"Mr. Dursley, you have a phone call on line seven," The secretary, Alison Brooks, informed Dudley as he sat at his office desk, finishing off on paper work. He finally finished the Brandon case and with a victory. He was now getting material he needed from the Grim case, looking over the Kay v Lambeth LBC; Price v Leeds CC ruling to see if that would be helpful before Grim's tenants came flocking into his office.
"Who is it?" Dudley asked peevishly, upset that he had been interrupted just after he just got down to his work.
"A woman from the Suffolk Historical Society, calling in concern of some memorial." Alison explained. Dudley picked up the phone, moved the arrow forward and placed it on speaker. He couldn't help but become confused to why they would be contacting him. What did it have to do with him? He didn't think that he had any connections with Suffolk, personal or business.
"Hello, may I speak to Mr. Dudley Dursley?" A woman asked urgently.
"Speaking," Dudley answered politely.
"Good. Mr. Dursley, this is Mrs. Wavney, and I am calling in concern of a memorial in memory of Sergeant Harry Evans, which is to be dedicated to him this coming summer," The woman explained crisply, speaking with a tone of high honor. "We were hoping to have some of his family here to help dedicate it…. A simply splendid idea, if you ask me."
"It is," Dudley answered sarcastically. "So why are you calling me about it?"
"You are the son of Petunia Evans Dursley?" Mrs. Wavney asked.
"Yes," Dudley responded slowly.
"Do you have an Aunt Lily?"
"Yes," Dudley answered wearily, wondering how this woman found out so much information about him.
"Then you are the right Dudley… I am talking about Harry Evans…during World War II, he and his crew of the Royal Air Force went into battle with the Nazis. He chased them out, his plane was bombed and then crashed, but he survived anyway. He saved many lives. I'm surprised to be telling you this, considering he is your grandfather," the woman said, stunned. "He certainly saved this place, I can tell you that."
"Yes," Dudley agreed with a calm voice, not wanting to sound clueless on the phone. A confident voice has been something he has been able to master over the years.
"Well, good, I hope you can come, as this is in honor of your grandfather," the woman said. "I will send you an invitation. We are trying to contact your cousin. Do you mind forwarding it to him? We can't find his address anywhere."
"Sure," Dudley answered.
"Hello, Dudley," Petunia answered, recognizing the caller ID on her mobile as she sat outside on a lawn chair of her home.
"Hi, Mum. I just got a call from the Suffolk Historical Society, concerning a memorial," Dudley brought up. "It was about your father."
"What about him?" Petunia asked, surprised. She hadn't brought up the subject of her father in decades, neither with her son or nephew. Her childhood wasn't something worth mentioning. It was rather anxious, thinking about him. In other ways it was rather calming as the image of his calloused hands and his musky working man smell came back to her.
"Out of curiosity, what happened to the medals?" Dudley asked.
"Well… I expressed my complaint about it after he died. Your aunt, for some odd reason, still found it just as amazing as she did when she was a child. She took the medals and claimed it would have a special place in her house." Petunia explained as she rolled her eyes at the last memory.
"Marge?" Dudley asked, confused.
"No… your other aunt," Petunia explained quickly. "Even after seven years of going to that school, the medal still fascinated her. She did something to it, so nothing would happen to it. Then she said that when you and Harry were old enough, she was going to tell both of you how Harry Evans, your grandfather, was a self-sacrificing hero."
"She planned to include me?" Dudley asked. He had never heard much of Harry's mother. Then again, it was probably because he'd never asked. He'd always assume Harry's parents would have resented them the same way his parents resented Harry.
"Yes," Petunia answered. "We sort of lost touch after that; they sent you that birthday card when you were one. I think she wanted you and Harry to get along."
"Oh," Dudley responded, not quite knowing what to say. "Well, Mum, I have to go now. I'll talk about this...later."
Dudley let out a sigh. His cousin was clearly more successful than him. Dudley was divorced, his ex-wife had remarried and he only saw his two children, Violet and Vernon, during the holidays and sometimes during the weekends of the summer months. Talking to his thirteen year old, Violet was like talking to a brick wall. Vernon was always reluctant to go back to his mother's house. He wished he could provide more for his children, but he simply couldn't, due to custody agreements which he didn't agree with. He still did the best he could. So finding some information about his family tree may be good, maybe it would be something that would interest his children, make them want to spend time with their father. Dudley barely saw them. They hardly saw their grandmother, and saw his cousin as some guy related to Dad.
"Afternoon, Honey," Ginny greeted as Harry entered the room to see his wife doing her work in the kitchen, next to their daughter Lily, who was drawing.
"Afternoon." Harry leaned over to kiss her, and then put his briefcases down to observe what Lily was drawing.
"Guess what?" Lily said happily.
"What?" Harry asked.
"You got something in the Muggle mail," she said with an interested grinned.
"Really?" Harry questioned, surprised.
