A/N: Spoilers for Order of the Phoenix. Alternate universe, diversion begins on page 15 of Philosopher's stone. Absolutely no connection to my other stories. Vernon is more intelligent than he seems, it is his prejudice toward all things magic that makes him appear slow. The Dursleys are nasty because they are afraid, and McGonagall only talks that way to babies.
Disclaimer: If JKR wants it, she can have it, I have no money.
Don't Wake the Muggles: Chapter 1
Vernon Dursley ran without his usual puffing and gasping for air. Past the receptionist in the ground floor lobby and the uniformed men standing by the lift. Glancing over his shoulder, he saw the boy come on, cloak flapping menacingly, toddling over the plush carpet without touching it and waving a silver stick topped with a glittery five-pointed star. The phone at the desk rang and he looked to see a red-headed woman calmly pick up the receiver and say in a cheery voice:
"Grunning's Drills, how may I direct your call?" From the phone, someone sobbed, loud enough to be heard by Vernon on the other side of the room.
"Shhh! You'll wake the Muggles!"
A dream, it was only a dream; there was no reason to be afraid of small boys in cloaks. He needed air. Going to the window, he threw it open, letting in a cool night breeze, and voices.
"...Lily an James dead – an poor little Harry off ter live with Muggles –"
That wisp of a man today in the violet cloak had called him a Muggle. Those voices were coming from the garden, his garden. With a roar of rage, he stormed down the stairs and out the front door, followed blearily by Petunia.
He was met by the oddest-looking group he had ever seen. There were two more of those cloaked freaks, one a very old man, the third clutched a large, spotted handkerchief and towered over his companions. The word "giant" came to his mind, but such things weren't normal.
He didn't know, but he made an odd picture himself, very red in the face, his mouth opening and closing like a fish as he searched for words to express his fury. Finally he settled for: "How dare you!" and that was as far as he got. Green cloak stiffened and Purple stepped forward, his arms wrapped around a bundle of blankets which had begun to squirm.
"Mr. Dursley," he began, and was cut off by a wail from the bundle. He looked at it with mild surprise and amusement. Only a baby would interrupt Albus Dumbledore. Green took the child from him and walked a few feet away, cooing mistily at the boy in a choked voice.
"Harry, Harry. S'okay lad, ye'll be fine, ye will." Behind Vernon, Petunia gasped and turned white. There was only one reason these people would be here in the middle of the night with her sister's brat. Purple's gaze found hers in the shadows behind her bulky husband.
"Petunia. Your sister was one of the best students I ever taught." Bowing with a grace that belied his age, he said, "I am honored to meet you at last." All down the street, lights were appearing in windows, framing the curious faces of her neighbors. Flustered, Mrs. Dursley grappled for an answer, nervously watching more lights appear. She couldn't very well get rid of these people without attracting the attention of the entire neighborhood. There was only one thing for it.
"Won't you come in?" she asked reluctantly. "Before there's a scene!" she hissed at her protesting husband. Red-faced, he nodded stiffly and led the way to the sitting room. "You'd best come too." she said to the large man behind the two people in cloaks, one of the very few who dwarfed her husband. She cringed at the thought of these people in her home, and the dirt she was sure the large one would track all over her spotless floor, walls and ceiling, but the thought of what her neighbors would be saying tomorrow, what they would already be saying tomorrow was more frightening still.
Leaving them to follow her husband to the sitting room, she went to the kitchen to put on a kettle. Freaks or not, she had a reputation as a hostess to maintain. She had invited them in, after all. While the water heated, she forced herself to calmness. She had made a deal, now it seemed she had to make good on her end. "Poor Dudley!" she mourned. To raise him with her sister's child! How was she going to break this to Vernon? When the kettle began to whistle, she turned off the heat and loaded everything onto a tray, carrying it to the sitting room where Vernon waited in stony silence across from the three strangers. Placing the tray on a long table in front of the sofa, she poured out five cups, giving one to each of her guests, then to Vernon, and finally taking one for herself. Seated on the floor by the fireplace, the large man came up to her shoulder, and his hands made her porcelain teacup look like a shot glass. She briefly wondered if she oughtn't to have gotten a pot for him instead, then quickly dismissed the thought. Hospitality only went so far, especially when one was only preserving one's reputation. Taking a place next to her husband, she sipped her tea with hands that shook.
It was Purple who broke the silence at last. "I'm afraid I have not introduced myself or my colleagues. I am Albus Dumbledore, headmaster of the school your sister Lily attended. This is Minerva McGonagall, our head of Gryffindor house, and Rubeus Hagrid, also of Gryffindor." McGonagall inclined her head when she was introduced and Hagrid nodded. Through it all Vernon sat in cold silence with crossed arms, his tea resting untouched on the table in front of him. When Dumbledore paused, he demanded,
"What of the boy?" earning a stern look from McGonagall over the top of the baby's head for his rudeness. Dumbledore only sighed.
"The boy is the reason we are here tonight." Taking him from McGonagall, he said sadly, "Lily and James Potter were murdered last night. Harry is their son, and you," he said, looking at the Dursleys, "are his only surviving relatives." He stopped to let the information sink in, but it didn't take long. Petunia had been half expecting it, but it was clear Vernon hadn't.
