Harry spent the rest of the day on the housework that Aunt Petunia had
left for him. He had just finished number seventeen - organise
the freezer. Letting the cool air waft over him as he stuck his head in
the freezer, he couldn't help but think is was one of the more
pleasurable tasks Aunt Petunia had ever assigned him. The sticky July
heat was really beginning to get to him and the Dursleys didn't have
central air in their home. What he wouldn't give to be able to do magic
and perform a simple cooling charm on the house! He was thinking about
the possibilities when the first of Dudley's "guests" arrived.
Polkiss was the first to arrive. Piers was well-known in the
neighbourhood to be a bully in his own right. But, because he was
smaller and slightly less intelligent than Dudley, he was considered to
be the lieutenant or second-in-command of the tight-knit group Harry
had long ago dubbed 'Dudley's Gang.' Dudley was, of course, the
Harry had a long and unpleasant
history with Piers, culminating with the zoo incident on Dudley's
eleventh birthday, when Harry had accidentally set a rather large boa
constrictor loose. It seemed that Piers, on catching sight of
Harry, had remembered the incident as well.
"Talk to any snakes lately, freak?" he asked in a sneering voice.
from intimidated, Harry frowned. He thought about simply ignoring him,
but changed his mind. "Ummm…. No," Harry answered, appearing to think
hard about it. "Not for a few years now, when I killed a giant
snake to save the life of this girl I know."
and shot Harry a warning look but Piers laughed. "I forgot what I liar
you are, Potter. No girl would come within ten feet of you!"
didn't say anything, because he didn't know what to say. He wanted to
retort with a witty response, but the truth was the only experience he
had with girls was not much to brag about. His failed attempt at a
relationship with Cho and a miserable date to the Yule Ball with
Parvati were all he could think of at the moment. He really was rubbish at anything to do with girls.
his cousin's confidence falter, Dudley couldn't help but chime in.
"Heard anything from your boyfriend, Cedric, lately? Has he dumped you
for another man?" He and Piers both laughed.
clenched and he fought to stop his hand that was itching to draw his
wand. That would shut him up, he thought angrily. Instead he controlled
the urge and said, "Don't go there, Dudley," in his most menacing
voice, hoping that Dudley would get the point.
with satisfaction at the confusion on Piers' rat-like features as he
witnessed Dudley's round, piggy face contort in fear. He eyed Harry
hatefully. Turning to Dudley, he snarled, "What's he doing here? I thought you said you'd get rid of him."
"I changed my mind," Dudley said, recovering. "Potter – I mean Harry – is joining us today."
smiled even wider to see the horrified look that crossed Piers' pointy
face. "You're joking!" he exclaimed. "Since when do we let
weirdo freaks in on our meetings?"
"Come outside and I'll explain," Dudley said, pulling Piers out on the front porch and slamming the door.
wished he had time to go get his invisibility cloak from his room. He'd
give anything to know what they were planning. Whatever it was, his
instincts told him it was not good.
He thought about backing
out when he heard Dudley and Piers laugh loudly, but his stubbornness
and Gryffindor nobility kicked in. He had made a deal. His pride
wouldn't let him back out now and no matter what, he'd see it through.
Even if it killed him.
Harry's internal debate was put on
hold by the sudden return of Dudley and Piers. They were
accompanied by the rest of Dudley's gang, a group of three boys who
strongly reminded Harry of Crabbe and Goyle with their overly large
heads and stupid, vacant expressions. Today all five boys were
laughing at a secret joke, and Harry had the distinct impression it had
something to do with him.
"You remember Gordon, Malcolm, and Dennis, don't you Harry?" Dudley asked sweetly.
Harry said, his voice dripping with sarcasm. "I recall meeting
them a time or two. Usually it involved a toilet or dustbin, but
it gets fuzzy from there."
"You'd better watch yourself,
Potter," Piers warned. "You and Dudley may have an…
understanding…" he said, shooting Dudley an angry but obedient look,
"but the rest of us still don't much like you. You'd do well to
remember that, just in case you get any funny ideas."
I'll remember," Harry said offhandedly. "I know you'd like
nothing better than to smash my head in. I'm just glad my dear
cousin has come around."
Here, Harry paused to clap
Dudley hard on the back. "I don't know if he's told you or not,
but I have something really special all planned out next summer for Big
D here. I've been saving up for ages just to give it to
him." Harry was pleased to note that Dudley had caught his
"Hmmm," Piers said, crossing his arms and surveying
Harry menacingly. He looked as if he was about to say more when
Dudley suddenly cut in.
"So, lads," he boomed in his best
leader voice, clapping his hands together and moving as far away from
Harry as he could get. "What have you brought me today?
