Nine Months Without My Cousin

By Lochar

Disclaimer: I own everything! Everything I tell you! Lawyers walk on stage. OK, ok, I take it back. I don't own anything of any particular importance. Including HP and all his friends.

A/N: This is what happens with Dudley while Harry's away at Hogwarts, a side story to Clay Pinions.


September 1st

Vernon came home that day, happy to have finally gotten rid of Harry, if only temporarily.

Dudley however, was already keenly missing Harry, as he no longer had a sparring partner outside of Sensei Uzuki's classes. That evening after school, Dudley could be found outside, practicing his forms. He went through them, seemingly on autopilot, not bothering to work through the forms with any real effort, as he was busy thinking.

This is going to be a long time to go without having Harry around to spar with or anything. He briefly considered trying to talk to the only other kid that lived close by in their neighborhood. 'Piers' I think his name was. But he was part of that gang in school.

Dudley concentrated, and broke the seal on his Chi. Starting to channel his energy into his moves, he continued through his forms. Maybe I can get someone from Sensei's class to spar with me; Dad would probably take me to their house, or they could come over here.

He went through the forms for a few more minutes before stopping, frustrated. "Bah! It's just no fun doing forms if I can't get someone to watch or spar with." Dudley said to himself. He walked inside, hitting his punching bag on the way in. He went upstairs and started looking through his books. Read it, read it, read it. I've read all my fighting books, and there aren't any new ones at the library! Throwing himself on his bed, Dudley sighed. "And I don't even have any homework to bore myself with."

There was knock on his bedroom door, and his dad walked in. "What's wrong Dudders? You look down."

Dudley sighed again. "I'm bored Dad. It's not fun to just do forms without anyone there to make sure I'm doing them right, and I don't have a sparring partner to fight with. I don't even have any homework to do. And I've watched every movie we've got dozens of times to the point where me and Harry both know everything about them."

Vernon seemed to be on shaky ground. "Well, um… why don't you get a different hobby as well?"

Dudley just shook his head. "What, like Harry and what his school teaches?"

"Don't even mention that stuff Dudders! I only put up with that boy because you want to keep a good sparring partner. Otherwise, he'd have never been treated like he has been." Vernon scowled at the thought of Harry.

"Anyways, don't they have a club or something at Smeltings for something like what you've been learning at The Dojo?" Vernon asked.

Dudley sat up. "I don't know Dad. They might." He thought a moment. "Are you still going to talk to Sensei Uzuki about getting me another teacher like Harry will have at his school?"

Vernon nodded. "Of course I will Dudders! No way am I going to let the boy have something you don't. You're class is tomorrow evening, right?"

Dudley nodded.

"I think I'll talk to him then." Vernon nodded to himself and left the room.

Dudley pulled out the hilt that Harry had given him from between his bed and bedsprings. Looking at it, he turned it in his hands. "What do you do, you silly thing?"

0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0

September 2nd, at Smeltings

It was the end of the school day, and Dudley had asked around and found out about a Karate club that met every afternoon in the gym. Getting permission from his Dad to try for it was easy; being able to join was turning out to be the hard part.

After looking at Dudley, one of the teacher aid students laughed. "We don't allow Year Seven students to join."

"Why not?" Dudley asked.

"Rules. Year Seven students don't know enough of the martial arts and we don't teach the basics here. Go to a class and learn some basics, and come back in your Ninth year. That, and we don't want to accidentally hurt you, you're a bit too small to be out on the mats with the older students." The boy told him.

Dudley scowled. "I know plenty of martial arts, and I don't think any of you could hurt me."

The boy shrugged. "What, you watch TV or something? If you've been to a real class, there's probably a few guys here that go to the class as well. Tell you what, if one of them will sponsor you, I'll talk to the teacher and get him to let you in."

Dudley frowned, but nodded. "Alright, who's all in the club?"

"Everyone here. See if you know anyone." He laughed. "Doubt you will though."

"Who are you, anyways?" Dudley asked.

"I'm Billy. Now you'd better go find a student sponsor out there." Billy said.

Dudley grinned. "Betcha if any of them are here, I can get them to come to me."

Billy looked at him. "Oh, and how do you plan to do that? I seriously doubt it."

Dudley just kept grinning. "Just watch."

Hope anyone in Sensei Uzuki's class already learned to sense Chi. Dudley got into a fighting form, and started working through it. Channeling as much of his Chi as quickly as he could into each punch, he worked through the form.

