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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19. Invitations

Sirius was sitting across from a worried lady in this classy restaurant and realised he had to take some action here. Reaching out, he took her trembling hand and gently caressed it.

"Ami, whatever happens tonight, I promise you we will leave this table, at the very least, still the best of friends."

"I don't see how, Sirius. I know what you really want to happen, I just can't understand why. Years ago, I made a conscious decision to focus on my career. To be honest, there wasn't a line of suitors desperately trying to get me to change my mind about that..."

"Well they were all blind, and stupid."

"I remember a young trainee auror, following me around like a lost puppy..."

"I was lost, until I met you. You believed in me, encouraged me..."

"I most certainly did not. I was the epitome of professionalism in my dealings with a junior auror."

"So, how many other junior aurors have you held when they broke down after killing their first wizard? James had Lily to do the same for him, I don't know if I would have survived without your strength and compassion."

A blushing Amelia admitting to Sirius he was the first, and only, certainly encouraged his pursuit. "First you told me it was normal for trainee aurors to have crushes on their trainers. Somehow I can't see that happening in Mad-Eye's class."

Hearing her laugh at that slight joke saw Sirius push on. "Then, after I qualified, you told me romance between junior and senior aurors couldn't happen. I respected that reasoning, knowing of course how much your career meant to you. Only the fact we were fighting a war stopped me resigning from the auror corps there and then. I knew you needed every wand you could get, so I stayed. I stayed for you, Ami, nothing else - and only my godson going into hiding saw me leave."

She tried to say something but Sirius was on a roll, he needed to get this out there. "I never intended to be away for so long, not seeing you for over a decade was never part of any plans I had. When you walked into my cell that morning, I though you were an angel..."

"After spending a decade with dementors for company, Mad-Eye walking in that door would have looked like an angel to you..."

"I just can't see Mad-Eye with wings and a harp, can you? I also know you could have sent anyone to collect me from Azkaban, but you came in person..."

She couldn't look at Sirius while answering. "To me, seeing Pettigrew's name on Harry's map was as big a shock as discovering Voldemort was still alive. I can't deny I have feelings for you, Sirius. I'm just not sure what those feelings are. Staring at that map I knew at once you were innocent, and those feelings I buried away all those years ago came rushing back. I couldn't let anyone else come to get you, and finally take you away from that place."

"Ami, the one thing I learned in Azkaban is that life is at best fickle. We shouldn't put off to tomorrow what can be done today because, sometimes tomorrow is too late. I don't want us to be too late so I'm going to put my feelings on the table for you to pick over."

Taking a steadying breath, Sirius opened his heart. "When I was younger, I wasn't a very good person. I rejected my family because they were dark, without rejecting most of the traits that they embraced. I was arrogant, conceited, a cocky bully who really was a Black in every way except for being dark. The dalliances I had with witches were nothing more than boosts for my shallow ego. Then I met you..."

"Sirius I..."

"Please, Ami, let me say what I need to. While you were impervious to my charm and cheesy lines, we formed a connection that neither of us can deny exists. Your job was to take raw recruits and turn them into aurors. With me, you took an arrogant git and turned him into a man - only not in the carnal sense. My biggest regret that Halloween was that I didn't go to you. The war was effectively over, we could finally have been together - and then raised Harry and Susan as our children."

There were tears running down this strong witch's cheeks as Sirius now had both her hands held in his. "I cost both of us that future and paid for it, I certainly paid for it. I understand you always had a problem about the age difference between us, Ami. Trust me on this though, Azkaban ages a person - it certainly aged me. We've now had some time to get to know one another again, you must be able to see that?"

Nodding, Amelia gave her reasoning. "Before your stay in Azkaban, that version of Sirius Black would have been bored stiff on Black Island within a day or so. I watched a maturer you grow more and more contented the longer you stayed."

"I had a lot to be contented about. The most important people in the world to me were on that island. My godson has none of the flaws his father and godfather suffered from, though he certainly has inherited Lily's temper. As for his intended, what's not to love about that girl? There's no question she loves my godson, and he her. Even her parents were great, they certainly have accepted Harry into their family."

