Albus Dumbledore keeps a secret that may be the very downfall of the wizarding world. Will Voldemort learn of this secret which Dumbledore values more than the prophecy? Or, will someone find out...
Chapter 5: The Doppelganger pt. 2
The Penthouse Suite of London City Hotel exuded luxury and class. From the crystal chandelier to the brass doorknob, the suite was designed to provide excellent service, and relaxing ambiance. It was clearly meant for hotel guests with money.
A left hand erratically moved over the mahogany bedside table. It toppled a few small knick-knacks, before it found the alarm clock. The hand pulled the clock under a white blanket. After a few seconds, a protesting groan sounded from under the white sheet. Harry sleepily sat up, the edge of his blanket falling to his waist. He drowsily looked around his dimly lit bedroom. He yawned aloud, while lethargically stretching his arms high and wide. After his brief calisthenics, he sat still. His shoulders were slightly hunched forward. A few more seconds later, his eyelids slowly drooped. Before his eyes completely closed, his head already landed on a mountain of soft pillows. A few restful seconds slowly ticked by, before another kind of alarm sounded.
The snowy owl lost her patience. She flew from her comfortable perched, and pecked Harry on the head. “I’m up! I’m up!” Harry immediately sat up. Satisfied, the owl flew back to her comfortable perch. Even though he was still sleepy, he gave the owl an annoyed look. “Stupid owl,” he grumbled softly. Harry wasn’t sure, but he felt like the owl was smugly looking at him. “I must be mad, picking up stray bird.” He lazily got off his comfortable bed, still annoyed.
Hands akimbo, he faced the owl just wearing his boxers. “You’re lucky I took pity on you. You could still be out there eating diseased rats and voles.” The owl merely turned her head towards the veranda, as if whatever he was saying was of no consequence to her. For a moment, Harry disbelievingly gaped at the owl. He knew what she wanted. She liked to go out, before dawn. “What am I? Your butler?” Nevertheless, he grudgingly opened the wide, sliding glass door. The owl gracefully launched herself into the air. She cuffed Harry in the head on her way out. “Ungrateful owl!”
For a moment, Harry fondly watched the owl fly away. He wasn’t really cross. He only acted that way to get a little respect. But, somehow, the owl seemed to see right through his act. He saw the owl banked to her right to avoid a tall building. After a few more seconds, she completely disappeared from his sight. With a soft sigh, he slowly closed the glass door. Then, he checked his remaining time. The wall clock showed it was thirty-five, past four in the morning. He got plenty of time, before he was discovered.
He grabbed his clothes, and went to take a shower. Fifteen minutes later, he walked out of the bathroom, fresh and ready to face the world. From the bedside table, he picked up his eyeglasses. He, then, stood in front of a mirror, and put on his disguise. His eyeglasses didn’t have prescription lenses, just regular ones. He borrowed it from someone, when he stayed in a hotel, west of London. He thought if it worked for Clark Kent a.k.a. Superman, it should work for him.
Harry’s eyes strayed to the lightning bolt-shaped scar on his forehead. He closely studied it. After almost two weeks of medication, it should have completely healed. But, it didn’t. It was still raw. It also throbbed painfully once in a while, giving him severe headaches. He curiously touched it, lightly tracing its shape with his right forefinger. He didn’t know how he got it. But, he suspected one of the Death Eaters carved it there, probably as a joke…a bad joke at that too. For a moment, he wondered what Neville would say about his scar. He hated to admit it, but the scar looked cool on him than on Neville.
With a nonchalant shrugged, he, next, surveyed his borrowed bedroom. He swished and flicked his wand, erasing any evidence of their presence…his and the owl. Once he was done, he moved on to other rooms. By the time he reached the main lounge, the suite was spotless. Harry was pleased with himself as he looked around him. He knew mastering household cleaning spells would come in handy. For a moment, he mentally checked, if he put everything back in order. When, suddenly, he heard the front door opened. Harry casually watched a tall, thin man, in a hotel uniform, laboriously walked in.
The bellman quickly put down the large luggage he was carrying, silently panting. He momentarily wiped the beads of sweat on his forehead, before facing his guest with a friendly smile. “Here you are, sir, the penthouse suite. I’ll take your luggage to the bedroom, shall I?” With a nod from the hotel guest, the bellman laboriously picked up the large luggage again. When he turned towards the lounge, he stopped short. He saw someone watching him. Then, the figure suddenly disappeared. The bellman unconsciously dropped the luggage in surprise. “Did you see that?”
