Authors note: Thanks for reading this story all the way through and a special thanks to everyone who reviewed the story or followed it and of course to those who put it on their fave list. *hug*
"Mom, Dad." It was only the fist day of his summer break but the day was nearly at his end and Dudley still hadn't seen his cousin. He had done a lot of thinking during the last year and even talked to his school counselor. In the end he even confessed everything and had to promise his counselor to help his cousin and had a phone number of her to call, in case he couldn't help Harry on his own. After telling her everything he knew, apart from the magic, he'd been hard pressed to stop her from calling the cops on his parents. Promissing that he'd fix this privately, she did give him the chance because she had seen how much he wanted this to work out, as well as how sorry the young man had been. Even though he yet had to say that he was. He wasn't used to say it. "What about Harry? Shouldn't he be here by now?"
"Oh, don't worry about him, my sweet little boy." Aunt Petunia replied, "That boy won't be coming back. It seems like his mass murderer of a godfather somehow got everyone convinced that he's innocent and now Harry is his problem, not ours."
"You mean, he's gone?" Dudley wasn't sure how he felt. He knew that his cousin couldn't be treated much worse than by his parents so far but if that man was as bad as his parents thought, then Harry might be in worse trouble. But how could he find out? "You have an address or something?"
"Whatever for?" His mother asked while backing a huge cake. "All you need to know is that we're rid of that good for nothing boy."
"I was just thinking," Dudley mumbled, "Don't you worry, what if this guy's going to hurt Harry?"
"Oh look at you, sweet little boy!" His mother cooed like he was a baby. How in the world had he not noticed how she was treating him before? He's nearly a grown man for pities sake, how can she talk to him like a toddler, she'd probably be able to hide behind him, hell her twin could hide right with her if she had one! "Such a darling boy to worry about that worthless boy. What a good little boy."
Dudley tried to be gracious about the embrace and just said, "It's fine, Mom. I'm just, well, kind of used to have him around. I'd like to at least write or maybe call him."
"I know, my sweet little baby dudders." She still cooed and tried to get her arms around him. And here he had thought to have lost some wight in school thanks to the teachers and counselors there. "Don't worry, you'll just forget about him pretty soon. And I make a great cake just for you. To celebrate that you're finally home. Oh I missed you so very much, my little boy."
"Mom," Dudley said, "I'm nearly 16 years old. "Could you maybe, and don't take this the wrong way, I love you Mom, but please, try not to call me little boy or dudders."
"Of course, my little duddykins," He felt like screaming when she actually pinched his cheek and after he just reminded her of his age too. "You're such a big strong boy and we both know what a sweet strong young and still growing man like you needs, don't we? Oh yes, we do! You need some of my special triple chocolate deluxe cake, yes you do! And it's nearly done. How about you just head upstairs for a little while to play and I'll call you as soon as I'm done? Oh and there is a little welcome home surprise for you waiting in your room, my little baby."
'Did she really treat me like that all last summer and I didn't even notice how ridiculous it was? I was already 16 by the end of it!' Dudley thought and walked upstairs seeing three new computer games. He was surprised himself that he had to fight the urge to run down and complain. Last year he had gotten 10 games on his day back. But he fought it. Remembering that Harry never had gotten anything. Where was his cousin? Was he okay? Would that man hurt him or would he be more kind to him? Those were the important question, not why he didn't get more games.
But what could he do to check on Harry? He thought about it until his mother called him down for the cake. He went down and talked a little to his father. Wondering if he'd too had always treated him this ridiculous too. "Did you like the games my big little boxing champ?" He asked grinning and patting his head. "I'm sorry we couldn't buy more now that this boy is gone but on that does have a good side too, you have your second room back. I thought I get some people to clean it all out and we make you a nice little play room in it. You might even get a billiard table for your birthday, my big boy."
Dudley frowned. Sure the promise of a billiard table was nice but there was something else there that he didn't get, "What do you mean? What does the number of my games have to do with Harry being gone?"
