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Summary: Harry Potter's childhood would have been substantially different if Vernon Dursley had been a medically retired Marine, prior to his career at Grunnings.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Harry Potter > Non-BtVS/AtS StoriesGreywizardFR1516,26522767,55623 Jun 1223 Jun 12Yes
Disclaimer: They all belong to JKR and her minions. Deal with it. I have.

Time Frame: Warning! Significantly AU Potter-verse approaching!! Starts a few months before the actual beginning of 'Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone,' and immediately takes a hard left at Rod Sterling Avenue before heading off into this particular version of the Potter-verse that caught my muse's fancy. Warning! Significantly AU Potter-verse approaching!!

Spoilers: None, because this universe is *considerably* different than JKR's. And not just because my characters can think and act like real human beings, or because these versions of Vernon and Petunia would cheerfully have strangled (slowly) JKR's characters, while grinning happily every second it took.

Character Bashing: None, really. Of course, these people are not anything approaching the canon idiots JKR showed us, so, in my opinion, it would probably be best for JKR's characters' long-term survival, if the two groups never met.

Feedback: Of course!

Archiving: Talk to me first, please.

Author's Note 1: Many thanks to Bill Haden, Theo (Starway_Man) and Ed Becerra for beta-ing this story.

Author's Note 2: As usual, "word" indicates speech, :: word :: indicates mental communication and { word } indicates a character's thoughts.

Author's Note 3: Both the responsibility for this plot bunny and many thanks go to Cal (doghead_thirteen) for inspiring this plot bunny's Alternate Universe through his comments on the CaerAzkaban Yahoo group.

Author's Note 4: This story is the first in what I'm probably going to be calling my 'Harry Potter: Lethal Weapon' series, and which is most likely going to be a series of one-off fics detailing various incidents in Harry's life, or points of reflection regarding such incidents, so don't expect me to be overly verbose or detailed regarding background events I don't consider to be essential or relevant.


Per Mare, Per Terram ("By Sea, By Land") – Royal Marine motto

Camp Okehampton
Okehampton, Dartmoor, England

Service Family Accommodation quarters

January 12, 1980

"Mrs. Dursley?"

The sight of one of Her Majesty's Royal Marines in standard issue DPM fatigues standing at her front door and inquiring as to her identity immediately made Petunia Evans Dursley's heartbeat jump to triple its normal rate. As her hand reflexively clutched at her throat, possible reasons for this man's appearance at their front door flooded through Petunia's mind, with none of them being good.

{ Calm down. Things could be much worse, } Petunia (or Tuney, as her beloved sister Lily had nicknamed her) told herself sternly. { Regardless of why the lieutenant's here, at least, the chaplain's not with him. Which means things can't be *that* bad – I hope. }

"Yes, I am she, Lieutenant," she nodded her confirmation of his question, the least bit hesitantly, before she mentally shook herself and squared her shoulders.

"I take it that there's been some sort of mishap involving my husband?" she asked, bravely staring up at the man and not allowing any of the anxiety currently twisting her stomach into knots to show on her face.

She needed to remain calm, Petunia reminded herself sternly; getting worked up any more than she was now would not be good for the baby, and they both had agreed that their child would always take precedence over anything else which might occur in their lives.

"There was an accident during training, ma'am, and Sergeant Dursley was injured," the Royal Marine informed her, his message simultaneously both succinct and completely uninformative, and providing her imagination with vast realms of horror to potentially explore, should she allow her thoughts to go there. "I can drive you over to the hospital where he's being treated, if you wish, ma'am."

"That would very good of you, Lieutenant. Just hold on a moment, while I go get my coat."


It had taken time – much more than they'd liked or initially hoped for – but Vernon had eventually recovered sufficiently to be discharged from hospital before little Dudley was born.

And, the Lord be praised, Vernon was strong enough that he could help Petunia care for their son and watch him while she worked at her part-time job at the library as he completed his convalescence.

Unfortunately, however, Vernon's injuries had been serious enough to preclude his ever being able to return to either his previous position as one of Her Majesty's Drill Instructors or any of the other active duty positions he would have preferred to accept. Losing his spleen, combined with what the doctors were describing as the beginning of a case of late on-set diabetes (most probably from the over prescription of post-op antibiotics) and the residual aftermath of the injuries he'd suffered on his last clandestine mission, had exacerbated the situation enough that the doctors had basically mandated that Vernon also be offered the option of medical retirement in lieu of a change in assignment.

