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?
Potterwatch had finished when I got back to the radio, Ihoped I had not missed anything of importance, apart from the password for the next episode. I could get that from Justin, the next time I saw him. Had someone been listening at the door, Mum? or Dad? What if anything had they heard?
I still didn't know what Mum's feelings were towards magic and Harry. She hadn't mentioned Harry or his freakiness once in the whole time we'd been here and whenever she talked about 'those' people or something about magic, it didn't seem as if the same level of hatred was in her voice. I needed to have a private talk with her, without Dad in the house. Fat chance of that at the moment.
It was the week of half term and I had high hopes of being able to talk with Mum in private, to try and find out if her attitude to magic had changed. My hopes were dashed however, the golf club was closed to the public, and there was some sort of tournament. Dad was under foot the entire week. His attitude hadn't changed in the slightest. He was convinced this tournament was some plot of those 'freaks' to disrupt everything decent about society.
I bided my time; I was bound to be able to speak with Mum at some point. I tried to concentrate on my studies. Either the teachers at this school were better than those at Smeltings or I was being a better student. It was probably the latter. The maths was still causing me problems, but I was coping.
The news that Justin and Lisa got from Hogwarts from Hannah and Ernie was not good. The Cruciatus curse was being taught and the students were encouraged to use it on those who had earned detentions. Dumbledore's Army was more active than ever, there were no practice sessions of protective spells, but they were actively and secretly opposing the Carrows. They were rescuing students from cruel punishments, writing pro-Potter slogans on walls.
There had even been an attempted break in, the sword of Godric Gryffindor an important wizarding heirloom was kept in a glass case in the office of the Hogwarts headmaster. Ginny, Luna and Neville had tried to steal it; apparently it had been left to Harry in Dumbledore's will, who knows why? But the break in had failed and for punishment the perpetrators had been sent to the Forbidden Forest with Hagrid. Why hadn't Snape handed them over to the Carrows for punishment? The sword had been moved somewhere safe, location unknown.
"It's probably Gringott's, the safest location in the wizarding world, there are countless vaults hidden under the streets of London. I've never been down to the vaults; I only went into the lobby to change Muggle money to wizard money. You need to be a wizard family to get a vault under Gringott's."
"But surely as you're a wizard now, you could open an account. Get yourself a vault."
"Probably, if I ever get back to Hogwarts and pass my exams, I'll see to it. If I went there now, I'd be arrested as a muggle born and probably sent to Azkaban for stealing a wizards magic. Complete rubbish, if that were possible, there would never be such a thing as squibs. It's all a propaganda campaign by the ministry and 'You Know Who'. They're trying to justify murder."
"Yeah, well that happens all the time in the muggle world, remember the Holocaust, six million Jews, killed to justify Hitler's master plan. It's the same thing only 'You Know Who' has targeted six billion muggles."
"I suppose so, but it doesn't explain why Dumbledore wanted Harry to have the sword, I don't think that's how he's going to kill'You Know Who', just stick a sword in him. I'd do it myself if I thought it was that easy."
"I doubt it'd work, he's died once, hasn't he?" when he tried to kill Harry as a baby. Death is final for wizards, the same way as muggles right?"
"Normally, yes. Some decide to remain as ghosts, but usually death is the end. Nobody knows how 'He Who Must Not Be Named"did it. Dumbledore might have known, but he's dead and he didn't come back as a ghost. Dumbledore was the only person that 'You Know Who' feared, and now he's gone. We can only hope he told Harry how to do it."
"I hope so; I don't want to lose my cousin, before I've found him."
It was just before we started back after the break that Isaw Mum, knitting, something I hadn't seen her do before. She always bought all my clothes, insisting on only the best for her Dudders.
"Mum, what's with the knitting?"
"I need to do something, Dudley, I've got no WI or friends to go round and see. So Ithought I'd try knitting again, I always knitted your baby booties. It's just a way to pass time, I'll probably just unpick it all when I've finished and knit something else. I've not got much else to do here, not that I'm ungrateful you understand. Glad we're safe, but I've got to do something."
"Right, just don't go knitting me any booties; I outgrew them a long time ago."
