The Sugar Quill
Author: Macarella  Story: Uncle Vernon's Worst Nightmare  Chapter: Default
The distribution of this story is for personal use only. Any other form of distribution is prohibited without the consent of the author.

Uncle Vernon’s Worst Nightmare

Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc.  No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.

Author’s Note: I’d like to thank again my beta-reader Silver Phoenix for her wonderful editing!  

 

 

 

Uncle Vernon’s Worst Nightmare

 

Ever since Mr. Dursley had brought his nephew back home for summer vacations he had felt decidedly uncomfortable in his own house.  He felt as if he were being watched.  Whenever he wanted to yell at the boy or comment on his general appearance, his poor manners, his laziness, his good-for-nothing parents and his whole good-for-nothing kind, or even just to look at him in a way that would make him feel unwelcome, it suddenly seemed to Vernon Dursley as if there were secret video cameras or hidden eavesdropping devices everywhere around him, and his every gesture was being monitored.  It was a very unnerving sensation, and one that he finally had to share with his wife:

“Doesn’t a man have a right to say what he thinks – at least in his own house?!” he exclaimed, frustrated beyond measure.

Mrs. Dursley pursed her lips and said darkly, “That’s not the worst.  Wait till he turns seventeen.”

“Why seventeen?”

“Because that’s when their kind comes of age, according to their laws, and can do you-know-what whenever they please.”  She shuddered at the very thought.  “The feats my sister came up with!”

Mr. Dursley felt suddenly interested in the freakish behaviors his late sister-in-law had exhibited at this time, in view of what might lie in wait for him, but the expression on his wife’s face made it clear that it was best not to ask.     

Needless to say, this conversation did nothing to assuage his unease, and it was not at all surprising that that night Mr. Dursley had some difficulty falling asleep.  Whenever he closed his eyes, he saw monsters with deeply scarred faces and protruding eyes the size of tennis balls which kept rolling in all directions, freaks with bubble-gum pink hair and young hoodlums in scaly green clothes who wore identical evil grins, and he heard the voices, “…if we find out you’ve been horrible to Harry… and make no mistake, we’ll hear about it.…” 

Mr. Dursley groaned and rolled over on his side.  His wife sighed under her breath.  He closed his eyes and tried to fall asleep, but now he remembered her words, “That’s not the worst.  Wait till he turns seventeen….  The feats my sister came up with!”  Visions of his living-room fireplace blasted and bits of bricks flying everywhere, of his son Dudley attacked by a giant python at the zoo, of Dudley’s tongue swelling like a python itself and nearly gorging him, and of his sister swelling like a giant balloon and flying off to the ceiling flashed in Vernon Dursley’s mind.  Carefully, trying not to wake up his wife again, he extended his arm, opened his bedside cabinet and took out a bottle of sleeping pills.  He spilled two pills out onto his palm and swallowed them.  Then he laid back and closed his eyes again, waiting for sleep to claim him and trying to think relaxing, pleasant thoughts….  Maybe that madman Volly-Mart would kill his nephew before he turned seventeen!   

 

Whatever scary images cluttered his mind at night, they all disappeared in the morning, as bright sunshine filled the room, promising another warm day.  When Mr. Dursley came down to the kitchen, he was greeted by the smell of coffee, the sound of sizzling bacon, his wife’s smiling “Hi, honey” and the sight of his son – such a healthy young lad – already digging into his breakfast.  Mr. Dursley walked over to his place, opened the fresh newspaper and accepted a cup of hot coffee from his wife.  He would have given a lot to have the morning continue in the same happy, peaceful way, but unfortunately, the good things in life seldom last long.  Just as Vernon Dursley was going to start on his breakfast, he heard the running footsteps on the stairs and his nephew ran into the kitchen with a cheerful “Good morning!”  He was dressed into a brand new pair of jeans and a T-shirt that said MAGIC RULES!  Vernon stared at him, a piece of toast falling out of his mouth.  These were clearly not some of Dudley’s old things.

