A Witch in the Family

 

“Lily, come get your books out of the sitting room,” Harry called up the stairs.

 

“Why?” she shouted back.  “I was doing homework down there.”

 

“We’re expecting guests soon and the books can’t be out when they get here.”

 

He heard the heavy footfalls of his fifteen year old daughter heading down the hall from her bedroom towards him.  Sure enough a few seconds later she was leaning over the bannister, red hair tumbling over one of her shoulders.  “Who’s coming over that can’t see me doing my school work over the holidays?  Are the neighbours coming over?”

There were a fair number of wizarding families in the area and they had a large enough yard to keep most people away, but their immediate neighbours were Muggles so it was a good guess.  Even so, Harry sighed.  “Lily,” he said warningly, eyebrow raised.

 

She got the message.  “Right, no questions when you ask me to do something,” she said as she dashed down the stairs, red hair flying behind her.

 

Harry followed Lily into the sitting room.  He leaned against the archway, watching as she organized rolls of parchment and began closing the textbooks that she had spread out all over the coffee table.  As she was stacking her books on top of each other (Hogwarts: A History was placed precariously on top of the third edition of A History of Magic as Lily reached for Magical Battles of the Twentieth Century), she said, “I didn’t know we were having company.”

 

“I didn’t either,” Harry admitted.  “But I just got off the phone with my cousin Dudley and apparently he and his family are in the area.”

 

Lily looked over her shoulder, blue eyes wide. She had met Dudley and his family a few times in years past, but Harry only met up with his cousin once every two or three years so she did not know them well. “Will I have to hang out with Charlotte?” she asked, sounding worried.

 

Dudley’s eldest was a girl only a few months older than Lily but, as a Muggle who knew nothing about magic, they’d had very little to talk about.  They were polite enough, but Harry knew that they would never be friends.  Dudley’s other kids, Oliver and Hazel, were even younger and had even less in common with the kids, so they had usually played side by side rather awkwardly on the occasions that they did meet.

 

“It’s just Dudley, Rachel, and the younger two today,” Harry told Lily.  A look of relief washed over her face.  “Just say hi to them and turn something on the television in the basement if you have to, but be polite.”

 

“Is Mum going to be back soon?”

 

Harry looked at his watch.  “I don’t think so kiddo.  It will just be us and them, unless Al gets back from work early this afternoon.”  His middle child had been working at a local ice cream parlour for the summer, which Harry thought was good practice at learning how to work without the use of magic.  The fact that Al was earning his own pocket money was a nice bonus.

 

To her credit, Lily didn’t complain.  With her stack of books tucked under her chin, she walked back up the stairs with her arms full.  He heard the thud of her dropping them all on her desk (why she didn’t use that to do her homework, Harry would never know) then the footfalls of her coming back down the stairs.  Grabbing the last of her parchment and her nearly empty bottle of ink, she made her way back up to her room.

 

When she was gone Harry walked around the room, looking for other things that would seem out of the ordinary for his cousin’s family.  Dudley knew more than his fair about magic for a Muggle, especially after he had spent that year in hiding with wizard guards while Harry looked for horcruxes, but that could not be said for the rest of his family.  Rachel, while sweet and soft-spoken, was an unknowing Muggle and they had to keep it that way.

 

Harry picked up the row of frames on the mantle, which were filled with wizard photos of his family over the years.  They had decorated the room primarily using Muggle photography, knowing that it would be easiest to make everything look appropriate for when Muggles dropped by, but it had felt weird not to have a single moving photo after all that time in the wizarding world.  As a compromise, they had made sure that their magical photos were easy to remove.

 

Once he had stacked the photos in the linen closet at the top of the stairs, he went looking for magical objects that had snuck their way into the room.  He found two old copies of the Daily Prophet in the coffee table, a chocolate frog and card on the side table, and a battered old copy of Britain’s Most Haunted Locations that his sons had read from to scare each other since they were kids.

