Out of the Shadows
Chapter 14: The potion
Writter: fall shadow
Summary: Harry has been raised to follow a path of darkness, but when he meets Hermione things start to change and he finds out everything he has been led to believe is a lie. Now, with a strengthened resolve, he must do whatever it takes to stop the one he once considered his master.
Fear coursed through Harry as his eyes landed on a woman in the house, halfway down the small, dim hallway.
Just as he was about to cast a stunning spell on the vile witch, Hermione turned and pushed his wand arm down, hard. They stumbled a bit at the force she applied as she shouted “No!”
Dobby was shutting the front door, whining about something, when there was another crash further down the hall as someone emerged from the far room. The woman Harry still had his eyes locked on walked forward.
In the light of the living room, he could see the differences more clearly. He had been wrong, this was not Bellatrix, but the resemblance was still frightening. This woman had lighter hair, a shade of brown, and her eyes didn’t hold the same wild, dangerous expression. Even though her tone was displeased, he could see that her eyes actually looked kind when she spoke.
“And who are you, bursting through our front door like we owe you something?” she asked as she approached them.
“We’re very sorry, Ma’am,” Hermione said quickly, just now letting go of Harry. “We heard crashing inside the house, and we thought something might be wrong.”
“Hermione, is that you?”
Another woman, younger than the first, stepped out of the hallway, barely slipping past the older lady. Once his eyes left the woman’s pink hair, Harry noticed that her stomach was much too large for the rest of her and realized she must be pregnant. She spotted Hermione and smiled.
“Tonks!” Hermione said immediately, and the two walked forward to share a quick hug.
Harry was once again completely lost.
That’s been happening a lot lately…
“You know her? Well, she must be in the Order, if she got past all our charms without us knowing,” the older lady commented. “Oh, Dobby!” she exclaimed, noticing the elf for the first time, “Are these more prisoners you brought us?” She briefly scanned them with her eyes, “They don’t look like it- not half as bad off as the others if they are.”
“No, Ma’am, but Dobby must be going. Master Harry Potter and his miss will explain, but Dobby is needed back at Hogwarts.” Without another word, Dobby disappeared with a small crack.
“Did he say Harry Potter?” the lady asked.
Tonks was standing next to Hermione, now silently staring at him.
“Yeah,” Harry answered. “I’m Harry Potter.”
“Merlin!” Tonks said, looking stunned but amused. “You really are still alive! Everyone calls me Tonks; my last name before I got married,” she said, approaching him to shake his hand.
“Nice to meet you,” Harry said, feeling less awkward meeting Tonks than he had normally with the others. “I met your husband not too long ago- Remus.”
“Really?” Tonks asked, now looking even more surprised. “What happened? Is he-” Suddenly her face contorted with worry.
“He’s fine,” Hermione hurriedly assured her. “We can explain everything in a minute.”
And so they did. Harry and Hermione explained what that had happened to them, leaving out that they had found out about Voldemort’s Horcruxes. Harry was thankful that Hermione took the lead with the story; he only had to fill in parts or comment when he chose to, which suited him a lot better. When they asked about it, she spoke for him and gave the very short version of his past, which he also appreciated. He responded to their further questions, but he was glad not to have to tell the miserable tale again.
Tonks and her mother also helped to put them at ease about Sirius; the women agreed that Sirius should be fine, considering all close calls and trouble he had gotten himself out of in the past.
After quite a while of talking, Andromeda Tonks, who Harry had learned was the mother of the younger, very pregnant woman in the room, suggested they turn in for the night and get some sleep.
“The others are taking up our spare rooms, I’m afraid,” the woman told Harry and Hermione. “It’s a right good thing I put up a few silencing charms for the nonthreatening disturbances; the two of you bursting in my door would’ve caused even more of a ruckus.” Andromeda made a face at Tonks, who was trying to avoid tripping over the blankets she was carrying out for them with limited success.
“Good thing your daughter is so clumsy, you mean,” Hermione added with a good-natured smile.
Even Harry was amused. He never would have imagined that all the crashing they had heard from outside the front door could have just been someone knocking something over, but after being around Lupin’s wife for a few hours, he was no longer that surprised.
“Hey!” Tonks said in a light tone as she got to the sofa, “It’s much worse now that I’m pregnant- the extra weight makes even balanced women have trouble, for me it’s just plain unfair.”
They all laughed as she set the blankets on the couch and looked at them sheepishly, laughing too.
After a few minutes, Harry and Hermione were left alone in the living room. Harry had insisted that Hermione take the sofa, while he slept on the floor in front of it. They quietly set up their blankets, each lost in their own thoughts. Hermione flicked the lights off before Harry broke the silence.
