Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter. I do not own Wolf Among Us, or Fables, the comic upon which that game is based. I make no profit from this work of fiction.
This is in response to the challenge issued by speedster101. (viewable here: i1225 (d-o-t) photobucket (d-o-t) c-o-m/albums/ee385/RogueMudblood/Permissions/speedster101_zps12468bd9 (d-o-t) p-n-g)
Things you need to know:
This is not "Harry Potter Redux" or "Harry Potter, the Wolf Among Us Remix". This is a "what if" story, and what you think will/might happen won't if you're just looking for JKR's story. I'm not posting her work, I'm posting mine. If that's an issue for you, the back button is in the upper left corner, the "X" is in the upper right. Either will navigate you away from this page.
There may be themes in this story that make you uncomfortable. I'm not going to saunter – or even stray – into MA territory, but the M rating is there because there are some topics that will come up that aren't appropriate for K-T readers.
Lastly, this deals with the game, not the Fables comic series. Events of that series aren't included if they happened after the game storyline.
Bigby Wolf was not known for his patience. He had never been accused of having a gentle temperament. No one who knew him – or knew of him – would be at all surprised to find him in Tottenham. He watched the life going on around him in disgust, lighting up his fifteenth cigarette as he leaned against a wall. The part he hated the most about leaving Fabletown to communicate with one of his contacts was the waiting.
He would normally have trusted this exercise to one of his subordinates. The falling out he had with the only woman whom he had ever loved had, however, given him an excuse to jump at the opportunity to investigate this situation himself. Standing in the midst of the scent of sex, Bigby had been chain-smoking for the last half hour. He had already seen two prostitutes taking their marks down a side alley. The woman had smelled of too many men when she passed, and his nose had wrinkled reflexively. The male prostitute had smelled of fear. The interactions of mundies, however, were not his concern.
The sound of a car screeching to a halt at the curb roused him from his musings. A tall, rotund man waddled out of one side of the vehicle, rounding it more rapidly than Bigby would have thought he could move. He wrenched the door open violently, dragging a boy appearing no more than five years old from the car. The minute he did, Bigby had to fight to suppress a growl.
One glance at the boy would let anyone know that he was malnourished. Even in the dim light from the distant streetlamp, Bigby was able to clearly count the boys' ribs through his shirt. Tear tracks were visible on his young face. The wolf could conceive of no reason why such a young child would be brought to Tottenham at night. Throwing his cigarette onto the sidewalk, he stubbed the butt out with the toe of his boot. His enhanced hearing allowed him to hear the boy's whispered pleas clearly. Snarling, the large man fisted the boy's shirt in his hand, pulling the tiny child close to his face. Bigby credited the youth's obviously poor condition for the man's ability to lift the boy so effortlessly.
"P-please, Uncle Vernon..." The boy was wheezing as he pleaded with the grotesquely obese man.
"No, you putrid little boy! Your aunt and I took you in out of the goodness of our hearts. We gave you a room to stay in." Spittle flew from the man's mouth as he shook the boy's rather limp form in his fist. "As far as I'm concerned, you deserve whatever you get here in this neighborhood!" Without bothering to lower his arm an inch, he loosened his grip, dropping the boy to the sidewalk. The crunch of the bone snapping in the boy's right arm as he landed on it echoed in Bigby's ears. The wolf's growl was clearly audible, his eyes glowing from the shadows. The boy looked up as Bigby stepped forward, fear written in every inch of his form.
The large man snarled at the boy, yelling at him to lift himself off the sidewalk. Despite the blood soaking into his shirt, the child rose slowly, fresh tears dripping from his eyes. Scenting the air, the wolf could clearly smell the urine soaking the boy's pants. He took a deep breath, blowing it out slowly. Wind rushed quickly past them down the street, nearly knocking the child from his feet. The large man's hair was pushed back from his rotund face allowing Bigby to view him clearly. His flaring nostrils reminded the wolf of the pigs he had terrorized back in the Homelands.
