|SIYE Time:13:14 on 18th June 2018|
Category: Pre-OotP, Post-OotP, Alternate Universe
Characters:Albus Dumbledore, Draco Malfoy, Harry/Ginny, Hermione Granger, Luna Lovegood, Minerva McGonagall, Neville Longbottom, Nymphadora Tonks, Other, Remus Lupin, Ron Weasley, Severus Snape, Sirius Black
Genres: Drama, Romance
Warnings: Dark Fiction, Death, Disturbing Imagery, Extreme Language, Intimate Sexual Situations, Mild Language, Mild Sexual Situations, Negative Alcohol Use, Sexual Situations, Violence/Physical Abuse
Summary: Sequel to Darkness Within. This story begins the night before Harry's fifth year at Hogwarts. Canon couples accurate to JKR. The romance between Harry and Ginny will develop slowly due to their ages. Please note rating and warnings.
Hitcount: Story Total: 25283; Chapter Total: 708
Awards: View Trophy Room
With tremendous thanks to Arnel!
Harry stumbled as he exited the Floo into Longbottom Manor.
Neville grabbed his arm and helped steady him. “How are you, Harry?”
“Well, thanks,” he said. “Just wish I could get the hang of magical transport.”
“You’re brilliant on a broom!”
“Yeah, but I have trouble with the Floo Network. I generally fall over when I have to take a Portkey.” Harry shook his head. “Yesterday, I Apparated for the first time with Sirius, Side-Along of course. I thought I was about to be squeezed to death. The pressure was unbelievable!”
“You did fine!” Sirius assured him as he brushed some soot off his clothes. At his godson’s raised eyebrow, he added. “Not vomiting after the first Apparition is a definite accomplishment.”
Remus chuckled. “It’s about the time I normally start lessons. Have you had breakfast?”
Harry nodded. “Kreacher made us breakfast this morning. He’s changed quite a bit.”
“That’s an understatement! The house is cleaner than it was when my mother was still alive,” Sirius added. “There are still several rooms that need to be completely cleared out, but it’s amazing the work a house-elf can accomplish when he’s cooperating.”
“Hi, Harry,” Anna entered the room and gave him a quick hug before turning to his godfather. “Hello, Sirius. I’m glad you were able to come today. Aunt Augusta is off on an errand, but she’ll be home in time for lunch.”
“Sounds great! So, what are you two working on today?” Sirius asked.
“I’d like to practice a potion,” Anna said.
Neville grimaced slightly. “Maybe we could each do what we want this morning. I really need to spend some time in the greenhouse.”
Remus nodded. “Alright, you can work separately on Potions and Herbology this morning. After lunch, we will work together on spell casting and dueling practice. Harry, which subject would you like to work on this morning?”
“I probably should work on Potions,” he admitted.
“Why don’t I make myself useful and go along with these two, and you can work with Neville in the greenhouse?” Sirius suggested.
The others readily agreed.
Anna led Harry and Sirius to the Potions Lab at Longbottom Manor. It was a small outbuilding close to the house with a main room for brewing, a storage cupboard, and a small bathroom. “So, what potion are we working on today?” Harry asked.
“I’m going to try to brew Amortentia,” Anna murmured.
Harry glanced at his godfather and watched his face morph from a smirk into a frown within seconds. “What’s that?”
She bit her lip. “It’s the most powerful love potion in the world. According to Advanced Potion-Making, it smells differently to each person according to what attracts them the most. The potion is only dangerous if one drinks it. Smelling the potion is perfectly safe.”
“Are you sure you should be brewing that potion, Anna?” Sirius’s gaze was fixed upon her.
“No, I’m not sure of much lately.” She set her book on the table and opened it to the page she had bookmarked earlier that morning. “But I only have about a month before I have to make one of the most important decisions of my life. Merlin knows I need all of the help I can get!” Anna’s voice cracked, and she fled to the storage cupboard to gather the supplies for the potion.
“She’s having a really hard time. Should one of us go and talk to Remus?” Harry whispered.
Sirius shook his head. “Draco took away her sense of power and her ability to control what was happening to her own body. If this helps her feel more empowered, she should absolutely do it. The best thing we can do is be quietly supportive.” He raked a hand through his hair. “Besides Amortentia is one of the potions studied for N.E.W.T.s.”
Anna returned from the storage cupboard with a wicker basket full of ingredients.
Harry turned his attention to the copy of Advanced Potion-Making on the table. “Doesn’t look as though your grandmother made any corrections to this potion.”
“No,” she agreed. “Just the notation about it often being part of the written portion of the N.E.W.T.s.”
