The Start of Something New
Rating: K+ I think slight bad language by Dudley.
Disclaimer: I have no rights to these characters, they being the sole property of JK Rowling and am making no money from said story.
After the Incident with the Dementors Dudley has made peace of a sort with Harry. This is hopefully the furtherance of their friendship / family relationship after they leave school and move on to adult life.
The Start of Something New
Chapter 34: Exams, Ennoblements And Espousals.
Gabrielle and I apparated into the ministry individually under our own power and started off towards our own offices after a quick kiss. I couldn't wait to see the expression on Harry's face when I revealed my new wand, that was going to be priceless, and it was all his fault. There was a hand written memo on the desk, which after some difficulty reading I thought said 'return to sender' on my arrival. I folded the note and threw it into the air. The paper plane flew out my door, turned right and out of my sight. I quickly put it from my mind and looked at the paperwork on my desk, mostly routine, nothing that really warranted my attention, just a couple of reports.
I looked up as someone came into the office, Harry followed by Kingsley, "well Dudley, seems you've still got magic, that memo, could only be sent by someone with it, so what did Mr. Ollivander say?"
Damn! That was half the fun taken out of my revelation, they knew I still had magic, should have anticipated that one. I looked up glaringly at Harry, "it was all your fault!" The look on his face was priceless, shock and almost fear at the fury behind my words. "When you adopted me as a brother, you gave me a power boost of some kind, caused me to be too powerful for my own wand. Anytime I use that wand I'll have the risk of similar consequences."
He looked quite apologetic, "sorry Dudley I didn't think it could have that sort of complication, I've never heard of anything similar!"
I looked up at them both, Kingsley in the rear had a smile on his face, but Harry looked stricken as if he'd dealt me a crippling blow. "you should look bad, Harry, the trouble I caused Mr. Ollivander trying to find a wand that would work for me, he must gone through a couple of dozen till he found this." I held up my new wand.
Harry just looked stunned at the new wand in my hand, but Kingsley came forward to shake my hand, "congratulations Dudley, a most apt demonstration of the Flamel effect; might I ask what your wand is?"
The minister evidently knew of the incident that Gabrielle had spoken of this morning, about Nicholas Flamel, but Harry again looked puzzled, glancing from the minister to me and back. This was fun. "Olive wood and phoenix feather minister, Mr. Ollivander said it was a feather from a female phoenix, the only one he ever used." Well the expression on Harry's face, I think he'll have to retrieve his jaw from the floor, such shock.
"You've got a phoenix feather in your wand, that's weird, because..."
"I know; you have as well! Mr. Ollivander told me, but yours is from a male phoenix, Fawkes, I think he said, mine is from a female phoenix."
"I didn't know there were male and female phoenix, I thought they were reborn from their own ashes!"
"Just shows that you never took N.E.W.T. Care of Magical Creatures, you'd have learnt about them in the seventh year. A phoenix will mate once in its life and the female will lay 2 eggs; one male and one female. In the event of one of the parents dying a permanent death, such as happened when Fawkes immolated himself in the fire of Dumbledore's tomb, the eggs begin to hatch, but can only fully hatch under the right circumstances. They need fire to hatch completely. Since Dumbledore's phoenix died, I haven't heard of any new eggs hatching, but the eggs must be out there somewhere or phoenixes will die out completely."
Harry was looking the minister in shock at this little titbit of information, Harry had obviously heard a little, as Dumbledore had had a phoenix. We both listened further as Kingsley explained that until its parent died the egg could sit in a blast furnace and never hatch or sit in front of wizard on his desk forever and never be seen as more than a curious stone, but in the right circumstances the egg would make itself known and hatching could begin. Of course this happened so rarely that no one knew what the right circumstances where. It was all down to blind luck.
Now that I was a fully fledged wizard with a proper wand of my own instead of the magical crutch that I'd had before Kingsley was even more adamant than ever that I get my N.E.W.T.s done as quickly as possible. He was most interested to see if the excellent grades I'd got in my O.W.L.s would improve or if it was all just natural skill. More bloody exams. I knew one thing I wasn't going to be revising as hard for these as I had for the O.W.L.s; I'd grown sick of the sight of textbooks, if I didn't know it now! Tough!