Though he was a tough man, Bigby was not someone who took joy in the suffering of children. While he would normally have simply let the mundanes handle their own problems, this boy was far from being mundane and seemed unaware of that fact, which intrigued the wolf. The more Bigby considered the possible injuries inflicted on the boy by the grotesquely obese mundy before him, the more menacing his countenance became.
His eyes glowed, causing the boy to gulp audibly. Seeing the boy's quivering, Vernon raised his hand to strike him. Bigby caught the wrist before it could even come close to the child. His grip on the joint was crushing. As he pulled the bones of Vernon's forearm in separate directions, Bigby was almost certain that he could hear the ligaments tearing. The large man's chin wobbling and the wince he tried to hide brought a feral grin to the wolf's lips.
Though the shadows largely hid Bigby's face, his teeth gleamed brightly in the light when he finally chose to speak. "I take it you've no further use for the boy then." Vernon shook his head, the rapid movement causing the odor of his sweat to reach the wolf's sensitive nostrils. Wrinkling his nose, Bigby leaned in closer. "Then let me have him."
A whimper from the boy greeted them both. Keeping the child in sight, Bigby moved so that he was between the pair. Despite the scent of fear which rolled off Vernon, the rotund man proceeded to attempt to bargain with the wolf. "Interested, eh? What are you willing to give me for him?"
Snarling, Bigby leaned forward, spittle falling from his teeth as he gnashed them. "How about I let you walk out of here without doing you any more damage?"
Vernon gulped. "Th-that sounds fair." When Bigby released the large man's wrist after twisting the bones unnaturally once more, the wolf stepped back, allowing Vernon to rush to his car. The engine choked and gasped, as though protesting its owner's presence, before finally turning over and revving to life. Squealing echoed from the buildings as the tires screeched against the pavement. Bigby turned his back on the inept mundane, his attention focused on the child lying on the sidewalk. Before he could take a moment to try and console the shuddering boy, his contact finally arrived.
"Shite. He's just a tiny one, yeah?" The sound of a match being struck reached Bigby's ears a moment before the scent of a cheap cigar reached his nose, vying for dominance over the odor of the urine emanating from the boy. "An' he passes, yeah?"
Pinching the bridge of his nose, the wolf turned to see the haggard looking man. One hand in his pocket, the man calmly pulled the cigar from his mouth, exhaling the smoke in a tight stream. He shrugged the trench coat from his shoulders, pulling his hand from his pocket to catch it before passing it to Bigby. The wolf raised an eyebrow. "For the boy, you arse."
Reigning in his temper, the wolf slowly let his breath hiss between his teeth before snatching the garment. A bitterly chill wind blew down the street, causing the man standing before Bigby to shiver. Turning from him, the wolf found the boy, eyes wide with terror, staring at him. His teeth were chattering, his limbs were shaking, and even though he grimaced with each tiny movement of his emaciated body, the child was determined to try to get away from the wolf. Another sigh from Bigby caused another cold breeze to blow through the street.
"You keep blowing air through here like that, you're going to freeze the boy to the sidewalk." Crouching down, he stared at the child. "Oy. Boy. What's yer name?" Green eyes stared back at him while the child tried to force his lips closed over his chattering teeth. Bigby blocked his view of the boy, wrapping the coat around the tiny shivering form, lifting the child from the sidewalk.
The acrid scent of fear flooded the wolf's nose, making him flare his nostrils as he tried to expel the odor. His contact merely smirked at him before getting the boy's attention. "He's not going to hurt you." Though the boy's facial muscles were completely void of reaction, his eyes were incredibly expressive. The child's incredulity could clearly be seen for the brief moment before he ducked his head. Bigby glared at his contact as the man began chuckling.
