You're my Density

Just Suppose Harry hadn't heeded his godfather's advice, and actually lost his temper at his trial? Time travel fic and title is 'Back to the Future' joke.

https://www.fanfiction.net/s/11033616/1/You-re-my-Density

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16. A Black Day

The issue of the Prophet with Harry Potter flying across the front cover, wearing Gryffindor quidditch robes, did not aid the digestion of those sitting at the Malfoy breakfast table. It wasn't so much the picture that upset the Malfoys' stomachs, rather the article gleefully proclaiming Potter, and his intended, were to be honoured by the Ministry of Magic. This coming the day after the same newspaper claimed that Potter banished the Dark Lord once more had Lucius Malfoy cursing up a storm.

"They're giving Potter and his little mudblood Orders of Merlin - unbelievable!. Now we discover the reason for all the lies printed yesterday. This must be something Dumbledore's cooked up, Fudge certainly doesn't have the brains for a scheme like this. They must be really desperate to keep the brat in Britain."

Ever since the night she'd pulled her wand on her husband, Cissi was having to be very careful when questioning Lucius' judgement. Only her promising to help with any scheme against Potter redirected Lucius' anger that night. She was left having to phrase any question in the politest terms possible.

"Do you think they made the entire Quirrell incident up?"

"Oh I certainly believe Quirrell is dead, Potter might even have had a hand in causing his death. If he did, can't you just see Dumbledore rushing to cover for his golden boy. What better cover than to say Quirrell was being possessed by our Lord? Instead of being prosecuted by the Ministry, those bloody fools are falling over themselves in their haste to reward the brat. If our master had returned, he would have made contact with me. Severus was in the castle with Quirrell for a couple of months too. Why wouldn't our Master make contact with him?"

Cissi couldn't argue with any of that. Watching the Prophet's picture of Potter though gave her an idea. She didn't want her family going anywhere near Potter looking for retribution. Maybe there was a way they could have some revenge, while avoiding the promised outcome that absolutely terrified her.

"Potter won the Quidditch cup for two reasons. The Slytherin team was disbanded and the boy had the fastest broom in Hogwarts. With Slytherin looking for an entire new team next year, what if Draco had a better broom than Potter? He'd be sure to make the team, then our son could really show this upstart who's the better wizard."

"That's a good idea, one that needs some improvement though. I have contacts at Nimbus, contacts who could get me a full set of new brooms at cost price. A team of Slytherin purebloods once more putting everyone in their place will see the proper order restored at Hogwarts. That blood traitor Weasley will use all this positive publicity for the mudblood to help push through that muggle protection bill of his, I might have to do something rather drastic about that too…"

Cissi didn't care about any Weasleys. Harming one of those multitude of redheads wouldn't see Draco's detached head appearing in their manor. Draco and Slytherin publicly beating Potter at quidditch though was a different matter. That was a modicum of revenge, without incurring any retribution penalties. Draco would be delighted with a new broom while watching Potter being defeated by their son would satisfy Lucius - for now. The Malfoys could all live with that.

As the breakfast dishes disappeared, neither Malfoy bothered to look in their elf's direction. If they had, they would have noticed something rather unusual. Darla was actually smiling, tonight she would have news to tell Dobby.

-oOoOo-

Petunia left Hogwarts with the Grangers after lunch, saying goodbye to a young couple who clearly hoped to see her again next weekend. Arriving by portkey in the Grangers' lounge, Petunia was then asked if she wanted Dobby to take her home. That was why, fifteen minutes after being in the Scottish Highlands, she was sitting in her own kitchen drinking a relaxing cup of tea.

She heard the car in the driveway before the front door was unlocked.

"Now remember, Dudley, we had a salad... Pet, when did you get home? I thought I was coming to pick you up?"

"I was dropped off."

"How was your weekend with the freaks, mum?"

Visibly cringing at how her son phrased that question, Petunia began what she knew would be a hard sell.

"The Grangers are really lovely people - with an absolutely beautiful house. Five bedrooms and sitting in its own grounds, with a pool in the back garden…"

"Those poor people, having all that and they end up with a freak for a daughter. Then again, your parents were the same…"

"…and like my parents, they love their daughter too - even though she's a witch. They're very fond of Harry as well. They'll be spending most of the summer together."

"Do we still need to take him?"

"Vernon, that's simply non negotiable. Harry needs to stay here, or should I say we need him to stay here..."

This news didn't sit well with her son. "Why do we need the freak staying here? We're better off without him. No one around here even mentions he's gone..."

Taking a good look at the two men in her life, Petunia realised she needed to be brutal here. "The madman who murdered hundreds of people, including Harry's parents - my sister, isn't really dead. If him and his followers ever get together again, we Dursleys would be in deadly danger. These followers have already attacked the Grangers' home..."

