The remaining week before the start of Hogwarts went by both extremely fast and extremely slow depending on what was happening at any one given time. For Dudley, he was in a constant state of frustration. His two Pokémon were constantly bickering and fighting each other at least once, but more often multiple times a day. While Machop was effectively his starter Pokémon, Tyrogue had hatched for him six months previously and refused to give the title of leader away to the newest member of their team. However, despite both being around the same age Tyrogue was what is officially classified as a baby Pokémon due to its lower overall capabilities compared to other stage one evolution Pokémon and was at a severe disadvantage. However, Machop lived up to its species namesake as the superpower Pokémon. It relied too much on the fact it was physically stronger than Tyrogue was and slightly bulkier. Meanwhile Tyrogue quickly learned to use it's mind in order to reverse its disadvantage and gain advantages in return. So while Tyrogue eventually reached a point of staying a step or two ahead, Machop definitely didn't make it easy on him. It also helped that Tyrogue had realized that if he let Machop land a clean hit in certain spots he'd get a rushing feeling before speeding up and being able to move faster than before. This led him into baiting out certain attacks early to take head on before switching gears and going on the offensive.
Harriet's Pokémon actually had the opposite problem which wasn't too much of an issue at the moment since Harriet fit the role of leader. Eventually though she would need a Pokémon to step up and be the leader of her group. Pichu was too young and honestly didn't really care for being in charge. Scorbunny on the other hand, was a mother hen rather than a leader. She doted on both Harriet and Pichu, often going out of her way to get things for them when she noticed they needed them. The three girls all had fun though laughing at the antics of Tyrogue and Machop and subsequently Dudley's frustrations with said antics. Harriet actually spent most of her time reading up on her school books trying to get a grasp on some of the information that they held. It wasn't until the night before they were to leave for school that Dudley even brought it up.
"I don't get it," Dudley moaned as he sat down next to Harriet. She was reading one of her non curricular trainer books with Pichu curled up on her legs and Scorbunny resting on the mound of Pokémon Dolls on Harriet's bed.
"You're going to have to be a bit more specific than that," Harriet replied as she turned a page in the book she was reading on Pokémon battling strategies. It was one of the extra books she had purchased while in Diagon Alley's book store.
Grunting, Dudley flopped backwards onto Harriet's bed disrupting Scorbunny's resting spot earning a titter of irritation from the usually jovial Pokémon. He ignored her though as he spoke to Harriet, "I don't get why those two constantly have to fight despite everything I've tried to say to them."
Harriet had to fight to hold back a giggle at the dimwittedness her cousin was showing before offering to tell him what the problem was. This earned her a look of disbelief from him for all of a couple seconds, before it dawned on him that Harriet actually could tell him what was going on. Seeing as how she could tell him what the two were actually saying to each other. If it wasn't for the fact it was just the two of them he'd be really embarrassed that he hadn't thought of it sooner. Harriet simply cocked an eyebrow at her cousin as if to say, 'Well? Do you want to know or not?'
"So what are they fighting over?" Dudley finally gave in and asked her.
"Nothing," was the simple reply she gave him in return.
"Nothing?!" Dudley practically shouted. "How," he gestured towards her window which overlooked the backyard, "can that be nothing?" He asked her incredulously.
"Because it is nothing," Harriet told him before adding with a smirk, "or at least it is now."
Dudley was about to scream in frustration but then her choice of words caught his attention. "Wait a bloody minute, you said now." Dudley said pointedly to her. "That means they were fighting over something at first."
"Alas Pichu," Harriet said to her Pokémon. "My poor cousin is growing out of his dimwittedness. Such a shame, it was always good for a laugh." This had the effect of causing Pichu to start tittering in laughter and fall off Harriet's legs and onto the bed.
"Don't be an arse, Hari." Dudley said to her as he threw a plushy at her head only for her to snag it mid flight.
"Oi! No throwing of the preciouses." She reprimanded him. "Use one of the obscenely expensive pillows instead, I hold no attachment to them." She sniffed snootily.
"So, are you going to tell me now or what?" Dudley asked her while ignoring her antics.
"Tell you what?" Harriet asked, having genuinely forgotten what the original question was.
"Why were they fighting at first?" Dudley deadpanned at her.
