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?
The next morning, Saturday I woke up and checked the date. Oh blimey, it was August 10th, Harry's birthday about two weeks ago, this was first time that it had meant anything to me. I was ashamed to say Ididn't even know the exact date of his birthday. I had never got him a present or even a birthday card before, neither had Mum or Dad, but somehow it mattered to me now. I didn't even know where to send a card, or even if wizards sent them. But it still sickened me to think that he was out there, had celebrated his birthday and I'd done nothing about it. It might not have meant anything to Harry that I hadn't got a card from me, but dammit, it meant something to me.
I sat down to continue reading 'A History of Hogwarts', the book I'd got from the library a few days ago, but my heart wasn't in it. The book was interesting, but I couldn't get Harry's birthday out of my head. I wanted to say Happy Birthday to him, even if it was late, but I couldn't. I didn't even know how Icould send him a card without an address. He was probably staying with those red headed friends of his, which had called for him before his fourth year. I thought back on that day, what was their name. All I could remember was that everybody who came that day had red hair. Hang on. A couple of days before we received a letter covered in stamps, enough postage to send a letter to the moon. So wizards could send a normal letter, possibly they could receive one as well. Now what was their surname? Try as I might, it wouldn't come to me. It was hopeless. I sat staring at the book in front of me, feeling hopeless. Slowly an idea came to me, something I could possibly do.
I checked the clock, showered and got dressed and left the house heading for the library. When Igot to the library, I realised I was early, it had different hours on Saturday and wouldn't open for an hour. I couldn't hang around here for an hour. I got up and began to walk back towards home, funny how quickly this new place had become home. But a home without the one person there who I really wanted to talk to.
On the way back, I saw the newsagent where I'd bought the Daily Prophet a few days ago. I went in to pick up a copy today, it might be easier to read than that book. I got my wallet out and with the wand-card in my hand, went to the shelves where the papers were on sale. The headline read'Ministry Announces Scrimgeour Successor.' At least it looked as if something had happened even if it wasn't earth shattering news. I took it towards the counter."
"That'll be 2 Sickles 12..." the shopkeeper looked at me few a few seconds, "er 50 pence please."
I handed him the money, "thank you," turning to leave the shop I thought that maybe the newsagent might be able to give me an idea of how to find the address of Harry's friends. " I wonder if you can tell me how I can find someone's address when Idon't know their surname? It's a friend of my cousin, who would be going to Hogwarts for his seventh year this year. The friend is red haired, the same as my cousin, and has twin brothers probably a year or two older than him, he might have other siblings, but I don't know about them."
"Hmm! Tricky," he pulled a small 'diary' from his pocket."What's your cousin's name?"
"Ok, that might make it a little easier." He opened the 'diary', turned it over in his hands and opened it again; it was now the size of a paperback book, he did this again it grown to the size of a hardback novel. He looked at the book for a few minutes, checking things and moving to another page. After about five minutes he smiled. "I may have your answer, the friend is Ron Weasley, and he has twin older brothers, Fred and George, and three other brothers, Percy, Bill and Charlie, and a sister Ginny. I can give you their address, if that will help.
"That sounds as if it could be them. I remember someone called Ron telephoning our house, before fourth year. He was speaking so loudly, you needed to keep the earpiece about a foot away to avoid being deafened."
"Sounds about right, most wizarding families are pretty ignorant of muggle technology. I prefer phones myself to floo talking. You don't get all covered in soot. Of course Ihave to use the floo to speak to my mother, so old fashioned won't even have aradio in the house."
"What wizards have radios, my friend Justin said he couldn't have a mobile phone because they didn't work near magic, aren't they asimilar principle?"
"Similar, I suppose. Wizard radios work by magic instead of electronics, a sonorous charm controls the volume and they use magic instead of radio waves. Eventually, someone will do the same thing to a mobile phone. But as yet they're too sensitive. Get them too near magic and they tend to burst into flames."
"Blimey, I'll watch where I use mine then, don't want to burn my hair off."
"You should have no problems, its only when witches or wizards try to use them, bit like plugging a battery operated toy into the mains. Too much power and they burn." He handed me a piece of paper. Here's the address you wanted, the post office is three streets away in that direction," pointing to his left.
"Thank you for your help." I left the shop and headed off in the direction indicated. At least Icould send the card to his friend's house. He might not be there, but if he was I'm sure they would know where he was and could forward it. I searched through the card selection at the post office and found one that said 'Happy Birthday Cousin' on it and just ashort verse inside. I checked my pockets, no pen, typical, I picked up a cheap biro as well, could always be of use at school later. I went to the counter, paid for my purchases and bought astamp for the envelope. I went to awriting desk, located at the back of the store and opened the card.
I apologise for the lateness of this card, I am extremely ashamed to say I don't know the exact date of your birthday. I hope you will read this card and understand the message and feelings behind it. Happy Birthday from your cousin, Dudley, that's right the overweight bully who made your life hell. I apologise for that, I am trying to come to terms with who and what I was and hope you will understand that when you read this.
I have no idea, of a proper address for this so have asked a wizard I've met for the address of your red headed friend, I do hope I've got the right people and this gets to you. If they are not the right people, hopefully they will take it to Hogwarts when the school year begins and you get it then.
Mom, Dad and I are currently living in... Sorry been trying to write the town or anything connected to where we're living down. I can't, Dedalus said that he was 'secret keeper' for our address, something called the Fiddle Us Charm. Maybe he can tell you.
I don't want to lose you, you are the only family I've got besides Mum and Dad, and I was an absolute bastard to you. Please don't write me off, when you've sorted everything out. I want to be your cousin and hopefully your friend.
