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HP stories following Canon including OotP >> Harry Potter and the Goblin Rebellion, ch 3 by dedalusdiggle

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Chapter 3 – Wandless

Harry was surprised and relieved at how well Uncle Vernon and Dudley had taken this exposure to magic. Being given thick hair where it had been undesirably thin is certainly better than meeting a dementor or getting a pig tail or for that matter having either your sitting room or your sister blown up. Still, Harry understood how disconcerting it must be for his muggle relatives. It helped at least that Tonks looked muggle, though she dressed like she was going to a punk bar and would not normally have been at all welcome at 4 Privet Drive. Harry decided that he should make getting the mirror for Tonks quick, as he didn’t want things to turn back from the rather good relationship he and the Dursleys were now developing. When they got to the house, Vernon and Dudley went straight in. Harry asked Tonks to wait while he got the mirror.

“Here it is, Tonks. I gathered up all the pieces from my trunk and put them in this box.”

“You were really upset when you did this, weren’t you, sweety?” Tonks said sympathetically.

“I didn’t open it all term. When I opened it – after Sirius was … - I realized I could have avoided that foul elf Kreacher’s treachery. I could have confirmed Sirius was okay for myself. If only I had opened it sooner,… If only I hadn’t been so headstrong …”

Harry hung his head sadly. Tonks pulled him to her so that his head was on her shoulder. In a few seconds, he put his arms around her and softly cried. Tonks stroked his back to comfort him.

“Don’t beat yourself up. If that’s too much to ask, then not too badly anyway. You got tricked. We aren’t perfect. If you had used the mirror earlier, Umbridge would have known and confiscated it. You would have been right back to square one. That’s okay, honey, have a good cry with me. Then we’ll both get back to stopping those truly responsible.”

Tonks held him for several minutes until Harry pulled away, wiping his eyes and nose on the sleeve of his t-shirt.

“Thanks, Tonks,” he said quietly, “you may be as tough as any other auror, but you’re still very much a woman”

“Thanks, Harry. It’s harder to cry around ‘the guys,’ isn’t it?”

Harry nodded. “Something about being a boy allows raging but not crying. Anyway, how long will the mirror take?”

“It should take only take a few days, maybe a week with all the pieces this one’s in”

“Good,” said Harry. “Even though I broke it, I really want to keep it. It was shared by Sirius and my father, so it’s a connection to them. I treasure my broomstick – it was a gift from Sirius, too - but this is even better, because he and my father personally used it. I feel connected to them by it, even if I can’t talk to them as they did to each other.” And then he added as an afterthought quietly and sadly “I know – I tried.”

“Harry, it’ll be back good as new by next Friday evening. I thought I would bring it myself, since I know what to expect of this boxing thing. Oh, and Remus may come with me – he and I have been stepping out a bit,” she said with a grin.

“That’d be great, if he’s got some muggle clothes. Erm, what do wizards and witches do on their dates anyway?” Harry asked, knowing only what he had seen of wizard dating at Hogwarts.

“Well,” Tonks said with a patronizing voice “there’s the boy and there’s the girl, and …”

“That’s enough – I meant, is it wizard restaurants, or dancing, or going flying, or what?”

“Wait - don’t you want to hear about the wizard’s ‘magic wand’?” said Tonks with a wicked grin, “there’s a surprise ending!”

Harry blushed and smiled. “It’d serve you right for me to see just how far you’d go with that line, but the Dursleys want to get the door locked, so I need to get in.”

“Okay, okay, I knew what you meant. For the old-blood families, dating’s a right depressing ritual, because the marriages are usually pre-arranged and they have nothing to do with compatability as people. The couple is introduced to each other a couple of months before the wedding and they talk and play parlor games at one or another’s house with older kin supervising. And that’s whether they know each other already or not. A lot of bad feelings have been raised by witches or wizards backing out of marriages arranged for them. When my mother eloped – with a muggle, no less: the horror! - instead of going through with the arranged marriage, it created a big stink. She and the rest of us have never been accepted by the Blacks since then – it embarrassed the family. Of course, Sirius and his uncle came around, but the rest acted like we didn’t exist. But if you’re not stuck with that insanity, dating is whatever we think’s fun, just like the muggles. Sometimes we do muggle stuff, sometimes wizard things, there’s no rule – playing games, quidditch matches, troll-baiting, whatever. Or it can just be doing stuff together. Remus just keeps things light, though. He won’t allow himself to get too close emotionally. He’d love to have a wife and family, but there’s the whole werewolf thing.” Tonks sighed, “If not for that, he’d be about the perfect man, so sad and sweet – I feel like he balances me out.”

“Still, that is kind of a big issue,” said Harry somberly, to which Tonks nodded. Then Harry added, “and I can definitely understand not wanting to bring danger to those around you that you care about.”

