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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6. A Warm Welcome

Lying in bed, Emma watched from behind her open book as Dan paced up and down their bedroom. She knew he was concerned and tried to ease his fears.

"You were laughing about this whole thing, right up until those rings appeared. This book clearly states it's exactly as Hermione and Harry said. If they decide that being a couple is no longer what they want, all she has to do is take the ring off and hand it back."

Seeing this hadn't settled her husband, Emma tried a different tactic. "I got my first ring from Billy Wright..."

This stopped Dan in his tracks, as she knew it would. "I was six, he was seven and we bought lucky bags from the little corner shop. Remember them, you paid your money and didn't know what you were going to get until you opened the paper bag. I got a black plastic spider along with the usual sweets in mine, Billy got a pink ring with a green stone - all genuine plastic too. We swapped, and didn't say any magical words. If I remember correctly, I woke up the next morning and my finger was a funny colour - mum made me take the ring off and throw it in the bin."

Dan sat on the bed beside his wife, now playing along with her story. "And just what happened to this Billy character?"

"Oh, Billy gave me my spider back..." Her pause saw Dan's eyebrows raised, Emma then delivered the punchline. "He stuck it down the back of my dress, I didn't speak to him again after that."

Seeing Dan's grin started her own. "There's the man I married. Now, tell me what's really worrying you?"

When Dan started voicing his fears, Emma just let him go to get it off his chest. "It's Hermione. We put a young girl onto that train back in September and now find ourselves with a young woman by December. Even her letters changed since that Halloween, ever since she hooked up with her best friend - boyfriend - intended. Hermione has always been mature for her age but she seems to have pushed that concept to new limits - and then there's Harry..."

Pausing for a moment to arrange his thoughts, Dan then continued laying everything out to his wife. "The boy is like no other eleven year old we've ever met. He's polite, courteous, has impeccable manners. Harry's obviously wealthy, that little servant of his mentioned getting those rings out of a vault, and that owl of his is the most gorgeous bird I've ever seen. What eleven year old that you know of would use their money to buy their girlfriend books? We both know that with Hermione, books are better gifts than flowers, chocolates or even jewellery. How does an eleven year old boy figure that out? At eleven, I hadn't even figured out what a girl was, far less the best way to treat them."

"I'm more concerned about this family of his, Dan. Harry is exactly as you describe him, so, apart from him being your daughter's intended, what's not to like about the lad? The whole 'losing memory' thing concerns me too. It just seems too glib an excuse, except their headmaster confirmed every word of it. I remember Hermione mentioning this weird boy-who-lived thing before she left for Hogwarts. She'd worked out they would be in the same year-group and hoped to meet him. It would seem she got her wish..."

"Yeah, I completely forgot about the entire fame thing..."

"Probably because Harry wants nothing to do with it. You forgot to mention something else, those two are totally besotted with each other."

"I may not have mentioned it, I certainly didn't forget about it."

"Dan, they are both here with us for the next two weeks. Let's just see how that goes before worrying ourselves into a couple of ulcers. They're eleven and twelve, we've got at least a couple of years yet before we need to do that."

Slipping into bed beside his wife, he kissed her on the cheek. "I always knew you were the smart one, I'm so glad Hermione takes after you..."

"So, you married me because I was smart?"

A few more kisses followed as Dan confessed that was only one reason, there certainly were others. He then showed Emma exactly what those 'others' were. It was two happy and satisfied Grangers who finally fell asleep. They would deal with their daughter and her intended a day at a time for now, watching and learning as they went along.

-oOoOo-

Hermione was again reminded this version of Harry was different from the one she remembered. That Harry wouldn't have had a clue about buying clothes, this Harry had his own style and knew exactly what he wanted.

Her mother had already arranged to take today off work, expecting to have to be picking Hermione up in King's Cross. Instead, they were getting Harry a new wardrobe - in record time too. So much so that, by the time Harry insisted on treating them both to lunch, his clothes shopping was done.

Emma watched with concern at how close these two were, that concern though was balanced by the fact she'd never seen Hermione happier. When, during lunch, Harry mentioned needing to find presents for his family, Emma took that golden opportunity to ask a few questions about that particular subject that were troubling her.

