It was around 11:30 in the morning when Harry Potter finally began to stir. Groaning slightly, he pulled his sheets up over his head to block the sunlight from his eyes. Next to him lay Ginny Weasely still asleep herself with her arm over Harry. The two were in their early 20’s now and even though they spent the majority of their time together, Ginny still lived at the Burrow. They both attempted to cling to the last remainging moments of sleep but were disrupted by an odd noise coming from the bed side table.
“I hate that thing,” Ginny grumbled as she turned over to her other side away from the noise. Harry rose, wiping the morning fog from his eyes, and picked up his ringing cell phone. It was something he never thought he would have a need for but a few years ago that surprisingly changed. He reached forward for his glasses and after putting them on he could clearly read ‘Dudley’ on the cell phone screen. He quickly climbed out of the bed and headed out of his room shutting the door behind him.
“Hey, how are you?” Harry said as he answered the call.
“Harrrryyyyyy!” Dudley replied over the phone. “What are you doing tonight?”
“I don’t have any plans, why, what’s up?”
“Ethan and I have tickets to the Spurs match, get Ron and let’s go.”
“Oh shit… ummm….” Harry quietly turned back around to peek through his cracked bedroom door, seeing if Ginny was still asleep. A loose floor board gave a squeak and Harry reared back. Ginny turned over again, her eyes still shut. Harry turned back away from the door and was careful to whisper.
“Yeah, I’ll do that. I’m sure Ron will too.”
“Awesome,” Dudley replied. “Just come over around 1 and we’ll head out.”
“O.k., I’ll see you soon.” Harry hung up the phone and slowly headed back into his room.
“Who was that?” Ginny asked, her eyes still shut.
“Oh, just ummmm…. Ff.. Frankie…”
She opened her eyes now and rested her head on her hand.
“Frankie?” She asked disbelieveing.
“Yeah,” Harry said as he grabbed a towel and headed towards his bathroom. “He’s uhhh… he’s a new guy….” He then walked into the bathroom and shut the door behind him.
“Only one person calls that telephone Harry Potter, you’re not going out with those muggles. Every time you do you get into some kind of trouble” From behind the door she could hear Harry’s voice.
“I can’t heaarrrr youuuu,” He replied. She shook her head with a scoff and sunk back to sleep.
It was now almost one o’clock and Harry raised his hand and gave a knock on Dudley’s front door. A moment passed before the door swung open revealing a handsome young man much different from the plump, spoiled brat who use to make Harry’s life a pain.
“Hey!” Dudley said with a smile. His arms opened up at the same time as Harry’s and the two gave each other a hefty hug. Their relaionship had obviously improved as the two began to mature over the years. In fact it was almost two years ago to the day that Harry had run into Dudley one afternoon in London when they began talking and spending the occasional evening together. The two separated and Ron who was behind Harry stepped forward and shook Dudley’s hand with a smile.
“How have you been?” Ron asked.
“Good guys, good. C’mon in.” They all stepped inside and Dudley shut the door behind them. His place was quaint but nice as you entered first into the living room where there sat a large couch and television. After Dudley was finished with primary school he continued on to a local university where he received his degree in business management. He had been living in North London for the past year now where he managed a driving range and golf pro shop with an older gentlemen who needed some extra help.
“How did you get tickets to the game?” Harry asked as he took a load off on the couch.
“Gary who I work with got them as a gift but he ended up not being able to go so he just gave them to me.”
“That’s pretty awesome of him,” Harry replied.
“You’re telling me,” Dudley said as he headed into the connecting kitchen. “You want a beer?”
“I’d love one Duddy-kins.”
“Comin right at yeah scar head.” Dudley laughed to himself as Ron followed in the kitchen behind him singing.
“Drinkin, drinkin, drinkin, gonna get my drink on.” He had obviously been here before because he seemed to know where everything was as he opened up a cupboard to grab a glass. He then moved over to the fridge for some ice. “I have to get my dad one of these things, he’d get such a kick out of it. Do you still have any of that caca stuff?” Dudley turned to him still laughing.
“You mean Coke?”
“Cut me a break, I see the stuff like, twice a year.”
“There should be some in the back.”
Ron pushed some other items aside and found a can of Coke. He opened it over the counter as Dudley’s roommate Ethan came in from their back door.
“Whoa you guys are here.” He raised his hand up high and began to bring it back down where it met Ron’s hand landing in a shake. Ethan then looked to Ron inquisitvley, hoping for something to happen. Ron looked back with a grin. “You brought that weird shit didn’t you?” From his back pocket, Ron pulled out an ornate decanter filled to the top with fire whiskey. Ethan leaned forward with his right arm on Ron’s shoulder. “Oh bloody Hell, I’m gonna regret tonight.”
