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Joined: 20 August 2008
Chapter 13: An apology and a Justification
When James, Sirius, and Dudley apparated back home, Lily was waiting for them with her arms crossed, her eyebrows raised. "Well, that was an interesting visit, huh?" she asked sarcastically. Dudley reddened in embarrassment. He looked down as Lily continued talking.
"What were you thinking Dudley, running off like that?" she asked angrily, all traces of sarcasm or humor gone from her face. "Who knows what could have happened to you? You could have been kidnapped, or worse, mugged!"
"Uh, I have to go," whispered Sirius to James before disapparating away. It was never pleasant to see Lily angry.
"Imagine our surprise when we returned home, and Mindy told us you weren't in your room or anywhere in the house!" Lily continued. Dudley continued to look down.
"And stealing that wand, when you could clearly tell it was important to us! Is that in any way a gentlemanly behavior?"
"I'm sorry Aunt Lily," Dudley finally said. Lily stopped in surprise. This was the first time Dudley ever apologized for anything he did.
"What did you say?" she asked, disbelief in her voice.
"I'm sorry, I shouldn't have'stolen the wand'or, or run away. It was stupid, but'but I,"
"You thought your parents would love you after being separated for so long, didn't you?" asked James from the corner, a look of sympathy on his face. Dudley nodded and the expression of anger on Lily's face disappeared.
"Oh Dudley," she said sadly, putting an arm around his shoulders and leading him to the couch. "I know Petunia, as I've grown up with her for 17 years. We were the best of friends until'until I was 11."
"What happened?" asked Dudley.
"I got my Hogwarts letter," said Lily simply.
"And'" persisted Dudley.
"And Petunia's attitude towards me changed."
"But why?" asked Dudley.
"Well, I never told anyone this, but Petunia wrote to Professor Dumbledore, the headmaster of Hogwarts, asking if she could come, but he had gently told her no, because magical powers can't be just given. So I guess that would mean she was jealous of me. But all throughout my Hogwarts years, I tried my best to be kind to Petunia and understand her feelings, but I guess I didn't try hard enough," replied Lily a little regretfully.
"But why did she hate you? You were her own sister," persisted Dudley, not understanding the concept of sibling hate.
"I don't know Dudley," said Lily, "And I don't really think I ever will. You're right. It is a hard concept to understand."
"I'I would never hate Diana, or Duncan, or Delilah, if it had been them that was magical and not me," said Dudley with confidence.
"Then that's your own good nature," replied Lily, giving Dudley a warm hug and smile. Dudley smiled back.
"Then'does that mean I won't get any punishment?" he asked hopefully. James snickered and Lily smiled wryly.
"Not at all, young man," she said, and Dudley sighed.
"It was worth a try though," he said.
"Mmhmm," said Lily, as if in deep thinking. Dudley looked at her nervously. "Well, since you already have two days of no comic books (which you will complete by the way), how about'you help Harry de-gnome the garden tomorrow?"
"Degnome whatsits?" asked Dudley, not understanding a word.
"You'll find out tomorrow, don't worry," said Lily, smiling to herself. Dudley didn't like that smile, and thought to himself that degnoming or whatever, sounded very scary.
"Now," said Lily, "Bed time! Up you go!"
"But'it's only'" protested Dudley, looking at the clock.
"No arguments!" was Lily's reply, and Dudley, muttering to himself, trudged upstairs, realizing just how exhausted he was. In his room, Mindy was waiting for him with a tray of his unforgotten dinner, which Dudley gobbled down and then changed into his new pajamas. Before turning off the light, Dudley thought about the evening he had just had. He knew it would still take a long time for the hurt his parents put him through to wear off, but maybe'with the Potters as his family, it would eventually heal'somewhat, like it already had with Diana. Maybe in the future, a few years later, it would hurt less. Dudley sure hoped so, because he didn't think he could bear it if it always felt like this.
In the master bedroom, Lily was combing her long red hair before getting into bed while James was examining Pettigrew's wand, glaring at it all the while.
"Oh James, I'm so happy Dudley's changed," she said, facing him. "Hopefully, from today on, the days will be much happier and Dudley will find it easier to fit in."
"Mmhmm," replied James, still staring at the wand.
"James! Are you listening to me?" asked Lily, somewhat irritated.
"Huh? Oh'of course dear," he replied, looking up at Lily with a sheepish look. Lily rolled her eyes.
"So'what exactly is it you did to Petunia and Vernon?" James asked, an excited smirk look on his face. Lily's face turned very self satisfied as she gladly explained to her husband what exactly would take place in the Dursley household right at that moment.
Meanwhile, in #4 Privet Drive
"Oooh, the nerve of that stupid sister of mine!" Petunia exclaimed, slamming the door shut.
"And how dare they make a scene in front of the neighbors!" agreed Vernon. Petunia's face suddenly paled.
"The neighbors! Oh no! How will we ever explain to them what happened? Vernon, this is a CATASTROPHE! We will never be able to show our face in front of anyone again!"
"Now now dear," Vernon tried to soothe his wife, "We'we will just tell them that'your sister and her freak husband were here for money, because'because they spent all of theirs on alcohol. Barely anyone heard what was really said, so it would be easy to convince people!"
