Tonks was sitting in her cubicle in the Auror offices of the Ministry of Magic. Despite having worked as an Auror for just under a year now, Tonks still sometimes couldn't believe that she'd actually done it. She was now doing the job she had dreamed of doing since she had been at Hogwarts. She was a fully qualified Auror with her own cubicle.
Currently, Tonks was working on a case. A young child had gone missing, in what was suspected to be a kidnapping. Cases like this would normally be dealt with by the MLE. However, as the family lived in a Muggle area, the Aurors had become involved.
A tapping noise behind her attracted Tonks' attention.
"Auror Tonks," said Rufus Scrimgeour, the head Auror, as he leaned into her cubicle.
Tonks swivelled around to face him and replied politely, "Yes, sir?"
He tossed a sealed envelope down onto her desk. "A priority executive memo came for you."
"T-Thanks, sir," Tonks said hesitantly. A priority memo only came from the Minister's Office or the Wizengamot. What did they want with her?
Once Scrimgeour had left, Tonks ripped open the envelope and read the letter.
Nymphadora Tonks, I am writing to you to request your assistance in a matter that has arisen. Would you please meet me at your flat at 5 pm today? Leave your front door open. This business requires some amount of discretion, so please do not discuss this with anyone and destroy this memo once you have read it. Yours, Albus Dumbledore
Tonks checked the signature on the letter. It was definitely Professor Dumbledore's. Even so, the signature was largely irrelevant; if it wasn't from Professor Dumbledore, then it wouldn't have been sent as an executive memo. Satisfied that the memo was genuine, Tonks burnt it as instructed. Her curiosity was piqued; what did Professor Dumbledore want?
When Tonks arrived back at her flat after work that evening, she unlocked the front door and, leaving it slightly ajar, walked into her flat. She wandered into the kitchen and started cooking her dinner.
She was soon disturbed from her work by a cough coming from the direction of her living room. Here we go then, thought Tonks.
Tonks walked into her living room and looked around. Sitting alone in the middle of the room was a giant, shaggy black dog. What the hell? She stumbled backwards and quickly withdrew her wand, preparing to defend herself.
"It is perfectly safe, Nymphadora," said a voice that seemed to come from nowhere.
As she glanced wildly around looking for the source of the voice, Professor Dumbledore shimmered and appeared in the middle of her living room.
"Professor Dumbledore!" she exclaimed.
"Good evening, Nymphadora; I hope you will excuse me bringing my friend here. May I sit?"
They both sat down and the dog curled up at her feet.
"I didn't know you had a dog?" she questioned.
Professor Dumbledore laughed softly. "He is not so much my pet, more of an acquaintance."
Tonks nodded dumbly, now completely baffled.
"Now for the reason that I came," began Professor Dumbledore. "It is in regards to your extended family."
"I don't have an extended family," Tonks replied coldly.
"But you are related to the Blacks," Professor Dumbledore stated.
Tonks gave a short laugh. "Some good it does me. They disowned my mum. Two out of three of them are in Azkaban... oh, well, obviously Sirius isn't there anymore."
"It is Sirius whom I wanted to discuss with you," Professor Dumbledore paused. "I have recently come into possession of some compelling evidence that convinces me he is innocent."
"Really?" Tonks asked incredulously.
"Yes; unfortunately, I am unable to present this evidence to the Ministry, so there is no way to get him acquitted."
"So what do you need?" asked Tonks. If Professor Dumbledore was convinced of Sirius' innocence, then perhaps she should at least hear him out.
Instead of answering, Professor Dumbledore gestured to the large black dog. The dog immediately began growing rapidly in size. Soon it was tall enough to right itself onto two feet. Then, standing in front of her was a man she could only ever remember seeing in wanted posters, Sirius Black.
"Tonks," Black said softly.
Tonks sat frozen in shock. Standing in front of her was the criminal at the top of the Ministry's most wanted list, but then, she had just been told by the Albus Dumbledore that he was innocent.
"I didn't do it, Tonks. I was framed. The Ministry never even gave me a trial," Sirius continued urgently.
That got Tonks' attention. "No trial?" she questioned.
"No," Professor Dumbledore replied gravely. "Alas, at that time, in the wake of Voldemort's downfall, the Ministry were keen to imprison all suspected Death Eaters and close the case on Voldemort for good. Sirius never had a trial, nor did he have the chance to testify under Veritaserum."
"That's outrageous!" Tonks exclaimed. The Ministry had completely bypassed the justice system and imprisoned an innocent man!
Professor Dumbledore only nodded in response.
"What do you need?" she questioned.
