Harry Potter and Future's Past

Starts out the day after the Battle of Hogwarts. Harry and Hermione meet the Goddess of Love, and she offers to let them go back in time. Strictly Harry and Hermione. Minor - well maybe major Ginny, Ron and Dumbledore Bashing. Soul Bond - Time Travel

https://www.fanfiction.net/s/5664828/1/Harry-Potter-and-Future-s-Past

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29. Chapter 29

July 1st continued.

Albus Dumbledore sat wearily behind his desk pondering the latest confrontation with Minerva McGonagall. Normally he would have been able to sway McGonagall's opinion to match his own, but everywhere he turned recently he found resistance to his ideas. He'd even discovered that he could no longer rely on Nymphadora Tonks to provide him information concerning the Department of Magical Law Enforcement.

"Sirius, Tonks, and now even McGonagall," Dumbledore thought. "Everyone used to be sensible and now people are arguing with me at every point. Why do they not listen?" Though Dumbledore asked the question, he already knew the answer. It all came back to Harry Potter. His thoughts moved to the young man who had changed so much in the recent months.

"Most of the change seemed to have occurred when the bond between him and Miss Granger occurred. He is definitely more confident now and the two of them are becoming very formidable in their own right. Now he seems to be attracting loyalty very much like...." Dumbledore paused before he murmured "Like Tom Riddle," He knew there were definitely similarities. Before he could think further on the subject, his fireplace blazed up in green flames and the head of Arthur Weasley appeared.

"Albus?" The head moved until he saw Dumbledore at his desk. "Excellent, I'm glad I caught you."

"Is there a problem Arthur?"

"Yes," Arthur replied, "We had another altercation this morning between Harry and Ron. It escalated to a point where Harry pulled his wand on Ron when he said something about Hermione."

"Did anyone get hurt?"

"No, not this time, but to tell you the truth Albus, Molly and I are worried," Arthur explained. "I think it would be best if we take the kids and move back to the Burrow."

"That seems a bit severe Arthur, I'm sure the matter will be forgotten in a matter of days."

"No Albus, it is not," Arthur argued. "I can't take a chance with my children. Harry's already killed one man who threatened Hermione and earlier..." Arthur paused but then continued. "Earlier Harry and Hermione destroyed Walburga's painting."

"But..." Dumbledore started in surprise but then collected himself. "Destroyed it? Do you know how?"

"No, but Molly heard the painting yelling 'mudblood'. By the time she got there, it was destroyed."

"Defending Hermione again..." Dumbledore said softly and paused as he considered the latest revelation. Dumbledore was very concerned that the latest manifestations of violent acts were the beginning of Riddle's soul piece's influence while at the same time he also believe that Harry's power peeked when he was defending a person he loved. "Love and Violence?" The divergence of the actions puzzled Dumbledore. "Is it possible that Riddle's influence is being controlled by the love of the marriage bond?" He was still considering that possibility when he realized Arthur was still speaking.

"...so you see Albus, we can't stay," Arthur was saying. "What if Ron or Ginny tries to hurt Hermione? It's best if we get them away and see if the matter can be settled by them being apart."

"Very well," Dumbledore sighed as he realized the truth of the matter. If Ron or Ginny were to put Hermione in jeopardy, Harry very well might lash out at them. Dumbledore knew that the regrets from such an action would leave permanent scars upon Harry's heart; scars Dumbledore was quite familiar with. His own memories of a childhood friendship that ended in violence and the death of his own sister came readily to mind as well as the grief that always accompanied them.

"Gellert..." Dumbledore mused sadly as he recalled an image of the blond-haired youth as he was in their childhood. A man who went on to cause the death of millions of people; a man Dumbledore himself had to finally defeat. "If only..." A sigh escaped his lips for that 'if only' had haunted his thoughts for ages. It was a few more seconds before he realized that Arthur was waiting for him to say something further. "I'm sure you are right. I'll see if Emmaline or Hestia can stay or maybe we can rotate a few people through Grimmauld Place."

"I think you need to speak to Sirius about Emmaline," Arthur suggested. "He had a few choice words with her about following your orders to escort Harry back here from the Ministry after they were attacked. He would probably argue against others as well."