Harry's brows furrowed in concern as he tried to answer those questions as honestly as he could. "Emma, I'm sorry but I just don't know what you're asking. After the troll incident, Hermione and I were chatting and she noticed I was talking about my family differently. I had apparently told her a few things before the incident, and my opinions had now changed radically. That's why we asked you to send the letter, I needed to know. Hermione was of course right, and everything I remember about my family is wrong - except to me. A healer and Professor Dumbledore have examined me, there's nothing to be done except be thankful I escaped with nothing worse than wonky memories. I have a slight confession to make though, I was Hermione's boyfriend before Halloween. She was the only person at Hogwarts I remembered, she has been my everything since."

That they were a couple before Halloween was not a startling revelation to the concerned mother, the extent of Harry's injury that night was. Rather than easing Emma's fears over Harry's memory loss, it gave her some brand new ones. She focused her attention on Hermione. "Could you please describe this troll to me?"

"It was about twelve feet tall, a ton of muscle with a very small brain. It had me trapped in that toilet and was closing in, that was until Harry arrived. He tried to distract it and, when that didn't work, ran and jumped onto its back. He had both arms locked around its neck as that creature went crazy, trying to fling him off..."

Harry's hand soon covered Hermione's, their rings glinting in the restaurant's subtle lighting. Harry was speaking to both Granger ladies, though knew each would take different meanings from his words. "Hermione blames herself for what happened to me, but it was my choice. I would make the exact same choice again in a heartbeat, your daughter really does mean everything to me."

Her daughter's smile at that affected Emma nearly as much as it did Harry, she still needed to ask questions though. "Where does that leave you, Harry?"

"Well, staying with you for Christmas, and I'm hoping for part of the summer too..."

This made Emma smile. "We just met yesterday but already I feel confident in saying you can stay with us anytime. That wasn't what I meant though, and I'm also sure you two knew that too."

Hearing that news really pleased Hermione. "Thanks mum, and yes, we both knew that. Harry's determined to connect with his family, and I'm determined to help."

"Oh dear, this is going to sound terrible but I need to ask. Will that be safe? Just how bad was the situation with your family?"

Harry's smile washed away her worries that she'd offended him. "You're a concerned parent, of course you have to ask. There is nothing to worry about though, nothing will happen to Hermione. We both have our wands and Dobby will be keeping a close watch on the situation. He won't let any harm come to us, and could have us both out of there in the blink of an eye."

Having seen the little elf in action, a wonderful dinner appearing on their table last night and then Harry's packages disappearing today when no one was looking, Emma was now a lot happier about the situation. "Dan and I will of course come with you too, if you want us to?"

"Thanks for offering, Emma, and maybe another time. I wanted to go alone for my first visit..."

"...but I wasn't standing for that. We'll be fine, mum, as long as I can hold my temper. I'm warning you now, Harry, I will not stand there quietly if they start belittling you."

"Nor me you. As you can see, Emma, we'll be fine."

After having his eyes tested, Harry paid extra to have his contacts ready before the Christmas break. They would now be available next day, Christmas Eve, so Harry was very happy with that. He would be delighted to lose the horrible glasses. After getting his hair cut, Harry began to feel more like himself. He noticed though this seemed to negatively affect Hermione's mood, so Harry quietly asked her about it first chance he got.

Seeing her mother was looking at something the other side of the store aisle, Hermione thought it was safe to talk. "With your haircut, new clothes and contacts, you're going to look just like the young man who approached me in the uni bar. The only problem is, I look nothing like the girl you approached..."

Harry leaned forward and gently kissed her lips, ending her rant and worries. "It's you I love, Hermione, not any specific part. The hair you think is bushy, the front teeth you think are too big, things like that don't matter to me. You being the person you are, my Hermione, that's what counts..."

It was Hermione who now kissed Harry, only to find her smiling mother standing behind her. "Is there any more shopping we need to do, or is it time to go home?"

"Just one more thing, and I was going to ask for your help with this. I want to buy some perfume for my Aunt Petunia, I just don't have a clue about things like that..."

Emma had heard what Harry had just said to her daughter. As far as she was concerned, this boy had just earned himself any help she could give. The three of them headed off to the perfume counter.

-oOoOo-

After having his contacts fitted on Christmas Eve, the plan was for Harry and Hermione to then visit Little Whinging - with Dobby providing the transport. Dan though put his foot down, insisting he and Emma would pick both of them up to head for home after they finished with their last patient. They weren't necessarily attempting to engineer a meeting with the Dursleys, rather just let these people know there was adult support behind both kids - and at approximately what time that support would arrive.