 

He was cast a few quick charms in the kitchen to clean up the mess, ever thankful for how little effort cleaning required with the help of the proper magical spells.  He was looking around for anything that would be inexplicable to Rachel or the kids when there were three short raps on the front door.

 

Steeling himself for the awkwardness of an unexpected visit with his cousin, Harry squared his shoulders and put a smile on his face before opening the door.

 

Dudley was still broad, but much slimmer than he had been as a teenager.  His blond hair was kept cut close to the forehead and he now wore glasses as well.  He was hand in hand with a girl with brown curls who must have been his daughter Hazel, while his wife stood behind them with their dark haired son.

 

“Nice to see you again Harry,” Dudley said, extending his hand for a shake.  He seemed so unlike the boy who had made his life a living hell for the better part of fifteen years.  It was hard for Harry to get his mind around even now, when he had Dudley had been on decent terms for years.  “You remember my wife Rachel and our kids, Oliver and Hazel.”  He pointed to each of them as he spoke.

 

“I do,” Harry said, nodding at each of them in turn.  He held the door open further before saying, “Please, come in.”  As Dudley’s family was walking in he called over his shoulder, “Lily!  Come down and say hello.”

 

She must have been close, because she appeared beside him a few seconds later.  “Hi,” she said.  Her hands were shoved into the pockets of her shorts and, although Harry could tell she was not comfortable around Dudley’s family, she was polite enough.

 

“Do you want anything to drink?” Harry asked, trying to be courteous.  “Beer, water, juice?  There are soft drinks in the basement if the kids want any, too.  Lily can grab them.”

 

“Oliver, go with your cousin and pick up something for you and your sister,” Dudley said.  Strictly speaking the kids were second cousins and much less close than even that, but Harry supposed that that was a technicality.  He expected Dudley’s youngest to join the other two when Dudley said, “Hazel, stay with us for a couple minutes.”

 

It seemed a bit strange to Harry, but he didn’t question the matter.  “Would either of you like anything?” he asked the adults.

 

As he was reaching into the fridge for three beers (thankfully, they had Muggle brands) he asked over his shoulder, “So, what brought you to the area?”

 

“Do you mind if we sit?” Dudley asked.

 

“Uh, sure,” Harry replied before ushering them all into the recently cleaned sitting room.  He took a seat in his favourite armchair and watched as Dudley, Hazel, and Rachel sat in a row on the couch.  He could tell they were nervous and had attributed that primarily to the awkwardness of the situation when Rachel spoke up.

 

“I think it is best to be honest,” she said.  “We were actually not in the area, but something happened recently and Dudley said that it might be best to come to you so you could… explain.”

 

That caught Harry’s interest.  There were only a few things that he could think that would lead his cousin to suggest coming for a visit, all of them involving things involving magic that were unable to be explained away or something about their shared childhood that Dudley had forgotten.  He was just about to ask what it was when Lily entered the room, Oliver Dursley at her heels.

 

As Hazel took a can of cola from Lily’s hands, Dudley reached into one of the pockets in his shorts.  A moment later he had pulled out a rumpled, somewhat yellow envelope and was holding it in Harry’s direction saying, “I think this will explain.”

 

Harry’s eyes widened as he looked at the envelope.  A quick glance at his daughter showed that her eyebrows had shot up nearly to her hairline and she was looking at it as though she could not understand why Dudley would have a letter like that.  Knowing what he was about to see, Harry pulled a folded piece of parchment out of the envelope and began to read.

 

Dear Miss Dursley,

We are pleased to inform you that you have been accepted to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.  Please find enclosed a list of all necessary books and equipment
.

 

He stopped reading then and looked at his cousin.  Dudley was leaning forward slightly, clearly anxious about how Harry was going to react.  Hazel and Rachel were looking between the two of them and occasionally up towards Lily, who was leaning over the back of her father’s armchair to see if the letter was what it looked like.