“Where have you got that blasted getup?!” he yelled, pointing at his nephew’s chest.

“This?” Harry asked, touching his T-shirt.  “From my bedside chair.  Same thing as yesterday, Uncle Vernon, just conjured it up a bit.”

“C-c-conjured?”         

“Yeah.  You know, magicked it up.” 

“B-but you’re not allowed!”

“Not any longer,” Harry smiled.  “I’ve turned seventeen today, in case you forgot.”  He walked over to the kitchen counter and poured himself a cup of coffee. 

For once Uncle Vernon found himself lost for words.  But he soon found a few.  And it wasn’t “many happy returns of the day.”

“I totally, absolutely forbid you to wear such things at home!” he exclaimed, pounding the table with his fist for emphasis.  “I don’t care if you turn seventeen or seventy, there’ll be no mention of this abnormality under our roof!  This is still my house and I won’t tolerate any M-words here!”

Apparently Harry didn’t intend to spend the rest of the breakfast listening to this tirade, or, perhaps, he saw some justice in his uncle’s demand, for he said,

“OK, OK,” and casually flipped his wand.  The offensive colorful message vanished and was replaced by another: “I © MERMAIDS.”  And a picture of a fishy-tailed female gradually appeared below, while Harry was adding some cream and sugar to his coffee.  She winked at Uncle Vernon lasciviously, as Harry was carrying his steaming cup to the table.

“I won’t have it!” Uncle Vernon roared.

“You mean you’d prefer something more conservative?” Harry asked conversationally, after taking a sip of his coffee.  As no reply was forthcoming from his silently mouthing uncle, he put down his cup and flipped his wand again.  The inscription and the picture disappeared, but was soon replaced by the sign HOGWARTS, a picture of a medieval castle and an inscription underneath  the best school of witchcraft and wizardry

Uncle Vernon gave his upper limbs another exercise.

“Stop it this minute!” he screamed.

“Oh, you mean, no W-words either?” asked Harry, as he was buttering his toast.  “OK, how about this one?”  The picture and the inscription vanished to be replaced by a short message in ornate black letters, Q is for Quidditch

“It doesn’t give anything away, does it?” Harry explained, picking up his toast again and applying liberal amounts of jam to it on top of butter.

“I won’t have you wear any such gibberish!” Uncle Vernon hollered categorically.

“It’s not gibberish!” replied Harry hotly.  “It’s the best sport in the world!”  However, since Uncle Vernon was the last person in the world to appreciate the joy of flying a broomstick, Harry decided to give it one last try.  He flipped his wand again, and the sign on his T-shirt was replaced with the inscription, MARAUDERS forever

“Clear, isn’t it?” Harry said, as he put back the jam jar.  “And this is definitely my last offer.” 

With that, he turned his whole attention to his toast and coffee.                

 

Uncle Vernon had somehow survived breakfast by barricading himself from his nephew with his newspaper, and spent about half an hour recuperating in the living-room, with an extra cup of coffee and an economics magazine, while his wife and son had both remembered some urgent errands they needed to do.  He had just read happily that the pound was doing better than ever, when he was distracted by a cannon blast, and his nephew appeared right in front of him.  Out of thin air.  Mr. Dursley dropped his magazine.  For the second time during this morning he was lost for words.

“Sorry, Uncle Vernon!” said Harry breathlessly.  “But it’s the first time I’ve managed it between walls!” he added happily.

“W-w—what the…”

“Oh, I’m learning to Apparate, you know, the easiest method of transportation for our kind.  Now that I’m of age I can apply for a license.”

“Then why can’t you learn it in that freaky place you call school?!” exclaimed a thoroughly frustrated Uncle Vernon.

“Because once I get there, I’ll be too busy with studies and preparation for N.E.W.T.s – our Advanced Level exams,” Harry explained.  “Better get this out of the way while I’m on vacations.”

“And can’t you do this – thing – in your own room?”