"Absolutely not." he stated. "We are not raising something so abnormal. I won't have Dudley exposed to –"
"Vernon –" Petunia interrupted nervously.
"– that freak." he finished venomously, pointing at Harry, who was sucking on his knuckles, eyes wide. Hagrid had put down his tea and was clenching a pink umbrella in one hand, his beetle-black eyes snapping. Dumbledore gave him a warning look and spoke to Petunia.
"You didn't tell him."
"Tell me what?" Vernon asked suspiciously. Petunia bowed her head and wouldn't look at her husband. "Tell me what?" he repeated, turning to Dumbledore. "What wasn't I told?" he demanded. Petunia raised her head to shoot a pleading glance at Dumbledore, who nodded and began his story.
"The wizarding world is at war, and many have feared for their lives for a very long time. Therefore, when Harry was born, I took it upon myself to contact Petunia regarding his guardianship should he be orphaned. She agreed, on the condition that Dudley never show any sign of magical talent. I have upheld my end of the bargain to this day."
Petunia slumped on the sofa next to her husband, head in her hands. "I hoped I would never have to tell you, Vernon." she whispered, but in the quiet that had fallen over the room, everyone heard.
"Why would my son have m, ma..."
"Magic?" McGonagall asked crisply, and Vernon winced. "Lily was your wife's sister, and one of the most talented witches I've ever seen. Why wouldn't Dudley have magic, or Petunia, for that matter?" At this Petunia let out a choked sob and shrank away from her husband. Vernon turned to stare at her, cogs spinning in his head.
"Petunia?" he asked in disbelief, then hesitantly put a hand under her chin so she would look at him. Despair dragged at her when she met his eyes, for the first time unable to read what she saw there.
"I got a letter too, you know. Just like Lily's. But I was so scared, I didn't tell anyone, not even Mum. They said they could stop the magic, could take it away if I didn't want it." Here she dropped her eyes and Vernon released her chin, his hand falling into his lap. "So I did." she whispered, "But then Lily got her letter, and she did what I was afraid to. I was so angry," she looked up again, her eyes burning, "and so jealous." Her voice cracked on the last word and she swiped at her eyes with the back of her hand. "Every vacation she'd come home with her pockets full of frog spawn, turning teacups into rats. Our parents were so proud of her, and weren't the least bit scared of her magic. They should have been, they really should have been," she gritted accusingly at Dumbledore, as if he were to blame. "It killed them, after all. Lily said it was that horrid man the Potter boy called Voldemort. It was, wasn't it?" she demanded. He nodded, watching her with sharp eyes as though she were a bomb. "It's taken her too, now. She's gone and gotten herself killed."
Exhausted by her long confession, she leaned her head against the back of the sofa and closed her eyes. Vernon stared at her for a full minute, then gathered her to him, gently brushing tear-soaked hair away from her face. Awkwardly reaching for the serviettes she had brought in with the tea, he used them to swab down her face. Opening reddened eyes, she watched him, her exhaustion making her feel detached. Finished, he kissed her forehead, then leaned his own on hers. She closed her eyes again and whispered, "I thought you would be angry." He was quiet for a bit, then admitted,
"I was, at first, but I think I understand better now." He felt her sigh as though the weight of the world had been dropped from her shoulders and heard her murmur.
"You know, I almost wish I could go back, make things right with Lily, maybe even go to Hogwarts. I just wish I still had the chance." Then she smiled at him, for the first time since dinner that evening. "But then I might not have met you." Her brow furrowed under his and she said, "I thought you were afraid of magic too." He returned her smile, relieved to see it and lied,
"Only for you, Love." A clinking noise brought them back and they turned to see Dumbledore moving his teacup out of Harry's exploring reach. It was very late and everyone was tired, including Harry, who was beginning to squirm again. Petunia disentangled herself from Vernon and reached for the fussy child. "Might I?" she asked Dumbledore. Feeling more relief than he showed, the ancient wizard passed Harry to her.
Taking Harry from him, she sat him on her knees facing her and examined his face. Round emerald eyes met hers with equally intense scrutiny and he made a grab for her unbound hair, capturing some in a tight fist before she could whisk it away. "Either I'm slipping, or this child is fast," she thought, picking him up to extricate her tresses. Catching a whiff of something foul, she wrinkled her nose and gave him to Vernon. "I have some nappies Dudley grew out of upstairs. I'll only be a minute." As she climbed the stairs, she heard Dumbledore tell McGonagall,
"I'll lay you ten galleons he'll play seeker, not chaser." She didn't hear McGonagall's reply, but when she returned they were still discussing the bet. "... always up for a wager, why not this?" Dumbledore asked teasingly.
"I bet when I know I've a chance of winning." she returned dryly.
Petunia retrieved Harry from Vernon and made quick work of the soiled diaper, expertly replacing it with the one she'd found. Standing, she propped the boy on her hip and waited for those in the room to stop talking. Once she had their attention, she took a deep breath and said, "I want Dudley to decide for himself about the magic, when he is old enough." Her announcement was greeted with stunned looks from all in the room but Dumbledore, who only nodded.