Chapter 2 : Hide-and-Seek
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Harry replied, “Yes, but we were children then. He’s nicer now.”
“Besides, you need to meet Greg,” added Ginny, straightening out Al’s shirt and patting down a stray red hair of Lily’s.
“But he might be mean like his father,” said Al.
“You promised me you’d take me to play with Hugo today!” cried Lily.
“Listen, if you all stop complaining and be nice to Greg, we’ll take you round to see Rose and Hugo tomorrow. How’s that sound?” said Harry, exasperated.
The siblings looked at each other and shrugged. “Okay,” they said in unison.
A few minutes later a car could be heard on the gravel of the Potters’ drive. Ginny quickly ran her fingers through her hair and opened the door wide.
“Hello Katrina, Dudley! So glad you could make it,” said Ginny, kissing Mrs Dursley’s cheek and grinning at Dudley and Greg.
Gregory was a plump boy who had his large nose constantly stuck up in the air. Harry was reminded very much of Dudley when he was his age. Dudley had put on even more weight since the last time he saw him. Mrs Dursley, however, was a pretty blonde woman who Harry couldn’t help but think was well out of Dudley’s league.
“Thank you for inviting us,” replied Katrina, mimicking Ginny’s smile.
Harry gave Dudley an awkward hand shake and said it was good to see him again. The children just stared at each other uncomfortably, not knowing what to do or say. Greg looked around the entrance hall and scrunched his nose as if he had smelt something bad. It was obviously not decorated to his taste.
“How was your Christmas?” asked Ginny.
“Oh my, it was absolutely delightful, wasn’t it Greggikins?” gushed Mrs Dursley.
“Yeah, I got my largest haul of presents yet,” he replied.
“How about we go talk in the lounge while the children play upstairs in James’ room?” said Ginny, guiding the adults away from the front door.
“Why my room?” moaned James. “Al’s is cleaner.”
“Is not!” said Al.
“James,” said Ginny firmly, giving him a do-as-you-are-told-or-no-pocket-money-for-a-week look.
James sighed and led his siblings plus Greg up to his room.
At first glance all Greg saw were hundreds of t-shirts and socks strewn all over the floor.
“What a mess!” he declared.
But then he looked properly. Greg looked around the red room in wonder. The bedcover had a picture of someone sitting on a broomstick in the middle of the air, posters on the walls with the words ‘Chudley Canons’ printed on had photographs that moved (Greg blinked rapidly to check he wasn’t imagining it) and bright banners adorning the walls flashed red and gold.
“I… eh… it… the… eh?” he stuttered.
“Uh, you alright, Greg?” asked James uncomfortably.
“Th- the pictures! They’re moving!” Greg squealed, pointing to the walls.
“Muggles are not accustomed to moving pictures!” Al whispered to James urgently. They had forgotten that Greg was not magical.
“What’s a Muggle?” asked Greg. He thought it sounded like an insult, but couldn’t be sure.
“Muggles are… er, cool people like yourself,” said James, taking his posters off the wall and hastily stuffing them in a box under his bed. Lily gathered the banners and hid them in a drawer. “And the posters don’t really move. It’s just an illusion.” Greg eyed him suspiciously.
“So… where are your video games?” asked Greg, pulling some gum out of his pocket and stuffing it in his mouth.
“Our what games?”
“Video games,” Greg said slowly as if they were stupid. “You know, those boxes that kids play on.”
The Potters looked at each other in confusion.
“We don’t have them,” said James. “We have other games though… how about chess?”
Greg considered it. “I am very skilled at chess, but I play it so often. I don’t feel like it today.”
“Okay, well we also have Exploding Snap, Gobstones and Quidditch,” suggested Al.
“They’re funny sounding games. I’ve never heard of them.”
Greg walked around the room and peered in every nook and cranny. “Where’s the television?”
“Television?” repeated James.
“Don’t tell me you don’t know what a television is.”
Greg raised his thick eyebrows. “Your parents mustn’t like you very much. My father bought me a fifty inch television for my bedroom, and the one in the living room is only fourty. And my mother buys me the newest video games before they even get into the shops.”
“Our parents do love us! You’re just a spoilt little brat!” cried Lily indignantly.
“Just ignore him, Lily, he’s pompous,” Al whispered.
“What’s that stupid little fluff ball on your shoulder, anyway?” said Greg, glaring at Lily. “I thought it was just a silly toy but it keeps moving around.”
“She’s not an it, she’s a she! She’s called Daisy, and she’s my Pygmy Puff.”
“Hmm. I suppose it does look a bit like a pig.”