"I need somewhere to lay low for a few days and some help in setting up a place of my own," replied Sirius.
Tonks weighed her options; technically, she should arrest Sirius Black here and now, but with Albus Dumbledore present, she had no doubt that if she tried to arrest Black, she would end up with no memories of ever meeting him.
"Okay, I'll help you," she stated. "On one condition. I want to know the full story."
Black and Professor Dumbledore looked at each other and, coming to a silent agreement, they launched into to their story.
July 1st 1995
"Come on, Padfoot," Tonks called as she walked down the street that Sirius had directed her to.
The street did not look impressive to Tonks. It seemed to be inhabited mainly by Muggles, and the houses looked dirty and uninviting. She wrinkled her nose as she passed the bags full of rubbish that were piled outside of number ten.
Sirius ran ahead of her and proceeded to sit, panting, in front of number twelve. This house looked particularly dismal; while all the windows were intact, they were filthy and covered in dirt. The paint on the lintel above the door and on the door itself was flaking away. Tonks and Sirius climbed the steps towards the front door. Once they reached the top, Sirius ran straight up to the front door and, sitting down on his hind legs, he placed his front paws on the door. The door began to glow slightly and Sirius yelped encouragingly. Taking this as the signal, Tonks moved forwards and pushed the door open.
Tonks and Sirius entered the house; the place was dirty. No, thought Tonks, absolutely filthy. Once the door was closed, Sirius transformed back into himself.
"Home sweet home," he commented dryly.
"A BLOOD TRAITOR!!! A TRAITOR TO THIS FAMILY!! BACK IN THIS NOBLE HOUSE!!" a voice screamed through the house.
Sirius paused, a look of horror across his face.
"N-N-No," he stuttered. "She's dead."
"What?" Tonks asked.
"TRAITOR!!!" the voice screamed again.
"It's coming from this direction," Tonks said as she carefully pointed her wand in the direction of the voice.
Tonks walked towards the voice. In the dark, she couldn't see where it was coming from.
"HALF-BREED! BLOOD TRAITORS!!!"
Tonks leapt backwards in shock as the voice screeched from right in front of her. She nearly stumbled over a nearby umbrella stand as she rushed to bring her wand to bear on the owner of the voice.
When she saw what was making the noise, she relaxed. She couldn't believe she had missed something so obvious.
"Sirius, it's just a portrait," she called back to Sirius, who was still lurking near the front door.
"Thank Merlin," Sirius replied, sounding very relieved.
"Who is it?" Tonks asked.
"It's my mother," Sirius shuddered. "Horrible woman."
The portrait screamed at Sirius again.
"SHUT UP!" he roared back at it. "Let's go upstairs," he said turning to Tonks.
Tonks and Sirius continued up the stairs to the very top floor of the house. Sirius pushed open one of the doors and led Tonks into a room. Tonks noticed the room was, like the rest of the house, in a disgusting state. However, Tonks could see the remains of decorations in faded Gryffindor colours.
"This was my room as boy," Sirius stated. "I guess this is where I'll start making this place liveable."
Sirius pulled out a wand and began to slowly Vanish the dust from the bed.
"Wait!" Tonks exclaimed. "Where did you get a wand?"
"Professor Dumbledore... don't ask where from," Sirius chuckled, as he continued working on cleaning the room.
To Tonks, Sirius suddenly looked very tired as he worked to slowly clean up his old room.
"I've got a few hours before I'm due at work," Tonks said brightly, trying to cheer him up. "I'll give you a hand."
Sirius smiled gratefully and together they began removing the dust from his bedroom.
Adam July 10th 1995
Adam moved slowly down the stairs of The Burrow and was still rubbing the sleep from his eyes when he entered the kitchen.
"Happy Birthday, dear!" Mrs Weasley exclaimed when she saw him.
The sound of her voice jolted Adam to full wakefulness. He glanced around the kitchen, and discovered Mrs Weasley was the only person there. Obviously, he was the first one up again. The sight of a small pile of wrapped presents on the table made his heart jolt. He knew that the Weasley family wasn't that well off, but time after time they seemed to come through for him. He wasn't even part of the family, but they still treated him like one of their own.
Adam opened and closed his mouth, desperately searching for words to use. "Oh, Mrs. Weasley... You... You... don't..." he finally stuttered.
"It's fine, dear," Mrs Weasley replied with a warm smile. "We wanted to give you gifts."
"Thanks!" Adam exclaimed, still staring at the presents.
What was even worse was that he was still lying to the entire family. He hadn't yet told anyone about the revelations Dumbledore had thrust upon him at the end of the last school year. Not even Ginny.