"Obviously we're not getting the money for keeping that little freak anymore." His father explained, "But he wasn't worth the trouble anyway and you're so big and mature, not even getting upset at all. I must admit I was a little worried but that was silly now, wasn't it? You're a big boy after all."
Dudley looked at his father's smiling face with the thought 'He was really worried that his 16 year old would throw a tantrum over too few presents?' But then again, he had to admit, he had been about to come down and do just that when he remembered Harry. What kind of man would he had turned out to be if Harry hadn't saved him during his last summer and thus making him rethink a few things? "Why did you never at least buy him decent clothes if you got so much money for him?" And it must have been a lot if the different amount of games was any indication.
"For that ungrateful boy?" His father frowned, "Like he'd even deserved it." He started to smile again towards Dudley and added, "And you, my poor little boy, had to put up with so much from that freak, you deserved everything you got. Don't worry your little head my son, you shouldn't worry about that ungrateful boy and just be happy that he's finally gone from our life."
"Come here, my little Duddikins." His mother said and put down a huge cake. "Have some of your favorite cake. You've lost so much weight my little baby, you're nearly only skin and bones."
Dudley looked down at himself and then towards his mother. "No thanks," He mumbled, wondering if it was her eyesight or if there was really something wrong with his mother's mental health. "I'm still overweight and on a diet."
"Oh that's those silly teachers talking." His mother cooed, "Just forget them, my sweet little angel, what do they know about growing boys."
"They are in a boarding school and have certificates, Mom." Dudley replied, "I bet they know more about growing boys and their needs than any mother does and I do feel better since I lost some weight and my boxing is getting much better too. Also, I'm not all that hungry but there is something I'd like to ask. A favor, sort of."
"Just name it my boy and your Daddy will get it for you." His father said, still grinning proudly at his son.
"I was just wondering," Dudley said, "If you can think of a way to contact Harry? I'd really like to see if he's getting on where he is now."
Both of his parents looked a little worried but then smiled sweetly towards him when his mother said, "Sweetheart, just forget about that boy, we'll really be lucky not to see him again and don't worry about games, your father might get a very big promotion, so next year you will get just as many presents again as usual, and we'll find a way then to make it up to you for this summer, my sweet little boy, okay?"
'Do they really think this is about some games?' he wondered but it was clear that they did. He just gave a sigh and then just said, "Sure, thanks. But you know, I'm really not hungry right now and I really want to stick to my diet, please just support me on that, okay?"
"Sure, darling." His mother said, still looking a little worried, "If that's really what you want, but how about we just have a little bit of cake for dessert?"
"Okay," Dudley conceded, "But just tonight, to celebrate that I'm back."
"And that you've got your second room back." His father said, "I still can't believe that we really got rid of that little monstrosity."
"Yeah, sure." Dudley mumbled, actually feeling a little sick at his father's giddy delight of having Harry gone and not even caring if he was okay, "I'll just go out a little and see if some of my pals are around to, you know, talk to."
"Sure thing, my little dudders," His mother cooed and once again pinched his cheek. And for a split second Dudley had a horrible vision of himself with his nearly grown child next to him and himself still being pinched and called his mother's little dudders right in front of him and worse, his wife. He HAD to find a way to stop his mother. But for now he had to find Harry and see if he's alright and then he can think of throwing the biggest tantrum of his live for treating him like a child. If they want a child, they will have it! "But don't be too late. I'm going to make all of your favorites."
'And so much for helping me with my diet.' he thought and wondered if he should try and get a therapist for his parents, "Sure Mom. I'll just be going for a walk and see who might be around and keep the visits for another day."
And with that he grabbed his coat and left the building to walk around. He ended up at the playground. Harry had sat right there on that swing when he had started to pick on him last year. He had made fun of his dreams, never knowing what they might be about. The way Harry had fought, it sure as hell hadn't been his first time fighting for his life. Is that were his nightmares came from? Was this Cedric hurt at some point? Has Harry watched? Was his life in that school as bad or worse than his life here? He wished he knew.