“See what?” The hotel guest stood beside him, curiously looking around.
“A man was standing right there a second ago…” The stunned bellman unconsciously pointed to the middle part of the lounge. “Then, poof! He disappeared.”
“You mean a ghost?” the guest quizzically asked the bellman.
“No, I mean…” When the bellman turned to his guest, he noticed the funny look the man was giving him. “I must be seeing things. My apologies, sir…” The bellman stiffly picked up the large luggage again. “I’ll take this to your bedroom now.”
When the bellman came back, the guest handed him two quid. “Don’t forget to get yourself a cup of tea. It’ll help clear your mind,” the guest reminded him importantly.
The bellman smiled awkwardly. “I will. Goodnight, sir.”
After the bellman left, the guest went straight to the mini-bar. When he opened the small refrigerator, he immediately noticed it wasn’t fully stocked. Several chocolate bars and pocket-size liquors were missing. One chocolate was even left half-eaten. The guest frowned with displeasure. He irately picked up a nearby telephone, and asked for the hotel manager. He suspected the bellman drank and ate some of the liquors and chocolates. That must be the reason he was seeing things…the pilfering bastard.
Harry appeared in an alley a few blocks away from London City Hotel. A few seconds later, he reached street proper. He momentarily looked around him to orient himself. It was still too early. He saw a drunk, sleeping on the curb and no else. Traffic noise was still at a minimum. So far, just a few lorries and taxi cabs passed by him. He turned right, and unhurriedly walked down the quiet street.
Since he left his Uncle Max’s cabin, he had been wandering around London for almost two weeks. For some reason, he felt hesitant to go back to the wizarding world. At first, he visited his school friends. But, they didn’t seem to recognize him. They didn’t even remember seeing him in school. He didn’t bother going around his village, because most people he knew there were just acquaintances. So, with no money and no place to stay, he resorted to borrowing rooms during the night. He lightly made a promise to pay someday, though.
Lost in thought, Harry never paid attention to the growing number of people walking along side him. Eventually, he accidentally bumped on someone. “Sorry…”
A man in expensive business suit looked at him irately. “Next time…watch where you’re going.”
For a moment, Harry frowned crossly. After a few tense seconds, the man stepped to one side, and hurriedly walked around him. Harry felt a little guilty, scaring the man away. It was his fault, after all. Suddenly, a pedestrian accidentally bumped into him. “Damn it,” he muttered in annoyance. The unknown pedestrian didn’t even looked at him, but kept on going. To avoid anymore mishap, he decided to stand close to a show window of a fastfood shop behind him. His stomach rumbled softly at the smell of delicious food, and the rich aroma of tea.
Harry knew he was going nowhere. At one time, he had goals. He would learn magic. He would hunt down Marcus Flint, and bring him to justice. And now, there was no sense in bringing Flint to justice, if his Uncle Max and his family were still alive. He didn’t have a single clue how it happened. And, nobody seemed to remember he existed. Since waking up from the dead, his whole world somehow turned upside down.
“There must be an explanation to what’s happening to me,” Harry mumbled to himself restlessly.
With no idea where to spend his day, Harry went to the one place, he thought he would never bother to see again... Little Whinging. He found himself in a very familiar playground. He quickly looked around him, to see if anyone noticed. Fortunately for him, the few children present were busy playing. No one was actually looking in his direction. When the children did look at him, they didn’t pay much attention.
“Damn, that was close. Got to remember not to do that again,” Harry irately muttered to himself. The last thing he needed was to draw unwanted attention to his self.
Harry instinctively went to the swing set. It was his place of sanctuary, when he was a young boy. He sat down on the swing’s seat, and unseeingly studied his borrowed trainers. His thoughts automatically went over the events, since he dug himself out of his grave. It seemed his puzzling problems were all he could think about for the past several days. He ignored the bright, sunny day, the children’s laughter, and a group of teenagers heading his way.
