Chapter 1 : Welcome 'Home' Harry
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The June sun beat down heavily, scorching the London air. The alarming heat, coupled with the hum of daily human and mechanical activity of London, created an environment which was not conducive to waiting nervously in a parking lot; but that was precisely what Dudley Dursley was doing.
Dudley had waited at this station every year for his cousin to emerge from the building upon his return from school, if that was what you could call it. Harry attended an institution of circus bizzaros and voodoo parlor tricks, where he was educated in all things unnatural, sick, and wrong in the world.
Though the Dursleys usually embarked on this unpleasant endeavor together, Dudley had offered to make the trip alone, so he could spend the morning in London. His parents despised this chore so there was no opposition to his proposal. His lips curled into a swine-like smile as he recalled how saccharinely proud his mother had been of her ‘selfless Diddykins’. His parents had deluded themselves into believing he was perfect and that suited him just fine. However, recently Dudley had noticed the subtle dilemmas within his home-life and his relationship with his parents.
A notorious bully with a flair for cruelty, Dudley was far from being a perfect person. Years of wrestling had conditioned his body to that of an ideal brute. Dudley's arms were now thickly corded with muscle and his knuckles bore calluses from boxing and beating up small children His appearance was menacing if not terrifying. It used to please him to be feared by the neighborhood children, their terror fueled Dudley’s self-confidence and made him feel powerful. Now, however, Dudley felt anything but powerful; he was ashamed of what he had become over the years. Despite being given everything he ever could have wanted, Dudley had become a monster; even if he wanted to change, Dudley could never forget what he had done. He was trapped behind his self-created, cruel persona.
Dudley sighed as he turned up the radio and leaned back in his seat as he wallowed in self-pity. The thought of Harry coming home wrought his nerves. His cousin, as much as it pained Dudley to admit it, was a much better person than he. The scrawny bespectacled boy-turned-punching bag had, not only put up with Dudley’s crap for 15 years, but had saved his life in spite of it. Dudley shuddered with dread; he still didn’t understand why Harry had protected him two years ago when he knew Dudley probably wouldn’t have done the same for him.
2 years ago… August 1995**
“Hey, Big D!”
Dudley turned around thinking it was Piers. He was stunned to see his abnormally scrawny cousin standing before him. “Oh, it’s you.”
Harry proceeded to mock Dudley’s gang, activities, appearance, even his mum’s nickname for him (which was humiliating, but he didn’t need to be reminded of this fact). Dudley felt rage boiling up inside him. He was ‘Big D’, terror of the neighborhood! How dare his freaky cousin address him in this way? Especially when the aforementioned cousin couldn’t sleep through the night.
“Not this brave at night, moaning in your bed?” Dudley sneered at Harry recalling the way his bespectacled cousin called out in his sleep.
“What d’you mean?” Harry suddenly paled.
Dudley’s face cracked into a sinister grin. He had him now! “Don’t kill Cedric! Who’s Cedric – your boyfriend?” Dudley cried, mocking his insomniac cousin.
Harry’s scar stood out more than usual against his pale skin. The effect was quite frightening but Dudley continued to irritate his cousin.
Harry whipped out his wand and backed Dudley up against a wall. Suddenly, the world went cold and the sky went black. Harry spun around, turning away from his petrified cousin.
Dudley couldn’t see. He felt as if he’d never be happy again as he watched all of the horrible things he had done over the years. Dudley felt like begging for death, surely dying was better than this?
Then, suddenly, Dudley saw Harry lift his wand and shout “EXPECTO PATRONUM”
A burst of silvery mist shot out of Harry’s wand and a large creature appeared, it looked almost like a deer. The creature charged toward Dudley overcoming him; Dudley felt an odd sense of peace. The darkness was gone; Harry had made it go away.
Dudley was jerked out of he reverie by a knock on the window. Two emerald orbs stared in through the car window; Harry looked depressed, though that was probably due to the fact he was coming ‘home’. Dudley cringed remembering all of the pain he inflicted upon his cousin over the years. It was no wonder Harry hated coming home so much.
