Unofficial Portkey Archive

Always and Forever by Lorelover

Always and Forever



Always and Forever


Disclaimer: Harry Potter, and all the characters associated there with belong to JK Rowling, and Scholastic. Also, any similarities to any other work is unintentional. I make no profit from this story. I wrote it, just for fun.


AN: A very special thank you to; Dementor149, for his tireless efforts in helping me with this story. Also, I have an ill family member. And on top of that, my beta doesn't have a computer at the moment, so things are going very slowly. However, rest assured, I am still working on the story will return to regular update as soon as possible. Thanks in advance for your patience.


Chapter 26



By the time Dan pulled into the drive back home, both Harry and Hermione had fallen asleep. They were leaning against each other in the back seat, Hermione's head on Harry's shoulder. The scene was so cute, it put a smile on the face of the three adults in the car.

The sound of her father opening his door woke Hermione. Realizing they were home, she roused Harry, and then quickly turned into a ball of energy. She was eager to get him settled in. Meanwhile, Emma was introducing Tonks to the Granger residence by showing her around, while Dan brought in Harry's trunk.

Hermione had helped Harry up to the guest room. Sitting next to each other on the edge of the bed, Harry slowly looked around, taking it all in. He had slept here once before, but now it looked like he was going to stay here the rest of the summer. This room for a little while at least, was going to be his room; a real room. Certainly nothing like his room back on Privet Drive.

"Alright, Harry?" Hermione asked with concern.

"Yeah, just tired," Harry said softly. After another quick glance around, he added, "I'd almost forgotten how nice this room was."

Hermione remembered the first time Harry had spent the night in this room. Back then she really couldn't fully understand why he thought it was so special. Now after having seen the pitiful excuse for a room he had grown up in, his reaction made more sense.

"Hey you two, why so glum?" Asked Dan as he peered around the door frame.

Hermione shrugged her shoulders and used Harry's excuse, "Just tired."

Dan nodded, "I see," he figured there was more to it, but didn't think it was worth pushing. "Well cheer up, there's someone here who wants to see you…" Dan stepped around the frame and into the room with Hedwig on his arm.

Troubles suddenly forgotten, Harry brightened, "Hedwig!"

The snowy owl carefully took flight. With one beat of her powerful wings, she flew to Harry's outstretched arm.

Pulling her in close to take a good look at her, Harry asked, "How are you girl, I heard you got hurt?"

Hedwig held out her right wing for him to examine, a moment later she slowly flapped it to show him she was okay before tucking it back into her side.

Harry nodded, "Good, it doesn't look to bad, but I'm going to ask Madam Pomfrey to have a look at it anyway when she comes by."

Hedwig squawked, and gave Harry a questioning look.

Harry smiled reassuringly, "I'll be right there. She'll be nice, I promise."

Hermione moved closer and gave Hedwig a couple of gentle strokes, "We just want to make sure you're alright is all."

Hedwig rubbed her head against Hermione's hand and gave a soft bark.

Dan, who was still standing in the doorway, shook his head, "Well if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes, I wouldn't have believed it." Laughing, he added, "Lunch will be ready in about a half an hour, nothing fancy mind you. Just come on down when you're ready."

"Okay, Dad."

"Yes sir," Harry answered at the same time as Hermione. Then, as soon as Mr. Granger had left, Harry handed Hedwig to Hermione. Turning to face them, he said slowly and softly, "I want to thank you both. Hedwig, I was so worried about you. I can't tell you how happy I am that you were able to escape and find safety here. You have to be the smartest owl in the world to know that Hermione would be the only one who'd listen to you." Harry reached out and stroked her breast feathers. Then looking up at Hermione, "And, if I know you… you started worrying about me the second day after I didn't write. When Hedwig showed up… well you must have gone spare." Harry wrapped his hands around her free one. "I'm so sorry I put you through that. Thank you for putting up with me, and always running to my rescue."

"You don't need to thank us Harry, that's what friends do, Hermione said before turning to Hedwig, "isn't that right girl?"

Hedwig bobbed her head and gave a low soft hoot.


A little while later, Hermione was helping Harry to the table for lunch. As she was pulling out the chair for him, he gave her a weird look. "What?" She asked with a bit of confusion.

Harry smiled, "Shouldn't I be the one pulling your chair out?"

Hermione rolled her eyes, "Honestly Harry, you can barely walk. But if it will make you feel better, you can return the favor in a few days when you're stronger."

Harry pursed his lips for a second, then seemingly satisfied with the arrangement, he nodded okay. Finally seated, he couldn't help but notice, that everyone had a smile on their face… everyone except Tonks. And every time he'd look her way, she would turn away. Harry didn't know why, but thought maybe she just felt uncomfortable being around him. Deciding to break the ice, and hopefully the tension as well, Harry introduced himself, "I'm sorry Miss, but in all the commotion, I don't think we've been properly introduced." It was too far across the table to shake hands, so Harry just smiled, "I'm Harry Potter."

Tonks looked like a deer caught in the head lights before she managed a reply, "Oh, yes… Sorry about that." She took a quick breath, "Of course I know who you are Mr. Potter. I'm… well I'm Tonks," she finished reluctantly.

Harry raised a brow, "Just… Tonks?"

First her colossal screw up, and now this awkward introduction. Tonks frowned, this wasn't going the way she had hoped. She had wanted to make a good first impression when she finally met him. He was important to Sirius, and Remus; two men she liked and admired. She tried to relax by taking another calming breath. After letting it out with a sigh, she clarified, "Nymphadora… Tonks, but for obvious reasons, I only go by Tonks."

Harry's other brow joined the first. Even though he didn't think it was that big a deal, he could certainly understand why she might not like her first name. But that didn't explain why she had been avoiding him. `Did she think I'd disapprove… or laugh at her?' Then Harry's brows came down and scrunched together as he thought, `Maybe she doesn't want to be here…' The idea, that maybe someone was forcing her to stay somewhere she didn't want to be, `Just like me,' bothered him no small amount.

Tonks saw Harry frown. She had hoped to wait and have this conversation in a more private setting. But Harry had started it, so she could no longer wait. "Mr. Potter… I'm so sorry…"

Now Harry was really confused. What was she apologizing for, and why did she look ready to cry?

"I was supposed to be watching over you. It was my job to keep you safe." Tonks choked a bit and had to clear her throat. "I let you down… I let Sirius down," she finished in a near whisper. "I'm a horrible Auror," then looking down, she added, "your girlfriend was right…"

He wasn't sure what she meant by, Hermione being right, but that could wait. Now it all made sense, she thought it was all her fault. Harry shook his head, he was going to put a stop to that kind of thinking right now. "Tonks…" When she didn't look up right away, Harry ducked his head and smirked up at her, "Don't make me call you Nymphadora." That did it, Tonks head snapped up. "It's not your fault."

