Riding with Ripper, Meeting the Parents
SpaceMary: I like it.
At King’s Cross, Hermione Granger and Harry Potter stood side by side, looking like two puddles of nerves. Neither really understood that it was for slightly different reasons. Harry's mind was focused on thoughts of engagement and such, and how he was really much too young to get married – or even engaged – and yet he couldn’t see any way out of it. Hermione, however, was wondering how badly her parents were going to punish her.
After what seemed like hours, an older gentleman walked up to them. He wore tweed, his glasses were well polished and clear, and he had perfect posture.
“Hello, Hermione dear, who is this?”
“Harry Potter, sir,” Harry answered. He glanced at Hermione, who looked as if she were about to burst into tears or go on a rampage, but couldn’t decide on which direction to go into.
“Hermione?” the older gentleman asked again. Tears seemed to win out and Hermione grabbed the man by the waist and started sobbing into his sport coat.
“I’m sorry! It was just a joke! I didn’t really mean it,” Hermione sobbed. “Please don’t let them kill me!”
“Hermione, you need to tell me what happened,” the man said, a perplexed expression on his face. She looked up at him, eyes red with fear, tears and confusion.
“I accidentally swore to take over the world!”
Harry let out a quiet and unobtrusive sigh of relief. He’d thought she was upset about the engagement.
“I am quite sure you did not mean such a thing,” the older man said, patting her on the back. He straightened up and held out a hand to Harry. “Rupert Giles.”
“Hullo, sir,” Harry said, shaking the man’s hand.
“You would not happen to have some insight into my dear girl’s behavior,” the man asked.
“She meant it as a joke. She didn’t know it was a magically binding contract,” Harry said.
“To conquer the world?”
“And bend it to her will,” Harry clarified his fiancée's vow. “But I don’t know if that’s possible, or even why she’s so upset about it.”
“And how are you connected to this?”
“She asked me to help,” Harry replied dutifully, “and I said yes, but we both thought it was a joke.”
“I see…” the man said, taking his glasses off for a quick polish.
“Um, if I may ask, sir,” Harry said hesitantly, “why are you taking this so seriously?”
There was a slight twinkle in his eye, while his face kept the mask of seriousness. “World domination is always a serious business.”
The man patted Hermione warmly on the back. “Now, now, I’m sure your parents will be very proud. Now, why don’t we get back to the car?”
“Okay,” she said, wiping her eyes clear. “Come on, Harry.”
“Why is Harry joining us?” Giles asked.
“Because he’s my fiancé,” she said numbly as she loaded her things into the trunk of a rather pitiful looking car. Rupert Giles immediately turned to stare at the bespectacled boy with a look of equal parts aggression and confusion.
“Uh, that part was an accident, too.”
Later, as the car rolled down into greater London, Rupert Giles looked in the backseat at the two schoolchildren via the rearview.
“So, allow me to break this down,” he asked slowly. “You, Mr. Potter, got a letter from your wrongfully accused, escaped convict godfather, who said that you could have blood ward protection if you stay with your fiancée. You then jokingly asked the girl I consider my granddaughter to marry you. You, Hermione dear, recognized the tone of his voice, jokingly agreed, and you both suddenly found yourselves in a magically binding marriage contract.”
“Yes, sir” Harry agreed, “because Magic doesn’t have a sense of humor.”
“Oh, I think you’ll find it does, just not one to match yours,” Giles said with a slightly wistful tone.
“You forgot the part where I become the next Big Bad and Auntie has to come hunt me down,” Hermione corrected.
“I’m quite sure it won’t come to that,” Giles said with the slightest of chuckles. He abruptly swerved to the side. “Bloody Tourists!
“How exactly do we know you aren’t just attempting to run away from your family?” Giles asked once the danger had passed.
“You mean, other than that’s exactly what he’s trying to do?” Hermione asked, having recovered from her earlier outburst of emotion.
“Er, right, quite right,” he said. “I will insist that you call your relatives to inform them of the situation.”
