October Story Challenge v2.0: Halloween (The Woes of Harry's least favorite holiday)
Rating: R, for language, and some violence
Word count: 5,024
Description: Halloween has never been a good holiday for Harry, be it family death, troll attacks or petrified schoolmates. With Voldemort acknowledged to be back, you can be sure that he wants to 'leave a mark' on the wizarding world. How will it affect Harry?
Phrases to include in a story:
"It's not like I don't have my reasons for not enjoying this holiday."
"That's quite the interesting costume/disguise you're wearing, Tonks."
Title: Uninvited Guests
This is like some really bad piece of fiction, isn't it? Harry thought to himself. We're dealing with a Hallowe'en party we all have to attend, and we all need costumes. Plus, the Ministry has decided that I need protecting — finally — and has forced Tonks back to school to guard me as best she can, as Mary LeBeau, a Beauxbatons transfer. He snorted internally. And it doesn't help that she decided to have a body that's got every guy in Gryffindor — including me — acting like Moony on a full moon.
As if thinking about her had invoked her, Tonks walked into the room. It was Saturday, so robes weren't required. She was in a form-fitting sweater, displaying some rather nice cleavage, and a floor-length skirt that was slit up to her hip on her left leg. Unlike most of his fellow hetero males who talked to her breasts, his eyes tended to have trouble rising above those legs. Amusingly, this made everyone assume he was terribly shy around her. Truth was, he tended toward having thoughts about his Auror friend that were distinctly non-friendly.
"Hey there, Harry!" she said in the gentle purr that she used in this form.
"How are you, Miss LeBeau?" he said unhappily.
"Harry, how many times do I have to tell you to call me Mary?" she laughed, but stopped when she saw that he wasn't smiling. "Cheer up! It's Hallowe'en! It's time for fun!"
"I don't have good Hallowe'ens," he said simply.
"Care to talk about it?" she asked, taking his arm and walking over to the couch. She sat him down and then sat down next to him, quite close — close enough that he could smell her perfume. He was unhappy enough that it really didn't phase him. This made her eyebrows rise. She took his chin in her hand and raised his face until his eyes were looking at her cleavage. "Please talk to them. I'm more used to that, and it'll be easier to hear you."
Despite himself, he laughed slightly. "My apologies, Miss LeBeau," he said, raising his eyes to her face.
"Mary, Harry," she said, following it with a giggle. "You know, there are probably quite a few girls here that just want to do just that." At his extremely confused look, she said, "Marry Harry. I’d imagine a few girls here might have contemplated being Mrs. Potter."
His eyes widened fearfully. "Good God, no!" he gasped. "I would never do that to a woman! With my life? That’s a one way ticket to the grave!"
She started at his pronouncement. "That’s a rather strong statement," she finally said.
"Yeah, well, it's not like I don't have my reasons for not enjoying this holiday," he grumbled. "Nineteen-eighty-one — my parents die horribly at the hands of Voldemort. Eighty-two through ninety — in a cupboard under the stairs of the home I’m forced to live in. For my own good, of course. I guess the mental abuse I take from the Dursleys builds character or some such crap. I just thank the gods that being able to do magic stops the physical abuse finally. Ninety-one — well, both good and bad. I made friends with the best female friend I have, but I had to help fight a mountain troll to do it. Shoved my wand up his nose." He frowned. "That sounds like that was planned. Anyway, next year we didn’t want to hurt Sir Nicholas’ feelings, so we went to his Death Day party, missing a nice party upstairs. Minor, really. Let’s not forget the first attack of the basilisk, though, which was that day. Then third year there was that whole Sirius Black thing, and being unable to go into Hogsmeade because all the adults knew about Sirius and didn’t want to worry the person that he was supposedly hunting! Fourth year, well, that was the year of that Tournament, and the year that I had the entire school hating me for cheating by putting my name in the Goblet of Fire. Feh. Oddly enough, nothing happened on Halloween last year, but just a couple days later, Umbridge rather successfully banned me from playing Quidditch in this lifetime. Did you know that when she left the school, Fudge promoted her? Pay raise and everything. She has actually responded to my request to the Magical Games Department, informing that the only way I will ever fly a broom again is over her dead body. Proper political language, of course, but that’s what the letter said. She also put a law through that affects certain individuals, preventing them from flying their brooms. As it currently sits in Europe, the grand total of people who are affected by this ban amounts to one person. Guess who? Unless I’m mistaken, the law affects all forms of magical transportation, so I am forbidden to learn to Apparate, and any portkey I get caught using had best be traceable to a legal creator and purpose, such as the Ministry needing to put me on trial again."
