Chapter 5 : A Wizard Named Dudley
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Harry Potter and
The Tomb of Hogwarts
A Wizard Named Dudley
Harry’s eyes went wide, Ron’s jaw hit the floor, Hermione squeaked, but nobody spoke. The rest of the room remained completely silent.
Suddenly, the leg of Harry’s pants began to tug at him and he finally diverted his eyes to see what was grabbing at him. It was Dobby.
“Harry Potter, sir?” said Dobby. “Is Harry Potter okay?”
“What?” Harry said in a daze. Then he snapped back to reality and said, “Oh yea, Dobby, I’m fine.”
Everyone else seemed to come out of a daze just then, and everyone seemed to have the same question in mind.
“Blimey” came Ron’s response, while Hermione added in awe, “Wow, a real life Slyder”
But it was the twins who said what Harry was thinking when they chimed in unison, “No way!” followed with George adding “The legend of Harry Potter strikes again!” for good measure. Then both twins burst out with laughter.
After a few moments, Harry stepped towards Dumbledore and was about to speak, but Dumbledore spoke up first.
“Good afternoon everybody. It’s very nice to see everyone. I understand Mrs. Weasley has a great feast in store for us today.” He clapped his hands together as a broad smile crossed his face. He was making a rather large show of it, as though it were the opening feast at Hogwarts. Dumbledore sure could control an audience when he wanted.
“However, before we get started, Harry and I must speak for a few moments.”
Harry just smiled softy as Dumbledore led him into the living room. As he left the kitchen he noticed that Professor McGonagall was bringing Dudley over to the kitchen table and to Harry’s surprise, Dudley seemed genuinely happy to sit with her.
So once again Harry found himself sitting in the living room with Dumbledore, expecting yet another discussion which would change his life forever.
“Harry,” Dumbledore began, “I just wanted to thank you for informing me of the developments with Dudley. I’m sure it came as a shock to you to find that Dudley developing at such a late age, but you handled it quite well, and I am very proud of you.”
“Thank you Professor,” replied Harry, “but why is it now that he is doing magic? Shouldn’t he have been doing magic for the past five years?”
“Well, typically that would be true. However, in this particular case, it appears that young Mr. Dursley here has become a Slyder.”
“That’s what Mrs. Figg said,” Harry said quickly, “but what exactly is a Slyder?”
“Well, Harry, a Slyder is a Muggle whom, for some reason, has developed into a wizard or witch at an unusually late age. It is a very rare occurrence which is usually attributed to a traumatic experience involving magic. In this case, for example, it most likely happened last summer when he was attacked by the Dementor.”
“Right. Mrs. Figg mentioned something about that on Saturday.”
“Very true. And when someone comes that close to being kissed by a Dementor, it can have some unusual side effects. In this case, it brought Dudley’s potential for magic to the surface.”
“So now he’s a wizard?” asked Harry an octave higher than he wanted.
“Indeed. Often there is a possibility of losing this ability to use magic within a few days, but as young Mr. Dursley is still able to use magic makes it likely that he will continue to live as a wizard for the rest of his life.”
“Oh,” was all Harry could think to say in reply.
“Now Harry, I know that you already have quite a bit on your schedule, but I would ask that you help your cousin develop his magic by giving him some basic lessons with Professor McGonagall here at the house.”
“Okay,” Harry said tentatively. “So, Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon are okay with Dudley being a wizard?” he asked. Professor Dumbledore seemed to look uncomfortable for a moment, but quickly composed himself.
“Well, Harry,” He began with a sigh, “I can’t say I am happy with what happened, but it was unfortunately necessary in order to protect you. You see, Harry, your Aunt and Uncle were not as willing to accept your cousin’s newfound abilities as I had hoped. With you as an introduction to our world, I had hoped they would be more comfortable with young Dudley being a wizard as well.”
Harry bit his tongue at this remark. Dumbledore’s gaze drew back up to Harry, his eyes filled with sorrow.
“As it turns out, even with Professor McGonagall’s assistance I was unable to convince them to even consider allowing their son to attend Hogwarts, and their response was not limited to speaking of their unhappiness. Needless to say, things were not going as I had hoped, but it was nothing we were worried about. However, they eventually suggested something that we had not at all expected.”
Dumbledore seemed to be losing all the energy in his body, as though surrounded by a hundred Dementors. Harry began to fidget uncontrollably. He was not used to seeing Dumbledore looking so distraught.
“They became more vocal,” he continued, “and they began making threats of telling others that of your being a wizard and had refused to allow you to return home. Furthermore, they began to develop a strong distaste for their son. Then they began to making some suggestions which included telling Voldemort where you were in exchange for his returning their son to his previous self.”
Harry’s heart was racing. They were going to tell everyone he was a wizard. They were going to try to turn him over to Voldemort. But Harry wasn’t able to panic for long, as Dumbledore interrupted his thoughts as he continued.
“Of course, at this point there was little we could do to convince them that this was not a practical choice, so we were forced to take some rather unfortunate but necessary measures.”
Harry’s eyes went wide. What had happened to Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon? Dumbledore must have seen his expression, because he answered him immediately.
