Ever wondered what happened to Dudley and the Dursleys after leaving Privet Drive? Well, read on…
Chapter 1: The Departing
Dudley Dursley shook the blonde hair from his eyes and with much shrugging of his large, leather-clad shoulders, shifted closer to the door of the car. Grunting with discomfort as he struggled with his seat belt.
It was cramped on the back seat of his fathers car, what with him, his mother, Petunia, and a small, but nevertheless portly wizard sat wedged between them. The wizard had introduced himself as Daedalus Diggle only a few moments before. Unlike Dudley and Petunia he seemed completely comfortable; leant forward and excitedly watching Dudley’s father, Vernon’s, sausage-like fingers moving over the various buttons on the dashboard.
Dudley shifted his muscular frame again, feeling slightly claustrophobic. He had been hoping to sit in the front passenger seat, as he normally did. However Daedalus’s friend, Hestia Jones had requested she sit there. Stating that she needed it to offer directions, as Vernon did not know where he was going.
His father had looked most displeased at this proposition. Probably, Dudley thought as the cars engine rumbled to life, because he didn’t like the idea of sharing the front of the car with a self-proclaimed witch for an unspecified amount of time.
He grinned to himself, amused. Love his father as he might, it was always enjoyable to watch him squirm.
“Right, are we all ready?!” Vernon asked to the car in general, surveying them all with a kind of purple-faced furor. He glared pointedly at Dedalus who beamed back, quite unperturbed by the menacing facial expression.
“When you are, sir.” He grinned, mildly.
Vernon switched his attention to Hestia, who did not smile, but stared defiantly back into his piggy little eyes. “Of course.” She said coldly, holding on to her seatbelt.
Petunia and Dudley both gave affirmative responses and there was a grunt of recognition as the car pulled away from the curb. Petunia’s gaze remained trained on the house as they pulled away. Dudley thought she was probably silently grieving the loss of her former life, or at least everything familiar therein.
They had just left Number 4 Privet Drive for the last time, knowing that doing so meant they were also leaving their job, school and friends behind, potentially forever.
Vernon in particular had been thoroughly bad-tempered about this complete upheaval of their lives since first learning what was to come. Especially as he’d had to turn down a promotion, which in turn came with a rather large raise, to allow these changes to take place.
The plan had been explained to them thusly: Dudley, Vernon and Petunia would be relocated to a new area, away from London and the hidden dangers that apparently stalked them there.
Vernon would not quit his job, but rather, simply not turn up for work. His co-workers would all believe he’d been transferred overseas, and a new job had already been acquired for him.
Similarly, Dudley would not officially withdraw from school, but all his records and details would be placed into another schools database. His classmates and teachers would believe he and his family had immigrated.
The family’s relatives would be lead to believe a similar tale. The Dursley’s themselves could rest assured that all of this, and more, had been taken care of for them by a group of wizards calling themselves ‘The Order of the Phoenix’.
Or at least, so they had been told by the tall, well dressed, black man, who’d explained the plan to them. They had later found out this man was called Kingsley. He’d been accompanied by an equally tall, balding, bespectacled man, whom Dudley remembered meeting once before, when he’d managed to blow a large hole into the wall of the living room.
He had introduced himself as Arthur, unlike Kingsley however, he was not a sharp dresser; instead wearing one of the most bizarre outfits Dudley had ever seen. It was a mishmash of colours and contrasting patterns, consisting of high-top boots, golfing trousers, a Hawaiian shirt over a neon pink t-shirt and a pork-pie hat.
Both Vernon and Petunia looked horrified upon spotting him, and had done little to hide their disapproval since. Arthur seemed quite indifferent to this, but, perhaps sensing the pairs mistrust of him, left most of the talking to Kingsley, adding after the latter had stopped talking.
“Don’t worry, we’ve sorted everything out for you. You can trust us.”
Both Petunia and Vernon looked at each other, then at Arthurs ludicrous choice of wardrobe. Their mutual thinking couldn’t have been more clear. They wouldn’t trust this man to dress himself, let alone hide and protect their family.
Vernon addressed Kingsley when he spoke, so to avoid having to look at Arthur, and sounding slightly on edge. “Where is this new job? And what about this temporary accommodation, you better not be talking about some grotty council estate somewhere. We will not give up our lives here to go on the run like common criminals!”
