A/N: For the sake of this story, some things have been changed from cannon (obviously). I am aware that things do not necessarily follow the exact storyline from the HP universe, but please bear with me.
Dudley stood cowering behind his mother and father as the great beast of a man stood there in the darkly lit cabin on the rock in the middle of the sea. He had never been so terrified and excited in his life.
His mother stood shaking in front of him, trying to hide him with her bony body as the man with great bearded tangles took a seat on the couch that was Dudley’s bed not five minutes before. Harry stood there dumbly watching the man as he spoke of wizards and the school that Harry was supposed to be going to, but somehow seemed less afraid than the situation demanded of the rest of them.
Dudley’s breath caught in his chest as he listened interestedly to the tale that the man wove. Harry was a wizard? How was that possible? Aside from the odd look Hagrid shot him once or twice as he cowered behind his parents, Dudley realized that there was now something that separated him and Harry. Harry was special. No giant had come to find Dudley in the middle of nowhere in the middle of the night. No giant man was standing there offering him sausages and cake, and telling him that he was a wizard. Not even a single envelope with Dudley’s name had tried to find its way into his hands. Disheartened, Dudley stood there in awe as he listened. Why couldn’t he be a wizard too?
His father tried to threaten the beastly man feebly, and even Dudley could hear the change in his father’s usually strong and demanding voice. There was a fear there that Dudley didn’t think possible from such a large man as his father, but then again, he was easily dwarfed by the giant on the couch.
From the way Hagrid reacted to his father’s insults of the headmaster of this magic school, Dudley knew he must have been a great man. He had seen his father put people down many times, especially Harry and employees from his work, but he had never seen anybody stick up for somebody with such fierce loyalty as he had seen Hagrid do that night.
The next morning Harry and the giant were gone, and Dudley wondered if it had all been a dream. His father rowed them back to the shore, and drove them home silently. Several times he stopped on the way and got out, disappearing for longer each time, but coming back empty handed. Where was he going? His mother looked more worried the closer they got to home. Dudley felt little worry, but aching amounts of jealousy that his cousin was getting an opportunity that he would never have.
It was dark by the time they finally hit four Privet Drive. The summer night was cool, and when they reached the driveway, they just sat there silently with the windows rolled down. Something wasn’t right, Dudley felt more than thought. His father felt different to him somehow. His mother seemed to feel it to, and both seemed scared to leave the car without Vernon’s permission. Finally, he opened the door and left them sitting there wordlessly.
“Do you think he’s gone mad?” Dudley asked after they heard his father slam the front door to the house. She didn’t answer for a long moment.
“He’s afraid,” were the words that finally filled the cool car.
Dudley frowned. “Of what?” The giant had taken Harry and surely would not come back again. Dudley didn’t even know if Harry would be back again.
After another long silence, she finally turned back to face him, and said, “Of you.”
Dudley swallowed. Maybe it wasn’t his father that was crazy, but his mother.
“Get out.” A low deadly tone had issued from the open driver side window making them both jump. He hadn’t heard his father come back.
“Get out,” he said again, his voice lower and more threatening than ever.
Not waiting for a third command both Petunia and Dudley exited the car. Unexpectedly his father had him by the collar of his jacket and was dragging him into the house against his protests. He had never been treated like this before by anyone, most especially his father.
Once in the entryway to the house, Vernon slammed the door shut, leaving Petunia outside, whimpering and pleading to be let into the house.
“Vernon, don’t!” Dudley could hear her cry from the other side of the door. He had let go of Dudley’s collar now and was standing there in the dark staring him down. Dudley was a big guy, but still not half the size of his father. He suddenly felt frightened, perhaps even more so than by the giant that had taken his bed early that morning.
“Father I don’t-” Vernon took a step forward and Dudley took a step back. His mother’s cries could still be heard on the other side of the door, louder this time. He was sure the neighbors would all be looking out their windows now for the source of the noise.
“You- are not welcome here- anymore.” His father sounded deadly and Dudley wasn’t sure how he could put so much threat into the confusing statement.
“Dad, please, I don’t-” His father was still advancing on him and he was still taking large steps back.
“I will not have my family disgraced!” Vernon suddenly shouted, making Dudley take a giant leap back. “Get out of my sight now or you’ll be dead and buried before anyone can call the police!”
Dudley was shaking his head now. What was going on? Why was his father afraid of him? What had he ever done but do as he was told? Hadn’t he been a good son?
Deciding that Dudley had waited too long his father finally lunged at him. Dudley jumped and ran down the hallway and into the living room, his father close on his heels. Around a corner and into the kitchen, and back into the hallway. Perhaps being a little lighter than his father had its advantages, because while out of breath, he was still able to outrun him. Knocking chairs and lamps, and various other things to the floor as he ran, Dudley heard his father tripping on them. Finally Dudley managed to make it out the back door into the small back yard. From the front of the house he could hear his mother screaming into the cool night air. Dogs barked in the distance at the noise.
