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?
After a nice relaxed breakfast on the morning of Harry's 18thbirthday, I hoisted my rucksack to my back, picked up the owl in its cage and left the Leaky Cauldron. I made my way to Kings Cross Station; I had spoken to Tom, the landlord of the Leaky Cauldron and according to him. The entrance to Platform 9¾ was to walk quickly through the barrier between platforms 9 and 10.
I sat on a bench for a few minutes drinking a cup of railway cafeteria coffee, never a pleasant experience, trust me it tasted at least a week old and was nearly cold; and watching the barrier, but saw nobody going through it. I hoped I hadn’t had my leg pulled by Tom. I got to my feet, threw the paper cup in the bin and walked briskly towards the barrier and Crash. I had hit the brick wall, with a solid thunk! What was wrong, why couldn’t I get in, there was still half an hour before the train was due to leave, so the barrier could not have closed like it did on Harry in his second year.
I stood there for a few minutes rubbing hard at my bruised nose, when suddenly a short fat balding gentleman with a large walrus moustache, wearing what appeared to be golfing trousers and a tweed jacket, carrying what sounded like lots of bottles in one of those soft sided briefcases, glanced quickly around and walked quickly and calmly through the wall and onto the platform. It was still open! What was wrong? Why hadn’t I got through? I reached into the pocket of my leather jacket, to get the phone and call Mum, to tell her I couldn’t get onto the platform, when instead, my hand touched my wallet. Of course, the special wand, I needed to be touching it for it to work. I felt such a twit. I took the card from my wallet and picked up the owl’s cage and once again walked up to the barrier, eyes closed. I didn’t hit anything. I opened my eyes when I could smell smoke and found myself on a platform with a large red steam locomotive ready to depart. The name on the train was ‘Hogwarts Express’. I had made it. The train was only three carriages long, surely they needed more carriages than that? Suddenly what looked like a mother and two children aged about 9 or 10 walked through the barrier and the train seemed to get a little ‘foggy’ and there was another carriage at the end of the train. It was now four carriages long. The mother and her children lifted their luggage onto the last carriage and climbed aboard it. I climbed aboard the train just behind the engine. I remember hearing somewhere on some television programme that I watched because it was between two I wanted to watch, that this was the best place to sit to avoid the smoke on a steam train. I removed my rucksack and went into the first compartment, the large gentleman I had seen enter the platform was sitting in there on his own. “Do you mind if I sit here?”
“No problem my boy, take a seat? I haven’t seen you before, did you get home schooled or attend one of the foreign schools?”
“No I went to my local high school!” I saw his face get a slightly perplexed look on his face. “Muggle School!”
His face lit up, “you’re a Muggle? My dear boy, so pleased to meet you. How did you get onto the platform? I thought there were Muggle repelling charms on the platform entrance!”
“there are, I bashed my nose the first time I tried to get through!”
“sorry! You bashed your nose the first time! How did you get through the second time then?”
“I just walked through, but I was holding this in my hand.” I held the wand card up. “It's from the Ministry!”
He took the card from me and looked hard at it, turning it over several times in his hands. Interesting bit of magic my boy, it says you’re a Muggle relative. If you don’t mind me asking, who are you related to? I don’t recognise the name Dursley; of course it could be in the few years of my retirement.”
“Er! I’m Harry Potter’s cousin!”
“Harry Potter, my dear boy, you must tell me everything about him. It was my pleasure to teach him potions in his 6th year. Brilliant potion maker, not seen his like in years. Of course his greatest achievement is his defeat of ‘You Know Who’ recently, but you must know the real Harry, the boy himself, do tell!”
I was about to tell him that I really didn’t know Harry that well, well the door to the compartment opened again to reveal a huge man-shape in the doorway. “Morning Horace!” said a familiar voice. One I’d heard a few months back on Potterwatch and for the first time seven years ago today. It was Hagrid.
I looked up at him and held out my hand to shake. “It’s Hagrid isn’t it? You may not remember me but we met seven years ago!”
He looked at me with no sign of recognition. “Seven years ago, you say? Sorry I don’t recognise ya!”
“Oh come on,” I said, “how many people do you meet in the middle of the night with a birthday cake in your pocket; in a hut in the middle of the sea and give a pig’s tail to?”