Kingsley, held up both hands in a calming gesture. “I have the details of the house with me here.”
He removed a file from his inside pocket, and handed it to Vernon, who immediately opened it up and began trawling through an information booklet about a smallish but picturesque country cottage, apparently in the middle of nowhere.
“As for your job, we’ve reviewed the skills you’ve acquired at your current place of work, and found you a place at a local business, in mechanical engineering.”
Vernon grunted, mumbling to himself in apparent displeasure. This, Dudley knew, was all for show, as he knew his father had long held an ambition to enter the engineering field. Indeed, as he watched him, he saw a smile just barely twitch the corners of his mouth.
“As for you, young man.” Kingsley had shifted his attention to Dudley.
“Ahh, yes!” Vernon jumped in, apparently he had simply been waiting for more ammunition with which to strike. “I’ll have you know that Dudley attends one of the finest institutions for schooling in this country. We will not withdraw him just to send him to some local comprehensive!”
Kingsley continued as if Vernon hadn’t spoken. “We’ve managed to get you enrolled into Ealsbury Academy.”
Vernon, who had had his mouth open ready to argue some more, closed it immediately. If Dudley’s current school was one of the best schools in the country, then Ealsbury was the best, and he, his mother and his father knew it.
After that there had been no more objections, if you didn’t count Vernon’s half-hearted complaints that the cottage looked ‘too small’ and stubborn-fuelled, attempts to back out of the agreement, all of which had been rebuffed by a reminder of the danger refusal of the proffered help would bring.
Shaking Kingsley’s hand, he fixed Harry, who had been leant against the wall listening, with an oddly triumphant stare and suddenly asked.
“That’ll be it between us and him then won’t it.” He nodded toward Harry. “I mean, he won’t be able to find us will he?”
Arthur had looked mildly disgusted at this. Kingsley however simply looked at Harry, who seemed unfazed, before answering.
“Not if you don’t want him to, no.”
With that the pair had turned out of the room and, with Dudley following behind him, Harry had shown them out. The blonde had watched in disbelief as they walked to the end of the pathway, turned on the spot and popped out of existence as if they had never been.
The next few days had been a confusion of packing, unpacking and re-packing, with Vernon’s every change of mind. He still wasn’t completely on-board with the idea of moving, imagining the warnings of impending doom to actually be a part of some great plan of duplicity.
These thoughts when voiced – or rather, shouted – had inevitably lead to arguments between Vernon and Harry. There had also been much crying, mainly from Petunia, though her husband had himself succumbed after straining his back when trying to lift a case of Dudley’s training weights.
For his part, however, Dudley had mainly kept out of the way. Avoiding rooms where his father was, preferring to keep to his own company and play his play station or watch television. Packing only when directly instructed to do so.
He himself had felt able to accept the changes without too much regret. He had hated Smeltings School from the moment he’d arrived, agreeing to stay only because his father had promised to double his allowance after every term he did there.
But the truth was, the school was as unwelcoming a place as Dudley had ever come across. Slate grey and foreboding, it sat as an ugly blot in the miles of empty landscape surrounding.
The teachers didn’t offer any warmth to the place, nor did they invite any confidences. Treating the students with the same amount of anonymity that a slavedriver does his slaves, appreciating them only for their predicted grades and not their individual merits.
To make matters worse, Dudley’s friends had all but abandoned him several years earlier when he’d given up bullying, and no one else had dared approach him because of said bullying reputation. Though that didn’t stop his teachers from immediately suspecting him whenever bullying, or some other sort of wrong-doing, was at play.
Leaving all that behind would be a pleasure. In fact, quite bizarrely, Dudley thought the only element of his life that he’d miss would be his cousin, Harry.
True, the pair had never been close and he wouldn’t miss the families rare, unexpected, but always rather unfortunate ventures into the magical world.
Such as the time that Dudley had been given a pigs tail by the giant-like person who had come to tell Harry that he was a wizard. Or the time when Arthur had first visited, a few years previously and Dudley’s tongue had been magically swelled beyond natural proportions.
