Chapter 1: London
heaved a sigh of relief as Ron took the trolley holding Hedwig’s empty cage and
his trunk from him and led the way through the barrier. Just pushing the
awkward thing a few meters sapped his strength a lot more than he’d bargained
for. His newly-healed left arm and ribs banged painfully against the handle
when he threw his weight at it.
much for staying pain-free for the day, he grumbled to himself as he followed
Ron,” he said gratefully as they emerged from the barrier onto the platform at
King’s Cross and began looking for the Dursleys. “I’m still amazed at the
things that can beat me right now.”
nothing, mate,” Ron said. “Promise me you’ll let us know when you’re settled?”
grinned at his friend, then, shaking his head, said, “Like sister, like
brother. I’ve promised to send an owl to Ginny. She wants to know when I’m
for her,” Ron said, scanning the people nearby. “Do you see them?”
there,” Harry said, inclining his head to the left.
relatives stood a little way down the platform towards the entrance to the
station. Ron pushed the trolley in their direction and stopped in front of
Uncle Vernon. Harry followed at a slower pace.
it’s about time,” Uncle Vernon groused. “You’re lucky we’ve waited for you.”
Uncle Vernon. Nice to see you, too,” Harry said.
don’t get cheeky with me, boy,” his uncle blustered. “I won’t have you
mouthing off to me every ten seconds.” When Harry didn’t answer right away he
demanded, “What’s that sling for? Some sort of prank to get me to let you off
looked uncomfortable as Harry answered quietly, “I’ve had surgery on my
Petunia took the opportunity to speak up. “We’ll discuss this in the car.”
Her sharp eyes descended on Ron. “Well, oughtn’t you be going? We’re
ears turned red as he straightened up and stepped close to the Dursleys. “I
think,” he said slowly, “that you want to show Harry a little respect. He
nearly died trying to protect people when our school got attacked this year.
He’s been through the wringer, and he’s going to spend the summer resting.”
Vernon’s piggy eyes narrowed and his complexion grew horribly mottled as Ron spoke.
“Now see here,” he spat. “I’m not having you freaks telling me what I can and
cannot do in my own house. This boy has been a burden to us since the moment
he arrived, and he’s bloody well going to earn his ke…”
bumped up against Uncle Vernon, towering over him, and discreetly pulled his
wand from his pocket, pointing it menacingly at the big man’s stomach. “I’d be
a bit more polite, if I were you,” he said in a flat, emotionless tone. “Harry
has a lot of friends from school, and we’re going to be keeping a close watch
to make sure he’s okay this summer, just like we did last year. It’d be such a
pity if there was a… misunderstanding.”
Petunia’s mouth opened and closed repeatedly, but no sound came out. Uncle Vernon
looked as though he’d like nothing better than to bum rush Ron but seemed to
think the better of it. Dudley was oddly quiet as the conflict played out
turned back to Harry and extended his hand. “Take care, Harry. And make sure
to send Hedwig right away. Ginny will be waiting for her.”
will,” Harry promised. He turned, jerked his head first at Dudley, then at the
trolley and walked passed Uncle Vernon towards the entrance. Halfway there he
turned to see whether Dudley was actually pushing the trolley and saw Ron still
standing where they’d left him. The two exchanged one last, melancholy little
wave and then Ron walked back through the barrier. Sighing desolately, Harry
led the way out onto the street.
car ride back to Privet Drive seemed endless as Uncle Vernon’s newest company
car wove its way along the carriage way toward Little Whinging. Harry had
given the letter Madam Pomfrey had written about his injuries and subsequent
“surgery” to Aunt Petunia and she was now muttering her way through it.
“No strenuous pushing or pulling for six
weeks... tasks to be done with his right hand only... lots of bed rest!... she
even has a list of foods he’s supposed to eat... keep his strength up... What
does she think I am... a maidservant? I should think not!” She turned in her
seat and skewered Harry with her eyes. “And just how long are you going to be
a good-for-nothing lay-about in my house? Hmmm?”
Harry glared icily back at her. “Two
weeks at the most,” he said. “But most likely only one.”
“TWO WEEKS! You’re just like your lazy, no-good
father! I will not wait on you hand and foot for two weeks! Do you hear
wait on Dudley,” Harry mumbled under his breath, resentment at her
characterization of his father making his stomach turn. “And my father wasn’t
Apparently Aunt Petunia heard him; she
said icily, “As far as I’m concerned he was! No steady job, just a no-good
wastrel... You may have your arm in a sling, but you will still help with the
chores. Have I made myself clear?”
