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 ...
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.
Chapter 3: A Magical Christmas.
After an excellent breakfast, that morning all prepared by Kreacher, I was getting ready to make my way home when Harry handed me a piece of parchment; “this is for your Mum, don’t let your Dad see it. It’ll just look blank to him, but I don’t want him seeing either of you with parchment, he might get the idea you’re in correspondence with freaks like me, and I wouldn’t want any trouble.”
I shook Harry’s hand and tentatively gave Ginny a peck on the cheek, “ok and thanks!
Congratulations again by the way. I can’t wait to tell her your news. I’ll be careful how I tell her if Dad’s around, don’t worry.”
I went out to the car and set off for home.
I pulled into the drive, just in time to see Dad climbing out of his car, damn he was home. No proper catching up with Mum for a while, unless I was careful. Dad nodded in my direction and made his way into the house, leaving the door open for me to unpack my car. I unloaded all I could in one go and carried it to the utility room where Mum kept the washing machine and seeing there was already a load in, left it on the floor and went to unpack the rest of my stuff. I took the small amount if clean clothing and my course books in with me and up to the second floor and into my bedroom, where Mum was pushing the hoover round in her almost obsessive daily routine, that hadn’t changed about her.
I motioned to her to leave the hoover on and follow me to my room. She left it droning away and tithe top of the stairs and followed me in. “Why the secrecy, Dudley? Is anything wrong?”
“Of course not, but Dad will only hear the hoover from downstairs and not our conversation.” I handed her the piece of parchment, I’d been given by Harry and she quickly opened it and read the contents. She looked a little mystified by its contents and handed it to me. ‘Your nephew, Harry James Potter, live at 12 Grimmauld Place, London. I understood now what the reason behind the note was. I handed it back to her and said, “He obviously wanted you to have his address, its protected like our address was that year in Tinworth. He’s one of the secret keepers, he told me, but I can’t tell you.”
“Why would he want his address to be secret? Isn’t he safe now that that evil Lord Voldemort is dead?”
“Of course he is, but apparently he’s a bit of a wizard celebrity and he doesn’t want all the wizard community to know where he lives. He said he’s always getting a lot of fan mail, the ministry sort it for him; he even got a proposal of marriage from one witch who was apparently 107.”
“Oh, well that makes some sort of sense. Go on tell me more how is he?”
“He seems fine; I had a bit of a shock though yesterday evening when he came by to pick me up, he was carrying a boy about 4 years old that looked the spitting image of him when he was younger.”
“Four years old. He had a four year old son? I always thought he was such a shy boy. He was certainly keeping more than a few secrets from us wasn’t he?”
I laughed, “I said almost exactly the same thing Mum; apparently the boy is his Godson, whose parents were killed that year we were in hiding. He some kind of special wizard that can change his appearance at will. Harry was looking after him for the night after his grandmother had fallen and broken her leg. I got quite a shock at his house later when little Teddy, that’s his name, changed at one point to look like me. Harry said that was a sign he liked me, then he told me the real reason he wanted to speak...”
“Go on then, don’t keep me hanging on! What’s the news?”
“Harry is engaged!”
“What? Tell me all about her! Did you meet her? What’s she like? How long has he known her?”
I proceeded to tell Mum all about Ginny and her family that I could from memory and about his comments about the wedding being the wizard event of the year and his prospective mother-in-laws involvement in the planning. She laughed at this, especially Harry’s remark about not wanting to spend the rest of his life as a radish if he eloped with Ginny as I’d suggested. “Well from what you tell me, she seems a nice young lady, I wish I could meet her, but with your father being like he is, I doubt that will happen very soon. I wish he would see that Harry was a better person to us than we were to him, but I don’t think that’s going to happen.” I reluctantly agreed with her and she went back out onto the landing to finish her hovering.
On the Wednesday before Christmas I was in the lounge with Mum and Dad when my mobile phone rang in my pocket. I removed it to look at the number on the display to see who was calling, but all the display said was ‘Ministry of Magic’ that really intrigued me. I mumbled something about wanting to take this call and hurried out into the hallway. “Dudley, hi it’s Harry, I’m calling from work. I’ve just been speaking to the Arthur Weasley, my prospective father-in-law and he wondered whether you would like to spend a couple of days with the family and me over Christmas.”
“I’d love to spend some time with you and your new family over Christmas, what were you thinking about? I can’t come for Christmas Day though; Mum and Dad will expect me at ours for that!”
“I was going to suggest that I collect you the day after Boxing Day and you could stay for New Year as well, I’ll take you by floo. I’m meeting an old friend in the area that day, and if I met you there we could travel to the burrow together.”
“I wasn’t aware you had any friends in this area! I thought Mum and Dad had ruined your reputation with that rubbish about you attending St. Brutus’ School for Criminally Incurable Boys. But if that can be arranged it would be great. Who’s your friend?”
