Disclaimer: JKR rules the world.


Dudley was staring at the window of his cousin's newly rebuilt house. He wasn't looking at the neat little garden outside, or the village of Godric's Hollow beyond the gate, nor was he looking at the faint reflection that was staring back at him. Dudley was looking at the glass itself, the glass that only yesterday he had shattered into a thousand pieces with his fist. The glass that, with one muttered word he didn't understand, had instantly reassembled itself. The fist that, with another wave of a slender piece of wood, had stopped dripping blood as his skin knit itself back together seamlessly.

He imagined himself punching the glass, imagined it crumbling beneath his knuckles, imagined the sting of broken flesh. That must have been what happened yesterday, he thought. He had just imagined venting his grief on that poor, unsuspecting pane of glass.

Then he looked down.

There, on the rug, were three drops of blood.

Dudley stared at the glass as he thought about the time he had punched through the window in his bedroom at Number 4, Privet Drive. He remembered his mum, fussing over her poor Diddykins, trying but failing to get the bloodstains out of his favorite jumper. He remembered Harry the next day, wearing the same jumper, now flecked with red from where he had clutched his injured hand to his chest, the hem falling just above his cousin's knobbly knees.

Dudley stared at the rug, and wondered if magic was anything like his mum, and just couldn't clean blood out of anything. A hand on his shoulder brought him out of his thoughts.

"You can hit the window again, if you'd like," Harry said. "Or you could always hit me. That always used to make you feel better."

Dudley looked at Harry, thinking about one of the many times when he had tried to give him a black eye, but as usual Harry had ducked just in time and his fist had broken through his father's car window. He remembered his father screaming at Harry, telling him that he should have taken the punch like a man before locking him in his bedroom for a week. Dudley was given a large bowl of ice cream.

"I think I'll just have a cup of tea this time," he replied, his attempted smile coming out as a grimace. He wasn't sure where Harry had learned this inane notion that a cup of tea could fix anything--he certainly hadn't learned it from his parents. His parents would have given him a large helping of dessert and locked Harry in the cupboard.

Dudley stared at the cup that had been placed in front of him before taking a small sip. The tea was too hot and burned his throat a little. It was oddly soothing.

"...Muggle London tomorrow, if you need anything," Harry said. It took Dudley a few seconds to realize he was talking to him. He shook his head slightly, swallowing another mouthful of tea.

"Dudley, you haven't been out of the house in two weeks," Harry continued, while Dudley kept staring at his tea. "I'll be perfectly able to keep you safe, and the Ministry is still making Dawlish and Williamson follow me around." He kept chatting aimlessly about shops and other nonsense until Dudley was seriously beginning to reconsider his offer to punch him. In a last ditch attempt to get Harry to shut up, he agreed to go, and then quickly finished his tea and excused himself.

Upstairs, Dudley sat on his bed and stared into space. Downstairs, he heard the front door open and close. It sounded like that bushy-haired girl, Hermione, had come over for dinner again. He glanced at his night table, where there were a half dozen glass phials that she'd given him when he first arrived. They were each labeled with her tidy scrawl: Calming Draught, Draught of Peace, Sleeping Draught, Dreamless Sleep Potion. He dug around in the drawer of the table for the Muggle prescriptions he'd snuck it. Then he realized he had just thought of something as 'Muggle' and knew he needed to get out of this house as soon as possible.

After finding nothing but empty bottles, Dudley gave the potions a longer glance. Hell, he was already using the term "Muggle" in his head, so he figured he might as well take one if it would help. He was already calm, or at least calm enough to keep all of the glass in the house intact. Peace didn't seem all that realistic, and actually sounded a bit hokey, so he decided to stay away from that potion as well. Finally choosing the Dreamless Sleep Potion, Dudley took one long gulp of the purple liquid, almost immediately drifting into a deep slumber.

Fast asleep, Dudley no longer stared at anything. He didn't have to stare at the window, or the rug, or Harry, or the image in his mind of the dead, glassy eyes of his parents. He didn't have to think about Hestia pulling him out of the ruined remains of Number 4, Privet Drive, a green skull shimmering against the night sky. He didn't have to listen to Harry's dinner guests prattle on about how happy they were that the war was over. He didn't even snore.

Harry stared at Dudley, and the empty phial still in his hand. He'd noticed that Dudley hadn't been taking any of Hermione's potions, even though he repeatedly woke up half of the village with his screams in the dead of night. Harry gave the sleeping form a slightly rueful smile when he thought about what Vernon and Petunia would have said about Dudley drinking something that contained sopophorus beans and Essence of Murtlap. He headed down to dinner, shutting the door quietly behind him. Dudley slept on, but when he rose, his grief would reawaken. Harry was prepared to show as much love and support as he could to his only remaining family.


A/N: Yeah, it's angsty. Thanks to WeasleyForMe for betaing. Please review!