Aunt Petunia,” he agreed, just to satisfy his aunt. He closed his eyes and
leaned his head against the back of his seat. He hated feeling this weak, but
the train ride back to London had exhausted him and all he really wanted to do
at the moment was sleep. His aunt, on the other hand, had other ideas.
tell me just who will be coming for you and when,” she demanded.
Dumbledore told me he will be coming himself,” Harry said without opening his
eyes. “He’ll send an ow—write to me a day or two before he comes with the
exact time he’ll appear on your doorstep.”
he’d better not come through the fireplace like that Weasel lot did that time,”
Uncle Vernon said vehemently, taking the exit that led to Little Whinging.
“And he’d better not bring any more of those elf-whatsits like he did last
summer. It let in all sorts of vermin that took us six months to get rid of!”
shook his head, remembering Dumbledore’s visit last August when he’d learned
the terms of Sirius’ will. That information, coupled with Kreacher’s
appearance, had been more than he’d wanted to handle; he hoped there would be
no surprises like that this time around.
Harry didn’t answer right away his uncle demanded, “Well, will it be
contaminating my house again?”
don’t know,” Harry said. “I was told just to expect a letter detailing his
arrival time. I’m supposed to be packed and ready to go as I’ll not be coming
back again. That’s all I know.”
aunt and uncle both sighed loudly, but neither made further comment as the car
pulled into the drive of four Privet Drive.
Aunt Petunia got out and pointed at the front door as Uncle Vernon opened the
boot. “Get your things and get them upstairs. I expect you have laundry to
do, so clear out that trunk of yours so I can get the machine going. I’ll not
have you waking us at all hours because you’re running the washer yourself when
you can’t sleep.” She disappeared down the garden path, following Uncle Vernon
and Dudley and leaving Harry standing next to the boot, a look of dismay on his
face. There was no way he could lift the heavy trunk with only one arm without
hand suddenly pushed him roughly aside and heaved the trunk out of the boot.
“Mum made me come back to help you,” Dudley grumbled by way of explanation.
“She doesn’t want you standing out here all night. The neighbours will talk.”
He grasped the side handles and started for the door. “Get that cage and shut
the boot. You’re not that helpless,” he called over his shoulder at Harry.
did what he was told and followed Dudley up to his room. Dudley placed Harry’s
trunk at the foot of the bed as he entered. “Thanks,” Harry murmured, walking
wearily to his bed and collapsing on it. He closed his eyes and squirmed about
to get comfortable on the thin mattress, involuntarily hissing with pain when
he put too much weight on his left shoulder.
breathed out slowly as the pain receded. Relaxing, he felt sleep beginning to
claim him when the creak of a floorboard forced his eyes open. Dudley was near
the door, staring at his cousin with an unfathomable expression.
a moment of uncomfortable silence, Harry spoke. “Thanks for bringing my
trunk,” he said tiredly.
what happened to you?” Dudley asked, ignoring Harry’s thanks. “You look like
you’ve been in some kind of brawl, from what your friend said.” Harry started,
wondering about Dudley’s tone. Was it curiosity? Admiration? A hint of
slowly sat up on the bed. “Yeah, I was,” he replied.
me about it. I want to hear everything,” Dudley said eagerly, scooting back
against the wall.
eyed his cousin warily, trying to decipher his motives. Dudley’s never
shown interest in anything I’ve ever done in the Wizarding world. I’ve always
been a target for his bullying, a convenient punching bag... Maybe that’s it...
Perhaps he thinks the battle was just a simple brawl instead of the life and
death struggle it really was! If he’s trying to understand me I suppose I
should at least try to explain what happened... but I really don’t want to.
Dudley wouldn’t leave until he got what he wanted – and none too keen at the
prospect of being his cousin’s punching bag – Harry resignedly gave him an
abbreviated accounting of the battle for Hogsmeade. Dudley listened raptly,
sometimes demanding more detail than Harry was comfortable offering; this
finally caused him to get up and pace the room. The bigger boy sat back,
stunned, as Harry finished the story.
never knew you people fought with those... things,” Dudley said, pointing at
the wand sticking out of Harry’s pocket. “That’s really cool!”
stared at Dudley, unsure how to take this sudden interest his cousin had in his
life. “I suppose it is,” he said slowly. “But casting spells with a wand is no
different than maiming or killing someone with a gun. People get hurt either
appeared taken aback by those words. “Yeah, I guess so,” he replied in a
rather unconvincing tone. Harry squirmed inwardly, suspecting that Dudley was
enthralled with wands in the same way he’d been thrilled with the air rifle he
once used to shoot squirrels. He saw the wands as toys and didn’t really grasp
the consequences of their misuse.
rubbed his sore shoulder and glanced at the clock on his bedside table. He
needed to take one of the pain potions Madam Pomfrey had sent with him. He
fumbled in his pocket for his key, walked over to the trunk and unlocked it.
