Categories > Books > Harry Potter > Escape3 Reviews
Harry comes back from his fifth year to a changed household. What happened to Dudley, and why is he so desperate to make Harry go away? Post-OotP, mild changes to ending of OotP, AU, rating just to...
Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter or anything related.
Many thanks to Ham and LunaMoon224 for looking over this before it was posted.
Harry was up bright and early, long before anybody else in the house. He did a quick job of getting a shower and made himself a small breakfast, consisting of several sandwiches that he took to his room. Once there, he started to tidy it up. He didn't have a broom or any other cleaning tools, but didn't really need any. Hedwig's cage was enchanted with a cleaning charm that made sure the cage was in pristine condition at all times. After several summers of having to scrub it by hand, it was a relief.
He descended to the kitchen when his uncle called for him, and quietly cooked them breakfast. They'd already set plates for themselves, making it obvious that he had no place at the table. Apparently, Dudley wasn't expected either. He shrugged it off, thinking of the two sandwiches still on the plate in his room. He'd made extra for himself, but now he saw a better use for them. Luckily, Petunia had the habit of stocking the fridge to bursting, and keeping it that way, so nobody would notice a bit of missing ham. She's just think Vernon had made himself a late-night snack.
He washed the dishes when Petunia ordered him, feeling his uncle's glare on his back all the time. When he was done, he patiently waited for his uncle to finish reading the paper before speaking.
"Uncle Vernon?" Once the small, hateful eyes were fixed on him, Harry continued in the same, blank polite tone, "May I be excused?" He had decided to be as polite as possible. There was no point in making them angry with him.
His uncle grunted an affirmative, and Harry climbed back to his room. He sat on the bed with a book, passing time until he heard his uncle drive away to work. He didn't know where his aunt was, but she'd mentioned leaving during breakfast, so he knew she was away for a few hours.
Perfect for his plan.
He took the plate with the two sandwiches and walked to Dudley's room, stopping in front of the door.
He thought about what he was going to do. Why did he feel so distressed by what had happened the previous night? Sure, Dudley had been a real sight, looking more like a blond Harry than the usual pig-with-a-wig impression, but it hadn't been so disturbing... had it?
Harry shrugged the question off and raised his hand to knock on the door. He would find out, and if Dudley was still the same bastard he'd been before, well, avoiding him wouldn't be hard.
Besides, Harry was conscious that he needed to do something to occupy himself or he'd go mad, just like Sirius. He doubted the Order members would allow him outside, and he doubted even more that Dumbledore would allow him to leave Privet Drive in a hurry.
A noise from inside the room stayed his hand, and he slowly opened the door, almost stepping back at the sight that met his eyes.
Clothes were strewn all over the room, most of Dudley's prized possessions were in pieces, and the boy himself was on the bed, shivering in the throes of another nightmare. Dudley had pajama bottoms on, and Harry was appalled to note that he could see Dudley's ribs. What could have happened to drive to boy to such a state?
"No! Take... t-take it away!" Dudley's hoarse voice yelled.
In a second, Harry was at his side, shaking him awake. He knew that he was probably going to get a punch for his trouble, but he couldn't help it. His "saving people thing" wouldn't let him.
"Dudley?" he called, shaking the boy's shoulder. "Dudley, wake up."
With a suddenness that startled Harry, Dudley was awake, batting his hand away and quickly moving away from him, shaky hands and feet pushing at the bed covers. He stood there, frozen for a moment, waiting for Dudley's brain to register the fact that he wasn't in trouble.
"H-Harry? Wha-" Dudley began.
"What's going on, Dudley?" Harry interrupted sharply. After a night's sleep, the events that had transpired in the night seemed a bit less real. But seeing Dudley had made it painfully real for Harry, and made it obvious that something was dreadfully wrong in the Dursley household.
His thoughts were interrupted when Dudley suddenly grabbed his arm and started dragging him out of the room.
"We have to leave! Hurry, before they get back!"
Harry shook Dudley off, and stood where he was. "Dudley, what is going on?"
"There is no time! You have to go away before they come back!" he yelled frantically, trying to push Harry out of his room. "You have to leave this place before they are back... before /he/ is back."
