Chapter 3: Working with Dudley
awoke the following morning just as the sun began peeking through his window.
Though free from bad dreams, the night had been far from restful. His thin, lumpy
mattress provided little support and he had never found a comfortable spot.
quietly, Harry rolled off the bed and pushed himself upright. Grabbing
yesterday’s clothes, he headed for the bathroom.
get up early!” Dudley greeted him from the bed twenty minutes later. “Don’t
you ever sleep?”
Harry jerked his head in the direction of his aunt and uncle’s room. “Keep it
down!” he hissed, closing the door.
repeated the question.
his head, Harry replied, “Not on a mattress as lumpy as that one. Couldn’t get
comfortable at all last night.” He rubbed his shoulder absently.
you ready to get started?” Dudley asked, looking somewhat disconcerted at
Harry’s admission and changing the subject.
about your parents?” Harry queried worriedly.
Are you kidding? They won’t hear us with the racket Dad’s making in there.
Now, are you ready to get started?”
Harry tossed his things into his trunk and walked over to the pole he had set
up the night before. Dudley heaved himself off the bed and grabbed the
instruction sheet from Harry’s desk.
read that letter you gave Mum yesterday,” Dudley informed him casually. “Your school
nurse doesn’t think you can move your arm very easily without pain.” He peered
at Harry with his piggy little eyes. “How high can you raise your arm?”
raised his arm until his shoulder began to hurt.
as far as it will go?” Dudley asked, with a hint of sarcasm.
nodded, feeling a bit annoyed at his cousin and thinking that he sounded an
awful lot like Madam Pomfrey.
then asked Harry to move his arm several more ways before stepping back and
frowning at the instruction sheet. Finally, he pulled several sheets of copy
paper from his back pocket that was covered in stationary diagrams and Dudley’s
messy scrawl. He compared them to Madam Pomfrey’s parchment.
Harry asked when he could stand Dudley’s silence no longer.
studied him a moment, then said, “Your school nurse was right. We gotta start
with the stretchiest band. You can’t lift your arm very high and according to this
exercise sheet Robert and I worked with last term, you should have progressed
to the third band by now.”
else did it say?”
consulted his papers. “Ice the injury for twenty minutes several times a day.
Have you been doing that?”
harrumphed and rolled his eyes. “Well, I guess that’s the difference between
sports medicine and whatever you people call it.” He handed the pages to Harry
and walked over to select the rubber band he wanted. “You can read that stuff
later. Let’s get busy. I want to work out before breakfast.”
started working. It seemed strange to Harry that Dudley could be encouraging
at all; he had expected his cousin to act almost like Professor Snape at his worst,
sneering at his students’ efforts. Instead, Dudley calmly talked his way
through each exercise, making sure Harry did each one correctly. By the time
they were done, Harry needed another shower, so Dudley left, telling him to
come out to the garage when he was done.
was amazed at what Dudley had set up at the back of the garage near the kitchen
door. The floor of Dudley’s exercise area was covered with a thick rubber
mat. Harry bounced lightly on the balls of his feet as he took in the transformed
area. Immediately to his left a set of free weights sat lined up on a rack in
front of an old mirror. Next to it a speed bag was attached to the wall. In
the far corner was a weight lifting bench complete with weight bar. Finally,
an old punching bag hung from the rafters in the middle of the space. Dudley
had stripped to the waist and donned a pair of boxing gloves. His
concentration was intense as he slugged the bag. He looked up, grinning, as
Harry leaned against the door jam.
is nice,” Harry commented appreciatively. “When did you put all this up?”
hols,” Dudley answered between punches. “The nurse at Smeltings watches me
like a hawk and ‘suggested’ to Dad that I continue the training program she and
the boxing coach have me on at school when I’m home during my school breaks.
So Dad and I put this up.”
you work out every morning?” Harry asked, his curiosity mounting.
Drives Robert crazy on weekends, though Mum and Dad are happy I’m keeping up
with my training this summer. You ever do any lifting at that school of
little,” Harry answered, thinking of all the new equipment he had been using in
the P-T Room at Hogwarts prior to the battle for Hogsmeade.