"I should have known…"

"How… how could you have possibly known? You don't know my uncle." Harry paused to let that sink in. "You were told to keep watch from a distance… right?" Harry leaned forward and stared her in the eyes, "So how could you have known what was going on in that house?"

Now it was Hermione's turn to look down as she fidgeted with her napkin. She realized Harry was right, Tonks couldn't have known. Hermione felt terrible, she had acted horribly to Tonks. Hermione sighed, sometimes when it came to Harry, it would seem she had a little bit of a problem controlling her emotions and thinking clearly. Wanting to set things right without waiting any longer, she looked up, "He's right Tonks… and for the record, I was wrong, not right. And for what I said earlier, I'm sorry."

Surprised, Tonks regarded Hermione a second, before turning back to Harry. "Mundungus maybe, but I'm an Auror," she repeated, "I've been trained…"

"They train Aurors how to babysit?" Harry interrupted with an amused look.

Tonks mouth snapped shut. For a moment she thought he might be serious, but after watching him for a second, she noticed the mirth in his eyes. A quick glance at the grin on Hermione's face confirmed her suspicions. She didn't get it, why would he joke about this? Tonks turned to the Grangers, only to find them holding back a chuckle. She shook her head once, and then turned her gaze back to the couple sitting across from her, "Really? You're trying to take the micky out of me?" The tension in her face eased, "You're really not mad, you don't hate me?"

Harry's smile grew as he laughed, "No, of course not."

Tonks eyes moved to Hermione, "He's not having me on?"

Hermione reached up and laced her fingers with Harry's on top of the table. As she answered Tonks, she turned her head and beamed at Harry, "He's not like that." A moment later, she turned back, "If he didn't like you… you'd know it."

Tonks leaned back and blew out a breath, "Oy, I was going spare thinking you were going to tell me to sod off at any moment." Leaning forward again, she continued more seriously, "I still think I let you down, but if you don't… well I'm just glad you don't hate me rotten."

This time Harry made the effort. He leaned forward and stretched out his arm as far as he could, "Let's start over," lifting his hand up, "I'm Harry Potter," he said with a friendly smile.

Delighted, Tonks smiled back, "Wotcher, Harry!"


Despite the potions, Harry was still feeling pretty weak, and on top of that, his back would send him an occasional reminder of how badly he'd been hurt. He needed his rest and so it was of no surprise to anyone, when he decided to head back upstairs for a nap.

Hermione was also quite tired; having missed a fair amount of sleep in the last couple of days. Thinking Harry had the right idea, she went to her own room for a nap as well. Before going up, she made her mother promise to wake her if Harry got up before she did.

Tonks excused herself and headed outside to have a look around. While she was out, she started setting up wards around the house. She knew, that once Dumbledore showed up, he'd want to put his own wards up, but who knew when that would be. So for now, hers would have to do. Now that she knew Harry wasn't upset with her, Tonks could concentrate on her job. Likewise, she could enjoy some of the Muggle things around her. Even though her father had been a Muggle-born, she had grown up in a strictly magical home. Tonks smiled to herself, she was going to miss Sirius and Remus, but she was fairly sure she was going to enjoy staying here with the Grangers.

Finding themselves alone for the first time since early this morning, Dan and Emma enjoyed a tranquil moment over a cup of tea. They sat in the kitchen and talked quietly about what they'd seen at the Dursleys, and what they might be able to do for Harry. Since Hermione's first year at Hogwarts, she had mentioned him in nearly every single letter home. As years passed, his name seemed to come up more and more, and Harry always figured prominently in her tales from school. Now, with Harry hurt they were seeing a new side of her; one neither had ever seen before. Hermione had become very protective of him.

They both were beginning to see exactly what Professor McGonagall had been talking about. About not only how close they were, but how they watched out for each other. Dan was still a little conflicted about that, but agreed with wife that in time, he'd figure it out.


Poppy watched her old friend carefully as she came in and sat down with a heavy sigh. "Looks like you could use a pepper upper."

"Actually, I'd prefer a wee dram… no offence," Minerva chuckled.

"None taken," Poppy smiled as she poured two shots of whiskey.

Minerva Raised an eyebrow at how fast Poppy had managed to find a bottle.

"What? It's what I meant… a pepper upper, an adult pepper upper."

Minerva smiled as she raised her glass, "You're good… To adults!"

"To adults," Poppy returned. Then she sat there and waited patiently. She knew her friend would get around to the real reason for her visit soon enough.

"Well… let's see, where to start," McGonagall looked up at the ceiling for a second, as if the answer might be written there. Finally, she lowered her gaze and just started, "I stopped by Grimmauld Place," she shook her head, "I practically had to stun Sirius to keep him from rushing out. Fortunately, Remus was there to help me talk some sense into him.

Poppy nodded, "He always was the voice of reason in their group."

"Too right," Minerva agreed, "Anyway, we convinced him to wait until tomorrow for a visit. With the day Harry has had, I wouldn't be surprised if he slept that long."

"Any news on the whereabouts of the Headmaster?" Poppy asked.

"No. And nobody I talked to had any ideas either." Minerva saw the look of concern in Poppy's eye, "I'm sure he's alright Poppy, you know how he is when he's set on something." Minerva turned pensive, "What worries me is how secretive he's being. While I was at the Ministry, I popped in to chat with Amelia."

"Oh…" Poppy smiled, "And how is our old friend Madam Bones?"

"Busy, as you might well imagine with You-Know-Who about." Minerva shuddered; just thinking about that evil lunatic made her blood run cold. "Anyway she's feeling a bit uneasy about Dumbledore as well. After I caught her up on what happened at the Dursleys, she thinks it's time to act. She wants to reform the group."

Poppy shook her head, "Goodness… and what do you think?"

"I think she's right," Minerva said without hesitation, "In fact, if you can handle things here for another couple of hours or so…"

"Of course."

"Then I'll be off. I'm going to talk with a few old friends, starting with Augusta."

Poppy nodded, "Give her my regards. Oh, don't forget I need to see Harry again tonight."

McGonagall thought for a second, "Right, I'll stop back by here… around dinner time and pick you up. Well go together, I need to talk with Tonks and the Grangers anyway."


Sirius tipped the shot glass back and cringed as the Ogden's burned it way down. Although not as bad as the first three times, `Or was it four?' He screwed his eyes shut, and with a sour look on his face, Sirius slammed the glass down on the table. A couple of seconds later, he opened his eyes to find Remus smiling at him. "What?" he asked in a rather raspy voice.

