Part 13: June 1992
Monday, 1st June 1992
Hogwarts Room of Requirement, midnight.
As previously mentioned, there are many ways of summoning a Fae. Placing your offerings in a faerie circle is the most commonly used way, at least among wizards, because it’s seen as the safest, most reliable one… and, so the wizards say, if you absolutely have to gamble health and sanity by summoning a Fae, you might as well go with the safest method.
But there are other ways. Some of them rather less pleasant than others.
Albus Dumbledore never enjoyed looking in the Mirror of Erised. That little sting he felt in his heart as he gazed upon the scene that could never be had lessened over time… but it was still there. He still felt the wistful melancholy as he looked at them all… His parents and Ariana, alive and happy, untouched by the tragedies that had claimed them in real life. Aberforth, looking at him with real brotherly affection. And Gellert… not Gellert as he had become, the Dark wizard who had taken so many lives, but Gellert as he had been; the brilliant and loving young man Albus had fallen for all those years ago.
Those five were always the most prominent presences in the Mirror. But there were others as well. He only needed to wait; they would always show up.
Albus’s desires were always tinged with regret. Regret over those he couldn’t save, the ones he had directly or indirectly failed… there were so many of them, more than he could even count. It had taken him decades to finally face the hard truth that he couldn’t save everyone. That no matter how noble his intentions were, no matter how brilliantly he thought he had set things up so that nobody would get hurt… people always did.
He scanned the ghostly images in the Mirror. There were Lily and James, playing with a smiling and completely scar-less Harry. Remus, Peter and even Sirius was with them, untouched by war and betrayal. Even the Dursleys, fully human and reconciled with their magical relatives.
If only. It was such a dangerous phrase, but staring into the Mirror of Erised, it was impossible to avoid.
Albus pushed away the feeling of melancholy and made himself focus on Aberforth. He and his brother had never been the best of friends. Even as children, they’d been too different… Albus was the brilliant oldest son that everyone expected great things from, and everything his parents valued: Polite, helpful, sociable, highly intelligent and extremely talented with magic. Aberforth was the oddball, the loner who never quite got on with other people; not lacking in intelligence or magical talent but rather too gruff and asocial for their peers… and for their family, really. The only one he’d ever really got along with was Ariana…
Albus couldn’t help but let out a sigh of regret. Their sister’s death had nearly broken Aberforth. He had become a bitter recluse, a mere shadow of his former self. And Albus couldn’t do anything because… well, they both knew Albus was to blame.
Only when he met Lady Vidia, years later, had Aberforth started to come out of his shell. He had never told Albus how he came to be involved with a Lady of Faerie, and Albus hadn’t asked. Of course he had heard all the stories of why you could never trust the Fae, but he’d been so relieved to see his brother regain some of his spark and zest for life that it had been easy to ignore the warning signs. Especially after Jenny was born… the look of pride and joy in Aberforth’s eyes as he presented his baby daughter to Albus….
Albus studied his brother and waited. She would arrive. She always did.
He hated contacting her this way; it was a sad and painful way that always ended up upsetting both of them… not to mention, it usually dragged Jenny along as well… but when all other methods of summoning her failed, there was nothing for it but to face the melancholy and wait…
Finally, Lady Vidia stepped out of the shadows, closely followed by Jenny. They stood right next to a beaming Aberforth, who placed his arms around the both of them.
Lady Vidia yanked herself away from him and gave Albus a scornful look. “Why are you torturing yourself like this, Albus?” she said. Her voice was tinny and echoing, and tinged with a mix of sadness and annoyance. “More importantly, why are you torturing us like this? What’s past is past.”
“He wouldn’t have had to if you would just answer his regular summons,” said Jenny. Her voice was just as tinny and echoing as her mothers, but unlike her mother she didn’t sound annoyed, nor did she shy away from the mirror image of Aberforth… though she didn’t pay him much attention either. “Hello again, Uncle Albus.”
“Always a pleasure, Jenny. My apologies for dragging you in like this, but… time is of the essence, and I really need to talk to your mother.” Albus had never asked what it was like for the Fae to be summoned into the Mirror like this, and to be surrounded by the mirror images of other people’s desires… but he couldn’t imagine it was pleasant.
