Jezbet and the Philosopher's Stone

The short woman parked at the kerb in front of Number Four, Privet Drive, raised the door of her left-hand drive Mercedes Benz 300SL, and climbed out. The car lifted just a littleon it's suspension. She turned and closed the gullwing door. She adjusted her six-color desert camouflage cap, with three black stars in a row on the front. Her DBDUs are also of the "Chocolate Chip" pattern, named for the dark black "shadows" on the light spots. There is a row of black stars on either of her collar points, "Worldkiller" over her right pocket, and "US NAVY" over the left, under a patch with gold wings. Her boots seem to change shape as she crosses the hedge-line on the path to the door, but no one notices.

A tall woman with rather an excess of neck answers the door at her knock, and the pleasantly-wrinkled face smiles up, "Hello, Petunia."

"Hello, aunt Jezbet," Petunia says, faint annoyance in her voice, "Thank you for calling so I could get the guest room ready."

"Don't be sarcastic, Pet, it doesn't become you."

"Run out on a spur-of-the-moment vacation to avoid your fairy godmother one time," Petunia replied, turning into the house, "And she'll never let you live it down," she ruffled Harry's, who was closer, hair.

Harry backed up quickly, reaching up to ward her off. Dudley skuttled further out of range.

Jezbet closed the door behind her, and pulled her gloves off, tucking them in her cargo pocket opposite her hat. She stretches her arms over her head, and drops her glamour, grey bob fading into a black braid down almost to her knees, which seems thicker then it should be. Harry blinked at the slit pupils of her brilliant green eyes. Dudley noticed her boots, with six long toes like a facehugger's. or a birds, four forward, and two back, then out to the side as she relaxes onto her palms.

"Is Miriam coming today?" Petunia asked.

"She should be here in a bit, she had some shopping she wanted to do," Jezbet said, "Shall I tell her to let herself in?"

"Please," Petunia said, "It would be easiest if she just appeared in the hall."

"Not a problem," Jezbet said, "Has Harry gotten his Hogwarts letter yet?"

"No, and I was hoping he wouldn't."

"Dudley?"

"Seem to have as much magic as me," Petunia sniffed.

"Hmm," Jezbet dropped to one knee, so instead of being barely taller than the boy, she's looking up to him when she pinched both of his cheeks, then stood, "Yeah, same problem as you," she said, "Wrong temperament for accidental magic."

"Temperament?"

"Would you like to go to magic school Dudley, or are you happy with going to Smeltings?"

"How would you get me into magic school, if my temperament is wrong?"

"A bit of intentional magic, of course."

"What's magic school like?"

"Much like regular school, you have good students, bad students, mean kids, nice kids, and it's all politics from the top to the bottom. You're learning how to interact in society while the teachers are trying to distract you with piles of mostly-useless facts and a little bit of real learning."

"Will I get to hit people with my Smeltings Stick?"

"No, but you'll get to curse them in the halls, so long as you don't get caught."

"Let me think about it."

"Very well. If you want to go to Hogwarts you'll need to decide by about the middle of August."

"So you'll be around for a while?" Vernon grumbled from the doorway.

"Yeah, I will. I've a decade's worth of accumulated leave to burn off, and it doesn't look like there'll be any interesting flying for a while."

"Thought you could only accumulate a few years before you started losing it."

"Longest flying ace in the Navy," she smiled, "Totally backdoored the personnel systems."

"Ace?" Harry asked.

"Yeah. I flew a Hellcat off Saratoga in 1944 and 1945, flew Corsairs, Mustangs and Sabers in Korea, Phantoms in Vietnam, trained the Iranian Air Force on Tomcats, downed Iraqis last year, lots of fun shit."

"How?"

"Where I am is always where I'm supposed to be."

"How?"

"Magic, of course."

Vernon started to turn purple, "We don't use that word in our house."

"I almost forgot," Jezbet produced a small glass bottle, maybe 750ml, "I brought this for you."

Vernon admired the flattened bottle, "Kentucky bourbon, aged twelve years," he said, admiringly, "Thank you."

"What word do you use to describe the ability?"

"Hmmph."

"It seems you haven't got a good handle on your temper, yet. May I help?"

Vernon grumbled, "I said you could, if I didn't."

Jezbet reached up and rubbed his cheek, "Can I work on your metabolism, too?"

"You need a certain presence for sales, but," he shrugged.

"I can see that, the world you live in," Jezbet nodded, "There you go."

"What'd you do?"

"You don't have to worry about it, but when your temper rises? Your chest will hurt, the angrier you are, the more it will hurt. When you calm down, the pain will stop."

"And everyone will think it's heart disease, and encourage me to calm down, without noticing anything strange." Vernon nodded, "And the metabolism?"

"You're not going to enjoy starchy or sweet food until you're back under fifteen percent body fat."

"Could you fix up Dudley like that?" Vernon asked, "I got teased a lot for being pudgy in school."

"If he'd like," Miriam said, ruffling Dudley's hair with one six-fingered hand.

Dudley startled.

Harry laughed.

"That," Dudley looked to his father, then his mother, "Yeah, do that."

After dinner, Miriam produced a cloved and glazed ham to stretch what Petunia had planned, Jezbet spoke up, "I'll borrow Harry for a couple weeks, get him his school supplies?" she raised her voice at the end, as if it was a question.

"OK," Vernon agreed, "Will we see him before the start of the school year?"

"We'll arrange to visit," Miriam answered.

Goodbyes are made, and Vernon and Dudley follow them out to the car.

"I have told you that this is a lovely car, right?" Vernon says, stroking his hand just over the paint.

"You have," Jezbet smiles, "And you can still touch it. This one's the replica."

"Replica?" Dudley asked.

Jezbet opened the driver's door, reached across the steering wheel to put in the key, and pulled a knob on the door side of the wheel until the engine started. She opened the hood, and gestured.

"That's a twin-cam," Dudley said, leaning over the fender to look, "Almost on its side."

"Yup. She bought one brand-new in '54, then spent the next seven years building this one in her spare time. Chromoly chassis, aluminum body, she cast and machined the aluminum and iron bits, made the dies for the forgings, then ground them to size. She didn't make the tires, though, she buys those from Mercedes," Miriam, now looking, and sounding, like a 60-year-old, said.

"Yeah, that was fun. And it wasn't all my spare time," Jezbet looked at Miriam, and smiled a teasing smile.

"Not all, true," Miriam displayed a tiny blush.

Harry just blinked, then blushed himself.

"Do you have your bag, Harry?"

Harry hefted his pillow case, "Here."

"Let's get that in the trunk. It's a good thing you aren't brining much, because the trunk on this is kinda tiny," she opened the boot, showing off a full sized spare tire taking up most of the space, "I shrank the tank four gallons to sink the spare a bit, but," she shrugged, and the tucked Harry's bag into one of the corners. Jezbet closed the boot with a gentle click.

Harry lifted the passenger door, and climbed in, closing it behind him. He kneeled on the seat, looking over the back to verify that there isn't a back seat, then looked for Miriam. She had vanished as quietly as she'd appeared while he wasn't looking.

He sat, fumbled with the five-point cam-lock harness a moment before he figured it out, pulling the shoulders tight, then the waist. Jezbet climbed in the driver's seat, closed her door, and clicked her straps into the cam-lock buckle. Harry noticed that she had the waist belt down tight over the top of her thighs, and the shoulders a little loose, and adjusted his own harness.

Jezbet looked him over, and nodded, "Good. Let's go."

Harry waved happily to Dudley and Vernon, who waved back, if a bit less happily.

~*J*~