“I feel like I’m in a bloody twilight zone.” He really felt the need to talk to someone, to explain whatever happened to him. But, he didn’t know who to approach. Asking his parents was out of the question. He wasn’t friendly with them or to anyone for that matter, except for Hermione. For a moment, he wondered if he should see her. Her parents were regular people. Perhaps, he could find her address in the telephone book. There was Dumbledore, of course. He could ask him. After all, the old geezer was the headmaster of Hogwarts. Harry amusedly smiled at the thought. Hermione would be horrified to hear his insulting thought of the venerable headmaster. To top it all off, he was wanted by the Ministry. “At least, it isn’t going to get any worse than that,” he derisively mumbled to himself.
“You’re seating on my swing,” A low, belligerent voice told him.
“I spoke too soon,” he sardonically muttered to himself.
Harry slowly looked up. For a moment, he calmly stared at the sneering face of his fat cousin, Dudley. Then, his eyes traveled to the faces of his cousin’s gang, and then, back to Dudley again. He had been wondering a few months ago, what he would feel if he saw Dudley, or his aunt and uncle again. Now, he knew. And, it was weird. He didn’t care at all. It was as if his cousin was a complete stranger. There was a time, Dudley’s mere presence, would evoke fear in his heart…but, not anymore.
He noticed they stood around him in semi-circle, with Dudley directly in front of him. They probably intended to block his escape routes. After all the years, nothing seemed to change. They still looked like bullies. Dudley still looked fat and mean. And, his gang looked just as mean, but not as fat. It was probably why they chose Dudley as their leader. His cousin was big, fat, and mean. Harry resignedly sighed, before standing. He knew his cousin wouldn’t go away once he spotted, what he thought as an easy target. From their point of view, he didn’t look much of a threat. He was rail thin and pale.
“Hello Dudley, Piers, Dennis, Malcolm, Gordon…” He indifferently looked at each teenager as he said their names. His voice sounded like he was bored out of his mind. “You all looked…well.”
For a moment, Dudley and his gang quizzically looked at him. “You know us?” his cousin asked in surprise. But, there was a look of doubt on his face.
Harry smiled casually. “Of course, I do.”
“He’s lying, Big D. We haven’t seen him before.” Piers angrily glared at him.
“Who are you?” Dudley suspiciously asked, while carelessly studying him.
Harry acted surprise. “What? You already forgot about me?” He overdramatically raised his eyes and hands heavenward. “I don’t believe this. It’s only been…what? Four years? And, you don’t remember me anymore?”
“We don’t care how long it’s been, you git. Answer Big D. Who the bloody hell are you?” Piers snapped impatiently.
Harry just smiled at Piers with contempt. “You already forgot the target of your stupid game, Harry hunting?”
“Harry hunting? What the bloody hell are you on about?” Dudley asked irately. “I don’t know anyone named Harry.”
Harry sighed exasperatedly. “I shouldn’t be surprised you don’t remember me. You and your cuddle buddies are as thick as they come.” His cousin angrily glared at him. “It’s me, Harry…” Thinking it would jog Dudley’s memory, he added his father’s family name, which his Aunt Petunia hated so much. “Harry Potter.”
Dudley stupidly looked at him. “So?”
Harry exaggeratedly rolled his eyes in frustration. “Are you brain dead, Dudley? Don’t you remember me? I’m your cousin.” Dudley continued to look stupidly at him. “We grew up together. I used to sleep in your cupboard.” Still, his cousin didn’t show any sign of recognition. “By the way, how are Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia? Are they still angry with me for getting them in trouble with the police?”
“I think you’re the one brain dead. You’re talking rubbish,” Dudley said in annoyance, threateningly stepping a little closer. “I don’t have any cousin.”
Harry thoughtfully observed his cousin. Like Luna, Dudley really didn’t recognize him. His cousin wasn’t a good actor. The only people he could fool were his parents. “Fine… You don’t know me. Happy now? You can have your swing back.” For some unknown reason, he felt a little sad at the denial. He was about to walk away, when Dudley blocked his path.
“Not so fast… What’s your name again?” There was a look of fake concentration on Dudley’s face as he pretended to recall Harry’s name.
“Harry Potter,” Piers supplied helpfully.
“I know that, idiot. I was just baiting him,” Dudley curtly retorted. He irritably glared at Piers. One thing he hated the most was to be thought a fool by anybody.
“Sorry Big D.” Piers looked properly chastised.
Dudley, then, turned his full attention on Harry. His eyes twinkled with evil mischief. “You can’t go yet. You see, this playground is mine. You can’t just use this swing and go. You have to pay us first.”
