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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5. Thrice Defied Him...

Harry couldn't help but laugh. He liked the Weasley twins, even if they were currently taking the piss out of him. Fred and George though had style, and that style had Harry in stitches too as he finally sat down to breakfast.

"Make way for the great one - move along there and leave room for his lady too…"

"You honour us with your presence as we break our fast, oh vanquisher of dark lords…"

"Slayer of trolls…"

"Youngest seeker in over a century…"

"…but, more importantly, the wonderful boy who rid us of Snape!"

"The boy-who-lived becomes the boy-who-rid, rid us of the greasy git."

"Oh George, I like that."

"So do I, Fred. The boy-who-rid, do you think It'll catch on?"

"Hey, they might even write books about that…"

Their capers were interrupted by the arrival of Professor McGonagall, her stoic expression threatening to break into a smile at the twins' hilarious antics. "Mister Potter, Miss Granger, the Headmaster would like a word with you both after breakfast. Professor Dumbledore has a tendency to talk for hours, please remind him he has a potions class to teach second period. Your teacher has been informed where you will be, just don't take all day."

Since they had transfiguration first period, Hermione thought that was about as close to a joke as she'd ever heard McGonagall crack. It just highlighted the change in atmosphere within the castle.

As McGonagall took her leave, the twins picked right back up where they'd left off.

"Hear that? Invited up to talk with the headmaster. We've never even seen inside his office.'

"Eh, Fred. Avoiding Dumbledore's attention - that's a good thing."

"Too true, George. We're more likely to be dragged there for something we've been caught doing, something we shouldn't have been doing that is."

"Us, get caught? You jest, brother."

"Jest, prank, joke, it's what we do!"

Through his laughter, Harry managed to say something. "Weasley Wheezes, brought to you by Tweedledum and Tweedledee…"

"Weasley Wheezes? By George, I think we have something there…"

"Weasley Wizard Wheezes. I think that sounds better, Fred, and we want to distinguish ourselves from these Tweedledum and Tweedledee guys…"

Hermione was laughing along with Harry, pleased that, while his relationship with Ron was strained, the twins and he had quickly become friends again. After the ministry had wiped Harry's memory, neither Fred nor George had returned to Hogwarts. Hermione was one of the few who knew Harry had given the twins his triwizard prize money, because he'd said the world was going to need some laughs.

The twins were as good as their word, better actually. They called their shop

'Potter's Pranks', much to the dismay of the ministry. A picture of Harry competing in the triwiz was their 'logo', appearing as a label on all their products, and a massive version served as their shop's sign. They made sure Harry wasn't forgotten, and it cost them everything.

When Voldemort took over the ministry, their shop was burned to the ground - thankfully without them inside it. To add a touch of irony, that was the same picture Voldemort's ministry had been using in their search for Harry before she'd brought them back in time. This time it was going to be different.

It was a very happy couple who left the great hall and headed for Dumbledore's office.

-oOoOo-

Albus couldn't miss their grins as both Harry and Hermione entered his office. "Are you that pleased to be missing transfiguration? Professor McGonagall will be so disappointed…"

"No, Sir, we just had breakfast with Fred and George Weasley. You can't be in their company and not smile, it's an impossibility."

"Ah Harry, I feel your head of house might disagree with that - though I certainly do see your point. I'd like to thank you two for coming. I assume you know why I asked to speak with you both? I am rather anxious that our two star first year students don't leave Hogwarts."

"Well, Sir, that's mainly going to be up to you."

The headmaster was left looking perplexed at Harry before Hermione explained. "I've been teaching Harry occlumency but we hit a problem. Basically, Harry simply refuses to block my mental probes. This has left us needing to have his mental shields examined by someone else..."

Albus caught on at once, and was amazed at the trust he was being shown here. "You want me to check Harry's shields?"

"Harry has a strong mental construct, which you could obviously breech if you really tried. We need a gauge of just how strong that construct is, we're trusting you to get that information for us. Harry though is skilled enough now to know just how far you delve into his mind..."

It didn't need to be said by any of them what would happen if Dumbledore did that, Harry's comment it was up to Albus whether the couple stayed at Hogwarts or not now made perfect sense.

"I feel honoured that you would trust me with this task, and promise to do my very best not to betray that trust."

