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.


15. Families

It wasn't really fair to say that dawn broke over the island prison of Azkaban. This far north, and only a couple of weeks from the summer solstice, it never actually got dark enough for dawn to be really noticeable. Today's dawn though was certainly going to be different on the island - a day like no other on the rock.

Prisoners get used to the routine of being incarcerated. For the longer term prisoners, it becomes all they have. Even small changes to that routine could be startling. Someone opening your cell door outside of routine certainly qualified as something startling.

Squinting his eyes to ensure the information they provided was correct, Merlin forbid he blurt the imagined person's name out loud and possibly make a right fool of himself. A single word finally found its way past a pair of cracked lips. "Ami?"

She stood there for what seemed like an eternity before answering. "You look like shit, Sirius."

Yip, that was definitely Ami Bones. "And you still tell it like it is."

Desperately trying not to get his hopes up, the marauder attempted to insert some humour into a situation that clearly didn't have any. "Don't take this the wrong way, Ami, but I hope you're not sneaking into my room to have your wicked way with me..."

"Sirius, we caught Pettigrew..."

He tried not to react, he really did. Stopping the tears running down his cheeks was just never going to happen. That Sirius managed not to break down sobbing was going to be counted by him as a massive victory. Of all the questions that now flooded into his thoughts, there was one that he really needed to know the answer to. "My godson, Harry?"

"It was Harry who discovered him. Your godson has this unbelievable map of Hogwarts that led us straight to the little rat bastard. We hardly had to lean on Pettigrew at all before he was spilling his guts and telling us everything. How he got sorted into Gryffindor I'll never know. You're free, Sirius, and I'll make sure the rat gets allocated this cell when we ship his arse to Azkaban."

Sirius then lost his so recently hard won victory. Sirius Black sobbed like a baby. As Amelia helped him to his feet and out of the cell door, Sirius just kept repeating the same phrase over and over again.

"My godson's a Marauder, my godson's a Marauder..."

In a different part of the prison, another cell door opened.

"Well, you are the last person I expected to see."

"If there is one thing my many years have taught me, it's that none of us know what's around the corner. How have you been, Severus?"

"This is obviously not a social call, Albus. Do us both a favour and get straight to the point."

"Oh I'm sorry, Severus. I didn't realise you got to talk with people all day and were tired of conversation. You are right though, I am here for a specific reason. The traps on the third floor were sprung. Unfortunately, some students thought they were set up specifically as a challenge to them."

"Let me guess, stupid Gryffindors. Why should I care?"

"A student consumed at least one of your poison potions."

There was nothing said for a moment or two before Severus reiterated his earlier position. "Again, why should I care? You are the headmaster, I did exactly what you asked. The fault is yours."

"That is the position I have taken on this matter but, unfortunately, it is known who brewed the potions. If you refuse to help, you may find yourself facing further charges. At the very least, those two years of your sentence currently suspended will be enforced."

Finding himself once more between a rock and a hard place, Severus wanted to rage at the injustice of this. The fact that he'd been a model prisoner from the day and hour he'd been dumped in this shithole apparently just counted for nothing. He was now being held accountable for something Dumbledore had practically ordered him to do, and he'd actually almost forgotten all about. Sometimes, fate just had it in for him.

"If I do help, what's in it for me?"

Anticipating this argument, Albus had discussed this specific scenario with Amelia on their way to Azkaban. "Save this boy's life and I'm positive we can at least waive those extra two years, with a distinct possibility of early release. You do realise however that working in Britain again wouldn't really be an option?"

Having worked that out the same day he'd been sentenced, Severus only nodded.

"If the boy dies, I'm afraid the future is looking bleak for both of us. I understand this is not your fault, rather a miscalculation on my part. I will state that very fact in court but I fear, should the worse happen, the student's death would have a terrible effect on everyone involved."

Suddenly having a horrendous thought, Severus just had to ask the question that popped into his head. "This boy who drank the poison, is it Potter?"

"Severus, I'm disappointed that information would make a difference to your decision. Let me categorically state that the boy in question is not Harry Potter. I'll give you a magical oath to that effect if you so wish." Albus had no intention of telling Severus any details of what happened tonight, and Amelia agreed he would be kept incommunicado while working on this.

Knowing the complexity of Severus' potions, Albus had to concede that a simple bezoar wouldn't save Ronald Weasley. The boy would also be dead long before any other potions master could begin to decipher what specific poisons he had actually drank. Albus really didn't want to consider the possibility that the boy might have consumed more than one. If that were to be the case, then even Severus' great skill might not be enough to save Molly and Arthur's youngest son.