“Not to worry, Harry. We did not harm your Aunt and Uncle. We did however have to ensure that things were kept in control. So, to protect both you and your cousin, we were forced to alter your Aunt and Uncle’s memories. We cleaned up the things that they had broken and began again. This time the Dursleys were told that their son has been offered a grant to go to an upscale boarding school outside of London. Of course, we would not normally do this, but we couldn’t allow for the chance that they might do as they said, and as Dudley is only a year from being of age, in addition to his being your cousin, the Minister has allowed us a bit of leniency.”
“So they don’t remember anything,” Harry said, astounded. “They have no idea that Dudley is a wizard or anything?”
“That is correct. It is not something I’m proud to have done. Everyone has a right to their own opinions, no matter what they may be. That is of course what makes us all individuals. Unfortunately, we were given no alternatives.”
Harry nodded slowly. He may not have liked his Aunt and Uncle very much, but no matter how they felt about his being a wizard, they were at the very least entitled to their opinions. Then something occurred to Harry.
“So, did you wipe Dudley’s memory too?” he asked. “Is that why he was so happy to go to Hogwarts?”
“Actually, no. He had agreed to go to Hogwarts before we approached his parents, and it was he who had warned us that extra precautions might be necessary. We had spoken to him at length, and it was he who suggested the idea of him going to another school. We had prepared him in advance about what we might have to do, but he was still a bit upset about it. Luckily, Professor McGonagall is quite adept at calming those who are upset, and she was able to relax him as I spoke to his parents again.”
“So Dudley knows what happened to his Mum and Dad. I’m surprised he’s not miffed at me for it.”
“Harry,” Dumbledore said in a disappointed voice, “I would hope you would think better of your cousin. He truly is a remarkable young man. Many Slyders take months or even years to come to terms with gaining magical abilities at such a late age. Mr. Dursley has coped quite well with it, especially considering the views of his parents. They were not very flattering towards him when they found out he was a wizard. Even though they no longer remember, he does, and he has still chosen to proceed to Hogwarts. At the very least he deserves a good deal of respect for that.”
“Yeah,” Harry agreed halfheartedly, “I guess he does.”
“So I take it you will help your cousin adjust to his newfound abilities?”
“Yes sir. Just don’t ask me to enjoy it too much,” Harry said with a half smirk.
“Indeed. But don’t be too surprised if your helping him leads to friendship. I believe you may come to find you have more in common with your cousin than you might think. I would not be surprised to see you and him friends by the end of school this year.” Dumbledore’s smile had returned, and Harry did not think it wise to disagree with him just now.
Instead, he smiled back at his headmaster and said, “Maybe, but I wouldn’t expect us to be best buds. I don’t think Ron would approve of being replaced by Dudley.”
Dumbledore actually gave a light laugh, and that was the moment Remus chose to come in.
“Not telling jokes at my expense, I hope?” he said warmly.
“Well, not anymore,” replied Harry smartly. They both shared a laugh, and Dumbledore rose to his feet.
As Harry stood and headed for the kitchen with Dumbledore and Remus, he said seriously, “Don’t worry Professor, I’ll watch out for him.”
Dumbledore simply nodded back, and then they headed into the kitchen.
Ron and Hermione were to their feet before Harry could say a word. They both began to ask questions, but Harry put up his hand to stop them before they could get going. They would have plenty of time to talk, but right now he had to deal with Dudley.
“Look. I want to talk to you both, but I have to take care of some stuff with Dudley.”
“But what’s going on?” Ron blurted out.
“Don’t worry,” Harry assured him. “I’ll talk to you guys in a few minutes.”
Harry looked around and found Dudley, who had the biggest smile on his face of any time Harry had seen before.
“Harry,” Called Dudley. He jumped up and headed over to Harry, punching him softly in the shoulder, hopping around as though he were a boxer, then stopped and chuckled at himself. “So, is everything okay? Did the Professor tell you what happened at home?”
“Yeah. Said your Mum and Dad weren’t too happy with the idea of you going to Hogwarts. He said that they were told that you were going to some other school up in London.” Dudley dropped his head.
“Yeah. They were furious. They were throwing things all over the place, yelling and screaming, saying stuff even I won’t say.” Harry saw a mischievous sparkle in Dudley’s eyes that sent chills through his spine.
“So then they start talking about telling that Voldemort gent about where you were and all.” There was a group gasp at Voldemort’s name, but Dudley didn’t seem to catch it, as he continued on, “and then they said they were going to kick you out of the house and have the magic taken out of me. Dumbledore said that there was no way for that to be done, but they just kept going on, throwing everything about. It was a real disaster.”
“I’ll bet. I’d hate to see how miffed Uncle Vernon was when he found out you were a wizard.” Harry had been on the receiving end of his Uncle’s anger, and it wasn’t a pretty sight.
“So then, that tall fellow, Dumbledore, he took one of those wands from his robe and waved it. Next thing I know, Mum and Dad are stiff as boards. Then he and Mrs. McGonagall start waving their wands and everything just gets up and starts moving back to where it was before, fixing themselves and everything. In thirty seconds the place looked good as new. It was bloody brilliant.” Dudley looked thoroughly amused by the idea of wizards using magic. It was very disturbing to Harry to see his normal cousin enjoying magic so much.