Still sniggering, he began to lead the wolf out of the main area of Tottenham into an area hidden from mundane eyes. The boy shuddered heavily as they passed through the invisible demarcation. Bigby's grip on the child tightened until the shaking subsided. The residents of London's version of Fabletown looked askance at the group as they passed by. Most gave the wolf a wide berth, his human form not capable of disguising him from their senses. One woman tried to approach the group, her eyes fixed on the boy in Bigby's arms. No longer in an environment where he needed to hold back, the wolf allowed a loud growl to sound clearly. It had the desired effect, scaring the woman back, though her gaze did not waver from the boy until the group turned the corner.
After walking through several of the darkened streets and back alleys of the undeniably poorer part of the town, they finally arrived at a building that appeared ready to collapse in on itself at any moment. Saying nothing with respect to the tenement, Bigby simply followed his contact up the central stairwell and into the room the man opened. Shutting the door and lighting up another cheap cigar, he looked up to see the wolf glaring at him. Smirking, he motioned down the hallway, chuckling softly as he heard Bigby setting the boy down and rifling for linens and soap. He tensed as he heard the wolf snarl. The sound of water met his ears shortly after that, followed by Bigby's large feet stomping back down his hallway.
"Find a place to burn this." The wolf's normally rough voice was tinged with hatred as he tossed what could only be considered rags at his contact. "And at some point, Jerome, I expect you to tell me why I've been dragged to this place."
The Briton let the rags fall to the floor, the odor coming from them too rough for even his sense of smell. He looked up at the sudden slamming of his door, listening as the infamous wolf stomped down the stairwell. Jerome shook his head as he looked back to the pile of filth laying in his floor. Heaving a great sigh, he retrieved his spell book, hoping he was still able to find the localized incendiary spell and cursing the day he agreed to be one of Bigby's spies.
"You left him where?" The wizened wizard's ire echoed through the living room, shaking the portraits as they hung on the walls. Vernon Dursley cringed, his chins wobbling as he attempted to squeeze an excuse from his plump lips. The wizard waved his hand, sparks spitting from his fingertips. "Do you understand just how important that boy is?" The rotund man nodded vigorously, watching with some apprehension as the wizard began to pace. "I have said nothing regarding your treatment of him to this point. It has served my purpose to allow you to cause him mental anguish." He stopped walking, turning on his heel, directing a glare back to Vernon. "Now, you've gone too far." His eyes seemed to glow with white-hot energy as he leaned towards the Muggle.
"The boy was asking for punishment." The woman's voice came from behind him. Vernon shook his head vigorously, closing his eyes when the wizard turned from him.
Approaching her slowly, the old wizard let a grin slowly spread over his face. "Did he now?" Her throat muscles visibly pulsed as she swallowed. Refusing to allow her fear to show on her face, she nodded once. "Well, Petunia, for your son's sake you had better hope you can find him again." The chubby seven-year-old had peeked around his mother, wanting to see the wizard he had been told was so dangerous to them.
"He doesn't look dangerous." His voice was soft, but clearly audible in the quiet room. "What's your name, anyway?"
The wizard smiled, kneeling down so he was closer to being eye level with the child. "Professor Albus Dumbledore." His grin widened, though it managed to darken his face. "And you are Dudley." The boy nodded. "Do you want to know how I know that?"
Dudley shrugged. "Dad said you can read minds."
The grin fell from Dumbledore's face. He stood up, looking down at the boy from his height of nearly six feet. "I can indeed. Still, your name is known to me for another reason." Dudley's eyes had remained on the wizened wizard as he rose, widening considerably as the color drained from the boy's face. The frown on the old wizard's face frightened not only the overweight child, but his obese father, who quickly rose and pulled the boy to his side.
"Now see here!" Vernon's face seemed to swell as he stood up, his cheeks turning red. He pulled Dudley behind him, hoping to focus the wizard's attention away from the child. In his haste, the obese Muggle forgot the aged wizard's abilities. With but a wave of his hand, Dumbledore froze Vernon in place. A flick of his wand brought Dudley back towards him.