Dudley sat on the swing Harry had been on and felt wretched. He had actually made fun of Harry for not having a mother anymore. He had picked on him with his dead mother just to be saved by him less than an hour later. It wasn't even 15 minutes later. Had Harry even been allowed to go back to his school? He had used magic that night, but only to protect him but that wasn't allowed was it?
Dudley sat there for a while. He had no idea how to ever find Harry and his parents would never help him with that. He only had one more chance to get help. He got out his mobile phone and called his schools counselor, happy that he had gotten her number. She picked up soon after he called, "Dudley?" She asked having his number as well, "Is everything alright? Are they hurting your cousin?"
"No, they don't." Dudley said miserably. "I have no idea if he's fine though. I'm really worried about him."
"Why don't you just tell me what's going on from the start, okay?" She said calmly, knowing that if she didn't at least appear calm or in this case sound calm, it would only make it harder to get any information out of a child or in this case teen. "I'm sure we'll find a solution if you do."
"I hadn't seen him and Mom wasn't talking about him and didn't go to pick him up at the usual time. After about an hour after he used to always be back I asked her about him and she was giddy that he wasn't coming back. Dad is happy about it too but I found out that they must have gotten a huge amount of money for taking care of him, since apparently most of my stuff was bought from that. Anyway, she said that his godfather got guardianship of him but I'm really worried about that. I know that he used to be in jail for something really bad. She said he convinced everyone that he was innocent but she isn't convinced and still doesn't care. What if Harry's in even worse trouble? I just want to see that he's okay but I have no idea how. My parents don't even know where he lives now."
"Don't worry, Dudley. I have a few connections that might help me find out for you." She tried to calm him. "How about you just tell me his name again and I'll get back to you latest by next week."
"His name is Harry James Potter." Dudley said, "And you're really a lifesaver, Miss McNicholas. I don't know how to thank you."
"You just did." She said, sounding really happy. "This is the first time I actually heard you say thanks without being prompted to do so. I'm getting very proud of you. You've grown so much during that last year. Whatever it is that boy did for you that you never wanted to tell me, you really should thank him for it."
"I know." Dudley said, "I can't talk details, but he saved my life in more ways than one."
"It seems that way." She replied, "And now try to enjoy your summer. From what you've told me, that cousin of yours is a fighter and I'm sure that he'll be just fine for at least that amount of time and if you hear from him that he does need help, you'll just call me again."
"Thanks so much." Dudley said again. "But I've got to go or Mom will be worried why I'm late for dinner."
"Of course, enjoy your free time but don't forget about your diet." She reminded him, having found out that part of the reason he had picked on his cousin had been because he had been upset with his own body weight. He had wished to be at least nearly as skinny as that boy but never understood that it was because his cousin was starved.
"I'll do my best." Dudley replied and added, sounding proud, "I even refused the chocolate cake today."
She laughed a little, "That's very good but don't worry about a little piece every now and then. Just not every day and not too much at a time."
Dudley tried not to worry about Harry too much but it was hard. Every time he walked past Harry's room or that cupboard under the stairs he had to wonder how Harry had felt when he had been in there. In particular when he had been refused any food. Sometimes he had been locked up and starved for a whole week. Dudley wondered if he might have grown taller already if he hadn't been starved. He had learned from miss McNicholas that his growth as well as his eyesight might have been effected negatively. Would Harry have needed glasses if he hadn't lived with them?
Sometimes Dudley even wondered how aunt Lily and uncle James might have treated him if he'd been dropped on their door step? He had no idea since he didn't know them but somehow, he was sure that Harry wouldn't have invented a game called Dudley hunting.
It felt like time was hardly moving all week. He had tried to spent some time with his old gang but it had annoyed him when they wanted to bully some kid and he had annoyed them in his attempt to stop them. Especially when he had told some cop what they had done, when said cop had seen the kid being pushed around. They had tried to talk their way out of it but Dudley had told the truth, including that he had told them to stop. They tried to put the blame on him but the kid had confirmed his version and he'd been off the hook, but ever since he stayed out of their way and they stayed out of his, since he was still the strongest of them thanks to his boxing in school.