"You planning on showing Harry what a Merlin sized hangover looks like, or are you…" Remus paused at the look on his friends face.

Sirius stared at the glass still in his hand, "I let him down Remus… again."

Remus sighed, they had visited this line of thought several times in the last few days, it was quickly becoming an old conversation. "A lot of people have, myself included," he reminded him. They sat in silence for a moment, then he added, "But tomorrow we'll set things right… or at least start to."

"Tomorrow," Sirius said with a nod.


With a little help from Tonks, Emma was just putting the finishing touches on dinner when a bleary-eyed Hermione shuffled into the kitchen.

"Good morning Honey!" Dan said with extra enthusiasm.

Hermione stopped and gave her father a look that clearly said, `I know you think you're funny… But I don't.'

Dan chuckled, "Have a seat Pumpkin, want some tea?"

Hermione nodded with a soft smile as she sat down, "Yes please." She wasn't actually mad at her father, in fact she loved his sense of humor.

A moment later, Dan watched as two soft pops from the backyard had Tonks abandoning her spot at the stove and heading for the back door. Turning to his daughter, he couldn't help but study her. Hermione had gone from sleepy, complete with bed tossed hair, to hyper alert with her wand out in less than a second. After a shared look with his wife, he knew she had seen the change as well. Dan had to wonder if she had always kept her wand with her when she was at home, or had she only started since Harry's arrival.

After seeing who it was, Tonks did a quick check around the yard to make sure they weren't followed, then offered a warm hello, "Wotcher, Professor, Madam."

Happy that Tonks was taking her job seriously, McGonagall gave her a quick smile, "Evening Tonks, is everybody up?"

"Everybody except Harry, he's still out. Poor guy was pretty knackered," Tonks answered as she followed them inside.

McGonagall stopped just short of the kitchen table with a brow raised in mild surprise; she wasn't used to being greeted at wand point by a student, "Miss Granger?"

Hermione smiled sheepishly, "Sorry, Professor." Then, leaning to the right a little to look around her Head of House she added, "Evening, Madam. Harry is asleep upstairs."

Pomfrey gave her old friend a knowing look before stepping forward. "Good evening everyone. Miss Granger, would you care to assist me upstairs, or are you still too tired?"

Hermione stood, "Not at all."

Pomfrey nodded, "We won't be long," then gestured for Hermione to lead the way. `It seems she is indeed serious about learning some healing,' she thought as she followed the young girl up the stairs.

McGonagall handed Tonks a letter, "It's from Madam Bones," she said, answering Tonk's unasked question. Then after a glance around the kitchen she frowned, "Oh, I'm so sorry, I didn't mean to interrupt your dinner."

Emma waved her off, "Don't be silly, we haven't even started yet… in fact, why don't you and… Poppy isn't it, stay and join us." When it looked as though Minerva might decline, she went on, "I'm sure you've had a very long day, and I'm willing to bet you haven't eaten a thing… so please, have a seat."

Dan thought that was a great idea, it would give them a chance to talk. "That's a wonderful idea," he said eagerly.

McGonagall studied their faces and easily concluded they were sincere. "Thank you, that's very kind of you."

Emma brought over a kettle of hot water to the table, "Why don't we have some tea while we wait for the others to join us. Dinner will hold for a while yet."

McGonagall smiled as she poured herself some tea, she was really beginning to like the Grangers. Although she thought she shouldn't have been too surprised by that; they were Hermione's parents after all. "Well dinner might hold, but it smells so good, I'm not sure I'll be able too."

Dan laughed, "My wife does have a talent."

"Hey, I helped too you know," Tonks added jokingly.

After giving Tonks a nod of appreciation, McGonagall turned more serious, "Perhaps we could use this time to talk about more… delicate things."

"Something you'd rather the children didn't hear?" Dan asked.

"No not really, just a few details that I thought you might be more comfortable talking about alone."

After a glance at his wife, Dan nodded, "Okaaayy…"

"Obviously, Harry can't go back to the Dursleys, and while the castle might be possible, it is far from ideal. However, if he were to stay here with you for the summer…"

Emma cut in, "Of course he can stay here. We'd love to have him."

McGonagall paused a moment to let Emma's enthusiasm cool a bit. "That is a very gracious offer, but there are things you should know before committing yourselves." At their questioning looks, she asked, "What do you know of a dark lord referred to as `He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named.'"

"Hermione mentioned an evil wizard who had attacked Harry during the Tournament; is that who you are referring to?"

"Yes, the same." For the next twenty minutes, McGonagall went on to explain some of the history between Harry and Voldemort. She didn't elaborate on the cruelness of Voldemort, or his followers, but she make it clear that he was dangerous. McGonagall certainly didn't want to scare them, or give them the wrong idea about the situation, but at the same time she wanted to make sure they knew what they were potentially getting themselves into.

Emma didn't care. All she saw was a small boy who desperately needed their help. Dan however, was beginning to feel uncomfortable again about having Harry living in his home.

"So, having Harry here presents a danger to my family."

"No it doesn't." Everyone turned to the sound of the voice, to find Hermione standing in the doorway with Poppy right behind her. The look on her face, her stance, all spoke volumes, far more than her words. They brokered no argument. "It's true, Voldemort is after Harry." Tonks cringed, and to her credit, McGonagall only flinched a tiny bit. It had been the first time she herself had spoken that name aloud. She had agreed with Harry about the ridiculousness of fearing to speak his name aloud, and now wanted to set a good example.

"However, where ever Harry stays he will be well protected," Hermione glanced at Tonks as if to illustrate her point. "And if he stays here, we'll be well protected."

"But if he isn't here we won't need protection," Dan countered.

"Actually, that's not true," Hermione started, "I'm a Muggle-born… or as he would call me… a Mudblood." Hermione raised a hand to stop the comment from McGonagall, "Sorry Professor, but they should know." Turning back to her parents, she explained, "It's a derogatory term. There are some in the wizarding world that feel your blood status should make a difference. That it should separate wizards into different classes. Purebloods, half-bloods, and then finally, Muggle-borns. Some purebloods consider themselves superior to others, especially Muggle-borns.

Emma's eyes flashed with anger, "Doesn't that bother you, why do you put up with it?"

"Mum, of course it bothers me, but prejudice isn't exclusive to the wizarding world. Besides, most wizards don't feel that way, certainly not the ones that are important to me."

"So basically, we're in danger either way," Dan grumbled.

"Yes and no," Hermione answered. "Voldemort has only just returned. I expect he will take his time, lay low for a while so to speak. If I were him, I'd want to get current on things, find out what's been happening in the world. Find out where I stood before I made any drastic moves." Hermione looked down and sighed, "I doubt we'll hear from him for a while." Looking back up, she said with more determination, "We need to use our time wisely. We need to be ready."

