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?
Dinner had been a mild disaster, I'd tried to cook a meal for Mum, Dad and I. Mum was out for the day, the excuse was shopping in the nearby shops of Plymouth, for my birthday, but she was really visiting Godric's Hollow. Seeing the memorials to her sister. I'd volunteered to cook us a meal, I was going to need the practice for when I went to university next year. The rice had been overcooked and far too much of it. Enough to feed my entire year at school. The meat was overcooked and slightly burned. Dad moaned about the bloody foreign food Ihad cooked and how it would upset his ulcer. I think Mum will kill me when she sees the mess I've made of her kitchen, and the saucepans. We would need a hammer and chisel to clean those up; apart from the one that I'd set on fire. That was in the bin. As I was preparing to clear up the remains of mine and Dad's meals and start on clearing up, there was the sound of the key turning in the lock.
Mum walked in with three or four large carrier bags and an exhausted look on her face. She collapsed on the sofa, and I quickly handed her a cup of tea. "Do you want something to eat Mum?"
"I wouldn't Petunia," rumbled Dad, "can't cook proper food, just foreign muck and then he bloody burnt it."
"Vernon. Now. It was his first attempt! Yes, thank you Dudley, I would enjoy something to eat."
I quickly laid up a tray knowing that would annoy Dad as well. He was always one for 'proper place for meals is at the table', reheated the curry in the microwave and brought it through to Mum. She looked apprehensively at it for a few seconds and began to eat with little enthusiasm. She amazed me though that she ate the lot, no refusing 'to eat this disgusting muck' as Dad had done. "That was nice Dudley, thank you. I think you need some cookery lessons though. If you're going to feed yourself properly at university, I don't want you to be one of those students that lives on tinned beans, beer and pizza."
"You can't have liked that Petunia. It was inedible."
"Vernon. Shut up. For a first effort that was very good. I've slightly spoiled Dudley all these years; he's never been taught how to cook properly. I don't want him to be completely useless in the kitchen like you. I swear you can't make a cup of tea without the instructions to hand. Dudley will be going to university next year and I want him to be able to cope. At least his cousin can cook and clean, that's all he ever did for us."
I looked hard at Mum, she had never mentioned Harry to Dad in the whole year we'd been here, and this was almost like an apology about the way he'd been treated.
"Look here petunia; you're not defending that freak are you? Ungrateful little brat that he was, sponging off us for years. I'm glad he's gone, abandoning us here in the middle of bloody nowhere."
"Vernon Dursley, you will kindly not refer to my nephew in that tone of voice again. I have come to realise that we have treated him abominably over the years. If I thought it would do any good, I would report us to social services for child abuse. But what's past is past. I can only hope he will find it in himself to forgive us."
"Blimey Mum, I've never heard you talk like that!"
"And you never would have Dudley if I hadn't found some things out recently. Now Vernon, you will thank Dudley for cooking dinner and you will never talk about Harry in that tone of voice again."
Dad looked at Mum as if he had never seen her before in his life. "Thanks Dudders," he mumbled.
I decided to leave them to their conversation, took the tray from Mum and went to the kitchen to attempt to clean up the mess I'd made. The one saucepan was still half full of rice, and the other had burnt curry, nearly two centimetres thick on the bottom. I decided to leave them till last. I'd washed up all the dirty plates and cutlery and stacked them away when there was a loud 'crack' from the front of the house. The front doorbell rang.
I left the kitchen just as Mum was letting Dedalus Diggle into the house. "How nice to see you again Mr. Diggle. I assume you've come to tell us the good news."
Dedalus looked at my mum in a wary way. He pulled his wand from his pocket and pointed it at Mum. "Who are you and whathave you done with Mrs. Dursley?"
Mum looked hard at the wand pointing at her face and swallowed, I am Petunia Dursley nee Evans, sister to the late Lily Evans, sister in law to the late James Potter. My nephew Harry was until last year under our care, very badly cared for at that. The last time I saw you was the night you dropped us off in this house. You stayed to talk to Vernon and Dudley whilst I went shopping with Hestia. I learned of the victory a few days ago from Dudley and the Daily Prophet, which I am able to read by using this wand thing you gave me." She took the card from her purse and handed it to Dedalus who waved his wand over it a few times, mumbling under his breath. He lowered his wand and put it back into his robes.
