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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22. Rogue

The three new 'professors' stood nervously as their first class entered the classroom. Even the trio knowing some of the students didn't help those nerves, neither did seeing the headmaster make an appearance and sit at the back of the class. They all knew why he was there however, to ensure none of the more disruptive students made an attempt to sabotage their inaugural lesson.

The headmaster was also aware that, should the likes of Draco Malfoy try to pull anything like that in this classroom, Hermione and Harry would instantly retaliate. Minerva would only smile when he asked exactly what would be taught here, so Albus was also looking forward to the lesson.

Dan was one of those people who liked to tackle things straight on, and did so here. "Good morning everyone, and welcome to your first ever class of Cultural Studies. Your professors of this new subject have all spent the last few months studying the differences between our cultures, so we could perhaps understand what best to teach you. Wherever and whatever we looked at the problem, the answer was obvious - and also the same - Magic! This led us to the question, what is magic?"

With Hermione, Harry and Neville deliberately keeping their hands down, it was left to a few others to try and answer that. They didn't get far.

"Every one of those explanations were examples of what magic can do, not what it actually is. Our scientists believe that everything in the universe is made up of energy - that would therefore have to include magic too. There is also a law of nature that says energy can neither be created nor destroyed, just converted into one form from another."

It was here Emma took over. "Magic would then become an energy possessed by witches and wizards, an energy they attend Hogwarts to learn how to control and use. This energy resource grows within each of you, settling down as you mature." Looking to Dumbledore, Emma decided to ask his opinion on their theory.

"I have to say I've never thought about magic like that, and I can't fault your conclusions."

"Professor, would I be right in saying it's been some time since you sat your OWL and NEWT exams? The reason I'm asking is not to discover your age, rather how much the exams have changed since those days?"

With his smile showing he understood what Emma was really asking, Albus answered the question. "I can indeed confirm it has been some time since I sat those exams. I suspect you already know those exams have hardly changed since those far off days too."

"Thank you, Headmaster. Suspected, yes, but it's nice to have that confirmed."

It was now Petunia's turn to present the next part of their well rehearsed lesson. "While the magical community has hardly changed in that timeframe either, the non magical one has evolved practically beyond recognition. While we may not have magic as a source of energy available to us, many more sources have been harnessed to meet our ever growing needs. How to show this was a major problem though, since almost all of our electronic devices won't work within the castle's walls. While sitting discussing this, we had something of a breakthrough. Harry, Hermione, Neville, Parvati, Padma and Madam Longbottom were all in the Grangers' house, yet their devices still worked. Trying a few devices in the Longbottoms' home, and finding they worked too, led us to believe it's the high concentration of magic within the castle that stops electronic devices working inside Hogwarts."

Dan was now taking an odd looking thing out of a large box. "We bought a very old film projector, one built before modern electronics were invented, and discovered the magic of Hogwarts didn't affect it. We're going to power it using a charged lead / acid battery - something magic shouldn't affect either. Getting old films for this device was rather easy, it was making new ones that were the problem. Luckily we found someone who could develop the films we could now shoot, allowing us to bring everything up to date. This should also allow us to show you just how much things have changed."

Hermione had discovered that the charms and potions used to produce magical photographs merely needed tweaking to develop the film. The colour wasn't quite right, there seemed to be a purplish hue to everything, but it was certainly fit for the purpose they intended.

Dan projected an old black and white film of London onto the screen they had also brought to Hogwarts. While there were some motorised vehicles on the roads, the majority of the traffic was still horse drawn. While Emma and Petunia provided live commentary, the next scene was still London but now in the fifties. To those of magical descent, the changes were startling. When Dan began showing film that he'd recorded over the summer, he was receiving unbelieving looks that had nothing to do with the colour being slightly off. He had this covered though, as Neville and Parvati walked into the shot - proving the film's authenticity beyond doubt.

"In the same timescale where your exams haven't change, we have gone from thinking it was acceptable to send children up chimneys and down mines to work - to seeing men walk on the moon. I don't want anyone to think it's all been plain sailing though, two devastating global conflicts have also been fought. The first World War was supposed to be the conflict that ended all conflicts. With around thirty eight million people dead, it's easy to understand how that thinking came to be. Two decades later though, World War Two was upon us. This time sixty million people lost their lives."

It was easy to see the students struggling to comprehend numbers like that, the adults couldn't get their heads around them either. Emma then took over the narrative.