Lily had tears in her eyes.
“Greg, will you stop picking on my sister?” said James, exasperated.
“But I’m bored!” he moaned, flopping down onto a chair and pulling more gum out of his pocket. He suddenly looked up and smirked. “How about we play a game of hide-and-seek?”
“Fine,” said Al wearily, “but I’m hiding.”
“Me too,” said Greg.
“Me three!” said Lily.
James sighed. “Fine, I’m it. Go hide, but don’t go out of the house.” He covered his eyes with his hands. “One… two… three…”
They quickly ran out of the room.
“…ten! Ready or not, here I come,” he called.
James soon found Lily hiding behind a bookshelf in the hallway, and Al under the chest of drawers in their father’s study. But Greg was harder to find.
After looking in every room, they decided to look downstairs.
“Has Greg been in here?” James asked the adults in the living room.
“No, why?” asked Ginny suspiciously.
“You’ve lost my baby?” gasped Katrina clutching her heart.
“No, he’s fine. We’re playing hide-and-seek,” he explained before searching the kitchen.
“Can you hear that?” whispered Lily suddenly.
“That shuffling sound… it’s coming from under the stairs!” she cried.
James flung open the door to reveal Greg squashed in the little cupboard under the stairs. He was far too large to fit comfortably in the little room.
“Found you,” said James.
“It doesn’t count until you tag me!” he yelled, coming out of the cupboard and sprinting as fast as his stout legs would allow him out of the back door into the garden.
“Greg, wait! I told you not to go out of the house! It’s snowing, for Merlin’s sake!”
Greg didn’t listen and carried on running. James rolled his eyes and he and his siblings quickly pulled on their boots and chased after him through the snow.
“You’ll never catch me!” he chortled as he vanished behind a rosebush.
Albus was the fastest of his siblings and managed to catch up to his cousin first. Greg briefly looked behind him and his eyes widened in surprise; he didn’t expect them to run so fast. Al’s hand was close enough to grab his shoulder. But Greg had never lost a game of hide-and-seek before! Normally the seeker would give up after a while and Greg would come out of his hiding place and boast how he was the best hider in the world. He would not lose to the Potters…
“Help! Help me!”
“Where did he go?” asked Al. He looked around wildly. That was strange... just as soon as he caught up with Greg, he disappeared…
“Up there!” Lily shrieked, pointing to the nearest tree.
Greg was perched on one of the highest branches clutching on to the tree trunk for dear life.
“James!” cried Lily, “Do something!”
“I can’t!” he protested. “I’ve only been at Hogwarts for a year; I don’t know the right spell!”
“But James, he’s gonna fall!”
Greg was whimpering and looked like he might vomit any second. Al ran back into the house, skidding on the snow, and flung open the back door.
“So how’s work, Dudley?” asked Harry, taking a sip from his mug.
“Yeah, it’s good. A lot of work, mind. Caught a criminal driving a stolen van yesterday, it was a close call –”
“Mum! Dad! Greg’s stuck in a tree!” yelled Al, dragging them off their seats and into the garden with Mrs Dursley following not too far behind. Dudley, however, was very large and could not move very fast so he was the last to get there.
Dudley and Katrina glanced at each other, thunderstruck.
“What is my son doing up in a tree?!” they cried in unison.
“Mummy, help me!” squealed Greg as a bird landed near his head.
“Greggy, darling, get down!” she shouted with tears in her eyes.
“The Potters did this! I don’t know how, but they did!” he yelled.
“We didn’t, mum, we were chasing him and he suddenly appeared in the tree,” said Lily earnestly.
“I think it would be too dangerous using magic to get him down,” Ginny whispered to Harry. He agreed.
“Greg, you’re going to have to lower yourself onto the branch below, and get yourself down that way. Can you do that?” called Harry.
“O- okay, I’ll try, but it’s so slippery!” he exclaimed.
“My poor baby,” Katrina sobbed on Dudley’s shoulder.
Slowly but surely, Greg lowered himself until he was on the bottom branch, breaking many of them under his weight. Dudley opened his arms wide to catch Greg when he jumped, and they both ended up in a tangled heap in the snow. Dudley let out a sigh of relief nonetheless.
“Come on, let’s get inside and get warm,” said Harry, leading them back towards the house.
Once everyone was warm and dry and sipping on Hot Chocolate, Harry faced the Dursleys solemnly.
“Dudley, Katrina… I think your son might be magical.”
A/N: How will the Dursleys react to Harry’s statement? Find out in the next chapter of The Unavoidable. ;D Thanks for reading!
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