Although he was taking a few minutes to supposedly make his mind up, both wizards in that cell understood Severus really didn't have a decision to make. The mere chance of early release - balanced against the absolute certainty of at least another two years added to his sentence - ensured Severus Snape was going to do his utmost to save this stupid Gryffindor.

"I'm assuming we won't be doing any brewing in this cell?"

"If you're agreeable, we'll leave at once for St. Mungo's."

Severus stood and walked out of his cell, hopefully for the last time.


With the senior staff being up all night, and the defence professor being dead, classes were canceled on Friday. Since exams had finished yesterday, this was looked upon by the students as a welcome break. That was until Lavender and Parvati began to spread throughout the school the epic story of what had actually taken place last night.

Harry and Hermione grabbed the twins for a quiet chat, only to discover McGonagall had already told them Ron was in a bad way. He'd been transferred to St. Mungo's and both their parents were now keeping a vigil by his bedside. Harry tried to apologise for not getting to Ron quickly enough but the twins were having none of it.

"The way we heard it, Ron was facing you-know-who on his own."

"Yeah, and about to be murdered - until you stepped out from under your cloak."

Fred then got as serious as the twins ever get. "It's only thanks to both of you we've still got a younger brother. If Ron loses this battle, it's not your fault. You did everything you possibly could, no one can ask for more than that."

There were some strong embraces between the four, and a lot of surreptitious eye wiping. George then got things back to normal. Well, as normal as possible for when the Weasley twins were involved.

"Just one thing, Harry. Did you really tell one of the deadliest dark lords in history to fuck off?"

Hermione wrapped her arms around her man. Offering Harry all the comfort she could while trying to keep things light. Only she knew Harry had cried in her arms last night because he had ended a man's life.

"Yes he did. That was after my hero sprung to my defence. He disarmed Voldemort and then punched his face in."

Harry tried to smile, but it was hard.

As the day progressed, the unwanted attention got so bad it was actually a welcome break to sit in their private rooms and listen to Neville's somewhat normal problems.

"I like Parvati, I really do. One kiss though and she's already picking the wedding dress - with her sister and Lavender as bridesmaids. I know you two are very happy with the commitment you've made, but I'm nowhere near ready for something like that. How did you two figure out what you wanted?"

Hermione was sitting on Harry's knee, she hadn't been out of physical contact with him since the incident last night. She'd almost dragged Harry in the shower with her this morning. He'd past the offer bye, saying he wanted the first time they saw each other naked in these bodies to be special - and he didn't feel special today. Since the kiss he gave her in thanks for offering just about curled her toes, Hermione wasn't really complaining. While the spirit was certainly willing, both of them thought these bodies were still too young for anything other than kissing.

"It was simple, Neville. Any boy who would take on a troll with his bare hands to save you really has to be a keeper." This actually drew a small smile from Harry, before he got serious again.

"It really is simple, Nev. I love her with everything that I am. Explaining that is the hard part. Her happiness means much more to me than my own, her life too. When Voldemort ordered Quirrell to kill the bitch with his bare hands, I forgot all about magic and attacked him like a wild animal. I would have bitten the ugly bastard's nose off, if he had one to bite. No one is taking my Hermione away from me. They'll need to kill me first."

It was a wide-eyed Neville who stared back at them. "Well, I certainly don't feel that way about Parvati. I don't know if I could ever feel that way about anyone."

"It'll come, Nev - though probably not after just one kiss. Hermione is my future, she'll be my wife, the mother of our children. That's what Voldemort tried to take from me last night, that's why I reacted the way I did. I hope you understand, Nev, because we really value your friendship. I'd hate for this to change things between us."

Recognising this was important to Harry, Neville spoke straight from the heart. "I'm only sorry I wasn't down there with you to lend a hand. I can also only hope I would react as well, placed in a similar situation. It's obvious you're hurting over this, just like I can see Hermione is trying to help you. Anything I can do, just ask - though no kissing or cuddling. I'm leaving Hermione in charge of that."

"Thanks Nev, for everything. The rest of the school can and will think what the hell they like. Loosing friends over this would have really hurt though."

"Never going to happen, mate."

Hermione again held her man in bed all night. Harry might have been restless but she counted this as an improvement on the previous night. She was relieved and delighted her parents would be in the castle tomorrow. Dobby would have kept them informed and they would certainly help both of them cope with this.

