Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter or any of the characters J.K. Rowling has created. They belong to her, and that’s why she gets the big bucks. I’m just borrowing them.
Much thanks goes out to my Beta Reader, Felina Black. She helped make this a much better piece to read.
by US HP Fan
“See ya, Big D!”
Dudley turned to walk towards home. It was getting late, and he was heading home. He didn’t really want to go home yet, but he felt there was only so far he could push the limits with his parents. Fortunately for him they were so obsessed with the thought that his cousin Harry might do something unusual that they ignored any signs of misbehavior from him.
“Hey Big D!”
Dudley turned. “Oh, it’s you.”
“How long have you been ‘Big D’ then?” Harry asked. There was the faintest bit of a challenge in Harry’s voice.
“Shut it.” Dudley snarled in reply and turned away again. He hated it when his cousin baited him. He wouldn’t lose his cool.
“Here it comes.” Dudley thought.
“But you’ll always be Ickle Diddykins to me.”
“I said, SHUT IT!” Dudley was losing the contest with his temper. He curled his hands into fists. Why did Harry always push his buttons like this? He hated being teased period. It made him like he was three-years-old all over again, and getting beaten up by Pier’s older cousin Bullwinkle Polkiss or “Bully” for short.
“Don’t the boys know that’s what your mum calls you?”
“Shut your face.” He’d always made it a point to be bigger than everyone—to be stronger. It was the only way to ensure he’d never be picked upon again. But when Harry had gone off to that freak school of his, he had stopped being afraid of Dudley and had started disparaging him to make up for the years Dudley had been mean to Harry.
“You don’t tell her to shut her face. What about ‘popkin’ and ‘Dinky Diddydums,’ can I use them then?”
Dudley didn’t dare respond. It felt that if he moved he would likely hit Harry and he didn’t want to hit Harry. He remembered all too well his encounters with weirdoes like him and the terrifying things that had happened to him. He didn’t want the embarrassment and humiliation—not tonight.
“So who’ve you been beating up tonight?” Harry asked again. “Another ten-year-old? I know you did Mark Evans two nights ago—“
“He was asking for it,” snarled Dudley. Dudley had heard Mark laughing at his appearance when he thought Dudley wasn’t around. It infuriated him. Mark was laughing about how Dudley would have to move to the sea to find a girlfriend because that’s where all the whales live.
“He cheeked me.” Harry just couldn’t understand. People may be frightened of Harry because of what Dudley’s mum and dad said about him, but they never made fun of Harry’s appearance. Oh sure, they made comments about his scruffiness due to the old worn out clothes he wore, but that was something Dudley knew very well the Dursleys were responsible for. Dudley on the other hand was extremely insecure about his appearance and was all too used to hearing sneering remarks about his size.
“Yeah? Did he say you look like a pig that’s been taught to walk on its hind legs? ‘Cause that’s not cheek, Dud, that’s true…”
Dudley clenched his jaw and felt a muscle twitch. He could see Harry was deriving pleasure from insulting him like this. Still Dudley didn’t dare touch Harry. He turned silently down the narrow alleyway. Each step taking every bit of self-control not to hit at Harry. Dudley thought a moment.
“Think you’re a big man carrying that thing, don’t you?” Dudley finally said.
“That—that thing you’re hiding.”
Harry grinned again. Dudley hated that grin.
“Not as stupid as you look, are you, Dud? But I s’pose if you were you wouldn’t be able to walk and talk at the same time…”
Dudley wanted to scream at Harry, but then out of the corner of his eye, he saw Harry pull out his wand.
“You’re not allowed,” Dudley was trying to sound brave. “I know you’re not. You’d get expelled from that freak school you go to.” He had just called Harry on his bluff and hoped it worked. Going to that stupid school seemed to be the only thing Harry cared about.
“How d’you know they haven’t changed the rules, Big D?”
Dudley blanched. “They haven’t.” He was calling Harry’s bluff again, but wasn’t so sure Harry wasn’t telling the truth.
Harry laughed softly and Dudley could feel the terror building up in him. He tried another approach.
“You haven’t got the guts to take me on without that thing, have you?” Dudley snarled. He was desperately hoping that if it came to blows, and Harry wouldn’t use his wand—then he’d stand a chance.
“Whereas you just need four mates behind you before you can beat up a ten-year-old. You know that boxing title you keep banging on about? How old was your opponent? Seven? Eight?”
Dudley did what he always did when he felt scared and weak. He got angry instead.
“He was sixteen for your information,” he snarled, “and he was out cold for twenty minutes after I’d finished with him and he was twice as heavy as you.” Dudley drew some measure of strength from his anger. “You just wait till I tell Dad you had that thing out—“
“Running to Daddy now, are you? Is his ickle boxing champ frightened of nasty Harry’s wand?”
Dudley knew he had Harry on retreat. “Not this brave at night, are you?” he sneered at Harry.
“This is night, Diddykins. That’s what we call it when it goes all dark like this.”
