Scion of Gryffindor
28 - A Day of Training
Harry / Tonks ship
At the end of the previous chapter, I left the identities of the four pranksters at the Hogwarts Halloween Ball somewhat vague and I asked everyone for their thoughts.
Here's the answers I was working from and the logic I was following:
Helga is Ginny. No secrets there.
Godric. Alistair called him "Lord Gryffindor", so he MUST be Godric or Harry. (Alistair knows who's who [magical artifact tied directly to Hogwarts and the ultimate Legilimens on the planet], and that's the ONLY name he uses directly to one of the five in the conversation.) It actually WAS Godric. Who better to play him than himself? Besides, that wandless "Trust Me" Charm takes a deft hand that Harry simply doesn't have yet. And I couldn't give Snape the satisfaction of getting his one and only guess correct ;)
Rowena. Coulda been either Tonks or Kelly (not going to deal with cross-gender transformations, here). I went with Tonks for a couple reasons. As Keith said, we know her better. She's Harry's bodyguard whereas Kelly is just a houseguest. Lastly, she's a metamorph and can hold the shape easier than an extravagent Glamour as some of the others required. And let's face it, could you see Kelly keeping a straight face while suggesting Snape take a good laxative?
Merlin and Salazar. We have Harry, Remus, and Kingsley to choose from. BUT remember that Merlin threatened to put Rowena (Tonks) over his knee and spank her. So Merlin had to be one of the older men. (Several had the theory that it HAD to be Harry for exactly this reason, but he's still too embarrassed by Tonks's advances to react like that) Harry was the one actually invited to the Halloween Ball begin with and in order to be there, Harry therefore was Salazar. We have the side ironies of what Alistair the Sorting Hat wanted to do with Harry in the first place and much of the school thinking he was Heir of Slytherin during CoS. Harry has also mentioned on and off that he's identifying more with the Slytherin mentality recently.
Merlin. Remus for a variety of reasons. He has an owl (present from Harry around chapter 15), whereas Kingsley has never been shown to have one of his own. Also, the Marauder would appreciate a prank like this being played.
Congratulations to Sean for being the first one to get it correct. Wen and Victor also got it correct, but Sean was first.
Harry kept pacing.
Harry kept pacing, muttering to himself.
"I guess you're not interested in watching me do a striptease, then? Oh, well. Maybe I'll see if Godric is busy."
Harry stopped pacing. After blinking a few times, he focused on Nim and gave her a lopsided smile. "I'm sure I can come up with some really disgusting comment about necrophilia, but I'll be nice and not go there."
"Thank you," she said dryly but with a sparkle in her eye. "Are you finally calm enough to listen?"
Harry sighed. "It's the attack last night. A hundred and twenty-three muggles dead, and I'm here doing NOTHING about it. I'm -"
"- frustrated. Yeah, I figured that out all on my own."
Harry grinned in embarrassment before turning it back on her. "That's what I love about you, Nim. Your razor-sharp mind."
"You only love me for my mind? Don't get me wrong - I'm happy for that - but finally getting you to bed will be REALLY boring if we all we do is talk about magical theory."
Harry, flushing slightly, sighed. "Nim, I'm sorry, but I'm not in the mood for the teasing right now."
"Why do you keep thinking I'm teasing you, Harry?" she asked in genuine curiosity.
Instead of waiting for him to find his tongue after this comment (his wide-eyed, gob smacked look indicated that it might be awhile), she said, "I know you're angry and frustrated about the deez attack. There's nothing you can do about it now, though. Reading between the lines, neither the Order nor the aurors were there in time to do any good. If their intelligence didn't help, then we sure had no hope of knowing about it. There's no reason to beat yourself up over it."
"Now," she said in a tone of changing the subject, "how about we do another morphing lesson to take your mind off of things?"
Harry sighed and nodded agreement.
She conjured chairs for the both of them and dropped down in one. Waving her hand in invitation toward the other, she said, "You've proven you can change the length of your hair. You'll eventually be able to affect the length of your fingernails for the same reason, specifically because it's just 'dead' material. Similarly, since you finally managed to change the color of your hair last week, you should be able to change the color of your eyes. We'll work on that next."
"But it takes me forever to affect my hair," Harry said in just short of a whine.
She looked at him sternly. "All things improve with practice, Potter. Even that annoying tone of voice, but if I ever hear it again, I'll rip your vocal chords out through your ears. Do you understand me?"
Harry blinked. "Yes, ma'am."
She sighed. "Don't ever call me ma'am. You're an adult, and I'm trying to treat you like one. Whining like that is counterproductive, so don't do it. Got it?"
Harry nodded, recognizing her point. "Got it."
"Good. Now, back to changing your eye color." She turned and conjured a standing mirror, so Harry could look at his own face.
"Can I ask you a question?"
"Yes, they're real."
Harry paused for only a moment. "Good to know, but that's not what I was going to ask."