At breakfast next morning however, things once more took a turn for the worse - from Harry's point of view that is. Far too many people knew what had actually happened so neither Harry nor Hermione had expected the story to be kept quiet. Between Lavender and Parvati, they knew just about everything that had taken place that night. Also, thanks to both the gossiping girls, the entire castle had been made aware of this - with blow by blow accounts being told to anyone who stood still long enough to hear the story.

The Daily Prophet had surprised Hermione, she'd expected all knowledge that Voldemort had tried to make a comeback to be quashed by the Ministry of Magic. The view adopted by the newspaper appeared to be that, as long as they had Harry Potter, the Dark Lord needn't be feared.

This view frightened and excited Hermione, almost in equal measures. While it gave them great leverage to begin introducing the changes they needed, the backlash should they decide to leave Hogwarts and Britain would now be off the scale. It was going to be a hard balance to maintain.

It would appear too that Harry was no longer the Boy-Who-Lived, at least if the Prophet's headline were to be believed. In a banner headline, they had rechristened him the Boy-Who-Banished.

Skimming over the story, which appeared almost factual, Hermione had to delve into the newspaper before finding what she was looking for on page seven. With a delighted squeal, she drew Harry's attention to it.

She saw his first genuine smile in a couple of days while reading that a miscarriage of justice had been rectified. The supposedly deceased Peter Pettigrew had of course been stripped of his Order of Merlin and was now in Azkaban. That Sirius Black had been cleared of all charges and currently spending some time in St Mungo's recuperating was certainly welcome news to his godson.

His morning improved even more when Dean and Seamus approached them. Both had just been released from the infirmary, though Seamus was only being let out for the duration of the quidditch match. His hands were still wrapped in bandages so he couldn't shake theirs in thanks. Hermione solved that problem by pulling him into a hug.

"I'm just glad to see you looking a lot better than when we found you."

Just then, Dumbledore stood to address the hall. The time travellers knew a long conversation with the headmaster was in their future, things would need time to settle down first however.

"By now, all of you will have heard what transpired on the third floor the other night, and why I specifically forbade anyone from going there. I'm delighted to say that our missing student, Mister Ronald Weasley, is making great strides with his latest treatment. He's now expected to make a full recovery, though probably won't be rejoining us before the end of term."

There was no cheering of that news, more a mass feeling of relief sweeping along the Gryffindor table. Fred and George wore genuine smiles for the first time since the news of the incident broke.

Harry sat beside Hermione to try and eat some breakfast, relieved his morning appeared to be improving. The rate of that improvement reached stratospheric proportions as Hagrid led three people into the hall. Harry and Hermione were expecting two of them, the third was a total surprise.

He was out his seat and moving before even realising it. Here was the person who had comforted him his entire life, Harry actually broke into a run.

Feeling as if her senses were shutting down from information overload, Petunia was physically shocked back to reality by her nephew slamming into her and holding on for dear life.

"Oh Aunt Petunia, I've missed you so, so much."

Petunia was standing in the Hogwarts Great Hall with a tearful child clinging to her, she did the only thing she could. She wrapped her arms around him while making nonsensical but comforting noises to the child.

While wiping her own eyes at the scene she was watching, and desperate to race to her own parents, Hermione had one thing she needed to do first.

She leaned in to speak quietly with the Gryffindor Quidditch Captain. "Oliver, Harry will be staying with us as long as possible before the match. He won't need a team talk today. With his aunt here, he would fly through a brick wall to win the game. Play this right and you'll get your hands on that cup today."

Having heard and now read what had happened the other night, Oliver had been very concerned that three of his team might not be able to play today. Looking over at his beaters who were now laughing and joking too, Oliver just nodded. He never expected to be in this position at the start of the season anyway, so he was just going to cut all of them some slack and enjoy today's final game.

Hermione then slammed into her mum. "You like our surprise dear?"

"Mum, you and dad are the greatest. This is the best thing you could possibly have done for Harry. You will need to tell me how you managed it though."

Hermione was soon in her father's arms as her mother whispered she would find out later. Hermione could wait.


When Emma presented the opportunity to visit Hogwarts and watch her nephew playing some sort of magical sport, Petunia had jumped at the chance. It had been a long held dream of her youth to visit the enchanted castle where her sister had attended school. Through her teenage years, Petunia had been forced to accept it was a dream she was being deliberately excluded from - yet her younger sister got to go and live there for most of the year.

She had buried that unfulfilled desire deep in her psych, and that's where the trouble began. Like a seed planted in fertile ground it had started to grow. This germination was not a healthy cultivation though. It was a malignant weed, and its name was resentment. As resentment grew stronger and stronger, it started to lignify into its terrible relative - hatred.

