Part 2: July-August, 1991
Tuesday, 31st July 1991
Hut-on-the-Rock, shortly after midnight
Harry looked up at Hagrid as he finished his story. And what a story it had been. Schools of magic, evil wizards with names nobody dared to speak, secret magical wars, his parents being heroes, and he himself being famous… he himself being a wizard. If Hagrid hadn’t sounded so sincere, and more importantly if he hadn’t just demonstrated that magic existed, Harry wouldn’t have believed a word of it.
In fact… Harry could feel the nagging sensations of doubt deep within himself. If he was a wizard, how come he’d never turned Dudley and his gang into frogs or something? No. As much as he wished otherwise, there was only one explanation here.
He chanced a glance at the Dursleys, who were still cowering in the other end of the room and keeping as much distance between themselves and Hagrid as they could. Oh well, it had been a lovely dream.
“Hagrid,” he said, deciding to get it over with. “I think you must have made a mistake. I don’t think I can be a wizard.”
But to his surprise, Hagrid just chuckled. “Not a wizard, eh? Never made things happen when you was scared or angry?”
“Er…” Harry looked into the fire. Talking to snakes, making glass walls disappear… he’d done that, hadn’t he? Could it be possible that…?
Hagrid seemed to take his silence as confirmation. “There now, y’see? Harry Potter, not a wizard! Me Aunt Vidia tol’ me that she could sense the magic in yeh, right after… er.” He stopped, looking as if he had said something he hadn’t meant to.
“Your Aunt Vidia?” said Harry. “Is she a wizard too? Er… or is it ‘wizardess’? ‘Witch’?”
“Jus’ stick ter sayin’ ‘wizard,’ Harry,” said Hagrid. “Used ter be they called women witches an’ men wizards, but’ that’s kinda old-fashioned, people nowadays are jus’ gonna laugh at yeh if yeh say ‘witch.’ An’ er, no, she’s not a wizard… not technic’lly. I was plannin’ on tellin’ yeh about her, matter o’ fact. This is summat yeh need ter know. I didn’t know jus’ how many other things I had ter tell yeh before I could get to tellin’ yeah about Auntie Vidia, did I?” Hagrid glared at the Dursleys again. “Imagine, not even tellin’ Harry Potter about Hogwarts!”
Harry couldn’t help but feel a certain sense of glee, seeing how intimidated the Dursleys were. Served them right.
“But yeah, Auntie Vidia,” said Hagrid. “She’s not really my aunt, I jus’ call her that cause she’s a friend o’ me Mum’s, see? Er…”
Harry looked back at him. Oddly, the giant man seemed reluctant to talk about his aunt, though Harry couldn’t think why. After that wild story about Voldemort killing his parents, what could possibly be worse than that?
“Yeh’re gonna be meetin’ her at some point,” said Hagrid, clearly searching for words. “But… I’d appreciate it if yeh didn’ go spread this around, all right? I don’t like ter tell people abou’ me aunt unless I have to.”
“Why not?” said Harry, thinking about how the Dursleys hadn’t liked mentioning him to anyone. “You don’t get along with her? She’s a wanted criminal or something? Or is she a — what was it you called it — a Muggle?”
“Oh, no!” Hagrid sounded surprised. “Auntie Vidia’s a lovely person, really! An’ not a Muggle. Not even human, really. She’s one o’ the Fair Folk, or Fae as they’re called.”
“Yeah, y’know, the Starchildren. The Shining Ones. Lords an’ Ladies. Faeries. Dunno how much yeh know about ’em, livin’ in the Muggle world an’ all.”
“Er. Faeries.” Harry had to think. The Dursleys hated everything that even resembled fairy tales, but he had been the occasional glimpse of movies or cartoons on the telly, or pictures in books he’d seen some of the girls at his school read… “Are they those tiny girls with wings who use flower petals for dresses, paint the rainbow, and sprinkle magic dust on children to make them fly?”
“No!” Hagrid looked mortified behind his huge beard. “Gallopin’ gargoyles, Harry, don’ ever let the Folk hear yeh compare ’em ter somethin’ so… twee.” He shuddered.
Harry blinked at the outburst. “Okay!”
Hagrid calmed down a little. “There’s lotsa different kinds o’ Fae. Yeh do get the tiny winged ones,” he admitted, “that’d be the pixies an’ the flitings, mos’ly. But they don’t paint rainbows or any such rot like that. An’ they’re jus’ one kind o’ Fae. There’s lotsa types. Yeh got goblins an’ hobgoblins of all sorts, gnomes an’ brownies, pookas, nymphs, centaurs, satyrs, hulderfolk, elves, trolls an’ giants, an’ a whole lotta others I can’t even remember. Some Fae look almos’ human, some of ‘em… some of ‘em don’t. With most of ‘em, yeh can’t be sure what they really look like, cause they’re always usin’ glamours ter change how they look…”
“Glamours.” Harry’s vocabulary was certainly expanding this past hour.