“I would have contacted you myself,” said Lady Vidia. “Eventually. I have a few things I need to talk to you about anyway. You didn’t have to cling to this foolish desire that I would get back with your brother.”
“I have many desires, Vidia,” Albus sighed. “My brother’s happiness is chief among them… and you did bring him happiness, once upon a time.”
“Again, my deepest apologies for contacting you in this fashion. I believe you when you say you would eventually have contacted me, but… the problem is that ‘eventually’ might be too late. We are already in June. Time may move differently in Faerie, but even you can’t stop it entirely.”
Lady Vidia didn’t answer straight away. Instead, she took a moment to study all the other people surrounding her. Apart from Aberforth (whom she kept ignoring) none of them were reacting to her presence at all… though a deep frown appeared when she saw the Potters, and who was there with them.
“What are those three doing here?” she demanded, pointing at the Dursleys.
“The feeble wishes of a man who has made too many mistakes, and who has watched other people make too many mistakes,” said Albus. “I placed Harry with the Dursleys because I saw no other options. The protections Lily’s blood offered him were stronger than anything I could provide… and I did hope against hope that he could have a normal and happy childhood before he had to face the difficult and uncertain future waiting for him. That Petunia would be able to let go of her resentment and raise the boy as her own. That the Dursleys would, when given the opportunity, prove once and for all that wizards are wrong about Muggles.”
“That didn’t work out,” she said sardonically.
“It did not,” he agreed. “I made a terrible mistake, and Harry paid for it.”
“Well,” she said, turning away from the happy family scene. “He is better off now. They all are.”
“Perhaps so. I merely wish that the Dursley family hadn’t needed to pay with their lives. Their human lives, I should say.”
“They deserved it.” Lady Vidia showed no regret or shame at her actions, because Fae seldom do. Nevertheless, there was something defensive in her tone as she added: “I was well within my rights to transform them. I’m Fae, Albus. I’ve always liked you, but that doesn’t mean you get to preach your wizard morals to me.”
“This is why she put off contacting you even if she knew she needed to,” said Jenny dryly. “She doesn’t like to be lectured.”
Lady Vidia turned on her. “My dearest daughter,” she said. “You are the light of my life, my pride and joy, and I love you more than words can say. But keep up this insolence, and I will put you to sleep for a hundred years. Understood?”
Jenny sighed. “Yes, Mum.”
One of the reasons why the Fae tended to like and respect Albus more than other wizards was that he knew when not to push his luck with them. So he didn’t comment on this exchange any further than saying: “In the interest of keeping Jenny awake, if I promise not to lecture you about the Dursleys, will you be so kind as to join me on this side? We do have much to discuss. Jenny, you’re welcome too, of course. This may concern you as well.”
Jenny nodded, but Lady Vidia frowned slightly. “No lectures,” she said.
“You have my word that I will do my utmost to avoid them when talking to you, at least,” said Albus. “I have spent several decades as a teacher, so lecturing has become somewhat of an instinct, but it’s an instinct I’ll try to quell. Though I cannot approve of some of your methods, we can at least agree that we have a couple of goals in common.”
Lady Vidia looked over at the mirror image of Harry, still happily chatting with his parents. “I have grown fond of that boy,” she admitted. “And of course I still owe him seven favours… which I will grant in my own time and in my own way.”
“Good.” She peered out at him. “Where exactly are you, anyway? I assume the Mirror is still at Hogwarts, but you don’t seem to be in that same chamber that Harry and Hermione were in…”
“Oh, no. After your fight with Voldemort, I had the Mirror moved again. At the moment, we are in a hidden room at Hogwarts… the elves call it the Come and Go room, but personally, I have always preferred its other name: The Room of Requirement. It’s quite a fascinating and useful room. If you come through, I can show you… besides, I do have something here that I believe belongs to you.” He held up the skimpy red halter top he’d found in the underground chambers. “It didn’t quite seem to be Quirrell’s style.”
“Oh. That one.” She shrugged. “Yes, that is mine. That Dark Lord of yours is surprisingly good at resisting Fae charms, by the way. Is he even interested in women?”
“As far as I know, he isn’t,” said Albus. “Nor in men, for that matter. All that ever mattered to him was power.”
She smirked. “Someone would tell him just how much power there is in sex.”