Both of those occasions had been particularly unpleasant and on neither one had his cousin appeared sympathetic. In fact tonight, as Dudley had approached to shake Harry’s hand, he could’ve sworn he saw it twitch to the pocket where Dudley knew he kept his wand.
But still, Dudley could not imagine what life would be like without Harry there, at least some of the time.
However unwelcoming and abusive he had been to his cousin in the past, he did care for him a little. At a push, he might even admit to liking him. In fact, now faced with the prospect of never seeing him again, Dudley thought he might even go so far as to admit that he…
The car hit a familiar bump as it turned out of Privet Drive for the final time. Dudley shook his head again, his curtained blonde locks whipped from his eyes.
Okay, so he probably wouldn’t go that far, but nevertheless he would miss Harry. With a pang of regret Dudley turned as best he could, to look at number 4. A tall, slender figure passed by the front window.
“Seeya, cous’.” He mumbled to himself quietly.
No one else in the car seemed to have heard, though Dudley thought he heard his mom give a sniff of response.
In the front of the car Hestia was giving Vernon directions, which he followed, thanklessly. The roads seemed oddly traffic-less and it was only when Dudley spotted that Daedalus’s hand was wrapped around a long wooden stick and that he was muttering under his breath, that the blonde realised that some kind of magic was probably at play.
Slightly alarmed by this and afraid of what the wizard might do to him if he drew his fathers attention to what was happening, Dudley looked out at the passing scenery. Many houses and buildings flew by at break-neck speed, and yet the car seemed to be running no faster than usual and quite as smoothly.
After a few moments of silence, Vernon spoke up. “Well, it will certainly be different not having that boy hanging round us all the time. Refreshing though, don’t you think Petunia?”
Petunia did not respond, though Dudley thought he heard her sniff again. Vernon continued without pause.
“Yes, I definitely think so. Good riddance too. I don’t know how we put up with him for so long you know Petunia. All this wizard codswallop.” The word ‘wizard’ was said with such contempt that Dudley actually saw spittle spray out of his fathers mouth. “We can put it all behind us and go back to worrying about normal things, like my new job, and Dudders.”
Vernon shifted his gaze in the rear view mirror on to his son. “Ealsbury Academy, ay? I’ll say this for that Kingsley bloke, he chose a good school, well befitting our status, that is. Bet that’s why he chose it, he probably saw it in you’re character, Dud. Are you excited?”
Dudley gave a shrug.
“Feel as though you’re missing out, not returning to Smeltings, do you son?”
He shrugged again, and gave a noncommittal grunt.
“Don’t worry, that boy won’t ruin your chance of a good education, Smeltings gave you a brilliant start, but now, it’s onwards and upwards!”
Hestia, who had coloured considerably, tightened her jaw as she said sharply. “Left here.”
Daedalus who was still waving his wand and muttering every minute or so, beamed at Dudley.”Ahhh, yes Harry Potter’s cousin, sir. Ealsbury is indeed a fine establishment. Yes, yes, I’ve known several people who went there and had a most excellent time.”
Vernon’s expression, so recently fused with a determined kind of furore, had dropped suddenly. Becoming akin to that of a person who’s detected a particularly offensive odour.
“Some of your lot go to Ealsbury.” His moustache twitched in agitation. “Wizards? But I thought you had your own school. Hogs-wart or something crack-pot like that. Isn’t that where the boys been going?”
Daedalus chuckled. “Hogwarts sir, yes, witches and wizards go there. But squibs don’t.”
“Squibs?” Vernon’s moustache bounced up and down with dizzying rapidity. “What the hell is a squibs?”
Hestia spoke now, her voice cold and monotonous; she had obviously taken a great disliking to Vernon, Dudley couldn’t exactly blame her. “A squib is a person born to magical parents without possessing the gift themselves.”
Petunia looked up, interested. Seeing her properly for the first time since leaving Privet Drive, Dudley noticed that she looked as if she’d been crying.
“Gift.” Sneered Vernon.
“Yes, gift!” Said Hestia forcefully, her voice pitching dangerously as she glared at him. He glared back, until the car shook violently, forcing his attention back on to the road.
“Well, Dudley won’t be going there. Mixing with squibs, and their weirdo parents. We’re leaving that rubbish behind us. That’s the only reason I agreed to this in the first place!”
