The following takes place in 2010:
Vernon Dursley generally considered himself to be a happy man. Generally. He had a son, grown now, with a wife, and a wife of his own, both, who loved him very much.
Vernon had spent the last thirty years of his life trying to raise his small family, and advance his career. Both, things which he had done successfully. He had risen to the top of the ladder in Grunnings, the factory that he had taken over some ten years before, after the owner died, and left nearly half the stock in Vernon’s name. Already having had a sizeable sum of the company’s stock, he inherited the company, in a manner of speaking, then owning more than half.
But now, Vernon Dursley was retired, a wealthy man. He was able to sit back in his vacation home with his wife Petunia, careless, and free to do as he pleased.
The breeze blew through his hair, still as thick as it had ever been. This of course pleased the man to no end. Of course, he had long since shaved his mustache, for sense of change, which was highly unusual for any Dursley, little lone, this one.
You see, the Dursleys never liked anything out of the ordinary… even so out of the ordinary, as a missing mustache. Fortunately for him, his wife approved of the change, and so, it stuck with him.
The man sighed, the feeling of sitting around and doing nothing getting to him, as it occasionally did, and he sat up from his reclined lawn chair.
His wife Petunia always seemed to be doing something… perhaps he would join her, if in nothing else, cleaning. Vernon hated to clean, as opposed to his wife, who engaged in a daily ritual of ridding their homes of dirt. Nevertheless, it was still something to do, as the golfing greens were closed today on account of holiday.
Vernon sighed again. He had forgotten, Petunia was in town today, doing something with that book club of hers. What was it called? Interpreting the language of books? Who knew, certainly not him, but he didn’t care. The only thing he cared about, was that the leader of the group, didn’t happen to like him.
Dursley never used to care whether or not people liked him. He was a CEO in a big company… if he ordered people to do something they didn’t like, what cause of dismay was it to him? It was their job, as was ordering people around, his.
But as time passed by, he began to change, as do all people. Just as his mustache went away, so did his son’s dislike for wrestling, and his wife’s necessity to obsess over every little thing she heard over the fence about Mrs. Next Door’s grandson, and Lady Down the Street’s husband. Of course, wherever they went, Petunia was still the gossip of the neighborhood, but less so than she used to be. For Vernon, it was the need for people to like him that changed. Suddenly, he needed people to notice when he did good things… and, he had to do those things better than everybody else. But mostly, he wanted people to like him, no matter what. So it definitely rubbed him the wrong way, when he was walking through the sporting goods store last week, looking for a new putter, and the head of the book club whispered to her daughter as he passed, “There goes Petunia’s husband… what’s his name? I don’t care for him much… thinks too much of himself.”
Vernon had been very tempted to swing around and give her a piece of his mind, but perhaps if he just went on with his own business, her opinion would change?
Another sigh escaped his lips, and restlessness finally overtook him. He had to find something to do, and quickly, before he died of boredom, the thing he had seeked out for most of his life, because boring, was normal.
He stood, and stretched. Perhaps he would go into town today… London was only a half hour off, and he had that nice new car just sitting there idly in the driveway.
Traffic wasn’t bad as he drove, which was a little strange considering what day it was. Everybody should have been out and about, enjoying the sun and beautiful weather, because that’s what he was doing. He pulled up to a curb in a busy part of town, full of stores and shoppers, and parked. If he could find nothing to buy for himself, than he would peruse the stores until he did.
He walked down the busy street lazily, people brushing up against him, and bumping into him as they passed. He wanted to say things to these people too, but declined to do so, for chance of dislike.
Noon came and went, and Vernon was just looking for a place to eat, when a door opened up ahead of him on his left. He might have paid no mind to the door on any other day, but not today. For today, a young man stepped out, twenty, maybe twenty five or twenty six years old, a little boy in his arms that looked oddly familiar.
“That was fun daddy,” the boy was saying, “when can we come back and see Fred and George again?”