“But I’ve just told you, haven’t I?  I’ve already learned Apparating to somewhere I can see at Hogwarts.  Now I’ve got to learn to do it between walls.  But don’t worry: once I get the hang of it, it won’t be so loud.”  With that and a roll of thunder, he Disapparated.

Uncle Vernon groaned and wished that maniac overlord would hurry up.  And why couldn’t he just flop a mere boy in all these years?  Calls himself an evil dictator!  Freaks and weaklings, all of them!

These frustrating thoughts were interrupted by another blast, and Uncle Vernon screamed as his nephew materialized astride the chandelier.     

“Er…” said Harry, looking somewhat dazed.  “I’m sorry, but could you, please, try not to startle me so much?  Or I could get splinched.”

“S-s-splinched?”      

“Yes, like most of me would be here, but an eyeball or a few fingers might remain there.”

Vernon Dursley shuddered as he pictured his house littered with his nephew’s body parts.  But before he could say anything at all, Harry Disapparated with another resounding blast. 

Five minutes and one more deafening thunder-volley later, the lad Reapparated, this time in the arm-chair right beneath the chandelier.  Apparently, this went as planned, for he smiled and laid back with a satisfied expression. 

The chandelier creaked slightly, and Mr. Dursley had a sudden bizarre wish to see it fall.  The price of the chandelier would be quite worth it.

However, as he surveyed his relaxing nephew, another conspicuous fact again drew his attention.

“Where did you get these jeans?  Stole them with this trick of yours?”

There was no pleasure in his voice as he said this.  He knew full well that this wouldn’t be enough to have his nephew locked behind bars, even if he got caught, and would most likely result in some embarrassing and very suspicious talks with the store managers and police, and might necessitate paying fines.  Oh, for the Golden Age when people could be hanged in this country for stealing a loaf of bread! 

“No, just conjured them up like the T-shirt.”

“You mean they are really the old ones you’ve always been wearing?”

“Yes.”

Strangely enough, this answer brought no relief to Mr. Dursley: he didn’t like things to appear something other than what they were.

I don’t know why you have to do this!” he exclaimed with exasperation.

Harry chuckled.  “Because you never give me anything normal to wear.  And at school it’s always the plain black robes uniform.  I’m not a monk, you know.”

“And these idiotic inscriptions!”

“They are meaningful to me.”

Mr. Dursley suddenly remembered that Harry’s godfather was wanted for killing thirteen people.

“Is it in honor of your godfather?”

“Partly.”

That reply made Uncle Vernon think.

“I suppose your father also was a marauder?”

“He was.”

“Yes, I bet he was a leader of a whole gang of marauders!”

“How did you guess?”

“I met him only twice, but he had ‘marauder’ written all over him.”

Harry grinned, apparently taking this as a compliment.

“Thank god, at least he died too young to have had any more kids!” exclaimed Uncle Vernon.  Harry didn’t find what to say to this.  “And this godfather of yours who was in prison, I suppose he doesn’t have any offspring, does he?”

“No.”  Harry closed his eyes for a moment, then looked through the window in front of him.  He still often found it difficult to talk about Sirius, and talking about him in the present tense was unbearable.  And yet he couldn’t bring himself to tell his uncle the truth and see a manic glee light his eyes.

“So I guess you’re the only heir of these so-called marauders?”

“Yes,” replied Harry, still looking through the window.  After a pause he added more firmly, “But rest assured, I’ll use all my talents to carry out their legacy.”

Uncle Vernon shuddered involuntarily.  He wondered suddenly how poor Petunia had managed to survive in that insane family and grow up into such an upright, sensible and caring woman that he was proud to be married to.  He had done his best to create a normal, sane life for her and help her forget her crazy past, and it had worked wonderfully till….  He turned his head to glare murderously at his nephew, but the young man in question had chosen that particular moment to Disapparate with a particularly ear-splitting boom, not unlike that of a cannon ball shot across great distance with gusto.

Uncle Vernon soon retired to his room, but even there he could hear explosions carrying from his nephew’s room about every five minutes.  And, yet, he settled down behind his computer not without some satisfaction: he felt that he had somehow upset his nephew, and on his birthday too, even if he did not quite understand why.           