Hope it's better than our last meeting. We want to initiate my
dear cousin in style, after all. Nothing but the best for him, eh?" Harry was sure he heard a double meaning in these words and he vowed to stay on guard.
right Big D," Piers answered sinisterly as the other murmured
agreement. "Dennis, did you manage to acquire the desired
"Yep," the largest of the three said stupidly, gesturing to a large bag in the corner by the door.
good," Piers said. Turning to one of the other three he asked,
"Malcolm, did you nick the video we discussed from your dad's sock
"Got it right here," Malcolm answered, pulling the video out from under his shirt.
eyes narrowed in suspicion. It seemed rather odd for this group
to be excited about an ordinary video, so he supposed it must be one of
those movies that he'd heard Dudley watch in his bedroom
whenever his parents were out. He'd heard the disgusting noises coming
from his cousin's room often enough this summer.
have to hook the player up down here. We want a good show for our
new… freak, I mean, friend… here," Piers said, eyeing Harry with
distaste. Harry returned the look with what he hoped was a nasty
one of his own.
"Gordon," Piers said, turning away from Harry
to address the last of the three buffoons. "Did you talk your
brother into getting us that other item we discussed?"
Gordon patted his trouser pocket. "Got it right here," he said.
We'll save that for later, shall we?" Piers said, obviously very
pleased. "First things first." Turning to Dudley, he asked, "D,
did your mum leave us some food?"
Dudley smiled broadly.
"Yep, it's all laid out in the kitchen. She was very pleased to
accommodate me and my best mates and made enough for a small
army. Hope it'll last," he shrugged, "but we can always get more
down the street at the corner store if we run low. They left me
loads of pocket money. Harry would be glad to get it, wouldn't
"Er… sure…," he replied uncertainly.
why don't you and Malcolm go up to my room and get the video
player. The rest of us will set up down here," Dudley said, that
note of authority back in his voice.
"Right-O, Big D!"
Piers exclaimed, snapping to attention. "Come on, Malcolm."
Harry watched as the two ascended the stairs and wondered again why he
had agreed to do this.
Half an hour passed while Harry watched
Piers and Malcolm struggle to hook up the video player in the
downstairs living room. In the meantime, Dudley, Dennis, and
Gordon made themselves busy arranging the furniture around the TV, and
setting out some of the food and drink. Whatever the movie was,
Harry thought it must be a good one - the boys almost seemed to be
bouncing in anticipation.
"You're in for a real treat,
Potter," Piers said, although it did not sound as if he really thought
Harry deserved something so good. "Malcolm's dad has a quite a
collection, and if this latest is anything like the others, then we'll
see just what kind of a man you really are. Too bad Cedric's not here
to hold your hand!" He exchanged a meaningful look with Dudley.
comment set Harry's temper alight. He knew Dudley had told them about
his nightmares and hearing him wake up yelling Cedric's name. Dudley
had no right to tell them about that! The others laughed and
elbowed each other, congratulating each other on getting in a good one
on the boy they'd been trained to hate since childhood.
Just as Harry was getting really annoyed at the ridicule and about to tell them to shove off, the doorbell rang.
could that be? I told the others not to come until around four,"
Dudley grumbled. "Potter, go to the door and get rid of whoever
it is," he ordered.
Wanting to argue but not seeing the point,
Harry trudged to the door. It gave him an excuse to get away from
the Muggles and calm down.
In the back of his mind he was
mulling over what Dudley had said. Just how many others were
coming? Harry's uneasiness increased tenfold as he approached the
door, knowing that if more Muggles showed up he would be greatly
outnumbered - even with his wand.
He needn't have
feared, however. As he opened the door Harry realised that the
odds had just turned in his favour. Standing on the doorstep were
three very familiar redheads, grinning from ear to ear, backpacks slung
over their shoulders. Harry had never been so relieved or
grateful in all his life to see his friends.
"Hi, Harry!" Ron said with a lopsided grin.
"Ron… Fred… George… What are you doing here?" he managed to stutter.
Ron laughed. "We're watching your back, mate," he said, grinning at Harry's still dazed look.
overheard Dudley and his friends talking outside, and it seems they
have plans for you," Fred said, confirming what Harry suspected all
along. "She thinks they're up to no good. So, as soon as
Mundungus came to take over his shift, she Apparated to the Burrow to
find us. Lucky George and I were around. We insisted on coming."
"How did you get here?"
"We used some crazy old bat's fireplace just down the street. Cat-lover, that one," Ron said dryly.
"Yep, Harry mate. Wouldn't miss it for the world," George said, rubbing his hands together in glee.
"What better way to spend a weekend? Tormenting your fat blob of a cousin and his friends was just too good anopportunity to turn down," Fred agreed.
hesitated to let them in. He really appreciated the sentiment, but he
did not relish letting Fred and George loose on a group of unsuspecting
Muggles, even if they were the nastiest sort. Anything could
"Aren't you going to invite us in?" Ron asked. "Or are we going to hang out here all night."
didn't move. "Listen, guys," he began. He was trying to think of a way
to say this as tactfully as possible. "I really appreciate this
but... you realise I can't afford another letter from the Improper Use
of Magic Office. I'd be chucked out for sure this time."