"These lessons are not about measuring one culture against the other but we really have to highlight some of our differences. To understand those differences, we have to look back at the roots of what caused them. Without question, those wars influenced Britain into becoming the country it is today. History teaches us war is a great innovator, it's the side with the best means of waging that war who usually wins."

Petunia then took the lesson back where they wanted it, using some large advertising posters to illustrate the points they were making. "Not all wars are fought on battlefields however, commercial pressure means companies can't rest on their laurels least their competitors overtake them - and put them out of business. That is how we get from this, to this." The first poster was of a vintage car, easily recognisable as a 'horseless carriage'. The next featured car was an old Ford Anglia, the difference between the two was startling. The VW Golf was clearly another step up but the bright red Ferrari Testarossa looked like a completely different animal - especially when compared to the first picture of the classic car. While at the planning stage of this lesson, a smiling Harry had suggested using a picture of a DeLorean - though his aunt didn't get the joke.

Unveiling her final pair of posters, Petunia placed the first magical poster beside that of the oldest car. "The Moontrimmer was the best broom around in nineteen-o-one, the same year this car was manufactured. As you would expect, it's slow by today's standards though still easily recognisable as a broom - and three to four times faster than the car of the same era. You will all recognise the poster for the new Nimbus two thousand and one, which is one of the best brooms around - and slower than the Ferrari."

Draco's sense of disbelief had just been pushed too far. How dare these muggles even suggest one of their stupid machines could be faster than the brooms his father had bought for the Slytherin quidditch team. "That can't be right. The new Nimbus can reach one hundred and fifty!"

It was Dan who answered him. "That's what our research told us too. What you don't know is that the Ferrari pictured there has a top speed of one hundred and eighty. You would need to take it onto a racetrack to get anywhere near that speed however, since it would be illegal to drive that fast on our roads."

"Our government have machines that fly ten times faster than the Nimbus, and can reach over nine miles high. I know that more than a few of you are sitting there not believing a word of what I'm saying, and that is our task. We have to somehow get through to you that this is all true."

Emma seamlessly followed on from Petunia, they were beginning to settle into their lesson now. "You are perhaps beginning to understand some of the challenges we were faced with - magic is real and our daughter's a witch? We almost ran Professor McGonagall out of our house." The very thought of that happening caused some laughter in the classroom, and also had Emma smiling. "Magic, unicorns and dragons are as big a shock to us as all this is to you - let's not even mention trolls."

This drew more laughter as Dan again took the bull by the horns, knowing from Augusta what fears some of the more radical purebloods would have about their muggle lessons. "We actually support the statute of secrecy, our world is certainly not ready to learn there are witches and wizards living amongst us. This doesn't mean however that, for those in the know, these two worlds have to be kept separate. We just spent a very enjoyable summer becoming immersed in wizarding culture while introducing witches and wizards to ours."

While somewhat appeased at hearing that, those same purebloods weren't sure what to think about Dan's next proposal. "To make this work, we really need to take you out of Hogwarts - and into our world. As the course progresses, and you learn more about us, plans will be made on the best way to go about that. We're really not into handing out homework but what we have here is some teen fiction - stories written about people your age in our world. What we would like you to do is to have at least read some of it by the time we meet next - that's in two weeks. Then we will try and explain anything you didn't understand in the books. These are all different books so, if you finish yours, please feel free to swap with someone who has read theirs too. Now, we would like to hear from you what you thought about this introductory lesson today - and anything you would like us to include in future lessons..."

That was like lighting the blue touch paper, the questions and suggestions just exploded out of the inquisitive students. Lavender's suggestion of learning about fashion was somewhat derided by a few of her fellow classmates until Emma stepped in.

"The British fashion industry keeps almost a million people in jobs, and generates billions of pounds in revenues. Like cars, those fashions are ever changing. We are also led to believe that this is the one area witches and wizards get really wrong when interacting with our world - putting the statute of secrecy at unnecessary risk. Headmaster, sorry to keep picking on you but how have Hogwarts robes changed in the same sort of timeframe?"

"Were my second year robes still available, they wouldn't really differ from the ones our Gryffindors wear here today. Including the Hogwarts badge on our robes is the first change to our school robes in living memory. Just from sitting here this morning, I can see there is a lot we've gotten wrong about a subject that should be close to all our hearts. I know Hogwarts students will really benefit from these lessons. After all, it's important that you learn all you can about your neighbours."