“Fae magic. Sorta. Not quite the same as wizard magic. Kinda hard ter explain. Anyways, Auntie Vidia’s an elf. Not a house-elf, y’unnerstand, those are smaller an’ less powerful elves, more akin ter brownies or hobgoblins…” Hagrid must have seen Harry’s nonplussed expression, because he hurried to add: “Never mind that fer now. Point is, me Aunt Vidia’s one of the High Elves. A Lady o’ the Spring Court — that’s one of the four major Courts o’ Faerie. Spring, Summer, Autumn an’ Winter, see?”
“I think so,” said Harry. “So… if your aunt is a part of this Spring Court, does that mean you are too?”
“Er. Autumn, actually,” said Hagrid. “Wouldn’ta told yeh this if it hadn’t been for Auntie Vidia, but… I’m half Fae. Or half human, if y’wanna put it like that. Me Dad was a human wizard, me Mum’s of the Folk. Giantess from the Autumn Court. Really appreciate if yeh don’t tell anyone about that.”
“Why not?” Harry looked at Hagrid. It wasn’t exactly hard to believe that he was a half-giant. “Is it supposed to be a secret or something? You’re not allowed to say?”
“Sure I’m allowed, but…well, y’see.. wizards an’ Fae, they tend ter not get along too well. An’ people kinda start treatin’ yeh differently if they know yeh got Fae blood in yeh… Bit silly, really, but people get weird ideas sometimes. So, I usually keep mum about it. I’m tellin’ you cause, well, like I said, you actually need ter know it.”
“Why do I need to know it?”
“Gettin’ to that.” Hagrid took a deep breath. “Auntie Vidia owes yeh seven… no, six favours. Can’t tell yeh exactly what they’ll be, or when yeh get them, but it’ll happen sooner or later. It means yeh’re goin’ ter meet her sooner or later, an’ then it’s best if yeh actually know who she is an’ why she’s there. So if yeh see a tall green woman with pointy ears, usually dressed in red…”
Harry blinked. All of a sudden, a new memory had appeared from somewhere deep in his mind — but this wasn’t an unnerving and upsetting one, like the flash of green light and the cold, cruel laughter. He remembered a woman… a tall woman, with green skin and green hair. She was warm and comforting, and smelled faintly of flowers and honey. He remembered her holding in her arms and kissing him on the forehead, and then… the rest was gone.
“I… I remember someone like that,” he said in wonder. “From long ago. She… I think she held me in her arms?”
Hagrid’s beetle-black eyes widened. “Blimey, yeh remember that?!” he said. “You was barely more’n a year old!”
“It was kind of like a flash,” said Harry, wondering why he could remember a woman he’d only met once, but nothing about his own parents.
“Blimey,” Hagrid repeated. “It was jus’ after I’d fetched yeh from the ruins of yer parents’ house, down in Godric’s Hollow. But that yeh remember it…!”
There was a snort from Uncle Vernon.
Hagrid frowned at him, and then seemed to remember something. He pulled out a golden pocket watch from one of his many pockets and glanced at it. “Blimey, is that the time? I’ve bin keepin’ yeh up with all this talk! Best save the rest fer tomorrow!” He slid the watch back into his pocket and beamed. “Gotta get an early start, after all, I’m takin’ yeh ter buy yer school supplies!”
“You jolly well are not!” Uncle Vernon had managed to stay silent for a surprisingly long time, but now he’d apparently had enough. “I already told you! That boy is not going to any… any freak school to… to traipse among the fairies! He’s going to Stonewall High — a real school!”
Hagrid got up from the sofa and raised himself to his full height — and that was a considerable height. “Real school?!” he repeated. “Hogwarts is the best school o’ magic there is, an’ Harry’s name’s been down ever since he was born! If he wants ter go, you’re not gonna stop him!”
“I want to go!” said Harry. “Come on, Uncle Vernon, you don’t even like having me around. You’d be rid of me.”
Uncle Vernon turned and glared at him. “You can just shut your ungrateful mouth!” he hissed. “You’re going to Stonewall, and that’s the end of it! Bad enough with all those spellbooks and wands and broomsticks and I don’t know what else… but elves and fairies and goblins? I’m not having you traipse off to Fairyland to eat flower petals with some vapid Lady of Spring and her Court of —AH!””
Hagrid had grabbed him by his pyjama shirt and lifted him up off the ground. Uncle Vernon wasn’t exactly a lightweight, but Hagrid held him up with one hand as if he weighed no more than a pillow. “This is yer only warning, Dursley! Yeh don’t insult the Folk!”
“Dad!” Dudley wailed.
“Let go — let go of my husband!” Aunt Petunia shrieked.
Hagrid let go. Uncle Vernon fell to the floor like a sack of flour. Aunt Petunia rushed over to him to help him get back to his feet.
“Right,” said Hagrid firmly. “Here’s how it’s gonna be. We’re stayin’ here for the night, an’ in the mornin’ I’m takin’ Harry with me ter get his school supplies. What you lot do, I honestly don’t care, but if I hear any of you talk ter Harry like that ever again…!”
