Once again, done for a challenge (the five things challenge). These things are giving me more bunnies than I usually see in months.
Disclaimer: I'm writing on a place called . It should be obvious I don't own anything.
His second bedroom.
Well, technically, Dudley did get his second bedroom, but he didn't get to keep it. He didn't particularly care that he had the bedroom, but he didn't want Harry to get it. That was the principal of the thing. If his parents started giving things to Harry (things that they took away from Dudley) maybe it meant he had lost his parents love. And if there was one thing he was sure of in this world, it was that his parents loved him.
Or he thought they did. But then those blasted letters had come. For Harry! Who almost never got something. And not only did Harry have someone who wanted to contact him so badly (which also blew because Dudley didn't have anyone who wanted to contact him that bad) that they sent more and more letters everyday, despite his dad's best efforts (which Dudley was sure his dad hadn't put that much effort into anything for Dudley, like he had for Harry). And because of those bloody letters Dudley lost his second bedroom.
He had thrown, perhaps, the biggest tantrum of his life and had been ignored. Dudley hated losing his second bedroom because that's when he learned that life wasn't fair and that he couldn't have everything he wanted, something contrary to what he had been raised to believe. But mostly, Dudley hated losing his second bedroom because he wasn't better than a lot of people – which was why he also hit a lot of people – and for most of his short life, he had, for sure, been better than Harry bloody Potter. Dudley hated losing his second bedroom because that's when he learned he was better than no one. Not even his freak of a cousin.
When Dudley was seventeen he fell in love. Or he thought he did. When Dudley was seventeen he asked out Tara Cuttleborn. She was beautiful. She was rather tall and thin, with long brown hair that always caught Dudley's eyes when it shimmered in the sun. She had recently acquired a tan from some trip she had taken with her family over the summer and Dudley thought it suited her well. She also did well in school, and Dudley often found himself daydreaming that when they were together she would tutor him. No matter what his parents said Dudley knew he was stupid. He was smart enough to recognize that, at least.
The only problem was that she went to another school. An all girl's school. That was a problem because Dudley didn't know where she hung out, so finding her to ask her out would be difficult. Fate smiled upon him though. He and his gang were hanging out at the library, looking for easy targets, when he saw her walk in, giggling with a friend. He immediately started after her, sharply commanding his gang to stay where they were and not follow him.
He felt so weak and vulnerable without them backing him up, in the library, where he had, truthfully, never set foot in – not surprising, really. But he did it now for Tara Cuttleborn. He scanned the library and quickly found her, sitting blessedly alone. He decided to go for it then, when her friend wasn't there. He tried to swagger up to her, trying to look confidant, though he suspected he just looked like he was waddling. Pathetic.
"Tara. Go out with me." Dudley really did mean for it to come out as a question, but he wasn't used to asking questions and it came out as more of a demand. A nearby librarian worker shushed him as Tara looked sharply up at him.
"Who are you?"
Dudley's face fell as his heart plummeted. He had spent the better part of six months finding out everything he could about her it never even crossed his mind that she hadn't done the same.
"Dudley Dursley," he squeaked out, any preface of confidence gone. He was shushed again.
"Oh." A dark look crossed Tara's face. "I've heard of you," she whispered. "You're a big, fat bully. Beating up kids who can't possibly defend themselves. It's sickening," she hissed, standing up on the chair to meet him at eye level.
"I'll change for you," he simpered. He knew he was lying, but he was so sure that he loved Tara Cuttleborn.
"Liar," she practically spat out, face full of venom.
And that did it. Without thinking, embarrassed that there were people here to hear and see what was going on, Dudley punched her. He regretted it even as his meaty fist connected with her stunningly gorgeous face. Her head snapped back and she went flying over the back of the chair, blood spraying through the air, and losing her balance. She landed on the ground with a sickening crack. Dudley didn't stay long enough to see her broken nose, face already bruising and swelling up immensely, or see her broken wrist, looking almost like it never could have been whole at one point.
Dudley fled before he could be shooed out or face the consequences of his actions. His gang had been confused, but followed him nonetheless.
Dudley hated that he couldn't have Tara Cuttleborn, especially now that he had hit her, because he still loved her afterwards. But could never have her. It was another reminder of how cruel life could be at some times. But mostly Dudley hated that he couldn't have Tara Cuttleborn because he was never as confident after that day. Not even with his gang at his back. And for Dudley, confidence was the key to getting through life. Without confidence he was lost. Without Tara his heart wasn't whole. And that was probably what actually hurt the most.
Well, yes. Dudley's father seemed to loathe magic and his mom seemed to despise, but he still wanted magic. If he had magic then maybe that giant of a man wouldn't have been able to give him a pigtail. He wouldn't have had to be brought to a private hospital to have it removed. He wouldn't have had to face the pain that came with either of those. If Dudley had magic maybe he wouldn't have been so useless with those dementors had shown up. Maybe he wouldn't have had to face the demons of his past that he had forgotten he had. Maybe he could have been brave.