"Oh, sorry. February second; five-six; nine stone; in natural form: thirty-five, twenty-six, thirty-five; C cup. Did I answer whatever it was?" She smiled winningly at him.
Harry blinked at the onslaught of information, not understanding all of it but filing it all away for later research. "On the subject of metamorphs," he said, dragging the conversation back to topic, "you said I could change eye color. What about skin color? For that matter, you're sure I can change fingernail length, but how about facial structure or height? Heck, could I fix my eyesight?"
She slowly settled back into her chair with a thoughtful look. "You know, that's a good question. The one about the eyesight anyway. We'll study that one later. As for skin color, yes. Facial features, yes, eventually. Height, no. Well, yes, but only by about an inch, and I never bothered to practice it." She took pity on his confusion and said, "I'll explain a bit, THEN we'll practice your eye color, okay?
"Now, height. Bones cannot be morphed. Period. It's hard, living material and, so, can't be fiddled with. I suppose if some morpher were truly crazy, they could try, but while you're my student, you'll do no such thing. Without being able to adjust the length of the bones, height is limited dramatically. In theory, we could fiddle with the joints a little and add or subtract fractions of an inch in height per joint that way, but that would be a lot of work for only an inch or two at most.
"Skin color. Yes, you can change it, but that takes a lot more work than eyes or hair. Unless you want to end up looking like a zebra, anyway." She grinned and stared through him for a moment, apparently reliving a memory.
She shook her head and went on. "Facial structure. That's actually two separate things. Muscles and cartilage. I'm pretty good at it, but mostly I work with cartilage. As a male, you'll probably be more inclined to do it using muscle. Size and shape of the jaw and lines of the cheeks, for instance.
"Body structure is muscle and fatty tissues. Again, you'll probably be more likely to do it with muscles, whereas I tend to do it with fatty tissues."
"The reason I'm more likely to use muscles in my changes goes back to the fact that female metamorphs exist to attract mates and males to defend, right?" Harry asked, trying to keep it all straight in his head.
"Right. Tim - Tim Joye, my metamorph trainer - had an easier time moving muscles around than . . . damn, what was her name? Something about horses. The morpher witch I mentioned in Glasgow." Tonks frowned and shrugged. "Can't remember. Anyway, she and I can do cartilage and fats easier than Tim can. Did I answer all your questions?"
Harry thought about it. "What about other tissues? Organs and like that?"
She tilted her head and smiled slightly. "What, you want to grow another lung?"
He gave her a sour look. "I was thinking more along the lines of healing damage taken, actually."
She thought about it for a moment. "I've never tried consciously. Subconsciously, I think I do something since I seem to heal a lot faster than healers and nurses ever seem to expect. Incidentally, barring fatal injury the life expectancy of morphers is something like fifty years longer than average, too."
"Sorry, Harry, you can't grow a second brain." She laughed at his expression before saying, "Surface nerves can move a little bit, mostly moving with the new skin surface. That reminds me; skin can't be added or removed except in very small amounts, which effectively limits us, too. I can't add a couple inches of tissue to the tip of each finger to increase my reach, putting webbing between my fingers, or anything of that sort."
"Try gillyweed. That'll give you webbed hands."
She stared at him. "How in the name of Merlin would you know that?"
"How do you think I completed the second task in the Tri-Wizard Tournament?"
"Oh, is that what you did? I heard it was a Bubble-Head Charm."
"Cedric and Fleur did that. Anyway, what was that about fixing my eyes?"
She chewed on her lip. "If it's just nearsightedness, maybe. That's caused by the shape of the eyeball, if I remember my basic anatomy correctly."
"While you're thinking about that one, how about night vision?"
"You've been reading too much fiction. Sorry, that's a nerve function."
"Hearing, touch, taste - all the same thing?"
"Morgana, you're full of questions!" she said in feigned exasperation before grinning at him. "Your hearing is already as good as it can get for you. Your innate magic already saw to that one as you were growing up, which is the same for all morphers. Touch and smell are nerve functions. I know you already have wonderful taste. You're dating the most charming witch in the world, after all."
He laughed. "Can't argue that point."
She smiled and privately congratulated herself on shaking him out of his bad mood. Waving her hand at the mirror, she got her student back to work.
"Merlin, you're bad at this, Harry."
Harry gave Shack an aggravated look. "Thank you for your wonderful words of encouragement, teacher mine."
He shrugged. "Hey, I just call 'em like I see 'em. Look, the same thing has been going on for months. When I give you a set of brewing instructions, you're pretty good at it, but when I quiz you on the theory of WHY something works, you stuff it all up. What's up with that?"
"How in the name of Magic I would know why dragon nail clippings react badly with hippopotamus tears?"
Shack just stared at him. "That is one of the most obvious -" He shook his head. "No. Okay, let's back up. What do you know about the reagent table?"
"The what table?"
Shack groaned and put his head into a hand. "That deranged spawn of a mentally diseased flobberworm never even SHOWED you the reagent table?"
Harry laughed at the description. "No, he didn't. Why?"