Their elven friend dropped the young couple on the outskirts of the estate that contained Privet Drive, leaving Harry and Hermione with about a five minute walk. Snow was lightly falling, lending a festive atmosphere as all the houses were decorated and lit for Christmas. Harry though wasn't feeling the festive spirit, Hermione could feel him shaking through their clasped hands.

"Harry, I won't be moving from your side today…"

"I know, it's not that I'm worried about. I'm assuming you're the same as me - in that every time you look in the mirror you don't see yourself. It's getting less and less of a shock as I get used to my new appearance as an eleven year old, this time though I'm going through the mirror again. This time it won't be a totally strange environment - like Hogwarts. This is supposed to be my home - my family. I'm dreading what I'm going to find but I need to know…"

Harry stopped talking as they had now entered Privet Drive, the door of number four was looming large.

Wondering who was at the door, and knowing her two boys wouldn't move from their television program to find out, Petunia headed down what she rather pretentiously called their entrance hall. She opened the door to find two lovely children standing there. Both were well dressed and it was easy to see they took a pride in their appearance - something she was always trying to instil into Dudley. "Yes, dears, can I help you?" Petunia then almost fainted on the spot, recognising the voice before the boy it came from.

"Hello, Aunt Petunia. We dropped by with some gifts, and to wish everyone a Merry Christmas. Oh, sorry, where are my manners. This is Hermione Granger, my best friend and whose family I'm currently staying with."

Hermione managed a 'Pleased to meet you, Ma'am' in a sweet voice, a not inconsiderable task considering inside she was raging. It was like a switch being flicked with this woman the instant she recognised her nephew, Hermione wondered if they were actually going to make it inside the house.

Realising she couldn't have a scene on the doorstep for the neighbours to witness, Petunia moved to allow them access. "You'd better come in then. how did you get here?"

"We got the bus, but my parents are picking us up after they finish work. With it being Christmas Eve, they're finishing early and will be here about half past three. We intended to be here a little earlier but Harry's appointment at the Opticians overran, making us late."

Since it was now just after two, Petunia was thinking at least they wouldn't have to suffer them for long. "What do your parents do, Hermione was it?"

"My parents have their own dental practice, both are dentists. Harry gave them your number in case some emergency turns up and delays them, I hope you don't mind?"

It was actually possible for the two kids to see the cogs whirling behind Petunia's eyes as her brain shifted gears. "Your parents are dentists? Don't you go to the same school as him.. Eh, Harry?"

Hermione felt her intended's wince at that comment, keeping her smile in place was a Herculean effort. "Of course we do, that's how we met."

Harry was being led through the house he grew up in by the woman who was the nearest thing to a mother he had, yet he felt as if he was in some horrible nightmare. Nothing was the same, and none of it was different in a good way. His Aunt's greeting was as cold as the winter weather and his home displayed not one trace of him. Pictures of Dudley were everywhere, and Harry didn't appear in any of them. He was clinging to Hermione's hand like it was his anchor in this emotional storm that threatened to overwhelm him.

Hermione stuck to Harry's side as if glued there. Returning to the house she hadn't set foot in for years, and then seeing her own parents being younger, was strange enough. She couldn't even begin to imagine how bad this must be for Harry, and it was just about to get a lot worse. While the telly was easily loud enough to mask their entrance, Harry's uncle managed to bellow over its volume without any trouble at his first sight of his nephew.

"What are you doing here, boy? We thought we might have gotten rid of you for good. Don't tell me those people you were staying with threw you out? Not that I blame them but you are not staying here, I won't have you ruining our Christmas..."

Harry was leaning into Hermione for support as the verbal blows kept coming, something Dudley was quick to pick up on. "Hey, dad, the freak's got himself a girlfriend..."

That was a step too far for Hermione, she sprang to Harry's defence. "Who are you calling a freak? Have you looked in the mirror lately?"

"I'll knock those big teeth right down your..."

Dudley couldn't say anymore as he was confronted by a very angry Harry Potter, a Harry Potter who was glowing with magic. Harry was also making the house shake and the lights blink.

"Don't even think about it, Dud. She could swat you like a bug, but I won't allow it to reach that stage."

