Chapter 3 : The Letter
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“I’m magical? That’s so cool! I always knew I was better than everyone else!” exclaimed Greg, beaming up at Harry.
“It’s very likely,” added Ginny. “Children don’t just appear on treetops. Magic is the only explanation.”
“But that’s impossible!” gasped Katrina. “I was born a… a… Squib! Dudley is a Muggle… Gregory simply cannot be a wizard!”
“It’s been known to happen, Katrina,” said Harry warily.
“Yeah, like Lord Voldemort!” said James cheerfully. “We learnt in History of Magic that his parents were a Muggle and a Squib –”
“Wait a second,” interrupted Ginny, astonished. “You actually pay attention to Professor Binns, James?”
“Hey!” complained James. “You would’ve thought my own mother would have more faith in me. I only listen when he goes on about the Dark Arts, anyway. I find that old Voldemort bloke quite fascinating.”
Harry looked quite alarmed. “James…”
James winked cheekily in reply.
“I can do magic, and I’m like a Lord? Wow. This day keeps getting better and better,” grinned Greg.
“You are no such thing, Greg. Don’t listen to them. We’re going home,” declared Dudley. He grabbed the wrists of his wife and son and stormed out of the Potter residence. Katrina turned back around just before they left and chirped, “It’s been so lovely to see you all! Goodbye!”
“Don’t leave! Please, come back!” cried Ginny, but it was no good. The front door was slammed in her face and the Dursleys hastily got into their little red car and drove away.
Ginny flung open the front door and shouted after them, “You can’t ignore his powers forever!”
Harry put an arm around his wife as they watched the vehicle disappear into the distance.
James walked up to his parents and rested his elbow on his father’s shoulder. “Poor kid doesn’t know what he’s got himself into.”
“James!” they cried in unison, pushing their son back into the house.
“Any luck?” asked Ginny as she joined Harry on the frosty veranda. She had just been reading The Tales of Beedle the Bard to Lily until she fell asleep.
“Just leave them a voice message then, it’s the best we can do.”
Harry dialled the number for the seventh time that evening and was surprised to find it was picked up on the third ring.
“Hello, Gregory Dursley speaking. How may I help you?”
“Uh, hi Greg,” said Harry. “Convinced your parents to let you stay up, have you?”
“No. I’m meant to be in bed right now, but the constant phone ringing is giving me a headache.”
“I’m sorry about that. Could you pass me over to your dad? There’s something we need to discuss.”
“Okay then. By the way, Harry, did you mean it when you said I was magical? Mum and Dad say you were joking but I’m not sure if I believe them –”
“Gregory! I thought I told you not to answer the phone!” said Dudley’s voice.
“I wouldn’t have if you had let me have the last chocolate donut at dinner.”
“Oh, you cheeky little tyke. Pass the phone, would you?”
Harry could hear a muffled noise from the other end and someone clearing their throat.
“Hello, Dudley here. How can I help?”
“Hi Dudley, it’s Harry. I want to talk about Greg.”
“What about him?”
Harry decided to cut right to the chase.
“As I tried to explain earlier, it is very possible that he is a wizard.”
“I have no idea what you’re talking about. Greg, get back to bed, will you?”
“You saw him up in that tree today, Dudley, and Katrina’s told me all about how he blew up a classroom and reached a pudding that was high out of his reach. There’s no mistaking it; it’s magic.”
“Nonsense! Kids climb trees all the time. My Greggers just happens to be particularly athletic, that’s all. He’s going to live a completely safe, ordinary life and go to Smeltings like my father and I did and be the top of his class and –”
“Dudley, please listen to me! This is unavoidable. His magic is permanent. You should be proud of your son, not trying to pretend it isn’t there. It won’t happen for a while yet, but one day Greg will get a letter accepting him into Hogwarts, and you need to be prepared for it. If you don’t let him go to Hogwarts he won’t have any control over his powers and not only would that be potentially dangerous to himself, but to other people as well. Please don’t do what your parents did to me. Greg doesn’t deserve that.”
There was a long pause. Harry cleared his throat nervously as he was starting to think Dudley had just walked off, or perhaps he fainted of shock.
“Look, I know this is a lot to take in. But please, don’t hesitate to contact me if anything strange goes on around Greg again, or even if you need help when he gets his acceptance letter when he’s eleven.”
“Fine,” Dudley muttered after a few seconds before abruptly ending the call.
Harry let out a long sigh and gazed up into the night sky. Despite several years of Astronomy at school, he had no idea what any of the stars were called.
“I hope everything goes well for Greg, in the end,” said Ginny softly.
Two years later
“Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday dear Greggikins, happy birthday to you!” sang Katrina and Dudley out of tune.
