A/N: This is the first section of a three-chapter story I wrote for the Dudley's Turn Challenge at SIYE. The subject of the Challenge is that Aunt Petunia discovers that Dudley can perform magic and goes to Harry and Ginny with her problem. Their solution is to hook Dudley up with a witch who will teach him the ways of the magical world. This chapter explains the backstory for what is to come in the next two chapters. I hope you enjoy it and will feel compelled to leave a review. I need to thank Mutt n Feathers, Rebecca Ripple, RSS and Manatoc Fox for their invaluable input, which helped clear up a few things and make the chapter better. To my beta, Aggiebell, thanks for your help in publishing this story here at Phoenix Song.
Late August 1995
Although it was the middle of the day, the drapes in Dudley Dursley's bedroom were tightly drawn, shutting out as much light as possible. Instead of natural light, the room's source of illumination was a blaring telly, which was currently playing a repeat of the program "Spitting Image." However, the single occupant of the room wasn't watching the telly. Instead, Dudley was sprawled on his bed, staring at the ceiling and thinking about the one thing that had occupied his mind ever since his cousin had left two weeks ago: the things he'd seen when the Dementoid had hovered over him.
Yes, he had seen the thing, and not just felt it! That was the scary part, mostly because Harry had said something about Muggles only feeling the Dementoids' effects. But Dudley had seen the floating, gliding Dementoid. He had heard its rattling breathing, felt its ice-cold fingers on his wrists, smelled its rancid breath, and seen the horrible, gaping hole it had for a mouth. URGH! After Harry had chased it away with that horse-ghost thingy of his, Dudley had lain on the ground shaking from head to foot, trying desperately to get the awful vision out of his head. It had only been the appearance of batty old Mrs Figg that had snapped him out of his fright enough to let Harry drag him home.
The rest of the evening had flown by in a blur of raised voices, a procession of owls and the very comforting thought that Harry had dug himself into a very deep hole because he'd done magic when he wasn't supposed to. Dudley had clung to that happy thought in the days to come whenever thoughts of the Dementoids crept into his mind. This happened so often that Piers, Gordon and Malcolm had complained that Big D wasn't his usual robust self. Dudley had throttled Piers hard the last time he mentioned that Big D wasn't any fun any more, putting a stop to the complaints. Unfortunately, that did nothing to stop the nightly dreams…
Dudley's dreams had always been a pleasant mixture of his own fantasies and the memories of bullying the neighbourhood's younger children. After Harry left, though, Dudley had begun dreaming of that night and couldn't help wondering if Harry was suffering from nightmares, too. When the visions became so frequent that he'd begun seeing them during the day, Dudley had made his excuses to his friends and shut himself in his bedroom. It was easier to think about what had happened in the alley with the drapes closed and the telly for cover noise.
Currently, Dudley was reviewing what he'd seen flash through his mind as the Dementy-whatsit had hovered over him. He didn't like the feelings of utter helplessness— something he hadn't felt in a long time—they engendered because they reminded him of how he used to be…
The Demented-thingies had dredged up a very early memory that Dudley had sworn he'd buried deep in his subconscious. It had taken place when he was five and was his first real memory from primary school. He had waddled up to a group of older boys standing in the schoolyard during break, because one of them was holding Dudley's ball. The boys had thought it very funny to hold the ball high over his head and make him jump for it. They called him Fatso when he began crying in frustration and when he kicked one of them in the leg, they turned mean, kicking and punching him until the bell rang. As he'd followed the boys back inside, his shirt torn and a lump forming on his head, Dudley had vowed never to let anyone make fun of him again; from then on he'd be the one doing the hitting and kicking, thank you very much. And he did. Within a week, Dudley had pummelled Piers, Gordon and Malcolm into being his followers and now, after years of helping them become bullies like himself, they were a tight-knit group feared by the neighbourhood children. Even so, there were times when being the biggest bully on the block wasn't satisfying anymore…
The feelings of inadequacy and jealousy had intensified when Harry turned out to be a much more popular person than Dudley had ever dreamed of being. It had all started with those damned letters delivered by those owls Dad hated so much; not only were they from the stupid school Harry attended, but they came from his group of friends, too. On top of that, three summers ago, one had called him on the telephone, making Dudley's dad extremely angry. Dudley had laughed when Harry had been punished, but for some reason he hadn't enjoyed his cousin's discomfort nearly as much as he normally would because of one thought: Piers, Malcolm and Gordon don't call me… I call them.