So it was that a schedule of exams was set up and I began the dreadful task of passing yet another set. I was surprised how much better I did in some subjects than before, Muggle Studies, Arithmancy, Care of Magical Creatures, Ancient Runes, Herbology and History of Magic seemed much like I remembered, no real magic was wanted or needed in the exams, just plain old fashioned knowledge. Same old boring type of exam I'd had all through school; write an essay on this; discuss that; blah, blah, blah.
Transfiguration was a massive shock though, instead of transforming the desk into a hippogriff, as asked, I managed to transfigure all six desks in the small cubicle in the ministry where I was taking my exam. The shock on the examiners face as he reversed the spell was one to behold; I don't know how he marked me on that, the power I must have put behind it though impressed the hell out of me! Big change from not being able to transfigure a teabag into a cup of tea. Charms was very similar, It felt so much easier, I didn't put nearly so much effort into getting the spells to work and suffered no major mishaps that I could see, and indeed the examiner seemed to be smiling when everything was all over, a good sign in my opinion.
Potions wasn't that much different, but it felt different, easier, I have no justification for this, it just felt easier, more natural somehow. Astrology wasn't too bad, despite having to take the exam in the middle of the night, I managed quite easily in my identification of several obscure constellations, such as Corvus, Cetus, and the markers and stars in the Egyptian Astrological calendar as required.
My Defence Against the Dark Arts exam was a great success; I successfully managed to ward off all the illusory dark creatures that were hurled at me by my examiner. The worst was the dementor he sent at me; I'd never summoned up a patronus before, I'd been told the theory by Hogwarts, the castle and Harry that you needed a strong powerful happy memory; but at first all I could remember was that night in Little Whinging when one of those disgusting things had attacked me. Summoning up my courage I thought of when Gabrielle had accepted my proposal; kept the memory strong in my mind, "Expecto Patronum." A brilliant white light shot from the end of my wand, resolving itself into the shape of a short eared owl, pushing the fake dementor away as if it had been shot from a cannon and knocking the examiner off his stool as it passed him.
The examiner got himself to his feet and looked at me with a broad grin on his face, "excellent, my dear boy, most impressive, one of the few Patronuses I've seen with some actual substance behind them." I could live with this fellow calling me boy; I swear he looked old enough to have examined Solomon, let alone Dumbledore.
Divination, what can I say about that, my tesseomancy, (reading tea leaves), was a joke, all I could see was myself talking to a centaur, whilst walking on water, what a joke! Cartomancy, (telling the future by Tarot Cards), was even worse, but I spoke out what I saw to the examiner. "The Horseman will make peace from his home, when the king is in the house of the whale." I mean what absolute drivel, but that's what I could see in the cards, what utter rot"
But eventually everything was over by the end of February and I was free to enjoy myself outside work, spending time with Gabrielle, and Harry and his family, I loved the time I spent with my godson, such a cheerful chappy. At times I'm sure he barely tolerated me, especially when his favourite playmate was there; Harry's godson Teddy; Teddy could keep him occupied for hours as he changed his appearance, first with rabbit ears, then a horses face, James would giggle playfully for hours watching this.
I'd told Harry that I wanted him to be the best man at my wedding and where we were hoping to actually get married. Our choice for the priest at the wedding surprised him a little until the meanings behind it all were clear and I think it touched him slightly. I never actually saw him crying the night we told him, but it was a close run thing, the link back to his parents and all.
It was the middle of March when I received an owl from M. and Mme. Delacour to appraise me of the final details, Gabrielle and I would be married on the 30th April, nearly a month before my twenty fifth birthday; everything had been arranged. They wanted to know if they should post the invitations to my parents or would I like to deliver them in person
I gave Gabrielle a questioning look, and she seemed to think handing the invitations over in person would be the best option, which was in agreement with my own feelings on the matter, so we sent a reply back with the owl saying we would deliver them by hand and asking that they send the invitations to us by return. I phoned Mum and Dad to say that we would be over to dinner at theirs the next Sunday, but try as I might to make it sound like a casual visit, I'm sure Mum cottoned on to something.