He still looked perplexed, and then suddenly his face lit up in a huge grin. “Blimey, it’s not the Dursley boy is it? What was your name now?”
“It was and still is Dudley!”
“Tha’s right, stupid bloody name if you ask me! I mean who calls their kid after a bloody town. I ask yer.”
“It's a hell of a lot better than Duddykins or Dudders, that my parents have only just got out of the habit of calling me. The embarrassment I would have felt if ever one of my friends heard that!”
“Duddykins, surely they stopped calling you sommat daft like that before you started school?”
“Well yes, you’re right there it was just before I started school, St Piran’s Comprehensive in Tinworth, last September.”
Blimey, if my Dad ‘ad a called me sommat like that when I were 17, I’d have sat on ‘im. Course, he were dead by then, died just after I started Hogwarts. If’n I had sat on him, ‘twould have killed him anyway I were already six feet seven when I started Hogwarts. Always been big for me age you see!”
“So how big should a half giant be by 11 then?”
“You know about that? Are you positive you’re Dudley Dursley,” he was no pointing the large pink umbrella at me, the same one that he’d been carrying that same night he’d given Harry his letter. The Dursley’s were the worst sort of Muggle imaginable! You can’t be him and on this train!”
I handed Hagrid the card that was still in my hand, “I was just explaining to this gentleman here about this when you came in. It’s a special type of wand for Muggles. Enables me to see things that are hidden, like the Leaky Cauldron, and it gives me some sort of magical interaction ability; I could get through the barrier at Kings Cross and open and lock my room in the Leaky Cauldron last night. I can’t do real magic though, unfortunately, I wish I could.”
Hagrid examined the card in his hand, “How’d you get that?”
“While we were in Tinworth we had something similar that allowed us to draw money from a special bank account, but it also let us see stuff. I started reading the Daily Prophet while I was there. I’m positive it gained me, the first real friend I’ve had in my life.” I went on to tell about the day I met Justin, nearly knocking him over as I left the shop and the next time we had met and I how I was reading the Daily Prophet and he thought I was a snatcher.”
Both the teacher and Hagrid laughed at this and I continued to tell them of my year in Tinworth and my subsequent visit to the Ministry of Magic. “You should have seen the look on the security wizard’s face when I told him I couldn’t hand him my wand as I was a Muggle. Such bemusement, he was on his knees in front of a fireplace so fast you could almost hear him apparate there.”
I carried on and told them of everything I had spoken to the Minister about, Muggle technology, medicine, slavery laws, and economics.
“Slavery!” said Horace, “why slavery, there’s none of that in our world I’ll have you know. We’re very civilised.”
“Civilised Professor!” I replied with some venom in my tone. “You call yourselves civilised when you have an entire race at your beck and call, forced into wearing rags, at the same time as they cook your food, do your housework and your laundry. I’d hardly call that civilised. The house elves work and slave for you and most wizards treat them like dirt. I’ve only met two, and they were happy with their lot, they believe this rubbish about being given clothes is the ultimate shame. It means they are being cast out into the wide world. Dismissed. Justin and I managed to persuade his house elf, Biskit, that she could make her own clothes. That way she could know that she was a valued member of the family and deserved her own dignity. She was so happy after that, of course the first few things she made for herself were in effect just the same old pillow case that she altered with a few stitches here and there, but she was so proud of being able to wear clothes and still be working for his family. It was the ultimate status symbol.”
“That’s certainly an interesting point of view, but most house elves I’ve seen are happy with their lot. They don’t want to change their status.”
“Have you actually asked them? They enjoy working for wizards, yes, but wizards treat them with contempt. They don’t complain, because they think they’ll be dismissed. They deserve their contract of employment, or more properly enslavement, renegotiated.”
I was just beginning to think I should have got a sandwich earlier to eat on the journey; I was getting hungry, when the professor opened his briefcase and pulled out what looked like a red and white tablecloth. He opened it, turned it and opened it again. He gave it a flick, waved his wand, and suddenly there was a fully laid table in the middle of the compartment. “Would you care to join me in a spot of lunch, Hagrid, Dudley, I always find that the fare on the trolley upsets my digestion. Come on tuck in! There’s pheasant, pate de foie gras, truffles, and caviar, oh and to drink I have this!” From his copious bag he pulled at large bottle which he uncorked with a wave of his wand, “best oak matured mead, and he proceeded to pour us each a glass.”