"I'm sorry if I frightened you Mrs. Dursley, but it came as quite a shock to me to hear you talk like that. Your attitude to magic seems to have mellowed a bit. I see you used the card to travel on the Knight Bus. How did you work out it would do that, or even learn about the bus."
Mum glanced at me. "Dudley told me, he learned about it from some friends of his. You must understand Mr. Diggle that I've always felt that Lily was ignored by the magical community. Harry was just dumped on us. I resented him because he was all I had left of her. I always wanted to go to Hogwarts when she got her letter, but never could. Harry being there was a reminder of terrible things I'd said and done in my past and I'm ashamed to say I was not the Aunt Ishould have been."
"I see, very enlightening. Well I was coming to tell you that Harry has defeated 'You Know Who' and we can take you back to Privet Drive on Saturday next. Dudley will have finished his exams and we will have finished rebuilding the house."
"Rebuilding you mean..."
"The house was ransacked by Death Eaters. You do know what Death Eaters are?" At a nod from Mum and I, he continued. There was major structural damage and most of the possessions you left behind were destroyed. The damage has all been repaired and as far as the muggle authorities are concerned it was caused by a faulty gas main. Your neighbours all believe the house has been rebuilt by your insurance company Mr. Dursley, your company has continued to prosper and has recently received a large order from a company in Hogsmeade, Scotland to help with a major restoration project there."
I coughed. "Hogsmeade, isn't that where Harry's school is? Is it alright? I mean..."
"Yes Dudley, there was a lot of damage to the school and major work is being undertaken to restore it. As your family has some knowledge of the wizard world it was decided that your father's firm was ideally placed to assist with the purchase of certain materials to assist in the rebuilding.
"Bloody freaks interfering in what doesn't concern them,"muttered Dad under his breath. Drawing a look of disgust from Dedalus, Mum and me.
"Vernon. I've told you. Shut up." Mum snarled at him. She looked at Dedalus. "Mr. Diggle can I ask, was a small wooden box found about so big?" She held her hands about twenty centimetres apart. "It would have had the initials'L E P' burned into the top." She looked at me. "It belonged to my sister; she left it behind when she married James Potter. It has my only memories of her in it."
"Yes it survived. It has some quite complex protective spells on it. It wasn't damaged in any way that we could see. Even our most skilled Aurors couldn't open it. We wondered if it was dangerous. It has undergone quite a lot of scrutiny at the ministry in case it was booby trapped. Are you willing to help us with the problem? It would enable you to get the box back sooner rather than later. We.re reluctant to return it in case it is booby trapped you see?"
"Please! I haven't looked at it for years, but I think Ican remember how to open it!"
"Excellent, may I borrow your fire place please?" He drew his wand knelt at the fireplace and flames appeared in the grate. He threw ahandful of powder into the flames and shoved his head into the fire. "Oh hello Arthur, is Hestia still in her office? Could you please ask her to hand me that box found at Privet Drive? Thanks'. I'll wait for it." A couple of seconds later he emerged from the flames unburned with a large cloth bag in his teeth. "Hate doing that, bloody tickles!" He handed the bag to Mum. "Is this your box Mrs. Dursley?"
Carefully Mum took the bag from him and removed a wooden box, the sides looked as if they were carved with fancy designs and the initials 'L E P' were very visible on the lid. "It certainly looks the same, hang on!" She prodded and twisted at the box for a couple of seconds and the lid slid from it. She looked inside and gave a smile. "It's Lily's box alright!" She handed it to Dedalus to check over.
"Everything is fine with it Mrs. Dursley," he said after a few seconds of wand waving over the box. No booby traps or anything untoward. How did you open it? Had our experts in the Auror office puzzled!"