“Not the kind of power he is interested in, I believe,” said Albus. “I would quite like to hear all about your encounter with him… and then I think we should discuss the future.”
“Still making plans, Albus?” The smirk on Lady Vidia’s face vanished.. “Not returning to the plans of your youth, are you? Unite the Deathly Hallows, re-unite the world of wizards and humans and rule over them with that boyfriend of yours… you had such passion back then. I mean the plans were stupid, but the passion was glorious.”
“I rather think my plans are far less lofty these days,” said Albus. “But we do need to talk about Harry… and we also need to talk about Lavender.”
“My goddaughter?” Lady Vidia quirked a brow.
“The very same.”
“What are we waiting for then?” said Jenny. “We’ve been invited, let’s take shameless advantage of Uncle Albus’s hospitality while talking about everything.”
The glass of the Mirror rippled, and Jenny stepped out into the room, immediately wrapping her arms around Albus in her customary greeting hug.
Moments later, her mother followed, bare green feet stepping out onto the floor of the room. Unlike Jenny, she didn’t go for the hug… she merely glanced around the room before focusing on Albus and nodding to him. “All right, Albus. We’re here.”
“Welcome to the both of you.” He smiled. It was mostly genuine; though Lady Vidia could be a very difficult person, she’d caused his brother quite a bit of heartache, and he had learned the hard way never to drop his guard completely around her… he was glad to see her again.
It wasn’t because of her beauty and grace, or the melodious sound of her voice (easier to hear without the tinny echo of the Mirror). It wasn’t because of the pleasant scent of spring flowers and wild honey that accompanied her, or the way she somehow always brought with her the feeling of a warm day in spring. Yes, he could appreciate all those things in her, but what he really appreciated was how she was one of very few people who ever spoke to him like an equal.
Almost anyone else he encountered were too in awe of him or at least viewed him as the older, wiser authority figure who had all the answers (or, in some cases, they saw it as their duty to oppose at every turn). Lady Vidia never did that. She was much older and vastly more powerful than him, but she still viewed him as an equal… at least she respected his mind enough to be willing to listen when he talked.
“So this is the… Come and Go Room, you called it?” she said.
“It is indeed,” he answered, as Jenny finished her hug and let him go. “I’ll be more than happy to demonstrate its curious abilities to you… won’t you take a seat?”
Thursday, 4th June 1992
Hogwarts grounds, early afternoon.
The final few weeks at Hogwarts had passed in a blur.
All too soon, exams had been upon them — four days of written tests and practical examinations in everything they’d learned throughout the school year. Harry was glad the threat of Voldemort was over for now, because the exams had been stressful enough without that extra worry hanging over him.
For Charms, Flitwick had asked them to make a pineapple tap dance. For Transfiguration, McGonagall made them turn mice into snuff-boxes. For Potions, Snape had made them brew a Forgetfulness potion — and breathed down their necks as he stood much too close and watched them. Of course, Quirrell was no longer there to oversee the Defence Against the Dark Arts exam, but Dumbledore stepped in and asked them to describe how they would treat a werewolf bite, made them perform a Wand-Lighting Charm and had them demonstrate Knockback Jinxes.
The last of the exams had been History of Magic, which had just been a written test. Harry had a feeling he hadn’t done particularly well in the subject (Professor Binns was just so boring!), but he was fairly confident that he’d done at least okay in the other subjects.
He joined his friends in the courtyard. Dean and Seamus had gone off somewhere — Seamus was still uneasy around Lavender and tended to keep his distance — but the other first-years were gathered in a small group, talking about the exams.
“Well,” said Ron. “That’s that. Now we have an entire week to find out how badly we did.”
“Don’t even joke about that, Ron,” said Hermione. “I’ve had nightmares about failing every subject.”
“Relax,” said Ron. “If anyone’s going to pass, it’s you.”
“What’s everyone doing over the summer?” said Neville. “I’m probably just going to stay at home with my Gran.”
“Going back to the Burrow,” said Ron. “Not like we can ever afford to go anywhere else. You should come visit, Harry — Mum and Dad’ll love having you!”
“I appreciate it, Ron, but… you know, I don’t think the girls would agree to me staying anywhere without them. (He’d taken to calling the flitlings “the girls” when talking about them in public, just in case someone was eavesdropping.) “Mrs Figg said she’d have us for the summer, so you know, I’ll be fine.”
