I have always thought that a lot is left out of the books about Dudley. What did he see when the dementors attacked him? Why did he put that cup of tea out for Harry? Did he try to change himself...
A New Beginning.
Rating: K+ I think, slight bad language by Dudley.
Disclaimer: I have no rights to these characters, they being the sole property of JK Rowling and am making no money from said story.
I have always thought that a lot is left out of the books about Dudley. What did he see when the dementors attacked him? Why did he put that cup of tea out for Harry? Did he try to change himself because of it?
Author note: I've made a slight revision to Chapter 3, wanted to discuss the exchange rate for muggle / wizard money, so looked on the web and realised the amount I'd charged in Knuts was far too low. I was thinking of the muggle gold standard.
The next morning I took that book back to the library, it had been a good read, but I wanted to know more about Harry's school. "Do you have anything about Hogwarts? I want to learn more about my cousin's school."
"Oh, and who might your cousin be? It's a little unusual for cousins to be put into hiding. It's usually just immediate family."
"It's er, Harry... Harry Potter!"
"You're Harry's cousin. Must've been fascinating growing up with the 'Boy Who Lived?'"
"Didn't know anything about magic till he got his Hogwarts letter. Or about that Lord..."
"Don't say his name, it's been cursed. If you say his name out loud, it sends up amagical flare to inform his followers of your location."
"Oh! What do you call him then? You must talk about him?"
"'He Who Must Not be Named' or 'You Know Who', if you hear anyone mention the 'Dark Lord', try not to react; it'll be one of his followers."
"What will they be doing here? I thought we were safe here?"
"This is a mixed town, muggle and wizard, they'll be looking for underage muggleborn wizards, 'mud-bloods' they call them, meaning dirty blood. They won't be interested in you; you show no obvious signs of magic. That card is spelled to be undetectable. You are just an ordinary muggle to them. Any other place in Britain and you could be murdered just for their amusement, but here there are too many wizards around for them to try anything. That's why you are here."
He went to the hidden section and brought out a book, 'Hogwarts, A History', if you read this it will tell you a lot about the school, up to about fifty years ago."
"Thanks see you soon."
After doing myself some lunch over Mum's protest that Ishould be eating more to be a healthy boy, I told her I was going out to meet someone I'd met the other day.
"He's not some freak is he?" muttered Dad, "I mean we were told this was a mixed town, I don't want you associating with that sort. It's bad enough we have to bloody live near them, I don't want them corrupting you."
"I don't think so? He mentioned going to Eton," I replied, glad that Justin had mentioned that fact to me yesterday. It wasn't exactly a lie; he had said he was going to go there before he got his letter.
"Ah, very good, Dudders, keeping in with the right sort of people. That's what I like to hear. Don't go near any of those freaks, they're amenace to decent society."
"No Dad, I won't, and please don't call me Dudders, it's almost as bad as Duddykins, my name is Dudley, I grew out of those names before I started school." With that I left the house to go and meet Justin, I wanted to find out about the wizarding part of this town. I'd noticed a couple of things on my own, but without keeping my hands in my pockets all the time, I'd never notice anything.
I was a bit late getting to the shop; the argument with Dad had held me up a bit. When I got there, Justin was sitting on a bench outside reading the Daily Prophet.
"Anything of any interest I asked as I approached."
"Not really, just some scurrilous rubbish about Dumbledore by that Skeeter woman. She's been muckraking apparently and published some book about him. It's bound to be a load of rot, that woman wouldn't know the truth if it bit her."
"You mentioned her yesterday, what's wrong with her?"
"Let's just say that if she wrote for a muggle paper, it would be the type of headlines like, 'an alien ate my hamster' or similar garbage. She's loves to find out secrets about people and make the worst of them. In our fourth year, she found out that Hagrid, is half giant, not really that much of a secret if you see him, but she had it plastered all over the front page as if he were some sort of paedophile. Nicer bloke you couldn't hope to meet, course, bit monster obsessed, but we've all got our hobbies."
"What do you mean monster obsessed?"
"Well, he once tried to keep a dragon for a pet, I heard, and he got locked up in Azkaban in our second year, because the Ministry thought he was letting the monster out of the Chamber of Secrets."