"Because it's the basis of why you should or shouldn't mix ingredients." Shack sighed. "How the bloody hell did he expect anyone to learn anything?"
"Aside from his Slytherins, I don't think he really did want us to learn anything."
"I believe it." Shack rummaged around in one of the advanced potions manuals before pulling a poster out, unfolding it, and sticking it to the wall. "Okay. Here is the reagent table." He gave Harry a few minutes to look it over before he went on, "Now, if you look where two categories intersect, you'll see a reaction index and also the category or categories of neutralizing agents. Let's take the case in point. If you cross the categories of mammal tears with draconian claws. . ."
"So how's your day been?"
Harry dropped tiredly into a chair in front of Godric and sighed. "That article this morning . . ."
Godric nodded sadly. "According to what my portrait has overheard, it was part training and part morale building for the new Death Eaters. You already know what their idea of morale building is."
Harry shuddered and forcefully changed the subject. "Well, to answer your question, I changed my eyes to purple and learned that Snape is an INTENTIONAL bastard rather than simply an incompetent teacher."
"And you had any doubt of that after your occlumency lessons?"
"Good point. Well, okay, I have more proof now. He didn't show us the reagent table."
"That's something that the kids raised a wizarding household would know already."
"And this is somehow supposed to help the muggle-raised in his class?"
"You don't need to convince me, Harry."
"Yeah." Harry let out an explosive breath. "Sorry for venting on you."
"So what's the plan today?"
"How're you doing with wandless levitation?"
Harry pointed his hand at a book on the table. "Tomeardium leviosa." The book floated up about a foot and then held steady.
Godric smirked. "Give me that armband."
Harry grinned. He calmly rolled up his sleeve and removed the armband before handing it to Godric. The book continued to placidly float the entire time.
Godric laughed. "Okay, NOW I'm impressed." He waved a hand at the book, breaking Harry's spell. The book fell to the table with a thump. "How about wordlessly?"
Harry imitated Godric's hand motion, and the book floated back up to its previous position.
"Show off. You've been practicing, haven't you?"
"Yep. Practicing wandless spells is more fun than playing with Shack's potions that contain such wonderful ingredients like pickled rat brains and virgin camel tears."
Godric stared silently for a moment before he shook his head. "I don't want to know. Back to the subject of charms and defense: now that you've got this spell figured out, I'm going to show you another one. It's called the Deflecting Charm. The incantation is 'deflecto'. With a wand, it's just a flick in the direction you want to deflect the item away. In addition to changing the direction of the object you're focusing on, it'll also lose a lot of its momentum. I'll start with throwing pillows at you for you to deflect. Then you'll do it wandlessly then wordlessly. Then we'll go up to heavier objects coming at you faster."
"What's the limit on the spell?" Harry asked in curiosity.
"It's limited to your reflexes and the power you can put into it. A thrown rock is easy to deal with. An arrow or something moving faster is easy IF you spot it coming early enough. Something REALLY heavy, boulders for instance, are probably too heavy." Godric waved a hand and conjured a small pile of pillows. "Okay, draw your wand and move over in front of the door. For the moment, deflect them in any direction you want. We'll work on aim later. Okay, ready? Here we go."
Harry grinned and brought his wand up into a guard position. The first pillow came at him in a gentle flight. "Deflecto."
"So how's your day been?"
"Eventful. Learned a lot, though. One of my teachers is a real slave driver. She -" Harry's words were cut off when she stuck her tongue out at him. He laughed at her.
"Slave driver," she muttered in amusement. "I'll show you slave driver."
"I didn't know you were into that kind of thing," he continued to tease her.
Her expression caused him to gulp. "Instead of pursuing that," he hurriedly went on, "let's talk about . . ." He trailed off, clearly at a loss.
She took pity on him. "I know the teasing makes you uncomfortable, Harry. I just don't want you to think that I'm not interested." He blushed. She smiled and went on, "So instead, let's talk about what we're doing here."
Harry looked around in confusion. They were on one of the flat roof areas of Gryffindor Keep. Dobby had put a small table in place and had prepared an exquisite meal just for the two of them. Between the starlight, moonlight, and the single candle on the table, there was just enough light to see each other, but they could also see thousands of twinkling stars. A few Warming Charms kept the temperature much more comfortable than November would otherwise be. "We're just having dinner, aren't we?" Harry asked innocently.
She stared at him. "One of the most romantic settings I've ever even HEARD of, and he calls it 'just dinner'! I swear, you're -" She stopped herself when she spotted the grin he was losing control of. "Oh, you," she huffed, slumping back in her chair. Then she smiled.
Deciding to enact the next part of his plan, Harry looked over at the wizarding wireless set and waved a hand at it. Soft music flowed out. He stood and offered her a hand in silent invitation.
Smiling, she took it and stood, allowing him to lead her a couple steps from the table. He gently pulled her unresisting form into his arms, and they began dancing under the moonlight.
Bunny of fixing eyesight from Dale. The setting of their date bunny came from Chris.