Greg stretched his arms above his head before hopping out of bed, causing the floorboards to croak angrily, and leapt into his parents’ arms, causing them all to tumble backwards onto the carpet.
“Happy birthday my darling!” wheezed Katrina. Her son was lying on top of her and squeezing the air out of her lungs. Unfortunately, Greg put on even more weight over the years due to the four meals a day supplied by his mother and his lack of exercise.
“You’ve got plenty of presents waiting for you downstairs! Why not let your mother breathe and go open them?” suggested Dudley.
“PRESENTS!” bellowed Gregory, causing the windows to shake, and he thundered down the stairs at an astounding speed for someone his size.
In the living room sat his grandparents, Petunia and Vernon; however Greg was far more interested in the heap of presents waiting patiently on the carpet to acknowledge their presence.
“Fourty-six presents you’ve got there, my boy! I counted for you,” said Vernon, grinning under his bushy grey beard at his only grandson.
“Fourty-six, eh? That’s more than I ever got. You are a lucky little boy,” chuckled Dudley.
Greg beamed at the pile of presents and was trying to decide where to start first, when a large parcel near the back caught his eye. The wrapping paper was flashing red and gold! It was like nothing he’d seen before. He tore it open to reveal…
“Marbles and a pack of cards? Boring!” he said, throwing them to the side. Ah well, the cool wrapping paper makes up for it, he thought.
“What’s this?” wondered Katrina out loud. She picked up the note attached to the flashing wrapping paper and read aloud:
Have a fantastic 11th birthday. You probably already have a normal Muggle set of marbles and pack of cards, but we’ve sent you a set of Gobstones and a pack of Exploding Snap. These are Wizarding Games you’ll see are played often at Hogwarts and we thought you might enjoy playing them. Remember to contact us if you need any help with anything.
Hope to see you soon!
Love the Potters
Katrina bit her lip and turned to her husband with wide eyes.
“The Potters? I haven’t seen them in years,” said Greg. “So Hogwarts is real after all. I knew you were fibbing to me. Am I going to go there, Mum?”
“What’s this? The Potters? You still keep in touch with them, Dudley?” barked Vernon, glaring at his son with an accusing glare.
“Ooh, did you hear that? The post has come!” squealed Katrina before Dudley could answer. She toddled out of the room and returned a few seconds letter with a bulk of envelopes in her hand.
“Plenty of birthday cards here for you to open, my darling.”
“But presents are so much better, everyone knows that,” he replied as he reluctantly took the pile from his mother.
“This one’s from my friend, Bertie. He’s only sent me £10, can you believe it! That won’t even get me half a video game,” huffed Greg. He threw the card onto his ‘pile of rejection’, along with the Gobstones and Exploding Snap.
The next letter was written in emerald ink with a red wax seal.
“This one’s fancy,” noted Greg. “Mr G. Dursley, The Floor in the Living Room, 13 Sycamore Street, Little Whinging, Surrey. How did they know I was on the floor?”
Before he could open it, three hands reached out to grab the letter off him.
“Hey!” he yelled once his father had managed to get hold of it. “Give my letter back!”
His grandfather was red in the face, his grandmother was looking paler than usual and his father looked like he might be sick. His mother, however, simply looked confused.
“Katrina, could you join me in the kitchen for a second, my dear?” asked Dudley in a strained voice.
Vernon tried to follow them out, but Dudley said, “You stay here, Dad. This is our problem, not yours.”
Vernon’s eyes crinkled but he slowly sat back down.
“This letter is from Hogwarts, Tri. Harry got one just the same.” Dudley paced around the kitchen, fanning his pasty face with the envelope.
“So… so they were right? Our Greggy is one of… them?” whispered Katrina with a hand over her heart.
“I think so. No, I know so. We’ve been avoiding it, Tri, but we can’t.” He stopped pacing and faced his wife. “Our Greg’s a wizard.”
“Does it really matter, though?” she said after a moment of silence to let it sink in. “Harry and Ginevra are splendid people, and they can do magic. My brother could do magic, before he died in that battle, and he was a wonderful fellow.”
Suddenly Dudley felt excited for his son. Harry’s words rang around his head, ‘don’t do what your parents did to me’. “You’re right. My cousin is a… great man. I would be proud if Greg turned out like him.”
Katrina smiled broadly, the smile that Dudley had fallen in love with years ago.
“But their world isn’t exactly safe, is it?” he added. “You said your brother died in that battle that caused my family to move house… Greg could get killed.” The smile slipped off Katrina’s face at his words.
“That’s why he has to go to that school to learn spells and all that to protect himself, doesn’t he? Our Greg has about as much chance dying in their world as he does in ours.”
The kitchen door was flung open. “You’re not letting Greg go to that circus, are you?” demanded Vernon as he marched into the room.
“Dad, it’s not a circus, it’s a school…”
“Give me that letter!”