"I know," Dumbledore replied with another sigh. Sirius being free and Harry's guardian was being every bit as difficult as he had foreseen.

"I believe Tonks would jump at the chance to move in for the entire summer," Arthur continued. "I was also thinking of my other sons, Fred and George. They can keep an eye on Harry in the evenings and I don't think Harry or Sirius will object to them being here."

"I'm sure Tonks is busy with her Auror duties," Dumbledore replied remembering that the young Auror was no longer as loyal as he'd like. "As for your sons, I'd prefer if someone more...more responsible were there."

"The boys can be rambunctious I agree, but they have good heads on their shoulders and so does Bill who'll keep them in line," Arthur explained. "Besides, we've had no issues with Harry attempting to leave. He might be expressing rebellious attitudes, but I think he understands the dangers. He's really been no trouble. Hermione comes over almost every day and they just stay in his room."

"Still..." Dumbledore started. He wasn't concerned about what the young married couple might be doing in Harry's room and he was glad to hear that the young man was at least being reasonable in regards to staying secure but he was concerned about the possibility of Harry leaving Grimmauld Place without his knowledge. "Maybe Arthur is right and Harry understands the dangers, but a notification spell on the front door of Grimmauld would probably be a good idea," He glanced back at the fireplace and said. "Well, I'm glad Harry understands the dangers. I guess we can try it your way," Dumbledore paused and then continued. "Please let Harry know I'll be there first thing in the morning to escort him to the Ministry. We don't need another confrontation with Death Eaters."

"I'll tell him," Arthur replied and his head disappeared from the fire. Once the green fire had vanished from his office fireplace Dumbledore leaned back in his chair and let out another long sigh. From his thoughts on Grindelwald, his mind naturally moved to Riddle, the second failure of his life. Another set of 'if only' regrets flowed through Dumbledore's mind. Dumbledore knew he should have kept a closer eye on the young man after bringing him into the magical world. "If only it had been any other period of time..." Dumbledore thought. Riddle had attended Hogwarts during the very years Grindelwald was at the height of his powers and the magical world was crying out for Dumbledore to challenge him...to take on the man he'd loved in his youth; the only other man who could confirm if Dumbledore had been responsible for Ariana's death. But Dumbledore had been distracted and Riddle had become who he was; a man or creature who was responsible for countless deaths.

"And now Harry," Dumbledore thought. "I must not fail in regards to him."

The Headmaster remembered Harry's threat to tell Voldemort the prophecy and shuddered. "Riddle would bring about the destruction of both the magical and muggle worlds, making Grindelwald's crimes pale in comparison. I can't let that happen. I must find a way to keep Harry contained and to guide him."

"What can I do though? What can I offer him?" Dumbledore pondered. It was several seconds before Harry's own words came back to him.

"I want to work with you, but are you willing to work with me?" Harry had asked.

"Yes, that's the way through this," Dumbledore realized. "I need to let them believe they are helping like they did when they found the Diadem. I can let them accompany me in search of a Horcrux. Hopefully that will settle their contentiousness and allow me to re-establish some control of the situation in regards to Harry."

The thought of his search for Riddle's Horcruxes caused Dumbledore to give a wistful glance at the cabinet where he normally stored his pensieve. He'd tried twice more to have it returned but Amelia Bones had been steadfast in her refusal. With the admittance of Voldemort's return she'd been able to exercise greater powers to keep it from him. Dumbledore knew he couldn't openly fight for its legal return because he could not show that his requirement was much greater than the prosecution of a few Death Eaters without mentioning the Horcruxes he searched for.

"And I desperately need it now," Dumbledore thought. He'd spent the last several weeks searching the area around Little Hangleton. He was now positive Riddle had hidden one of the Horcruxes in the Gaunt's family home but so far the search for the hovel had met with little success. Every magical detection spell had failed to this point.

"Tom has hidden the shack magically, that is obvious," Dumbledore thought. "Fortunately it is not the Fidelius since I remember it exists, but still it is escaping my magical detection spells. If I could just see Bob Ogden's memory once more, I could follow his path and know exactly where to search," The Headmaster sighed but then an idea came to mind; a particularly excellent idea.