“So then he tapped Mum and Dad on the head with his wand,” Dudley continued, “and they woke up a couple of seconds later, good as new, forgetting everything that happened. That’s when Professor McGonagall told them that I’d be going to that school up in London. She was really incredible. Never in my life have I seen someone control Mum and Dad the way she did.”
“Yes, well, I would have much rather been able to tell them the truth.” Professor McGonagall spoke up for the first time since saying hello. “However, as that didn’t seem to work the first time, it was not likely they would be any more receptive the second time.”
She, as Dumbledore had earlier, seemed very distraught with having to alter their memories, but she seemed to be effected even more. This was probably because she rarely showed any form of emotion outside of frustration or anger, but that didn’t stop Harry’s mood from dropping as she spoke of the events at Privet Drive.
“I’m sorry, Professor,” he said genuinely. “I probably should have warned you about that. My Aunt and Uncle can be a bit strong willed when it comes to magic.”
“Apparently. However, you needn’t concern yourself with it now, Harry. What’s done is done, and we have too many things to be thankful for.”
“Indeed,” Remus called out. “Too much talking about things we cannot change. Besides, I think it’s about time young Dudley here took his first lesson in Care of Magical Creatures.”
“My what?” Dudley showed the first signs of the fear of magic Harry had grown accustomed to.
“Your Care of Magical Creatures Lesson. You see, now that you’re going to Hogwarts, you are going to be learning a lot about magical creatures you never before imagined. For instance, we have our little friend here, Dobby.”
“Yes, Mr. Lupin, sir?” came Dobby’s voice from below the table. Dudley’s eyes went wide.
“Dobby, this is Dudley. Dudley, this is Dobby. Dobby is a house-elf.”
Dobby turned and looked over at Dudley, smiled, and proudly walked over and bowed.
“I is Dobby, sir. And you is Harry Potter’s cousin Dudley. It is a pleasure to meet you sir.” Dobby was rocking back and forth on his heels as he spoke.
Dudley looked alarmed for a few moments, so finally Harry came around the table and stood next to Dudley.
“It’s alright Dudley. He’s a good friend of mine. Dobby’s the one who dropped the pudding on your Dad’s friend a few years ago.”
That had done it. Dudley’s face turned from that of fright to one of absolute delight.
“That was you? Blimey. That was incredible. How did you do it?”
“Dobby was having to do it. Dobby had to stop Harry Potter from going back to…”
“That’s okay, Dobby,” Harry interrupted. “I think it might be better if we don’t bring that back up again.”
“Oh, of course, Harry Potter, sir. Dobby is sorry. Dobby should not have brought that up. Dobby is a bad house-elf.”
Dobby walked over to the wall and began to bang his head against it. He made it to four hits before Harry caught up to him and pulled him away from the wall. Harry was about to chastise him for it when a loud noise came from behind him. It was the roar of laughter.
Dudley was bent over, laughing hysterically. Now that’s the Dudley I know, thought Harry. Laughing at someone else’s misery. He shook his head and looked back to Dobby.
“Now Dobby. What have I said about doing that? No punishing yourself for making a mistake. Everyone makes mistakes. Just try not to do it again, that’s all I ask.”
“Dobby is sorry, Harry Potter, sir. Dobby is trying. Dobby is only punishing himself for…”
“Dobby, you are not to punish yourself. Okay? No more punishing yourself.” Harry tried to do his best Dumbledore impression, hoping Dobby would not argue. It must have been a decent impression as Dobby did not reply. “Thank you, Dobby. Now, I thought I heard something about lunch. What are you and Mrs. Weasley making for us today?”
Dobby perked up immediately. “Oh, Harry Potter, sir. It is Mrs. Molly Weasley who is making lunch today. Dobby is only helping her by doing the dishes, fixing up the table, making desert, cooking the bread, and making fresh pumpkin juice.”
“Oh, is that it?” Harry asked sarcastically.
“Oh, Dobby is also cleaning the upstairs bedroom for Harry Potter’s friends and feeding the Hippogriff and…” Again, Dobby was interrupted, but this time it was not Harry who interrupted him, but Dudley.
“Excuse me, but you were feeding a what?”
“A Hippogriff,” replied Harry.
“It’s a little bunny with wings, real cute buggers,” came George’s voice.
“Yea, want to come upstairs and see?” added Fred.
Harry turned to see the twins talking to Dudley. They had probably been doing so since he’d started talking to Dobby.
“Oh no you don’t,” Harry said, half annoyed, half amused. “You know I’m up for a good joke, but that’s going just a bit too far.”
Dudley’s eyes flew open again. “That’s where I recognize you guys from. You’re the ones who came over to the house through the fireplace a couple years ago. You’re the ones who gave me that stuff that made my tongue grow.”
“Ton-Tongue Toffee,” said George.
“One of our best sellers,” added Fred. “George and I own a joke shop in Diagon Alley. We sell all kinds of magic candies and trick snacks. And as a friend of Harry’s, you’ll get an extra twenty percent discount.”
Harry’s head swung to Fred, eyes wide. What the heck does he think he’s doing? Harry thought. The last thing I need is for Mrs. Weasley to be mad at me for giving you guys the money to start the joke shop. But a moment later his worries were put to rest as Fred smiled knowingly over at Harry before continuing.