The invitations for Mum, Dad and Aunt Marge arrived at mine on the Thursday morning, in plenty of time for us to take them with us on the Sunday, so everything was ready for the day, my only problem was going to be Dad. I just hoped the idea of having all Gabrielle's extended family there wouldn't freak him out too much, all those witches and wizards. Since admitting to me that his rants against Harry had been due to fear, he tried his best to be nice to myself and Gabrielle, and so far he'd been most polite, if a little distant or nervous around Gabrielle, her being a witch.
I knocked on the door of Mum and Dad's that Sunday morning, hoping that the day would progress in a pleasant manner. The only major difference in the decor of the hall, that I could see, was a stair lift on the wall, hopefully not for Dad as he'd lost quite a bit of weight and was looking better than I'd seen him in years. As he showed me into the lounge, I was surprised to find a third person there, Aunt Marge, well that explained the stair lift, her health had been bad for a few years and obviously she couldn't climb stairs very well. Mum had obviously realised a bit more from my phone call than I gave her credit for and invited her as well. Saved me getting directions to her new place from Dad.
Mum came from the kitchen with a tray all set up for tea and sat down on the sofa next to Gabrielle, her usual seat being occupied by aunt Marge, she poured tea for all of us and looked at me over the brim of her cup. "Well, Dudley, Gabrielle why the sudden desire to have Sunday dinner with your parents?" No fooling her then, she had known something was up. Gabrielle reached into her handbag and withdrew two stiff envelopes. One addressed to Mr. and Mrs. V. Dursley, the other to Miss M. Dursley. I took them from her and handed them over. Mum opened the one addressed to her and Dad and read:
To Mr. and Mrs. Vernon Dursley.
M. and Mme. Delacour
Cordially invite You to celebrate the marriage of
Their daughter Gabrielle Marie Delacour
Dudley Vernon Dursley
At The Cathédrale Saint-Bénigne de Dijon
Saturday 30th April 2005. 11am.
We hope you will be able to attend this joyous occasion.
Mum looked up from reading the letter, tears in her eyes, "that's wonderful Dudley! And a real cathedral too?" I did point out to her that it was the local church of her family and the service would be done by a priest who was related to Gabby by marriage, his local parish being in England though, somewhere called Godric's Hollow. Her eyebrows had risen slightly at this last little bit of information and she took a handkerchief from her pocket and she dabbed at her eyes.
Dad had looked at me, when he heard the location for the wedding and for a few minutes had kept glancing across at Aunt Marge and thinking hard. "Dudley, why a French church, won't it be a little odd to have the wedding in French and everything else?" I could definitely see his fear in those words, he was expecting magic at the wedding, and his glance at aunt Marge sort of iced the cake in that regard; she being the only member of my immediate family that had no idea of that side of the family.
"No Dad! The wedding will be in English, that's why we got Father Niall, it's quite acceptable to the local priest, Niall being a family member; and most of Gabrielle's family speak very good English, it's taught in their schools." A bit of a lie, the wedding could have been taken place in Sanskrit, Urdu or any language you cared to mention, but everyone would hear it in their own language, one of the benefits of the charms on the church; I'd spoken to Gabrielle about this, the same charms were also over the reception rooms at the church where the reception after would be taking place.
Aunt Marge looked up from her invite, "very nice Dudley, but I may have to decline from attending, my health you know?" I assured everyone that that would not be a problem; if any of my relatives wished to attend my future parents-in-law were prepared to pay for accommodation at a local hotel for the Friday and Saturday nights and all travel! I'd discussed this with them at the New Year when the idea was first broached and indeed offered to pay this myself if necessary, but had been assured there was no need.
Dad was a little concerned over my choice of best man, considering the way he's been treated by us as a family when he was growing up and I could see the panic in his eyes at the prospect of meeting him again. A bit understandable, he'd been portkeyed home from Bristol, one of the times he'd seen Harry and suffered a heart attack the next. Mum and Marge were adamant he had nothing to fear from him, indeed Marge was the most eloquent in his defence; bit of a surprise to me, but she really had changed her attitude to my cousin since he'd arranged for her to visit Dad in hospital when he had his heart attack. Eventually he had stopped any protests he might have had, but I could see that he was still worried.