“Take him, then!” Aunt Petunia hissed while supporting Uncle Vernon. “Take him and turn him into a freak, like my perfect sister! But don’t expect us to like it! And don’t expect us to lift a finger to help him! If he wants to become…” The words caught in her throat, and she took a deep breath. “To become even more abnormal than he already is, then that’s on him!”
With that, she pulled Dudley and Uncle Vernon along with her into the other room and slammed the door shut.
If Harry had known that this would be the last he ever saw of the Dursleys… or at least the Dursleys such as they were at the moment… he might have treated this moment with a little more gravitas. As it was, he just accepted Hagrid’s oversized coat as a blanket for the night, curled up underneath it and went to sleep.
Tuesday, 31st July 1991
Hut-on-the-Rock, early morning
Vernon and Petunia carefully peered out the dirty windows.
Neither of them had slept a wink all night; Dudley had eventually fallen asleep, but his parents had stayed awake, jumping at the smallest noise. They’d heard Harry and Hagrid wake up, heard snippets of their conversation and finally heard them leave. Only then had they dared get out into the main room and risk a glance out the window to see where their nephew and the giant were headed, all the while ready to retreat in case Hagrid discovered them.
They hadn’t needed to worry. Neither Harry nor Hagrid so much as glanced back towards the hut as they walked the short way down to the shore, and Hagrid found the boat they’d arrived in.
“Hell… that’s the only boat!” Vernon hissed as the giant man pushed the boat out onto the water. “They can’t abandon us here on this God-forsaken rock!”
“Of course they can,” said Petunia bitterly. “Their kind doesn’t give a toss about normal people like us.”
“I’ll make them give a toss! They can’t treat normal, respectable, law-abiding citizens like this!” Ignoring Petunia’s shrieked protests that Hagrid would turn him into a frog or something worse, Vernon tore open the door and ran out of the hut, down towards the shore.
He was too late. By the time he’d reached the shore, the boat was already moving away from the rock at an impressive speed. He tried to call out and tell them to come back, but either they couldn’t hear him or they chose to ignore him; neither Hagrid nor Harry so much as turned their heads to look back.
“Hmmm,” came a sudden voice from behind him. “It seems like they can treat normal, respectable, law-abiding citizens like this… doesn’t it?”
Vernon spun around to see the woman who had suddenly appeared beside him.
She was quite a contrast to the wild-looking, coarse giant Hagrid. Though still abnormally tall, she didn’t loom the way he had, and where he’d given off an air of rough, chaotic boorishness, she was all refined elegance. She moved with a cat-like grace and spoke in a soft, melodious tone which couldn’t be more different from Hagrid’s gruff and uncouth speech. She was also – there was no other way to say it – very beautiful, with a heart-shaped face and gentle, feminine curves that her skimpy silk outfit did little to hide.
But Hagrid had at least looked human. Like an oversized and shaggy hobo, all right, but still human. The woman’s green skin and hair, not to mention her long, pointy ears, meant her inhuman nature was on full display.
“What… who —?” Vernon managed to sputter.
“Who am I?” She smiled at him. “I’m almost insulted. Didn’t Rubeus talk about me last night? I would have thought you could put two and two together… but since you ask: I am Lady Vidia of the Spring Court of Faerie, and before the day is over, you’ll be calling me Mistress.”
“What?! Now see here —”
“Oh, but I see the rest of the family is here…” Lady Vidia motioned towards the hut, where Petunia had just come outside, followed by a groggy-looking Dudley.
“What’s going on?” Dudley yawned. “I’m hungry! Where’s Harry?” As he laid eyes on Lady Vidia, his eyes went wide and all drowsiness vanished from his voice. “Mum! Dad! Look, an alien! Just like in Invasion of the Green Freaks III! The ones who only die if you blow up their heads!”
Lady Vidia looked at him with disdain. “Oh, did none of you pay attention to anything that was said yesterday?!” she sighed. “You don’t know how lucky you are that you’re dealing with me and not with Rubeus’s mother. She’s Autumn Court, you know… dreadful temper. She would have cursed you all ten times over for your impudence. I’m actually surprised Rubeus managed to keep his temper in check, with how you acted last night. I would have thought he’d have transformed you into pigs or something.” She grinned, her teeth flashing white. “You know, it would almost be poetic. Three mortals step onto an island and are never seen again…. in their place are three little pigs…”
Dudley puffed himself up. Last night, with a giant man shouting at him, he’d been too scared to do anything much — but here and now, in full daylight, he was quite a bit braver. “Tell your fairy tales to someone else!” he declared, and despite Petunia’s shriek of protest he stepped up to Lady Vidia. “We’re not afraid of you!”
She turned on him and met his eyes. “Yes, you are,” she said in a sweet, melodious voice. “You’re so terrified of me you can’t move. You can’t speak. Your body’s frozen up and all you can do is stand there and babble incoherently.”
Dudley froze. He let out a few small squeaks, his face a study of utter terror. Lady Vidia smiled in shameless self-satisfaction,
“Now that we have that established,” she said, “it’s time I deal properly with you three. Come on, into the hut we go.”