"You really have been forbidden to fly?" she asked, aghast.
Ginny spoke up, surprising them both. "Yup. Dad read it very carefully. She worded the law so that no one knew that it was designed to ground Harry. Word is that she has every intention of getting him killed one of these days, but no one can prove anything. She hates him even more than Fudge does. I hold onto Harry’s broom until they eventually get the law changed."
"She keeps saying that. I gave her the broom. My Firebolt is now the possession of Ginevra Weasley. Sirius would have wanted it used by someone. Since I’m never flying again in this lifetime, I gave it to someone who can fly."
"She actually …" â€˜Mary’ sputtered. "Harry, flying is your life!"
"Why do you think she did it?" he barked. "That law was designed to either get me so angry that I’d try to attack her, which would allow Fudge the chance to do a lightning fast trial where my wand was snapped before anyone could stop it — either that or they’d shove me in Azkaban. Fudge only admits that Voldemort is back because the weight of evidence is so overwhelming. I’m still a thorn in his side to be plucked out and gotten rid of. Why do you think that Umbridge was promoted?" He took a deep breath and started to hum, and then sing.
"As someday it may happen that a victim must be found,
I've got a little list -- I've got a little list
Of society offenders who might well be underground
And who never would be missed -- who never would be missed!"
He shook his head and looked up, grinning. "Sorry about that. I shouldn’t torture people with my voice."
"If that’s torture," Mary said, "then feel free to torture me. You have a beautiful voice."
"He won’t listen," Hermione said, coming up and putting her arms around Ginny. "He refuses to listen to us."
"You’re my friends — you’re supposed to tell me things like that," he laughed. Hermione smiled and shook her head, sitting down next to him on the couch, pulling Ginny onto her lap. "Seriously, though," he continued, "it’s people like Umbridge and Fudge that could drive me dark, but ladies like you who keep me light." He blushed. "I want you to respect me."
Mary smirked. "And we’ll even respect you in the morning!" she chuckled.
"Harry, we’ll always respect you," Hermione said, with Ginny nodding vociferously in agreement.
"And that’s what keeps me from just chucking it all and joining Tommy boy. There are people here who know and trust me, and that keeps me sane."
"Don’t forget love," Mary said.
His eyes shot to hers, and noted a suspicious twinkle. No, that’s not … he said to himself. She is not looking at me as anything more than her charge. Never can or will be more than that. So stop hoping, and stop staring at her! He shook his head and laughed. "That’ll be the day," he chuckled. "I’ll stick with friendship, thank you very much. Every girl I’ve been in love with turned out to be a lesbian." He paused, his eyes flickering to the girls beside him. "I was going to admit to these two over here that I had fallen for them both. I worked up the courage, and the very day I decided to, they came down the girls’ stairs hand in hand and announced that they were a couple." He grinned. "I almost burst something trying to avoid laughing at the absurdity of the way the fates worked."
"Didn’t it bother you?" Hermione asked, brow furrowed slightly.
"Nah. I could see you two were happy. Hurt a smidgeon, for a few days, but that’s nothing compared to a Voldie dream." His mood darkened. "He loves screwing with my Hallowe’ens. I wonder what sort of crap is going to happen today, on this wonderful Hallowe’en?"
"What makes you think …" Ginny started to say, but then the walls shook as if a large explosion had just detonated outside. The bright flash that accompanied it strengthened that thought. A sharp burst of pain shot through Harry's head, but the girls didn't notice in the confusion.
