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Chapter 8: A New Start
“Minister? Harry Potter is here to see you.”
“Oh thank you Debbie, Harry my dear friend come in!” Kingsley Shacklebolt said looking up from his desk that was covered in a disorganised mess of papers.
“Hey Minister” I said walking into his office. He smiled. I was definitely glad Kingsley had been newly named the permanent minister of magic; he would definitely do a good job. Although he was going to be very busy for a very long time.
“What can I do for you Harry?” He asked, stifling a yawn. I couldn’t imagine he was getting much sleep lately.
“Actually Sir, I’m kind of asking for a favour...” He raised his eye brows. “If it’s possible...”
“And what is this favour Mr Potter?”
“I know that under special circumstances a muggle may know about the magical world... about wizards and witches.” He nodded.
“Like with your cousin.”
“Yeah like with Dudley... This favour is kind of to do with him. He needs a job you see and...”
“And you would like to know if I can find a minimal job here for him at the ministry?” He guessed.
“Actually no, I was thinking he could replace Charity Burbage...”
“The old muggle studies teacher at Hogwarts?”
“Yes, maybe not long term. Just for a year or so. I think it would be beneficial to learn about muggles and the muggle world through muggles eyes you know? Especially after everything that’s happened with Voldemort.”
“So you’re asking for my permission for Dudley to become eligible for the job?”
“Yes...” I sighed. “But there’s more...” Kingsley chuckled.
“Well I agree to giving Dudley the muggle studies job but what is part two?”
“Partners of those with magical abilities are under those special circumstances right?”
“Indeed. Where exactly is this going Harry?”
“So if Dudley were to become the muggle studies professor, his partner would be able to know right?” Kingsley smiled.
“Yes indeed, he or she would if they were in a committed relationship with your cousin. Is this person trustworthy with this information though, that is the question?”
“I’ve met her Sir and I believe so. I’ll vouch for her. If not, I will personally use a memory charm on her.”
“Well in that case Mr Potter you have a deal.” Kingsley said standing to shake his hand. “I’ll have word with the head master immediately. Okay?”
“Thank you Sir.” I replied shaking his hand. “And Kingsley... get some sleep. You look like you need it. The world isn’t going to change overnight. Don’t try to.”
“Thank you for the advice Harry” He smiled.
“Dursley, stop moping around on your arse and get in the shower.” Harry bellowed.
“Why should I? We’re only going on a train to Hogwarts. I’ll shower when I get there.” I sighed.
“We have someone to pick up first.”
“Penny!? Harry we can’t she’s normal! I mean... she’s a muggle. How is she supposed to come with us?” I yelled jumping out of my seat.
“I had a talk with the minister. I vouched for her. That and I got you a job.”
“You...you did what? How? Why?” I stammered.
“Because you needed one and I can tell you need her. You’re family Dud, you’re important to me. So she is now too. Besides, Ginny seems to like her.”
“Harry... I... I don’t know what to say to you...”
“It’s called thank you now hurry up and get your arse in the shower.”
I ran for the shower and got cleaned up as quickly as possible, hell I even shaved. I struggled frantically to get dressed and took the stairs two at a time. Harry was ready and waiting in the kitchen.
“We’ll apparate into London. From there we’ve got a ministry car from there. He’ll take us to pick up Penny and then drive us to the station. Hurry we don’t have much time.”
“We’re taking the train to Hogwarts? Why don’t we just floo or apparate?”
“Dudley we don’t want to rush her. The train will give you a few hours to explain to her everything that’s happened. And it gives me a chance to talk to you about your new job.”
“Right... what exactly is my new job?”
“Teacher?” I asked as he grabbed my arm and we apparated. We arrived in London and he steered me towards the ministry car and shoved me into the back seat. We gave the driver the address and headed for Penny’s.
My leg was bouncing up and down nervously and my brain was going a million miles an hour. How do I explain everything to her? How do I convince her to come with us? Shit what do I say to her father... oh crap her father. Last time she spent the night at my house. Bollocks!
“Mr Potter, Mr Dursley... We’ve arrived.” The driver said opening the door. Deep breath Dud.
“I’ll stay here in the car. This is your job Dudley. Not mine. If she truly loves you, she’ll understand, she’ll believe you.” Harry said earnestly
“And if she doesn’t? What if she reacts badly?” He frowned.
“Then I’m afraid I’ll have to wipe her memory D, it was my condition with the minister.”
“So no pressure then.” I slammed the car door and went up to the front door.
I knocked loudly and her father answered, he didn’t look too impressed.
“Alright, I’m just going to come out and say this. What are your intentions with my daughter. I’ve seen her treated poorly in the past. And I will not tolerate it a second time, am I understood?”
“Yes Sir, I completely understand. Trust me when I say this, your daughter means the world to me. I would never do anything to harm her. Please is she here?” I said hurriedly.
“Penny! Dudley is here!” He yelled up the stairs and went to walk away.
“Sir, please stay. You’ll need to hear this too.” Jesus that man has a strong poker face.
“Dud? What’s going on?” Penny said appearing at the bottom of the stairs.
“Penny listen to me very carefully okay? Do you love me?”
“Yes... of course I do. Dudley what’s all this about?” She asked worriedly, looking from me to her father. The older man folded his arms and watched me with a cold look in his eye.
“I’ve been offered a job. In Scotland. A very important job Penny. I want you to come with me. Please.” I took a deep breath. “I know this is sudden but I need to leave real soon. Our train leaves in just under an hour. We need to get to Kingscross Station. Penny I love you, please, please come with me...” I begged. Looking at her and flicking my gaze back and forth from her father. I swear... I think I saw him smile.
“Well... I think my question has been answered young man. Penny my love, there’s a suitcase under my bed. I think you’re going to need it.” The man smiled, patting me on the back.
“How... how long would we be gone?” Penny asked.
“I honestly don’t know. But Penny please, trust me.”
“Okay... I...I trust you. I don’t know why, I mean this is crazy. But it feels right.” She ran upstairs and I followed. “That room is mine. Just grab all my clothes out of the wardrobe, I don’t own very much. I’ll get the suitcase.”
I went into her room and she was right, there wasn’t much in there. Her bed, an unfinished art board, her writing desk and a lamp. I opened her wardrobe and grabbed all the clothes hanging on hangers. She came in with the suitcase and dumped them in. And emptied out her underwear drawer into it. I grabbed her hair brush of her desk and threw it in.
“What else do you need?” I asked. She shook her head.
“I don’t know, I can’t take all my art stuff. Just grab a few pencils and that blue paintbrush. That’s all I need. I’ll buy a new tooth brush and stuff when we get to Scotland. Let’s go.” She replied zipping up her case and hauling it off her bed.
“I’ve got it. Let’s go. There’s a car waiting for us outside. I’ll sit in the front. You sit in the back with Harry.”
“Harry’s coming?” She asked confused.
“I’ll explain in the car. I promise. Please.”
We ran down the stairs to where her father was waiting for us.
“Good look sweet heart. Let me know how things go. I love you, so so much.” He said pulling his daughter into a tight hug. A single tear falling down her cheek.
“I love you too Daddy” She said into his embrace. Choking back her own tears.
“Go. Both of you. Good luck Mr Dursley” He said releasing her and nodding in my general direction.
“Thank you Sir.” I replied as we rushed out the door. I threw her bag in the trunk and opened the back seat door for her.
“Hiya Harry... Apparently you boys have some explaining to do.” She said getting in.
“Oh Merlin do we ever.” He replied with a laugh.
“Kingscross station. I told the driver as I got into the passenger side.
“Of course Sir.” The driver said and we sped off.
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