"So, look I'm not the type of girl who's goes crazy about a guy after one meet but, I feel this pull between the two of us, you know? Like it could be love. And I get it, I sound like a crazy person, but I just sense this connection, you feel it too right?"
It was at that moment that Harry Potter decided he would have to break his godfather's face. All week it was ‘come to dinner this Friday, you'll have fun' and ‘I promise not to set you up again' and ‘it’ll just be the family'. Why did he keep falling for it?
Whenever he came to a dinner that was 'just the family', Someone would show up with a friend or co-worker who just so happened to be his age and single, then him and said friend/co-worker would end up seated right next to one another. It used to be that they wouldn't even try to hide what they were doing, but since Harry had started avoiding big family gatherings because of it, they had to be more deceptive.
They wouldn't invite a girl to come meet him, oh no, instead they would just so happen to leave an important memo at work which their lovely secretary would so graciously bring home to them, and then the only polite thing to do was to ask her to stay for a meal. And that's how harry found himself outside alone with Tonk’s new assistant.
Merlin, why him?
"Sofia," Harry started.
"Stephanie,” she looked up at him, eyes wide, smile unwavering and took firm a step towards him. Harry took two steps back.
"Right, sorry, look it's not you, it's me I'm not looking for a relationship at the moment and I don't want to string you along. Maybe sometime in the future but for now I think we should go our separate ways." He was aware of how poor his excuse was but he didn't have the energy to come up with a better way of letting her down.
"Bu-,"she reached out to touch his arm.
"Let's not argue, this is what’s best for everyone," Harry interrupted, he was trying to get this over with as fast as possible. He placed a firm guiding hand on her back as he leads her towards the apparition point. He truly wasn't trying to be rude or mean, he just didn't want to drag this out. Once they reached the outside of the wards Stephanie, who apparently couldn't take a hint, realized that this was her last chance, and turned and launched herself at him bringing her lips down for a horribly wet kiss. It only lasted for the few moments he couldn't pry her off but was disturbing all the same.
He wiped his lips "Please leave, now, PLEASE, just go." He didn't wait to watch her off instead making his way back to the house. When he arrived everyone was still gathered and sat at the table.
His godfather, Sirius Black sat between his girlfriend of the last 7 years Valerie Freely and his uncle, in all but blood, Remus Lupin, sitting across from Remus was his wife, Tonks Lupin (her real name was Nymphadora but he preferred his face unbruised so he wouldn't call her that). In her arms was Harry's 3-year-old godson, Teddy Lupin, who must have come back downstairs after Harry stepped away to see Stephanie out.
Harry pulled out a seat and poured himself quite a bit of firewhiskey but before he could get in a sip, Teddy wriggled out from his mother's arms and toddled his way into Harry's, wrapping his arms around him and burrowing his head in Harry's chest without either of them ever saying a thing. Harry sighed set his drink back down, unwilling to get drunk while his godson rested in his lap.
That didn't mean he wasn't going to tear his godfather a new one, however.
He pressed a hand against Teddy's left ear and pushed the right one against his chest, "You promised not to set me up again." Harry was tired of it, he didn't like the way they kept butting into his romantic life. He was…fine with the way things were in his life. Sure he worked a lot but being an Auror was a very important job. He was a grown man who didn't need his aunts and uncles arranging his life for him.
That included his godfather who was currently wearing his most innocent expression, staring at the wine he swirled in his glass as if it was the most interesting thing in the world. "I haven't the foggiest what our referring to," said Sirius.
Squinting his eyes in irritation Harry clarified "I'm talking about the crazy brunette who was about ready to pick out baby names after spending one dinner with me!"
"You said this one wasn't crazy," Remus leaned over to ask his wife. Her dinner guest had the highest record of being, for lack of a better term, over-expressive.
"I didn't realize she was, she seemed very pleasant at work."