I cautiously sipped the drink, remembering the incident over a year ago when Dumbledore had called to pick up Harry, and sniggered into my glass at the memory of that night. “Wha’s wrong Dudley? Are you alright?” asked Hagrid concerned.
“Just remembering the last time I saw some of this stuff,” I indicated waving my glass. “Dumbledore had called to pick up Harry and had conjured us all a drink, at the time I was still too afraid of magic to drink it. The undrunk glasses of mead kept hitting us on the heads, it seems quite funny now. I remember Dumbledore telling my Mum and Dad off for not treating Harry as a son, but at least they’d spared him the damage that they had done to me! Of course they denied it, and at the time I wondered about it myself. But I understand now what he meant.”
“What do mean, dear boy?” asked the professor. “You seem a perfect gentleman to me, I can’t say I completely agree with some of your ideas, but they come from the heart.”
“I wasn’t a very nice kid, growing up; I’m ashamed to say I was a spoilt brat. I constantly bullied Harry and made fun of the fact he’d got no friends, he was a freak, I made his life hell. I had begun to see that Harry should have been a friend, or like a brother to me. But it also made me see, that my parents had also done their share of damage to me. I was grossly overweight, could hardly write, yet to them I could do no wrong. They saw nothing wrong in what they’d done to Harry. They felt fully justified in their actions. It was through what was said that night that I began to try to become a better human being. Well a human being at all.”
“My boy. We’ve all done things in our past that we’re not proud about. Why I myself did things that I’m ashamed of, but it’s what you do with your mistakes that defines who you are! I have tried to atone for mine, and you are trying to do something about yours, that’s what matters.” He looked out the window at the scenery, waving his wand he packed everything away in his briefcase, “we’re nearly there, we should get ready.”
We alighted from the train, taking our small amount of luggage with us. All the other passengers alighted from the train, getting into open topped carriages that I would have called horse-drawn except they weren’t horses. “What on earth are those things?
“What things? They’re perfectly normal carriages!”
“Those winged scaly things pulling the carriages!” during this short conversation all the carriages had taken and most had gone off in the direction of the village. I picked up the cage and looked at my travelling companions. “Looks like we’re walking to the school, which way is it?”
“Come on, we’ll go across the lake,” said Hagrid walking if in another direction. We both followed. Those creatures are Thestral’s you can only see them if you’ve seen and understood about death.”
“My grandparents died when I was very little, I don’t really remember them. Does that count?”
“Not really, have you actually seen somebody die, or dead?”
“I’ve never seen anybody die or a dead body, but I do understand about what it means. And I’ve met George and a portrait his brother, Fred, so I suppose that must be how I can see them. I met both twins before the Quidditch World Cup, when they came with their Dad to collect Harry, so I saw them before and after the death.”
“Tha’ must be it.” Hagrid climbed into a small boat that was tied to the jetty, “come on Horace, Dudley, it should take all three of us!” We awkwardly got into the boat, which managed to support the three of us without sinking. Hagrid untied the boat and just told it on. Without any means of propulsion the boat went slowly out across the lake. I looked ahead hoping to catch my first glimpse of Hogwarts, but all I could see was a large ruin in the distance.
“Is that the school, that ruin? It looks dangerous!”
“It’s not as bad as it was, we’re getting it rebuilt, and it’s nowhere near a ruin anymore.” The professor said looking at me.
“Are you kidding it looks like it’s ready to fall down; in fact most of it already has.”
“Is that what you’re seeing? I thought you could see through illusions now. That wand card thing you got from the Ministry.”
“Crap, I forgot that!” I got the card from my wallet and looked again, the castle was transformed, large towers, sparkling windows, and it was a magnificent sight.
We went under a large archway into a large cavern, with a jetty at the back. The boat bumped into the jetty and we climbed quickly out. There was a large stone stairway leading upwards, Hagrid and the professor began to ascend. I followed wondering where in the school was leading to.
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Author note: the next chapter will see the first meeting of Harry and Dudley in over a year! What will Harry’s reaction be to the presence of his cousin in his once safe grounds of Hogwarts?