Hermione paused a moment to let her words sink in. "Also, I doubt Voldemort would think to look for Harry here. And if he did, he'd probably have a little more trouble finding us in the Muggle world. He'd have to dirty his hands a little."

"And if he does?" Her father asked.

"Then as I said before; we're better off with Harry here," Hermione replied.

"Yes, better protected you said, but is it enough? Is it worth it?"

Hermione smiled, "We're stronger together."

Dan and Emma both nodded. Dan thinking of the phrase `Together we stand, divided we fall,' while Emma knew from her daughter's smile that she meant herself and Harry.

Hermione turned to McGonagall, "And I'm sure that if things start to heat up, more help will be available. Right Professor?"

"I would think so," McGonagall answered somewhat reluctantly. She would have rather have stayed silent, and not have interfered with a family matter.

Hermione noticed how uncomfortable the question had made her favorite teacher, "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to put you in the middle." After McGonagall gave her a curt nod, she moved further into the kitchen and sat down at the table across from her parents. "Voldemort is bound to know that I'm Harry's girlfriend, or at the very least, that I'm important to him. So no matter where Harry ends up staying, I'll still be a target."

Dan turned to his wife to gauge her reaction to all this. While she seemed surprised, she didn't appear to be very upset. Turning back to his daughter with concern clearly written on his face, he said in a low voice, "I wish you had told us all this sooner. Been more… frank with us." It was clear he was upset and a little disappointed in her.

Hermione reached across the table and took hold of her father's hands. "Daddy… I never meant to deceive you." She shook her head slightly, "Until recently… until Harry came back from that horror of a last task, nobody knew Voldemort was back."

"Well now you know," Dan said coolly, "so why stay, why risk your life? Let's just leave."

Hermione blinked, she hadn't expected her father to say something like that. But before she could respond, her mother interrupted.

Run… Hide?" Emma asked, also more than just a little surprised at her husband's words.

"Yes… if it would mean you both would be safe."


Dan winced, his wife only used his full first name when he had done or said something foolish.

"Where can we go where we'll truly be safe? We'd be completely on our own, always looking over our shoulder."

"I hardly think this guy is crazy enough to follow us to another continent."

Emma nodded, "Maybe not, but still… leave our home, our family and friends. That seems a little selfish. Who's to say he won't go after them to spite us?" Emma sighed, "Honey, we have obligations. If we prepare, take precautions… I honestly think we'd be better off here."

Dan was well aware of his obligations. As far as he was concerned, his first was to his family. However, after a glance at his wife and daughter, he knew what obligations she was referring to. They had an obligation to help others in their time of need, even if it meant fighting for them. Words like honor, loyalty, and duty were no stranger to him after serving in the military. Plus, he had to admit, it made his heart swell with pride seeing his little girl ready to stand up and fight for what she believed in.

Dan looked down and sighed as he pinched the bridge of his nose. Then, after coming to a conclusion, he looked back up and nodded. "You're right of course. I… I just can't help but worry is all. It's supposed to be my job to protect the family." Staring at Hermione, his only child… it was his turn to give their joined hands a squeeze, "Don't worry, Pumpkin, we'll stay here… and Harry will stay with us."

Hermione got up and went to stand behind her father. Bending over she rested her head on his shoulder and wrapped her arms around him, "Thank you, Daddy."

Like McGonagall, Tonks had realized that this was a family conversation, and so had stayed quiet. Nevertheless, she couldn't help but marvel at the simple ease in which they interacted with each other. All held respect for the others, and more importantly, their opinions. Even Hermione's voice was heard, and what she had to say was considered seriously. It was quite different from her own home life; her mother was very intimidating, and there was a fair bit more yelling. And she was quite certain, that even now, her voice would hardly be heard, yet alone taken seriously.

Emma smiled, "Well, I'm glad that's settled." Then looking around, "Where were we?"

McGonagall smiled, happy that they had resolved their concerns for now. Turning to Pomfrey, she asked lightly, "So, Poppy, how is the boy in question?"

Poppy chuckled as she pointed to Hermione, "I'll let my very capable assistant tell you."

Hermione felt a little heat rise up her neck as everyone turned to hear her answer. "Well, he's responding to the potions nicely, and his wounds are healing quickly. He'll probably sleep through the night. So far, it looks as though he'll make a full and quick recovery." Hermione looked to Pomfrey as she finished to make sure she hadn't left anything out.

Pomfrey gave her a single nod, telling her she had said all that needed to be said. Then looking around she said with a bright smile, "If she keeps this up, I may be out of a job soon."

"I've been saying that for the last couple of years," McGonagall deadpanned.

Seeing her daughter start to turn red as everyone around the table laughed and nodded in agreement, Emma stood and said in a cheery voice in an attempt to change the topic, "That's good to hear, Honey. However, if he won't be coming down for dinner, maybe I should go ahead and get dinner on the table."

Tonks jumped up eager to help, almost knocking over her chair, "Sorry." Then as she moved more slowly to the counter, she finished, "I'll set the table."

Emma said over her shoulder as the young witch approached, "Remember what I said dear." Tonks just smiled sheepishly and nodded.

Hermione arched a brow at the exchange and looked to her father for an explanation. All she got was a shrug, apparently he didn't know any more than her.

Returning to the table with a platter of food, Emma asked, "Harry will be up for breakfast, won't he?"

"Oh, I do believe so. And if you don't mind I'd like to come back tomorrow and check his progress." Poppy answered.

"Of course not, you're welcome here anytime."

"Mrs. Granger…" McGonagall started.

"Please, Professor, just Emma."

"Very well, then please call me Minerva."

Emma smiled, "Wonderful."

"Emma, Madam Bones is the head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement. She was hoping to visit. Would you mind terribly if the two of us tagged along with Poppy tomorrow?"

Emma glanced at her husband, who just shrugged, "Not at all."


"Sirius, will you sit down before you wear a grove in the floor," Remus pleaded, as he rubbed his temples. It was way too early in the morning to be so full of energy.

"She should have sent word by now," Sirius snapped, "she knows I'm waiting here patiently."

"Patiently?" Remus asked with a smirk.

"Oh, sod off Moony," Sirius said with a half-smile of his own. "She's probably just getting even with me."

"I don't think she'd do that to Harry… you, sure… but not Harry."

"Hey, whose side are you on here?"

"I'm not on anyone's side, but I still don't think it was a good idea to prank her and then ask for a favor."

Sirius made a face, "Yeah, bad timing on my part." He loved his little cousin, but when the perfect opportunity came along to prank her, the old marauder in him just couldn't resist.