Harry ran to the window and looked out. "Hey! We have uninvited guests out there! There are Death Eaters on the grounds! In broad daylight! How — never mind. We need to get everyone to as safe a place as possible," he said. "Tonks — sorry, Mary — you get the teachers on top of this, while I round up as much of the D.A. as I can. We have to keep the younger students safe." He pulled out his D.A. Galleon and activated the emergency beacon, and then chuckled for only a moment as both Hermione and Ginny jumped slightly, reaching into their blouses to pull out their own Galleons.
"I didn't know the emergency beacon could be so … invigorating," Ginny breathed.
"That's what you get for keeping it in your bra," Mary said with a laugh. "What do you want me to do, Harry?" she asked.
"What you're trained for. First, go to Dumbledore and tell him that Moldie is on the grounds."
"How can you tell?" Ginny asked.
"I may not be showing it, but my scar will be bleeding in a while."
Mary's face fell at the simple statement, and the volumes that it spoke. "I'll do it. See you out there."
As the portrait hole closed behind them and they split for their different destinations, he said softly, "Stay safe, Tonks."
"You love her, don't you?" Hermione asked simply as they walked briskly to the meeting point. He didn’t need to say a word as he looked at them.
He met the D.A. outside the Great Hall. There were Aurors milling around as well. "What are you students doing out here?" one of them bellowed. "You should be going somewhere safe!"
"That's why we're here," Harry barked. "We're here to supplement your ranks. You can't afford to be splitting your forces guarding students, so we'll take care of the younger students, leaving you to fight the Death Munchers and the Dark Tosser." Without waiting for a response, he turned to the D.A.. "I want no one alone. At least two to a group. Split up and follow the routes we talked about, and give the stairs a thump if they decide to get cute. I want everyone not in the D.A. in their House — it's the safest place for them."
"Who are you to be giving orders?" the bellower asked in a huff.
"The guy who just made your job a hell of a lot easier, chuff-nut," barked a woman who walked into the light, proving to be Tonks. "Smart thinking, Harry," she said, ignoring the now purpling Auror. "Save us to deal what we've trained all these years for." They both turned to look at their respective teams and said in unison, "What are you waiting for, an engraved invite? Move!" Startled, they looked at each other as the respective groups disappeared, and then laughed.
"We think so much alike," he said with a grin.
"A match made in Heaven," she responded melodramatically. "I note that you're not coupled with anyone."
An interesting image shot through his head for only a moment before he said, "Because I intend to end this tonight. And none of my friends are going to be there when I kill that son of a bitch tonight." He paused. "'Chuff-nut'? Isn't that a pretty ugly thing to call him?"
"He's an office brown-noser," she replied, causing Harry to snort. "Fitting thing to call him then, isn't it? He wants the glory, and none of the work to get there."
"He can have it," Harry grumbled. "Arsehole doesn't understand the pain that comes with it." He stopped and snorted again. "I'm never going to be able to look at that guy without laughing now, you know."
"Now I know you're meant to be an Auror," she laughed. "You know him so well already!" She linked arm with him. "Now, teammate, let's go find the Tosser."
He stopped. "No, Tonks. This is my job."
"Why should you do it alone?" she asked.
"Because I don't want you hurt," he said forcefully. "I don't care that you're an Auror and trained for it — I don't want you hurt," he finished, inadvertently stressing the final 'you'.
"Why not?" she asked, eyes starting to sparkle.
"Because I lo … because you're my best friend out of anyone here, Tonks. You understand me better than I understand myself — hell, even better than Hermione understands me! It'll kill me if you get hurt at his hands out there. Now let me go. Please."
"We're going together, Harry. End of statement." She turned on her Auror persona even stronger — the one that stated with no uncertainty that the conversation was finished, and that she had won because she said so.
He deflated slightly. "Okay, Tonks. Please, though — don't get hurt."
"Don't worry, lover-boy. I can't get hurt. Mary's got something to tell you when she gets back to the Gryffindor common room." She headed off down the hallway.
Given my luck with women, she's in a threesome with Hermione and Ginny, he laughed to himself before following her. Nice view from back here, I must admit.