Dudley played his final card. “I mean when you’re in bed!” He stopped walking and smiled as he waited for Harry’s reaction.
“What d’you mean, I’m not brave in bed?” Harry asked, not getting it. “What—am I supposed to be frightened of pillows or something?”
“I heard you last night,” he said breathlessly. He was moving in for the proverbial kill. “Talking in your sleep. Moaning. ”
“What d’you mean?” Harry asked again.
Dudley could see in Harry’s eyes that there had been a connection. Harry had obviously been having nightmares the night before. Dudley had actually been quite concerned over Harry, but now was not the time for weakness. Weakness only led to misery. Now was the time for strength and he went for the kill without mercy. He laughed and then imitated the high-pitched voice he often heard from the younger kids he beat up.
“’Don’t kill Cedric! Don’t kill Cedric!’ Who’s Cedric—your boyfriend?”
“I—you’re lying—“ said Harry, but Dudley could see Harry knew it was true.
Dudley pressed on. If he hurt Harry enough with words maybe Harry would leave him alone. “’Dad! Help me, Dad! He’s going to kill me Dad! Boo-hoo!’”
“Shut up,” Harry said in a quiet, cold voice. “Shut up, Dudley, I’m warning you!”
“’Come and help me, Dad! Mum, come and help me! He’s killed Cedric! Dad, help me! He’s going to—‘“ Instantly Dudley knew he’d gone too far. “Don’t you point that thing at me!” he cried. Harry was pointing his wand at Dudley’s heart. He backed into the alley wall trying to get away. The terror he’d been suppressing earlier was back in full force.
“Don’t ever talk about that again,” Harry snarled. “D’you understand me?”
“Point that thing somewhere else!” he screamed. He was getting desperate.
“I said, do you understand me? ”
Dudley was in an absolute panic; all he could say was, “Point that thing somewhere else!”
“DO YOU UNDERSTAND ME?”
“GET THAT THING AWAY FROM—“ Dudley gasped. He felt like he had just been thrown into the blackest iciest water at the bottom of the North Sea. The stars and all light had disappeared and the night went silent. Dudley had no idea what Harry had just done, but he was absolutely petrified. He had no clue that Harry was that powerful.
“W-what are you d-doing? St-stop it!” he cried desperately.
“I’m not doing anything! Shut up and don’t move!” Harry yelled back.
“I c-can’t see! I’ve g-gone blind! I—“ In all his life Dudley had never been more terrified than he was at this moment. He had fought back against Harry, and now he was going to die.
“I said shut up!”
Harry was doing something very quietly and that scared Dudley even more. For all he knew Harry was about to cut out his heart while he was standing there.
“I’ll t-tell Dad!” he whimpered painfully. All pretenses gone now. “W-where are you? What are you d-do---?”
“Will you shut up?” Harry hissed, “I’m trying to lis—“
Harry was acting like he heard something, and in a moment so did Dudley. Long, hoarse rattling breaths. It was worse than any horror imaginable.
“C-cut it out! Stop doing it! I’ll h-hit you, I swear I will!” He desperately wanted Harry to stop making those terrible noises, to stop blinding him with whatever magic he did, and to just let him alone.
He swung as hard as he could and made contact with Harry’s head. If he could just get away. He stumbled along the alley trying to move away from Harry. His legs felt like hardened lead.
“You moron, Dudley!” Harry yelled at him.
“DUDLEY, COME BACK! YOU’RE RUNNING RIGHT AT IT!”
But Dudley didn’t hear anything else Harry might have yelled at him. Whatever it, was Dudley had apparently just run into it. He had no hope now. The cold slimy feeling that had begun wrapping its way around his heart intensified. He felt like he was suffocating. Drowning. He was falling deeper and deeper. He was being buried alive. He was crying. Suddenly he saw flashes of his most terrible memories. He fell to the ground beneath the weight of them.
Age 3: Bully was tearing Dudley’s “bankie” apart. Dudley was trying like mad to get off of the chair Bully had tied him to and rescue his only prized possession.
Age 4: “Ooh ickle Diddykins wet himself. And now he’s crying just like an ickle baby…” Bully laughed. He had poured juice down Dudley’s new pants.” Dudley cried. He was a big boy, not a baby who wet himself. Bully’s friends joined in the laughter and Dudley felt utterly humiliated.
Age 5: Dudley’s head was being plunged over and over into the loo. Bully was laughing. “Say UNCLE little Diddy!” Dudley could hardly breathe. He started to panic. “Say UNCLE.” Dudley tried to comply, to speak, but just as he started to draw in breath to speak, Bully pushed his head in the loo again and he choked. He sputtered “Uncle” and began coughing uncontrollably. He felt as if he would die. He began to cry and Bully simply laughed…
Age 6: “Don’t go telling your mums, you two.” Bully looked at Piers and Dudley menacingly. They’d just caught him with a cigarette. “I’ll always be bigger than you and I will always make you pay. You’re nothing but little worms who deserve to be squashed for spying.”
