~THIS STORY HAS BEEN NOMINATED AT THE 2010 DEATHLY HALLOWS AWARDS.~
I wanted to thank whoever nominated it. I was thrilled to know someone liked this fic with such a rare pair so much :) THANKS! (deathlyhallowsawards(dot)blogspot(dot)com)
Title: What Others Can't See
Pairing, or gen: Dudley/Luna, although it's mostly gen
Prompt: #55 - Dudley has magic even if he can't use it. He sees things instead, like Dementors, and Nundus and Crumple Horned Snorkacks, but everyone thinks he's hallucinating. One day while he's chasing his "hallucinations" he meets some one else who can see them too.
Word count: 2716
Beta: The awesome wwmrsweasleydo
Summary: Dudley has magic even if he can't use it. He sees things instead, like Dementors, and Nundus and Crumple Horned Snorkacks, But everyone thinks he's hallucinating. One day while he's chasing his "hallucinations" he meets some one else who can see them too.
Author's notes: Originally written for dudley_redeemed . Gosh did I struggle with this one and my huuuuge writer's block! But I'm quite fond of their scene together and I'm thinking of writing a sequel at some point :)
What Others Can't See
When he was four, Dudley tried to convince his mum that he could see fairies flying above her head while she was giving Harry a bath.
"Fairies aren't real, Diddy-kins," she said in the sweetest tone she could master, smiling brightly at her son as she held Harry with one hand, trying to avoid him splashing the water again. "You're a smart boy, you know that," she finished with a wink and leaned forward to cover his puffy, round face with kisses.
The day he turned seven, Dudley was alone looking out the window as his mum finished decorating the cake. The party had been put off due to the rain. Six days of down pouring rain had flooded the streets of Little Whinging, forcing Petunia to cancel the set of clowns and acrobats that were going to put on a show worthy of the Russian circus.
Suddenly, his eyes caught something of a silvery-blue colour moving incredibly fast in the muddy garden. His eyes widened in surprise as he tried his best to follow the creature that jumped from one bush to the other.
"Daddy, Daddy! Look!" Dudley screamed, pointing out the window.
Vernon eyed him for a second before leaving the newspaper on the coffee table and going by the window to see what his son's wide eyes were marvelling at. He found himself completely unamused when the only thing he saw was his backyard, all muddy and flooded as it kept raining.
"Petunia! Your son is hallucinating again," he grumbled, going back to his seat.
Petunia opened the door, stirring the contents of the bowl in her hands. "He's your son too," she pointed out, pursing her lips and accentuating her horse-like features. "Dinky Diddydums! Telling stories again? You don't want people to think you're weird, do you?" she asked in an exaggerated pout as her right hand kept stirring the dough.
"Mm, there's enough 'weird' in this house with Potter," Vernon spat behind his newspaper.
"That's right, you don't want to be like him, Popkin. Trust me," Petunia said softly, pinching Dudley's cheek before heading back to the kitchen.
By the time he was ten years old, Dudley had stopped telling people about the creatures he could see and nobody else could. His Year Four teacher had recommended intense therapy sessions with a professional when he had told everyone that the cause of the fire in the school's kitchen were three small rhino-like beasts that galloped over the stove, burning anything in their path.
The old man insisted Dudley told him about the mysterious creatures, so he could help him. However, Dudley refused to mention their existence ever again. The echo of his classmates' laughter rang in his ears until he found himself in tears.
It wasn't until the summer of 1995, that he understood others could also see his "hallucinations". The big shadows with big claws and hooded faces, chilled him to the bones and tried to attack him and Harry. He would never forget that day. The day with conflicted feelings and emotions. For one thing, he was terrified by the experience. He had never actually thought one of the creatures would ever attack him, turning the usual curiosity into pure fear. But on the other hand, he didn't feel alone for the first time. Knowing that somebody else could see those horrible black monsters was a relief. Although...
"Harry is a freak. Does that mean I am too?"
Many years had passed before Dudley felt comfortable enough with his cousin to ask him what he'd been dying to ask since he was sixteen.
"So, you can see them too, can't you?" Dudley asked in a whisper as he fidgeted in his chair.
Harry sighed, sitting back in his chair with two cups of tea. Ruffling his already messy hair with his hand, he looked at Dudley over the rim of his glasses. "I knew you would ask me that at some point." He took the time to sip at his tea and think of the best answer; an answer that wouldn't sound like he was saying 'you're as crazy as Trelawney'.
"Well, can you?"
He looked him in the eyes, sighing one more time. "Some. I can't see Nargles or...Wrackspurts, but I can see Dementors and Thestrals."
Dudley looked at him frowning. "O-kay...Let's pretend I understood any of those names -though I'm sure one of them are the black shadows that attacked us-, why can I see them if I'm...if I'm not one of...you...people."