“Right, yeah,” Dudley grunted as he opened the car door and clamored out to greet his cousin. He inspected the motley crowd of peculiar people gathered around Harry. From the frighteningly scarred man with the eye-patch to the strange woman with bubblegum pink hair, Dudley thought his father would have a coronary were he there. He almost chuckled at the thought of Vernon in the presence of these magical people; one glance at all of the grief-ridden, exhausted faces that surrounded him made him think better of it.
Dudley focused once again on his cousin wondering what could have possibly happened at Harry’s school to account for so many sorrowful magic-folk. Harry always looked pained and pathetic to Dudley, an occupational hazard of being the scrawny cousin of the most notoriously skilled boxer/bully in Little Whinging, but today his cousin was forlorn and seemed to be utterly alone.
A flash of red streaked past Dudley’s nose as a slender girl threw herself into Harry’s arms. She buried her head in the crook of his cousin’s shoulder, after a minute or so she tilted her head upwards, brushing her lips over Harry’s jaw. Harry remained unresponsive, painfully aware of the adults, many of whom appeared to be related to this mystery redhead, who were scrutinizing their every move. “Ginny, you know I can’t…” Dudley heard Harry mumble into the beautiful girl’s hair. Harry looked pained as he wrapped his arms protectively around Ginny’s body
“I know Harry,” The redhead whispered back. “Promise to be careful.” She released Harry and ran back towards the station entrance followed by more than half of the magical people who had been surrounding the Dursley car. Harry remained rooted in that spot, staring after Ginny as she left.
“Well, erm,” Dudley cleared his throat as he anxiously glanced at the remaining wizards. “We better get going then.”
“Yeah,” Harry answered distractedly as he climbed into the passengers seat. “I supposed we better.”
The two young men rode in silence for most of the trip back to Little Whinging. Harry wore a foreign look as he stared broodingly out the window; he looked like he held the weight of the world on his shoulders.
“So… who was that girl at the station?” Dudley finally asked.
Harry’s head whipped around as he shot his cousin a puzzled look. Dudley had never, ever asked any remotely personal questions of him. “What?”
Dudley immediately regretted asking Harry the question; he shifted nervously in his seat as he tried to remain focused on the road. He cleared his throat, “Well, you looked pretty close…” Dudley’s cheeks flushed, embarrassed to be talking about girls with Harry. Then again, the two young men never talked about anything.
Harry turned back towards the window. “That was Ginny,” he sighed. “She’s my best mate’s sister.”
Dudley nodded, not wanting to press the subject any farther. They fell back into uninterrupted silence as Dudley continued down the road.
Dudley and Harry reached 4 Privet Drive a few minutes later and Harry proceeded to drag his belongings up the stairs and lock himself in his room. This was customary for Harry to avoid his relatives for the entirety of his stay; Dudley’s father wouldn’t bother Harry in his room, in fact, hardly anyone ventured beyond Harry’s door-jam.
Harry reemerged for dinner that night with a solemn look on his scarred face. The table conversation continued as though Harry wasn’t there, as per usual, Dudley only stole one glance at his stewing cousin before quickly diverting his attention to his father’s monologue on drill parts.
“So you see, if I hadn’t suggested the shorter nibs, Grunnings would be out 2,000 pounds!” Vernon chortled obviously pleased with himself.
Harry, whose presence at the dinner table had long been forgotten, suddenly cleared his throat. Vernon and Petunia glared at their young charge as he indicated he was about to speak.
“What boy?” Vernon spat at Harry as he shot daggers at him with his eyes.
“Well, there are a few things you need to know about what happened this year at Hogwarts,” Vernon, who cringed at the mention of Harry’s school, opened his mouth in protest but Harry proceeded, ignoring his uncle’s discontent. “Dumbledore, the headmaster whom you met last summer, was murdered a few weeks ago.” Petunia gasped and Vernon’s eyes bugged out at this news. However, both were now too stunned to speak and Harry continued uninterrupted. “Without Dumbledore, there is a greater danger to the muggle world as well as our own. Now, there is reason to believe that Voldemort might attack in the coming year; when I come of age next month, you will no longer be safe. The Order of the Phoenix has made arrangements for your evacuation to a safe house to take place in late July; you will remain in hiding for the remainder of the war or until we can no longer protect you.” Harry finished speaking and took a deep breath awaiting the verbal onslaught from his uncle.