Given that he was psychologically incapable of becoming a military paper-pusher and working behind a desk, Vernon had grudgingly accepted the retirement option tendered, and had then, also equally reluctantly, accepted the position, put forward by the father of one of his garrison mates when he'd learned of his situation, of a field sales position at Grunnings Drill.

"It's not charity, Vernon," Petunia had corrected him sternly when he'd grumbled about the offer being made only because he was a friend of the owner's son.

"Do you really think Mr. Grunnings believes that one of Her Majesty's Booties is going to slack off, sit back and just collect a paycheck each week?" she'd then asked with a dismissive sniff at the very idea.

"If you ask me, I think he saw an opportunity to bring in a man who's willing to work his fingers to the bone to support his family, and who's going increase the company's bottom line more than anyone else they might have working there now, while doing so," Petunia had then told him, and she'd smiled when she saw Vernon nod and visibly brighten up as he considered that aspect of the situation.


4 Privet Drive
Little Whinging, Surrey

November 2, 1981

Vernon shook his head in disbelief as, once again, he read the note in his hand, while Tuney muttered angrily to herself and checked their squalling infant nephew for any injury he might have suffered from being left outside their front door overnight.

{ Just what sort of thrice-damned idiots are these Wizarding World people, as they termed themselves? } Grunnings top salesman wondered to himself as he worriedly glanced over at the crying child before once again examining the note in his hand. Even giving them the (rather dubious) benefit of the doubt and making the uncorroborated assumption that this Albus Dumbledore, whoever he might be, actually had cast some sort of magic spell both to protect little Harry from the elements overnight and to ensure that the toddler didn't get up and wander away sometime during the night after he'd been left here like some unwanted bundle of laundry, who in their right mind would simply leave a clearly injured infant alone on someone's doorstep in the middle of the night?!!!

Yes, all right, according to the note, there were now some sort of 'blood wards' protecting their home which would shield Harry and their family from this supposedly dead 'Dark Lord's' followers. But what would have prevented some ill-intentioned, *non-magical* hooligan who might have been passing by from spotting his defenseless nephew lying there in his basket and then simply coming up to their doorstep, grabbing the vulnerable child and then running off with him, with the poor waif never to be seen again?!

Wizards!!! They were all of them a bunch of completely bloody loonies!! Even after seven years with them, Lily told him that the completely sane ones she'd met could be counted on one hand.

And regardless of whether what this Dumbledore fellow's note had mentioned about Lily and Jamie having been murdered was true – not that Vernon had any real reason to believe that the man was lying, what with young Harry being left on their doorstep last night, but still – the first thing they needed to do was make sure the little tyke really was okay.

The ex-Bootie wasn't about to trust the word of some godforsaken fool who would leave a child alone on a doorstep, in the middle of the night, when it came to possible questions about any child's health, let alone his nephew's! The lad could quite easily have caught his death of a cold after sleeping out there, unprotected, the entire night.


The Ram's Head Pub
Little Whinging, Surrey

November 7, 1981

"Sergeant Dursley, we've been informed that you've been asking questions regarding – non-mundane – matters which aren't really any of your concern."

The speaker was one of the many anonymous, tweed-wearing fops that MI-5 and MI-6 never seemed to run out of, Vernon decided as he tore his attention away from the football match on the telly. He then looked over at the man who was staring impassively at him with an expression that he recognized as similar to the thousand yard stare he'd worn on his own face, not all that many years before.

"And what sort of matters might those be?" he asked, allowing a tiny bit of belligerence to color his question, to show he'd not been cowed.

"The kind that involved questions about a person generally referred to, by people in the know, as 'You Know Who,'" the man replied calmly. "It's felt at Number Ten that any questions concerning the person using that appellation are not in the best interests of the public."

Seeing the way Vernon's eyes had narrowed at what appeared to be the sort of vague threat usually issued by an anonymous government flunky to put people on the defensive, the man held up his hand in a semi-placating manner and asked, "Sergeant, do you have any objections to my sitting down and explaining what I can, to you?

