A/N: Hello All!
It's been a little while since I've posted anything. Sorry about that...
This fic when completed shouldn't be more than five chapter. A ficlet, I think it's called? Anyway, it will be about Dudley's year, meeting muggle born teens, listening to Potterwatch, reading the Quibbler, and learning about the Magical world. As corny as it is, Dudley needs to 'find himself'.
Anyway, please read and enjoy. Second chapter is almost done, and I'd appreciate feedback before I post it, to know what direction people think I should go in, and to see how chapter one is recieved.
Thank you for your support in advance, and for anyone who has read and reviewed any of my other stories! You guys are the reason I keep writing and posting!
Disclaimer: I do not in any way own Harry Potter. If I did, then Fred Weasley and Sirius Black would still be alive, not to mention Hedwig and Dobby...
It had been a very long four hours, and Dudley Dursley was getting sick of sitting in his father's company car, squished next to his mother and an unfamiliar lady, feeling hot, sweaty, tired, and hungry. And now it was pitch dark out as well, and creepy driving along deserted roads.
As if sensing his thoughts, the lady, Hestia Jones, Dudley remembered, looked over with a small sympathetic smile.
"I know it's been a long day, but we had to stay moving for this long. I'll explain more later, but there's no time now. We're almost there. So not too much longer, and then we can stretch our legs."
Dudley smiled in relief, forgetting momentarily that this nice woman was one of the freaks that his parents didn't want him speaking to, socializing with, or smiling and looking at.
"Thank you, that does sound nice," he replied softly, and then the car descended into silence again, except for the quiet noises Dedalus Diggle made when pointing to which turn Mr. Dursley should take.
Of course, that ended when Vernon Dursley saw the most recent turn Dedalus indicated. His nice, shiny, new, expensive company car was sitting on a dirt road leading into a forest.
"I'm not taking my car into that place!" he spoke for the first time in over three and a half hours, pointing into the dark trees with a shaking, meaty finger as he snapped, "It would be the death of my car!"
"My good sir!" Mr. Diggle, Dudley observed, didn't seem to understand that his parents didn't like their kind, and that Vernon didn't appreciate his enthusiasm and kindness. Hestia at least just ignored them- she seemed to take an instant dislike to both adults while still at the house on Privet Drive with Harry.
Mr. Diggle continued, "Of course I would never ask you to drive your car down that path!" Vernon looked relieved for a moment— until the short man spoke again. "No, we simply needed to get far away and get the car out of sight. It wouldn't do for muggles to question such a nice car left sitting around now, would it? We are going to apparate to out next destination. Everyone out!" He seemed so enthusiastic as he bounced out of his seat, Hestia following immediately. She obviously didn't want to be in the car with the Dursleys longer than necessary.
Dudley parents, however, looked like they were in shock.
"Leave, leave it…" was all Vernon was capable of saying. Petunia, on the other hand, looked green like she was going to be sick.
"She and that boy talked about apparation, and then one summer she popped out of nowhere, scaring the daylights out of us normal people…" she trailed off, but Dudley had heard enough. It sounded like teleporting, and kind of neat. Maybe he could learn a bit about his cousin's world on this forced vacation? He'd never asked questions, just criticized and taunted. He would make up for lost time, Dudley decided as he turned to his parents.
"Mum, dad," he said, and both snapped out of their shock to look at him, "I'm getting out now, and you should too. We don't know where we are, and you wouldn't want Hestia to leave without you. We've taken their protection, and Harry shouldn't have even offered us any, not after how we've treated him. C'mon."
He didn't wait for his parents' reactions, knowing how shocked they'd be. But it was all true, even if he hadn't realized until this last year how horrid he'd been. He'd never spoken to his parents that way before, calmly demanding instead of throwing a fit, and he was surprised at how good it felt. He exited the car with a smile, turning his considerable weight to Hestia and Dedalus.
He was just in time to see a silver blur fly to Hestia, but with their backs to him he couldn't see it's shape- just hear it's voice. It was deep, and very calm, though with an undertone of sorrow. Too big of a voice for something that didn't look like much more than silver fog—was it some kind of message?
"Mission accomplished, but you need to be very careful. They knew the day somehow, so there must be an informant that we wouldn't guess. There were dozens on brooms waiting for us, and the big guy himself was there. He went after Harry himself and the boy barely got out, but he's at a safe location now. I just left, but his friends were reassuring him. Keep your eyes open, both of you. We're mostly ok, some of us have injuries, but we lost Madeye." At this Dudley was shocked to hear a gasp from Dedalus the same time as Hestia actually burst into tears. "Remember to keep his motto today- Constant Vigilance! Get yourselves to safety. Arthur said to tell you he'd be by later, probably with Bill or Charlie. He can tell you more details then."
The tension was tight enough to cut with a knife as Dedalus and Hestia stood in horrified silence. Feeling a presence behind him, Dudley turned to see his parents. But apparently the sight of cool and collected Hestia sobbing into Dedalus's shoulder was enough to stop any muttering Petunia would've done, or to pause Vernon before any of his rude comments left his mouth.
"What happened?" Dudley's mother hissed to him out of the corner of her mouth.
"Dunno," Dudley shrugged his large shoulders, "but I think they just got a message. It said they'd lost someone… like someone died." Dudley looked up at his parents. This war was more than an abstract idea that had torn them from their home. People were dying, and the Dursley family was helpless against the threat.
Vernon and Petunia were most likely fearing for their safety, but Dudley remembered the message he'd heard.
Harry was at the center of this conflict, and he would be until the end. The small, rag wearing, scrawny boy that Dudley had always tormented throughout their childhoods was in the center of a war that could destroy their world— or at least their lives.
And that was where Dudley Dursley made his vow: a vow that would shape his life for the next year.
No matter where they ended up, how his parents reacted, or what they said, Dudley was making the most of this 'vacation'. For some unknown reason, Harry had gotten them protection when they didn't deserve it. And it had taken Dudley sixteen years to realize Harry wasn't the enemy. It was only this summer that Dudley realized instead of fearing his cousin for years, he should've been asking him questions and learning about this other world.
But he hadn't. So he'd start now. Dedalus seemed a perfect place to begin, as he hadn't taken an instant dislike to the family of three like Hestia had (though that was understandable after how she'd seen them treat Harry, and Dudley, slow as he was, could already tell that wizards loved Harry) and he was always happy and ready to help.
And if they were left in a wizarding place, then there would be lots of people to help him.
Dudley was so caught up in his thinking that he had barely noticed when a still teary Hestia had come up and gripped his arm before twisting away.
He did notice (with a yelp) when it felt like he was being pulled through a tube, and squeezed in all directions.
But then, with his father's rants and mother's gasps as background noise with Dedalus's hurried explanations and apologies, Dudley gazed upon the clearing they'd entered. It seemed to be in the middle of a forest, and the four-story manor house didn't look all that impressive. (Bar the size of course.)
But the darkness of clearing, and the wind rustling through the trees, the stars twinkling above through the branches of the trees and the lights blazing through the many glass windows gave the sight a magical feel.
And Dudley couldn't wait.
"Welcome," Hestia said softly, in a voice still hoarse from tears, "to hideaway manor."
Okay, so what did you all think?
Thank you for taking the time to read this. Because it's kind of like a prologue, it was a little short. The future chapters will likely be at least double this one.
Please review and tell me what you think!