Petunia stepped forward, laying a hand on her son's shoulder. "Please. Vernon and I will go back to find him." The glimmer in her eye did not go unnoticed by the wizard. He smiled at her, the gesture devoid of any mirth.
"While you do, my dear, I will simply take Dudley with me." He bent down a bit, allowing his eyes to meet the boy's more easily once more. "Would you like to see a castle? Perhaps meet a real knight?" Dudley looked at the wizard skeptically. "Possibly talk to a dead person?" The boy perked up at that, a morbid curiosity bringing a mischievous light to his eyes. "Ah, you'd like that, eh?" Dumbledore's smile did not meet his eyes, but when Petunia reached toward Dudley to hold him back, he shrugged her off, happily approaching the wizard and accepting his invitation.
The chubby child turned back to his mother, a frown on his face. "I don't want to go with you and dad to find Harry. He's been nothing but trouble anyway. Besides, he said I can go have fun and talk to dead people! I wanna see if ooze drips from their bones when they rise from the grave!"
Petunia reared back slightly, unsure who this child before her was. She recalled many of the things Lily had told her about those freaks of nature she went to school with, including some of the regulations she was sure this old man had violated. Something about a secrecy act immediately came to mind, as it was one of the reasons that Lily had frequently cited for refusing to use magic to help her. Her eyes narrowed slightly, the thoughts swirling rapidly in her mind as her gaze switched between the wizard and her son. She was certain that, somehow, a spell had been woven over her child. Considering her options quickly, she stepped back, forcing a passive expression to her face.
"You'll have to release Vernon. I can't drive the car. I never was very good with a manual transmission." Nodding, Dumbledore flicked his wand. Another flick of his wand had a light settling over and around the pair. "Wh-what was that?"
The wizard grinned darkly. "Just a little insurance policy." Taking Dudley's hand in his own, he turned on the spot, vanishing from view.
When Bigby returned to the tenement, he found Jerome trying to douse a small inferno. Sighing, he took a deep breath before approaching the flame, exhaling a bitterly cold stream of air directly above it. The flames died quickly, revealing a pile of charred ash. Turning to Jerome, Bigby raised an eyebrow.
"That's what's left of the boy's clothes." The eyebrow lowered quickly, a scowl forming clearly on his face. "You did tell me to."
Prepared to admonish the fable for the very mundy type of behavior, he stopped as his ears picked up the soft mumbles coming from the apparent lump of towels sitting on the very threadbare sofa. His brow furrowed as he walked slowly towards the clump of linen. The stream of words flowing from the pile was nearly incomprehensible, but his ears managed to discern the words 'I'm sorry'. Pulling back one of the towels near the top of the pile, he found the boy wearing an oversized shirt rocking back and forth, cradling his broken arm while he chanted.
"Hey." He kept his voice soft. The child immediately stopped moving. Though the boy's limbs continued to shake slightly, he was no longer rocking himself. Bigby was unsure if this should be considered an improvement. The wolf turned back to face Jerome. "What the hell happened?"
Shrugging slightly, the man went to the closet. Bringing back a trowel and a garbage bag, he began trying to clean up the mess in the floor. After a few scrapes at the charred remains, he sighed and looked up at the wolf. "He came out of the water closet so quietly I wasn't aware he even had until he giggled." Shifting his attention back to the mess in the floor, he colored slightly as he continued. "Of course, I was the source of his amusement, or rather, my failed attempts to destroy those rags." Jerome stayed silent for a few moments as he concentrated on scraping at a particularly charred piece of carpet. After finally loosening the ash, he sat back on his heels, staring up at Bigby. "I don't know how it happened. I said something about not having to wear the rags again, and they just ignited. I think the mundies call it spontaneous combustion."
Bigby grunted, nodding in understanding. He turned his attention back to the couch, ignoring Jerome's mumbling about having to replace the carpet. He knelt down beside the sofa, staring at the boy. The child ducked his head, doing his best to appear invisible under the wolf's gaze.
