"You have brought this upon yourselves!"
"Sherbet Lemon!" Said Harry. The Gargoyle swung around allowing the Potters access to the Headmaster's office. Harry knocked on the door and the two of them were invited inside.
"Harry, Emma! Please come in and sit down." Said Dumbledore. He indicated a pair of armchairs.
Harry and Emma sat down.
"I have brought you here to discuss your living arrangements." Said Dumbledore. "All things considered, if you are to go back to Privet Drive, then we shall have to take certain measures to ensure your safety and wellbeing, I will not allow a repetition of last year's events to occur, or any other form of neglect or abuse on your relatives' part."
"That's what these new wards are for right?" Said Emma. "To protect us?"
"It is really just one ward." Said Dumbledore "The purpose of which is to teach them to behave themselves. However if you have had second thoughts this year, and there is no shame in having done so, I can make alternative arrangements. I would never ask you to reside with your abusers unless it was necessary, and while it is, I still won't force you to return."
Emma looked at Harry "I'd be lying if I said I want to go back, but there are huge benefits to us having the blood protection." She said.
"How long would we need to stay in Privet Drive for the wards to recharge?" Said Harry.
"Collectively Harry you need to spend three hundred hours inside your Aunt and Uncle's property, before you ask no we cannot simply put you up in a house nearby. You need to consider your aunt's home your home in order for this to work. The second you clearly state that it is not your home, the wards collapse and nothing I can do will bring them back." Said Dumbledore.
"Three Hundred Hours." Said Harry "So we're looking at, at least, two weeks."
"That is correct." Said Dumbledore. "Any time away, even an hour, will not be counted towards that total. However I do not want you to try spending as much time indoors as possible just for that aim. Even if you spend every day going out, the wards should be fully charged in less than four weeks. Either way I will send you notice when the wards are fully charged. After that, you may arrange to go to a friend's house should they and their parents be agreeable to your presence."
"Alright." Said Harry. "So where do we go from here?"
"I shall meet you both at Kings Cross Station when the train arrives and I shall escort you both to Privet Drive and explain, with all five of you present, the nature of the new wards and the new ground rules I expect them to follow."
"Great." Said Emma "That means I don't need to put my cauldron in my trunk."
Dumbledore blinked for a second… Then he chuckled "Too much stuff to carry?"
"Yeah." Said Emma "Why did Lockhart need to have us take so many books."
"As I understand it, from a financial perspective, Mr Lockhart benefited greatly from this year's Defence teaching." Said Dumbledore gravely. "I wish I could say our class performances produced similar results but it that would be a lie, however it seems the both of you have managed to excel at Defence Against the Dark Arts, despite of less than satisfactory tuition."
"On no that's just him." Emma pointed her thumb towards her brother. "We just followed in order to learn some cool spells."
"Well I believe I have found an appropriate and qualified teacher for next year and I have every confidence he will perform amicably in the classroom." Said Dumbledore. "Of course much of that will depend on whether he wishes to accept the job."
"By the way?" Said Harry "What now is happening to Lockhart, and all the people whose memories were modified?"
"Gilderoy is now a permanent resident in St Mungos Hospital in London. He will likely remain there for the rest of his life, memory charms are hard to reverse, especially ones that backfire. The fact that it was also incomplete makes it all the more difficult to reverse. The Department of Magical Law Enforcement has formed a specialist taskforce to look at the acts Gilderoy claimed to have accomplished, with any luck they will be able to find and help those he got to and provide them with some assistance." Said Dumbledore.
"Good." Said Harry.
They were distracted by a knock at the door.
"Ah it seems that my next appointment has arrived early." Said Dumbledore. "If there is nothing else I shall pick you both up from the Platform."
"Thanks." Said Harry.
"Thank you Professor." Said Emma.
"Come in." Dumbledore called to the door.
A man with a pale, almost ill looking, face walked in wearing worn and shabby robes. He stopped shocked when he saw Harry and Emma in the room.
"Well I suppose it's time to pack things up." Said Emma "I wonder how many books I can fit in a cauldron?"
"Now that I think about it, I think I have too many as well." Said Harry, "Excuse us." He said politely to the stunned man, as he and Emma walked past.
"Tha… that's quite alright." He stuttered.
"Remus good to see you, please come in and take a seat." The Potters heard Dumbledore say, but thought nothing of it.
Harry managed to squash all his belongings into his trunk, except for his broomstick which he decided to simply tie to the outside.
Emma was not so lucky. After checking to make sure it was clean and dry, she filled her cauldron to the brim with Lockhart books along with others she managed to squeeze in next to them. Even after that, her trunk was abnormally full.
"Why do you have so much stuff?" Said Vicky looking over.
"I don't know." Said Emma, with exhaustion.
"I hate to ask, but why don't you throw those horrible looking clothes away?" Said Demelza. "I mean you never where them and they're talking up space anyway."
Emma blushed, she had never gotten around to throwing away the clothes handed down from Dudley to Harry to her. In the back of her mind she was still worried that Petunia would confiscate her new clothes and she'd only be left with the Dursley originated clothing.
"I guess you're right." Said Emma. "I'll throw them away when I get back to Surrey."
"Why not now?" asked Natalie.
"I'd just rather wait is all." Said Emma, she didn't voice that she was still afraid her Aunt and Uncle would try and interfere and that Dumbledore's wards wouldn't work.
The other girls sensed that she didn't want to talk about it. All of them knew certain things about the Potters' home life, but only Demelza and Ginny knew the precise details.
"So if Emma is finally done, shall we head over?" Said Ginny
"Yeah lets." Said Emma.
"Finally." Said Harry as Emma and the other First Year Gryffindor girls walked into the Practice Room.
"Sorry." Said Emma "I need to throw out some very old clothes out when I get back."
Harry nodded in understanding. "Alright."
They spent much the rest of the time going over all the spells they learnt since they'd started the little Defence Group. Colin, despite having spent more than two thirds of the year petrified had managed to catch up with everyone else. After a few hours of fun, they stopped and took seats.
"One last thing before you go." Said Harry. He then turned to a cabinet and pulled out a large box, he placed it on a table then pulled out another one that was smaller but still relatively sizeable. "Complements of Hagrid and Mrs Weasley."
Upon opening the smaller box everyone was greeted with the site of an extra-large carrot cake and upon opening the other there were twelve bottles of Butterbeer.
"Bloody hell Harry." Said Ron "Why'd you get all this?"
"Because this is our last chance to have one finale moment together, without anyone else about. We can't all sit in the same compartment on the train, because there are too many of us and there is still the feast but this is our last alone time until we get back next year. So I thought we'd end on a little party. Hagrid was good enough to get us this case and Mrs Weasley somehow found out what I was planning and offered to make a cake. Well I say offered, she had Hagrid bring it with the Butterbeer along with the message that no was not an answer."
"But we've no plates?" Said Natalie.
"Or forks?" Said Geoffrey.
"Just use your fingers." Said Harry, "We've all got to wash in a minute anyway."
"But Harry we haven't even got a knife to cut it?" Said Hermione.
"Honestly have you forgotten what my brother can do with a wand?" Said Emma.
Harry grinned, brandished his wand and, with a series of swipes above the cake, neatly divided it into twelve equal segments. "I am so going to miss magic this summer." He said.
Everyone took a slice of Mrs Weasley's cake and ate along with a bottle of the Wizarding World's finest non-alcoholic beverage. At the end of the little party, everyone was smiling and laughing with bits of frosting smeared across their faces and fingers.
"Harry we're a complete mess." Said Hermione.
"We should take a photo of this." Said Geoffrey. "This is definitely one of those memories we're going to want to hang on to."
"I've got a camera, but who's going to take the photo?" Said Colin.
As if to answer his question, Professor McGonagall walked in.
"I…" she began, but paused when she saw them in quite a state. "I was just here to check that you were leaving the room in a suitable state before the holidays. Please clear up this little party when you're done."
The Professor turned to leave. "Wait Professor?" Said Harry "Can you take a group photo of us?"
McGonagall turned and looked over the hopeful and messy faces. "Do you wish to clean up first?"
"Nah, it would ruin the shot." Said Ron.
Colin hopefully held up the camera.
"Say cheese!" Said Colin.
"CHEESE!" Came everyone's voice. McGonagall didn't entirely understand why they did that but made no comment.
"Yay." Said Colin excitedly "Thanks Professor." He took his camera back.
While McGonagall frowned at him as but he didn't notice, despite what had happened this year the Colin that Emma had so missed and brewed a potentially dangerous potion over was back to his happy and excitable self.
"Now please make yourselves look presentable, it's not every year we win the House Cup." Said McGonagall.
"We won it last year?" Said Ron
McGonagall did not say anything but she did level an intense glare at Ron.
"Yes Professor." He said timidly in response to unspoken threats, while the others sniggered at him.
The carrot cake and Butterbeer they had beforehand, in no way inhibited the Defence Group's ability to consume vast amounts of food, as demanded, during the leaving feast. Their appetite was not even ruined when Dumbledore embarrassed them by announcing that: Harry, Ron, Demelza, Luna and Neville were to be given awards for special services to the school. Though Harry was not convinced anything could ruin Ron's appetite.
The following morning the twelve of them congregated over Breakfast for the last time until September and held a toast over orange juice and tea. Finally it was time to leave the castle and board the express. Emma felt a lump in her throat as she looked at the castle. She was riding in a carriage with Harry, Ginny and Neville, while the others were in the two carriages ahead of them.
"It feels strange doesn't it?" Said Harry.
Emma looked at her brother.
"Leaving the school at the end of term, after all this time?"
Emma nodded. "It almost feels like…"
"Like we're heading to school now and leaving our home." Said Harry.
"I'll never feel that." Said Neville "My Gran maybe strict, and I have less pressures on me here, but home will always be at her house. Not that the school hasn't been amazing but home is still home."
"To me, the Burrow and Hogwarts are both overcrowded places where peace is a rarity." Said Ginny. "The Burrow will always be home to me, but despite everything that's happened this year, it has been awesome."
"Yeah." Said Neville. "Just think Harry, we've still got five more years here, Emma and Ginny have six."
"I know. Think of all the Secret Chambers we'll find." Said Harry.
"And monsters we'll slay." Said Ginny.
"And detentions we'll accumulate." Said Emma.
"And trips into the forest we'll make." Said Neville.
There was a moment of silence, as they passed the gate that lead past the School boundaries.
