Dudley walked with rapid steps along with the lake beside the hospital. He didn't feel like an especially caring husband for leaving Amy like this. On the other hand, he just couldn't hold her tears. He had to have some fresh air. He begun to regret he had invited his parents. What was he going to tell them? "Mom and Dad, I've lost my memory, and my daughter has Down's syndrome." Such abnormal facts wouldn't probably make their relationship better. "I have to act quickly."
He pressed a number on his mobile. "Hannah? This is Dudley Dursley. Could I have an appointment with you as soon as possible? Vacation?… for the next two weeks?…On June 28th at eight a.m.? Well, it's a bit long to wait, but it's my own fault; I should've called you long ago….Yes, it actually is a bit of an emergency…today? Half past six p.m.? Thank you so much."
He couldn't sleep that night. Hannah really was a mindbender. Immediately, she hadn't given him his memory back, but her questions made his body remember rather than his brain. Why was it important for him to be normal when his parents came? Why did he break with them? How did he really feel about their coming? Was he only able to feel love for a perfect child? Who was actually perfect?
His answers to all those questions made him feel like canceling the visit from his parents. They sort of didn't fit in in his new life, and he began to understand why he broke with them. They hated everything abnormal, but shouldn't parents exactly be there for their children, when things didn't go right? He got some pictures in his mind. He saw himself shaking hands with Harry before leaving Privet Drive. He felt gratefulness to his cousin for having saved his life. He felt his mother's embrace for thanking Harry. That was the occasion when he developed a sense of justice reaching further than to himself. Harry should've had that hug. On the whole, he couldn't count all the situations when his parents gave him everything, while his cousin got nothing. That was fair enough to him, until that epoch-making summer of 1997 - or rather, that "seed of justice" had been sown already two years earlier, when Harry saved his life from that monster called a Dementor. That made him look differently on his parents. The question about justice had been one of their sticking points, besides the concept of normality. However, it was most of all Petunia's possessive love that made him go far away. "Incredible. A part of my memory is turning back," he thought before the sleep eventually took over by dawn.
He felt like he had just fallen asleep when somebody knocked hard at the door. He stumbled out of bed and opened the door.
"Morning, mate!" Brad greeted cheerfully.
"You're early," Dudley muttered, while wiping the sleep out of his eyes.
Early? It's ten o'clock, and I'm so curious to hear some news. Can I make coffee while you get dressed?"
"Dudley, for God's sake! Aren't you a bit wimpish? You leave your wife alone with her worries for your daughter; you think of cancelling the visit from your parents, because you're afraid of their reaction to a maybe disabled child.
"Maybe disabled… hmm, well," Dudley cheered up a bit. "You're right, Brad, it may not be so bad."
"But it's bad enough to Amy. She's upset, and you're not by her side."
Dudley's ears turned red. Brad was right. He couldn't leave Amy alone like this. Parents had to stick together in good times and bad times."
"Thank you Brad, I think I've got something important to do."
He hurried towards the maternity ward, a bouquet of red roses in his arms. He planned in his head what to say to Amy. "Sweetheart, forgive me. I've been a whimp. I love you, and I love our daughter, no matter what." Deep inside he felt it was true. Didn't he already love his daughter, when cutting the umbilical cord? The answer was yes. Then, why should he love her less because of a potentiel handicap? The question was, if Amy would let him in after this?
Entering the room, he heard his wife muttering, "You and I against the world," little Joy. He saw a new serenity on her face, as she held the little girl tight.
"Eh, can… can I join you?" he asked hesitantly.
Amy jumped from astonishment. "Dudley? Her face was stiff.
He looked into her eyes for an answer. He read something that he couldn't quite interpret. The sun broke through the heavy clouds that had been dominating the morning. At the same time, he saw a smile in Amy's eyes. It slowly reached her lips. Dudley had come close to her now.
"I… I've got some roses to you."
"Thanks," she whispered. "They are pretty."
"Congrats on our daughter," he said, now in a firm voice. "I love both of you, no matter what."
