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Chapter Thirteen

“Oh, it’s you…” Came a distasteful voice from the other side of the door, almost as if they were speaking to a filthy stray cat rather than a person.
“Dudley invited me.”
“Ah, Harry…  Good to see you again.  Dad, I did invite him.  I needed all of you here…  Ah, Harry…  You brought a guest.” Dudley said, looking at Luna, who smiled politely at him.

“You must be Dudley Dursley, Harry’s cousin.”
“Um…  Yes, I am…  And you are?”
“I’m Luna Lovegood.” Luna said dreamily, staring at the clouds still.  Vernon rolled his eyes when Luna wasn’t looking.  “Hmm…  That one looks like a unicorn.” She said.  Harry could only sigh.  She had been very focused lately, though that was probably just because of her caseload.

Now that she was off work, she didn’t need to be focused on anything.
“Huh…” Dudley said, looking up at the same cloud.  “Now that you mention it, it does kind of look like a unicorn.  Hey, that one sort of looks like a dragon…” Dudley added.  Even Harry, who knew that Dudley had changed a lot was shocked that he was being this accommodating of Luna.  He was happy, though.

“Please, come in, all of you.  Lizzie is just finishing up making dinner.  Please, sit down.  I need to talk to all of you.  It’s important.  Aunt Marge, Mom, Dad…  This is Luna…”
“My girlfriend…”
Immediately, the three’s eyes narrowed at Luna, obviously immediately assuming the worst.

“I see…  Anyway, why did you invite all of us here?”
“Well…  Good news first, then…  Lizzie is pregnant with our first child.  We only found out a few days ago, and arranged to get together with everyone as soon as possible.” Dudley said, positively glowing with pride and happiness.
“Dudley! That’s great!” Harry said, standing and shaking Dudley’s hand firmly.

Marge leaned in and whispered something that only Luna and Vernon, who Marge was whispering to, heard.
“I don’t remember those two being so close.  I’m surprised a sensible boy like Dudley would allow a hopeless case like him around his family.”
“Well…  The boy inadvertently saved Dudley from a…  Dog attack when they were fifteen.

“Ever since, Dudley’s been very grateful.  It’s…  Nice that Dudley wants to thank the boy, but we’d just as soon see him out of our lives now that he’s an adult.”
“Mm…” Marge said, looking contemptuously at Harry.  Luna could see why Harry hated his family so much.  They really were quite unbearable, but she didn’t say anything, just smiling politely, occasionally looking around.

“And I’ll bet the girl is looking around for things to steal.  Make sure you keep an eye on her.  She’s got a wandering eye, and no doubt sticky hands as well.” Marge said.  Luna scowled, which Marge seemed to notice.  Neither woman said anything.  Luna merely smiled even more brightly at Marge.
“It’s a pleasure to meet you…  Mrs. Dursley?”
“Ms. Dursley…  If you touch any of Dudley’s things…”

“I have no interest in Dudley’s things.”
“Aha! Anyway…” Dudley said, cutting the conversation short.  “Dinner is ready.  I had hoped that the entire family could get together and be civil.  Harry and I have managed to put old slights behind us.  Maybe the rest of you could do the same?

“Honestly, I don’t really care what you say about him while we’re not together, but at least be civil with him while we’re all in one place.  I’m hoping to convince him to come over on holidays as well.”
“That’s very nice of you…  But when did you suddenly become friends with the boy?”
“What? It’s been coming on for years.  Harry saved me from a pretty vicious attack in 1996.  Some people who wanted to hurt me…

“The fact that Harry was at Saint Brutus’s had spread…  They didn’t want to mess with him.  Well, it wasn’t much of a fight, but I’m grateful.  I’d like to have a relationship with my cousin.  Anyway, hey, Lizzie! Is dinner ready?”
“Yes.  It’s my mother’s recipe…  Careful, it’s hot…  You must be Harry.  Dudley’s told me all about you.  You look different from how I pictured you.”