Petunia could admit that now. Admit that over the years her resentment had grown into hatred, and that hatred had become focused on the roots of her resentment - Lily. It had been oh so easy to transfer that hatred from her now dead sister to a baby that looked back at her with Lily's eyes.

The invitation for Petunia to finally visit Hogwarts not only felled the now virtual forrest of hatred like a chainsaw cutting through butter, it ripped any remaining stumps of resentment out by their roots and left a fertile field waiting to be sown with whatever dreams and aspirations she chose.

She had been reminded by Emma that Harry had different memories of his time spent at Privet Drive. She didn't say more pleasant memories, but Petunia knew that's what Emma meant. With her weekend visit to Hogwarts now confirmed, Petunia was as giddy as a schoolgirl. Here was a fresh start, her chance to see what was denied her the first time around with Lily. This time Petunia Dursley, nee Evans, was wanted too.

By the time Lily died, their relationship had deteriorated to the point where she hadn't even grieved for her baby sister. Petunia was far too busy cursing the magical people for dumping her unwanted nephew on their doorstep. With both Granger ladies making it abundantly clear the status quo regarding Harry's treatment by her family simply wasn't an option any more, it was time to reconsider what sort of relationship she could build with her nephew.

Arriving at the Grangers on the Friday evening, Petunia was instantly aware something was wrong. Emma said there had been some sort of attack at Hogwarts and of course their children had been right in the middle of it. While assured both Hermione and Harry were fine, there had been a fatality. They were sitting around the dinning table, waiting on someone called Dobby arriving, when Petunia gave a startled squeal. Their starters had just appeared on the table, and a strange little creature now sat amongst them.

While Petunia had already decided her treatment of Harry would have to change, discovering this little creature was looking out for her nephew radically altered the situation. They had apparently been expecting trouble the evening before and Dobby had shadowed them all night, providing the three avid listeners with a blow by blow account of exactly what had happened. On hearing that her nephew had killed a professor, who was admittedly trying to murder Hermione at the time, Petunia just didn't know what to think.

Dan Granger seemed to sit that little bit straighter while Emma was in tears at what poor Harry was forced to do. Dobby must have said he would protect his family on at least three separate occasions before Petunia understood that message was aimed at her. Dan explained that Dobby was their secret weapon, and had orders to remain invisible unless the two children found themselves in a situation they couldn't handle.

Watching as the little creature snapped its fingers and their delicious starters were replaced by a main course sent a shiver of dread down Petunia's spine. The creature's size obviously bore no relation to the magical power it possessed. She could easily imagine those fingers being snapped at Vernon or Dudley if they treated the boy cruelly. It was harder to imagine what the creature's magic would do to the men in her life. It took no imagination whatsoever to understand this little creature was totally devoted to her nephew and his girlfriend. Dobby would react if either was threatened, though he would apparently need to be quick to beat Harry to the task if Hermione was in danger.

Thinking of her nephew's words spoken back before Christmas, when Dudley had tried to intimidate Hermione, it would now seem they'd had a lucky escape. Going anywhere near the girl with bad intentions was certainly something Vernon and Dudley would have to avoid.

Petunia didn't sleep much that night, and then thought a cruel joke was being played on her when invited to touch an old boot next morning. Travelling from Crawley to the Scottish Highlands in a matter of seconds was something Petunia would never forget. She could hardly forget the giant of a man who was waiting to greet them when they arrived either. The last time they met, this brute had given her Dudley a tail.

Her first sight of the castle though was everything she had imagined - and more. Petunia had found herself becoming overawed by the strange sights continually assaulting her senses, that stopped abruptly when her nephew crashed into her in that hall. She looked down and saw her baby sister's eyes looking back up at her, almost begging to be comforted. Petunia couldn't help it, her arms just closed around Harry.


Hermione was again proven right. While Hufflepuff were a good team, and playing a great match - Gryffindor were in the process of forging a great team. Gryffindor were also a team currently inspired to reach beyond their best. The twins had just discovered their youngest brother was going to pull through after drinking deadly poison. They played today with a vim and verve that unbelievably eclipsed their usual enthusiasm. Harry however was simply sensational.

The reason for Harry's phenomenal flying was currently sitting in the stands, wedged between Hermione and Emma. While the only time Emma's gaze left Harry was when she couldn't help fearfully covering her eyes with her hands, Petunia was trying to absorb the entire experience. Her biggest problem would be not being able to tell anyone, other than Vernon and Dudley, what she had seen.