Anna and Harry were soon following the rather complicated instructions from the text. Sirius looked on silently. The rose thorns and peppermint created a fresh, pleasant fragrance that permeated the room. Once the powdered moonstone and pearl dust were added, the potion took on the mother-of-pearl sheen described by the book. After a few more stirs, steam began to rise in spirals. The teens began to clean up their work stations as they waited the requisite thirty minutes for the potion to reach full potency.
A perfunctory knock sounded on the door, and Remus poked his head in. “Safe to come in? It’s almost time for lunch.”
“Yes, they just finished brewing Amortentia,” Sirius replied. “I think the potion is almost ready.”
“Isn’t that a love potion?” Neville asked.
Sirius nodded. “It is, and we’ll be disposing of it properly after you all have the opportunity to smell the fumes.”
“Why would we want to smell them?” Neville approached the cauldrons cautiously.
“Amortentia smells differently to each person, depending upon what attracts them most.” Remus glanced at Sirius as they all surrounded the potions.
Harry and Anna leaned over the spiraling steam. The scent was intoxicating, pulling him in, warming his blood. He closed his eyes as he tried to separate and identify the heady concoction.
“What do you smell, Harry?” Sirius murmured.
“Treacle tart…a broomstick handle…something flowery,” he leaned forward, inhaling slowly as he tried to specifically identify that last scent. It was making him feel sweaty, and he longed to put his entire face into that flowery something. With a sharp tug, his godfather pulled him away from the fumes. The heady scent remained in his nostrils but was less potent at this distance.
“Anna,” Remus said.
Harry glanced over to see that his friend was breathing deeply. Her eyes were closed, and she had a relaxed expression on her face.
“I smell…whiskey…and leather, perhaps? There’s a warm, outdoor scent. I can’t quite identify it, but it’s very…” she moaned softly.
Remus took her arm and pulled her away from the potion. “I think that’s enough, Anna. Did you want to smell it, Neville?”
“No, thanks. I’m not continuing with Potions anyways, and Harry and Anna both look a bit odd.”
Harry gave his friend a slightly disgruntled look as his godfather Vanished the Amortentia from the cauldrons. Glancing over at Anna, he had to admit she had a slightly flushed, dazed look about her.
“Anyways, Anna,” Neville continued. “One of the scents must have been chocolate. The only time you ever moan like that is when you’re eating good quality dark chocolate.”
“Damn it, Sirius! Why’d you let her brew Amortentia of all things? The sixth grade Potions curriculum has plenty of other choices.”
Sirius gave his friend a side long glance. He’d expected something like this from the moment Remus told the teens to go ahead in and clean up for lunch. “It was her idea. I didn’t suggest it. Anna’s in a delicate place right now. If making that potion allowed her to feel like she has more knowledge, more control over her situation, I don’t think we should try to prevent that.”
“Really! And how exactly do you think that potion helped her,” Remus demanded.
“Anna has to make a rather life-altering decision in about a month. If she learned nothing else, at least, she definitely smelled something. At least the Malfoy boy didn’t take that away from her.” He rubbed his hand over his face. “Look, I know she’s important to you, but she’s not your daughter.”
“What the hell is that supposed to mean?”
“It means we’re a couple of days away from the full moon, and since I was beginning to pick up on the scent of her arousal in there, I bloody well know you did, Moony!”
Remus growled. “Anna shouldn’t be in this situation! That Malfoy brat set this whole thing in motion with the first betrothal offer. If he’d just left her alone, I don’t think the other letters would have been sent.” He raked both hands through his hair. “I know she seems strong, but she’s scared, Sirius. I can smell the fear.” He closed his eyes. “And you were correct, her arousal was obvious in there. I’m not upset about that. She’s a healthy young woman. Her response was perfectly normal and appropriate. I just don’t want to see her hurt. I’m concerned that she’s emotionally closer than any of us realize to cracking.”
Sirius grabbed his friend’s shoulder. “If she cracks…let’s be realistic, when she cracks, we help her in every way possible. That’s all we can do. We can’t protect children from every horrible thing out there. I’m not saying we shouldn’t try, but in the end, we just can’t.”
“Merlin, they’ve reached a terrible age,” Remus muttered. “They’ll all be legally adults soon, Anna in just a few short months, but in some ways, they’re still so innocent.”
“Yeah, I’m guessing no one’s ever had The Talk with Neville,” Sirius chuckled. “I almost lost it back there when he mentioned that chocolate was the only thing that ever makes Anna moan. Perhaps you should mention that gap in his education to Augusta. I’m sure she’d be pleased to let you be the one to explain things to him.”
“You can laugh now, but do you honestly believe anyone’s ever had The Talk with Harry,” Remus retorted. “As his godfather, that’s definitely your responsibility.”