The bell ringing for the end of the lesson was a disappointment for most of the students, pleasing the three teachers no end. With quick exchanges between the family that they would see each other next weekend, the students all shot off to their next class.

Albus shook all three of their hands, and promised to help them any way he could, just as a smiling Augusta entered. "I spotted your students' leaving, told you there was nothing to worry about. Neville, Parvati, Padma, Susan and Hannah have all been talking non stop about what they've seen this summer, the rest will be no different."

-oOoOo-

The buzz around Hogwarts from the younger students about how good their cultural studies classes were was kinda overshadowed by the vibes coming from Lockhart's dreadful defence lessons. Hermione and Harry found themselves continually being approached by older students, looking for information on how to go about setting up their own self study classes. They explained the criteria that needed to be met before McGonagall would allow them to skip liar Lockhart's lessons.

This was why, at their next self study class, there were older students sitting at the back and taking notes. As the period ended, Harry and Hermione found themselves faced with some disconsolate students - though none of them were second years.

"That's not self study..."

"You're basically teaching that class..."

"And doing a far better job than any professor we've had for defence."

Hermione was blushing at the praise, though only Harry knew she could teach all seven years of the course if she wanted to. That's basically what Hermione was doing with him as they trained.

"We don't have anyone like you two in our year - in any other year actually. I don't see how this could work for us."

They were then offered a solution from the young witch whom the tab 'genius' was beginning to be applied to by more and more students. "What if you split the course up between everyone in the study group? Everyone could then be responsible for researching and teaching a specific part of the course to the rest of you. You will also need to ensure there's someone over seventeen in each class. I know it's not a perfect solution, but it must be better than Lockhart?"

The difference in their demeanour as they left, profusely thanking both the younger students for their help, had Harry chuckling as he wrapped his arms around Hermione. "I am so glad I conned you into agreeing to be my girlfriend. Apart from the part where my bits were nearly frozen off, best decision I ever made. Some of them seemed ready to get down on one knee and propose to my beautiful intended."

A grinning Hermione kissed his cheek as she kept the banter going. "This from the boy who just has to enter a room and girls drool..." Feeling the shudder of dread that ran through Harry set Hermione chuckling.

"So not funny. I know that the girl who will become a teenager next weekend is years older than that, and really loves me. Having an eleven year old girl lusting after me is very disturbing, I don't even want to think about Colin following me everywhere."

Hermione couldn't contain her laughter anymore. "Harry, Ginny probably doesn't know what lust is. She just has a bad case of hero worship, alongside a massive crush. She should grow out of it, as will Colin."

"Luna looks to you as an example, that doesn't mean her elbow ends up in the butter dish at breakfast - nor does she take pictures and ask you to sign them."

Snuggling into Harry's embrace, Hermione took the conversation back to a more serious level. "Luna could do all of that and I would smile before agreeing. Her being placed in Gryffindor shows how much we had already changed Luna, and that was before we met. Like us, she struggled to make friends. I didn't really know her from before but can't remember anyone ever filling that role. That won't happen this time, not if I have anything to do with it."

"When you get passionate about something, there's a fire in those gorgeous brown eyes that I find oh so sexy. I really can't wait until these bodies grow a bit older." Harry followed that with a kiss that had them late for lunch.

-oOoOo-

Draco had been looking forward to this moment since before boarding the train to Hogwarts. He, along with the other Slytherin hopefuls were being led by Professor Vector to the quidditch pitch. There, they would compete for all seven positions on the Slytherin quidditch team. To make things fair, Professor Vector was going to conduct the trials using the new brooms Slytherin had been gifted. Since Draco had flown on one of those brooms every day of the summer holidays, he thought this was really a 'fair' solution. The idea that he would have an advantage had his inner Slytherin smirking. That disappeared the instant he spotted the Gryffindor team on the pitch.

"What are you lot doing here? Slytherin has the pitch booked..."

He was silenced by his head of house, though Septima was about to ask the same questions when she spotted Minerva approaching - with visitors.

"Sorry Professor Vector. I know you have the pitch booked today and I had hoped to have this done before your house appeared. We just need to take some publicity pictures and then the pitch is of course all yours."

A tall wizard who was wearing a bright blue fedora hat and strangely cut burgundy robes sat a long case on the grass, indicating to the three people with him that they should do the same with the two cases each was carrying, before his gaze fell upon the Slytherin brooms.

"Nimbus two thousand and one's, not bad. Should provide some competition for our brooms, though I'm still expecting to win. Especially since our brooms are better, and will be flown by the current Hogwarts champions."

