Chapter 7 : Old Ties
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It had been a long time since Harry had worn muggle clothing. He felt out of place. He stood looking himself over in a bit of an awe. Hermione wore these clothes often enough and was bewildered by Harry's awkwardness with them - last she'd known he'd only worn wizard garb as a student at Hogwarts.
"How long's it been since you've last seen them?" Hermione asked.
"Longer than you'd think."
"How'd you know where to find them?"
"Ministry. They've been keeping a watch on them," Harry smiled widely at this. He couldn't help but laugh to himself every time he thought of his magic hating aunt and uncle being guarded by witches and wizards. He couldn't wait to hear their stories!
The Durselys had been moved several times during the war, but were now settled across the Atlantic on some small tropical island, lost within the Carribean.
"There..." Harry motioned to Hermione, spotting the wide man laying out in a lawn chair on the beach. A thin woman laid in the one next to him.
Harry walked right up beside them, staring off into the beautiful horizon. The beach was crowded. It was late in the afternoon and hot. Adults and kids alike splashed and played in the cool, ocean water.
"Aho!" a startled Uncle Vernon jumped in his seat.
"Petunia!" he alerted his sleeping wife, nudging her in the shoulder. Vernon was staring wide-eyed all the while at Harry, as if he were looking upon a ghost. Aunt Petunia was sun bathing, using a foil reflector to beam rays back up on her face. She apparently did this quite often as her skin was a bright red.
Uncle Vernon had changed little. He did look as if he'd lost some weight, but he was still a very large man. He wore a typical tropical flowered short sleeve, button down shirt. He had the same stupid mustache and same blubbery cheeks.
"Harry? That you, boy?" he asked gruffily, squinting his eyes as if he couldn't see straight.
"It is, Uncle Vernon...its been a long time."
"I'd say, hardly recognized you!" he said, jumping up from his seat.
"You've grown up so much," Aunt Petunia added in a state of disbelief.
"One of your's?" Uncle Vernon asked, nodding towards Hermione.
"Vernon, don't be rude!" Aunt Petunia surprisingly interrupted.
"Hrrumpph!" Vernon grumbled.
"So, you're back, are you boy?" Uncle Vernon asked.
"Er - yeah, I guess you could say that. I expected you to have moved back to England by now..."
"Couldn't exactly do that safely now could we?" Uncle Vernon charged.
"No, I suppose not..." Harry admitted
"That'll be enough of that, Vernon Dursley!" Aunt Petunia abruptly rose from her seat, cutting off her husband, "its been three years..." she trailed off, "you'll have to forgive him," she said to Harry and Hermione.
Vernon seemed just as shocked as Harry and Hermione were. What had come over her?
"Harry, whats happened to you?" Aunt Petunia approached her nephew, looking over him concernedly.
"Nothing, I'm fine," Harry tripped backwards, " just been longer than I'd remembered, I guess..."
"I'm so happy you've decided to pay us a visit, there is someone you just have to meet!"
"Petunia!" Uncle Vernon suspiciously protested. Petunia turned and gave him a glare as if to tell him to shut it. He did.
"Come now, we were just about to head back ourselves, Dudley's cooking dinner!"
"Dudley you say...cooking? Er..."
"He's a fine cook, I promise," Aunt Petunia laughed toyfuly, getting what Harry was hinting at.
Harry looked to Hermione and shrugged. What was going on? His aunt had never in all his life treated him this friendly. Harry considered this a trap, that they were impersonators - polyjuice potion - but no, he was sure it was them, such simple magic could not fool him.
It was a short ride back to their place. Their house was modest but maticoulously kept. The yard was green and the flowers full bloom.
"Its not much, but Dudley's got his own place further in town," Uncle Vernon complained as they pulled up to the house. Vernon drove a nice sedan, which Harry and Hermione rode with them in the back.
"You have a beautitul home," Hermione complimented them. The house was much more than Vernon had just given credit.
"Thank you dear, really, its not much, but thank you," Aunt Petunia said graciously.
"There are others here?" Harry asked as they exitted the car. Aunt Petunia gave her nephew a funny look.
"Trying to ruin the surprise, are you? Told you we had someone for you to meet!"
The inside of the house reminded Harry of Number 4 Privet Drive. Same decorations, same dust-free cleanliness. It smelled wonderful. Dudley's cooking, surprisingly enough, smelled wonderful.
"Harry!" Dudley cheered as he spotted his cousin. He immediately dropped what he was doing and rushed to great his cousin as if they were long lost best friends. Harry was left speechless as Dudley grasped him up in a mighty bear hug.
"Wow, look at you, gonna be bigger than me soon!"
Harry laughed. Indeed, Dudley had lost a good deal of weight. He wore an apron over an old tee shirt and shorts. Flour was all over, including on his chin and nose.