"Padfoot," Remus called, regaining his attention, "She's probably just busy. I'm sure things are still a little hectic over there."

Deep in thought, Sirius nodded slowly.

Moony looked away and smiled, "You know, she's growing quite fond of those two. I'm sure she realizes Harry would like to see his godfather, as much as you want to see him."

Sirius leaned back and eyed Remus for a second, "They are not the only ones she seems to be growing fond of."

"Oh please, don't go getting all big brother on me," Remus said as he took a sip of tea. "Yeah, we get along good. And yeah I think she's nice… but we're just friends."

"Right…" Sirius said plainly. "Well anyway, I'll not sit around here all day. Word or not, today I'm going to see my godson."


Hermione slipped into the room quietly so as not to wake Harry if he was still asleep. Standing next to his bed, she just watched him sleep for a moment. He looked so relaxed. The tension that had marred his face was gone for the first time since the end of the Tournament. Harry finally looked at ease, and the thought made Hermione smile.

Madam Pomfrey would be here soon, and she didn't want her to think that she wasn't up to the task of helping her take care of Harry. Having promised Madam Pomfrey, that she'd check on Harry first thing in the morning, Hermione raised her wand and held it over Harry. After a short moment of concentration, she began to move it in one of the most intricate patterns she had ever learned, while reciting an equally difficult spell. A moment later, several numbers floated above Harry. They told her, he was doing better… much. Both his physical, and magical strength were up quite a bit higher. He still had some pain from his back, but the potions were doing a good job of masking it.

Hermione was about to leave, but hesitated, and then finally changed her mind. She wanted… or maybe needed to stay a while longer. Sitting down, she again found herself watching him sleep. Thinking about the wounded boy lying in the bed right in front of her, Hermione couldn't help but think that despite all the adversities in his young life, he was growing into an outstanding young man. If anyone had a right to be angry and bitter, and mad at the world, Harry did. And when one considered his past; all the turmoil, pain, and loss he had experienced, they would be hard-pressed to blame him for feeling that way. But Harry wasn't like that. Sure, under the right circumstances, he could lose his temper, get angry, and even lash out, but so could anyone else. Hermione honestly thought Harry was one of the most caring and selfless individuals she'd ever meet. Harry had a gentle soul… she was certain of that.

Leaning forward, she couldn't help herself. She reached out and gently ran her fingers through his hair. There wasn't much more she could actually do for him at the moment, so she busied herself with trying to tame his wild hair. It was more for her sake than his. She needed the reassurance that came with a touch.

Harry slowly began to wake. On the verge of consciousness, his first thoughts were of how warm and comfortable he was. Next, it quickly became obvious he wasn't alone. A moment later and he knew who it was, "Morning Hermione," he said softly, just before he opened his eyes.

Hermione smiled. The last couple of days had been particularly hard on her. First worrying about him, and then actually finding Harry in such a horrible state. The last week had really taken its toll on her. How he had known it was her, she didn't know, and to Hermione, it didn't matter. He had thought of her first, and that warmed her heart. Without even knowing it, he had acknowledged her fears, and thanked her for her concern. Sliding her hand down to cup his face, she said just as softly, "Morning, Harry."

Harry couldn't image a better way to wake up. "You're up early."

Leaving his hair as a lost cause, she moved her hand down to his, "Yeah... How are you feeling?"

"Better… Loads actually," Harry said slightly surprised. Then added, "Maybe a little hungry."

Hermione smiled, "Good, that's a good sign, and it matches your scan."

One eyebrow rose as he studied Hermione, "My scan?"

"Yes silly. I did one just a few minutes ago, before you woke up."

"Did you now?" Harry asked teasingly. His expression changing from mild surprise, to amused.

"Yes, I did. Madam Pomfrey taught me how last night before she left." At Harry's growing smile, she had to ask, "What…?"

"You… You never stop learning new things." Harry gave her hand a squeeze to let her know he meant it in a good way. "Well, I guess I'll just have to add nurse to the list of things you do for me."

"Well if you'd stop getting hurt…" Hermione stopped suddenly, realizing it was rarely his fault. "I'm sorry Harry, I didn't mean…"

Harry raised his free hand to stop her from going on, "It's all right Hermione. I know what you meant."

Hermione looked down for a second then looking back up, she nodded and said, "Well, why don't you get dressed. I'll be back in a few minutes to help you down stairs and we'll see what's for breakfast."

"Okay…" Harry started, "Hermione… how were you able to do magic and not get in trouble?"

"Oh, that's actually quite interesting," Hermione began, her mood quickly returning to normal.

"According to Madam Pomfrey, anyone can use healing spells anytime, as long as they make an effort to keep the statue of secrecy."

Harry nodded, "Ah, I see. That does make sense."

Hermione stood to leave, so Harry could have some privacy. "Think you can manage on your own?" She asked with a cheeky smile.

Harry put on his most concerned face, "I don't know, the shower might be a bit tricky."

Hermione started to blush, then noticed the mirth in his eyes. She bent down and gave him a short, but tender kiss. Then said with a smirk, "Well if it does, do let me know… and I'll send in Mum to help." At his scandalized look, Hermione smirked, and left the room laughing.


It was barely six-thirty when Dan walked into the kitchen. During the week he was always the first up. It was how he liked to start his day. Get up early while the house was still quiet, make some coffee, and enjoy the morning paper. Then a bit later, he'd make breakfast for the girls, as he liked to call them. Sometimes he'd cook a big spread, while other times he'd keep it simple and just make toast and cereal.

His wife would normally come down around seven, preferring to get an extra hour of sleep before rushing off to their practice. Hermione would come down around seven also, she didn't like waking up to an empty house. Dan had to wonder how their little routine would change now that Harry was here.

Today was starting off differently already. When he woke this morning, Emma's side of the bed was already empty. After getting ready and heading down stairs, he wasn't surprised to find his wife talking softly to Tonks over a cup of coffee. "Good morning ladies, you two are up early," Dan said as he sat down next to his wife.

"Wotcher, Mr. Granger," Tonks said easily.

Dan smiled, "Tonks, you're going to be here awhile… please, call me Dan."

"Thanks… Dan," Tonks said smiling back, "well, I'd better go and check the wards. Can we talk some more later Emma?"

"Of course dear, any time."

After Tonks had left, Dan remarked, "You two seem to be getting along. Lots of girl talk I suppose."

"Yes, I suppose," Emma smiled, she knew her husband was fishing, "she's a charming young woman. I'm really beginning to like her." Emma took a sip of coffee and then explained some more, "She comes from a good home. Her father adores her. And I'm pretty sure her mother does too… but I get the impression she is very strict and maybe somewhat demanding. I'm sure she means well and all. The problem is, she doesn't know how to talk to her, you know, mother to daughter. Tonks told me she tries, tries real hard to please her, but she get nervous and ends up making a mess of things. Said she can barely walk properly around her. Poor thing.