Realising that any other conversations they would have this morning depended on what happened after he probed Harry's mind, Dumbledore removed his wand and Harry indicated he was ready. Albus then entered a world like none he had ever seen before.

The mindscape facing him was a living entity, but this was no recognisable creature - more a shapeless organism. When working with his old friend Nicolas on dragon blood all those years ago, Albus had been introduced to the workings of a microscope. While this mindscape reminded him of that experience, the scale and detail here was far beyond anything he had witnessed from using that little brass instrument.

Deciding he was here to test Harry's defences, rather than admire them, Albus pushed forward into this organism. He had barely passed through the membrane that was the beginning of Harry's outer defence when he found himself being attacked from all sides. His attackers were about the size of bludgers, though soft and squishy rather than cannonball hard. While the attack was in no way painful, Albus felt the effects at once. Each 'sponge like' attacker that attached itself to him immediately began draining the magical energy behind his probe. While Albus was contemplating what his next move should be, his probe was overwhelmed by the sheer number of attackers and the headmaster faded out of Harry's mind.

Albus needed a moment to recover from the shock before turning to Hermione. "Miss Granger, you are clearly a wonderful teacher. Remind me to offer you a job before you leave Hogwarts. I have never seen anything like that. It was shock more than anything that saw me so easily ejected. Now that I know what I'm up against I could undoubtably delve further, but I don't think we need to. Anyone else encountering that unique mindscape will react in the exact same way."

Blushing at the praise but delighted with her boyfriend's performance, Hermione gave Dumbledore the information he was missing. "Oh, that mindscape construct was pure Harry, Professor. Harry has a very organised mind, and leans heavily into muggle sciences. Most muggle borns who are that way inclined would recognise exactly what just happened to you."

Harry took over the explanation. "Our bodies have natural defences against attacks by foreign bodies, infections and viruses. I decided to adopt that model to protect my mind. The biological defences of my mindscape treated your probe as a foreign invader, and immediately reacted accordingly. Those were my versions of white blood cells that attacked you, draining the recognised threat of energy before it could harm me. I'm working on having more layers of surprises for anyone who attempts to enter my mind."

"Fascinating, simply fascinating. Well, Miss Granger, I would say Harry's shields pass muster. I imagine you will now have a few long conversations with him."

"We're saving that for the holidays, Professor."

"I'm going to be staying with Hermione, her parents wanted to meet me."

Knowing what the old Dumbledore had been like at controlling Harry's life, and also understanding some of the reasons behind it, Hermione headed the headmaster off before he could say anything. "I'll also be meeting Harry's family over the holidays, we're looking forward to learning more about each other."

Recognising what the girl was doing, deflecting his concern, Albus took a chance and asked a question. "I know you made an oath to the other me about information but I was wondering if you could possibly confirm a suspicion I have. Harry's scar is now much lighter, does that mean what I think it does?"

Deciding that Dumbledore had played fair with them, Hermione gave the old wizard an early Christmas present. "It means exactly that, Professor. There is no taint whatsoever attached to my Harry."

Harry had no idea what was being talked about here but couldn't fail to notice the effect Hermione's words had on Dumbledore. The Headmaster slumped into his seat, leaving Harry to initially think this was a bad thing. Dumbledore's smile was then wide and genuine, there might even have been the beginning of tears in his eyes. It was easy to see his main emotion though was that of relief.

"Miss Granger, you are probably the only person in the world who knows how much those words mean to me - and that is because they will mean even more to you. I had hoped to convince you both to stay in Hogwarts, yet this morning you have given me so much more than that. If there is anything I can do for you, please just ask."

She was initially going to say that wasn't necessary when Hermione had a brainwave. "Sir, if at all possible, could you be at Harry's quidditch matches?"

While not understanding the request, he now knew Hermione wouldn't make such a request unless it was really important. Since it was such an easy request to grant, and may somehow protect Harry, Albus quickly concurred he would be there. They chatted back and forth before it was time for all of them to leave for class.

As the couple left the headmaster's office, Dumbledore's heartfelt wish they would have a Merry Christmas ringing in their ears, Harry tried to rein in his curiosity. The instant they were alone he had a question for Hermione. "I understand I will be getting an explanation for what just happened in there later, it seemed important though?"

He got a kiss from his girlfriend, and a wide smile. "That piece of news is unbelievably important, and all good for us. It will certainly feature prominently in our talks during the holidays."