"Just frying some fish, we do it every Thursday," Dudley informed him, "Can't believe you're here. Wow! How long's it been now? You're a long way from England! Everything alright then?"
"Sure, just been busy's all. Had some time off, stopped by the old house..."
"Did you now?" Uncle Vernon asked as he followed them into the kitchen.
"Yeah, the Order did a good job on it, looks like you left only yesterday."
"Well, thats what they told us, but we're thinking about selling the old place, don't imagine we'll be heading back there any time soon," Aunt Petunia followed Vernon in. He shot her a glance.
"Sale your house?" Harry asked surprised.
"Well, we've sort of set down roots here."
"Petunia!" Uncle Vernon again protested.
"Oh hush!" she shot back at him.
"Margie get in here! My cousin is here, Harry!" Dudley interrupted everyone.
"Harry? You're kidding?" a girls voice called from the back. A small but pretty young woman came from the hallway, holding a half-sleeping baby on her shoulder.
"Oh my," Hermione gasped spotting the baby, "who is this little cutie pie?" Hermione asked giddily.
"Hermione," Petunia helped her son.
"Hermione," Dudley repeated after her, "I would like you to meet my wife, Mrs. Margie Dursley...and my daughter, Violet."
Harry was shocked, 'Dudley, married? A daughter?'
"Oh, what a perfect name, she is so cute, look at those cheeks!" Hermione cooed over her.
"Margie, this is my cousin, Harry, and his friend, Hermione."
"Hello, what a pleasure it is to finally meet you!" she shook their hands.
"Finally?" Harry asked.
"Of course, I've heard so much about you, feels like I've known you for years."
"Whats going on?" Harry asked suspiciously, looking from his aunt to his uncle to Dudley. They all looked confused, unsure of what Harry meant.
"Well, I suppose you're used to that, you're quite famous, aren't you?" Margie misunderstood.
"Famous?" Harry asked, "what've they been telling you?"
Margie laughed, "well I guess its not every day you come across a family with a wizard in it!"
They told her? They had willingly let her in on the secret they had tried to keep suppressed for so many years? Something definitely wasn't right.
"We caught a lot of news from the ones keeping watch on us," Dudley explained.
"So, wow, a daughter?" Harry changed the subject, looking to the baby.
Little Violet laughed gaily, causing everyone in the room to smile.
"Something special, isn't she?" Aunt Petunia asked earnestly, looking from Harry to Hermione.
"Why don't you hold her?" she suggested to Harry.
"Petunia!" Uncle Vernon again tried to protest, but she cut him off with a cold glare.
"Er...sure," Harry was left confused, but he moved to take little Violet in his arms nonetheless. Aunt Petunia watched Harry's face like a hawk, staring eagerly. She was not left dissappointed - Harry's facial expresion suddenly shifted.
"What is it?" Hermione also noticed. Harry looked immediately to Margie, but then shook his head. He then looked to Dudley, then to Aunt Petunia.
"I knew it!" Aunt Petunia shrieked excitedly.
"Now, now..." Uncle Vernon tried to interject.
"This is your child?" Harry asked Margie directly.
She nodded nervously. Harry stared long and hard at her.
"And Dudley is the father?" Harry asked rather boldly, but no one protested. All seemed to be waiting in angst.
"When she was young...this tea cup, she just knocked it right over - had to have been a meter away!" Aunt Petunia began explaining, excitement boiling in her voice. "It was just like you, when you were a baby!"
"Wait, what do you mean?" Hermione asked.
"Enough, now I won't..."
"Hush, Vernon!" Petunia cut him off yet again.
"Harry...can you tell?" Petunia said in almost a whisper, "is she...is she - magical?"
The room fell dead silent. All eyes fell upon Harry and his to little Violet's.
"How old is she?" Harry asked.
"Fourteen months," Dudley answered first.
"A tea cup you say?"
"Yes, saw it with my own eyes!" Aunt Petunia again shrieked. She was glowing.
"And already up and walking, even picked up a few words, calls me pepa!" Uncle Vernon added with unusual excitement. As eyes turned to him, he corrected and tried to make himself look grumpy and intimidating once again.
"So what do you think?" Dudley asked, nodding towards Violet. "Do-do you think...is she speacial?"
"Dudley! Of course she's special!" Margie erupted.
"Tha's not what I..."
"I am sure of it," Harry did not mean in the way they were hoping, "but magical...what are the odds?" Harry stared long and hard at the little baby.
"Violet?" Hermione called softly, "may I hold her for a moment?"
"Of course," Harry handed her over.
"Hello you little pretty," Hermione cooed. "I think you are something special, Harry?" Hermione turned to look at him and was taken aback by the shock on Harry's face.
"Harry?" but he did not answer her. Instead he finally shook off the trance he was in and turned to Margie.
"Are you a...?"
"No," she answered, smiling. Just a plain Jane...muggle, you call us right?"