Billy watched, waiting. Once Dudley had finished the form, he spoke. "Well, you at least know a form. But I don't see how you doing that is going to…" He trailed off, as one of the other students in the class had stopped what she was doing and was walking towards them.

"Hey Valda, what's up?" Billy asked the girl when she reached them.

The girl, Valda, ignored him and looked at Dudley. "Who're you?"

Dudley smiled. "I'm Dudley. You're taught by Sensei Uzuki aren't you?"

Valda frowned. "How'd you know?" She scowled at him.

"So am I. I guess you don't recognize me then?" Dudley asked.

She stared at him for a moment. "You're one of those two kids, aren't you? Where's your cousin?"

"Harry got sent to a special school up north his parents had him signed up for. Anyways, Billy here says I can't join you guys without a sponsor. Would you like to be a sponsor?" Dudley thought for a moment. "What's a sponsor anyways?"

Valda laughed and looked at Billy. "Billy, trust me, the teacher's going to love this kid. He could probably kick the butts of half the people here right now, if he was allowed to." She frowned at a thought and turned to Dudley. "Speaking of which, when I joined, Sensei set down one rule for me, and he'll probably extend it to you too. No Chi."

Dudley's eyes narrowed. "Why?"

"Because of the fact that you could very easily hurt yourself or another person out here quickly." Valda said.

"Oh. Maybe he'll let us use Chi if we fight each other?"

"That'll be up to him tonight. Come on, out on the floor with you Dudley, I'll introduce you to a couple of the Year nine students if you want some practice."

They walked off onto the mats, leaving Billy standing there, shaking his head.

0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0

That evening at TheDojo, both Dudley and Vernon had their talks with Sensei Uzuki.

"Sensei, I got to join a club at school today, it's a Karate club. Valda was in it too, and she said you had told her no using Chi?" Dudley asked.

Uzuki nodded. "Correct. And that most definitely extends to you as well."

"Wait a second. You teach him something, and then forbid him from using it?" Vernon asked with his mustache curling into a frown.

Uzuki looked at Vernon. "Using his Chi," he stressed the word as Vernon flinched, "against people untrained in it is akin to giving a single, loaded gun to children playing cops and robbers with toy guns."

Vernon scoffed. "I don't see how whatever this thing is could be as bad a giving a gun to children."

Uzuki shook his head. "I guess I will have to show you how then." He stood up. "Follow me, please."

Vernon stood up and Dudley bounced out of his chair. Ohh, I get to see Sensei show off!

Uzuki showed them to a corner of the dojo. He motioned to a cement block. "Please test that; make sure it's real and not pre-broken or a prop."

Vernon lifted it, and dropped it back to the mats, then nodded. "Looks like a regular block to me."

Uzuki nodded.

Dudley, who had been looking at the block, whipped around to his Sensei, as he could feel an enormous amount of Chi, all concentrated on his finger. Uzuki tapped the brick, which then shattered into several pieces. "While Dudley can't do that yet, he can do serious harm to himself and others if he improperly used this ability."

Vernon stared at the block, eyes wide, jaw open, face white. He sputtered for a moment, and then got out, "My son will be doing none of that freakish stuff." He turned to Dudley. "Dudders, come on. We're leaving. I'll find you a different instructor, one that doesn't teach freaky things to impressionable young people."

Uzuki sighed. Definitely not open to anything new then, is he? "Mr. Dursley." He was ignored.

"Mr. Dursley." He said a little louder. Vernon just kept walking towards the exit. Dudley's back went up a little when he felt Uzuki channel some of his Chi. "MR. DURSLEY!" His voice did not echo around the room. Instead, it seemed as if it were coming from everywhere at once, being yelled by a hundred people all at the same time.

Vernon spun around, his face as red as a tomato. "You keep your freakish tricks to yourself! I have half a mind to see if there isn't anything you can be brought up for with the police!" He turned back again, only to find the door leading out had been closed, and a closed sign placed in the door's window. Vernon turned slowly to face Uzuki. "Let me out of here."

Shaking his head, Uzuki sighed once more. "Not until I have had my say, Mr. Dursley. As Dudley is in the middle of his training, not allowing him to finish and learn to control his Chi would be disastrous. To use the gun analogy again, take him away now and he's learned to pull the trigger on the gun without learning to aim it. He may have nominal control over it right now, but the first time he gets mad at someone, he's likely to either hurt himself using his Chi incorrectly, or put the other person in the ICU, if not kill them outright."