Then you’ll know what to do.” Dudley yanked off his gloves and strode over to
the line of free weights. He selected two tiny dumbbells and then told Harry
to join him in front of the mirror. “Robert’s information sheet said you
should be doing some lifting to build up your muscles. I made him come down to
the gym with me because his doctor recommended it. He hated it at first, but
the longer he trained, the better his shoulder got. I think yours will, too.
made a list of exercises you can do out here that may or may not require a small
dumbbell.” He shoved the weights into Harry’s hands. “When you do these
exercises watch yourself in the mirror to see if you’re doing them right.”
should I look for?” Harry asked earnestly.
slouch. Stand up straight. God you’ve got awful posture!” Dudley replied, poking Harry in the
back. “Start with the easiest one first. Go slow for maximum effectiveness.
You’ll know if you’re doing it right.” Dudley paused, and then something akin
to a sneer crossed his face. “Think you can handle all this?”
shot Dudley a hard look before nodding and turning to the mirror. Dudley
smirked and walked back over to the bag to resume his slugging. Harry gazed at
himself in the mirror, feeling rather shy about watching his posture. I’ve
got to do this if I’m going to heal up soon, he thought.
then read through the list Dudley had fastened to a clipboard and hung on a
nail next to the mirror. He was reluctant to try anything not prescribed by
Madam Pomfrey, but his desire to get better soon won out over his inner
protests. He started with the easiest exercise and progressed down the list
until he had finished everything without the weights. Then, he did them all
over again with the weights Dudley had given him, working until the pain had
him gritting his teeth. He knew he had to push through it to get well, the
sooner the better, he decided.
Dudley was at Harry’s side, placing a rough hand on Harry’s shoulder and
stopping the exercise session. “Are you trying to kill yourself?” he scoffed.
“Potter, if it hurts more than a little, stop and get an ice bag and give it a
rest. You can do more later.” He strode over to the weight bench muttering,
“Stubborn git doesn’t know when to quit.”
put the weights away and slipped back into the kitchen, warily looking round
for his uncle. The snoring was still coming from upstairs and he heaved a sigh
of relief. At the sound, Aunt Petunia looked up from where she stood at the
stove making breakfast.
Aunt Petunia,” Harry said. He shut the door quietly. “Dudley said there was
an ice bag in here somewhere. Where can I find it?”
aunt put down her spatula. “What do you need it for?” she snapped. “And why
were you bothering Dudley?”
shoulder hurts. Dudley said ice would help,” Harry said, advancing further
into the kitchen. He began opening cupboards, looking for the screw-top
rubber-lined cloth bag he knew was kept near at hand.
get it. It’s up too high for you to reach and I don’t want you falling off the
stepladder,” Aunt Petunia told him irritably. She took the bag from a shelf
above the stove and filled it with ice before handing it to Harry. “Mind that
it doesn’t drip.”
put the ice bag on his shoulder, silently wishing for one of Healer Rodkey’s
inflammation reduction charms. “Thanks,” he mumbled. “I’m going upstairs to
fall asleep. Breakfast will be in thirty minutes. I won’t hold your food,”
Aunt Petunia called waspishly.
ice felt good. As the pain ebbed, Harry reached for his alarm clock and set
it. He was asleep in seconds.
was a silent affair. Uncle Vernon had finally come downstairs still clad in
pyjamas and dressing gown and promptly buried himself in his Sunday newspaper.
Dudley came in from the garage and quickly gulped his meal, answering any
questions his mother asked him very briefly. Aunt Petunia had set a
Dudley-sized plate of eggs, bacon and toast in front of Harry and sat down
across from him with only a cup of tea. As he ate the huge meal she eyed him
over her cup, making him feel extremely ill at ease.
soon as he was finished, Harry cleared up his dishes, then left for his room.
Hedwig hadn’t returned, so he pulled his Transfiguration book out of his trunk
and began his summer essay. When that got tiring, he pushed aside the layer of
debris at the bottom of his trunk, opened the lid to a secret nook he had
created there and pulled out some notes he had made of his talks with Professor
Dumbledore. He studied these until lunchtime.
was the only one in the kitchen when Harry went down stairs. “Where’s Aunt
Petunia?” he asked, sitting down across the table from his cousin.