Adam had, over the first few weeks of the summer, begun to accept it. In his mind, whatever name he called himself, it didn't really change who he was. However, he was still much more comfortable with Adam. He could imagine what would happen if everyone found out that Harry Potter was, in fact, alive. He would probably be in the papers, and everyone would treat him like some sort of hero. They might even have some sort of parade for him. It would be awful. He wasn't a hero; he was just Adam, a boy who just wanted to go to Hogwarts and learn magic.
Even though he had begun to accept the truth about his past, Adam still felt anger when he thought about how Dumbledore and Professor Lupin had lied to him for two years. To be honest, he blamed Dumbledore more than Professor Lupin because Dumbledore had been the one pulling the strings. It was quite ironic, Adam thought. If Dumbledore had told him as soon as he found out, then Adam would probably have agreed to keep it a secret. It was the fact that Dumbledore had kept it a secret from him that made him so angry.
He had decided that he would tell Ginny his secret. If anyone deserved to know, it was her. Plus, he sometimes felt that it would burn him up inside if he didn't have anyone to talk to about it. Maybe he would tell her today...
"Are you alright, Adam?" Mrs Weasley asked, sounding concerned.
"I'm fine," Adam replied with a smile.
"Alright, dear. You've seemed a bit down the last few weeks," Mrs Weasley continued.
"Oh, I'm fine," Adam repeated quickly. "It's just what happened at school shook me up a bit."
"Oh, yes. That horrible business with Sirius Black," Mrs Weasley replied, with a touch of anger in her voice. "I hope they catch him soon."
In order to cover up what had happened that night and enable Sirius to be hidden, Dumbledore had come up with a story that Sirius had attacked Adam, Ginny and Ron when they spotted him lurking near the stadium during the Third Task. The story had seemed to work so far, although it did somewhat rely on Ron's ability to keep a secret.
Adam was disturbed from his thoughts by someone, who was far too excitable, racing into the room and giving him a hug. He burst out laughing.
"What?" Ginny asked with her arms crossed.
"Nothing," Adam said, still laughing. "I was just thinking that I hope it's Ginny hugging me and not Ron."
"Prat," she giggled as she pulled out a chair and sat down. "Happy Birthday!"
Once the rest of the Weasleys had arrived for breakfast, and at Mrs Weasley's insistence, Adam proceeded to open his presents. Mr and Mrs Weasley had got him a brand new set of quills and ink, Ron had given him a box of chocolates and the twins had given him a set of their home-made joke products, which Adam quickly hid out of sight after mouthing a thank you across the table.
Adam had saved Ginny's present for last. He opened the parcel and examined at the contents. It seemed to be a set of thin leather strips which were woven together to form a large circle. Adam turned it over in his hand, desperately trying to work out what exactly it was. Then it hit him. It's meant to go around my wrist!
Adam looked up and saw Ginny staring at him anxiously. He quickly slipped her present about his wrist and smiled widely at her.
"It's awesome!" Adam said excitedly.
Ginny beamed back at him.
Once breakfast was finished, Adam began to help Mrs Weasley clean up, as he usually did, but instead she announced, "No chores today, Adam. It's your birthday and I need you out of the kitchen because I'm going to cook you a special birthday dinner tonight!"
"Oh, Mrs. Weasley, there's..."
"Don't argue! Now go on, enjoy the day!" she replied, still smiling widely.
Adam felt buoyant after his presents and the promise of a special birthday dinner, whatever that meant, so he decided today would be the day he would do it. He might not be in such good spirits tomorrow or the day after.
"Ginny, do you reckon we could sneak off for a bit?" he whispered once they had left the kitchen.
Ginny giggled. "Keen, aren't you?" she responded.
Adam blushed bright red, that wasn't what he'd meant. "No, I... erm... I want to tell you something, about last year."
Realisation dawned on Ginny's face. "Okay," she replied. "We can go sit by the pond. That way, we can see if anyone comes."
They walked together to the pond and sat down on the edge of the water. They faced the house so they could see if any of the others tried to approach. Adam was beginning to feel incredibly apprehensive about telling Ginny. What would she think? A vision swam through his mind of Ginny yelling at him and telling him she never wanted to speak to him again. No, she wouldn't do that to me, Adam thought, desperately trying to convince himself.
"So?" Ginny questioned, once they had sat down by the pond.
"Um," Adam replied lamely.
He felt Ginny squeeze his hand. "Go on..."
Adam swallowed. "You know when Professor Dumbledore called me into his office the day after what happened in the shack?"