"I know dear, but there's nothing wrong with making your own clothes if you can't afford to buy them. Of course we could always afford the best."
It was later up in my room, trying to get a signal on the radio, for Potterwatch, there had been nothing on the air for days, and Justin, Lisa and I were beginning to wonder if they'd been captured. Surely that would have been reported though? I was thinking of my Mum sitting downstairs knitting clothes, and an idea occurred to me. Biskit. I'd been to Justin's several times and I was always shocked that their house elf, Biskit, always went around in an old pillow case. Justin had explained to me the terms of their employment. If you gave them clothes it set them free, they wouldn't take payment. But could they make themselves some clothing. They made use of other 'clothing' like the pillowcase. I decided to talk to Justin and Biskit tomorrow after school.
That day I told Justin, my idea, he had no idea if it would be taken as payment by the house elf or clothes, but agreed we could ask Biskit about it.
"Biskit. I need to speak with you!"
"There was loud crack and Biskit appeared in the lounge,"Master wishes to speak with Biskit? Is there anything wrong? Does Biskit need to be punished?"
"No, you are doing a very good job, everything is fine. I want to talk to you about the rules of house elf employment."
"Why Master. You is not going to free Biskit, is you? Please do not be doing that!"
"No Biskit, I am not going to set you free, and I know you don't want payment, but if you can't be given clothes to wear by a master, how can you wear that old pillow case. If you can make new clothes for your masters? What is to stop you making clothes for yourself? Just think of the status you would have among your fellow house elves if you were properly employed and able to wear real clothes."
"I is not understanding Master! If you is giving Biskit clothes, you is setting her free. Biskit does not want to be free."
Justin looked at me, "I knew this would be difficult, she just equates clothes with being set free. House elves are all the same. The ones at Hogwarts were adamant they didn't want to be set free. They all used to wear tea towels or napkins, they were proud of their servitude. It's a badge of honour for them. I don't know how to get round it."
"Biskit, can I ask you a question?" I asked her. "If you were to alter that pillowcase so it looked like proper clothes, would that be the same as Master Justin setting you free? You repair Master's clothes for him. How is that different from giving you clothes? You do his laundry; he is not setting you free then. He is not saying he wants' to free you or pay you. He wants' to reward you for being such a good house elf."
"I is thinking about that master Dudley. I does not know how to answer."
Justin looked me, surprise on his face. "You think about it, Biskit. If you would like to alter that pillowcase to look more like real clothes, you have my permission, but it is your choice. I am not going to set you free. I know you don't want that."
The look on Biskit's face was grateful, but also slightly puzzled as if she was unaware of what to think of the new situation.
I looked at Justin, "I think for now, leave it at that, we don't want to confuse her. If she wants to make her own clothes, let her. It's at least a step in the right direction."
"I agree, but do you realise what you could have done here, you may have altered a cornerstone of wizard society. House elves have always believed they couldn't wear clothes, now they could be able to."
"Not really, they've always worn clothes, just very shabby and ill fitting ones. Biskit is clothed right now in a pillow case. What's the difference between that and her turning it into a dress?"
"I wish Hermione Granger was here, I always thought her S.P.E.W. was wrong, but you may have found a way for it to work."
"What's Spew? Sounds disgusting."
"Society for the Promotion of Elvish Welfare. She got it into her head fourth year that house elves were enslaved and set about trying to free them. Eventually she was taken to the Hogwarts kitchens where they told her in no uncertain terms, that they did not want to be freed or paid. If they weren't such peaceful creatures, they might have done her harm. I heard when dobby was freed that he almost killed his former master protecting Harry from him. They have very powerful magic in their own right."
"I can see her point, Biskit's and yours." I said, "Hermione thinks that the house elves are slaves, they're not. In one sense you could call them lodgers. They do not pay rent, but do laundry, cooking, cleaning etc instead paying rent; they're warm, dry, housed and fed. If house elves were not employed by wizards they would be living in the wild, trying to survive, probably like primitive man. Biskit see's it that she enjoys looking after you and your family; she has a purpose, a reason for living. She feels a sense of purpose in what she does. She has always been told that by being given clothes, she would be set free, or as she sees it, thrown out into the wild world on her own. You see Biskit working for you, you want to be kind to her, but cannot do anything to improve her conditions without going against what has always been seen as 'the contract' of house elf employment."
