Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter.
Thank to my Beta reader Storyseeker , big thanks also to Cursed21 for amazing generosity.
A lonely university student is pulled out of his world and finds himself in the story he'd always dreamt of being in. Stuck in 9-year-old Dudley's body, his existence changes everything and he finds that dreams can become nightmares. AU OC-POV.
Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter.
It was by all rights fair to say, in regards to Nicholas Larkin, that he was a little obsessed with Harry Potter. Not 'posters on the walls' obsessed, since having posters that weren't semi-naked girls, while growing up in a care-home, was a sure fire way to make you a bully target. But he could recite every department in the Ministry Of Magic, and that was something that had won him more than a couple of pub quizzes down the local King's Arms on a lonely Saturday night in college.
All this was fine, and as far as he was concerned, 'hobbies keep you sane in an insanely boring world'. Nicholas's father told him that little nugget of information before he was put into care.
His Father himself had been slightly too obsessed with Lord Of The Rings, Dungeons And Dragons and Star Trek. Most of which often ended up with Nicholas being dragged from role-playing conventions to sci-fi conventions across and sometimes out of the country, any time one just happened to pop up, school days and birthdays be damned. It was eventually the trips that caused his dad to be ordered to release Nicholas to the state, because of one (or thirty) missed school days too many.
As you can imagine, all the riding around after fantasies left Nicholas fairly clueless when he found himself dumped into the regular society of the care home. It also frequently left Nicholas to awkwardly explain his inspirational ideas to audiences of narrow minded people who believed getting a lot of money for as little as much work as possible. It seemed to be the principal of their human existence, as well as believing that it was somehow the 'immigrants' fault for everything.
This often ended, as these things usually do, in near constant outbursts of frustration and bitterness directed at those people who refused to try and understand 'think of the possibilities' and 'what if' attitudes towards life.
During high school, he became known for his ruthlessly loner work ethic, refusing to work in groups unless absolutely necessary. 'Because he could do the work much faster by himself,' a little quote that he had said at the beginning of his first year because no one had been concentrating on the assignment they were supposed to be doing. Everyone teased him about it ever since, and it became the reason he didn't want to work in groups at all.
Teachers adored him, as he was always the first one to arrive, and their appreciation only isolated him further, making him a target for bullying. That is until he had found himself ordered into the CDT room at break times, helping Mr Woodhead prepare wood-shop assignments, turning on machines and setting equipment for the A-level students.
Unfortunately, the tendency to loneliness followed him to both college and university, except for a brief winter relationship with a raven-haired woman called Miranda. She was cold, electric and married, so it didn't work out. But it was no matter, as he didn't need her or anyone's casual friendship anyway, thank you very much.
Coming up to his twenty-first birthday, Nicholas Larkin found himself almost without any connection to 'real' people, and investing dubious amounts of time into his engineering degree, reading HP fanfiction, and pretending he was someone else.
So when he suddenly disappeared, no one actually seemed to notice, and those that did didn't have the time to care, and as a raven haired woman said to her daughter, who mysteriously didn't look anything like her husband, on her death bed, 'it was all - quite sad really'.
Nicholas had found himself standing in front of a mirror, not in his bathroom, eyes wide, heart pounding, and all the while staring at the reflection of a fat child, where his skinny adult one should be. He had taken a deep breath and pinched the back of his hand.
"Ow." Okay, so he was not dreaming.
Not the 'usual response' that someone might have had when finding themselves in such a situation, although the pounding heart and stomach flipping sensation reminded him all too well what was coming. While still being able to stand up and think straight, he began listing off the probable causes of this seemingly impossible event.
"Time travel," he stated, as dreaming had been ruled out about an hour ago. However, Nicholas was still exploring the large, round and child-sized head in his hands, as if looking for an off switch.
"No, that wouldn't make me younger." He looked down at the layer of flab now surrounding his gut. "Or put me in another body."
"Shape shifting?" Nicholas looked around the yellowy-cream porcelain tiles of the bathroom with obvious dislike. "That wouldn't explain the teleporting. Perha-"
A fast triple knock rattled on the bathroom door abruptly. Nicholas jumped, causing the belly beneath him to wobble, which was a new experience for Nicholas, as his own body had resembled something thin and spidery.
"Dinky Diddydums?" came a cooing and high-ended woman's voice from behind the door. "Are you alright, Icklum? You've been in there an awfully long time, sweetie."
Nicholas's eyes shot back to the mirror at breakneck speed, his new eyes scanning the face that he saw there. "Dinky Diddydums?" repeated in his ears like an echo, leading him deeper into his own mind. "Dudley Dursley?" the words came out his mouth before the conclusion in his mind was made.