"We're so doomed." Said Emma.
"Yeah, but at least we're doomed together." Said Ginny.
"I'll be here if you need me." Said Harry, as he and his Defence Group divided into three smaller groups. Harry, Ron, Hermione and Neville were in one compartment; Emma, Ginny, Demelza, Luna and Colin were in another nearby and Vicky, Natalie and Geoffrey were in one all to themselves on the next carriage.
"See you in London brother." Said Emma.
The train had barely left when Harry's compartment door was pulled open.
Malfoy, stuck his head in the door as Crabbe and Goyle mindlessly stood in the background.
"Shut the door Draco, you're letting a draft in." Said Hermione.
"Don't you dare talk to me you filthy little Mudblood." Snapped Malfoy angrily. He had lost much of his credibility this year. Despite the fact it had been officially established that he was not the one who attacked Colin, Hermione and the others, people still viewed him as an outspoken bigot and elements of his time as a hate figure were enduring. Lucius Malfoy was also kicked from the board of governors and the reasons why had found their way into the Hogwarts rumour mill. As a result of this, the Malfoy heir found that he was on the receiving end of far less respect than he thought he was due.
"Then don't enter our compartment." Said Neville. "Honestly if you don't like someone, don't purposefully seek them out."
Malfoy glared. "Shut up Squib, I just came to give a message to Potter. My father says that you will soon meet a sticky end, just like your parents, and your sister will be begging for death before her last year at Hogwarts."
"If your father's the worst threat to my general wellbeing Malfoy then I think I'll be alright." Said Harry "However, since he was so kind to send me a message, I feel it's only fair to send one back."
Malfoy smirked "Well come on Potter…"
Harry smiled and incanted "Vermisvomitum!"
Malfoy had completely failed to notice Harry had his wand out. He bent over and began vomiting up large numbers of worms from his mouth. Harry then rapidly and non-verbally stunned Crabbe and Goyle before they could step in.
"Harry?" Said Hermione in panicked shock.
"I'll be with you in a second Hermione I need to give a message to this git."
Harry grabbed his nemesis by the hair, hoisted him to his feet and punched him in the nose. Malfoy fell back to the floor, landing outside the compartment, blood and worms streaming from his face.
"So long as you're just lying their Drakey, understand this, above all else. I don't care what you say about me, or what pathetic plans and self-delusions you and your father come up with in order to gain vengeance from Voldemort. But if you ever threaten my sister again, I will cast this spell on you again but I will also seal your mouth shut with spello-tape so that you slowly choke to death on worms. Now, just to make sure you understand."
Harry raised his wand.
"Harry!" pleaded Hermione cautiously.
Malfoy's hair turned to seaweed once more but this time Malfoy's skin also turned a shade of greenish yellow.
"I wouldn't recommend trying any counter curses." Said Harry "With those two spells it can only make you feel worse, probably won't kill you but think actual vomit mixed with worms and rotting fish. Best to just let it wear off on its own. Shouldn't take more than 12 hours, and tell your father that if he's going to make poor attempts to threaten me, to do it in person, though I don't expect a coward like him to have the courage to look me in the face."
It was only as Harry shut the door, that he realised that half the carriage had witnessed him warn Malfoy off his sister and to basically tell him that he was not afraid of either Junior or Senior.
"You shouldn't have done that Harry, you'll get into so much trouble." Said Hermione
"Yes he should of." Said Neville. "I didn't go into the Chamber, just to let Emma be threatened by that blond haired… Green and Yellow haired tosser."
Hermione looked shocked, Neville was not being the shy and timid boy she was used to… this year had changed him.
"Emma is more important to me than any trouble I can get into at Hogwarts." Said Harry "I will never stand by and let her be threatened. Especially not by cowards like the Malfoys."
"But you could get into trouble." Said Hermione.
"Really Hermione, he's been here two years." Said Ron. "It's all for a good cause though."
Hermione sighed "Well I suppose Malfoy had no business coming in here. Still did you have to…"
"Hermione you don't have a little sister." Said Harry "Trust me I did."
Hermione stopped then looked at Ron "Does that make any sense to you?"
"After this year it does. But if I'm honest it probably wouldn't take that much for me to curse Malfoy anyway."
Suddenly all four of them got distracted by an unholy scream coming from Emma's compartment.
Emma, Demelza, Ginny, Luna and Colin all settled in their compartment and began making summer plans.
"You should come round in a few days Emma. My Mum and Dad are eager to meet you… Dennis is to." Said Colin. "You guys can come too if you like."
"I will." Said Emma. "After the last eleven years neither Harry nor I are particularly fond of Privet Drive."
"I'll see what Mum says." Said Ginny. "Considering everything that happened this year, I'm not sure she'll want me out of the house much."
"I'll come round." Said Luna. "My Daddy and I are going to the Australian desert in a week to cover an expedition looking for heliopaths, so I won't be able to visit any other time."
"I'll see what happens at home." Said Demelza.
Colin looked delighted and he, Emma and Demelza exchanged phone numbers, while Ginny looked curiously at the slip of paper she'd been given curiously.
"Harry taught your Dad how to work one last year, do you want to try it?" Said Emma "He's probably going to get Ron to try phoning him."
Ginny nodded. "I suppose I could give it a try."
Suddenly their door opened and Rachel Avery was stood there sneering down on Emma.
"What do you want?" Said Ginny irritably.
"I'm here to teach you blood traitors and Mudblood lovers a lesson. I don't believe for a second you could defeat Slytherin's monster and I'm going to prove it now by wiping the floor with you."
Avery had her wand out and Emma was in a position to cast a shield charm, but she needn't have bothered.
"Flipenda!" shouted Avery.
Nothing happened, she'd said the wrong incantation.
Emma and Ginny gave each other a look, nodded then at once they both incanted.
Both hexes struck Avery and she suddenly found herself under attack by an abhorrent number of bat shaped objects formed from her own dried nasal mucus. The fact that both girls had incanted meant that the intensity of the attack was twice as much as a regular attack.
Avery ran back to her own compartment screaming all the way, but she couldn't outrun her own bogies.
Harry, Ron, Hermione and Neville saw the younger Slytherin rush past.
"I'm just going to make sure Emma's ok." Said Harry "And congratulate her on a successful incantation."
"I'm fine Harry, seriously." Said Emma. "I'll see you in London."
"Alright. For the record I've also given Malfoy a curse and a jinx, he is looking very green and yellow right now."
"Good for you." Said Emma.
Harry smiled at her and shut the compartment door.
"Do any of you worry how many fights we seem to get into?" Said Emma.
"No." Said Ginny.
"No." Said Colin.
"Nope." Said Demelza.
"I would, but most of our fights can be blamed on other people or wrackspurts so I wouldn't complain." Said Luna.
"What about you Emma?" Said Colin.
"Not really, I was just wondering." Said Emma.
"Well at least the stuff Harry's taught us has proven useful." Said Ginny "Better them than us, did we actually learn any defensive spells this year from anyone apart from Harry?"
"Well apparently the levitation spell can be used in a combat situation." Said Emma. "At least according to your brother."
"Yes. Remind me not to tell Mum and Dad about that will you?" Said Ginny.
"Do you have any means of phoning me?" Harry asked Neville.
"No, I never even heard of that thing. Maybe I should have taken Muggle Studies." Said Neville. "I can still write?"
"Please do." Said Harry "I'll go nuts with nothing else to do at the Dursleys. Emma will be visiting Colin…"
"Visiting Colin?" Said Hermione "As in staying over?"
"No, she's going to visit him every so often this summer and help him catch up on his work." Said Harry.
"But doesn't Colin live several hundred miles from Surrey?" Said Hermione.
"Oh apparently the Wizarding World has this thing called the Knight Bus." Said Harry.
"You mean she's going to ride that thing?" Said Neville.
"Yeah." Said Harry. "What's wrong with it?"
"Well it's insanely fast and really uncomfortable." Said Neville.
"Well Emma can test ride it for me, it can't be much worse than the Gringotts rail cars." Said Harry.
"Harry maybe you should use this bus as well." Said Hermione. "It can't be healthy for you, just staying in Privet Drive all the time."
"Maybe, we'll see." Said Harry.
The sun was beginning to set in the distance, over the tops of London's buildings when the train arrived in the city. A few minutes later, the train stopped alongside the platform in London. The Defence Group got off the platform and congregated together for a last round of goodbye hugs, then they began filling out to parents and other guardians.
Harry and Emma stopped long enough to exchange greetings (hugs) with Mrs Wealsey before they found Professor Dumbledore waiting for them.
Emma had managed to grab the handle of her cauldron of books and her trunk in one hand, while she held Mopsus' cat box in the other. Harry in the meantime had a trunk, with a broom tied to it, in one hand and Hedwig in her cage in the other.
"Are the two of you ready to go?" Said Dumbledore.
The Potters nodded.
"Very well, as your hands are rather full I shall take one of each of your arms."
One rather disturbing ride later, Emma and Harry materialized in an alley, just off Privet Drive.
Upon landing though, Emma threw up on the ground. "I shouldn't have had the Pumpkin Pasties." She moaned.
"Are you going to be alright?" Said Harry. He placed Hedwig's cage and his trunk on the ground and proceeded to rub her back.
"Yeah. Next time, let's get a cab."
"Do not worry Miss Potter, most people vomit the first time." Said Dumbledore kindly "You'll probably be fine when you next travel this way. Now then shall we?"
Harry and Emma led Professor Dumbledore to Privet Drive. Now that they were back in Surrey, the two of them felt really nervous. The last time they were here, they left out of the bedroom window in a flying car, Emma had used Hedwig's cage to hit Vernon in the face and Harry had kicked him in the nose with his foot.
"Out of interest, do your relatives know you now have a kneazle?" Said Dumbledore.
"Umm… No." Said Harry "We haven't been in contact with them since we left and I got Mopsus for Emma's Birthday last year."
"I see." Said Dumbledore. "Mopsus?"
The kneazle turned inside its box in Emma's hand, and went "Meow!"
"I will add protections for your kneazle and owl as well. We do not want your relatives to cause them harm while neither of you are around." Said Dumbledore.
They reached Number 4 and Professor Dumbledore knocked on the door.
After a few seconds, Vernon came to the door. It took one look at Dumbledore and another look at his niece and nephew for his temper to rise.
