Court Ordered Diet
by Surplus Imagination
Disclaimer: Harry Potter, Dudley Dursley and the other characters of the Harry Potter Universe belong to J.K. Rowlings. This writing is for pleasure only, no profit is intended.
A/N This is based on a Reuters news story from Rome on 5/31/05. An Italian judge ordered an overweight teenage 'bully' to slim down as a part of punishment for vandalism, slander and disturbing the peace. The judge decided that the extra weight made the teen 'naughty'. Let's see how this situation can affect Harry Potter and Dudley Dursley.
Summer Following Harry's Fifth Year
Little Whinging, Surrey was experiencing another hot holiday season. Rather than a drought, copious rains drenched the inhabitants each afternoon, providing excellent moisture for all green growing things. The extra rain also cooled the temperatures in the evenings, making it pleasant to stroll during the starlit hours. The residents of Little Whinging proclaimed this the best summer ever, even as they stepped up efforts to tidy burgeoning gardens and trim flourishing lawns.
Everyone was happy with their holiday in Little Whinging except one person at Number Four, Privet Drive. This single unhappy person spent most of each day doing what any normal teenage wizard would do living in a muggle household. He pulled weeds, trimmed hedges and mowed the lawn, all without magic. To say he didn't enjoy such endeavors would be putting things mildly. He hated it.
It didn't help that this unhappy, teenage wizard was also grieving from loss and self-imposed guilt. His last month at school had been most particularly terrible, resulting in the injury of his closest friends, the death of his beloved godfather and the devastation of his confidence and self-esteem. This teenage wizard, Harry Potter, was not coping well.
Each day of the two weeks since Harry left King's Cross Station was exactly the same. He would rise from a shabby bed still tired from a restless night. He would start cooking the Dursley's breakfast; eggs, sausage, bacon and tomatoes, all fried. About half way through, his Aunt Petunia was take over declaring that he always fried the eggs too hard. Harry would then retrieve the morning muggle newspaper for his Uncle Vernon, which he would exchange for a daily chore list. Harry would then sit at the table and push food around on his plate, while his cousin Dudley devoured anything not nailed down. Then, he was spend most of the day working in the yard.
Like the ebb and flow of the tides, Dudley Dursley's weight seemed to rise and fall in cyclical cycles. Two years ago he was the size and weight of a baby killer whale. Last year, as the Junior Heavyweight Inter-School Boxing Champion of the Southeast, Dudley's weight went down as his muscle content went up. This year his flab was at an all time high. Dudley had been thrown off the boxing team shortly before midterm exams. He had been caught beating up a smaller classmate for refusing to cheat for Dudley's exams.
Regardless of how Uncle Vernon railed at the professors, appealed to the Headmaster or donated large sums of cash to Smelting's boxing program, Dudley was suspended from the team for the remainder of that year. Subsequently, Little Diddydums rapidly became Big Diddylargebum as food replaced exercise. Dudley was now wider than he was tall.
And twice as mean.
Harry had always given Dudley a wide berth. One of the major terrors of his childhood, Harry learned extensive evasion tactics from an early age to keep away from his heavy handed cousin. He learned to run faster, leap higher (amazingly up to the school rooftops), dodge meaty fists and generally outsmart his own personal bully. Now, Harry wasn't the least afraid of Dudley, but still avoided him on general principle. Being around Dudley usually meant trouble and Harry was the only one in the Dursley household allowed to take the blame for anything.
This summer was different for the youngest Dursley. Instead of concentrating haphazard energy on smacking around younger kids and breaking playground equipment, Dudley would roam the neighborhood with his two cronies, Piers and Gordon, reeking serious damage. Harry had heard from Mrs. Figg, that Big D had perpetrated everything from graffiti on the local high school to smashing car windows. It was only a matter of time until he would be caught, she claimed.
Honestly, Harry didn't care. He spent his days completing a steady stream of chores oblivious of Dudley's neighborhood traumas. Most of these chores were yard work. Aunt Petunia wanted to win 'Best Garden' of Little Whinging for the third year running. Harry was put in charge of making that happen. The work was back breaking, but it kept his mind off the distressing memories of fifth year. The hated repetition of weeding, trimming and mowing blurred the edges of his grief and guilt. At odd moments, Harry would realize with stunning clarity, the beauty he was creating and would even feel a moment of satisfied peace. The yard of Number Four, Privet Drive became Harry's sole summer focus, even if it was a hated one. Under Harry's continual labor, it became the gorgeous centerpiece of the neighborhood.
It was one normal morning after the breakfast dishes were cleared, that Harry was mowing the front lawn for the tenth time in nearly as many days. Uncle Vernon demanded that each blade of grass be perfectly even. He would even check in the evenings using a hand ruler and plum line. Harry was always torn between collapsing in laughter watching his rotund uncle crawl about the lawn inspecting it's uniform height and restraining himself from administering a longed after sharp kick to Vernon's wide rear end. So far, Harry had controlled himself and had done neither. Yet.