"What? They would be looking for Potter. That seems like an even better reason not to have him back here."

The last thing Petunia needed was for Vernon to dig his heels in over this. "The Grangers' house was protected by magical shields, and suffered no damage whatsoever. They were whisked away to safety at the first hint of danger and the magical police were at their house within minutes too. Our house is already covered by shields that are actually stronger than those protecting the Grangers. For those shields to work however, Harry needs to live here for at least ten days a year - and think of this house as his home."

Opening her bag, she placed a copy of today's Daily Prophet on their table. Both Vernon and Dudley stared stupefiedly at a moving picture of Harry flying across the front page.

"This evil wizard was possessing one of the professors at their school. Somehow Harry discovered this and sent for their police. Before they could arrive however, Harry and Hermione were forced to act. They saved four other students and solved the problem before the police got there."

"If this wizard is so evil, how did the boy solve the problem?"

Deciding to be blunt, Petunia laid it out for Vernon. "Harry killed him."

That statement was met with total silence. Using that silence, Petunia explained her last remark. "The possessed professor was using his magic to attack Hermione. Harry managed to take the wizard's wand but he still tried to attack the girl. At that, Harry jumped on him and started punching the wizard in the face. For some reason, Harry's punches really hurt the wizard - eventually killing him. Harry and Hermione are to be awarded their top medals for bravery. I was there when their Prime Minister told them about these medals, and I'm invited back next weekend for the awards ceremony."

His eyes moving between the magical newspaper and his wife, Vernon just didn't know what to say. Dudley however was focused on the moving picture.

"Did Potter really fly on a broom?"

Reaching into her bag again, Petunia brought out the box Hermione had made for her. "Their sport is played on brooms, and looked incredibly dangerous. Emma spent about half of the match with her hands covering her eyes, frightened Harry would get hurt. I didn't really understand what was happening but Harry catching this won the match and cup for his team."

Opening the lid of the box, the golden snitch was flapping its wings while the fastening ensured it couldn't fly away. Vernon's initial surge of anger at this clearly magical object being in his house was soon swamped by a much stronger base emotion - greed.

"Is that..."

"The centre is made of gold, while the wings are silver. Harry presented me with it after the match, to say thank you for coming."

"It must be worth quite a bit, even just for the precious metals it's made from..."

"Vernon, it would seem the Potters are a wealthy family - a very wealthy family - and Harry's the last of the Potters."

"No wonder these Grangers are so keen to take the boy..."

"That has nothing to do with Emma and Dan's decision, both clearly dote on Harry. There is also now a godfather in the picture. He was slung in prison, apparently for something he didn't do. Guess who discovered the real criminal, and was instrumental in getting his godfather free? Oh, and the godfather's rich too."

Vernon was struggling to believe what his wife was saying here, but the evidence on the table corroborated everything she claimed to be true. "I can't believe this is the same freak who used to live in our cupboard…"

"He's not." An embarrassed Petunia then had to explain her outburst to her family. "Harry was injured saving Hermione back at Halloween. It was a head injury and it has affected all of his memories. He doesn't remember anything about staying in the cupboard, Harry thinks we treated him exactly the same as Dudley. Hermione knows though, because Harry had told her before his accident. He has the Grangers, who are more than willing to take him in permanently, and now a godfather who wants to do the same. The only thing stopping that happening is Harry's belief we are his family. If that belief goes, then so will he. This family would then be left defenceless - I won't have that."

It was then the expected temper tantrum from Dudley made an appearance.

"Why should we do that? Potter's getting everything here. What do I get?"

Petunia was out her chair and soon had her son in her arms. Running her fingers through his hair to sooth Dudley, she kissed his forehead before speaking.

"I know exactly how you feel, Diddums. My baby sister got to go off and do all these wonderful things, and I couldn't. She would come home and talk about flying on a broom, seeing a unicorn, and I would get so jealous. It's only after seeing it for myself I now understand. I'm bursting to tell everyone what I saw, but can't. I can only tell you and your dad, just like Lily could only tell me. It's not fair, and that's why Harry and Hermione are trying to change things. Him being on the front of their newspaper means people will listen to their ideas."

"Does that mean I can go with you next weekend?"

Hearing the hope in Dudley's voice was pushing Petunia into areas she never even dreamed she'd venture. That was before she visited Hogwarts however, and had been treated with respect while she was there.

"Both you and your father are certainly invited, but I don't think either of you are ready for that experience yet." Dudley was set to explode when Petunia instantly changed his mood.

"The first person I met was that great hairy wizard who visited us that night…"

Dudley's hands immediately shot to cover his bottom, right where he'd had to have that tail surgically removed. Petunia again kissed her son's forehead before continuing.