Harry pushed Teddy's head back against his chest "Why can't you just let me be? I don't want to be in a relationship," he said smoothly having trained his brain to believe it in the last couple of months "Why can't you just accept that?"
Sirius let out a frustrated breath, apparently tired of playing coy, "Harry you’re 23, and all you do is work. It’s all you've been doing since you were 18. It's not your responsibility to constantly watch over the wizarding world. You should be enjoying your life."
"I enjoy working," Harry said reflexively. It was an argument they'd gone over repeatedly. And Harry felt Sirius wouldn't be happy until he had dated a quarter of the female population of wizarding Britain.
"Bullshit, honestly Harry I thought you would've stopped trying to lie to me a long time ago." Sirius probably knew Harry better than he knew himself.
Harry was five when shady actions of two crooks that led to the reexamination, (well not reexamination since somehow, there was never an initial examination) of the Potters will. In it, there was a clear identification of Peter Pettigrew as the Potters' secret keeper. The news was shocking as everyone knew, or thought they knew, that Sirius Black was their secret keeper, he was the one who had sold out his best friend, he was the one from one of the darkest families in history, he was the one who killed 12 muggles and paralyzed Peter Pettigrew. But the information from the will was still there, and when it became known that Black didn't have the dark mark and had never received a trial, the public outcry was enough to force the ministry's hand.
And to be clear, the ministry did not hold the case to make sure that justice was served correctly, they did it to get the press off their back. They expected to drop a dash of veritaserum on Sirius Black’s tongue and and have the matter done with. No one expected the truths that escaped a convict’s mouth that day. The aftermath of the event left the wizarding world with one newly freed Sirius Black, desperate to find the boy he'd sworn to care for, one missing Peter Pettigrew, now known as a wanted murderer, and one Cornelius Fudge in need of a new job.
It took four months for Sirius to find Harry and it took every ounce of Sirius's self-control not to permanently disfigure or injure Vernon and Petunia Dursley for the state of neglect he found his godson in.
From that point on it was the two of them were a family, and would slowly and carefully add misfits and malcontents to their ragtag group. But it was Sirius was somehow a brother, father, mother, and inappropriate friend all at the same time. So if one detected a problem with the other, the way Sirius KNEW there was something bothering Harry, there was no letting it go. That didn't mean that the other wouldn't try to avoid the matter to the best of their ability.
Harry, refusing to let his godfather think he was right, but not sure of his ability to successfully convince anyone he wasn't, quickly diverted the subject, "Who are you to lecture anyone about relationships?"
"What do you mean? Me and Valerie are very happy" Sirius raised his eyebrows in confusion at Harry’s rebuttal. He was in a very enjoyable relationship and been for the last 7 years. He met Valerie during a search for a rare potion and the two became very close. The two had a lot in common and were basically the same person and were very committed to one another, but one of those things they hand in common was a fear of commitment.
And the family, Harry included, brought up that matter relentlessly, "You and Valerie have been 'very happy'," he said with air quotes "for the last 7 years."
"And?" Sirius drawled out, tilting his head and his in confusion as to what the actual problem was.
"And you’re 45!" Exclaimed Harry in part real frustration, the rest happiness at getting the attention off himself, "Get married, get engaged, do something!"
Valerie who had been silent up to this point, which was very unlike her, set down her firewhiskey and let out a long sigh tired of repeatedly explaining her and Sirius's relationship, she loved the man more than anything and nothing could make her happier than spending the rest of her life with him, but the concept of marriage seemed so regulating and binding, she was more than happy leaving their relationship the way it was. "Harry, me and Sirius aren't the 'marriage' type we’re happy the way we are." She said, earning an eye roll from most of the table.
"Exactly," agreed Sirius as he turned towards her. "Don't know why they keep making us explain that" he muttered reaching across the table to refill his glass with wine, and Valerie's with firewhiskey. They clinked glasses and focused their attention back to Harry, their gaze making it clear that their discussion of his love life was not forgotten.