Now was the part Sirius was dreading, it had to be said though. "You were there too, and I just loved the way you kept an eye on Susan - without appearing to do so or crowding her. I have dreams, Ami, and the week you spent on that island came pretty dammed close to fulfilling most of them. In those dreams, you and I were together - with a couple of our children playing alongside Harry and Susan. They say it doesn't do to live in dreams but those dreams were the only thing that kept me sane in that cell. Now I'm out, I want to see how much of those dreams could ever become reality. I'm not expecting all my dreams to come true overnight, I don't think either of us still believes in that type of happy ever after. If a dream is worth chasing though, you have to give it your best shot. My dream is sitting right in front of me and you, Ami, are certainly worth chasing..."

Sirius had no words left, he just had to sit there and wait for Ami's response. The wait was killing him but he knew this was not the time for jokes or trying to rush her. After what seemed an age, Amelia finally broke her silence.

"Witches have dreams too, Sirius. I thought mine died the day I heard what you'd supposedly done to James, Lily and Peter. Seeing you again, even while emaciated and filthy in that cell, had those dreams resurfacing. Life isn't lived in dreams though, and we've both seen and done things that have pushed us beyond what would be considered normal. I'm without a doubt a happier person with you back in my life. The more I think about where you want to take our relationship, the more my practical side conjures obstacle after obstacle to show me why that just can't happen. I'm scared, Sirius, and honestly don't know if we would ever work as more than what we are now..."

There it was, exactly what Sirius was dreading hearing. Then Ami came to his rescue, lifting his heart soaring out of the deep dark canyon it had just dived into. "...but I think I would be a fool not to at least give us a try."

Sirius was out his seat and beside the woman who meant the world to him. He now had both his hands on her cheeks before leaning in for a kiss. "Ami Bones is no fool, and I hope to spend the rest of my life proving that to her."

"I might just hold you to that. I don't know about kids of our own though, and I would hate to deny you that when a younger witch..."

Sirius gently kissed her again. "If that particular miracle doesn't happen for us, I would still consider myself a very lucky wizard to have you as my wife. We'll just have to spoil any children Harry or Susan eventually have. I think it's safe to say the Black and Bones families would be in good hands with those two."

Both now thought their dinner date had been a resounding success, though neither was bothering with dessert. Sirius and Amelia now had other things on their minds and couldn't leave the restaurant quickly enough.

-oOoOo-

Dudley's fear of magic disappeared almost as quickly as he did when pulling on Harry's invisibility cloak. Here was magic he could see working right before his eyes, or should that be couldn't see. His head floating into the living room almost gave his mother a heart attack. If the neighbours were worried over Petunia's loud scream, those worries were instantly dispelled by the sound of three children howling with laughter. They all correctly assumed Petunia had just been pranked.

Vernon too was in awe of the magical cloak. Imagining out loud what he could do with it at work had Petunia putting her foot down.

"It's bad enough using it to scare the life out of me, but at least that's not against the law. Anyone else finding out about Harry's cloak would be. I want promises from each of you this cloak doesn't leave the house."

After glaring at the two boys, both of whom were trying hard not to laugh, Petunia turned her attention to the only other female present.

"Hermione, I'm hoping you can keep both of these scallywags in line."

This actually set both boys off laughing. "Don't worry, Mum. I saw Hermione take down Piers, we won't be messing with her."

As the three of them left the house, Petunia couldn't remember when their home had rang with so much laughter. Even Vernon had been in fits on hearing the details of Dudley's prank, before asking to try the cloak on for himself.

As the three walked around Little Whinging, Dudley finally asked what they actually did on the holiday island.

Hermione was soon enthusiastically telling him everything. "It was wonderful. Diving in the Caribbean Sea is simply breathtaking, so it was probably just as well we didn't need to breathe. Harry's godfather had this magical plant, gillyweed. Although it tastes absolutely disgusting, eating it makes you grow gills, webbed hands and feet. We were able to swim underwater for an hour without scuba gear, snorkels or even face masks. With the magic being in the plant, even my mum and dad were able to enjoy it. My dad is a big fan of the Godfather movies and kept going on about swimming with the fishes - which none of our magical friends got."

