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Chapter 13 : Chapter13
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The next day Harry and Ginny set off for Little Whinging.
“Hello Mrs. Figg, how are you..? er this is Ginny, my fiancée. Harry and Ginny stepped out of the green flames into Mrs. Figgs living room.
“Harry, so good to see you again.” Nothing had changed since the last time Harry had been here. The smell of cats and cabbage remained.
“I’m very well thank you Harry. Pleased to meet you Ginny, congratulations on your engagement.”
“Thank you. Nice to meet you too, Mrs Figg.” Ginny replied.
“Thanks for the use of your grate too.” said Harry. He looked across the road and saw that the Dursleys drive was empty. Vernon Dursley was probably at work, probably an advantage, Harry decided.
“I don’t understand why you want to visit them. I thought you were miserable there.” said Mrs Figg.
“I was, but like it or not, they are all the family I have and I’m going to introduce them to Ginny. Hopefully I can have a laugh or two as well.” They left Mrs. Figgs and crossed the road. Harry rang the doorbell and waited. The door opened to reveal something that Harry had least expected. Dudley Dursley had lost weight. A lot of weight.
“Yes, can I help you?”
“Hi big D. How are you?” Dudley’s jaw dropped about a foot and a half as he registered Harry’s scar.
“Y... Y… You. What are you doing here?”
“I’ve come to visit my only relatives, and there’s someone I want you to meet. Are you going to ask us in?”
“I… well… yeah come in.” In the living room Harry turned to Dudley,
“You’ve lost weight Dud. You’re looking good. Anyway this,” he took Ginny’s arm, “is Ginny, we’re engaged.”
“How do you do Dudley? I’m happy to meet you.” Ginny said smiling.
“Er… yeah you too. Dads still at work and Mum’s out shopping, she should be back soon. Er… sit down.” Harry and Ginny took the sofa; Dudley sat on the edge of an armchair seat.
“So Dud, what are you up to these days? Harry could sense Dudley’s confusion.
“I’m a management trainee at the supermarket, but I’ve got a couple of days off.” He looked at Ginny, “You’re pretty, Are you… y’know a..?”
“Yes, I’m a witch.” switching on her most disarming smile, “I went to the same school as Harry. My brother is his best mate, that’s really how we met. You’re not at all like Harry described you. He used the word ‘blob’ a lot.”
“Yeah well I was I suppose, but I found a reason to lose it.”
“What’s that then?” asked Harry.
“Er… a girlfriend.” His face reddened dramatically.
“Blimey Dudley stop it, you’re ruining my day.” He winced as Ginny’s elbow hit his ribs. “How long have you been back here then?"
“A while now, came back after your Ministry people said it was safe. The trouble you were in was over.” He looked out of the window as a car pulled into the drive. “Here’s Mum now, I’ll just go and let her in. ‘Scuse me.” Harry looked at Ginny.
“He seems quite nice.” she observed, “You sure he’s the same guy?”
“I know. He’s either an impostor or that Dementor really did a job on him.” They could hear Aunt Petunia in the hallway.
“Just take those bags into the kitchen please, Dudders. I’ll be down in a minute.”
“Mum, we’ve got…”
“Not now sweetheart, tell me when I come down.” They heard her start up the stairs.
“In a minute Dudley, I must change these shoes. They’re killing my feet.” Harry grinned at Ginny,
“At least some things haven’t changed.” Ginny frowned,
“You behave yourself, Harry, don’t start any trouble.” Petunia came downstairs and into the living room before Dudley could intercept her. She came to a sudden halt as Harry stood up. Several moments passed before she gasped,
“What… what are you doing here?” Her hands went to her chest as if to check that her heart was still beating, or to try to slow it down.
“Hello Aunt Petunia. How are you?” a smiling Harry enquired, he had expected the hatred he used to feel for this woman to surface, and was surprised when it didn’t.
“I have to sit down. Why… I mean.” Petunia gave up, dropping into an armchair.
“Sorry to surprise you like this. I just thought I’d pop in, say hello and introduce you to someone.” He turned and took Ginny’s hand as she rose to stand beside him.
“Aunt Petunia, I’d like you to meet Ginny, my fiancée.”
“I’m pleased to meet you.” said Ginny holding out her hand. Petunia stood again and shook hands.
“Well you could have let us know you were coming.”
“Sorry, but it was a spur of the moment thing.” Petunia looked at Ginny,
“Fiancée, did you say? Very attractive, congratulations. Does she know that you are..?”
Ginny laughed quietly, “Yes Mrs. Dursley, I know Harry’s a wizard, you see I’m a witch. Just like your sister.” Harry waited for the explosion. It never came. Instead, tears sprang to Petunia’s eyes.
“Lily.” was all she could say, and that in a whisper.
"Merlin’s sweaty pants, what on earth has happened to this family? Harry thought.
“Harry, could I have a word.” said Dudley.
“In the kitchen,” Dudley said and then said to Ginny “Would you mind very much staying with Mum for a minute?
“Certainly Dudley.” Said Ginny politely. Harry and Dudley went to the kitchen.
“What’s up Dud?” Harry asked.