Dan sat quietly and listened, nodding his head occasionally to acknowledge a point.

"And now," Emma continued, "she thinks she's starting to fall for a guy she works with. She just wants someone to talk to, someone who might understand."

This was one of the things he loved about his wife; her eagerness to help others. `Probably where Hermione gets it from,' he thought. "Well she's come to the right person then."

Dan got up and took his cup to the sink. "Well, I best be off, no telling what manner of chaos the clinic will be in after yesterday. I'll just check in, make sure things are running okay, then, I'll come right back. I'd like to be here when that Madam Bones shows up." After kissing his wife goodbye, he started for the front door. "Tell the kids I'm sorry I missed them, but I'll see them shortly."

Harry and Hermione had just made it down the stairs in time to hear his last remark, "Morning Mr. Granger," Harry called after him with a chuckle.

Dan spun around and smiled, happy his little girl had made it down in time to see him off… even if he was only going to be gone for a half an hour.

"Oh good, I'm glad you made it down, Pumpkin; I hate to leave without saying goodbye. And you Harry, you're looking much better. How do you feel lad?" Dan asked as he slowly made his way back to them.

"Better, Sir."

Dan turned an appraising eye on Harry and gave him a quick look over. He may not have a wand, but he was still pretty good at judging someone's health with a careful look. Finally, he smiled, "Good," he said, "Not much a good night's sleep won't help." Then after a wink to his daughter, he added, "And a good nurse."

Hermione stuck her tongue out at him to get back for the teasing, then shook her head and laughed, "Honestly Daddy, aren't you late for work?"

Now it was Dan's turn to laugh. As he walked out the door, everyone heard him say to himself, "More and more like her mother every day."


After breakfast, Harry insisted on helping to clean up, but all Hermione would let him do, was clear the table. A few minutes later as Hermione and her mother were joining Harry at the table, Dan returned from the office. No sooner had he sat down with a fresh cup of coffee, than Tonks walked in. Her normal cheery disposition gone, replaced with a look that was all business. The reason was soon obvious. Following just behind her was an older women; a witch judging by her dress. She moved with a purpose, as if she was on a mission; `Maybe she was,' Harry thought. As she entered the kitchen, an air of importance entered with her. After a quick glance behind her to McGonagall, Harry also couldn't help but think, that as far as stern looks went, she had his head of house beat.

Tonks stepped aside. "Mr. and Mrs. Granger, may I present Madam Bones; The Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement," Tonks said as she gestured to her supervisor. "I believe you were expecting her, along with Professor McGonagall, and Madam Pomfrey."

Emma got up, walked over to her, reached out her hand, and said warmly, "Madam Bones, welcome to my home." Then after a polite handshake, she motioned for them all to follow her to the table. "Please join us. I'll get some more coffee, or would any of you prefer tea?"

Bones was impressed. Rarely did she receive such a pleasant welcome at a stranger's home, especially a Muggle's home. A glimpse at the `I told you so,' look on McGonagall's face, helped her to believe the sentiment was genuine. In a more relaxed tone, she said, "Thank you, that would be lovely, and coffee sounds great."

Tonks, being fairly new to the Auror program figured the following discussion was probably well above her pay grade and so started to leave, "I'll just be out back."

Bones turned to her, "Please stay, Auror Tonks, some of this concerns you as well."

"Yes ma'am," Tonks was surprised, but schooled her emotions well.

Harry couldn't help but notice that when Tonks sat down, she went all the way around the table to sit next to Emma. Harry smiled, she was acting like him; like he did with Hermione. When things got serious, he liked being next to her. She gave him strength, courage… confidence. Tonks must have felt something similar with Hermione's mum.

After exchanging a few pleasantries over coffee, McGonagall stood to leave. She knew her friend had a busy schedule and didn't want to keep her from it. "Well, unless you have some more questions for Poppy or myself, we should be on our way."

"Thank you for your time, Minerva, Poppy. It was nice talking with the two of you, even if it was mostly business."

Poppy stood and turned to Hermione, "Before I go, Miss Granger, may I ask how our patient is doing this morning?"

Bones raised a brow, it seemed the surprises were still coming this morning. Little did she know, this would pale in comparison to the next one.

Hermione stood and faced Pomfrey, and then with typical Hermione precision gave her report.

Pomfrey nodded once, "Excellent, keep up the good work. And Harry, make sure you take your potions on time." Looking at Hermione again, she finished, "Send word Miss Granger, if you have any questions."

Hermione stared at her for a second astounded, "Aren't you going to check my scan?"

"Do you have reason to believe you made a mistake," Pomfrey asked simply.

"No ma'am."

"And neither do I," Pomfrey said matter-of-factly, then added as she started to follow McGonagall out, "I left you that reading material you asked for on the back counter, please return it to me when you're done with it."

"Yes ma'am," Hermione said as she sat back down slightly dumbfounded.

Harry padded her arm and smiled, "Honestly, what did you expect?"

Bones eyed the young girl sitting next to Harry. If half the things Minerva, or even her niece had said about her were true, then the conversation they were about to have should prove enlightening. "Before we begin," Bones started, "If at any time, any of you begin to feel uncomfortable, or would like to continue the discussion privately, please let me know. It is not my intent to upset anyone." After getting nods of understanding from everyone, she started. "Now, thanks to the report from Auror Tonks, and my earlier conversations with McGonagall and Pomfrey, I have a fair idea of what happened since school let out. What I'd like to do here is fill in some of the missing pieces, and of course, hear your side of the story." She looked around to make sure everyone was following before going on. "If at any time a thought occurs to you, or you remember something that hasn't been brought up, please speak up, even if I'm talking to someone else. I like you to think of this as more of a fact-finding conversation, than an interrogation."

Focusing her attention on Harry, she asked, "Mr. Potter, I'd like to start by asking you some questions about the Dursleys; what they're like, and how they treated you. I'd also like to talk a little about the Tournament…"

Much to Harry's relief, Madam Bones didn't ask him too many questions, nor did she ask anything too personal. The two things that did seem to stand out, were her interest in Dumbledore's part in all this, and how little she had known beforehand, especially considering she had an Auror watching him.

Tonks was quick to point out, that up until the day of the rescue she had no idea about any of the abuse, and that she had seen no laws broken. Therefore, since she was essentially moonlighting for Dumbledore, there was no reason to send any reports.