“Well, if you think about it a little, you may be able to guess. She helped me out one particular night with you.”
I pondered this for a moment, helped him with me one particular night. “Hang on, do you mean Mrs. Figg. I thought being a squib she wasn’t connected to the floo network; she mentioned something about having no contact with the magical world when we were talking about you that first summer.”
“I do, but she’s been connected up since then, it’s some idea of Kingsley Shacklebolt’s, keeping in touch with anyone who has magical connections. You never know when they might be useful. He was right about that, although for slightly different reasons than he might think in this case. So do you think you could come?”
“Definitely, what time did you think of meeting me?”
“About three! If you drive to Mrs. Figg’s, she’ll allow you to put your car in her garage so your father won’t notice it and we’ll go from there.”
“Ok, thanks! I’ll see you next week!” With that I hung up and sat on the stairs for a few minutes thinking about how I was going to tell my parents about this one, without making Dad do an impression of an erupting volcano.
“Who was your call from son?” asked Dad as I went back into the lounge.
“A friend from University, he’s just got engaged,” I saw Mum look at me with a knowing look in her eyes. I just continued as if I hadn’t noticed, “he’s invited me to go see him just after Christmas and see in the New Year with him.”
“When would you be going, you know we’re going to see Marge on the 29th, she’s not been too well this year and is thinking of moving into a retirement home!”
“I’ll be going the 27th, Dad, I’m sorry, but you’ll have to give Aunt Marge my apologies.” That was lucky; no slobbering kisses this year and no Ripper to savage my leg. Dad accepted this, but did go on and on telling me how disappointed Marge would be, as if trying to convince me to change my plans. No chance of that.
Christmas with Mum and Dad was the same as usual; Mum had cooked enough to feed an army and Dad make his usual attempt to eat a whole platoon’s worth of food. I was glad I’d lost my previous over-eating issues, although I’m still sure I ate too much, but that’s Christmas for you. Dad tried a couple of times to get me to change my plans for the New Year, but there was no way I was missing out on my plans. I’d been into town after Harry had called me and brought a couple of presents for some of the family I knew would be there, but I gathered there would be a whole clan gathering by New Year, but I couldn’t afford to buy something for everyone, student grant’s don’t go that far and although I knew I could get money off Dad if I’d asked him. I wanted these gifts to be from me.
Mum even surprised me by giving me a large parcel from her. I didn’t know what it was or when she’d got it, but I’m sure whatever it was, he would appreciate the gesture behind it at least.
So on the 27th, I ate lunch with my parents and drove off to Mrs. Figg’s deliberately going in the wrong direction so as not to give Dad any indication of my real destination. I pulled into Mrs. Figg’s driveway at about quarter to three, only to see her looking through the window. She waved and disappeared back behind the curtain. I was just getting from the car when the door to her garage opened and she was inside beckoning me in. It was nice to see her again, although we’d talked quite a bit a couple of years ago when she’d been telling me about Harry, we hadn’t spoken that much since. With my university work and everything, I hadn’t been around that much. I did know that her cat, Mr. Tibbles had passed away about a year ago, so I was a little surprised when she called out as we went into the house through the back door, “Mr. Tibbles, if you could bring some tea and cakes into the lounge please.” Oh dear, was she going senile in her old age?
Imagine my surprise as we sat down in the lounge to see a house elf dressed in the usual colour blinding arrangement of clothes that they all seemed to favour bringing in a tray. The tray was set up for three people, although at the moment, there was only the two of us. As Mrs. Figg thanked the house elf there was a loud crack from the back garden and Harry walked into the lounge through the kitchen. “Hello Dudley, Mrs. Figg, Happy Christmas, if a bit late.” We all sat in the lounge drinking tea and eating cake, a big improvement on the fare when I’d first been here, that time the cake had been slightly stale and the whole house had smelled vaguely of cats. Although there was still a couple of cats in evidence the whole house seemed a lot cleaner and brighter as well.
“When did you get a house elf, Mrs. Figg? I thought they were confined to magical families?”
It seemed that when her cat had died, she had been trying to get some help around the house from Social Services, but they wouldn’t help, so she had spoken to Harry by floo, and he had arranged it all. With the wizarding community now wanting to keep track of all squibs, it was agreed that she could get a house elf to help her out, and it was a great help. She’d named him after her favourite cat. I don’t know if I’d have liked to have been named after a cat, but the house elf seemed happy enough about it.
Soon it was time for Harry and I to leave, I picked up the rucksack as I listened to his instructions on how to travel by floo powder. Slightly apprehensively I threw the powder he’d given me into the fire, said “the burrow” and quickly stepped into the green flames. It was like one of those mad fairground rides where you sit in some kind of seat and go round and round. I was nearly ready to throw up when it stopped and I could see a friendly looking rotund woman waiting to help me out of the grate. Wizard travel was faster, but I think I preferred Muggle transportation thank you very much.