"Hang on, isn't that your wizard prison, if he'd been in prison, doesn't that make him a bad guy?"
"Not really, Fudge, the then Minister had to appear to be doing something, so as Hagrid had been accused years earlier when he was astudent at Hogwarts of letting the monster out, Fudge had him imprisoned to appear pro-active. Of course, it stopped nothing, the last time it happened, Hagrid had been framed by 'He Who Must Not Be Named.' He was at school at the same time and letting the basilisk out of the chamber, only it killed a student, and the school was possibly going to close. So he framed Hagrid, who was lucky not to go to Azkaban then, he was expelled from school and his wand broken. Dumbledore got him a job at the school as assistant to the gamekeeper. Best thing he could have done for him, Hagrid loves looking after magical creatures."
"Hang on, you mean there are magical creatures and the school, isn't that dangerous? I mean from what I've read there are some seriously dangerous animals in your world!"
"And some not so dangerous ones, that need hiding from muggles, like unicorns, centaurs, bowtruckles, kneazles although there are alot of them in the muggle world undetected."
"I've heard of unicorns and centaurs and you're probably right, they'd probably end up in a zoo or be the target of poachers. But what's a bowtruckle, and why would kneazles whatever they are be in the muggle world? Wouldn't they be in danger too?"
"Bowtruckles are tree guardians, especially in trees that are used to make wands, kneazles look like cats, they're more intelligent than muggle cats though."
"I think I might have met one then, Mrs. Figg had cats and they seemed a bit more than normal cats, or a bit cleverer than the average run of the mill moggy."
"Possible! Who's Mrs. Figg when she's at home?"
"She's that squib I mentioned, the one that told me a bit about Harry's schooling and his adventures. I always thought that one cat of hers in particular was keeping an eye on me and Harry. Mr. Tibbles, I think she called it. Looked ready to attack me the first few times I went to her house, to learn about Harry. Nice ca... er kneazel when I got to know him a little better."
"Definitely sound right, you want to read this?" he asked waving the paper in my direction. "If not I'll bin it."
"No thanks, if there's nothing of any worth in it. If you don't mind, I'd like to see more of the wizarding side of this town. I heard it's mixed and I've discovered a couple of things on my own, but I can't walk about the time with my wallet in my hand, asking to be mugged that!"
"Yeah, you wouldn't like to walk around with your hands in your pockets either. Never a good look that." He looked at the sky which threatened to rain any minute." How about I take you to The Happy Hippogriff, that's a wizard pub, you may meet some other wizards there too?"
"Aren't we underage, don't you have to be 18 to buy drinks in a pub?"
"Muggle pubs, yeah, but for wizard pubs it's 17, but that's only alcoholic drinks. I was only thinking of getting somewhere inside for when that rain comes, and I'll introduce you to a wizarding drink. It's not alcoholic; I think you'll like it."
"Ok. Let's go."
I followed Justin to a side street, I'd walked past at least twice without really noticing, it looked like a back alley between two shops, the sort of place that housed the dustbins for the shops on either side. There was what looked like a gate to the back yards at the end of the alley; I'd never have given it a second glance if I'd been on my own. Justin pushed the gate open and ushered me inside. It looked like an old fashioned pub, wooden beams across the ceiling, and several people in wizard robes smoking at tables and reading the paper, their drinks on the tables in front of them.
Justin walked up to the bar, and asked, "two butterbeers, please." He walked back to me with what looked like a couple of beer bottles in his hand, motioning to a table off to the side."
"What do you think?"
"I've been in a couple of pubs with Mum and Dad for ameal, but they didn't look like this." I replied looking around, I could swear that those pictures on the wall were moving like the ones on the paper. Then it seemed that one chap walked off out of his picture leaving an empty chair behind him. I looked askance at Justin, "is that normal, for people to walk out of their pictures?"
"Yeah, they'll visit other pictures of themselves or go to another picture to socialise with whoever's there. The portraits at Hogwarts were a bit like closed circuit television, that they have in some shops to stop shoplifting. You couldn't go anywhere without being watched. It was useful when we were first years, they'd direct us if we got lost. We had to be careful in the fifth year though!"
"Why the fifth year?"