Both Vernon and Dudley paled at this statement. Vernon sat down on a visitor's bench. "So you're telling me that I have no choice but to let him come to these… classes, or he might hurt himself or someone else?"

Uzuki nodded once. "Unfortunately, yes. I don't know if this helps you or not, but Dudley has an enormous amount of Chi. Under normal circumstances, he could leave if you so desired, as most students don't gain that much Chi until they are able to learn the control that would be required to maintain that amount of energy."

Vernon was glowering, but looked up. "So my boy's some sort of prodigy then?" Uzuki nodded again. "Only good thing to come out of this entire freakish nightmare." He muttered. "Alright then, if he has to learn control, do you know of another teacher I can get him to do one-on-one sessions so he learns control faster?"

Uzuki paused for a moment, looking thoughtful. "I know of one person…" he started saying slowly. Vernon motioned him to go on. "But his method of teaching would more likely be the use of Chi, with control coming as the effect of learning the use. I teach control first, then the building of ability and strength. But both Dudley and Harry had more Chi than most of my students, even when they first joined."

Vernon grinned at that. "My boy's always been a good one. The other one probably managed to pick it up from him."

Neither Dudley nor Uzuki were inclined to tell him Harry was in reality the stronger of the two boys.

"So, what's the name of this teacher Dudley could learn from?"

"I'll call him and talk to him. Maybe I can hammer home a few points to him about control, before sending him to your house." Uzuki replied. "Anyways, the two of you have a good evening. It's well after class, and I'd like to get home sometime." He smiled.

Vernon nodded and stood up. "I still don't like it, but at least I know my boy's good at it." He shook Uzuki's hand and left. Dudley smiled, thanked him and followed his father out.

Before Uzuki could get ready to leave, Dudley poked his head back in the door. "Also, Sensei? I forgot to ask. Is it alright if Valda and I use Chi against each other in school?"

Uzuki shook his head. "No. You still don't have the control to use it outside of supervision against someone not at your level."

Dudley sighed but nodded. "Yes Sensei." He left again, and Uzuki chuckled.

0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0

Nothing happened over the next week, but every time Dudley inquired with his Sensei, he was met with the response, "I'm still working on him. He doesn't mind teaching you, but I haven't gotten him to agree to teaching you control first."

So Dudley was content to be happy with two evening lessons a week with Sensei Uzuki, and the practice sessions in the afternoons at Smeltings. Of course, there were the students at Smeltings who didn't believe Dudley should have joined them.

"So, who decided to let you on the mats, little boy?" One of the other students asked. He looked to be about fifteen or sixteen, probably in his last year at Smeltings. "This club isn't about teaching the basics to anyone, it about high level students getting better. Something you aren't. So get out of here."

Dudley stood his ground. "I'm allowed to be here. I even have a sponsor."

The boy sneered at him. "Oh, and who might it be? Someone who took pity on a poor little boy and said they'd protect you?"

Dudley looked affronted. "Excuse me?" He shook his head. Rule One Dudley, don't start it. "Whatever. Valda said she'd sponsor me, so you can go talk to her." Dudley turned, and continued practicing on the manikin in front of him.

"Valda? Like she'd ever sponsor a little wimp like you. She's one of the best in the class. Did you think just by saying her name I'd leave you alone?" He grabbed Dudley's shoulder and turned him around. "Tell me who really sponsored you, or just leave."

Dudley narrowed his eyes at the boy. "It is Valda. Go ask her."

"I'm not leaving you alone until you tell me, because if I went to her, she'd laugh and you'd probably skulk away before I got back to you. Besides, Valda didn't show up today." The boy paused for a moment, thinking. "Alright, if she's your sponsor, then you should be good enough to at least give me a bit of a work out. Wanna spar then, little boy?" He grinned.

Dudley looked at him. "Alright, but we need someone to referee the match."

The boy smiled. "Don't worry about that. One of my mates can be the ref. Oh, and so you know? The person about to whip you is Roger."

Dudley smiled. "Then would you like to introduce yourself then?" Dudley stepped back as Roger took a step towards him.

"Alright then, come on." Roger got into a fighting stance.