Hestia glared at Vernon, her voice becoming positively frost-bitten. “Really, I thought it was because Arthur and Kingsley explained the overwhelming danger you’d be placing your family in by staying where you were. And I thought we were here because Dumbledore, one of the weirdo’s you keep referring to, instructed us to offer you the highest protection of which we were capable.”
Vernon opened his mouth to shoot back a response, but seemed unable to think of one and so shut it again, insensible.
An icy silence fell over the entire car, broken only by Daedalus’s occasional spell-casting, and Hestia’s continued instructions of, “right” or “left.”
Dudley watched this momentarily, head reeling slightly from the impact of Hestia’s words. His father had always assured him that witches and wizards were an unpleasant sub-human breed, with little empathy or understanding for ‘normal’ people and things. His past experiences seemed to tally with that description, yet if Hestia was to be believed then Dumbledore, a virtual stranger to Dudley and indeed the rest of the Dursley family, had done his best to assure their safety prior to his death.
A hot bubbly mixture of shame, embarrassment and gratitude welled up inside him. He wondered if his father was having similar feelings; he doubted it very much, but hoped so.
They had just turned off a main road, and the houses were growing fewer and far between; Petunia cleared her throat.
“Is that what Lily was?” Her voice sounded slightly thicker than usual. “Was she a squib, is that why she had those powers when none of the rest of the family did?”
Daedalus chuckled. “No madame, Lily was the complete opposite, she was muggle-born. You see, some witches and wizards are simply born to non-magical parents, no one knows where the magic in them comes from, but often your find, they turn out to be exceptionally gifted wizards.”
Vernon snorted in a disbelieving manner, Petunia continued, disregarding her husband. “So, was James muggle-born too?”
For a second Dudley was unsure who James was, before realising that Harry’s dad must have had a first name too. He had rarely heard his parents talk about his aunt and uncle, and whenever they were mentioned it was usually following, or proceeded by, some outburst of temper.
Sure enough, Dudley noticed that his fathers ears had purpled somewhat; a familiar vein began to pulse in Vernon’s forehead.
Daedalus, who had apparently noticed nothing, answered mildly. “No. James was, what is called, pure-blood. That is to say that all of his traceable familial relations were born to wizard parents.”
“Well, can’t say I’m surprised.” Said Vernon loudly, face purpling even more so. “Bet they were all jobless, layabouts! Living off the state and too poor to afford a pot. That’s probably why the boy was left to us, Petunia, they probably couldn’t afford to raise a child, or else, they couldn’t be bothered with him. So they left it to hard-working people like us to take him on, and never mind that we had an infant son of our own to raise, no. Let alone that we might not want him! Some people.” He finished in that self-satisfied tone that even irritated Dudley.
“I assure you that was not the case.” Snapped Daedalus, uncharacteristically sharp. “The Potter’s were fine people.”
Everyone looked slightly taken aback, but Vernon was quickest to recover and countered almost at once, though his voice had levelled out somewhat. “Then why were we stuck with the boy? Why didn’t they take him on?”
“Because of the protection offered by Lily’s bloodline.” Hestia said, simply.
“Lily sacrificed herself in the hope that Harry would live,” Daedalus explained, his voice had lost some of its cheeriness, “and so, her bloodline offered Harry a protection that no one else could hope to match, nor could such protection be artificially or magically imparted. As her only living relative Petunia was the only person with the ability to shelter Harry successfully from he-who-must-not-be-named.”
“He-who-must-not-be- Wait a minute, isn’t that what your lot call that lord voldy-thing?”
Daedalus and Hestia winced slightly.
“He-who-must-not-be-named, Mr Dursley!” Intoned Hestia, voice severe. “And yes. We do. Surely Dumbledore explained all this to you? I thought he wrote you a letter?”
This was not the first time Dudley had heard of a letter which had apparently been left on their doorstep alongside his cousin, although he’d never seen any such thing.
Again, Vernon seemed to be thinking along the same lines as his son. “What – effing – letter?! Petunia and I never received a letter, did we dear?”
It wasn’t really a question, but regardless, Petunia had reddened considerably and appeared to be attempting to pretend she hadn’t heard. A ruse which fooled no one.