"I'm not going to hurt you." The boy turned his head sharply, staring at Bigby in disbelief for only a moment before his face became impassive. Trying to alleviate the boy's fears, the wolf reached forward, holding his hand above the broken arm. He whispered a few words, watching as the skin sewed itself back together. The child looked up at him warily before testing his arm, moving it slowly. He grinned slightly as he realized it was no longer broken. "What's your name?"
The wolf watched as the boy swallowed. Silence settled over the pair, Bigby listening to the boy's breathing and heart rate. When the hammering of the child's heart settled, he finally spoke. "Harry."
"Harry." The wolf smirked a bit. He could not help but find humor in the name. "You called that man earlier your uncle." Harry nodded. "What happened?"
Still not sure just how much he was able – or willing – to trust Bigby, Harry shrugged one shoulder, looking down to his lap and picking at the hem of the oversized shirt. Noticing the line of his gaze, the wolf handed over the package he had brought in with him.
"Here. New clothes." Harry nodded, rising quickly from the couch so that he could change. He stood before the wolf for a moment with his head down, shuffling his bare foot against the carpet. Slowly looking up, he whispered a quick thanks, rushing from the room after he spoke.
"Skittish little thing, isn't he?" The wolf turned to face Jerome, finding the other man had cleaned the ash from the carpet as best he could. Bigby tilted his head to the side in question. "After he managed to start a fire I bungled a dozen times, he ran over to the couch and hid under those towels." Jerome tied the bag with the ashes tightly, not wanting to have to clean them up again. "He'd only been like that for a few minutes before you came in."
The sound of a door creaking open caught Bigby's attention. Turning to find the boy standing in the hallway, wide eyes looking at him with shock and surprise, the wolf took stock of the boy to make sure the clothes fit. He found that they were almost right – a little short in the torso, but otherwise, they seemed to be the right size. Motioning for Harry to come back in to the living room, he sat down in the chair opposite the couch.
Harry entered the room quickly, sitting on the sofa and keeping his head down. He hoped that he had not caused too much trouble. He could not help but be concerned for the punishment he was certain would be doled out for the fire he had somehow set. Several moments passed in silence. When he was certain that the other man must have fallen asleep, Harry raised his head. Instead of finding the man slumbering, he was met with hazel eyes staring at him. He gasped and tried to burrow further into the sofa.
Leaning forward, the wolf made certain to keep the boy's eyes on him. He wanted to judge his responses with more than the change in his scent and the increase of his heartbeat. The likelihood that this child would die of a heart attack before fifteen was high if he stayed this excitable. Careful to make his movements appear as non-threatening as he could, he slowly moved so his forearms were resting on his thighs. "My name's Bigby." The boy's head bobbed up and down so rapidly in acknowledgment the wolf was afraid it would detach.
He took a deep breath, letting it out slowly. Harry shuddered. "Hey, man, take it easy with that! You might have the fur to protect you from the cold you make, but me an' the kid aren't so lucky!" Though he had not intended to reveal what he was to the boy in such a crude way, he did note the boy's reaction. The child was not horrified at the revelation. Green eyes held both curiosity and fear as they took him in, the fear being replaced by confusion.
"I don't see any fur." Jerome dropped the bag, the plastic popping open a bit and letting some of the ash fall out. While the Briton swore behind him, Bigby watched Harry carefully. The boy had immediately covered his mouth with both hands after he spoke, certain that his comment would be met with some sort of punishment. The wolf's eyes narrowed briefly. Making his face as neutral as he could – which was somewhat difficult given his gruff demeanor – Bigby approached Harry quietly, crouching on the floor in front of the couch.
"Harry, it's okay." The boy lowered his hands slowly, Bigby taking note that both were shaking profusely. "You didn't upset me." The shuddering abated some, but the boy still seemed to be terrified. "Harry, how old are you?"
Meeting his gaze, the child swallowed before he answered. "I'm seven."
