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 ...
“So what exactly is a social worker?” Ron asked me the next morning; Ginny was also trying to understand the role I would be playing after graduation.
“you know of my situation when I was living with Dudley and his parents, made to sleep in the cupboard under the stairs, almost starved, made to do all the chores. Well a social worker is employed by the local authority to investigate things like that. If the situation warrants it they could take action, remove the victim from the abusive atmosphere, and possibly take legal action against the abusers. Their responsibilities cover everything from children to adults.”
“Yes, but there is one vital thing needed, knowledge. The authorities didn’t know about Harry’s situation with us. It was one of those situations that fell through the system. Harry’s placement with us was handled by the wizard community, but the Muggle authorities should have been notified. They knew nothing about it, the lies told by my parents were believed by our neighbours, they all thought Harry was a troublemaker. Nothing was done to help Harry. It is highly likely that if the authorities had known about his situation, he would have been removed from our care, my parents prosecuted, and myself put into care as well. Placed with foster parents, it would probably have been better all round if that had been what happened. But if it had, I’d have lost my cousin.”
“I’m sorry to say Dudley, but for most of the time I spent with you and your family, I would have welcomed the prospect. My life was hell. Everything that went wrong was my fault, even if it wasn’t. I couldn’t do anything right. You were the perfect one, huh; you were a perfect bully, you were bloody awful to me. I hated your guts.”
“But, why wasn’t anything done, surely the Muggle authorities knew something was going on?” asked Ginny.
“I don’t think they did! I spoke to Professor McGonagall after the battle, before Dudley arrived. She had pleaded with Dumbledore not to place me with the Dursleys. She had seen, no offence Dudley, that in her words they were ‘the worst sort of muggles imaginable’. She tried to convince him to place me with a wizard family, any wizard family. I can see both points of view now, but before the battle of Hogwarts I wouldn’t have.”
Ron looked puzzled, “what do mean, how you understood something after the battle? What happened?”
“Honestly Ron, didn’t you realise when Voldemort came back with my body that he must have used the killing curse on me again. I survived because of the first time he tried. All my life until that moment I had two souls, I was the seventh horcrux.”
“Hang on Harry,” I asked, “what’s a horcrux? You’ve lost me, two souls, what are you talking about?”
“Ok Dudley, what you are about to learn is known to only a few people, Ron and Hermione know most of it. It’s mostly new to Ginny as well. So please leave any questions till I’ve finished. Ok!” Ginny and I were nodding, we both wanted to hear this.
“Ok, there was once an orphan called Tom Marvolo Riddle, he was obsessed with becoming immortal, never dying. To do this he broke his soul into several pieces and put some of the pieces into special containers; these containers are called Horcruxes. For his own reasons, he used objects associated with the Hogwarts founders, Helga Hufflepuffs cup, Rowena Ravenclaws diadem, Salazar Slytherins locket. There was also a ring owned by the last descendants of Slytherin, a diary in which he told his part in an incident at the school over 50 years ago.” Ginny gasped at this last revelation and looked at Harry who saw her and nodded.
“These five objects and his pet snake were the containers he used. These all had to be destroyed before he could die. When he tried to kill me as a baby, his soul was so fragile that part of it split off and attached itself to the only living thing in the room; me. His body was recovered and burned by the wizard authorities, who thought this was the end, but it wasn’t; because of his Horcruxes, his soul didn’t leave to its ultimate fate whatever that is. It hung around because it was anchored by the other pieces. We hunted and destroyed the last few Horcruxes that year you were in hiding. The snake was the last but one, I received news through Snape’s memories that I was the seventh horcrux and I had to die by Voldemort’s hand. If anyone else had attacked me with the killing curse I would have died properly, but as it was, Voldemort killed the piece of his own soul, my own was untouched. I was still alive, his dark magic spells were prevented from working properly on me because of my mother’s protection, and because I had been willing to die for everyone else, they were protected because of what I had done.”
“He used Avada Kedavra on you again and you survived again?” gulped Ginny.
“Yes, and it’s partly because of that and another incident that a lot of the wizard world thinks I’m unkillable, but I said no interruptions. Where was I?... oh yes I was lying stunned on the ground and Voldemort ordered Narcissa Malfoy to check I was dead, she lied for reasons of her own. Voldemort and his cronies brought my body back to the castle, while he was torturing Neville I rolled into my cape and out of Hagrid’s arms, and then Neville killed the snake. I revealed myself and defeated Voldemort by disarming him, causing his own death as his spell rebounded on him half-cast, killing him for good this time. If I hadn’t been living under the protection of my mother’s blood all my life, been adopted by any wizard family, I wouldn’t have survived to adulthood, some Death Eater or other would have found me and killed me. Voldemort would have eventually risen to power, but this time, unstoppable. So, you see, I understand why it was done. I didn’t particularly like it, but in a way I appreciate it now, because now I have the family I should have had all those years, or near enough.”