The young man smiled down at the boy, perhaps four or five. “Anytime you want James.” The boy beamed up at his father and hugged him tighter, who hugged him back.
Vernon’s brow furrowed. The little boy looked so familiar… he just couldn’t put his finger on who he looked like. But with a look to the boy’s father, it came to him.
Dursley watched as the young man set the boy down, still holding his hand, and the door behind him opened again, an orange haired man about the young father’s same age stepping out.
“Hey Harry,” he said, “wait up.”
Harry smiled over at him. “What, Fred and George chase you out?”
The other man shook his head, grinning, “No. I just wanted to get away from the crowd following you back there, but they cornered me.”
Harry began to chuckle, “That’s why I stepped out here… can’t have people asking for my autograph all the time around James.”
“Well I don’t see why not. He should know his dad’s the most famous wizard in the world.”
Famous? Autographs? Vernon wasn’t sure he was hearing right. He definitely knew the two young men fifteen feet in front of him, but Harry, famous?
“Well, when do you figure it’s safe to go back in?” the orange haired young man asked.
“As soon as Fred and George create a distraction,” Harry told him.
“Well that won’t be for long,” his friend replied… “they make one every few minutes.” And sure enough, a few seconds later, the door opened again, and the two men and boy had to part to let a number of oddly dressed men and women out, smoke trailing behind them.
Harry and his friend grinned.
“Are we going back to see uncle Fred and George now Daddy?”
Harry nodded. “I think so… what do you think uncle Ron?”
Ron grinned, “I think I’ll go through first with my godson, and you can follow after so we don’t get swarmed with reporters again.”
Harry nodded again. “Right, good idea.” He turned to the little boy, and said, “Alright James, Uncle Ron’s going to take you back to see Fred and George for a while, would you like that?”
The little boy nodded excitedly, and leapt up into Ron’s open arms. “Ok, see you in a minute Harry,” and he disappeared into the supposedly smoke filled room beyond the door, leaving Harry to wait outside.
Vernon stood, half hidden behind the light post, watching the events unfold. Harry looked down to his wrist, where Vernon supposed there was a watch, and then back up. Deciding enough time had passed, he stepped through the door a minute later, and out of sight.
Vernon was just beginning to wonder if his eyes had been playing tricks on him, when the acrid smell of burnt plastic met his nostrils. It was from the smoke that had come from behind the door.
He closed his eyes, and tried to will the smell away, but when he opened them again, it remained, and he stood up straight, stepping out from behind the lamp post.
It hadn’t been a dream. He had seen no sign of the two young men in ten years, and now, there Harry was, and with a son, no less. Even Dudley didn’t have a child yet. He hadn’t even gotten married until a few years ago.
Vernon shook his head. This was nonsense. That couldn’t be the Harry he knew. And the orange haired young man, couldn’t have been the same friend of Harry’s. But, they both looked so familiar. That unruly jet black hair that both the father and son wore, and the freckles on that orange haired boy. Of course, he had been too far away to see many distinguishing facial features on the father of the boy, so he couldn’t be sure. Or could he?
Vernon Dursley took half a step forward toward the door, and then thought better of it. He dare not touch anything that had to do with abnormalness, and what he had just seen, classified as such.
“Excuse me sir, but do step aside please,” squeaked a voice from below.
Dursley looked down to see a little man wearing a sort of cape.
“What?” he asked him.
“You’re blocking the way to the pub,” he told him, pointing behind him.
Unknowingly, his curiosity had gotten the better of him, and he had taken tiny steps towards where he thought the door had been, until he was right in front of it. Dursley looked to where the little man was pointing, and saw nothing but a wall. Nevertheless, he moved aside, and the man squeaked a, “Thank you,” and pulled open a door that appeared, seemingly, out of nowhere.
As he disappeared through the door, a strange thought was going through Vernon’s head… what if he just took a step inside and had a look? Nothing abnormal about that, because Petunia did it to their neighbors all the time. And as the door had almost closed, a thick hand wedged between it and the frame.