"That was the year that Umbridge was teaching and spying for the Ministry, and Dumbledore's Army."
"Hang on you had an army at the school?"
"Not really. Fudge, the Minister for Magic was convinced that Dumbledore was trying to take over the ministry, Umbridge was the useless teacher foisted on the school by him to spy out any so called 'subversive activity'. Ridiculous, really Dumbledore has turned down the job as minister at least twice. Anyway, Umbridge was about much use as achocolate teapot. With her teaching us, we'd have been easy prey for You Know Who's followers. The ministry was totally against us finding out he'd returned. Dumbledore and Harry were their main targets; the Prophet was all about 'The Boy Who Lied,' and 'Dumbledore Senile'. It was all fear, they didn't want to believe he'd returned, but a lot of the school believed Harry and Dumbledore. You should have seen the look on Harry's face when he came from the maze of the Triwizard tournament, Cedric Diggory dead in his arms. You would have believed them."
"I heard a bit about that from Mrs. Figg, she told me he'd been killed, Harry had nightmares about it during that summer. Just before the dementors attacked us that summer I was tormenting him about it. He used to call out 'don't kill Cedric', in the middle of the night and Itormented him about his boyfriend. I still can't believe he saved me, I would have run. That was Harry though, always did the right thing. I occasionally have nightmares still about that day." I shivered.
"I bet, anyway Dumbledore's Army, the Defence Association, or the DA were all names for the secret classes that were being taught by Harry. He was a very good teacher. Had a way of teaching that kids his age could relate to. Some of the Defence Against the Dark Arts teachers we had were useless; Lockhart was acomplete moron, and a fraud to boot."
"He'd written several bestselling books about his defeats of dark creatures, to hear him talk he was John McClane from the 'Die Hard'films. I was quite impressed with him at first, bit of a hero complex. As the year progressed though I got more and more disillusioned with him. His classes were a joke, all we did was read the books and hear him going on about how he had won the witch weekly most charming smile award, God knows how many times. Lupin wasn't bad, our third year teacher, learnt quite a bit from him. Moody in the fourth year was a bit scary, concentrated on curses and how to resist and repel them. Not that it was the real Moody, after all that."
"Hang on, not the real Moody; what do you mean, somebody else took his name and taught in his place."
"Not just his name, an escaped Death Eater called Barty Crouch Jnr, an escapee from Azkaban. He'd captured the real Moody and was using'Polyjuice Potion' to make himself look and sound exactly like the real Moody. The real Moody spent most of the year locked in his own trunk."
"Poor bloke, was he ok afterwards?"
"Hard to tell, he's always been a bit paranoid apparently, that's probably why he was so good at his job. At the end of year feast, he looked afraid of his own shadow. I hope he recovered."
"I hope so too. Must give him nightmares though, being locked in a trunk for months. You want another one of these butterbeers was it? I'll get them this time."
I walked up to the bar and asked for two butterbeers, the barman got them from under the counter and asked for 6 Sickles. I handed him the last five pound note from my wallet, the look he gave me would have curdled water, never mind milk.
"Hang on," I said and crossed to Justin. "A problem, I'm a bit embarrassed, I don't think they take muggle money here, judging by the look on the barman's face. I think he's a little suspicious of me."
"Bloody hell, never thought of that, sorry." He went to the bar to pay for our drinks. "Sorry, Alan, muggle relative, never thought about it."
"That's alright Mr. Finch-Fletchley but you should get him to the bank and change some money for him, save him some embarrassment later."
"I will, Monday, the bank'll be closed now." He came back to the table with our drinks. "Sorry Dudley, never thought about that, alot of places take both, but those places that are hidden, only take wizard money. I'll take you to the bank on Monday and you can get some wizard money as well."
"Thanks. That'll be great. How much is what in wizard money anyway? The newsagent asked me the other day for 3 Sickles, 5 Knuts; Ihave no idea how much that is worth? I think it was about 1 pound, but I could be wrong."
Justin counted under his breath for a couple of seconds and said, "about right, A gold Galleon is worth five pounds, 17 Sickles to apound, that makes them about 29pence, and 29 knuts to a Sickle, so they're worth about a penny. Course it's not exact, because that means there's 493 Knuts to a Galleon, but not a bad guide."