“Bloody hell Harry, I didn’t know a lot of that,” said Ron, looking awestruck. Ginny was trying very hard to hold back tears. Mrs. Weasley walked into the lounge, something red under her arm and slapped Ron about the back of the head.
“Language, Ronald,” she handed me the red something from under her arm. “Here Dudley, just a little something to say thank you for saving Harry’s life!”
Ron looked incredulously at me as I shook open the red something to reveal a hand knitted sweater, on the front was a shield and if you looked closely at it, the shield could be seen as a cleverly disguised mobile phone. I quickly pulled the jumper over my head and straightened it up. It fit perfectly. I got up to give Mrs. Weasley a hug. “Thank you, this is brilliant!”
“Oh! It’s nothing dear! Just a jumper!” said Mrs. Weasley blushing.
“I don’t believe it!” said Ron, “you’ve got a Weasley jumper, that’s almost a formal certificate of adoption to the family.”
Harry laughed at this, “I remember the first Christmas at Hogwarts, and I got presents, real presents for the first time in my life. One of them was a jumper, knitted by Ron’s mom,” Mrs. Weasley looked aside at Harry, “sorry by Molly. It meant so much to me. I still get one every Christmas, always the same blue colour. It feels the same every year as if I’m part of a family. That’s why the jumper your Mum knitted for me means such a lot.” He straightened the jumper he was wearing, it was the one knitted for him by Mum, the broomstick clearly visible on the chest.
“I wish I’d brought my camera, Mum would love to see you in the jumper she’d knitted for you. It would mean a lot to her.”
Mrs. Weasley shot off and returned with a camera that looked like it belonged in a museum. She quickly snapped a picture of Harry, the flash coming from a bar that she held in her other hand. “Let me get one of the two of you together,” she said tapping the bar with her wand. I went to stand beside Harry and she picked the camera off the table again and ‘flash’ she took another photo. I walked over to her and whispered in her ear. “Of course dear! Let me think a moment. it’s a pity we didn’t think of this yesterday when everyone was here, but the boys went home early this morning after seeing the new year in, and Arthur’s had to pop into work.”
She waved her wand and the camera floated up to eye height, “alright everyone together.” We all crowded together, Harry and Ginny next to each other, Mrs. Weasley next to them, and Ron and myself at the back. The camera flashed and then floated down to the table again. “I’ll send those pictures by owl in a few days when they’re developed, don’t worry, I’ll make sure they arrive in the middle of the day when you Dad’s at work.”
“thank you, Mum asked me about the girl Harry was getting engaged to, I could only tell her so much; that she was an attractive red head and the little about her family I could recall from memory, but a picture means so much more.
“Oh, I quite agree dear! Now would any one like some lunch? It won’t take long,” and she was off into the kitchen.
Back at home later that day after my ‘long, tiring’ drive back from my friends house, which in reality had been using the floo to Mrs. Figg’s and driving the two streets back home; I was seated in the lounge with Mum and Dad relating to them all about the time I’d spent with Harry’s new family, with no reference to magic because of Dad. I don’t know if he was suspicious or anything, but he did keep giving me the occasional funny look when I mentioned some names. I referred to Harry throughout our little chat as ‘Gary’, he didn’t seem to react in any way to this name, but Ron and George seemed to cause him to look as if he were trying to remember something, but for the most part I think he was clueless as to where I’d really been.
I was in my room working on an assignment that had to be handed in when I returned after the holidays when there was a knock at my bedroom door, and I called out for them to come in. It was Mum eager for more detailed news. Dad having taken himself off to bed, pleading lingering tiredness from the night before. I showed Mum the jumper I’d been given by Mrs. Weasley and explained the reason behind the picture and told her to expect some wizard photos soon from her when Dad was at work.
She was delighted to hear that Harry had liked the jumper she had knitted for him and pressed me for anything more I could tell her about the Weasley’s and Ginny in particular. She wanted to know everything she could about her future in-laws. “I remember him having a lot of red haired friends whenever we picked him up, is it the same family? There did always seem to be an awful lot of them.”
“it’s the same family, Ron was the first friend Harry met on the Hogwarts express, Ginny is his little sister, they’ve been friends ever since. He even accompanied Harry on his travels the year we were in hiding.” I then told her something if what I understood about the horcrux things that Harry had related to me, I left out the bit about him being one though; I didn’t understand it completely myself that much.
This all took about an hour after which I went on to finish the assignment for college and climbed into bed myself.
We had not received any owl post from Mrs. Weasley by the time I returned to college but Mum said she would phone me and let me know when she received them and gave me a kiss as I headed back to university with all clean clothes in my baggage instead of the dirty laundry I’d arrived with.
It had been an interesting holiday season and I could hardly wait for the next time Harry and I met up...
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