He shoved aside some laundry and pulled out a small vial of pain potion, which
he struggled to uncork. Dudley suddenly grew impatient with Harry’s fumbling.
for crying out loud, give it here,” he said, snatching the vial from Harry’s
hands and uncorking it before handing it back. “I don’t see how all of your
people can regard you as such a bloody hero if you’re going to let a little
thing like shoulder pain get you down.”
welled up inside Harry, but he shoved it aside. “Thanks,” he said stiffly
before downing the potion. A blissful numbness enveloped Harry’s shoulder, and
suddenly Dudley’s barb didn’t matter.
studied his cousin for a moment. “That stuff works quick, huh?” he asked.
Harry nodded, a slight smile gracing his lips as he moved back to the bed. “I
sure could use some stuff like that after a few rounds in the ring at
Smeltings,” Dudley said.
eased back onto the bed and lay down. He and Dudley gazed at each other for a
moment. “So,” Dudley said. “Let’s see this scar you’ve picked up.”
blinked dazedly. Was this just a side-effect of the potion? This was the
weirdest experience he’d ever had on Privet Drive.
dunno,” Dudley replied. “Might be something to see a real wizarding combat
not?” Dudley replied, sounding irked.
have to take my sling off and I can’t move my arm very well.”
don’t be such a baby. I’ll help you,” Dudley said, coming to stand in front of
just not in the mood, Big D,” Harry shot back.
an instant, anger flared in Dudley’s eyes. Then he suddenly began to unbutton
his shirt. “Want to see my scar?” he asked, tossing off his long-sleeved shirt
without waiting for a reply. Harry was surprised to see that Dudley had
trimmed up a bit and grown more muscular over the past year.
then rolled up the sleeve of his undershirt to reveal a nasty looking ridge of
puckered pink flesh running from his upper right arm to his shoulder. “Got it
sparring in the ring one day,” he said, as if showing off a trophy. “Took a
right hook that knocked me into one of the ring posts. The padding had slipped
and a bolt head was sticking out. Took seven stitches to get it closed up.”
rolled his eyes. “I thought Mum would faint when she saw it after I got home.”
Putting his shirt back on, he turned to face Harry. “So c’mon, let’s see it…
Unless this is just some gimmick you’ve cooked up to fool Mum and Dad.”
was no way Harry could let that challenge go. Slowly, stiffly he sat up and began
removing his shirt, but couldn’t move his bad arm properly to get it off.
Dudley heaved a loud sigh, walked over and gently helped him. The shirt came
off, and Dudley stared at the ropey pink scar that ran across Harry’s left
shoulder and halfway down his bicep.
Dudley said in an awe-struck voice. Once again, Harry felt irritated at being
treated like an object in a museum. He certainly hadn’t asked for any
of the events that led up getting the scar.
Dudley said as Harry began to get dressed. “This, uh, Whatshername from your
school. Does she want you to do rehabilitation exercises like the coaches do
felt the pain potion kick in a bit more and couldn’t resist cracking a grin.
“Yeah, she does.”
what’s she want you to do?” Dudley said.
wandered back over to his trunk, buttoning his shirt as he went. “I’ve got an
instruction sheet to remind me what I’m supposed to do every morning.” He
rummaged in his trunk for the bag containing the post and handed the
instruction sheet to Dudley. As Dudley scanned it Harry removed the set of
rubber bands and the post and looked around for a suitable place to adhere it
to the floor. As the post automatically enlarged, Harry selected the right
spot and anchored it in place.
look right,” Dudley said, handing the paper back. “She knows what she’s doing
do you know?” Harry asked curiously.
mate dislocated his shoulder skiing over the Christmas hols and had to do
nearly the same exercises as these until the end of term. I sort of became his
unofficial trainer,” Dudley explained.
a moment of silence Dudley coughed and then shot a tough look at Harry.