Before any of them really managed to process what was going on, all three Dursleys found themselves back in the hut, sitting on the couch, with Lady Vidia standing in front of them like some kind of grande dame addressing her audience.
“You have no right to treat us like this,” said Petunia weakly while trying to comfort a whimpering Dudley. “There are laws! Even people like you have to follow the laws!”
“Now listen here, madam!” said Vernon, in the same tone of voice he used to deal with difficult subordinates at Grunnings. “I am the director of Grunnings, a very important man, and if you think for one moment that you can intimidate us —!”
“Shush.” Lady Vidia reached out, and with a green finger she tapped all three of their foreheads in quick succession. Vernon and Petunia’s protests ceased, and even Dudley’s whimpers silenced as all three Dursleys froze, their expressions blank and vacant.
“That’s better,” she smiled, looking over the three. “You may not believe it, but I pity you. All that talk, all that fake bravado… you’re little more than mice who hope that the cat will back off if you squeak loudly enough. It must be hard living your life in such fear… But the good news is that you won’t have to anymore.”
She looked over the three entranced humans. They stared back, like statues.
“You see, ten years ago I made a bargain with Rubeus,” she said. “You don’t really need to know the details of it, but in broad strokes… I owe Harry Potter seven favours. Or six favours, I should say… I have already granted him one, even if he doesn’t remember it. It took some time before I could find an opportunity to grant him the second favour, though… and that is really all because of you three.”
The Dursleys kept staring blankly at the world.
“The problem,” said Lady Vidia, “was that I wasn’t supposed to get involved unless the situation was in some way dire, and I did rather tie my hands by promising not to act against any friend or ally to the boy… and that blood protection Albus placed on your house placed you firmly in the “ally” category. Reluctant allies, maybe, but you weren’t beating or starving him… and living with you was literally keeping him safe from those who meant him harm…”
Lady Vidia reached out and teasingly bopped Petunia’s nose with a slender green finger. “But then you, my silly little goose, made it very clear that you weren’t his allies. How was it again? ‘Take him and turn him into a freak like my perfect sister, but don’t expect us to lift a finger to help him.’ Those are pretty clear words, I would say. And since you aren’t allies… you’re fair game.”
Petunia didn’t respond, nor did she give any indication that she’d even heard anything that was being said, much less noticed that she’d had her nose bopped.
“Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a vindictive woman,” said Lady Vidia. “Nor am I some sort of avenging angel here to strike down on you with righteous fury. But I can’t pass up this excellent opportunity to grant my first favour to Harry. I think we can say that changing his living situation counts as a real need. And luckily, I have a good solution… one that won’t even interfere with the blood protection. This way, you will all still be with Harry to ensure that the protections stay strong.”
She turned to Dudley, smiled at him and ruffled his hair in an almost motherly fashion. “Let’s start with you, little piglet,” she cooed as she grabbed his hand and pulled his unresisting body to its feet.
If Dudley had been able to, he would have screamed, cried and tried to fight. If Vernon and Petunia had been able to, they would have shouted, protested and threatened. Perhaps they would even have pleaded their son much like Lily Potter had pleaded for her son ten years ago. But they were helpless under her power and could do nothing to stop her, even as she moved her hands to weave the complex glamours.
There wasn’t so much as a hint of emotion in Vernon and Petunia’s faces as they watched Dudley shrink.
Tuesday, 31st July 1991
Privet Drive, early evening
It was an exhausted, but happy Harry who made his way up the driveway to Number Four, Privet Drive, with a trunk filled with all sorts of magical books and equipment, plus a beautiful white owl in an elegant cage.
This had been the best birthday he’d ever had. Diagon Alley had been the most wondrous, magical place he’d ever seen. He almost wished that he’d had an entire week to explore the place. Banks ran by goblins (Hagrid had confirmed that they were a kind of Fae), magical broomsticks, delicious treats, vaguely creepy wandmakers. People who walked around wearing robes and wizard hats… the Dursleys would have had nervous breakdowns. But the most astonishing thing had been how friendly everyone had seemed… well, okay, almost everyone. Harry wasn’t certain about that pale-faced boy he’d met at Madame Malkin’s, and Mr Ollivander had something disturbing about him. But everyone else had been friendly, even the stuttering Professor Quirrell.
And of course, from all he’d heard about Hogwarts, it would be even better. Harry got butterflies in his stomach just by thinking about it. But that was an entire month away… a month that he had to spend here, in Privet Drive. Oh well, at least now he had something to look forward to — something more than wearing Aunt Petunia’s home-dyed school uniforms at Stonewall High.
“Well, this is it,” he said to his new owl as they stopped on the porch. “Number Four, Privet Drive. Your new home, at least for the next month until we get to Hogwarts.”
The owl peered curiously at the house and ruffled her feathers.
“It’s worse than it looks,” said Harry. “But you get used to it. The Dursleys —.”
