changes."

All five of them appeared to take the recommendation well and were nodding.

"If this time is convenient, may I have a word, Lord-Baron?" Malfoy asked from a position between two nearby tables.

Ron's face turned red instantly.  "Sod off, Malfoy.  You're not wanted here."

Draco's eyes didn't shift from Harry.  "I do believe that's Lord-Baron Potter's choice, not yours."

"Leave before I turn you into something that's only fit for Peeves to use as a chew toy, not that you're much beyond that right now," Ron snarled.

"I heard a rumor that you were attacked and seriously hurt by brains, Weasley.  How ironic is that?" Draco asked in return, voice level.

"Why, you -"  Ron went for his wand.

"ENOUGH!" Harry bellowed, freezing Ron in his tracks.  Draco and the girls hadn't moved.  "If you can't be civil to each other, then you'll just have to avoid each other."

Draco nodded and turned his head, ignoring Ron completely.  "I have a bit of private business to discuss with you, Baron Black.  Is this time convenient?"

"You can stop with the formalities, Ferret.  We know you have money and an important sounding title.  Is that supposed to make up for being a prick without a personality?"

"That's enough, Ron!  If you can't behave like an adult, then leave," Harry demanded, out of patience with his friend's bigotry.

Parvati, Ron, and Lavender looked shocked.  "I can't believe you're siding with the ferret, Harry.  Or should I bow and call you 'My Lord Potter'?"  The sarcasm was registering in the tons.

Harry sighed.  "Ron, whether you want to admit it or not, he IS acting more like an adult than you are."

"I should've expected this," Ron said with a disgusted look and a shake of his head.  "Effing rich Potter sides with bloody Malfoy of all people.  To hell with you both.  Come on, Lav.  The stench in here is getting ripe." 

Ron stalked out.  Lavender followed after glaring at Harry.  Parvati looked at him in confusion before following the other two.

"My apologies for inciting that scene," Draco said quietly.

Harry sighed.  "You didn't, Draco.  That blowup was a long time in coming.  He just doesn't understand that I would gladly give up my version of rich for his."

Draco nodded, much to the surprise of the remaining two girls.

"I'll owl you," Hermione said, standing and leaving with a pensive look on her face.

Padma looked from Draco to Harry to Hermione.  Turning back to Harry, she said, "I'll see you at the Yule Ball?"

Harry smiled and nodded.

Nodding back, Padma moved toward a table filling with upperclass Ravenclaws.

Draco took the seat that Harry waved him toward.  "What can I do for you, Baron Malfoy?"

Draco cast a Privacy Sphere around the table, blocking not only sound but also vision.  Once out of sight of the rest of the bar, he shook his head.  "I won't be a baron for much longer.  I've decided to take you up on the offer."

Somewhat surprised, Harry asked, "May I ask what changed your mind?"

Draco sighed and slumped in his chair, a surprising action for the usually very formal Slytherin.  "Many things.  My mother vouches for you.  You fought Aunt Bella to a draw, which is no mean feat.  You've found some way of neutralizing Snape this year.  I'd love to hear how you managed that, by the way."  He looked up hopefully and grunted at Harry's smile and head shake.  "Didn't think so.  Anyway, my father is still in prison despite all the allies he thought he had.  However, the most important thing that changed my mind is what happened three nights ago."  He looked up and stared into Harry's eyes.  "Malfoy Manor was burned to the ground by the Dark Lord."

Harry stared in shock.  "I'm sorry."

Draco frowned down at the tabletop and idly picked at it with a thumbnail.  "It was almost empty, and what happened was kept out of the news.  Anyway, it wasn't your doing, was it?  It was mine.  When I didn't jump at the chance to join him this summer . . ."  Draco shuddered.  "Well, among other things he warned me that I'd have to choose soon.  I guess I didn't choose soon enough."  He was silent for a few moments.  "Bastard."

"I don't know about that, but he is an evil arsehole."

Draco grunted in something close to humor.  "True."  He looked up at Harry.  "Let's get something straight.  I'm not going to join your side of noble, foolish idealists, Potter.  I'm just using you and Black's money to get away from that insane half-blood."

Harry nodded, not really surprised.  "Fair enough.  Should I warn Snargtooth to expect you over Christmas holidays?"

Draco sighed and nodded.  He stood and started to pull out his wand before he suddenly frowned.  "What did Patil mean by the Yule Ball?  Hogwarts isn't having one this year."

"The Abbotts.  I'm surprised you didn't know they throw one.  The Blacks - and the Malfoys based on what your mother mentioned - seem to get invited to all the big events."

Malfoy shook his head.  "The pureblood group has our own Yule festival, of course, but Patil wouldn't have known about it.  I doubt you'll be invited, considering your . . . family line."  He held up a hand to Harry's frown.  "That wasn't meant to be an insult, Baron Black.  Merely a statement of fact.  So you're being integrated into the economic block with Abbott, Patil, Longbottom, and that crowd?"