"I told you Harry's memories are all messed up, he couldn't remember that happening. He and Hermione were very angry with the big wizard, told him he could end up on prison for that. That wizard apologised to me, and then stayed out of our way for the rest of the weekend. I think we should wait until Harry and Hermione have stayed here, then see if you still want to visit Hogwarts."

"I could really go?"

"These magical people know even less about us than we do about them. Harry and Hermione are trying to change that. Starting next term, normal families of magical children will be able to visit. There will also be lessons to teach them about normal people. Emma and Dan will be teaching that, purely part time of course. I can do some teaching too, if I want…"

She left that last part hanging, waiting to see what kind of response she got. Vernon finally gave her one. "I'm fine with you returning to this place next weekend, it's clearly important." Vernon was gesturing at the newspaper though still managed to catch Dudley's eye and wink - they would be eating out again for Dudley's second weekend home from school. There were some cakes on that sweet trolly that they simply didn't have the room left today to do justice.

"I can see we really have no choice but to let them stay with us for part of the summer, but I won't put up with any funny business. If I see any, then they're gone. After their visit, we'll see what happens."

This was probably more than Petunia could have hoped for. "The Grangers will be bringing them here, the neighbours won't notice a thing. Emma and Dan really are our kind of people, Vernon. If they can accept this, perhaps we can too."

She ruffled Dudley's hair one last time before reaching into her bag for the final surprise. "Harry wanted to apologise for what happened to Dudley, he really was very upset about it. He said all magicals are nuts, and muttered something about trying to raise a dragon in a wooden house. He didn't want us to be out of pocket, after having to pay a couple of thousand pounds for Dudley's surgery, so gave me this..."

Rather tentatively, Vernon took the bulging envelope from his wife. After opening it, his eyebrows got higher and higher. Eventually, Dudley couldn't stand it anymore.

"What's in the envelope, Dad?"

"Money."

"Cool - how much?"

Letting out a low whistle after finishing counting, Vernon gave Dudley the total. "About five thousand pounds..."

"He asked a magical friend to pop down to London and get it for him, I had no idea how much was in the envelope though. That's over twice what it cost for Dudley's surgery..."

Already doing the sums in his head, Vernon nodded to Petunia before reaching a decision. "I didn't know if we would be able to afford a holiday this year, we can now. Where do we want to go?"

This had the Dursley household very excited, and Petunia was left thinking that things couldn't have gone much better. She had always known Lily was smarter than her, but Petunia wasn't by any means stupid. Starting with that first invitation to afternoon tea with Emma, the advantages of her family accepting magic - and Harry - had been emphasised at every opportunity. Today, Vernon and Dudley were getting their first real taste of those advantages.

The very first time Petunia had met Emma for tea, she had laboured the point that Harry and Hermione staying here for part of the summer would be beneficial to the Dursley family. Petunia now knew that to be true, her family could and would benefit from accepting both her nephew and his magic. Harry was the one with options now, and the Dursleys would have to welcome the young couple as a family.

Today, for the first time, she thought they might actually have a chance of achieving that. Considering the alternative left them open to attack by murdering magical madmen, Petunia would do her damnedest to see that they did.

-oOoOo-

After the poison in Ron's body had been neutralised, it was simply a matter of observation before he was allowed home. Sunday therefor saw him sitting in the Burrow's living room with a glass of pumpkin juice in his hand. He'd been pampered by everyone since regaining consciousness, Ron had no idea that situation was about to come to an abrupt end.

When his mum, dad and sister sat down too, Ron still didn't spot the danger signs. Even after his father began asking questions, Ron didn't think he'd be in any trouble. After all, he'd almost died. That should see the pampering continue for at least the rest of the summer.

"Ron, why did you go into that room? Dumbledore himself had warned everyone it was very dangerous to do so, and students should not go anywhere near it?"

"I figured out it was some sort of test, to see if anyone was brave enough to take it on. We all needed to show how brave we were to be accepted back into Gryffindor. I guessed there would be some kind of treasure at the end of the tests too, and I must have been right. Why else would you-know-who be after it?"

"If there was a Hogwarts house for the stupid, you'd already be a prefect…"

Her father's glance in Ginny's direction silenced her, before he asked Ron another question. "What happened as you confronted the traps?"

"There was already music playing, so the three-headed dog was sleeping. We slipped past and jumped down the trapdoor. It was pitch black down there and then I felt something trying to strangle me. Seamus panicked and nearly roasted all of us, the plant actually threw him away."

Ron was trying to give the impression that, had Seamus not panicked, he would have somehow saved the day. None of his current audience were buying into that.

"Why did you leave an injured classmate lying there?"

"The music playing beside the three headed dog meant someone else was already down there. Dad, we couldn't let some one else beat us to the treasure, we had to push on..."

"...and the boy you sacrificed at the chess match?"