“I sent them a letter.”
“Hardly enough. I insist you phone them immediately."
When they arrived at the Granger home, it was nothing like what Harry had expected. It was a tall Georgian Style building in good condition, although it looked like parts of the brickwork had been recently replaced, almost as if it suffered frequent damage. Five stories tall, it must have cost a pretty penny to live there. Rupert Giles pulled up to the front, parallel parked the poor, tired car and stepped out.
“Come along, then,” he said, fiddling with his keys. He tucked them deliberately into one pocket and pulled out a large ancient style key that he pushed into the large cast-iron lock and turned. Hermione followed quickly, pulling Harry by the hand. Rupert Giles swung the door open.
“Your daughter accidentally got herself engaged to a boy and thinks she pulled an Angelus. I do believe I just won the pool,” he announced loudly as he entered.
Hermione was quickly picked up by a petite blonde woman only slightly taller than her and tossed up in the air like a doll.
“Aunt Buffy, that wasn’t funny when I was five. I’m fourteen now,” the girl complained in a slightly punch-drunk fashion.
“What? Can’t a woman be happy to see her favorite niece?” Buffy asked, setting Hermione on her hip like a small child. Hermione was not amused.
“You can put me down now,” the girl said in a flat tone. Buffy ignored her.
“So what’s this about you turning evil?”
“Apparently, Hermione swore a magical oath to take over the world,” Giles said with a twinkle in his eye. His deadpan humor was perfect. Harry was about to say hello, but he noticed a woman that must have been Hermione’s older, very
attractive sister. She walked right over and gave Hermione a hug.
“Now, now, Hermione, everyone knows it was your father’s turn to go evil,” the girl said. “He’s been waiting for years.” She turned and looked Harry right in the eye. “So, you must be Harry.”
She seemed to look through him with those same brilliant eyes that Hermione had.
“We’ve heard about you from Hermione,” the girl said.
“Nothing bad, I hope,” Harry said formally.
“I do hope you’re the boy she got engaged to accidentally, and not that irritating sounding Ron,” the girl said.
“MUM!” Hermione screamed, turning beet red in the face. They were lucky that Harry hadn’t been drinking something, because he would have had a perfect spit take.
“Mum? She’s your mother?” Harry asked. “She can’t be more than sixteen!”
“Yep, definitely the better choice,” Hermione’s mom said with a grin and Harry’s face quickly matched Hermione’s special coloring. The other adults chuckled. “Now, in all seriousness, yes, I am her mother. I’m Dawn Summers. Nice to meet you, Harry Potter.”
“Uh, thanks,” he said awkwardly. “I, uh, I thought you were Hermione’s older sister.”
That brought on another round of laughter and more embarrassment to Hermione, the poor girl. “Come on, Hermione’s father will get the bags. Bring in your critters and we’ll get you settled.”
“Are you hungry?” Dawn asked him as they moved further into the house. “I just made some peanut butter and radish sandwiches if you want one.”
“No, I, uh, I’ll just have a glass of water, instead, thank you,” he stammered. “Just curious, but how did you come up with that combination of flavors.”
Dawn just shrugged. “It’s good.”
Beyond her, a wide-eyed Hermione was waving her hands and mouthing the word “no” in a very frantic manner.
“Water will be fine, please, or maybe a piece of fruit?” he asked. Fruit was probably a good choice, Hermione’s parents being dentists and all that.
“No problem, why don’t you eat it out by the pool?” she suggested, pointing toward the inner courtyard where he saw a large, ancient style pool with palm trees, lawn chairs and a few tables. The boy wandered out and sat down under a sun umbrella. He sat for a while, humming a tune he couldn’t remember the name of and eating his sandwich.
A slight bit later, he noticed some movement from next to him. A taller, beautiful woman with a crown of slightly curled brunette hair stood next to him, and flashed him a smile.
“Hi, you can call me Mrs. Robinson.”
And then she took off her shirt.
She wasn’t wearing anything underneath.