Harry was happy with that, since those holidays were only a week away. They walked hand in hand to their next class.

-oOoOo-

Both Harry and Hermione found themselves back in the headmaster's office before that week was up. The visit this time wasn't nearly so pleasant, Dumbledore had some news for them and the also summoned Professor McGonagall.

"Severus Snape stands trial tomorrow, and we four have been called as witnesses. Someone is spreading gold, almost certainly Lucius Malfoy, in an attempt to turn the entire incident into a mere misdemeanour - and nothing more than a massive overreaction on our parts."

Turning his attention to the two youngest in his office, Albus explained his fears. "They have obviously used the boy-who-lived angle to push for a trial, knowing there is an insatiable curiosity about Harry Potter. This will be most people present's first chance to see Harry for themselves. Snape's representative will obviously want to get each of you answering questions, and then try to portray you both in a poor light - holding up Severus as a caring professional."

"If Snape's representative can manage that last part then we are in real trouble. I have no memories of his classes but, from what I've heard, that certainly was not the case."

This drew a smile from Dumbledore as he outlined more of the trial arrangements. "Madam Bones will lead the ministry case. As you can imagine, she's as angry about this situation as we are. Professor McGonagall and myself will accompany you both to the ministry and at least one of us will be at your side for the entire time you are out of Hogwarts. My advice would be to stick to the truth, no matter how much they try to twist your words or actions."

"And there was me looking forward to the holidays too. He won't be returning to Hogwarts, will he?"

"Not unless they sack me, Harry..."

McGonagall was quick to add her name to the list of those who would need to be sacked too before Snape could reenter Hogwarts as a professor. Since it was getting late, their head of house led them back to Gryffindor Tower. "Neither of you has anything to hide, so just follow the Headmaster's advice and tell the truth."

The truth though would get the pair in more trouble than they, or even Dumbledore could deal with.

-oOoOo-

Dobby had popped Hermione to Harry's bed and they had spent the night together. There wasn't much sleeping done though as Harry had wanted information, specifically on Snape and Malfoy. Hermione knew plenty, and had spent most of the night passing that information on to her boyfriend.

As Hermione greeted Harry in the morning, his hug and kiss couldn't mask his rage. "You need to remember what happened the last time you lost your temper in a courtroom." Her whisper struck home, but not in the way she expected.

Harry pulled her to him and gave Hermione their most passionate public kiss to date, causing wolf whistles and shouts inside the Gryffindor common room. Using the ruckus he'd just caused, Harry whispered into his now dazed girlfriend's ear. "And you need to remember I'm a different Harry. I'm rather more articulate now, so I'm hoping for somewhat better than telling the cowardly bastards to go and fuck themselves."

Taking his girlfriend by the hand, they headed through the porthole in search of McGonagall, neither felt much like having breakfast this morning.

-oOoOo-

Since Dumbledore was a witness, he wasn't present at today's trial in his capacity as Chief Warlock, rather that of Hogwarts' Headmaster. He and his deputy took up flanking positions, all four sitting in a row with Harry and Hermione safely sandwiched between their professors.

Harry's eyes wandered all around, taking in the people and large gloomy room. Since he had no memory of his visit to Diagon Alley on his eleventh birthday, this trip to the Ministry was his first real contact with the magical side of Britain - outside of Hogwarts that is. Harry wasn't liking what he found. All the staring, pointing and unwanted attention was adding fuel to his already simmering temper. "This is a bloody circus, and we're the freak show. The boy-who-lived, here for everyone to stare at - and they didn't even need to pay admission money."

Hermione's hand was of course in Harry's as she gave it a squeeze. Noticing how worried the girl was, Albus started pointing things and people out to his two students. The teacher in Albus took over as he explained today's procedure in greater detail, making sure to identify the main players to the pair.

Of all the people here, Harry had only previously met Madam Bones but still had no trouble picking out Lucius Malfoy sitting in the crowd. Draco was as near a clone as was possible to his father, they even had the same sneering expression when looking down their nose at those not worthy. To the Malfoy family, that was apparently everyone who didn't share their last name.

The grateful smile the headmaster received from Hermione told Albus there was more going on here than he was aware of. If Hermione was worried, he would need to be on his guard.