She’s outside hacking at the rose bushes. One of those owls you people use to
carry your post showed up with a letter she had to sign and send back. She
wasn’t at all happy the owl came during the day,” Dudley reported, smiling.
“I’ll be surprised if there’s anything left of those bushes by the time she
gets through with them. You always get them to bloom real nice while you’re
stared at his cousin in surprise. A compliment from Dudley? Where’d that
come from? Unable to form a more articulate response, Harry mumbled his
thanks and bit into his sandwich.
two boys ate in silence for a few minutes until Dudley finally asked, “How do
you do it, Harry?”
raised an eyebrow. “Do what?” he asked.
stared at his plate, nervously picking through his pile of mixed fruit slices.
“Stand up to things like the Dementoids and that Voldemort creep you talk about
sometimes,” he said to his sandwich. “You don’t seem too scared of him.”
thought a moment before replying, “Voldemort’s been around for as long as I can
remember. Yeah, he scares me, but what I’m learning at school is going to help
me survive the next time we duel. I found that out during the battle in
Hogsmeade.” He paused, choosing his words carefully. “And knowing about
Dementors, erm, that’s just a part of what I’ve learned.”
put down his sandwich and looked directly at Harry. “I could never go into the
kind of fight like the one that did that to you,” he said, pointing his fork at
do you say that? You’re the Smeltings boxing champion for goodness’ sake!”
Harry exclaimed. He picked up his milk glass and took a big swig.
different. It’s just sport. You—you could have died in that fight, Harry! I
wouldn’t have the guts to do what you did.”
on there, Dudley. I know you spend hours in the gym training. You’re
surrounded by coaches and your teammates, too. Isn’t Piers on the team? What
about Robert? Doesn’t he go to your matches? I know you know what you’re doing
when you climb into the ring!”
shook his head. “I’m not popular with my team, Harry,” he said, looking like
it was actually costing him something to admit it. “No one but the coaches
ever says stuff like you just did to me. And Piers and I haven’t done much
together at Smeltings. He’s in another dormitory; he’s made other friends and
we hardly ever see each other since he’s gotten involved in the computer club
and I’m at the gym all the time.”
were with Piers and your other friends yesterday evening,” Harry remarked.
harrumphed. “Like that was a laugh!” he said sarcastically. “For the first
time it wasn’t much fun scaring the little kids out of the play park.
Something didn’t feel right, but I couldn’t tell Malcolm or Piers that. They’d
think I’m just as weird as you!” He bit into his sandwich and chewed
thoughtfully. “Robert’s all right, but he cares more about passing his classes
than getting fit and hardly ever comes out of the library if he can help it.”
suppressed a smile as he thought about Hermione’s love for the Hogwarts
library. “There’s nothing wrong with the library,” he said more to himself
than to Dudley. “My friend Hermione spends loads of time in there looking up
survival stuff for me to learn. Half of what I know I learned from her!”
pushed away from the table and lumbered over to the refrigerator. “That’s the
difference between you and me; you have friends, I—I don’t. Not like the ones
who come to get you,” he said, sounding dejected. He grabbed the carton of
milk and left the kitchen, leaving Harry to clean up both their plates.
another short nap with the remains of the ice, Harry felt restless and told
Aunt Petunia he was going over to the play park. Sticking his wand in his back
pocket, he began walking briskly down Privet Drive towards Wisteria Walk.
air was just beginning to warm up, making it the perfect time for a walk.
Harry listened to the sounds of the neighbourhood, keeping an ear out for the
sound of his minder, whom he knew was following at a discreet distance.
Half-way there he heard someone stumble and wondered if Tonks was on duty.
reached the play park and continued walking briskly round the inside
perimeter. The pages Dudley had given him emphasized keeping up with his
pre-injury level of physical fitness, and that’s exactly what he was determined
to do. Round and round he went until he was pleasantly tired and slightly out
of breath. He grabbed a quick sip of water at the park’s fountain and then
found a seat on one of the swings. He took off his sling and stuck it in his
back pocket. It felt good to let the arm dangle loosely at his side.
was nice sitting there alone. The sun warmed his skin, making his minor aches
disappear. He felt stronger today and knew that Dudley had been just as right
about physical exercise as Madam Pomfrey. He was enjoying the solitude, too.
