"But they are the worst kind of Muggles Albus!"

Dumbeldore nodded. They were the worst kind of anyone, not just Muggles. There was no denying the odiousness of Petunia and Vernon Dursley.

"I will watch Minerva, however, in this is the place beyond all others he will be safe from Voldemort."

"But Albus, this is Lily's sister. She hates magic and anything to do with magic. She won't care for him!"

"She may rise above herself Minerva; I have left her a letter."

McGonagall did respect and admire Albus. He was a great wizard. He was a genius. He was a good man. He was blind in some areas. That people could be fundamentally flawed and unwilling to work for redemption was beyond his comprehension. Minerva tried again.

"That is insufficient Headmaster. The boy needs love and will receive none here. Get him someone who will care for him now or I will announce his location. At least a house elf Headmaster. Someone must love him if he is to be a decent man. If you leave him to the muggles there is a good chance for another monster."

Dumbeldore was nothing if not kind.

"I will do as you suggest Minerva. A house elf is the perfect solution. Tippy!"

Tippy popped into being beside the two Professors.

"Yes Master Headmaster sir?"

She was tiny and vaguely green with large eyes, eyes the size of tennis balls, and long ears. She looked like she could have been a relative of Yoda. Her bow would have been obsequious on a being of more imposing presence, on a being of her less than intimidating stature her bow was comically overdone.

"Tippy would you like to be bound to the House of Potter and to care for little Harry? You will not be able to speak to anyone about him, or where he is. You will be able to care for him and I will want to know how he is, as well as Professor McGonagall. Will you bind yourself to House Potter and Master Harry Potter?"

Her tiny squeaky voice was soft.

"Care for Harry Potter sir? Harry Potter would be my master?"

The greatest wizard in the world nodded.

"Yes Tippy, you would serve Master Harry Potter. Will you?"

Her previous bow had been a model of restraint, this bow was a gesture of worship.

"Yes Professor Headmaster sir, I would be honored to serve Master Harry sir."

"As magical guardian of Harry Potter I accept your service to House Potter and wish you well in your care of young Harry. I will be speaking to you at least monthly, if you require anything please do let me or Professor McGonagall know, we will see to it. Tippy the muggles may not know of your presence. You must not let them see you or know of you."

Tippy bowed once and sprinted to the bundled baby sleeping on the steps of Number 4 Privet Drive, Little Whinging, Surrey.

The Headmaster and the Professor stood and watched as Tippy settled next to young Harry, her eyes shone in the gleam of moonlight. Professor McGonagall nodded and shifted to her cat form. She trotted to the door step and settled in for the night with Harry, she would stand guard with Tippy and keep Harry warm in the chill of the evening. The Headmaster tipped his stupid hat and returned the lights to Privet Drive, then with a very faint snap he disappeared.

The next morning Petunia Dursley was shocked to discover that her son would be raised in the company of the Boy Who Lived. Her screeching was the topic of gossip for many days on Privet Drive. She had managed to get the bundle inside before the neighbors spotted her. Mrs. Number Three was just opening her curtains to ascertain the whereabouts of the banshee wailing as Petunia whisked little Harry inside. Tippy scooted in with Harry. She was unseen, a creature of magic, made invisible by a minor spell to distract the muggles.

Tippy was in love. Young Harry was a cheerful baby, happy and easy to care for. He had become the center of her huge elven heart in mere days. House elves are strange creatures, and Tippy not least strange among them. She was brilliant and devious in her service to her Master and his House. The Dursleys never had a chance. As much as they ignored Harry she was with him. As often as they called him freak and unnatural her hand was folded into his, her voice whispered in his ear that they were wrong, and mean and that she loved him no matter what. When Harry wasn't fed by the Dursleys he was by Tippy. When he was ill she nursed him and held him when he cried and changed his nappys and fussed over him and sang him to sleep. She made him cake and got him presents for his birthday and Christmas and got some from him in return.

They were a family in a battle zone. They adapted. It wasn't the best thing but it was life as they had to live it and there was beauty in it. Tippy would stand with him and protect him from all she could. Once Harry started school she went with him and would attend his classes with him. She was better able to protect him at school than at home and made sure that the depredations of Dudley and his gang were countered much more often than not. Occasionally they were caught out by Dudders and company. Once Harry had apparated himself to the school roof while being pursued by Dudley and his boys. Harry had to live with that one, Tippy couldn't get to him when his principal had already seen him by the chimneys. Harry's first marking was excellent which earned him a beating from the senior whale on station, Vernon. Tippy had never considered that doing well would be punished. After that beating she charmed his schoolwork and reports so that he appeared to be doing less well than the odious Dudley. Harry developed a love of learning. Initially the more he learned and the better he learned it the more he felt he was getting over on the Dursleys. Eventually Tippy and Harry learned for the pleasure of learning.

Harry, for his part, loved Tippy to distraction and would talk to her often during his day. Harry spent quite a bit of time in the school nurses office when he was overheard murmuring to his invisible companion. That Tippy was also receiving a good education while helping with his homework and attending classes with him was a side benefit not even the Headmaster had considered. They learned to read together, and spell and do maths, and read history books and literature. They would sit in the magically expanded cupboard under the stairs at their desks doing the days assignments, then switching papers and comparing results and discussing their differences. Often Tippy was right even if the muggle schools considered her wrong.

She had many years experience in a world unknown to them, unknown to all but the house elves of the magical world and a hard cold world it was. She had born a child and had her Dobby taken from her by her master to sell. When she had objected to losing her Dobby she had been beaten and given clothes. She had looked for her Dobby as long as she could, she never stopped looking for him. She had come to Hogwarts looking for work. An elf without work and a family died in a matter of months. The Headmaster had accepted her service many years ago. She had served but always missed having a more personal relationship with a family. Her education with Harry and her experience with the Lestrange family eventually allowed her to believe that she had done nothing wrong when she objected to losing her child.

It was mid August and Harry had just turned eight. Tippy and Harry were coming back to Number 4 from the library having gotten some novels and a feminist history of the middle ages. They were looking into the Inquisition and witch hunts. The driver was drunk and speeding, he never saw Harry who was absorbed in his novel step into the street in front of him. Tippy popped to Harry and Banished him out of the way of the Range Rover. She didn't have time to get clear herself and died instantly on impact.

Harry never had a chance to tell her how much she meant to him, how wonderful she was, what a great friend, parent, companion she was. He had said those things in his little boy way, but it didn't seem enough, it hadn't been enough, what could be enough?

She lay broken by the huge vehicle, still, dead. He picked her up and wandered towards Number 4, not having any place other than that to go. Mrs. Finch saw him tottering down the street with the corpse of Tippy in his little arms, tears streaming down his face. She had watched them from afar, seeing them almost daily at play in the little park, walking about. They usually held hands and were laughing, often about the muggles. She dashed out of the door and got to him before he made it to Number 4. Tiny old woman that she was, she scooped Harry up and carried them both, Harry and Tippy, into her little house. The Headmaster and Professor McGonagall were in the house in minutes.

There were just the four of them at the tiny pyre for Tippy the next day. Harry, Mrs. Finch, the Headmaster and Professor McGonagall watched as the flames took the casket holding little Tippy's remains. The Headmaster murmured something to the embers followed by a white flash of magic. A small stone was tucked into the corner of the back garden. The inscription was simple "Here lies Tippy loving friend and companion" Harry would often think that the stone could just as well have been for one of Mrs. Finch's cats.

Tippy had loved Harry in his formative years. He had not an easy childhood but he knew without question that he was loved. He would move her to the Potter's private cemetery plot; James, Lily and Tippy, his dad and mums with space for Harry and his family.