“Harry!” Ron yelled into the other room.
“Fire Whiskey, kitchen, now!”
Harry lept off the couch in the living room and was at Ron’s side in an instant. Ron filled four shot glasses and passed them around.
“What are we doing it to?” Harry asked.
“To friends!” Dudley exclaimed as he raised his glass. The other three raised their glasses and said, “To Friends!” together and they all threw their shots back. All four of them shook their heads vigorously as they sat their glasses down.
“BBBllllAAAAAA,” Ethan screamed as he made a strange gargling noise. “That stuff is amazing. You gotta get me a bottle of that.” Just then Harry’s phone began to ring. He looked down to see Ginny’s face on the screen. Ron must have noticed too because he quickly looked up to Harry.
“Aw Hell, she figured out how to magic that thing?” Dudley flashed his eyes warningly at Ron at the mention of the “M” word. Ethan was turned with his back to them pouring himself another drink.
“Oh yeah, right,” Ron said understanding Dudley’s warning.
“Is that my brother?” Came Ginny’s voice over the phone.
“Hiiii sissss,” Ron said as he leaned towards Harry’s hand.
“Show me Dudley,” Ginny demanded. Harry turned the phone to Dudley.
“Hi Gin,” Dudley said with a smile.
“You listen to me Dursley, if you boys are gonna go out a get stupid drunk you better not let them try to apparate, I’d rather not have to search all over muggle London at 4 in the morning looking for my boyfriend’s ear, or my brother’s nose, or a specific body part that I’m sure all four of you would miss very much.”
Ron made a shooshing noise and quick hand motions signaling for Ginny to keep her voice down.
“Oh Ron he has no idea what I’m talking about.” Behind them Ethan threw his head back taking another shot. “While I’m connected to this thing I thought I’d tell you that Hermione is on her way over.” Ron pulled a face that looked as if a heavy weight had fallen on his big toe. “And she seems to be under the impression that you’re out helping dad tonight?”
“Please don’t tell her Ginny!”
“You owe me. Harry?” Harry turned the phone back to himself.
“Please be carefull.” Harry traced a small cross with his finger over his heart.
“I love you.” Ginny said.
“And I, you.” And with that Ginny was gone. Ron poured two more shots and handed one to Harry.
“Harry,” Ron said.
“Ron,” Harry returned. The two raised their glasses and at the same time exclaimed, “I solemnly swear that I am up to no good,” and threw back their drinks.
The football game had come and gone. Harry and Ron had grown to enjoy the sport but not nearly as much as their one true love, Quidditch. The one thing that bugged Ron the most was how all the players seemed to fall over and cry at the slightest touch from an opponent.
“Why are they such whiney gits?” He exclaimed as the four took a table at their favorite downtown bar. “Harry once caught the snitch with a broken arm and these footballers fall over if you do that to them.” He reached over and poked Harry in the shoulder with his index finger.
“Maybe you should watch Hockey,” Ethan suggested with a laugh.
“What the heck is hockey?”
Etahn looked to him confused. Just then their waitress arrived with their beers.
“It is kinda sad,” Dudley began. “It wasn’t always like that but it seems now a days players will try to get the penalty in situations where they’re entirely capeable of continuing play. If you assert yourself, and keep trying, you might just make it past that defender and to the goal instead of taking a dive when he touches you so you can have a free kick that leads to nothing… that’s my rant for the night.”
“Cheers!” Harry said raising his glass.
“Cheers!” The other three returned, and they began drinking some more. The night got wobblier and wobblier as it went on and by midnight the four had found the dance floor upstairs. Though what they were doing could hardly be described as dancing. It was more of moving and wiggling their bodies in any way, shape or form to the blasting music. Most other people on the dance floor kept their distance as the four boys smiled and enjoyed themselves goofing off. Some people however seemed to appreciate the nature of their antics and joined in.
Before Harry knew it, the four boys were surrounded by a group of girls who weren’t exactly concerned with keeping their distance. They’ve come out many times before but nothing like this had ever happened. Not really knowing how to react, Harry and Ron just kept on dancing while Dudley and Ethan got a bit more exploratory with their hands. They slapped five as the girls they were dancing with rubbed their backsides against their fronts. The girls with Harry and Ron began to do the same thing but Harry and Ron just exchanged wide-eyed looks of surprise. Then, from acorss the sea of bobbing heads, Ron noticed a familiar set of bushy, brown curls followed by a set of flaming red. He immediaetly panicked and shoved the girl in front of him to the floor. Luckily she began to laugh hysterically as did the girl with Harry who also fell to her hands and knees.