Much to my surprise, I actually had a pleasant day with my relatives, and left later than I anticipated, after a very enjoyable dinner and a light tea later. Dad was taking Aunt Marge back to the home where she lived when Gabby and I were getting ready to leave as well. Mum looked at me as I was getting into my leathers to drive home, "I think I detected a couple of lies in you, this afternoon young man. If Gabrielle's family are all wizard folk won't they be wearing robes, what about your Dad and Aunt seeing that? Your father might accept it, having seen that sort of thing before, but what about Marge?"
"The cathedral is spelled Mum, wards against the veela allure, against muggles seeing magic, and indeed charms for language, that's partly why we chose it. They'll notice nothing out of the ordinary during the ceremony; the hall where the reception is taking place is similarly spelled. You'll be able to see through the illusions if you carry your special wand, but those two will remain blissfully ignorant."
"Very well Dudley, I understand, it's very generous of her parents to fund all this, have you any ideas where you'd like to go for honeymoon, and maybe your father and I could assist you with that?"
Gabrielle and I had both talked about our honeymoon, but as yet had made no arrangements, as until now we hadn't known the date of the wedding, "Gabrielle and I were discussing going to Massachusetts in the states, neither of us have been that far abroad, and strictly in confidence we thought we might look at the Salem Academy of Magic, it's one of three very good schools in the States. Compare curriculums and things like that, not that we'll be sending our children there, but out of curiosity, you understand?"
"Sounds fascinating, at least allow your father and I to pay for that, plane tickets, accommodation etc. It's the least we could do!"
"Well we were planning to travel by international portkey, it's quicker than a plane; but if you still wanted to pay for that, I could give you the phone number for the International Portkey Office at the ministry and you could make enquiries!" She nodded to this, so I gave her the number and Gabrielle and I departed for London.
It was Thursday 14th April that I received an owl with the results of my N.E.W.T.s and like the last time I had an audience as I opened the envelope, Gabrielle, Kingsley and Harry were all in my office waiting to see how I had done this time in my exams. Swallowing and with a certain sense of trepidation, I opened the envelope.
Please find enclosed the results of the N.E.W.T. exams taken by yourself earlier at the beginning of the year, it is with great pleasure that I enclose your results and say that I am most impressed and if you had been attending Hogwarts would have been the most qualified student of your year.
Ancient Runes O.
Care of Magical Creatures E.
Defence Against the Dark Arts O+.
History of Magic O.
Muggle Studies O.
I must say again that I am extremely pleased with these results; I only wish I could take credit for them as one of your teachers. Best wishes for the future.
Harry looked at me, "bloody hell Dudley, where were you keeping those brains when you were a kid, I've never seen such grades, and I've never even heard of an O+ grade, I thought the highest was O!"
Kingsley was looking at me, with a very pleased expression on his face, "very impressive, young man. I honestly think I should stop referring to you as a muggle anymore, you've definitely proved you're not. I definitely must convene the Wizengamot and get your status changed to wizard, half-blood at least." I looked at him in awe, although I could do magic I had been a muggle to everyone at work, I would officially become a recognised wizard, with all the rights and privileges that went with that. "yes, I believe that is definitely in order! Congratulations, my boy!"
Gabrielle rushed up give me a kiss that would have resulted in us falling in a heap to the floor if I hadn't been backed up against the wall of my office. Kingsley and Harry were turning to leave my office, and give Gabrielle and I a little privacy when there was a loud chime from somewhere and a small gold bound scroll was sitting on my desk. It certainly looked impressive I must admit. Everybody was looking hard at the scroll and at me with disbelief in their eyes. What was so special about a scroll? I admit its method of arrival had been a bit out of the ordinary.
Harry looked completely shaken by this and Kingsley wasn't that much different. He swallowed hard and looked at me, "I think you should open your scroll Dudley! I certainly wasn't expecting this!"
I looked up at him, puzzlement in my eyes, but reached for the scroll and opened it:
Let it hereby be recognised that Dudley Vernon Dursley is granted full right and privilege as a Lord of The Wizarding Court of Charlemagne. Through right of blood and descent, through unempowered female lineage.
