An Unexpected Call
"Dad! DAD! Lunch is ready!"
"Alright, alright, I'm coming-Albus! Mind that-"
"OW! James-why'd you have to leave your stupid rubbish on the stairs?"
"It's not stupid rubbish! Maybe if your feet weren't so big you wouldn't have trouble walking down the stairs like a normal person!"
"I don't have BIG FEET!"
"Mum, they're at it again!"
"Just come and sit down at the table Lily and leave your father to it, Harry! Will you sort those two out?"
"Albus, are you okay?"
"Yeah, no thanks to HIM!"
"Oh yeah, sure Dad, take HIS side!"
"I wasn't taking-"
"Harry! Can you get the phone? I'm busy…"
"You're busy?" Harry muttered under his breath as he went to grab the ringing telephone, he had always insisted on having a phone in their house, he may not have had many Muggle friends with which to use it, but it made home feel like home. Besides, Hermione had wanted to teach Ron properly how to use a telephone so he wouldn't shout his parent-in-law's ears off, and who better to practice with than Harry?
"Hello, who's speaking?"
"Dad! DAD! Lunch is on the table!"
"Merlin, Albert! You don't have to repeat everything to Dad twice!"
"Shut up Lily."
Harry turned to his children in exasperation, "Shush for a moment, will you? Dad's on the phone." He turned back to the person on the other end of the receiver, "Sorry about that, you were saying?"
"H-Harry? Harry Potter?"
"Yes, speaking," there was something familiar about the voice; however, Harry couldn't put his finger on it.
"I-I found your name in the phone book," the voice laughed nervously, "To be honest I didn't think you'd be in there…I didn't even know if y-your lot used phones…"
And then it clicked, that phrase 'your lot,' one he hadn't heard for many years, and still…
"What? No, I-"
"Dudley?" Harry asked even more disbelievingly,
"Yeah, Harry, it's me. I-I didn't know who else to call…I don't even know how this happened…"
Harry, though admittedly still reeling from the shock of having his Sunday lunch interrupted by a phone call from Dudley Dursley, felt a pang of worry in his stomach. Dudley sounded nervous and frightened, what could've happened that made him think Harry was the best person to call?
"It's my daughter…Sophie…s-she…something's wrong…" Although Harry felt another wave of shock in discovering Dudley had a daughter (Harry realised he had expected someone like his cousin to remain a bachelor for life) the note of fatherly concern in Dudley's voice was too strong to ignore, for the first time Harry heard his cousin express concern for someone other than himself.
"What? Is she ill?"
"N-no, nothing like that, look, can I c-come round?"
Harry was stunned out of words for a few moments, "To my house?" he said intelligently,
"Yeah, if that's not too much trouble?"
"Er…sure Dudley…" still completely in the dark about why Dudley might need to speak to him Harry quickly reeled off the address, which was apparently not far from Dudley's own house.
"Okay," Dudley still sounded panicked, "And then…you can…I don't know…well, we'll see…" the phone went dead.
Harry still held onto the phone for a couple of moments and then, returning to his senses, hung up and returned to the dining room where Ginny was just beginning to dish out the food.
"Has Ron finally gotten used to the telephone then?" Ginny said absentmindedly in the tone of someone who would never have to use the phone and therefore had little interest in it.
"It wasn't Ron," and something in Harry's voice made Ginny look up. "Hey, Gin, could you keep the food warm for a little longer? We're having some people over for lunch…"
Ginny narrowed her eyes as Harry grinned sheepishly at her, "Who?"
"Erm…Dudley, you know, my cousin," the narrowed eyes became wide with shock.
"And why would Dudley Dursley, who's family never returned your letters, who hasn't spoken to you for years, suddenly call now and ask to be invited over for lunch?" Ginny's voice sounded threatening, in truth, she had never met Harry's cousin, but she had heard enough stories about him to fuel the hate of a life time.
"Who? Who's Dudley?" demanded Albus,
"I didn't know you had a cousin, Dad," James interrupted,
Lily began jumping frantically in her seat, "Oh, ooh, is he the Muggle Dudley you saved from those Dementors, Daddy? That you ended up in front of the Minister of Magic for? And nearly got expelled from school?" They all turned to look at her and she shrugged. "It was a bedtime story…"
James and Albus looked affronted, "You never told us that story!"