"It's probably not going to answer most of your questions – mostly because I don't have a great many answers, myself – but it should serve to provide you with at least some background information you most likely don't have," the anonymous man clarified his prior statement.

"All right. Pull up a chair," Vernon nodded, a fractional bit more warmly than he had an instant earlier, as he looked over and caught the bartender's eye.

"Two more Guinness, Jamie," he called over to the retired Para, as he gave the game on TV one last regretful glance.

{ Well, it's not as if Man U's isn't kicking Sunderland's arses, } Vernon thought to himself with a bit of satisfaction before turning back to focus his attention on his unexpected visitor. { I can find out the final score tomorrow, I suppose, but right before pleasure. }

"All right, then," the anonymous man said as he looked Vernon directly in the eye, "based on what questions you've been asking, you're probably already aware that there's been an – insurrection, I suppose you could call it – occurring among a group of Her Majesty's subjects, who possess – unusual – talents.

"What you presumably don't know," the undistinguished government representative then went on, "is that, although the majority of this group of people believe that the leader of the terrorists died during an attack on your brother-in-law's home last week, there is sufficient evidence available for the Minister and other high-level personnel to believe that, despite his body being destroyed, said leader is not, in fact, completely dead."

"What do you mean – despite his body being destroyed, he's not completely dead?" Vernon half-snarled a moment later, while still managing to keep his voice low, once he'd recovered from the mind-numbing surprise of his companion's words. "It's bloody hard to be up and around without a body."

The other man sighed tiredly. "Well, based on what we've been told, and what our people have been able to learn about this Voldemort person…"


"…believe he'll eventually show up again, once his followers can locate his soul, which the local experts believe is most likely still drifting around somewhere in the Godric's Hollow area after being – discorporated, is the term they used – and then utilize whatever item it is this Voldemort chap used as the soul jar to tie him here to reinstall him in whatever body they've managed to fashion for him," the man who'd eventually introduced himself as 'Tom Atkins' (an obvious alias at which both he and Vernon had exchanged semi-cynical smiles upon its first use) informed him, a grim expression twisting his mouth as he spoke.

"And I also thought I should mention that it's rather likely that His Grace, the Duke of Norfolk, will in all probability be mentioning to various people he knows that you've recently accepted responsibility for a service to the Palace which can't be addressed directly, but which has been looked on quite favorably," Atkins added as he glanced over at Vernon.

"So, I shouldn't be at all surprised if some potential clients you've been soliciting lately should decide sometime in the near future that Grunnings Drills is the firm which best suits their needs."

Seeing the look of indignation on the other man's face regarding that little tidbit of information, Atkins held up his hand to still the protest clearly boiling up in Vernon's throat.

"Sergeant, please bear in mind that by taking in your nephew – you've become involved in something which could quite possibly put you and your family at serious risk," Atkins stated quietly. "And while there's little the Palace can do *officially*, because of the various agreements which are currently in place with the magical government in question and some of the people involved – who I also suspect are going to be keeping an eye on your nephew – we don't want you and your family to suffer because of it.

"If it should turn out that certain people decide that it's worth paying the premium your company's products command, well – it's not as if your drills aren't already the best product on the market and they're not getting their money's worth, is it, Sergeant?" Atkins pointed out reasonably.

"We both know you're going to be seeing additional expenses in the coming years, Sergeant, what with the food and clothing any growing boys're always going to be needing. Not to mention school, family outings and what other expenses two growing boys are going to incur. So, why not just consider whatever future procurements which might crop up as a form of support payment that Her Majesty's government is providing in lieu of your nephew's estate," Atkins suggested.

"And one more thing – if and when you're finally contacted by whichever of those people it is who're the executor of the Potter estate," the man who didn't officially exist added, "you might want to consider asking the bank personnel involved to suggest an independent lawyer to look over whatever documentation you're given to sign off on. Despite their somewhat – atypical – appearance, they hold to their honor just as strongly as the Corps does.

"Not that I'm implying there would be anything *wrong* with the paperwork, of course," Atkins qualified his remarks as he looked Vernon directly in the eye, "but the devil's always in the details, as they say."

"Yes, I've heard that," Vernon agreed as he gave a nod of acknowledgement at the thinly-veiled warning offered. "And you're right, that would probably be the most prudent thing to do."

"Well, I suppose I'd best be off, then," Atkins said, as he finished off the last of his Guinness.

