16 Blackthorn Road
It was an ordinary summer afternoon. There was nothing particularly special about the afternoon, nor about the house that our story starts in.
A big beefy man (who looks remarkably like his father minus the very large moustache) sits at the kitchen table, idly staring out the window into the garden. The bush opposite makes him think of years gone by, back to another garden in another perfectly normal neighbourhood. The memory was of his cousin, much younger then, and how he had threatened to set fire to a bush. This of course had been before he had known anything of magic. It was still terrifying to think about.
The man looks back down to the post on the kitchen table. There are a couple of utility bills, a letter from his mother (even though he spoke to her every day) and a large parchment letter addressed to one Mr. V. H. Dursley. Dudley had known this letter would arrive from the day they bought his son home from the hospital. Although little Vernon looked exactly like his father and grandfather in size, with a mop of blonde hair similar to that of Dudley’s in his youth, he had the same large green eyes as Dudley’s cousin.
Of course his tiny wife, who got along famously with his mother, decided all the strange events around their only son were due to ‘psychological’ problems and took him to various clinics and psychiatrists. Dudley didn’t discourage her, nor did he try and discourage his son. After all, having lived through all this before he knew that no matter what he did the outcome would be the same. He also knew that although magic was scary, his cousin had saved his life once. Maybe even more.
This wasn’t to say Dudley was proud to have a wizard for a son, but years living away from his parents had made him more tolerant and wanting to know more about the magical world. Of course, most of this came from twenty-two years of wondering what had happened to his cousin. Obviously whatever it was that his cousin was in danger from had stopped, as there had been no strange incidences on the news. Dudley had also not seen or heard from any of ‘that lot’, as his mother liked to call them, since they happily vanished from their protective detail. Life had carried on rather normally for Dudley since then. He had gone to college, got a degree in business and was now looking at Directorship at the firm he worked at.
‘Dudders, are you even listening to me.’ Dudley was snapped forward to the present very suddenly by his wife’s teary accusation. Looking at Marian, the small petite woman he married fresh out of college, Dudley gave a heavy sigh.
‘Of course, dear.’
‘Well, do you think we should try again?’
‘Try what again, dear?’
‘The electric shock therapy for Vernon. We simply can’t have him acting all strange. He is our only son. What would the neighbours think? Why can’t he be normal like all the other boys his age, Dudders?’
‘The neighbours don’t care how he acts or what he does Marian,’ Dudley exasperatedly told his wife for what felt like the millionth time. ‘And don’t call me Dudders’
‘Fine then, what about me Dudley? He scares me. Strange things happen around him. Just last week I tried to put him in a jumper your mother bought for him and no matter how hard I tried it would fit. It was as though it was shrinking in my hands’
‘The same thing happened to my cousin Harry once. I think it was the only time something strange had happened around him that my parents didn’t punish him for.’
‘You are missing the point Dudley. I just don’t know what to do about our son’ with that Marian burst into tears. Once again, since his son had been born, Dudley found himself wishing he had some way to contact his cousin. He knew Harry would be able to help him with the boy. Maybe even help explain things to Marian. As he watched her sob into her dishcloth, Dudley felt torn for the second time in his life.
‘Marian..’ He started, but was interrupted by a tapping sound at the window. Looking up, Dudley was surprised to see a large white snowy owl at the window. Quickly, he opened the latch.
‘Dudley, what are you doing! Don’t let that horrid creature in here’ Marian screeched, running out of the kitchen. Smiling to himself, Dudley looked at the owl. Promptly, the owl stretched out her leg waiting for Dudley to untie the letter attached to the Owls leg. After the owl was free of it’s burden, it fluttered around a bit. Remembering the bits of bread Harry occasionally fed his owl, Dudley offered some to this owl and then proceeded to read the letter.
It has been a while. I am not even sure where you live or what you do. I know Mini will find you however.‘
With that Dudley looked over to the owl, who apparently decided it was time for a nap and was roosting comfortably in the chair opposite. He wondered how they had come up with the name Mini for what seemed to be such a large bird. Turning back to the letter, Dudley continued reading.
‘Ginny, my wife, insisted I write to you. Although I am sure I am the last person you would like to hear from. Ginny is the sister of my friend Ron. Tall guy, ginger hair, lots of freckles. I don’t know if you would remember him or any of his family. Anyway, I got married to her. We have three kids now. James is our oldest, Albus the middle and Lily the youngest. She is eleven now. I believe that is the same age as your son.
That is the reason I am writing. I heard he was offered a place at Hogwarts. I do realize this must be very hard for you and a shock. I do remember how much magic scared you. I also do realize that this was partly my fault considering I resorted to threatening you with magic out of defence when we were growing up. I guess the manner of our departure from each other’s lives was also less than encouraging on the magic front.
It is all over, in case you were wondering. We defeated Voldemort. Many died in the battle. A whole war went on, and I don’t even think the Muggles even noticed it. Of course it took a long time to sort out all the mess afterwards. Arresting people, finding out who were operating under their own free will and who were not. It was a very long, very drawn out process. By the time it was over I had figured you, Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon had moved on with your lives and would prefer to not ever see me again. In all honestly, I never planned to see any of you again.
I digress however.
Lily will also be attending Hogwarts this year, and we will be going to Diagon Alley to get all her school stuff. I know you have no experience in this, and well, Ginny offered that you could come with us. That is if you do send your son to Hogwarts.
You can attach a reply, as well as your response to Hogwarts (I suggest you respond unless you would like a repeat of what happened when they were trying to contact me and your father ignored the letter) to Mini. She will ensure both are delivered.
P.S Lily named Mini when she was younger. You know how kids can be‘
Dudley read the letter again, and felt a sudden weight lift from his shoulders. Harry his cousin was alive, and was willing to help him with his son after all. Smiling, Dudley picked up the Hogwarts acceptance letter. ‘If you don’t mind waiting here for a bit, Mini, I have to go tell the wife.’
With that Dudley strode into the living room, calling his family as he did so. Quickly, and concisely as he could, Dudley explained the events of his childhood, the two letters and what it would mean for his son.
‘I know it is scary Marian, I have seen what their world is like. However, I think sending him to this school where he can learn about his abilities is a much better option that sending him for more shock therapy which is clearly not working’
Marian, however, did not take the reassurance and ran from the room. Vernon looked torn between excitement, and concern for his mother.
‘Don’t worry boy,’ Dudley said gruffly, ‘she will come around. Let’s reply to the school together shall we?’
With that, Dudley wrote on the two blank pieces of parchment provided. One was a letter to Harry asking if they could meet in a couple days time in London. The second letter read:
‘I, Dudley Dursley, hereby give permission to my son, Vernon Harry Dursley, to attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry this September‘