Perhaps thinking that his son was still in the house, Dudley could hear him tearing through it, continuing to knock things over, or perhaps he was only doing this in his anger. Not wanting to wait for his father to find him, he ran through the garden gate and into the front yard. His mother was laying there on the front step sobbing.
“Mum!” he tried to whisper and shout at the same time so his father wouldn’t hear him. A loud crash came from inside the house just as she looked up. She moved quicker than he thought was possible for her to do and was at his side in the driveway in an instant.
“Dudley, you’re ok! My Dudders is ok!” She clamped her arms around his neck tightly and refused to let go.
“Mum, I don’t understand-” he had tears in his eyes now too, confusion overwhelming him.
“He’s afraid of you dear, he’s afraid. You’re just like your cousin. He made me write to the headmaster and tell him not to send you a letter because he didn’t want you going to the school.”
“Wha-” Dudley sputtered, unable to comprehend what she was telling him. “Mum- I’m not a wizard. I’m going to Smeltings, I-”
She cut him off, putting her hand to his mouth to silence him as she continued on hurriedly. “You have to leave, right away. Go and draw out all the money from your savings account… go to the ATM right now, run, as fast as you can. Don’t go to the police.”
“I’m not leaving you here!” He looked around to the lighted windows in the nearby houses. Sure enough, many interested neighbors were watching, and it occurred to him that one of them must surely have called the police by now. “We can wait until the police get here-”
She was pulling the money she had from her purse though and pushing it into his hands. “Go Dudley! I’ll be fine. He won’t hurt me, but he will kill you! Go get your money and when you do hold out your right hand, like you’re calling for a taxi! I love you and never forget that!” She sobbed as she threw her hands around Dudley’s neck again and gave him a big kiss.
Trying to protest again, Dudley was stopped by the front door to their house flying open, revealing his father, shirt torn and looking possessed.
His mother gave him a shove in the direction of the street and gave him a pleading look with her eyes. “Don’t come back,” she told him, more a request than it was a command.
Dudley was unable to hold back his tears now, which were coming in full force. He gave a last confused look to his mother as his father ran out the front door toward them, and then he fled, running faster down the dark street than he had ever run before. He was only eleven… why was this happening to him?
The sprinklers were going on the bank lawn by the time he got there. He had run until he could no longer breath, and then had begun the long walk to town. It had taken him some time to stop the flow of tears, and even now, as he entered his code into the machine and accepted the few hundred dollars that came out, he wanted to start crying again and never stop. What had happened? A few days ago he was watching TV on the couch next to his father, joking and laughing. He had wanted to be special, like Harry, but at this price?
From down the street a police car coming around the corner caught his eye, and terrified that his father had set the police on him, he ran and dove into some beefy bushes edging the bank lawn. The police car prowled the empty street slowly, passing him by before turning down the next street. Were they really looking for him?
Long moments after the police car had passed, Dudley realized that he was shaking, and worked hard to calm himself. What had his mother told him to do? Go to the bank and get all his money, and never come back? But where was he supposed to go? His father wouldn’t be paying for him to go to Smeltings now? He shuddered again in the chill night air. His watch read midnight. He had never been out this late before.
Having nowhere else to go he continued to remain sitting in the bushes, brushing a spider off his sleeve after a few minutes. He was missing something. She had told him something else hadn’t she? He was a wizard, like Harry, and his father was afraid of him, but that wasn’t it.
Sprinklers suddenly sprang to life next to him and he jumped, leaping from the bushes, both startled by the noise and not wanting to get soaked. His left hand had flown out in front of him, and the answer had come to him then. She had told him to hold out his right hand as if trying to flag down a taxi. What good that would do, he didn’t know, but he knew he had nothing else to try. He raised his right hand, and was startled at the deafening bang that seemed to surround him. His first thought was that somebody was shooting at him, and he ducked, but next second and an enormous purple bus was skidding to a halt in front of him.
Breath caught in his chest, Dudley watched as an elderly man opened the door to the triple-decker bus and looked down at him. “Knight bus at your service. Where you need to go son?”
Dudley gulped. Was this what his mother had expected to happen?
Dudley wracked his brains, trying to remember the name of the wizarding school, or the headmaster of it, or even the giant’s name, but was having trouble remembering anything at the moment.
“Hog- hoggy school- Hogware?” he tried.
The bus driver frowned and said, “Hogwarts?” Dudley nodded enthusiastically.
“Yes, Hogwarts.” The bus driver stepped back and Dudley climbed on board, finding many beds instead of the expected bus seats.
“That’s going to be 12 Sickles,” the driver informed him. Dudley frowned. What was a Sickle?