"Harry, love, you need to calm down. You're only seconds away from blasting out all the windows. Just leave the presents you brought and we'll wait outside for my mum and dad. It will be warmer out there anyway, at least warmer than the welcome we received here. Wish them a Merry Christmas and we're gone..."

The girl had said the magic word as far as Dudley was concerned, everything else was forgotten instantly. "Presents, Potter brought us presents?"

The walrus though wasn't so easily appeased. "I hope these presents weren't bought in some freak shop..."

Turning her ire onto the large man, Hermione let him have it too. "I don't know what you consider to be a 'freak' shop, but Harry bought everything in Harrods. Drop the bag and let's go, Harry..."

"You will be going nowhere, except to sit down and have a cup of tea while we wait for Hermione's parents." Petunia then faced down her husband and son. "You two sit there and watch the telly, they'll be gone in an hour or so."

Hermione tugged Harry's hand to follow his aunt, he dropped the bag he'd held in his other hand and staggered on like a zombie. His emotions were all over the place, the shock of getting ready to flatten the boy he thought of as his brother just the latest to leave him numb inside.

Sitting at that kitchen table while his aunt made tea felt so normal yet utterly alien at the same time. An excited Dudley bursting in just added to the normality and alienness of the entire situation.

"Mum, mum, Potter got me a Sega Game Gear - and three games! Dad got gold cufflinks and you got some smelly stuff..."

"That's nice, diddums..."

At that Dudley raced back out, obviously to go and play with his new gift.

Hermione was appalled. Dudley had unwrapped all three presents, then appeared in Harry's presence and didn't even say thank you. Not only that, his mother made no attempt to reprimand her son - or at least remind him of his manners.

Petunia was actually too busy congratulating herself for not being the talk of the street. These two children standing out in the snow while waiting on being collected would surely have been noticed, it was Christmas Eve too. That they chose to spend so long standing out there, rather than be in this house, would certainly have had the girl's parents knocking on their door to discover the reason why.

No, Petunia would keep them in here drinking tea, she might even offer up the biscuit tin. It was also an opportunity to get the girl talking, and find out just what kind of people her parents were. That two dentists were saddled with a witch for a daughter was a tragedy, she wondered how they coped. Here was her chance to find out.

"Are you the first person with, you know, in your family, Hermione?"

Thinking seeing her and his aunt chatting might have Harry relaxing a little, Hermione tried to be sociable. "Oh yes, quite the shock for my mum and dad. It was explained to us however that I would need to go to our school to learn to control it, that doesn't mean we have to stay there forever."

Petunia well remembered her sister leaving for that school. Lily was never the same again, and when home couldn't wait to get back there. This girl seemed to have different ideas, and apparently her nephew was being counted in as part of everything Hermione had planned. She wanted to hear this different point of view, and not just out of nosiness. "What do you mean? I thought once you were in - that was it. Can you change, you know, switch it off?"

"You can't switch it off, but you can choose to live what we would all consider a normal life. We need to stay at our school until the end of our fifth year. Once you've sat those exams, that's you qualified to leave. If we can keep up with our normal coursework, we should still be able to sit our A levels and think about university...

"Harry? University?"

"Harry is very smart, easily smart enough for university. Harry and I are the top two students in our year..."

"Must be a small year!" Was shouted from the living room, then accompanied by loud laughter. Hermione hadn't even noticed the volume on the TV had been lowered.

Petunia turned her attention to her nephew. "And what do you think about this?"

Harry stared into the face that he remembered looking lovingly back at him, and he didn't recognise his Aunt Petunia. This version was broadcasting by her very demeanour that she didn't think he was good enough to go to university, she didn't think he was good enough for anything.

"I think I'm gonna be sick..." With that, Harry shot out of his seat, Hermione hot on his heels. He made the downstairs loo before regurgitating everything he'd eaten in the last fortnight - or at least that's how it felt. Harry had his head in the bowl while Petunia was shouting that, if he made a mess, he'd be cleaning it up. If Hermione wasn't so concerned for Harry, she would probably have scalped the uncaring bitch for that.

The downstairs loo was tiny, and also had two people already occupying it. That was why Dobby appeared standing in the wash hand basin, a potion to settle Harry's stomach in one hand and a glass of iced water in the other. Hermione quickly took them both, not wanting their little friend to be seen.

Harry knocked back the potion before sipping on the water. "Sorry for dragging you into this..."

