Disclaimer: As usual, I own nothing. Vicar of Dibley belongs to the BBC. Harry Potter Belongs to J.K. Rowling. And I have no idea who invented hairbrushes, or corporal punishment, both of which have a minor cameo in this chapter, and feature strongly in the next one... or maybe the one after that, I'm not quite sure yet. Either way, there's going to be spankings in this fic, but they WON"T be the focus. And since I didn't invent the concept of them, whoever did owns them.
After watching the Dursley's antics with something resembling amusement, the large crowd slowly dispersed, each group going their own way. Hermione and Harry said one last goodbye to the Weasleys, then Harry hugged Hermione and hurried to catch up with his family, certain that this summer would be an eye opener. If only he had known how right he was. But that's for later. Right now, the Granger family is having its own reunion, and that is where we shall join them.
"Aunty Gerry!" Hermione Granger moved quickly through the crowd outside Platform 9 &3/4 at Kings Cross Station, and into the waiting arms of her favourite aunt. The Reverend Geraldine Granger was Andrew Granger's elder sister. She was also one of the few (at the time!) female Vicars in the Church of England, and her parish was a sleepy little village named Dibley, in Oxfordshire. Hermione had been delighted to learn that her parents had moved there recently, as the local area was very pretty and, unbeknownst to many of her acquaintances, Hermione truly loved country life.
"Well, Missy, come back to steal my chocolate, have you?" Geraldine teased. It was well known to all who knew Gerry Granger that she was addicted to chocolate. What was less well known was that she was fast becoming addicted to life in Dibley, even though her many letters to her young niece had been full of tales of the strange things her parishioners got up to.
"You know it, Auntie! And I'm introducing you to pumpkin juice and butter-beer and I've got Chocolate Frogs and more of those string-mints mum and dad love and loads more to show and tell you. But first I want to know if Alice has grown a brain yet? Has Mrs Cropley's cooking improved? And is Mr Pickle still a 'pontificating old poop', if I quoted Mr Newett properly?"
"Slow down, Hermi-girl! I can't keep up with you when you talk that fast!" Gerry laughed, happily. "I'm looking forward to having pumpkin juice and butter-beer, they sound really nice. No, Alice is still dippy. She can't help it. And Hugo's still utterly clueless about her. Lettie's cooking will probably NEVER improve. We've grown used to it, and sometimes she does produce something that is actually quite tasty, if you ignore the weird combination of ingredients. And Frank's just Frank, and I doubt anything will ever change that. Owen hasn't changed either. David's still pompous, Jim still procrastinates. No, honey, nothing's changed in Dibley since you last visited, probably nothing will ever change, and I think I like it that way. Although I may enlist your help in banging Hugo and Alice's heads together if they don't work something out between themselves very soon!"
"Gladly, Auntie! It's so clear those two were made for each other, I can't believe they can't see it themselves! Hermione laughed. "Hi mum, hi, dad. How are you both? Do you like Dibley? Have you got a new practice? What are the neighbours like?" "Slow down, Pumpkin!" Andrew exclaimed, hugging his daughter. "We're great, Dibley is gorgeous- but then you know that already- and we love the place, the neighbours are an interesting crew, although I will admit that the most ordinary people I have met are the Dursleys, closely followed by David Horton, although he is a bit pompous."
"Indeed," Marissa Granger spoke next. "David's son, Hugo, is very sweet, in a bumbling sort of way. So's young Alice Tinker. Gerry and you are right, those two are made for each other. Owen Newett is a little strange, but as far as bedroom pursuits go, I would have to say Jim Trott is the worst. Constantly talking about different things to do in the bedroom, different people to have in the bedroom, and various other things to do with that sort of area. Either that, or he's saying 'no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, something.'" "And by 'something'", Andrew interjected, "your mother could mean 'yes,' or ''maybe', or 'no, or any other word at all. Jim appears to be a talented procrastinator, especially when it comes to speech patterns.