As much as he loved Hogwarts, there was never a place where he could be truly
alone; someone was always trying to find him and sometimes he felt as if he
lived in a fish bowl with people peering in on him at all hours of the day.
didn’t know how long he sat on the swing watching the shadows change with the
movement of the sun. It was peaceful here, healing even, and when a mother
brought her little son into the play area he observed them with interest.
bark of harsh laughter and the creaking of the park gate made him jump, ending
his contemplation. He looked round. Dudley and his friends Dennis, Gordon,
Piers, and Malcolm had let themselves in and were strolling his way. Out of
the corner of his eye, Harry saw the mother grab her young son from the
teeter-totter and hurriedly leave the park, staying as far away from the
newcomers as possible.
alone on the swings, Harry watched as Dudley and his friends sauntered further
into the park. All five were smoking cigarettes and joking around as they
walked. Gordon yelled something rude at the woman and her son as they fled the
park while Malcolm punched Piers playfully on the arm. Harry knew they hadn’t
seen him yet, but it would only be a matter of time.
Big D, isn’t that scrawny kid your cousin?” Dennis asked several minutes later
as they came into the play area.
so what if it is him?” Dudley said in a bored tone.
he the one that goes to that school for criminals?” Malcolm asked. “The one
all the parents keep whispering about?”
suddenly switched to a falsetto voice. “Gordon, dear, don’t go near that Potter
kid when he comes home for holiday. He’s been at that school for criminals
again this year and I don’t want you around him.”
struck everyone but Dudley as extremely funny and the group burst out
laughing. Harry could see that for the first time in his life, Dudley wasn’t
particularly enjoying Gordon’s antics.
stayed in his swing waiting to see what Dudley’s gang would do next. Behind
him, he heard a soft shuffle of feet and knew his minder had moved closer to
him. For the second time since he’d left the house Harry wondered if he or she
had a back-up should things get out of hand.
Potter!” Gordon said, coming to stand a few feet from Harry. “Who said you
could swing here?”
one,” Harry answered. “I was here first.”
I want your swing,” Gordon demanded, stepping closer.
looked at the other swings. They were all intact and mostly new. “There are
others you can sit in,” he answered levelly.
was now so close that Harry could smell stale cigarettes on his breath. “Look,
freak. That’s my swing and I’m going to sit in it,” he said, his voice taking
on a menacing tone.
considered his options for a few seconds. He couldn’t believe Gordon was
picking a fight with him on such a childish pretext. However, he knew he was
in no shape for a brawl, especially against Dudley’s whole gang. He slowly
rose from the swing. “It’s all yours, then,” he said, moving backwards away
from Gordon. “I’ve even warmed the seat for you.”
followed Harry. “Don’t get cheeky with me, Potter. Did I say you could
don’t recall needing your permission,” Harry replied, taking a couple of steps
backward to get completely clear of the swings and a possible confrontation.
Dudley, he noticed, was standing off to one side watching the row develop.
not my point. You don’t have my permission to leave,” Gordon
growled, following him.
crept into Harry’s voice as he replied, “I apologize, then, sir. May I
but I’d watch my back if I were you,” Gordon said. “We don’t like freaks
swallowed, hoping that his minder was ready to take action. “So I’ve heard,”
he said tightly, glancing at Dudley. “I’ll be on my way, then.”
turned to leave Harry heard Dudley mutter, “Don’t call him a freak,” just loud
enough to be heard and paused in surprise.
got into you?” Piers asked, voicing the question Harry wanted to ask.
leave him alone, all right?” Dudley said somewhat defensively.