"If I approach Harry and Hermione about the Pensieve and the need for it to locate the next Horcrux, I'm positive they will insist on accompanying me in my search as a requirement to approach Madam Bones on my behalf. So, I give them what they will see as a major victory while at the same time I only have to give up what I was going to offer them anyway."

*** E E ***

Harry and Hermione had just settled down at the Grangers' dinner table which was covered with a virtual elf-made feast when Harry felt the mirror heat up in his pocket.

"Excuse me," Harry apologized to the Grangers as he pulled out the mirror. "If Sirius is calling it's important," He explained. "Or at least it better be," he muttered under his breath.

"Harry," Sirius whispered urgently when his face appeared in the mirror. "You need to come back now. Molly and Arthur want to talk to you. In fact Molly is going up the steps right now."

"Planning on telling us they are leaving?" Hermione asked as she looked over her husband's shoulder.

"Yeah, how'd you know?"

"Overheard them at lunchtime," Harry explained. "We were just about to eat, can't it wait?"

"As I said Molly is going up the steps now. You can always say you were ignoring her, but do you want to give her a reason to stay longer?"

"Good point," Harry agreed. "We'll be back soon."

"What's going on dear?" Jean asked as Harry and Hermione got up from the table.

"My babysitters are leaving it seems," Harry replied before Hermione could.

"What?"

"There is a family who's staying at Sirius' house for the sole purpose of making sure Harry doesn't go anywhere," Hermione explained.

"Why would they do that?"

Harry looked at his wife and a quick mental conversation took place, finally Hermione continued. "We'll explain later but for now, we must hurry."

"What about this food?"

"Can you wait for a few minutes to eat?" Hermione asked. "We really won't be long."

"I guess, but the food will get cold."

"Dobby, Winky, can you make sure the food is still hot when we get back?"

"Winky and Dobby can do that," The excited house elves said together. The food disappeared from the table within seconds.

Mr. Granger, who had just cut a slice of the turkey, watched in dismay as his plate of food disappeared. With a sigh he set his fork and knife back down on the table. "Well, hurry back."

As they exited the cabinet, they could hear the knocking at the door. Hermione crossed the room to open the door while Harry quickly sat at the desk and opened his textbook.

"Yes?" Hermione asked.

"It's...it's dinnertime," Molly said. "We'd like for you to join us. We...Arthur and I wish to tell you something."

"We'll be down in a minute," Harry said as he stood from his chair.

When Harry and Hermione entered the kitchen, they tried to look surprised by the boxes filled with Mrs. Weasley's cookbooks and other stuff lining the kitchen counter. Harry glanced at the table. Ginny and Ron were sitting at the far end of the table between their parents. Tonks was between Molly and Fleur while Sirius sat beaming next to Arthur.

Fleur had looked up anxiously when Harry and Hermione had entered the kitchen hoping it was her fiancée. It wasn't unusual for Bill to be late for dinner. Since his usefulness to the Order was to get information from the goblins, he often worked past closing just so he could overhear the conversations that flowed more freely around the bank once the customers had left the building. Fleur smiled nonetheless at Harry and Hermione. "Bonsoir Monsieur and Madame Potter."

"And good evening to you too Fleur," Hermione replied and smiled as she recognized the married French title. "Comment ça va?"

Fleur smile grew even larger at the French response while at the same time Molly sniffed.

Before Molly could say anything Harry asked. "What's with the boxes?"

Molly looked at Arthur who took a sip from his cup before he replied. "That's what we wanted to tell you. Molly and I have decided that we should take Ron and Ginevra back to the Burrow. We think it is...it's the right thing to do," Arthur glanced at his children who were looking at their plates. He then turned back to the Potters. "But don't worry. You're going to have protection. Tonks is moving in full time."

"That's right," Tonks said. "Which will fit right in with my new job."

"Your new job?"

"Yep," The metamorph replied. "Madam Bones is putting me on her staff. She said she wanted a way to contact you that doesn't rely on Dumbledore."