With a flourish of the tall wizard's wand, all seven of the cases opened and the brooms they contained floated over to the Gryffindor team. A silver lightning bolt was the only decoration on the jet black sleek broomsticks. With everyone staring at them in awe, this seemed all the excuse the tall man needed to continue talking.

"We've been looking for an opportunity to break into the British broom market for some time, Nimbus, Cleansweep and Comet had pretty much carved up the country between them. It would have cost us a fortune in advertising even to gain a toehold, and then young Harry's letter landed on my desk. Sponsoring the Gryffindor quidditch team was just too good an offer to pass up, and our new Bolt's should suit them..."

An angry Draco couldn't contain himself. "You mean Potter's getting those brooms for free?"

"No sonny, that's not how these things work in business. The Gryffindor team will be posing with their new brooms for the press, and hopefully retaining this year's quidditch cup flying them."

Draco apparently only thought he was angry before. Potter and the Gryffindors were not only getting new brooms for free, they would be plastered all over the press saying so. Hagrid leading a bunch of photographers and reporters to the pitch just emphasised that point.

Their head of house laughing was not what Draco expected to hear.

"Mister Potter, are you sure you shouldn't have been a Slytherin? That was very well played."

"Thank you, Professor. If someone was really cunning though, wouldn't they use that guile to get sorted anywhere but Slytherin?"

Still laughing, Septima turned to her own house and began organising her hopefuls into the positions they wished to try out for, while the press were all over the Gryffindor team. She would wait until she'd seen her hopefuls fly before choosing a captain.

The Gryffindors flew a few quick laps around the pitch for the photographers before calling it a day. Each walking past with the case that held their new broom as Minerva approached the Slytherins.

"Sorry for holding up your trials, Professor Vector. Good luck with putting a team together." Minerva didn't exactly say 'you're going to need it', the sparkle in the Head of Gryffindor's eyes said it for her.

Draco was now the one facing glares from his fellow hopefuls. With Slytherin having to rebuild a complete new team, they had been offered the same deal Gryffindor received last year - namely delaying their first match. Draco's voice had been the loudest against this, claiming their new brooms would give them a massive advantage over the other three teams. Draco wanted the first time that advantage was put to good use to be against Gryffindor.

Defeating the current champions was something the entire house longed for, and they didn't take much convincing. That wasn't what they were choosing to remember now however. The game had been brought forward slightly to allow visitors to attend, and their supposed broom advantage had at best been negated for that match. They were choosing to remember who had fought the hardest for this to happen.

Trying to ignore these looks, Draco was concentrating on what he had to do here today. First, get himself on the team. Then he had to catch the snitch against Potter, without the advantage of being mounted on the faster broom. That meant it was going to come down to a battle of skill between him and Potter, a battle Draco still thought he could win.

The shine of becoming the new Slytherin seeker became somewhat tarnished when Draco entered the great hall for lunch. The Gryffindors were still there in full quidditch gear, and those infernal cases were taking pride of place along their table. There were also Puffs and Claws over having a look at them too. It almost put Draco off his lunch, not thinking how things would be much worse tomorrow when those pictures and interviews hit.

-oOoOo-

The Daily Prophet landed on the Malfoy breakfast table with the impact of a bomb going off, Lucius certainly exploded.

"I spent all that gold and then that little shit Potter goes and gets Gryffindor new brooms for free! Not only that, he's quoted here as saying this happens all the time in the muggle world. Sportswear and equipment suppliers actually pay to have teams using their equipment. Potter is actually hoping that Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw find sponsors too, so that no one can say Gryffindor only won because they had the better brooms - the boy's a bloody fool."

Cissi was reading the paper and the implications were hitting home. "You can just see Comet and Cleansweep racing toward Hogwarts, before anyone else beats them to it. All four teams will probably be on brand new brooms before the season gets underway..."

This year's Hogwarts quidditch season meant nothing to Lucius, he was sure it wouldn't be completed. Events he'd set In motion would see to that. No, it was Draco beating Harry Potter to the snitch he wanted the country to see. With Potter on his Nimbus two thousand, Draco was only ever going to have a slight advantage there. With the rest of the Gryffindor team having new brooms, the entire match might now hinge on whoever caught the snitch.

Lucius wanted this to be Potter's first taste of defeat at the hands of a Malfoy, before the head of that house destroyed the little shit. Watching helplessly as his beloved mudblood spiralled into darkness before eventually meeting her end would ruin people a lot stronger than Potter.