Let it be known that being the first of his line in long standing to be of male descent and having Magical Potential that he be granted all Legal Status and Standing as A Head of House.
Set and Sealed this Date Thursday 14th April in the Year of Our Lord Twenty Hundred and Five.
At the bottom of this were several wax seals and a gold seal, looking very impressive and important in the way old fashioned documents used to. I looked at Kingsley and Harry, who were both equally stunned by the contents of the scroll I had just read out.
"Well! Mr. Dursley, I must say you are full of surprises. The more usual route through which such a thing happens these days is that the Wizengamot will decide to grant Head of House status on some worthy individual, this is the first time in over 500 years that I have heard of a proper ennoblement from the Court of Charlemagne itself, the last one I heard of was in France when Nicholas Flamel, an ordinary muggle alchemist created the philosophers stone and on drinking it made himself an immortal wizard. He, when he found himself unable to father more children, adopted his own natural born children as wizard kin by blood magic. Much the same as Harry did to you recently. Those children went on to form the Fleming family that is still of pureblood status to this day!"
I looked at everyone in stunned amazement; "but that's impossible, Charlemagne was king over 1200 years ago, his empire no longer exists. This must be a joke!"
"No Joke Dudley! The basis of our society was set in motion by the Emperor Charlemagne himself; it was his court that set out the first set of Wizarding Laws that are upheld by the Wizengamot and the International Confederation of Wizardry, the ICW, to this day.
"Does this mean that my status as Lord Potter came to me, through the Court of Charlemagne as well, the same as the Black's, and Malfoy's?"
"Oh yes. The Potters' and the Malfoys' are both primary families; the Blacks' were a Tertiary family. Dudley would be let me see, a quinary family, or fifth family. The fact that his status was actually granted by the power of the Court itself is of vast significance. If the Wizengamot grants that status, then the individual is just a head of house, only the Court itself has the right to grant a patent of wizarding nobility; that never being given to the Wizengamot."
"Bloody hell Dudley, congratulations; Lord Dursley." He looked at Kingsley, "how come this was never taught at school; I found out I was Lord Potter only on going through my family accounts and ledgers."
"Normally this is explained to a son by his father, yours of course died before he could explain it all to you. It would have been all made clear to you when you became 25 and took your family seat on the Wizengamot."
"Fascinating, I still wish I'd known before this, but you're right I probably would have been told by my father, if he'd lived. It must be a fascinating history to learn more about; unfortunately I've been put off learning history thanks to Binns, honestly the most boring teacher I've encountered." He looked at me and then the minister, "What I don't understand is these O+ grades that Dudley has just got on his exams. I thought O was the highest grade and he tops that; I'll admit I'm a little envious that he beat my result in Defence, but I'm still curious as to how?"
"Well; Harry, Dudley there is a reason for those + grades; in Defence, Dudley not only managed to manifest a corporeal patronus as you can, but his patronus had some physical aspect to it as well, he managed to knock his examiner off his stool, almost unheard of. In Divination it appears that Dudley made a genuine prophecy and a copy was automatically recorded in the department of mysteries. The archives you damaged a few years ago were only the copies of original prophesies, there for consultation purposes by the Unspeakables. Don't get me wrong, they were protected in the way you were informed, in that only yourself or Voldemort could take your particular prophecy from the shelf, but it is possible for one of the Unspeakables to examine such a copy in the archive there to see whether or not part or all of it has come true. The original copies of all prophecies were and are kept in a spell locked vault that no one has access to. They cannot be destroyed or checked up on."
"Are you saying Dudley is a seer?"
"Good heavens! No! Anyone can make a valid prophecy, it is only those individuals that have it happen as a regular occurrence get to be called seers. Cassandra Trelawney, the grandmother of your own Professor made about 60 or 70 such prophecies in her lifetime, your professor from what I am able to understand made two, both relating to Voldemort; that does not qualify her to be called a seer, much as she wishes it."
"I think I see minister! So what does Dudley's prophecy mean?"