"Good speaking with you, Sergeant," Atkins then said as he got up and offered Vernon a firm handshake. "I rather doubt we'll ever see each other again, so I do hope things work out well for everyone involved."

"I expect that things are eventually going to end up working out quite well, Mr. Atkins," Vernon nodded as he gave the other's hand a firm shake. "After all, forewarned is forearmed as they say," he noted as he glanced down at the weapons permit that the spook had slipped him when they were shaking hands.

"I appreciate your stopping by."


4 Privet Drive
Little Whinging, Surrey

Later that same night

"Tuney dear, I just had one of the most interesting conversations of my life down at the pub, with someone who doesn't officially exist," Vernon announced as he hung his jacket in the hall closet.

“Vernon, what are you going on about?” Petunia demanded, coming over to her husband, a puzzled frown furrowing her forehead.

"I'm talking about something we'd don't *want* to know, but it's most definitely something we *need* to know…"


"...he's family, Tuney, so we'll just have to make do as best we can. Look, I'll be the first to admit, Jamie wasn't someone who'd have been my initial choice for a family member, but you know that both he and Lily would have taken on Satan himself if anything had ever happened to us and Dudley needed someone to look after him," Vernon pointed out to his wife as he sat back to take a brief respite after describing his encounter at the pub earlier that evening.

"I know, Vernon," Petunia nodded as she lifted her cup to take another sip of her tea. "It's just that Harry being here makes things so much *harder*," she noted. The least bit bitterly, the squib sister reluctantly admitted to herself, and feeling guilty for how she knew she sounded.

"Families look after their own, Pet," Vernon reminded his wife, with a minor shrug of his still-massive shoulders. After all, former career NCOs had little in the way of illusions about the world. "There's always going to be something happening somewhere that we won't like – that's just the way the world works."

"And when it does, we'll deal with it and then continue on with our lives," he said, "just the way we always have."

"Squaddies always take care of their own; you know that, Tuney," Vernon stated one of the most basic laws of the foot soldier, which had existed since the first group of proto-humans had taken up weapons against each other.

"This isn't something we ever would have chosen, but we'll adapt, just like we always have, and Dudley and Harry will grow up together, just as if they were brothers."

It was odd how easily a simple, yet powerful spell – one intended to compel them to accept the now orphaned child into their home, and wrought with the best of intentions by a desperate wizard who believed in the inevitability of a prophecy uttered by an acknowledged madwoman – could be rendered inconsequential by nothing other than a former soldier's morality, grimly focused will and sense of decency and a grieving woman's feelings of loss and pain.


4 Privet Drive
Little Whinging, Surrey

September 1986

"All right, boys, just so there won't be any confusion about what we'll be expecting as far as your school work is concerned, I'll make it very simple for you," Petunia said as she gave both Harry and Dudley a stern look that wouldn't have looked out of place on Vernon's face, back when he was still training would-be recruits for Her Majesty's Bootnecks. "We categorically refuse to accept anything less than your very best from either of you."

Seeing the wide-eyed, concerned looks that statement garnered from both Dudley and Harry, Petunia concealed her satisfied smile as she continued on with her instructions.

"I'll be the first to admit that no one person can be the best at everything they try, boys, but we are not going to allow either of you to slack off on your school work and not work to the best of your ability," the wife and mother informed her children.

"Dudley, just because you're more interested in football than practicing the piano, the way Harry is, does *not* mean that you will not pay just as much attention to your science or arts courses as you do to your history and P.T. courses, do you understand me?" she asked.

Turning to her nephew, once Dudley had emphatically nodded his comprehension of her directions, along with a definitive 'Yes, mum," Petunia focused her attention on the little black-haired, green-eyed boy staring up at her.

"And Harry, I will not allow you to focus all of your energies on your math and science classes and neglect your physical training, either," she advised him firmly. "Keep in mind what your Uncle Vernon has told both of you boys about a strong mind needing a strong body if you're going to attain your best efforts."

"Yes, Aunt Tuney," the last scion of the Potter clan acknowledged her instructions. "I'll do my best."

"That's good to hear, Harry," Petunia smiled down at the six-year-old child. "Your mother seemed to have a real knack for mathematics when she was in school, so I'll be interested in seeing if you take after her in that.

