written for the tgs '12 days of christmas' and ilvermorny 'beaded bag: alphabet soup'

tgs:

prompt:

12. twelve drummers drumming: write about Dudley Dursley celebrating Christmas

school, house: hogwarts, slytherin

points: 5

word count: 694

ilvermorny:

prompts:

W:

(scenario) Weasley celebrations

X:

(phrase) 'xo - love you'

Y:

(emotion) yearning

Z:

(word) zephyr

a/n: none of the things mr. dursley says about Jesus are reflected in my beliefs; it's just something i thought he'd say, so i don't mean to offend Christians out there

. . .

For Dudley, Christmas has always been a matter of gifts. The Dursleys had never celebrated Christmas truly; the only thing they'd done was get Dudley whatever he wanted and a nice meal from a fast-food restaurant and called it a day.

"Jesus Christ?" his father would mutter. "Sounds to me like he doesn't have a real job."

"Too right," his mother would tut back. "Someone to blame bad days on."

But he always got the gifts. Every year, they'd say, "Everyone else is doing it," and that would be that.

But now they're gone.

Dudley has no one left to celebrate with — he does have Harry, but that's out of the question since Dudley had treated him so badly — which is why it's a surprise when he gets the owl, swooping in and bringing a zephyr of wind in with it.

Christmas Day. 8 P.M. I'll be here to get you.

You need someone to celebrate with. I'm not taking no for an answer.

Harry

"Well, I'll be damned," Dudley murmurs to himself.

. . .

Dudley is unaware the small London apartment he's now living in actually has a fireplace.

He becomes hyper-aware when green flames suddenly burst out of it and into the shape of a man.

"What the —"

"Hello, Dudley," Harry says, entering the room. Then he grimaces. "You have a really old fireplace, by the way. It's kind of annoying when there's rust in the place you materialize in —"

"— I don't even know what you're talking about," deadpans Dudley, "but — hey, Harry. You're looking well." And he does — his hair is as messy as ever, but he looks more cheerful, more light, now. "Let me guess, you've fallen in love?"

"Look at you, Dudley, making inferences!" Harry laughs. "I'm married."

"Ahh," says Dudley, a little sad. He doesn't need anyone — does he?

"So, we should probably leave." Harry changes the subject deftly, probably sensing his sorrow. "Just take a pinch of this" — he holds out a box of green powder — "and say, 'The Burrow!' Loud and clear, or you might end up somewhere else instead..." he trails off, perhaps remembering one of his own instances with the powder.

"Okay…" Dudley mutters, and moves over to the fireplace. Standing in it, he calls, "The Burrow!"

The flames engulf him. For a moment, he thinks he's going to die, burned alive: CORPSE OF MAN BURNED ALIVE FOUND IN HIS FIREPLACE would be the next new heading for his story in the papers —

Until he finds himself in a house full of redheads.

. . .

There's a note on the refrigerator. Don't wizards not use normal appliances?

It says:

Harry,

Had to go out for a Prophet editorial — too overworked.

Will be back for Christmas, hopefully.

XO — love you.

Ginny

Ginny is presumably his wife. The other redheads milling about are staring at him, looking at Dudley as if he is foreign, which he probably is.

"Um." Dudley's first words to them are very intelligent. "Hello."

The fireplace roars suddenly and Harry pops out of it; he looks at the congregation and glances at the fridge, then declares, "This is Dudley, my cousin."

"Muggle?" asks a redhead man.

"Muggle," Harry confirms.

"Um," Dudley says again.

"Hello, mate!" exclaims the redhead. "I'm Ron, and you're that Muggle Harry used to talk about; you'd better not be a dreadful person still, or you're going to get it from the entire Weasley family — and it's a lot. So — welcome!" he greets.

Dudley is simultaneously confused, terrified, and relieved.

. . .

The Weasley clan is surprisingly not chill about the holidays. They go all out. They decorate the house. Random wizard artists' music plays. The tree is all decked out for the holidays.

They drink merrily with their wine and say, "Merry Christmas!" and they hand each other gifts and they hug and smile and laugh.

Most of all, they're a family — and Dudley feels a kind of acute yearning for that. He hasn't had that — truly — ever before.

Dudley wishes he could have this every day, and unfortunately, it's not that simple.