An auror guard then escorted Snape into the courtroom, leading the accused to a chair on a raised plinth where everyone could clearly see him. Harry spotted the former Head of Slytherin sneering in his direction. The way Harry was currently feeling, he had no problem returning Snape's sneer - with interest.

Albus was first into the witness stand, with the defence council, Litigator Braithwaite, quickly establishing that the Headmaster hadn't actually witnessed the accused, Severus Snape, casting the curse he was charged with. Lucius' gold had hired the best and Braithwaite tried very hard to earn that gold by glossing over the fact that Dumbledore himself had cast the prior incantato spell that verified Snape had indeed used that curse.

Madam Bones though undid most of Braithwaite's work by making sure to clearly highlight that fact in her questioning of Dumbledore.

McGonagall too was forced to admit she hadn't seen her former colleague cast that curse. She put a big dent in Braithwaite's line of argument though by saying she had witnessed Snape casting a stunner, therefore the legilimens curse must have been cast after that - and before the headmaster arrived on the scene. Since she was certain the curse hadn't been cast at her, and the other three occupants in that wrecked toilet were all first year students, his guilt was assured in her mind. McGonagall stuck to that opinion, no matter how much any fancy litigator tried to rearrange the actual facts of the case.

Hermione was whispering to Harry that she would be fine before she left his side to face her turn as a witness. She too was forced to admit that she hadn't seen the legilimens curse cast. It was when Braithwaite then chose to focus on Harry's reaction to his client, indicating that it was actually Severus Snape who'd been the injured party, that Hermione cut lose.

"Harry's magic responded to an attack on his person, that this attack was by a death eater was probably responsible for the severity of that response."

This somewhat took the breath from everyone inside the courtroom, though Braithwaite soon came back at her. "Are you accusing my client of being a death eater?"

"Harry's magic concentrated its attack on his left forearm, where Voldemort branded his followers…" Hermione ignored the screams that her saying the Dark Lord's name caused, she didn't even blink as she twisted the knife into Snape.

"If your client would like to roll up his sleeve and prove me wrong, that would settle this argument right now. Since Snape's master, Voldemort, attacked Harry when he was a baby, I'm certain that's why Harry's magic had such a reaction to one of that cowardly bastard's marked followers firing a spell at him." Hermione's innocent and sweet voice saying those words just added to their effect.

"You say his name?"

She stared at Braithwaite as if he was a big slug, or should that be a caterpillar. The man didn't have two distinct eyebrows, rather one large bushy one that ran the width of his forehead. Every time he raised one end of it, Hermione couldn't help but think of a hairy caterpillar trying to escape into Braithwaite's receding hairline.

"Why should I be frightened of a name?"

"Well, there could be reprisals..."

"Oh, you mean death eaters, like your client, could be upset with me? I'm the first magic user in my family, and also Harry Potter's girlfriend. Do you think me saying Voldemort's name in public will make those death eaters still at large hate me any more?"

Braithwaite slowly and deliberately looked the plain muggle born young witch up and down before passing his own judgement with a sneer Malfoy would have been proud of. "Well, we were all young once, and also all made mistakes. Girlfriends come and go, but remarks like that will see you remembered..."

Harry was on his feet without realising he had stood, his anger at the litigator though had his voice turning ice cold. "That is my intended you are insulting and, last time I looked, she's not the one on trial here. I also noticed you didn't answer the question that your client is a death eater, could that be because the person paying your fee is a death eater too?"

Amelia then jumped all over Braithwaite, and it took all his skill as a litigator to direct his opponent away from pressing his client over the death eater matter. Part of that redirection saw him declaring he had no more questions for Hermione, allowing her to return to her seat. She didn't have time to speak with Harry, far less calm him down any before it was his turn to take the witness stand.

This was the one Braithwaite had been waiting for. He was never going to score any points against Dumbledore or McGonagall, and no one of any proper standing gave a shit about what a mudblood said. This though was Harry Potter. Tearing apart the eleven year old legend would bring him fame - and a fortune from Lucius Malfoy.

"Ah, the fabled boy-who-lived..."

Harry didn't even pay Braithwaite the courtesy of looking in his direction, those green eyes that Hermione loved so much were firmly fixed on Snape. Harry's voice was again level but contained a menace that belied his eleven year old body. "My name is Harry James Potter. I was born to parents who had thrice defied the Dark Lord, I was born as the seventh month died. Your client has exactly sixty seconds to reconsider his future, before he doesn't have one."