Dudley mimicked him. Rule two. He started it. Now I get to win. One of the other students walked up between them. "Alright, first to five points wins. Normal rules, sound fair?" Dudley and Roger nodded. "Begin!" He waved his hand between the two fighters, and then stepped back.

Roger immediately rushed forward, punching out at Dudley. Quickly sidestepping, Dudley put a perfect punch into Roger's side as he went by, in what was supposed to be a point scored.

"Foul!" The 'ref' called. "Back to your positions. As you have no points, you don't lose any."

Dudley glared at him. Oh, so that's how it is, is it? Dudley got back into his beginning position, as did Roger.

Roger grinned. "Feel like giving up yet? You have to resort to cheating?" He rolled his arm. "And you don't even cheat all that well, I barely felt that."

At the next call to begin, Dudley waited for the first move. Roger didn't rush forward this time, instead deciding to try to circle him. Dudley kept his eyes on him, making sure to present the smallest profile he could, and as often as he could, keep Roger in front of him. Tiring of the waiting game, Roger slowly made his way forward, and jabbed lightly at Dudley. Blocking easily, Dudley returned the gesture. Roger moved back, making Dudley's shorter arms miss completely.

Roger then moved into a spin kick, which Dudley was required to duck below. Before he could react, Roger was back into a ready position, and Dudley knew he wouldn't be able to score points because of Roger's advantage of size. A basic front kick came next at Dudley's face, which he blocked with his forearm right above Roger's ankle. He spun slightly, off balance and Dudley's own foot shot out in a sidekick, hitting him in the stomach. Roger was knocked down.

"Foul!" was called again. Dudley looked to the ref. "Illegal hit to your opponent. As you don't seem to want to try and you don't have any points, I'm awarding one to Roger instead."

Dudley eyes boggled at this. "What? No ref in the world is allowed to award a point to the other side for a foul! And that was in a perfectly good place to be hit."

The ref just grinned. "Sorry, but rules are rules."

"But you said normal rules!"

"Ah, but they are. The normal rules for kicking a little boy off of the mats."

Dudley glared at him. "Fine, you want to play that way?" He looked to Roger. "Rule one. You started it."

Roger grinned at him.

"You ever really fought against Valda?"

Roger shrugged. "Once. I lost, but she's dang good."

"Ah, then you'll understand Rule Two. You started it, but I'm going to win it." Dudley's eyes narrowed. "And I'll even follow Sensei's extra rule for you. No Chi."

Roger lost most of his grin, but still looked confident. "You must have heard the story about that. She told me just about the same thing."

Dudley shook his head. "No. We both have the same teacher." Dudley shut up, and then ran towards him, throwing a punch with his leading hand. Roger quickly blocked it, but missed the trailing fist that landed against his blocking arm's shoulder.

Roger attempted to turn it into an answering hit with his other fist, but Dudley ducked and backed out of the attack.

Dudley looked to their 'ref' who hadn't said a word. "Point to me. I guess I'll keep count." He turned back to Roger, just in time to catch a kick into his side, which knocked him off his feet and onto the mats.

"Point to Roger." The 'ref' said. "Keep going, no need to return to your positions." Roger came at Dudley, intent on 'scoring' again, before Dudley could get up. "Come on little boy!" He kicked at Dudley's side, hard enough to probably have left a bruise. "Point to Roger."

Roger pulled his leg back to kick Dudley again, who put his hands out. Catching the kick hurt, but not as much as another kick in the side would have. Pulling down on his leg, Dudley allowed Roger to ungracefully join him on the floor. Dudley quickly stood up again and backed off, waiting for Roger to get up.

Roger easily stood up. "Aw, poor widdle boy can't stand it against a real opponent?" Roger laughed as Dudley held his aching side.

Dudley grimaced. "And you call me a cheater? Or is it just giving yourself all the advantages?" He bit out.

"Don't you dare say that little boy. I'm winning fair and square here." His eyes narrowed. "And I think it's about time you learned that you're not welcome here." He rushed Dudley again, this time accepting the smaller boy's lighter punch so he could put a heavy haymaker into Dudley's chest, knocking him backwards onto the floor and holding onto his chest, gasping for air.

Standing back and laughing, Roger allowed Dudley to stagger to his feet.

"Alright, I'm going to break Sensei's extra rule. I don't think it covers arseholes anyways." Shakily, Dudley managed to bring the Void around him once more, and opened his seal on his Chi. Because he was already hurting, it was taking longer to channel a decent amount. Sighing, Dudley pushed as much of his pain as he could into the Flame, allowing his Chi to flow a little faster.