"Diddykins?" came the voice again, and like an internal explosion he knew the voice could only belong to Aunt Petunia…no, not Aunt, if he was who he thought he was…'Mother' Petunia. Something cringed inside Nicholas. It was at this point that the 'usual reaction' started to kick in
Nicholas began to hyperventilate, which only increased as the mirror in front of him began to crack at its four corners, a large X of broken glass forming across the rapidly paling reflection of Dudley Dursley.
The resulting BANG of Nicholas fainting in Dudley's body corresponded with the resonant CRASH of all the mirrors in the house suddenly breaking.
Soul Searching and finding yourself had always been something that Nicholas had scoffed at in his world, but then he always knew who he was in his world, so the idea of looking seemed ridiculous. But after the 'bathroom incident,' he found himself once again in the body of Dudley Dursley.
Nicholas stared at the ceiling. He had awoken tucked loosely in the middle of a double bed in a room full of stuff. To Nicholas, it honestly looked like someone had thrown Toys 'R' Us in a blender and poured its rainbow contents into this room for storage. Petunia Dursley was standing over him, looking extremely worried and threatening to call the hospital. Luckily, he managed to talk her out of it, instead talking her down to: -
"A couple of days off, just in case, Diddykins." After which, she weaved through the obstacle course of discarded toys on the creamy-blue carpet like an Olympic pro. Soon after, she brought upstairs a tray with some soup, which was really good, bread, sandwiches and three cans of pop.
That was followed by a short conversation about what he wanted for his tenth birthday, which started with awkward silence and ended in a shrug from Nicholas. Petunia brought him several catalogues.
Eventually, Nicholas had to sit up. Staring at the ceiling and questioning his existence was obviously not getting him anywhere, so he decided to think about something more productive. He called Petunia and asked for a pen and paper, which gained him an odd look and another mention of a hospital trip. He was going to write a list.
For some reason, however, he couldn't control the pen in his fat stubby hand, and that was when the crying started.
At first there were no tears, and it was just a feeling at the back of his head, easily being mistaken for frustration or anger at not being able to get the pen to do what he wanted it to do, but it grew.
Thunder erupted over the house and the rain hammered down after it.
He was crying so hard that it didn't even feel like it was he doing it anymore. It was like a crack in the dam. The stone barrier inside him was crumbling and the emotional baggage of everything was breaking through.
"I. Need. To. Get…" The words came out like sobs. "…Outside!"
Vernon and Petunia looked at each other, and then out the window at the dark thundering storm.
"Vernon, the car," Petunia hushed, looking haggard. "Quickly, now! So no one will see!" The fat man grabbed Nicholas and managed to carry him down the stairs. There came a cracking sound from the living room as they passed, but no one heard it over Vernon pushing his way through the front door like a bull.
The second the rain touched Nicholas, he fell out of Vernon's hands and was now somehow impossible to hold, much to the man's horror and dismay. Nicholas rolled his fat sack of a body as far away as he could.
He was kneeling in mud, arms stretched to the black sky like a sacrifice to the storm. He felt each icy droplet slice through him like a shard of frozen glass, knitting through his body like needles.
The pain touched him in places deeper than the physical confines of Dudley Dursley's body, creating an explosion of EVERYTHING inside. It was unbearable, incredible, wonderful, intolerable, and simply insurmountable.
This was death, the Dursleys, even if they were horrible people, had just lost their only son and they didn't even know it, and Nicholas Larkin's very existence had just been erased. Dudley had been cruel in his childhood, but he was also the only one that had truly chosen redemption. Nicholas, on the other hand, had suffered throughout his life, and now all that meant nothing. They were the shards that hurt the most.
The heavy rain risked drowning him, and brawling winds threatened to lift him off the ground and throw him, as lightning roared down from the sky directly above. It first hit the magical wards on the house, the main power following it down in a dome of brilliant, blinding and dazzling light.
The core of the lightning strike, however, managed to blast through the barrier, and forked as it connected to both of Dudley's hands, knocking him backwards into the ground.
The next thing Nicholas knew, he was lying two inches deep in mud, every muscle twitching. He exhaled a gust of crisp air he didn't know he was holding, while experiencing the peculiar sensation of having all the hairs on his body standing up at once.
"PETUNIA! HIT-" Vernon bellowed, his screams broken and stolen in the deafening thunder. "…LIGHTNING!"
Nicholas felt Vernon's hands around him once more, unable to resist them as he drifted off into slumber.
The next week consisted of trips and overnight stays across London's hospitals, some for the burns on his hands, and the rest looking at Dudley Dursley's brain, and the cause of his sudden change in behaviour, particularly his sudden bouts of amnesia.
The doctors eventually accredited the change to minor brain damage as a side effect of being struck by lightning. Harry Potter, and many others at his primary school, accredited it as a miracle.