The laughter coming from the litigator was loud and theatrical, until he turned around and spotted his terrified client. Braithwaite moved his large body until it was between his client and the boy's view, this just resulted in Harry moving his gaze to his watch.

"You think you can sit there and threaten people?"

"Everyone in this courtroom just witnessed you trying to do the same to my intended, payback is a right bitch. Ask your client if he thinks I'm bluffing. Just be quick about it, he has twenty two seconds left, twenty one…"

At that, Severus Snape stood and uttered his first words of the trial. "I wish to change my plea to guilty."

For a large man, Braithwaite was light and fast on his feet. He was in front of Snape just as the last syllable left the potion master's lips. "What? You can't do that!"

Making no effort to hide the smirk in his voice, Harry rubbed salt into Braithwaite's severely wounded pride. "He can, and he just has."

The litigator may have been quick on his feet but Dumbledore's wand was lightning fast. Braithwaite was frozen in the motion of angrily springing at Harry as Albus' powerful voice boomed around the courtroom. "These children are in my care, everyone in this courtroom would do well to remember that."

In the silence that followed Dumbledore's intervention, Harry's voice rang out crystal clear. "When I was held by that spell, Litigator Braithwaite, a Malfoy tried to curse me in the back. Considering there is one behind you, I would be very worried right about now. I hope you at least got your fee up front, that way you will only be left morally bankrupt. Then again, death eater gold is tainted with the blood of innocents. What does that do to your soul?"

While Braithwaite couldn't answer due to Dumbledore's spell, Lucius couldn't resist shouting from where he was sitting. "What are you insinuating, boy?"

"Pardon me, sir, it was never my intention to insinuate anything. I'll just state a few facts and let these good people make their own minds up. It's a documented fact that a person under the imperius curse remembers everything they did. With the number of crimes you committed, you don't appear very contrite to me. It is also a fact that I was the person who cut the strings that were making you Voldemort's puppet. I'm not looking for gratitude but your son attacking me twice is a bit fucking much." Harry's temper finally came out to play as he stared daggers at the senior blond prick. "Know this, Malfoy. Your son draws his wand on me again, I'll take him apart..."

"Who are you to threaten the Malfoys..."

"I'm the person who, while still a toddler, defeated the Dark Lord that had you completely in his control. I'm also the person who intends to see every death eater that willingly followed Voldemort brought to justice. Your friend Snape just pleaded guilty to avoid that fate. What are you gonna do about the taint on your name, Malfoy? Since your buddy Snape changed his plea, we seem to have a free seat in this courtroom right now. Step forward and clear your name, prove to everyone in this courtroom those rumours about you being a murdering death eater are nothing but lies."

Lucius stormed out the courtroom, Harry's 'I didn't think so' ringing in his ears.

One gesture from Amelia had been enough to stop her aurors from interfering as the incident kicked off. They, like their boss, had stood ready as the entire scene played out. Now that it had, Amelia once more retook control. "Harry, since the accused has changed his plea, there are no further questions for you to answer. You may return to your intended."

The smile on her face as she said that disappeared the instant she turned to face Braithwaite.

"You, Sir, will behave in a manner fitting to someone of your profession who is inside a courtroom. Otherwise you will soon find yourself in need of a litigator because I will have you arrested in a heartbeat. Do you understand?"

After being released by Albus, a beaten Braithwaite nodded his consent before shuffling back to his seat. The courtroom then waited as some shocked judges reached their verdict. Severus Snape was sentenced to three years in Azkaban, with two of them suspended and his behaviour in the island prison determining whether or not he served them.

Hermione meanwhile had Harry wrapped in her arms. Her mouth was right next to his ear as she whispered her fears. "I can't lose you again."

Albus gave them a moment before interrupting. "Your intended, Harry?"

Harry slipped out of Hermione's hug, though you still couldn't fit a sheet of parchment between them. "That wizard was looking down his nose at Hermione, some in the crowd were sniggering at his remarks too. That was unacceptable. Hermione has protected me, it was my turn to do the same."

Turning to his girlfriend, Harry gave Hermione his grade one 'you love me anyway' smile. "I suppose I really should have asked you first…"

"And I would ask you to watch your language as you do so, Mister Potter."