The look that Molly gave Tonks was sufficient evidence that they had already discussed the issue and Molly disliked the results of the conversation.

"Well if it's what you want, we're happy for you," Hermione said as she glanced at her husband. "We might have to consider letting Tonks know about things so she can get word to Madam Bones for us as well."

"Maybe, but we'll have to see how things go. We'll see Madam Bones tomorrow and maybe we can get her opinion."

"Bill and I will be staying as well," Fleur added. Neither Harry nor Hermione missed the extra bit of cheerfulness in her voice.

"Molly and I will stop by often to make sure you don't need anything," Arthur continued. "And of course we'll be here for Order meetings. This is only until we make sure…." His eyes moved to his youngest children and then back to Harry and Hermione "well we'll see how the rest of the summer goes."

"It's probably for the best," Harry agreed.

"Now have a seat," Molly said. "Dinner is getting cold."

"If you don't mind, I think we'll eat in my room," Harry replied.

"But it's our..."

"Molly," Arthur said as he gave a significant glance at her and then at their youngest children. "I think it's a good idea."

"Well, were not leaving until tomorrow morning," Molly said to Harry and Hermione. "I do hope you'll have breakfast with us before Dumbledore is ready to escort you to the Ministry."

"Dumbledore is escorting us?" Harry asked. He glanced at Tonks. "What does Madam Bones think of Dumbledore escorting us?"

"Eh..." Tonks started. "As far as I know, she doesn't know he plans to. She told me to escort you there."

"But Dumbledore..." Molly started.

"It's alright," Harry said after a quick word with his wife. "Tonks, I think we'll let Dumbledore help this time," They could see that she was visibly relieved. "Now if you'll excuse us," He and Hermione quickly piled food on their plates and went upstairs where they locked the door and disappeared through the vanishing cabinet back to the Grangers.

"So, what's this about babysitters?" Mrs. Granger asked as the food reappeared in front of him.

"The Weasleys, you know Ron's parents?" Hermione said.

"Yes, I remembered meeting them and you've often mentioned Ron in your letters," Mrs. Granger remarked. "But come to think of it, you haven't mentioned him at all since you've been home."

"We…we had a falling out with him and his sister," Hermione explained. "You remember me mentioning Ginny as well."

"Of course I do," Jean replied. "But what kind of falling out? I thought you were all good friends?"

"Do we tell them?" Harry asked.

"We promised to tell them everything that's not associated with the future," Hermione replied. When Harry gave a nod of agreement she turned to her parents and started the explanation. "It seems Ron thought I should be his girlfriend and Ginny, well Ginny thought Harry should be hers. So…when we got together they didn't take it very well," Hermione looked over at her husband to make sure he wanted this part told as well. When he gave a mental agreement, she continued. "In fact that's what sort of led us to reveal that we were married," Hermione took a sip from her tea and with a sigh continued. "Yesterday, when we said something happened and we had to tell them we were married, they were the something that happened. Ginny tried to give Harry…" Hermione sighed again but then continued. "Do you remember me saying there are spells that can give a person control over another?"

"She didn't…"

"No, not that spell, but there are potions that can do similar things. Ginny tried to give Harry some combination of love, jealousy and…" again Hermione paused but after another quick glance at Harry she continued, "lust potions."

"You don't mean…"

"We really don't know what potions she had in his drink but yes, it's very likely she planned on seducing Harry yesterday morning."

"But why would she need…" Richard started as he tried to imagine a young man having to be tricked into sex with a young woman. "You…" He started but the words died on his tongue when his wife glared at him. "Well I'm glad it didn't work," He finished weakly.

"It couldn't have worked anyway," Harry explained. "We knew she was going to attempt it sooner or later so we were on our guard. Besides, that is one thing about our bond; those types of potions have no effect on us. I love Hermione and no potion can make me think I love another. Same with lust potions...eh..." Harry's voice trailed off as he decided that was not a topic he wanted to discuss with Richard Granger.

"That's why you haven't heard anything about Ron or Ginny this summer," Hermione quickly came to Harry's rescue.