She smiled back at him. "If I remember rightly, it was me who dragged you into this..."

"You didn't need to do much dragging, I would have followed you anywhere..."

"Are you two finished in there yet? Spray some air freshener, you know where I keep it."

In an act of defiance that made Harry grin, Hermione whipped her wand out and, a few spells later, the loo was not only pine fresh but spotless.

They headed back to the kitchen where Harry apologised. Vernon could be heard muttering loudly about good food wasted on people not worthy of it.

Petunia tried to turn the conversation around to summer, and specifically what Harry would be doing - or where he'd be staying.

Having a good read on these people now, Hermione decided on a little payback. "My mum's already said Harry can stay with us anytime. Then again, he took us both shopping in London yesterday, and also insisted on paying for lunch in a very nice restaurant. We usually go on holiday for a month at the summer, Harry will definitely be coming with us. It might be the South of France or Spain, though my dad keeps talking about trying Tuscany."

Vernon could be heard muttering again, this time about bloody foreigners, before the car horn brought relief to everyone - the Grangers were early. Jealousy was again on the menu as Vernon, looking out the window, asked if that was a company car her father was driving, giving Hermione another opportunity to rub their stuck up noses, especially the one with a dead rat under it, in their own jealous bile.

"My mum and dad are both dentists, and also run their own practice. I don't know if their car is a business expense or not, I just always remember my dad having a Range Rover. C'mon Harry, we're going to buy our tree - it's a family tradition." Hermione glancing over at the Dursleys' pathetic purple plastic one saw a stung Petunia defend her sterile supposed spruce.

"I wouldn't have a real tree in my house, you never know what you're bringing in with it."

Slipping her arm around Harry's waist, Hermione made sure they knew she wasn't talking about trees. "Oh, they're fabulous! You don't know what you're missing."

She was leading Harry toward the waiting car when they both heard Dudley whining behind them. "How come Potter gets to go on holiday abroad, and for a month? That's not fair, I want to go too..."

Only Harry heard Hermione mutter 'over my dead body' as she opened the car door and pushed him in, sliding in herself right behind her intended.

As they drove away, Dan was going to make a joke about the car having more than one door when a glance in the mirror at Hermione's face told him this wasn't the time. "As bad as that, Princess."

"No, dad, worse."

That she didn't react to his 'princess' jibe told both parents just how bad it was. Hermione had Harry wrapped in her arms, his silent sobs were still visible to Emma and Dan. "They didn't get physical or anything, did they?"

The sarcastic laugh from Hermione answered Emma's question before she spoke. "Dudley made some threatening noises in my direction, Harry nearly pulled the house down around their ears. My Harry is a very powerful wizard, the Dursleys caught a glimpse of that today. It should have scared the hell out of them but they are too stupid to understand what they witnessed. How my Harry grew up to be such a fine person while living there is a total mystery."

Hermione's jacket was open, they hadn't even been invited to take them off by the Dursleys, and she could feel Harry's tears soaking through her jumper. His face was buried there so no one would see him cry. Each tear he shed just added to Hermione's anger, anger though was not what was needed here. She proved this when her father asked 'what happens now?'

"They are Harry's family, that will be up to him. One thing is for certain, he won't be setting foot inside that house without me by his side."

-oOoOo-

Harry woke as he'd like to wake every single day for the rest of his life, wrapped lovingly in Hermione's arms.

"Hey, good to have you back with us."

"Sorry, I…"

"Shush, you have nothing to be sorry about. The short time we were there was enough to nearly drive me nuts, it must have been a hundred times worse for you."

"I felt as if I'd walked into that old horror movie, Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Those weren't the family I remember having."

This actually drew a giggle from Hermione. "Sorry, Harry. I was just imagining the size of pods that would have been needed for your cousin and uncle."

This drew a slight grin from Harry, before he realised where they were. They were snuggled in the back seat of the car, a car that was parked in the Grangers' driveway. "How long have we been here?"

"We arrived home only minutes ago. Mum and dad left me to wake you."

"Did you just forget about a tree?"

"No, I let those two big kids who were sitting in front pick our tree. Dad had only to get it around the side of the car where it couldn't be seen and Dobby popped it away. You have serious competition there, my parents like Dobby nearly as much as they do you."

"I'm just glad to be welcome somewhere, I certainly wasn't welcome at Privet Drive. I really don't know what to do next."

