Dudley Dursley had never actually hated Harry Potter.
Raised by parents who treated Harry as an unwanted and ungrateful guest, while at the same time spoiling Dudley immeasurably, he naturally assumed that Harry existed to be tormented. Having a very limited imagination, this usually meant a beating. Sometimes Dudley let his friends join in, but usually he reserved the pleasure for himself.
That was until Harry started going to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
He first seriously became aware of Harry's new status in life after a secret trip to a very private and exclusive hospital was required to remove a pig's tail from Dudley's posterior. The tail had been magically put there by the ridiculously large creature delivering Harry's letter of acceptance to Hogwarts, Rubeus Hagrid.
Later, Dudley's tongue had grown several feet long when he had stolen one of Harry's friend's lollies while supposedly on a strict diet. Luckily for Dudley, this did not result in another hospital visit, despite his mother trying to pull the elongated tongue out of his head.
Dudley struggled to alter his understanding of the universe to accommodate a Harry completely unafraid of him, but he was never totally successful. In his mind, he had always been, and always would be, BETTER than Harry, despite the fact an odd chill ran down his spine whenever Harry looked at him.
This meant that Dudley should, by right, have everything he wanted, and Harry should not have anything that Dudley didn't want him to have.
He would not admit it, not even to himself, but Dudley was now afraid of Harry.
This fear ate at the very core of his being. It drove him to strive even harder to fit the image of a strong, untouchable, and tough ruler of all he surveyed. The end result was, predictably, a meaner, crueller bully. He tried hard to deny his inner turmoil by exposing a brutal exterior that others were quick to exploit for their own dubious ends.
In short, he was well on the road to becoming a boxer.
Dudley's minuscule imagination did however lead him to believe that Harry now owned things that Dudley could not. He didn't know what they might be, and he had never seen anything extraordinary, except Harry's wand, but he never the less was sure Harry had something valuable in his possession, and Dudley wanted it.
So, showing unsuspected cunning, Dudley planned his raid carefully. He would wait for a day when his parents, Vernon and Petunia, had gone out, leaving him behind to visit his numerous friends. Normally Harry would have already disappeared on one of his long walks, and then Dudley could sneak into Harry's room and plunder it uninterrupted.
Dudley didn't actually think of it as Harry's room. Until a few years ago it had been Dudley's second bedroom. It was just a place to store all of his unwanted or broken belongings, like an overly large cupboard. That's how Dudley still thought of it. Harry had been allowed to move in, for no reason Dudley could fathom, just before he had started going to that strange school for outcasts.
With an involuntary shudder at the thought of Harry's school, Dudley unlocked the various latches and bolts, and opened the door.
Unlike the rest of the house, his mother, Petunia, did not keep this room pristine and clean. Clothes littered the floor, newspapers and books lay where they had fallen, and an empty, smelly bird cage sat near the open window.
The cage momentarily interested Dudley. He was not above poisoning Harry's Pet owl, but he didn't really know anything about owls, and he was a bit worried that this one might be unusual to begin with. He was better off looking for something that didn't come with the additional risk of possibly telling Harry what had happened, or acting to defend itself. He was looking for something he could take and use to impress his friends or terrify his enemies with, not something he might have had to fight.
Carefully, Dudley manoeuvred his massive bulk into the room and closed the door behind him. Stuck to the back of the door were nobody could see unless they stood inside the room with the door closed, was a poster of some people dressed in strange colourful robes, flying on broom sticks and throwing a ball to each other. Apparently they were playing a game because a large score board could be seen in the background.
This was the sort of nonsense that made Dudley's father very angry. As if they couldn't just play football or cricket like normal people. They had to make up a strange game and wear weird clothes and, worst of all, fly on broomsticks. Dudley chuckled to himself as he imagined what his father was going to say when he found out about Harry's hidden poster.
As Dudley stood there, looking at the poster, he got his first serious fright for the day. The people in the picture were moving. One threw the ball to another while the crowd stood up and cheered silently. Other players began zooming in and out at an incredible pace, and other balls flew everywhere. One of the balls appeared to be trying to knock players off their brooms while another smaller, golden ball with tiny wings darted between everyone looking for all the world like it was evading capture.
