part ii; woke dreamers to their ghostly roots
it's like when your cousin
goes and fucks some chick while you're still dealing from killing some dick
and she gets pregnant
and he calls you, as if you're actually supposed to care (the humour)
but you figure that you should maybe —
i don't know —
send a card or some shit but there's this thing
where you don't remember until a year later
but hey, fate doesn't hate you after all; it's the kid's birthday week.
but then your cousin starts thinking that you care about his life,
which is just fuck.
Harry shakes his head, sinking down into the familiar navy-blue chaise, rubbing his eyes and yawning. “Nothing.”
“Harry,” Anne chastises. “It's been, what? Five years since we started sessions? Do you honestly think that you can hide from me? What's wrong?”
“Just, fuck—fuck, I'm sorry, I shouldn't curse, it's just—”
“I'm used to your excessive swearing by now.” She leans over and gently pulls his hands down from his face, the dark circles and anxious eyes in turn pulling a worried frown from her.
“Teddy's sick again, because he did too many changes at one time and ‘Dromeda has to have another damned surgery and Dudley invited me to Devon's birthday party and I don't feel like being a good person right now so he can just fuck off.”
“Ah.” The Quick Quill scribbles away and she leans back, crossing her legs. “Breaths. Do your breaths.”
Harry does, over and over, in through his nose and out through his mouth, until he stops clawing his face.
“You need to remember to take things into perspective sometimes, Harry. You need to look at both the details and the bigger picture, strange though it may sound. Does Teddy have healing potions? And he's at home, not at St. Mungo's, correct?”
“And Andromeda--it’s all for the sake of her getting better. And she will, Harry. I promise you this.”
“About your cousin... I thought you two were getting along just fine? You don't hate his wife and he isn't, quote, unquote, a humungously oafish prat anymore. I really shouldn't say this at all, but, ah, if your Uncle shows up, hide yourself or spike his drink with a Sleeping Draught and the problem is solved, is it not?”
“Yes, I suppose it is,” Harry responds, laughing.
“Harry! Thanks for coming. I didn't expect you to.”
With good reason, Harry thinks, faking a smile and tightening his grip on his godson's hand.
“It's my pleasure,” Harry lies. “Is Devon around? I thought I'd give him his gift now; I can't stay for long.”
“With his Mum in the kitchen. The guests are out back, so I reckon you won't have to be bothered much. Oh, is this your son?”
Trying not to let Dudley's politeness grate him, Harry replies, “When would I have had time to have a child when I was seventeen, Dudley?”
“His hair just looks a lot like yours, is all.”
“Hmm.” Harry sighs. “He's my godson.”
“Oh,” Dudley says, looking uncomfortable for a second before pasting another grin on his face and motioning for Harry and Teddy to follow him. Teddy looks around himself with a curiosity reserved for seven(and-a-half, he hears Teddy frustratingly add) year old boys.
They enter the house, the kitchen to the left, and find Devon and his mother (Martha, Matilda, Margaret – Harry can never remember, what with seeing them four times a year, at the most) icing fairy cakes on the counter, whispering to one another.
“Dev, Harry's here,” Dudley says, and the little boy turns around with a look of such happiness on his face that Harry kind of feels bad.
He doesn't hate the kid. He's absolutely nothing like Dudley was at that age, not in personality or physical appearance. Which is the best thing, really, just how unDursleylike he appears. His mother is petite and so is he, also taking on her dark hair, wide eyes, pouty mouth. The only sign of Dudley in him are his eyes.
Evans eyes. Harry knows that in all actuality, it's probably from Aunt Petunia, but it makes him feel better to think that the wide bright-green orbs are directly from his own Mum.
He's learnt to appreciate irony, to a certain extent.
“Hello, Devon.” He waves the gift in his hand, thanking Heaven for the Lightening Charm he'd used, because the size of the thing alone made it far too heavy for one hand. “Got you something.”
Devon gasps, rushing to stand in front of Harry, hands raised for the present, all excitement and eagerness, because when you're a kid, gifts are the absolute best things in the world.
“What do you say?”
“Please, please, please.”
Harry takes pity, lowering it into his hands. Teddy eyes it enviously, and Harry ruffles his hair and makes note to get him something.
Devon shreds it open, ignoring his mother's exasperated, “Wait for the other presents, won't you, Dev?” and gasping when he sees the box.
“You got me a helicopter!”
“I did, yes. There might be something else there,” Harry hints, grinning at the look when Devon discovers the second, hidden gift.
“You got him one of those new handheld-gaming things?” Dudley asks.
“Those things are bloody expensive, Harry. Been out two weeks, barely.”
Harry shrugs. The lady in the Muggle department store had suggested those two and he'd gone along with it, because he'd been terribly lost and very confused, having not been in one of them in years. A decade and a half, and hell, that makes him feel very, very old.
“Oh, thank you, thank you, thank you,” Devon says, giving Harry a hug. “This is the most brilliant birthday ever. You're staying, right, Harry?”
Harry blinks, and opens his mouth to say, no, I'm very, very sorry but God, no, but Devon has already grabbed the handheld and run out to the backyard, where the others children descend on him like Dementors to happiness.
That's a terribly morbid metaphor, Harry thinks.
“There's a game already put in,” Harry mentions, “and another few in the box.”
“Thank you, Harry, so very much,” Ma — Marianne, that's what it is — says, total sincerity.
Harry smiles a quick smile at her, before looking down at Teddy and asking, “Staying?”
Teddy nods. “Staying.”