 

Finally, Harry said, “I was not expecting this.”  He leaned over, passing the letter back to his cousin.  “How did Vernon take it?”

 

“Haven’t told him yet,” Dudley said with a nervous laugh. “You know how he is.”

 

Dudley’s wife was looking back and forth between the two of them, brows furrowed.  “Does this mean that Harry knows about... all this?  Magic?”  Her voice raised to a squeak on the last word.

 

“I went to Hogwarts,” Harry explained.  “My entire family did.  Lily’s going into fifth year and Al’s going into seventh.”

 

“Really?” Hazel exclaimed, speaking for the first time.  She was looking up at Lily with admiration.  “You’re a witch?”

 

“Sure am,” Lily said with a grin.

 

Rachel took a long drink of her beer.  Her wide eyes were still looking around intently, darting between her husband, Harry, and now Lily. “This… this is absurd.  You grew up with a wizard?”  She sounded slightly faint.

 

“I couldn’t tell you,” Dudley said apologetically.  “It’s not really something you can advertise, there are rules against it and I didn’t want to sound like a lunatic.”

 

Harry decided that it would probably be best that he step in then to try to explain things better.  He decided that it would be best to start back at the very beginning, skipping over all the extraneous details to keep it as short and simple as possible.

 

“You know that my mum and Dudley’s mum were sisters,” he began.  When Rachel nodded, he continued, “My mum was what we – magical people, I mean – call Muggleborn, meaning that she was born to non-magical parents.  She went to school at Hogwarts in the seventies, which is where she met my dad, who was from an all magic family.”

 

He glossed over everything the best he could, from Voldemort and how a prophecy had left him as an orphan.  He stopped every so often, giving Rachel time to absorb the information, before adding on new details.  Hazel seemed to need no time at all to process everything, as she was leaning forward with rapt interest, still in disbelief that magic was real and that she would get to learn how to do it.

 

“The headmaster of Hogwarts all this time was a man named Albus Dumbledore.  Brilliant man, one of the brightest wizards of all time.  Al is named after him.  Anyway, Dumbledore knew that I would be safe due to some very old magic if I lived with one of my mum’s relatives.  Since she only had one living sister, I was dropped off at Petunia and Vernon’s doorstep.”

 

She turned to her husband.  “You have known about magic since you were a toddler and it has never come up?  Not even a hint?  How is that possible?”

 

“Er,” Dudley stammered.  “I didn’t find out about magic until I was eleven, actually.  Not until Harry got his letter.  Mum and Dad seemed to think that they could squash the magic out of Harry if they treated him terribly so it just… wasn’t a topic in the house.”  He sounded almost ashamed to admit the last part of it.

 

Harry wondered if Rachel knew how spoiled Dudley had been as a young boy.  There was no hiding some of it, since photographs didn’t lie, but thinking that he had been bought a lot of presents was different than knowing he had two bedrooms while Harry had been forced to live in the cupboard under the stairs for the better part of a decade.  Deciding not to beat around the bush, Harry said, “I lived under the stairs until my letters started coming in.”

 

Dudley flushed, but had the decency to not even try to deny it.  “It was…” he began.  He shook his head then tried again.  “Let’s just say Harry had a bad childhood.  I’m ashamed to say, I was part of it until he saved my life.”

 

“Did he save your life with magic?” Hazel asked at the same time her mother asked, “What do you mean he saved your life?”

 

For some reason, Harry felt like he should come to Dudley’s rescue once more.  The look on his cousin’s face was one of a man who did not know how to explain everything that was going on.  Rather than getting into exactly what Dementors were, Harry said, “We stumbled across a pair of dangerous magical creatures who were supposed to be under the control of the Ministry of Magic but were actually rogue.  One of them tried to suck his soul out and I stopped it.”

 

Hazel looked up at her father and asked, “Really Dad?”  On her other side, her mother’s eyes looked like they were about to pop out of her head.