“We give a big discount to all of our friends, but since we go back two years, and as you are related to the great Harry Potter, I think we can extend that discount to you as well.”
Harry’s heart began to beat again, making up for lost time by pounding so hard it felt as though it would burst from his chest.
“Anyway,” He said, trying to change the subject, “Buckbeak, that’s the Hippogriff’s name, is basically what you would get if you took the head of an eagle and put it on the body of a horse.”
“A what with a what?” Dudley’s eyes bulged out his head as though they might fall out at any moment.
“Come on, I’ll introduce you to him.” He turned his attention to Mrs. Weasley and asked, “Mrs. Weasley, do you think I might be able to bring Dudley up to see Buckbeak before lunch?”
“Oh, of course dear,” she said lovingly. “Lunch won’t be ready for another ten minutes. Just be sure you wash your hands before you come to eat, alright?”
“Yes Ma’am,” he replied politely before returning his gaze to Dudley. “Come on, we haven’t much time. If you’re lucky, he might even let you pet him.” Dudley just smiled back weakly.
Everyone followed Harry upstairs to the attic. Dudley was truly impressed by the size of Buckbeak. After a few minutes Dudley actually got up enough courage to approach Buckbeak and spent a few moments petting him before they left.
Everyone cleaned up and entered the kitchen, but Harry was not going to get to eat, at least not yet. Just as he walked into the kitchen, he was pinned down by Ron and Hermione who grabbed him and sped him back into the hallway. Ron was first to speak.
“Blimey, Harry,” he began. “We’ve been gone from school for only a week and you’re already getting into something.”
“RON!” Hermione looked thoroughly put out by Ron. Harry smiled.
“Sorry Harry,” Ron continued, “but really. I can’t believe it. You got your cousin using magic, you’ve got permission to use magic outside school, and now you got us all training to become Animaguses.”
“It’s Animagi,” Hermione corrected.
“Sure. Anyways, what I want to know is how you got us permission too. It’s darn near impossible to get permission to become an Animagus at any time, but when You-Know-Who was in power last time, they suspended any Animagus training until he was caught.”
“Well, to tell you the truth, it wasn’t my idea. It was Dumbledore’s. He was the one who suggested that you should learn to be Animagi too. He said that if you were going to get into the same trouble as me, you might as well learn to have the same advantages as well.”
“Good Lord,” said Hermione. “You know, I don’t think Hogwarts has had three official Animagi graduate from school in about two centuries, and that was the Tiafoly Triplets. Three French poodles, wouldn’t you know.”
“Geese, Hermione. Can’t you stop thinking about school for one minute?”
Harry saw that Hermione had flushed a bit, but Ron didn’t seem to have noticed.
“The problem I’ve got now is dealing with Dudley,” Harry continued. “I’ll tell you, I had thought I’d seen everything, but Dudley the wizard, that’s got to beat them all.”
“I know. It’s bloody weird if you ask me.” Ron shook his head, repeating softy, “Bloody weird.”
“Harry, Dumbledore said that you were going to teach Dudley how to use magic. Do you think…”
“Don’t worry Hermione,” Ron interrupted, “I’m sure Harry will let you teach him the boring stuff like History of Magic and Potions.”
Hermione’s eyes widened. “Oh, I hadn’t thought of that. I was going to ask what house Harry thought that Dudley was going to be sorted into, but now that you mention it, I would like to help him out a bit, if it's okay with you. It would be like home study.”
“Sure Hermione. You got it. Just remember, you asked for it. Personally, the only class I want to teach him is Defence against the Dark Arts.”
“Oh yeah. Can I help? Now that would be fun.”
Ron and Hermione began to argue over how Ron could help Harry with teaching Dudley, but Harry’s attention span had stopped on what Hermione had said earlier. What house would Dudley be sorted into? Harry was sure he knew the answer to that, and it scared the living daylights out of him. Slytherin. There was no doubt about it, Dudley would be a Slytherin. And that would mean that he’d likely become a lackey for Malfoy. The thought provoked an anger in him that burned hard and fast.
“Bloody hell!” Harry shouted suddenly, slamming his fist into the wall. The wall dented in for a moment, then bounced back. Both Hermione and Ron had jumped back a good three feet.
“What was that all about?” Ron asked.
“Harry, are you okay?” added Hermione.
“Yea,” he replied. “I’m fine, with the exception of my hand.” He lifted it up to his chest, his hand throbbing sore from the impact. Just then, Remus walked through the door.
“Everything okay here Harry?” he asked.
“Yes sir. Sorry, but… It’s just… Well, I just thought of something.”
“What’s up Harry?” Remus asked softly.
“Well, Hermione just mentioned something and, well. Dudley’s going to be a Slytherin. I just know it. And then we’re going to have to deal with Malfoy and Dudley. It’s been bad enough dealing with one or the other. But how the heck am I supposed to deal with both of them at the same time?”
“Well, the only thing I can suggest, Harry, is that you work with him as much as possible and hope that he makes the right decisions. You never know. By the end of the year, you two might become friends.”
“You know, you’re the second person to say that to me in the past hour. Personally, I think you’re both bonkers, but what other choice do I have? Besides, don’t we start on memory charms this year?” A wicked smile crossed both Harry’s and Ron’s faces, while Remus and Hermione shared quite the opposite looks.