“Just give it to me!”
Vernon’s face resembled a rather wrinkly beetroot.
“What did you say?”
“I said no. Greg is going to Hogwarts to learn spells and become a powerful, brave man just like Harry Potter.” Dudley was surprised at how calm his voice sounded. He felt shaky on the inside.
“Do you hear yourself? No grandson of mine is going to that school for nutters to learn that hocus pocus rubbish!”
He snatched the letter out of Dudley’s hands and darted into the living room before chucking the envelope into the fire.
“NO!” bellowed Greg. “I didn’t even get to read it! Mum? Dad? What was it about?”
Dudley didn’t even answer his son. He stormed over to his father and said in a quiet but sure voice, “Get out. Get out my house.”
“Duddikins, you don’t mean that!” said Petunia, clutching onto Vernon’s arms.
“I do mean it, mother. If you won’t accept my son for who he is, you can get out.”
“I don’t know how it’s possible,” snarled Vernon, “but I blame Potter. He’s brought nothing but trouble to our family. If you want your son to turn out like him, you’re an idiot. Come on, Petunia, let’s get out of here.”
“At least stay for the cake!” cried Katrina, hastily placing a large chocolate cake onto the table and lighting the candles.”
Vernon’s nostrils flared, but he grudgingly sang happy birthday to Greg along with everyone else. Greg had a puzzled expression on his face.
“Make a wish, sweetie!”
Greg closed his eyes and blew out the candles in one breath. For the first time in eleven years he didn’t wish for a new bike or a laptop. He simply wanted to see what was in that letter, more than anything else.
He slowly opened his eyes and looked into the fire, but the letter was burnt to a crisp. He was about to throw a tantrum when there was a banging noise coming from the window.
“It’s an owl! No, it’s a flock of owls!”
Greg opened the window and the owls swooped into the room, dropping dozens of letters onto the floor.
“Wheeeee!” Greg cried gleefully as he spun about trying to catch all the letters.
Vernon was hastily trying to stuff whatever he could catch into the fire while shooing the owls back out the window, but more kept coming in. He yelled out in frustration and lifted Greg off his feet up to the ceiling, shaking him.
“Let me down!” demanded Greg.
“Drop the letters, boy!” roared Vernon.
“You can’t make me!” Greg’s voice could hardly be heard over the flutter of wings and letters creating havoc in the small living room.
“Drop the letters, or… or I’ll drop you!”
“Vernon!” shrieked Petunia.
“Put my son back down!” yelled Dudley.
“How dare you!” exclaimed Katrina.
However, Greg had managed to snatch a letter as it was falling and ripped open the envelope. “Dear Mr Dursley,” he read out in a loud voice, “We are pleased to inform you that you have been accepted at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry! I’m a wizard! I’m going to Hogwarts! Wahoo!”
“Oh no you don’t! I’m going to shake it out of you!” Vernon shook Greg up and down in mid-air.
Katrina jumped onto Vernon’s back and covered his face with her spidery fingers while yelling, “LET HIM GO! LET HIM GO!”
Greg managed to wriggle out of Vernon’s grasp and leapt into his father’s waiting arms. “Don’t worry, Greg,” he whispered, “You’ll be fine now.”
Katrina opened another window to let the owls out easier.
“Get out,” Dudley ordered, glaring at his father. “You’ve done enough here.”
Vernon scowled at him. “
“I’m so sorry, Diddikins,” Petunia whispered. She hugged her son and whispered in his ear, “I’m so proud of Gregory.”
“Come on, Petunia.” Vernon took Petunia’s shaking hand in his and together they left the house.
Another yell of frustration was heard from outside, as Vernon’s expensive silver car was covered in owl excrement.
“Am I going to Hogwarts, dad?” asked Greg in a timid voice. “Is Hogwarts really a circus for nutters like granddad says?”
“Not at all, son,” said Dudley, bringing his son and wife in for an embrace. “Granddad doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Hogwarts is a place for brave, selfless, powerful people, and you’re going to love it there.” Dudley hoped what he was saying would be true.
“I really am a wizard,” Greg muttered in amazement to himself. “Won’t I need a wand?”
Dudley’s heart swelled with pride. “Yes you will, there’s a list of everything you need in this letter. Well, in all of these letters.” He looked at the sea of envelopes and feathers on his living room carpet and laughed heartily. That was not going to be easy to clean.
“Where do I get one from?”
Dudley read through the letter and couldn’t find a reference to any shops anywhere.
“I remember when I was little we went to this place called Diagon Alley to get all my brother’s school supplies. But I don’t have the faintest idea how to get there,” said Katrina.
Dudley took a deep breath. “I think it’s time we apologized to the Potters.”
A/N: Sorry I took so long to update! Please tell me what you thought in a review :)
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