"Don't worry, I do. We enjoy our Christmas together then I need to sit with you and spill all my secrets. We'll deal with the Dursley problem then, along with all the others that talk throws up - but not until after Christmas." A quick kiss and Hermione had them heading inside, there to find her mum and dad standing drinking hot chocolate while admiring the beautiful tree.

"You've dressed the tree already?"

"Dobby had it decorated before we came home. Your little friend is incredible, Harry."

"Thanks, Dan, and sorry about earlier..."

Emma cut him right off. "Harry, we have only a vague idea of how painful that was for you, no apology is needed for us. I'm more pleased than I can say that you trusted Hermione enough to take her in there with you but remember, Dan and I are here for you too. I think that school of yours should be doing a lot more to help you with this. They caused the problem, and then you are left to deal with it on your own - that's just not right."

Thinking quickly, Harry closed that line of enquiry down. This was certainly not Hogwarts fault, and he didn't want anyone there knowing about it. "I haven't mentioned this to the school, I have my reasons. You may have heard I'm something of a celebrity in the magical world, there are even books written about my supposed life. Not having read them, I'm led to believe I had a wonderful childhood. They're pure fiction, no where do they mention having a family that doesn't want me and calls me a freak. If that got out, the Dursleys would be toast."

Dan's growl that it would serve them right saw Harry shake his head. "That would throw the question of my guardianship up in the air, there are powerful people who would actually like that. For all their faults, the Dursleys will let me live my own life - especially if they don't have to be a part of it. There are certain sections of magical society that will strongly object to Hermione and I being together. Even though their views on things like that are repulsive to me, they are mostly still considered respectable members of the community. Should someone like that gain guardianship of me, some of their laws are quite draconian. They could force Hermione and I apart until I'm seventeen, even broker a betrothal contract with the 'right type of witch' for me. I'll deal with the Dursleys any day of the week, rather than chance that happening."

Dobby appeared to take the young couple's jackets, and provide two mugs of his wonderful hot chocolate, so the discussion moved to the couches. Dan was clearly unhappy, and didn't care who knew it. "Betrothal contracts? Right type of witch? These people do know we're not living in the Victorian Era any longer, don't they? And this is the world we let our daughter enter, that McGonagall woman never mentioned any this."

"Dad, it's not all bad news." Hermione then tried the same spiel that she'd run past Petunia earlier, leaving Hogwarts after fifth year and considering university. This just seemed to make her father even angrier.

"Hermione, you just had your twelfth birthday a few months ago yet you sit there with your intended and are talking about university. What have they done to you? Where's the little girl I put on a train back in September?"

A shocked and tearful Hermione looked to Harry for advice, he soon gave it. "Your mum and dad can see something is wrong, they have also offered to help. You witnessed what happened when I met my family, this can't be allowed to screw up your relationship with your parents. They're good people, Hermione, and have been wonderful to me. Like you though, they're far too smart not to pick up on what's going on."

Nodding, Hermione called for Dobby. Saying it was a family meeting saw their little friend sit crosslegged on the floor.

"Mum, dad, what I'm going to tell you will seem nuts. Nevertheless, it's the truth. Please let me finish before you bombard me with questions, I'll answer all of them that I can later. I can't go too much into specifics about some things because that knowledge would be dangerous for you to have, I promise though I won't lie to you."

Seeing those shocked looks, Hermione pressed on before she lost her nerve. "We celebrated my last birthday in a little restaurant just outside Nice, about a fifteen minute drive from where we were living. I wondered why we didn't just let Dobby cook for us, I soon found out. One of mum's friends was there, along with her single, twenty year old law student of a son. Neither mother nor son were very happy that I pointblank ignored his advances, and that evening I had the worst fight I've ever had with my mother. It wasn't a very happy nineteenth birthday."

She took a sip of her hot chocolate and then smiled at Dobby, remembering that he had brought her the same drink that night as she lay crying on her bed. "The reason we were living in France, and also why I wasn't interested in anyone trying to find me a boyfriend is sitting right beside me. I've been in love with Harry Potter for over seven years and no one was going to take him away from me."