This was why a surprised Cissi didn't experience the full force of her husband's temper. While watching Potter lose in public was desirable, it was going to be merely the curtain raiser to the boy-who-lived's total destruction. No one crossed a Malfoy without retribution. He'd show the little shit the true cost of threatening Lucius Malfoy.

-oOoOo-

Harry had asked his quidditch captain for a favour - no practice on Hermione's birthday. Since Harry had just gotten the entire team new brooms, Oliver felt he owed his young seeker one. That didn't stop him calling evening practices twice during the week, flying until it got too dark to see any of the balls.

It was therefore a knackered Harry who sat down to dinner that Friday, it had been a long week. That exhaustion vanished the instant he spotted who had just entered the Great Hall, his Aunt Petunia and Dudley had just walked in with the expected Dan and Emma.

The couple were out their seats in a flash and greeting their visitors.

"Dud! What are you doing here?"

"It's Hermione's birthday tomorrow, I wasn't going to miss that. Dad wanted to wait until the quidditch match before coming. I think he's worried that mum can't cope with two of us gawking at everything - some school you got here."

After the hellos, the trio of professors headed for the staff table while Dudley was led to the Gryffindor table. Neville and Parvati of course already knew Dudley, Lavender didn't though seemed determined to rectify that oversight as quickly as possible.

While Dudley's exercise and diet program was beginning to make a real difference to his physique, that wasn't what had the blonde Gryffindor all excited. Since Parvati had spent a lot of the summer with Neville, she'd felt rather excluded. That hadn't improved any since they'd returned to Hogwarts.

Lavender didn't blame her best friend, Parvati was hanging about on Neville's arm, who was also Harry Potter and Hermione Granger's best friend. That was lofty company to be keeping. Now, here was this unattached boy - not bad looking either - who would come with instant access to the same company. To say Lavender was interested would be a massive understatement.

When the meal finished, Lavender suddenly realised there was major competition for Dudley's attentions. Padma, Susan and Hannah were all clearly interested in Dudley too. Their smiles when Dudley said he'd be staying in the guest accommodation was in direct contrast to her frown. Padma casually letting slip that she was looking forward to Hermione's party tomorrow night devastated Lavender, as did Susan and Hannah confirming they would be there too.

Harry directed his remarks to Dean and Seamus, though everyone knew they applied to Lavender as well. "Sorry guys. The party will be a small one, held in the guest quarters Hermione's parents use. With my aunt and Dudley here too, there simply isn't room to invite everyone.

-oOoOo-

Waking in her Harry's arms meant this was already Hermione's best birthday. Considering this was actually the twentieth she'd celebrate, and the last one was spent in the south of France, that was saying something. Even having to relive all those teenage years again couldn't put a dent in the delight she felt, knowing Harry would be with her for every one of those years - and many, many more.

Leaning over, she kissed her still sleeping intended.

"Mmm... And here was me thinking it was your birthday."

"It is - and I've got exactly what I always wanted. Funnily enough, I was twelve or thirteen when I first worked out just what that was."

"It took me only one night, I had to wait until I was eighteen though before that happened. It's weird that the same ministry who royally screwed me are now falling over themselves to keep us in Hogwarts."

"I know exactly what you mean about the weird part. My parents, your aunt and Dudley are spending the weekend in Hogwarts. That's just mind-blowing!"

"No, that's my brilliant intended's doing. When she puts her mind to something then nothing is impossible. It's your birthday but you're still giving me gifts. I really wanted to put another ring on your finger but think these bodies are still too young, and we would then need to wait more years than we would like to complete the set. Your seventeenth birthday seems like a good day to change your last name to Potter. What do you think?"

Sealing the deal with a kiss saw Hermione finally emerge from the daze Harry saying those words had spun her into, she clung tightly to him while giving her answer. "That would be the best birthday present ever!"

Dobby popped into the room with a wrapped box he handed to Harry. "Happy birthday, Dobby will give Hermione her present later. This time is for Harry, and our family is already up. Dudley is so excited he might be able to fly without needing a broom."

Their little elf friend then popped away to allow Harry the privacy to give Hermione his gift. She unwrapped the slim package that she was sure contained jewellery to discover an exquisite emerald pendant on a gold chain.

"Oh, its beautiful!" Harry put it around her neck and fastened the clasp.