-

Unknown to Dudley, his sponsor Valda was still in the building, only working on homework instead of showing up for the club. Frowning as she felt the Chi rising, she gasped as the amount went above hers. Great, Dudley. He's either ignoring Sensei's rules, or forgot them. Someone's going to end up badly hurt. Quickly packing up her books and notes, she raced out of the classroom. Gotta grab the teacher too.

-

Dudley smiled. "Alright, let's play."

A somewhat large crowd had gathered by now.

Roger smiled as well. "OK. You still need to learn I take it." This time, he walked up to Dudley, throwing out a light crescent kick. Dudley blocked, pushing back with his Chi as well. Roger's leg was sent veering off course, and he was barely able to get back into a ready position. "Weird..." the bully muttered. "Well come on if you think you're still able to play." He tried rushing Dudley again, ready to accept a smaller hit to give out a much stronger one.

Dudley wasn't going to just tap him this time though. Grabbing his fist, Dudley pivoted, bringing the side of Roger's body available to be hit. Instead, Dudley just held onto his arm. Wrapping his left hand around Roger's forearm and holding onto his wrist with his right, Dudley attempted to bend the boy's forearm. Unfortunately for Roger, bones don't bend. Instead, a loud crack was heard as both bones in his arm broke. Dudley let go and Roger dropped to the ground, cradling his arm, crying in pain.

"DUDLEY DURSLEY!" a female's voice was heard echoing throughout the gym. Wincing, Dudley turned to see Valda along with the teacher responsible for the club storming up to him.

Sighing, Dudley sat down on the mats as Valda came up to him. "Before you start screaming at me, he started it."

Valda stopped short. "Excuse me?"

Dudley quickly explained what had happened, starting with Roger not believing he had a sponsor, the unfair judge, Roger's haymaker, and finally ending up with why he had been forced to use his Chi, or get seriously hurt.

"And you don't think breaking his arm was seriously hurting him?" Valda asked.

Dudley protested. "It was, but at that point, he'd already really hurt me, including kicking me in the side while I was on the ground, instead of letting me get up."

Valda looked over to the teacher, who was tending to Roger trying to see just how bad the break had been. "Sir, I don't mean to be rude, but shouldn't you have stopped them before they got going this badly?"

The teacher looked up at her. "I can't keep my eye everywhere at once Valda. Although," he looked around at the students, then looked to Roger, "I seem to recall being stopped and asked for quite a bit of help from your friends. Mayhap you asked them to keep me occupied while you attempted to oust a student without permission?"

Roger didn't say a word, still holding onto his arm and crying.

The teacher looked up again at the students. "Mr. Cornelius, Mr. Kemp, were you asked to keep me occupied?" The students in question paled. "I see. All of you involved in this are out of the club. Permanently." He looked to Dudley. "Unfortunately, that means you as well. I'm going to have to report it to the principal, but as it was a case of justified self-defense, you won't be in trouble." He looked at Roger. "This one, on the other hand will be."

Valda looked at Dudley. "Come on, let's go call your Dad."

0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0

Sitting outside the school, waiting on Vernon to arrive, Valda started talking to Dudley.

"You alright?" she asked.

Dudley shook his head. "Not really. I'm still hurting here." Dudley pointed to his breastbone.

Valda winced. "Why don't you start working on it then? I can't sense you using your Chi."

"Huh? What do you mean working on it?" Dudley asked.

"Healing it. Hasn't Sensei Uzuki told you about healing quicker using your Chi?"

Dudley frowned and thought about it for a moment. "Hey! He did. A few years ago, me and Harry asked him why I got out of my cast a week early, and he said it was because channeling my Chi gave it extra energy to heal quicker. You mean I can do that for more than just broken bones?"

Valda nodded. "Just channel a little bit of Chi through where it hurts."

Dudley concentrated for a moment, allowing a bit of his Chi to just keep flowing past his chest where it hurt. "Oww. It hurts a little more now."

Valda agreed. "Yeah. I asked Sensei about that once. He said something like, 'you will feel the same amount of pain no matter how long it takes to heal. If you make it heal quicker, you get more of the pain at once.' or something like that. I guess if you want it to heal faster, you have to be willing to let it hurt more."