"So two people who you thought were your friends were trying to hurt you?" Richard asked. Then with a sigh as he looked at his wife and then back at the teens he continued. "Is there anywhere you're safe?"

"When we're together, we are as safe as we can be," Hermione replied honestly. "Besides, as we said, the Weasleys are moving out."

Richard's eyes moved from his daughter to Harry. "I'll hold you to your word about protecting her."

"Dad…"

"No," Harry interrupted his wife and he locked his gaze onto her father. "Sir, you have my word that I love your daughter more than my own life and would not hesitate to do what I must to protect her."

An understanding passed between the two males at the table in the locked stare that lasted for several seconds.

"So…what else has been going on at your school we should know about," Jean Granger said trying to move the conversation along.

"I guess I should start with our first year," Hermione said. She continued to explain about trolls and the philosopher's stone.

"So...this professor was possessed by this Voldemort and your Headmaster didn't know?" Richard asked incredulously. Harry and Hermione had avoided mentioned the fact that Dumbledore had set up the confrontation. "And then he has this stone in the castle? Guarded by a giant three headed dog that any student could have happened upon?"

"We found out later that he did know the professor was possessed but thought he had the situation under control and...well he did warn everyone not to go to that corridor."

Jean snorted. "Telling a bunch of kids not to go somewhere is like offering them a candy bar but telling them they can't eat it."

"The door was locked," Harry explained. "It was only because Hermione knew an advanced unlocking spell that let us get in."

"And no other student knew this spell? Though advanced for a first year, it couldn't have been so advanced for other students there, could it?"

"That was many years ago Mum, so let's move on. Now during my second year when I…I said I'd been attacked," Hermione waited for her parents to nod, then continued. "Well I...I was actually petrified by a giant snake…" Hermione explained.

"So you were too frightened to run? Let me guess, Harry rescued you from this giant snake creature as well?" Richard asked.

"Uh…no Dad. I mean petrified as in turned to stone; not scared."

"What do you mean you were turned to stone?"

"If you look a Basilisk in the eye, you will die instantly," Harry explained. "Hermione brilliantly figured out what it was, so she was using a mirror to look around corners."

"There was a creature running around the school that kills by just looking at people?"

"Yes," Hermione replied hesitantly. "We didn't know it at the time. All we knew was people were getting petrified," She explained about the warnings from the 'Heir of Slytherin'. "As Harry said, I figured out what it was, but before I told anyone I had to make sure."

"And where were you when she was going to the library?" Richard asked Harry in an accusing tone.

"She went to the library to look it up right before a Quidditch match," Harry explained. "I...I..."

"He had no reason suspect I would be in danger," Hermione interjected. "If he had, Harry would have been there. Now..." She tapped her head with a finger. "He would know."

"If you'd just kissed him in that first year..." Miranda said playfully.

"I'm sure my father would have loved that," Hermione stopped when she realized she'd said that out loud. "Sorry, Miranda again."

"That Goddess? What was she saying?"

"Well she originally wanted us to become soulmates in our first year."

"But...she wanted you married when you were eleven and twelve?"

"Well...we were destined to be together so... would it really have mattered when it started?" Hermione asked.

A hand on Richard's arm from Jean stopped the response that was about to occur. "Why don't we continue with the story of this snake creature."

"Of course. As I said, I'd gone to the library and when I did confirm what it was, and that it could kill with just a glance, I started using mirrors to look around corners."

"So if it killed with a glance, how did you end up being petrified?"

"Unfortunately, what she didn't know was that if you look at the reflection of its eyes, you'll be turned to stone or petrified," Harry explained. "Well Dumbledore did, or at least knew what it was but none of the rest of us did."

Hermione's head snap around to look at her husband. "What do you mean Dumbledore knew what it was?"

"I told you about it remember?" Harry said. "When Colin Creevey was petrified…wait I didn't get to tell you because you told me McGonagall had already told you."

"She did," Hermione replied. "But what does Colin being petrified have to do with Dumbledore?"

"That night Dumbledore said something like 'it means the Chamber has indeed been opened again', when McGonagall asked him what it meant that Colin's film had been melted," Harry explained. "If he didn't know what kind of creature was in the Chamber, how did he know what it would do to a camera?"