“Thank you,” he told her in a low voice after she had seated herself on the couch, “for doing most of the talking earlier. I hate having to explain it all the time, especially to people I don’t even know.”
“I could tell,” Hermione told him, “when you’ve had to before. Are you alright?” She added, sounding concerned. “It’s been quite a day.”
“Yeah,” Harry agreed, “escaping from the cave, going to Hogwarts, trying to learn that spell, coming here… I can’t believe that all happened in one day.”
They fell into silence again for a few moments, illuminated only by the small light still on in the hallway.
“Harry?” Hermione asked.
Harry looked up at her from his spot sitting in front of the couch on his blanket-bed.
“We should really practice the Patronus Charm. It’s likely that we’ll run into dementors again at some point, and we need a way to fight them off.” Something about her tone told Harry that she knew it made him uncomfortable.
“Right,” Harry simply agreed, looking away from her.
“You will get it,” she told him. Her voice sounded so sure that his eyes rose back up to meet hers. “I know Professor McGonagall said you were probably having trouble with the memory, but you will think of something.”
“I don’t know…” Harry trailed off, now looking at one of the blankets. He wasn’t sure if he found her apparent belief in him comforting or terrifying.
“There must be something- there just has to!” Harry noticed that behind the determination in her voice, she sounded sad. “I’m sure you have at least one truly happy memory that would work for the spell. And… if you don’t,” she paused for a second, “then we’ll just have to make one ourselves.”
Harry wasn’t exactly sure what she meant, but found the thought encouraging in a way he hadn’t expected. He smiled at her and in the dim light he saw her smile back.
“You must be exhausted; we should get to sleep,” she suggested.
“Yeah, you’re right,” he replied. He really did feel worn out.
“Well, goodnight, Harry.”
Harry remained awake for a while after she had settled under her blankets and probably fallen asleep. His mind journeyed through his past, replaying scene after scene, searching for happier times. But he found none. This was the happiest he ever remembered being. Not necessarily right now, laying on the floor thinking of his past, but in general, the last month or so. Thinking about how he’d recently found out he was destined to face one of the darkest and most powerful wizards of all time, and either kill him or die trying, he really didn’t think it made sense to be happier.
But it didn’t matter; no matter how hard he thought, he couldn’t come up with a time at the Dursleys’ or the Malfoys’ when he had felt this way. And he couldn’t remember the short time he had with his parents. For the first time in his life, Harry felt just maybe like he belonged. The people he had met since he escaped Malfoy Manor were so completely different than those he’d met beforehand it was hard to make sense of it all.
To Harry, it felt right to believe in these people, and he knew he no longer doubted who his parents had been. Any lingering fears he still had in the back of his mind about them being Death Eaters were finally gone. He took a moment to marvel at how much everything had changed for him, and how much he had changed, in so little time. The darkness of his past still haunted him in his waking hours and especially at night, but when he woke up, he was granted a reality with purpose and hope, which was different.
Then he realized something that caught him off guard:
The reason everything had changed, the link to the good people he had met and places he almost felt welcomed, was sleeping on a couch about a foot away from him.
Life at the Tonks’ residence was very different than anywhere else they had been. There were more people staying there, and in smaller quarters. For Harry, it was a big adjustment. He wasn’t used to having people around all of the time and no place to go if he wanted to be alone.
Harry had come to expect the sudden explosions of noise when Tonks tried to move around the house, but it still made him jump and he always checked to make sure it wasn’t a Death Eater finally penetrating their defenses and that Tonks was alright. He usually managed to keep from assuming the worst and spilling his drinks now, though.
Since he and Hermione were sharing the living room to sleep (Harry still insisted that she use the couch), they had more of a chance to talk, too. He liked that- talking to her before he went to sleep every night, even if sometimes it was only to say goodnight. Usually they would stay up later after the others had gone to their rooms and talk, too. Because it wouldn’t be that difficult for someone to overhear them from the hallway, topics like Horcruxes and Gringott’s were usually off of the list. Harry preferred it that way, though- not talking about those things right before sleep. Unfortunately, he was still having nightmares at least once a week, and a few times he had even woken Hermione. But it was less often than it had been at least, and for that, he was thankful.
The first day there, Harry and Hermione had visited the prisoners to see if they could get any help or information. However, both of them had been difficult: Griphook refused to help them, and Mr. Ollivander didn’t seem too keen to give them information, either. They tried talking to the goblin first and left shortly after, feeling less decidedly hopeful. After a lot of convincing, the wand-maker told them why Voldemort had imprisoned him; he was worried about the bond between his and Harry’s wands- evidently he had found out about that. Also, after Harry mentioned it, he admitted that he believed in the Deathly Hallows.
“He asked you about the wand, didn’t he?” Harry asked.
The man’s hesitation gave Harry his answer.
“What do you know? What did you tell him?” Harry asked urgently.