As I stepped into the kitchen of a very ramshackle looking house, the fireplace behind me gave a whoosh and Harry emerged from the fireplace. “I see you’ve met my prospective mother-in-law, Dudley, has she introduced herself properly yet?”
“No dear, I haven’t had time.” She gave me a big hug, “so nice to meet you properly at last Dudley, I must say I approve of the changes since I last saw you!”
I was puzzled, “where have you seen me before Mrs. Weasley, I’m positive we’ve never met!”
“No dear we haven’t but I remember the rather fat pasty looking boy who was trying to hide behind his parents at Kings Cross. You’ve lost a lot of weight and look at lot healthier for it.”
“Er! Thank you! There was the sound of a clock getting ready to strike from somewhere in the kitchen and I followed Mrs. Weasley’s gaze to the oddest clock I’d seen. There were four hands with faces on them. The one showing what I presumed was Mr. Weasley was showing travelling and then moved to home. A tall gentleman with ginger hair starting to grey came in the door.
“Hello Harry, is this your Cousin Dudley?” he held out his hand. “It’s nice to meet you properly at last; I’ve never been able to thank you for getting me that promotion at the ministry.
Harry looked mystified at this turn of events. Obviously he hadn’t been told it all. “When I went to see the Minister a few years back I made a phone call in his office using my mobile, I told him that a Ministry employee had enchanted it to work in a Magical environment. It was that which encouraged him to offer Mr. Weasley the new post as Minister for Technology.”
“So that’s how he got the job. He never did tell me in any detail, so between you you’re both responsible for saving my life!”
“What’s that dear?” asked Mrs. Weasley, looking a little alarmed.
“Do you remember about twelve months ago when I was after Yaxley, well he fired the killing curse at me. It hit the mobile phone that Dudley had given me. That phone was enchanted to work in a magical environment and it was Arthur who invented the spell. I knew he’d been made the Minister for Technology but not how he’d got the job. So in his own way he’s paid me back for the incident with the snake in the fifth year!”
I was suddenly engulfed in almost bone crushing hug. “So you saved Harry’s life, it seems your family is extremely lucky for ours. Harry has saved Ginny, Arthur and Ron’s lives and now I learn your responsible for saving his.” She gave me a quick kiss on the cheek. After all the fuss had died down and we were all sitting comfortably I got a couple of small gifts from my rucksack and handed them to Mr. and Mrs. Weasley. “Oh Dudley, you shouldn’t have!” said Mrs. Weasley opening the parcel to find a box of chocolates. “Ooh thank you, I love Muggle chocolates,” she quickly removed one from the box and bit into it with a dreamy expression.
Mr. Weasley looked mystified at the small number of items that had come from his present.
“Erm! What exactly is this Dudley?” I took one of the small twisted wire puzzles from his hands and manoeuvred them about in my hands for a moment and showed him the two separate pieces, twisted them about in my hands again for a few seconds to show them locked together again. His face lit up. “Ooh! More Muggle magic like that box of your mother’s!” he spent the rest of the evening, twisting the individual puzzles about in his hands with mutters of, “amazing, ingenious, and fascinating” under his breath.
I gave Harry the parcel from Mum and he raised his eyebrows and opened the parcel. It was a hand knitted jumper with a broomstick on the front. His eyes lit up and he pulled it on. It was a little on the large side for him, but his face lit up in a wide grin. “You’ll have to thank her for me Dudley, this is great!”
Ginny and Ron arrived later, they’d been helping George in the shop; the sale season struck everywhere. Ginny smiled when she saw me, but Ron had a scowl on his face. “What’s he doing here? He was a bullying git to Harry.”
“We invited him Ron and you’d better be polite to him, he told us earlier how he apparently was responsible for saving Harry’s life.”
“What? How? When?” the entire story was told again for Ron’s benefit and he looked a little sheepishly at me! “Sorry Dudley, but I remember Harry talking about you when we were at school. You didn’t come across as the nicest person. He really didn’t like you!!”
“I understand; I really don’t like the me I was then either.” I handed them both the presents I’d bought for them after I’d been invited.
“Err! Thanks,” said Ron, I feel a bit of a git now; I haven’t got anything for you.”
The rest of the evening was spent telling each other stories about Harry, Ron especially liked hearing about him turning the teacher’s hair blue when we were in primary school, and I enjoyed hearing about his exploits at school. Eventually I was shown upstairs to the bedroom which had been the twins, Harry and I were sharing which was a surprise to me, but it was good that he felt comfortable enough around me to sleep in my presence, if it’d been the other way round and I was the one treated the same way I’d treated him, I wouldn’t have been.
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