Not much could shock Bigby. He was, after all, the Big Bad Wolf. He had been a horror in the Homelands. His name struck terror in the hearts of fables everywhere. Even being on Earth and among the mundanes, his was a formidable presence that demanded respect. He found himself absolutely flabbergasted by the revelation. This small child could not weigh more than thirty or thirty-five pounds. He had carried him, and the small child had been no burden on him. Though he was about the right height for seven, he was far too thin. The wolf turned to face Jerome, allowing his eyes to narrow in his anger. The other man also seemed quite furious at the revelation.
Bigby returned his attention to Harry after taking several deep breaths to calm himself. "Harry, are you hungry?" The boy shrugged. "It's okay if you are."
Harry's eyes widened. He blinked rapidly to keep the tears pricking at his eyelids from falling. "A-are you sure?"
The wolf felt his ire increasing. If he came across that mundane again, he would happily slaughter him. Some of that alleged street art might find itself splattered with that foul creature's innards if he ever dared show his face anywhere near any of the fable areas of London.
Still thinking about all of the creative and horrifying methods by which he could mutilate the mundane, Bigby stood and grabbed his coat. He pulled a second coat from the inner pocket and handed it to Harry. "Put that on and we'll go get some food. What would you like?" The boy shrugged. "Burgers? Pizza?" Those were really the only two mundane dishes with which the wolf was at all familiar. He was grateful that the second one seemed to capture Harry's attention. "Pizza it is then. Jerome? You comin'?"
"You buyin'?" The other man flashed him a broad grin. The wolf grunted in response. "I'm taking that as a yes." Jerome snagged his coat from the closet, following the pair out so he could lock the apartment. "You heard 'im, kid. He tries to stiff me with the bill, an' I'm makin' 'im wash the dishes!"
Despite having to put up with his contact's antics, Bigby felt the ordeal might actually be worth it when he heard Harry giggle.
It had taken them an hour to get back to London. They spent another hour driving around the neighborhood where Vernon was certain he had left Harry. Petunia had been accosted several times, men on the streets thinking she was simply 'role-playing' her part for the evening. She had been thoroughly confused by the reference, and had let them know how affronted she was at their attentions. Even after all of the horribly grubby hands grabbing at her, they still had not been able to find the horrid child.
Sitting in the car in their driveway, they hoped that the wizard would not come back for her sister's errant child too quickly. Just as the thought passed through Petunia's mind, a thunderous clap sounded, announcing the return of the insane old wizard.
Dudley rushed from the house, running out to greet them. Vernon snatched his son up, tossing the child into the back seat of the car. He never looked up to see Dumbledore standing in their doorway, the light behind the wizard making him seem far more menacing. Petunia watched him flick his fingers at the car. When Vernon jumped back in, no matter what he did to try to start it, the engine simply would not turn over. As Petunia continued to hear her son's jabbering in the backseat, her eyes were focused on the approach of the angry wizard. When he reached the car, he simply snapped his fingers to unlock the doors before reaching over to pull Vernon's open.
Dumbledore's eyes were flashing with the magic he was suppressing. "Let's go inside, shall we." It was clear he had not intended it as a question, or even a suggestion. Despite how angry she was, Petunia had already learned that the wizard had done something to them. She had tried at least four times to tell a bobby that her son had been kidnapped. Each time she had narrowly escaped being arrested for solicitation. She did not argue with the wizard, pulling Dudley from the back seat. He had simply kept chattering away.
Vernon reluctantly followed Petunia and Dudley back into the house, Dumbledore walking along behind them. Once the door was closed behind them all, he began waving his wand in intricate arcs. If it had been a lit baton, the Muggles might have found it impressive. Petunia kept Dudley next to her, doing her best to protect her son from whatever horrors the wizard might think to devise. When Dumbledore turned to look at her, the sickening smile pasted on his face as his eyes gleamed with anger, she realized she could not even begin to imagine what he could do to them. Whether she died protecting her child, she could not leave him with no defense against whatever was to come.