Harry bit his tongue trying not to let the anger and amusement take over his emotions. This was already too bizarre for his taste, no need to add more craziness to the situation.
"I don't know. I know some people who can see them too, but-"
"Who?" Dudley asked desperately.
Harry flinched at his slip. He wasn't planning on letting Dudley know about Luna, or the other way around. They already had enough on their plates with convincing people they could see things others didn't. He couldn't imagine how they would work together, but he worried that they wouldn't.
"Who, Harry? Please, tell me. I could really use having this conversation with someone that completely understands me."
Dudley's pleading eyes were so unlike his usual self. His broad shoulders and bulky build covered his real desperate and lonely self under an image of strength, power and general toughness.
"Tell you what...let me think about it. My friend- she's...very particular so it's not as easy as anyone would think."
Dudley nodded, staring at the table. "I understand," he mumbled. "But, please, promise me you'll really think about it."
"I will," Harry said with a small smile.
"Thank you for inviting me over," said Luna with a bright smile, setting down the cup of tea.
"You don't have to thank us, Luna. You're practically part of the family," Ginny said with a wink. "And Lily loves it when you visit."
"I've noticed." Luna smiled modestly. "She's a wonderful little girl. Did she tell you she saw Nargles in your backyard last night?" Her wide eyes got bigger with excitement.
Ginny saw, from the corner of her eyes, Harry pursing his lips as he collected the china from the table, carefully placing it on the sink. Holding her breath for a second, Ginny ignored Luna's question.
"Oh, it's Lily's bedtime! Would you like to tuck her in? I'm sure she'll love it. She'll be thrilled if you tell her a story about...Nargles."
Luna beamed. "I can tell her about the holidays my dad took me on an expedition in Wales. Or maybe the time I first saw Nargles over the Prime Minister's head!"
Ginny smiled sympathetically as Luna left the kitchen. Harry sat on the chair next to her with a tired sigh.
"We love Luna, remember?" she asked, trying to suppress a laugh as her hand looked for his.
Harry sighed again. "Yeah, I remember. She's...she's great. We both know that," he said as a matter of fact. "But...now my daughter too? You know I don't mind her stories about those magical creatures. In fact, I admire that she sticks to her beliefs no matter what people say. However, we both witnessed how hard it was for Luna in school. Everybody calling her Loony and all that."
"Lily will be alright, Harry. She's charming. She'll have great friends, just like Luna did."
"But what if the same that happened to Dudley happens to her?" She saw the frown in Harry's face. He was genuinely worried about his only daughter.
"We won't send Lily to a Healer for crazy people," she dismissed with a wave of her hand. "We are not your horrible aunt and uncle."
"Thank God we're not, but..." He turned to look at Ginny in the eyes. The worry in them was clear. "Last month... he came here and he asked me about... Well, he asked me if I could see Nargles and whatnot too."
"Okay," Ginny prompted squeezing his hand.
"And I mentioned Luna."
"I know. I didn't mean to! He just...he looked so miserable..."
"You are actually thinking about getting them together?"
"I'm sure they both would like to have someone they can talk and relate to."
"But what if-"
"Say no more. That's what's holding me back too."
Since he was eighteen, Dudley had gone for a run every night. No matter what. Rain, wind, snow, heat, hurricanes, tsunamis, earthquakes...nothing mattered. Every evening at six o'clock, Dudley Dursley puts on his running shoes and jogs through the streets of his neighbourhood to the huge park that leads into the woods. The park is filled with people when the weather is nice; children playing, old people going for a walk, others running and doing exercise.
This particular Tuesday, Dudley had already been running for an hour, thinking about coming back home, cooking some pasta and maybe finishing the work he had brought home. He was planning on taking Friday off and heading to Little Whinging to visit his parents. Even if they didn't approve of his life style, of the fact that he was more open-minded and willing to build a relationship with his wizard cousin, they were his parents. Besides, it wasn't all that bad getting spoiled for a weekend every once in a while...
As he mentally organized his schedule for the next few days, something Dudley could only describe as silvery, ethereal, and semi-transparent caught his eye. The creature looked like a hare, bouncing in the air between the trees that showed the beginning of the woods and the end of the public park. After all these years, Dudley had grown used to seeing creatures that others couldn't, calling him a lunatic. However, none of the many beasts he'd seen before made him feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Unconsciously, he got closer to the dense and dark woods, following the weird creature he had never seen before, seeking the warmth and comfort it offered.
Dudley couldn't help but smile as he dodged the tree branches, trying to keep up the hare's pace. Before he noticed it, the hare disappeared, making him aware of his surroundings. He stood in the middle of a clearing where he could barely see the dark sky. The irregular grass tingled his bare shins. Suddenly, a sound startled him.