As Harry was mowing on that normal morning, a black and white police vehicle pulled smartly into the manicured drive of Number Four. A pot-bellied police officer exited the sedan, mounted the front steps purposely and rang the bell. Harry stopped and gawked, idling the mower engine. He could see Dudley firmly incarcerated in the locked back seat of the police cruiser.
Aunt Petunia came to the front door, eyes wide. She spoke briefly with the police officer. Harry could see her try to muster a smile or two while looking frantically around to see if the neighbor's were watching. The officer continued gesturing several times at Dudley in the car. Harry turned off the mower to better hear the exchange. Aunt Petunia shook her head repeatedly and was finally heard to shriek "Dudley's a good boy! He wouldn't hurt a fly! You are plainly wrong, Officer Dunkirk! My solicitor will contact your superior!"
At that, the now identified Officer Dunkirk turned on his heels and marched back to the car. Harry watched as the officer got into the cruiser, threw it into reverse and then pealed, squealing from the drive. Things didn't look good for either Dudley or Aunt Petunia. Thus, did Harry's routine of the first two weeks suddenly come to an end.
The Next Day
The snapdragons and pansies needed more water Harry thought. It was really too hot for these particular flowers to do well. He considered replacing them with more heat hardy zinnias and petunias, but he had already used those varieties on the other side of the yard. Harry liked to use as many varieties of blooms as possible for visual effect. He had written Neville extensively for advice on plant care and landscaping strategies. The young wizard had responded enthusiastically and had even dropped by one afternoon to lend a hand. Luckily, the Dursleys had been out that day, sparing Harry the embarrassment of explaining their rude behavior to his Hogwart's friend.
Neville had brought several rootings of plants from his own private garden. Together, the teens planted the magical plants scattered amongst ordinary ones. Neville assured him that the muggles would overlook the magical additions. Harry was looking forward to seeing if the Fairy Lure would live up to its name. He even hoped to attract a few garden gnomes. He was rather fond of the dumpy little pests.
As Harry was carefully watering the beds, his relatives pulled up in the family car. Each member was dressed in their Sunday finest on this ordinary weekday afternoon. Harry wondered fleetingly where they had been. Then his attention was diverted by a flash of movement at the edge of the hydrangeas. Was that a pixie? A slow grin spread across Harry's face. A pixie here on Privet Drive, the idea was priceless.
A bark of anger followed by a yowl of protest broke through his ruminations. Eyes drawn to the drive, Harry watched dumbfounded, while Uncle Vernon hauled a protesting Dudley into the house by one ear. Aunt Petunia followed wearing that tight-lipped expression that Harry knew all too well. Could it be that Dudley was in trouble? Harry didn't want to miss a moment of the spectacle, so he quickly tidied up his garden implements and hurried in through the kitchen door. He removed his shoes at the last minute to avoid dirt in the kitchen and provide for a silent approach. His stealth was rewarded almost immediately.
"I can't believe your stupid antics!" Uncle Vernon roared at Dudley, who sat stoned faced at the kitchen table.
"Calm yourself, Vernon. Dudley is the victim is this...misunderstanding. Isn't that right, dear? Popkin? Tell Daddy who really did this. I know you are protecting them, my unselfish little man." Aunt Petunia appealed to her husband first and then her son. She was shifting from foot to foot while, wringing her hands. Harry had never seen her so nervous before.
Uncle Vernon snorted his disbelief. "You heard the magistrate, they have witnesses for not just one but seven, count them, SEVEN, criminal acts. He'll never get back on the boxing team now."
Harry kept very still and silent in the kitchen doorway. Seven criminal acts was a very small number compared to what Dudley and his gang had probably done. He continued to watch in interest. This was really getting good.
"Vernon, dear, now you don't believe all those accusations, do you? Our Dudley is such a fine, upstanding-"
Vernon interrupted, "He painted obscene words on the police station door, Petunia! On the Bobbie's own door! Have you lost your mind son?"
Dudley just sat there, unmoving. Harry wondered if he was even awake.
"Did you know that the car you broke into BELONGED TO MY BOSS?"
Harry flinched as Uncle Vernon screamed right into Dudley's ear. That had to hurt. After all, he knew from experience.
"That boy, what's his name...Evans. You broke his arm and punched out three of his teeth! The boy is only 10 years old and barely weighs seven stone, soaking wet. What were you thinking? Who taught you to act like that? You have to uphold the Dursley honor, not spit on it." Uncle Vernon started pacing around the room viciously waving his arms around. Harry wondered mildly if he would have a heart attack soon. Maybe they would put him in a hospital room next to the Evans boy.
Dudley continued to stare off into space while Petunia threw worried glances at her husband.
"I'm ashamed of you."
Dudley actually looked up at that, his face stricken.
Harry felt his world rock. Did he hear that right? Uncle Vernon ashamed of Dudley? A small part of him cheered for witnessing Dudley's just rewards. Another, larger part of him clenched in sympathy. No one, not even Dudley, should hear their father say they were ashamed of them.
