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Chapter 5 : The Bait
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“Mum, mum, mum! I’m going to learn magic today!” he sang, racing into the kitchen and snatching a piece of bacon from the frying pan.
“I know, darling!” Katrina beamed as she stared at her son in adoration. “I’m so excited for you. You’re going to excel there, I just know it.”
“Of course I am,” he said calmly, sitting down at the table. “I’ll be the finest, most powerful wizard in my class. In the entire school, probably.”
They all sat around the little kitchen table and tucked into their bacon and eggs.
“I can’t wait to tell Bertie. He’s going to be so jealous!” laughed Greg giddily with a mouth full of beans.
Dudley and Katrina exchanged a look. “Oh, darling, you mustn’t tell any of your old school friends,” said Katrina hastily.
“Why not?” Greg demanded.
“They’re not allowed to know. They won’t understand,” she replied. “I’m sorry, sweetie.”
“So basically, I’m more special than they are so they can’t know or else they’ll throw a tantrum?”
“Er – sure. That’s right, Greggikins,” she said, dabbing at some sauce on the corner of his mouth with a napkin.
There was a knock on the door.
Katrina rose from her seat. “That’ll be the milkman.”
“Greg, go get the door,” ordered Dudley without looking up from his newspaper.
“I don’t want to.”
Dudley looked up at his son sternly. Greg grumbled under his breath and stumbled out the room, making sure to slam the kitchen door extra hard so they knew just how angry he was, and over to the front door.
He was certainly not expecting to see his grandfather standing there, purple in the face with veins protruding out of his forehead.
“Granddad?” Greg took a hesitant step back; the last time he’d seen his grandfather, he had tried to ‘shake the magic out of him’. Magic was the best thing that had ever happened to him so he was not willing to lose it so soon.
“Hello there, Greggers!” said Vernon in what he thought was a pleasant tone. “Had a nice breakfast, have you?” he added, noticing the bean sauce all around his grandson’s mouth.
“Yeah, it was scrummy!”
“That’s great, son. If you come to my house now, grandma will cook you all sorts of goodies, if you want!”
“Really?” Greg glanced behind him at the closed door of the kitchen. His parents wouldn’t mind if he popped out for a little while, would they? He’d be back in time to get to Hogwarts.
Wincing with the effort, Vernon dropped to his knees to be level with Greg. “Oh, yes. There’ll be cookies and gingerbread men and sweeties and every treat you could ever think of.”
That sure was tempting. “We won’t be gone for too long, will we?” he asked unsurely.
Vernon twiddled his greying moustache. “No, not long at all.”
Greg bit his lip.
“Come on then, boy! No time like the present,” Vernon said, clapping his hands together and briskly walking over to his silver car. Greg followed obediently; he really did fancy a chocolate cookie at that moment in time. He could just about catch his mother’s voice calling, “Greg?” from the kitchen before Vernon swung the door shut and hurried over to his silver car, helping Greg get buckled into the front seat.
“Hey, I’m old enough to do my own seat belt!” he protested.
“Of course, sorry,” Vernon grumbled, letting Greg fasten it himself.
As they drove out of the drive, Greg could see his mother in her silky pink dressing gown just stepping out of the house with his father close behind her. They both looked quite frantic.
“It’s alright; I’m just going with grandpa to get some cookies! I’ll be back soon, promise,” he reassured them loudly, although he severely doubted they’d understood or heard him unless they were experts at lip-reading through windows.
“So, Gregory, would you like a hot chocolate to dip your gingerbread into? You love that, don’t you?”
“Yep. It’s almost as good as cookies dipped in hot chocolate. I think I’ll have a bit of both, actually. Can grandma bake a Victoria Sponge? I love those too,” rambled Greg. His mouth was watering just thinking of all these glorious foods.
“Of course she can. Anything you want, dear boy, and we’ll give it to you.”
A short while later they pulled into number 4 Privet Drive and Greg was engulfed with the delicious smell of chocolate chip cookies as he walked in a dream-like state into the kitchen where Petunia was clad in her purple apron adding the final touches.
“Cookies! Aw, yeah!” Greg breathed excitedly.
“Hello, Greg, dear,” greeted Petunia, giving him a hug. “It’s lovely to see you!”
His mouth was already too full of food to answer.
A few minutes later Greg had stuffed so much food into his body that he could hardly breathe. He was nearly sick a few times but was adamant to keep it in.
“Was it tasty, sweetums?” Petunia asked fondly.
“Your baking is… magical,” Greg whispered.
Petunia smiled widely at him. “Such a lovely boy. You remind me so much of your father.”
