The Saint was back. The residents of Privet Drive,
Little Whinging, Surrey had quickly spread the word that Dudley's
cousin, Harry Potter, of Saint Brutus School for Incurably Criminal
Boys, was again in residence at number four Privet Drive.
Harry's presence this year, more than previous years, alarmed them
because Harry was no longer timid and small. In fact, the Saint,
a code by which they referred to this boy, was becoming a man.
His lean wiry frame, which in previous summers had seemed frail, now
conveyed an image of strength and resilience. The Saint's ill
fitting clothes, along with his habit of strolling about the
neighbourhood with his eyes cast downward, only served to emphasize the
feeling of quiet menace exuding from the young man.
his part, was unaware that he was the source of such unease. He
was completely lost in his own thoughts, and had been since his arrival
at the Dursleys three days previously. Harry's mind was still
reeling over the events of the previous year. Indeed, not just
last year, but each year dating back to 1991 when he had first
discovered the amazing fact that he was a Wizard. His life since
that point was so unlike that of his first eleven years that he
sometimes thought that he had lived two distinct lives. The only
connection was the time he spent in residence with the Dursleys each
summer. This connection would very shortly be severed, as he was
leaving the Dursleys for the last time. This consideration served
to focus his turbulent mind, and it gave him a moment's peace to savour
the realization that he would soon be forever done with this place.
moment was short lived when many other thoughts came crashing back into
his awareness. These thoughts demanded his attention and gave no
peace or respite. He saw images of Dumbledore, lifeless, falling
from the tower; Snape, cruel and taunting before disapparating at the
gates of Hogwarts; red snake-like eyes with a chilling laugh; and
Inferi rising from the teeming waters of the cavern. These
thoughts focused Harry's mind to the task the late Headmaster had set
him. Four Horcruxes had to be found and destroyed. How, in
Merlin's name, was he going to accomplish this when Dumbledore, the
most accomplished wizard of his age, had only been able find and
destroy one? Running his hands through his hair he tried to
divert this train of thought and found himself once again dwelling on
images of a certain brown-eyed witch. "I am a fool."
"Wotcher, Saint", an indistinct voice called from behind him.
blinked; aware, once again, of his surroundings. He found himself
in the park just down the street from his residence. How did I get here?I thought I been walking for longer than an hour.
Tensing, he carefully reached to his left cuff where he pulled out his
wand. When Harry glanced over his shoulder he saw a heavy set,
balding man dressed in overalls and grinning at him. Harry kept
his wand hand ready as he slowly turned. Using his peripheral vision he
made certain that the park was empty except for him and this strange
individual. Harry looked him over and was startled when the man's
sparse brown hair changed briefly to vivid pink.
Harry snorted, chuckling. "Has Remus seen you like this?"
The thought of his old professor walking down the street, hand-in-hand
with this incarnation of Tonks was more than he could bear and laughter
burst through. Harry found himself sitting on the ground, tears
streaming down his face, unable to control his laughter. It was
several long minutes before Harry was able to bring himself back under
Wiping the tears from his eyes he looked up. "It's good to see you, Tonks. Is it your turn to mind me today?"
but I might not be the only one. Officially, I am the Ministry's
assigned Auror. Not sure if anyone from the Order is
around." She paused for a minute and regarded him with a
smile. "It's good to see you laughing, but how are you actually
Harry debated going with his standard, Fine,
before he relented and decided on the more honest answer. "Not
well," he said as he slid his wand back into its forearm holster.
"Feeling a little overwhelmed by everything." He smiled ruefully
at Tonks, "I can't imagine that any of us are doing much better these
days." Giving Tonks a long look he asked, "How long have you been
going around looking like an over-weight sanitation worker? And
you still haven't told me whether Remus has seen this new look. I
have a feeling it would scar him for life."
"God forbid," she
responded, laughing at the thought. "He seems to like the original
me. This great lout allows me to move around unobserved.