If Dudley had magic, maybe he wouldn't have been so scared. Or maybe he wouldn't have been a bully. When Dudley left his parents house he found out everything he could about magic, mostly through secretly keeping contact with the people who had escorted him and his family away when there was apparently a war going on. He found there was something oddly…magical about someone who had magic. They had a whole new outlook on life that Dudley had never discovered living under his parent's roof.
Dudley hated that he couldn't have magic because it made him feel defective. It wasn't something he could throw a tantrum over to get. For one, his father most certainly would have never stood for it. For two, you were either magic or not. Dudley wasn't used to wanting things there was no possibility of having. It blew. Mostly, Dudley hated that he couldn't have magic because knowing about it and not having it made him feel like the weakest person on Earth. Without it or his gang (crutches, he figured out) Dudley just didn't have confidence, which his father told him was the key to getting through life. He was so unsure in situations where he didn't have his gang at his back that he spent nights upon nights looking for shooting stars to wish for magic on. What he should have been wishing for was an ego. An ego that had fled when he had faced the dementors.
A good job.
Like Dudley had known for a while, he was stupid. He just didn't have the motivation it would have taken for him to be good at school. He knew he could get good grades if he tried but he never wanted to try. Until he entered the real world and had to get a job. All the jobs that paid an actual salary wanted someone smarter. Someone who wasn't him. Even the muscle jobs he thought he might be able to get wanted someone better than him.
So he had to settle. His father had offered to pull some strings at his company, where he was doing more than pretty good, now, but Dudley's pride had flared and he insisted that he could get a job on his own. He wished he had taken up the offer. Under his father he would have earned a decent salary, and he wouldn't be demeaning himself. Dudley had settled for being a garbage man. It stung that he couldn't get a better job and it stung that no girl wanted to go out with a man who took out trash for a living.
Later, Dudley would later trade for a short stint as a bouncer before he met the woman he would marry, but for now he was a garbage man. It paid next to nothing. So, Dudley hated that he couldn't find a good job because it proved what a failure he was in life. It proved that, while he may have had a good time eating whatever he wanted and hitting whoever he wished while getting anything he asked for, he hadn't been properly raised. He had actually been laughed out of some interviews and he deeply hated himself for that. Most of all, Dudley hated that if the cocky little jerk he had been when he was younger had known this would happen, he still wouldn't have tried harder at school. It just went to show how bad of a person he was. Going to work each morning was a cruel reminder of how he had failed. Dudley had gotten enough F's in school to never want to fail again. And yet he did.
Dudley often told people he had the best parents when he was younger. He was really in charge of the house, and he knew it. He could get his way and get anything he wanted with minimal effort. Then he went out into the real world. He finally understood that old man's words. His parents had done him no good by spoiling him rotten, and he knew that know. He had to make his own way – and it was hard. Harder than he ever would have thought, being raised to think he owned everything.
But somehow he did it. He didn't know how, but he managed to scrape by, and ended up with an okay job, a beautiful wife, and kids he wouldn't trade for anything in the world. He was always a bit resentful to his parents for not making sure that he would have it easier later in life, rather than just that minute. If they had just done their duty he wouldn't have lived on the streets for two years of his life, determined to make it on his own. If they had raised him better he wouldn't be groveling at somebody's feet that years earlier he would have just beat up. That was how he kept his job, though. So he lived everyday loving and hating his parents and not knowing what to do about it.
Then Vernon Dursley died of a heart attack and Petunia checked herself into a living assistance home, where she died a couple months later of neglect. Dudley broke down after that, and only with the help of his family did he ever manage to pull himself together and get on with life, regretting every day that he had hated them.
But still, Dudley hated his parents because they never really made life any easier for him, like they promised too. In the end, all their spoiling had put him on the street. (And sure, his mom and dad would have let him live with them until he could afford his own place, but he was young, prideful, and ashamed. Something he regrets now that they're dead. That would have been more time with them.) The thing he hates most, though, is that his parents left him. They died and he suddenly had no support. No one to look up to. No one to dump his kids off on sometimes so they could be spoiled for a bit. No one to finally make him a man, really. Dudley hated that they died without redeeming themselves. If he thinks about it long and hard, and is completely honest with himself, Dudley is angry with himself for not doing his job as their kid, and tell them what a bad job they had done. He kept all the badness to himself, and when he stands ranting at their graves, Dudley knows they're not listening. They can't be. Because they're dead.
And he still hasn't gotten that apology from them. And he's yet to give his apology to them for being such a horrid son. If he does that, he will have moved on. And that's what scares Dudley the most.
Well, I hope I managed to make him seem more human. If I did then I've done my job as a writer. Which would make me eternally happy.