 

“There are magical creatures that can suck out your soul?” she stammered.

 

Lily, who had been leaning against Harry’s armchair for the entirety of the discussion laughed.  “You can’t really say that and then not explain what Dementors are, Dad.”

 

He had to concede that she was right, so he gave a brief explanation of what they were and what they had been used for.  He was starting to explain the effects of them, talking about how they could affect weather and make you feel cold, when Dudley cut him off.

 

“I knew nothing about them and apparently us ‘Muggles’–” the word sounded awkward coming from his lips, as though he was not sure if this was the appropriate time to use the slang term, “can’t see them but we can feel them.  They make you cold and they force you to relieve some of the worst moments of your life over and over again.”  He gave an almost imperceptible shiver.  “It was one of the worst moments of my life.”

 

“What did they make you see?” Hazel asked.  She sounded morbidly eager to know what the worst moments of her fifteen year old father’s life had been.

 

Dudley pushed some strands of her hair off her face.  “I saw myself for the rude, bullying spoiled brat that I was,” he said softly.  “It was awful and terrifying, but it was what I needed to see to turn my life around.”

 

His eyes met Harry’s for a moment and, despite their silence, Harry felt like Dudley was thanking him for it then.  They had never really talked about what had happened that sticky August night, not in this way.  Harry hadn’t known exactly what Dudley had seen and it was good to finally, after all these years, know what had made him change.

 

“Have you bought your school things yet?” Lily asked.  You would never have known that she had been dreading having to deal with the people she was talking to an hour earlier.

 

Hazel shook her head.  “No.  We’re supposed to get shown around the shops next month so I can buy all my things.”  Her eyes were shining and she looked positively thrilled at the idea of buying magical equipment and supplies.

 

Harry, remembering how Dudley had been given a pig’s tail immediately before his first trip to Diagon Alley had to fight back a chuckle.  “You will love Diagon Alley,” he promised.  “Seeing it for the first time, with all the owls and wands and spell books, is something you will never forget.”

 

“Dad, I want to go now,” Hazel whined.  “Did you ever get to see it?  Is it really that cool?

 

“I never saw it,” Dudley said.

 

She looked confused.  “Who took Harry shopping then?”

 

“A giant,” Dudley said.  When his eyes met Harry’s eyes for a split second Harry had a feeling he was thinking about Hagrid giving him a pig’s tail, too.  “Or he went with his mate’s parents.”

“Muggles can’t just walk into Diagon Alley,” Harry explained.  “You need magical transportation or a wand to get there, so even if your grandparents had wanted to take me it wouldn’t have worked.”

 

“Magic wands are real?” Hazel yelped.  “And you all have them?”

 

Harry pulled his wand out of his pocket then and twirled it between his fingers.  “I got mine when I was eleven, just like Lily and all the rest of my family.  You’ll be able to buy one of your own when you go to Diagon Alley too.”

 

Hazel grinned.  On one side her mother looked like she was still trying to process the information that her husband’s cousin was a wizard and that there was an actual magic wand in his hand.  On Hazel’s other side Dudley looked relieved that he was not having to answer all of these questions.

 

Harry felt a sharp jab on his shoulder.  Looking up, he saw his daughter gesturing for him to lean closer to her.  When he did, she cupped her hand around his ear and whispered, “You should offer to take them to Diagon Alley.”  He pulled away, brows furrowed, which made her lean closer to whisper again.  “Somebody needs to take them.  And you know her granddad is going to be pissed about her being a witch, like he was about you.”

 

He had to admit that Lily had a point.  Even now, after witches and wizards helped keep his family safe for an entire year, Harry was certain that his Uncle Vernon would still be opposed to the idea that he was related to a witch or wizard.  His Aunt Petunia would probably come around eventually and clearly Dudley was no longer scandalized by the idea, but opposition to magic and the supernatural was practically part of Uncle Vernon’s DNA.  Harry hoped that it would be different now that it was his baby granddaughter they were talking about, but he wouldn’t bet money on it.