"Right. You two freaks go up to your bedroom, leave your trunks and that bloody pigeon down here. You may leave sir, and I forbid you to enter my house."
"Mr Potter, Miss Potter stay where you are and keep your pets with you." Said Dumbledore authoritatively.
Harry and Emma were distinctly uncomfortable with Vernon's presence but felt reassurance from that of their headmaster.
"You sir, will not tell me how to…" began Vernon.
"Mr Dursley. What happens from this point on is your choice. Either we can take this conversation inside or I can take your niece and nephew back to Hogwarts and arrange for the Muggle authorities to have you and your wife incarcerated for child abuse."
Vernon glared at Dumbledore "We are not child abusers, and you have no proof."
"Mr Potter and Miss Potter have been extensively examined by the school Healer and there examinations show evidence of starvation and physical abuse. That is evidence enough: Both in Magical and Non-Magical legal systems. Now if you prefer, I shall take Harry and Emma back to Hogwarts and, as I believe the phrase goes, we shall see you in court."
Dumbledore turned to go and Harry and Emma, not wanting particularly to be anywhere near their demented uncle followed.
"Wait." Said Vernon. "You may come inside and I will hear what you propose."
Dumbledore turned. He had not smiled once in Vernon's presence and he now looked distinctly domineering, Harry and Emma could tell Vernon was intimidated by the sweat pouring down the side of his face.
The three of them followed the Potter's Uncle inside. Upon entering, it became obvious that Dudley and Petunia were watching from the top of the staircase.
"Petunia, you and your son should come and listen to what I am about to say, as this is going to affect all three of you." Said Dumbledore.
Emma and Harry walked through the threshold that led to the living room, just as Petunia and Dudley descended the stairs, they left their trunks in the hall and took only their pets with them.
Once they were all seated, Dumbledore did most of the talking.
"I cannot tell you how disappointed I am in both of you." Said the Headmaster, anyone else would have been scoffed at by the Dursleys for saying that in their presence. But Dumbledore's voice held such overwhelming calm that even Dudley wasn't stupid enough to react to it. "Petunia, when I asked you to take care of your niece and nephew, I meant for you to care for them like they were your own children. If you did not wish to have Harry and Emma under your care, then you should have simply written to me and I would have made other arrangements."
"You said that it was of the utmost importance…" Said Petunia angrily. "Your letter said that they would have been in danger had I not accepted. I normally wouldn't have cared but I know how your sort work; blowing up us normal people or else feeding us to these Dementor things."
"Petunia, I wanted Harry and Emma to grow up in a loving environment more than anything. If you were unable to provide that…"
"What about these protections." Said Vernon "Your letter said my family would be protected."
"The protections in question are for Harry and by extension Emma. They are for those who share the blood of Lily Potter. As other guests in this house, you would also have been protected."
"But your letter said that these wards could only be established here. With me." Said Petunia scathingly.
"The location, is largely irrelevant." Said Dumbledore "The protective magic, in order to survive, needs you as Lily's sister. However, if I had known twelve years ago that Harry and Emma wouldn't be wanted here I would have never allowed them to stay."
"So take them." Said Vernon. "Take the ruddy freaks away. We don't want them, we're happiest when they're not around." Two years ago Harry and Emma would have been hurt by those words, and others said by their aunt and uncle, but now they no longer cared.
"Fortunately for the three of you, Harry and Emma both value the continued existence of the blood wards, over the unacceptable treatment you have displayed since they were infants." Said Dumbledore.
"Now see here." Said Vernon angrily "I will not have some strangely dressed freak like yourself dare criticize my parenting meth…"
"Mr Dursley I have been working closely with Children and Teenagers for nearly ninety years. I am well aware of what makes a good parent and what makes a bad parent. You Mr Dursley are what I would call a disgrace. You have allowed the beating and starving of your niece and nephew and allowed your own son to completely obliterate his health and given him so much self-indulgence I fear for what kind of person he will be in five or ten years' time."
"Who our Dudders?" Said Petunia.
"Yes." Said Professor Dumbledore. "Now in order to preserve the blood wards and the extended protection, Harry must stay here until his seventeenth birthday. He says he will continue holding residence here until then, after which, he and his sister will leave. If in that time, the three of you manage to treat Harry and Emma with the appropriate respect, we shall not have either of you prosecuted for child abuse."
"Us prosecuted for…" began Petunia scoffing at Dumbledore.
"Yes, both you and your husband. We have the sufficient evidence to support a prosecution. The following ground rules are: you will treat both Harry and Emma with respect, you will not seek to harm them or withhold food from them and nor will you seek to control their possessions. You will also not attempt to inhibit their contact with their friends and you will not attempt to harm their pets either."
Vernon grumbled "Fine. But they will still have to do chores."
"Provided your own son is given his fair share of chores to do as well, I'm sure that is a reasonable position." Said Dumbledore.
Vernon looked furious "Who are you to dictate…"
"I am the one here who is ensuring the welfare of Mr and Miss Potter." Said Dumbledore "There is no doubt in my mind that you will do everything you can to make them unwelcome and inhibit their general welfare should I leave at this point. This is why I should tell you right now, I am modifying the wards of this house to protect them and their pets from all three of you."
The Dursleys shut up at that statement. Dumbledore was now threatening magic against them. This was undeniable when he drew his wand from his robes. A few waves and the lighting in the living room flickered as the magic flowed into position.
"I have now modified the wards. Normally I consider this a cruel thing to do, but you have brought this upon yourselves." Said Dumbledore. "Stand up!"
All three of them stood on their feet.
"If you behave yourselves from here on, this is the only time you will make the change." Said Dumbledore. He flicked his wand, triggering the magic.
The Dursleys just managed a look of surprise before it happened. Harry had joked before that the Dursleys were like farm animals. That joke had just been extended. He and Emma tried in vain not to laugh but they couldn't help themselves.
All three of the Dursleys had been turned into farm animals. Vernon and Dudley were turned into pigs and Petunia was turned into a goose. The animals suddenly became aware of themselves and started panicking. Petunia the goose began squawking with her throat and the squealing sounds on Vernon and Dudley could not have been anymore high pitched.
After a few minutes, Dumbledore must have thought that they had gotten the message because he flicked his wand and they all turned back into humans.
"You damn freaks." Shouted Vernon. He looked particularly at Harry and lunged for him, only to be turned back into Vernon the pig, before he could move a step in that direction.
Harry and Emma got a bit of a shock when he began to lunge, but they burst out laughing again when he transformed before them.
"Now that the demonstration is over, I should tell you that if at any point Harry or Emma are threatened, or if the magic in this house determines anything you do as abuse. You will be turned into your designated animal for a period of two hours." Said Dumbledore.
"Turn my husband back into himself. Now." Demanded Petunia.
"Mr Dursley shall return to himself in two hours." Said Dumbledore. "After that display I think he could do with a little humility. One last thing, until you learn to show your niece and nephew the proper respect, you cannot have any visitors who are ignorant of the magical world."
"What?" Said Petunia "But my sister-in-law wants to come visit at the end of the holidays. How are we supposed to…"
"You could wait until we're at school." Said Emma "Let's face it, Marge won't be pleased to see either of us, especially after meeting Hedwig last time." She smiled at the memory.
Petunia glared, Emma knew why she wanted Marge to visit while she and Harry were around. Marge really liked Roast Beef: a dish that the Potter siblings combined were absolute experts at. Petunia had improved her cooking technique, but the Potters were still the best when it came to this particular chore.
"I will contact you when the protection has recharged." Said Dumbledore to Harry. "If there are any problems write to me and someone will come round."
"Someone?" Said Harry "Professor McGonagall?"
"Perhaps. But realistically, probably either myself or Hagrid, depending on who has the most time available."
Vernon the pig whined pathetically at the mention of the Groundskeeper. Harry then remembered that Hagrid had apparently broken his uncle's wrist after the Weasley's rescued them last year.
"I shall take my leave then." Said Dumbledore.
"Thank you Professor." Said Harry
"Not a problem. You know how to contact me if you need to." Said Dumbledore as he departed.
Harry and Emma were left alone with the Dursleys.
"So, shall we start dinner?" Said Emma.
Because it was so late, there was no time for a Roast Dinner so Emma made a simple dish of mince and potatoes with help from Harry after he relocated their luggage and pets upstairs and, to Petunia's disgust, filled a cat's litter tray for Mopsus and put it outside their bedroom door.
Vernon of course couldn't eat in his current condition, as Pigs can't sit at a table.
"Well you have two choices." Said Emma looking down at him with her hands on her hips. "You can either wait until the transfiguration wears off or I can feed it to you in a bowl on the floor."
Any normal human being would probably wait until he was back to normal. But Vernon was hungry and there was a specific reason he was turned into a pig. Harry had no idea why Aunt Petunia was so disgusted by her husband eating off the floor like that, because he was sure that it was a big improvement on his usual table manners. Then again she could have been glaring at Mopsus.
Emma had given her cat a plateful of mince without the potato and he was nibbling his way through it from a dish on the work surface, with distinctly more dignity than Dudley or Vernon normally would (as man or pig). To add further insult to injury, Hedwig had joined Harry and Emma at the table and was picking out bits of meat Harry had put on a saucer for her. Petunia glared at Harry and Emma, then proceeded to ignore them. Dudley never said anything but he looked enviously at the amount of food that wasn't being fed to him.
Emma and Harry decided, as the Dursleys could no longer threaten them, to talk about normally forbidden topics.
"So what do you think of your first year of learning magic at Hogwarts?" Said Harry.
Emma looked thoughtful "Oh it was so magical!" Said Emma emphasising the last word and taking great pleasure in watching Petunia and Dudley shiver at its use.
"Yeah." Said Harry grinning, wondering how else they could rile the Dursley's "It's a shame we didn't get to fly on broomsticks more often."
"True but we did learn to cast some really cool magical spells."
Petunia let out a low sounding squeal which confused the hell out Dudley. He had finished his plate of food and was still hungry.
"I want more." He demanded to those present.
"Tough, there isn't any more." Said Emma. "It seems that Aunt Petunia didn't get enough for all of us."
It was plainly obvious, from the lack of food that Petunia had intended to have Dudley and Vernon eat their usual large quantities of food, while the two Potters got an amount comparable to what they were fed two years ago. But with the balance of power shifted, Emma had simply divided the food into five equal portions, which gave her, Harry and Petunia a comfortable amount while Dudley and Vernon were given much less than they would have preferred.
