Summer at the Grangers, A cuddly cousin, a Headmistress and Dark Lady Reflect, and the Potters turn 15.
Harry Potter and the Distaff Side
The Granger house was a home; this was evident from the moment Harry stepped inside. While the Dursleys' house was the base the Dursleys used to show how successful they were to the world, the Grangers used their home to live in. This was the home of a successful happy family, it showed in every room.
Orestes led Harry to a bedroom on the second floor.
"This one is for you" the door opened to show a full sized bed, chest of drawers, the obligatory Granger Bookcase, and a window with a view of the street. "Tomorrow or the next day we can go shopping and get you some clothes, in the mean time, we're pretty much the same size. You should be able to find something in my closet to wear."
"Thanks Orestes, I mean it."
"Harry, could I ask you something?"
"Sure mate, anything."
"You're the only person I've ever met who never commented on my name. Even Harri did when we first met on the Express that first time when I was helping Nelly Longbottom look for her toad Josephine. Orestes is a weird name, at least in Britain, but you never batted an eye."
"Actually your name answered a question I had always wondered about. Hermione isn't all that common a name either, I always wondered where her parents got it from, was it a family name, was it a tribute to anyone of the several actresses named Hermione, were the Grangers Shakespeare fans, or was she named for the daughter of Helen of Troy? Harri prepared me for a male Granger, and when she told me your name I had my answer. Orestes was the betrothed of Hermione."
"You knew that? But how, Harri didn't."
"Harri and I had a few discussions; our lives are similar, but not identical. Where I found refuge from Dudley Dursley and his gang in the library discovering and devouring Greek and Roman mythology, she escaped Dolly Dursley in the school choir. Just as well, I can't carry a tune in a bucket."
Life at the Grangers quickly settled into a pattern. The house rose at 7am for breakfast and quiet family time. At 9, the elder Grangers left for work, Harry and Orestes cleaned the house and took care of the yard until noon, when they would have lunch, then work on their summer assignments until around 5, the boys would then fix dinner.
Orestes was delighted to discover that not only could Harry cook, he actually enjoyed it. Without the pressure the Dursley's put on him, Harry had discovered the joy of preparing a meal for people who appreciated the effort. The elder Grangers complained that if he kept it up, they would have to renew their gym memberships.
The evenings were spent playing games, watching movies, or just talking. The Grangers were captivated with tales of the daughter Orestes might have been. Orestes own adventures were different enough that even he found the stories interesting.
It was from these evening discussions Harry discovered how very different this world was from his own. In this world the gender roles were totally reversed. He was constantly amazed at the aggressiveness of women. One afternoon Harry talked Orestes into playing hooky from their homework and the pair of them caught a bus to the local shopping center. Young women eying them everywhere they went, complete with whistles and cat calls. Orestes was embarrassed and appalled. Harry on the other hand thought it was pretty cool. Not that he really needed to worry about his 'reputation' given his massive experience of taking a single girl to a dance, and for the most part ignoring her, while staring at his best friend and silently lusting after another girl. Still it was nice to be noticed in away that had nothing to do with the scar on his forehead. One weekend toward the end of June some of the Granger's family visited, including a cousin two years older than the boys.
Melanie Granger was quietly abusive toward Orestes, in the ways that Harry had seen the Weasleys kids treat each other. Having no other frame of reference, he figured that it was a family thing. Melanie and her parents were surprised by Harry's presence(explained as a school chum spending the summer due to parents traveling abroad for business). The visitors came by Friday afternoon and left for home Monday morning. Sunday afternoon Melanie suggested a walk to the local park. Harry accepted the invitation, but Orestes begged off, wanting to spend a little more time with his Aunt and Uncle.
Once in the park, walking along the trail that he and Orestes used when they needed to get away from the adults for a while, Melanie pulled him off the trail into an area hidden by bushes. It was a grassy area that showed obvious signs of use by couples.
"I found this place last year when we visited. Nice and quiet here. We can get to know each other...."
And she pushed him against a tree and stuck her tongue down his throat.
His mind went offline for a second. Never outside of his fantasies had any woman ever done such a thing to him. Perhaps another half second passed before he decided, when in Rome... and returned the kiss, and moved his left hand to her breast. - whoa! No Bra!
Melanie was momentarily startled by his response to her; she renewed the kissing and guided Harry to the grassy ground, where she lay atop him, reaching down to rub him through his jeans. This was like so many of his fantasies coming true. A woman he hardly knew deciding to have her way with him. He reached under her jumper to touch the bare breasts beneath, when she pulled his hand out.
"Just lay back and enjoy it honey. I'll take care of you."