"We also had brooms on the island. It gives a whole new meaning to exploring the island when you can fly there. Emma actually loved flying. For those three weeks, she must have spent about as much time with her arms around me as Hermione did." Harry was smiling at Hermione as he said this.

"Muscling in on my intended, just because he can fly…"

The tap on her back, Dobby's warning of danger, stopped Hermione talking. She was now busy searching for the danger, only for it to walk right out in front of them from the adjoining lane.

Piers was apparently now leading the gang. However, he seemed to be leading that very same gang straight into a load of trouble none of them were close to being ready for.

"So, this is how it is, Big D. Ditching your friends to hang about with Potter and the slut. You know the rules - if you're not with us then you're against us."

Piers was talking big and Dudley was about to respond when Harry cautioned him.

"Hold on, Dud. This makes no sense. Hermione and I already handed all of them their arses. With you beside us too, they wouldn't have a chance."

The confident smile Piers was wearing was then explained. "We brought some friends along - you won't take us by surprise this time." The rat faced youth now had a blade in his hand while Malcolm and Dennis let bicycle chains unfurl from the grip they had on one end of them. Gordon had a cricket bat though didn't look as if he had any intention of hitting a ball with it.

"Scared Potter?"

"Polkiss, you're a bigger fucking idiot than I thought you were - and that takes some doing. You ready to kill someone, Piers? It's not like the telly, it's actually quite a hard thing to do. Trust me, I know."

This response actually shook Piers, that and Harry not backing down an inch. "Who said anything about killing? We're just gonna mark you up some - show everyone what happens if they mess with us."

"Here's the thing though, Piers. You come anywhere near Hermione with that blade and you'll need to kill. it will be the only thing that stops me tearing you to pieces. What about you guys? Are you ready to let Piers make that kind of decision for you? Once done, it can never be taken back. The next move is yours to make - choose carefully."

Harry's green eyes were boring into them, with Malcolm being the first to crack. His bicycle chain hit the pavement while he carefully backed away. The other two almost instantly repeated his actions, loosing their weapons, leaving Piers standing there with only a penknife for company.

"Three against one - are those the odds you like Potter?"

Piers was desperately trying to save some face here, Harry however wasn't even going to allow him that much. "Hermione's already proven she can take you on her own, Piers. That piece of cheap shit you're holding in your hand wouldn't change the outcome this time either. Drop the knife and you can walk away, otherwise I'll be taking it off you. If you force me to do that, I won't be gentle about it." Harry then slowly and deliberately began closing the distance between them.

"Now's the time, Polkiss. Are you going to make the worst decision of your life, or are you going to drop that knife?"

The clatter of the knife hitting the pavement happened just as Harry reached Piers. "There may be hope for you yet, Piers. Now, fuck off!"

He may have managed not to run away but Piers' fast walk was fooling no one. Dudley was staring at his cousin as if seeing him for the first time.

"You faced the four of them down, and they were tooled too!"

Wrapping Harry in a hug, Hermione let Dudley in on their secret. "Rat-face only thought he was standing there with friends, Harry and I always have our best friend watching our backs. Dobby, please show Dudley what you can do."

The knife, bat and both bicycle chains turned into very fine sand. A slight breeze then began to blow that sand away.

"Dud, Hermione and I knew you and Uncle Vernon weren't too comfortable around magic. We've been gradually letting you see magic is not a bad thing, it can do good too. There is also a dark side however, and it's far more frightening than those four plonkers imagined they were. There's a real battle looming in the next few years, with Hermione and I being unintentionally thrust right into the centre of it. We're doing our best to change things for the better but we also know it could go either way. If Dobby ever comes to you and says it's time to leave - don't hesitate. You can trust him with your life, we certainly do with ours."

"We'll introduce you when we go back, your mum already knows Dobby. He's the one who changes your meals, and will still do so once we leave."