They got to a window and carefully looked outside. After a few minutes, Harry said, "They're being guided from somewhere. Look at them. They're working like a well oiled machine for once. And since they won't do something this big without sanction from Tommie …" He looked around, and suddenly snapped his fingers. "The Astronomy Tower!" he said. "It's the highest of the towers on the grounds! It's being guided from there!"
He took off at a run. He was soon passed by Tonks loping by. Laughing, she said, "I'll run ahead and check out the lay of the land."
"What's Parkinson got to do with this?" he called after her with a worried chuckle.
When he reached the Astronomy Tower, she was already up the stairs, he assumed., based on the fact that she wasn't at the bottom waiting for him. As he began his slow trek up, trying very hard not to make noise, he heard Tonks scream and saw a sickly green flash at the same time. The scream stopped abruptly.
No longer worried about noise, he reached the top, where he found Tonks laying in a heap on the floor, rubble all around her. He looked up to see Voldemort standing there with a vile grin upon his face. "Meant something to you, didn't she?" he hissed. "Well, it's time for you to finally die, you annoying child. I hope you've made peace with your gods."
Harry stood, eyes blazing. "I promise you one thing, Tom — in the words of a song I once heard: 'Two may die, but if one dies, that one will not be me'. You are going down tonight. That may cost me my life, but I'll not see you ever take another loved one from anyone, you worthless bastard. Expelliarmus!" The last was bellowed.
Voldemort still managed to get a shield up in time, but the force of Harry's spell was such that he was still thrown back into the wall, obviously fairly painfully. Harry ran at him at that point, dodging the Crucio that was cast his way, but not avoiding the next one. The pain tore through him, but it was nothing compared to the broken heart he felt at the death of Tonks.
His momentum carried him forward, into Riddle. A quick punch to the stomach stopped the spell, lessening the physical pain. He began to punch at the no longer human thing before him, letting all the rage and pain he felt at what this man had done to him over the years out. "You killed my parents! You tried to kill Ginny! You've sent your catamites to try to kill me. You've killed my school friends. You've sent your insane little bitch after me! You've killed my godfather! You've killed the woman I love! That's the last one, do you hear me? That's the last one!" His face was inches from the unmoving Riddle. "You want to make an impact on the wizarding world? Feel free!" He picked Voldemort's limp form up, hefted it over his head, and threw him forcefully from the tower, watching as the Dark Lord's body fell, and not turning as he watched the messy impact at the bottom. He simply stared as he vaguely recognized that the Death Eaters all stiffened and fell at the moment Voldemort's body struck the ground below. He paid no real mind to the noise and simply kept staring at the bloody pile of flesh at the ground, not really hearing as people came up the steps. He allowed whoever it was to turn him away from the edge of the tower and lead him away. He noted absently that they had already removed Tonks’ body. As he passed by the place where she had lain, he numbly picked up a rock the size of his fist and began to turn it over in his hands slowly, visualising the woman whom he had never had the courage to speak of love to.
As they walked through the halls of Hogwarts, heading for the hospital wing, Harry’s thoughts went back to the summer, when he first had realized that he had fallen for her. It had been in the summer, and he’d walked into the backyard to get away from Molly. I love the woman, but she smothers. He’d found Tonks looking into a mirror, practicing faces. She must have caught him looking, because they got sillier and sillier, causing him to start laughing. "That’s what I wanted to hear!" she’d said, laughing herself. She walked over to hug him, and something in him changed. He’d always liked her, but somehow, at some point during her morphing, he’d realized that he found her beautiful, even when she’d turned into a frighteningly accurate Aunt Petunia, because he knew the woman inside was who he found beautiful. And he suddenly knew that he loved that woman.
He carried the rock with him into the hospital wing and let himself be placed on a bed, where he simply sat. He knew people were speaking to him, and that Madam Pomfrey was examining him, but it simply washed over him meaninglessly. He missed her so much. He thought he could even hear her occasionally, but he’d seen the body.