Dudley shook his head and turned to his mother, "I'm hungry."
Hungry, thought Harry, how can he be hungry now? Didn't he hear all that was said? Didn't it affect him at all?
Aunt Petunia launched into action, obviously grateful to have something to do. She quickly cut a large piece of chocolate cake from a nearby plate and deftly served Dudley the slice. Harry watched, as his overlarge cousin take a huge bite. Harry also noticed that Dudley's hands were shaking.
Uncle Vernon snatched the empty fork from Dudley's hand and whisked the cake plate off the table. He looked about the room wildly and then focused his eyes on Harry. "You, boy, sit down and eat this cake!" He slammed the cake down before an empty seat.
"Me?" Harry was flabbergasted. Uncle Vernon wanted him to eat Dudley's cake? There had to be a catch. This was just too strange.
"Sit. And. Eat. This. CAKE!" he roared.
Harry looked questioningly at Aunt Petunia. She was nodding her head frantically in tiny movements. She handed him a clean fork. Harry sat down and confronted the cake. His stomach gave a little lurch. He hadn't eaten much since returning to Little Whinging . Harry glanced back up. Dudley's face had lost that emotionless expression and was now sitting shocked, mouth hanging open. It might make him sick, but Harry would gladly eat a plate of dragon's dung if it would spite his porky cousin. Well, maybe not dung. It was good that this was Dudley's coveted cake.
Flinching, Harry dug into a small piece of cake. It was really good, sweet and darkly rich. Aunt Petunia always was a good cook. Instead of rebelling, his stomach seemed to settle a tad. Harry realized that he had been starving. He crammed more cake into his mouth.
"Vernon! You are being cruel. Here Dudley, I'll get you another piece of cake all your own," Aunt Petunia spoke in a singsong voice, while petting Dudley's head.
"Do you want him to go to jail, Petunia? Do you want a convict for a son? You heard the magistrate, he has to lose two stone by the end of August," Vernon frothed.
"That was just a suggestion, dear. You know, along with those other little things. Merely a suggestion." Aunt Petunia sounded hopeful, as if she didn't really believe her own words. Harry finished his slice of cake and now wished intently for a cold glass of milk to wash it down. Chocolate cake and milk went together so well, just like treacle tarts and pumpkin juice.
"That was no bloody suggestion! Dudley has to volunteer 15 hours at the Royal Humane Society, attend summer classes to improve his failing scores and lose TWO stones of weight all before the end of August! DO YOU UNDERSTAND PETUNIA?"
Uncle Vernon's face turned an interesting shade of purple, just like violets. Maybe Harry should plant violets under the shade tree in the back. The pixies might like that.
"Just because he shaved the hair off those dreadful cats..." Aunt Petunia trailed off leaving the thought unfinished. Harry hoped she wasn't referring to Mrs. Fig's cats. It wouldn't be fair to the old lady, or to her cats. Harry tried to imagine Mr. Tibbles without any hair.
Uncle Vernon didn't reply. He turned to his son, who was now paying close attention to the conversation. Harry watched Dudley swallow convulsively in fear. Uncle Vernon could get scary when he was mad. Dudley had never been the object of his scorn before.
"You are on a diet as of this moment. No more sweets. No more snacks. No more fatty foods. You will go tomorrow to that animal shelter and volunteer your services. You will do what ever they say without complain. You will then come home, exercise appropriately and spend the rest of the evening studying for those make up exams. Do you understand young man?" Overlarge hands beat the table, the clap staccato to each punishment item.
"But Dad, Pier and I were going to London tomorrow!" Dudley whined.
"I won't do it. You can't make me," Dudley barked, finally recovering his voice. He sounded more confident that he looked. "You can't watch me all day. I'll run away!"
Harry snorted. He could just imagine Dudley out on the streets all alone. He wouldn't last an hour before needing someone to wipe his nose for him.
"You're right Dudley. I can't watch you all day. But he can!" Uncle Vernon thrust his thumb in Harry's direction.
"Me! I can't Uncle Vernon. I have the yard to take care of - Best Garden and all that," Harry cried out in panic. He appealed to his aunt, "Don't you want to win the contest?" Aunt Petunia was strangely silent.
"You can do both," Vernon declared looking satisfied. "You will make sure that Dudley meets the terms of his probation and win that contest. You will do both or you don't get your books to do your summer homework"
"You can't do that! I have to complete my assignments. Especially potions, I can't get into potions without my essays done!" Harry cried out. He was immediately sorry. He shouldn't have mentioned potions. Uncle Vernon couldn't tolerate the mention of anything magic.
For once his uncle let the forbidden mention pass. "Its decided. You will get one book back for every five pounds that Dudley loses. And I get to decide which book!" Uncle Vernon smirked, puffing up his chest.
"Five pounds? That will take too long. How about every two pounds?" Harry couldn't believe he was bargaining to do homework.
"Four pounds and you have to tutor him for those exams."
"I'll need money for expenses. Make it three pounds and we have a deal."
Harry slumped into his chair. What did he just get himself into?
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