It was a thoughtful Dudley who walked beside the couple as they made their way back to Privet Drive. Since his mother started meeting with Emma Granger in London for tea, both he and his dad began to notice the changes in her. Those changes got a lot more pronounced after her first visit to Hogwarts, and had continued down that same path ever since.

It was his own behaviour that had Dudley troubled. Even just a week ago, he would have been leading Piers and the boys against the people who dared stand up to them. Having now witnessed that behaviour from the other side of the argument, Dudley could only feel shame at the actions of his friends - or was that former friends? This was only one of the things he was now going to have to make a decision on.

Taking a glance at Harry, with Hermione on his arm, let Dudley see what was possible. She'd stood ready beside Harry to take on all four of them, weapons and all. Thinking back to her taking out Piers, Dudley remembered she was also presented with the same bravery medal as Harry - for standing right beside him that day too. It was Harry though that had Dudley struggling to believe the changes in his cousin. The Harry who stood there ready to fight all four of them bore no resemblance whatsoever to the skinny runt they'd chased all over the estate last summer. He'd hit Little Whinging last week like Clint Eastwood in a Spaghetti Western, only without the chewed cigar, tatty poncho and well worn six shooter.

Here walking beside him was living proof of exactly what could be achieved by hard work. Harry also claimed that having the right group of friends played a big part in those changes too. He never said having Hermione by his side played the biggest part in those changes, Harry didn't need to. Just seeing both of them together announced that to whoever cared to look.

The image of Harry facing down Piers was stuck in Dudley's mind, and seemed to be telling him his decisions would determine what side of the equation he would come down on. Since Piers almost shit himself in fear, while Harry now had Hermione on his arm, Dudley didn't need to tax too many of his brain cells to reach his decision. He wanted to be more like Harry, and maybe one day have a gorgeous girl like Hermione on his arm too.

He would talk to his mum about buying him the proper boxing kit, rather than using the stuff magic provided. Dudley would also be having a chat with his father about the offer of turning their garage into a gym. Having his own gym actually sounded kinda cool, it was certainly something his mother would be slipping into her conversations with the neighbours. As a bonus, it might even get the school nurse off his back. That alone might be worth all the effort, with all other benefits counting as a bonus.

-oOoOo-

Lucius took a sip of his rare and expensive port before setting the crystal goblet down on his desk. He opened a hidden drawer of the same desk, removing a small portrait and standing the gilded frame on the polished desktop.

He took another sip of his port. Knowing the subject in the frame would pretend to be sleeping for at least the next five minutes, Lucius savoured his favourite tipple to pleasantly pass the time away. His father hated being locked in that silenced drawer, with no idea what was going on in the world around him. Abraxas was bound to obey the Head of the Malfoy family's wishes though, this was merely a show of passive resistance - making his son wait.

Having long ago worked out what his father's portrait was up to, Lucius simply now ignored the painting until the subject 'awoke'. With the portrait constantly desperate for information, it was a little game Lucius always won. Since Lucius trusted no one with the knowledge of what he was planning, his father's portrait became his sounding board for bouncing those more sensitive ideas off.

Blinking the supposed sleep out his eyes, Abraxas asked a question he was desperate to know the answer to. "Have you decided what to do with the diary?"

"Yes."

"I wasn't questioning your judgement last we spoke, he's your son after all. It was more the point of not killing the Malfoy heir without having another to take their place I was trying to make. You have five years yet before Draco is of age, I would only urge the family has another heir in situ before the boy meets an untimely death. With the Dark Lord attempting to return, it will be trying times for everyone. Killing Draco without another heir would leave the family vulnerable. Should anything then happen to you…"

"You would probably never leave that drawer again. I know you're concerned about the continuation of our line but that wasn't what influenced my decision not to slip the diary to Draco. When this entire thing kicks off, why have the Malfoy name being mentioned at all? Something that would be unavoidable if Draco was involved."

"A wise decision. So, the mudblood then? I can't help wondering however, will anyone really care what happens to a mudblood?"

"They will if she's Potter's intended, and already an Order of Merlin, First Class, holder."

Abraxas Malfoy was a hard wizard to shock, in life and now as a portrait. That statement easily managed this difficult task however. "They really gave a mudblood one of those? Things are certainly changing, and not for the better. So, targeting her would be a good choice?"