Wait a second. Magical baking. Magic. Hogwarts. He had a train to catch! If he left now, he might even have time to watch some telly.
Abruptly, he stood up and walked out of the room. “I’ve got to go,” he muttered.
“What do you mean? Where?” asked Petunia worriedly.
He ignored her and dashed into the living room where he knew a phone was kept on the shelf by the window. He quickly dialled his home number. There was no answer.
Petunia’s footsteps were echoing outside the door. She was going to come in and stop him and make him miss his train to Hogwarts, Greg just knew it. He clutched the phone tighter in his clammy hands. He would NOT miss the train, and no one would stop him. Suddenly the lock clicked of its own accord, and Petunia was unable to enter the room.
“Magic!” Greg giggled with glee.
He quickly stopped laughing when he remembered the situation he was in and dialled his father’s mobile number. Lucky Dad forced me to learn his number till I could recite it from memory, he thought gratefully.
“Let us in, son! Why’d you lock it?” Vernon called desperately, hammering on the door.
Dudley picked up on the first ring. “Greg? Greg, we’re coming for you!”
“Dad!” he replied. “I’m at grandma’s house. I don’t want to miss the train to Hogwarts!”
“WHAT?” Vernon roared.
“We’re nearly there, Greg! Don’t worry, everything will be fine,” came his father’s reassuring voice. Greg breathed out a sigh of relief.
“You don’t seriously want to become one of them freaks, do you, Gregory?” Vernon spat, seething in disgust. “You’re too good to be one of them. Trust me, I know what I’m talking about.”
“I like magic, though, grandpa. Magic is cool!”
“It’s not ‘cool’, it’s ridiculous!” he snapped. “It’s a stupid waste of time for a bunch of hoity-toity idiots!”
Greg pondered on why his grandfather hated magic so much. It was amazing, like nothing he’d ever experienced or seen before (well, apart from on TV)! Maybe he was just jealous, or feared it? How anyone could hate magic so passionately, though, Greg did not understand. To him, it was the best thing in the world - after food, of course - and he hadn’t even learnt any yet.
“We’re pulling into the driveway now, Greg. Don’t worry, we’re here now!” gushed out Dudley’s voice in a panicky rush.
“Good. I’d hate to miss the train. Hurry up, Dad!”
Greg looked eagerly out of the window to see his parents sprinting towards the house, his father stuffing his mobile into his pocket. He waved at them but they didn’t see him. He went to the door but found it was still locked, so he closed his eyes and wished it to be open but to no avail. Why couldn’t magic work on demand?
“Give me back my son!” bellowed Dudley.
Greg tried picking the lock with his finger nails, breaking off the doorknob and shoving the door open with his shoulder, but none worked.
“Greggy? Where are you, dear?” he heard his mother squeak.
“I’m in here, Mum!” he called. “But I can’t get out.”
“Stand back, son.” Dudley rammed at the door and, on the third attempt, it fell down and Greg could see four scandalized faces looking back at him.
“My poor baby,” Katrina cried, throwing herself at her son. Dudley, however, stayed back and fixed his father with a steely glare.
“How dare you take my son from me,” he snarled in a low, dangerous voice, poking Vernon forcefully on the chest. “What the hell were you thinking?”
“I – he – he can’t go off to that freak school, come on now, Dudley. You’re not thinking right, son. Did I not teach you anything in your childhood? Do you really want your son to become one of them?”
Katrina, keeping her arms wrapped protectively around Greg, turned to glare at her father-in-law. “You, shut up. How dare you say that? What do you think gives you the right to talk like that about my son, in front of him, no less? You disgust me.”
“Katrina, please,” Petunia moaned in a shrill voice. Tears were streaming down her face. Both women’s faces had turned sickeningly pale.
“No, I’ve had enough. You’re deluded if you think either of you are ever seeing my son again. Petunia – you actually went along with this sick plan? I’m shocked. Absolutely flabbergasted.”
“Stay away from my family,” Dudley warned definitively. “We’re leaving now.”
He put an arm around Greg and took Katrina’s hand and, together, they left Privet Drive for the last time.
Petunia was sat on the doorstep, sobbing, while Vernon stood speechless behind her.
“So, are we going to Hogwarts now?” asked Greg innocently once they were safe in the car on their way home.
Dudley smiled warmly. “Yes, Greg. We certainly are.”
A/N: Has it really been 4 months since I wrote the last chapter?! That is crazy. Feel free to pelt me with tomatoes. My muse has returned though, I think, so updates should be more frequent from here on out. :)
I honestly just sat down and wrote this chapter in the early hours of the morning during a random burst of inspiration. It was weird, but enjoyable. ;)
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