Finally, he looked up to focus on someone, finding it to be Professor Dumbledore. "That is a rather beautiful bust of Nymphadora, Harry," he said.
"Tonks," was Harry’s calm response. "She hated her first name. Don’t know why, really. It was as beautiful as she was." He felt the tears start, and made no attempt to stop them.
"Harry," Dumbledore began, but Harry interrupted him.
"Please don’t sir. I know you’re trying to make me feel better, but it’s not going to work. I never … I’m Gryffindor, right? So where the hell was my courage when it came to telling her how I felt about her? I mean, I know she didn’t return the feeling, but it would have made me feel better that she knew." He hung his head. "I mean, I’m a sixteen year old boy, how in hell could a sexy, vivacious Auror like her fall for me? But I fell for her, hard. And now I have to live knowing that she died because I didn’t stop her from bounding up those stairs. So what if I killed Voldemort? She’s not here to enjoy it anymore. From what I could see, every single Death Eater around went unconscious when Tom went splash on the stone below. So they’ve caught them all, or all that were here, which should give us an idea of who the rest of them were." He stopped for a moment. "You’ll forgive me if I can’t even contemplate giving a good God damn right now. Tonks is dead, and I feel so damned empty right now. The woman I love is dead, and I can’t even feel anything else through the grief."
He took a deep breath. "I want to go out there and resurrect Tom just to kill him again for what he did to her. I want to find Draco and Lucius and put a fist inside them just to yank out something expensive, just because they followed that walking chancre sore I killed out there. I want to take Bellatrix into a room and break every bone in her body, one by one, including those tiny ones inside the ear, just for squandering the gift of being related to Sirius and my beautiful Nymph. I would give the balance of my life to have Tonks alive again, to tell her that I loved her with everything I had."
Dumbledore had been joined by several members of the Order and the D.A., and he was smiling. "Harry," Dumbledore said, "I have some good news for you."
"What?" Harry barked angrily. "Going to tell me that we’ve caught them all, and no one need ever worry about Voldemort because I finally dealt with the dirty little bastard? I don’t care right now! I don’t want to care! You have good news for me. What the hell kind of news could you possibly give me that I could give the slightest damn about?" he screamed. "I lost the chance to ever tell her that I loved her, and you offer me some â€˜good news’," he scoffed. "If you’ve got news that will make me give a damn about anything other than the fact that the woman I loved is dead, then I will walk into the costume ball tonight dressed as Adam."
"Well, I guess I need to change my costume for the ball, then," said a voice from behind Harry. He spun, caught sight of the speaker, and fainted.
He awoke to the feeling of his head in someone’s lap. He opened his eyes to look into the eyes of Mary LeBeau, and sat up suddenly. "What? How?" He shook his head. "Damn, if you’re here … oh good God, that was an intense dream." He looked around to see the same people from the Order and D.A. that he remembered from his apparent dream. "I had the most vivid dream I can ever remember."
"Did it involve throwing Voldemort from the Astronomy Tower after beating him unconscious?" Hermione asked. "Did it involve a long involved rant in just how much you love Tonks?" She was grinning.
"Damn," Harry said. "I don’t usually talk in my sleep. Was it at least interesting?"
Ginny reached out and handed him a small bust of Tonks. "But …" he said, puzzled. "How did I make this? Tonks is here, and she was dead in the dream. What knocked me out, for that matter?"
"You fainted, Harry," Tonks said. "It wasn’t a dream. You really fought Voldemort, you really threw him from the top of the Astronomy Tower, and you really did tell me that you feel the same way about me that I feel about you."
"But you were dead! I saw the green flash, and I saw the body!"
"That bust came from the rubble surrounding me, right?" At Harry’s nod, she grinned. "Stone broke free, and I pulled it in front of me to stop the A-K that he fired at me. Shrapnel hit me and knocked me out. You never checked for a pulse, and even he probably didn’t realize that I was alive." Her eyes twinkled. "I have every intention of having you kiss every single place that used to be bruised before Poppy’s wonderful potions."