“Now Harry,” Remus started to say.
“Oh, don’t worry. I wouldn’t do it for real. Or at the very least, I wouldn’t get caught. Only Joking,” he added before Remus could interject.
“Right. Besides, as bad as Dudley is, I’d rather wipe Malfoy’s memory any day,” Ron added. Hermione opened her mouth to interject, but then stopped, a small smirk crossing her face.
“Well, if you are all done plotting, I believe it’s about time for you three to get in there and grab something to eat.”
He didn’t have to tell Harry twice. He headed into the kitchen like a man on a mission, sat down, and filled his face full of food so quickly it was nearly four minutes before he said another word, and to Ron’s surprise, he started to talk to Dudley.
“So, Dudley. Do you want to work on some basic spells after lunch?”
“Sure,” he replied as nonchalantly as he could, which wasn’t saying much. “That’d be cool.”
“Alright. Ron, do you think you would be willing to help me out?”
“Of course he’ll help you, Harry,” Hermione said before Ron could answer. “We’ll both help you. It’ll be just like the DA lessons back at school.”
“Right,” Harry said with a quick nod. Then something occurred to him and he took a quick look around the room. “Speaking of the DA, where did Dumbledore go?”
“Oh, he had to go take care of some Hogwarts business in order to enroll your cousin here.” Remus patted Dudley’s shoulder as he mentioned his name. “He’ll only be gone a few minutes.”
“Oh,” Harry replied. “Okay. Cool.” He took another bite from his sandwich before asking Hermione, “So how long are you going to be able to stick around for?”
“Well, Mum and Dad are going to some place called Las Vegas and said that it wasn’t a great place for kids, so they said I can stay here until Thursday. Then, starting next week, they said I can come over Thursday nights and stay till Friday when you go home.”
“Cool. How about you, Ron?”
“Well, as long as I keep up my chores and have my homework done on time, Mum said I can come over as much as I want.”
“And as long as you do not leave this house without an adult. I don’t want you wandering around without adult supervision. And I know I can’t tell you what to do Harry, but I know I would feel much better about your safety if you didn’t go out alone either. Not even to Diagon Alley. You can never be too safe.”
“Oh, Molly,” came Remus’s voice. “Let the boy live a little. He knows he needs to be careful, and I doubt that he would just walk out of the house without an adult, but the boy should be able to go to Diagon Alley without any problems, especially with all of the extra Aurors out there since the floating Muggle incident last Saturday.”
“Remus. You know as well as I do how dangerous it can be out there for the boys. He’s not even sixteen yet.”
“Yea, but really Mum, It’s like Professor Lupin says.” It was George.
“Really Mum,” added Fred. “They have loads of Aurors and magical enforcement officers all over the place. If any Death Eaters showed up now, they’d be captured or worse before they could even pull out their wand. And besides, most of the shops have dozens of Dark Magic detectors and anti magic spells going at all times. Trust me. There is no way any Death Eater is going to do any more attacks in Diagon Alley.”
“Yes, well you’ll pardon me if I’m not wholly convinced of Harry’s safety. Not that you can’t take care of yourself, Harry. It’s just that you’re only fifteen years old and you’ve been attacked by Voldemort more times…”
“Molly. I don’t think Harry needs to be reminded any more of where he stands with Voldemort. And frankly, I don’t think we need to be talking about this any more. Harry is old enough to start making his own decisions, and when it comes down to it, he’s done well enough so far, and I am confident that he can handle himself just fine now. However, that goes only as far as Harry is concerned. Ron, Ginny, Hermione; you will have to talk to your own parents about that. But not now. I believe young Dudley here is a little anxious to get to the learning.”
“Indeed,” said Professor McGonagall. “However, before Mr. Potter begins teaching you any magic, I would like to spend some time with Mr. Dursley, teaching him some of the more basic techniques that he will need in order to learn Magic. And before we can do that, we need to get him some supplies. Now, Professor Dumbledore has offered to help you pay for your…”
“Professor. I think I can help him pay for his stuff,” Harry volunteered. Then his eyes went big as he realized what he had said. He couldn’t believe he had just offered to help Dudley go to Hogwarts.
Why am I so anxious to help Dudley out? he asked himself. All He’s ever done is tick me off. Now I’m going to pay for his stuff at Hogwarts?
Harry was beside himself. He felt the frustration and annoyance build inside him, but as he turned his gaze at Dudley, all the anger and frustration faded away. Dudley was looking at him with the same confusion that Harry had felt, and Harry realized in that moment that he could leave Dudley alone on this.
Maybe it was because Harry felt responsible for Dudley’s changes since the Dementors were coming for him when they attacked Dudley, or maybe he just couldn’t let anyone suffer when he could stop it, but Harry knew in his heart that there was no way he could abandon his cousin at a time like this.
“That’s very generous of you Harry,” came Dumbledore’s voice. Harry snapped his head back to Dumbledore with a blank look on his face. He was greeted with a smile, and he felt himself being revitalized, as though coming out of a dream.
“Uh, yes sir. It’s not a problem sir. After all, he’s family,” he said with a weak smile. There was something about Dumbledore saying this that added the extra boost of energy Harry needed. Suddenly, everything became clear, and he knew he had made the right choice. Before he knew it, his smile had taken on a life of its own and he felt truly happy.