Not that it would have made a difference with you. I could've
shown up as Ginny and you wouldn't have noticed." She smirked as
Harry's head snapped to attention at the mention of Ginny's name.
"Would you care to talk about what is bothering you? Not
a great idea to walk the neighbourhood with your head lost in the
clouds. I was at the Burrow the other day and I had a chance to
talk with her."
Watching him carefully, Tonks could
see the inner debate playing across his features. She smiled when
he fell to the temptation and he asked, "How is she doing?" She
could see his eyes become cloudy with a haunted look.
mad, but otherwise well." Harry flinched. "Harry, I am
trying to remain neutral here, but I'm honestly at a loss to understand
why you did what you did. Snape and Malfoy both know about your
relationship with Ginny. She tells me that the two of you were
very public at Hogwarts over the last month. Voldemort is sure to
already know about the two of you. Combine that with the fact
that she's a 'blood traitor of a Weasley' means that she's already a
Harry's shoulders slumped and he crouched down to the
ground. He idly played with some pebbles as he thought over her
words. Glancing up at Tonks he quietly responded, "I know.
But what chance do I have at offering her any of the things she
"What do you mean?"
"What chance do I
honestly have of reaching the ripe old age of twenty-five? Or
even eighteen or nineteen. I am not trying to be fatalistic but I
do have an insane Dark wizard who wants my head."
Tonks said, "Two things, both of which you'd have thought of by now, if
you were thinking clearly. First, there are no guarantees in this
life of ours, insane Dark wizard or not. And secondly, you're
doing Ginny a disservice by not talking to her about it. Just
promise me that you'll think about it." She reached out and
punched Harry in the arm, startling him. "I swear, you Gryffindor
men are more trouble than you're worth."
A slight smile
creased Harry's features at that comment. "We are worth it," he
stubbornly insisted. "Speaking of noble Gryffindors, can you pass
a message to Remus?"
"Sure, what is it?"
have been revising with my Occlumency books but still not making
progress with it. All the books talk about needing to clear your
mind before you can begin. Some of my books have suggestions, but
so far I've been unable to do this. I am hoping that he might be
able to help me figure this out."
"Sure, Saint, anything for you," she quipped.
"Ok, what is this 'Saint' business? I think that is the second time that you have called me that."
a look of glee Tonks launched herself into the explanation. "Did
you know that the whole neighbourhood's terrified of you?"
Laughing at Harry's astonishment she continued, "Well, the Order and
the Ministry Aurors have spent a lot of time here undercover. It
wasn't difficult to see how all your neighbours react to you.
What surprised all of us is that they refer to you in hushed tones as
The Saint. Generally saints are well regarded but obviously not
in your case. Once again you have managed to break the
mould. It was one of my fellow Aurors who finally figured out
that you were called that because they think you attend some school
called Saint Brutus. Why the Muggles have schools to teach kids
to be criminals is beyond me, but there you have it. Needless to
say, your minders have taken to referring to you as The Saint."
snorted and shook his head at Tonks' enjoyment of his discomfort.
"You know, Malfoy used to call me Saint Potter. I really don't
need another nick-name. I hope that it doesn't become widely
"Well," Tonks drawled with a smile playing at her
lips, "I don't think you have to worry about the Aurors or most of the
Order. Certain red-headed twins, on the other hand, did show
unnatural glee when they learned the name." She laughed openly as
Harry paled at thoughts of the mischief the twins might come up with
using that moniker.
"They are going to be a nightmare," Harry sighed.
"Catch you later, Harry." Turning on the spot, she Disapparated away.
around, he realized that the park was deserted and the time was getting
late. Harry got up and quickly made his way back to the Dursleys,
pointedly ignoring the look that a neighbour gave him as he passed.
A/N: I'd like to thank my alpha,
otherwise known as my wife, who puts up with my obsession. Also, I need
to thank my beta, Tante, who helped to pull this into shape.