Harry stared as if he had just caught a glimpse of Nirvana.
The tight, tight
shorts went the way of her shirt.
And then the orange and glass of water crashed to the ground as the woman dove into the pool.
Hermione ran from the kitchen at the crash, saw Harry’s happy, shell-shocked look, and then glanced in the pool. “Faith!
The woman in the pool just stuck her tongue out at Hermione. "Here's to you Brainy Janie!"
” Hermione grumbled. “You’d think a woman her age would have more shame!” She ran over to Harry who was still sitting still with a goofy, happy look on his face.
“I recognize that look,” an unfamiliar face said. Hermione shot her father a chastising look.
“Dad!” the girl said, giving her father a hug. Glancing back at the pool, Hermione growled. “She knew I had company!”
“And that’s probably why she did it,” her father nodded with a smile. “I know how to wake him up.” The man leaned down, picked Harry up by the back of his shirt and dumped him in the pool, careful to take his glasses off, so they didn’t get lost.
Harry came back up sputtering. “What was that for?”
Hermione gave him The Look™.
“Oh, right, sorry.”
“Did you see that?” Dawn asked her sister. “She’s only fourteen, and she’s already got him trained.”
“Lucky girl,” Buffy said with a grin. “Think Xander’s gonna threaten him?”
“Oh, not with anyone else to see,” Dawn said confidently. “He and Willow like to think we don’t know they do it.”
“We all know if it isn’t him, it’d be Willow,” Giles said. “I think dealing with Xander is letting him off quite easy.”
Hermione helped him clamor out of the pool sopping wet. Xander covered his mouth to hide his laughs. After he got it under control, he held out a hand. “Hi, Xander Harris-Granger. I’m Hermione’s Dad.”
Harry took the man’s hand and looked upward into the friendly, one-eyed face. Then he remembered that Hermione’s parents were dentists. The concept of a one-eyed dentist was horrifying to imagine and here was one right in front of him. Harry started to feel that lauded Gryffindor bravery start to slip away.
“Harry Potter,” he said, struggling to keep from shaking. His body, not his hand. “I, er, I’m Hermione’s fiancé.”
“Well, not the first time there’s been an unexpected marriage or engagement in this family,” Xander said, giving the boy’s hand a slightly harder squeeze. Harry struggled not to wince. “It’s much better than the time Buffy and Spike got engaged. But of course, that was Willow’s fault.”
The unspoken fact that Xander Harris-Granger blamed Harry James Potter was not lost on either party.
“Uh, nice to meet you sir,” Harry said through slightly gritted teeth.
“Likewise,” Xander said. “Now, why don’t you head in and we’ll see about getting some clothes on Faith.”
“Thank you!” drawled Hermione. She stamped her foot, planted her hands on her hips and gave the dark haired woman a glare that should have peeled paint. Faith smirked and decided to s-l-o-o-o-o-w-l-y step out of the pool. Hermione resumed her glare and tried to cover both Harry’s and her father’s eyes.
“Hermione,” Harry said. “I couldn’t see, anyways, you kept my glasses.”
“Oh, right,” she said, taking her hands away and scampered off to get his glasses. When she was out of hearing, Xander leaned down and whispered in his ear.
“I can’t believe she fell for that, and I’m her father,” he said. “Her mother never would have.”
“Well, the Sorting Hat did want to put me in Slytherin,” Harry whispered back conspiratorially. “And my eyesight isn’t that
Back in the sitting room, the other occupants looked on.
“Aren’t you going to get back at Xander for looking at a naked Faith like that?” Buffy inquired lightly.
“No need. Look-y fine, but no touch-y,” her sister stated flatly. “And he knows I’ve still got that ‘Property of Dawn’ brand you gave me for a wedding present. I keep it on the mantle in our bedroom.”
“Oh dear lord!” Giles sighed with a roll of his eyes as he stood up under the guise of getting another glass of lemonade, but both women knew it was just an excuse to leave the room. The two cackled in his wake. TMI was a powerful weapon indeed.
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