Chapter 1 : The Invitation
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You are formally invited celebrate the union of Harry James Potter and Ginevra Molly Weasley on Saturday the 27th of August 2001 at The Burrow, Ottery St. Catchpole. The service begins at 4.00 pm and the dress code is formal.
Please inform us as to whether you will be able to attend or not as soon as possible. We look forward to your response.
(If you confirm your attendance, a fellow guest of the wedding will meet you at Surrey Bus station at 3.30. Please arrive promptly with your invitation. Thank you.)
Dudley read the pale golden invitation once more. He was surprised to receive this. He and his cousin, Harry were not close in any sense of the word, despite being brought up together. In fact, the only correspondence that had occurred the last five years were birthday and Christmas cards to one another. Dudley wondered whether Harry was expecting him to attend. He looked at the envelope enclosed. Dudley appreciated the fact that the letter had been sent the normal way, not with an owl.
Just as he pulled out the response slip, someone knocked on his office door. Slightly startled by the sudden noise, he crammed the invitation into a side drawer, telling whoever it was on the other side of the door to enter. His secretary walked in, handing him a rather large pile of paperwork and backing out quickly. He eyed the paperwork dejectedly. He had only been working for his father for two months, yet he was already exceptionally bored in the job.
He pulled out the invitation once more, wondering what Harry’s life was like. He wondered what his wife was like... what job he had... Before he realised what he was doing, he had ticked the small attending box on the RSVP form, stuffed it into the envelope and gave it to his secretary to post.
As he stood up to stretch, he looked out of the window, he saw the post man in his red uniform collecting the days post from Grunnings. It wasn’t until he watched the van drive away that he realised what he had done. Now, he felt thoroughly sick.
Over the next few weeks, the prospect of the wedding was on his mind almost all of the time. He noticed how quickly the weeks seemed to pass leading up to the day. Once the day actually arrived, Dudley woke up and forced a small lunch down, before putting his smartest suit on. He wasn’t sure what to wear. He knew that wizards didn’t really wear suits, but it was the only appropriate thing he owned for a wedding. He hoped he wouldn’t stand out too much.
When he arrived at the bus station, Dudley looked around, feeling rather nervous. He wondered whether whoever it was that was picking him up would recognise him. He also wondered what kind of car they would have. He remembered the wizard that took him from Privet Drive had to ask his father to drive because he didn’t know how to. He wondered whether the person picking him up would also be a Muggle...
As he was thinking this, there was a loud whip like noise in the empty bus station and out of nowhere, a man walked towards him. He was smiling and he held his hand out for Dudley to shake. At this moment, he recognised the man. It was the same one that took him from Privet Drive. “Diggle” he said, proud that he had remembered the mans name.
“Dursley! You’ve grown up!” He said, admiring him and pumping his hand enthusiastically. “You’ve lost weight!” He added.
Dudley smiled politely at the man. But in his mind he was panicking. He realised that there was no car, nor was there any other means of transportation to get them to their destination. “Right,” Diggle said, pushing his glasses up his nose. “You’ll be travelling by side-along apparition,” he said. Dudley had no idea what that was, but he nodded appropriately. “It’ll be uncomfortable. But just stay calm and keep hold of my arm, and you’ll be fine” Diggle said, smiling.
Dudley’s instincts were telling him to run home. He looked around, wondering if it was too late to do so. He looked back at the man who was holding his arm out. “Stay calm. It won’t be pleasant.” Diggle said, calmly. Dudley took a deep breath. He noticed his hand was shaking as he reached for the other mans arm.
As he touched the man, the man turned on the spot, and the next thing Dudley knew, he was staring at blackness. He was compressed. He couldn’t breathe, because he was compressed so tightly. It felt like he was in a tube that was stuck. The next thing he knew, he was in a field. He could breathe once more. His knees were wobbling, and he almost fell over. He was glad that he had only eaten a small lunch. Anything more than what he had eaten already would have made an appearance, he was sure of it. He looked over at Diggle. He was perfectly fine. He smiled at Dudley, and pulled out his invitation whilst starting to walk.
Dudley did the same and jogged slightly to catch up with Diggle. “Hold out your invite,” he instructed. Dudley did so, his legs still wobbly from his journey. “They’re enchanted, you see. Only people with an invitation can get into the wedding. Keeps the press out.” He said, conversationally.
In the horizon, there was a lop-sided house. Dudley was sure that his mother would probably call it more of a barn, but Dudley could see that it was lived in and probably loved. Dudley wondered how it stayed up. Although he was pretty sure of the answer already. The grass around the house was long, and there were different plants growing everywhere. Many of the plants, he had never seen before, and he was sure that they were actually moving.
He felt like he was on overdrive. There was so much to see, so many questions to ask. People were all over the grounds. Many dressed strangely. The women were wearing dresses, but the men were wearing cloaks, making Dudley feel extremely out of place.
Most of the attendees were already making their way to the huge marquee in the middle of the garden and being escorted to their seats. Diggle walked towards the tent, and then realised that he and Dudley would probably not be sat together. “Right, well. I say we should meet here at seven, ok?” Diggle asked. Dudley nodded.