"I better get out of here, before deciding to spend the entire day cuddling into you... Hey, what's wrong? Please tell me those are happy tears?"

"Yes, I'm very, very happy. Sometimes how much our lives have changed just sneaks up and catches me unawares - this one felt like getting mugged. When I became thirteen the first time you didn't know when my birthday was, it was only spotting a card getting delivered from my parents that gave the game away. You felt terrible at not getting me a present - though you did make me a card I still have, or had." She was lovingly fingering her new pendant as Harry kissed her tears away.

"This Harry knows when your birthday is. We'll celebrate three more of those birthdays together before the following one will see us officially joined together for life. While looking forward to that day, we can also enjoy the journey to that day. Today we can forget about the darkness, let's just enjoy spending your birthday with our family."

Hermione agreed with those sentiments so much, showing her approval had them late for breakfast.

-oOoOo-

Their were a few outbreaks of happy tears throughout the day. It was the ones forming in the corners of Petunia's eyes at Hermione's birthday party that evening which saw Emma having a quiet word.

Her friend's concern produced a genuine smile on Petunia's lips. "You told me a mother always does what's best for her family. I don't think it's a secret we both had different views of just what that was, and I was so wrong. What it all boils down to is our children's happiness, and our children are currently very happy. Dudley could hardly wait to come here, and the magic was only about half the reason for his enthusiasm. He really missed Harry and Hermione - and their friends. As he gets used to the magic I'm sure he'll still want to come here, Dudley won't want to lose contact with his friends - and family."

While still smiling, Petunia dabbed at her eyes with her hankie. "I sat behind Harry on his broom today and the feeling was indescribable, there simply isn't words..."

This had Emma chuckling. "When we were on holiday, I spent so much time sitting on Harry's broom that Hermione began joking I was making a move on her intended."

"Harry really does love her, you know..."

"Oh Dan and I are well aware of that. Since Christmas, I knew we would one day be family - that's why I invited you to afternoon tea."

Watching as her son happily danced with a witch of Indian descent, Petunia really only had one thing to say about this turn of events. "Thank you so much."

-oOoOo-

Draco knew he was a good flier, and all that practice over the summer his father had insisted upon only improved those skills. This was not merely idle boasting, since he had easily won his place as seeker on the Slytherin quidditch team. While all of that was true, Draco was also becoming aware of another truth. On a broom, Harry Potter was insane.

The rest of Gryffindor were riding Bolts but only their seeker flew like a madman. Draco's original intention was to shadow Potter, showing the entire stadium he was just as good a flier. That plan evaporated into the low lying clouds within the first few minutes of the game. More precisely the instant Potter, at full speed, performed a barrel roll right through the Slytherin chaser formation. He passed over one chaser and under another, breaking up their attack and even knocking the quaffle to Katie Bell.

While trying to work out what he was going to do next against Potter, Draco had to pull an evasive manoeuvre to dodge a bludger. He then had to do so again as the other bludger came bearing down on him. The Slytherin seeker then made a frightening discovery. It wasn't the other bludger but the same one, the same bludger that was rapidly bearing down on him for the third time. Shooting off in the direction of his nearest beater, a satisfied smirk at the sound of the bat striking the bludger was soon wiped away.

"That's not right..."

Sharing his teammate's views, Draco was forced to fly off again and perform more evasive manoeuvres as his own personal bludger was once more bearing down on him.

"Is that supposed to happen?" Dudley was sitting in the stand between Hermione and Neville, the rest of their friends were there too. The adults, including both Dudley's parents, were all sitting directly behind them. Neville was the one left to confirm this was not normal, since Hermione appeared to be attempting to chew through her fist.

She was the only person in the stadium who knew exactly what was happening, and only stuffing her knuckles into her mouth stopped her bursting into gales of loud laughter. Dobby would be getting hugged later. Since both the elf and her knew exactly what Draco grew up to be, Hermione had no trouble justifying Dobby's actions here today. She had no idea just what else Dobby had planned for today.

When the Slytherin captain was forced to call a timeout, he found no one disputing their claims that the bludger had been tampered with. Madam Hooch however was left to explain the rules, to both teams as well as a newly arrived and very concerned Head of Slytherin.

"While we all agree the bludger is acting irregularly, stopping the match to investigate that bludger hands Gryffindor the victory. Had Slytherin not been so adamantly opposed to changing any rules of Hogwarts quidditch, we might have been able to resolve this matter sensibly."