Harry slowly settled back down when it was clear he wasn't being insulted for no reason.  "It seems so," he answered the question.

Nodding once, Draco dispelled his Privacy Sphere, to Remus's visible relief.  "Thank you for your time, Lord-Baron," he said, reverting to the hyper-formal mode he usually displayed around Harry.  "I shall be staying at the Leaky Cauldron over the holidays if you need to contact me."

Harry nodded.  "Very well."

As Draco was leaving, Professor McGonagall appeared at Harry's table.  "May I speak with you for a moment, Harry?"

Harry smiled at his latest visitor and waved toward the chair across from him.  "Please, Professor."

"Harry," she chided him with a trace of humor, "I know you've been told to use my given name."

"I doubt you'll be anything except 'Professor McGonagall' to me," he answered with a smile.  "Unless you'd prefer 'Lady McGonagall'."

She sighed and looked at her signet ring.  "Not that it does me much good, mind you."

"But you have a seat on the Wizengamot.  That reminds me, I'd appreciate if you attended the November meeting.  Some of the legislation that will be introduced may be of personal interest to you."  His eyes slid to Remus for a moment.

Her own eyes followed before coming back to him.  "Is that a fact?  I shall make a point of it, then."  She straightened her already erect posture.  "However, I have a school related matter to discuss with you."  Her voice dropped and she whispered, "What did you do to the point system, Harry?"

Immediately casting his own Privacy Sphere, Harry let a feral grin form.  "I made it fair, Minerva.  Nothing more."

She looked confused and gestured to him in a request to continue.

"Let me guess.  Slytherin is far behind in points, despite you and most of the other professors doing nothing different.  Better still, Snape is complaining almost daily about it and the point system not working.  Right?"

"Right in one.  What did you do?" she repeated her earlier question.

"I just put a review in place.  Anytime a professor tries to take or give more than three points to any single student within twenty-four hours, the headmaster portraits vote on whether it's justified.  So if, for instance, Snape tries to dock Neville points for some petty reason, it won't happen because it isn't justified.  Or if he docks Hermione ten points for 'being a know-it-all Gryffindor', those points will be GIVEN to Gryffindor because it's a made-up rule.  Similarly, his trying to give points to Slytherin for the most asinine of reasons won't help because, again, they're unjustified."

McGonagall's lip twitched.  "As Deputy Headmistress, I should be angry at you."

"What for?  The same rules apply to all the professors, not just Snape.  Is it my fault that he's the only one running afoul of the 'unjustified' portion of the rules?"

Her lip twitched again.

Harry's grin disappeared.  "That bastard has been terrorizing students for far too long, Minerva.  The headmaster won't take him to task for it, no matter how blatant it is.  This is the only thing I can think of to do to help out the rest of the school."  He sighed.  "Just please don't mention this to anyone, especially Dumbledore or Snape."

She frowned but slowly nodded.  "Very well.  May I at least inform Filius and Pomona?  According to the Hogwarts bylaws, a majority vote of house heads can override the headmaster on some items if it becomes necessary to do something about this situation."  Her grin reappeared and turned mischievous.  "Besides, Filius will find it incredibly amusing."

Harry laughed.  "Minerva McGonagall has a vicious, mischievous streak?  What happened to my former head of house?" he asked teasingly.

She relaxed and smiled honestly at him, an expression he'd never seen before.  "She was humbled by one of her former student's actions, well within the laws and rules, to bring an injustice to heel.  Well done, Harry.  Well done indeed."

"Why, thank you.  I do hope you have a good school year, Minerva."

She stood and dispelled his Privacy Sphere.  She stepped over and laid a hand on his shoulder.  "You, too, Harry.  You, too."

Harry smiled at her as she walked away, which was how Ginny found him.  She placed another butterbeer on the table in front of him.

"Hi, Ginny.  Thanks."

"Don't mention it.  How're you doing, Harry?"

He ignored her question.  "Do you have plans for the Halloween Ball?"

She let it go for the moment.  Instead, she smiled flirtatiously.  "Are you asking me on a date, Harry?  What will the press make of that?"

He gave her a sour look.  "I see you read the paper this morning.  No, it's just that I have a plan, and I need another woman to help."

"So now I'm the other woman?"

Harry closed his eyes and shook his head ruefully.  "I walked right into that one, didn't I?"

She laughed.  "Yep.  What'd you have in mind?"

Harry explained his idea, keeping his voice below the increasing pub noises.

"Sneaky," she said with an approving smile.

"Why thank you.  Comes from constant exposure to Slytherins, I think."

She laughed.  "Sounds like a plan.  I'll get my costume put together.  Just remember to let me know how to act, okay?"