"I WANT MORE!" demanded Dudley. "Give me what's left on you plate." He demanded of Emma, who still hadn't finished.
"No, this is my tea. If you're still hungry go eat something else. There are bananas in the bowl behind you."
Dudley growled "Stupid freak I want…" Just as he was lunging for Emma he changed into a pig like his father. Petunia shrieked and ran to her boy.
Harry sighed, "Well I guess that means we're doing the washing up tonight."
Petunia glared at Harry.
"What?" he said "We did the cooking, it's only fair that Dudley does the dishes. Don't you think?"
Petunia desperately wanted to say something to contradict that, but the anxiety of turning into a goose allowed her to hold her temper in check. For now. Harry and Emma did the dishes and left Petunia to look after her piggy family.
Later, after relaxing a bit after a long day of travelling, Emma began the process of extracting all of Dudley's hand-me-downs and other old clothes from charity shops that just had to be thrown out. While she was at it, Harry also looked out all his hand-me-down clothes that were left behind following their escape the previous year.
"I can't believe we used to wear these." Said Harry.
"I can." Said Emma. "I think we should burn these."
"While I agree, let's settle for the bin." Said Harry.
So he went downstairs and retrieved a few used shopping bags and returned to the bedroom, just as Vernon turned back into a human.
"What are you doing boy?" he demanded. His eyes were filled with fury, and Harry was sure that if it weren't for Dumbledore's new protective measures his Uncle would probably be more violent.
"We're throwing out all the old clothes that you gave us." Said Harry. "They are not really fit for anyone to wear."
Vernon glared. "They are good enough for freaks like you."
Harry smiled "You may think that, but at least humans wear clothing, not like pigs."
"Now see here boy."
"SHUT UP!" shouted Harry "You are not going to dictate our lives for us anymore, nor are we going to put up with your attempts to do so. My sister and I are not going to be vindictive, but we will not stand for any more of your abuse. The decision on whether or not you get sent to prison in four years' time is ours. I suggest you learn not to act like a pig. You may think we're abnormal or freaks or whatever, but the rest of the world thinks the exact same thing of you."
Vernon was enraged, but suitably chastised. Harry chose that moment to go back upstairs and sort the clothes out.
"I heard that brother." Said Emma "Are you really thinking of sending them to prison?"
"Nah. It would be pointless by that stage." Said Harry "Unless they do something to deserve it between then and now, and let's face it they can't at least not to us, I honestly think it will be a case of 'goodbye, I hope we never see you again.' He doesn't need to know that though."
"I guess you're right." Said Emma "Where do you think we'll go after we leave here?"
"Well? You'll still have two years at Hogwarts. I'll still have one. I'm thinking, we move into a flat or something during the summer. Then after school, who knows what happens." Said Harry thoughtfully.
Emma smiled "What do you think you'll do after school?"
"Well now Lockhart's gone, I think I should give whoever replaces him a chance before I plan to take over. I suppose I could become an auror? Madam Bones said she'd like to see what I'm capable of when I finish Hogwarts."
Emma frowned "But Harry, becoming an auror means working for that… git…"
"What git?" Said Harry looking at his sister incredulously, then he remembered "Oh that git! Well if Fudge and that horrible woman…"
"No that wasn't it. Umbridge?"
"Yeah Dumbridge." Said Emma.
Harry chuckled "If both of them are gone, then I'll consider it, if not, maybe I'll try something that's not at Hogwarts or the Ministry. What about you?"
"I don't know?" Said Emma "I mean Defence with you is fun, but I don't have your skills for it. I'm really good at Potions."
"A great achievement considering who we are and who Snape is." Said Harry.
"Yeah." Said Emma. "I might want to give healing a try. Madam Pomfrey has taught me a lot about Healing Potions. She said if I get good exam marks next year, she might try teaching me a handful of healing spells."
"That's great." Said Harry. "What about your subjects next year?"
"Not sure." Said Emma "But from the sounds of things, Divination and Muggle Studies would not be a good idea."
"Yeah." Agreed Harry "I know Ron seemed keen on Divination, but the way Percy talked about it…"
"Well quite. I might take the same classes as you. I never had your maths skills, but…"
"From the way Neville and Ron talked about it, most wizards don't learn much more than the basics of the subject before Hogwarts. You were still good at it in school, top of your class."
Emma blushed "I don't really need to make that decision until next year."
"No I guess not." Said Harry.
Harry and Emma shoved the undesirable clothes into bags and took them to the outside bin. Mopsus, was not all that comfortable in Privet Drive, though it may be more accurate to say he was not so comfortable with Harry and Emma's relatives. During their first night back, Harry and Emma were woken up by the terrified squawking of a goose in their bedroom.
Squinting in the darkness, Harry put on his glasses while Emma put on her bedside light. Petunia the Goose was squawking in panic next to Emma's trunk. Obviously she had tried to confiscate the Potter's stuff during the night while they were still asleep.
"What the…" Said Harry.
But before he could address Petunia the Goose directly, Mopsus growled and made threatening noises that distracted them all. He then leapt off his mistress and charged down the Goose. Petunia screamed and bolted out into the hall. Mopsus stood just glaring at the door. Then, he head-butted it shut and resumed his position on Emma's body.
Harry and Emma just looked at each other and chuckled.
Harry and Emma for the most part only tried to interact with the Dursley's at meal times. In the beginning this was a little difficult. Angered that they weren't able to put the Potters down like they used, the Dursley's resorted to trying to verbally put them down.
Emma and Harry still made all the meals, because the alternative was Petunia's cooking. But they refused to do the dishes, Professor Dumbledore had made it clear that Dudley had to be given chores as well. After Breakfast the following morning Dudley came from helping Petunia fill the dish washer, and barged straight into Harry and Emma's room.
"You stupid gits. You're the ones who should have been doing that. You're both complete gits. You're both freaks."
Dudley kept on just continuously sprouting random incoherent insults. The wards must have decided that he was misbehaving, because after about half a minute Dudley turned into his pig form. Then, to top it all off, Mopsus taught him just how much Kneazle Claws hurt. The Pig ran squealing from the room in a hurry, kitty marks all over its back.
Dudley was not the only one to transform, later that afternoon Vernon was relaxing with a brandy and a newspaper in the living room when the phone rang.
"Vernon Dursley Speaking!"
"HELLO… I'D LIKE…. TO SPEAK… TO HARRY… POTTER." Came Ron's extra loud voice from the receiver.
"Who the hell is this?" demanded Vernon.
"I'M A FRIEND OF HARRY'S FROM SCHOOL."
Vernon looked outraged, he got as far as shouting "THERE IS NO ONE OF THAT NAME HERE…" before he turned into a pig. Harry had been nearby when the phone rang and went over to answer it.
"Hello Ron?" Said Harry.
"HARRY?" came Ron's loud voice, causing Harry to hold the receiver at arm's length.
"Ron, don't shout." Said Harry "Try speaking normally."
"Oh sorry." Said Ron.
"What happened to your uncle, he was talking then suddenly…"
"He turned into a pig." Said Harry, on the other end of the line Ron burst out laughing.
"I was beginning to wonder if Dumbledore would do it, part of me thought he wouldn't."
"Well he did." Said Harry. "That's the second time he's turned since Dumbledore left. They've all turned at least once."
"They're not giving you much grief are they?" Said Ron.
"Not as much as they're giving themselves." Said Harry "Is it just you there?"
"No Ginny is here, as is Dad."
"Cool, so how's your life been?" asked Harry.
"Pretty good, Mum made us a huge dinner last night to celebrate our return. She was a bit reluctant to let Ginny play Quidditch with us for some reason, but the two of us talked her round."
"You helped?" Said Harry.
"Yeah, Ginny's really good, you saw yourself during the Christmas holidays, not to mention last year."
"Your Mum's probably just worried about her. I was pretty worried about Emma for weeks after the Chamber, and unlike me. Your Mum wasn't around school all the time."
"I guess. Ginny seems much happier now though… What you do…. Well what am I supposed to tell him… girls are strange…"
"Sometimes." Harry agreed. "Do you think we should swap with the girls?"
"EMMA!" Harry called. "Ron and Ginny are on the phone."
Emma rushed down the stairs and took her turn to speak to her best friend.
"Hey Ginny!" Said Emma
"Hey. How're things, Ron was laughing. Have your relatives changed form?"
"Yeah all of them. Vernon and Dudley twice. Vernon is now glaring at me from the kitchen."
Ginny giggled. "Anyway, it took some convincing but Mum said I could go to Colin's. She or Dad will drop me and Luna off there."
"Great. I'll call Colin and let him know. I'll send you details with Hedwig later, providing Harry doesn't mind."
"Thanks. I'll let Luna know to." Said Ginny. "Has Demelza phoned you yet?"
"No, no one else has. But I wouldn't worry just yet, her brothers will look after her, and it will take at least this long for her to settle back in."
"I guess, but I'm worried. So is Ron, we're wondering if we should tell Mum and Dad… Nothing Dad… You know what I mean Em'!"
"Yeah I do." Said Emma "She lives near you doesn't she? You could try taking a bus to Cornwall…"
"No way, I have no idea how to function in Muggle society, people in the village are already weary of my family, think we're strange. Then again with Luna and all the other magical families round here we're not the only ones." Said Ginny.
Emma sighed. "Gin, you and I are going to take some trips into the Muggle world this summer."
"Emma I can't let you spend money on me…"
"Not all trips to the Muggle world require us to spend money." Said Emma. "We could go to a beach somewhere and swim in the sea. At worst I'll buy us a bag of chips to share."
"I don't know."
"Well I do." Said Emma determinably. "The Burrow's great, but you need to get out and see the world."
"As opposed to Privet Drive." Said Ginny irritably.
"Yeah I know, but I'm going to explore the wider world and you're coming with me."
"Look we'll start with dinner at Colin's. Demelza and Colin and I will be able to help you out." Said Emma. "Luna too, though that could be a lost cause."
Ginny laughed. "Dad's running out of coins to put in the machine, I think we'd best stop here."
"Yeah ok." Said Emma. "I'll send you a letter as soon as I'm sure."
Second day back, everyone had just finished lunch when the phone rang again. Petunia answered this time.
"This is the Dursley residence." She said.
As she turned to face Harry, he and Emma could tell she was really irritated.
"It's someone, for you." She said.