As her dad was on his feet, cheering and applauding another Gryffindor goal, Hermione took the opportunity to speak with Petunia.

"I'd like to thank you for coming today. You can clearly see it means the world to Harry."

This girl confused Petunia. She decided just to air that confusion. "I understand you were Harry's girlfriend before he lost his memory. Your mum also said Harry had talked to you about his time living at Privet Drive…"

Shrugging her shoulders, Hermione told Petunia what she needed to know. "You're Harry's family. One day you'll be my family too. We each have a choice to make about just how close that family will be. I know what Harry wants, and I'll try my damnedest to see he gets it."

Seeing the confusion, Hermione explained further. "When Harry came around on Halloween, he didn't know where he was - or who any of the people around us were. All he remembered was me. We'd been growing close before that night. After Halloween, we were inseparable. Harry thinks of you as his mother, and Dudley as his brother. When I mentioned he hadn't said that before injuring his head, he said something that really made me stop and think…"

She actually had to stop for a moment again as the stadium erupted when Gryffindor scored yet another goal. Petunia though was now more interested in hearing what this girl had to say than watching the match.

"Harry asked if someone telling me all the memories I had of my parents were wrong would change the way I felt about them. I love my mum and dad very much so I had to say no. That's the position Harry finds himself in. He loves you very much, and our Christmas visit to Privet Drive broke his heart. The other night Harry had to do something terrible. Deep inside he knows he did the right thing, he needed to hear that though from someone he loves. I've been helping him cope but, just by turning up here today, you've helped him more."

The yells of the crowd again interrupted their discussion as Cedric went into a dive. Harry was soon right beside him with both seekers pulling out at the very last second, almost brushing against the grass on the pitch. Everyone in the stadium already knew what Lee was only now announcing. Cedric had attempted a fake and Harry had covered it - without being fooled. They were laughing and high-fived each other before both seekers got themselves back into the game. Hermione had seen the camera flashes from the crowd and was thankful that, once again, Dumbledore had barred the press from speaking to the players - especially Harry. When his search pattern saw him flying right alongside where they were sitting, the cheers for Harry from the Gryffindors was deafening.

"I can't believe that's the same boy we took to King's Cross back in September..."

Smiling at Petunia, Hermione confessed her parents had said almost exactly the same thing to her when they arrived home for Christmas. "Coming to Hogwarts from a non magical home puts you at a hellish disadvantage when you first enter the castle. Things that others take for granted, we haven't a clue about. It really is a different world and you have to adapt fast or sink. Both of us almost sank..."

Although this was a young girl speaking, the hurt in her words belied those years. "That Halloween, something was said to me that I thought was the final straw. I was sitting in a girls' bathroom, crying my eyes out, when a ten foot tall troll decided to wreck the place. I was trapped in a corner as it closed in on me, only for Harry to come bursting in and jump on it as a distraction. Harry now being in deadly danger forced me get up and take action. I used my magic and forced the troll's own club to knock it out, but I didn't manage to do all that before Harry got injured."

Petunia had lost all interest in the match now, she was far more concerned with what Hermione was going to say next. "All that we had learned in those two hard months of being dropped into an alien culture, Harry had now forgotten. He didn't even know he was a wizard. Harry wanted to go home, go back to his family. He only stayed because of me. The school, hell - even the government, are now bending over backwards to keep Harry at Hogwarts. We know this and are angling for changes to be made, changes like you and my parents being here today. Three muggles at a Hogwarts quidditch match, that has never happened before..."

It was a thoughtful Petunia who was now joining the dots, not forgetting to add the one where Hermione had earlier said they were almost certain to meet the magical equivalent of the Prime Minister today.

"When Lily came home from Hogwarts, she had changed so much. Looking around today, I can now understand some of the reasons for those changes. As a young teenage girl, I just saw something taking my sister away from me - and I was so angry at Lily for letting it happen. We were once very close you know. So close that, even although magic terrified me, I wrote to Dumbledore and asked if I could attend Hogwarts too. I didn't want to be parted from Lily for ten months every year. Not only was I told I wasn't wanted, they took my baby sister away from me too. If I could have spent the odd weekend here, saw some of what Lily was doing, met her friends, shared more common ground we could talk about when she was home - who knows what might have happened?"

What happened next was the stadium erupting as Harry shot up and snatched the snitch from just above Oliver's goals. This meant his captain was the first person to tackle Harry in celebration, though the other five were close behind.

Hermione was on her feet too, applauding like mad. Harry broke from the airborne scrum of Gryffindor players and flew toward her. After a congratulatory kiss, Harry turned to the person next to her.