While understanding the rules, Septima wasn't about to settle for that outcome. Casting a sonorus on herself, she addressed the one person in the watching crowd who could help.

"Headmaster, we have a situation here where protecting one of my players will cost Slytherin the match. With a rogue bludger in the game however, exclusively targeting our seeker, I don't see how I can allow the game to continue."

Taking a moment to think, Albus stood to offer his interpretation of what his Head of Slytherin faced. "While I sympathise with your dilemma, calling a halt to the match in these circumstances automatically grants Gryffindor victory. A possible solution however might be to ask young Mister Malfoy's parents what they think of this matter, since both are sitting in the audience."

Lucius was sitting in the stand thinking the appearance of the rogue bludger would make a good excuse for Slytherin losing the match. He was already composing a rant along the lines of 'sabotaging the superior Slytherins' when an idea struck him. Dumbledore thought he was passing the responsibility of Slytherin losing the match onto Lucius but there was another side to that coin.

Continuing the match would allow Lucius to discover exactly what his son was made of, with any damage done to Draco being laid squarely at Hogwarts gates. There was also the spectacle this might provide for all the 'visitors' who were here to see where their children attended school. Witnessing these dangers might have some of these 'visitors' changing their minds over letting their children attend Hogwarts. Muggles inside Hogwarts and watching quidditch, not something Lucius Malfoy would ever agree with.

He stood and used his best aristocratic sneer while giving his answer. "After both teams being supplied with new brooms by benefactors, I suppose it was too much to hope Hogwarts could at least provide the rest of the equipment needed to play a game of quidditch. Perhaps all the school's resources are being poured into new courses? My son is a superb flier, on an excellent broom. I believe he can handle the situation, and Slytherin can still win the game..."

This drew cheering from the Slytherin stand, though even some of those wearing green and silver were left wondering what Lucius was up to.

Down on the pitch Draco's emotions swung from pride to terror. His father had just publicly announced Draco was a superb flier, and then sent him back up in the air to face this rogue bludger.

Oliver pulled his seeker aside for a quick word. "Harry, Malfoy is effectively out of the game, concentrate on finding the snitch. I don't want another match awarded to us, I want to beat them."

While he had loved riding on a broom, Dudley was delighted Harry hadn't pulled any of the moves he'd used during the match with him as a passenger. He also couldn't understand why that boy's father didn't stop the game when he had the chance. "I'm assuming that's the Malfoy boy who attacked you and Harry?"

"Yes, and we put him in the infirmary - twice. His father is so desperate to see Harry defeated, Draco is being forced to continue."

Hermione's answer left Dudley shaking his head. "I know nothing about quidditch, I don't need that knowledge to figure out Harry is easily the best flier up there. Even without that cannonball thing chasing after the Malfoy guy, he would never get near Harry."

Sirius and Amelia were part of the large group of Harry's family and friends watching the match and both agreed with Dudley's opinion, they also knew Lucius was up to something. The couple were at Hogwarts not only to watch the match but also for the meeting with Dumbledore on how the group would proceed with the horcrux hunt. Neither knew the impact today's events would have on that meeting.

Cissi was left confused and very frightened. As soon as the quidditch match restarted, the rogue bludger resumed its relentless pursuit of Draco. It was easy to see all her son's skill and concentration would be needed just to avoid the bludger, he was effectively out of the game as a seeker. Lucius must have known that's what would happen, which really frightened her. These actions just emphasised that both she and Draco were nothing more than pawns in whatever game Lucius was playing. The terrifying thing was that pawns were usually the pieces sacrificed to further the player's aims. She could do no more than hope that wasn't what she was watching here. While her expression remained stoic, Cissi's manicured fingernails were digging into the palms of her hands as the bludger pushed Draco's skills to the limit.

Harry had once called quidditch a bipolar mess, yet this particular game was even worse. While the chasers and keepers continued playing their match - a match Gryffindor was winning - the two seekers had different aims. He was trying to spot the snitch while Malfoy was just trying to stay alive. One glance at Hermione told Harry she not only knew what was happening but approved. Since Draco couldn't evade the bludger forever, he was following his captain's orders. Dumbledore would take action before Draco got seriously hurt, and Gryffindor wanted the win.

The merest glint of gold, spotted from the corner of his eye, had Harry rocketing after the snitch. After a chase that had the entire stadium on their feet, his fingers finally closed around the elusive golden ball.