Sirius paled, then swore. “Let’s mention it to Augusta later. If both boys need to hear about the facts of life, we might as well team up and tell them together.”
Remus nodded. “Sounds like a reasonable plan.”
“I almost hate to mention it, but how much do you think Anna really knows,” Sirius said. “I mean obviously given what happened…” he blew out a loud breath. “I just wonder if she knows what it’s supposed to be like.”
“I’ll talk to Augusta later this evening.”
Tonks arrived at the Manor that afternoon in time for dueling practice. Between her job at the Ministry as an Auror and her work for the Order of the Phoenix she was rather busy. Over the past year, she had split her free time between her parents’ house, Grimmauld Place, The Burrow, and Longbottom Manor. This summer, she suspected she would spend most of her time at the Manor. The battle at the Department of Mysteries had convinced Sirius, Augusta, and Remus of the importance of daily dueling practice for the teens. While spells could certainly be exchanged in one of the empty rooms at Grimmauld Place, the extensive grounds surrounding Augusta’s home offered the perfect location for the kind of dueling practice Sirius was determined to offer Harry. Molly was not yet ready to allow her youngest two to participate, though since Arthur had not immediately denounced the plan when he heard it, Tonks suspected they may eventually join them.
“Alright,” Sirius began. “The rules are there will be no rules. Other than avoiding lethal spells of course. You need to fight like you would in a real battle. The Death Eaters don’t care that you’re still students. They will be fighting to win, and you need to fight the same way. Harry and Neville, you boys are up first.”
The boys squared off against each other, warily at first, but soon spells were speeding quickly through the air. By the time Harry managed to Stun Neville, he was breathing hard.
Remus murmured ‘Rennervate’ and helped Neville to his feet. “You did very well! Anna, your turn against Harry.”
She nodded and gripped her wand tightly. As with the previous duel, they started off slowly. Tonks wondered if they were trying to measure each other up, or if Harry might be feeling somewhat unwilling to throw curses at Anna. After a few volleys, the pace of the fight intensified quickly. Stunning Spells, Shield Charms, Leg-Locker Curses, Impediment Jinxes and Full Body-Bind Curses were cast with impressive speed and power.
“Stupefy!” Anna shouted.
Harry ducked to the side. “Flipendo!”
Anna fell backwards landing hard on the ground. “Expelliarmus!”
Her spell missed Harry by inches as he advanced on her purposefully. “Langlock!”
Tonks knew by the desperate, silent movements of the witch’s mouth that Harry had effectively silenced her.
“Expelliarmus!” Harry exclaimed, closing the distance between them to only a couple of feet as her wand flew out of her hand.
With a wild, terrified look in her eyes, Anna pushed both hands palm outward in what should have been a futile gesture. Harry flew backwards several feet before collapsing unconscious to the ground. Hand stretching out towards her wand, the instrument flew to her. She caught it and pointed it towards Harry, who was suddenly covered in a flat, round net of rope. Tears were rolling down the girl’s cheeks. She shook violently as she pointed her wand towards her mouth trying to undo the spell that had affixed her tongue to the roof of her mouth.
Everyone seemed to spring into action at the same time.
Remus and Neville rushed over to Anna, while Tonks hurried towards Sirius who was desperately trying to move the net that covered Harry, first with his wand and then with his bare hands.
“Finite Incantatem! Anna, you’re safe! Anna, look at me!” Remus demanded, grabbing the girl by the shoulders.
“Remus! Remus, I…oh, no, Harry!” she pulled away quickly and flicked her wand at Harry. She murmured a spell that was definitely not Latin. The net disappeared.
“Rennervate!” Sirius’s voice shook slightly as he waited for his godson to awake.
Fortunately, the spell worked almost instantly. Harry sat up with a confused expression on his face. “What happened?”
“I’m so sorry!” Anna whimpered. Tears continued to flow from her eyes. “I didn’t mean to. I couldn’t speak and my wand was gone, and I just…”
Sirius rapidly explained to Harry the events that had happened during his brief period of unconsciousness. Neville pulled Anna into his arms, holding her tightly. “It’s okay. Harry’s fine. He’s not mad at you. Everything’s okay, now.”
“It’s not okay,” she said, wiping the tears from her cheeks as she worked to regain her self-control. “I didn’t realize it was Harry. When he Disarmed me, I looked up, and I didn’t see Harry. I saw him. I thought I was back at Hogwarts.”
“Anna, that’s not unusual,” Tonks gently explained. “Traumatic events can cause people to experience flashbacks, moments when you think you’re back in the dangerous situation you survived. We learn about flashbacks as part of Auror training because it can even happen to one of us. Usually, they stop happening over time, but for a while, anything that might be a bit too close to what you experienced may trigger a flashback.”