"It's an old trick called a puzzle lock. You have to know how to open it." She shut it and handed it to Dedalus who prodded and poked at it for three or four minutes with no luck. Mum took it back; she carefully opened it again showing him as she did. She pushed in two different places and the lid slid off in her hand. "Easy when you know how!" she closed it again and passed it back. After a few false starts he got the box opened, and laughed.
"Ingenious, I really must show this to Arthur Weasley, he's fascinated by muggles. Bit of anutter about it if you ask me, but he'd love this. It's like muggle magic. Could I borrow this please? I promise it will be back in your house when you return, I'll put it on the mantle in the front room for you!"
Mum hesitated for a moment, that would be very nice thank you, but could I take the photos out? I think I should like Dudley to see them." Dedalus handed her the box, she removed everything from it and handed it back to him. "Thank you!"
"My pleasure Mrs. Dursley and I'll see you Saturday next about noon to take you home. Good luck with your exams Dudley. I hear good things about you from the school. Your teachers are very hopeful for you." With that he stood turned on the spot and vanished with a crack.
"Vernon, shut up, I've told you."
"Excuse me," there was a voice from the fire place. We all turned to look. Dedalus' head was in the flames, "I forgot to tell you, the Fidelius charm has been removed and your address is 100 Marina Gardens, Tinworth, Cornwall. You should be able to tell your friends where you live now. The fire will douse after I'm gone." With that he withdrew his head and the fire in the grate died.
I got up from the sofa and returned to the kitchen to finish the attempted restoration of the kitchen to normality before Mum could see it. She had always been a 'neat freak'you could have eaten off the floors at Privet Drive. The door opened up behind me and the Mum entered the kitchen. I groaned, I was in for a major telling off for this. If ever Harry had got the kitchen into this state, he'd have been locked in the cupboard under the stairs for a month without food.
"What a mess, Dudley. How can you manage to make this much mess with one meal. She rolled up her sleeves and dug into the washing up, humming under her breath. The photos etc from the box were placed on top of the fridge about the only place I hadn't managed to cover in curry during my cooking." She turned to look at me, "well don't just stand there, you made this mess, you can at least help to clean it up, and it will be useful for you to learn how."
A little under an hour later, the kitchen was gleaming again and we were sat at the kitchen table with a cup of tea and she was showing me through the contents of the box.
There were several photos of her as a girl and a younger girl beside her, which she explained was Lily her little sister. Then the most surprising thing, a letter written in green ink on parchment. Just like the letter Harry had got all those years ago. "I wrote to the Headmaster at Hogwarts, begging to be able to go. He wrote back and said that unfortunately I had no magic and wouldn't be allowed to go to the school. Your aunt and that boy, Severus Snape found this and it was the start of my withdrawal from my sister. I accused her of spying on me and called her a freak." There was also a wedding invitation to the wedding of James Potter to Lily Evans addressed to Mr. And Mrs. Dursley. A wizard photo of Aunt Lily holding a small baby in her arms, proudly smiling for the camera and tickling the baby under the chin. Then another letter on parchment in the same handwriting as the first. Mum held this to her chest and began to cry. Through her quiet crying she said,"This was the letter that was with Harry when he was left on our doorstep. It told me that Lily and James had been murdered by a wizard called Lord Voldemort and he had attempted to kill Harry, killing himself in the process. It asked me to take Harry in and look after him like my own son; he had some sort of protection whilst he was being cared for by me, his last blood relative. I never treated him like a son. He was worse off than a slave I think at times. I treated you to so much in a way as compensation for what I wasn't giving him. You had your own love and his as well."
"Mum, I'm telling you now. After I've taken my exams, I'm going to try and speak to Harry. I want to apologise to him in person. I've spoken to a few people asking them to pass messages on, but I don't know whether they have. When I go to university I'm not studying to join Dad at Grunnings. I'm going to go into social work. I want to try and stop the sort of abuse that Harry suffered from happening to other kids.
"I understand and support your choice, as for your father, well leave that to me. Don't mention any of this to him at least until we're backhome."
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