Funnily enough, the announcer screaming 'Potter has the snitch' was a cause for celebration amongst a pair of Malfoys - though neither Draco or his mother's stoic expressions betrayed their thoughts.

Draco though had just made a dangerous assumption - that the bludger would stop its pursuit when the game finished. It didn't, and caught him unawares. As he'd slowed down and flew lower, the bludger struck with enough force to break Draco's leg - and also damage his broom. He crashed painfully into the ground, thankfully from a height that was reduced to about ten feet.

Lying on his back, Draco then realised his troubles weren't over. The bludger was coming back for more, and seemed to be aiming for his groin. Watching helplessly as this rogue appeared ready to end any future Malfoys, at least from him, Draco thought his whole life flashed before him. His relief discovering it was an actual curse, fired by Dumbledore from the stands, that flashed past was more than matched by that same curse destroying the bludger.

Any sane person would now be thinking their ordeal was over but today Draco just couldn't catch a break - other than the obvious one. Leading the people running toward him was Lockhart.

It was talking all Cissi's resolve to walk calmly beside her husband as they leisurely made their way onto the pitch. To hurry would mean they weren't in control, and that would never do. That resolve shattered as she heard her son shouting.

"You bloody fool! You haven't mended my bones, you vanished them."

Now pushing people out of her way as she raced to her son's side, Cissi found that fop Lockhart standing over her son. His wand was in his hand but the only thing coming out of his mouth were excuses. Cissi was in no mood to listen to any excuses. With a cry of 'Lockhart, defend yourself', very accurately aimed curses were soon spewing from her wand.

Against an angry Cissi, Gilderoy's wandwork was about as effective as his excuses, he didn't last thirty seconds before joining Draco lying on the grass. While only two of Lockhart's limbs now appeared to be human, they had also taken positions that would be impossible if those limbs still contained the bones they were supposed to. The now unconscious and defeated defence professor was then ignored while Cissi knelt by her son.

Lucius' temper climbed a little higher every time he had to nudge someone out of his path. Didn't these people know who he was? They should be standing aside to let him pass. This was why he reached his wife and son at the same moment as Dumbledore, Lucius' temper not improved by the gathered crowd parting to let the headmaster through.

"I take it this matter will be investigated?"

An unflustered Albus had his answer ready. "Of course, Lucius. Unfortunately, I was forced to destroy the only piece of evidence there was. Had you not allowed the game to continue, I'm sure the culprit would have been discovered and dealt with most severely. Without any evidence though..."

While Lucius was looking around for someone to vent his anger on, he found that search being interrupted.

"Excuse me, Mister Malfoy, I believe this belongs to you."

The sneer on Lucius' face disintegrated as his eyes fell on what was being handed to him, and who was doing the handing. Harry Potter was standing there with his master's diary - the very thing that was supposed to be wreaking vengeance on Potter's mudblood.

"I have no idea what you're talking about." His trembling voice betrayed Malfoy's denial, and then things worsened for the blond former Slytherin.

Harry was relentless, pressing Malfoy further. "I believe you do. You slipped this into my intended's pocket while we were in Diagon Alley. We also know what this is, or rather was. It's been dealt with, and now it's your turn..."

With Dumbledore and Bones standing watching this, and knowing the Minister and ministry would fall over themselves racing to do the boy-who-lived's bidding, Lucius panicked. He grabbed the offered diary from Harry and handed it to the tiny creature standing behind him. "Elf, destroy this at once."

A confident Lucius then returned his attention to Harry. "Now, without any evidence..."

The high pitched voice that interrupted Lucius was such a shock that everything seemed to stop for a moment.

"Darla will not. Master has given Darla clothes, Darla is free!"

"I did no such thing..." Turning around, Lucius found the little elf standing with the diary open, a diary that had a sock concealed within its pages. Darla then popped away, taking the diary and sock with her - leaving her former master standing there looking a fool. As the red mist of anger descended, Lucius made to draw his wand on Harry.

"You cost me my servant, boy. You'll pay for that..."

Dumbledore may not have raised his voice but the power in his words was there for all to hear. "Drawing your wand on a Hogwarts student would be an extremely poor decision, and one I would simply have to prevent."

Those words may have frozen Lucius' muscles but they appeared to kick start his brain. "Anyone can make allegations but proving them is a whole different matter. Where are your witnesses that supposedly saw me do this?"

A voice well known to Lucius had his blood turning to ice, or rather what that voice said.

"I saw him slip that book into the pocket of Lord Potter's intended..."

 
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