"I've no idea, neither have the Unspeakables; they just know it's a genuine prophecy as a copy was made in their records. Like most prophecy it's drivel couched in more twists and turns than a muggle murder mystery. I doubt, we'll understand what it means until it comes true. That's partly why I never set much faith in prophecy; most of it is about as much use as the Daily Prophet. In other words; none."
I'll admit I was slightly stunned by this news, the seemingly ridiculous things I'd seen in my tea leaves and tarot cards were a real prophecy, as far as I could tell it made no sense at all and that had been a genuine prophecy. Just proves what utter rubbish the subject was.
"Anyway that all pales into insignificance when we consider the other thing your cousin has managed to accomplish; not only has he managed to achieve the best N.E.W.T. scores I've seen in decades, but he's the newest head of a wizarding family; we'll have to have a full session of the Wizengamot and get you installed in your seat. Best if we wait until Harry can take his seat as well and do them both on the same day." I nodded numbly at this; it was all going a bit too fast for me. The minister then glanced at me, "there is another matter, I wish to discuss with you, Dudley! Why has the ministry received a request for an international portkey from your mother? The ministry is not in the habit of supplying such things for muggle vacations!"
"What! Oh! Sorry, I forgot to mention it to you I suppose, for our honeymoon, Gabby and I were thinking of going to the States and Mum wanted to buy our plane tickets, I mentioned a portkey; I'd forgotten about it to be honest."
"Very well, under the circumstances I understand, we will sort that out for your mother, so she can give it to you for your wedding day.
The actual final run up to the wedding was one of several conflicting emotions and feelings for me. In one respect the time seemed to drag, yet at the same time it seemed to fly; what with getting myself fitted with proper robes for the occasion and Harry too; checking that Aunt Marge, Mum and Dad had all travel arrangements sorted. I was looking forward to getting married, but at the same time, I was so nervous, I was going to be a married man.
In what seemed like no time at all, I was standing in front of the altar with Harry at my side, waiting for my bride to make her way down the aisle to join us. My stomach was doing flip flops; I couldn't tell whether nervousness or what was causing it.
Mum, Dad, and Aunt Marge were seated with my wizarding relatives; Mum and Aunt Marge were both deep in conversation with Molly Weasley about something, I have no idea what. I must say that the charms seemed to be holding out, Aunt Marge didn't seem aware of the fact that nearly all of the guests were in robes. Dad was sat bolt upright in a conservative grey suit, trying very hard not to look to either side of himself, in case he saw anything magical, the nervousness and fear in his posture was evident if you knew how to see it.
I was suddenly aware of Father Niall asking a question, and having Gabrielle's hand placed in mine by her father. I looked at her and smiled as she stood at my side. I vaguely heard her say "I do," from next to me and the next thing I remember is Harry poking me in the ribs.
I looked at him and he nodded towards the priest; "I do," I managed to say, hoping that was the appropriate response to whatever had been said. Harry rolled his eyes at me and held out his hand which held two rings. I took one from him and nervously put it on Gabrielle's finger; "with this ring I the wed!"
Gabrielle placed my ring on my finger and I became aware of a feeling of completeness, that I'd never felt before, as if part of Me had been missing, as the air around us seemed to sparkle. The next thing I knew was Gabrielle was kissing me so hard and passionately that I really didn't feel like stopping. There was a discreet cough from my side and I slowly came to my senses. Polite laughter could be heard from the congregation and I smiled sheepishly.
I was married to the beautiful woman I loved, I was a wizarding lord; who could have forseen this all those years ago when I went to see my cousin at Hogwarts hoping that he'd see me. This really was the start of something new for me...
This is the end of the story for now. I will eventually get round to writing and posting 'New Resolutions' which will show more of Dudley's life as a married man and a wizard. Best wishes to everyone who has read, and enjoyed this tale. Many thanks to you all!
Author Note: I recently read a downloaded backup of my story and noticed that ff had deleted the email and web addresses from within some of my chapters; I rechecked a story that I remembered had an email address in it and have reposted the chapters, 20, 23 and 26 with the addresses written in such a way that you should be able to read them. Of course, your own computer won't be able to access them without the proper magical encryption codes, sorry!
On another note I have noticed that in chapter 31, I stated Dudley's birthday as 23 April, I have amended this to June, my apologies.