Ron ginned. “You don’t know the Burrow,” he said. He lowered his voice to make sure none of the other students could hear, and added: “We’re allied to the Summer Court, remember? We’ve had Fae guests before. We know how to handle them.”
“Oh. Well, if you’re sure your parents won’t mind… I could ask the girls, at least.”
“They won’t mind,” Ron promised. He looked at everyone else. “In fact, you can all come visit if you like! We’ve got plenty of room!”
“Stay at a boy’s place?” said Parvati. “Thanks, Ron. If I wanted my parents to murder me, I’d take you up on the offer.”
“My parents aren’t that old-fashioned,” said Hermione. “They might let me come. But I want to stay with them for a bit too. I suppose I miss them. What about you, Lavender?”
“I don’t know what I’m doing yet,” said Lavender. “Professor Dumbledore’s going to try to contact the Polkisses. I told him he didn’t have to bother, but…” she shrugged, and then brightened. “At least I’ll see my godmother again. She said she’d come along!”
“I still hope you can at least come visit Padma and me,” said Parvati.
“What about your parents?” said Lavender.
“You’re not a boy, so you’ll be fine,” said Parvati. “All right, they won’t like it if they find out who your godmother is, but… Padma probably has some ideas on what to tell them! Come on, let’s go find her!”
She grabbed Lavender’s hand and led her off towards the first-year Ravenclaws, leaving only Harry, Ron, Hermione and Neville.
“I hope Lavender’ll be all right,” said Hermione. “I don’t get why she’s lost all interest in her family. If it had been me, I would have been eager to meet with them and find out everything I could.”
“The flitlings are the same,” said Harry. “They don’t care about their previous lives at all… I think it’s just part of the transformation.”
“That’s kind of disturbing,” said Neville.
“It is?” said Harry.
“Well… yeah. Not remembering your family is one thing, but not caring that you don’t remember… and they didn’t choose their new lives, did they? Everything was, well, forced upon them. Kind of like with my —” He stopped mid-sentence and shook his head.
“Kind of like with your what?”
“Never mind. It’s not important. Er… could we go down to Hagrid’s? I need to deliver this back.” He held up his wrist to display his bracelet.
“You’re going to return it already?” said Ron.
“It’s already done what it was supposed to,” said Neville. “It got Malfoy to back off. And my Gran would go spare if she saw me with anything that came from Faerie. And… I hate to say it, but I see her point. I’m not siding with Seamus!” he hurried to add. “Obviously Lavender’s okay, and Jenny, and all the Fae we saw in the Forest. They’re not bad, I get it. But I don’t think it’s good to hang on to things from Faerie for too long. I cut my hand in Herbology the other day.”
“You did? I didn’t notice,” said Harry.
“Because I barely noticed!” said Neville. “The pruning knife slipped and dug into my hand, and it didn’t hurt at all. It didn’t even leave a mark. At first I was happy… I thought as long as I’m wearing this bracelet I won’t have to worry about accidents. But then I thought, well, if I’m not worried about accidents, I’m going to stop caring if things go wrong. I’m just going to end up reckless. And other people don’t have protective bracelets. What if I end up so careless that I end up hurting one of you?
They all looked at him.
“I don’t think that’ll happen,” said Ron.
“I don’t think I want to take the chance,” said Neville. “Will you come with me down to Hagrid’s?”
“Of course,” said Harry. “He’ll want to know how we did at our exams too. Maybe the girls’ll be there as well, we can talk about visiting the Burrow.”
As they walked towards the Forest and Hagrid’s hut, Harry thought about what Neville had said about Lavender and the flitlings.
Disturbing, he’d called it. Was he right? Harry didn’t think it was disturbing… but maybe that was just because he’d known and loathed both Piers and the Dursleys before their transformations. Their new forms was a vast improvement. Not only did they all treat Harry much better now, but they seemed better off themselves. Happier.
The Dursleys hadn’t been happy. Looking back at them, it was obvious. Aunt Petunia had so much bitterness in her. Uncle Vernon had been huffy and annoyed with everything. Harry had never heard either of them laugh. And Dudley… okay, Dudley had laughed, but only at other people’s (and especially Harry’s) misfortunes. They were clearly better off now that they were flitlings.