Ginny looked annoyed, "You're not supposed to tell them scary stories like that,"
Harry grinned, "It got her off to sleep didn't it? Besides, don't tell me you've never told them any scary stories of your own." He turned to Lily, "Yes, it's that Dudley, Lily."
"And why is he phoning you again?" Ginny was holding a spoon of mashed potato quite threateningly,
"I'm not entirely sure, he sounded worried you see, said he couldn't think of anyone else to call, so I said he could come round, sorry,"
Ginny sighed and put the spoon down, "It's fine," she waved her wand and the dishes at the table glowed red, steam rising from them, "It's not much trouble really."
Harry sat and resumed conversation, "He's got a daughter now, from what I gather, I think he said her name was Sophie,"
Ginny laughed, "Let me guess, you're surprised, I suppose I am too. Are you worried that he's created offspring? A whole new generation of Dursley's doesn't sound like a pleasant thought."
"No, I'm not worried, he seemed…different. Maybe fatherhood has changed him."
The doorbell rang.
"Yay!" cried Lily, "I can't believe we're going to meet a real Muggle!"
Harry strode over to the door, paused, turning to his family and fixing them with a stern look, this happened so infrequently their attention was caught, "Be nice," he ordered and opened the door.
Dudley Dursley did resemble Uncle Vernon, but not by much, you could still see Dudley's neck for one thing, the majority of his weight settling around a rotund stomach, and his blonde hair and lack of moustache seemed to create an overall more pleasant picture. The only that hadn't changed was that Dudley was still very fat.
"Hello Dudley," said Harry
"Hello Harry," Dudley did, admittedly at that moment, not look his best, his blonde hair was stuck up at odd angles where he had clearly run his hands through it a lot and he was a ghostly pale. "T-this is Sophie…"
From behind his mountainous figure peered a small head, and then slowly emerged a small body to go with it. Sophie had dark hair, tumbling in curls around her round face, she wasn't chubby, but neither was she slim, her curves were what Harry supposed Dudley may have possessed if he hadn't been fattened up as a child. Big, brown eyes bored into Harry's with a nervous stare, she looked about eight.
"Hello Sophie," Harry bent down to her level and offered a hand, it was clear she preferred to cling to her father rather than shake it. Instead Harry straightened up to see Dudley staring into the dining room where, rarHarryHHarry discovered when he followed his gaze, four pairs of eyes were staring right back in their direction. "Um, would you like to come in?" Harry offered, Dudley moved forward, rather reluctantly, bringing Sophie with him.
For the first time Harry attempted to see his house from a Muggle's point of view. Like any house with children, it was chaotic to say the least, spell books, broomsticks, and potions kits were scattered everywhere, a procession of cauldrons lined the stairs and every wall was decorated with photos of friends and family, waving happily to the new visitors or peering curiously at them. It was, Harry winced, a very wizard household. He hoped that Dudley wouldn't make any untoward comments, he was pretty certain Ginny might jinx him of he did. Luckily Dudley seemed in too much of a state to be insulting, he was, however, currently staring at the cauldrons looking like he was going to be sick.
Meanwhile, if Sophie's eyes could get any wider, Harry thought they might just pop out of her head. He wondered why on earth Dudley would bring her with him, surely he wouldn't want his child so close to Harry's 'lot.' He couldn't see any reason why Dudley may have changed his opinions of wizards in the last few years.
"Er, this is my family," Harry explained as he steered them into the dining room, still trying to act as if they were normal visitors. He gestured at his children in turn, who were still staring rather unhelpfully, "James, Albus and Lily, you haven't met my wife, Ginny, she's Ron Weasley's sister, you remember the Weasleys?" he was talking to Dudley as slowly and gently as possible, the poor man looked like he was about to collapse, Harry glanced around his dining room, he couldn't see what would upset Dudley so much.