Hermione's eyes were wide now as she realized the danger Dumbledore had subjected the students to. Especially once he had been forced out of the school. "Why? I mean even with Professors escorting us from class to class, it could still have killed people."

"I don't know, but maybe he was afraid someone else, like the Ministry, would discover the Chamber first and he thought a Horcrux might have been there? But that's just a guess."

"And this Headmaster or that witch didn't bother telling us? You were in danger for months and we didn't hear anything? Nor when you were...were petrified?" Mr. Granger stated in obvious anger.

"Dear, it's the past," Jean said to her husband, "and will do no good to bring it up now."

"Sir, I…I promise that I'll let you know if anything…well if anything happens like that again," Harry said.

"Still…" Richard started and then after seeing the look in Harry's eyes he stopped and nodded at the young man. "Fine, but as I said earlier I expect you to protect Hermione."

"He'll be protecting me as much as I'm protecting him," Hermione insisted.

"Now what did you say this snake was again?" Jean asked to prevent the continuation of the 'protection' argument from escalating.

"A Basilisk," Hermione replied with a glance at her mother. "I wished I had a picture of one to show you...wait," She turned to Winky. "Winky there is a book in the Hogwart's library called…"

"I've got a better idea," Harry said as he stopped his wife. "In fact maybe we can continue this tomorrow?"

"You're thinking of the Pensieve aren't you?" Hermione asked.

"I think it will help tell the story," Harry confirmed. "What we take as normal really needs to be seen, don't you think?"

"True."

"We'll be seeing Madam Bones tomorrow and can ask her if we can borrow it." Harry continued.

"What about tonight? I'm sure Dobby can get you to the Ministry."

"I might be seen and definitely don't want that, besides she'll need it for the trials tomorrow I'm sure," Harry said.

"True," Hermione turned to her parents and explained. "There is a device we might be able to get for tomorrow evening that will help us explain what has happened in the last few years much better. Can you wait until then?"

"What will this thing do?"

"It's a magical device that actually shows memories," Hermione said. "You can see exactly what we experienced."

"Well in that case, I think we can wait," Jean said and her husband agreed.

**** E E ****

The day after a full moon was always the roughest for Remus Lupin. Every bone and muscle in his body ached from the transformation. Today was no exception. As he rolled over to his side, he grimaced at the pain that let him know that muscles were required to do that.

"I wish Sirius would bring me a new bottle of joint medicine," Remus grumbled as another pain shot through his shoulder. "At least with Wolfsbane I don't bite or scratch myself."

A soft tap at his bedroom door was quickly followed by the door opening. The familiar pink-haired Tonks walked in carrying a bed tray loaded with food. "Brought you some dinner," She said.

"Thanks," Remus said. "Is it loaded with love potions?" He'd tried to make it sound like a joke, but the fatigue in his mind and body made the words lack the joviality they were meant to have.

"I…I wouldn't do that," Tonks replied. "I know I…"

"It was a joke," Remus explained cutting her off. "I know you wouldn't do anything like that."

"Well if I thought it would work," Tonks muttered as she moved toward Moony's bed.

"Nymphadora, we discussed that," Remus said with a sigh as he sat up gingerly in his bed. "I thought you understood that it's impossible and had agreed."

"I don't remember agreeing to anything," Tonks said as she put the tray over Remus' lap. "Are you saying you don't like me?"

"You've been talking to Sirius haven't you?" Remus accused. "That's how he knows."

"I haven't told him anything, but he does know," Tonks agreed. "He wanted me to know that I have his full blessing if it's what I wanted, not like I needed it. I'd just hex his bits off if he tried anything."

Remus sighed again as he remember Sirius mentioning it the previous night. "It won't work. I told you that."

"Tell me those reasons again?" Tonks asked as she tucked a napkin under Lupin's chin.

"Must we? Do we really have to go through it again?"

"I've got nothing better to do," Tonks replied as she lifted a cover off of a bowl of peas.

Moony sighed. "Look, first of all, I am too old," Moony said. "I'm…"

"You're thirteen years, one month and some odd days older than I am…so? I've already told you that it doesn't matter."

