Chapter 1 : Who Am I, Where Am I?
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A silver stag ran between him and the nasty cold hand of the dark being trying to kill him. Slowly he worked his way out of the dark. What happened? He and his cousin had been on their way home when a total darkness suddenly appeared. The nasty thing had made him feel cold in a way he had never felt before. Like all feelings had been sucked out of him. He opened his eyes reluctantly. The white light was blinding him.
"What? Have I gone to Heaven?" he asked himself. He took a look around and found himself lying in a white bed, a lot of tubes and instruments connected to him.
"Good morning, Dudley," a nurse said in American accent. "How are you feeling?"
"My head aches," he whimpered.
"I believe you. You got quite a blow in your head when gliding out with your car in the icy curve."
"WHAT? I don't have any car."
"Well, I'm afraid you don't have it anymore," the nurse answered dryly. "It was totally smashed by the accident."
"But… I don't understand… did I steal a car?"
"Why should you steal a car?"
"I'm sorry, Ma'am, you must mistake me for another. I was on my way home along with my cousin, and suddenly it was totally dark, and some strange being tried to strangulate me…"
"Well, Dudley - you are Dudley Dursley, true?"
"Yes, that's true."
"And your birthday?"
"That's June twenty third nineteen hundred and eighty."
"Good. The experience that you had after the accident is quite normal. Sometimes our brain plays us a trick in such situations. I'm Hannah, by the way." She offered him her hand. Now he noticed she had green eyes and thick red hair made in a bun upon her head. She reminded him a bit of Aunt Lily from Harry's picture in his bedroom en Privet Drive.
Hannah interrupted his thoughts. "Listen; shouldn't I get you some breakfast? What do you want?"
"A big glass of cold water and some fruit, please."
He was surprised by this choice. He used to eat egg, bacon and toast bread in the morning; why didn't he feel like eating those things now? It could only be because he felt unwell.
Later, when he had been led to the bathroom, he looked into the mirror and saw a man he didn't recognize. The man was slim and athletic and much more mature than the Dudley Dursley he used to know. "Man, has my boxing already done so much for me?" he thought.
Hannah smiled at him when he came out. "There's a pretty young lady in your room."
"A young lady? Which girl would want to visit me at hospital?"
"You will see."
"Hi Sweetheart!" A young woman with long dark brown hair and hazel eyes sent him a bright white smile while hugging him tightly. She also spoke American.
"Oh, my dear, I'm so happy that you're getting better." She kissed his mouth.
Dudley was too confused to say anything.
"I have something to show you." She took a picture from her bag. It looked like a ghost. She continued: "As you can see, I just visited Gynecological Ward for a screening, and this is our daughter. She's so fine, so perfect, so…"
"Our daughter?" Dudley stared at her with disbelief.
"Yeah, isn't she lovely?"
"That won't do, young lady! I don't know who you are, and I've never been together with you - or any other girl… this way, if you understand what I mean, so it can't be my daughter."
"Dudley! What has the accident done to your memory? Don't you recognize me? Amy, your wife."
"WIFE? Now it's enough! I don't have any wife. I'm fifteen, and I'm not ready to become a father yet." He was close to tears. "Hannah!" he called. "Get that monster out of my room and call for my mum and dad, please."
"Dudley, please listen to me." Amy pushed him down in the armchair as Hannah emerged. "First, you are not fifteen, but twenty four; you'll be twenty five in summer; and you can nearly get a daughter for your birthday present. I'm set to give birth on June 22nd or 23rd." She made a pause.
"You're lying," he snarled.
"No, Dudley, that's true," confirmed Hannah. "We are in February two thousand and five." She put a newspaper in front of him.
He narrowed his eyes. "Are you telling me that I've lost ten years of my life? Have I been in coma or something?"
"No, Dudley." Hannah smiled at him. "You crashed last night by eleven, and now it's ten in the morning. You were unconscious for a while, but now you're getting better."
"What is all this about?" His head got red from anger. "Are you some of them? Has my cousin sent me on a time travel? Are you in league with Harry Potter?"
"Dudley, your cousin has nothing to do with this," Amy said urgently. "Can't you remember anything after ninteen ninety five? The way we met? Our wedding? How happy we were when I had my pregnancy confirmed?"
"What are you up to, ladies?" Dudley asked angrily. "Is it a plot against me? Please give me a phone so I can call my parents."
"You have broken with your parents, Dudley," Amy said softly.
"Do you want me to believe this? First you try to make me believe I'm married with you and father of your fucking kid; then you tell me I've broken with my parents. What will be next? Just wait. My dad's gonna call the FBI about this."
"Here you are, Dudley." Hanna put a phone on his table. "But I have to warn you that a call to England is expensive."
"Are we not in England?"
"No, dear, this is Virginia," answered his wife. "You moved away because you needed to break free from your parents…"
"Nonsense! You just say so because you don't want me to contact them."
"No, on the contrary, I tried to convince you to invite them to our wedding, but you blankly refused."
Dudley, however, was already pressing the number to England and Privet Drive no. 4. A hooting tone indicated that the number didn't exist. He tried several times with the same result.
"Well, at least I can remember their address," he said. I'll send a telegram to number four Privet Drive, Little Whinging, Surrey."
"Excuse me, Dudley, you've told me your parents live in Devon," Amy reminded him.
"You moved out of Surrey because your lives were in danger."
He frowned. For the first time since they met, he didn't contradict her. "Well, that must be my cousin't work," he said bitterly.
"You've told me that your cousin saved your life," said Amy.
"Did he make us believe we were in danger, so that he could take over the house?" Dudley asked dryly.
"Your dad thought so, but you were wise enough to accept to go with the people who came to evacuate you - and your parents did, because they wouldn't let you go alone. At that time you had begun to trust your cousin. He saved your life two years earlier when you were about to be strangulated."
That was exactly the feeling he had before he woke up at the hospital. The white stag that came between him and the dark being? Could that be cousin Harry's work?