"So." Another flick of the wand, and a mirror seemed to appear from thin air. There were words written across the top that were in a strange tongue. "You didn't find him." Vernon shook his head, trying to shrink back into himself. Noticing that Petunia and Dudley were standing behind him, he moved so that they would be the first in the wizard's line of fire. Even while glowering at her husband, she kept herself between Dumbledore and her son.
"Dudley." Despite all of her efforts, the boy pushed past her at Dumbledore's call. "Did you have fun with me this evening?" The boy nodded. "Would you like to come back and spend some more time with me?" Dudley nodded rapidly, a grin spreading across his chubby face. "Well, I can offer you a way to stay until your parents are ready to come get you."
Shrugging off all of Petunia's efforts to restrain him, Dudley walked up to the wizard. "Give it to me!"
Dumbledore gave him a tight smile. "Simply read this." He produced a slip of papyrus from his sleeve, his eyes gleaming even as sparks flew from his fingers. Dudley snatched the paper from him, his eyebrows drawing together as he mouthed the words.
"It's not in English!" The boy stamped his foot as he spoke. There was nothing Dudley hated more than being promised a treat and someone playing a trick instead.
"Just sound it out, dear boy."
Rolling his eyes, Dudley stretched the paper out in front of him, squinting at it. He began slowly, stumbling over the first few words. "D...nu of eb... This is silly."
"If you want to come back with me, you have to say those words. Otherwise, I can't take you back into the magical world. It's only for witches and wizards, you know."
Dudley frowned. No one ever denied him anything he wanted. No one. He certainly was not going to let some old man tell him he could not go talk to the dead again. Resolved to read the words, he squinted at the paper as he began again. "Dnuof eb niaga eno?" He looked up at the wizard who smiled and nodded. Dudley grinned smugly at his mother before continuing. Petunia tried to snatch the paper from him, only to find her hands bound by an invisible force. "Nesohc eht litnu dnuob eb I llahs rorrim siht ni ylno!"
He was so proud of his accomplishment in reading the words that he did not notice at first that he was staring back at his parents without having turned around. He started to walk forward, inadvertently banging his nose against what he perceived as air. He could hear the wizard talking, though he could no longer see him. He noticed his mother had tears running down her cheeks, and his father had turned red – the way he did whenever Harry somehow did something simply by breathing. Placing his hands in front of him, he found the air in front of him had somehow turned solid. He was terrified when his mother reached out from the other side, her palm lying flat against his own, and he could feel nothing.
Petunia took her hand from the glass, staring at the wizard. "I'm sure there's some law of your... people that you've just violated!"
Dumbledore simply laughed. "You know, they all criticized me for leaving the boy here. But when he comes back to our world in a few years – and make no mistake, he will be coming – I needed him nearly broken. He would then trust me. He would not question my edicts, for I would be the benevolence that you had never been." Any trace of mirth quickly faded from his face. "You've brought this down upon yourselves. When you find him, I'll return your son to you."
He waved his wand, the mirror vanishing from view. "Wait!" Petunia's voice held a tinge of hysteria. She was unsure how much longer she could hold on to her sanity, but she would certainly try, for her son's sake. "Why can't you use your own people to find him? You have more means than we do –"
"You foolish woman." Dumbeldore's voice was filled with venom. "You remembered those secrecy acts earlier, so certain I had violated them and willing to use them against me. Surely you realize that the same edicts would prevent us from launching a massive search for him. You created this problem – you and your cowardly husband will resolve it." Despite his intention to do exactly as she had suggested, he certainly was not going to forgive the Dursleys for their part in losing the Chosen One.
"How?" She made no effort to hide the tears streaming down her face.
Dumbledore grinned evilly. "Use your own police." Reaching his hand out to where the mirror had been, he seemed to grip the air tightly before turning. The loud pop was drowned out by Petunia's terrified wails. Vernon fell to the floor with a thud, unconscious.
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