Hermione and Ginny had now broken through the crowd. Neither of them appeared very happy. Hermione stepped forward over the two girls still on the dance floor. She grabbed Ron’s hand and leaned in to the two of them.
“Excuse me Harry, but I nead a quick word with Ronald.”
“Help!” Ron squeezed in as Hermione pulled him away.
Harry met Ginny’s eyes and gave her a stupid smile and wave. To his surprise she returned the gesture. They had now moved off to the side of the dance floor where there were some high tables and bar stools.
“Before you go accusing me of ratting out my brother, I have to tell you that she figured out what Ron was really doing within a minute of coming over. She knew dad was working late so she stuck her head through to the fireplace at the burrow and saw our clock.”
“Hahaha,” Harry began to laugh. “I’m glad I’m not on that thing, I wouldn’t want my girlfriend to always know what I’m doing.” He realized what he had said only too soon. He took a long sip of his beer as he looked high and away, averting Ginny’s gaze. She continued to death stare so Harry continued to drink until he choked on the last bit of the pint and slowly placed the glass back down. He wiped his mouth and braved a bashful look back to his girlfriend.
“Believe me Mr. Potter, if I wanted to always know what you were doing it would be all too easy.”
“Have you been watching me in the shower!” Harry asked jokingly.
“Well I am normally in there with you,” she replied with a smirk.
“Ha!” blurted Harry with a smile. He wagged his finger at her. “I knew there was something I liked about you Weasley.” She puckered her lips together and Harry met her halfway across the table for a small kiss. “So how pissed is she really?”
“I’m not sure,” Ginny said inquisitivley. “She’s had quite a few drinks.” Harry’s jaw dropped first, then his glass from his fingertips. It would have crashed to the floor if Ginny wasn’t as fast as she was with her wand under the table.
“Are you telling me that Hermione… the Hermione Granger… is drunk?” Ginny’s eyes flashed with excitement.
“Exciting isn’t it?”
“Wha… but…. How?”
“She was annoyed that Ron had lied to her so that he could go out, so she said we should go out too, and we did. Started at the Hog’s Head, had a few beers with Aberforth, then stopped at a place in Knockturn alley for a shot, then the Leaky Cauldron where we ran into Hagrid, he was trashed, and now we’re here.”
Dudley and Ethan were still out on the dance floor, though they seemed to have scared most others away. They were now holding onto one anothers hands and spinning in a circle. Ron then appeared on Ginny’s right.
“What the bloody hell did you do to her?” His clothes and hair were disheveld, the left side of his face was red from what Harry could only assume was a smack from a tiny, feminine hand and the right side of his face was covered with lip stick from several kisses.
“I did nothing Ronald, she wanted to go out, so we came out. Don’t worry, I have her wand.”
Hermione came up from behind Ginny and stood next to her shoulder to shoulder.
“Harry!” She said ecstaticaly. “Harry is here! Ron!” She gave him an unecessary smack across the shoulder to get his attention. “Ron! Harry Potter is here! He’s! Right! There!” She leaned over to Ron’s ear and cupped it with her hand to whisper something to him though she could clearly be heard. “Do you think, do… do you think he has, THE SCAR?” She gave Harry’s forhead a quick glance with shifty eyes. Ron, Ginny and Harry all simply watched with amused expressions. Hermione turned towards Harry, grabbed a fork from the table and inched it slowly towards his bangs. She lifted his hair to the side revealing the famous lightning bolt mark. She dropped the fork to the table and cupped her hands over her mouth. “He does!” She put her hands back down to the table. “Harry, Harry, remember that one time when you were like, ‘I’ve got to stop Voldemort!’?” She pounded her fists on the table and deepened her voice. Harry covered his mouth with his hand in shock and in an attempt to stifle his laughter.
“Babe, you sure you don’t want any water?” Ron asked.
“Don’t you ‘babe’ me,” Hermione shot back. She then wrapped her arm around Ginny’s. “Dudley and Ethan look lonely, we’re gonna dance.”
“We’re gonna dance,” Ginny repeated to Harry and they shot over to the dance floor to cheers from Dudley and Ethan. Ron took a seat at the table.
“Bloody hell,” he sighed.
“I know when Hermione is mad or when she’s anxious about something-“ Ron held his hand a few inches above his head.
“You can tell by the frizziness of her hair.”
“But this is just incredible,” Harry concluded. “Is she upset?”
“She gave me a pretty good howler back there but I think I’ll be o.k.”
“Yeah but what about her?”
Ron’s face crinkled up as it always did when he had a problem.
“It’s not that I didn’t want her here, I just didn’t want her to feel left out because when I bring up going out like this she normally doesn’t want to. I’m actually excited that she is here and having a good time.” He looked over to her. She laughed and danced with the other three in the middle of a crowd that had now formed.
