Prologue - Or The one where Dudley starts picking up pieces of an adventure.
Once, in the county of Surrey, in the town of Little Whinging, there was a family named the Dursleys.
Their son, a strapping lad by the name of Dudley, who attended a well respected school known as Smeltings, had recently overcome one of the great demons of the current day, obesity, and in doing so, had discovered a great joy in the sport of Boxing. In this field he had achieved remarkable renown on a local scale.
He had a great many friends, of whom he was the leading figure. Amongst his peers he was undoubtedly the 'Alpha Male'. Such positions come with titles, and he was known as 'Big D' due to his stature.
His parents, very normal middle class types, were in appearance, nearly polar opposites, but in their hearts they were forever loyal, soulmates, if one subscribed to such things.
Finally, there is Dudley's cousin, a reclusive young man called Harry Potter, an orphan, provided for by his aunt and uncle. He was known to attend a boarding school for disreputable types. St. Brutus' a school in Scotland for incurable criminals.
Beyond this much, not a lot is really known about Dudley's cousin.
At the moment though, he's unimportant, as he is still at this school, assumably learning things useful to unreformed criminals.
As Dudley meandered away from Richmond park towards home, he wondered when life had become so utterly boring.
Between training for boxing and aimless meandering with the old gang from primary school, most of whom were still reaching the end of their school term, he found he was actually lacking things to do for the vast majority of the day.
He was so bored, he was actually LOOKING FORWARD to the return of his cousin for the summer.
He stopped. Shook his head briefly, and considered what his parents would say to that. Nothing good, he decided, and kept walking.
He was almost at the top of Magnolia Crescent when he heard it. The unnatural silence that he hadn't noticed until it was disturbed by ringing of a payphone on the corner. Later, when he looked back, he occasionally regretted the descision, but his gut was pulling for it.
The Dursley Gut Instinct, his father told him once, leads to a full Dursley Gut.
Ambling over to the payphone, he looked left and right before picking it up. "Hullo? Anybody there?"
"Hullo? Anybody there?" His own voice returned to him. His head pulled back, and he stared at the handset like it was a live snake. "Oi, what's going on?" "Oi, what's going on?" "Okay, you're freaking me out now, what the hell is this?" As his voice just echoed back once again, he heard a weird sounding chuckle from above him, he jerked his head out of the phone box to see a bizzare figure crouched on top of the booth... In a massive fur-lined dressing gown... Wearing a white and red mask?
He blinked, and it was gone. and nothing was there to even evidence it ever had been. The sun was blazing down through clear skies, and there were birds singing once again. Dudley fell on his rear, staring at the sky.
"I'm not going crazy... the heat's just gotten to me slightly." He decided firmly, ignoring that it wasn't truly that hot. He moved back to the handset of the phone, only to hear the dialtone buzzing away. Eyeing it askance, he took in the machine one last time, and took a card he saw hanging out of the pre-paid card slot.
"Psy-ren... Must be a foreign network or something." He mused before shrugging. "Oh well, if some gypsy wants to lose their time on the phone, their loss." He made his way home, pocketing the card.
"So what did you do today, Duddykins?" Dudley's mother asked, simpering as she served up dinner. "Get up to lots of fun with all your friends?"
Dudley contemplated spearing a forkful of chips to delay having to answer as he thought back to his uneventful day. After a seconds hesitation, he gave in to the temptation and stuffed his mouth with food (his mother made the biggest shudder when she saw the amount of food in his mouth), while grabbing the remote for the TV and turning up the volume slightly. He was about to switch the channel when he saw his the phone card in his pocket appear on the screen. Luckily the subtitles were on, otherwise he would have drowned it out entirely with his choking.
"In other news, the strange 'Psyren' movement has made the news after world famous fortune teller Elmore Tenjuin offered a reward of five hundred million yen, or two and a half million in British Pounds, to the man or woman to find out what exactly this phenomenon is about, and to tell the world. An additional smaller reward of five million yen has been offered for the 'Psyren cards' that are associated with the mystery. Our foreign correspondent, Takahashi Makoto is on the grounds of the Elmore mansion to tell us more, Over to you Taka!"
