Chapter 3 : Shine
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It was two weeks later that Vernon decided to say something about the University issue.
When Dudley had informed him of his decision he blew up like a volcano. Except the volcano had a big fat cork stuck in it, the rising pressure of heat and the lava rising into the volcano rumbling inside, like his stomach would if dinner wasn't on time. It then burst and earth, lava and molten rock spattered everywhere into a bit less than a million pieces. And Vernon spattered and spitted and flung himself to ruin Dudley's prospectus and UCAS parade.
Needless to say Dudley did not appreciate this and stormed out of the house and waited in the flowerbeds outside to wait for his dad to sod off upstairs. It took a quarter of an hour before he finally did with a very red and ruddy looking face and pounding his feet up the stairs to take out some of the frustration.
Dudley climbed back into the house through the window and didn't even try to be quiet as he ripped open the draw with the powder inside and then shoved himself forcefully through the fireplace and shouted,
"Er, you ready to talk yet, mate?" Harry asked a clueless expression still on his face.
"Shut up." Dudley said staring at the cooker opposite him.
He was shocked to see Dudley coughing and spluttering in the front room that had managed to gather a lot of dust. It hadn't been stepped into since Harry hated seeing the tapestry inside of it and he refused to go in there and then looked scathingly at anyone who even mentioned it. Mrs Weasley had been far too busy to come and look after the place like she would have in her own motherly way, and so it had been left desolate and abandoned.
Harry didn't even think when he heard the bang (Dudley tripping and falling in a heap as he tried to get out of the fire place) and rushed inside and it was only when he was ushering his cousin out and into the kitchen did he took a quick look around and felt guilty that he didn't at least put it to good use. The tapestry was going to be the first thing to go, he decided, as he sat Dudley down and waited for him to open up.
Dudley had a particularly petulant expression on his face that Harry knew well from - back from when he only got 36 presents on his eleventh birthday. He decided to keep quiet and wait for his cousin to speak by himself considering he never visited and when he did it was for something important.
After a quarter of an hour more Dudley finally let out a sigh.
"Sorry. I was angry at dad. Didn't know where else to go." He said gruffly. He still didn't quite know how to converse with Harry after all the years of animosty between them and then that very sudden display of affection five years before when Harry had left without knowing whether he would survive.
"What were you angry about?" Harry prompted. It seemed that, for once, he would be doing the listening instead of the talking like he had done so countless times before with so many people - dead and alive. It was a very strange feeling - separate and different from his job where he listened to case files and strategies. This was personal. It was unfamiliar territory with both situation and person.
"I decided I'm going to University and... Dad being dad blew up about it."
"That's great, Dudley! You know your dad, though, he thinks the sun shines out your backside. He'll come round,"
"Yeah, its just... I've been on about this with mum and I've got plans and the reaction was pretty rubbish after putting in my part of the work. You know?"
If anyone would understand Dudley's situation he was sure it was going to be Harry - he would know.
"Yeah, well, give it time, alright? He'll come around." Harry said assuringly, clapping Dudley on the shoulder. He grinned at his cousin, whatever he had come round to say Harry didn't expect that and really he was proud of his cousin. He'd come up to be a pretty decent bloke recently.
"What university where you thinking of then?" And Dudley's eyes shone bright (something Harry hadn't seen in a long while) as he pulled out the star prospectus out of his pocket and started combing over the details of what would be his future in September.
Eventually Dudley went home and hoovered up the mess he made blocking the noise of his fathers snoring with it and went to bed still angry at his father's reaction. He did expect it to be bad, but there had been small hope in the back of his mind that he was holding out on and it a was a sharp blow to come to terms with the fact that his father was still the same with him as he was with everyone else.
It was a couple of days later with limited conversation and pretending as if nothing had happened or been said that Dudley saw Vernon turn towards him in the corner of his eye whilst they were eating dinner. Dudley made no move to show he had noticed and kept his eyes towards the TV where one of the grottiest characters in the crew was finally dying after all the trouble he had caused to the other characters. When Dudley took a chance to look at his father again he saw his mouth hanging open as if he wanted to say something and then his face turned red in anger. Dudley looked away again and listened to Vernon complain at the TV with much more vigor than usual.
It was finally after the two weeks of semi awkwardness and skirting around the subject that Vernon asked the question:
"So how are you going to pay for it?"
"Well, I'm going to keep working at Grunnings' and I've got stuff saved up. Then loans as well." He replied keeping his tone as neutral as possible. "I was thinking of doing Business," he added turning towards his father to gauge his reaction to this.
Vernon nodded thoughtfully before asking Dudley to pass his reading glasses, "Let's have a look at this University you want to go to then." He said refusing to look at his son who was fighting an ear-to-ear grin who immediately jumped up to get his University of Surrey prospectus.
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