"Who's there?" he said, squinting to see under the little light the moon cast. "Come out."
A blonde girl with long and tangled hair and big, grey eyes stepped out of the cover a tree trunk was offering. Her piercing wide eyes were as captivating as the silver hare that had brought him to that place.
"Hello," she said simply in a dreamy tone. Her sweet and childish voice made him relax instantly.
"Hi. Are...are you alright?"
"I am, thanks. How are you?"
Dudley frowned at her answer. That was not what he meant but she did seem pleased to see him. Was she lost? Was she following the hare too?
"I'm...confused," he confessed. "Can you- May I ask you a question?" he asked hesitatingly.
"Of course," she said with a small smile.
"Did you see-" He shook his head. No, of course she couldn't see the creature, just like nobody else could see the other weird things he could.
Her smile grew and her eyes sparkled with enthusiasm as she approached his side. "I did," she said, nodding in reassurance. "Can you see them too?" she said pointing to a small jar containing a couple of the same fairies he often saw in closed spaces. The jar floated in the air to her hand as she pointed to it with a stick.
He had seen that kind of stick before. Dudley couldn't help but gasp and take a small step back.
"You're one of-" Dudley flinched at what he was about to say. One of them. Bad habits are hard to forget. "You're a...a wizard?"
"A witch, technically."
He blushed lightly. "Oh, yes. Of course. Sorry."
"It's quite alright," she said in the most soothing voice he had ever heard. It unnerved him at the same time. Her looks, as well as her mannerism, were unique, hypnotizing and adorable. Just then did Dudley noticed his heart wouldn't stop beating uncontrollably in his chest.
"My...my cousin is a wizard. I'm sure you'll know him. His wife told me he's very famous because of a...war." He felt so silly saying these things aloud. It had all sounded like a fairytale to him and even if he had gotten used to seeing a...-magic wand was it called?-, the whole shock from the Wizarding community was still there.
"Hm. So, can you see these?" The girl asked, slightly waving the jar.
His eyes flickered to the familiar fairies. These were the creatures he saw most often. He remembered so clearly the first time he had seen them over his mother's head. He had been just four years old, but Dudley could recall the excitement he had felt very clearly.
Dudley nodded nervously. "Can you see them too?"
The girl bit her lower lip as she stared back at him. Dudley could tell she was beaming with excitement. He could understand the thrill it felt to have someone being able to see those creatures too. For the first time in his life, he didn't feel so alone.
Not answering him, she skipped towards him. Her long hair flew around her and her big earrings dangled around her pale face. Dudley couldn't move. He couldn't even breath. Was this witch hypnotizing him?
Next thing he knew, the girl supported her weight on his broad shoulders as her lips sought for his, engulfing them in a tender kiss that made him dizzy.
"See you soon, Dudley," she whispered against his face. Her enticing grey eyes buried into his, making him shiver in response.
However, the second she turned to leave, Dudley recovered his senses, grasping her wrist as gently as he could.
"Wait. How do you know my name?"
His only answer was a teasing smile that crossed her face. Then, her other hand grabbed his and swifted it off the one he was holding.
"Will...will I see you again?" He flinched at how childish and desperate he sounded.
She nodded softly, taking the magic wand in her hand.
"Don't go. Please."
She looked at him for a second before lifting her small hand to caress his cheek.
"Tell me your name," he whispered, physically restraining himself from taking her in his arms and forcing her to never leave his side ever again.
"Maybe next moon," she said in her dreamy voice, turning around, lifting the magic wand in her hand and disappearing as soon as he blinked.
As soon as she had come into his life, she had gone. Dudley could only hope for her to return soon. It was almost surreal the effect she had on him with just a few confusing minutes. The jar with the fairies was still floating in the air, where she had left it as soon as she went to kiss him. Walking towards it, he studied the creatures for a minute before opening the tap and letting them free.
"Please, bring her back," he wished aloud as they flew into the woods.
Ginny was about to get to bed after a long day. Harry was working late and the kids had just gone to bed. Putting the clean dishes in the cupboards with a flick of her wand, she heard the small crack of apparation from the backyard.
"Harry?" she wondered out loud.
Surprised at seeing Luna running to the house, Ginny rushed to open the door.
"Luna! Are you alright? What's wrong?"
"I just came to tell you you were wrong," Luna said with a huge smile, hugging her friend tightly.
Ginny couldn't help but smile. Luna was radiating from happiness. "What?"
"You and Harry. You were wrong. He's wonderful."
"I heard you. The other day."
"He can see Nargles, Ginny!" she said with a big, watery smile. Her wide eyes flickered under the moonlight with tears. "I told you they were real."
Ginny laughed. She couldn't remember the last time she had seen her friend so happy. Being wrong at times like these was more than worth it.
A/N: Please don't forget to review! :)