A cuddle from her intended settled Hermione for the worse part of her story. "The reason Harry wasn't there, and why we were living in France, was the dark lord had returned. Harry was there when it happened, and it cost another student from Hogwarts their life, but no one wanted to hear that terrible news. The magical government put him on trial with some manufactured charges. Harry, being Harry, called them a load of cowardly bastards who could all go and fuck themselves. Rather than accept his sound and sensible advice, they royally screwed him over. Dad, do you remember what McGonagall said would happen if we decided I didn't want to go to Hogwarts?"

With a growing sense of dread, Dan repeated the sentence that had horrified him at the time - actually it still did. "She said we would have our memories altered to forget all about magic, and you would have your magic bound."

"That's exactly what they did to Harry. He wasn't with me because he didn't even know who I was, they took him away just before I turned sixteen. Things in magical Britain started going downhill fast after Harry Potter's supposed trial. Professor Dumbledore was training me for what I needed to do, and also got you both out the country and settled in the South of France. I finished my fifth year at Hogwarts and then joined you, Professor Dumbledore was murdered soon after that. Harry was safe for now in our world while the magical one was torn apart. It took me another two and a half years to figure out exactly what I needed to do, when Voldemort really started looking for Harry though I was all out of time…"

"Time…you built a time machine?"

"No Dad, and there was no DeLorean involved. I'm a witch, I used my magic in a very specific ritual to throw both our spirits back in time. You and mum knew what I intended to attempt, and just how dangerous it was. That was why mum was trying to set me up with someone else, hoping I would change my mind. That just wasn't an option. We had a very tearful goodbye at Nice Airport, and you have no idea how pleased I was to see you both again. Harry's magic has returned with a vengeance but his memories are those the ministry gave him. What's particularly hurtful are his memories of growing up in a loving household with the Dursleys, the ministry obviously had to wipe their memories of magic too." Hermione was snuggling into Harry by this point and decided to finish it here.

"Dad, mum, it was never my intention to try and deceive you. Your future selves knew exactly what I was planning, and tried your best to support my choices. At that time you had only met Harry once, and that was briefly. All your objections were based on the fact that what I was planing was, in your opinion, way too dangerous for your daughter to be attempting."

A couple of astonished parents shared a glance before focusing on Harry, obviously wanting to hear his side of this.

"I was a first year veterinary student when I met this absolutely stunning young woman, ironically just before Christmas. For me it was like love at first sight, that troubled me because I'm not really like that. Hermione explaining that we had been best friends since I was eleven actually made more sense, in the strangest possible way. She knows I didn't really buy into the 'back to the future' thing, I was willing to cut my new girlfriend all the slack I could though. I was already thinking about introducing her to my family, and meeting hers. I knew in my heart of hearts she was the one, and she still is. My life has since changed beyond all recognition, your daughter is the one thing that still keeps me going."

Everyone recognised it was now question time. Dan intended to start off gently and build up to the big stuff. Like Harry, hearing their explanations made some sense to Dan, again in the strangest possible way. These two simply couldn't be eleven and twelve. "You mentioned Dobby was with us in France, is he in on this too?"

"Dobby is my friend, my family, the brother I never had. Without him, we wouldn't be sitting here. While performing the ritual, Harry and I were attacked. Dobby dealt with the attackers but found himself dragged back in time too - and, while we didn't know that was possible, all three of us couldn't be any happier about that. In the original timeline, Dobby was a slave to a family that treated him worse than an animal. Harry freed him and these two have been great friends ever since. Dobby counts any friend of Harry's as a friend of his too, that's the reason he was with us in France."

The little elf was almost glowing with pride and happiness. It was a measure of how comfortable Dobby was in this company that he felt able to speak about the situation. "Dobby has his whole family together for the first time ever, this makes Dobby a very happy house elf. House elves is allowed to protect their families, Dobby will protect his family."

This saw Emma wade right into the discussion. "All this talk of danger and protection, just how much danger are we in? Apparently moving to the South of France took us out of that danger the last time, what's to stop us doing the same again?"

"That would be me!"

All eyes were now on Harry again as he tried to explain that comment. "Hermione told me this psycho is determined to kill me, and a little thing like the English Channel isn't going to put him off. You were safe in France the last time because I wasn't with you…"

"…and Dobby and I didn't travel back in time to then leave Harry behind. This is one of the times you're going to have to trust my judgement, trust me though that I didn't go through three and a half years worth of very taxing work and tons of trouble to lose my Harry now. Harry and I both agreed, first sign of things getting as bad as they were before and we're all out of the country. You've both talked about Australia in the past, or was that in the future? That's the kind of move we might have to make, right round to the other side of the world from Britain."