"Aunt Petunia, I would like you to have this - as a memento of your visit."

She could see the thing flapping in his hand. It was obviously magical and Petunia was already beginning to back away. "Oh, I couldn't... Is that..."

Seeing the change come over Petunia, Hermione helped her reach the decision that would delight Harry. "Yes, that's a GOLDEN snitch. Harry catching it won the cup for Gryffindor. I keep mine in a special box, I'll make you a copy of my box for yours when we get back to our rooms."

With trembling hands, Petunia wrapped her fingers around the walnut size golden ball, trying not to notice the flapping silver wings.

"Gotta go, we've a cup to collect." Wearing a massive smile, Harry flew back down to rejoin his teammates.

Hermione advised Petunia to put the snitch in her bag for now, least it fly away. It was soon safely ensconced in her favourite designer handbag, with the thought that selling this snitch could probably raise enough money to buy another six bags like this one.

With even the Hufflepuffs applauding the Gryffindor captain being presented with the cup, it had turned into a fabulous final for all the visitors to see. The reception after the match should be fun but Hermione already knew they would be giving the after match party in Gryffindor tower a miss. Both she and Harry would want to spend as much time with their visitors as possible.


Petunia was really not comfortable attending the reception held after the match but both Granger ladies promised to stick close. This in turn gave Petunia a front row seat for the events that unfolded during the get-together.

Arthur Weasley had made his way to Hogwarts, again bringing Ginny along too, but this time there was no questioning of Dan and Emma. Until Harry arrived, his main focus of attention was Hermione.

"I really can't put our family's gratitude into words. Without yours and Harry's interventions, it would have been a coin toss which killed Ron first - the poison he drank or you-know-who. Either way, he wasn't coming out of there alive..."

Instead of answering Arthur, Hermione was far more concerned about his daughter. Ginny had tears streaming down her cheeks so Hermione placed a comforting arm around her shoulder. This was the final straw for the littlest Weasley, she broke into sobs while clinging to the older witch.

Ginny's emotional breakdown was missed by most in the room since that was the same moment both quidditch teams arrived. Harry and the twins though had certainly noticed. Shaking hands with those that couldn't be avoided, they quickly made their way over to their families. It was Arthur who offered an explanation to the group, his own fragile emotional state clear for everyone to see.

"She's been really strong over the last few days. Hearing the news that Ron is going to recover has affected all of us. Molly wouldn't leave Ron's bedside, she hasn't left it since we got to St Mungo's. Harry, I need to thank you too for what you did..."

He found himself being interrupted by a scoffing Fred. "Good luck with that, Dad."

"Yeah. Our Harry here tried to apologise to us - for not getting to Ron quicker."

It was Ginny who then managed to speak between her sobs. "But Ron was the one who tried to get you chucked out of Gryffindor. Why would you fight you-know-who to save him?"

"Because it was the right thing to do - and that's who my Harry is." With one arm still holding Ginny, Hermione's free arm snaked around Harry's waist as the couple shared a gentle kiss.

The inclusion of Harry to this group had greatly increased people's interest in it, something the politician in Cornelius was naturally aware of. He chose this as his moment to act, understanding that soon everyone in the room would be focused on them. With Amelia at his side, the Minister of Magic made his presence known.

"Miss Granger is of course correct. What she omitted to mention however is that she was at his side for the entire adventure, making contributions to the rescue mission that were every bit as vital. That is why the Ministry are going to award each of you Orders of Merlin. This still needs to be ratified by the Wizengamot but I'm hoping to make both of them First Class."

Hermione was for once rendered speechless, it was left to Harry to raise their objections. "Thank you for the offer, Minister, but neither Hermione nor I deserve such an honour."

This time it was Amelia who answered Harry's objection as the crowd around the group grew.

"I couldn't disagree more. You both knew Voldemort was down there, and that help was on the way, yet neither of you hesitated when four of your classmates were in deadly danger. Had you not done so, at least two could have died - and we would have been left facing Voldemort."

Cornelius was nodding in agreement. "You went down there not looking for glory but to rescue classmates. Even after rescuing three of them, and knowing the Dark Lord was through that final door, you still pushed ahead to save the fourth. As Arthur's youngest just pointed out, this boy was not your friend - but still you went ahead. While watching the situation unfold from under an invisibility cloak, both you and your intended left that safety to face a Dark Lord whose very name terrifies almost everyone in this room. By any definition I've ever heard of, both your actions that night are steeped in heroism - heroism that deserves to be acknowledged by a very grateful country."