Instead of meeting their eyes Harry looked down at Teddy who was had return to sleep, pressed tightly to Harry's chest. "Well maybe I'm, not the relationship type."
Sirius snorted and Remus let out a howling laugh "I repeat, BULLSHIT," said Sirius, "Harry you are just like your father" a glint in his eye as he recalled the friend he lost so many years ago.
"He didn't want a bunch of wild one nighters he wanted the one girl who could make his heart break out of his chest and he wanted it as fast as possible," said Remus watching as Harry shifted his son in his arms, when Harry was around his godson it was so simple to see why his family was so insistent that he find someone. "It was just 3 months ago you were telling me you wanted to find that one girl who could make the world stop with her smile, what happened to that?" Trying to understand what had changed so suddenly for the man he considered nephew.
Harry schooled his face into a neutral expression he had perfected over the years, letting none of the emotions he'd felt since he said that come through, "I realized I'm only 23 and don't need to be worried, besides girls like that don't exist no matter how hard you look for them." And he had looked long and hard.
Sirius squeezed Valerie's hand under the table, looking at his godson like a stranger "Yes they d- "
Harry let out loud sigh, wanting so dearly for this conversation to be over. "Look I'm just tired, I don't want to argue with you for no real reason. I haven't sworn off love or anything, I swear," he stood carefully as not to disturb his godson and transferred him to his mother's arms, " Relationships just aren't my priority right now, so I'd appreciate if stop introducing me to these crazy women," Harry tried to adopt a light-hearted tone to ease their concerns.
"We don't look for the crazy ones on purpose," Tonks joked and was rewarded by a deep chuckle from most of the table.
"Sure you don't" Harry gathered his things, "I'm going home, I've been working for the last 14 hours and all I want is to wash off the filth and brush the taste of Stephanie away."
Valerie stood quickly and ran up to Harry before he could reach the floo, “Wait, we're sorry for tonight, we shouldn’t have let tonks pick again,” she pulled him in for a hug, “personally I wanted to bring a guy over, see if that got a bit more reaction out of you.” she lowered her voice, “He just doesn’t want you to be alone. He knows how dangerous that can be, it's a wonder he managed to survive as long as he did without me.” She pulled back from him and stared off into space in mock wonder.
Sirius walked up behind her, and put an arm around her shoulder, “Whatever she’s whispering to you, about me it's a lie,” Valerie rolled her eyes,
“I was just explaining to Harry here how sensitive you are about your clearly thinning hair and that he shouldn't bring it up.” she quipped, and kept her eyes looking forward as he glared down at her.
Forcefully ignoring Valerie, Sirius turned toward Harry,"So, em, I managed to convince the Lupins spend the night. Why don't you stay too? We can all catch up in the morning.”
"Maybe next time, yeah?" Harry said without commitment, before stepping into the floo, "Potter's flat", and he was gone in an instant, reappearing a second later in his spacious flat in West London. He kicked off his shoes and tossed his coat on the loveseat and continued to toss his clothes off until the sting of a hot shower rained on his skin.
He eagerly awaited sleep, wondering where they would be in tonight's dreams.
_____________________________ ________________________________________ ________________
"What were you able to find in Spain?", Gawain Robards asked Harry Potter twelve days later, they were discussing Harry's most recent mission, he had spent a week in Pamplona, Spain tracking the actions of Corban Yaxley, the last major death eater to escape capture. Most of the trip was spent integrating known affiliates and was extremely uneventful, up until the end where they found what was most likely his previous hideout.
This was a huge set back that meant that Yaxley had probably already left the country and at this point, the criminal had led them across most of Europe. Harry was in charge of this case like he had been for most of the major cases involving death eaters, since nothing put the public more at ease than knowing that the man who defeated the most evil wizard in history was at work protecting them.