 

About a week later, as he was leaving the kitchen for the living-room, Mr. Dursley was greeted by the sight of his nephew doing very odd things with a TV remote control.  Harry had pointed his stick at the remote, and before his uncle could say a word, the remote had disappeared and in its place sat a mouse, turning and sniffing around; but before it could run off, Harry had pointed his stick at it again and uttered some gibberish, and it turned, right before Mr. Dursley’s shocked eyes, into a tennis ball with wings.  Mouth wide open, Uncle Vernon watched, horrified, as the unnatural ball turned into an even more unnatural vivid-blue spinning thing with a propeller on top, then into a flaming candle, and finally into a chocolate bar.  Harry left out a deep breath and sat back, looking pleased. 

“What the hell are you doing?!” erupted Uncle Vernon, taking advantage of the pause.

“Practicing Transfiguration – for my N.E.W.T.s,” replied Harry.  “See,” he pushed a book lying open on the sofa towards his uncle and pointed where it said under “preparatory exercises”: “transfigure a small object into other objects no less than five times in a row, including at least two live creatures.”

“But you said you’d be doing that at school!” exclaimed Vernon Dursley.

“Yes, but I later decided I’d better start now.  You see, I have quite a few extra-curricular activities – playing Quidditch, being the President of the Dueling Club, saving the world.  That doesn’t leave enough time for day-to-day studies, plus N.E.W.T.s preparation,” Harry explained.  “But don’t worry, I’m not going to practice with large objects here.”

“L-l-large objects?”

“Yeah, like sofas into tigers, that kind of thing.”       

“S-sofas into…  I’ll call the police right now!”

Harry chuckled.  “OK, and what will you tell them?  That your nephew turns sofas into tigers?  They’ll more likely have you locked up if you continue insisting on that.”

Vernon Dursley breathed hard as he looked at his nephew’s laughing face. 

“Do you do all this specially to irritate us?” he finally managed to say, his voice hoarse from fear that the divine retribution had come.

“Not at all,” replied Harry, in as reassuring a tone as he could manage.  “I’m just practicing for an Apparition License and preparing for my advanced exams, the N.E.W.T.s.  And wearing… somewhat more personable clothes that fit me.”

Mention of clothes drew Uncle Vernon’s attention to the ones his nephew had on at the moment: a pair of black trousers and a sky blue T-shirt with an ornate inscription “The World Werewolf League.”

“God, why would you wear this stuff about monsters?”

“Why would you call them that?!” exclaimed Harry, clearly picked.  “Do you even know one?”

“I’m relieved to say that I do not.”

“You do not know what you miss,” said Harry with conviction.      

This reply seemed a bit odd to Uncle Vernon, but just then another thought struck him.

“Aren’t they dangerous?” he asked hopefully.

Harry chuckled.  “Yes, but only on full moons.  And not even then if they drink a potion that’s been invented recently.  But there’s no need to look so disappointed.  Look, in the worst case scenario, you’ll have to tolerate me for another three weeks; then I’ll be gone for good, and you’ll never hear another word about me.  But if something happens to me, well, then, there might not be anything else to stop Voldemort.”

“And why on earth would he be interested in us?  We’re not a threat to him.”

Harry let out a hollow laugh.  “If he were only interested in people who’re a threat to him… Half the people he murdered were killed just for fun, especially Mug– non-magical people.  But that’s even not the main danger for you: I don’t think he’ll care to go after you specifically – heck, if he has any idea of the kind of life you’ve been giving me all these years, he might even give you a prize!  But the point is, if he overpowers our Ministry and becomes the master of the country, he’ll most probably proceed wrecking plants and airports and crashing communications.”

“You think he’ll do that?”