Augusta Longbottom may have started the applause but it was soon taken up by almost everyone in the room. Only three shocked muggles and their pair of charges weren't caught up in the enthusiasm of this announcement. The twins were busy shaking both their hands and Ginny had stopped crying, though her blush at having kissed Harry on the cheek might never fade.

Hermione was left trying to explain the situation to the three muggle parents, and also to some extent Harry. "An Order of Merlin, First Class, is the highest award for bravery in magical society. The only thing I can think of to compare it with is a solider receiving the Victoria Cross."

This did the trick as Emma and Dan soon had both of them wrapped up in proud hugs. Petunia just stood there, not knowing the shocks weren't over yet.

Turning to Albus, Cornelius paid the headmaster the courtesy of asking for something he knew would instantly be granted. Everyone in that room wanted Harry Potter to stay in Britain, and would aid the Minister's efforts in every way possible. Cornelius really wanted to tear strips off Albus for this fiasco but, with Voldemort's attempted return, the country needed Dumbledore and Potter at Hogwarts. He and Amelia however would be having private words with the headmaster later.

"Headmaster, I have no wish to intrude on Hogwarts' traditional leaving feast. I wondered if we could hold the ceremony here next weekend? I'm assuming of course you would make arrangements for the young people in question to have their families present for the ceremony?"

While Dumbledore was assuring everyone that would happen, and offering his congratulations to the couple, Hermione's mind slipped back into gear. Knowing all that Harry had achieved last time around in his four years at Hogwarts, and the most he'd ever been rewarded with was some house points, she had initially struggled to accept this new reality. Having now sussed what was really behind this move, Hermione chose this moment to push for more. With Fudge, Dumbledore, Bones, McGonagall and Longbottom present, between them these people actually held the power to make it all happen. After all, they wouldn't be asking for much.

"Thank you, Minister. Both for these awards and thinking of our families. When a muggle born, or muggle raised like Harry, receives a Hogwarts letter, it's so much more than a simple invitation to attend this prestigious school. We find ourselves being immersed in this whole other culture. Madam Longbottom's lessons have helped immensely with this adjustment but it's almost as if we're expected to give up our own culture - in some cases our families - to be accepted into the magical community."

If Hermione was going to climb on her soapbox, Harry was going to give his intended all the backing he could. Standing there with his arm around her told everyone he agreed with her views too as Hermione started asking some questions they both wanted answered.

"Our families have benefited greatly from visiting Hogwarts, they will now understand far more of what we're talking about when we're home. Surely it shouldn't be too difficult to arrange a visit for a muggle born's family when they're in first year? In some cases this policy even splits siblings, one going to Hogwarts while the other stays home - through no fault of their own."

All the magical people gathered around Hermione knew she was talking about Harry's mother and aunt, actually earning Hermione a smile from Petunia. While her suggestion had left those it was directed at dumbfounded, Hermione threw in another one.

"As I said earlier, Madam Longbottom's lessons have been brilliant for helping us adjust. That's only helping solve one side of the problem though. Where are the lessons on our culture for the people who are just as clueless about us as we are them?"

Being the first to see the sense behind that, thanks to her weekly classes here, Augusta pointed out the problem that was immediately obvious to her. "While I'm delighted you're enjoying my lessons, and agree your idea is a very good one, I just don't know where we would find someone who could teach that side of things."

Hermione shifted her gaze to the three muggles standing there, and Albus was instantly all over her implied offer.

"I hate to disagree, Augusta. Those aren't good suggestions - they are quite simply brilliant! Minerva, between both of us I'm sure we could organise for the immediate families of our next intake of muggle borns to visit Hogwarts. The new lessons for first years would have to be taken to the school board for approval. That relatives of Harry Potter and his betrothed, two Orders of Merlin recipients, would volunteer to aid with teaching the muggle side of this proposal I'm certain would help see those lessons in place for next term."

Involving these people in Hogwarts in any capacity greatly reduced the likelihood of Harry and Hermione leaving. Having them teaching, even on a very part time basis would be a real coup.

When Hermione looked pleadingly at her mother, Emma caved. While she and Dan had also figured out just what was going on here, there were hidden benefits for them to be considered too. Any teaching commitments they undertook at Hogwarts would come with the added bonus of being able to visit Hermione and Harry. Having only letters as a means of communication with their daughter between September and Christmas had been torturous for the really close Granger family. Here was a chance to schedule regular visits.

"We were going to have discussions today about Hermione, Harry and Neville spending part of their summer together - both at our house and Augusta's. That should give us a much better idea what actual subjects would need to be included in any lesson..."