Dudley was happy when he got a text massage from Miss McNicholas, saying 'I don't know for sure where he is but I've got a post address. She had written the address for a post office box right beneath, stating that he should be able to reach Harry that way.
Dudley had already written a letter. He read over it one more time.
I know you probably hate me and never want to see me again. But I really need to talk to you. I know I don't deserve that you go out of your way to meet me but if you can find it in your heart to hear me out, then just let me know when and were and I'll be there. I would be grateful if it could be close to my home, since I don't have magical transport methods but since I don't know if you can use any at the moment, I would take a train or whatever to get as close to you as I need to.
Just please, give me a chance. And if you don't want to see me, please at least write me and let me know if you're okay. I know it might sound strange coming from me of all people, but I'm really worried if they're treating you all right, wherever you are.
I hope to hear from you,
Dudley put it in an envelope and sent it, hoping it would get to Harry.
It took five more days in which Dudley was getting more and more worried about Harry until he finally saw a white owl in the window of his room. She didn't look too pleased. When he entered the room she flew closer and dropped a letter right in front of him before she flew back towards the windowsill. Dudley picked up the letter and wondered if he had to give that owl something for her to fly away again. He opened the letter, hoping for a hint as well as a positive answer, at least about the way he's being treated and began to read right away.
'Hi big D.
I was really surprised about your letter and I think Siri, my godfather, was a little insulted when I mentioned that you're worried. I tried to explain that if I'd been in your place, I'd have been too, since all you knew about him was really scary. But he's more of a huge puppy dog than anything else. And I mean it. He's an animagus, that means he can turn into an animal. Not any, everyone who learned it can turn into a different one, but just that one and there is always something to recognize them by. Like that teacher I had could turn into a cat that had some strange marks that looked like her glasses around her eyes. Anyway, Siri is actually a huge black dog. Looks rather shaggy but he's so immature at times that a puppy is more fitting. He's nothing like your aunt Marge's dogs though.
Anyway, you really don't need to worry. I've never been better in my life. It turned out that I have more family than I thought. And by the way, we're not really related, so you don't need to worry about me anyway. I thought we were, most people did and I don't know if your parents even knew the truth. The 'real Harry', your aunt Lily's son, died when he was 10 months. There had been a war in our world and they had found some kids around his age on their opposite side and were worried they would be treated badly. Long story short, I'm actually the son of the dark Lord that used to want to kill me, not knowing that I'm actually his son.
Most of the war was one huge misunderstanding though and I could help mediate after he did find out. He didn't want to fight me and I didn't want to fight him but I also didn't want to fight all my friends on the side I grew up on, so they had to make up.
It's still strange, since I watched my father order someone to kill Cedric, a boy from my school, and seen him die right after. At the time my father hadn't even cared. He claimed it was because he was halve crazy in his despair. He'd been told I was killed. I'm still kind of freaking out when I think about it but try to just get over it. I do have an older half- brother though. He's as old as your aunt Lily would be now and a teacher at my school. I also have a twin sister who is really smart and was taken with me and a friend of us that we're not related to. But he's related to my boyfriend. And yes, I do have a boyfriend but it's not Cedric. His name is Draco and I better not introduce him to you, since he's a pure blood. He's usually towards muggle (which is what we call normal not magical people like you), like your parents are to my lot. He'd probably try to be good if I'd force him to but he'd be pretty cold to you, so why bother?
Anyway. I just wanted to see if you still want to talk to me or not. I already talked Sev (my much older half- brother) to use magical transportation as you called it and accompany me to see you. But don't wonder if I make him keep his distance. He's rather cranky most of the time. I'll tell you more if we still meet.
Just write me a note if you can see me tomorrow around two in the afternoon. If the time doesn't suit you, just name another and I see if I can come. Give the note to Hedwig, she'll get it to me much faster than muggle post. I told her to wait for a note. If you don't want to even bother to write, just tell her to go back to me and she'll be gone as fast as she can. I had a feeling she didn't like going back. Guess she's still sort of mad about being locked up.