Petunia nodded her head somewhat nervously. "Yes'yes, that's what we'll do," she said in a panicked voice, "But'but how about Dudley? How do we explain him away? I already told people Dudley and Diana were being sent to a Military School up in Scotland, because they were doing drugs at such an early age.
"Well," said Vernon nervously, eyes peering out the window as if their neighbors had nothing better to do than spy on their boring old lives, "We'we could tell them your sister and her husband took them out of Military School and'and that's why they need more money! They barely have enough to feed their own useless children, so they think they can ask us more money! That's it, Petunia!"
"Well'I guess," said Petunia uncertainly. Even to her, that answer sounded pretty stupid.
Just then, Delilah came running down the stairs, screaming, "Mummy! Mummy! There's a monster under my bed! I sawed it! I swear!" The young girl started crying as Petunia said consolingly, "Now you know that's silly dear, there are no such things as monsters."
"But I sawed it!" Delilah persisted.
"Well, show me where, and I'll prove to you there aren't any monsters in the house," said Petunia, following Delilah to her room upstairs. A few seconds later, Vernon heard a shrill scream, and it wasn't Delilah's. It was Petunia's.
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Chapter 14: The Dursleys' misery: Part 1
A.N. (The next three chapters are going to be really short, because it centers only on the Dursleys. Hope you enjoy them!)
Vernon thundered up the stairs when he heard Petunia's scream, shouting all the while, "Petunia! Petunia! Are you alright?"
Petunia's face was pale, and when Vernon came into Delilah's bedroom, she pointed with a shaking finger under the bed. Vernon looked and gave a start, although he didn't scream like his wife. The dead body of Dudley was looking up at him, eyelids closed and mouth wide open as if in a scream of horror. With a pop, the body of Dudley turned into Diana's, and then Duncan, and finally Delilah. Vernon was confused.
"What in the bloody world is happening?" he screamed. Noticing him, the body of Delilah turned towards him and with a pop, changed into the body of his boss, Mr. Silos, who suddenly started to thunder, "You are fired, Vernon Dursley! You are a pathetic excuse for a human! Leave my sight right this moment!"
Vernon trembled. Getting fired from Grunnings was his worst nightmare. But how in the world did his boss just…
"Daddy, I'm scared!" Delilah whimpered. The body of Mr. Silos, noticing Delilah again, turned towards her and with a pop, turned into a very scary looking ghost. Delilah screamed and ran out of the room.
"Argh!" Vernon screamed, extremely frustrated. "What's happening, Petunia? Are we losing our minds??"
"You lost them a long time ago," came a voice from behind them. Petunia and Vernon whirled around, coming face to face with a smiling Lily and snickering James.
"You!" Vernon screamed, "It was you, wasn't it?"
"Dear, dear Vernon," Lily said, grinning and walking forwards, "You should have known it was me. Who else could it have been?"
"Ridikulus!" Lily said, pointing her wand at Delilah's ghost. With a pop, the Bogart turned into a bouncy ball and then disappeared.
"Enjoy the next few days of your life," Lily remarked casually, and with two more pops, she and James disappeared.
"I hate your sister!" Vernon exclaimed. Petunia didn't say anything, looking down at her feet.
The next morning
The next morning, when Petunia was placing a large batch of blueberry pancakes on the table, the doorbell rang. Calling Duncan and Delilah down for breakfast, Petunia hurried to get the door. But when she opened it, no one was there. However, on the doorstep, there was a small brown paper wrapped package. Picking it up and closing the door behind her, Petunia walked back to the kitchen and started opening the package.
"Who's it from?" asked Vernon.
"I don't know," remarked Petunia, lifting the lid of the blue box inside. But inside of the box, there was nothing.
"There's nothing inside," she said.
"Nothing? Is this someone's idea of a joke?" Vernon asked, irritated.
"I guess," Petunia replied, throwing both the brown paper and the box into the garbage. The events of the previous night still shook her.
After Vernon left for work, taking Duncan with him to drop him off for his first day of school, Petunia told Delilah to go watch TV while she cleaned up the kitchen.
Just after Petunia put the last plate into the cabinet above the sink, she turned around and gasped. The dining table, which she had scrubbed and cleaned just five minutes ago, looked the same as if she had never cleared it up. Dirty plates littered it, and pancake crumbs were all over it while maple syrup was dripping down the sides of the table.
"What in the world," Petunia whispered to herself. She then turned back to the kitchen cabinet and gasped. The plates, cups, and bowls which she had just washed and cleaned weren't there!
"Was I dreaming the whole time?" Petunia thought to herself, "Maybe I never cleaned them."
So, believing that she had never washed the dishes, Petunia began the cleaning process again. Ten minutes later, she sighed with satisfaction as she again placed the last plate into the cabinet above the sink.
But, alas! Like before, the table was again in a dirty state, and Petunia's clean dishes weren't in the cabinet. Now Petunia knew she hadn't been dreaming. This must have been Lily's doing, just like last night! Had she put a spell on their house? Would they ever live in peace again? Suddenly, Petunia remembered the strange box which had appeared on their doorstep that morning. Had it contained some kind of invisible spell or…magical dust, like in the fantasy movies? Petunia groaned. She would never be able to clean the dishes until the stupid spell wore off.
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