“Remus, do you think it would be okay for us to take Dudley over to Diagon Alley tomorrow? We could get him his own wand, some school supplies, things like that.” By the time he had finished asking, he had a bit of excitement in his voice. It was really odd, but he went with it.
“Sure Harry,” he replied happily. “It would be nice to get out of the house for a bit. We could make a day of it.”
“Yeah. Do you guys want to come along too?” he asked Hermione and Ron.
“Mum?” asked Ron.
“As long as you go with Remus and don’t wander off to far, I don’t see why not.”
“And you Hermione?”
“I’d love to,” answered Hermione. “I’d be great to get a first look at next year’s books.”
“Speaking of next year’s books...” It was Professor McGonagall. She put her hands into her pockets and pulled out several envelopes. “We usually don’t give these out for another month, but seeing as how we have all of you here.” She began to hand them out one at a time, starting with Ron and Ginny, then Hermione and Harry, and finally Dudley. Oddly enough, she still had two letters left which she handed to Fred and George. “And here are the letters you two requested,” she said simply.
“Hey George,” said Fred. “Do you know what these are for?”
“Why no, Fred, I don’t remember asking for a Hogwarts letter, do you?”
“I don’t think so.”
“What are you two going on about,” asked Ron.
“Well, I do remember saying something to Dumbledore about going back to Hogwarts to take our N.E.W.T.s when we heard he’d come back as headmaster.”
“You know, I think I remember that too. So, I guess we’ll be joining you all back for one more year at Hog…”
Mrs. Weasley had interrupted them as she charged towards the twins and wrapped them up into a huge double hug, tears flowing freely down her face. “Oh boys,” she called out.
“Mum,” the twins moaned in unison, though they looked very happy with their mother’s reaction.
“That's my boys. My wonderful, wonderful boys. I knew you two were smart enough to finish school.”
“Oh, yea,” said George. “That’s a good idea. We could go to classes in between testing our treats.”
“Right. I mean, what else are we going to do.” Fred’s smile turned into a mischievous smirk, and Harry had no doubt they could find other things to occupy their times, but he was also sure that at least on some level they were doing it as much for Mrs. Weasley as they were for themselves.
“And in the meantime, we can show you all around the shop when you come out tomorrow.”
“Right. And fifty percent off for all family and friends.”
“Okay, so how do we get Dudley over here during the week?”
“That has already been taken care of,” came Dumbledore’s voice. “His parents have been told that he will be involved in an alternate school program which will help him to prepare for his new school. After all, he will be receiving lessons from Mr. Potter and Professor McGonagall.”
“Well all right then,” said Harry.
“Also, Harry, I would like to make a few minor adjustments to the basement, if you don’t mind. Since you will be teaching Mr. Dursley here a great deal of different spells, I thought it might be prudent to turn the basement into a sort of classroom with the required supplies you would need.”
“Sure. Sounds fine to me, sir.”
“Marvelous. Also, Harry, there is one other person I would like to invite to these private classes, if it’s alright with you. He is most anxious to complete his training so he too can become a registered wizard, the same as these two gentlemen.” He nodded towards the twins.
“Of course, sir. Can I ask who it is?”
Dumbledore smiled broadly at him, then noticed the sparkle in Hermione’s eyes and answered, “I believe Mrs. Granger might be able to answer that for you.”
“You’re joking!” she cried out loudly. Everyone took a step back at this outburst, but she didn’t seem to notice. “He didn’t. But what about the Ministry?”
“That has all been cleared up for some time now,” Dumbledore replied, “but he hasn’t quite been ready until recently. Now, with Voldemort’s return, he has decided it was time to put away his pride and complete his schooling.”
“Wait a minute. You’re not talking about…” Harry trailed off, his eyes getting ever wider, a smile growing full on his face.
“Who are we talking about?” asked Ron.
“Hagrid,” cried Hermione. “Hagrid’s going to finish out his lessons at Hogwarts. Oh, I can’t believe it. I’m so proud of him. He’s so brave.”
“Brave?” Ron asked. “For going to school? Nuts is more like it.”
“Oh, Ron. You just don’t you get it, do you? Hagrid gets teased all the time by kids at school, and it’ll be twice as bad now that he’s going to be a Hogwarts student as well.”
“Oh. Well, I guess. Hey, if it makes Hagrid happy, then so be it.”
“Well, as long as he has your blessing,” Hermione said, rolling her eyes.
“Are they going out or something?” Dudley whispered into Harry’s ear.
“You’d think so, wouldn’t you,” Harry replied. Then he looked back to Dumbledore and said, “Well, you can tell Hagrid for me that he’s always welcome here. But just out of curiosity, is he still going to be running the Care of Magical Creatures class?”
“Actually, Professor Grubbly-Plank will be taking over for Hagrid,” Dumbledore replied. “He enjoyed teaching, but between his duties as groundskeeper and his studies, he does not believe he will be able to put enough attention to the students.”
“Oh. Well, if that’s what he wants,” said Hermione, trying to hide the glee she was feeling for having a proper Care of Magical Creatures Professor again.