Thanks for the letter,
Harry (And yes it's still my name, my father won't let me change it back to what it used to be until the end of summer which kind of pisses me off. But I'll tell you why, if you want to meet. Just in case you're not even reading all the way to the end after knowing that I'm not your cousin and gay on top of that.)'
Dudley quickly grabbed some paper and mumbled towards the owl, "I get that you don't want to be here but please just give me a second to write him back. I'll hurry I promise, just don't leave."
Thank you so very much for the letter and I'm so sorry. I guess that with Cedric had been before the last summer you were here and I was such a jerk to you about those nightmares, I have no idea how you can still agree to see me. I don't even get why you bothered to save me but I'm really happy that you did both.
I can't wait to see you as soon as possible and will be waiting for you. You didn't write where and my parents are still jerks about everything. I'm so mad at them but don't really know what to do about any of this shit. Anyway, your owl is screeching so I better finish, I'll be at the playground in the park. I'm sure you know which one, at the time you wrote.
I can't wait to see you and your brother too and I'd deserve him being more than cranky, so don't worry. I'd love to meet the rest of your family too and hear all about your new or rather old name. And by the way, next time warn me that the bite of an impatient owl hurts.
There was a little bit of blood at the bottom of the note but he still folded it and didn't bother to write a name on it and just held it out to Hedwig saying, "Here, I'm done already. Just take that to Harry but please don't bite me again." He held out the note towards her carefully and was glad that she grabbed the letter and missed his fingers. He had no idea if she meant to miss or really did miss them and had intended to give him another scratch. Either way, he was happy about it.
The next day Dudley was waiting at the park and was glad when he heard a loud noise and then saw Harry walking out of the bushes, followed by an imposing and sort of scary looking man around his parents' age.
"Harry, before you say anything, I just want to say how sorry I am. I did a lot of thinking last year and I know I've been a jerk and don't deserve any forgiveness and all but I'm so sorry." Dudley started to say.
"Dudley, don't." Harry tried to stop him from apologizing.
"No Harry, please hear me out. I'm so sorry for everything, for the Harry hunting and the bullying in school." And Dudley started to apologize for everything he remembered doing individually, occasionally interrupted from Harry but never giving the smaller boy a chance to get more than a word. He also noticed the also dark haired man that had brought Harry look more murderously by the second and just hoped that he wouldn't be killed by him but assuming that Harry would stop him if the guy tried so he kept going. A little later, while still apologizing, he guessed that Harry really was stopping him from doing something, since he grabbed the man's right wrist rather tightly when said man had looked murderously towards Dudley's home, as he apologized for not sneaking him food when he'd been locked up without any in his cupboard for a week. Harry had given up to say anything and just waited it out. Once Dudley was done he finished with a, "Please say something?"
"I already would have." Harry grinned, "If you'd have given me a chance. But really, big D, it's fine. Just give me a sec and we'll talk about nicer things because I've forgiven you before you even wrote me, so don't fret but like I said, just a sec." Harry turned towards his older half- brother and said, "Sev, I know you're worried about me after everything and that you don't trust Dudley, but I have my wand, I have no one out for my blood. No Death Eater trying to kill me, no member of the fried chicken to worry about nothing. I'm absolutely safe apart from his muggle parents who aren't here, never come here, and who won't be able to do a thing against my magic which I promise to use if they threaten me but I really need you to quickly run back home and get me a calming drought. Pretty please?"
"You really think I left for this meeting'." The dark man drawled in a manacling way, "Without bringing one?"
Dudley watched the man take out a little glass pile from his strange coat which might be typical for a wizard. "Oh goody." Harry cheers and didn't really sound like he needed to be calmed in Dudley's opinion but still the man held what must be that calming drought out towards the smaller boy. "Now take it." Harry ordered, looking towards his brother who simply raised an eyebrow. "Sev, we both know that you're about to run down his parents and I will not have you harm my aunt Petunia and uncle Vernon. They're still family to me, so please, take that drought and go sit there on that bench and calm down, while I'll sit here on those swings with Dudley and talk with him in private, okay? And maybe put a "notice me not" on you, since you refused to wear muggle clothes." Dudley watched the older man glare at his younger brother and Dudley did wonder if Harry had been really honest about being safe around that man. "Sev, please. You're scaring Dudley, just take it and calm down. I'm sure you have a potions book somewhere in that coat, so how about you read a little, you really don't want to listen to that dunderhead of a brother you have and his adoptive cousin, so be good and go over there and calm down!"