His eyes were bugging out. "You overheard everything I was saying?" He deflated slightly, and looked up at Dumbledore. "Sir …"
Albus stopped him. "No apology is needed, Harry. You were grief-stricken, and you needed to say what you said. And it truly was for the best."
"But I keep taking it out on you, sir, and that’s not right."
Albus laughed. Eyes twinkling, he said, "Just invite me to the wedding." His grin widened at Harry’s wide eyes. He turned to Tonks, and she was wiggling her eyebrows at him lasciviously, causing everyone in the room to laugh.
Smiling himself, he said, "Tonks, you overheard it, but I want to say it."
"I know, Harry. Not every woman hears her love say that he’d die to bring her back just to tell her that he loved her, and knows that he means it."
"I need to say it, Tonks. I love you. I love you with as much of my soul as a sixteen year old little git can know. You are truly my life."
"I know," she said, her eyes shining suspiciously. "But I’ll have you know that I do not take kindly to anyone calling my fiancÃ© a git."
He smiled. "Okay, Tonks, I’ll not call myself a git again, at least not … not in … did you say fiancÃ©?"
"You don’t want to be married to me?" she asked, her eyes wide, and a slight smile tweaking her lips to let him knowing that she was joking.
"If you’re crazy enough to want me, Nymph, I’m sane enough to take advantage of that. Yes! My God, yes!" He leapt from the bed to grab her in a hug, spinning her around. "Oh my God, Tonks — I love you so much!"
"I know," she said quietly. "I could see how devastated you were by my supposed death. We all wanted to stop you to tell you that you didn’t have to grieve, but your grief was so strong that we couldn’t." She touched her forehead to his. "And to have caused grief so deep, so strong — well, I decided right then and there that I wanted to make that little pun from the common room true. Thank you for saying yes."
Hermione spoke up finally. "So, Harry, I have a question for you. Fig leaf or au naturel?" Her eyes twinkled. "Or should Ginny, Tonks and I have you model both and decide for you?" The crowd burst into laughter.
Harry stood before the doors to the Great Hall with Tonks, while Dumbledore smiled. "You do not have to do this, Harry," Albus said.
Harry shrugged in his robes. "I swore that if you gave me news that would make me feel better than I was feeling right then, I’d walk into the party naked. So, since I’m now engaged to be married to the most beautiful woman in the world, I follow through on my oaths." He grinned. "Nothing says that I can’t change costumes after I’ve been in there a minute. I only swore to enter the party as Adam."
Tonks stood in her own robes. "Or you might decide that you like it, and stay nude. I just might. Besides, the only competition I have is Ginny and Hermione, and you know my opinion of that."
"I’m still recovering from that … conversation. I’ll worry about that sometime else, though. Shall we?" He shrugged off his robes, and watched as Tonks did the same. He grinned and said, "That's quite the interesting costume you're wearing, Tonks. I definitely like it. I’m curious as to why you’re still using the Mary LeBeau form, though."
She giggled. "This is my natural form, Harry. I just age regressed it." She relaxed and became ever so slightly older in appearance. "I use the other form because people pay zero attention to my mind when I look like this."
"I love you no matter what you look like, whether it’s pink haired, green haired, or looking like Aunt Petunia. I fell in love with you," he said, tapping between her breasts.
"Got the hand placement wrong," she said mischievously, kissing him lightly.
The doors opened to the party, and Professor Dumbledore announced, "I am proud to announce that we are to be joined by the saviour of the wizarding world, whose costume was chosen due to a rather unusual oath. I am proud to announce Harry James Potter, dressed, as it were, as Adam, escorting Nymphadora Tonks as his beautiful Eve." They entered the room unashamedly, heads held high, to great applause.
Harry was pleased to discover the next day that certain legislations had been struck down, and that he was legally permitted to fly once more. Ginny attempted to return the Firebolt to him, but he persisted in saying that he had given it to her. It was finally agreed that he would take it on semi-permanent loan until the school year was finished, or until he could buy a new broom, whichever came first.
He also had an interesting conversation as to why she and Hermione had chosen to come to the party as Adam’s other two wives.
Not bad for something written in a day or two, is it?