This covered most of the card, my handwriting wasn't the best; I took the envelope and addressed it. 'Mr Harry Potter, c/o Mr. and Mrs. Weasley, The Burrow, Ottery-St-Catchpole. I put the stamp on the envelope and posted it. I'd made an effort. I hope something would come of it.
I was reading at home later that afternoon, I felt alittle better now. I'd made a start, hopefully a good one. I was reading about the new Minister of Magic, Pius Thicknesse, blimey these wizards had some daft names, when I was surprised to hear my mobile phone ringing. It was a private number, who could be calling me? Piers and Malcolm from back in Little Whinging were probably glad to see the back of me, I'm pretty sure they only hung around with me to avoid being victims.
"Hello, Dudley Dursley speaking."
"Dudley hi, it's Justin, look I've been speaking to my parents about meeting you in town the other day and wonder if you'd like to come to my birthday party tomorrow. I'm sorry it's such short notice, but they thought you might like to come. You needn't get me anything, just be there, I'm expecting some friends from school as well. They'll be going back to Hogwarts, but it's not exactly safe for me."
"I'd love to come but how do I get there, I don't know your address."
"I can't tell you either, its protected, the Fidelius Charm," that was the name of that charm I knew I hadn't got it right, hope it gave Harry a laugh if he even read that far in the letter without tearing it up. "Did Dedalus mention the local taxi firm to you? You need to call them and say you would like a taxi from the home of your Dad, giving his first and last name and you wish to go to the home of Justin Finch-Fletchley. Although they can't disclose the address even in writing, those terms will get round the charm."
"Ok, what time and how long do you think the journey will last and cost? I'd hate not to have enough to pay the fare."
"The fare from the promenade at one end of the town to the shopping mall a couple of miles beyond the other is about 7 pounds, and takes about 30 minutes. I don't think it'll be anywhere near that much, seeing as we both use the same local newsagent. Five minutes tops. The party starts at Seven tomorrow, don't know how long it will go on, but not too late, I have to be aware of my Mum. I'm sure you know what I mean?"
"Thanks' I'd love to come, I'll see you about seven tomorrow, thanks for inviting me."
I closed the book and ran down the stairs, "I'm nipping out Mum, Dad; Justin just rang and invited me to his birthday party tomorrow. He says I don't need to get him anything, but I want to at least get a card."
"What was that Dudders?" called Mum from the kitchen. Idon't think Dad had even bothered to get out of bed today. Did you say a birthday party?
"Yes Mum, it was Justin, the Eton boy I mentioned yesterday. He doesn't have many friends locally, having just moved here, so he invited me."
"That's nice Duddykins, it's nice to see you settling into the area and making new friends."
"Thanks Mum, but please don't call me Duddykins or Dudders. I've outgrown those names; I'm 17, not 7anymore."
"Ok Popkin, I'll try."
"Mum, that's just as bad, please call by my proper name."
"Alright Dudley, I'll try my best."
I left the house heading back to the newsagents, to at least get a card, stopping off at the ATM on the way to get a bit more cash out to cover the taxi tomorrow and hopefully some sort of present, I didn't want to go empty handed if I could help it.
I picked up a card that was right for someone my age and went to pay. "Have you any idea, where Ican get some kind of small present for a wizard kid about my age?"
"You might think about Chocolate Frogs or Bertie Botts Every Flavour Beans."
"Chocolate Frogs, Every Flavour Beans, they sound like fun, where can I get some of them, will I need wizard money, only I haven't managed to change any of mine yet?"
"No, I take both kinds, you've got some kind of wand, right, just hold it and walk into that small alcove beside the fridge, it leads to a wizard part of the shop, just be careful what you touch, some stuff is dangerous. Sweets are on the far left."
I thanked him, got my wallet from my pocket and walked to the back of the shop, there was a small alcove beside the fridge, that without the wand I would have just ignored, as a dead space that had nothing in it. I saw a large room that was being lit by candles that were floating in the air. I decided to look around, it was just too weird."
There were rows and rows of bottles, dragons blood, doxy venom, wormwood, vervain, lacewing flies, beetles eyes, yuck. This was too weird, what on earth did wizards need beetle eyes for and who collected them. I really wouldn't wanta job doing that. I walked to the back left of the room and looked at the sweets there, Chocolate Frogs, Bertie Botts Every Flavour Beans, Sugar Quills, and Cockroach Clusters. Bloody hell, I hope that didn't have real cockroaches in it.
I picked up a couple of the Chocolate Frogs, a box of the Every Flavour Beans and a Sugar Quill, added up the cost in my head and went back to the front of the shop to pay for my purchases. "Do you have a bag and some wrapping paper, I'm not sure how Mum and Dad will react to me being friends with a wizard, and they're just a bit prejudiced."
He handed me a bag and a couple of sheets of paper.
I picked the design I thought best and paid for everything. "Thanks' again."
As I sat upstairs in my room later that night, all pretence of trying to read abandoned I wondered about the birthday card I'd mailed to Harry. Would he want to be friends with me after everything I'd done to him? If it was me, I don't think I would. Maybe some of these friends of Justin could pass on a message for me, if Harry was back at school, but somehow I didn't think he would be. That Lord Thingy was after him and would probably murder him in his sleep if he did go back to school. I hoped that Harry would be safe from danger, but I really didn't see how. I didn't want to lose him before we'd even got to be friends as real cousins should.
Please be patient with me, we'll be going to Justin's birthday soon. I'll be as quick as I can with these updates.
Author Note: No mention is made of the date of Justin's birthday, so for the purpose of this fiction I have opted for August the 10th; a Sunday if that's not already obvious.