“That’s right,” Piers confirmed with an evil grin.
“I see.” Harry impassively looked at the faces of his former tormentors. They all have predatory smiles on their faces. He got a feeling his present situation was about to become ugly. “I don’t have any money,” he told them unconcernedly. “But, I do have this.” He slowly pulled out Mrs. Fedwick’s wand from his trouser’s back pocket. He showed it to his cousin. He knew Dudley was a wizard. His cousin would understand. He expectantly waited for Dudley’s reaction.
“A stick?” Dudley cried in disgust. His cousin angrily slapped the wand from his hand. It fell near his right foot. “We don’t want your stick, you idiot! We want your money!”
Harry felt disappointed. Dudley genuinely didn’t recognize a wand. He was hoping he would see a spark of recognition in his cousin’s eyes. Hoping his past didn’t change much. No matter how unpleasant most of it had been. But, it seemed luck was not on his side. At that moment, he definitely felt like he was in a twilight zone. Everything looked the same…nearly the same, and yet, different. He casually picked up his wand.
“Sorry, Dudley… This is all I have,” he replied sadly.
In a show of power, Dudley cracked his knuckles. “The next time you use my swing, remember to bring your money.” His gang immediately closed in on his cousin, Harry. Malcolm and Gordon firmly held the git’s arms and shoulders. He noticed the git didn’t even resist.
“Look, can’t you let me go this one time? I promise not to use your swing again.” Dudley merely smirked. He loved it, when his victim begged for mercy. For a moment, he looked behind him. He saw small children nervously watching him. He grinned evilly.
“Hold him steady, mates. I want my audience to see this.” Dudley pulled back his fat fist, aiming for Harry’s nose.
“You don’t have to do this, Dudley. You’ll only regret it.” Dudley merely smirked at the pitiful threat. He looked directly into his cousin’s eyes. He was surprised they didn’t show the fear, he was accustomed to seeing. Instead, they were cold, unemotional. He hesitated. For a brief moment, he uneasily considered, if the git would actually fight back.
“Come on, Big D! Let him have it!” Piers cried excitedly. It was obvious he liked to have a go next.
“Make him cry for his mum, Dud!” Malcolm said with a nasty grin on his face.
“Look at him. I think he’s going to cry,” Dennis stated contemptuously.
Encouraged by his friends’ enthusiasm, Dudley delivered a quick, hard blow to Harry’s face. He excitedly anticipated his hard fist, crushing the git’s nose. But, to his surprise, he didn’t hit his target. He missed. “What?!” The bugger moved his head to the left. “Hold him steady, you idiots!”
Before Dudley could take another swing, Gordon and Malcolm slammed hard into him. The force of their impact drove Dudley a couple of meters away. He painfully landed on his arse, and was buried under the weight of his two mates. “Get off me! Get off!” he yelled in anger
Dudley pushed his friends none too gently. But, momentarily dazed, they were slow to obey. When Dudley finally got up, he saw Piers and Dennis already on the ground, moaning in pain. He looked at Gordon and Malcolm. They were slowly and achingly getting up. Cold fury settled over him. His anger fueled his concentration. He tightly clenched his fists, and angrily glared at Harry. “I’ll teach you not to mess with us.”
Dudley raised his fists, tucked his elbows close to his sides, and slightly bent his knees. With deliberate spring on his steps, he danced around Harry, looking for an opening. He immediately noticed the git didn’t follow his movement. The bugger just stood on the same spot, his head slightly bowed. It was an opening, Dudley couldn’t resist. He viciously swung his fist, aiming for the right ear. His target suddenly whirled around, dipping low. Dudley didn’t see a leg swept him off his feet. “What the fuck!” He landed on his back with a soft thud. His head thumped on the soft sand.
Gritting his teeth from anger more than pain, Dudley quickly got up, and attacked like a mad bull. He luckily grabbed a hold of Harry, and bodily lifted him. Dudley felt a hard blow landed between his shoulder blades. The pain made him lose his balance. He fell to the ground with his prey trapped beneath him. Dudley knew he knocked the air out of the bugger by the Oomph sound he made. “You fucker! I’m going to break you to pieces!” The bugger was struggling to get out from under him. Making sure his prey wouldn’t escape, he used his heavy weight to full advantage. At the same time, he peppered the Harry’s left ribs with severe blows. “How do you like it now, you bastard?!”
