Disclaimer: All the usual fan fic rules apply. I don't own it, JKR does. Thanks to her for creating such a wonderful "Potterverse" and allowing me to play in it. Thanks also to Melindaleo, whose own fan fics inspired this one.
Vernon Dursley leaned against the front door at Number Four Privet Drive and let out a long sigh. A smile of triumph slowly spread across his face, and one thought echoed over and over through his brain – The freak is gone. Gone forever.
For sixteen years he had dreamed of finally being rid of the loathsome Potter boy. Tonight, Vernon's wish had at last come true.
He closed his eyes and took a deep breath, replaying the last few moments in his head.
He'd arrived home from work in a foul mood. The past week had been unbearable. Freaks everywhere – camped out on his lawn, peering in the windows, rapping on the doors – all in the name of babying that pipsqueak.
Vernon threw open the front door and headed into the kitchen, marching straight to the pantry and pulling out the brandy bottle. After pouring himself a generous snifter, he turned to Petunia, who was bent over the stove.
"Where's Dudley," he asked. Petunia paled slightly. "I'm not certain," she replied shortly. "I think maybe he went upstairs."
Vernon gave a non-committal grunt before taking a large swallow of brandy. "Where's the boy? Have the freaks been around today?"
Petunia shook her head. "No worse than usual," she replied, avoiding his eyes.
Vernon glanced at her sharply. "What's the matter?" he said, taking a step toward her.
"Nothing," Petunia said, turning back to the stove.
"It doesn't seem like nothing," Vernon said. "Where's the freak? What's he done?"
Petunia's hands shook as she turned back toward him. "I don't think it's anything. It's just that… I think I heard Dudley and the boy go upstairs together."
Vernon's face reddened. "When? What are they doing? You know we agreed to keep Dudley away from that freak as much as possible!"
Petunia sensed an explosion coming and tried to head it off. "I'm sure it's nothing. I think they're just talking up in Dudley's room."
With surprising speed for someone of his bulk, Vernon dashed out of the kitchen and pounded up the stairs. He slowed as he approached Dudley's room, pausing in the hallway to listen through the cracked door.
"… really do fly on a broomstick?" he heard Dudley ask in wonder.
"I know. I was amazed the first time too," Harry replied.
Without even thinking, Vernon slammed open the door, causing both boys to jump with fright.
"Dad," Dudley said, his eyes wide as saucers.
"Get out," Vernon snarled at his son.
Dudley hesitated for a moment – throwing an odd look at Harry – and then zipped out of the room.
"I've had all I'm going to take from you, freak," Vernon roared, stalking toward Harry. "You've brought hideous creatures into my home to threaten me, there are freaks roaming the yard, terrorizing your aunt; and now… now I come in here to find you trying to corrupt Dudley with your unnaturalness? I WON'T HAVE IT!"
Harry slowly backed away, coming to a halt against Dudley's computer desk. "It wasn't like that at all," he said. "We were just talking."
"Talking about a broomstick? Since when does Dudley talk to you?" Vernon bellowed. "He wouldn't, unless you or those dementoids did something to him. I won't have this, you rotten little punk!"
Vernon launched a perfect haymaker that landed solidly on Harry's left check, sending the boy spinning back onto the desk. Desperately trying to break his fall, Harry clawed at the desktop before crashing to the floor and pulling Dudley's computer monitor down on him. The screen shattered, tiny glass particles imbedding themselves in the back of Harry's head and arm.
Standing in the front hall, Vernon massaged his sore knuckles, his smile widening as he remembered the feeling of his fist connecting with that freak's face. He didn't care what those other freaks thought. He's be damned if those people were going to shove one of their kind on him and then try to tell him how to run his home.
Vernon reached down and jerked Harry to his feet. The boy's broken glasses slipped from his nose. "Get out!" Vernon spat. "Get out and never show your face here again. We're done with you. I don't care what was agreed upon, I will not have my family exposed to you for another day. Get out, good riddance and never return! I should have done this years ago."
Harry twisted out of Vernon's grip and staggered from the room, pausing long enough to pick up his broomstick. Vernon took two steps toward him, causing Harry to brandish his wand. "That's enough, Uncle Vernon," he said, steadying himself on the doorframe.
Vernon laughed harshly. "You can't use that on me. That freak school will throw you out."
"Yeah, is that what you want – for me to be stuck here even longer?" Harry shot back.
"It doesn't matter because you won't be staying here," Vernon roared. He felt a flash of pleasure as he watched Harry begin moving down the hall, his shoulders slumping slightly.
Vernon shoved Harry roughly, causing him to stumble down the last three steps . Vernon aimed another haymaker at Harry's head, but the boy dodged, causing the blow to swing wide and throw the larger man off balance.
"Vernon," Petunia said sharply from the kitchen door.
"He's leaving, Petunia. I've had enough. He was showing Dudley his… things. You know the way Dudley's been acting; it's his fault, and I won't have it. This isn't up for discussion."
Vernon started as he saw Petunia briefly cast a worried look at Harry but dismissed it when she nodded ascent to the banishment. He turned to Harry and was gratified by the flicker of fear in the boy's eyes.
Vernon then whipped open the front door. "Get out," he snarled.
"Thanks so much for your overwhelming kindness through the years," the freak shot back as he stepped through the front door.
Vernon felt his heart hammering as he roughly shoved the boy off the front step and slammed the door behind him. Petunia fixed her husband with an inscrutable gaze for a moment before shaking her head and returning to the kitchen.
As he rested against the door, Vernon heard a series of sharp cracks from the front lawn. What was that little creep doing out there?
Suddenly a falsetto, sing-song voice rang out. "Hawwy, Haaaaawwwy. Come out and play with me. Come on, Haawwwy. We'll be jolly playmates forever more. Didn't we have so much fun when we played last time?"
Vernon felt the flush rising on his face. Would he never be free of these weirdoes?
He flung open the front door and gasped at the sight of about a dozen dark-cloaked, white-masked figures moving toward his home. He squared his shoulders and yelled at the motley crew. "Get out of here all of you. He's not here. He's gone, and he won't be back."
The feminine-looking leader of the pack stepped forward and pointed a wand at him. Suddenly something – something unseen, but incredibly powerful – slammed into Vernon's chest, knocking him to the hallway floor. Stunned, he struggled to sit up.
The lead figure then uttered a strange-sounding incantation, and a flash of green light streaked toward Vernon. He felt a burst of intense pain, as though his body was being ripped apart, and then darkness enveloped him.
A/N: Greetings, fellow Potterites! Allow me to introduce myself. I am a married, 36-year-old father of three who works in the PR business in Northern Virginia. I am a long-time Potter fanatic. This is my first foray into fan fiction, and I hope it will prove entertaining for you. The title of this story is lifted from Lewis Carroll's novel, and seemed appropriate, given what the Dursleys will find awaiting them in the afterlife. I was inspired to write this based on Melindaleo's novel-length work, "Curse of the Damned." If you're unfamiliar with her stellar writing skills, do yourself a favor and head immediately to her page here on PhoenixSong.
Portions of the dialogue and action in this installment come directly from Chapter 5 of CotD, entitled, "End of An Era." Melinda very kindly encouraged me throughout the writing process and was good enough to pre-beta my work. Thanks much, Mel! I'd also like to thank my beta, Arnel, for her quick work and for keeping me in canon.