Harry walked past him, Dudley half-turned saying, “Get out of here. I’ll take
care of them.” Harry nodded and left the play area, walking towards the park
gate. As he neared it he chanced a glance over his shoulder. He wished he
hadn’t. Gordon had followed him and within seconds had yanked Harry’s wand and
sling from his back pocket. He threw the sling on the grass and examined the
wand with interest.
this? Hey, the freak carries a toy wand with him!” he chortled, turning the
polished holly shaft in his hand. “Do you think you can scare me with a bunch
of hocus-pocus like you do Dudley’s parents? Huh?”
it back, Gordon,” Harry said, extending his hand.
do you need it for, freak?” He backed up waving the wand in Harry’s face, just
out of reach.
mine. Now give it back.” Harry said a little more forcefully, following Gordon
back towards the play area.
tossed the wand into the air like a baton and let it drop to the ground. Harry
bent to grab it, but the other boy raised a booted foot forcing Harry to snatch
his hand away as the foot descended a little. “No! Don’t break it!” Harry
Gordon picked up the fallen wand and waved it triumphantly, shouting, “Abra
kadabra! Sis boom bah!” When nothing happened he turned and threw the wand
into the back garden of one of the houses on Magnolia Road. “You want it, go
lunged, his injuries forgotten. His reaction took Gordon by surprise and Harry
actually landed a couple of good punches before two sets of hands roughly
pulled him away from Gordon and held him tightly. Harry winced as Malcolm
tugged on his left arm, but otherwise tried not to let on how much his captors
were hurting him. Instead, he searched the park for Dudley, but his cousin was
nowhere to be seen.
now walked up to stand next to Gordon. “Looking for your cousin, freak? Well,
he’s gone, said something about Old Lady Figg or something. Weird!”
twisted, struggling to free himself, his mind racing. Where is Tonks or
whoever is the hell is supposed to be minding me? he wondered as Dennis’
words gradually sank in. Has Dudley gone to find her?
cheeked me,” Gordon sneered, as Harry nearly wrenched his right arm from Piers’
grasp. “Go on, Dennis. Teach the freak a lesson.”
teach him a lesson!” Malcolm called, shifting his grip on Harry’s arm.
feral grin spread across Dennis’s face and he cocked his fist. “I think I
will,” he snarled.
waited for the punch as he made another attempt at freedom. He tightened his
stomach muscles as much as possible and closed his eyes against the anticipated
pain. He’d been in this situation many times when he was little and had been
caught at the end of Dudley’s frequent “Harry hunts.” Just get it over
with, Dennis! he silently pleaded.
punch landed high on his abdomen, rock solid and taking Harry’s breath with
it. He doubled over gasping for air and waiting for the second blow that was
sure to follow. It never came. Instead, there was a shriek from behind him
and the sound of something whirling through the air. It connected with a clank
and the next instant, Dennis and Piers dropped his arms as the implement
connected a second time.
away from him, you no-good rapscallions!” the familiar voice of Mrs. Figg
yelled as Harry collapsed on the ground.
gang scattered. The sight of Mrs Figg chasing after Dennis and Gordon swinging
her string bag of cat food tins would have been laughable if Harry didn’t hurt
so much. Instead, he lay where he had fallen and fought to control his
breathing. He couldn’t. Every time he took a deep breath pain lanced through
his ribs and he knew Dennis had broken at least two of them. He rolled over on
his back, breathing shallowly. His eyes drifted shut as he willed away the
a second voice called. “Harryre
you all right?”
he queried, not opening his eyes.
Harry,” she said. “Where ?”
he gasped, opening his eyes. “I think they’re broken.”
I see?” Tonks asked, reaching for the hem of his shirt. Harry nodded and she
exposed his abdomen, probing gently with her fingers until he flinched.
I’m going to fix your ribs. Three are broken. Hold still,” she said. He did
and seconds later felt her healing spell wash over him in familiar waves of
heat, then cold. He took an experimental deep breath and was grateful when he
felt no pain except for a lingering burning sensation from the spell.
Tonks,” he mumbled, pushing himself into a sitting position.
problem,” she said. “Did they hurt you anywhere else?”
shook his head. “I don’t think so. I hurt, but it’s nothing one of my pain
potions and some ice won’t fix,” he admitted, flexing his left shoulder,
suddenly glanced sharply at Tonks. “You were right here,” he said, an accusing
note creeping into his voice. “Why didn’t you stop them before they hurt me?”
face flushed. “Sorry, kid,” she replied, handing him his wand. “.