Harry got up took the receiver from her. "Hello?"
"Harry, it's me." Came Hermione's voice.
"Hermione?" Said Harry happily.
"How are you? Have you been ok, have your relatives…"
"Fine Hermione, everything's fine. My relatives have changed a few times each but they can't do anything to us."
Said relatives glared at Harry as he said that.
"That's something at least. Harry, when I heard about the Knight Bus, it can go anywhere right?"
"According to Luna. Why? You want to meet up?"
"That would be nice to, but my parents want to meet 'the two boys they've heard so much about' so they're inviting you both round for tea. Would you be able to come on Sunday?"
"Yeah, I'd love to." Said Harry.
"Can you also pass the invitation on to Ron, he doesn't have my phone number and I haven't got and owl to…"
"Yeah no problem, he and Ginny phoned us yesterday."
Hermione gave Harry her living details before they both said goodbye.
While Harry was penning a letter to Ron, Emma got a phone call from Colin. In this instance Dudley was the one who answered the phone. Emma was so mortified by what he said, that when he turned into a pig she gave him several hard kicks before he trotted off whining.
"Colin, its Emma I'm so sorry about that…"
"That's ok Emma." Came Colin's traditional cheery voice. "I just spoke to Mum and she thinks that it that Sunday would be best."
"That's great, Harry and Ron have been invited to Hermione's then." Said Emma "I'll let Ginny and Luna know the time. Thanks for inviting us."
"It's ok." Said Colin, then he sound serious "Demelza called."
Emma didn't like the tone of voice. "What happened?"
"They haven't hit her again but they had a really nasty argument when her brother took her home. She called me. Apparently she's staying at her brother's flat in Exeter."
That didn't sound good. "What sort of things did they say?"
"Well, apparently Mr Robbins, her Dad, wrote to Professor McGonagall. She didn't say what the letter was about, but apparently McGonagall wrote a letter to Demelza in response. I don't know what else happened but she is really angry, and I don't mean angry like you were angry at Lockhart after he deboned Harry, I mean she is really deeply hurt."
"And she's staying with her brother?"
"Yeah. She'll be coming round as well though, on the Knight Bus." Said Colin.
"Ok." Said Emma. "Thanks for letting me know. I'll write to Ginny and Luna."
"Great. See ya Sunday. Bye."
"Bye." Emma hung up the phone, her mind on Demelza.
Harry and Emma were both worried about their Cornish friend, but reasoned that if she was at her brother's then at least she was safe enough. So when Sunday came they made their way out of Privet Drive to a small side alley still big enough to take traffic.
"According to Luna, we just stick our wands in the air." Said Emma.
She felt immensely stupid, despite having used the six inch long stick repeatedly over the last year. But both Potters were both shocked by a sudden loud bang and a triple decker bus driving into the alley and stopped in front of them.
"Welcome to the Knight Bus, emergency transport for the stranded witch or wizard in need. My name is Stan Shunpike and I shall be your conductor for this trip."
Harry and Emma looked at each other and nodded. "Yup this is real!" thought Emma.
"So where is it ya want to go?" Said Stan.
"Um I would like to go to Victoria Court in Ackerton, South London?" Said Harry
"We can get ya there, can't we Ern?" Said Stan.
"Aye, we can." Came the voice of the driver.
"And can I go to the Creevey Farm in Hepton, North Yorkshire?" Said Emma.
"Sounds like the middle of nowhere, but we can take ye there, can't we Ern?"
"Aye, we can." Said the Driver again.
Harry and Emma soon learnt that the Knight Bus took you to a place on a first come first serve basis, regardless of location. As such there were about a dozen other people on the bus so they had to go to a dozen other places.
"I definitely prefer flying to this." Said Harry.
"I think I prefer apparating to this." Said Emma. "This feels like a more hazardous means to the same end."
Harry put a comforting arm around her.
"WHOA! Pick up in Exeter." Shouted Stan. The bus made a hard sharp manoeuvre as city buildings rapidly passed the windows and suddenly stopped at in front of a block of flats.
"Demelza?" called Emma excitedly. After Demelza paid for her fare she went over and sat with the Potters.
She looked distinctly worse for wear.
"Are you alright?" Said Harry.
"No." she moaned. "I've been staying with my brother."
"What?" Said Emma.
"I've been staying with a nineteen year old boy who lives in a one bedroom student flat, which I've spent the last half a week trying to clean and to top it all off I'm sleeping on his couch. Which asides from being coated with nearly a year's worth of crisps and beer stains, is also about a foot shorter than I am."
"Oh dear." Said Emma.
"What is it with boys and being so messy." She glared at Harry.
"Hey what did I do?" he said.
"Dem' my brother is…"
"Do not call me 'Dem'!" Said Demelza threateningly. "That name is of limits."
"Demelza." Emma amended "My Brother and I are heavily domesticated. You should talk to Ron or Colin about that."
The brown haired girl sighed. "This is all Mum and Dad's stupid fault."
"Do you want to…" began Harry.
"NEXT STOP CORK!" shouted Stan. And the bus shot forward.
"Cork?" Said Demelza. "Isn't Cork in Ireland? As in across the sea?"
"It won't be across the sea in a minute." Said Harry pointed out the window. The three of them were treated to the odd sight of the bus moving high speed across the sea between Ireland and the Cornish Peninsula.
"This is nuts!" Said Demelza. "Do we have to move so fast?"
"Demelza do you want to talk about…" began Harry again.
"No. Please don't make me talk while we're moving, I… I think I'm no longer used to traveling in a vehicle." She said.
After Cork, the bus shot over to the Leakey Cauldron in London, then the town of Golspie in the Scottish Highlands, then Dover, then Wrexham in Wales, until finally.
"Ackerton South London." Called Stan.
Harry got up. "I'll see you later Em', Demelza I'm always available to talk if you want to."
The Cornish girl nodded her thanks, but she still looked distinctly grumpy, not that Harry blamed her. It was plainly obvious that Demelza was going to need some help from her friends this summer, plus this bus ride was just generally horrible. Putting those thoughts aside for now, Harry disembarked. As soon as his feet hit the pavement, the bus shot off leaving him standing on the pavement in a nice and flowery looking suburban part of South London.
Harry walked along until he found a small detached property, slightly bigger than the houses in Privet Drive, which was No.11. The Granger residence.
He was just about to approach it when he heard a crack from further down the street. A few seconds later, Ron and Mrs Wealsey walked out of a side street.
"Oh Harry, good to see you." Said Mrs Weasley happily, trotting up to him and taking him in a hug.
"Hey mate. How was the Knight Bus?" Said Ron.
"Fast, and very uncomfortable." Said Harry letting go of Mrs Weasley.
"Oh well never mind, it's not the most ideal form of transport but I suppose it's better than nothing. Shall we?" Said Mrs Weasley.
While Harry, Ron and Mrs Weasley went to the Granger residence, Emma and Demelza arrived at the Creevey's farm in North Yorkshire. Colin's Dad ran a small dairy farm and employed a few people to help him care for his cows and deliver milk to the nearby villages. The farmhouse in question was quite large and spacious, with grounds that were even bigger than those of the Burrow. However most of those were filled with cattle.
The Knight bus pulled up at the top of a trail leading to the farm and Emma and Demelza got off.
"That." Said Emma. "Is going to take some getting used to."
"Do you particularly want to get used to it?" Said Demelza.
"Better than staying with what I have for relatives." Said Emma.
Demelza sighed and gave Emma a sympathetic look, "Come on. Let's see if Ginny and Luna have arrived yet."
"Y… yeah." Said Emma.
"Are you nervous?" Said Demelza, a smile beginning to form.
"Not particularly, why?" Said Emma.
"You've been exchanging letters with the family while Colin's been petrified, they've been particularly eager to get to know you." Said Demelza
"Oh yeah… Thank you now I really am nervous."
Emma and Demelza arrived at the trail just as Mr Weasley disapparated with Ginny and Luna.
"Hello Emma, and you must be Demelza, you're Muggleborn too right? Absolutely…"
"Dad." Said Ginny.
"Right, well I need to get back. Best not leave Fred and George unattended." Said Mr Weasley.
He waved them goodbye and popped away.
"Demelza are you alright?" Said Ginny "You look like I did when I was under control of the Diary."
"I… I'll be fine." Said Demelza.
"When was the last time you slept?" Said Luna looking at Demelza.
"Um… I'm not sure. I did sleep last night, just not the entire night. I slept in about 5 stages of just over an hour each." Said Demelza.
"When did you last eat?" asked Ginny.
"When was the last time you ate a proper meal?" asked Luna.
"Um… what constitutes a proper meal?" Said Demelza. "My brother's been feeding me a mixture of cereal, chocolate and crisps."
"Nothing hot?" Said Emma.
"The hot chocolate was hot. Actually it was just warm, I think he needs a new microwave." Said Demelza. "Can we go say hi to Colin now?" She determinably turned towards the farmhouse.
"We're still going to talk about this later." Said Emma walking up beside her. They knocked on the door.
The door opened to reveal Colin who looked up excitedly at the four girls who, after a year of school were all still bigger than him.
"Hi everyone; come in, come in." Said Colin excitably "Mum, it's them, it's them."
The girls all giggled at Colin's antics and came inside. As they took their shoes off an even smaller version of Colin came in.
"Everyone, this is my little brother Dennis, he's ten. Dennis this is Emma, and Ginny, and Demelza, and Luna."
"Hello!" Said little Dennis happily in a high pitched voice.
As the rest of them arrive, Emma realised that the Creevey family were essentially a group of four very short people. Colin was the shortest person in their year group and the only person at school Emma was taller than ignoring all non-human life forms and Professor Flitwick. His mother and father were not all that much bigger than Ginny. The tallest of the girls present.
Mrs Creevey was a rather small woman, with short blonde hair, brown eyes and a kind looking face that Emma recognised on Colin and could also now see on Dennis.
Mr Creevey had tanned skin as well as his sons' mousy brown hair and their blue eyes.
"Welcome." Said Mrs Creevey. "Come in come in."
The girls were guided into the living room, where they all sat down and Colin introduced each of them. Emma was acutely aware that Mr and Mrs Creevey seemed most interested in who she was, and she wondered just what impact sending them letters on Colin had.
"This here is our other son, Dennis." Said Mrs Creevey "I'm Katy and this is Alex." She indicated her husband. "I take it you're all really pleased to be back for the summer?"