They walk outside, and after forty-five minutes of fighting off advances from lecherous Muggle women, encouraging Teddy to go play and being ignored, eating far too much cake and handing Teddy napkin after napkin, Harry is fairly positive that Devon is magical.
There's the matter of the bouncing after he falls down a very tall tree, when logic insists that he break something, at least an arm, the sprain of a knee and he’s reminded fiercely of Neville. Then there's when Harry walks into the kitchen to get yet another wad of towels for Teddy and Devon is there, attempting to get a slice.
But he's too short, and rather than landing in his hand, it crashes to the floor, glass and frosting except — it seems to reverse itself, like a Reparo of sorts, plate and cake coming back together and staying in his palm, with not even a bit of evidence on the floor. Devon grins and walks away, as if this is common occurrence and not at all out of the fucking norm.
this is you:
trying to pretend as if there is no if
and i ask of you,
you are not rolling back
this will never be that simple
and you have nobody,
but that doesn’t mean
that you should accept it.
Hermione gasps when he tells her, bombards him with question after question and though he answers every single one, he has to put his foot down when she starts asking for him to bring out the Pensieve. Teddy sits on top of the kitchen counter, making swirls with Harry’s wand and finishing his sandwich.
“Do you realize--”
Harry sighs, says, “Yes, ‘Mione, I do. It’s really not as bad as you’re making it out to be, y’know.”
She tsks, splaying a hand on her swollen belly. “It’s not that, Harry. You and I were raised Muggle and turned out wonderfully, I think. But it’s your cousin, it’s Dudley, and Vernon would find out and I just can’t see that being too good for that poor child.”
He opens his mouth, almost wants to say that Dudley isn’t that bad anymore, but Jesus, why the fuck would he ever be defending a Dursley, changed or not?
“Well,” he responds, brilliant and proving McGonagall proud with every advanced word coming out of his mouth. “I guess.”
She smiles at him fondly before setting her face into exam-mode and says, “We need a game plan.”
They come up with one and it’s fantastic and foolproof and just reassures Hermione’s never-ending brilliance; Ron shows up a bit later and adds his two Knuts and then it’s ten times better and Harry thinks, cool.
He calls Dudley while at their flat, bouncing Teddy on his knee even though he’s far too old for any of it and what comes out of his mouth is, “Dudley, hi, your son has magic.”
Hermione shuts her eyes and Ron and Teddy laugh.
Dudley says nothing on the other line, but Harry hears soft, choked breathing and suspects that he just royally fucked-up and it’s for Devon, a Dursley he actually likes, so that’s not very good.
“Right, well, I”ll come by tomorrow, then, and explain stuff.”
He hangs up and dodges the pillow Hermione throws at him.
“You’re so tactile, mate,” Ron says, grinning and taking a bite from his Red Vines. “And comforting.”
Harry sits next to Hermione, across Dudley and Marianne whilst Teddy plays with Devon outside, and says, “This is absolutely nothing to be worried about.”
Marianne looks terribly confused and Hermione sighs, gets up and motions Marianne to join her in the backyard. Harry’s just happy that he won’t have to explain this to her. Harry’d considered calling McGonagall but Hermione had tsked him again and assured that it was nothing they couldn’t handle.
“It’s nothing to be worried about,” he repeats, not sure if it went through to Dudley. He looks panicked.
“But, why--why would he have magic, Mari and I don’t... this doesn’t make any sense.”
“Well,” Harry says, sounding terribly calm and responsible, “it can come up seemingly random in children with Muggle parents. Happened like that to Hermione. But, uh, well, there’s history of magic in his blood, technically--”
Dudley makes a noise in the back of his throat. “Well, what am I supposed to do? He’s not supposed to, this isn’t, I mean, this is my kid, Harry. I don’t know how to properly raise a, a ma-magic person.”
Harry blinks, but is saved from Hermione and Marianne walking back into the house. Marianne looks less confused and has a small, proud smile on her face and Harry really fucking likes her.
“This is so fascinating,” she says, sitting back down. “Devon is special; it’s like every mother’s dream come true, oh.” She turns to Dudley. “Aren’t you excited, Dud?”
Dudley smiles, a small, thin smile and Harry finds this all terribly amusing.
Karma, he thinks, and can’t find it in himself to feel guilty about it.
Marianne furrows her eyebrows but shoves Dudley supposed weirdedness off, turning to Harry and Hermione, face very serious and contemplative.
“I want to know more about this and I want to do whatever I can to make sure that Devon is happy and safe,” she tells them and Harry wonders at there being actual people like her in this world.
“Okay,” Harry says, smiles and glances towards the glass sliding door at Teddy and Devon, laughing and running after each other and marvels.
“Narcissa Malfoy runs a daycare for Muggleborn children,” Luna tells him, curling around Neville and Harry is struck by a terrible, terrible jealousy that he shouldn’t feel, doesn’t want to feel because it was never about him and Luna staying together in the first place, but still.
He thinks, I was inside her before you were, and tries not to feel fourteen. He never properly got to experience teenage petulance and immaturity, after all.
Except that this is Neville, and he and Luna have been dancing around each other for years and years. Harry feels like he was in a love triangle that nobody liked to acknowledge and he lost. He thinks of Luna curling around him, him saying, “You know I love you, right?” but that was never enough.
He suddenly feels very lonely and he does not want to.
Laughing, he responds, “I don’t really see that as being a good idea, love.”
Luna shrugs and Harry doesn’t notice the way Neville’s eyes tighten just the tiniest bit. “You should try, Harry.”