"But, regardless of whether you do as well at the sciences as she did, or not," she cautioned, "as long as both you and Dudley do your best, we'll be satisfied."


"All right, boys, now I want you both to pay close attention to what I'm going to be showing you two here," Vernon told Harry and Dudley as they finished their warm-up exercises.

"Keeping yourself in good physical condition is just good common sense," the former Marine noted as both Dudley and Harry focused their attention on him, "especially if either of you should decide you want to try out for football or track and field.

"Plus, there's always going to be some idiot, no matter where you go, who thinks that just because he's bigger than you are, he can make you do what he wants you to do," he informed the two, as he carefully laid one hand on the heavy punching bag hanging from lowest branch of the venerable oak tree in their back yard.

"That's probably going to apply especially to you, Harry," Vernon warned his nephew, "because you're built more on the light side than Dudley, here, is.

"Don't get me wrong – that's no fault of yours, lad," Dursley quickly added, seeing the way Harry's face started to fall at his comment. "It's just the way your mum and da were built – not quite as beefy as my side of the family is. But, on the plus side of the ledger, you're also a fair bit quicker than Dudley is, when it comes to running races, remember?"

Giving a nod of approval at the way both boys nodded their heads, and the way Harry's face cleared up right away, Vernon continued his instruction.

"What I'm going to be showing you two now is that, regardless of how much bigger the other guy might be, with the proper training and mindset, you can take down almost anyone you might go up against," the one-time Royal Marine drill instructor assured them with a smile that had intimidated thousands of raw recruits in years past.

"All right, then, the first thing to keep in mind is that, as long as you have a working brain and your hands and feet, your arms and legs, you're never without a weapon…"


"…but the most important thing you always need to keep in mind, lads, is that the only person who can ever take your honor from you, is you. I'm teaching you both all of these combat techniques so that you can defend yourselves and, if it should ever become necessary, whoever else might be around you.

"I was in Her Majesty's service for nigh on nineteen years before I was honorably discharged from the Corps because of injuries I received in a training exercise, but one thing I know for certain is that I would rather have died than lose my honor.

"One other thing to keep in mind is that what *you* believe is honorable may not always square up with what others think, because situations can make whatever options might be available change rather quickly. I can't force my beliefs on either of you boys; all I can do is show you what I think is right and what's not, and then hope that you choose properly.

"Just try to keep in mind what that philosopher bloke, Edmund Burke, said – 'All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.' Lord knows I don't agree with most everything else the man said or the positions he supported, but he was right on the mark with those words."


4 Privet Drive
Little Whinging, Surrey

March 1987

"All right, now, boys, we've heard what Mrs. Polkis had to say about what happened in the park," Vernon said as he sat in his armchair and gave both Harry and Dudley, who were seated side by side on the couch, a stern and uncompromising look, while Petunia sat quietly on her own chair, slightly off to one side, and listened attentively. "Now I want to hear what you have to say about the incident."

Seeing his son and nephew exchanging anxious glances with each other, Dursley said, "Just tell me what happened, and why you felt you needed to do what you did."

"Well, I was climbing on the monkey bars with Harry, and we saw that Piers and some of his friends were shoving some of the smaller kids off the swings and pushing them around and making them cry," Dudley began his explanation of the 'incident' his father had asked about.

"So, I got off the monkey bars and went over and told him he should stop doing that, because it was mean and the kids hadn't done anything to him," Harry chimed in, an earnest expression on his youthful features. "But Piers just laughed when I said that, and then he said he could do whatever he wanted because there weren't any grown-ups around to tell him to stop."

"Yeah, dad, that's all Harry did," seven-year-old Dudley confirmed with an eager nod of his head.

"But then, when Harry said he should stop doing that, anyway, Piers and Dennis and Malcolm and Gordon all started shoving Harry around, instead of the little kids they had been picking on before," he elaborated.

"So I got off the bars and went over to help Harry, 'cause Gordon had grabbed him from behind and was holding his arms down so he couldn't protect himself," Dudley went on.

"And as soon as Dudley distracted him, I shrugged out of the hold he had me in – the way you showed us how to do," Harry picked up the narrative, "and I told them to stop trying to start a fight, or they'd be sorry they did."

"Yeah, Dad, we were really trying not to start a fight, but they weren't paying attention to anything we were saying."