"Pleased to meet you," Ginny said rather stiffly, but before Dudley could reply Albus interrupted, unable to contain himself any more, "Are you really Muggles?" he said loudly, Dudley turned to look at the small boy in a kind of detached state, seemingly unsure whether the question had been addressed to him.
Just then there was a quiet 'meow' near Harry's feet, where Lily's pet cat, Horatio, had come to investigate. A small gasp came from Sophie's direction and her face lit up with the smile of someone who clearly loved animals, she detached herself from her father's side and headed towards it exclaiming, "Dad! Look at the cat!"
Dudley came to his senses just in time to cry "Sophie! Don't-!" But it was too late, Sophie had already embraced Horatio. There was a 'pop!' a puff of smoke, and Sophie emerged with the cat in her arms, that had now turned bright yellow.
Dudley let out a strangled, "Sophie!" and slumped backwards, Harry managed to manoeuvre a chair behind him just in time for him to collapse into it. Sophie, meanwhile, dropped the cat and burst into tears.
"I'm sorry, Daddy!" she wailed, "I didn't mean to! Honest!"
Harry stared for a moment in disbelief, and then burst out laughing, "Why Dudley! She's a witch!"
Dudley fixed Harry with mournful eyes, "I know!" he moaned, "She's been doing that all week!"
From across the room Lily sighed, "Awww, they're not Muggles after all!" On hearing this Dudley just looked more mortified than ever, "What's her mother going to say! She doesn't even know I'm related to a…you know…a…"
"A wizard?" Ginny offered, thoroughly enjoying the situation.
Dudley merely groaned.
Harry, scarcely believing he was about to console his cousin, patted Dudley on the hand. "It's not as bad as you think Dudley, honest, in fact, it makes life a whole lot easier. She'll be able to do jobs around the house in seconds!" Dudley merely stared at Harry as if he was seeing him properly for the first time. "Can I get you anything Dudley? Coffee, tea?" Ginny offered, Dudley managed to mumble, "Coffee…"
Lily jumped down from the table and smiled at the still tearful Sophie, "You turned my cat yellow!" she pointed out,
"S-sorry," Sophie sniffed,
"That's okay, I think Horatio's more interesting that way,"
"You do?" Sophie sounded disbelieving,
"Sure she does," James joined in, "When I was your age I could only turn things brown."
Sophie looked at him as if he was mad, "You're a witch," Albus explained,
"That's not a very nice thing to say," Sophie said, sounding hurt,
"No, it's a good thing," Lily said, "I'm one too."
"Really?" Sophie looked liked she was trying to decide if she liked being something the same as Lily, but, she reasoned, anyone with a pet cat must be nice. A small smile crept across her features.
With coffee in hand, Harry explained to Dudley about how Muggle parents could have a child with magical powers. He thought that a living example would be best and decided to invite Hermione over.
There was a drama all over again when Dudley saw Harry stick his head into a roaring fire, and five minutes later a woman with bushy hair emerged from the flames, all the while Harry's family acting as if this was the most normal thing in the world.
Hermione then, in turn, explained how Ministry officials had visited her house when she turned eleven and explained everything to her poor parents, who were wondering why their daughter could now levitate things when she got angry. When Hermione explained her parents were dentists Dudley seemed to calm a little, realising that even people that were upstanding members of the community found their children could, unfortunately, perform magic.
After this Dudley seemed quite eager to leave, Harry offered to visit and help explain things to Dudley's wife, he, unsurprisingly, declined rather nervously. A look passed his face for a moment that clearly said 'what would the neighbours think?" before he was on his way with Sophie, who said a rather reluctant goodbye to Horatio.
Finally, the Potter's settled down to their untouched lunch, which was still piping hot, with a sigh.
"That was a nice thing you did," Ginny smiled at her husband,
"I sought of had ulterior motives," Harry grinned very mischievously indeed,
"What's so funny?" she asked suspiciously, Harry chuckled as look of glee crossed his face.
"I just can't wait until Sophie's grandparents find out."
A/N: So this came to me in a moment of inspiration, I know people rarely review oneshots, but I would appreciate it if you did and let me know how I got on with my first HP oneshot. Thanks!