"Oh right, yes." Harriet said getting up to put her book away. "Well, it started in the pen when you got Machop. He might not have the nose of a Growlithe but he could still smell and feel Tyrogue on you. That and he noticed you were only looking at the fighting types. Well, seeing as how he noticed you already had one fighting type and seemed to want another, he took it upon himself to choose you first. From there he waited until we got home, allowed us all to rest and then challenged Tyrogue to the position of leader first thing in the morning." Harriet finished as she plopped back onto the bed.
"So, they were fighting over who got to be the leader?" Dudley asked her.
"Pretty much, Though Tyrogue said that since he's your son that makes him the second in command since he was also your first Pokémon official or not. Though Machop pointed out that since Tyrogue is physically weaker then he should let Machop be the leader. This resulted in fights where Tyrogue quickly realized his disadvantage and used his brain to overcome them. Though now? Now they're just fighting for the sake of getting better. What you're hearing is them talking trash to each other. Also Tyrogue figured out his ability is steadfast." Harriet finally finished explaining to her cousin.
"That actually makes so much sense." Dudley replied. "So, how much reading have you done anyways?"
"Enough," Harrier hedged with her answer.
"Right, I bet you've read at least your favorite class books from cover to cover already even if you haven't memorized them." Dudley guessed and then eyes widened when he saw her flinch at the accusation. "Wow, I can't believe it, you actually did read your favorite ones to the end."
"Yeah, but like you said I've nowhere near memorized them." Harriet admitted. "What about you have you read anything to get ready for school?" she asked him.
"Pffft, no." Dudley admitted. "You know I'm not that big on reading. I'd much rather be moving around and doing stuff than sitting still."
"True," Harriet hummed in reply, but then after a few minutes she finally said. "So, are you gonna leave my room anytime soon so I can get ready for bed?"
"Oh uh yeah, good night Harri, love you." Dudley said in a slightly flustered manner not having realized that she'd been waiting for him to leave.
"Good night, Dud, love you too." She replied to her cousin.
That night, Dudley had finally figured out how to deal with Machop and Tyrogue. He told them both that upon evolving, Machop would become a stronger bulkier Pokémon and would have his own role to fill while no matter what Tyrogue evolves into he'd be a faster and more agile fighter and that they'd be better off working together to be co leaders of the team.
The next day was filled with sounds of yelling, stomping feet and slamming of doors as both children scrambled to get the last of their things packed. Harriet had to sneak more of Dudley's older clothes into her school trunk and throw out some of the girlier ones when her grandmother wasn't looking. After eating a hasty breakfast, Harriet had dressed in one of the few dresses that she would never admit openly to liking even if she was faced with the pain of death. It was a blue dress with silver trim and a blue bow on the back, her black flats and another silver bow in her hair to hold her favorite ponytail style in place. She gathered her things and quickly went downstairs, her trunk thumping as she went.
"Uncle Remus, Aunt Petunia!" She cried excitedly when she saw them standing in the foyer waiting.
"Good morning, Harri," Her Aunt and Uncle told her as they pulled her in for a hug. "You look beautiful this morning." Her Aunt Petunia told her with tears glistening in her eyes. "We're going to miss the both of you so much when you are gone for the next four years."
It was at that time that Dudley came thumping down the stairs dressed in shorts and a t-shirt that had Harriet glaring at him in jealousy. She'd never be allowed to wear such casual clothes on important days. "Good morning mum, dad." Dudley said with less enthusiasm than Harriet. She could tell he wasn't quite awake.
"Oh, my ickle-Duddykins," Petunia said with much emotion as she pulled him into a death hug. "Are you ready for school then?" She asked as she let him go for his father to hug him as well.
"Nervous," He half admitted. Which he was. He was going to be going to Hogwarts, surrounded by students more intelligent than he was and quite possibly more talented. It was a thought that also scared him. His mother being the Queen of Elpis and his father the accepted Pokémon Professor of the region, a task he had taken upon himself when Lily had died and could no longer achieve her dream. Dudley has inherited his mother's blond hair and soft blue eyes and his fathers height and facial features, but that was it. His father was considered the second most intelligent person after his Aunt Lily during their school days and his mother was no slouch either. Both had reached lofty positions too and had talents he knew he would never have. It scared him, if he was being honest.