Having another sip of port, Lucius was enjoying teasing his father. "She would be an excellent choice, except for one thing. No one really disputes Potter banished the Dark Lord whilst still a baby. There are claims that he repeated this feat at the end of the Hogwarts school year, in front of Dumbledore, Bones and a half a dozen aurors too. My contacts at the ministry might be reduced in number but they're loyal to my gold. All are telling me the same story, Potter really did achieve this feat. Taking that into account, do you think it would be wise to antagonise someone who has now defeated the Dark Lord twice?"

Lucius had no intention of mentioning the message Potter sent them in the middle of the night - in their own bed too. No, Potter would be getting left well alone. The portrait took a moment to think about what it had heard before Abraxas' image nodded its head in agreement.

"Another wise decision. If the Potter brat can ever finish the job properly, it would remove a large burden from the Malfoy family. Should the Dark Lord ever return, the people who escaped punishment by decrying and disowning him would surely face his wrath. He would also have demands that would tax even our family's wealth…"

"…especially now the head of the Black family has expelled both Cissi and Draco."

For Abraxas Malfoy to be shocked twice in the space of five minutes was a major achievement. Unfortunately, it was not one his son could derive any pleasure from.

"What! I thought Cissi was smarter than that?"

"She is, her son isn't. I was forced to write formal letters of apology to both Lords Black and Potter."

"I hope your wand made the little shit pay for that affront on House Malfoy?"

"My original intention was to give him the diary before he headed back to Hogwarts. That would unleash murder and mayhem inside the castle, and see the demise of Draco. With no Black heritage, and then no heir, Cissi could be easily discarded while a more suitable witch joined the Malfoy family - and provide her new husband with an heir. Only a complete lack of faith in Draco being capable of dying without somehow implicating my part in his death changed my mind. There would have been a certain irony about playing the grieving father, while looking around for a new wife."

"And what of Draco?"

"He has a year to either prove himself worthy of the Malfoy name, or both he and his mother will be disowned. Either way, I win. At the rate changes are being forced on our way of life, we could be facing a different world by this time next year."

"What can we do about these changes?"

"Weasley is pushing a pro-muggle agenda through the Wizengamot. With the Potter / Granger situation all over the newspapers, Weasley just might succeed. If his daughter causing havoc at Hogwarts isn't enough to discredit Weasley, her eventual death will break him. He seems uncommonly fond of his children, all seven of them."

Both father and son shuddered at the thought of so many children. While they continued their conversation deep into the evening, neither wizard nor portrait noticed the elf who was listening to every word. Darla would have plenty to tell Dobby when he visited her later tonight.

-oOoOo-

Dobby made himself visible to the three youngsters and Petunia after Vernon had left for work. Dudley was now well acquainted with the little elf.

His appearance though set Hermione off with her quick fire questions. "What's the matter, Dobby? Are mum and dad okay? Did the Malfoy situation change?"

Being well used to Hermione by now, Dobby was aware only having those questions answered would see her calm down. "Emma and Dan have already left for work, both were fine. Malfoy has chosen the path you thought he would but that's not why Dobby is here. These came this morning, Sirius sent them to your home."

Taking the offered envelope from Dobby, Hermione was soon emitting a squeal of delight. "This is an invitation to Sirius' engagement party. He asked Amelia to marry him. She obviously said yes."

While Harry was delighted for his godfather, he really liked Amelia too, it was the other envelope still in Dobby's hand that was the focus of his attention. When Dobby handed the envelope to his Aunt Petunia, his hopes and fears were confirmed.

A gobsmacked Petunia opened the envelope to discover that the Dursleys were invited to Lord Black's engagement party too. Hermione was reading the short letter that had been included in the invitation addressed to her and Harry, she was able to alleviate some of the fears she saw expressed in Petunia and Harry's expressions.

"Sirius says this isn't going to be a large or lavish party, more a gathering of friends to celebrate this happy news. Looking at the names mentioned here, it will only be a few of Amelia's friends from the ministry that we won't have met before. It will be formal though, and leads us to the question of whether you think Vernon is ready for this step." Hermione smiled in Dudley's direction as she said this, indicating she was already sure he would be fine with it.