"I knew it, I just knew it!" Aunt Petunia shrieked, not angrily, but excitedly. "I just knew that little girl was something special, she's like the two of you, isn't she?"
Hermione looked to Harry, "Harry, is she really...how can you..."
"You usually can't tell til they're a bit older...but if I had to guess...well, I'd say I believe so," he walked up to her side. Harry gently brushed the soft skin of her cheek.
"B-but, h-how?" a stunned Uncle Vernon asked.
"Honestly, its not that uncommon. I was a muggle born," Hermione attempted to explain to the shocked muggles. "It was in your blood, after all," Hermione looked to Aunt Petunia, "your sister...the gene can lie dormant through generations..."
"I can't believe this! Oh Vernon, can you believe this!" Petunia hugged her husband happily. Vernon, along with Dudley and Margie seemed dazed, shocked by the news.
"Who would have ever thought..." Harry mumbled to himself. "Forgive me, but I believed you to be...anti-magic? Of course you love your grandaughter, but..."
"Huh? No!" Aunt Petunia played coy. "Harry...does this mean - will she get to go to...to Hogwarts."
"If she is indeed a witch, then yes."
"But, I thought you said...can't you be sure..." Aunt Petunia's mood suddenly changed to a near urgent sense of panic.
"Well, like I said, she'd need to be a little older to be sure. The Ministry's got its ways..." all of Aunt Petunia's hopes and dreams seemed to be failing with Harry's words. Seeing this, Harry quickly recovered, "but there is definitely something special about her, I can sense it."
"Really, you swear?"
Harry looked confusedly from his aunt to his uncle and to his cousin.
"Forgive me, but it almost seems...you're hoping she's a witch?"
"Harry, no...think of Her potential! A real live witch in the family! And we relations to Harry Potter - from good blood I tell you, good blood. She'll be absolutely splendid, one of the greatest witches ever!"
All laughed at Aunt Petunia's enthusiasm, all but Uncle Vernon that is. He still seemed unsure of how to accept the news. Aunt Petunia was obviously the most excited, but Dudley and Margie both seemed very happy with the news as well. They eached smiled gaily at their daughter.
Eventually the shock and awe wore down and they all settled in around the dinner table. Uncle Vernon did not speak a word. Everyone else enjoyed Dudley's dinner with lively talk, catching up on all that had happened since they last parted.
The Dursley's surprised Harry and Hermione with how much they had learned about the magical world over the last couple of years. They were up on their current events, they seemed to know many of the public figures, and on more than one occasion they inquired about Hogwarts, and wished for Harry to assure them that Violet would get to attend there. Dudley made Harry swear to it.
It grew late into the evening. Uncle Vernon had not said a word until he abruptly shoved his chair back and stood up from the table.
"You will have to excuse me, I...I've to use the loo," he said a bit awkwardly. Aunt Petunia stared at him alarmedly. Vernon said nothing more as he then turned and instead of heading to the common restroom, he instead walked to his bedroom and closed the door behind himself. Dudley and his mother looked to each other.
"You'll have to pardon him, he's still getting used to the idea of..." Aunt Petunia tried explaining, but when she turned to where Harry was sitting - he was gone. She looked to Hermione. Hermione though could only shrug.
"Uncle..." Harry spooked Dursley to where he nearly leapt from his very skin. Throwing his arms up, he tossed the device he had just retrieved from his bedstand into the air. It would have crashed to the floor, but just above it, it slowed to a halt, then reversed and rose to where Uncle Vernon could reach it. Vernon though stood motionless, shocked.
"Harry! I didn't hear..." he looked to the door, but it was still closed.
"I was only...I don't..."
"Take it," Harry reminded him of the antique looking piece that was now hovering before him.
"There is no need to explain Uncle, now then, go on. You need not be afraid," Harry smiled to reassure him.
Uncle Vernon hesitantly grabbed the piece from the air, as if it would strike him dead at any moment.
"Harry, you have to understand-"
"I do. I've lost many I've loved...I would never expect you to endanger your own family because of me, and Uncle, I am sorry but your family is in grave danger. I know of the wizards that have come by here."
Vernon gulped, he looked to the window.
"They forced me...told me if I didn't...my family-"
"I know, now go on, it is okay."
"B-but, if I..."
"It does not matter, they know I am here anyways. They have been keeping a close eye on you."
Vernon turned a pale white.
"Uncle, listen to me, I am going to get you - all of you - to safety, but I will need you to do exactly as I say. Now go on, do what you came in here to."
Vernon could only nod. He looked down to the device he held in his hands. Holding the center pinched tightly between his fingers, he used his other hand to spin the outer ring of it til it clicked. Vernon suddenly dropped it as it began to glow orange. This time it cluttered to the floor. He looked to his nephew. Harry smiled reassuringly to him.
. . . .