Choking Harry with his meaty left forearm, Dudley pulled back his fist to deliver another blow, this time, to the jaw. Big mistake… By lifting himself off a little, he gave his foe an opening. Heavy blows swiftly hit his left ribs, repeatedly. He endured the hits for a moment, returning blows for blows. He was forced to let go, after his left jaw was hit twice. He could feel pain on several parts of his body now. It was something new to him. Generally, whenever he stepped inside a boxing ring, he was the one inflicting the pain. He was a little sluggish, when he stood up.
Wheezing now, Dudley felt his left ribs and jaw, aching like hell. He also got a metallic taste in his mouth. With a grim look on his face, he spit out the fluid. It was blood. With some effort, he managed to control his anger. For a moment, he closely observed his opponent. He noticed the other bloke was indifferently studying him. He hoped the fucker wouldn’t notice he was favoring his left side now. He was secretly surprised the bugger didn’t show any sign of pain. He knew he hit him hard, several times. The bugger also looked like he wasn’t tired. He wasn’t even sweating, or breathing hard like him.
Dudley’s attention shifted to his mates. They were indecisively standing behind the git. His anger swelled. “What are you doing, standing there for?! Get him!” His mates hesitated for a moment, before attacking. Dudley saw the bugger gave Piers a roundhouse kick. His best mate went down like a sack of potatoes. Malcolm threw a strong kick, while the bugger was preoccupied with Dennis and Gordon. The bugger unexpectedly caught Malcolm’s right leg, whirled him around, and forcefully slammed him to Gordon and Dennis. They lay on the ground, groaning in pain. The fight was over in seconds.
“It looks like it’s only you and me now.” Dudley fumed at the amused look on the git’s face. The git was taunting him. “You can still walk away.” Dudley never felt insulted in his life. He was Smelting’s boxing champion. It would be a cold day in hell, before he gave up a fight.
“I don’t run from a fight, especially from a wanker like you.” With a determined expression on his face, Dudley assumed his boxing champion stance again. He saw the git’s face hardened. He grinned nastily. He felt good. His insult hit home.
“Don’t say I didn’t give you a choice.” The bugger deliberately walked toward him.
Dudley timed his adversary’s approach, before he delivered a hard jab. The git easily evaded it. He moved closer, giving another hard jab. The git easily avoided it again. He quickly followed with a combination. He kept attacking, until he was tired and frustrated. He felt like he was just shadow boxing. He kept hitting air. “Why don’t you fight back,you coward! Not sure if you can hit me? Here, try landing one on this.” He slightly jutted his chin out.
He deliberately gave an opening, hoping to bait the git. It worked. Unfortunately, the blow he was expecting was delivered so fast, he didn’t get a chance to block or counter it. He reeled from the impact. His jaw felt like it was hit with a sledge hammer. He was still trying to clear his head, when he felt another blow. Sharp pain exploded inside his head. His vision blurred a little. Everything started spinning. He was teetering on his feet, when a bus slammed on his chest. At least, that was what it felt like. He screamed in fright as he felt himself flying backward. He landed hard on his back, before flipping over one time.
Dudley’s groan of pain was muffled by the soft grass, his face was nestling on. Almost every bone in his body was crying out in pain. It even took an effort just to breathe. At that moment, he regretted ever listening to Piers to extort money from the unknown boy. He should have just followed his own idea to ask his mum for some money. If he did, he wouldn’t be receiving this beating. His reputation would be intact. Then, he felt a hand roughly grabbed his hair, and pulled his head up, hard. He involuntarily cried out loud, when another bout of pain exploded inside his head. He blinked a few times, until the bugger’s face came into focus. He saw his hard, cold eyes contemptuously glaring at him.
“No… You’re not worth it.” He heard him say, before the git released his hold, stood up, and leisurely walked away.
Dudley suddenly felt angry at himself, his weakness. His injured pride welled up. “Don’t turn your back on me, you bastard! Come back here and fight!” he yelled with a slight slur in his voice.
Dudley saw the git stopped, and slowly turned around. Gritting his teeth, he used his arms to support himself. He would show him who wasn’t worthy, Dudley dizzily thought to himself. He mustered his remaining strength, and tried to stand. His knees were shaking, when he finally managed it. He was raggedly breathing. Pain kept distracting him. Nevertheless, he sluggishly took a boxing stance. He waited a few seconds, till his dizziness stopped.