He paused as a thought struck him. The Dursleys wouldn’t be here, would they? He and Hagrid had left them at that rock, and they’d taken the only boat. His rotten relatives were probably still stuck on that rock… unless someone had come by to give them a lift, or unless Hagrid had returned to the rock to bring them back to the mainland… But even if that had happened, there was no way they could have made it back to Privet Drive already. The house would be empty.
Privet Drive without Dursleys… he almost thought the house looked friendlier than normal. It would be a perfect end to an amazing birthday if he got to spend some time home alone. And if the Dursleys weren’t tomorrow, he could call the coast guard or something and tell them where to look.
Oh, wait. If the Dursleys weren’t here, the door would be locked. And Harry didn’t have a key. That was a problem. He vaguely remembered that Aunt Petunia’s friend Yvonne had an extra key, in case of emergencies, but as far as he knew she was still in Mallorca. He could try batty old Mrs Figg, or — of course! He could send the owl with a message to Hagrid!
He turned to his trunk, intent on opening it to dig out some of the parchment and the quills he’d bought at Diagon Alley… when to his surprise, the door to Number Four opened all on its own.
“Welcome home, Harry!”
Harry stared in amazement at the three figures that met him in the doorway.
Three tiny, beautiful women, hovering side by side with butterfly-like wings, all completely identical except for the colour of their skin — one was a very saturated pink, one a light blue and one a bright yellow. They were all (Harry tried not to blush) completely naked and totally unconcerned about it.
“Did you have a nice time?” the pink one asked.
”That’s a very white owl you got there!” the blue one observed.
“You’re not saying anything,” the yellow one commented. “You’re not coming in either, you’re just standing there on the porch. Is something wrong? Did we offend you or something? I knew it! I knew we’d mess it up! I said we heeded to make a good first impression, but nooooo…” .
“I…” Harry finally found his voice again. “I’m sorry, who are you?!”
The three tiny women gasped.
“You shouldn’t say that word, Harry!” said the pink one. “That’s a horribly rude word!”
“Errr… what?” Harry fought the urge to pinch himself. Maybe this all was a dream after all, and now it was turning surreal.
“You know…” The pink one whispered. “S-O-R-R-Y. That word. It’s very insulting. If you want to express regret or something, you can say ‘my apologies’ or something, but even that’s not something you should say too often. Words are very important, you know.”
“Rude words aside,” said the yellow one, “he had a very good question. Who are we supposed to be again?”
“I thought you knew,” said the blue one.
“Me? Why would I know?”
“Because I don’t know, and you’re not me!”
“But if I’m not you, who am I?”
“I don’t know!”
“Honestly, you two,” the pink one snapped. “This was exactly why Mistress told us to deliver him that letter! Wait here, Harry, I’ll be right back! There’s a letter you should read!”
She flew off into the house, and after a few seconds returned carrying a rolled-up piece of parchment that was easily larger than she was. (The owl watched the scene from the cage, and Harry could have sworn she was rolling her eyes as if she disapproved of the way the parchment was being carried.)
Still bewildered, Harry took the parchment, unrolled it and began to read.
Dearest Harry, said the text in elegant silvery letters.
I trust you will forgive that I chose to write you a letter rather than explain things in person, but you have had a very busy day and I didn’t want to intrude.
Since we were never actually formally introduced, let me start by presenting myself: I am Lady Vidia of the Spring Court of Faerie. I know Rubeus told you about me last night, and he may have shared more on your trip to Diagon Alley, but knowing him he would have forgotten a few important details. (He is a kind and steadfast soul, my Rubeus, no one better to have at your side in a pinch, but thinking isn’t his strongest suit.)
Harry blinked. For his inner eye he could once more see the green woman… so, she was the one who had written this. (For a brief moment, he wondered about the name “Rubeus,” but then he remembered that Hagrid had indeed said that his first name was Rubeus.)
So this might be old news for you, but in case it isn’t: I owe you seven favours. How and why I came to owe you these favours isn’t important. What is important is that I’m honour-bound to come to your aid seven times. If you find yourself in great need, I will come to your aid — or if I’m unable to come in person I will at least send you whatever help you need. Keep in mind, I will not respond to trivialities or things you could easily handle yourself. I am not, after all, your babysitter.
Which neatly leads me to the main point of this letter: I granted you your first favour when you were one year old, by taking away the pain from your curse scar. If you ever meet other wizards with scars like yours (they are rare, but they do exist!), they will tell you that curse scars almost always hurt, especially under certain circumstances. Your curse scar does not, and will not, cause you any pain.
As he read this, Harry almost absentmindedly touched the scar on his forehead – the scar Hagrid had said he’d got when Voldemort failed to kill him. It was true that it never had hurt, even though he’d never really thought that it should.
Today, I have taken the liberty of granting your second favour. The three flitlings who delivered this letter to you will act as your babysitters, or guardians if you prefer, from now on. Whenever you are not at Hogwarts, they will be staying with you and taking care of you. Don’t let their small size deceive you; flitlings are incredibly strong and have powerful magics of their own. You’ll be safer with them than with ten armed wizards.