Eyes watering, Dudley swallowed his mouthful of food and waved off his father from slapping his back any more. "I'm fine!" He gasped. "Just get me a coke or something."
He turned his eyes to the screen on the other side of the table. Two and a half... Million. He'd heard something about a smaller reward, but his dad had once taken him hunting (before those Labour party sycophants had it banned), and told him that a good hunter waits for the prize worthy of his time. Ignore the small game, and go for biggest trophy possible.
A brief subtitle mentioning disappearances affirmed his newly made decision not to bring up the card with his parents. He was a Dursley, it'd take more than some ridiculous rumours of missing people to ward him away from the big money!
His decision made, he sat back and started paying attention to what his parents were yelling about...
"The lad's FINE Petunia! He doesn't need to be taken down to the Hospital for a little bit of food gone the wrong way!"
"But VERNON! He NEVER chokes on his food! What if something's WRONG! MY POOR LITTLE BABY!"
"Mum..." Oh brother...
It turned out that he was in fact fine, though his mother put her foot down and made him go to bed early.
And so, early to bed, early to rise, Dudley was up just before the crack of dawn. After a good half hour of giving the punching bag his father had acquired a thorough beating, he showered, downed a quick fry-up, and wandered out to the the phone at Magnolia Crescent, the Card in his pocket.
"... How do you use these things?" He mused, peering at the instructions on the side of the booth... that had been sprayed over.
He vaguely remembered doing that when he was ten. Wow. So this was what karma felt like. Whatever.
He grabbed the the card and jammed it into the slot, before picking up the handset and waiting.
"Greetings! Your world is now Con-nec-ted! You've reached the immigration offices of Psyren. We will now commence the immigration examination." Whatever Dudley was expecting, a pre-recorded babe giving him an exam... wasn't it. When a couple of little kids started pointing at him, he realised his jaw was hanging.
"...If your answer is no, press two. Question one: Are you a Japanese over twelve?" Dudley's brow furrowed. What the hell kind of question was that to ask?
"Get out of here you damn punk kids!" The kids started as they realised just WHO they were messing with, and scrambled off. Dudley swept his hand through his hair, and turned back to the phone. "Japanese over twelve? No..." Two.
"Question Two: Are you worried about the future of your world?" Not really. The world can take care of itself. Dad says that's what the Army's for at any rate. Two.
"Question Three: Have you ever suffered a head injury or been diagnosed with a serious illness?" He was always told he was healthy by mum... Two.
"Question Four: Do you have chronic difficulty breathing or have you ever felt your planet's atmosphere is difficult to breathe in?"
"Question Five: Have you ever dreamed of talking sheep?" No. That sounds like something Harry might do. Weird. Two.
"Question Six: Do you believe there is life in outer space?" ...That made him pause. Dad always scoffed at that sort of thing... but there were strange things out there. He knew that much. Rubbing his arse nervously, he pressed one, and carried on.
"Question Seven: You can walk without any outside assistance." Well duh, one.
"Question Twelve: Even if you couldn't communicate verbally, you could get your thoughts across." Sudden images shot into his head of a mouth filled with tongue, being unable to breathe, unable to talk, pinned down by his own gigantic... He shuddered. That was a memory best relegated to his nightmares... but He couldn't help but press two.
"Question Sixteen: You believe you could survive without eating for more than two days?" He gave serious thought to that one. He'd seen his cousin go without lunch for days on end before. It couldn't be that hard? One...
"Question Twenty Four: You have close friends?" He knew he could count on Piers when the chips came down. One.
"Question Thirty Three: You can overcome fear of the unkown through strength of will?" He'd overcome his fear with the strength of his fists... Damn that sounded cool in his head. He was using that line some day. One.
"Question Forty four: You spend extended periods of time away from home." He blinked. Yeah, he spent a lot of time at Smeltings, it was a boarding school after all. One.