They went through each second of the missions and once Robards managed to twist each of a Harry’s actions to look stupid, Harry was sent to his office to figure out his next move. As he walked across the atrium He heard someone call his name. "HARRY!", turning his head Harry saw Bill Weasley running up towards him. He met the thirty-something man at the start of the year when the Auror department needed a consultation on a case involving extremely advanced curses at a crime scene. Bill had been incredibly helpful and he and Harry had shared drinks a few times.
"Hey, how have you been," Harry asked the red-haired man.
Bill smiled wide, "Good, I was just visiting my dad, he's upstairs in muggle relations."
Harry nodded, mentally slapping himself for not realizing the connection between Bill and Arthur Weasley sooner. The two made pleasant conversation for a while. "Say, you got plans for tonight?" Bill asked.
Weary of making engagements Harry said, "No, but I’ll probably be working pretty late tonight."
Bill shook his head, "Still the workaholic I see."
"I do go home", Harry defended himself, starting to be offended by how often people commented on his work ethic.
"Yeah sure" Bill clapped him on the back "Well if you finish early you should come over for dinner."
"With your wife and kids?" Harry asked recalling Bill's mention of his family.
"Not exactly, its family night so, me, my siblings, our spouses, and children all get together at my parents’ house," Bill said reaching into his back pocket for a slip of parchment.
"Don't you have like 23 siblings?" Harry half-joked, wondering how you fit that many people at one table.
"Funny", Bill said without mirth, "I have six, here's the address," Bill stuck the slip of paper out towards him, "Come early if want to eat before my brothers inhale everything" Bill shook Harry's hand and started walking away.
"I'll see if I can make it," Harry called out.
Once in his office Harry set the paper slip down, he doubted he would go but figured he should to leave himself the option.
He labored the next 4 hours away researching and cross-examining all the information he had, to find predict Yaxley's next move. He was going on his 5th hour of non-stop research when Tonks, obviously on her way home for the day, came in. A serious injury during the war had brought an end to the more active parts of her Auror career and now she mainly investigated corruption.
"Wotcher Harry," Tonks said as she walked in, shoving papers aside on the desk to make room for her to sit, even though there was a perfectly good chair in the corner.
"Lo' Tonks do you need something?”, Harry said his eyes never lifting from the parchment he was studying.
"Not really, just here to remind you that your workday ended 30 minutes ago," she stuck her hand out, covering the text he was reading ", and dinner is in an hour. I'm responsible for making sure you don't try to skip." Her grin was far too pleasant.
Harry groaned as he was not looking forward to another dinner where some girl would be on display in front of him and his godfather would proceed to tell him that he doesn't shag enough women for his age. In desperate need of a way out Harry grabbed the slip of paper that Bill Weasley had given him earlier that day. "Oh no! I’d completely forgotten about tonight's dinner," Harry shook his head woefully, "I have plans with a friend, Bill Weasley, maybe you know him he was a year or two behind you at Hogwarts, anyway he invited me over for dinner with his family, and I promised I would come," Harry waved the parchment about, loudly displaying his proof "and I would cancel but it really has been forever since I've seen him." Harry laid it on thick covering his words in non-existent regret "You'll explain to everyone right?"
Tonks gave him a knowing smirk, "well-played Potter, but it's your loss, tonight’s girl is pretty hot." When Harry attempted to continue with his work she spoke again, "Well you better get going then."
Harry furrowed his brow, "What do you mean?"
"For this oh so important dinner of yours, if you want to get there on time you should leave now."
Harry swore under his breath. "Yes I guess I should." She was calling his bluff, he should have known it wouldn't be that easy. He grabbed his papers and put them in his work bag figuring he could finish his research at home. Getting his things he walks towards the door.
"And Harry, Remus gets on very well with Arthur Weasley, he'll be sure to ask how dinner went." Her words make Harry freeze in the doorway.
"You are the worst aunt ever," he said through gritted teeth.
She smiled so big Harry wondered if she'd made her mouth larger for a moment. As she squeezed around him in the doorway she pulled his face in to kiss him on the cheek, "I love you too."