Disclaimer: Anything you recognise is not mine but JKR's. I'm not making any money off this.
A/N: Parts of this chapter are taken from Chapter Three of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I haven't marked them in any way, 'cause that bugs me when I'm reading stuff. I trust you to recognise them without my help.
"Boy, get the door."
Dudley heard Harry plod down the stairs. Harry had been spending a lot of time in his room these holidays.
"Kingsley, Mr Weasley, what are you doing here? I thought I was staying until my birthday this year?"
"That's true, Harry, but we need to talk to your family about their safety."
That voice was deep and melodic.
"I'll go find them then, the lounge is through that door. Uh, Mr Weasley, it's probably best if you don't touch anything after the last time you were here."
What did Harry mean by that? Dudley looked up as two men came in. The first was a tall black man in a suit followed by a red-haired man in a jumper and shorts. That was what Harry meant; that was the man who blew up the living room.
Dudley shrank against the chair he was on. If he stayed really still maybe they wouldn't talk to him. The red-haired man was looking about the room, examining the telly and VCR, making noises like he's never seen them before. The black man looked around, nodded at Dudley and sat on the couch from where he kept an eye on the other man.
Mummy and Daddy soon came in, followed by Harry who hung by the door.
"Mr Dursley, Mrs Dursley, My name is Kingsley Shacklebolt. We would like to talk to you about your security."
"Security, what do you mean? We're safe, that's why we've kept the boy all these years. "
"That is correct, but that only lasts up until Harry comes of age. In our society that is at 17. That leaves us with little more than a month."
"We're arranging a safe house for you. We just need to check a few things before it is completed."
Daddy was turning purple. "We're not going to anywhere. With the boy gone no-one's going to bother with us. We are staying right here."
"I'm afraid, Mr Dursley, if we do that you'll be dead within a week of Harry leaving, most likely hours."
Dudley froze. He could hear the conversation going on around him but he wasn't paying attention. IF this Kingsley fellow was telling the truth then they better get out of the house.
"Dad," Dudley said as Vernon ignored him. "DAD!"
"What is it Dudley?" Vernon asked.
Dudley took a deep breath and said, "I think we should do as they say."
"I'm not letting any freaks tell me what to do," Vernon bellowed.
"At least listen," Dudley tried reasoning.
Dudley was remembering that time the world went cold; Harry said that it had been dark soul-sucking thingies. Dudley wanted to avoid them if he could. He'd seen Harry do something with that stick and then he'd felt better. He didn't want to be talking about it anymore. He wanted to be playing videogames. He waited until Daddy was yelling again and left the room. Harry looked at him strangely but said nothing.
It seemed that Harry's friends had convinced Daddy. He'd come upstairs later and told him to pack; they were leaving, going where no freak could find them. Dudley wasn't quite sure if he meant to go with Harry's friends or not. Sometimes it seemed he would, but at others it was like he wanted to try and vanish. Dudley was scared he would take them in the car for days like when all those letters had arrived for Harry before he went to that school. His hands reached around to his scar involuntarily. He didn't want to be chased down. Better to go with the ones Harry said. Dudley wasn't sure why but he trusted Harry. Harry wouldn't make all the fuss to get them to go for their safety then let them do mean stuff to Dudley
"Harry," Dudley knocked on his door. "Harry, what will be at this place they're taking us to? Mummy said to pack but I don't know what to take. I don't know whether to take my Playstation games or Nintendo ones."
"You what?" Harry asked in mild shock, "Dudley, you're meant to be travelling light, which means only what you need. You don't need games. Anyway, I don't know if the house will even have electricity. I don't know if it's Muggle."
"What do you mean no electricity? I'm not living in a shack," Dudley whined.
Harry sighed, "It won't be a shack, but if it's Hestia or Dedalus' house it might not have electricity. They'll probably find one that does but it won't have a gaming thing. It'll only have the basics… fridge, washing machine, maybe a dryer or telly. I don't know."
"No telly!" Dudley shouted, "What am I supposed to do then?"
Harry looked over his glasses at his cousin, "Uh... read? Go for walks? You'll cope. I live without telly when I'm not in Little Whinging. It's not the be all and end all. Go pack.
No telly. No games. Dudley emptied his suitcase and started over again. Clothes, phone, umm, what else? He let his eyes roll around the room. CD's and portable CD player too. It worked on batteries too so it would be OK if there wasn't any electricity. No to videos. Dudley looked at his exercise equipment. The stretch cords could go in and the skipping rope. He wasn't sure about his dumb-bells. Harry has said to pack light, but then he had said to only take what he needed. He needed his dumb-bells. He was making some progress in getting his weight down and didn't want to stop that. Dudley left them out for now. He'd ask Harry if they'd be OK later.