Madam Bones turned to the Grangers next. She asked a few questions to fill in the missing details from yesterday, but again it didn't take long. She was about to move on when she noticed that Emma had tears in her eyes. Clearly she was upset about something. Catching her eye, she asked softly, "Mrs. Granger?"

Emma stared back at Madam Bones, she knew she had to say something. She slowly turned her gaze to Harry, then Hermione, and finally she turned to her husband. Understanding what she was silently asking, Dan nodded yes. Emma turned back to the children, "Harry, remember your birthday last year?" After Harry slowly nodded yes, she went on, "After your visit, my husband and I became very suspicious of your home life. It was easy to see you wouldn't feel comfortable talking about it. Not with us anyway; you hardly knew us after all. We didn't say anything to either of you, because we didn't want to upset you. We had hoped that maybe all that was in the past, but we couldn't be sure." Emma's tears were now rolling down her face. "Harry, we were so worried about sending you back there, but we also didn't want you to think we were interfering in your life, and we certainly didn't want to make things worse. We decided to write your Headmaster." Emma turned to Madam Bones, "He said it was a delicate situation, but that he'd look into it. He promised us Harry would be safe." Looking back at Harry again she pleaded, "Harry, I'm so sorry I didn't talk to you first, and more importantly, I'm sorry I didn't make sure Dumbledore was doing everything in his power to protect you. I should have followed up. I hope that someday you'll forgive me."

Harry got up and walked somewhat unsteadily around the table to Emma. Getting down on one knee so he was more eye to eye with her, Harry said gently, "Mrs. Granger don't cry, there is nothing to forgive. You and Mr. Granger didn't do anything, that any good parent wouldn't have done, and you've both been so kind to me." After glancing at Hermione for a second, he smiled and said, "Like your daughter, you're very perceptive. You were right about me not wanting to talk about it. In fact, I probably would have begged you to just forget it." Harry could see she was still upset, "I tell you what; if you promise not to get so upset about my past, I'll promise to be more open with you and Mr. Granger in the future."

Emma surprised Harry by suddenly pulling him into a tight embrace. After she released him, she said, "I promise."

Harry smiled, "Good, then I do too." As he went to stand, he felt a small hand on his arm helping him up. Turning around, he found a misty-eyed Hermione helping him back to his seat.

Dan watched his daughter help the young man back to his seat and thought, there was far more to Harry Potter than what one normally sees on the surface. And judging by what he'd just witnessed, he'd wager most of it was good. He knew his wife had been upset for quite some time, and in a matter of seconds Harry had eased her worries and put her worse fears to rest. Catching his eye after he had sat back down, Dan tipped his head and gave him a nod of appreciation.

Madam Bones was wearing a rare smile, then getting back to business, she asked, "Mrs. Granger, what exactly do you mean by, `I should have followed up'?

"I told Mr. Dumbledore that I wanted to let someone in child welfare know, so they could have a record of it, maybe do something he couldn't. Plus, my husband, as a doctor, is obligated by law to report such things." Emma sighed, "But he insisted on handling everything himself. He didn't want the Muggle authorities involved. When I persisted, he promised to let someone in the Magical law enforcement know… you I suppose."

Bones nodded, "Yes, I would have been the one he should have come too, but he didn't. The first time I heard the name Dursley, was yesterday." Bones shook her head, "Did you think of contacting the Ministry directly?"

"Yes, but we really didn't know who to tell, and Harry being who he is… well we didn't want to just tell anyone. Also; no offence, but the Ministry in not very Muggle friendly."

"None taken, you're absolutely right. I'll give you a Muggle address that will see your letter sent directly to me, if you have any further questions or concerns. In the meantime you can always ask Auror Tonks to get a message to me."

Finally, Madam Bones turned her attention back to Hermione again. "Miss Granger, of what you've heard so far, can you think of anything else, something that might have been forgotten maybe?'

Hermione scrunched her brow in thought for a moment before answering, "No ma'am."

Bones studied Hermione a moment, she knew the type well. She wasn't just smart, she was a clear thinker. As she observed the world around her, she made sure all of the pieces fit. If something was amiss, it would stick out like a beacon in the dark to her. That made Hermione Granger the best one in the group who might have noticed the one thing everyone else missed.

"Miss Granger, before you were spurred into action by the arrival of Harry's owl…" Bones looked down at her notes for a second, "Hedwig, your parents mentioned you had a feeling something was wrong a few days before that. Is that right?"

"That's right ma'am. Harry had promised to write as soon as he was settled in, and he's very good at keeping his promises. So after a few days with no letter, I started to get worried. Hermione briefly thought about mentioning the dreams as well, but wanted to talk with Harry alone about them first.

A glance at a smiling Emma told her the rest. Bones nodded, "I see." She jotted a quick note down and then asked, "One last thing Miss Granger. Out of all of this; the Tournament, the Dursleys… everything. Does anything stand out as… unexplained? Do you have questions that have gone unanswered?" Bones leaned back in her chair and waited. Hoping the bright young witch in front of her would help explain, or at least confirm some of her suppositions.

Hermione started to chew her bottom lip as her gaze circled the table ending on Harry. "Voldemort seems to be more than just a little interested in Harry. The extent of the trouble he went through with the Tournament suggests that. It must be more than just revenge. He wants something else.

Both her brow reached for her hair line, as Bones was surprised again. It had been a very long time since anyone had mentioned Voldemort by name, yet alone a child. Reigning in her composure, Bones asked, "Any idea what?"


"Do you think someone else might know?"

`There it was,' Hermione thought, the real crux of this whole situation. She nodded, "Dumbledore."

Not wanting to lose momentum, Bones asked simply, "Why?"

Hermione sat up, "You mentioned the Tournament. He didn't appear to try very hard to find a way to get Harry out of it after he was entered against his will. And during the Tournament, he made no effort to help him; not as far as I could see at least. It was almost as if… he wanted him to compete… like he wanted to see what would happen."

Bones glanced at Harry. He was looking down at the table, slowly nodding his head. Obviously going over the events of last year and comparing them to Hermione's words.

Hermione watched as Madam Bones studied Harry. She didn't seem too surprised by anything so far, but she did seem interested nevertheless. Maybe she had already heard a similar story, Hermione thought. When Bones turned back to her, Hermione continued, "As for the Dursleys, why didn't he check on Harry, or have someone else check on him. Why all the restrictions on phones calls, mail, or personal visits. It seems to me that Professor Dumbledore wants Harry isolated, and us in the dark about it."

Hermione paused thinking she might have crossed a line. "May I speak freely?"

Bones nodded once, "Please do."