Lavender too seemed happy… and she had friends now. Real friends, not just a gang who bonded over bullying people who were smaller and weaker. She was a wizard, and she didn’t have to go to Smeltings. She herself had said she would rather be Lavender than Piers.
Why would any of it be disturbing? Was there something there that Harry didn’t get… or was there something Neville didn’t get? Harry didn’t know.
As they approached Hagrid’s hut, they saw that the door was open, and Hagrid was sitting outside, in a large armchair, wearing a short-sleeved (and rather garishly blue) shirt instead of his trademark moleskin coat — and shelling peas. Fang was lying in the open doorway, dozing in the sun, and Baby Danny was darting back and forth in front of the dog, nipping at his ears in a vain attempt to try to get him to play. Well… at least Fang wasn’t afraid of the little dragon anymore.
“Hello, you four!” said Hagrid, smiling at them. “Exams over, are they? How’d it go?”
“Hermione definitely did okay,” said Ron. “Strange to see Baby Danny outside, though. You don’t have to hide him away anymore?”
“Dragons are still illegal to have as pets, aren’t they?” said Hermione, concerned.
“Yeah, but Dumbledore fixed it all,” said Hagrid. “Great man, Dumbledore. Said that if I’d had a normal baby dragon here, he’d have had ter send it off to the dragon sanctuary in Romania… normal dragons’re too dangerous ter have aroun’ this close ter students, he said. But noble dragons are different… even in the Ministry they’re classified as Beings, not Beasts. An’ Danni here, she’s definitely not the bloodthirsty sort… bit mischievous, but not dangerous. So, fer now at least, I’ve bin granted permission ter keep her until she’s old an’ strong enough ter make that trip ter Faerie. Long as she behaves herself, that is.”
“She?!” said Harry. “You mean… Baby Danny’s a girl?!”
“Yeah, I was surprised too,” said Hagrid. “We couldn’ tell when she was jus’ hatched, but now that she’s grown a bit yeh can see it clearly. So, had ter change her name to Danielle. ‘Danni’ for short. C’mon, Danni, leave Uncle Fang alone an’ come say hi.”
Baby Danny… or Baby Danni… looked up at Hagrid and then over at Harry, Ron, Hermione and Neville. She left Fang and scooted over towards Harry. Quick like a little lizard, she climbed up his body to rest in his arms… and then stretched out her head and…
“What the…!” Harry stood with the remains of his glasses in his hand, looking at the suddenly blurry form of Baby Danni, who was happily chewing on the large piece she’d bitten off them.
“Danni!” said Hagrid. “What have I tol’ yeh about doin’ that?! “Didn’ I tell yeh that yeh had ter behave?! Blimey, Harry, are you okay?”
“Yeah, but… she ate part of my glasses!”
“Weirdes’ thing,” said Hagrid. “She tried takin’ a bite outta me umbrella too. Must be sensin’ the magic…told yeh noble dragons feed off magic an’ magical things, right?”
“But my glasses aren’t magical!” said Harry, glaring at Baby Danni, who had jumped over into Ron’s arms, and was licking her chops, looking unashamedly pleased about herself. “They’re as Muggle as anything!”
“Oh,” said Hermione. “Do you remember how I used magic to fix your glasses that one time? There must be some residual trace of that spell on them.”
“Oh… right,” said Harry.
“Chin up, mate,” said Ron. “At least he — sorry, she — didn’t try to eat your wand. Or mine.” He paused. “Then again, if she’d eaten mine, I might finally get a new wand instead of having to make do with Charlie’s old one. How about it, Danni? D’you like ash and unicorn hair? I’m joking, relax,” Ron added at the mortified look Hermione gave him. “Don’t you have any extra glasses, Harry? Percy has two spare pairs. Even Dad has an extra pair.”
“I only have these,” said Harry. “Why do you think I taped them together that one time?”
“I’ll fix them later,” Hermione promised. “The repairing charm is easy. But you really should look into getting an extra pair, Harry. You can make it a summer project.”
Hagrid raised himself from his chair. “Meanwhile, got time fer a drink?” he said. “Got some fresh pumpkin juice.”