Dudley nodded. "Yeah. It doesn't hurt too much more."

"Oh, and I know it's not my place to punish you, but I would suggest something."

Dudley looked at her. "What?"

"Don't use your Chi for anything else besides healing from your fight. Sensei will probably punish you by saying no forms, sparring, or anything like that for a while."

Dudley nodded. "Yeah, me and Harry got into trouble like that once before. I guess you're right."

Valda smiled. "Of course I am!"

0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0

Valda turned out to be more right than she knew. Sensei Uzuki had punished Dudley by completely banning him from lessons for the next week.

Of course, there was still the fact that Dudley needed to learn to control his Chi, so he wasn't banned from practicing, just from being near anyone while he was.

Bored, bored, bored, bored, BORED. Dudley thought, as he lay on his bed staring at the ceiling. "And this time I can't join a club at school, as I'm not allowed. Homework's done. Bored enough to get the next couple of days done as well." He said out loud.

He looked over to his bookshelf. "Same books as a few weeks ago."

Dudley looked up at the ceiling again. "Hey, wait a second." Fishing around under his mattress, he pulled out the sword hilt. "What are you? Guess I have time to figure it out now, since I don't have anything else to do."

Cracking the seal on his Chi again, Dudley channeled some of it into the hilt slowly. He could somewhat sense his own Chi inside the hilt, but it faded away into nothing quickly. Channeling a bit more, the hilt easily accepted it, but had the same results as before. Harry did 'overcharge' it, so maybe I need to as well?

Dudley let his Chi flow straight into the hilt, and could sense the potential in it as his Chi built. Dudley grinned, and then grimaced. The flow of his Chi had stuttered to a halt. Mentally peering inside his Void at his Chi, he was shocked and surprised to find he had channeled almost all of his Chi into the hilt.

Drained, Dudley fell asleep.

0o0

Thankfully, the next day was a Saturday, so when Dudley woke up he wasn't late for school.

Looking down at the hilt in his had, he frowned. How much Chi did Harry push into this thing? I'd better not channel all my Chi into it again. I don't wanna sleep the whole day away. Stuffing the hilt back under his mattress again, he wandered downstairs. Maybe I can find something decent on the telly.

A couple hours later, the doorbell rang and his dad went to answer it. Opening the door, Vernon was met by a very well built man. He stood at least six feet tall, with a body builder's frame, and slightly long red hair, neatly combed back. He wasn't extremely overly muscled, but seemed to have even more strength than his already impressive physique belied.

"Name's Rico." He introduced himself. "Sensei Uzuki said you were looking to get your son a little more training outside of his class?"

Vernon nodded dumbly before the huge man. "W- would you like to come in?"

Rico stepped inside the house. He looked it over, and then looked towards the living room. Before Vernon could say anything, Rico shushed him. "Let me see if I can get your son's attention. I was told he did this to get someone else's before."

Moments later, Dudley came around the corner. "What in the world?" he asked, stopping at the sight of Rico.

"Morning! I take it you're the troublemaker needing control training?" Rico asked.

Dudley narrowed his eyes. "Maybe."

Vernon looked flabbergasted. "Dudders! I thought you wanted a teacher since the boy has one?"

Dudley looked at Rico. "What'd you do? I've never even sensed Sensei do something like that."

Rico laughed. "Noticed that, did you? I plan on teaching it to you. And your Sensei knows how to do it, but he's probably never needed to around you all. He only teaches things like that to his advanced classes."

Dudley turned to his dad. "I like him Dad." Vernon smiled.

Rico looked at Vernon also. "You don't have to worry about payment, I think. Uzuki said he'd take care of it for a while, and I think I'm going to have enough fun with this as that I won't bother charging you. It's not often I get a kid that can tell the difference. You don't mind if we use your backyard for training today, do you? I don't have anything set up right now, as I wasn't expecting to have a student."

Vernon shook his head. "I don't mind. Dudley and the boy used it all the time."

Rico looked at him oddly. "'The boy'?"

Vernon grimaced. "My… nephew by marriage. He's, well, touched in the head. Got Dudley started on this, but then went to a school his parents signed him up for. It's a boarding school up north. The problem runs through his father's side of the family, and he's going to the same school his father went to. Bunch of wastes, they all were. My wife's sister married into the family, and then they both died, leaving the brat in our care."