He pulled the cash from his pocket, and the bus driver gave him a good looking over for the first time. He was dirty and his hair was a real mess. “Has someone muddled with your mind son?” the driver asked, remembering the boy’s difficulty with the name of the school.
Dudley shook his head. He didn’t know what to say. “My dad… we had a fight. I just need to see the headmaster… my mum told me to go.”
His feeble explanation seemed to have worked though as the bus driver was nodding and motioned for him to take a seat. “Won’t worry about your bill now then son. To Hogwarts it is. Don’t have no other passengers at the moment, so shouldn’t be too long of a ride.”
There was another bang and Dudley was thrown backwards onto the nearest bed as the bus lurched forward. Suddenly they weren’t on a street anymore, but were following a railroad track through a densely wooded area.
“My name is Ernie by the way. Don’t expect you remember yours?”
Dudley swallowed as he watched the trees fly by in the darkness. “Dudley.”
Ernie nodded again. “Well don’t worry Dudley, fights with parents usually end up better than they start out. I’m sure Dumbledore will have you sorted out before morning. Smart man the headmaster. Bet he already knows you’re on your way if you ask me.”
Dudley tried to nod, more to reassure himself that everything would be alright than anything else. He highly doubted that his father would be letting him back in the house anytime soon, and remembering his father made his stomach suddenly fill with worry for his mother again. He had never seen his father that angry or upset before, not even when Harry had talked to the snake last month and made the glass to the exhibit disappear. Would he really leave his mother alone, or run her out of the house and out of town as well?
“Don’t expect you’ve been to the castle before have yeh?” Ernie was talking to him again, and Dudley shook his head.
“No sir,” he said.
Ernie laughed. “Ain’t nobody called me sir in a long time, but it’s nice to have manners isn’t it?”
Dudley swallowed. Perhaps he was still asleep in his bed at home, and everything in the last few days had been a dream. That had to be it, Harry wasn’t a wizard, and neither was he. His father still loved him, and there were no such things as giants or magical schools or triple-decker buses. There was another bang to remind Dudley otherwise though, and now they were driving down a cobbled street in an ancient looking village.
“Almost there son,” Ernie told him calmly, as if disappearing and reappearing in different places all of the sudden was normal, which Dudley reminded himself that for the crazy looking bus driver it probably was. “This is Hogsmead here,” he continued. “Castle is just up ahead.”
Dudley moved to the bed across from him and peered interestedly out the window into the night. There were a few lights on in various windows throughout the castle, even at this late an hour. As it loomed nearer, Dudley was less sure of anything than he had ever been in his life.
Before he knew it, they were coming to a stop, and Ernie was opening the door to the bus. “I can’t go in with yeh or else I would. I have to be in the bus in case somebody else calls for it.”
Dudley stood and nodded. Again he withdrew his money and tried to hand the man a 20-pound note, but he waved him off. “This one is free son. I hope you and your folks work things out.”
Swallowing hard Dudley nodded and moved for the open door. “Where do I go from here?” he asked, voice shaking.
Ernie smiled. “I think he’ll take you wherever you need to be,” he said, pointing through the door and up the marble steps to the massive door that had opened and was now revealing a tall, thin man with shoulder length black hair and floor length robes. The man looked a little menacing, and Dudley stepped off the bus feeling that he would much rather spend the rest of his life riding around with Ernie than with the man waiting for him.
Once outside, he looked up and thanked Ernie one last time. “No problem friend. Good luck.” And with that the bus door was closed and Ernie was gone, off to pick someone else up in their time of need.
Alone now, Dudley turned and began the climb up the steps to meet the man at the top. Light spilled out from the doorway, illuminating his path.
The man took him in as he approached, and Dudley stood there in front of him silently, watching the floor.
“What is your name?” the man asked bluntly, though not unkindly.
“Dudley Dursley,” he said, still not meeting the man’s black eyes.
“And you are how old?”
“Hm…” the man stepped back after a few moments and motioned for Dudley to walk into the massive entrance hall that lay beyond him.
The warm air felt good inside as the man closed the door behind him. “Stay here,” he instructed, before he disappeared up more stone steps and into the rest of the castle.
Feeling less uncomfortable now that the man was gone, Dudley took in his surroundings. To his amazement there were paintings on the walls that moved and talked, though they spoke in very hushed whispers as they pointed down at him. Behind him there were four enormous hourglasses, each filled with a different color ruby, although none of the rubies had fallen to the bottom half of the hourglass yet. Surely magic held them up, he thought to himself.
Suddenly there was a calm voice from behind him. “Welcome to Hogwarts Dudley.”
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- A/N: I was reading a random story and started to think, what would it be like if Dudley went to Hogwarts? I had always wondered if he might have been magic and Vernon had kept him from knowing it... I guess we'll find out now.
Hope you liked it! Please let me know what you think! More to come soon.