“Well, I’m not privy to his plans, so I can’t vouch for it, but, unlike his supporters, he grew up in the non-magical world, so he knows its infrastructure.  He knows that technology makes it strong, that without it its leaders will be lost.  Consider also that wizards don’t need technology for anything – we’ve borrowed a few things, but none of them are really essential.  So for the magical folk, technology is just a useless source of pollution, and I’m sure quite a few would be glad to see it gone; and even more will be happy if they don’t have to go secret anymore and if there aren’t as many Muggles around….  So the non-magical people would start emigrating en mass, but you won’t be able to take your company with you or sell it, for there’ll be no buyers.  And you won’t even have that much money in the bank, because with everyone crazy to withdraw, they won’t be able to return everybody’s money and will set very strict restrictions for a few days, and by then the pound will be worth nothing.”

Mr. Dursley was looking at his nephew mouth agape; for once he was seriously concerned.

“And the stocks will plummet too, I imagine,” added Harry.

“They will,” agreed Uncle Vernon quietly.  “By hell, someone must stop this… this monster, and do it soon!” he exclaimed, pounding his fist on the table.

“Well, we’re doing all we can,” replied Harry tiredly.

“And how on earth can you stop him?” asked Uncle Vernon surveying the slight figure of his nephew, for the first time with concern rather than scorn.  “Or are you powerful with– ” he gestured at Harry’s wand.

“By no means as powerful as he is,” Harry admitted.  “Although I am quite good at it for my age and will probably become more so later on.  But that’s even not the point, for… we have reliable info that there’s a strength I have that he hasn’t, which will allow me to vanquish him.”

“And what kind of strength is that?” asked Uncle Vernon curiously.

Harry hesitated a bit.  The truth was that he didn’t really know himself, for the prophecy didn’t mention it.  His headmaster Professor Dumbledore thought that it was love, but Harry doubted that this would sound convincing to his uncle.  In fact, he didn’t even find it particularly convincing himself.  He couldn’t possibly love Voldemort to death, so how could he vanquish him?  Harry began thinking over all the instances when he had miraculously escaped death, except for the first time when his mother’s love saved him.  In his first year he was so shocked to see Voldemort’s face sticking out of the back of Professor Quirrell’s head and to realize that Voldemort could read his mind that he lost his voice and his legs wouldn’t move.  But when Voldemort spoke insultingly of Harry’s parents, Harry had somehow found both his voice and full command of his limbs, bringing him immediately on the offensive.  In the Chamber of Secrets he was thinking of Dumbledore, which brought Fawkes to his aid and saved his life.  At the end of his third year, when he had to dispel a hundred dementors, he was thinking of his father and Sirius, which allowed him to succeed.  In the graveyard, when Voldemort was “dueling” with him, Harry was totally sure that there was no hope at all for him, and as he was waiting for the end to come, he was thinking of one thing only, that he was going to die upright like his father, trying to defend himself, even if no defense was possible.  And that decision basically saved his life.  And at the Ministry he was thinking of Sirius, then of Ginny, other friends in trouble, which left him no time to be afraid, and then back to Sirius, which, according to Dumbledore, saved him once again.  Unlike Voldemort who didn’t have anyone other than himself to think about, he was never truly alone.  Maybe that was what Professor Dumbledore had meant when he said that love was the strength that Harry had and Voldemort lacked that would make Harry stronger in the end?

“I’m never truly alone,” repeated Harry, almost unconsciously.

“Ah!  That explains it,” said Uncle Vernon.  Now he understood why he often felt so uneasy in his nephew’s presence of late, as if he were being watched.  It was just as he had guessed: they had stuffed the boy with secret video cameras and eavesdropping devices, and were always monitoring what was going on with him, ready to Apparate and kill anyone who so much as touched a hair on his head, a gang of ruthless marauders that they were.  They probably owed him allegiance as the son of their slain leader: gangs were a very undemocratic society. 

“Stop!” Harry suddenly exclaimed.  Uncle Vernon shuddered, just as his nephew pointed his wand and shouted, “Accio chocolate.”  The chocolate bar flew out from Dudley’s hand, and Harry caught it deftly. 