"There are many men your age that would be much better for you. Men not…afflicted."

"I'm not interested in other men, I'M INTERESTED in you. Besides, Prince Charles is twelve years older that Princess Diana in the muggle world."

"And if I'm not mistaken they have been separated for four years and are in the middle of a divorce."

"Only because he was getting some on the side. I know you'd never do such a thing."

Remus could only mentally agree that if he was whole enough to have someone as beautiful as the woman in front of him, he would never want anyone else, but he knew he was not good enough, not whole enough to be who she needed. He admired Tonks, liked her and even loved her but he also knew she would be happier with someone else instead someone like him. "But..."

"You had other arguments didn't you?" Tonks asked as she stole a pea from the bowl and popped it in her mouth. She wanted him to forget about the age argument and get to those she was ready to counter.

"You know I do," Remus said and when she kept staring at him, he sighed again. "Tonks, we've been through this how many times?" Again Tonks kept staring so he continued. "Fine. We'll do it again. I'm dangerous. I'd be a danger to you every month…I can't do that to you."

"A danger to me? Like last night?"

"You know this room is sealed on full moons just in case," Remus said. "I insist on it."

"I know," Tonks said as she wrinkled her nose. "Sure stunk in here last night as well with that stuff Sirius spilled."

"It's my joint pain medicine, but why did Sirius tell you he spilled it?"

"He didn't tell me, at least not after the fact. I watched him do it and then had to smell it all night."

A dawning comprehension crossed Remus' face. "You were in the room? He spilled it so I couldn't smell you when I changed."

"Yep," The metamorph said as she stole a biscuit from his plate and took a bite. "In that corner under an invisibility cloak," Tonks pointed to a corner of the room after she swallowed and took a sip of his juice.

"But…but you could have been hurt," Remus exclaimed.

"I'm a trained Auror. Even if you didn't have Wolfsbane I can still take care of myself, I just needed to prove it to you. Sirius agreed to help."

"But…"

"So I have to stay up one night a month to have the man I want," Tonks argued. "I'd go weeks without sleep and still think it's worth it."

"Tonks…I…I can't keep a job. No one will hire me. What kind of life can I even think to offer you? You'd probably even lose your own job once the Ministry found out."

"A happy life is what you can offer me," Tonks said. "Do you think I need money to be happy?" She had hoped the argument would get to this point. She was ready to snag her wolf by the tail. "So it really all comes down to that doesn't it? Your concern about my life and your pride?"

Remus laid down his fork and sighed. "I wish…I wish it could be different, but what I am will never change."

"I don't want you to change. I want you just as you are," Tonks replied. Then after a few seconds of silence she continued. "But what if it was different?"

"Then I'd think you were crazy to want to have anything to do with me, but why even think about it. Why torture yourself."

"I got a new job today," Tonks said with what appeared to be a change of subjects.

"Really?"

"Madam Bones asked me to join her staff."

"That's great," Remus said with genuine pleasure. "She obviously recognizes that you're the best she's got."

"Before I took the job, I asked if she'd still want me if I were dating a werewolf."

'YOU WHAT?" Remus exclaimed. The force of the words and physical reaction caused pain to shoot through his weary body and he leaned back on his pillow while keeping his eyes on Tonks. "You shouldn't have... it's…it's…not possible."

"Don't you understand? I told her and I'm STILL getting the job. In fact she said her niece had good things to say about you from your time at Hogwarts."

"But your friends…" Remus tried to argue but was cut off fairly rapidly.

"Any friend who does not believe in my decisions is no friend I wish to keep," Tonks replied as she picked up the spoon and lifted some peas toward Remus' mouth. "Now what else you got to argue with?"

Remus sighed as he stared at the pink-haired witch. He could feel his defenses crumbling but knew he couldn't give her the life she deserved. "I…" But he was forced to stop when she spooned the peas in.

"You were going to still argue about having a job weren't you?" She asked.

Remus swallowed as he nodded, but then replied. "It's the truth and we both know it."

"First, you don't have to have a job since I make more than enough for us to live on," Tonks said. "Especially since I'm getting a raise with my new job."

