After the Incident with the Dementors Dudley has made peace of a sort with Harry. This is hopefully the furtherance of their friendship / family relationship after they leave school and move on to ...
Disclaimer: I have no rights to these characters, they being the sole property of JK Rowling and am making no money from said story.
Chapter 2: You’ve Been Keeping Secrets...
I was sitting in the Leaky Cauldron nursing a butterbeer and waiting for my cousin to come and tell me his good news that he’d mentioned in the letter he’d owled me with yesterday; and wondering what this friend’s accident was when I heard the door to the pub open and a tall individual with a hood covering his face and cradling a small child in his arms walked in.
The individual looked around the bar and quickly headed towards the side table where I was sitting and quietly sat down. “Sorry about the delay, Dudley, but as Neville probably explained a friend had an accident, so it meant a slight change of plans.” The child on his shoulder looked up and across at me. It was like seeing Harry as he’d been when he was about five, although this boy looked a lot better fed than Harry ever had.
“Good grief Harry, I think you’ve got some explaining to do to me. That’s never your son. He must have been born while you were still at school. You’ve been keeping some secrets to yourself.”
Harry looked a little puzzled for a moment then seemed to notice that the boy in his arms looked like him. “Oh sorry, didn’t realise he’d changed on me! This is Teddy, he’s my godson. His parent’s died in the Battle of Hogwarts and he usually stays with his grandmother, but she fell down the stairs at home earlier and broke her leg, so I’ve got Teddy for the night while she’s in St. Mungos. That was the accident I mentioned to Neville earlier.”
“What do you mean changed?”
“Teddy is a Metamorphmagus, which means he’s a special type of wizard that can change his appearance at will. Normally he’s brown haired, with brown eyes, but he must’ve changed since his appearance since I picked him up. Anyway I was going to tell you my news here, but I need to get Teddy home to bed at mine, so if it’s alright with you, I’ll apparate us all to my house. Where did you park your car anyway? Don’t want to get you too far from it; you’ll need it later if you’re going to drive home.”
“I parked it a few streets away, in a little square, called Grimmauld Place. It was one of the few places I could find with no double yellow lines. I hope that’s not too far to walk back to from yours later.”
Harry laughed, “No it’s not that far from mine, you’ll understand when we get there. We’ll have to go outside to apparate. The bar’s got a disapparition jinx on it. Can’t leave from here.”
We went outside and I grasped Harry’s arm tightly. I didn’t like apparating that much, but I was willing to put up with it, to find out Harry’s news, and to see what was meant by his cryptic remark about me understanding when we got there.
I felt the familiar feeling of being sucked through a straw and we were in the small square where I’d parked earlier. My car was outside number 13, next door to number 11. I’d noticed the oddity of no number 12 earlier when remembering where I’d parked.
“You live here? What number 11 or 13?”
He laughed again, “neither!” then in a rather formal manner he said. “I, your cousin, Harry James Potter, live at number 12 Grimmauld Place.” I looked at him to see if there was an explanation for his rather cryptic statement, there was no number 12. I was about to say something when I noticed that between 11 and 13 there was now another house. Harry knocked on the door and it was opened by a familiar face.
“Hello Ginny,” I said, “don’t tell me you’ve actually moved in with my cousin. He has been keeping things from me.”
“No! I’m only here for tonight as he’s babysitting Teddy. I’m still living at home with Mum, Dad and Ron.”
We were interrupted by Kreacher, Harry’s house elf who was dressed in an eye watering outfit. His trousers were a patchwork of green and red, his shirt a rather vibrant orange. “Good evening Master Harry, Kreacher has prepared the bedroom next to yours for young Master Teddy, will you be taking him up straight away.”
“Thank you, Kreacher, I don’t think so. He’s had a traumatic evening, I’ll keep him with us for now, and he’ll be more comfortable in company. Could you make him a cup of your excellent chocolate and I think tea for three. Is tea alright with you Dudley?”
“Fine thanks, I’ve had too much butterbeer for tonight. I’m curious to find out what you news is. You were a bit mysterious in your letter last night. I also wonder why you don’t phone me when you want a reply. I don’t think you’ve ever used the mobile I bought you!”
“Well there’s two reasons for me not telephoning you. This house is unplottable, that means it doesn’t show up on maps or anything, but it also means that if I tried to use the mobile phone I’m always out of range, no signal. But then there’s this.” He picked a battered looking phone off the mantle and handed it to me. I looked at it. It was the one I’d given him, but it looked as if it had been micro waved, shot, and melted in a furnace. It was a mess. “That’s the result of a killing curse. One of the remaining Death Eaters tried to kill me, and the phone absorbed the curse, saving my life, but unfortunately it was fatal to the phone.”