“Who’s that jerk with you?” he asked derisively. “…Afraid to fight alone?” Dudley didn’t realize he was seeing double. “Doesn’t matter… I’ll beat the crap out the both of you.” He took an unsteady step forward, lost his balance, and fell hard on his face.
“Come on, Big D.” Harry uncaringly watched Gordon and Dennis picked up Dudley off the ground. Blood dripped from his cousin’s broken nose.
Dudley drunkenly walked, as his mates helped him. Malcolm and Piers were unsteadily walking ahead of them. Once in a while, Dennis or Gordon would worriedly look over their shoulders, to see if he was following. They didn’t look tough to him anymore. Remembering all the beatings he endured from his cousin and his gang, he was surprised at himself for letting them go lightly. Then, his eyes sparkled with mischief, as he thought of an idea.
“Oh…what the hell...” Harry pointed his wand at Dudley, and muttered a spell.
“AHHHHHHH!” He heard Dudley screamed in fright. He saw Gordon and Dennis jumped in surprise, and confusion.
“DUD, WHAT THE BLOODY HELL HAPPENED TO YOU?” Malcolm cried in shock. Dudley slowly looked back at him in fear. His gang got confused expressions, as they looked back at him, too.
“Oh, shite!” Harry exclaimed in surprise and disbelief. He wanted to turn Dudley into a pig. But, the spell only half worked. The lower half of his cousin turned into a pig’s hind part. The upper portion remained human. He couldn’t believe he botched his transfiguration spell. He had spent countless hours practicing transfiguring inanimate objects. For a moment, he tried to figure out what he did wrong, when suddenly, he heard loud, sharp noises.
Out of nowhere, two blue-cloaked, Ministry wizards appeared between Harry and Dudley’s group. By the markings on their cloaks, Harry knew without a doubt they were Aurors. His cousin’s gang instinctively ran away in fear. With no one helping him, Dudley fell down, face first. His cousin tried to run away, too. But because of his unfamiliar pig legs, he couldn’t. Harry smartly followed the other bullies’ example. He quickly disapparated, before the Aurors noticed him, which in his mind, would be very bad.
Dudley fearfully looked over his right shoulder, as he tried to crawl away. Something freaky just happened to him. He suddenly got a porker’s legs. He didn’t know how it happened, but he was sure it was that weird boy’s doing. Now, he really regretted ever listening to Piers. To top it off, his friends left him behind. He promised himself he would have a serious talk with them later. He, then, felt a wet feeling on his nose. He irately brushed it off. When he looked at back of his right hand, he noticed it was smeared with blood. He silently cursed his friends, the git named Harry, and the two weirdly dressed freaks behind him.
“Stupid muggles.” Dudley heard one grunted scornfully. Muggles... He never heard that word before. Not that he knew a lot of words.
“What do we have here?” Dudley got the feeling the other one was talking about him. His voice sounded close. He redoubled his effort to crawl away, fear getting the best of him.
“Another stupid muggle, what else?” He heard the first one replied in annoyance.
“One day, Glover, your pleasant personality will get you in trouble.” Dudley heard the bloke, Glover, grumbled in reply.
Suddenly, Dudley felt a hand grabbed his left shoulder, and forced him on his back. He saw the two weirdly dressed men, grimly studying him. “Please, don’t kill me. I didn’t do anything wrong. It was that freak boy, Harry.” He fearfully crossed his forearms over his face, to protect himself.
“Harry?” The two Aurors were taken aback. The name was very popular in their world, after all. Because of his fear, Dudley didn’t hear their surprise reactions. After a few seconds, he heard one of them spoke. “We’re not going to kill you. We’re here to help.” The kind voice allayed some of Dudley’s fear. He slowly lowered his arms. He saw the one on the left, sat on his haunches. The weird man rested his forearms on his thighs. “My name is Cabot.” The weird man jerked his head towards the other bloke. “That’s Glover. What’s your name son?”
Dudley swallowed fearfully. “Dudley… Dudley Dursley.”
“Dudley… Please to meet you.” Dudley hesitantly shook the hand proffered to him. “Dudley, we’re…ahhh…secret policemen. Could you tell us, who did this to you?”