"I see your point. We'll leave it up to Biskit. It's up to her now."
"Together, you, me and Biskit, remaking the wizard world in our own image."
The term progressed slowly towards Christmas, with still no news from Potterwatch, it was if they'd just shut down, we were trying every word we could think of. Justin was using all names from the modern wizard world, I was trying names I'd read from the history books Salazar, Godric, Rowena, and Helga, the names of goblins from the rebellions, but no luck. There was no response. It was frustrating,
We broke up for the Christmas holidays, still without any news, Hannah and Ernie were not able to tell us much. We had no idea how Harry was doing on whatever his mysterious quest, it was frustrating, we wanted news from somewhere. We felt left out by this; we couldn't do scything to help.
There was some news the day after we broke up; Justin was at mine, we had decided to get our homework out of the way as quickly as we could, so we could enjoy the holidays. We were working together on our Mathematics together, when he gave astart and fumbled in his pocket. He removed the fake galleon and started swapping it quickly from hand to hand. He dropped it quickly onto the desk in my room.
"News from Hannah or Ernie!" I asked.
"Yeah, Luna has been taken off the school train. Death Eaters just turned up and grabbed her, apparating away with no explanation."
"Ok, I remember she's a year below you in Hufflepuff, but why would they kidnap her? She's not important is she?"
"Her dad is the editor of 'The Quibbler,' a pretty useless magazine, generally it published the wizard equivalent of the 'Am Alien Ate My Hamster Story,' the local shop doesn't stock it. It has talked about Crumple Horned Snorkacks, Wrakspurts and Nargles in the past, creatures that don't exist. I don't know why they would kidnap her, it's odd!"
"Has the paper changed lately, I mean that could be an explanation?"
"Dunno. Even if it has how can we check, there's nowhere to buy it."
"No, but we can check out back issues at the library, come on!"
The library was open on the Monday for the last time before the New Year. We met up there at ten that morning and went to the hidden section, where all the magical books were kept.
There was a whole section of old Daily Prophets, but we weren't interested in them, there was Witch Weekly, Transfiguration Today, Practical Potioneer, but we couldn't find the Quibbler.
Finally we found it, right next to the bins, almost as if they'd placed there ready for disposal.
The headlines were a revelation; 'Harry Potter: The Wizard Worlds Only Hope'; 'Support Harry Potter'. For the past few months, that and similar was the only articles written in the magazine. The whole o the magazine was devoted to ways in which you could be of help to Harry, how to protect yourself and your family in the event of an attack. It had no news so to speak of, but it was a bit of hope in its way. Somebody was on Harry's side and they weren't afraid of showing it. We spent most of the day, reading all the relevant back issues we could get our hands on. Justin even found me one the fifth year, that was its best selling edition. 'Harry Potter Speaks Out At Last'. The whole magazine was an interview of Harry done by Rita Skeeter."
"I thought you didn't like her?"
"Apparently she was coerced into writing this by Hermione Granger, nobody knows how, but it was the only thing she wrote in over ayear. A lot of people read it and realised at the time that the Prophet hadn't been telling the whole truth. We had such fun with that article. It was an offence you could be expelled for; carrying a copy of the Quibbler. Nearly everybody had a copy, bewitched to be something else if Umbridge got hold of it. Mine looked like a piece of transfiguration homework. Nobody got expelled for having it. That woman got off too lightly in my opinion. She spent a month in St Mungo's Janus Thickey Ward and then beck to work at the ministry as if nothing had happened. Toad."
"Janus Thickey? St Mungo's?"
"Mental health ward at the wizard hospital. She was apparently afraid of centaurs when she left the school. Even a clip clop noise could send her hysterical. Pity it didn't last."
"She sounds a delightful woman! Glad I never met her."
We left the library, cheered up by the positive articles we'd read, and determined to see the next issue of the Quibbler as soon as it came out. There seemed to be a good feeling in the air as we headed for Christmas. I hope nothing would spoil it
Please continue to enjoy, reviews are much appreciated. I hope to introduce another character in the next chapter for a guest appearance. I'll get it posted as quickly as I can.