Dudley stared open-mouthed at his mother, who cleared her throat awkwardly, her voice barely audible. “Well he’s my nephew Vernon, he’s Lily’s son, I didn’t want…” Her face had suddenly become the colour of radishes. “Dumbledore said he could die if I didn’t agree to take him… couldn’t just stand by and let that happen… didn’t think you’d let him stay if I told…” Her voice trailed off.
It took a minute for the full impact of these words to sink in. Daedalus looked slightly bemused, Hestia wore an oddly satisfied expression, Vernon looked as if he’d been slapped across the mouth, and Petunia had shrunk into scarlet-faced silence.
Dudley however, looked at his mother with an awed respect such as he’d never before felt for her. She had always been the doting wife to Vernon, so much so that he’d almost forgotten she had her own feelings, views and opinions. But keeping Harry in spite of the danger she knew it posed to her and her family, had been an expression of that.
It showed she had more courage than her son had ever granted her as possessing, but it was more than just that. It was an act of out-right defiance of her husband and his wishes. A fact that Dudley knew had not been lost on his father. Though it seemed to have stunned, rather than angered him, at least for the minute.
Dudley was certain his fathers bemused silence would give way to fury eventually. He only hoped they wouldn’t all be sitting in such a compact space when it did. Vernon’s temple was now pulsing so much that he appeared at first glance to have a facial twitch.
“Well…” He said after a few minutes of silence, his voice shook with suppressed rage. “Whe-where are we going, anyway?”
Daedalus jumped on the question, seemingly eager to get back onto territory he could understand. “Oh, it’s not far from here now, sir, not far at all.”
“Yes, look, we’re here, just turn left.” Hestia pointed.
The car had pulled onto a deserted industrial site. Vernon switched the engine off, but did not get out of the car, his face had paled suddenly and he looked fearful. “What’re we doing here? I thought we were going to our new house?”
“We are sir, this has simply been chosen as the best place from which to disapparate.” Replied Daedalus, as Dudley made to open the door.
“Disappa- what!” Vernon’s face flushed purple once again. “Right! Dudley shut the door. I knew it! This is a trap!”
Dudley didn’t shut his door, but paused for a second with one leg dangling out of the car.
In all honesty, he could not exactly blame his father for his unease. He himself had had misgivings when they’d first arrived. It had occurred to him that the deserted place they now found themselves in would be the perfect spot for an ambush, or some other kind of skulduggery. However, a look over his shoulder to Daedalus was enough to reassure him that he was in no danger.
Hestia, who had not paused, rolled her eyes whilst stepping smartly out of the car. “Don’t be silly, Mr Dursley!”
Dudley stood in the weak sunlight and stretched out all his limbs, hoping to portray a sense of calm that he did not exactly feel. The industrial park had an ominous feel about it, and he suddenly had the overwhelming feeling he’d forgotten something important back home, and the subsequent urge to return and fetch it.
Just as soon as this uneasy feeling had occurred it was gone. Slightly dazed by this, Dudley noticed Daedalus had begun waving his wand around in a random sort of way, and muttering in a tuneful undertone.
Dudley watched in open-mouthed confusion for a few seconds, prompting the wizard to explain. “Muggle repellents, Mad-eye did the whole area as a precaution, just removing them.”
Feeling quite as confused as he had before, he looked back to the car, hoping for some sort of explanation from Hestia.
Instead he saw his mother dithering with her body halfway out of the car, but still in a scrunched up position as though she might sit down again at any second. Hestia was looking with both impatience and slight concern toward the drivers seat, where his father sat in the aforementioned seat, with face set and hands clamped on the wheel.
“What’s going on?” Dudley asked.
Vernon didn’t look at his son as he answered, the vein in his temple throbbing once again. “Dudley, get back in the car, you too Petunia! We’re going home. This is all a plot to get the house, I knew it, I knew it!”
Hestia simply looked her confusion, eyeing Dudley with a silent plea for an explanation. He shrugged in response.
Vernon motioned to the back seat with a violent head gesture. “Dudley. Petunia. In, now! We’re going!”
For a second Dudley hesitated, torn between taking the easy route and simply following his father, as usual. And his desire to escape from the potential dangers they had been warned awaited them back home.
