It was 10:50 and the train was to leave exactly in 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.
He felt a hand on his shoulder and turned to look into the smiling face of his wife, Ginny Potter. Harry 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 having a glance 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 tensed 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 that day later but Ginny was more concerned 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?” The person asking the question was nervous, excited and maybe a little afraid at the same time.
Harry turned and into his line of sight came a family of 4. A family he was related to.
The man was around 5, 10″ and had blond hair that stuck on his head as if gelled there. 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 who accompanied them. One was a girl who seemed to be almost 11 (the right age to be off to Hogwarts). She had black hair, just like her mother, but her hair were all curls that dangled behind her head forming a ponytail. She was nervous though her eyes shown with excitement. The boy on the other hand was awed by all the pet animals, Owls to be specific, around.
“Just in time Big D!” Harry said, relieved, as he shook hands with Dudley Dursley, his cousin brother.
“How are you Elizabeth?” said Ginny as she came forwards to hug the black haired woman.
The woman smiled and said, “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 never imagined that the Dursleys will want to have to do anything with him now that he was off their hands (irrespective of Dudley once telling him that he was not a waste of space). For a minute Harry simply stared at him and could not really think of anything else but then he regained his senses and invited him in. It turned out that Dudley had not come alone but had brought his family along too. His wife, Elizabeth, and children, Mary Anne and Todd.
To amaze Harry further, Dudley was behaving as if they have grown up playing together and were best friends. Dudley asked Harry about how he had been and about his family and many questions about Hogwarts and the Wizarding world itself.
Harry answered them all as he did not really know what else to do.
All this while Elizabeth kept silent and kept looking at different things placed inside the room and Todd sat with his head on his mother’s arm.
Mary Anne, Harry realized, was looking for something. Something Harry could not put a finger on.
While Dudley talked with Harry, which Ginny thought was some sort of making up for their childhood, she served her guests with butterbeer (for Dudley and Elizabeth) and pumpkin juice (for Mary Anne and Todd). With what Ginny knew about the Dursleys she was expecting the offer of the drinks to be tuned down but amazingly they, The Dursleys, drank their fills.
“Umm… Uncle Harry?” The little Miss Dursley finally spoke.
“Yes child?” Harry had no idea what to call her. Mary? Anne? Mary Anne was too formal to be said when someone called you Uncle.
“Can we meet James, Albus and Lily?” she asked in her sweet voice.
“Ofcourse you can,” Harry said and smiled and the sudden glow in the little girl’s eyes. “But not today as they are gone 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 sat in silence for the next 10 minutes and Dudley kept looking at his wife again and again as if asking “Should I ask him?”
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’d hate him enough to kill him someday, you saved his life from what he said were 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.
And 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 now. “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 who spoke.
“One of our neighbouring family are wizards and we are on very good terms with them. Though Dudley never could 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 your address even.”
Harry looked at Dudley whose ears 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.
Dudley took out something from his pocket that looked like parchment and handed it over to Harry. Taking it in his hands, Harry could not believe his eyes. He showed it to Ginny who reflected his expression. They both turned their heads towards Mary Anne together who in turn did not get embarrassed but 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 now he know exactly what would be written inside.
“Congratulations Anne.” Ginny hugged the little girl whose happiness seemed to increase with every second. Further, she was addressed as Anne which made her feel at home.
Dudley told Harry about the strange things that happened 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 everything got confirmed.
“But would you let her go?” Harry’s voice 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 world that I am about to enter. You will, won’t you?” There was a plea there.
“You are always welcome sweetheart,” Ginny hugged her again. “Ofcourse we’d tell you everything.”
A few promises were made in this encounter. The promises being that Anne would stay with the Potters for some time and would shop with them and would return to her home a week before she had to leave for school. As James, Albus and Lily were not home for two more days, Anne said that she would come over when those three would come back home.
With everyone merry, the Dursleys departed.