Startled, Dudley immediately leapt backwards away from the door. His feet got tangled up in some clothes and before he knew it he was tumbling over backwards to land on his enormous behind.
The people in the picture laughed, and a few even waved at him, before continuing their game.
For a few minutes Dudley sat staring at the amazing site. The images were much more lifelike than a television. It was in three dimensions, like those old holograms he had seen in the science museum the school occasionally forced him to visit.
Slowly, he became aware of a quiet buzzing noise annoying him. It distracted him from the poster and made him recall his purpose. A faint, tinny sort of whistle was coming from somewhere in the room. It sounded muffled, like it was inside a box or covered up.
Dudley looked around slowly until his eyes fell on something he hadn't noticed when he first entered. Sitting almost in the middle of the room, covered in discarded clothing, was Harry's trunk.
Previously, Harry had not been allowed to keep his trunk in his room, and Dudley was not sure why it was in here now rather than locked in the cupboard under the stairs. Dudley knew that Harry could pack everything he owned into that trunk, because that's exactly what he did every year before going to his freaky school, so it was likely to contain Harry's most prized possessions. Those were the things Dudley wanted to find.
Forgetting the poster, Dudley stood up and threaded his way through the debris on the floor until he stood in front of the closed trunk. Barely able to contain himself, he slowly and carefully opened the lid and looked inside.
At first glance there was nothing there any different to the other things spread around the room. More clothes, mostly Dudley's old things that had been handed down to Harry, some books, and a few crumpled newspapers. There were moving pictures on the newspapers too, but Dudley ignored them.
Basically junk, as far as Dudley was concerned, but he could still hear the faint whistling noise, and it was definitely louder with the trunk lid open. It had to be hidden in here somewhere
Dudley began digging through the contents, piling them up on the floor. Surprisingly, some of the clothes were not his old hand me downs. Although they looked more like dresses, they were quite well made and obviously new. Holding up a particularly finely made, bottle green pair, it finally occurred to Dudley that they were robes. Closer examination revealed a crest featuring a lion, an eagle, a badger, and a snake surrounding a large letter H.
It was Harry's school uniform! Apparently Harry had to wear a uniform that looked like a dress!
Laughing delightedly to himself and imagining how he would be able to make fun of Harry with this bit of information, Dudley tossed the robes aside and resumed his search.
Before long he began to find more interesting things. There were a lot of large feathers, a very strange looking chess set, an unopened box labelled "Grow your own warts", a box of bottles that was a bit like an old chemistry set Dudley had once been given (he had try to make bombs but only succeeded in making a foul smelling concoction that had blocked the toilet for two days when he flushed it), and a small statue of a sleeping dragon.
Dudley looked at this last item with a great deal of interest. It was magnificent and very lifelike, much too good for Harry to have, so he tossed it up onto the bed to take away with him later.
Going back to the box, Dudley took out what looked like brass binoculars, except that they were covered with all sorts of weird knobs and dials. He looked through them and got his next big fright. It looked like he was watching the television again, but everything was, like the poster, in three dimensions, and also appeared to be running in slow motion. The scene was of more people flying brooms and hitting balls at each other. There was what looked like name labels on the people flying around, and every now and then other writing would flash across the picture.
Dudley hurriedly dropped the omnioculars. The motion, even slowed down as it was, made him feel quite dizzy and he had to sit quite still for a minute until the room stopped spinning.
Resuming his search, Dudley finally found what appeared to be making the noise. It was an old pair of socks he vaguely recognised as having been a Christmas present he had given his father years before. Obviously they had been passed on to Harry, and now they lay in the bottom of the trunk glowing slightly and making a muffled whistling sound.
This fact rather confused Dudley, until he gathered enough courage to pick them up. Then he realised there was actually something wrapped up inside the socks.