Emma and Demelza each separately thought that it would be best if Luna and Ginny answered this question.
"Oh yes." Said Luna "While I do miss Hogwarts somewhat, it is nice to be back with my Daddy."
"I'm happy to be back, but Hogwarts is amazing." Said Ginny.
"Yes. You all did seem to have a lot of fun over there." Said Mr Creevey. "Colin showed us some more of the pictures he didn't send. It does look like a wonderful place."
"Could you tell us about it?" Said Mrs Creevey.
The girls and Colin began comparing stories about what classes were like and what the castle was like as a place to live in.
"The corridors keep changing?" Said Mrs Creevey
"You get used to it." Said Emma "It takes time, and some helpful older brothers but you manage."
"Though in truth the school has so many secrets, that apparently you can go through seven years and still not learn all of them." Said Demelza.
"What about that room you all played in?" asked Dennis. "This one!" he pointed at a photograph of Harry's practice room, which featured Luna and Geoffrey exchanging spell-fire while Natalie and Ron were having a game of chess behind them and Harry, Hermione, Emma and Demelza were playing exploding snap.
"Oh that's Harry's Practice Room." Said Ginny.
"Harry's my older brother." Emma clarified. "Last year he got overly keen on practicing spells in the corridors and was told to use this unused classroom for testing new ones. Over time we all started showing up and he's been coaching us in Defence Against the Dark Arts and the place has kind of turned into a club house for my brother and our friends."
"It's been a great place, especially as Luna here isn't in the same House as the rest of us and she's not allowed in our common room." Said Ginny.
"It's your brother who started all this Emma?" asked Mrs Creevey.
"Well, none of us actually started it, but I suppose so." Said Emma "It just started with me wanting to learn more than one spell after my first week."
"Then I found Harry teaching Emma." Said Ginny "I was invited to join in and soon we grew to a group of twelve, including all of us here."
They then told stories of exchanging spells, planning a prank of Snape and brewing potions, although they left out the fact that the only potion they brewed was done so covertly against the rules.
"Well I suppose I'd best get started on dinner." Said Mrs Creevey. "Colin why don't you show the girls your new game?"
"Oh yeah that's a great idea." Said Colin excitably. He then jumped over to turn on the television, much to the confusion of Luna and Ginny.
"Oh! My brother has one of those." Said Demelza eyeing the games console.
Colin, Demelza and Dennis were the only ones who'd ever played video games before. Emma had seen Dudley play his before but she'd never been given the opportunity to try it herself. Ginny and Luna were at a complete loss as what to do. So Colin, Dennis and Demelza demonstrated first. It took a little while, Emma faired only slightly better given that she had at least seen a console before, but the other three managed to get the hang of the racing karts on the TV.
"This is incredible." Said Ginny "I've never played anything like this before."
"It is a unique experience." Said Luna "But I must ask is this cute green thing I'm driving a chicken or a dragon with its wings plucked."
"Neither he's a dinosaur." Said Emma.
"Aren't dinosaurs supposed to be huge though?" Said Ginny.
"So are dragons." Said Luna.
"It's just someone's imagination." Said Demelza "I mean look at that thing Dennis has got. It looks like a cross between a dinosaur, a turtle, a crocodile and a hedgehog."
"Dinner everyone." Called Mrs Creevey.
While six children crammed round a table in North Yorkshire, Hermione Granger answered her front door.
"Hello!" Hermione said to Harry, Ron and Mrs Weasley. "Come on in."
Mr and Mrs Granger came down to meet and greet the three of them.
"I'll be taking my leave now." Said Mrs Weasley "I have the rest of my bairns to feed. I'll come and pick Ron up at nine if that's alright?"
"Yes that's fine." Said Mrs Granger "Are you sure you can't stay a little longer?"
"I'm afraid not. Asides from anything else, one minute is enough to for Fred and George to cause unknown trouble. It was nice to see you again though." Said Mrs Weasley. She then left and went back to the alley to disapparate.
Hermione took Harry and Ron straight up to her room. She didn't have a games console, but she did have a TV with a video player.
"What on earth is this supposed to be." Said Ron.
Before Hermione could answer, Harry stepped in "It's probably best if we just show you. A video is similar to Wizarding Photos… Actually forget that comparison and just watch."
"So what do you guys want to see?" Said Hermione.
"Well I've never been allowed to choose a film before." Said Harry.
Hermione growled. "Then I'll choose one, there are some films all children should see. I think I'll go with this one."
Ron looked at the box "Hey that could be Gryffindor's sword. The kid is blonde but he's scrawny enough to be Harry."
Harry looked at the film "Really Hermione? Out of all the films you have, you choose the one with Merlin in it?"
"Do you want to watch Bambi?" Said Hermione
"No!" Harry grumbled.
"Then be quiet."
Harry had to concede that she'd chosen a good film, even if Ron was completely perplexed by the whole reality.
"When is this supposed to be set?" he asked.
"The Dark Ages." Said Harry, just as the opening voice over said "This was a dark age, without law and without order."
"Do you think that's the forbidden forest?" Said Ron.
"No those trees are in Scotland, this is England" Said Harry, "and Hogwarts doesn't look anything like that."
"I thought you hadn't seen this before." Said Ron.
"I read the book in Primary School." Said Harry.
"Would you two shut up and watch the film?" Said Hermione.
But Ron had to keep interrupting. "Merlin wasn't an animagus," Said Ron "and I don't think anyone has ever turned into a fish before."
"Ronald, Muggles don't understand magic as well as we do." Said Hermione.
Considering Harry's knowledge of the Wizarding World, he had to admit that it was amusing seeing things from a Muggle perspective.
"Bloody hell that looks like one of Snape's detentions." Said Ron.
"It does rather." Said Harry, watching Arthur scrub the inside of cauldron.
"Tea time!" called Mr Granger from down the stairs.
Hermione pressed the stop but on the Video Player just as Merlin was reaching over to tap the cauldron.
"I wonder if Professor Snape saw this growing up?" Said Harry.
"I doubt it." Said Hermione "Can you imagine Snape growing up in the Muggle world?"
"Fair point." Harry conceded.
Over dinner, it was easy enough to see where Hermione got her inquisitive nature from. Her parents asked Harry and Ron plenty about Hogwarts, but it was mainly focused on the curriculum.
"How much work are you excepted to do while up there?" asked Mr Granger.
"Well." Said Harry "We normally get two essays to do a week, as well as other lesser things: research assignments, project reports and of course practising spells and all that doesn't include any work that we fail to complete in class."
"Does that happen often?" Said Mrs Granger.
"More than you'd think." Said Harry "Transfiguration is particularly difficult and even Hermione on occasion has to catch up on class work later on. No matter what we still get homework though."
"The essays are the hardest." Said Ron "Sometimes we get more than two a week, once we got four." Ron shuddered at that memory.
"We have actually gotten more essays since the start of Second Year." Said Hermione. "I think we may get even more this year, especially with the new subjects."
"How long are these essays?" asked Mrs Granger.
"They're mostly one roll of parchment." Said Ron. "But the really important stuff is two rolls, all the essay's we have to do this summer are two rolls."
"How long is a roll of parchment though?" Said Mr Granger.
Harry thought for a second. "About four sheets of A4 paper, maybe five."
"Closer to five I think." Said Hermione.
"What's A4?" Said Ron.
Katy Creevey looked at one of Colin's friends with particular concern. As a nurse in a busy hospital, she knew when someone had not been eating enough or properly. Emma too was worried about Demelza. It was obvious that living with her brother was not an ideal environment.
Colin and Dennis had the girls play some more video games for the last few hours after dinner, then Mr Weasley came by and took Luna and Ginny back to Devon.
"Demelza, Emma would the two of you mind staying a little longer?" Said Mrs Creevey.
The two of them looked at each other and shrugged.
"Sure, I'm in no hurry to get back." Said Emma. Even if the Dursleys chose to lock her and her brother out, they both had spare keys.
"Neither am I." Said Demelza gloomily.
Colin, a usually cheery and happy boy, frowned at the look that was on his mother's face. Most of the times she had that look was when a relative died, or when she had something else grave to say.
"Mum, do you want me and Dennis to go upstairs?" Said Colin.
Katy looked at her son, both of her sons were thoughtful and wonderful boys and she was proud to call herself their mother. "If you wouldn't mind dears." She smiled.
Both boys wandered up the stairs, Katy had the girls sit in the living room.
"I'll be frank. The mother in me is worried about both of you?" Said Katy.
Demelza shifted and Emma held a blank face.
"Emma, Colin has mentioned that your home life can be…" she trailed off.
"Difficult?" Said Emma.
"That's one way of putting it. Did Colin mention the precautions my brother and I were going to take?"
"He wasn't overly descriptive." Said Katy.
"Well Professor Dumbledore put in magical protections that turn the Dursleys into farm animals if they ever try to hurt us, threaten us or withhold food from us." Said Emma. "They've already turned a number of times."
"Can I ask why…"
"We don't just stay at Hogwarts or with someone else?" Said Emma.
Katy nodded, so Emma gave her an explanation of the protections based on Lily Potter's blood and how those protections were tied to Harry and Petunia.
"Are these protections really necessary?" asked Katy.
"They are." Said Emma. "They've already saved Harry's life once and given us both a weapon we can use against Voldemort. The other thing is that these protections turn Private Drive into a sanctuary that can protect better than anywhere else should the need arise. My brother has been marked for death by a man who really likes killing people, I as his sister probably am as well."
"Doesn't that bother you?" Said Katy.
"A little, but Harry is worth it. Besides it's not like there is anything I can do about it, this was decided long ago when I was only 2 months old." Said Emma. "If I'm honest in terms of stability in our lives, Harry and I are in the best situation we've ever been in. We have friends, school, money, more living space and a stable diet."
Katy frowned "I guess there is not really anything that can be done to improve it is there? What about you Demelza? Can you please tell me how your home life is?"
"Demelza." Said Emma sternly.
Demelza turned to glare at Emma.
"It's fine?" Said Katy, she clearly didn't believe her. "Would you mind if I came round to visit your parents?"
Emma greatly wanted to say something, but Demelza had to say this part herself
"But on the other hand Cornwall is a long way away, if everything is fine maybe…"
"I'm…" Said Demelza loudly.
Katy stopped talking, and allowed Demelza to find her voice.
