AN: This is just something that I recently wrote for a contest. Tells the second chapter of PS/SS from Dudley's point of view.


Unhappy Birthday

Dudley Dursley was having a very unhappy birthday.

He had known that it was a bad omen when he had counted his birthday presents and found that he had only gotten thirty-seven this year. Last year, Dudley was very sure that he had gotten thirty-eight birthday presents; he had counted them three times. His mother had promised him that she would buy him two new birthday presents when they went out today, but Dudley was still suspicious. He always got more presents with each passing year. If he let his parents get away with only thirty-seven presents, then next year, they might just give him thirty-six.

Things quickly went from bad to worse when Dudley realized that his cousin Harry was going to the zoo with them. Usually, Dudley's mother made sure that Harry Potter was well out of the way for Dudley's birthday outings. This year, however, the loony old lady who sometimes watched Harry had broken her leg and it wasn't as though friends and neighbors were lining up to look after the little runt. Dudley knew that most boys would be thrilled to have a cousin who was almost the same age as them to go to the zoo with, but Dudley had quickly learned that Harry Potter wasn't like normal children. Harry Potter was no fun at all.

Harry didn't like to do normal things like play computer games, watch television, swap stories with the other boys at the playground, or steal younger children's lunch money. Harry was always lurking quietly in corners, talking to imaginary playmates, and generally being an embarrassment to Dudley. Instead of pushing other children off the swings during recess, Harry hid behind some old boards and played with bits of sticks and rusty nails that he found there. Instead of telling dirty jokes when their teacher's back was turned, Harry sat quietly in his seat and stared out the window. Yes, Dudley had spent a great deal of time making sure that everyone knew that he did not like Harry Potter. If the measures he took were sometimes – severe – well, the runt had brought it on himself by being such a puny freak.

At any rate, Dudley recognized the time for extreme measures. He began to cry.

It wasn't really crying. There were no tears in his eyes or sob in his throat, but Dudley was very upset and he wanted to make sure that his parents knew that he was upset that they were letting stupid Harry Potter ruin his birthday. Dudley's mother seemed sympathetic. She hugged him and reassured him that Potter wouldn't be allowed to ruin the day.

"I don't want him to come!" Dudley threw in for good measure. "He always spoils everything!" Dudley had smiled to himself, knowing from the protectiveness in his mother's voice that he had won this battle. Just then, however, Dudley's best friend Piers had shown up and Dudley had been forced to drop the act. He couldn't let Piers see him crying like a girl.

When they arrived at their destination, Dudley soon realized that perhaps a zoo wasn't the best place for a birthday party. The animals were much duller than Dudley had expected. He had thought that they would growl menacingly in their cages or fight each other, or at least run around, but all they did was sit and stare. A lion yawned at him. They rather reminded Dudley of Harry, but unlike Harry, Dudley couldn't squeeze the breath out of the animals to get them to squeal. Not that he could do that to Harry here, with his parents watching – well not more than a little, anyway. Harry stayed well away from Dudley.

There was a ring set up where children could ride the baby elephants, but the zoo attendant told his mother that Dudley exceeded the weight limit and that "we would be happy to let your other children ride". Dudley crossed his arms in anger and opened his mouth to tell him just what he thought of their "weight limit", but his mother hastily spoke.

"Let's go get some ice cream! You would like that, wouldn't you Duddydums?"

Dudley didn't particularly like being called "Duddydums" in front of Piers, but he thought that an ice cream sounded better than some stupid elephant anyway. At the ice cream stand, his parents actually had the nerve to buy Harry a lemon pop on his birthday.

Dudley sighed as he watched the seals. Yes, it had been a thoroughly unhappy birthday.

"I like seals," he heard Harry say softly, as though to himself, "they look so friendly."

Dudley rolled his eyes. Why did everything Potter had to say have to be humiliating? He hoped that Piers hadn't heard Harry talking about the "friendly seals". Suddenly, Dudley was struck with an idea. He picked up pebbles and began throwing them at the seals. He heard Harry give a small gasp, but otherwise the undersized owl stayed silent. Dudley soon got bored.

"Mum, I'm hot!" he complained.

"Of course he is!" his father exclaimed. Vernon was huffing and puffing from the heat himself. "The boy's been outside all day."

"We could go see the snakes and lizards and things," suggested Piers who had been to this zoo several times before. "They keep it nice and cool in there."

The reptile house was cool, but thesnakes were the most boring animals Dudley had seen all day. Oh, they were big enough, but they didn't move at all. Dudley even went up to the biggest snake in the place made his father tap on the glass, but the snake ignored him completely. Dudley sighed in frustration and shuffled over to the look at some lizards in the tank beside of the large snake.

As Dudley was staring dejectedly at the lizards, he heard something; it was a faint hissing sound. Dudley turned and looked all around him. Was one of the snakes hissing? He was very still for a moment, but when he didn't hear the sound again, he sighed and turned back to the lizard tank.

There it was again! Dudley turned around and realized, with horror, that it was Harry who was doing the hissing. Harry was hissing at the giant snake! Dudley ducked his head in embarrassment, unsure about whether he should knock some sense into the freak or just ignore him and hope that no one noticed.

"DUDLEY! MR. DURSLEY!" Piers shouted at the top of his lungs. Dudley winced, hoping that his friend hadn't noticed Harry's freakish behavior. Piers, however, was focused on something else. "COME AND LOOK AT THIS SNAKE!" he shouted. "YOU WON'T BELIEVE WHAT IT'S DOING."

Dudley saw that the snake and soon forgot about Harry. It was very animated. Its head was raised, alertly and it was hissing and moving in a strange matter. He nudged Harry aside to get a better look. What happened next, Dudley couldn't explain. One minute he was leaning forward to watch the snake through the glass and the next minute there was no glass. It had vanished in the blink of an eye. Dudley yelped and leapt back in horror.

The snake slithered out onto the floor. Dudley screamed as the creature tried to bite his leg. Luckily, the snake got bored and swiftly left the reptile house. Dudley thought he was going to be sick. After that, of course, the director of the zoo had to be called and everyone forgot about Dudley. His birthday was ruined.

And it was all Potter's fault.