At hearing the word police, Dudley suddenly felt vengeful. Even though he couldn’t prove it, he blurted out the name of his prime suspect. “It was that git, Harry.”
“Harry…” Dudley noticed the reserve expression on Cabot’s face. “Harry who?”
“Harry Potter,” Dudley angrily replied. He noticed Cabot’s surprise. He immediately assumed the git was a wanted man. “Yeah, he said his name’s Harry Potter.” Dudley relished the idea of quickly getting his revenge. “I’ll testify against him, if you like.”
The bloke, Glover, stood behind him to help him up. But, Dudley just irritably shrugged his hands off. He tried to get up by himself. But, his transfigured feet kept throwing him off-balance. After several tries, he gave up, and just sat down. He didn’t notice he provided a brief entertainment to the two Aurors.
With amused expression, the one named Cabot asked him a question, “Can you describe this Harry Potter for me?” His voice sounded doubtful.
Dudley didn’t notice anything, though. He just eagerly gave to the kind policeman his assailant’s description. “He’s got a rat’s nest for a hair, and a stupid scar on his forehead.”
“A scar, eh?” Dudley didn’t pay much attention to Cabot’s very interested expression. “This scar… Can you describe it for me?”
Dudley obligingly described it. “It got an odd shape…like a lightning bolt.”
“I see.” Cabot felt he got all the information he needed. He looked at his partner. “Glover, would you fix this mess for me.”
Dudley quizzically turned his eyes on the other bloke. It looked to him Glover wasn’t too happy at the request. Nevertheless, the weird fellow lazily pointed a stick on his legs, and mumbled something. The next thing he knew, he got his original legs back. “What? How?” Dudley looked in surprise at his legs, and then, at the two weird men, and then, back again at his legs. “How did you do that?” Fearfully, he slowly slid on his arse, backward. “You’re not policemen, are you?”
“It’s not important,” Cabot answered casually. Then, he meaningfully nodded to his partner. He could clearly see the muggle boy wanted to run. But, for some reason, the boy was just slowly trying to distance himself from them.
“That git, Harry… He also said a funny thing…” Cabot quickly gestured to his partner to stop...
…He was too late.
After their investigation, the two Aurors immediately reported the incident to Gawain Robards, Head of Auror Division. Muggle killings were becoming rampant, that the Department of Magical Law Enforcement put up detectors in most non-magical communities. It wasn’t a perfect solution. But, at least, they could immediately respond upon detection of magical spells. That was their main reasoning, at least.
“Are you sure about this, Cabot?” Robards asked dubiously. “It wasn’t a hoax?”
“He was positively identified by a muggle boy, sir,” Cabot replied evenly.
Robards wearily leaned back on his high-backed, leather chair. There was a thoughtful look on his face. “Why Little Whinging?” He asked almost to himself. “Did you find out what he was doing there?” He looked expectantly at his two Aurors.
There was an imperceptible pause, before Cabot replied. “No, sir.” He didn’t think it was necessary to let his superior know, they obliviated the muggle boy, before he could tell them more.
For a moment, Robards looked worried. “I hope Rita Skeeter doesn’t get a hold of this bit of news. Imagine what witches and wizards will say, especially the young ones. Harry Potter, toying with muggles.”
“Sir, I didn’t think that was what he was doing,” Cabot said calmly. “From the other children’s eyewitness accounts, Potter was just quietly sitting there. Then, a group of muggle boys approached him. They were known bullies. They started harassing him. When the leader decided to punch him, Potter put up a good fight.” Althought Cabot’s face was expressionless, his eyes sparkled with amusement. “The muggles looked like they’ve been through a meat grinder, when Potter was done with them. They were lucky Potter didn’t just use magic to fight them off.”
“That’s another thing.” Robards now looked displeased. “Potter’s an underage wizard. Mafalda Hopkirk’s office should have detected his improper use of magic.” The two Aurors remained quiet. They didn’t bother to offer any personal opinion, because the reason was pretty obvious. “Damn Scrimgeour and Dumbledore! They must have struck a deal concerning Potter.” For a moment, the Head of Auror Division appeared to be in deep thought. “You may leave.” The two Aurors immediately stood up. “Keep this incident to yourselves. I don’t want people to think the Ministry is playing favoritism.”