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Dudley in Charge
Harry wandered into the kitchen to inspect the rather long
list of chores he knew would be waiting for him. He was not
disappointed. He had just read number thirty-seven, alphabetise the spice
rack, when the house shook. Dudley made his first
appearance of the day quite earlier than normal by coming down the stairs much
louder than Harry had descended earlier.
Far from scared of his rather large cousin, Harry had more
of a healthy respect for the amount of bodily harm he could inflict.
After all, Dudley had become junior
champion heavyweight boxer at his school, Smelting, year before last.
This, in itself, resulted in a sense of wariness on Harry’s part instead of
fear. Dudley had, in any case, been
kicked off the boxing team after a spot of trouble he had got himself into -
all of which was hush-hush and Harry was not supposed to know about it.
Besides, Harry had met fear face to face in the form of Lord Voldemort, and Dudley was not, in his
opinion, a worthy enough adversary to be feared. This did not mean that
he was overjoyed to be spending the next two days in his cousin’s charge,
Catching sight of the dark haired teenager, Dudley stalked over to him
with a menacing, yet equally wary look on his face. Dudley had learned the hard
way not to provoke Harry, for he knew very well what his cousin was capable of
and also knew that Harry’s wand was never far away these days. Beside,
Harry was not the puny weakling that he had been. Five years of Hogwarts
meals and Quidditch practice had shown itself in Harry’s physique. No
longer was he the puny, small boy that made such an easy target. While
still thin and lanky, Harry was now almost as tall as Dudley and his body had begun
to fill out with defined muscles, as opposed to the flab that stuck to Dudley’s bones.
“Mum and Dad left me in charge,” he stated, hesitantly.
“So?” Harry replied.
“I’m having some friends over,” he said, narrowing his eyes
in such a way that Harry was strongly reminded of his uncle.
“Yes, I was told that Ickle Duddikins is having a
little tea party. And your point is….?”
“Stay out of our way, Potter, or I’ll…” Dudley threatened.
“Or you’ll what, Duddikins? What do you fancy you can
do to me?” Harry taunted, resting his hand over his wand.
“I know that you can’t use magic outside of that school of
yours, or you’ll be expelled,” Dudley stated with a satisfied
smirk. “That means you can do absolutely nothing to me. I have the
power here, and you’ll do as you’re told.”
“Yeah, you think so?” Harry said casually, drawing his
wand and lightly polishing it on his overly-large shirt. “You may be
right… for now. But this time next year will be a different story.
I’ll be a legal adult and allowed to use magic outside of school. I know
a lot of really good jinxes and curses that I’d just love to demonstrate
for you. It’d make that piggy tail of yours look like primary school
stuff, if you catch my meaning.” Harry was amused to see Dudley’s large round eyes
widen almost to eyebrow level and knew that he had made his point.
“Fine,” he conceded. “But stay out of our way.
And another thing… if you breathe a word of anything you see to Mum and Dad,
your little magic stick won’t help you when I get through with you. Got
Wondering what Dudley was up to, Harry just
shrugged his shoulders and pushed past his cousin. He needed some
Sitting on the back patio in the garden, a privilege that he
rarely got with his aunt and uncle around, Harry closed his eyes and let the
warmth of the new sun wash over him.
He had a bad feeling about this weekend. Funnily enough,
for once his feelings of dread had less to do with Voldemort and more to do
with this so called “tea party” that Dudley was hosting.
Never having been to a tea party, he really had no idea what to expect.
Even if he did, he very seriously doubted whether Dudley’s version would match
up to the visions that he had in his head of a group of pristine boys sitting
around a formal living room and sipping tea out of dainty little cups and
Harry knew the boys that Dudley hung out with and he
also knew the reputation that they had made for themselves as the neighbourhood
bullies and vandals. Dudley and his gang were quite well known for
picking on and beating up younger kids, destroying public property, and meeting
at other people’s houses to smoke and get drunk, all under the noses of their
doting parents. Harry’s aunt and uncle really had no clue when it came to
their 'Ickle Duddikins', Harry admonished silently to himself.
“Wotcher, Harry! Why so glum?” a voice said out of
nowhere right behind his left ear, startling Harry so much that he jumped and
banged his knee on the patio table where he had been lounging.