Excitedly Dudley peeled open the socks and removed what looked like a miniature glass spinning top that was spinning very fast and glowing brightly. He examined it closely, but besides whistling loudly, it didn't seem to do anything except spin and flash.
He tried turning it upside down, on its side, shaking it, tossing it up into the air, and he even, in a fit of imagination quite unusual for Dudley, tried sitting it on top of his head. Eventually the whistling got on his nerves, so he jammed it back into the old socks and threw it back into the trunk.
Then he saw something that drove all though of revenge or power from his mind.
Sitting in the folds of an old tee-shirt, were several brightly coloured sweets.
Automatically Dudley's hand shot out to grab the sweets and he had one almost in his mouth before the memory of the last sweet he got from one of Harry's weirdo friends stopped him.
What if these were more of the same? There was nobody around to reverse the spell this time. He could end up choking on his own tongue, or swelling up and floating out the window like his Aunt Marge had once done.
But the smells of the lollies were very sweet, and his mouth started watering.
Unable to put the lolly down, Dudley was torn by conflicting emotions. Until a year ago, his greed had never been denied. That stupid nurse at the school had sent a letter home to his parents telling them that Dudley had to go on a diet because he did not fit in any of the school uniforms. Dudley knew it was because she had not ordered the right size and she was just blaming him for her own incompetence, but his parents had decided to put him on the diet.
After that Dudley had known misery like he had never known it before. Day after day of being unable to eat as much pudding as he wanted. Week after week of being denied his favourite foods, like chocolate, or deep-fired sausages, or ice cream, or deep-fried triple chocolate ice cream sausages. It had been an unending torment as he felt his body wasting away.
Now he sat on the floor with a handful of sweets and, for the first time in his life, he chose to show some self-restraint and not immediately stuff them into his mouth. Slowly and agonisingly, he forced his hand to move away. In his mind he was making up excuse after excuse to eat them.
That wimp Harry would never have anything dangerous, he thought.
Still he stayed his hand.
These sweets could not possible be ones that those horrible red haired demons had purposely thrown at him, he argued to himself.
Yet he did not eat.
These didn't even really look the same, he reasoned.
Finally, with an impressive display of willpower he had not known he had, Dudley opened his hand. All but one of them fell back in to the trunk; the last one stuck to his fingers and refused to fall. Gently at first, then with increasing force, he shook his hand trying to dislodge the persistent sweet. Finally, he waved his hand so vigorously that he banged it painfully on the side of the trunk making him yelp loudly. The sweet flung in an unknown direction and he swore several times to release the tension that had built up.
So far this had been a waste of time. All he had found was a pile of junk and a nice statue. He was about to give up and leave with only the small statue, when a golden gleam caught his eye. Moving everything from one side of the trunk to the other, Dudley uncovered an outstanding artefact. It was a very large golden egg.
Smiling to himself Dudley took the egg from the trunk and held it up. It must have been a very large bird that had laid this; at least as big as a man. He tapped the side of the egg and was amazed to hear a metallic echo. Despite being heavy, it appeared the egg was empty. Dudley examined it carefully and found a grove running all the way around it. Apparently a bird didn't lay it, unless there was such a thing as man-sized bird that laid real gold hollow eggs that had a seam in them!
Dudley dug his fingers into the grove and prised the egg apart. Immediately the room was filled with a loud and screechy wailing.
Screaming, Dudley dropped the egg and tried to cover his ears. The sound penetrated his meaty hands and struck deep into his brain causing a splitting headache. Still crying, Dudley forced one of his hands away from his head, grabbed the egg and slammed it shut. The sound cut off instantly, leaving Dudley panting and sweating.
He had never heard any sound as horrible as that. Not even the screeching his mum made when she had found the dead rat his friend had put into Harry's breakfast was close to that racket. The memory of it alone was enough to make a shiver run down Dudley's spine. It took another five minutes before he could bring himself to stand up.
Climbing to his feet, Dudley picked up the statue from where it had landed and then lowered his enormous bulk on to the bed. The springs groaned their protest at his weight and the frame bent alarmingly.