“Harry,” said Tonks sternly, “now you’re talking about yourself. Don’t you dare pull away from us. We’re all very fond of you and your friends. If we didn’t favor a little danger, we wouldn’t be in the Order. And I don’t know what the deal is, but Dumbledore says keeping you safe is Job One for the Order, so you may as well admit you’re stuck with us. Bye now. I’ll see you Friday week.”

Harry was glad to have no boxing on Thursday – he needed to heal. He got up early to run as far as he could before breakfast, and after that, he went to the rec. center to work out with stretches and weights. The middle of the day was spent on schoolwork and letters, and then in the heat of the afternoon he went back to the rec. center to swim laps for several hours. Dudley came with him then – it seems there weren’t as many chores that really needed doing when the Dursleys were putting their own son up to do them. Harry noticed this, but he didn’t care – so long as things were better. In the evening Harry read the papers and followed the telly and wireless news reports. “A right decent routine,” thought Harry, “given that we have to face an impending war. At least I know I’m doing everything I can to be ready.” When it was finally time to get ready for bed, Harry cleared his mind as well as possible. Nonetheless he often had disquieting dreams of death and destruction of the people and places he loved.

The week that followed was much the same. Harry made quick progress with the exercise routines, realizing that he would continue to get pummeled by Dudley if he didn’t become stronger, faster, and sharper. Each day he boxed with Dudley, he got better and better at avoiding Dudley’s fists, learning to not stare at one fist or the other, but to watch Dudley’s eyes in a semi-focused way that allowed him to watch all of what every part of Dudley’s body was doing. In that way, even as he parried one fist, he was no longer taken by surprise when the other one followed from the opposite side. In the meantime he also continued learning all the spells and curses he could. He got a set of drumsticks that looked a lot like his wand. A teenager carrying several drumsticks around, tapping on things like he was in a band, didn’t attract attention the way the same teen carrying a single stick might have. He also could use the drumsticks to practice wandwork without actually doing magic.

It even seemed to Harry that his occulomency was going better. Having accepted the prophecy for what it was, and seeing that his course was set for the foreseeable future, made him far less emotionally volatile. Like Dumbledore, he did not know if fighting skills were what would allow him to beat Voldemort, but he knew that they were his best bet to keep him alive. This allowed him to be very focused and calm, perhaps too focused, even obsessive. Suppressing emotion at the end of such intense days was not too difficult – he was so exhausted he couldn’t afford to indulge negative emotions. He only had trouble the next Wednesday, after they had boxed. Harry was walking to the locker room with his cousin and uncle and got a vision of them sprawled out dead on the gym floor. It recurred three times for only a couple of seconds each. He did not see himself doing it, or feel any glee or excitement over it – just horror and revulsion. He also noted that his scar was not hurting any more than the usual twinges during these times.

Friday rolled around very quickly. Harry looked forward to seeing Tonks and Professor Lupin. He thought they might show up early, but the whole day passed and it became time to go boxing, so off they went. He and Dudley got changed and were warming up in the ring when Tonks and Lupin showed up followed by Mad-eye Moody, Kingsley Shacklebolt and finally Mr. and Mrs. Weasley. They did their best to look muggle, and Harry supposed that if you did not know there were such things as wizards, you would just think they were a bit quirky, as if they were members of a community theatre group. They explained that Tonks had tried to describe boxing to them, but that they felt they needed to see it for themselves. Both Uncle Vernon and Dudley gave Harry a look that let him know he needed to explain things beforehand so there would be no misunderstanding.

“Well, okay,” said Harry, “I guess you can watch, if you understand a few things. First I asked them to do this with me. Second, it involves the two of us trying to hit each other with our fists as hard as we can.” Harry noticed Mrs. Weasley eying Dudley’s massive fists and drawing a deep apprehensive breath. “Also,” Harry continued, “this mostly works out to Dudley throwing punches at me and me trying to dodge them. Now understand,” and here he looked Mrs. Weasley directly in the eye and said sternly “sometimes he does hit me, and he does it hard, and it hurts, and it can stun me for a moment or two, and this is an important part of my training Don’t - get – upset!”

They all agreed and Harry and the Dursleys took to the ring to begin. Dudley and Harry circled each other warily. Although Harry’s fists were too small to cause much damage to Dudley, they stung effectively and, besides, Dudley had to regard them as if he was fighting a boy his size for the training to be good for him too. Dudley started throwing the occasional jab, which Harry easily avoided. Harry began to counterjab, enough to keep Dudley honest, though Dudley too had improved in the past couple of weeks and become quite nimble in the ring for such a large boy. They had worked up a decent sweat when Uncle Vernon called time for the first round.