"It would have taken too long for all of us to go on. Sometimes, in chess, you need to sacrifice pieces to win the match."

Arthur exploded at that. "This was not a game, Ron. The Finnigan boy almost died, while the other one received a serious concussion."

"Hey, I almost died too, you know. I was the one facing you-know-who, and doing fine until Potter showed up - trying to hog all the glory."

Ginny had seen for herself that neither Harry nor Hermione were interested in glory, she couldn't let that last comment pass. "You nearly died because you Ignored Professor Dumbledore's orders. You then drank unknown potions, even after being warned some of them were poisons. Only in Ronald Weasley's world does pissing your robes in fear count as doing fine. You could have gotten six people killed…"

Pulling his upset daughter into a hug, Arthur was at a loss over what to do with his son. Once again, Ron didn't think he'd done anything wrong. "I was in Hogwarts yesterday and spoke with the Headmaster and Professor McGonagall. You will not be returning to Hogwarts this term, and there will be a meeting shortly to decide if you'll be returning at all."

Ron was ready to object but the stern stare from his father silenced him.

"While all your exam results aren't in yet, both said you were failing their classes..."

It had been hard for Molly to do as her husband had requested and let him deal with this matter. Hearing that though set her off. "How can you possibly fail a class that's being taught by Albus Dumbledore? Don't you realise how lucky you are?"

"Hey, he's only teaching the class because Potter's in it..."

"Ronald, you will go to your room and stay there until called for." Arthur then picked up today's Prophet and shoved it at his son. "If you want something to read, this will do."

The headline was enough for Ron's temper to let go. "They're giving Potter and Granger an Order of Merlin? What do I get? I was down there too..."

"They were there purely to rescue some really stupid children who were in way over their heads. I also heard them try to refuse these awards, thinking they didn't deserve them. The only person who went down there looking for glory was you. That you seemed prepared to sacrifice your classmates to get it sickens more people than just me. You ask what do you get out of this, I fear you're going to get exactly what you deserve. At the moment your choices would appear to be either getting expelled from Hogwarts, or being resorted and repeating first year - a first year you would seem to have already both socially and academically failed."

A thoroughly deflated Ron slowly made his way up the stairs. The newspaper clutched in his hands and Ginny's groan of 'I hope he's not in the same classes as me' ringing in his ears.

-oOoOo-

That same edition of the Prophet was clutched in another pair of hands. Sirius would walk up and down his hospital room for a few minutes before sitting back down to read parts of it over again. While overjoyed at the information he was reading about his godson, it actually threw up a whole new set of questions - and he hadn't gotten answers to his old ones yet.

When his visitor entered, Sirius practically pounced on her. "Ami - did you see Harry? Did you ask him about living with me? What did he say?"

"Slow down, Sirius. You seem to be feeling better…"

"There's no way I won't be at this award ceremony…"

She just smiled at him. "Sirius, I already told Harry that. He's really looking forward to meeting you. Now sit, and we can discuss what was said."

This got Sirius sitting, but right on the edge of his seat.

"Harry was there with his family…"

"Family? Harry doesn't have any family."

"His aunt was there, Lily's sister…"

"Lily's sister was at Hogwarts? Who gave Harry to her? He was supposed to come to me…"

"Sirius, you need to calm down - otherwise the healers will keep you here longer. This is also going to take all bloody day if you don't stop interrupting. Let me tell you what I know, then we can try answering those questions. Okay?"

After Sirius nodded, Amelia continued. "Harry's Aunt was there, so too were the Grangers - his intended's muggle parents. They're nice people, Sirius, and have really accepted Harry into their family. Harry and Hermione are spearheading changes that will allow other muggle families to visit Hogwarts as well, they really are quite a couple. They're also planning to spend some time staying with their best friend, Neville Longbottom, over the summer."

"Frank and Alice's boy?" Amelia's nod had Sirius smiling. Her next comment just amplified the intensity of that smile.

"In amongst all that, Harry wants to be able to spend some time with his godfather. You had better plan on Hermione being there too though, that pair are pretty much inseparable."

"She'll be more than welcome. Seeing that picture of Harry in his quidditch uniform - he looks so much like a mini James. Read the story however and you can tell there's a lot of his mother in him."

"Taking their ages into consideration, you would think they were too young to be together. Then you spend some time with the couple and discover they're very serious about each other. I've been impressed by both since our first meeting. Hermione certainly looks nothing like Lily Potter, sometimes though it feels like you're talking to her and James. It really would be a terrible shame to lose them both…"

There was no way Sirius wasn't going to interrupt that. "Excuse me, Amelia. Before you say anymore, I'm going to need you to explain that last remark."

The fact he'd called her Amelia told the Head of the D.M.L.E. this was a serious Sirius she was facing here. She told him all about Harry's accident, the attack by Snape and what the consequences were. She also explained they had been livid about the attack on Hermione's home, and the fact they couldn't do anything about it.