"Tonks…I can't, I won't..."

"Let me tell you about my new job shall I?" Tonks said as she cut off Remus. "One of the main reasons she wants me is because I can talk to Harry without having to go through Dumbledore," The last she said hesitantly because she was concerned about Remus' loyalty to Dumbledore.

"Is that what she told you?" Remus asked with concern on his face.

"Yes, but she also was pleased with some of my suggestions and said I was one of her best Aurors.."

"So the Ministry wants to know where Harry is or what he's doing?" Remus voice carried a hint of suspicion.

"No, it's not like that Remus. Ever since Harry killed that Death Eater and Yaxley was discovered Madam Bones has been very concerned about him. She's told Dumbledore off several times about trying to control where Harry goes."

"That's because she doesn't understand how much danger Harry is in," Remus explained. "You've got to let Albus know about this offer. He'll be glad to have an insider on Amelia's staff.

"NO!" Tonks exclaimed a little forcefully. "She knows. Madam Bones knows I am in the Order. She knows all about the Order. She told me that her brother was a member."

"He was," Remus said after a couple of seconds of reflection. "Edgar was his name. His whole family was killed. So is Madam Bones trying to get back at Dumbledore because her brother died?"

"No, but she made it perfectly clear that if I didn't place my loyalty to her above Dumbledore, she'd fire me."

"You'd give her information on Harry and the Order?" Remus asked with his voice developing an edge to it.

"I don't have to," Tonks explained. "Haven't you seen it? Harry doesn't trust Dumbledore either."

"That's just Harry being frustrated with Dumbledore because he has to stay locked up."

"I…I don't think so," Tonks replied. "Sirius is doing it too. In fact Harry and Hermione suggested they have other reasons to not trust Dumbledore."

Remus sighed. "Tonks, you have to trust that Dumbledore knows what he's doing. I know it's difficult sometimes, but he's always seen what needs to be done. Do you really think Madam Bones is better than Dumbledore?"

"Then why didn't Dumbledore provide his Pensieve to prove Sirius innocent? Or that Voldemort was back? I didn't know he had one, did you?"

"I'm sure he had good reasons."

"A good enough reason that left my cousin and your best friend in peril of a Dementor's kiss?" Tonks asked. "Tell me, if you knew he had a way to convince the Ministry that Sirius was innocent, wouldn't you have argued for him to do it?"

"He still knows what's best," Remus argued.

"Does he? What does he do with the information you get for him?"

"I…I don't know," Remus replied honestly. "I'm sure he has reasons for needing it."

"Madam Bones wants that information as well," Tonks said gently. "She…she thinks it would help her deal with the...the ones who are aligned with Voldemort."

"That's what this is all about?" Remus said more strongly. "You want me to betray Dumbledore so you can get ahead in your new job?"

"NO!" Tonks cried. "I want you to…to see that Dumbledore isn't the only one fighting Voldemort. I…wanted," She took his hand in hers and continued in a softer voice. "I wanted us to work together. Madam Bones promised she'd pay you and you'd probably have a job when it's all over. Don't you see? This is your chance…our chance."

Remus pulled his hand away from Tonks as he stared at her. Slowly he shook his head. "No. No I won't betray Dumbledore. I owe him too much," He swallowed then continued. "I…I think you should go."

Tears welled in Tonks' eyes as she continued to stare at Lupin. "Remus…"

"You need to go," Remus repeated as he took the napkin from under his chin and placed it on the table.

"Remus.." Tonks tried again but Remus just turned his head away from her.

Tonks swallowed hard as she picked up the tray and moved away from the bed. Her hair seemed to lose its shine as it switched from pink to brown. When she had opened the door, she turned back and through a strained voice that conveyed her fight to keep the tears from falling, she said, "I love you Remus Lupin. No matter what, I will always love you and I will keep hoping that someday.." she couldn't finish the sentence without losing her composure. She turned and fled out the door pulling it shut behind her.

When he heard the door close, Remus turned and stared at it for several minutes as he envisioned the pink-haired auror. "I love you too," He whispered finally.

 
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