Rico nodded slowly. "Alright then…" Turning to Dudley, he motioned for him to go on. "Go ahead out back; I need to get something out of my car. I'll meet you out there." Rico went out to his car, and then to the backyard. They both sat down in the grass near the oak tree. Dudley noticed he was carrying a book.

"Hey, that looks like a textbook! What's up with that?" Dudley asked.

Rico grinned. "This is a Year 11 student's anatomy book. This is going to be part of your study work."

"What? You mean I have to study something?" Dudley seemed outraged.

"Of course. You did sense what I'd done before, right?" Rico asked.

Dudley looked puzzled for a moment. "Yeah, the Chi you channeled seemed to sink into you, then another set of it went on top of it."

"Exactly. Or at least, close enough to not bother with any differences right now. What you do right now is a beginner's level of Chi usage. You channel your Chi into your hands, feet, legs, or whatnot, but it's on the surface of your skin. What the next level is, is that you'll be channeling your Chi directly into your muscles, increasing the energy in them, and then channeling your Chi at the skin level. What it does is strengthen your hits even more, increasing the power you can put into them."

Rico looked at him. "Has Sensei Uzuki taught you the Sight yet?"

Dudley stared back. "What in the world is the 'Sight'?"

"I take that as a no." Rico sighed. "It's a technique where you can see a Chi aura instead of just sensing it. It shows you a lot more detail, and can give you a better idea of what someone is doing with their Chi. Too bad I suck at teaching it; I never could explain the method of doing it. You're just going to have to wait for that lesson from your Sensei."

Rico sighed again. "It really is too bad. It's a lot easier to show you what I'm doing. But I didn't really expect you to be able to see Chi yet. That's why I brought this book."

Dudley looked at it. "And how is that going to help?"

"Easy. If we can't cheat and I show you exactly how it works, you're going to have to learn this the hard way. I want you to study the drawings in here of the muscle groups. You don't need to actually read the book, but I want you to be able to look at any part of your arms or legs and be able to see the muscles there." Rico explained.

Dudley looked through the book for about ten minutes, then looked up. "You have got to be kidding me. There's probably a hundred different drawings in here of arm and leg muscles."

"One hundred, forty-seven to be exact. But you need to actually be able to look at your hands and feet, your arms and legs, and be able to see the muscles, see how they move. After that, it's easy to channel Chi through them, since you know what you're channeling Chi through." Rico stood up.

"Hey, Mr. Dursley!"

Vernon's head appeared out of the backdoor. "You can call me Vernon."

Rico nodded. "I'll bring a replacement punching bag with me next time."

Vernon looked to Dudley's punching bag. "What happened to Dudders' bag?"

Rico grinned evilly. "Nothing yet." He turned to Dudley. "You wanted to know why you should learn this?" Dudley nodded.

Rico walked over to the bag. "Because, after you do that, you can do this." Dudley sensed the strange channeling again; a double layer of Chi went through Rico's fist and arm. Getting into a boxer's stance, Rico threw a single punch at the bag.

The punching bag, which had withstood Dudley and Harry's attempts to mutilate it with their Chi when the Ministry was watching, bent in half around Rico's fist, and then said fist reappeared on the other side of the punching bag, having gone straight through it.

Dudley's eyes were wide open, his jaw hanging loosely from shock. Vernon wasn't much better.

"And that is why I'll bring you a new bag next time. Dudley needed a new one to work with anyways." Rico looked to Vernon, then back to Dudley. "Study hard Dudley." Dudley nodded mutely.

Rico dropped the book off in Dudley's lap, and then turned to Vernon. "Sorry this was such a short lesson, but I really need to go get set up for actual lessons next week. I'll pick him up about this time next week, alright?"

Vernon nodded.

"Alright with you Dudley?' Rico asked.

Dudley nodded, already distracted with the book.

Rico looked at Dudley closely. "Oh, and Dudley?" Dudley looked up for a moment. "You need to figure out a way to drain most of your Chi. The easiest way to build it up, is to use most of it and let it recharge itself."

Dudley nodded again, thinking of the hilt he had been playing with the day before. "Yes Mr. Rico."

"Eww. No 'Mr.', please. No Sir, either. I'm just Rico, alright?" Dudley nodded one last time, and then buried himself in the book.

Laughing, Rico let himself be led back through the house and out the front door.


Alright, this was going to be a one-shot, but it looks like it's going to be two or three chapters instead.

Read and review, please.