"Both have been looking at other schools abroad, and Augusta Longbottom has even consented to her grandson joining his two best friends if they leave. As you can imagine, we're all desperate to keep the young couple in Britain. Hopefully your release will help with that too."

Sirius had listened to the tale with growing anger, he let some of that show in his answer. "My family disowned me, my ministry imprisoned me, my country condemned me as the evilest of wizards. If my godson decides to leave this country, my main aim will be ensuring his godfather is included in the group that's moving out. I'm sorry, Ami, my only concern in this matter is Harry's happiness. Hearing from you my godson told Voldemort to fuck off makes me prouder than I can say. That he then had the magic and moves to back those words up says to me he shouldn't be letting anyone control him - be that the ministry or any individuals."

"I'm sorry too, Sirius, if you though that wasn't what I also wanted. What I was alluding to is that all the major influences in Harry's life currently have little or no links to the magical community. All I was hoping for was that you, as his godfather, could show Harry some wizarding culture. Augusta is holding lessons every Sunday in Hogwarts to help the new first year muggle born adapt. They have proven so successful that they will become part of the Hogwarts curriculum in September. Harry and Hermione proposed there be lessons in muggle culture for witches and wizards too. Albus and Minerva are taking that to the school board later this week. With Augusta also a member, they have a very good chance of getting it passed."

"I can work with that, Ami. In fact, I can make a start right now. Tell me what the arrangements are for this ceremony?"

-oOoOo-

Another wizard was also pacing up and down because of that newspaper. Unlike Sirius though, he had considerably less room to work with. Having been detained in a ministry holding cell until the poisoned boy was released from St Mungo's, Severus was then returned to Azkaban.

True to his word, Dumbledore had seen those two suspended years of sentence abolished. Severus' actual sentence was also reduced, but not by nearly as much as he would have liked. Being given a release date of November the first felt more like a token gesture for all his hard work. It was a gesture though he had every intention of accepting.

In his present situation, every little helped. So leaving Azkaban almost two months sooner than Severus expected was a bonus. It was the newspaper in his hand that had thrown his emotions into turmoil.

The Dark Lord had been in Hogwarts, possessing Quirrell. That his Lord didn't make his presence known to Severus was exceedingly worrying. He'd found himself trapped between the two most powerful wizards in the country. With Dumbledore's betrayal, Severus was forced to consider what he would do when his time in Azkaban was finally up. The fact that the Dark Lord sat next to him in Hogwarts and didn't acknowledge he was there could mean there was only a painful death awaiting him from that direction.

That the Potter brat had once more defeated the Dark Lord, this time in front of witnesses, was bad. That he and his mudblood were being awarded Orders of Merlin really stuck in his craw. The real sickener though was Black being found innocent and freed. In that one issue of the newspaper, it was almost as if the fates were deliberately piling on the shit to a still imprisoned Severus Snape.

He had just over four months of his sentence left to serve, Severus reckoned he might need every day of that to figure out what his next move would be. Whatever it was, it would need to be on pastures new. Severus Snape was finished in Britain.

-oOoOo-

Harry and Hermione found themselves being woken by Dobby, ready to begin their last week at Hogwarts. Dobby also had a letter for them.

"Mister Flamel was very surprised to receive your letter and package. He asked Dobby to wait while he wrote this reply."

As Harry was opening the letter, Hermione was thanking Dobby for his outstanding work. "When Harry told me Professor Dumbledore had destroyed the stone, it just didn't seem right that he got to make that decision. Nicolas and his wife have been around far longer than Dumbledore. They should be more than capable of making their own minds up, rather than someone else doing it for them."

"Wow, not only is he thanking us for returning the stone, they want to meet us too."

Passing the letter over to a now speechless Hermione, Harry kissed her cheek before heading to the room he shared with Neville to get ready to face the day.

Hermione was still stunned at that news as the trio made their way down to breakfast. There the owls had another surprise for them. Recognising the handwriting at once, Hermione encouraged Harry to open the letter.

"It's from Sirius. He says we need formal robes for this award ceremony, and plans to take us out of school on Friday to get them. We're going to Diagon Alley, our families are invited too - and Sirius is paying for everything. He wants us to contact them…"

At that, Hedwig flew into the hall and landed beside them. "She's such a clever owl, aren't you girl." The snowy owl just puffed out her chest, as if Hermione's suggestion was a fact beyond questioning.

"I'll write a quick note to mum and dad for Hedwig to deliver, they'll phone your Aunt Petunia. They were planning to come here on Friday night anyway."

While Hermione was penning their letter, Neville found himself being dragged away by Parvati. This allowed a smiling Harry to say what he wanted to.