“Sounds good!” said Ron. “By the way, Hagrid, what are you doing for the summer?”
“Ah, ‘spect I’ll stay here with Fang an’ Danni,” said Hagrid, carefully lifting Baby Danni off Ron’s shoulders in case she decided to take up the offer of taking a bite of his wand. “Jus’ yeh wait, when yeh get back from summer hols, Danni’ll have grown so much. Maybe she’ll even have started talkin’! I’ve bin tryin’ ter teach her a few words. Can yeh say ‘Hagrid,’ Danni?”
Baby Danni just looked at him as if she thought he was funny.
“Ah, well, we’ll practise some more on that. By the way, Neville, how’s that bracelet?”
“Fine. I wanted to return it, actually,” said Neville. He unclasped the bracelet and took it off. “Could you get it back to Jenny and say… well, not thank you, because Fae don’t line that word, but… that I appreciated the loan and that I kept my end of the deal?”
“Sure, I’ll tell her… Danni, no,” said Hagrid firmly as he saw Baby Danni eyeing the bracelet. “Yeh just had lunch! Lemme jus’ take that an’ put it away…”
“Hey!” came a sudden voice from inside the hut. Moments later, Yellow appeared in the doorframe, hovering in mid-air and looking immensely proud of herself. “Harry, Hagrid, Ron — guess what I just learned!” she cheered… and then her eyes fell on Hermione and Neville. “Oh. Hello,” she said, more subdued.
“Hello,” said Neville, averting his eyes. “How was… the orgy?”
“It was a lot of fun,” said Yellow. “Wait, why are Harry’s glasses broken?”
“Baby Danni thought they were a snack,” said Harry.
Yellow zoomed out of the hut and came to hover in front of Harry. “Well, you can’t be without your glasses,” she said. “Let me!”
Harry held out his glasses and watched as Yellow waved a tiny hand. The glasses rose up into the air, spun around, and with a flash of pink, joined together before falling back down into his hands — whole and intact once more.
“I could have done that,” Hermione murmured.
“Pretty awesome,” said Ron. “Bit flashier than the repairing charm. Was that what you’ve learned?”
“Hmm? Oh, no, I’ve been able to repair things for ages. I just learned how to teleport!”
“Apparate, then. Didn’t you see? I just appeared in Hagrid’s hut!” Yellow seemed a little disappointed that they weren’t making a bigger fuss over it. “I was in the Forest, and then I was in the hut! I didn’t have to fly all that way! Do you see what this means, Harry? If Magenta and Cyan learn how to do it too, we can just teleport back and forth to where we’re going, while you take those awful iron trains and cars!”
“Apparition’s supposed to be really difficult,” said Neville. “I know plenty of wizards who never got the hang of it.”
“Actually, Fae Apparition and wizard Apparition are two different things,” said Hermione. “I’ve read about it. If you’d been a wizard you wouldn’t have been able to Apparate at all… there’s all sorts of Anti-Apparition jinxes on the school grounds. But they only work on wizards. They don’t keep Fae from Apparating — or any animals who can naturally Apparate, like phoenixes or Diricawls…”
“Oh.” said Harry, squinting at Yellow. “Does that mean you can Apparate everywhere now?”
“Well, not everywhere,” said Yellow. “I couldn’t appear in a storybook or someone’s dreams… that does sound fun, though.”
“Promise me you won’t try.” Harry put the glasses on. He was so used to wearing them that it kind of felt weird whenever he wasn’t. “But… why’s everyone gone pink?”
“Pink?” said Hermione, puzzled.
Harry removed the glasses, blinked and then put them back on. “That’s weird. For a moment there, you all looked like you had some sort of weird pink tint to you, but now it’s — now you’re pink again! Wait, no, you’re not.” He took his glasses off again and squinted down at the giggling Yellow. “What on Earth did you just do?!”
“Fixed your glasses!” said Yellow. “And improved them in the process. Put them back on and say the word ‘pink,’ and you’ll see.”
Harry put the glasses back on. Everything looked perfectly normal now. Ron, Hermione, Hagrid, Neville, Yellow, Fang, Baby Danny, the hut, the armchair… everything had its normal colour.
“Pink,” he said.