With a growl, he rolled her over onto her back and breaking the kiss, and looking down into her wide eyes, Harry returned her crotch rubbing. "We'll take care of each other." He then returned his mouth to hers. She stiffened, then pushed him off of her, and stood up. Melanie hesitated for a moment then extended a hand to him to help him up.
"We should get back." She said. "It's not long until dinner"
Harry was a little disappointed at her change of mind, but didn't complain. Together they made their way back to the Granger home.
The visitors and the Grangers left at 9am Monday morning, Orestes' Uncle, Aunt and cousin returning home, his parents going to work.
"What did you do to Melanie?" Orestes asked with a grin.
"What do you mean?"
"She asked if you were some kind of satyrimaniac or something."
"What? She came on to me."
"Let me guess." Orestes was laughing now. "She came on to you and you responded like you would have back home."
"Since the only way a woman ever did that with me was in my imagination, yes. I responded to her."
"That's what freaked Melanie out. She expected you to put up at least a token fight before giving in. She said she thought you were going to make her 'be the man'. You freaked her completely out." He grinned. "Every summer I've had to put up with her, I've never seen anyone so totally get the better of her. Mate, you are officially my hero."
June became July, and that month melted away in the routine. A week before his birthday a pair of Hogwarts Owls delivered class lists. His came with a personal note from the Deputy Headmaster McGonagall (He was absolutely never going to get used to that.)
Enclosed is your class list for the coming year. Not having access to your actual records I am assuming that you and Miss Potter share more than just a penchant for trouble and attracting Dark Ladies. I have taken the liberty of assigning you the same classes.
After discussions with the Headmistress, we have decided that you will be sorted with the incoming first years.
"Anything important?" Orestes had already read through his letter of course.
"Just letting me know I'm to be sorted with the first years. That won't be awkward or anything."
"Well, you'll be a Gryffindor of course."
"Will I? Or even should I? By what right do I intrude into Harri's life? Besides, it's weird as hell seeing all my friends wearing the wrong gender."
"Harry, you worry too much. We all want you there."
"Orestes, other than you, nobody in Gryffindor really knows me, not even my twin. It might be smart for me to strike off on my own in a new house."
"Somehow I can't see you as a Slytherin."
"That's where the Hat wanted me to go, originally. I talked it into Gryffindor because Ron was sure he was going to be there. But no, you're right. I couldn't be a Slytherin The 'Puffs might be fun. A lot of good people in Hufflepuff. I doubt I'm smart enough for Ravenclaw."
"Mate, don't try that 'I'm stupid' stuff with me. I've been working with you all summer. You've got horrible study habits, and atrocious handwriting, but you aren't stupid. You've kept up with me all summer, and even challenged me at times. I have long suspected that if I could have gotten Harri away from Ronnie her grades would have improved. You are proof of that. I like Ronnie, I like her a lot, but she is utterly lazy when confronted with anything she can't play Quidditch with or eat. You wait. Next week when we go to the Burrow for your birthdays, they won't have started their summer assignments yet, and we're done. You would do fine in Ravenclaw as long as you maintain your focus."
"Maintaining focus, now that's the rub isn't it? I'm fine here with you and your parents, but what I'm afraid of is once I get back to Hogwarts, I'll start fixating on what happened and start feeling sorry for myself again." He shook his head as if attempting to remove that thought from his mind. "On to more important matters than where I sleep this school year. What are we going to do about separating my Twin and Ronnie, and setting you up with Harri?"
"Well, we could double date..."
"Oh, don't even joke about that. I know Ron Weasley far too well to even think about Ronnie Weasley in any way that doesn't have me staying the hell away from her. She eats like him, she has his standards of cleanliness, no, no, no. No way in hell am I going on a date with any Weasley. Just the thought of it makes me queasy."
"Even the twins?"
"Especially the twins. Merlin only knows what those two lunatics would have rigged to explode."
Orestes and Harry took the knights bus to Ottery St. Catchpole on the morning of July 31st. Harry was feeling awkward to say the least. Yes it was his birthday, but it was not his party. Orestes insisted that he would be welcome, but there was just something wrong about his going to the Burrow under these conditions. These Weasleys didn't know him from Adam (or perhaps know him from Eve would be a better metaphor for this world) It was as the bus careened wildly to a stop in front of the path to the Burrow, Harry decided to attempt to quietly fade into the background. With the gregarious Weasley clan, this shouldn't be too hard.
Thomasina Riddle sat alone in her personal chambers carved out of caverns situated deep beneath the ancestral home of her despised Muggle mother. The Riddle fortune had evidently been based upon the profits of a smuggling operation with the caverns providing an easy hidden access to the sea. It amused her that the source of her Muggle side's fortune was now her sanctuary.
The call was out; her remaining Death Eaters were gathering recruits. The coffers of the Malfoy, Knott and Zambini families were open to her. The Ministry was a joke. Dumbledore was ancient and becoming feeble. Nothing stood between her and the power that was her birthright.