“Well, I believe that all we have left is to prepare the basement. Professor McGonagall and I can take care of it if you would like to go pick up your supplies from Diagon Alley.”
“Yes,” said Harry. “We could pick up all of our school supplies while we’re there, and the twins can show us their store.”
Mrs. Weasley gave a slight grunt, but said politely, “I suppose I could take you all there for the afternoon.”
“I can tag along too,” said Remus. “I have a few things I could pick up.”
“Okay,” said Ron. “So what are we waiting for? Let’s get moving.”
They all got up from the table and headed out of the kitchen. As they did, Harry heard Dumbledore ask Mrs. Weasley to stay back with him for a moment, but he was so excited with going to Diagon Alley that he didn’t stay to find out what they were talking about.
Everyone returned to the kitchen a few minutes later with a handful of coins, all except Harry and Dudley, who were going to go to Gringotts to get some money there. Harry also figured that this would be a good way of introducing Dudley to the vast wizarding world as quickly as possible.
By the time everyone had arrived Dumbledore had a full fire roaring in the fireplace. Harry pulled Dudley to one side and told him where they were going.
“We are going to a place called the Leaky Cauldron. You just step into the fire and…”
“I know,” Dudley interrupted in a soft tone and smile. “I step in, drop the powder, and say Leaky Cauldron.”
“Right. Okay, do you want to go first?”
“Actually, I think it would be best if I go first,” said Remus. “That way I can let Tom know that we have a big party coming in. He gets a bit jumpy nowadays when too many people come through at one time.”
“Right,” Replied Harry.
Remus stepped into the fireplace, dropped the Floo powder, and was gone. George stepped quickly in behind him, and soon he was gone as well. In no time at all, it was just Harry, Dudley, and Mrs. Weasley.
“So, do you want to go next?” he asked.
“Sure,” Dudley replied nervously. Dudley stepped into the fireplace, grabbed some Floo powder from a bowl Mrs. Weasley was holding out to him, dropped it, and was gone.
Harry stepped up, grabbed his own handful of Floo powder, called out, “The Leaky Cauldron,” and felt the fire envelope him, and off he went.
Harry tumbled out of the fireplace at The Leaky Cauldron and quickly got to his feet. Everyone was there, and most of them were already talking amongst themselves. A moment later Mrs. Weasley popped out, brushed herself off, and headed towards her kids. Everyone gathered into a group and headed towards the back door.
Mrs. Weasley herded everyone into the back alley and tapped the wall. Soon the wall opened and everyone headed into Diagon Alley.
Everyone agreed to meet at Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes at four-thirty. Harry told Ron and Hermione that he would meet them at Flourish and Blotts after he went to Gringotts. They agreed and split off.
Harry, Dudley, and Remus headed down to Gringotts. As they walked down the street, Dudley continuously pointed at different things and asked Harry a dozen different questions. Of course, once they approached the front door of Gringotts, Dudley was completely struck by the goblin standing guard. They went inside and after checking in they were escorted to a small cart. They got in and headed down into caverns.
At first it seemed that Dudley might get sick, but by the time they reached Harry’s vault Dudley had his hands in the air and he was screaming and laughing. They got out and went to the vault door where Harry gave the small goblin that accompanied them his key. When the door opened, Dudley let out a small squeak as he saw all of the gold galleons. Harry took a step back as well.
Sirius had told Harry in his will that he had given him what little money he had left, but Sirius must have had a very unique interpretation of the word little, as there appeared to be just over three times the amount of galleons as Harry had last seen in the vault. His jaw hit the floor. This was definitely some kind of inheritance. Harry grabbed his moneybag, as well as his spare bag for Dudley, and headed back out.
A few minutes later they were stepping out of Gringotts and headed towards the shops. Before they were going to meet Hermione and Ron, Harry wanted to get the boring stuff out of the way. So they headed down to Madam Malkins Robes for All Occasions. They came out twenty minutes later with two bags full of clothes for school.
Next, then went to Flourish and Blotts and met up with Ron and Hermione. They had already gotten their books, and even picked up a set for Harry. They had to get a few extras for Dudley, but many of the books he needed were in Harry’s trunk.
They all headed out to pick up the rest of their supplies. They picked up some basic potion ingredients, a nice pewter cauldron, and some parchment and ink. Then they headed over to the Magical Menagerie where Dudley picked out a black cat named Midnight.
Finally, they went to Ollivanders where, after nearly a hundred different wands, Dudley was the proud owner of a ten-inch willow wand with a dragon heartstring core. Again, as Dudley went through wands, Mr. Ollivander seemed to get happier and happier with each failure.
Then everyone went to Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes. Fred and George met them at the front door.
“How did you know we where here?” asked Harry.
“Jimmy,” answered George, pointing to the fifth floor balcony of the building across the street. There was a tall man in a black robe look down over the street, his wand at the ready. His gaze drifted over Harry and he nodded his head. “He’s one of the Aurors watching over the streets. The moment you all arrived, every Auror has stepped up security.”
“You’d have to be stupid to try anything with all the Aurors around here,” added Ron. “Hermione and I have seen at least a dozen of them up on those ledges watching people walk around here. It’s kinda spooky if you ask me.”