"I'm not actually staying at home right now. I'm staying with my brother in his flat in Exeter."
Katy nodded. "Your brother is a student correct?"
"Yes." Said Demelza.
"Can he afford to have you stay with him?"
"Yeah." Said Demelza. "But it's not a great flat, especially since he doesn't clean it. In that respect it's probably best that I've moved in."
"Moved in?" Said Katy. "Might I ask why you're not at your family home?"
"My parents and I… we're… we're not exactly." Demelza looked to Emma.
"Demelza's parents were opposed to her going to Hogwarts. They wanted her to attend an all-girls boarding school in Wales."
"Ever since I said no to them, they've been pressuring me to drop out of Hogwarts. But that's never going to happen." Said Demelza.
"Christmas?" Said Emma looking at Demelza.
"I spent much of the Christmas holidays at Luna's place. I left my home… under tense relations with my parents. My Dad got a little drunk and arguments got a little loud and personal…"
"He punched her." Said Emma.
Katy's eyes widened.
"It wasn't quite like that. He looked really guilty and…"
"Did he at least say he was sorry?" Said Katy.
"I didn't exactly give him the chance. Luna's owl arrived with a Christmas card in my room while it happened. I quickly wrote a letter asking her to come and get me. She and her Dad arrived the following morning and I was packed. No words were exchanged between me and anyone else in the house." Said Demelza.
"What about this summer?" Said Katy.
"Dad did say he was sorry… well…"
"Well?" Said Emma.
"He said he was sorry for what he did but that it was also my fault for antagonising him and…"
"WHAT?" shouted Katy. Then she looked highly embarrassed at her outburst.
"I didn't take it that to well either." Said Demelza "Neither did my brothers. To cut a long story short, we had another massive row and that probably been no different from the others. But it turned out Dad wrote to McGonagall asking if certain types of classes could be taken at Hogwarts and he signed it using my name."
Emma felt her blood boil. "What kind of courses?"
"Oh nothing special." Said Demelza. "Muggle courses that would never be taught at Hogwarts: Physics, Chemistry, History, Geography. I mean you can find equivalents in the Magical World but nothing Hogwarts teaches can help you pass your O-levels. That wasn't just what the letter was about though. The basic message was at the bottom: 'If any of these courses are unavailable I must request that I be withdrawn from Hogwarts so that I can pursue education in the Non-Magical world.'"
Ok Emma was really angry now. "Your father sent that?"
"Yeah. But you can't forge letters and send them to Hogwarts that easily. McGonagall said that she was alerted to the fact that I had not written the letter and sent me a reply verifying whether or not this was in my interest. I have of course sent back a reply saying that it most certainly is not." Said Demelza.
"Your father forged a letter asking for you to be dropped out of school?" Said Katy. She had a severe look of disappointment.
"I never thought he would go that far." Admitted Demelza. "I thought that by this stage he and Mum would just be sulky and… well… Zack was furious on my behalf, I couldn't even look at my father. We both packed up the day after the train arrived and he drove me to Exeter."
Katy seemed to relax "So they didn't throw you out?"
"No, they'd never go that far." Said Demelza "They might want to send me to a backwards all-girls boarding school in Wales but…"
"I want both of you to come back here." Said Katy. "And Emma I want you to bring your brother sometime as well, I've heard so much about him and I would like to meet him. Luna and Ginny are of course welcome to come round as well, though I understand Luna will be going on holiday soon."
"I'll be coming round anyway to help Colin catch up the work he missed." Said Emma. "Ginny and Demelza can help." She looked at her friend.
"Anything to get out of that flat." Agreed Demelza.
"Excellent." Said Katy smiling. "I think the pair of you should be getting on, your respective brothers may start to worry." She turned and called up the stairs. "Colin, your friends are leaving."
"You know I wasn't sure at first, but now I'm glad to be taking Muggle Studies." Said Ron.
The trio of friends were back in Hermione's room watching the rest of the film they'd started earlier. Hermione beamed at Ron's words.
"You do realise that you won't get to watch films in Hogwarts." She said.
"I know, but it's not just the films." Said Ron. "You said this was based off a book?"
"It is." Said Harry "It was one of my favourites, Emma's to. Dudley got plenty of books as a child, never read any of them, but the Sword in the Stone is still there amongst the stuff in the room we got."
"Just think, you're going to be able to view a whole new source of culture Ron." Said Hermione.
"Yeah." He said, then he looked gloomy "I just wish I could afford to buy some books."
"Well you can borrow some of mine." Said Hermione.
Ron still looked gloomy. "You don't have to do that…"
"But… began Hermione."
"Do you have any Wizarding stories?" Said Harry.
"Well yeah but it's just children's books. Like the Beedle the Bard stories." Said Ron.
"Well why don't the two of you exchange books?" Said Harry, "Let's face it, Hermione and I haven't read much from the Wizarding World. Unless you include textbooks."
Ron smiled at that thought. "Yeah that would be great."
Hermione too was smiling. "I agree. We need to meet up again soon. We should also take Ron out into the Muggle world."
"Yeah, prepare me for Muggle Studies." Said Ron.
"Well maybe, but you have missed out on so much, Harry too."
"Let's also go to some Wizarding areas too." Said Harry. "All I've been to is Diagon Alley, there has to be more than that."
"There is." Said Ron "Just not much more, there's… wait now he's a sparrow?"
"Oh just wait it gets better." Said Hermione.
"It's my favourite dream, but I suppose everyone dreams of flying."
"Not me thank you." Said Hermione.
The boys laughed.
A while later, after Ron had finished laughing at the owl being forced back by the voices shouting "Hail King Arthur, long live the king." It was time to go.
"That was brilliant." Said Ron "I mean they have no idea how dragons work, or wizards, or Transfiguration, or magical travel. But that was bloody brilliant."
Hermione and Harry gave each other a look in the eye, just as the doorbell rang.
"That'll be Mum I guess." Said Ron. "Time to go."
"Yeah I guess." Said Hermione.
"I'll head along as well." Said Harry. "I don't want Emma to worry."
The three of them headed downstairs.
"Thank you for having us." Said Ron to Mr and Mrs Granger.
"Yeah thanks." Said Harry.
"Oh it's no trouble." Said Mrs Granger. "You should come back before we go on holiday, it was nice to see a bit of the world Hermione lives in."
"Oh I wouldn't want Ron to trouble you…" began Mrs Weasley.
"Nonsense." Said Mrs Granger "It's so rare for Hermione to ever bring anyone home. Plus, I don't think she's ever brought boys home before."
"Mum!" Said Hermione.
"Little Whinging, Surrey?" repeated Stan when Harry called down the Knight Bus. "We have little lady whose headin' that way as well, don't we Ern."
"Aye, we do." Said the driver.
Harry found Emma holding onto the bed for dear life.
"Please don't talk to me Harry." She said.
"We'll compare notes when we get back." He agreed.
When Harry and Emma got to the front door of Privet Drive they half expected it to be locked. It wasn't, but on walking inside, they found two pigs and a duck wandering out of the kitchen looking distinctly unimpressed.
Emma stepped on something in the hall, upon removing her foot she discovered a set of keys to the front door. Harry rolled his eyes when he noticed them as well.
"You know it's not exactly a lot that's expected of you." Said Harry. "If you want to keep turning into farm animals its fine by us, but we're going to our room." He picked up the keys, locked the door behind them and placed them on the table next to the phone.
Back in their room Harry and Emma exchanged experiences.
"Wow that is low." Said Harry, when Emma told him about Demelza.
"I know. I mean the Dursley's have done worse, but they're not our parents." Said Emma. "Mrs Creevey now expects us to come round and visit a few times. She also wants to meet you."
"Is she worried about us?"
"Not as worried as she is for Demelza." Said Emma. "You know, I think we should talk to her parents, because this is ridiculous."
"Maybe, but we should wait a little while first." Said Harry. "Demelza has only been back a week, we all have, her parents might just need a bit more time to come to their senses."
"I guess. I'll keep an eye on things, but I really do think there is going to have to be some intervention."
By the end of the second week back, Emma and Harry had gotten used to an active out of school social life.
The two days after dinner at Colin's, Emma met up with Luna, Natalie and Vicky in Diagon Alley and enjoyed a day of shopping. They mainly focused on Luna, taking into account that it was winter in Australia but still bearing in mind that despite the different hemisphere she was still going to be spending a lot of time in a sandy hot desert.
After that day had ended Emma said her first goodbye to a friend going on holiday.
The second goodbye of that nature came, surprisingly, from Ginny. Mr Weasley had won 1,000 galleons in the Daily Prophet Grand Prize Draw. As such all Weasleys were now going to spend the last five weeks of the Holidays in Egypt.
Hermione told Harry that she would be leaving for France at the end of the July for three weeks, which meant he would spend about half the summer without his two best friends.
Natalie then revealed that she would be going to Jamaica with her parents and uncle while Geoffrey mentioned that his family would be going to Canada.
So Harry and Emma spent as much time with those friends as they could. Despite the number of out of Privet Drive excursions though, at the end of the Second Week back, Dumbledore wrote to Harry to let him know that the wards around Privet Drive were fully charged and he was free to leave and stay at a friend's house should he choose. Unfortunately for him, they were all going abroad. Hermione's parents offered to take him as well but Harry absolutely refused to intrude. He also argued that he wanted to spend the summer in his sister's company.
"You're getting good at this Colin." Said Emma as Colin began successfully brewed a Wiggenweld Potion. The Creeveys didn't have a set up for a cauldron so they were using the kitchen hob and an old pan.
"Are you two finished?" Asked Mrs Creevey.
"Yes." Said Emma "Sorry you can use the Hob now."
"Oh it's no trouble." She smiled "What exactly is a Wiggenweld Potion?"
"It cures you of minor illnesses and serves to revitalise your energy. According to Madam Pomfrey, it's used a lot in Wizarding households to treat sick children, in that regards it's sort of like Calpol." Said Emma.
"That's so cool." Said Dennis, who had been watching from the afar for hours. "Can you make something else?"
"Sorry, but Colin and I need to head to the Burrow now or we'll be late for tea." Said Emma.
"I really hope I'm a wizard." Said Dennis. "Then I can maybe get to do this stuff too."
Mr Creevey came in as Dennis and, having heard his youngest say that, said "I'm sure you are, there were still certain incidents that happened, while Colin was at school, that have could be magic."
"Only could though." Said Dennis frowning. "Can't we tell someway?"