"It's okay to be scared."
"What?" Dudley responded reflexively to the comment that had snapped him out of his thoughts.
"I said, it's okay to be scared." His father repeated, now having kneeled next to him. "I know you feel like you'll never measure up, but that's okay son. You have your own strengths, as you'll soon find out at Hogwarts. As well as your own weaknesses. You may not be academically inclined the way I am or have your mother's instinctive grasp on Pokémon needs and care, but that does not mean you won't have your own talents."
"But, what if I'm the worst? What if the other kids-" Dudley started only to be cut off.
"How about I tell you a secret," His father said with a smile. To which Dudley only nodded eagerly, of course he'd want to know a secret, every child does. "Your Aunt Lily was lauded as a Prodigy the likes of which haven't been seen in decades. Intelligent and an instinctually powerful battler that not even her husband could match. However, she also had lots of problems too. Pokémon instinctually seemed to dislike her unless they were Psychic types and it took a lot of work for her to get around that. It didn't help that she had the emotional range of a teaspoon half the time either. For all her intelligence she struggled with being emotionally intelligent, especially when it came to people."
"So she wasn't liked at the school?" Dudley ventured as a guess.
"Oh no, she was definitely well liked. She was talented and beautiful, but that also meant she had a hard time finding people who liked her for her. For the longest time Severus was her only friend. Though James was besotted with her the moment he saw her and she called him out on his crap. I believe he described her as, "Wow, what a girl, I'm going to marry her one day." Through some fault of his own, but mostly Lily's, he took five years to earn her friendship and four more to marry her. Point is for those of us who knew her, we also saw the struggles she faced as she climbed her way to the top." Remus finally finished.
"So even Aunt Lily struggled with things?" Dudley asked, finally seeing where his father was headed.
"Exactly." Remus finished with a smirk.
"Sounds to me like my birth was a miracle unto the heavens." Harriet said dryly as she interrupted the moment being quite impatient by now.
Laughing Remus agreed, "That it was, if your father wasn't as stubborn about it as he was you'd have never been born."
"Great, that's good to know, now can we leave?" Harriet whined. "I'd like to get to the ferry today sometime."
Remus glanced at the clock eyes wide, having finally seen what time it was. "Yes, yes let's hurry. We're late enough as it is."
The ferry trip to the Isle of Arch, also known as the Isle of Beginnings, took about 3 hours. They made it with 20 minutes to spare to get onto the next ferry that would finally take them to Hogwarts meaning they had to say hasty goodbyes. Harriet's grandparents and Godfather had met them at the dock in order to send them off.
Sirius was the first to walk up to them as he pulled out two wrapped boxes and handed them to Dudley and Harriet. "These are your going away gifts from me. I expect you'll greatly enjoy them," He explained as he handed each their going away present. Harriet was then pulled away by her Grandparents and Dudley by his Parents for a final farewell.
"We love you Harriet, enjoy your time as school and we'll see you for the hols." Harriet's grandparents told her with hugs and kisses goodbye. When she turned to Sirius he looked at her with a look of solemnity she'd never seen on his face.
"Harriet, I know you are feeling unsure of yourself and insecure because you have no idea what you want to do yet, and that's fine. I believe in you pup, and I know you'll find your way at school and if you don't you can always learn family business until you do." Sirius explained to her.
That was actually a very comforting thought. In all her stressing out over not having a dream beyond finding a dream, she had never once considered learning the family business as a safety line and a fall back. She had always seen it as an inevitable part of her future she'd have no choice but to do. Dumbledore was twice the age of her grandparents and they would likely live as long as he had considering how healthy and active they were. "Thanks Sirius," She finally told him in response before giving him the biggest hug she could muster. "I'll message you all from school! Bye now!" She said excitedly as she turned to board the ferry that was the start of her journey.
She and Dudley both stopped at the bottom of the plank before looking at each other and nodding. This was their time, their moment and while they both felt outshined by the others in their family they were determined to grab their futures with their own hands. They may not know what trials and tribulations they would face in the future but they knew they would always, always have each other's backs. So with that thought in mind both took the first step of many on their journey and boarded the ferry to their destinies.
A/N - The Pokémon didn't see much screen time this time but it was more focused on Harriet and Dudley. Also apologies for a much shorter chapter.