The light was dim in the pub that greeted Vernon Dursley, but as he forced his eyes to adjust by shutting them very quickly, he saw the short little man with a red beard and mustache, exiting through a door on the other side, where bright light streamed in.
Thinking quickly, and on pure adrenaline, Vernon followed him, not noticing the oddly dressed people sitting at the bar, or at a table by the fire, drinking things that sent a sort of fog over the side of their glasses.
Again, he caught the door just before it shut, and waited for a second before he stepped through, hoping that the short man wouldn’t notice him following.
What met Dursley’s eyes next, was far greater than any abnormal person he could have seen in the pub however, for there, in an apparent brick wall, was a grand archway, with a busy street beyond, filled with people.
Yet again, he slipped through the entrance unnoticed, just before it closed, and he looked back at it as it formed itself into a solid brick wall.
Someone brushed passed him, and he jumped, startled. It was as if he hadn’t noticed until just now, that he was in a street full of all the abnormal people he had been avoiding all his life.
The boy that had bumped into him apologized profusely, before running off to his mother, who was waiting with a bag full of newly purchased items.
“Hurry along now Roan,” she was heard to say to the boy, “your brother is waiting to go home so he can try on his new robes.”
“But mum,” he whined, “Harry Potter’s down the street! Can’t we stay to watch him?”
Vernon watched as the woman craned her neck to see down the street at the little boys words, but then stopped, and scolded the boy, “Now Roan, what have I told you about that? It isn’t polite to stare.”
“But mum-” and no more was heard because he was steered away, and into a shop.
Vernon turned to look in the direction the boy had come from. He had wanted to stay and watch a, Harry Potter… perhaps the famous, man he had seen in the street ten minutes earlier, was a performer. Certainly it made sense, that even this kind of people had to have some form of entertainment?
And yet, this new found curiosity still gripped the ordinary retired man, and he pressed on, treading carefully, as if he might set off some form of alarm.
People wound their way through the crowd here and there, with birds in cages, and cats wandering the street. Probably all strays, he thought to himself, until a young woman picked up one of the white cats and cuddled it in her arms.
“I wondered where you went Cabby!” and she disappeared back into the crowd, not to be seen again by the only ordinary man on the wizard street.
He thought that the nervous tick in his temple might start in as he walked down the street, and read signs hanging over doors and in shop windows that said things like: Madam Malkin’s Robes for all occasions, and, Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes, but his temple stayed still, and he was grateful, for some reason unbeknownst to him.
The crowd thickened, and then thinned out again, and once again thickened to a massive proportion, as he made his way down the street. When he reached the edge of the massive crowd, he heard snippets of different conversations.
“Have you seen him yet?”
“I thought I saw his scar.”
“Wasn’t that just the cutest little boy?”
“Hey look! Is that him? Is that the boy who lived?”
Vernon gritted his teeth as he pushed his way through the crowd, having to touch so many oddly dressed people, but finally he made his way to the front.
There was no one there, only a shop: Quality Quidditch Supplies. Was he inside?
Gathering up his nerves, Vernon turned to a teenage boy next to him, and asked, “What’s all the fuss about?”
The boy turned to him, as if he were mad. “Haven’t you heard? Harry Potter’s inside! He took his son in there… we think he’s buying him his first broom!”
“Broom?” Dursley asked him. For a moment he had forgotten that that was their form of transportation.
“Gee mister,” the boy said, “don’t you know anything about Harry Potter?”
When Vernon pretended not to have heard the boy’s question, the young man asked, “Where you been all these years? Mars? Harry Potter’s the one who saved us all! Killed You-know-who! And, he’s on the British National Team! Seeker, first class!”
Many heads nodded around him at the mention of the defeat of, You-Know-Who, and, first class, and a man somewhere behind him shouted, “I saw him play in finals last year! Flew through six Bludger attacks and still caught the Snitch after a Wronski Feint!”