Nothing except the Potter girl. And the other.
It was so frustrating. Months of planning had resulted in coming so close to success. Crouch had succeeded in bringing young Miss Potter to the carefully planned trap. (Although in retrospect, precisely why such a complex plot had been needed eluded her, especially when Crouch could have just grabbed the girl at any time, escaped her, but that was water under the bridge). The creation of Riddle's new body went flawlessly, but then her ego got the better of her, when she had challenged Potter to what was supposed to be a one sided duel. How hard would it be to defeat a barely trained 4thyear?
As it turned out, nowhere as easy as Riddle had imagined. The girl was fast, agile, and had a fair repertory of charms and hexes. Then she did whatever it was that linked their wands together accompanied by Phoenix song. Still despite still being weak from the rebirthing Riddle was about to defeat the girl when she was attacked from behind by a banished tombstone. This 'Other' ran right through her assembled Death Eaters, scooped up the Potter girl, made it to the Diggery girl, and summoned the portkey to make their escape.
Upon arrival back at Hogwarts, this Other immediately put suspicion upon Crouch in his Moody disguise thus losing her most important source of information. Her sources in the Ministry report that the Other was a Dimensional Traveler named Harry Potter. From a universe where genders were swapped and his 'Dark Lord' (a laughable concept) was a man named Tom Riddle who went by the unlikely alias of /Lord Voldemort. /
This 'explanation' for the Other raised more questions than it answered. Why had her counterpart with the anagram fetish expended the energy to banish the boy (allowing him to keep his wand of all things) instead of simply killing him? Was sending the boy her an intentional act, part of a prelude to more from his universe coming here?
What were the odds of a male Potter analog appearing in exactly the right spot at exactly the right time to make a difference in her battle with the Potter girl? This was maddening.
There was one good thing about this Other. At most he would be an inconvenience. He might be powerful, but there was no way the boy could possibly be aggressive enough to be a true threat.
Blanch Penelope Winifred Beth Dumbledore sat in her office contemplating the same topic. The Potter boy was throwing all of her plans off kilter. She couldn't even keep tabs on Harri like she used to. Each arcane instrument she had monitoring Harri Potter saw the boy as a second life force.
Why was the boy here? What would possess his Dark Lord to send him away instead of killing him outright? What havoc was the boy going to inspire here?
She looked over at the Sorting Hat. Should she have a talk with the Hat and 'suggest' that the boy be placed in a different house than Harri? How much psychological damage will being around a male version of yourself do to a young woman? What damage would seeing Harri do to the boy?
So many questions, so few answers. She checked her appointment calendar. Marcus would be her in a few moments... She sighed, they went through this every year, more complaints about the innate unfairness of her Potions Mistress. No matter how well she explained it, Marcus could never grasp the fact that the Slytherins needed special handling.
Harry's plan of fading into the background and allowing Harri to have her party with her friends seemed to be working well. He had noticed something disturbing. Arthur Weasley, this universe's Ginny Analog was active, gregarious and seemingly happy, but she never took her eyes off Harri. There was more than a bit of anger in his eyes when Orestes was with Harri. Had Ginny been like that? He would have to have a word with Orestes when they returned home.
Home. He was going to have to watch that. He was starting to think of the Grangers house as home. That was the path that led to disappointment.
"Harry isn't it?" Harry was startled. He hadn't noticed Ginevra Weasley, this universe's version of Arthur sitting in the next chair.
"Yes Mrs. Weasley."
"Not joining in on the fun?"
"I appreciate the invitation, but I don't really belong here. These are all Harri's friends, they don't really know me."
"Did the male Twins know you when they helped you get your trunk on the train?"
"No, they're just good... How did you know?"
"My girls helped a little lost waif with her trunk. Turns out she was someone special... Saved my only son she did, stood up to a dirty great basilisk at the age of 12. So did you." She took a sip of the drink in her hand. "Is your version of me fascinated by Muggles and their technology?"
"Yes. He told me once his goal in life is to understand how a Muggle airplane manages to fly."
"Smart man. That's my goal as well." She smiled. "Like I said my girls helped a waif that turned out to be someone special. Since you've been here, you saved Harri, You saved the Diggory girl, and you managed to focus attention on the Death Eater masquerading as Anastasia Moody, which led to the rescue of the real Moody. You managed to pull Orestes Granger out of his shell. He had more fun this summer than any he can remember, he told me so himself. You are a special person as well Harry Potter." She gestured toward the teens at the table. "Those kids are lucky to get a chance to know someone like you. Give them a chance, they'll get to know two someones like you."
Harry stood "Thank you Mrs. Weasley. The Adult Weasleys I meet always seem to be very wise people." He crossed to the table and joined in.