"Right. Thanks," I opened my wallet and handed him 2pound coins. "I said this round was on me so there you are."
"You don't need to do that you know. You could easily sort it out the next time we meet or whatever."
"I don't like to owe money, I reckon I must have robbed afew kids of their lunch money in my past, I'm not proud of it, but at least Ipay my way now."
"I don't think I'd have liked the old you. You seem so pleasant now, but you keep on bringing up things you've done in the past. If I'd met you then I'd probably have run a mile."
"If I let you, if I'd known you were a wizard I'd have tried to give you a black eye at least, I always did Harry. If I'd known someone like me, I would run. Like all bully's I was basically acoward, it wasn't until I learnt that Harry couldn't do magic out of school that I started picking on him. Can we change the subject please? I'm not proud of the old me. What sort of stuff did Harry teach you? I really have no idea what magic can do, apart from the fairy tales."
Justin went on to tell me of several spells and counter-spells that Harry taught them, 'impedimenta', 'stupefy', 'locomotor mortis', 'protego'. They all sounded ever so useful, but something was bothering me.
"Hang on are all magic spells in a foreign language, sounds like Latin. Do you need to learn another language too?"
"Not really, most spells are very old, so of course they are in Latin, and some are probably in Ancient Greek too. Although there is one particularly unpleasant spell I've heard of that's in English."
"Unpleasant how? None of those jinxes you told me about sound pleasant, tripping, stunning, immobilisation, wouldn't like to have any of them performed on me."
"The spell makes you vomit up slugs, can sometimes last over an hour."
"Yuck, that's disgusting. You didn't use it did you? Because if you use it on me, I'll get my revenge, changed character or not."
Justin looked at me as if I was a wolf that had just spotted a very juicy rabbit, him being the rabbit. "No I've never used it, or seen it used. But I heard about it being used in our second year. The Gryffindor quidditch team was going to practice and partway to the field met the Slytherin off to do the same thing. Both teams had got permission to practice at the same time. Slytherin's team all had new brooms that year, brought for them by the father of their new seeker, Draco Malfoy. A bribe if ever Iheard of one, because he wasn't that good a player. Don't get me wrong, he was good and could fly reasonably well, but he was missing a certain something to make him a good seeker. Anyway, back to the story, one of the Gryffindor supporters cursed Malfoy, but unfortunately got it wrong and the spell backfired; he ended vomiting up slugs himself for at least an hour and a half."
"Yuck! That is really gross. Makes me wanna heave myself at the thought."
"Makes two of us. But as I said the spell's in English. Little misleading, but the spell is 'eat slugs'."
"That sounds even worse. Bad enough spewing the bloody things up, but eating them, I'm gonna hurl!"
"Please don't, Alan, the landlord disapproves of that sort of thing even more than he does muggles. I hope you don't mind I kind, Imade a comment about you being a muggle born relative and now he thinks we're related?"
"Not really, his mistake. I am a muggleborn relative, just not yours. I stretched the truth abit myself about you before I came out this afternoon. I told Mum and Dad I was going into town with someone I'd met the other day in town. Dad immediately cropped up about you better not be 'a freak' as this is a mixed town. He doesn't want me associating with the wrong sort as he put it. I told him you'd mentioned Eton. Not my fault he got the wrong idea. You did mention Eton. If I was going to avoid the WRONG sort of people I'd have to leave home, not that I'm going to tell him that. Funny though, Mum hasn't been that vocal about 'freaks' or Harry as she usually is. Was even quite friendly with Hestia Jones, during and after the journey here."
"Maybe she's mellowing. Look though, it's getting late, I need to get back home, Mum's a little over-protective at the moment. We've got plans over the weekend, so how about we meet up Monday sometime and go to the local gym. We can check out the girls there together."
I agreed that this sounded like a plan and gave him my mobile number so he could call me. I was a little surprised he didn't have one of his own until he said they didn't work too well with magic, but he'd call me.
We left the pub together and both headed towards our homes. I was really beginning to have an appreciation and respect for magic, and I hoped that Justin would continue to be a friend. Maybe the first real friend I'd had...