“Yeah!” shouted someone else, a woman this time, “And I saw him a couple years ago as he was bringing in Robert Croog! Took him right up and tossed ‘im in the cell!”
There were more shouts of approval at this.
“Who?” Vernon asked.
And someone on his left this time, exclaimed, “Why, only the nastiest wizard since He-who-must-not-be-named! One of his rotten followers if you ask me! An’ Harry went right up an’ threw him in the cell. Him and his partner Ronald Weasley!”
“They’re the best two aurors in Britain,” the teenage boy on his right informed him.
“Nah! You’re wrong!” someone that Vernon couldn’t see shouted, “They’re the best two aurors anywhere!”
This was simply too much for the crowd, because they burst out in cheers.
“See now mister?” the teen asked, “An’ now he’s in there buyin’ his kid a broom… and since Harry Potter’s the best Seeker anywhere too, then his son’s got to be a shoe in!”
Now Vernon was sure it wasn’t the same Harry he thought it might have been. There was no way that scrawny kid could have done all of that stuff… even if this other fellow had the same name.
“Hey,” the teen on his right asked, “what are you anyway? A Muggle?” The crowd around them began to laugh, but Vernon only began to turn red, and the tick in his temple went off on him, throbbing horribly. And if that wasn’t a dead giveaway, then he didn’t know what was.
Vernon turned to leave, suddenly feeling less bold than he had a quarter of an hour ago, and silently chastising himself for having even thinking of following the short little man into this abnormal reality.
“Hey!” someone shouted, “maybe he is!” Vernon tried to run, and their suspicions seemed to be confirmed. Four hands shot out to restrain him, and he could no longer move.
He struggled as the noise rose to an intolerable level, and then, amazingly, silence washed over the crowd.
The people all turned to the five men and little boy that had stepped out of the broom shop.
“What’s going on here?” one with slightly graying hair asked, wand out and ready to break up the crowd if need be.
“We caught a Muggle!” one of the men holding Vernon shouted. “Probably tryin’ to sneak in an’ kill Mr. Potter!”
The man turned to give Harry a look, who was holding James, and staring at Vernon, deep in concentration.
“Harry?” the man with grey hair asked.
Harry looked over at him. “I’m not sure Remus,” he said. He looked back over and made eye contact with Vernon again.
“Well what should we do Mr. Potter?!” the teenage boy gripping Vernon’s legs asked.
Harry shook his head. “Let him go.”
Sounds of mixed confusion and laughter issued from the crowd, but Harry waved them away.
“Do you know him Harry?” Remus asked.
Harry didn’t break eye contact. “He’s my Uncle.”
The laughter from the crowd stopped as it silenced again at Harry’s words, and the four men restraining Uncle Vernon released him, but he stayed where he was, and didn’t move.
“What are you going to do,” one of the men behind Harry asked him.
Harry shook his head. “I don’t know… here Seamus, take James for a minute will you? And follow us. Close,” he ordered.
Seamus nodded, and Harry turned to Remus before he said, “Where can we take him?”
“Back to the Leaky Cauldron?” Ron suggested.
Remus shook his head though, and said, “Take him into Harver’s… I’ll be along in a minute after we disperse the crowd.”
Harry nodded, and moved forward towards his uncle. “C’mon,” he muttered to him.
His legs moving automatically, and seemingly out of his control, Vernon moved forward at his nephew’s prodding, and a quiet chatter broke out over the crowd once more.
Harry steered the stunned man down the street and into a seemingly small building, Seamus and Ron close behind with James.
It was quieter here, and once they got inside, Harry pulled out a chair at a large round table for his uncle to sit in. Vernon sat, and Harry moved to take James from Seamus again, giving him a quiet, “Thanks,” as he did.
Seamus nodded, and stepped back to where Ron stood.
Vernon looked up at Harry and his son, and Harry asked him, “What are you doing here?”