"I don't know." Said Colin. "Not without you trying something with a wand, but if you do that the ministry will think it's me and I'll get in trouble.
"I think there might be a way." Said Emma thoughtfully. "However I will need use your hob for about 8 hours straight."
"You got it." Said Mr Creevey "When can you do this?"
"Tomorrow if you like." Said Emma "Harry is coming round as well to go over the Defence Material, he's better at that than anyone else. We can also do the last of the Charms work tomorrow afternoon. That way we can send everything all at once off to the Professors."
Harry had never before seen the Burrow so crowded when Emma and Colin showed up. Demelza had been dropped off earlier that day by her brother and Hermione and Harry had already spent the day with Ron after being dropped off by the Knight Bus early on.
To add to the gathering, the Twins had also invited their friend Lee Jordon round and Percy had bowed to pressure from Mrs Weasley and invited around Penelope Clearwater. There were now twelve children in attendance for dinner and only five of them were Mrs Weasley's.
Ginny took all her friends up into her small room, where Emma mentioned her method for determining whether or not Dennis is a wizard.
"The method is actually quite simple, just long. I take some Powdered Bicorn Horn, some Star Grass and a half dozen Venomous Tentacula leaves. I burn the star grass and the leaves until they're reduced to ash, then I add them and the Powdered Bicorn to the salt water and set it to boil."
"But why would that take 8 hours?" Said Colin.
"It's the Bicorn Horn." Said Emma. "That stuff takes ages to boil. When we were making Polyjuice it took nearly a week, and that was with us doing everything right."
"But this will only take eight hours?" Said Colin.
"Seven to nine." Said Emma "Basically we're boiling salt water with a few extra additives."
"So how can this determine whether or not Dennis is a Wizard?" asked Demelza.
Before Emma could answer Mrs Weasley yelled "Dinner time!" from downstairs.
At the sight and smell of what was put on the table before them, the question posed by Demelza was forgotten.
The following day at the Creevey residence Emma went about setting everything up, while Harry went over Colin's Defence work. "That's not actually a completely accurate description of a fire crab." Said Harry "Its shell is engraved with Rubies and Sapphires but there are no diamonds. Also while water is effective at subduing it, fire is the best way of killing it."
"Killing it?" Said Colin "How can fire kill it, it expels fire out its backside?"
"You're thinking about it in the context of a video game. In a video you harm a dragon by throwing water at arm it. Throwing water at a fire crab will disorientate it, maybe even cause it to faint. But it won't kill it."
"So why does fire work?" Said Colin.
"It's the plasma." Said Harry "Fire crabs hold a large amount of plasma in their bowels, which is how they expel fire. If it's suddenly overheated, it explodes. Fire an Incendio and you'll almost certainly blow it up."
"Ok. No diamonds and fire kills better than water." Said Colin. "Anything else?"
"No. The rest of this is fine." Said Harry.
Meanwhile Emma got hold of a china bowl, placed the Tentacula leaves and the Star Grass inside and set fire to them.
"Won't they become unusable like that?" Said Mrs Creevey, as the contents turned black and shrunk down to residue.
"It depends what you want to use them for." Said Emma. "For what I'm making, I need them to be burnt down to a crisp. Mixing star grass into noodles apparently makes a cure for indigestion, but that's not what we're trying to do here."
She then filled a small cauldron full of water and poured in 400 grams of salt. Once that was done she placed it on the hob, poured the remnants of the grass and the leaves inside along with the Bicorn Powder. Finally Emma turned the dial on the hob to maximum.
"Now all we can do is wait." She said.
"I hope it doesn't taste as horrible as Polyjuice." Said Harry.
"What?" Said Emma "You don't drink it, it's not a potion."
"What?" Said Harry and Colin.
"Didn't I tell you how this works?" Said Emma.
There were a round of heads shaking, even Mrs Creevey and Dennis looked confused. When Emma asked for the use of the hob they just said yes.
"Oh well you'll find out in seven to nine hours."
For poor Dennis, this was obviously going to be a long eight hours. Would he be a wizard, would he not be? Colin in the meantime finished both his Transfiguration and Defence work before noon, just as Demelza arrived. So Katy Creevey decided to take everyone out for the day.
"But what about the test." Said Dennis desperately.
"It won't be ready for another five and a half hours right?" Said Mrs Creevey to Emma.
"At best about four and a half, at worst six and a half." She said.
"Six and a half." Cried poor little Dennis.
"It will be ready when it's ready." Said Katy sternly. "Come on, I'll take you all to York."
"But there are five of us plus yourself." Said Harry "Will there be enough room in the car?"
"Oh yes, I'll just borrow Alex's it has seats in the boot." Said Mrs Creevey.
When they got to York, which Harry, Emma and Demelza had never been to before, they managed to distract Dennis by first visiting the model railway museum and then by having lunch which featured a nice sized slice of chocolate cake for the young boy's pudding.
They also got the opportunity to do other things, such as shop and walk around the wall.
When they got back, they found Alex Creevey had started making dinner, consisting of sausages, beans and chips.
"Hello everyone, have a nice day out?" he said cheerfully. "You might want to keep an eye on this potion, it looks like it's going to boil away and evaporate."
"That's the idea." Said Emma.
Everyone looked confused. "Your idea is to boil water continuously until there is nothing left?" Said Demelza.
"Not nothing left." Said Emma. "You'll see soon enough. It should be ready inside the next hour."
After dinner Emma looked into the pot. The water level was now less than a centimetre from the bottom of the cauldron.
"Right, I'm going to need a large bowl or a small pot and as much ice as you have." Said Emma.
Mrs Creevey pulled out four trays full of ice and Colin fished out a mixing bowl.
"Perfect." Said Emma.
She filled the bowl half full with cold water then for good measure emptied four trays collectively of nearly fifty ice cubes into it.
Suddenly everyone's attention was diverted by the sound of the last of the water sizzling away and the salt crystals forming.
"Salt crystals?" Said Mr Creevey.
"It's not just salt in there." Said Emma "There are several magical ingredients as well."
Sure enough at the bottom of the cauldron, what formed weren't several tiny white crystals, but rather one sizable silver block that looked remarkably similar to a pot scourer.
"What on Earth is that?" Said Harry looking over the top of Emma's head.
"That is magic, my dear brother." Said Emma teasingly. "Do you have a set of tongs?"
Mrs Creevey reached into a drawer and pulled out set which she handed to the younger of the Potters.
Emma took the tongs and used them to pick up the silver block. "Alright stand back this thing is very hot." She then inserted the block into the ice filled water. Immediately the ice inside began to melt, steam rose from the water and everyone's ears were filled with the sounds of sizzling water. After a few minutes the sizzling stopped and Emma dumped the block in and out of the water a few times just to be sure.
"There. It's ready." She declared.
"But what is it?" Said Harry.
"I told you magic." Said Emma smiling. "This is pure crystalized magic. It's in a more solid form than the matter that runs through our bodies. We call it mana."
"Mana?" Said Colin, testing the word on his lips.
"Yes. This is pure concentrated magic. Known as a mana crystal or a mana fragment."
Emma placed the block on a chopping board then covered it with kitchen paper. "Fair warning I'm going to bash the mana with this rolling pin."
She brought said rolling pin down hard on the block causing everyone to jump as they heard it crack and break. When the kitchen paper was removed, Emma revealed that the pot scourer had broken up leaving behind ten small silver balls the size of marbles.
"The mana in its solid form concentrates into itself and forms these neatly shaped spheres." Said Emma "The rest of this dust is mainly residue from excess salt. Now for a demonstration." She picked up one of the balls with the tongs. "Mr Creevey, could you please hold out your hand?"
He did so and Emma placed the ball in it.
"You're non-magical." Said Emma "So nothing happens. But when one of us touches it."
Emma held her hand out and Mr Creevey dropped it into her hand. Everyone watched in fascination as it touched Emma's skin and disintegrated into the air around them.
"Because I'm a witch, the magic in my body causes the mana ball to break up and scatter." Said Emma.
"And we non-magicals don't have that effect on it because we have no magic." Said Mrs Creevey.
"Active magic." Said Emma "Since Colin is your son, at least one of you will have trace amounts of latent magic from your ancestors, however that magic will be completely inactive and will not affect the mana. If Dennis is a wizard…"
"Then it should disintegrate in my hand?" he said excitedly.
Emma nodded and picked up another ball with the tongs. Dennis held his hand out and Emma dropped the mana into it.
When the ball disintegrated into the air, Dennis and Colin nearly deafened the household as they began jumping up and down in excitement.
"Alright, alright, calm down you two." Shouted Mrs Creevey over the excitement.
"My Brother's a wizard, my brother's a wizards." Said Colin over and over.
"I'm a wizard, I'm a wizard." Chanted Dennis.
While Mrs Creevey dealt with two hyperactive boys, Emma began clearing away all the different items used to create the mana, Demelza helped.
"What are you going to do with the extra mana?" Demelza asked.
"Don't know." Said Emma. "It's served its purpose, but I think I'll keep some to experiment later."
"Could I take some and test it on Eilidh?" asked Demelza. "I'll have to be careful not to let my parents find out if she is a witch but…"
"Sure, I'll put some in a plastic bag for you." Said Emma.
As his Birthday approached, Hermione and Ron were both abroad on holiday and Harry found himself spending an increasing amount of time at Colin's alongside Emma and Demelza. When the last day in July came Harry ended up having his birthday party at the Creevey residence.
During the morning beforehand Ron and Hermione had sent him a pocket Sneakoscope and a Broomstick servicing kit from their respective holiday locations, Ron had also sent a cut-out from the Daily Prophet showing the Weasley family in Egypt.
Hagrid too had sent him a gift, consisting of a biting book, along with the Hogwarts Owl delivering his and Emma's school lists and Harry's Hogsmeade permission slip.
"I never thought of this." Said Emma. Looking at the permission slip.
"How am I going to get them to sign it?" Said Harry.
"We'll think of something." Said Emma.
A few hours later the telephone rang and Emma answered it. It was Colin.
"Hello?" Said Emma. "Are you sure… Yes we'd love to… are you sure your parents wouldn't mind… Demelza too… Sure I'll go tell Harry, we'd both be thrilled."
Emma said goodbye to her friend and it took only the time to climb the stairs for an idea form in her mind.
On opening the bedroom door she said "Harry, I've got a plan."