Looking around he was relieved to come face to face with
Nymphadora Tonks, an Auror and a member of the Order of the Phoenix. Today her hair
was bright purple, short, and spiky, but longer on one side than the
other. Various earrings and body piercings adorned her ears, nose, and
belly button, which was visible because of the cropped tank top and low-cut
hip-hugger jeans that she was wearing under her vibrant, open robes.
“Ye Gads, Tonks! Don’t sneak up on me like that!
You nearly gave me a heart attack!” Harry yelled, clutching one hand to his
chest over his heart and rubbing his sore knee with the other.
“Sorry, Harry. You just looked like you needed a bit
of a shock to break you out of that funk you seem to be in just now.”
“Maybe,” Harry grumbled. “But you needn’t have given
me such a fright. I could have hexed you into next week, as jumpy as I’ve
“With what? I’ve got your wand,” she smiled
triumphantly, brandishing the wooded stick that had become an extension of
Harry in the five short years that he had owned it.
“How’d you manage that?” asked Harry, disappointed with
himself that he hadn’t noticed and reaching to retrieve it from the petite
woman as she sat down across from him.
“Auror’s secret,” she said slyly.
“I was under the impression that you were dead clumsy,” he
“All the more impressive, isn’t it? Seriously, though…
a herd of hippogriffs could have trampled by and you probably wouldn’t have
noticed. What’s up?”
Instead of answering her, Harry took a few minutes to
appraise her current state of dress. “You’re looking very rebellious
today,” he observed.
“So I am,” she admitted. “And you’re avoiding the
“All right, fine,” Harry sighed, slightly irritated.
Tonks always seemed to be able to cut to the chase. She wasn’t known for
her tact or subtlety after all. “Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon went away
for the weekend leaving Dudley in charge.
“Your oaf of a cousin? In charge?” Tonks whistled
softly. “No wonder you’re looking glum. I’ve seen what he and his
gang get up to when they think no one is looking.”
“I have a huge pile of housework to do, and Dudley is having tea with his
cronies this afternoon here at the house. Welcome to the joys of my life
at Privet Drive.”
“Tea? Here?” Tonks suppressed a laugh. “The only
tea I bet they’ll be drinking will be laced with vodka.” Tonks became
thoughtful. “Does Dumbledore know that your aunt and uncle are out of
“No,” Harry said sharply, “and I don’t want him to, either.”
“Why not?” Tonks asked, taken aback by his tone.
“Dumbledore’s got enough on his mind without having to
concern himself with me,” Harry said firmly. This, however, was not the
full truth. Despite his promise to keep Harry in the loop, Dumbledore had
yet to communicate with him beyond the conversation after Sirius’ death and
brief messages sent through others in the Order. Harry didn’t know what
he had expected, but certainly it was more than this!
“Dumbledore cares about you Harry,” Tonks said gently,
reaching over to put a hand on his arm.
“I know,” Harry said grudgingly, eyes downcast. “But I
can’t help but feel that there’s more that I should be doing….” Harry
wished he could say more but as far as he knew no one outside of he and
Dumbledore knew about the prophecy. ‘Neither can live while the other
A tense silence followed his outburst. Unaware that a
dark cloud had settled over his face and that his jaw had visibly clenched,
Tonks interrupted his thoughts. “All right there, Harry?”
“Yeah, fine,” Harry said frowning. He wasn’t fine, but
he was not about to admit that to her.
“Well,” she said brightly. “I best be getting back to
guard duty. Moody would have a seizure if he saw me sitting here soaking
up the sun instead of watching out for dark wizards and the like.”
“How long will you be around?” he asked absently, still lost
in his dark thoughts.
“Dunno,” she sighed. “Mundungus is supposed to come
relieve me around , but hard to tell when
that will be. Figgy heard him making a deal with some bloke down the
street the other day. Something about a flock of owls… I don’t think I
really want to know, though. Haven’t seen hide nor hair of him
since. If I was Dumbledore I wouldn’t trust him with a flobberworm, much
less the Boy-Who-Lived. Then again, you have a knack for taking care of
yourself, anyways, I think,” she said with a wink.