"Pet, Dudley, Boy. Come here." Dudley wandered into the living room. "Look at the man behind the Prime Minister."
"Kingsley!" Harry exclaimed. "I knew he was on Muggle PM detail but I never thought he'd be on the telly." Dudley looked more closely. It did look like the man who had come to talk them into leaving.
"What's he doing there?" Dudley couldn't imagine why a freak would be with the Prime Minister.
"He's on security detail," Harry explained. "Stopping the Death Eaters assassinating the Prime Minister. It would cause chaos and make it easier for Voldemort to take over."
"What does he want with us? We're normal."
Harry stopped himself rolling his eyes at his aunt.
"Voldemort wants power, he's not going to let you live freely if he can have power over you, even if he does think of Muggles as creatures beneath him." With that, Harry left the room, leaving Daddy, Mummy and Dudley all staring at the telly.
When the Prime Minister's press conference ended Mummy left the room; Dudley followed, leaving Daddy sputtering in front of the telly. Mummy was in the kitchen preparing a pot of tea. Dudley sat down at the table. He didn't drink tea much but had discovered that if offered tea, you usually got a biscuit or cake with it, but only if you had the tea. He liked biscuits and tea was worth it if he could put sugar in it.
Mummy poured the tea and sure enough out came the biscuit tin. Mummy nibbled on a piece of shortbread, Dudley pulled the tin over and rummaged through it till he found a chocolate covered one. He dunked it in the tea and munched contentedly.
"Mummy, do you believe Harry?" Dudley asked as Petunia looked up.
"Never you mind, Popkin, Mummy and Daddy will keep you safe." She then pushed the tin closer to Dudley and sat back with her tea. Dudley took another biscuit and dunked it in his tea. Mummy sipped her way through half the pot while Dudley raided the biscuit tin. Well, they were leaving and they wouldn't be taking the tin with them.
"Oh dear, your tea's gone cold." She reached over and took his tea cup, emptied it in the sink, rinsed it in some hot water to get rid of the soggy biscuit crumbs and poured a fresh one from the insulated teapot.
Dudley looked at the teacup she had set back in front of him, aside from dunking biscuits he hadn't even touched the last one, but if Mummy insisted, he'd play along. "I'll take this one upstairs with me."
Dudley grabbed another biscuit, tucked it onto the saucer and started upstairs. He was going to pour the tea out in the bathroom. He got his biscuits; he didn't need it anymore.
There were thuds coming from inside his second bedroom, like stuff was being thrown about. Why would Harry be throwing stuff at the walls? Maybe Harry would tell him more about why the madman wanted Dudley if he took him a cup of tea.
Holding it carefully in one hand he knocked on Harry's door with the other hand. There was no change from inside the room, it still sounded like Harry was throwing stuff at the walls. If he really was throwing stuff, maybe it wasn't the best time to interrupt him, but what about the tea?
He decided to just leave it by the door. Harry was bound to come out soon, it was bedtime. He could have it them.
Very cautiously Dudley lowered the cup and saucer to the ground, managing to avoid spilling any on the carpet. Pleased with himself he took one more look then grabbed the biscuit still on the saucer and made for his room.
Dudley pulled on his leather jacket in the hallway and went into the living room to wait for Harry's friends to collect them. Daddy was pacing back and forth and muttering, then suddenly yelled for Harry. Dudley knew what was going to happen. Daddy was going to change his mind again. He'd been doing that a lot lately. Harry was explaining again why they had to leave the house behind and about how the Ministry of Magic 'has been infiltrated'.
Daddy was going on about CV's. That made no sense to Dudley. Even if they had seen CV's how would they know what they were looking for? A GCSE wasn't any good against magic.
"...kills Muggles for fun. Even the fogs – they're caused by Dementors, and if you can't remember what they are, ask your son!"
Dudley didn't notice he had covered his mouth as if to stifle a scream. "There are more of them?"
"More?" Harry asked. "More than the two that attacked us, you mean? Of course there are, there are hundreds, maybe thousands by this time, seeing as they feed off fear and despair – "
There were more and they could come here. There was no way Dudley was going to stay where those things could find him. Daddy was worried about work and school. Dudley thought it would be better to be alive without them than dead.