"Well, he told me that he'd sent Professor Lupin out to find out about me during our second year." Adam paused. "Oh, and do you remember that blood test?"
"Yeah, didn't he say that he couldn't tell from it who your parents were?"
"Well, turned out he lied about that. He and Professor Lupin have known about my parents for two years and didn't tell me."
"What!" Ginny cried. "That's awful! How could they do that to you? They know how much you have wanted to know about them!"
Adam nodded. "I was so angry with them," he recalled, blushing. "I think I broke some things in Professor Dumbledore's office."
"Serves him right!" Ginny snapped. "But... but did they tell you in the end about your parents?"
Adam sighed. "I really don't know how to say this..."
Ginny squeezed his hand.
"Do you remember the story you told me about how You-Know-Who was defeated?" Adam asked.
"Yeah," Ginny replied, sounding confused. "He killed the Potters and somehow in the process he died. But what's that got to do with you?"
"Apparently..." Adam paused, "...I'm Harry Potter."
Ginny simply stared at him. "What?" she cried, gaping.
Adam nodded in reply.
"Adam, you can't believe that!" she cried, suddenly leaping to her feat and beginning to pace, waving her arms in the process. "The Potters are all dead! Everyone knows that!"
"Ginny...." Adam said pleadingly, "I didn't believe it at first either, but—" His voice broke a bit. "—the blood test showed that it's true."
Ginny paused and just seemed to stare at him.
"Adam.... oh, Adam!" she blurted, and practically jumped back onto the ground next to him and pulled him into a hug.
"Professor Dumbledore thinks that after my mum and dad were killed, Peter Pettigrew took me from the house. He must have changed my appearance, because it seems that I look nothing like Harry Potter. He then dumped me in some bushes. Apparently, I was named by the staff in the hospital. You know, where I was taken when I was found," Adam continued rapidly, desperately trying to explain himself.
Ginny was sniffling now as she rested her head on his shoulder. "Oh..." she replied, in a faint voice. Then, suddenly, she raised her head and looked him straight in the eye. "Don't you dare! I know what you're thinking! I'm not going to run off and tell you I don't want to be your friend anymore!"
She did know him too well.
"Does this really change anything, though? You're still Adam to me," Ginny continued.
"Thanks, Ginny," Adam replied. She understood! "Professor Dumbledore wants me to keep it a secret... supposedly for my protection."
"Okay, so we don't tell anyone else. Who else knows?" Ginny queried.
"Professor Dumbledore, Professor Lupin, Sirius Black, you and me."
"That's all?" Ginny replied.
"Yes; imagine what would happen if people found out."
"They'd be all over you," Ginny said grimly. "Okay, secret then."
"Ginny..." Adam began, suddenly feeling rather self-conscious. "Thanks so much, you've... you're amazing."
Ginny winked at him. "I know."
"It really doesn't matter to you?" Adam asked meekly.
"Nope, you're still Adam to me."
"Thanks..." said Adam faintly. He still couldn't believe it had been this easy to tell her.
Adam watched as Ginny sat next to him, seemingly lost in her thoughts. He could understand that. It was a lot to take in.
"Why did this even happen to you?" Ginny mused, finally breaking the silence.
"What do you mean?"
"Well, we all know that he attacked your mum and dad."
Adam nodded in response.
"But why did he?"
Adam paused. "I have no idea."
"We could ask Professor Dumbledore when we go back to Hogwarts?" Ginny suggested.
Adam nodded. "Or there may be something in the library there that will tell us," Adam mused.
"Great," said Ginny. "It's something to keep us occupied, at least."
Adam nodded in return.
"Right," Ginny continued, jumping to her feet. "It's your birthday."
"Actually, it's not," Adam replied with a smirk.
Ginny rolled her eyes. "Well, it is. Do you actually know what day Harry Potter was born?"
"And I think it would certainly make mum suspicious if you decided to move your birthday!"
"So, today is your birthday and I think relaxation is order." She held out her hand to him.
Adam clasped her hand in his and let her pull him to his feet. As the two of them walked hand in hand back towards The Burrow, he felt as if a giant weight had been lifted off his shoulders.
Ginny July 20th 1995
Ginny lay on the sofa, thinking. She'd been doing a lot of that recently. Much to her joy, since Adam had told her his secret, he had seemed much happier. It still bemused her how Adam could think, after all they've been through together, that she would suddenly up and decide that she no longer wanted to be his friend or girlfriend. When she thought over what he had told her, she was surprised to realise that she didn't really care. Adam had no memories of his parents or of the time when he was Harry. So, what did it matter?