“Pleasure to meet you.  Lizzie, this is Luna.” Harry said politely, gesturing to Luna, who smiled at Lizzie.
“Hello, Lizzie.  Luna Lovegood.”
“Hello, Luna.  I hope you like my cooking.” Lizzie said politely, setting the dishes out, and taking the lids off, breathing in.  They smelled perfectly wonderful, “accidentally” dropping a small piece of paper in Harry’s lap.  Harry took the piece of paper and opened it.

Meet me after dinner.  I need to ask you something. Harry tucked the paper away, and took some food out of the serving trays.  It all smelled amazing, and he waited for Dudley to say grace.  He didn’t really follow any religion, but religion was important to the Dursleys.  For the most part, Harry stayed out of the conversation, unless Dudley or Lizzie said something to him in particular.  They did try to include him.
“So, Harry, how’s your job going?”

“Oh, it’s going pretty well.  We just finished a big case.” Harry said.  Marge laughed humourlessly.
“What do you do? Mall security? Grave digging? Or maybe you just rob the graves?”
“Law enforcement.”
“Ha! You? A hopeless criminal like you? A police officer?”

“Well…  I mostly serve on desk duty, but yes.” Harry said.  Marge didn’t continue the argument, but he could tell that she was suspicious.  He was there at the Dursleys, well dressed, with a beautiful if eccentric young woman, and not smelling like he was homeless.  Marge wondered what his angle was, and she was sure that Harry had taken a piece of paper from Lizzie earlier.  As they finished eating, they cleared off the table together, and finally, Harry went out to a more secluded location, just outside.

“Hey, Harry…  It’s nice to finally meet you.  Dudley has said good things about you.  I know his family doesn’t like you.  It’s good of you not to yell back at them.  You’ve…  Lived with the Dursleys most of your life, right?” Lizzie asked.  Harry nodded.
“So, why did you need me?”
“You work for the Ministry for Magic, right?” Lizzie asked.

Harry jumped slightly, shaking his head.
“Who? I’m not sure what you’re talking about.”
“Don’t lie.  You don’t need to.  I’m a Wild Mage.  My power isn’t primarily for combat.  I can become invisible.  Watch, or don’t, as it may be.” She said politely, turning invisible, and walking around in the snow, leaving footprints, showing that she was there.

“Okay, so does Dudley know that you’re a Wild Mage?” Harry asked.  Lizzie sighed, shaking her head.
“No.  I’m not sure how to tell him.  I’m engaged to him.  I can’t keep it from him forever.  You’re dating Miss Lovegood…  Does she know you’re a Wizard?”
“I think there’s a misunderstanding.  She’s a Witch.  We went to school together.  Anyway, just tell him.  Dudley isn’t perfect, but he won’t reject you just because you have a Wild Magic ability.

“I don’t think he will, anyway.  He’s changed a lot…  More than his parents or his aunt.  Anyway, I have to get back in.  The Dursleys will naturally assume the worst if I’m outside for too long.” Harry said.  “And seriously.  Don’t worry about it.  Dudley will understand.”

The evening wound down an hour or two later with Marge leaving, shooting a dirty look at Harry, and Vernon and Petunia heading out as well, leaving only Luna and Harry there.  Lizzie refused to let the two of them help clean the dishes.  “You’re guests.  Guests don’t do the housework.” She said.  Finally, Harry could hear her talking to Dudley in the other room.

“Dudley, I need to tell you something you don’t know about me.  I’m…  Not normal.”
“What? Sure you are.  You’re…”
“No, I’m not.  Look, I may not be a witch, but I have magical powers.”
“What? So, you went to Hogwarts like Harry? Did you know him before this?”

“Well, yes…  But not from school.  A group of people that I know due to similar abilities that they have all know him.  He’s sort of an envoy between us and the Ministry.  Anyway, watch.” Lizzie said, using her Wild Magic ability, and turning invisible.
“Blimey, you’re invisible…  Even your clothes are invisible.  How is that possible? You didn’t have a wand.” Dudley asked in immediate succession.  Harry sighed, staying out of the conversation.