Question Forty Seven: "You worry about your extended family." Aunt Marge flitted through his mind briefly before his thoughts settled on to Harry again. Not really... there was that massive scar in his arm after his second year... But that was probably normal for his sort, and he has a murder convict for a godfather. Criminal godfathers were meant to be amazing. Brows crumpled again, he pressed two.
Question Fifty Nine: "Your father is a high ranking director in a local manufacturing firm." Dudley, unnerved by the personal direction of the questions, more so in the last few questions put the phone on top of the machine for a second, and started pacing around the booth.
"COME ON TUBBY! YOU'RE ALMOST THERE! JUST A FEW MORE QUESTIONS!"
Dudley turned like a cat who'd just noticed a fat mouse, snatched up the handset and yelled "Who the hell do you think you are, you bitch!? I'm a Dursley! The only person who gets to comment on my weight is Harry! And he gets beaten for it!"
The woman, who he'd THOUGHT was a recorded message, replied with venom. "I bet your no good cousin would have finished by now! What's the answer? Yes or No?"
His hand itched. He so desperately WANTED to put the receiver... But instead, gingerly, he reached out, and pressed one.
"Good man! Question Sixty! You can weasel anything you want out of your mother by whimpering and calling her 'mummy'."
He didn't need to check, but he found himself looking at the window of the phonebox anyway. He was turning red. "You leave my mum out of this!" He didn't shout. He hissed. And found that as he spoke, his finger pressed one.
"Question Sixty One: No matter how much you wonder on the matter, you can't work out how your mother managed to squeeze out something your size when you were born."
The phone creaked in his grip as he slowly pressed one.
"Question Sixty Two: Your family baffles you when you try to work out how they can favour you so highly above your cousin, just because he has magic. You beat him when you were children, to try and get them to pity him enough to care, to be bad enough to be disciplined. You used this card to see if you could finally step over the line that you can't seem to find that will actually cause them to be angry with you."
Ice. Ice ran down his spine that ALMOST extinguished the fury that burnt within his gut. "How do you know that? How can you possibly know that? What are you? A bloody Shrink?!"
The creature on the other end of the phone line sounded like a predator, he decided. A spider, a snake, or maybe a cat. "Keep playing my game... and you might find out. Press the button, tubby."
"Question Sixty three!" She shouldn't sound so happy to say that, he decided firmly "Would you like to go to Psyren?"
It sounded like a final question. Rage struggled against fear as he reached out, then paused... "Are you there?" He asked, "Are you hiding in this Psyren place?"
"Does it matter if I am, fat boy? Just tell me, yes or no."
"... I am going to find you. And I am going to knock out your teeth. Girl or not." He pressed one.
"Examination complete!" The voice chirped, suddenly sounding like a recording again. "We will contact you regarding the results."
The line went dead, and Dudley hung up the phone, prying his fingers off of it's frame. Grabbing the phone card that had re-appeared in the slot, he ambled away. "How're you going to do that you dumb broad?" He muttered "I rang you from a bloody payphone."
Quick notes to those who're interested.
First off, it's wholy my intention that this story be friendly to those who are unfamiliar with Harry Potter and Psyren. If you're confused at any point, leave a review, and I'll try and resolve the issue either in a later chapter or in an eventual rewrite.
Secondly, lame as it sounds, this is my first serious attempt at writing fiction in a good five or so years, that's the only excuse I'm giving, and it's the only time I'll give it. If you see anything that shows the rust too badly, leave a review, and I'll make moves to fix it.
Thirdly, if you enjoy this fic, both now and later, important plot point: The entirety of HP canon, for plot reasons, has been shifted forward about ten years, meaning Harry was born in... 1989, I believe? But more importantly, he started Hogwarts in 2000.
I'll be attempting to account for this wherever necessary in the story. But, I'm not a history buff. If you think I've missed something important while writing a scene, leave a review, and I'll see what I can do. Bear in mind, Plot reigns supreme, and if I need something to have happened in a certain way, when history says it happened in another... well, there's a reason we call this fiction, eh?
Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoy, as I've got more on the way.