Ministry’s having a devil of time keeping a lid on things with the Muggles –
what with the increasing Death Eater attacks. It’s getting harder and harder
to keep our world a secret.”
opened his mouth to retort, but Tonks cut him off.
on, then. Let’s get you home,” she said, helping him to his feet. She grabbed
her Invisibility Cloak from where it lay beside him.
swayed a bit, then recovered his balance as Mrs Figg came puffing toward them.
Dennis!” she exclaimed angrily. “I’ll skin him alive if I ever catch him!”
smiled at his elderly neighbour. “You do that,” he told her.
frowned and asked, “Are you all right? Can you make it home?”
fine,” he said, gritting his teeth as they walked slowly towards the park
gate. “The sooner I get home, the better.”
an hour later, the three stopped in front of the wall separating the Dursley’s
garden from the street. Tonks, who had disappeared under her cloak again when
they left the park, gently patted him on the back as Mrs Figg opened the gate.
made the right choice not to draw your wand, Harry,” she said, confirming his
wished he could believe Mrs Figg, but for once his mind and heart were not
cooperating; he had too many unanswered questions. “Why didn’t Dudley defend
me?” he blurted, asking the question that was utmost in his mind. “I know
we’ve never liked each other much, but he could have at least called off his
voice spoke softly over his shoulder. “He did something better, Harry. He
found your wand and gave it to me. It may have looked like he was condoning
his friends’ actions, but he chose the right thing instead of going along with
Gordon and Dennis,” she said.
closed his eyes, hoping Tonks’ story was true. “Thanks for telling me, Tonks,”
he muttered, turning towards the gate.
be speaking to Dumbledore about this, Harry,” Mrs Figg told him. “He might
want Madam Pomfrey to check you over. In any case, send Hedwig to me tomorrow
morning. I’ll have my answer by then.” She stepped back. “Go on with you
now. You’ll go upstairs and lie down, if you know what’s good for you.”
smiled wanly. “I will, Mrs Figg,” he said. “Oh, and thanks for coming to my
need to thank me, Harry. I’ll be in touch,” she said and shuffled off down the
street, her string bag clanking softly with each step.
Harry wasted no
time upon entering the house. He ached all over and all he could think about
was a fresh bag of ice and a pain potion
as he entered the kitchen.
Aunt Petunia had left the ice bag on the counter next to the sink. He filled
it with ice and headed for his bedroom, his anger at himself simmering.
Why had he thought Dudley would defend him in front of his friends, especially
after what they’d talked about at lunch? Just because Dudley had been nice to
him last night and this morning, he’d let his guard down, wanting to trust him
a little. Feeling frustrated, Harry pushed open his door, but stopped when
something rustled behind him.
“Are you… all
right?” Dudley’s question sounded tentative, as if concern for Harry was a
completely foreign idea.
“I’ve been better,” he answered as he gingerly rubbed his ribcage.
“I tried to stop them,” he muttered, studying his trainers. “
I’m sorry I
didn’t do a very good job of it.”
the landing, pulling his wand from his pocket. Dudley’s eyes widened, but
Harry switched his grasp and did not point the tip at his cousin. “Thank you
, Dudley, for
finding my wand,” he said softly. “Getting this back means a lot. Will your
friends be angry?”
his hands in his pockets. “It doesn’t matter. They’ll forget about what I did
in a day or two,” he mumbled. He looked up at Harry’s shoulder. “
important is you getting better. Have you taken your medicine yet?”
Harry shook his
head, feeling tired and achy. “Not yet, but the ice is helping already,” he
admitted, smiling as he adjusted the ice bag in a better spot.
back into his room. “I’ll see you
tomorrow morning, then.”
night, Dudley,” Harry said, as he entered his room. He quickly downed a dose
of his pain potion and settled onto his bed. The cold found its way further
into his shoulder as the potion kicked in, making him
feel relaxed and
sleepy. Turning towards the wall, Harry closed his eyes and shut out the