 

A small part of him didn’t want to help Dudley on principal, since Dudley had made sure he was miserable for so many years.  But, when he looked at the little eleven year old sitting across from him and thought about how the experience would be for her, he couldn’t help but think of how he had felt when he had found out the truth about the wizarding world.

 

He sighed.  Cursing Lily silently, he asked, “Would you like to come to Diagon Alley with us?  We still have to get Lily and Al their school supplies so we will already be going there at some point to pick up this year’s school things anyway.”

 

“Yes, yes, yes!” Hazel said, grinning from ear to ear as her mother said, “That is a very generous offer.”

 

When Dudley had said that they would be honoured to have Harry and his kids show them around Diagon Alley, Harry felt a strange mixture of emotions.  Forcing himself to smile, he said, “We were going to go next week.”  Turning to Lily, he said, “Go send a message to the Deputy Headmaster explaining that Hazel will have a guide through Diagon Alley.”

 

Lily ran upstairs to send the owl, stomping up the stairs once more.  She was still upstairs when Dudley said that they should be going.  After promising that they would keep in touch to plan the shopping trip, Harry walked with them to the front door.  As they slipped their shoes back on and said their goodbyes, Hazel was chatting non-stop while her older brother had his arms folded.  (Harry couldn’t help but wonder if he would react like Aunt Petunia had when his mum had gotten her letter.  He hoped not.)

 

When Rachel and the kids were walking to the car, Dudley held the door open for a minute.  “I really appreciate this Harry,” he said softly.  He sounded so sincere that Harry almost felt bad about his hesitation earlier.


“Another witch in the family,” Harry said, eyebrows raised.  “It feels a bit like karma.”

 

Dudley chucked.  “Maybe it is,” he said.  “But she looks so happy.”  He paused, looking over his shoulder at his kids, who were arguing about something already.  “She’s going to be okay, right?  Nothing is going on in your world like… like it was when you were in school, right?”

 

Harry’s mind raced through what was happening, but he shook his head.  “Nothing that bad, I promise.  Just your usual issues.”

 

That seemed to come as a relief to Dudley.  “I haven’t told Rachel about any of that yet, you know.  Details about Voldemort or what he did or you being the Chosen One or whatever.  I figured that could wait for another day.”

 

“That was probably a good call,” Harry said.

 

“Are people going to be staring at you when we go out to get Hazel her things?” he asked.  “Should I explain it all before next week?”

 

“Well, I don’t think you can explain it all but giving her the basics – more than the fact that a dark wizard killed my parents because of a prophecy – would probably be helpful.”

 

Dudley nodded.  As he walked towards his car, he raised a hand and said, “Bye Harry.  I’ll ring you sometime this week to make plans.”

 

Harry raised a hand in goodbye, mimicking his cousin.  As he watched the new generation of Dursleys back out of his driveway, he felt less anger to his cousin than he had in a long time.  Maybe Dudley having a witch for a daughter would be the thing that finally helped them move past everything that had happened when they were children.

 



 

Author’s Note: I am not entirely sure where this story came from, to be honest.  Ever since I heard JK Rowling say that she considered giving Dudley a magical child who would be going off to Hogwarts with Harry’s boys in the epilogue, the idea has become part of my head canon.  Since Harry had his kids so young, I felt like it would be more realistic if Dudley’s magical child was simply younger than his and I chose to believe that is why you did not see any Dursleys at Platform 9¾ (never mind Uncle Vernon’s genes cancelling out any magical ones).

 

Despite all this, I had no intention of writing a story about Dudley had Harry when Dudley had just found out that one of his kids was magical.  Yet, in the last two days of Camp NaNoWriMo, I started writing this and it just came pouring out, like it was already fully formed in my mind.

 

So, now that you have made it through my explanation, I would love if you shared any thoughts on the story.  Thanks for reading.

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