She nodded. “I’m really sorry, Harry.”
“You did nothing wrong, and you won the duel.” He smirked slightly as he patted her back.
“Which leads us to a few things we should discuss,” Sirius began. “First, Harry you made a mistake that in a real duel could have led to your death. What was it?”
Harry thought for a moment. “I assumed she was harmless. I had her wand, so I thought the fight was over.”
“Generally, a captured wand does end a fight,” Remus continued. “But, even assuming your opponent is not capable of wandless magic, he or she may have a knife to throw at you, or they may attack you with their fists if they have no other weapons available.”
“So, I should have followed up the Disarming Charm with a Stunning Spell or Incarcerous Spell.” Harry rubbed his chin. “I’ll remember that next time.”
“It’s also not a bad idea in a real fight to break your opponent’s wand. Mad-Eye taught me that,” Tonks added. “Now I have a question for you, Anna. How many spells can you cast wandlessly?”
“I…I don’t know. I mean...” she frowned.
“You haven’t really thought about it, have you?” Tonks asked gently. “What you just did here, that’s how you escaped from Draco, isn’t it? You didn’t have a wand. He’d sealed and silenced the room, so you couldn’t scream for help, you couldn’t run away. You were scared and desperate, so you managed wandless magic.”
Anna stared off blankly for a moment, her face pale. “Yes, I suppose that’s what happened. I pushed him with both hands as hard as I could, and then I reached for my wand.”
“Have you ever knowingly performed any wandless magic?” Remus asked.
“No.” She shook her head. “But perhaps I should try.”
“You should definitely try, and we will work on it this summer,” Remus announced. “However, we are done for today. I think we should all go to the stream and cool off.”
“How exactly did I get volunteered to have that particular conversation with Anna?” Tonks groused as she poured herself a generous Firewhisky and collapsed next to Remus on the sofa.
“You were here, and I’m an old widow,” Augusta replied, sipping her drink. “Better you than me, dear.”
Tonks snorted as she drained most of her glass in one swallow.
“Was it really that bad?” Remus inquired, concern evident by his tone. “You were up there even longer than we were.”
“No, it was fine,” she admitted. “I started off by telling Anna that you and Sirius were having ‘The Talk’ with Neville and Harry. Gave her the choice to either go join your conversation or chat with me.”
Remus choked on his drink. Tonks gave him a few firm pats on the back.
“Well, I think we’re all glad she decided to just talk to you,” Sirius smirked.
“Once she started talking, we had a pretty detailed discussion, which she definitely needed. Good call on that.”
“I’m rather surprised Katherine didn’t explain things to her,” Augusta mused. “I just assumed she would have since Anna was already thirteen when she came to live here.”
Tonks shrugged. “I asked her what her grandmother had told her. From what Anna said, puberty, basic anatomy, pregnancy, and childbirth were covered quite thoroughly. She just skipped most of the ‘how’ beyond the what must go where part and a firm warning to not let guys do that. Hermione loaned her a Muggle book on the subject, but it was also rather short on details. Didn’t even include any positions beyond the missionary one.”
Augusta cleared her throat. “And, that, my dear, is why I wanted you to have ‘The Talk’ with her. Thank you, Tonks, I sincerely appreciate it.” She stood up. “I think I’ll retire for the evening and let you young people chat. See you all in the morning.”
Tonks waited until the door closed behind the lady of the house to turn to the men. “Did I say too much?”
Sirius chuckled as he topped off all their drinks. “I have no doubt you gave Anna a proper and thorough education. I’m glad Augusta suggested we spend the night here tonight and get these conversations over with.”
“Well, the important thing is that she’s not afraid,” Remus murmured. “She deserves the chance to have a normal, healthy married life someday.”
Tonks took his hand in her own. “I truly don’t think she’s afraid, and she knows she can come and talk to me about absolutely anything.”
“Thank you for that.”
She smiled. “So, how’d your conversation with the boys go?”
“Rather brilliantly, if I do say so myself!” Sirius declared.
“They were definitely lacking some pertinent information, as well as suffering from some misinformation,” Remus admitted. “Although, I’m not sure that quite so many diagrams were truly necessary to their understanding.”
Sirius scoffed. “We were doing them, as well as the young ladies they will be with in the future, a tremendous favor by being so specific. I, for one, don’t want to have my godson leaving a witch frustrated and disappointed.”
“Yes, well, they are certainly not lacking in information,” Remus drawled. “I rather think you managed to mention a thing or two I was unaware of.”
“Glad I could be of service,” he waggled his eyebrows. “And, now I do believe I’ll leave you two alone. Good night, my dear cousin. Night, Moony.”
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