“Want a beer? Dudley began, pulling the ring top and handing one to Harry, “Well it’s like this, when we had to leave here, I started to wonder, y’know, about you and your Mum. I mean, if you think about it she was my Aunt. I asked Mum about her, and what happened to her and your Dad. The first time she got really mad and didn’t want to talk about it. I kept trying and eventually she started to open up. Anyway, long story short, it turns out she was dead jealous, nothing more.”
“Jealous, are you sure? There must to be more to it than that, Dud. It can’t be that simple.”
“It is Harry, it really is. She wanted to be able to do the things your Mum could do.” Harry looked dumbfounded as Dudley continued. “She went crazy when I told her that’s what I thought and that there’s nothing wrong with being… well having your abilities. If you got it, use it, I say. Bottom line, Harry, I think she’s come to agree with me and regrets the way we treated you while you were here. I do too for that matter.” He paused and sighed, “Dad however, well that’s another story. He hasn’t changed his views at all. They row about it from time to time. He’s not going to be best pleased when he finds you here, so be prepared. In fact it might be better if you didn’t wait to see him today, he will absolutely go ballistic. I’ll see if I can soften him up.”
“What’s happened to you in the last couple of years Dudley? I always thought you were a right wanker, and here you are being all sensible and sensitive.”
“A couple of things happened Harry. I realised that my Dad is not a very nice person. The first time I brought my girlfriend, home he treated Susie like something the cat dragged in. That was the first time I stood up to him and it felt good, well not so much good as right. It opened my eyes to the way he treats Mum. We have rows quite regularly because I won’t let him walk over us anymore. I don’t like it that way, but I can’t go back to the way things were before.”
“I can understand that Dudley, it must have been difficult for you.” He drank the last of his beer.
“I guess you could say I grew up, Harry, just grew up. Lets go back in.” They returned to the living room to find Aunt Petunia and Ginny absorbed in quiet conversation. Petunia stood up and approached Harry.
“Can you forgive me, Harry?” she said starting to sob. Harry glanced behind her and saw Ginny give a small nod of her head.
“It’s okay Aunt Petunia, its okay.” Harry was shocked to find that he meant it. Petunia dried her eyes. She looked at Ginny,
“You are a remarkable young lady; I have never had a conversation such as we have just had with someone I’ve only just met. Thank you.” she turned to Harry, “You are…”
“I know what you’re going to say and yes, I’m very lucky. Ginny, Dudley thinks it would be a good idea if we left before Uncle Vernon gets home. So we had better be off.”
“Please come again Harry, there is so much I want to tell you.” said Petunia, “Only let us know beforehand next time, please.”
“Yes, we will Mrs. Dursley.” said Ginny.
“We’ll send you an owl.” said Harry. Dudley laughed and even Aunt Petunia smiled.
“Not a good idea Harry.” Dudley said. Ginny tugged Harry’s sleeve and whispered in his ear. He looked at her,
“You sure?” he asked. Ginny nodded in affirmation.
“We haven’t fixed a date yet but we would like you to come to our wedding. Will you?” Petunia blushed,
“Oh I don’t know Harry, I’ll think about it. We’ll see you before then I hope.
“Cheerio.” They said their goodbyes.
Harry walked back to Mrs Figgs house in stunned silence. He didn’t really speak until they got back to the Burrow.
“What did you and Petunia talk about Ginny? he asked as they walked into the deserted kitchen.
“Girl talk.” Harry was irritated by her smug expression.
“That’s a cute answer, what does it mean?”
“Well a rough translation would be… let me see… oh yes, mind your own business.”
“Did you Confund her?” he asked seriously.
“No Harry, I promise you that I did not.” ‘A straight answer at last.’ thought Harry. They went through to the living room, where Ron and Hermione were sitting, having returned from her parent’s house a couple of hours before.
“Hello you two.” said Ron, “Had a good trip?”
“If you like weird then yeah it’s been a good trip.”
“Why weird, what happened?” asked Hermione.
“I don’t really know,” said Harry, “For a start Dudley has lost about thirty or forty pounds.”
“I thought he looked well fit, actually.” Ginny whispered to Hermione.
“I heard that," said Harry, "no wonder you’re so keen to go back. Anyway as I was saying, he was all friendly and … well weird. Just not Dudley somehow. Petunia was the same. Dudley explained that he had been talking to her and had deduced that she was jealous of my Mum; they had a right row about that. We’ve been invited to go back because there’s a lot she wants to talk about. Like I said it was weird and it’ll take a lot of getting used to.”
“So how are your parents, Hermione?” Ginny asked.
“We had a great time; all the memory modifications seem to have worked well. It was like they had never been away. We didn’t get to bed until very late, did we Ron? We just talked and talked.”
“How did you enjoy it Ron?”
“Great,” Ron answered, “Mr. Granger had this stuff called Lager. Bloody brilliant.”
“Until this morning, you weren’t so keen then were you?” Hermione observed.
“Yeah well, I’m better now.” he grinned. They sat and chatted until late.
“Isn’t it amazing how things have changed in the last few months?” said Hermione. “We’re all engaged, Ginny has a contract with Holyhead. It’s like a fairy-tale, with all the happy endings anyone could want.”
“If I had a couple of Lagers, it would be perfect.” said Ron. Hermione continued,
“But at the same time I can’t shake the feeling that it’s too perfect, that it can’t last like this, like something is bound to go wrong.”
“Then let’s enjoy it while we can.” Said Harry.
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