"Hermione is teaching me magic so I can defend myself against any attack. Neither of us has any intention of going looking for trouble, and Dobby keeps an eye on us so that any trouble heading our way doesn't catch us unawares."

"Who else knows about this, that you two came back in time?"

"Only Professor Dumbledore, dad, and he doesn't know any details. He's a master at a technique that can pick thoughts right out your head. His future self taught me how to shield against that, and then made me take an oath not to tell his past self specific information. When the professor tried to read my thoughts, he not only found them shielded but recognised who taught me. I think that really scared him, that things must have gotten so bad he would help me learn how to travel back in time. It really was a desperate measure, a real last resort shot in the dark. This Professor Dumbledore is now a changed man, and he's also helping make the future a brighter one."

Questions and answers were then batted around for the next couple of hours, Dobby popping away and returning with some snacks. No one felt like sitting down to dinner tonight. Hermione was relieved her parents appeared to be accepting their story, and also that they couldn't be told certain things for fear of that information reaching others. Knowing she had absolutely no interest in football, her father had told her what to say if this situation ever came about. "Dad, Leeds United sign some Frenchman, Eric Cantona, and then go on to win the league. I've no idea if that's true, or whether your future self was playing some prank on me."

Knowing his daughter's absolute indifference to his beloved football, he had to accept he did indeed give her that message to pass on. Accepting these two were indeed time travellers, Dan then focused his attention and questions on a different area. "I'd like to know exactly what your relationship is now, and please be honest with us."

Honesty was exactly what Dan got from Harry. "I'm an eighteen year old man in an eleven year old body. Even saying that out loud seems weird and rather creepy, far less having to live with it every day. Hermione had trouble even kissing me because it felt to her like she was taking advantage of some kid. That is the total extent of our physical relationship at the moment, and neither of us can see that changing for the foreseeable future."

This appeared to please both parents so Harry pushed the honesty further. "While Hermione was teaching me how to protect my mind, she would sneak into my four poster bed. We would spend a couple of hours late at night working on that before snuggling in together, both of us of course in our pyjamas. Dobby would then pop her back to her own bed in the morning. I fully intend to marry your daughter, our journey down that road will of course be tempered by the ages of our bodies - rather than our minds. We're in no hurry though, we'll have the rest of our lives to spend together."

Hermione kissed his cheek at that while Dan seemed to give that answer careful consideration before nodding his head and rising from the couch. He offered Harry his hand.

"Welcome to the family, Harry."

After the reception he'd received in his own home earlier, Harry felt himself choking up at the meaning behind Dan's gesture. Emma then hugging him with the same sentiment had his eyes welling up. Dan then offering Dobby his hand, and also welcoming the little guy to their family saw those wells overflowing. Emma then hugging Dobby too meant Harry wasn't the only one with a few tears on his cheeks.

-oOoOo-

Harry lying in bed wide awake had nothing to do with it being Christmas Eve, he'd just had quite the day. Hermione entering his room was a surprise, her pulling back the covers and slipping in beside him was a shock - though a very welcome one.

Snuggling in, Hermione offered something of an explanation. "I've just had one of the most surreal conversations of my life. Considering some of the ones we've had recently, even counting those earlier today, that's really saying something."

Kissing the top of her head, Harry held her and encouraged the telling of her story. "Mum just tried to apologise to me about an argument we haven't had yet, nor will ever have. She didn't want me, or you, thinking she didn't like my choice of intended. She and dad both think we're well suited, though are still understandably weirded out by the age thing."

"Love, we've had a couple of months of dealing with this and it still occasionally catches us out. Not that I'm complaining, but what are you doing in bed with me. If I've just got your parents' approval, I don't want to blow it right away."

Snuggling in further and getting comfortable, Hermione signalled she wasn't going anywhere. "Mum and dad now recognise what a horrendous day you just had, and feel as if they've just added to it with all their questions tonight. She said I could snuggle in with you, providing that was all we did. I think I may have shocked her by saying we didn't have the bodies to do anything else. I certainly never dropped the word 'yet' anywhere in that conversation."

Finally beginning to relax, Harry started to snuggle in too. His mumbled 'best Christmas present ever' saw Hermione fall asleep with a grin on her face.

 
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