No one to guide you...through Armagideon Time
Disclaimer: I don't own HP or Poltergeist: The Legacy. For continuity's sake, Derek did survive the series finale and this may be addressed in the future if I continue on in this twisted little universe. The song "Armagideon Time" is the property of The Clash.
Summary: Harry and Dudley spend some time at the local pub, trying to catch up on the last two years since Dudley left Surrey.
I stayed around and played around
This old town too long
Seems like I got to… travel on!
A lotta people won’t get no supper tonight
A lotta people won’t get no justice tonight
The battle is getting harder
In this iration, Armagdieon time
A lotta people running and hiding tonight-ah!
A lotta people won’t get no justice tonight
Remember to kick it over
No one will guide you – Armagideon time...
It was a surreal moment for Harry as the haunting lyrics of Joe Strummer and the Clash echoed through the small pub. "Armagideon Time" was an old punk rock song, but Harry couldn't help feeling that it was appropriate. Apparently, so did Dudley since he was the one who chose it from the jukebox before returning to their table and pouring himself a shot of bourbon over some ice. If anyone had told Harry a couple hours earlier that he would be spending the afternoon in a pub with his formerly orca-sized and abusive cousin, he would have called that person a nutter and had booked them on the fast track to St. Mungo's.
Dudley, to his credit, simply sat there, his eyes closed for a moment as he held his drink in his hand, swirling it in motion to the music before opening his eyes again to reveal an almost distant look. When he spoke, Harry wondered if his cousin had forgotten where he was.
"Things change, we change, others change, and others die...and it's usually the best of us." Dudley then raised his glass slightly as if he were saluting someone before drinking the bourbon in one swallow and slamming the glass back down on the table, the ice cubes rattling around from the impact.
"And that's it for me," he said. "I don't usually drink, but the occasional shot of bourbon helps with the nerves."
"What happened to you?"
Dudley leaned back in his chair and grabbed a handful of peanuts out of the bowl on the table. He looked up at Harry, a hesitant look on his face as if he were contemplating on what he should tell his cousin. That gave Harry pause...what the hell had Dudley gotten himself into?
After a few more moments of awkward silence, save for the munching of a couple peanuts, Dudley finally spoke. "Not sure if I can answer that question, Harry, because it's really not my call. But let me ask you this, did you ever become an Auror or whatever they refer to as a magical cop in your world?"
"An Auror, yes," confirmed Harry.
"And as an Auror, are you able to tell me what you really do in your world?"
"No," said Harry after he thought about it for a second. And it was true, there were things that he dealt with on a regular basis that he was forbidden to talk about with Muggles...but for some reason, he was starting to think Dudley didn't fall into that category. He was no Legilmens, but Harry could tell that Dudley was hiding something...well, maybe not hiding, but leaving something out.
"Then let's just say we've got more in common than you'd think, except it's nothing compared to your exciting little world. I work for a company called the Luna Foundation, we specialize in finding or recovering old relics, antiques, and stuff. I'm pretty much just the dumb grunt who carries equipment around and assists whoever is in charge of whatever job were on."
Dudley paused for a moment and the faraway look in his eyes returned for a moment. "Sometimes, it's dangerous."
"Dangerous?" repeated Harry. "How so?"
"Oh...the usual...sometimes the object in question is located in a not-so-friendly spot in the world and other people are willing to do whatever it takes to beat you to it...and then you have to deal with the occasional...thing...that might be guarding it."
Dudley leaned back in his chair and stared back at his cousin, smiling slightly before he answered Harry's unspoken question. "And yeah...there are some things I'm not telling you."
"At least you're honest about it," said Harry. "Look, Dudley...I don't know how to ask you this?"
"Blunt and directly to the point usually works, Harry," Dudley chuckled. "At least for me anyway."
"But...in your letter, and from what I heard from the others...did the Dementor do something to you?"
"Wow...let's see," said Dudley, his voice dripping with a mixture humor and sarcasm. "Having your soul partially sucked out of you and being left with the ability to sense things because of it....um...yeah, I'd say so. On the other hand, it's saved our asses more than a couple times."
"Is that why you were able to sense me at the cemetery?"
"Yeah...not really impressive on the mojo-scale when compared to you, but it works."
"If I didn't know any better, I'd say you were jealous," said Harry. He kept his voice light and hoped Dudley would accept the joke for what it was.
Dudley, on the other hand, surprised Harry with a sad smile and nodded. "Truthfully, yeah...I was. Sure, you were the freak and all that, but it really got to me that you had something that was 'cool' while I was just 'big and dumb DuddyDiddykins'." That thoughtful look returned for a moment. "Maybe that's why I picked on you even more those first few years before the attack...but now having experienced just a taste of what you deal with...I'm surprised you didn't go mad."
Though he knew this was getting into dangerous territory, Harry couldn't help his curiosity, especially since Dudley didn't fully answer his question. Oh sure, Dudley gave him answers, but they were vague at best and the hints he dropped suggested something bigger.
"So...this Luna Foundation...what exactly does it do?"
The expression on Dudley's face went neutral, but it didn't hide the smile in his eyes. "Like I told you, Harry, we recover lost relics and stuff, and that is the truth." At least most of it,
Harry thought to himself. "And that's all I'm going to get, isn't it?"