He nodded and looked down into his drink, his temporary good mood evaporating as other concerns came rushing back.

In a soft voice, she asked, "What's wrong, Harry?"

He sighed.  "I know you read the Prophet this morning."

She nodded, looking annoyed.

"She suggested we go public."

"That'd fix the problem," Ginny agreed.

He stared at her.  "But it'd be dangerous for her!"

She rolled her eyes.  "Morgana give me strength," she pleaded to the ceiling.  Her brown eyes pinned Harry in place.  "Let me guess: You did your stupidly heroic and noble thing and told her that it shouldn't go public because it's dangerous, right?  Or did you go one better and try to break up with her for 'her own good'?"  She put air quotes around the last phrase with a mocking expression on her face.

Harry looked slightly angry.  "No, I didn't try to break up with her, but I did mention how dangerous dating me would be if it were publicly known."

"Do you TRY to martyr yourself, you git?" Ginny asked in genuine curiosity.

"WHAT?"

"You're not only hurting HER by acting like you're ashamed of her, but you're hurting yourself in so many ways I won't bother to list them."

"I . . .  But . . .  That's not what I meant!"

She went on as if she hadn't heard.  "If you did something like this to me, I think I'd first hex you six ways from Sunday and then yell at you for a while.  Purely out of curiosity, did you talk with her and ASK her about this, or did you decide this like some pronouncement from Merlin?"

He just stared, mouth hanging open.

"Prat," she said, smiling at him with affection.  "So bloody noble that you're hurting everyone.  Now, listen to me carefully.  Do you want to fix this?"

He nodded vigorously.

"Then do exactly what I say.  First, go buy her favorite chocolates from Honeydukes.  Second, go to her, give her the chocolates, and tell her that you know you're acting like an insensitive cad, promise to try to change, and beg her forgiveness.  Understood?"

He nodded again.

"Then why are you still here?"


"We'll talk later about letting someone like Malfoy cast a Privacy Sphere around you!" Remus called after the retreating back of Harry Potter.

Harry barely heard him, so intent was he on getting up the stairs and to Nim's bedroom.  He knocked.

"What?" Kelly Shacklebolt opened the door.  "You're back early.  It's only been -"  She stopped herself as she took in his expression and the box in his hand.  She nodded and whispered, "Hurt her, and I'll string you up by your gonads."  She stepped aside to allow him past before she left, closing the door behind her.

Tonks looked up from where she was sitting, cross-legged on the bed, and froze at the sight of Harry standing there.  She had clearly been crying.  Her eyes were bloodshot and her hair was an untidy mess, blues and browns mixing in no apparent order.

"I'm sorry," Harry blurted.

She didn't say anything, simply continuing to look at him.  The fact that she hadn't tried to hex him was a good sign.  He hoped.

He stepped forward and held the box of chocolate out to her.  "Look, I know I was . . . what was the phrase?  'An insensitive cad.'  That's it.  So as a poor attempt to make it up, I got you some chocolate.  I didn't know what kind you liked, so it's an assortment.  I mean, I could have asked Shack, but as he wasn't supposed -"  He stopped so suddenly his teeth clicked.  "Sorry.  I got you some chocolate."

He put the box down on her dresser and took a step away from her.

"Look, I know what I said earlier was rude, high-handed, and an all around bad thing to say aloud.  I just want to keep you safe.  I should have talked with you instead of . . . well, what I did.  I'm sorry.  I'll try not to do it again.  Please forgive me."

She continued to stare at him.

"Please say something," he asked in a worried voice after two minutes of silence.

She looked over at the box for a moment before looking back up at him.  "Who called you an insensitive cad?"

He blushed.  "Ginny."

Tonks snorted in amusement.  "I knew I liked that girl."  She leveled her best 'I'm an auror, and I will gut you where you stand if you piss me off' stare at him.  "So what are we going to do about this?"

Harry thought for a moment.  "I'm going to take out a full page ad in the Prophet tomorrow stating that I'm dating the most forgiving metamorphmagus in the world?" he offered.

She made another noise of amusement.  "You're trying too hard, Harry."

He smiled hesitantly.  "Does that mean I'm forgiven?"

"Let's not get ahead of ourselves."

His smile vanished.

"Oh, stop looking like someone cursed your pet kneazle."  She gave a chocking laugh and held up her arms like a toddler asking for a hug.

He picked up the smaller woman and held on for dear life.

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Author Notes:

Bunny One (Hermione's realization about her and Ron) by Kinsfire. Bunny Two (Draco's only good as Peeves's chew toy) by Treck. Bunny Three (Draco is a bastard, but does not serve Voldemort or Harry) by Finbar. Bunny Four (fight and reconciliation) is for my betas, who thought there had to be SOME relationship angst to make this story at least a little bit believable.

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