“Well, that wasn’t so bad,” said Mrs. Weasley, biting her lower lip.

“Molly,” said Moody, in his gentlest growl, “you’ve seen enough duels to know they were just getting warmed up, taking each other’s measure. Harry didn’t get those cuts and bruises without them mixing it up pretty well. Are you sure you should watch more of this?”

“I have plenty of sons, Alastor: I’ve seen boys hitting each other before,” Mrs. Weasley said, “I’ll be okay.”

Soon it was time for the next round. Moody was right, as both boys came out throwing combinations almost immediately. Still they were both avoiding each other’s punches. Then Harry caught Dudley with a hard punch to the chest and Dudley reflexively countered with an uppercut and a roundhouse, the latter of which caught Harry in the side of his head and knocked him off his feet. The spectators flinched and the Dursleys cowered from them, but Harry jumped up and gestured them back, showing it was okay, all part of the sport. The rest of the round and the next several were vigorous but went smoothly, with Harry only getting caught by a fist a few times, and getting in an equal number himself. Still, Harry noticed, Mrs. Weasley had drawn close to her husband, and he had his arm tightly around her for comfort and calming.

They were in the last round for the night when Harry made a significant error. Dudley had thrown several lefts to Harry’s body which had gotten through, and Harry started to focus too much on that fist. Dudley made to throw one more left, but when Harry moved to his left to avoid it, he found that Dudley’s right fist was coming up and from the side very fast and hard. The punch caught Harry at the jaw line and lifted him up. Harry wheeled and fell. Before he even hit, he immediately sensed that someone was pulling a wand and would use it on Dudley. Without thinking, he shouted “Expelliarmus” and put up the hand that was not slowing his approach to the floor.

Harry lifted himself up, shook his head, and looked at the wand in his left hand. He checked to see that Dudley had not been hexed, and then turned, calling “M- Mrs. Weasley, are you okay?”

But it wasn’t Mrs. Weasley thrown back by the Expelliarmus. Mr. Weasley was picking himself up from in front of some rolled-up exercise floor mats into which he had been thrown by the spell.

“I’m fine, Harry,” he said, as Mrs. Weasley ran to him. “I guess I’m also a bit protective of you.”

Dudley was very impressed. “That was cool, Harry, how’d ya do that?” His father frowned disapprovingly, still not comfortable with magic being mentioned, even in a room where everyone knew about it.

Tonks agreed with Dudley, though “Yeah, Harry, how’d you pick that up, doing spells without a wand?”

Lupin looked simply interested, while Moody and Shacklebolt both were very thoughtful about it.

“I don’t really know,” said Harry, “Sometimes when I have some emergency and I don’t have time to think about not having a wand, things happen anyway.”

Lupin nodded, then said “Harry, do you think you could come with Tonks and me after you change clothes to talk about this?”

Harry tossed Mr. Weasley’s wand back to him and looked at his Uncle Vernon for his agreement.

Vernon nodded, “It’ll be fine, but don’t keep him too late, right? We don’t want to leave the door unlocked till all hours.”

So it was agreed. Before Harry and Dudley went to shower, Mrs. Weasley gave him a hug and told him that she and the others needed to be getting back to duties, giving no more detail. Harry asked how things were in the ministry, and the Weasleys got a worried look on their faces.

“Well,” said Mr. Weasley, “there’s been no going back on acknowledging Voldemort’s return. Quite the contrary, Fudge is now being very active, particularly in pushing policies to promote what he calls ‘preparedness.’ ”

“That’s good, isn’t it,” said Harry, “We want everyone to be prepared and pull together against Voldemort.”

“Hmm. Well, policies can be said to be for one thing, but have an entirely different effect. Or even a different purpose. That’s all I’ll say about it for now, Harry. We must be going. No hard feelings about that spell – you did the right thing. But I will be interested to hear from Remus what he finds out,” said Mr. Weasley.

“Harry, we’re looking into when you can come to the Burrow or … elsewhere. Things are a bit up in the air yet. Dumbledore has us doing some things that the Ministry is not attending to.”

“So there’s no question of the Order disbanding now that the Ministry is involved?” asked Harry.

“Oh, of course, not” said Arthur Weasley, “There are still many things that can be done that are outside the reach of the Ministry. Some things can’t take the glare of politics.”

Harry nodded, having learned how governments can be at once ineffective and bluntly intrusive at the same time.

As all but Tonks and Lupin turned to leave, they all waved to Harry. Mrs. Weasley added “Ron, Ginny and the twins all send their greetings, and hope to get with you. They’ll be owling you a letter soon.” As Harry turned toward the locker room, he glanced back and for just a moment saw Mrs. Weasley sprawled as though badly hurt or dead. He shook his head and saw that it wasn’t so. Nonetheless, the image was disturbing.


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