This had Augusta interrupting, delighted at this turn of events. "I would like to extend that invitation to both Harry and Hermione's families. Minerva, you would be a welcome guest too. Between all of us, I'm sure we could come up with some sort of undertaking that will not only begin to improve things at Hogwarts, but will have far wider implications. I have to admit, I'm learning as much from my weekly lessons as I'm teaching - and enjoying those lessons as much as the children appear to."

It was a very rare occasion when everyone walked away from a situation thinking they had gotten what they wanted but, as Cornelius once more shook the young couple's hands in congratulation, only the press being present to capture - and publicise - the moment could have made today any better. Since that photo opportunity would certainly be fulfilled next weekend, the Minister of Magic was ecstatic at just how well things had gone today.


Amelia asked for a quiet word with Harry, Hermione of course was at his side. "I don't know if you're aware of this, Harry, but Sirius Black is your godfather. He's desperate to see you, and says he's the person your parents asked to look after you - should anything happen to them."

Thinking for a moment, Harry wasn't prepared to make a serious commitment like that to a person he'd never met. "We're meeting with my aunt, Hermione's parents and Neville's gran to sort out our arrangements for the summer. I'm sure we could have some time in there for us to get to know my godfather. Do you think Sirius will be able to make it here next week?"

This saw a wide grin appear on Amelia's features. "His godson is being presented with an Order of Merlin, I couldn't keep him away even if I wanted to. You were the first person he asked about in Azkaban, Sirius was so proud you used that special map to catch Pettigrew. Although not publicised as such, seeing justice done for your parents' betrayer is also part of your Order of Merlin recommendations."

Now that was something both of them could accept.

Petunia was having a very hard time accepting all of this. Not only was she invited to return to Hogwarts next weekend, Vernon and Dudley were unbelievably invited too. After all the trouble Petunia had convincing them that she should visit this week, it was going to be really difficult getting their agreement for her to return again next weekend. Both of them coming too was simply a non starter.

If Vernon and Dudley being invited was unbelievable, the fact that she, Petunia Dursley, was being given an opportunity to teach young witches and wizards about being normal was totally blowing her mind. So much so, she headed off to bed early with a headache. That headache was mainly caused by her trying to figure out what the hell she was going to tell her husband and son?

Dobby then joined his family, erecting privacy wards as he did so. Dan leaned back in his chair, kicking his shoes off and letting out a sigh of relief. "Well, it's been quite the day."

They all giggled at his understatement, though Emma claimed it had been quite a couple of days.

"Mum, dad, thanks for being so accepting of this..."

"...and thanks for getting my aunt here. I don't know how you managed it, but I think you both deserve medals for that."

"Your aunt and I have been meeting in London for afternoon tea. I have been gradually wearing down her resistance to magic. Today was a massive step for her, it's not surprising Petunia is a bit overwhelmed with today's events. I'm just hoping with everything extra that happened, it wasn't a step too far - too soon. I certainly don't have any worries about you and Hermione staying there in August now. Whether she'll take any of the other offers that landed in her lap today is anyone's guess."

"With these two now being recognised for their bravery, and having met their secret weapon, they would be nuts to start anything. Harry says the magicals are nuts, I doubt the Dursleys would like to be compared to them."

While her dad's comment had Hermione giggling, Harry noticed Dobby was scowling in the direction of his Aunt Petunia's room.

"We really will be fine, Dobby. I don't know if Dumbledore will though when he finds his precious stone missing."

This saw Hermione hug the little guy. "All those traps and our Dobby had the stone out that mirror in twenty seconds flat. If that moron Weasley hadn't led the rest of them down there we would have sat up here all night."

"Yeah, pissing ourselves laughing at Voldemort trying to get something that wasn't there. Dobby had swiped the stone the day before."

Both Dan and Emma had known what their original plan had been, though one thing still puzzled her father. "I can't work out why, if you had the stone, Voldemort still thought it was in the mirror?"

Knowing they were soon going to have to repeat this conversation with the headmaster, and return his friend's stone, Hermione answered her father's question. "The mirror shows you your heart's greatest desire. For both Quirrell and Voldemort, that was getting their hands on that stone. There was no need to put the stone in the mirror in the first place. Dumbledore could simply have hid it in his sock drawer, the mirror itself would have done the rest."

"I told you wizards are nuts. The more powerful they are, the nuttier they seem to be..."

Hermione leaning in and kissing Harry on the cheek for that put a smile back on Dobby's face. He loved his family and would protect them from anyone, be they named Dumbledore or Dursley.

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