"Pretty much, but you're the magic man with the magic contacts, maybe you can dig something up....I'd be curious to see what your Ministry has to say about us."
Over the next hour, the conversation drifted into what Dudley had been doing over the last two years aside from working for the Luna Foundation and Harry was surprised to hear that Dudley was studying Forensic Science. The concept of Dudley having anything to do with any kind of science almost shocked him until Dudley mentioned that he was interested in the idea "of figuring out how a person was killed and who or what did it". In a way, that did fit Dudley's personality especially when Dudley explained to him about how he kind of enjoyed beating/stabbing the frozen corpse of a dead pig during one exercise to determine what kind of marks various weapons left on a body.
"So the people you work for actually pay for your education in this field?" asked Harry.
"Yeah...it does come in handy, especially given the little gift I got from our little soul-sucking friend," said Dudley. He was about to say something else when a chirping noise cut him off. He shook his head and cursed under his breath as he grabbed a cell-phone out of his coat. "Hold on, Harry....yeah, this is Dursley."
Harry studied his cousin for a moment as he talked on the phone. "Derek, I'm on leave, remember? You sent me out here and I'm not about to...what did you say?"
The look on Dudley's face went from annoyance to grim concern. "When did you hear about this? Okay, I'll check in with Morgan, but you tell those bastards at the London House to stay out of it. After the mess with Sloan, I don't trust them...I'll let you know what I find out."
He then closed the phone and put it back in pocket when he stopped and realized that Harry was sitting across the table from him.
"Trouble with your job?"
"Yeah, you could say that." Dudley got up from the table left a few notes on the table to pay for the drinks. He then handed Harry a business card. "Here's my cell number, give me a call in a few hours or drop by the Gelmont Hotel, that's where I'm staying."
"You're not staying at the old house?"
Dudley shook his head. "No...probably not a good idea. I haven't talked to mum since I left."
"She wasn't at the funeral either, Dudley."
"Really?" Dudley paused for a moment. "Interesting...she usually was a devout follower of the cult of Vernon Dursley."
"As were you," said Harry.
"Yeah, except I stopped being ignorant, and that's what kept me alive."
As Harry watched Dudley leave, he pondered his cousin's words. "Yeah, except I stopped being ignorant...."
He shook his head and got up from the table, preparing to head home. He studied the business card which struck him as kind of odd. In the background picture on the card was what appeared to be an old mansion with the Luna Foundation logo on the front and a phone number. For some reason, the name sounded familiar, but he couldn't put his finger on it...then something else Dudley had said clicked into place. "....but you're the magic man with the magic contacts, maybe you can dig something up....I'd be curious to see what your Ministry has to say about us..."
Harry stepped out of the pub and decided to apparate back to the Ministry instead of going home. Maybe someone in the Department of Mysteries would know about this Luna Foundation...
Harry looked up and saw Ron Weasley running up from across the street outside the pub.
"Ron? What are you doing here?"
"There's been a murder near here. Someone used the killing curse, but they were gone before we arrived on the scene. I know it's your day off, but with you in the area and it being so close to where you used to live..."
"What?" Harry couldn't believe what he was hearing. "You don't think that I-"
Ron shook his head and laughed. "Don't think so, mate. You don't strike me as the murdering type, and this one was...I've never seen anything like it."
"You've seen victims of the killing curse before?"
"Yeah...but not like this, Harry."
Ron grabbed Harry's arm and they both apparated to what was probably the bloodiest scene Harry had seen since the battle of Hogwarts. They were in the middle of a home in Little Whinging. A glance out the front window told Harry that they were a few blocks away from #4 Privet Drive. He also noticed the blood smeared across the walls, strange symbols scrawled in some pattern. He followed the blood and then realized that the pattern continued to the floor, forming a circle around a mangled corpse.
"What the hell?"
"That's what Davis said when he saw the body," said Ron as he knelt by the corpse. "Then he apparated out of here so he could throw up. My guess is they killed the poor bastard and then ripped some organs out of his body. We have a clean-up crew coming in a couple minutes."
"I know this place, Ron." Harry looked out the window again, seeing familiar houses and streets he hadn't seen in three years. "Do we know who the victim was?"
"According to the identification we found on him, his name was Piers Polkiss."
"Piers? I saw him a few hours ago at my uncle's funeral."
"Really?" Ron stood up and looked at the bloody symbols on the walls. "Was he a friend of yours?"
"Hardly," replied Harry. "He was one of Dudley's friends and tended to be the one who held me down while Dudley beat me up when we were little."
"I see," said Ron who was starting to look a little uncomfortable. "Um...Harry...I don't know how to ask you this, but where were you in the last couple hours?"
Before Harry could answer, someone spoke up from behind them.
"He was with me at Donnelly's Pub."
Both Ron and Harry spun around, wands drawn and ready...only to find a pistol pointed at Ron's face.
"Hey, Harry," said Dudley as he calmly kept the pistol trained on Ron. "Had a feeling we'd run into each other here."
To his credit, or perhaps because he didn't realize the danger he was in, Ron ignored the pistol in front of him. "That's Dudley?" he asked. "Where's the rest of him?"