All of a sudden, everything got a weird pink tint. He looked around. It was almost as if his glasses had been switched out for pink-tinted ones. Except… the pink tint wasn’t the same everywhere. Fang and Neville were only slightly pink-hued, but Ron and Hermione both looked very pink, as if they’d been out in the sun for too long. Hagrid was even pinker, and both Yellow and Baby Danni practically glowed with pink. In fact, if he hadn’t know that it was Yellow he might have mistaken her for Magenta.
“Pink,” said Harry again. Everyone immediately turned its normal colour.
“See? Improvement!” said Yellow. “You never know when you might need to view the world through rose coloured glasses! Just say the word ‘pink’ to turn it on and off!”
“When would I ever need —” Harry began, and then gave up. At least the pink effect wasn’t permanent. “Never mind.”
“Can I have a look too?” Ron peered curiously at the glasses. “Or does it only work for Harry?”
“Works for everyone,” said Yellow. “Long as you’re capable of saying the word ‘pink,’ that is.”
With a sigh, Harry removed his glasses and handed them over to Ron. “Have fun.”
Ron put the glasses on. “Pink! Wow, Harry, your eyesight’s almost as bad as Percy’s,” he said, squinting through the glasses, before bursting out laughing. “You look like a boiled sweet! Better not let Fred and George find out about these, they’d have a blast trying to trick you into saying the word ‘pink’… and now you’re normal again.”
“Nifty, isn’t it?” said Yellow.
“Yeah, but seems a bit pointless,” said Ron as he took the glasses off and returned them to Harry. “How often do you need to find out if someone looks good in pink?”
“You’d be surprised,” said Yellow. “So, what were you talking about before I arrived?”
Ron didn’t miss a beat. “Summer,” he said. “I took the liberty to invite the House of Harry to come visit the Burrow during the holidays. Want to come? It’s a completely Fae-friendly environment!”
“Ooh, that sounds fun,” said Yellow. “I approve of summers being fun. Especially summers that aren’t spent at Privet Drive.”
Harry put his glasses back on. Everything looked normal. Well, if he just avoided saying the word ‘pink,’ he’d be fine. At least until he could get a new pair.
All in all, the upcoming summer looked like it would be better than any summer he’d had before. No Privet Drive, no Dursleys… no Voldemort either. Dumbledore had said the Dark wizard would return, and Harry knew he would probably have to face him again someday… but that, hopefully, was a long time off.
Saturday, 6th June 1992
Valles Marineris, Mars. Time of day… who knows?
The Earth was a small blue dot in the sky, indistinguishable from a star… but Voldemort knew it for what it was; the home he had been banished from.
That thrice-damned Fae. It had taken him days, perhaps weeks, to pull himself together after the banishment spell she had hit him with, but he had managed in the end… after which he had discovered that she’d sent him to Mars. A desolate, rocky landscape with frequent dust storms and little else. It was fortunate that he was currently a spectre and didn’t need food or air, because up here he had neither.
And if he remembered the Astonomy lessons from Hogwarts correctly, the orbiting of the planets meant the Earth could be anything between 50 million and 250 million miles away. He hadn’t paid much attention to the Muggle space race… he vaguely recalled hearing something about the Moon landing back in 1959, and something about the Russians sending vehicles and machines to Mars sometime in the seventies, but he’d dismissed it as pointless Muggle nonsense. Now, however, he couldn’t help but wish he had at least taken a slight interest. He might have had some idea of how long it would take him to get back to Earth.
He’d never heard of a ghost or a spectre flying through space, much less from Mars to Earth… but in theory it should be possible. He wasn’t limited by any sort of physical needs, as he still didn’t have a body… and he knew how to keep himself going, moving forward… it would take time, of course. Months, probably years.
No matter. He was Lord Voldemort. He might suffer setbacks, he might occasionally be taken by surprise… but he would never be defeated. He would always return. And he would personally end the lives of that miserable Potter boy, Dumbledore, and all who were foolish enough to side with them.
As for Lady Vidia… he would think of something special for her. After all, he would have plenty of time to think on his long flight back to Earth. He may have underestimated her this time, but that wouldn’t happen again. Iron. That was the answer. Fae were weak to the stuff.
He would have to wait until he was back on Earth, but what was time to someone who couldn’t die? Lord Voldemort was nothing if not patient.