They could both tell Professor McGonagall wasn't really angry with them, again though Harry attempted to protect Hermione. "I'm sorry, Professor, that's entirely my fault. Hermione is teaching me so many of her good habits, it would seem one of my bad ones had rubbed off on her."

They were joined by Amelia who had heard that part of the conversation. "Harry, I've also been known to use the odd curse word here and there. It's more a case of knowing when you can use it."

"I have a temper, Madam Bones, cursing helps me release some of that anger without resorting to violence - or magic."

"Would you care to explain to me just what you said to Snape? I've never seen anyone change their mind so fast."

"I'm sorry, Madam Bones, I can't. That information has been known to Professor Dumbledore since before I was born. If he hasn't mentioned it to you before now, then it's not something to worry about."

"I was actually more worried about your claims of seeing death eaters brought to justice. Just how were you intending to do that?"

"By studying hard and becoming an auror when I leave Hogwarts."

Harry's answer had Amelia laughing, with even McGonagall breaking into a smile. "Sure you do, Harry. Just don't go into politics, Cornelius would be out of a job in no time. The minister would actually like to meet with you today, if that's all right with you and the professors?"

"Would he be the one to ask about getting Hermione's house protected? Professor Dumbledore did something to my home many years ago that keeps my family safe. With Hermione now my intended, can we do something similar for the Grangers?"

"Oh this one really is a politician. The Minister would certainly be able to grant you permission to do that, he would probably be quite pleased to help."

"That's great. Madam Bones, is there anything else you think I should ask the minister for?"

This time the stern Minerva McGonagall couldn't help herself, she burst out laughing.

-oOoOo-

The Minister of Magic was left confused and bemused. Cornelius' only consolation being that he certainly wasn't the only one who got more than they bargained for when meeting Harry Potter for the first time. He was of course delighted to give permission for Dumbledore to erect wards around Miss Granger's property. He wasn't quite sure how he came to be signing underage use of magic licences for both Harry and his intended. Cornelius couldn't dispute though that there were elements of their society who would wish both children harm, thus felt justified at his actions. That Albus and Amelia also signed those licences meant they at least shared the blame, should the young couple use their exemptions to cause trouble.

Cornelius had enough trouble of his own. After that latest humiliation today, he was sure Lucius would soon be back at his door with some scheme to clear the Malfoy name. Given that Lucius had now refused two chances to do that very thing, Cornelius would need to have a ready excuse for denying whatever Malfoy wanted. After witnessing what happened today, nothing less than a full trial under truth serum would stand any chance of seeing Lucius Malfoy being believed.

He was so glad to have taken Albus' advice and had already started to publicly detach himself from the head of the Malfoy family. A cold shiver of fear ran through the minister at the thought he could have been sitting beside Lucius today, and therefore would have been tarnished purely by association. Cornelius intended to make sure that wouldn't happen by putting as much distance between him, his ministry, and Lucius Malfoy as possible.

-oOoOo-

Harry was having his second experience of wizarding culture. The boy-who-lived and Albus Dumbledore flooing into the Leaky Cauldron caused quite a stir. Hermione was able to use her new exemption to spell all the soot and dust off herself and Harry, though, with everyone's attention focused on the two gentlemen she was with, there was no notice paid to that at all.

Since, from an educational viewpoint, today was shot and tomorrow they boarded the express to London, Dumbledore offered to drop both of them off at Hermione's home. This would allow him to check the location and decide on the wards he intended to erect over the holidays.

It would be a few hours yet though before Hermione's parents finished work so Dumbledore had offered to take them to Diagon Alley and allow them to do some shopping. Watching a wide-eyed Harry as the arch opened up onto Diagon Alley was reward enough for Albus. Hermione took over the role of tour guide and, with her hand that wasn't wrapped in Harry's, pointed out the sights to her boyfriend/intended.

She of course was waxing lyrically on the many wonderful old tomes held in Flourish and Blott's, her only regret was she didn't have enough space in her bedroom at home for all the books she wanted. A cough from behind reminded both Harry and Hermione they had an escort today.