"Harry… Harry, mate!"
Fred said, attempting to sound hurt. "How long have we known each
other? Don't you trust us? What could possibly make you think we'd do
something to get you into trouble?" Fred's speech was meant to reassure
Harry, but he said it in a way that was not reassuring in the least.
for your information, Tonks already gave us the 'behave yourselves,
you're there to help Harry' speech," George added as they both pushed
"So where are the little maggots - I mean, Muggles
- anyway?" Fred asked a little too loudly, looking around the entrance
hall with a predatory look on his face.
Dudley had just
wandered out into the hallway in time to catch sight of the red-headed
Weasleys pushing their way inside. He stopped dead in his tracks.
Feeling slightly smug, Harry couldn't suppress a grin when Dudley's
eyes widened in shock and he looked ready to faint on the spot.
Everyone in the hallway knew that he had recognised the culprits of the
Ton-Tongue Toffee that had got the twins in so much hot water with
their mother just before the Quidditch World Cup two summers ago.
"Wh... what…" Dudley sputtered. "You can't…"
exactly what they couldn't do was lost on Fred and George as they
shoved past the shell-shocked Dudley and made for the sitting
room. "Hello there, again, Dursley," George nodded at Harry's fat
cousin as he passed.
"Fancy seeing you here," Fred quipped,
clapping Dudley hard on the shoulder as he followed his brother,
sending him stumbling. The tall, lanky Weasley twins towered over
Dudley's squat form.
Ron just gave Dudley an appraising
look of disgust. Harry was pleased and amused to note that Ron
was also several inches taller than Dudley and had a lean, fit physique
compared to Dudley's bulging middle.
"Dursley," he acknowledged tersely, not moving from Harry's side.
mate, Harry, here said there was a party of sorts going on and we just
couldn't resist…" Harry heard George say loudly as he made himself at
home in the living room.
"Hope you don't mind," Fred announced
loudly, not sounding if he cared if they did, in fact, mind.
"George and I can't resist a good party."
Harry took this time
to pull Ron aside. "Look, Ron," he whispered desperately.
"You know I can't afford to use any kind of magic at all around
here. If I get another notice from the Ministry, I'm through."
and George know that, Harry. Tonks already warned them," Ron told
him. "They intend to just scare the poor blokes to death.
Really, it'll be all right…" But at that moment they heard Fred and
George laugh loudly from the other room. Ron looked at Harry
helplessly. "…I think," he added.
"Ron," Harry tried again. "These are Muggles and I'm almost certain loads more are on their way, from the sound of it," he appealed.
had recovered from his shock enough to turn his anger on his cousin. He
stalked over to the whispering pair and jerked Harry around, almost
knocking him to the floor. "Get rid of them, Potter, or I'll…."
Ron stepped in front of Harry, who was still trying to restore his balance. "Or you'll what, Dursley?"
"I'll tell Dad," Dudley said smugly.
"No you won't," Harry said, stepping up beside Ron. "In case you don't know, Fred and George are of age. They are fully trained wizards and allowed to do magic anytime they want."
"Yeah," Ron jumped in, "so unless you want your memory modified, I'd be very careful."
Dudley paled. "That's impossible," he whispered.
Harry knew his cousin was beat. "Nope," he said. "A simple Oblivate and you'll remember whatever we want you to remember."
Ron looked sideways at Harry. "Of course, the last person we Obliviated
ended up in St. Mungos long-term resident ward with his brains
scrambled. Such a shame…" He muttered fixing a long, cold stare in the
direction of Harry's overly large cousin.
Dudley weighed his options. "If I let you stay, no funny business," Dudley warned. "And that goes for them as well." He pointed in the direction of the living room where Fred and George's boisterous voices could be heard clearly.
can't promise that," Ron told him earnestly. "No one but Mum and my
sister, Ginny, can control those two. It's pointless to even try. So,
unless you fancy being turned into a canary, I'd watch what I eat from
now on. You never know what they're going to do."
face turned green. "Buck up, Big D," Harry said lightly, loving every
minute of torture his poor cousin was feeling. It served him right for
all the years of misery he had put him through! "You're party just got a lot more interesting."
He and Ron looked at each other and laughed. Harry suddenly found himself feeling a whole lot better.
Thanks to Arnel for supporting me through this rewrite and Melinda for
all her encouragement and advice. You both are the best! Thanks also to
the readers, especially the ones leaving reviews. I appreciate your
words of encouragement. So, where are Hermione and Ginny, anyway and
how do they end up at Harry's? The answers to those questions are on