"You seem more excited about meeting Sirius than I am."

"Sirius Black is the only person I ever met who loved you as much as I do, though I have to say both my parents are now catching him up. Yes I'm excited to see him, as a free wizard with a fresh start too. Think of a grown up Fred and George, you'll love him. Scratch that - I don't think Sirius ever grew up. I just hope he can forgive me if Sirius ever finds out we left him in there..."

"We got him out as soon as we could, love. He's a free man too, something he never had before."

A smile and peck on the lips from Hermione had both of them ready to face the day. They found themselves being approached by the headmaster just as they were getting ready to leave.

"I see you received a letter from Sirius. He wrote to me too, and you both now have permission to leave school on Friday. I also received a letter from an old friend this morning, it solved a mystery I was intending to speak to you both about. Getting past all the traps to remove the item, without me knowing anything about it, is quite the achievement. Then tracking down Nicolas and returning that item is outstanding work. I don't suppose you would care to tell me how you managed it?"

A smiling Hermione gave him an answer. "We had a little help, who took twenty seconds to bring the stone to us…"

With that they headed off to their first class, leaving a stunned headmaster behind. They were barely through the doors though when Dumbledore broke into loud laughter.

Albus certainly considered himself an intelligent wizard, and had just deciphered Hermione's 'little help' clue. Having the stone brought to them indicated someone else was involved. The time scale she mentioned, along with the use of the word little, pointed Albus in the right direction. Only a house elf, one who'd been given unrestricted access to the castle, could hope to accomplish the task in anything like that timeframe. It would certainly pass his own test when faced with the mirror. The elf would want the stone, but never even think about using it for itself.

What had Albus laughing was the sheer simplicity and audacity of the plan, alongside the knowledge this was a method that wouldn't even have occurred to Voldemort. He treated all sentient magical beings an nothing more than vermin, creatures that were beneath him. He would never trust a house elf with something of this importance.

He also thought this was Hermione's way of showing Albus they trusted him, by releasing a little more information. Now having time to digest the problem both had found themselves faced with, he still couldn't come up with a better solution than the one they hoped to use. They, and the stone, were safe in Gryffindor tower while Amelia and her aurors would have tackled a possessed Quirrell. It was only Mister Weasley's untimely intervention that saw their plan needing last minute changes. Albus knew he and Minerva would have to deal with that unpleasant situation soon, but not before Saturday. He would have to wear his own award at this inauguration of the two newest members to this rather exclusive club. He would enjoy Saturday, and celebrate everyone coming out of there alive, before facing a trip to the Burrow.

-oOoOo-

A nervous Sirius was finding it increasingly difficult to sit still in Dumbledore's office. When the door opened and Minerva led the two students in, he was finally face to face with his godson. He could only stare, while fighting back the tears.

"Sirius Black, lost for words? I never thought I would see the day." Minerva's intervention cut right through the tension and had everyone smiling.

Now standing, Sirius didn't know whether to offer his godson a handshake or hug him. "Hello Harry, I'm your godfather..."

Solving his dilemma, Harry went straight for a hug. "Pleased to meet you, and delighted we could help get you out of prison." He then stood back. "Where are my manners. Sirius, I'd like you to meet my intended, Hermione Granger."

Seeing Sirius standing there with that sparkle back in his eyes, and looking clean, barbered and somewhat healthy, she couldn't contain herself. Hermione almost hugged the life out of the person she had really missed, overjoyed that this time Sirius wouldn't have to hide from anyone. Harry covered for her slight lapse in character though.

"Hermione said she was looking forward to meeting someone who loved me almost as much as she does."

This put a huge grin on Sirius' face. "Oh, I like her already Harry. You seem to have inherited the Potters' knack of picking the very best witch. I loved your mother, and your grandmother was one of the nicest, kindest people I've ever met."

Dumbledore and McGonagall chuckling at that gave both Sirius and Hermione time to wipe their eyes. Then it was down to business for the Marauder.

"Your aunt and Hermione's parents are meeting us at King's Cross. The Headmaster has made us a portkey that will drop us off on Platform nine and three quarters, and also bring the six of us back to Hogwarts later. Are we ready to spend the day together, and do some shopping?"

With two quick yeses, it was a happy trio who portkeyed from the headmaster's office.

-oOoOo-

Emma was trying not to smile at the changes in Petunia since they first met for afternoon tea those months ago. Changes so pronounced that Petunia casually thanked Dobby for bringing her to Crawley as all three then headed for the train station. They left their overnight bags, knowing Dobby would take them to the castle when they were needed.

Petunia couldn't wait to tell them that the Dursleys were going abroad for their summer holidays. She had finally managed to convince Vernon to give it a try, since Harry was effectively paying for it. Their trip to Majorca would be the first time any of them had been abroad.