Now, thoroughly depressed, Dudley rolled over and faced the wall, wondering if he was good enough to make and stay on the boxing team this coming term.
Downstairs in the kitchen Petunia Dursley sat at the table sipping a cup of tea. She was worried about Dudley, but knew that if she said anything to him, he'd just snap at her to leave him be.
What was worrying her most were some unnatural things she'd seen him do since Harry had left. There were tell-tale signs that her precious Dudders was a wizard, things like moving objects and blinking lights that he'd caused when he seemed to be emotional, things they normally blamed on Harry. The other night, when Vernon had told Dudley to get washed up early for bed, the lights had suddenly dimmed in synchronization with his angry refusal to do so until his program was over. Vernon had remarked about the striking utility workers causing trouble with the power plants, but Petunia had noticed that none of the other houses on the street had flickering tellies or dimming lights.
"Oh, Dudders," she sighed in despair, "can't you suppress your unnatural tendencies and be the normal son we've always wanted you to be?"
If she had to admit it to herself, she was afraid to tell Vernon what was happening because of his reaction. She didn't want him to rupture an artery during the angry outburst that was sure to happen when he learned Dudley just might be magical…
They had been in the safe house since the last of July, and by now Dudley had become friends with Dedalus Diggle. When Dedalus and Hestia had first brought them here, he'd shied away from both of them until the day Dedalus had caught Dudley thinking about making his bed and actually doing it from across the room…
"Dudley, my boy!" the tiny little man exclaimed in delight from the doorway. "I knew there was magic in your blood! You can't be Lily Potter's nephew and not be a wizard! Oh, wait until I tell Petunia!"
Dudley gulped and shrunk back onto his bed. "No, Mr Diggle, please don't tell my parents!" he had begged. "You know what they're like. I don't want to anger my dad."
"Come now, Dudley," Dedalus said kindly, coming into the room, "doing accidental magic isn't a crime, it's a gift."
"Not to my mum and dad," Dudley told him. "I know what they did to Harry to try to crush the magic out of him. I don't want them doing that to me!"
Dedalus hopped up beside him and laid a hand on his elbow. "I won't tell them unless you want me to." Dudley sagged in relief at that, but Dedalus wasn't finished. "Dudley, how do you feel about magic?" he asked. "I want your own opinion, not your parents'."
Dudley thought long and hard, trying to assimilate his true feelings. In the silence, a biro he had left on his desk rose an inch above the essay he'd been writing the night before and began floating across the room towards him. Dudley turned to Dedalus and snapped, "Don't do that! You're distracting me!"
"Dudley," Dedalus squeaked, "I'm not levitating the pen. That's your magic making it float."
Sighing, Dudley whispered, "I guess I know my answer. I'm afraid of magic, of being a wizard. I don't want these things to happen, but when they do, I'm happy I have enough magic to do stuff like that."
"So what you're saying to me is that you're conflicted about magic," Dedalus summarised.
"Yeah, but it's more than that. I… I think I've been jealous of Harry since he started doing magical stuff; he could do things I couldn't and I wanted to do them, too. That's why I've always been horrible to him and because I thought I was helping my dad squash the magic out of him, he wouldn't be better than me, then."
Dedalus chuckled. "Dudley, you can never squash magic out of a wizard. It just makes them angry enough to blow things up."
The memory of Aunt Marge bobbing against the dining room ceiling flashed across Dudley's consciousness and he couldn't help the snort of mirth that escaped him.
"What's so funny?" Dedalus had asked.
Dudley told him the story and ended it saying, "Harry was always enlarging things or making them shrink. Inflating Aunt Marge was bound to happen because of how spiteful she acted towards him. After the Accidental Magical Reversal Squad left, I realized that a very dull evening had turned out to be the best I'd ever had around Aunt Marge. That night, Harry did what I'd wanted to do for several years! I was so jealous!" He paused and then asked, "Is it true that if someone, a non-magical person, has been around magic all their life, can they 'catch' magic or take it from someone?"
Dedalus slid off the bed and stood before Dudley. "I have a very definite answer to that question, laddie. The answer is 'NO.' You cannot steal magic or 'catch' it from someone because witches and wizards are born, not made. Have you been reading the rubbish they're still printing in the Daily Prophet Hestia insists on leaving around this house?" Dudley nodded. "Well, just take that drivel with a grain of salt. Eighty percent of what's published in that paper isn't true, especial that nonsense having to do with the Muggle-born Registration Commission. They're saying that a third of the magical population has stolen magic from pure-blood