Dudley though was concentrating on something that had been said earlier. "You mentioned this Malfoy was one of the worst bad guys, right? How the hell can you know what he's up too - and will it be dangerous for you two?"

It was a pleased Harry who tried to explain. "To people like Malfoy, I'm a half-blood. That allows them to feel all superior and look down their arrogant noses at me. Hermione is a muggle born, so someone they abhor simply because Dan and Emma don't possess magic. You, as a muggle, are regarded as nothing more than sheep in a field. I'm telling you this to put the next bit in context. Using that same scale, Dobby isn't even on it. He and his kind aren't worthy of consideration, they're not even noticed..."

This drew Dudley's ire. He had watched in awe as Dobby had reduced hours worth of work clearing out the garage to a few snaps of his fingers. Within ten minutes the garage was not only clear and spotless, the junk had been changed into very useful equipment - saving his dad a fortune too. There was a heavy bag suspended by chains from the ceiling, a speed bag was also on an adjustable stand that could be raised as he grew taller with age. One wall was given over to weights, and the little guy even managed an adjustable weights bench too. Harry had an equipment catalogue and, from looking at the pictures and Harry's explanations, Dobby had done a magnificent job. Between having his meals changed and exercising, Dudley had lost half a stone in his first week. Dobby was a massive part of this change and no one was going to say anything bad about the little guy in his presence.

"That's just stupid. Dobby's great!"

This saw Hermione's smile beaming at him. "We think so too, Dudley. In fact, anyone who takes the time to get to know Dobby thinks the exact same. My mum and dad just love him, and certainly consider Dobby part of our family. That is simply something these particular people will never do though. They consider everyone in this room beneath them, I say that's their loss."

The elf at the centre of all this praise tried to change the subject. "The plan to give the Slytherin team new brooms is still going ahead. Dobby thought Harry Potter should be able to get broom companies fighting to let his house team use their brooms..."

This had Hermione laughing. "...and, unlike Draco, you couldn't be accused of using your fame or money to get on the team. You're already the Gryffindor seeker, and the team are the current holders of the Quidditch Cup. How much do you think a front page picture of you, flying their broom, would be worth to a broom company? It would certainly be worth the seven brooms it would take to sponsor the Gryffindor team. A picture of their company representative presenting their brooms to the team at Hogwarts would almost certainly guarantee that front page too, and you just know that's something McGonagall would go for. I also know you hate using your fame, but this is a good cause."

This actually had Harry smiling. "I'm just imagining both Malfoy's expressions when they see their ploy not only countered but bettered - and without it costing anything too. Okay, that's now on the to-do list. We need to do some research on broom manufacturers..." Dobby producing the latest edition of Quidditch Monthly and a broom catalogue just added to the esteem his family held the little guy in.

It was now time to get an answer to the question Hermione originally asked. Petunia had stayed silent since hearing it, and they all understood why. "Do you think Uncle Vernon is ready for this?"

Her nephew, just like his intended, had cut right to the heart of the matter. "I think I could sell him on the party. Going to Diagon Alley for the formal wear he'll require though is probably a step too far for now. How can we attend without the proper clothes? We would stand out like sore thumbs..."

"Polyjuice!"

This had all eyes looking at Hermione as she explained. "Polyjuice is a potion that can turn a witch or wizard into someone else for an hour. With that potion, and a hair from Vernon, Harry could become his uncle for an hour. That should be more than enough to get fitted for formal robes in Madam Malkin's."

"Okay, that's just creepy." Dudley gave a visible shudder before telling them what caused that reaction. "I just had this image of Harry saying 'Dudley, I'm your Father."

Harry and Hermione were in fits of laughter while Petunia just appeared shocked, forcing Dudley to explain again. "It's a Star Wars reference, mum, that's all."

Dobby also had their Hogwarts letters, instantly wiping the smile off Hermione's face. It was replaced by a grimace as she read their mandatory book list and let out a groan.