She also noticed there was no hesitancy in Petunia as she returned Harry's hug of greeting. "I'm sorry, Harry. Dudley and your Uncle Vernon aren't here. Dudley is very interested in visiting Hogwarts though, I hope we can arrange that for next term?"

Someone else who was watching this exchange closely was Sirius. He couldn't miss how Petunia's words seemed to mean the world to his godson. That Harry was also welcomed with open arms by Hermione's parents warmed the marauder's heart too. That Harry had a loving family around him lessened Sirius' own guilt at his failure carry out his godfather duties. It was time for more introductions.

"Hello Petunia. I'd like to thank you for raising Harry. He's such a fine young man, and most of that credit must go down to you and your family. Thank you so much for that."

Petunia was blushing, mostly in embarrassment, as Sirius them moved his attention and introductions to the Grangers.

It was a lovely summers day in London so they chose to walk the relatively short distance to the Leaky Cauldron, chatting away as they did so. Petunia couldn't wait to slip that the Dursleys were going abroad into the conversation, causing Harry to stop dead on the pavement.

"How did you ever convince Uncle Vernon to holiday anywhere else other than Britain?"

She rather sheepishly gave away her secret. "We're staying at a four star hotel, where breakfast, lunch and dinner are all buffet service..."

"...and both Uncle Vernon and Dudley love buffet service!" When Harry started chuckling, Petunia couldn't help but join in. This also gave Sirius the opening he was looking for.

"I know everyone is making plans for the summer, and I hope to spend some of that with Harry and Hermione. The Blacks though have an unplotable island in the Caribbean that I'm intending to spend time at over the next few months. If you haven't anything else arranged, everyone would be more than welcome to join me there."

"Your own private island?"

"Dan, my family weren't the nicest of people, which is why I ran away at sixteen. Harry's grandparents took me in. The Black island was originally used for smuggling, rum mostly. An unplotable island and 'notice me not' charms on the ships - it's what built my family's wealth. Then they decide they're purebloods - and hate muggles. They're all mad."

This had Dan chuckling. "Harry says most magical people are nuts, you're more like your godson than you think. We haven't booked anything yet, apart from wanting Neville to spend some of the holidays with us."

"Neville's more than welcome. I'm hoping to convince Ami Bones to spend some time there too, so Susan would likely be included as well. Is that alright with you?"

"That's fine with us, though Neville might get some grief from Parvati over it."

This had Harry laughing at Hermione's suggestion. "Oh I think we can move from 'might' to being an absolute certainty. Parvati's Neville's girlfriend, he kissed her and now she's planning their wedding. She would go mental at the thought of Susan there with Neville."

"Invite her too, the more the merrier. I visited Neville's parents while I was in hospital, we were all close friends. I can't imagine him going to Augusta and asking for advice on things like this. Tell him he can talk to me, if he wants."

It was Petunia who had to ask what had happened to the boy's parents. Hearing they had been tortured into insanity had her more determined than ever that Harry would be staying in Privet Drive over the summer.

Entering the Leaky Cauldron was a revelation for all of them, even Harry. He had no memory of his first visit with Hagrid, therefore no way to know that this time was actually worse. He found himself being mobbed by well wishers.

There were three muggles standing trying to get their heads around just how famous Harry Potter really was when something else was added into the equation. A wee old witch took Hermione's hand and began shaking it.

"Well done to you too, dearie. You were so brave. Then again, we knew you would need to be special to win our Harry's heart."

It took them twenty minutes to get from the pub to Diagon Alley, and then another fifteen to make it into the relative safety of Madam Malkin's Robes for all Occasions. Sirius had made an appointment with the owner and she, knowing who and what these robes were required for, had her very best stock on display.

Petunia had been a mere spectator the day Lily had stood on the small pedestal and been measured for robes. Sirius insisting everyone was going to get robes today saw Petunia step onto that very same pedestal. It seemed like no time at all before she was then dressed in a beautiful sapphire blue robe. Petunia was admiring herself in the surrounding mirrors when she noticed two crests appearing on the garment. A puzzled look saw Sirius explain.

"This is a formal occasion so you should be identified as Harry's family. The crest on the top is the Potter family crest, with the Black one below it. Harry is not just my godson but my heir. He's the last remaining Potter and also next in line for the Black family too. Wearing those crests places you, Emma and Dan under the protection of both families. Hermione's ring already does that for her."

Petunia was beginning to feel rather self-conscious but spotting Emma in a dark maroon version of the same robes eased her mind. Sirius and Dan were now dressed in black while Harry and Hermione's robes displayed they were Gryffindors. The claret with gold piping also had their house crest on their sleeves, the Potter and Black versions taking pride of place on their chests.