you want, I can get you whipped back into shape.”
tucked in his shirt as best he could and stared at his cousin. He really
wants to help, he marvelled. I’ll believe it when I see it. To
Dudley he remarked, “I dunno. Won’t your parents think it strange if you help
smirked conspiratorially. “I won’t tell if you won’t,” he said. Harry
hesitated, and Dudley smirked again. “Better think it over. You look like you
can use all the help you can get, especially if you’re going to do any more…
what is it, duelling?”
that Harry was still nervous about Vernon and Petunia’s reactions, Dudley’s face
softened just a bit. “Look, as long as we wait until Dad leaves, Mum won’t
bother us until she’s ready for breakfast. Also, if you’re not too sore you
should do the exercises before bed, too. You’ll build up your strength
fitted the sling over his elbow and managed to pass the strap over his good
shoulder, but had trouble threading the end through the loops of the buckle
one-handed. He looked up as Dudley took the end from him saying, “Let me do
this; Robert always needed help with this part.”
Dudley,” Harry said tiredly when his cousin finished. He lay down on his bed again
just as Uncle Vernon’s voice rattled the windows from downstairs.
Get down here and help with dinner!”
don’t want to, Harry
thought, although knew that making the effort to go downstairs would keep peace
in the family. He pushed himself upright as Hedwig flew into the room. She
squawked loudly when she saw Dudley and quickly landed on top of her cage.
Dudley backed up towards the door, more to give her flying room than anything
all right, Hedwig,” Harry murmured softly to his owl. “Dudley and I have been
talking, that’s all. No harm done. Could you take a note to Ginny, please?”
bobbed her head and waited for Harry to write his note as the summons from
downstairs was repeated, this time in angrier tones.
glanced over his shoulder into the hallway. “I’ll be back,” he said and
disappeared down the stairs. A moment later, Harry heard loud voices from
I don’t think he’s going to be up to this tonight,” Dudley was saying.
on earth are you talking about? That freak can at least come downstairs and
set the table.”
said something Harry couldn’t hear, and then added in a louder voice, “He’s
hurt his shoulder badly, just like Robert did over Christmas. You push him too
hard and it’ll undo what the surgeons fixed and he’ll never use his arm again.
You want him to get well and leave, you’d better let him rest. I’m serious,
don’t know what Potter’s done to you to make you defend him like this, but I’ll
have none of it! You go up there and drag his sorry hide down here before I do
it for him!”
it off, Dad!”
Petunia sounded angry as she said, “Dudley, do as you’re told and go get your
cousin. Your father and I will decide what happens around here.”
finished his message and attached it to Hedwig’s leg as Dudley came stomping
loudly up the stairs. As she took off, he met Dudley at the door.
merely shrugged his shoulders and grunted. “I tried,” he said before ambling
down the hall to his room.
Harry said to his retreating back. “I’d better go down before Uncle Vernon
slowly descended the steps. I can’t wait to get out of here! he
thought, entering the kitchen. He glanced at his uncle and nearly said
something defiant he would surely regret later.
the table. You look fit enough to do that,” Aunt Petunia snapped from where
she stood at the counter tossing a salad. “You’re part of this family.”
thought, glancing at his sling. Silently, he gathered the plates and cutlery
Aunt Petunia had lain out on the counter and began setting the table.
End of Chapter 1
A/N: I hope you have enjoyed this first chapter.
I realize that Dudley seems a bit out of character here, but I wanted to give
him the benefit of the two years he has had to ponder what the Dementors made
him see and decide for himself whether his parents’ approach to Harry is the
best way to deal with him. Therefore, I had him start by reaching out and
finding some sort of common ground. Harry’s injuries from the battle in New
Year, New Hope are the easiest for Dudley to understand and make a good
place to start. His prejudices against Harry run unfortunately deep and he
remains the same shallow hulk of a boy his parents have fostered.
story would not have been made possible without the ideas, suggestions and
prodding of several people. First, I want to thank my pre-beta GhostWriter who
originally prodded me into writing this sequel and who has been invaluable in
helping me with Dudley’s characterization. The nastier characters of the HP
universe have always given me trouble and I appreciate GhostWriter’s helpful
suggestions for keeping Dudley in character. Second, I thank Lady Narcissa for
her quick beta on this chapter so that the story could be posted prior to Deathly
Hallows coming out. Finally, I hope that you will find the time to leave
me a review or two to let me know what you think of this chapter.