It was 10:50 and the train was to leave in exactly 10 minutes. Harry Potter kept looking at the archway that was the gateway to and from the Kings Cross station. He seemed to be waiting for someone.
Harry felt a hand on his shoulder and turned to look into the smiling face of his wife, Ginny. He thought she was as beautiful today as the day he realized he was in love with her.
Something was troubling Harry, and Ginny could say what by just looking at his face. She has always believed that Harry’s face revealed his thoughts.
“They will arrive any moment now,” she assured her husband. “Why don’t you talk to Al and calm him down? He is still tense and nervous about all the discussion about houses and sorting with James.”
Though Albus Severus Potter, their little Al, was nervous about the sorting that was to take place later in the day, Ginny was more worried about Harry at the moment. She knew that Harry still had doubts about that family coming to the station. Of meeting these people. Of sending their daughter to Hogwarts.
“Harry,” someone called out his name, “Hope we are in time?” This person’s voice conveyed his nervousness for all to hear. Nervousness mixed with excitement and probably a pinch of fear.
Harry turned and into his line of sight came a family of 4. A family he was related to.
The man was 5, 10″ and had blond hair that stuck on his head as if gelled. Clad in a brown suit, which seemed to be expensive (and Harry guessed that it was specially bought to be worn to the station), the man looked pretty handsome. With him stood his wife who wore a red shirt with a black skirt. Her black hair, straightened to perfection, framed her oval shaped face. They had two children accompanying them; a girl and boy. The girl looked the right age to be off to Hogwarts. She had black hair, just like her mother, but hers were all curls that dangled behind her head forming a ponytail. She, too, seemed to be nervous but her eyes glowed with excitement. The boy, a few years younger than his sister, looked awed by all the pet animals – Owls to be specific – around.
“Just in time, Big D!” Harry answered, relieved, as he shook hands with Dudley Dursley, his cousin.
“How are you Elizabeth?” asked Ginny as she came forwards to hug the black haired woman.
The woman smiled and replied, “As happy as I can be. And as not tired as I can be after getting Anne and Todd ready!”
3 weeks earlier
Harry was surprised to see Dudley at his doorstep as he had never imagined the Dursleys will ever want to have to do anything with him once he was officially off their hands. For a long minute Harry simply stared at him and could think of nothing to say, but, once he was past his surprise, he invited Dudley in. It turned out that Dudley had not come alone. He had brought his family along. He introduced his wife, Elizabeth, and children, Mary Anne and Todd.
To Harry’s further amazement, Dudley behaved as if they had grown up being the best of chums. Dudley asked after Harry’s family and questioned him regarding Hogwarts and the Wizarding world itself!
Harry answer, but only because he had no idea what else to do.
Harry noticed that Elizabeth had sat silently, looking a tad it uncomfortable during Dudley’s questions as she held Todd – who kept staring at Harry – to herself.
Mary Anne, on the other hand, kept looking for something. Something Harry could not put a finger on.
During the time Dudley kept his litany of questions going, Ginny served him and Elizabeth butterbeer and the kids, pumpkin juice. Based on the knowledge of this family that she possessed, Ginny was half expecting the drinks to be refused but to her amazement, the family drank their fill.
“Umm… Uncle Harry?” The little Miss Dursley finally spoke.
“Yes?” Harry had no idea how tot address her. Did he prefer Mary? Or Anne? Mary Anne was too formal, Harry thought, with someone who had just called him ‘Uncle’.
“Can we meet James, Albus and Lily?” she asked sweetly.
“Of course, you can,” Harry answered, and smiled at the sudden joy shimmering in the little girl’s eyes. “But not today as they are on a picnic with their uncle George.”
Mary Anne was saddened by this news.
“Anne, you will meet them soon, love.” Her mother tried to console her.
Everyone was silent for the next 10 minutes and Dudley kept looking at his wife again and again as if asking “What do I do?”
Elizabeth finally decided that it had to be her who broke the news.
She called Harry and Ginny to attention.
“When Dudley and I were dating he would sometimes talk about how he ridiculed you when you were kids and how he was terrified of you when he found out you were a wizard. He told me he won’t even sit in the room you were in, but then when he thought you hated him enough to kill him, you saved his life from what he said were…” she looked at Harry. “dementors…?”
Harry could not understand what to make of it. It was simply beyond him why Dudley would even have mentioned the boy and the world he despised to the woman he loved.
Elizabeth continued. “He said, he wanted to make up for all the bad time, but never really had the chance for it. Not just me, even our kids know about you, your family, your world and what you and your friends did to save that very world…”
“I am sorry to interrupt, but,” Harry had to speak. “All this saving the world happened after we parted the last time.”
Harry turned towards Dudley. “How did you find out about all that?”
Dudley’s ears turned pink but he did not say a word. It was again Elizabeth, again, who spoke.
“One of our neighbours is a family of wizards and we are on very good terms with them. Though Dudley could never come up to you himself, we got to know about your family from them. You are still famous.” she smiled. “And they were the ones who gave us your address.”
Harry looked at Dudley whose ears had turned a deeper shade of pink.
“Why are you not telling them?” Anne said as if she wanted to discuss something and was not being provided an opportunity to do that.
Dudley took out something from his pocket handed it over to Harry. Looking at the seal on the envelope in his hand, Harry could not believe his eyes. He showed it to Ginny who mirrored his expression. They both turned their heads towards Mary Anne, who nodded vigorously while her eyes spoke of her happiness and excitement.
Harry did not need to open the envelope and take out the sheets of parchment because he know exactly what will those sheets say.
“Congratulations, Anne.” Ginny hugged the little girl whose happiness seemed to increase with every passing second.
Dudley told Harry about the strange things that kept happening around and to his little girl all the time which had him and Liz (as he called his wife) suspect their daughter of being a witch. He said that they were not really sure but after receiving the letter, there was no doubt.
“But will you let her go?” Harry’s voice was full of doubt.
“Ummm…” Dudley began.
“Definitely, Uncle Harry.” Mary Anne replied instead. A finality in the way she said those three words.
“Aunt Ginny, mom and dad said that you both could help me with school shopping and tell me more about the wizarding world. You will, won’t you?” There was a plea there.
“You are always welcome, sweetheart,” Ginny hugged her again. “Of course we’d tell you everything.”
It was decided that Anne will stay with the Potters, once the kids were back home, for some time and will shop with them. She will return home a week before she had to leave for school.
With everyone merry, the Dursleys departed.