“Go dance with her then dummy,” Harry said.
“She still scares me, and I can’t believe she wants to be with me.”
“C’mon.” Harry grabbed him by the collar of his shirt and pulled him over to the others. The second Hermione saw Ron she wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed him square on the lips. They danced and drank till the bar closed.
It was around 2AM but the group still managed to find an open food stand selling pizza by the slice. They took a seat on the curb to eat, all except Hermione who was resting her head on Ron’s shoulder struggling to stay awake.
“I think I should probably get her home,” Ron said.
“We brought the brooms,” Ginny replied.
“Why don’t you just walk down to the Cauldron and use their fireplace?” Harry suggested. “It’s only a couple blocks.”
“Yeah, that sounds like a good idea,” Ron agreed.
“You gonna come home with us or stay out with Dudley?” Ginny asked Harry.
“I think I’ll hang out here for a bit.”
“O.k.,” She leaned in and gave Harry a kiss then looked over to Dudley. “You take care of him.
“Yes mam,” Dudley replied.
They all said their goodbyes and Ginny, Ron and Hermione walked off down the street. Ethan stood up from the curb and brushed off his pants. He balanced himself for a moment then turned to Harry and Dudley.
“Yeah, I’m gonna head over to Ashley’s, she won’t stop blowing up my phone. Harry.” He held out his hand and Harry gave it a hefty shake.
“It’s always a pleasure,” Harry told him.
“The same.” And he too, left off down the road.
It was now only Harry and Dudley and the two of them were just about finished with their pizza.
“God that’s good,” Dudley said.
“You used to be so big, what have you been doing?” Harry asked.
“Diet and exercise, it’s simple really but also super hard at the same time. But that was different back then when I was little. Mum and Dad didn’t really teach me any healthy habits.” Harry gave a chuckle.
“How have they been?” Harry asked. Dudley’s face twisted in an uncertain way as he thought about the question.
“Pretty much the same people they’ve always been I’m sad to say.”
“Do they know we spend time together now?”
“I haven’t mentioned it to them, no.” Dudley sat for a moment in the silence. “Sorry, they still just… don’t want to hear it, the ‘M’ word.”
“No, it’s no problem at all really,” Harry assured him.
“No, it is, I think it is...”
Harry studied his cousin for a moment. He could tell that something was troubling him, he had a feeling it might have been for a while now.
“I had no idea who you really were and what you were going through,” Dudley began. “When I was reading that biography, every chapter felt like a knife getting deeper and deeper into my gut. The things you went through… in addition to the way my parents and I treated you… I’ve been wanting to tell you how sorry I am for the longest time now.”
“You read the biography?”
“Ginny bought it for me a year ago.”
Harry placed his hand on Dudley’s shoulder.
“Dudley,” Harry said. “It’s in the past, that was a different time and you’re a good friend now. I can’t describe how happy I am that we are the way we are now in light of the way it used to be.”
Harry couldn’t tell if Dudley was in fact tearing up but he did give his left eye a hefty rub.
“I’m quite appreciative in retrospect really. I mean, your mom and dad didn’t have to take me in at all… but they put up with me. Gave me a place to sleep, clothes on my back and food on the table, even if it wasn’t the best most of the time.”
“They had you in the cupboard.” Dudley reminded him. Harry laughed.
“I didn’t need much room back then.”
“How could they not even say anything to you the last time they saw you? When we had to leave the house for our own protection? They have no idea that you went off to fight for your life, for everyone really. It’s all because of my mom…”
“Can you imagine how hard that must have been for her though? To have your sister to be able to do all this incredible stuff but you can’t.”
“I know… I just can’t get over how much it seems she never cared. Jealousy aside, your sister was murdered, and you’re going to treat her only child like a stain you can’t get rid of? I think she’s going to regret it. Every now and then, when you might get brought up for some reason, I can see this longing in her face. She tries to hide it but I can tell. She cried the day we left Privet Drive. You’re all she has left from her side of the family. I think she regrets it and wants to know you.”
“Take it slow, just tell her I said hi, then maybe we can go from there.”
“I’d like to try that,” Dudly said with a smile.
It was no question now after two years that Harry would easily consider Dudley his friend but he was taken aback as to how much this situation was bothering him.
“It couldn’t hurt.” Harry told him. “Just tell her you got a drink with me and that I said hi.” He looked Dudley over and he seemed to like the sound of the idea.
“Yeah,” he said nodding his head. “Yeah, I’ll do that.”
“Wow, if only we started drinking when we were like, 7, then we could have started this bonding so much sooner.”
“Can’t you just turn back time?”
“Uggg,” Harry exclaimed. “Don’t get me started on time travel.”