"Gilderoy Lockhart is going to be our new defence teacher."

"Why is that a bad thing?"

"Harry, we would probably be better learning defence from Binns."

"Oh, that bad?"

"Probably worse..."

"Who is this Binns, and why is the other guy worse?"

It was left to Hermione to tell the story, since Harry had yet to meet Lockhart. "Professor Binns died many years ago, but his ghost still teaches the same classes. As you might imagine, learning defence from a ghost would be pretty impossible. We would still learn more from Binns than the poncy git, Lockheart."

It was with embarrassment Hermione remembered, as a twelve year old, having a crush on Lockhart. Finding out someone you had admired not only had feet of clay, his entire life history was nothing but a stolen facade had certainly cured her of that affliction.

Dobby would be able to confirm if the book signing event was still going ahead in Flourish and Blotts. Knowing Molly Weasley's affection for the fanciful fraud, that's when her family would be heading for the Alley to do their Hogwarts shopping.

Their plan was to get the diary away from Ginny as soon as Malfoy had planted it on her. Unfortunately, that was as detailed as their plans were at the moment. Circumstances would determine most of their actions that day, something Harry was a lot more accepting of than she was.

If Petunia could convince Vernon to attend Amelia and Sirius' engagement function, that would mean a trip to Diagon Alley with Harry polyjuiced. That in itself could be a hazardous trip, so would probably have to be a separate visit from the diary snatch. Their summer just seemed to get more and more complicated, though they were certainly enjoying it.

-oOoOo-

Vernon stepped into the now strangely quiet house to find Petunia waiting for him in the hall. As she kissed his cheek, Vernon's nostrils were assaulted with the wonderful aromas of what must be his dinner.

"Where's Dudley and our guests? The house is far too quiet for them to be home."

"They've all gone to the cinema. We've got the house to ourselves for a while, and I prepared a little buffet for your dinner tonight. All your favourites..."

"...which I won't be able to enjoy until you tell me what's going on."

Leading Vernon into the dining room, she then handed him the invitation. Vernon's eyes widening and his eyebrows climbing up his forehead were the only reactions Petunia got out of him.

Lifting a plate, Vernon began to serve himself from the wonderful fare set on the table. This also bought him some time to formulate his response. "You obviously want to go, but you need to tell me why. I'm not saying no, and I'm not saying yes. I've been watching my family change before my eyes, I need to understand why this is happening."

"I thought you would have been delighted to be going to a Lord's party? That is a very exclusive invitation..."

Vernon just sat there, quietly eating his dinner. When the tears began running down Petunia's cheeks, he knew the truth was about to come out.

"Sirius once actually thanked me for raising Harry, and making him the fine young man he is today. I don't think I've ever been so embarrassed in my life, I wanted the ground to open up and swallow me. You've seen Harry with Hermione, those two are extremely close and have no secrets between them. Hermione was his girlfriend before the accident that scrambled his memories..."

The implications of that titbit halted Vernon's fork midway between plate and mouth.

"While Harry has no idea how we previously treated him, she does. Hermione could easily turn Harry against us, and who could blame her, yet she's doing her best to see we all get along. Our son is changing simply from being around them, and I think becoming a better person for doing so."

A sob from Petunia had Vernon getting up and moving to be beside her. "If it's this important to you, of course we'll go, Pet."

"You wanted the truth, Vernon, and the truth is I'm disgusted at how I treated that boy. I believe one day I'll see Lily again, that's not a meeting I'm looking forward too - for more than just the obvious reason. We've been given a second chance though, a chance for me to look Lily in the eye and honestly say I tried my hardest to make up for my earlier mistakes. I need to take that chance, I think we all need to. Our Dudley is going to miss those two once they leave, this will be another chance for them to meet up."

"You didn't have to make all this wonderful food to get me to say yes, it certainly helps however. I better get back to my dinner, before it gets cold."

This actually had a slight smile appearing on Petunia's face. "It's charmed to stay warm..."

Resuming eating, and discovering his wife was right, put a smile on Vernon's face too. This magic stuff wasn't half bad.

 
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