“Sorry.  That’s just a conjured remote.  You don’t want bits and pieces of that in your stomach, once the magic wears off.”     

Dudley merely let out a squeak and ran to his room.

“Do you need to practice this here?” asked Uncle Vernon.  “I think that this thing at least you can do just as well in your own room, can’t you?”

“Yes.”  Harry was actually a bit tired from having to always sit in his room, as if he were sick, but he found his uncle’s request reasonable enough.  He was just about to Disapparate when Uncle Vernon said,

“Hey, leave that here.  And put it back to what it was!”

“Er… yes.”  Harry realized he was still holding the former remote.  He put it back on the table and pointed his wand at it.  “Finite Incantatem!”  The chocolate bar disappeared and there was the remote lying in its place.

“Is-is it OK to use it?” asked Uncle Vernon uncertainly, extending his hand to it, but not quite touching it.

“Sure.”  Harry picked up the remote and turned on the TV.  Then he picked up his textbook and, with the sound of a very loud car exhaust, he Disapparated.

Mr. Dursley sat there for a few minutes, staring at the TV screen, but not understanding a word the man was saying.  Then he turned off the TV and went to his room.  He laid down on his bed, something he hardly ever did during the day, and began to think.  Something had to be done about all this.  Voldemort.  And three weeks – he’d be in a madhouse in three weeks, together with his family.                        

About half an hour later, he got up, went into the corridor and knocked on his nephew’s door.  There was a sound of footsteps, but just as Harry opened the door, a big black rabbit hopped out of the room and ran nimbly down the stairs.  Harry banged the door closed and raced after it.  Mr. Dursley suddenly heard his wife scream, a heavy pan fall with a crush, and his nephew’s cheerful,

“Don’t be afraid, Aunt Petunia.  Just an innocent bunny, it won’t hurt you.”

Vernon Dursley closed his eyes for a second: his wife hated animals. 

Slightly panting, Harry ran up the stairs, bunny in arms.

“I hope that’s not the VCR?” asked Uncle Vernon suddenly.

“No!” laughed Harry, “just my Astronomy textbook.”

He opened the door into his room to return the escaped rabbit, and as he did so, Uncle Vernon could see that the room was full of hopping bunnies in fantastic colors.

“That’s a herd,” he said weakly. 

“Yeah, I take a lot of subjects.  They afford an excellent exercise in wand aim,” Harry explained conversationally.

“Well… er… I wanted to ask… do you know the normal street address of those freaky friends of yours… the Weasels… because I could drive you there if you wish.”

“Oh!”  For a second Harry just stood there, looking at his uncle with complete astonishment; it was a good thing he had already returned the rabbit to his room, for otherwise it would have undoubtedly escaped again.  Then he sighed and said, “Unfortunately, I can’t go there now.  The situation is very tense right now, and Dum– my headmaster thinks it would be best for me to stay here.  They are working on it, but they are afraid to put anything in letters in case they get intercepted, so I don’t know when to expect them.  It may happen very soon, but it’s possible that I’ll have to stay here till September 1st.”

Uncle Vernon nodded, accepting this.

“Hey, for all I know, I might be gone by morning,” said Harry cheerfully.

“If you do… and if you meet this guy later,” said Uncle Vernon suddenly.  “Will you tell him…. tell him that we…”

“Don’t worry – I’ll tell him that you hate me from the bottom of your hearts,” Harry promised seriously. 

“And if he does take over your government… will you let us know… so that we can do what’s necessary.”

“OK, but I might have to write by owl, if I’m at Hogwarts.”

“That’s fine.” 

Mr. Dursley stood there for a while after Harry had nodded and closed the door, just looking in front of him and not seeing anything.  The flames of the candles on the wallpaper suddenly seemed to move.  He did not know if it were a spell or if it were in his head.