Dudley couldn’t help but feel a little bit abandoned. The only people he actually knew at this wedding were Harry and Diggle. What was he supposed to do until seven? He watched Diggle be escorted to his seat, and waited to be seated himself.
“Name?” a bored voice said suddenly.
“Er... Dudley Dursley...” He said. The red-headed man looked up suddenly, a mischievous smile on his face.
“I remember you!” He said. Dudley’s heart began to pound as he realised who he was speaking to. He was the boy that had broken out of the fireplace to collect Harry one summer. He had eaten a sweet that the boy had given him, causing his tongue to increase massively, to the extent that he found it hard to breathe. Dudley’s instincts were telling him to run away from this place. It was full of people who were seemingly inherently untrustworthy.
The man stood in front of him laughed. “Don’t worry. I won’t do anything to you... yet.” Dudley nodded. He had no idea what to do in this situation. His parents never really saw fit to teach him what to say in front of wizards... “Right, well...” The man gestured for Dudley to follow him, which he did.
Dudley couldn’t help but gasp at the sheer size of the marquee. It was twice the size that it looked on the outside, and it was full of dainty golden chairs. The aisle in the middle of the room was golden, and the altar at the end of the aisle has decorated with plants that fluttered delicately in a non existent breeze.
He was shown to his seat, where he sat down. The people who were supposed to be in the chairs around him had not arrived yet. He watched the red-headed man walk away. Suddenly, the man hesitated and returned to Dudley, sitting down in the chair next to him. “Er...” the man said quietly. “If I were you, I’d stay away from my Dad. The guy over there?” He pointed towards a man with red hair. It was speckled with grey and had a large bald patch at the crown. “If he finds out you’re a Muggle, he won’t leave you alone.” He said smiling.
Dudley vaguely remembered the man. He had also been there the day that they picked Harry up. He was sure there were other people there too. Suddenly, he realised. “Er... sorry, but my memory is a bit bad... are you a twin?” The mans expression went from a smile to a grimace in the space of a second.
“Not anymore...he was killed in the war.” Dudley felt horrible now. He had so many questions, and evidently, he had asked the wrong one first.
“I’m sorry” Dudley said awkwardly. The man smiled.
“Don’t worry, mate. It was quite a while ago now.” He stood up, smiling once more, and then walked away.
The chairs were soon taken by a range of people. Dudley couldn’t help but feel a little scared when he recognised one person. He was a huge man with a large dark beard and a loud voice. He was unsure of the mans name, but he did know that he was capable of attaching pig tails to unsuspecting people’s bottoms. He tried to push the image to the back of his mind as he watched the man be escorted to a rather larger chair, compared to other people’s seats.
People were speaking to each other happily, leaving Dudley with nobody to speak to. He wondered whether it would be like this all day. He then caught a glimpse of Harry. He was stood with two people. One, a young woman with curly hair, and the other a tall, ginger man who Ron knew was also part of the group that had smashed the living room up, that summer.
Harry was taller than Dudley remembered. And his jaw was much stronger than it had been in his youth. He still had extremely messy hair. He knew that if his mother had come to the wedding, too, she would have tutted at this, thinking that he should have made his hair presentable for the most important day in his life. He also still wore the round glasses. He wondered why. Harry clearly could afford better ones, these days...
He saw Harry's eyes skim the attendees. He watched Harrys eyes skim past Dudley. Harry then must have realised who it was, because his eyes slid back to his face. Dudley gave what he hoped was an encouraging smile, and Harry nodded curtly, before turning to his friend once more.
He noticed that the massive man that had attacked him at the age of eleven was crying already, into what seemed to be a large table-cloth. Suddenly, the room went quiet, and everyone turned their heads to see the first look of Harry’s bride.
She was beautiful, Dudley thought. She was a head taller than her bridesmaid (the girl with the curly hair) and she was smiling radiantly. She was also a red-head, and Dudley noted that she was probably related to Harry’s best man. The mother of the bride was already crying into her husbands shoulder, and her husband was smiling.
The ceremony was heart-felt and it was clear to see that they were made for one-another. Dudley noticed the secretive smiles and hand touches between them, and then, finally, they were married. The announcement was met with massive cheers of congratulations from the attendees and massive sobs on behalf of the gigantic man and the bride’s mother.
At the end of the ceremony, another red-head stood up. This one had a scarred face, and long hair. He asked everyone to stand up, and they did so. Dudley followed, wondering whether this was a strange wizarding marriage ritual. The chairs began to lift up in the air of their own accord. Dudley watched it, trying to appreciate how miraculous and wonderful it seemed, but somehow, it just made him feel scared. He had experienced so many negative things to do with magic, that even something like this was making him feel vulnerable.
The golden aisle looked as though it was melting, and the gold was spreading under everyone’s feet, and turning solid once more, turning into a dance floor. Tables appeared around the side of the dance floor, and the chairs floated down to them. Dudley was impressed. He was shaking, and feeling vulnerable, but he did have to admit that it was an impressive thing to behold.