"Don't you understand?" Harry was beside himself. "They will torture and kill you like they did my parents!"
Dudley wasn't staying. He didn't want to leave Daddy behind, but he was going. "Dad, Dad – I'm going with these Order people."
"Dudley," said Harry, "for the first time in your life, you're talking sense."
Dudley looked at Harry. He looked...weary. "They'll be here in about five minutes." Dudley watched as he left the room. He knew they were about to say goodbye to Harry, probably for the last time. It was weird. Harry had always just been there. Daddy had talked about when Harry would be gone but he had never really thought about it. It was a strange thought, that was all.
The doorbell rang; Dudley was just about to get up to answer it when he heard Harry talking to someone in the hall.
"Good day to you, Harry Potter's relatives!" A little old man wearing a purple top hat came into the room cheerfully, followed by a plump, black-haired woman with quite pink cheeks. He didn't know how the man could be so happy. There was a war in his world; why would anyone be happy? He seemed so impressed by Daddy being able to drive too. It's not like it was rare. Most everyone could drive.
"Hurry up!" Dudley jumped. Where had that voice come from? Harry didn't seem to know either then Dudley saw him looking at the funny little man's watch. The funny man nodded at his watch and put it back in his pocket.
Daddy was saying good-bye to Harry. What was going to happen to Harry? He didn't think he was coming with them, but where was he going? "I don't understand."
"What don't you understand, Popkin?" Mummy asked. He pointed at Harry.
"Why isn't he coming with us? Why isn't he coming too?"
"Well, he – he doesn't want to. You don't want to, do you?
"Not in the slightest," Harry replied. That set something off in Dudley. Something was really wrong that, after sixteen years, they didn't care about each other. He didn't know of anyone else's family who would think that normal. The other boys at Smeltings all seemed to get on with their cousins. A lot of them were at school together.
"But where's he going to go?"
The black-haired lady was surprised at this. "But ... surely you know where your nephew is going?"
"Certainly we know. He's off with some of your lot, isn't he? Right, Dudley, let's get in the car, you heard the man, we're in a hurry." Daddy turned on his heel and went out the front door. Dudley watched him go.
"...no, they don't. They think I'm a waste of space, actually, but I'm used to –"
"I don't think you're a waste of space." Dudley didn't even realise he was saying it before he did. Harry stared at him. Dudley could feel himself turning red.
"Well ... er... thanks." Harry seemed as surprised as Dudley felt. Dudley felt he should explain, but how? He hadn't even known that himself.
"You saved my life," he mumbled.
"Not really, it was your soul the Dementor would have taken..." His soul? That thing would have taken his soul. What would have happened to his body, would it still have lived? He was trying to think of something to say but nothing seemed to come out. Suddenly Mummy was hugging him and crying.
Dudley wriggled out of her arms as best he could and held out a hand to Harry. "Blimey, Dudley, did the Dementors blow a different personality into you?"
Huh? "Dunno. See you, Harry," Dudley shrugged. Harry took his hand and shook it.
"Yeah ..." Harry didn't seem to know what to say either. "Maybe. Take care, Big D." Dudley fought a smile. That was the first time Harry had ever said that without making fun of him.
After that they moved outside and climbed into the car. Daddy and Dudley sat in the front as they were the largest and they needed all the space possible in the back seat with four people in it. He looked back and they all seemed to be there comfortably though, Mummy, the little man, the black-haired lady and the red-haired man who had come that first time. Dudley would have thought it would be quite tight with four people.
Daddy drove carefully to the edge of the village then, as soon as they were out of sight of anyone, put his foot down and got as far away as possible in the eight minutes they had before Harry left the house. The little man was looking at his watch. "Stop now, it doesn't matter where."
Daddy pulled over and they all got out and held their bags as told. Hestia came to stand next to him. "Stand as close to me as possible, keep a tight hold of my arm and hold still," she said. "Oh, and you might want to close your eyes, this might feel a little odd but you'll be fine."
Dudley did as he was told, squeezing his eyes shut.
"3... 2... 1..." He was being squeezed tightly all over, he was running out of breath, then suddenly it was all over.
AN: Chapter One is a bit slow, and there's a fair bit you'll recognise. Chapter 2 gets more exciting. At least I think so (B/N: It does!) AN2: Thanks to my awesome pre-beta Sandy, who is recovering from an appendectomy. Think good thoughts her way folks. And thanks to my Beta, Chris , who has gone beyond the call of duty in helping me with images for Chapter Two. Check them out when you get there.