Hermione couldn't help laughing at this. "I take it you love the place as much as I do, then? What do you think of the Dursleys?" "Yes, we have well and truly fallen in love with Dibley," Andrew replied. "Vernon and Petunia are interesting people, although they are a little obsessed with making everything in the universe fit into their view of 'normal'. Dudley's changed a lot, according to Petunia. Also according to Petunia, the changes are all good ones, and she's proud of how much Dudley's improving himself. Vernon's in shock. Apparently, they thought Dibley would be nice and quiet, and instead they've ended up surround by people who make the 'freak' look normal. By the way, who's the 'freak'? Apparently you know him?"
"I think Mr Dursley was referring to Harry, Mum. Harry having magic makes him 'freaky' to the Dursleys, and they haven't really treated him well as a result. You saw Harry ask what had changed their minds. I'm guessing they're all reeling still from finding a village full of people who are weirder than Harry. And the worst bit, for them, is that all of the folks in Dibley are Muggles, as far as I know. So called 'normal folk' who are weirder than the 'freak' has to be really confusing for the poor Dursleys."
"Well, that would explain why Vernon seems to be wandering about like someone stole his compass," Mari replied, laughing. "I think without the idea that magic is the strangest thing on earth to sustain them, the whole family is feeling a little lost and bewildered. I'm glad you spent a lot of holidays in Dibley over the past few years, otherwise we might have been in the same boat. As it is, I'm sure they'll grow used to Dibley, and to the villagers. I just hope they won't be too hard on Harry, he looked like a deer in the headlights back there for a moment."
"I think that was more out of shock than anything else, Mum. The Dursleys haven't always been the easiest people to get along with, and they haven't always been as civil to Harry as they were, either. In fact, I have a feeling the few 'freak's that were uttered may have been more for old times' sake, or for appearances than out of any real malice. And Harry seemed more confused than scared by Petunia's threat, although I know quite well I'd be trying to run as far as possible!"
"Bad idea, Hermi-girl. Running away is a sign of cowardice. Its also a sign of unacceptable defiance. Parents usually punish you harder if you run away." Geraldine broke in. "Yeah, I know. Doesn't mean I wouldn't be doing everything possible to get out of it, though. Harry seemed almost like he wasn't sure whether he was meant to be scared, or eager." "I think that might be because he wasn't. I hope they know the proper procedure, especially aftercare, for a situation like this," Marissa replied. "And Petunia had a point. If even HALF of what was in those letters of yours is true, missy, you're in for the same as Harry's getting!" "Uh... I... Uh... We had to... You-Know-Whowasgoingtotakeover... Norbertwould'vediedifwedidn'tsendhimtocharlie... !" Hermione gabbled, panicking.
"Who, and/or WHAT, is 'Norbert'?" Andrew asked, stepping up beside his wife, and placing his hands on his hips. "Hagrid's baby dragon. We convinced him that he couldn't keep Norbert, it just wasn't safe. And Charlie Weasley's studying dragons in Romania, so we wrote to him and he said he'd take Norbert. And we used Harry's invisibility cloak to get Norbert to the top of the Astronomy tower, but we left the cloak up the tower after Norbert was safely away, and Filch caught us, and we got detention in the Forbidden Forest and Harry ran into You-Know-Who and Fang's a coward and Malfoy's an idiot and-" *Whack* Marissa's hairbrush to the seat of her skirt stopped Hermione's flow of words halfway through that train of thought. "And that, young lady, was a downpayment on what you can expect once we get home!" The elder Granger female added, dangerously.
"Yes, mum" Hermione whimpered, ruefully rubbing her bum with one hand while holding onto her trunk with the other. I guess we'd better go, then, before we make a scene?" "Yes, good idea," replied Geraldine, as Andrew was trying to calm his wife. He knew by the time they got back to Dibley that Maissa would be simmering, rather than the boiling mad she was now, but he thought it might be wise to have Gerry drive, since Marissa was too mad to.