"Dumbledore presents himself as a wise man, fighting for the light. However, when it comes to Harry, he seems to have a blind eye. Since it was his decision to put Harry with the Dursleys in the first place, and then considering his lack of involvement in his home life. I'd say Professor Dumbledore is either not that smart, or not that light. If Harry was as important to the wizarding world as he himself had claimed, then why did he let ten years go by without so much as a single visit?"

Now Bones did look surprised. She turned to Harry, "Is that true Mr. Potter, no one ever came to check on you…check your magic?"

Harry laughed for a second before turning serious again, "Madam Bones, I didn't even know I was a wizard until my eleventh birthday, when I got my Hogwarts letter." After looking down he added softly, "So no. No one came to visit the Boy-Who-Lived-Under-The…" Harry stopped, he didn't want anyone feeling sorry for him.

Hermione had been paying sharp attention. She saw his emotions change, and knew there was more he wasn't telling. She also knew he didn't want to talk about it here and now, but she made a mental note to be ready when he was.

Bones knew what he was talking about from the report from Auror Tonks. But to hear the pain in his voice when he started to mention it, bothered her considerably. "Mr. Potter, I am truly sorry for… well for all of it. I, like many others I'm afraid, believed that Dumbledore knew what he was doing. That he had good reasons for his decisions. And maybe he did, although for the life of me, I can't imagine any." Speaking a little more strongly, she added, "Believe me when I say; I will be having words with him soon. However, he's a very secretive wizard, we may never get a satisfying answer."

Emma spoke up, "Besides this Voldemort, he seems to have an unhealthy interest in Harry as well."

"Hermione is right," Harry said, "Voldemort and Dumbledore both know something we don't," shaking his head, he added, "and I doubt either one is going to be willing to sit down and tell what we're missing."

"Yeah, it makes sense," Dan said suddenly, "I agree with the kids, and more importantly, with what my daughter said last night; we need to prepare, use our time wisely." Turning to face Madam Bones more directly, he asked, "What can you do to help?"

Madam Bones took a long breath and let it out slowly, "Well… I have already assigned Auror Tonks to you full time. And I have given her the extra authority to act as she sees fit. Plus she can choose her own team to help." Bones paused and thought for a moment, then went on, "I do think you have the right idea Miss Granger, but for now, I don't know what else I can do."

"Madam Bones," Hermione started, "I don't know if Susan has told you or not, but as of last summer, Harry and I have been working extra hard… even during last summer break. In fact," Hermione gestured to Harry, "Harry is working at adding Ancient Runes to his class load, he'll test for it come September."

Bones raised a brow and nodded approvingly at Harry, "Is that so?"

"Yes ma'am. Should have taken it from the start, like Hermione."

"In addition," Hermione went on, "We've been working out physically; running, calisthenics, and we are training in the Martial Arts."

"Harder than the Auror program from what I hear," Tonks added.

"Anyway," Hermione continued, "the only thing missing is the ability to practice magic."

"I see, and you'd like to be able to do so here?"

"Yes ma'am, mostly defense against the dark arts stuff. With an actual Auror here to provide supervision, I was hoping maybe we could get permission. Maybe an exemption, or a waiver… something like that."

The more Tonks listened, the more excited she got. "Oh, that's a great idea. It would be fantastic… can I help?"

"Easy there Auror, let's not get the proverbial cart before the horse." Bones leaned back and started rubbing her chin in thought. Eyes looking at something unseen as she considered the possibilities. An occasional "hum," was the only indication that she was working things out in her head. Finally she spoke, "I think something can be arranged. It might take some doing, but I can call in a few favors." Looking at Hermione, she said with a smile, "An excellent idea young lady."

Hermione beamed at the praise, while Harry gave her hand a squeeze, "That's Hermione, she always comes up with good ideas."

The sound of someone Apparating into the backyard, instantly turned the mood serious. Bones stood and moved over by the side wall with her wand out in the ready position. Hermione stayed seated next to Harry, but drew her wand as well. Tonks quickly moved towards the back door, while everyone held their breath waiting to see who it was.

"Remus you idiot, I told you I'd send word when it was okay to visit," Tonks yelled load enough for everyone to hear. "Madam Bones in still in a meeting with the Grangers, you should leave and I'll let you know when it's a good time to return."

Knowing there was no longer a threat everyone relaxed, except Harry and Hermione who shared a nervous look. "You don't think he's with him do you?" Harry asked.

Before Remus could leave, Bones had walked to the back door and had looked out. "It's okay Auror, I think I have enough for now." Then stepping out, she eyed Remus and the dog at his side. "Good to see you again, Mr. Lupin. How have you been?"

Remus gave Tonks an apologetic glance, then answered, "Good to see you as well Madam Bones." Then gesturing to himself, he finished, "Although I've seen better days… I'm okay."

Bones approached more closely. Padfoot gave a short involuntary whine and tried to hide behind Remus. "I guess that is probably true for most of us," Bones said sadly. Then while staring down at Padfoot, she asked, "Is this your dog, Remus?"

Remus looked down at Padfoot for a long second, "Yes ma'am. I couldn't get him to stay in the house any longer."

By now, Harry, Hermione, and her parents had joined Tonks at the back door. They all held their breath as they waited to see what would happen next.

Madam Bones continued to stare at the dog. Judging by how tense everyone had become; including the dog, and the fact that Remus was probably the last person to have a pet with his little condition… she had a pretty good idea what, or rather who the dog really was. She also knew that Sirius Black never got a trial, and was most likely innocent. It was just one more thing she had to look into. Knowing all this, she was reluctant to call him out. If she did, then under the current circumstances she'd have to arrest him. That would not only end badly for him, but Harry would lose another person close to him.

Remus couldn't help but raise a brow when Bones looked back up at him with a smirk.

"No offence Remus, but he has to be the ugliest mutt I've ever seen."

Remus had to clear his throat to get his voice back, "Yes ma'am, and poorly behaved as well."

Bones looked down again, "Probably in his upbringing, and it most likely runs in the family as well."

Padfoot laid down and let out a low whimpering whine, while Remus just stared wide-eyed at her and nodded.

"Well it was nice to see you again Remus, but I have loads of work to do so I'll be off." Bones stepped away, but before she Disapparated, she added, "Oh, and Remus, do keep him on a short leash… you never know when there might be a dog catcher about."



AN: I had to add a few words to chapter 25, to keep things right. Basically, McGonagall acknowledges that Dumbledore knew about the cupboard. Also, after a review (by; Brian1972) pointed out a problem, I went back and changed McGonagall little speech to Vernon (about filing of reports). Chapter three got a new sentence to clear things up a little (About Emma's concerns over Harry's abuse). You don't need to go back and read any of it again. Lastly, Thank you everyone for reading, and for your reviews, they really do help.


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