“Well you ruddy well better not be serious!” Vernon’s face flashed from red, to purple, to green as his anger swelled. “We will not take ANY part in this… this…”
“Abnormality? Freak-show?” Harry finished for his infuriated uncle. “Really, I know your feelings towards being affiliated with magic. Unfortunately, as the Order is not likely to let you commit suicide, you don’t actually have a choice in the matter.”
“WE WILL NOT BE GOING! Your lot can do as they please but once we are rid of you, there will be no more magic in this house!” Vernon spat the ‘m word’ at Harry akin to the way one would utter a murder accusation.
Harry’s expression clouded as he became increasingly irritated with his uncle’s insolence. “You don’t understand. They. Will. Kill. You. These people don’t care if you are ‘innocent’, quite frankly that makes matters worse; to them you are nothing more than animals, to them you are expendable second class humans!”
“HOW DARE YOU BOY?!?!” Vernon thundered. “AFTER ALL WE HAVE DONE FOR YOU! HOW DARE YOU FORCE US OUT OF OUR HOUSE? YOU NO GOOD, DIRTY, UNGRA…”
There was a loud knock on the door, the Dursleys and Harry turned towards the offending noise; the room fell silent. Petunia slowly rose from her seat and walked soundlessly into the hall. Harry stood up as well to make his way towards the door and the guests he knew would be coming.
“HARRY!” Arthur Weasley cried as he caught sight of the familiar face. He and Kingsley were currently facing an inquisition at the hands of Petunia Dursley who, needless to say, did not appreciate the appearance of two fully grown wizards at her doorstep.
“Hello Mr. Weasley, Kingsley.” Harry nodded towards the adult Order Members respectfully. He had known the two would come to help explain to the Dursleys the gravity of their situation, Harry had only hoped they wouldn’t be too insulted by the Dursleys’ behavior.
“WHAT IS THE MEANING OF THIS?” Vernon bellowed as he recognized Mr. Weasley from three years previous. Needless to say, Vernon was not pleased to have the man who destroyed his living room back in his home.
“We thought you would want confirmation that what Harry has told you is true.” Kingsley’s deep, soothing voice resounded through the hall. “Shall we go somewhere more comfortable whilst we explain?”
Dudley, who had followed his father out of the kitchen was staring shamelessly at his cousin. How was it that Harry decided they needed protection. Surely not every family in the magical world got this treatment? And why was Harry acting as though he wasn’t going into hiding as well? Perhaps he was, only not with us… maybe Harry was just going to flee the country. Yeah, that must be it… Dudley shook his head and turned his attention to the scene before him.
Vernon was yelling, Petunia was crying, and Kingsley was explaining calmly. Dudley watched the red-haired Mr. Weasley whisper something in Harry’s ear. Harry looked up, nodded, and motioned for the older man to follow him up the stairs.
Dudley hesitated, then also climbed the stairwell and headed in the direction of his cousin’s room. The door was shut, but you could still hear the hushed conversation occurring inside.
“Harry, Ron has given me the impression that the three of you are not returning to Hogwarts this year,” Dudley heard Mr. Weasley say.
“That would be correct sir,” Harry replied coolly. “Dumbledore gave us a mission before he died. I’m sorry but I can’t tell you anymore than that.”
“But we, the Order, can help…”
“No, you can’t. I have to do this how Dumbledore intended. Trust me that this is the only way Voldemort can be defeated,” Harry pleaded.
Dudley scampered back downstairs even more confused than before. ‘What was Harry doing this year if he wasn’t going into hiding, or going to school? And why couldn’t anyone know about it?’
As he ambled back into the living room his mother flung her arms around him sobbing that we needed to pack our things. Apparently, Vernon had cracked; the Dursleys were going to accept the Order’s protection.
A/N: Yes, this was posted before... I kind of failed at realizing the 12- rule was a joke & literally deleted my story so I could start figuring out how to make it child-friendly
You can laugh at me now... I'm very much aware of how gullible I am.
**Taken from "Dudley Demented" of JKR's "Order of the Phoenix"