“It saved your life, well I’m glad it was some use, even if not the use I’d intended. I’d have hated to lose you before your time.”
We made our way into a lounge and sat down on comfy chairs, Teddy was placed on a sofa opposite me, with Ginny sitting next to him. “It’s done more than that! There’s a team of research wizards at the Ministry trying to find out what happened. Normally the killing curse is unstoppable. If they can replicate what that phone did, they will have found a way to protect the Aurors tracking down remaining Death Eaters and other dangerous criminals.”
Kreacher came in with a tea tray with a silver teapot, three teacups and a mug of steaming chocolate. “Thank you Kreacher, I won’t need you for the rest of the night, either Ginny or I will put Teddy to bed. I’ll see you in the morning at breakfast in the morning.”
“Thank you Master Harry, Kreacher will go to his room then, but if you changes your mind, you just need to call. Goodnight Masters, Miss Ginny.” He quietly left the room.
Harry handed the mug of chocolate to Teddy, who to my surprise had changed again; he now had blue eyes and blonde hair. “He must like you Dudley; he only copies people he likes. I’ll have to check whether Andromeda has been dropping him on his head, it’s gotta be brain damage. Harry laughed.
“Thanks. Nice to know I’m appreciated; I drive nearly 200 miles to be insulted. Who’s Andromeda, anyway?”
“Andromeda Tonks, Teddy’s maternal grandmother, she was Sirius’ cousin. Her family cut her off when she married a Muggleborn. Nice family the Blacks were; all that pureblood nonsense. They only decent one was Sirius, my godfather, it was another cousin of his Bellatrix, that killed him.”
“Crikey, you’ve got me worried now, cousins killing each other, we’re not going to have a go at each other are we? I don’t want that!”
“No! You’re alright; I never wanted to kill you. I was tempted to curse you once or twice, but then again you did bully me an awful lot. I’ve got over that mostly.”
“Only mostly! Thanks for the warning I’ll be extra careful then.”
“It’s not a problem. The you I wanted to curse doesn’t exist anymore. He was that fat, obnoxious, arrogant bully who made my life hell at Privet Drive. You’re not him anymore. I really do think you had a personality transplant from that dementor. I can’t think of another explanation.”
“Thanks!” I laughed. Then in a slightly aggressive tone, “but are you going to tell me your news or, am I going to have to beat it out of you like that obnoxious bully that I was. Harry looked at me over the rim of his teacup; it was obvious that my last mark had unnerved him slightly. I sputtered into my tea. “Come on Harry, I’m joking.”
He relaxed a bit and looked at Ginny who held out her hand. There on her ring finger was a fabulous gold and diamond ring that I hadn’t noticed before. “I asked Ginny to marry me and she agreed.” His face had a grin that threatened to split his head in two it was that wide.
“Congratulations. I dunno, you get all the luck, nice house, pretty girlfriend, sorry fiancé; and here’s me, still living at home, no girlfriend, and a group of friends at University who think I’m a bit of a weirdo for getting owls turning up all the time. That’s obviously the good news, so what’s the bad? Has her brother stopped talking to you, or something?”
“No! It’s her mother!”
“What? I thought she’d be over the moon, I mean her whole family loved you from what I remember seeing. I thought she’d be ecstatic at the news that you’re getting married?”
“She is! Unfortunately, she’s decided it’s her job to organise the wedding. So you can imagine, it’s going to be the biggest thing on wizarding history since the foundation of Hogwarts. I think we should just do what Fred said at Bill’s wedding. Tie her up until it’s all over and everybody just turn up in whatever they wanted.” He gave a pained laugh, but his eyes were sad, probably remembering that Fred would never get married. He’d died in the battle of Hogwarts.
“Either that,” I said. “Or you could do it the Muggle way and elope to Gretna Green and get married there!”
Ginny laughed. But harry said, “No thanks. I’d rather not spend the rest of my life as a radish thanks. I’ll let her Mum organise it, grin and bear it, so to speak.”
“Oh well, you have my sympathy then, have you told anyone else yet or am I the first?”
“Well, Ginny’s family all know, Andromeda and now Teddy, I was planning to tell you before them, you being immediate family but... as things happened today. I thought she could do with a little good news. But other than that you’re among the first, even her brother Charlie doesn’t know yet. Athena’s flying the letter out to him in Romania as we speak.”
Teddy had finally fallen asleep on the sofa and Ginny picked him up to take him up to bed, I looked at the clock. “Oh blimey, it’s nearly 11, I should get off.”
“You could stay here, you can phone from outside in the square, the unplottable charm wears off out there!”