It really was an incredibly detailed carving. Each and every scale was immaculately sculpted. The wings were almost beautiful, with a reptilian grace no real animal could ever have. The long tail that curled around the body of the sleeping beast ended a series of deadly looking, bronze coloured spikes.
As Dudley cautiously held it up to his face to examine it closely, it opened it eyes and looked back at him.
Immediately Dudley screamed yet again and threw it away from him. It tumbled through the air and dropped out of sight into the trunk.
Dudley sat with his heart beating so fast he actually forgot about the Dragon momentarily to wonder if he was going to have a heart attack. When he had assured himself that so long as his heart was still beating he was in no danger, he stood up on the bed so that he could look into the trunk without getting any closer. The bed groaned loudly as he unsteadily got to his feet to peer into the trunk.
Lying on top of some strange looking books, the dragon appeared to have gone back to sleep.
Dudley sat down heavily and wondered what to do next. After a few minutes of not paying attention to what he was staring at, Dudley suddenly realised what he was seeing.
On Harry's bedside table there was a large book with a handsome green cover. It was emblazoned with golden writing that was partly obscured by a belt wrapped around its middle.
Dudley had never really had much use for books, except to hit people with so that his hands wouldn't hurt, but he had never seen one held closed with a belt before. It must have something very interesting inside to warrant stopping people from being able to easily read it.
Intrigued, Dudley pick up the book and undone the belt. "The Monster Book of Monsters" spelled the golden writing. Dudley began to flick through the pages randomly, occasionally looking at drawings of fantastic beasts that could never really exist, when suddenly the book snapped shut. Annoyed, he tried to open it again, only to find it was resisting him. He gave it a hard tug and managed to open it a bit before it slammed shut again with what sounded like a low, rumbling growl.
Angry that a mere book should defy him, Dudley gripped the edges of the covers and put his considerable strength into the task of prising it open. Slowly and with more growling, the book opened, fighting all the way. Eventually Dudley managed to get it completely open, and it seemed to give up the fight.
Nodding to himself, satisfied he had won the battle, Dudley raised a hand to wipe away the sweat that had appeared on his forehead. Immediately the book snapped painfully shut on the fingers of the hand he had left holding it.
Screaming again, Dudley shook his hand in the air trying to dislodge the book that was apparently trying to eat him. No matter how hard he swung his arm, the book refused to let go. In desperation he swung it down against the bed head, but just before impact the book let go and Dudley smashed his already injured hand against the wooded head board instead.
Then the book, apparently unhurt, flipped onto its edge and scuttled sideways like some weird crab. It fell off the bed and ran under the nearby desk.
Dudley decided enough was enough.
With his hand still aching, he leapt off the bed, and ran as fast as his stumpy legs would carry him out of the room, slowing only enough to slam the door behind him.
Back in his room, lying on his own bed and comfortably surrounded by his many possessions, Dudley was badly shaken. In the few minutes he had spent in Harry's room, he had suffered more shocks and hurts than in any other similar period of his life. Instead of finding something he could use to get a measure of revenge on Harry, he had been bitten by a book and very nearly attacked by a dragon. The spinning top may have done something bad to him too, since he now felt very weak and quite ill.
This was entirely Harry's fault. Everything bad that had happened to Dudley had happened since Harry had started going to the dreaded school for freaks, and it has not right that Harry should get away with it.
Immersed in his misery and nursing his hand, Dudley idly picked at a lump on his top. It was a bright yellow lolly. Without conscious thought, Dudley picked the sweet off and automatically popped it in to his mouth.
When Petunia and Vernon came home later that day, they found Dudley sitting in the corner of his bedroom staring at his bed, which was covered in bright yellow feathers. He would not speak to them for hours, and even then refused explain where the feathers had come from. From that day onwards, Dudley took a passionate disliking to birds (canaries in particular), and an even greater disliking to anything remotely magical.
If it had not been for the obvious fact Harry had not been home all day, Petunia would have blamed him, and Vernon would have tried to force the truth out of him.
Both of them knew, without a doubt, that somehow, it was entirely Harry's fault.