The weather turned absolutely dreadful. The storm had come out of no where. The two round headlights were hard to see a mere ten metres away in the torential downpour. The car drove carefuly down the bumpy, one lane road. It was on its way to the airport.
The car slammed on its breaks. Fortunately he had been driving slow because of the rain, could hardly see past the windshield, but sure enough three cloaked figures stood across the road, blocking their path. The driver threw the car into reverse and hit the gas, but there were several others already closing in on their rear. Again the car skid to a halt and idled.
"Its alright, let me out here. You stay in the car," Hermione instructed him. The driver never uttered a word, he looked too afraid to. Hermione stepped out.
Using her wand, she created an invisible umbrella like dome above her to keep off the rain. Thunder clasped in the distance. Hermione could see the bright blonde hair of one of the cloaked figures in the lightning.
"Dementors haven't found you yet, Malfoy?" Hermione taunted him.
"Arrogant mudblood!" he cursed. "Sent his tramp, how like him. Where is he!" Malfoy demanded. The wizards closed ranks in around her and the car. There were seven of them in all, this was bad.
"Your a long way from home, Malfoy."
"As are you, Mudblood. Now where is he?"
"He's not here," Hermione answered.
"Who's in the car?" Malfoy demanded.
"Your driver?" Malfoy laughed. "Foolish. Take her!"
Hermione was surrounded by seven lethal looking wizards, there was little she could do. At Malfoy's command, all six of his minions shot a stunning spell at Hermione. All the red bursts of light lit up the dark night sky. This many...they could kill her. She did not even try to defend herself, it wouldn't have done her any good anyways.
From here, everything happened so fast. There was a loud bang - a sonic boom. A flash of light, a streak, as if a meteor suddenly came hurdling from the sky. It moved so fast, a crack of lighting followed in its wake, but the white streak moved even faster.
The meteor came crashing down upon Hermione. An explosion of white dust or smoke erupted around them. No eyes could have followed him, Harry flourished his wand above his head and a rope like beam of energy burst out and wrapped itself around them. The stunning spells all collided with it, but neither deflected nor disappated. Instead, they clung on to the ribbon of enegery. Harry then whipped his wand again above his head, and as if he were wielding a sling shot, he loosed the red balls of light back out at their creators. All six were struck directly in the chest with their own spells, all sent hurdling back off their feet, unconcious. Malfoy remained standing, stunned, but only from shock. The white cloud was only now beginning to settle and disappear.
"Potter!" Malfoy spat. He moved to attack but the spell he released arced off harmlessly on some wild path. He sent another curse but it did the same. Harry took a step towards him, and as he did, Malfoy was suddenly caught by some unseen force and was sent first crashing to his knees, then over onto his hands. He struggled to break the grip on him, but it was futile. There was no defeating gravity, and this was no normal force of gravity.
Harry continued towards him until he stood right before him. A haze of energy began forming around both of them. It began twirling, spinnning, encasing them in a cacoon like field the was joined by a thin connection. Their figures grew fuzzy, and though they were not touching, in a matter of seconds, they both suddenly disappeared.
The car door opened. A scared Dudley poked out his head, "that was bloody crazy! Everything alright?"
Hermione seemed just as shocked as he was.
"Stay where you are!" she warned him. She looked back to where Harry was just standing, but sure enough, there was no sign of him. She then shook her trance off and jumped to action. With the use of her wand, she collected all the Death Eaters' wands and destroyed them. She then began pulling them together and binding them with the use of some very complex magic. Dudley watched in awe.
"That was awesome!" he came up behind her. Hermione looked crazedly at him.
"Do you have any idea what you just went through...no, of course you wouldn't!" she answered her own question.
"Huh?" Dudley asked.
"I can't believe there were so many!" Hermione said nervously. "Harry! By all accounts, Dudley, we should be dead or captured right now!" she continued securing the Death Eaters.
"A-are they...dead?" Dudley gulped, surveying the fallen wizards.
"Oh..." Dudley looked back to the idling car.
"Lets go," Hermione said as she finished up.
"Whats the big deal?" he asked a rattled Hermione. Hermione guffawed.
"Did you not hear me? There is no reason any of us should be alive right now. If you only knew Dudley...how much danger you were just in..."
"But...Harry just licked them, didn't even break a sweat."
"I know..." Hermione shook her head in disbelief, "that was no normal display of magic you saw back there...that was...I don't know."
"But he's a wizard?"
"So were they."
"Huh...so not all wizards can do that?"
"Huh...can you do that?"
"Huh..." Dudley thought about it for a moment.
"But he's, "Harry Potter," right?"
Hermione turned and looked at Dudley.
Hermione walked up and grabbed him by the arm.
"This is going to be...unpleasant, but we've got to hurry."
Dudley looked scared for the first time, but before he could say anything, they both disappeared with a loud crack.
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