"Miss Granger, I couldn't help overhearing your conversation. As a young man I faced the exact same problem. I solved this by creating a library trunk for myself. On the outside it looks just like a normal trunk but on the inside - let's just say it easily held all the books I had amassed. Since I have my own library at Hogwarts now, it would give me great pleasure in seeing it once more being used by someone who will appreciate it as much as I did. You never know, I might even leave a book or three in there as well…"

With a squeal of delight, Hermione acted like any other twelve year old receiving a wonderful gift from her grandfather - she hugged Albus to within an inch of his life while spouting thank-you's at speeds only matched by a machine gun.

A smiling Harry then stated the obvious. "I take it we're hitting the bookstore then?"

"Oh yes, but first I want to get presents for my mum and dad. They would really appreciate something from the magical world."

"Great idea - you can help me with that too."

Grabbing Harry's hand, Hermione dragged him off in the direction of a shop she'd chosen. A smiling Albus followed on behind. He was a little sad that his chosen lifestyle had denied him the opportunity to have children and grandchildren of his own, that didn't mean he couldn't be a grandfather figure to these two though. Miss Granger's very presence here was a massive wake-up call that he had clearly made a complete balls of the situation. Every time he saw that young witch smile gave him hope this time he could get it right. That she was currently grinning from ear to ear made Albus feel better than he had for years.

Minerva was perfectly capable of running Hogwarts while he indulged himself for a few hours in Diagon Alley. As long as he was back for the feast tonight, Minerva probably wouldn't even know he was still missing.

-oOoOo-

The Range Rover pulled into the Grangers' driveway and Dan applied the brakes a touch sharper than he'd intended. As Emma felt the seatbelt tighten, she ignored the sensation in favour of concentrating on the same thing her husband was. There were lights on in their house when no one was home. Both their unasked questions were answered as their front door flew open and their beloved daughter rushed toward the car.

This may have left the parents with a whole different set of unanswered questions but those questions could wait a few moments. Emma had her seatbelt off and was out of the car before Hermione had reached them, her arms soon locked around her growing girl for the first time in nearly four months. For a family that liked their hugs, that now felt like an absolute age. A pair of masculine arms wrapped both his girls up as the Granger family was complete once more.

The icy December drizzle that was falling cut the family reunion short, and meant any questions would be kept for inside. Even although they now had a witch for a daughter, the Grangers were still a very practical family. Discussions were far better held sitting comfortably around a cozy fire, rather than standing outside in weather that couldn't make its mind up whether to be rain, sleet or snow.

Taking a few seconds to ensure the car was locked and secure, Dan then took his daughter's offered arm - Emma had the other - as all three headed inside. The wide smile Hermione was sporting allayed any fears that, whatever the reason she was home early and unannounced, this was bad news.

As a Tolkien fan, only this man's almost regal robes - and his lack of a staff - stopped Dan drawing the obvious comparisons. Hermione made the introductions, her parents' attentions quickly shifting focus to the young boy who'd practically gone unnoticed in Albus Dumbledore's colourful presence. Hermione introducing him as 'my Harry' instantly made this boy the centre of attention for Daniel and Emma Granger.

Hermione poured cups of tea as Dumbledore provided both parents with the explanation they were looking for. Dan and Emma listened intently and, while not pleased that their daughter ended up in a courtroom, they recognised that the school had done everything in their power to protect both children. It was when the Headmaster mentioned erecting magical protection around their home that mental alarm bells started going off in both Grangers' minds. Emma just beat Dan in voicing her concerns. "Is that really necessary?"

Sitting comfortably squished into a large chair with Hermione, and of course holding her hand, Harry had been studying her parents during their discussions with Dumbledore. Hermione said he had met them briefly in the last timeline but, having no memories of that, this was the first meeting for all three of them. Harry could instantly see the beautiful woman his Hermione would become sitting across from them. He knew Hermione as a twelve year old, a nineteen year old and now had the early thirties version to confirm he was a lucky man. Emma seemed every inch as warm and loving as her daughter who Harry adored.

Her father was a different case. That's not to say there was any animosity there, Harry just didn't know what to make of Dan. While he could easily expand his love for Hermione to include her mother, the only father figure Harry had ever known was his Uncle Vernon. Learning that all those memories were false had seriously affected Harry, leaving him with the problem of who and what he could trust. He didn't want that to affect his, and especially Hermione's, relationship with her parents. Harry decided it was time to speak up.