Petunia, Emma and Dan also found themselves with a couple of more everyday robes each. Sirius' reasoning being they wouldn't stand out as much in Hogwarts if they were dressed pretty much the same as everyone else.

Sirius had originally intended they would spent some time shopping in Diagon Alley but the crowd now gathered outside Madam Malkin's made that idea a non starter. Spotting the press now amongst the crowd too, Sirius asked if they could use their portkey to leave from the shop. With the amount of business and publicity these customers had provided today, Madam Malkin felt that was the least she could do.

-oOoOo-

At breakfast on Saturday, it was announced a light lunch would be served in each of the four common rooms. This was to allow time for the Great Hall to be made ready for the awards ceremony at three o'clock.

In Gryffindor, there was far more excitement over Parvati, Lavender, Dean and Seamus being allowed to once more sport their Gryffindor colours than there was over Harry and Hermione's new dress robes. That all changed when they reached the still closed doors of the Great Hall, an incensed Draco ignored all instructions to stay away from Potter. He raced over and was in Harry's face.

"A mudblood has no right to wear the Black family crest. Get that removed, before I do it..." A loud and angry Draco was about to draw his wand when a hand clamped on his shoulder. As Hermione pushed herself in front of Harry to stop him reacting, Draco had turned his head to find himself facing a furious Sirius Black.

"Blond hair and an overly high opinion of themselves - an opinion you seem to think everyone should share. You can only be a Malfoy. By what right do you call Lord Potter's intended that disgusting name, and then make demands of him?"

Draco's own anger though fed off who else he spotted alongside Sirius, namely Dan, Emma and Petunia. "Filthy muggles wearing the Black crest too! I'm heir apparent to the House of Black and won't allow this disgraceful situation to continue."

"You're a jumped up son of a death eater who's too stupid to know how much trouble he's just put his family in, nothing more than that. Lord Potter is my godson, and chosen heir..."

"Potter's neither a lord nor a Black."

Turning to Augusta Longbottom, Sirius could only shake his head. The sarcasm though was dripping off every word he uttered. As more and more people were now waiting on the doors opening, most of the school heard what was said. "I can see why you want to make these new courses compulsory for everyone in first and second year. Some families are so busy pushing death eater dogma down their children's throats that they forget about teaching them what they're supposed to know."

Augusta had spent the morning talking with Sirius, Dan, Emma, Petunia and Minerva. Sorting out their summer plans, and also what they wanted to happen in Hogwarts come September. The school board had unanimously passed their ideas at the latest meeting and they now had a clear mandate to push this forward. Though they only had a rough schedule in place at the moment, Augusta took it upon herself to give Malfoy his first lesson.

"Being awarded Orders of Merlin immediately changed Harry and Hermione's status, they are now regarded as adults in our society. You just very publicly insulted Lord Potter, the future Lady Potter and both their families. The Malfoy family could and should face severe retribution for such public insults by their heir."

Minerva then gave Hogwarts opinion on what had just happened. "For using that disgusting word, I shall be contacting your parents and making my displeasure known. You will also be serving detention with Mister Filch every night until the express leaves next Saturday. The three adults wearing robes with the Potter and Black crests on them will be some of your teachers come September. A student addressing any of them in the manner Mister Malfoy just did will find themselves kicked out of Hogwarts."

While Draco was left reeling from this multiple assault, Sirius delivered the knockout blow. "Dorea Black was Harry's grandmother, thus easily allowing my godson to be named my heir. I would dump the entire Black fortune in the North Sea before I would let a Malfoy get their hands on it."

Taking out his wand, he then said the words that would ensure such drastic action would never be necessary. "I, Lord Sirius Orion Black, cast Narcissa Malfoy, nee Black - and any offspring she may have - from my family. So mote it be."

A totally shocked Draco could only fall back on his often repeated threat. "Wait until my father hears about this..."

"You can pass on a message from me too. While the D.M.L.E. might not be able to accept the evidence we have that he attacked the Grangers home, it's proof enough for me. These people are now clearly under the protection of my house. Your death eater father goes anywhere near them again, I'll call him out. Lucius Malfoy will soon discover the difference in facing an auror head to head, rather than him and a bunch of his costumed murdering friends ambushing helpless victims."

As the doors opened, Hermione was manoeuvring Harry through them. "He's not worth it, love. What Sirius just did will hurt Malfoy a lot more than you punching his face in."

"You're right, Hermione, but punching the prat would certainly have made me feel better."

As everyone made their way into the hall, Draco was left standing there with only Pansy, Vince and Greg for company. A nervous Pansy asked what he was going to do now.

"I'm certainly not going to sit and watch as the Minister of Magic fawns over Potty and his mudblood. They've just stolen my inheritance, and no one does that to a Malfoy. I'll need to write to my father, he needs to know what happened." Draco stormed away, leaving the other three to follow in his wake.

 
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