He was too weak to be able to do much against Harry, and he slumped on his bed, trembling as memories assaulted him. Harry was about to ask who it was that he had to get away from, but Dudley started speaking.
"After you went to school... he came here. An old man, with a white beard. He talked with my parents. I listened to them, from where he couldn't see me."
Dudley drew a shuddering breath and raised his head to look at Harry. "He said some awful things. You have to go away, Harry, before that evil man comes back."
"Dumbledore? Evil man? Dudley, what the hell are you talking about?" snapped Harry. Dumbledore couldn't be evil. He was the man who'd defeated Grindewald. He was the leader of the Order of the Phoenix. There was no way he could be evil... was there?
He noticed that Dudley had flinched at the name of Dumbledore, and again wondered what made Dudley so afraid of the man. Had Dumbledore visited the Dursleys? He was willing to bet that he hadn't. Yet Dudley seemed sincere, and Dudley was a simple person. There was no way he would be able to fake such extreme emotions.
"You have to get away from here, Harry!" Dudley was frantic, jumping to his feet and redoubling his efforts to drag Harry out of the room.
Realizing that the only way to get some answers was to play along, so he let Dudley drag him to the door of the house. He stepped out, and turned, expecting Dudley to follow. But Dudley wasn't following.
He was on the floor, gasping for breath.
Harry ran to him and kneeled so he could hold his head still, keeping him from banging it on the floor. "Dudley, what's wrong?"
"Can't - leave - the - house," he gasped out, and Harry frowned.
"What do you mean you can't leave the house?"
"Dumbledore - spell."
Fifteen minutes later, they were back in Dudley's room. Harry was pacing, while Dudley was greedily gobbling down the two sandwiches Harry had brought earlier.
"So let me get this straight," Harry said, running his hand through his hair. "After I left last summer, Dumbledore visited, and he talked to your parents about me, while you were eavesdropping."
At Dudley's nod, he went on, "And you heard him telling them that they can do anything to me as long as I lived? That they would get all my money after I defeated Voldemort? He actually encouraged the abuse?"
Dudley swallowed and looked at his feet. "I heard him say it, Harry. /Alas, perhaps the more traditional methods of dealing with the rebellious youth should be encouraged, in young Harry's case,/" he quoted, adopting a grandfatherly manner. "He said that, right after he moved at them with his w-w- stick."
Harry turned sharply. "He cast a spell at them? What did he say?"
Dudley looked helpless. "He didn't say anything. He just moved that... stick in front of them, and I was scared and made a noise and he saw me. And he -" he shuddered at the memory.
"Dudley, what happened?" Harry asked. He knew Dudley had reason to fear magic, but something really dreadful had to have happened to make him that afraid.
"He cast a spell at me, and it was painful and then he yelled at Mum and Dad and then he left," Dudley whispered, drawing his knees to his chest. "They didn't let me go to school. I can't get out of the house, and they hit me if they see me."
Harry dropped on the bed, and put his head in his hands, thinking things through.
According to Dudley, Dumbledore was evil and had cast a spell on the Dursleys to treat Dudley worse than Harry. He had also cast a spell on Dudley that had hurt him, and prevented him from exiting the house, causing him pain if he tried.
It was obvious that he needed to get away from Dumbledore's influence, if only to think things through. But he didn't want to leave Dudley behind, not after what he'd done. That meant he'd have to make a trip to Diagon Alley and get a book on wards. Eyeing Dudley, he thought about getting both of them some clothes. Nothing they had fit any of them.
He carefully explained his plan to Dudley, and then helped the other boy tidy up his room. He was finishing up when Dudley came back from his shower. He looked clean now, if not healthy. But only time would take care of that. Harry stood up to go to his own room, when Dudley grabbed his arm.
For a few seconds they faced each other, and Dudley bowed his head. "Harry, about all these years... what I did to you... I'm sorry."
"It's okay, Dudley, you didn't know any better," Harry said. "It will take me a while to work past all the things you did, but I forgive you." With that, he brushed past Dudley and into his room, letting himself fall on the bed. It was nearly lunchtime, and he had a lot of thinking and planning to do. Tomorrow would be a very busy day.