Don’t worry about people in your neighbourhood seeing them and asking questions. As a rule, normal humans can’t see Fae, not unless the Fae wants them to. Only the magically-inclined (wizards) or those rare humans possessing the Second Sight will be able to see them.
Harry looked up from the letter to regard the three women — the faeries? The flitlings? — a little more closely. “You’re going to live here?” he said. “The Dursleys won’t like that. But I guess if they can’t see you…”
For some reason, that made them giggle. “Keep reading, Harry!” said the pink one.
By now you may be wondering about your aunt, uncle and cousin. But it’s all part of the favour. You are still a child and need someone to look after you, but I think you will agree that your aunt and uncle weren’t doing a very good job. Which is why I transformed them, along with your cousin, into someone who would do a good job. Don’t waste your time trying to work out which flitling was which Dursley; I have purposefully obscured their memories. They remember you, and they vaguely remember having been human, but details have been obscured.
You now have five favours left.
Harry nearly dropped the letter. “You — you are the Dursleys?” he yelped, staring at the flitlings.
“Well, not anymore,” the yellow one replied in a much too casual tone. “We’ve quit that nonsense.”
“Left it all behind us,” the pink one added. “Mistress showed us the error of our ways.”
Harry could only open and close his mouth. All right, when he’d learned that he was a wizard he had fantasized about turning Dudley into something less horrible, but… well… pleasant fantasies were one thing, To actually see someone transformed beyond recognition in real life was, well, real.
“What’s wrong, Harry?” said the yellow one, looking concerned. “It’s good that we’re not Dursleys anymore! You didn’t like us when we were Dursleys, did you? We were mean and ugly and boring, and now we’re not!”
“But,” said Harry helplessly. “We’re not supposed to use magic on Muggles! Hagrid said I’d get in trouble if I did!”
“Sure, you would,” said the pink one, still frustratingly casual about all this. “But our Mistress isn’t bound by any wizard laws, and neither are we. Fae magic isn’t wizard magic.”
“It can be made to look like wizard magic,” said the blue one helpfully.
“Yes, I know that,” said the pink one, “but it’s still not the same, is it? Just because some wizard might mistake one for the other, it doesn’t mean —”
“Wait!” the yellow one suddenly cried. “Before we continue this discussion, there’s a question we need to ask.” She looked at Harry. “Are you going to stand on that porch all evening, or are you going to come in? Come on, I’ll help you with your luggage.”
She fluttered down towards Harry’s trunk, and then picked it up to carry inside. The same trunk that Harry had to struggle with, she lifted up in the air like it was nothing… even though she was so small that you could have fit thirty or forty of her inside that trunk. That letter was right, flitlings were incredibly strong.
Bewildered, but feeling he didn’t have much alternative, Harry picked up the cage with the owl and walked inside. The yellow flitling was already flying upstairs with the trunk, no doubt to put it in his room, and Harry looked around.
The house was just like it had always been; there was the cupboard under the stairs that he’d slept in for so long, there was the door to the kitchen, and the living room… everything was the same as it always was. Except for the fact that three colourful and unselfconsciously naked faeries were flying around it.
What was he going to do? Should he write to Hagrid? He couldn’t leave the Dursleys like this… could he?
The pink flitling fluttered right in front of him, yanking him out of his thoughts. “You didn’t finish reading the letter,” she pointed out.
“Er…” Harry averted his eyes. He really wasn’t certain how to deal with having a tiny naked woman flying only inches in front of his face, and …absolutely everything… on full display. The Dursleys had never gone around without their clothes on, and he found himself wondering which one of them the pink one had been. And whether it would have made any difference if he’d known.
“Could you…” he tried. “Not to be rude, but could you put some clothes on?”
“I don’t have any,” said the pink flitling. “There are plenty of clothes in this house, but none of them are my size. Why would I want to cover up this beautiful body, anyway?”
“Er,” said Harry. Seemed like this tiny woman was quite vain. “Aren’t you cold?” he tried.
“I’m a Spring Fae, I don’t get cold! But never mind that. Finish reading the letter, Harry!”
“Right. Letter.” Harry carefully put the cage with the owl down on a table, and focused his attention on the parchment again.
By the way, since I feel certain you agree that their old names no longer apply to them, I have decided to leave it up to you to give them their new names. Feel free to name them anything you like, but remember that names have power.
I look forward to meeting you in person some time in the future. In the meantime, if you have any questions, the flitlings have at least a basic knowledge on Faerie and the Fae.
of the Spring Court of Faerie.
Harry looked up from the letter. The yellow flitling had returned from upstairs, and all three of them had landed on the table next to the owl cage. The blue flilting was reaching into the cage and stroking the owl’s feathers with a tiny hand, but luckily the owl didn’t seem to mind.
“Er,” he said. “So, the letter says that I’m supposed to name you?”
All three of them nodded. Even the owl turned its head and looked at him in what seemed like anticipation… right, he needed to find a name for the owl too. Too bad he had never named anything in his life.
“I don’t know,” he finally said. “What would you like to be called?”