I looked at the time and considered the time I would get home, “if that’s no trouble, I think I’ll take you up on the offer, I’ll just pop outside to phone home.” I quickly left and went out to my car, retrieved something clean to put on tomorrow and phoned home.
“Dursley residence, Vernon Dursley speaking, what do you want at this time of night.”
Oh crap, it would have to be Dad who answered, “Hi Dad, it’s me, I am at a friend’s in London, what with catching up and everything, it’s later than I realised, so I’m stopping here overnight and I’ll come back tomorrow. I don’t want to be driving so late!”
“Ok Dudley, I’ll tell your mother. Who’s your friend? Anyone I know?”
“No, Dad, it’s just a friend who graduated last year and we’re catching up!”
“All right, I’ll see you tomorrow then, enjoy yourself!” I picked up the present for Harry and made my way back into the house.
I walked back into the lounge; Ginny had come back from putting Teddy to bed and was sitting next to Harry on the sofa. “Dad answered the phone so I told him I was with a friend who graduated last year. Mum knows the truth; she’ll understand when he tells her. I don’t like lying, but it’s a requirement with Dad, he still goes ape whenever you or magic are concerned.”
“I understand; the supplies we purchased from his company for the reconstruction of Hogwarts were often late or wrong. In the end, we changed to another company. It was a slight inconvenience to the community at the first dealing with another Muggle company. I mean your father knew all about magic, but his attitude made it impossible to work with him.”
“I think he’s got worse since then, although he doesn’t actually say anything in front of Mum and I, you can see him chewing his moustache and going purple in the face whenever you are mentioned or anything about your world.”
“What does he say about your choice of degree and future career choices? When we first met back up at Hogwarts, you motioned he was preparing a place in his company for you?”
“Oh God, you should hear him on social workers, ‘bloody busybodies’, ‘interfering know it all’s’, and ‘nosy good for nothings’ in his opinion. Not that his opinion matters that much to me now. He still can’t see the truth that as a family we abused you in your childhood. He was the perfect parent and carer to you and me in his view. Pphht!”
“I understand, it was you and your Mum that most surprised me. Your Mum more than you, she was always so anti-magic, of course I can understand her reasoning, even if it was wrong. Perhaps if Dumbledore had explained better in letter to her, he was always keeping things to himself to make life easier for others. Of course in his way he was a genius, he just used to forget others weren’t, I miss him in a way.”
“I wish I could have met him again. He made an impression on me that night he told you that your godfather had left you a house. This one I’m presuming? What was all that formality when we were in the square? Why couldn’t I see the house?”
“The Fidelius Charm, I’m one of several secret keepers about its existence, Dumbledore was the original Secret Keeper, when he died, everyone he’d told became a secret keeper. As everyone who knew the secret was part of the Order of the Phoenix and loyal in their way to me, we decided to leave it in place. There are still some Death Eaters out there, who want to get me, and I have a bit of a reputation in the wizard world as a celebrity, so it sort of helps that way, I don’t have reporters or fans on my doorstep every time I step outside the front door.”
“Oh god, my cousin the celebrity. You even have paparazzi in your world? What magazines do they work for?”
“Well there’s Witch Weekly, the Daily Prophet, and I’ve even had Play Wizard trying to persuade me to do a photo-shoot. I’m afraid Witch Weekly are going to lose one of their most eligible bachelors soon. I can’t say I’ll miss that, my post has to be sorted by the ministry, I apparently got five proposals of marriage last week in the post. The oldest person offering was 107, I mean I’m flattered but really.”
“107, come on,” I laughed, “she’d not last past the wedding night!”
“I think I have it quite lucky in that the ministry intercepts all that sort of thing for me. I occasionally see the amount of post I get when I go to work, it was about a sackful last week, and that was quiet. Most of it gets returned with some sort of polite note, for which I’m grateful.”
“Another illusion destroyed, even the wizarding world gets junk mail, and here was me thinking of moving into your world to escape it!”
Ginny looked puzzled, “What’s junk mail? Who’d post rubbish through the post?” Harry and I then spent the better part of half an hour explaining the concept of junk mail to Ginny, by the end of which we were all yawning and called it a night. harry and Ginny made their way to their rooms and myself to the guest room indicated. This had been a long day and I was glad it was over and that Harry and myself were getting along so well...
Please Review: I know this sounds like a cliché, but reviews are the only way for a fanfic author to know how they’re doing. Sometimes a comment by a reviewer can spark the flames that will allow the story to use the ‘floo’ and progress faster, rather than using muggle transport. Ha Ha.
Author Note: Gretna Green is just over the border in Scotland, the law was slightly different in Scotland for a long while, and you could get married at 16. Didn’t need the permission of parents etc. It is still a popular spot for weddings even though the laws in England have now changed.