The older man finally took that drought and really did wander over to that bench, getting a book out on the way and saying, "We will talk later about what he meant about that cupboard and that week being locked up without food."
"Sure, sure." Harry grinned, "Don't forget that spell."
A little later Harry and Dudley were sitting on the swings and Dudley was asking all kinds of questions, still worried about the smaller boy but by the end of Harry's long story about his latest year at school. starting from when he had last left the Dursleys until now, including quite a lot about his new boyfriend and that he wanted to change his name and looks to avoid his boy who lived image (something that Dudley didn't get yet but hoped to someday understand). Dudley was finally convinced that Harry was fine where he lived now and amazed by everything he himself had learned about the wizarding world from that story.
After that he even managed to talk Harry into starting to tell him about previous years. Harry had started with his first year and gotten right to the point where he had smuggled a Dragon out of his school, granted it was a baby dragon but still clearly dangerous, and Dudley really wished he could fly a magical broom when Harry had talked about a game that is played on a broom. But he was mostly happy that Harry's school wasn't quite as scary as he had temporarily feared. It was bad enough that there the occasional accidental troubles, that happen in every school, seemed to be a lot worse. Like a troll breaking into that school. That one had definitely made Dudley happy that he didn't have any magic, even if that meant he couldn't fly around on a magical broom. At least he also had a quiet, relaxed and normal school life. Not that he would ever insist that things had to be normal like his parents did, but he did enjoy the safety that lay in his regular normal life. The bludgers alone sounded bad enough but Harry didn't seem to care about that too much and at least they could be healed there really fast.
Harry would have talked longer but his brother stated that Siri and Harry's real father would get worried if he didn't return soon. Harry did promise however to write Dudley again about current things and to visit him again as soon as he could, to continue his story about past years and that he would bring his twin sister later in the summer. She might still be a little pissed if Sev told her everything he had heard today but Harry also told Dudley that he himself really wasn't angry and that he understood that it was mostly his parents fault they had taught Dudley to act that way and shown him to do nothing else than that towards Harry. Harry even said that he wasn't mad at Petunia and Vernon. They were scared of magic and Petunia was probably traumatized by not being able to do magic, like her sister could.
Before Harry could take his brother and disappear, Dudley called his name one more time and threw a little wrapped package at him. "I don't know if you like it, but I had no idea what to get you to say sorry that you might be able to use and like. And I just wanted you to know that I'm really happy that I've still got a chance to be friends with you." Dudley just hopped that when Harry would open it, the two Medallions would be appreciated. Both were engraved with two intertwined Letter. H and D and Dudley just hopped that even if Harry changed his name to whatever, that he would still like it or be able to use his magic to change it. At least Dudley knew that Harry would understand that he didn't care that he had a boyfriend and not a girlfriend, no matter what he had said last summer about Cedric being his boyfriend because of his dreams.
After the two wizards had left, Dudley went home happy and wrote his school counselor a short massage to let her know that Harry was alright, he was sure she'd worry about him just as much as Dudley had. He wrote, 'Thanks for getting me his address, I might have found the best friend in the world. By the way I've seen him smile more today in a few hours than I have seen in all the years before combined, and I'm really glad that he's finally found a real home and a family that loves him.'
Authors Note: I hope you liked it at least a little. Originally I wanted this story to be a one shot but before I ever put it up it got way longer and I actually tried to keep this one short, so if you liked the general idea of Harry being related to both Voldy and Snape I will write a different story that I actually plan to turn out much longer and with a bit more fight in it. It might be some time before I start updating it though but once I do, I will update as regularly and quick as this one.