"I love you too, Dudley." She wiped a tear away. "What do you think about calling her Joy?" Now her voice had become stubborn. "Those doctors shouldn't decide, whether she can come up to her name, should they?"
"Not at all," he said firmly. "I'm sure Joy will be quite suitable for our daughter.
A doctor knocked at the door and entered the room. "Hello, Mr. and Mrs. Dursley," he greeted. "And hello, you mysterious little girl." He stroked the baby on her head, a smile on his lips.
"Good news?" Amy's eyes were full of hope.
"Hmm, that depend on how you look upon it," the doctor answered. "First of all, it's a healthy little girl. No heart diseas, like we often see at children with cromosome errors. By the way, your daughter has not Down's syndrome."
"How lucky!" exclaimed Dudley.
"Well, yes, so far, so good," admitted the doctor. "The problem is that we can't work out what's wrong with her."
"Does there have to be anything wrong?" demanded Amy.
"Well, we still find there's something special about her. Most of her reactions are quite like other babies'. However, she reacts very strongly when getting upset. One of our laboratory technicians claims that she's got a shock when taking a blood sample. I've never seen such a child before in my thirty year long career. Now we've sent a sample to the University Hospital. "
"I can't believe it's that serious," Amy said. "She sucks very fine, and her crying sounds pretty much like other babies, and I think, on the whole, she behaves and looks quite normal."
"That's the point," the doctor said thoughtfully. "She seems extreemly intelligent, but still not like other children."
"Never mind." Dudley put an arm around his wife and the little Joy. "I love that child, and I love my wife. Who could ask for more?"
The blood samples from Joy didn't show anything abnormal. A professor from the University Hospital came to watch the baby. He frowned thoughtfully. "Hmm, very interesting case," he muttered.
Is there anything wrong with our baby?" Amy asked again and again.
The professor stroked his beard. "Noo, not exactly, Mrs. Dursley, not exactly. "It's a seldom phenomene that has never been put a name on. Personally, I remember a case from 1979. It was a little girl that reacted like Joy. We followed her till she was eleven or twelve. She was an extreemly intelligent girl, but suddenly, she disappeared from the school system."
"Disappeared? But she must've continued her education somewhere, if she was so intelligent?"
The professor laughed a bit. "Well, I've heard about a similar case from 1960 to 1971, also a brilliant girl. Both couples of parents claimed that their kids studied at a boarding school in Scotland. The fun of it is that the school has never been found. It only seems to be a ruin. It's very mysterious all of it."
Dudley and Amy sent each other an inside look.
The professor raised his thick brows and looked over his glasses. "Do you know what it is about?"
"Well, Professor, it's not that simple to explain," Dudley said. "
"Just try," the professor encouraged him, "just try, I'm all ears." His grey eyes looked straight at Dudley.
Dudley cleared his throat. "eh, do you believe in magic?"
"Dudley, it's true! We are expecting!
"That's wonderful, sweetheart!" He lifted his wife up and swang her around. Suddenly he began to laugh.
"What's the matter?" Amy raised her brows.
"I was just thinkin, what if you deliver a wizard? I should enjoy writing home to tell my old dad. He would turn quite cyanotic."
"I think you should inform your parents in any case," Amy answered dryly.
"Well, I'm likely to do," the professor interrupted Dudley's flashback. "But if I tell my collegues, they'll take me directly to a closed ward.
"Do you promise not to do that to me if I tell you what I know?"
"Cross my heart, young man."
"Well, I'm obviously known for spinning people a yarn, but I had an aunt that my mother called a freak…"
"That makes sense," the professor nodded after Dudley's tale. "The problem is that in the hospital world and the scientifical world there's nothing called magic, because it can't be proved. That's why we can't make a diagnosis to Joy. We just have to call it inexplicable."
In any case, Joy seems to have a good influence on me," Dudley smiled when the professor had left. I had a flashback."
"That's great, dear! It may not be so bad to receive your parents," Amy said.
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