"Yes, you got a letter from your aunt," Ginny said quietly as she handed it to Harry. They tried to keep it quiet to prevent Lily's questions. He opened it and was surprised by what it had to say:
I don't know how you will react to this request, but keep in mind it is not about me. As you already know, I am approaching old age. I now realize that I need to tell you and Dudley about your family history. I should have done this when you were teenagers, but things were complicated back then. Your mother planned to be the family historian, as I had no interest in it at that time. So I now have the responsibility of making sure the Evans history is passed down.
So I would like to make arrangements for your family and Dudley's children to meet with me, so I can show an old photo album of my parents. I have just recently found it after decades in storage. There are stories and lessons within these pictures that can't be lost. This will most likely take place over the summer holidays.
First, I would like to get together with you and Dudley to tell you about my father. I am considering this coming Saturday. It will take more than one afternoon, and has to be told orally, a letter simply can't explain the grandfather your mother admired so much. She named you after him. I feel that I owe it to her, to tell you about him and the legacy he left inside us Evans', in person. I don't want the next generation not to forget that we have roots of nobility. A count from Russia is still a count, and his grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and now great-great grandchildren have that blood line in us.
Please contact me, you know my number.
"What did she write to you about?" Ginny asked curiously.
"She wants Dudley and me to meet with her, so she can tell us our family history." Harry answered, unsure if this was the reason he wanted to meet with her.
"Sounds interesting... What made her decide this?" Ginny pondered, considering it was a random request.
"I don't know," Harry answered slowly.
"I guess we'll find out," Ginny said with a shrug. It wouldn't hurt to at least hear what she has to say.
Eileen Snape, you are truly one of the most annoying people I have ever met in my entire life.
Harry Evans dealt with his fair share of annoying people, but Eileen Snape seemed to top them all. The woman just came to his house with a plate of food, pretending he would need some cheering up after his last treatment. Harry should have figured her true motive was to find someone she could force to listen to her never ending gossip. The woman blabbed endlessly about who was doing what in Cokeworth. He truly couldn't care less about his neighbors, or other such nonsense. He always had a theory: people like you or they don't like you. He told his daughters time and time again, 'It's better to be hated for who you are than to be loved for someone you're not.'
Harry knew he was of a tougher lot than most people; he became that way by accident. Even before his years with dealing teenaged daughters…but that was just a whole other test for him. Not every father has to go out in the middle of the night and head to a party to hunt down a girl in the too-short dress to drag her home. Not every father had to get up in the wee morning hours to send an owl in order to solve the crisis of a young girl forgetting her make-up case at home.
Eileen was going on about what's-her-name, someone living at Spinner's End, when Harry interrupted about someone who mattered. "How is that son of yours?"
"Severus. I do not know. I haven't had a really good talk with him in a while." Eileen sighed. "He has been awfully distant lately, not telling us much about what's going on-which worries me a little, considering whom he might be involved with…" She then trailed off nervously.
He probably knows you will blab it to every person you run into at the grocery store, Harry thought to himself.
"I'm sure he's not dumb enough to get mixed in with the wrong crowd, but if he does, he'll pull through and get himself back on the right track." Harry let out another huff. "He just needs to get back on his feet and keep going."
"I'm sure," Eileen said, not mentioning her heartbreak when he didn't show up at the last Yom Kippur. She wasn't going to buy the lie that he had nothing to atone for. She didn't want to nag her son, but it was going to get to that point.
Harry liked Severus, even after he and Lily broke off their friendship, for whatever reason. Harry still took an interest in Severus. He was the kind of kid that needed a strong, tough, role model in his life growing up, the kind that wouldn't put up with excuses for failure. Harry got away with being tough on him.
"I did inform him of your illness and he said he would give his sympathies, but you wouldn't want that." Eileen sighed as the two let out light laughter.
"He knows me well," Harry chuckled. He made that clear to the young neighbor boy that the Evans's didn't expect pity from others, and didn't like getting special treatment for any reason. They knew how to overcome obstacles without others feeling sorry for them. He learned that growing up as a poor orphan boy: others' sympathies wouldn't change their situation.
"Anyway, how about you? Are you doing alright?" Eileen had asked that about ten times in the past hour.
"Oh, I'm doing fine," he responded both merrily and sarcastically at the same time. "Just a tumor in my lungs, liver, heart, and kidney … but, besides that, everything is just bright as day."
"You are very strong-willed, for a Muggle," she remarked as he got out a cigarette. She lit it for him, making her the preferable caretaker. Eileen could do whatever she pleased in his house, except mow the lawn. That one, Harry liked to save for James, out of entertainment purposes. He had to admit it was nice of her to stop by with lunch, and then offer to tidy up the place for him. He lowered his pride enough to take in the company of a kind heart.
"I'm just not use to being taken care of," Harry explained. That was what annoyed him the most. He wasn't used to having to rely on someone for help. "I've been on my own since I was a boy. Let me tell you one thing though. No matter how impossible it may seem, there has been one thing that we Evans's tend to be, normally not by our own fault."
"What's that?" Eileen asked, letting out a puff of smoke into the air.