“You know who else comes around here a lot?” asked George. “Moody. He’s around here all the time on Dumbledore’s orders. He’s always keeping an eye out for Death Eaters, especially in Knockturn Alley.”
“Really?” asked Harry. “Have there been any problems?”
“Not really, but that’s the point, isn’t it?” replied Fred. “They want to keep this area clear of problems, especially during the summer holidays.”
“So,” called George loudly, “Lets get into the shop and buy some treats.”
They all laughed a bit and headed inside. The place was pretty empty, only half a dozen or so people looking about, one of which was Lee Jordan, a friend of the twins and the announcer for the Quidditch matches at Hogwarts. Currently he was behind the counter ringing up for a bag of candies for a young witch.
What really surprised Harry about the shop was the variety of things you could buy. Of course, there were plenty of candies and cakes to buy, but there were also a great deal of other types of fun items to choose from.
One wall was dedicated to unusual books including books that automatically opened to the last page read, books that said one thing, then changed when tickled in the seam. Others had hidden compartments and some even had pages that disappeared and reappeared, depending on what time of day it was. There were notebook pairs that would display whatever was written in the other notebook. There were the trick wands that Harry had seen two years ago, dozens of quick quills, and self-correcting quills.
There were other things in the store that caught Harry’s attention. There were bags that caused anything put in it to disappear, and other bags that spit things out at random times. One bag that Harry found truly amusing was one that transported items to another bag. That would allow him and Ron to exchange things while he was at home and he was at the Dursleys.
There were dozens of other tricks and treats there, and by the time Harry was ready to leave he had filled two bags with candy and presents for Dudley’s Birthday. After all, it was only a few weeks away, and he was sure to have some fun with him. They all finished the day with some ice cream before they headed home. The twins stayed behind to clean up the shop and asked Harry to tell their Mum that they would be coming home this weekend.
They all arrived back at Grimmauld Place just after four, ate at four-thirty, and Dumbledore had taken Dudley home just after five. It was strange for Harry to see him go. For the first time in his life, he thought he might actually miss having Dudley around. He had actually been a halfway decent person and Harry was getting to like having him around.
Mrs. Weasley and Professor McGonagall brought everyone down to see the basement. It reminded Harry of a cross between the Room of Requirement and the Great Hall back at Hogwarts. Harry was definitely impressed.
“In addition to the normal expansion spell we put on the basement,” McGonagall began, “we have enchanted the room so that nobody would detect any magic done here. Dumbledore has also granted each of you permission to work on any spells so long as you do so inside this room.”
Harry could hear Hermione gasp as she learned that she would be able to practice magic outside of school. Ron simply said, “Cool” in a soft voice
“As you can see, we have raised the height fifty feet so that you can give young Mr. Dursley some flying lessons, and we have provided all the necessary equipment so that you would be able to cover all the basic spells covered through first and second year. Also, we added a third extra large fireplace beneath the one in the living room so Hagrid may come here through his own fireplace back at Hogwarts.”
Harry nodded, smiling. “It looks brilliant, all of it,” he complimented. The fireplace really did look quite nice. It was roughly the same size as the ones in the Great Hall back at Hogwarts, but then he realized that the entire room reminded him of the Great Hall, so it should be no surprise that the fireplace would match.
“He should be along on Friday to say hello and then will continue meeting me here with Mr. Dursley throughout the week from nine to three. We are hoping that with the help of Miss Granger and yourself, we might be able to give them enough attention that they may integrate themselves into Hogwarts as painlessly as possible.”
“Sounds great,” Harry replied.
The basement really did look great. It had to be at least half the size of the great hall, with the ceiling enchanted in the same manner. There were spell books and potion ingredients on shelves all over the walls, and there was a tall cupboard where three broomsticks lay. Harry’s first instinct was to grab his Firebolt and go flying. Mrs. Weasley and Professor McGonagall both excused themselves say they both had to go home and Harry escorted them to the kitchen fireplace. Ron was allowed to stay for the night, but Ginny decided to go home with Mrs. Weasley, which left just Harry, Ron, Hermione and Remus.
They spent the rest of the night downstairs with Hermione looking at all of the books while Ron and Harry played toss on their brooms while Remus relaxed with Buckbeak on the pile of pillows in the corner. Harry had decided that this would be a much better place for Buckbeak to call home, so he moved Buckbeak’s things downstairs and marked that corner off as Buckbeak’s new home. He’d even let Hedwig loose so she could fly with Harry for a bit, and then come to a landing on one of the rafters.
At a little after eleven that night everyone began to get a bit tired from the day and headed upstairs for a good nights sleep. They each said goodnight and headed to their separate rooms. Remus had taken Sirius’s room, Hermione had taken the room next to Harry’s, and Ron had taken the room directly across the hall.
Harry changed into his night clothes and got into bed. He took a deep breath and thought about the past week. Just one week ago he was going to be spending yet another summer at the Dursleys with his Aunt, Uncle, and spoiled brat of a cousin Dudley, but now he was staying at Sirius’s house with his two best friends and his new godfather, and was anticipating tomorrow when he would see his cousin again. He shook his head in disgust, but he couldn’t help but smile at the same time.
He was so tired that he didn’t want to do any training, but he forced himself to slow his breathing and count backwards from a hundred. He never made it past ninety five.
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