“Yeah, right,” Harry said sarcastically. “Either I
seem to be good at finding trouble or trouble seems to be good at finding me.”
“Probably a little of both,” she laughed. “Speaking of
trouble, here comes that cousin of yours. I'd better get back to my
post. Take care Harry!” And with that she promptly
Disapparated with a soft pop.
“Who was that?” Dudley demanded, looking down
at Harry who was busy lounging in the chair, his eyes half closed from the
brightness of the sun.
“Who? I don’t see anyone,” Harry said innocently, a
picture of mock perplex on his thin face.
“That strange woman with the purple hair. I’ve seen
her here before and at the train station when we picked you up a few weeks ago,
although she always seems to have a different hairstyle every time I see
her. She’s one of your kind, isn’t she? Ooh, Dad would have a
conniption if he knew,” he said gleefully, rubbing his hands together.
“But you’re not going to tell him, are you Dud, or I might
have to just remember a few things I’m supposed to forget, right?” Harry
“Right…,” Dudley said slowly, seeming to
take great effort in agreeing with him.
“So what’s on the agenda for today? Got any ten year
olds to terrorise, or will it just be the usual mayhem and mania?” Harry asked.
“I’m having some friends over for tea around two,” Dudley said stiffly. “Be
so kind and keep out of our way or I might just have to rearrange you face.”
“Fine, fine… No problem, Big D.,” Harry said
offhandedly. “Why would I want to interrupt your boring old tea party
anyway? Sounds frightfully dull, in my opinion,” he goaded. Harry
had a feeling this approach might get a reaction out of his cousin and he was
“Shows what you know, Potter,” Dudley snorted. “Bet you and
your friends have never done half the things that we get up to at our little
parties. Bunch of namby-pamby weirdoes wouldn’t know fun if it smacked
them in the face!”
“Well, now. Unless I know what exactly it is you’re
talking about we’ll never know, now will we?” Harry replied, drumming his
fingers on the glass tabletop in mock boredom, his curiosity piqued despite
himself. Just what did ‘normal’ Muggle teenagers do for fun? Then
again, was Dudley really a normal
teenager? “Besides, for your information, wizards don’t normally take
well to being smacked in the face,” he warned.
“Tell you what,” Dudley said with a
suspicious-looking smirk. “Why don’t you hang out with us and find
out? That way if Mum or Dad finds out you’ll be in as much trouble as me,
if not more. I can always blame it on you…” he said, seeming to think out
loud. “They’d be easy to convince, considering how much they hate you
“Thanks for that lovely invitation, Dud,” Harry said,
dripping with sarcasm. “But why would I want to hang out with a bunch of
bully Muggles whose main ambition is to cause me bodily harm? Do you
think I’m crazy or just stupid?”
“Ah, well…Okay,” Dudley shrugged, turning to
go. “I can understand if you’re scared. Wouldn’t expect less from a
‘fraidy-cat weirdo like you, what with your nightmares and all…” he
“What did you say?” Harry said dangerously, through clenched
“I called you scared, Potter. ‘Fraidy-cat… chicken,”
he said. “You may be a big bad wizard, but I don’t think you could hang
one night with my crowd.”
Feeling in his gut that this was a bad idea, Harry
nevertheless was powerless to stop himself. “Tell you what, Big D,” he
said through clenched teeth. “You and your cronies lay off me for one
night and I’ll take you up on that bet. I think I can hang with
you, as long as it doesn’t involve beating up on innocent children.”
“If I agree, will you promise not to use magic on me
ever again?” Dudley asked a little too
quickly with an odd gleam in his eye.
“Tell you what. If you and your friends lay off me for
the rest of the summer and don’t put the blame on me for this little party of
yours, then I’ll never use magic on you…” he said. Then, under his breath
so that Dudley could not hear, he
added “…unless you really deserve it.” Raising his voice back to
normal, he asked, “Do we have a deal?” Harry said thoughtfully, holding out his
hand in truce. He had a feeling that this deal was going to backfire on
him but at the moment he didn’t really care. Anything to help him get
through this summer would be better than his current situation.
“Deal,” Dudley said firmly, gripping
Harry’s hand harder than necessary. Harry had a sinking feeling that he
had just made a deal with the devil.
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