His hand was actually on the car door when his cousins parting warning ran through his mind, “Death eaters, dementors, maybe even inferi…” Harry’s anxious facial expression passed before his eyes, as well as the warmth behind his parting handshake.
However much he and the Dursley’s may have disliked one another, Harry had been genuinely worried for his family’s well-being at their point of departure. Dudley didn’t exactly understand what was happening, but he understood enough to know that none of it boded well for them if they didn’t take note when warned.
“No.” He said more to himself, than anyone else.
“What?!” Vernon snapped, surprised.
“No!” He repeated with more conviction. “I’m not not going home, dad, I’m going with these-” He caught Hestia’s eye and stopped. “I mean with Hestia and Daedalus, like we said we would. I don’t think Harry was lying to us about how dangerous stuff is, right now. He wasn’t like that, and besides bad stuff is happening, you keep telling us that it is.”
There was a pause, Vernon looked uncertainly at his son, though he also seemed slightly impressed. Petunia and Hestia were both watching Vernon with some reverence. After a moment, Dudley shrugged again and put on his best ‘sullen-teenager’ type look, that usually got him what he wanted.
“Besides, that house was getting old, I’d rather live in the cottage, it looks nicer.”
The battle was won. Grimacing, Vernon opened the car door and began climbing out, his eyes never strayed from his sons face as he rose to full height. Petunia cautiously climbed from within the cavity of the car, a step behind her husband. Dudley returned his fathers glare with an impassive look of his own, resisting the urge to flinch or look away.
“Alright.” Vernon said finally. “But if this turns out to be a trap, then you’re to blame, understand!”
Dudley nodded in response. Hestia and Petunia rounded the car and stood at either side of Vernon. Finishing his spell-casting, Daedalus joined the group.
“Now sirs, and Madame, we all need to join hands.”
“What?!” Vernon’s temple continued to pulse violently.
“Daedalus is going to take us all by side-along apparition,” said Hestia, “he’s more confident apparating than I am.”
Neither Dudley nor his parents understood these words, but to Dudley’s great surprise, and relief, his father did not protest, even consenting to hold Hestia’s hand. Though looking thoroughly put-out to have to do so.
Daedalus took Dudley’s left hand, while his mother gripped his right, her own right hand was incased in her husbands left. Dudley noticed her try to link arms with his father, but Vernon shrugged her off. Whilst keeping hold of her hand as per instruction.
“On three, everyone.” Daedalus said, grinning benignly. “One…”
Dudley thought again of his cousin, wondering what he was doing right now, and whether they would ever see each other again. Somehow, he thought so… but more than that, he hoped so.
He thought too of the things he heard in the car, and in the house before they’d left. Death eaters, dementors, inferi, squibs, muggles. These terms were completely foreign to him, but a kind of grim curiosity gripped him as he thought about the kind of creatures they could refer to: could more exist?
Unicorns, trolls, goblins? All the creatures from the fairy stories he’d read as a child? They all sounded so fantastic, too fantastic for reality, and yet… could they be real, or at least in the magical world.
Suddenly it dawned on Dudley that by leaving his cousin behind, he was also leaving behind his link to that world, that entire reality, which seemed so much bigger and so much more glamorous than his own.
This was, of course, what his parents wanted, but was it what he wanted?
He thought of what Daedalus had said in the car, squibs went to Ealsbury. Could that be his link, his own to this magical world that both scared and slightly fascinated him. And if so, did he want to take it?
In the millisecond before Daedalus completed his countdown, Vernon and Dudley’s eyes locked. In that moment each of them knew exactly what the other was thinking, and Dudley knew that his father would not let him have his way this time. It was written plainly on his face.
But he also knew, that he wouldn’t let that stop him.
Suddenly Dudley felt a jerk somewhere in his lower abdomen, the world swum around him, and he had that uneasy, falling sensation you get when you miss a step whilst going down a flight of stairs.
Before he could fully register what was happening, however, he fell onto his knees upon the sodden mud-caked gravel, of a country road.
Looking up, he saw that they had arrived outside a picturesque, Victorian-style cottage.
“Ahh,” said Daedalus, “home sweet home.”