His uncle didn’t answer, and as Harry looked to Ron for help, his friend simply shrugged.
A few moments later, the door behind them opened again, admitting Remus, and the other two men that had come out of the Quidditch shop with Harry, both with the same features, twins.
“Well?” Remus asked him.
Harry shook his head. He didn’t know what to say.
Harry looked back down to Vernon, and said, “You’ve got to know what you’re doing here.”
This time, Vernon looked up, and said, “I followed you.”
The look of surprise didn’t solely rest on Harry’s face, but also permeated around the room to the rest of the men there, with the exception of Uncle Vernon.
“But… why?” Harry asked him quietly. His uncle had never once expressed the want to know what Diagonally was like, and in fact, had always spoken against anything of the wizarding kind.
Uncle Vernon didn’t look up, or answer.
Harry sighed, and looked around the room again. Quietly he said, “Why don’t you guys give us a few minutes?”
Remus nodded and motioned for the rest to follow him through a door into another room, and Ron reached forward to take James for him. Harry let him, and once they were gone, took a seat opposite his uncle.
“Ok, so…” Harry trailed away, unsure of what to say. “Curiosity got the better of you, and you followed me in here, and…”
Vernon looked up, and Harry stopped. “I didn’t think it was you I saw,” he told him.
Harry looked confused. “Then why-”
“Because I wanted to know,” Vernon told him.
Harry sighed. This wasn’t making any sense. After all of these years, his uncle finally wanted to know what the wizarding world was all about?
There was silence for a few minutes as Harry thought, and finally, Vernon spoke again, in a different tone than Harry thought he’d ever hear coming from such a man, who had once made his life miserable.
“The boy,” he asked quietly, “he was yours?”
Harry nodded. “James.”
“Four,” Harry told him.
Uncle Vernon nodded. “How long ago did you marry?”
Harry watched him, and when he didn’t answer, Vernon looked up.
“Six years ago…” he told him, “when I was twenty.”
“To a witch?”
Harry nodded, “Yes. Her name is Rae.”
His uncle nodded again.
Harry didn’t know why his uncle was taking this sudden interest in him, or his life, but he thought that if he humored him, he might find out.
“What about Dudley?” Harry asked, referring to his cousin.
“He married Katia two years ago.”
“No kids?” Harry asked him, turning the tables.
Vernon shook his head, “No.”
Things continued on in this way for another half an hour, and by the time Uncle Vernon had run out of questions, Harry found that he was no longer humoring his uncle, but was genuinely interested in telling him all the things he was always forbidden to. And for some reason, it didn’t matter anymore the whys of why his Uncle was taking an interest.
After another few moments of silence, Harry rose, and his uncle watched him go. He returned a minute later with James, hugging him tightly.
“Who’s that daddy?” he asked quietly in the surrounding silence.
Harry looked at him, and then to his uncle.
Vernon watched the two, and though he would never be sure of what, something made him stand. “I’m your great uncle.”
Headlights blazed through the darkness and at the closed garage door. Silently he turned the ignition off, and sat there, almost numb from the information he had learned, and his harrowing experience that day. After a few minutes, Petunia came outside to see why he hadn’t come in yet.
“Vernon?” she asked, worry detectable in her voice.
He looked up at her, and stepped out of the car, closing the door behind him. He went inside, and moments later, his wife followed him.
“Vernon, what’s wrong?” she asked him, once inside.
He shook his head. “I saw Harry today.”
Her eyes grew wide at the mention of their abnormal nephew. “Vernon!” she scolded him, for speaking the name.
He simply looked her in the eyes though, and said, “He has a son. His name is James. And today, I learned I had a nephew.”
A/N: Hey guys. Like it? Love it? Hate it? Let me know what you think so I know what I'm doing right, or what I'm doing wrong. Thanks! Hope you enjoyed it!
(Chapter pic at the beginning of the story is by me).