Age 7: Bully pushing Dudley off his bike. “Get off ye fat pig. I’m going to ride your bike.” Dudley fell to the ground and scraped his knee badly. He watched helplessly as Bully took over the bike. “You’re so stupid you don’t even know how to ride a bicycle without falling off!” Bully taunted. Dudley watching helplessly as Bully called, “Watch this!” Dudley watched helplessly as Bully crashed his bike over and over again into the dumpster until it was an unrecognizable heap.
Age 8: Dudley and Mrs. Dursley sitting in front of the teacher, Mrs. Wilkins who smiled at him wickedly, “I’m sorry Mrs. Dursley. Dudley just hasn’t been able to keep up with the work. He’s going to have to repeat grade three unless something drastic happens with his schoolwork.” She smirked and Dudley wished he could hide forever.
Dudley was crying again. He had just cheated on a test for the first time so he wouldn’t have to come back to awful Mrs. Wilkins next year. He didn’t want to cheat, but he felt so stupid, he thought it was the only way to pass. He was a failure.
Age 9: Dudley being punched mercilessly over and over. “This is for your freak cousin! I saw him flying up to that roof. He’s abnormal. Someone should pay for being abnormal. You’ve always been a little toad. He’s your cousin and so you’re going to pay for him!” Bully beat Dudley in the ribs and abdomen till Dudley finally threw up. It hurt to breathe. Dudley had a bruised rib, but could not complain to anyone. He had to be strong or he’d get worse from Bully.
In some far off place Dudley could hear Harry calling his name, “DUDLEY? DUDLEY!” He felt completely nauseated as something came towards him, pulled his hands from his face. They were cold, slimy and smelled like rotten sardines. Dudley was being lifted up and the images came even faster.
Age 11 and on: Dudley taking his new camera to Pier’s house only to find Bully visiting. Bully wrenching the camera from Dudley’s hands and breaking it. Bully laughing and jeering at him. Just like he did whenever he broke Dudley’s new things. “You’re a stupid, fat pig who doesn’t deserve anything but slop!”
Dudley was frightened. His father—the rock in his life—had gone insane and it was Harry’s fault. His father was acting as if he’d gone insane—he kept muttering, “Shake them off, shake them off.” He’d lost his mind. He’d been driving for hours and Dudley was hungry…
Dudley’s pink pig’s tail. The giant man who gave it to him. Bully laughing at the bulge in the back of Dudley’s pants before he’d had the tail removed. The smirks on the nurses’ faces at the hospital. Dudley’s terror that Harry would jinx him. His terror that Harry’s abnormality could be contagious. Aunt Marge blowing up and floating to the ceiling. The horrible diet his mother made him go on. Dudley eagerly gobbling up a toffee, his tongue swelling, suffocating under the weight of it. His mother screaming and trying to pull out his tongue, that red-headed man pointing a wand at him…
From that same far off place Dudley heard, “GET IT!” All at once the air grew warm again and Dudley could hear Harry running toward him. He cowered and whimpered. Wondering “What on earth is Harry going to do to me next? ”
Dudley heard more running and snatches of a conversation between Harry and someone. Whoever it was sounded vaguely familiar, but Dudley didn’t dare look. Not until he heard, “Get up, you useless lump, get up!” did he look up. Mrs. Figg was standing there yelling at him.
Despite how desperately he wanted to get away from this place, Dudley could not move. Finally Harry said, “I’ll do it.” And he heaved and pulled Dudley to his feet. Dudley almost fell as Harry let go of him, but then Harry grabbed him again and started dragging him down the road. Dudley’s eyes rolled into the back of his head. He was having a hard time remaining conscious. Dudley knew Harry must have done something awful to him that he couldn’t even stand. He thought he heard Mrs. Figg going on about wands, and Statutes of Secrecy but figured he must be hallucinating. Likely she stopped Harry from doing anything really bad to him.
Dudley felt Harry dig him in the ribs, but was still unable to make his limbs move. It was as if that part of his brain that wanted to live, to move—was disconnected from the rest of his body. He continued to drift in and out of consciousness and at one point he had imagined a squat, unshaven man appearing from nowhere.
Dudley lost consciousness again, and when he awoke the man was gone and Mrs. Figg was saying, “Good Lord, boy, they told me you were intelligent…Right…get inside and stay there. I expect someone will be in touch with you soon enough.”
“What are you going to do?” Harry was asking her.
“Why don’t you come in and tell my parents what you just saw? ” Dudley thought.
“I’m going straight home,” said Mrs. Figg. “I’ll need to wait for more instructions. Just stay in the house. Good night.”
“Hang on, don’t go yet! I want to know—“
Mrs. Figg was gone and Dudley could not understand why she was not going to tell his parents what Harry had done. They slowly made their way up the path—Dudley still unable to move. The door to Number 4 Privet Drive opened and Dudley swayed into his mother’s arms and vomited.