 

Mr. Dursley woke up suddenly at the buzz of the alarm clock.  He shuddered, not understanding for a second what was going on.  He was lying in his bed; it was half past seven on the clock, and the sun was already sending heat waves, this day promising to be as suffocating as the previous three.  “Thank god we’ve installed air-conditioning after the last summer,” thought Vernon Dursley.  He had realized with great relief that he had only dreamed about his nephew coming of age and starting doing it whenever he pleased.  And, yet, this nightmare had been so real.  Mr. Dursley seldom remembered his dreams when he woke up, and on those rare occasions when he did, in a vague sort of way, they did not make any sense to him, and so he quickly forgot them.  Therefore, having had a very clear and long dream was particularly disturbing. 

However, Vernon Dursley was a man of strong character.  He got off his bed, resolutely determined to get this nonsense out of his head and to ask his physician for some other sleeping pills if anything of the kind ever happened again. 

A few minutes later, as he came down to the kitchen, he was greeted by the smell of coffee, the sound of sizzling bacon, his wife’s smiling “Hi, honey” and the sight of his son – such a healthy young lad – already digging into his breakfast.  Vernon Dursley walked over to his place, opened the fresh newspaper and accepted a cup of coffee from his wife.  He sincerely hoped that the morning would continue in the same happy, peaceful way.  When he heard the footsteps on the stairs, Mr. Dursley involuntarily shuddered.  He looked up, as his nephew walked into the kitchen.  The lad was dressed in a worn out T-shirt with the name of the local football team and a very shabby pair of jeans twice his size.  Vernon Dursley smiled with satisfaction, as he looked his nephew up and down.  

Harry gave him a puzzled look, as he sat down to breakfast.  However, he did not think much about this strange behavior of his uncle’s and he scarcely listened as Uncle Vernon talked of buying some foreign stocks and possibly opening a bank account abroad, so as “not to put all the eggs in one basket.”  Harry had had a very strange dream that night.  He had been thinking back to parting with his friends on the Platform 9¾ before falling asleep – always a reassuring thought, which usually helped keep away the nightmares of Voldemort, the eerie Department of Mysteries, and Sirius’ death.  He did not remember what he was dreaming about later – it was all rather vague, but he clearly remembered himself suddenly sitting on the sofa in the living-room and somebody asking him the very question he had been pondering ever since he came back from Hogwarts: what was the strength that he had and Voldemort did not, that might allow him to vanquish the dark lord.  And, then, suddenly a comprehensible answer came to him.  It was like one of those cases he had heard about when a person had been banging his head with a problem for days, and then “saw” the answer in a dream and woke up knowing it.  It was true, in retrospect, that he had always ended up saved, in one way or another, by the love he felt for somebody, but somehow he had not realized this before.

“Do you hear me?”

“Eh?” Harry automatically took the L15 that his uncle was proffering him.

“Take it to the gas station on the corner.  I owe them L13.75 for the gas.”

“OK.”

Mr. Dursley watched, as his nephew finished his breakfast, and then rose from the table and walked to the door.

“You can keep the change,” he heard himself saying.  Harry turned and stared at him, mouth agape.  “And wipe that idiotic expression off your face – there’s no point making the neighbors think you’re even more abnormal than you are.”

Harry chuckled and left the kitchen, banging the door slightly.

 

 

 

 

 

Author’s Notes:

Most of the story, except for the first and the last sections, are two of Uncle Vernon’s dreams which happened on the same night, but were separated by a period of non-dreaming (he thought about a week had passed).  Because he happened to be thinking obsessively about Harry just before he fell asleep and because Harry is a powerful wizard and was physically close (according to JKR, distances matter in magic), a (mostly unconscious) part of Harry’s mind connected to Mr. Dursley’s and was providing some responses, although most of Harry’s behavior in Uncle Vernon’s dreams is Vernon’s projection of how Harry would behave if he were allowed to do magic at will.  It was not before Uncle Vernon had accidentally asked the very question that Harry himself had been pondering, that Harry became fully involved.  He did not remember afterwards that it was Uncle Vernon who asked the question (because Harry is not particularly interested in him), but he remembered his thoughts on the subject.                      

//
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