“Oooh!” The yellow flitling leaped up into the air, flying up to his eye height. “Since you’re called Harry, I’d like to be called Harry-Harry!”
“Oh, I like that!” said the pink one, joining the yellow one in flight. “And I’d like to be called Harry-Harry-Harry!”
“And I’d like to be called Harry-Harry-Harry-Harry!” said the blue one, who unlike the other two decided to stay on the table and keep petting the owl. “And the owl can be called Harry-Harry-Harry-Harry-Harry! We could be the House of Harry!”
“I can’t call you that!” Harry protested.
“Why not?” the three flitlings chorused, their faces perfect studies in confusion.
“You’re… you’re girls,” said Harry feebly. Just as soon as he’d said that, however, he remembered that Harry could be a girl’s name… mainly because Dudley had found out and had teased him about it for about a month. So he added: “And it would be too confusing! Er, what sort of names do flitlings usually have?”
“I don’t know,” said the pink one. “What sort of names do humans usually have?”
“Vernon, Petunia and Dudley.” said the blue one.
“Are those really common names?” the pink one said dubiously.
“Apart from Harry, they were the only ones I could think of!”
“Well, he’s not naming us that!” the yellow one shot in. “Those were our old lives! We’re done with them, and good riddance! Besides, do you remember which of us was the Dudley?”
“Wasn’t Dudley the mean one?” the blue flitling piped up from her place on the table.
The yellow one crossed her arms. “They were all the mean one, that was the entire point! Remember what Mistress said —”
“Oh, why don’t I just call you Pink, Yellow and Blue!” said Harry exasperatedly.
Once more, the flitlings looked at him in confusion. “Why?” they chorused.
Harry tried not to grimace. Whatever else the transformation had done to the Dursleys, it hadn’t made them any smarter. Even Dudley wouldn’t have been this clueless. “Because,” he said slowly, “you’re pink, yellow and blue. The colour of your skin?”
They all looked down themselves, studying their bodies with interest.
“That’s silly,” the pink one finally said. “I’m not pink. If anything I’m more of a magenta.”
“And I’m cyan,” said the blue one. “Definitely cyan. It looks kind of like blue, but it isn’t really.”
“And I’m yellow!” said the yellow one.
“Er,” said Harry. “That’s what I said. Yellow.”
“No, you said yellow. I’m a different shade of yellow than the yellow you said.”
Harry opened his mouth to argue, and then thought better of it. “So… Yellow, Magenta and Cyan, then. Do you like that?”
They looked at each other, and then nodded.
“It’ll do,” said Magenta.
“And we can call the owl White!” said Cyan.
The owl glared at her and then turned to look at Harry as if to say: Don’t you dare.
“Actually,” Harry hurried to say, “I thought I’d check my new books and see if I could find a name for her there.”
“Oh.” Cyan looked disappointed for a moment, but then brightened. “Can we still be the House of Harry?”
Harry sighed. “Yes, why not.”
“Yay!” Cyan cheered. “By the way, we’re out of honey.”
“Er… honey?” said Harry.
“Yes! There was a jar of it in the kitchen, but it’s empty now.” Cyan licked her lips. “The House of Harry needs honey!”
“Oh, yes!” said Yellow. “Honey is amazing! It’s almost as good as nectar, and it’s much easier to get ahold of in the mortal realm!”
“But make sure you don’t store it anywhere near iron!” said Magenta. “That’s very important! If you could throw out those iron skillets and saucepans in the kitchen, that would be great! You don’t have to do it right away, if you’re too tired from your journey. Just… when you can spare a moment.”
“Er, all right,” said Harry, looking at his owl. “I think I need to write to Hagrid first, though…”
Thursday, 2nd August 1991
Dewberry Grove, twilight.
“Jenny! Bin a while! Bin ages, really!”
Lady Jenivah of the Spring Court of Faerie — among friends just called “Jenny” or “Jenny Jump” -– hadn’t changed much since Hagrid saw her last. Like most half-Fae, indeed like Hagrid himself, she could pass for human if you ignored a few telltale signs… which in Jenny’s case were slightly pointed ears and the fact that her light blonde hair was exceptionally voluminous and reached down almost to her ankles. Other than that, she looked (and acted) like a normal human woman in the beginning of her twenties… even though, like him, she was actually in her sixties.
She hugged him tightly, having to wrap her arms around his waist, because that was as high as she could reach, and then let go to look up at him with curious blue-green eyes. “But what are you doing here in Dewberry Grove? You never visit Faerie anymore. Don’t tell me you got that impatient for me to come see you at Hogwarts? I was planning on getting around to it, but…”
“Ah, don’ yeh worry about it,” said Hagrid. “We’ve both been busy. ‘Sides, what’s ten years to the likes of us? Nah, truth be told… always glad ter see you, but I’m here cause I needed a word with Auntie Vidia.”
”Mum? She’s not home,” said Jenny. “She said she had business to attend to and not to expect her back for a while. But I’m the Lady of the house until she returns… so is there anything I can do?”