“Well, these are abilities that have been appearing in maybe eight to ten percent of the population in the past fifteen or twenty years.  It’s only now that it’s reached a head, and the Ministry of Magic has begun to notice…  Mainly due to witches and wizards hunting us.  But we Wild Mages can use magic, but only maybe a single spell, possibly two if we’re lucky.  But that’s it, and we can do it without a wand and without motions or words.  It’s convenient.

“Some Wild Mages use combat oriented spells.  Some, like me, use passive spells.  In optimal conditions, I can get into a place completely unseen…  Of course, if I don’t move quietly, I’ll still be heard.”
“How long have you known about this ability?” Dudley asked.
“Maybe seven or eight years, since I was thirteen.  I sometimes disappeared in the middle of class, or when I wanted to be alone.”

“And you just told me now?”
“I really like you, Dudley.  I didn’t want you to reject me.  Your family is just so intolerant of anything or anyone different.  I was afraid…  Afraid that you were the same as them, that you would turn me away.”
“What? Of course I wouldn’t! Well…  I used to be a lot like my family.  I used to be a real cretin…  But I…  Like to think that I’m not like that anymore.” Dudley said.

“I still love you, if you still love me.” Lizzie said.  Dudley nodded.  “Of course I still love you.  Does this mean that our children will be Wild Mages like you?”
“There’s a good chance that they will.  The ministry hasn’t proven a causative link between Wild Magic in a parent and Wild Magic in the children, but there’s a correlation between Wild Magic in one sibling and Wild Magic in the other siblings.  Oh, Harry.”

“Hi, Lizzie…  Um…  Luna and I need to get going.  We both have an early day tomorrow.  But could I take the information about your Wild Magic ability?”
“Of course.  Ask me anything you like.”
“When did you discover the ability?”

“Thirteen.”
“Great.  Um, what’s your full name, middle name included?”
“Oh, um…  Elizabeth Jane Lewis.”
“Okay.  What is your Wild Magic ability?”

“Invisibility.  You know that already.”
“I have to ask these questions.  That’s all.  Thank you.  Oh, any notes you have on your ability?”
“Yeah, sometimes it activates unconsciously, even after all these years.  I usually just use it to get some time alone when I’m overwhelmed.  Combat was never for me.”

“Okay.  Thank you very much.  Dudley, Lizzie, have a good night.  Congratulations on your child.  Hopefully they turn out as well as you have, Dudley.” Harry said, slipping into his sneakers and taking Luna’s hand.  Luna was still looking around the house, seeming interested by what she was seeing.  Dudley and Lizzie seemed confused by Luna’s interest in their house.

“Can I talk to you for a minute, Harry?” Dudley asked, pulling Harry into the other room where Luna couldn’t hear them.
“Your date has been looking around our house all evening.  I’m not offended…  My parents and our aunt thought she was going to steal something.  I know better, but…  Why does she look so confused by what’s in our house?”

“I don’t think she’s ever been in a Muggle’s house before.  I think she’s just never seen a house that doesn’t have magic in every corner.”
“You’re kidding, right?”
“Dudley…  A lot of the magical world has had very little contact with Muggles.  In America, it’s only recently become legal for a Wizard to marry a Muggle.  

“But that’s not relevant at the moment, and I can’t really discuss Wizarding policy with a Muggle…  No offense.  Wizarding law, you know.”
“I understand.  Well, have a good evening, Harry…  I hope to see you again before long.” Dudley said, shaking Harry’s hand firmly, gripping it tighter perhaps than Harry would have liked.  As they pulled away, Harry shook his hand to work some feeling back into it.

“And Luna…  It was good to meet you as well…  I hope we’ll get to see each other again.” Dudley added.  Luna nodded silently, taking Harry’s hand and disapparating after going into a quiet, isolated area where they were sure that they couldn’t be seen.
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