What Ginny could understand quite easily was why Adam wanted it to be kept a secret. She'd had visions of reporters from the Daily Prophet swarming Adam for interviews and photographs. Ginny remembered, too, how uncomfortable Adam had been when he'd been in the paper briefly after the incident at the Quidditch World Cup. This would be a million times worse.
Two loud and almost simultaneous Apparitions startled her and she leapt off the sofa, fumbling for her wand. She narrowly avoided standing on Adam, who was sprawled on the floor, reading a book.
"Alright, Sis?" Fred asked, winking at her from where he was now standing in the middle of the living room.
"What the hell—?" Ginny shouted.
"You passed, then?" Adam asked as he climbed to his feet.
"Yep," replied George. "Flawless performances by both of us."
"Well done!" Ginny squealed excitedly and hugged both of her brothers.
"Well done, guys," Adam said and he shook the twins' hands.
The twins both smirked. "One more task complete in our master plan."
"What plan would that be, then?" Ginny replied smoothly.
The twins lent near to Ginny and Adam, and conspiratorially whispered, "It doesn't look like we will be able to open our shop initially. So our new plan is a mobile shop, so we can sell wherever we want: Hogsmeade, Diagon Alley or even door to door."
"Wow," said Adam. "Your stuff is loads better than Zonko's. You'd make a killing, but why can't you open a shop?"
"Money, old chap, we need to earn some decent money before we can afford the rent," Fred replied.
"Anyway," continued George, "we had better inform Mother of our success."
They both disappeared with another loud CRACK.
Ginny giggled as her mother's surprised scream echoed from the kitchen. With the twins now gone, Ginny lay back down on the sofa and Adam, grabbing his book from the floor, perched himself on the end of it.
A short time later her mother walked into the living room fanning herself and sat down tiredly in a chair opposite them.
"Oh dear, those two!" she exclaimed. "They're never going to walk around the house again, I swear. Did they get you two as well?"
"Yep," Adam replied. "Ginny jumped a mile."
"Oi!" Ginny responded. "Did not!"
Mum laughed and then fell silent.
"Adam, would you be a dear and excuse us for a few minutes? I'd like to have a little mother—daughter chat with Ginny."
"Sure, Mrs. Weasley," Adam replied, looking slightly confused, but he obeyed, grabbed his book and went upstairs.
"What's up, Mum?" Ginny asked.
"I just wanted to check. Is Adam alright? He seemed quite down the first few weeks of the summer, but now he seems much better," Mum asked.
"He's fine, Mum," Ginny replied, wondering what she could tell her mum without revealing the truth. "What happened in school upset him, I think."
"Yes, quite an interesting year in school I expect," her mum replied.
Ginny nodded, unsure where her mother was going with this.
"I saw you and Adam walking around the other day holding hands," her mother said softly.
"Oh," Ginny replied.
"So...." her mum prompted.
"What?" asked Ginny. She now had very little hope she could dodge the question, but she had to try.
"How did that happen?" he mum asked, in an exasperated tone.
"Oh, come off it, Ginny!" her mum exclaimed.
"Mum..." Ginny pleaded.
"I'm not cross with you, dear. It's quite normal for a girl your age to want to date. Well..." she hesitated, "I think I'd have liked you to wait until you're a little older, but..." She hesitated again. "I'm not angry. You're nearly fourteen now." Then Mum then did the strangest thing: she giggled. "I think I had my first boyfriend in my fourth year at Hogwarts!"
Ginny stared at her mum in shock.
"I-I didn't think you'd approve," she said, stumbling slightly over the words.
"Why ever not? Adam is a lovely boy."
"I-I heard you and Dad talking in the kitchen," she paused. "Y-You said you'd deal with us if our relationship changed!"
"Oh, Ginny! We wouldn't have meant that in a bad way! So tell me... when did this happen?" her mum asked, leaning closer to her.
"Oh, just after Christmas," Ginny said uncomfortably. "Erm, can I go now?"
"In a minute, dear. I just wanted askL have you thought about what happens if you and he split up? Can you still be friends?" Mum asked.
Ginny had thought about that. "Mum, we hardly have any private time and — well, neither of us have ever had a—" Ginny hesitated and blushed. "—erm, you know. We just seem to click together. I never feel the need to spend time with anyone else. Adam's—erm—" Ginny thought for a second. "—I don't think we could ever fall out so badly that we weren't friends."
"I understand, dear, and while I don't mind, you two aren't to take advantage of your living arrangements," Mum said sternly. "And I will be watching you all summer!"