Hagrid thought about it. He and Jenny had practically grown up together; even though she was a half elf from the Spring Court while he was a half giant from Autumn they thought of each other as cousins. The fact that they both had human fathers meant they understood each other better than most of their peers. Jenny was one of the few people in Faerie who had fully supported Hagrid’s decision to live among the wizards on the mortal plane, and pretty much the only one who had agreed to call him “Hagrid” instead of “Rubeus.” If she could help, she probably would… but…
He sighed heavily. “Don’t think so. Unless yeh’ve found a way ter reverse a Fae transformation since I saw yeh last.”
“Reverse a… oh, fuck, tell me she hasn’t started that again!” said Jenny, annoyed. “After that scandal we had with the New-Bloods thirty years ago, I thought she’d given up on that. How many mortals did my darling mother turn into Fae this time?”
“Three,” said Hagrid. “Dunno how much yeh know abou’ that bargain I made with her ten years ago, but…”
“The Harry Potter bargain?” said Jenny. “Oh, everyone knows about that. It’s the talk of the Spring Court, everyone’s having great fun speculating on what she’s really up to.” She glanced up at the sky, looking thoughtful for a moment. “I can’t really talk for long. I have a home-alone orgy planned for this evening… thirty guests and nobody’s allowed to wear a stitch of clothing for as long as the orgy’s going on!”
“But I have some time before that,” said Jenny. “How about we take a brief walk in the gardens, and you can tell me what happened.”
The gardens of Dewberry Grove were beautiful; Hagrid had to admit that. Not overly cultivated and arranged in with flowerbeds in neat rows and carefully mown lawns, like some Muggles (or even some wizards) kept their gardens; these gardens; these were gardens of a semi-wild, almost ethereal beauty, where cheerful cobbled paths twisted and zig-zagged in between green grass and blooming spring flowers, trees reached towards the sky and spread their branches, and the sounds of babbling brooks mixed with the birdsong. Fountains, gazebos and benches were placed in strategic areas, as were the always-changing arrays of marble statues that Aunt Vidia liked to decorate he gardens with — men and women in various states of undress, often frozen in the middle of some erotic act or pose.
Hagrid had often suspected, but never actually had it confirmed, that the statues were actual people that had been turned to stone. He tried not to think too hard about that.
“…so I get a letter from Harry, tellin’ me that Auntie Vidia’s turned his family inter flitlings,” he finished. “Dunno what she was thinkin’…”
“That she was doing him a favour, I expect,” said Jenny. “I don’t know, these Dursleys almost sound like they’d be better off as Fae… but I know enough about the mortal realm to know that there’ll be complications that my dearest mother hadn’t even considered. You know who you ought to talk to, don’t you?”
Hagrid nodded. “Yeah, I know. Should talk ter Dumbledore… I mean Albus Dumbledore, obviously.”
“Obviously. Is there any other Dumbledore still willing to get involved?” Jenny sighed. “But he might have some ideas. I remember that he used to have some good ones.”
“Yeah… Great man, Dumbledore,” said Hagrid. “Really, it’s Harry I’m worried about. He migh’ get in trouble, cause the Ministry won’t like the idea of the Boy Who Lived livin’ with a bunch o’ Fae… an’ the Muggles’re gonna start wonderin’ where those Dursleys went too as well… Ruddy hell, why don’ these full-bloods ever think o’ the consequences to — heh.” All of a sudden, and quite despite himself. Hagrid cut himself off with a chuckle.
“What?” said Jenny curiously.
“Jus’ thinkin’, y’know, it’s funny. In the wizardin’ world people are always tellin’ me that I’m too reckless, that I don’ think o’ the consequences to me actions… an’ here’s me now, worryin’ abou’ consequences.”
“Wait.” Jenny stared at him, mouth open. “They think you’re reckless?!”
“Fuck. How careful are these wizards?!”
“More careful than Fae, less careful than Muggles.” Hagrid took a deep breath. “Yeh’re right. ‘Course yeh’re right. I gotta talk ter Dumbledore.”
She patted him on the arm. “That’s the spirit. Say, do you want to stay for a few hours and join in on my home-alone orgy? Might relax you a little. A couple of other giants are coming too.”
He chuckled again. “Nah. Kind o’ yeh ter offer, but I gotta decline. Gotta get back to the mortal plane an’ try ter sort out this mess. ‘Sides, I’m no good at these orgies, never know what ter do with mesself…”
Jenny sighed, disappointed. “You’re so prudish,” she complained. “But I get it, you have responsibilities and all that. Are you certain there isn’t anything I can do, though?”
Hagrid looked at her. Those blue-green eyes were earnest. He didn’t know if it was her half human blood or just her basic nature, but Jenny wasn’t like her mother; always with an angle. She genuinely did want to help. Of course she didn’t even have one third of Aunt Vidia’s power, but…
“If yeh really do want ter help,” he said. “There migh’ be one thing… It’s not directly tied ter the Harry situation, but…”
“How’s Fluffy doin’ these days?”