"Ma'am, sir, those protections really are necessary - because of me. Something happened when I was a toddler that sees a large proportion of magical society treat me like a hero. It's the small section who hate me, and everything I appear to stand for, that make putting protections around Hermione's home a very good idea. My own home has had them since my parents were killed, and we didn't even know they were there."

Squeezing Hermione's hand for courage, Harry pressed on. "That litigator was making fun of Hermione today, insinuating she wasn't good enough for me and I would soon find that out for myself. Nothing could be further from the truth and I wasn't for letting him publicly insult her. I announced to the packed court that Hermione was my intended, and she didn't even give me any hassle about not asking her first."

The two kids were now in a world of their own as Hermione reached up to touch his cheek. "You've got a good few years before we get engaged, that will give you plenty of time to get asking me right by then."

Like all fathers of daughters, Dan had often wondered how he would cope when Hermione eventually turned up with the inevitable boyfriend. None of those thoughts had ever come close to the situation he was now faced with. Looking at the messy haired, bespectacled, skinny kid who was gazing into his little princess's eyes, Dan really could only react one way.

Hermione experienced an initial surge of anger as her father burst into loud helpless laughter. That was before she felt Harry relax beside her, and noticed he was actually smiling.

Emma was smiling too as she asked what was a friendly question. "And when did this best friend become your boyfriend?"

"Harry's still my best friend, Mum. He always will be..."

Emma's smile widened at that while Dan finally got his laughter under control. He was wiping tears from his eyes as he spoke to the kids. "Sorry about that, Princess. You have to admit though, on the absurdity scale that has to be up there in the Monty Python bracket. Never mind the Spanish Inquisition, no one expects their daughter to have an intended just after they turned twelve."

The Headmaster was pleased to see how accepting Miss Granger's parents were of the situation, though Albus had no idea what part a snake or those Spanish torturers played in it. Muggles were just so curious. "These two bought some books, a few of them detailing with the position of being someone's intended. I'm afraid I need to return to Hogwarts for the leaving feast but I will send a message to arrange a time for installing your wards. I will of course answer any further questions you have then."

Saying his goodbyes, Albus stepped into the back garden and disapparated.

As the four made their way back into the sitting room, Hermione had one more surprise for her parents. "Mum, dad, there's someone else we want you to meet. Dobby."

The excitable little elf had never been happier in his life. Dobby had loved working for the Grangers in France, they had become his family. The only thing missing had been the person who granted Dobby his freedom, Harry Potter. Now they were all in the same house, Dobby's family was finally complete. His excitement at that was clearly palpable, he was bouncing on his feet. "Dobby is really happy to meet the wonderful Hermione's parents."

A snap of the elf's long fingers saw the cups and saucers disappear, being replaced with Emma's favourite latte, a glass of stout for Dan and pumpkin juice for Harry and Hermione. "Dobby will have dinner on the table in an hour, and Dobby got these from Harry Potter's vault." Handing a small velvet covered ring box to Harry, the little elf then popped away.

The appearance of the ring box certainly moved this situation out of the 'laughing at' category for Dan, that both kids couldn't take their eyes off each other solidified that opinion.

Harry opened the ring box and Hermione gasped at what it held. A pair of solid silver rings that were obviously as ancient as they were beautiful. The smaller ring was the female of the pair, thinner and more decorative than its male counterpart, though both proudly displayed the Potter crest.

As Harry slipped the correct ring on her finger, Hermione recited the words they had learned earlier from the book. "While I wear this ring, I will consider no other." She then picked out Harry's ring and they repeated the procedure. The spark of magic that then passed between the two rings was visible even to the two watching muggles. Both Harry and Hermione leaning in for a gentle kiss broke the enchantment the watching adults felt they were under, neither Dan nor Emma doubted what they had just witnessed was anything less than magical.

"Okay you two, we have a lot to talk about..."

That her mother was sitting down with her latte as she said that eased any fears Hermione had that this could go bad. She knew her parents would be concerned but, seeing no danger, would sit and talk it out. She and Harry would be answering a lot of questions though it was a case of 'so far so good' as far as the young couple were concerned.

They also still had their secret weapon. Dobby would be making a meal that contained her mum and dad's favourites. Seeing their daughter very happy, and wonderful food appearing on the table should have them won over in no time. She knew the Dursleys would be a much harder nut to crack. For Harry however, Hermione would give it everything she had.

 
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