“He tortured me…” he sighed, looking weary. “He knows of its existence, but I did not, and do not, know where it is.”
“You gave him an idea, though?” Harry pressed.
“He had my granddaughter… What I told him was merely speculation…” regret was etched across his face as plain as his wrinkles.
Harry felt Hermione’s eyes on him, waiting to see how he would continue.
“I understand, Mr. Ollivander,” Harry said. He hoped his voice conveyed how he felt: he understood why the man told him- he did not judge him for giving up the information- but it was certainly not good that he had.
“But he has found the wand,” Harry told him.
“What?” Hermione asked immediately.
“I know,” Harry answered her simply, his eyes not leaving the man’s face.
“Then it may be too late…” Mr. Ollivander said gravely. “You may not have a chance.”
“I guess I’ll have to think of something clever, then,” Harry answered in a neutral tone that sounded just a little too forced. “I’m not going to sit around and wait for him to find me.
“Hermione, why are we just sitting around waiting for him to find me?” Harry whined for the second time that day.
“Harry, I told you this morning- we need to wait for this potion to be done before we can try to break into Gringott’s. We’re lucky enough Andromeda had all of the supplies,” Hermione answered impatiently, not taking her eyes off of the cauldron and book in front of her. “If you have any better ideas…”
Harry held up his hands in defense.
“Alright, alright… I know. I just hate sitting around and not being able to do anything, especially now that we finally got Griphook to agree to help us. Poor Dobby has the worst job, trying to get a piece of that vile woman.”
Hermione finally looked up at Harry. His hair was as messy as ever, even more so since Tonks had trimmed it last week. The expression on his face exuded restlessness and boredom. Before long, the eager, pleading look in his bright green eyes won her over, and she couldn’t stop the smile that quirked the corners of her lips up slightly.
“Oh, Harry, it will be done soon,” Hermione said to him in a placating tone. “For now, why don’t we practice the Patronus?”
He noted how she had already started cleaning up her books and notes.
“‘We’? Hermione, you’ve been able to do the charm for a while now… I’m pretty sure you don’t need to practice.”
“Of course I do! I c:wppohaven’t made a true, corporeal Patronus. And I want to get better at controlling it and learn to-”
“-make it perfect?” Harry finished, smirking at her in a teasing way. “You won’t be happy until you have it dancing around the room serving us hot cocoa.”
She shot him a dirty look in response, but he didn’t fail to notice the smile she was clearly trying to hide.
He grinned and she rolled her eyes. Then she huffed as if she was offended, and turned away from him.
There was a great crash and they hurried to see if Tonks was okay.
She was fine, so Harry helped her to her destination as Hermione magically repaired whatever she had broken this time.
The routine they had fallen into was almost comfortable, and it might’ve been, without six Horcruxes and the thought of breaking into a bank full of goblins looming over them.
Harry found that he liked Tonks a lot. He helped her around often and loved to listen to her stories with Hermione. Conversations were certainly more lively and fun when Tonks was around, too. She, Harry, and Hermione had spent an entire afternoon talking about how she could change her appearance at will, and all the trouble she had gotten out of, and into, because of it.
Tonks was easier to get along with than her mother, who was kind, but more serious and stern. She often seemed preoccupied or busy. After a little while there, Harry found out why: her husband was on the run; Death Eaters had spotted him when he was out on a trip somewhere one day. They hadn’t heard from him recently, so understandably, her worry for him was often on her mind, though she never mentioned it to them.
Harry was still frustrated about having difficulty with the Patronus Charm. He was barely producing a mist, let alone a specific shape. Wondering what kind of animal form his Patronus would take kept his mind occupied sometimes while Hermione was busy reading or working on the potion. He certainly wasn’t the only one annoyed about their attempts to learn the spell, though. Hermione was also having a hard time with it, and from the way she was acting, he had a strong suspicion that this might be the first time that had ever happened. Normally Harry picked things to do with magic up pretty quickly, too, but other times he had to work at it.
Harry was sure that if they kept practicing Hermione would get it eventually, but he wasn’t so hopeful for himself. Happy memories for him were few and far between, and with the tasks that now lay before him, he doubted that was going to change any time soon.
With a resigned sigh that came along with his dreary outlook regarding the spell, he stood to join Hermione. He was glad to at least have something productive to do.
But this time was different.
As he searched his memories, the thoughts he had the first night at the Tonks’ house came to him- the feeling that he belonged allied with these people, and could believe in them, and their cause. And his wand started to produce steady mist. Then he thought of how it all came back to Hermione, and for the first time, the silvery mist coming out of his wand when he tried the spell looked bright, more solid; powerful.
Harry looked up to find Hermione beaming proudly at him and felt his confidence soar, knowing he had caused her