"It's true, Uncle Vernon," Harry nodded. "We were about to walk away, but then I saw that Gordon was gonna hit Dudley in the back with his cricket bat when he was pushing Piers and Dennis away from him, so I punched in the face the way you showed us, and then things got sort of…messy."

"So, you're saying it was the four of them against the two of you, eh?" Vernon said, a reflective expression on his face. "Well, that doesn't seem like a fair fight to me."

"Of course, it wasn't, Vernon!" Petunia broke in, a narrow-eyed, maternal frown of disapproval on her face. "Four against two isn't anywhere near fair!"

"You're completely right about that, luv," Vernon nodded his agreement, a short laugh punctuating his words as his lips formed a pleased, yet slightly vicious, smile.

"Against these two little nippers, Piers and his friends would have needed at least three more sprogs to even have the slightest chance at winning!"


Bourne Wood
Farnham, Surrey

Summer 1987

"All right, Harry, Dudley, look alive," Vernon barked as he opened the boot of the family's Range Rover and began emptying the various back packs and duffle bags contained within.

"We're going to be spending the next five days having you two learn how to live off the land, how to track anything you might want or need to follow, and how to blend in with the countryside around you, so that whoever you might be following doesn't know you're there," he explained.

"Given what I've heard from various sources, Harry lad, I think you might want to be paying particular attention to what I'm going to be teaching you this week," Vernon noted as he turned to focus his attention on the smaller of the two boys.

"Not that that means, you shouldn't be paying attention, too, Dudders," he added with a stern look.

"Now, once we get our camp situated…"


"… the one thing you can never have too much of, is proper intelligence, boys," Vernon informed his son and nephew as he led them through the underbrush on a path paralleling the well-established one the general public used.

"And by that, I don't mean simply understanding what your opponent's history and intentions might be, but most importantly, your having an accurate and reliable assessment of what their abilities and resources are," he clarified. "Remember, intentions can change much faster than capabilities, and you don't want to be caught napping.

"In order to properly determine what those intentions might be, there're any number of things you have to take into account…"


"And in my opinion, these books could be the most important ones you could ever read in your entire life, boys," the former Booty said as he handed Harry and Dudley a copy of Sun Tzu's 'The Art of War' and the USMC's 'Small Wars Manual.'

"I've always believed that the most important words Sun Tzu said were, 'He who knows when he can fight and when he cannot, will be victorious,'" Vernon went on, "because knowing when is the best time to attack your enemy will save lives, resources and time, all of which can figure significantly in any operation you might launch against your opponent.

"If you attack at the wrong time, though, then you waste your own resources and weaken yourself and your allies, and thereby effectively strengthen your enemy…

"Although I have to admit, I'm also kind of partial to what that Yank general, Patton said, back during the Second World War: 'The object of war is not to die for your country, but to make the other poor bastard die for his.'"


4 Privet Drive
Little Whinging, Surrey

Summer 1988

"…be sure you have your goggles on and your face turned away before you pour the cleaning solution into the mix, or else you'll end up inhaling a lungful of chlorine gas and you'll end up incapacitating yourself, instead of whoever it is you're looking to take out.

"So, do either of you have any questions, lads?"


"… mix powered aluminium with an equal amount of dry, powered rust, then add three parts of the mix to one part modeling clay, and you'll end up with a batch of moldable thermite."


"…one of the easiest things to fix up when you need something quick and nasty is your poor man's version of napalm – just mix liquid soap and a bit of petrol together, and once it ignites, you'll be all set to burn down wherever it is your enemy's holed up in."


"…and should push ever come to shove and you're desperate for something to make a big bang, then some toilet paper, a bit of household ammonia, a handful of iodine crystals and some water will form a somewhat volatile explosive compound.

"But keep in mind, that's not *really* something you want to be handling, if you don't have to, boys."


4 Privet Drive
Little Whinging, Surrey

June 1989

"Boys, these two beauties here are called Fairbairn-Sykes Fighting Knives and, in my opinion, they are the most deadly pieces of equipment you could ever be lucky enough to carry with you.

"The most important thing you can ever learn, about this or any other weapon, though, is that they are most certainly *not* any kind of toy. Harry, Dudley, you're not grown-ups by any means, but you're old enough to understand what is and what isn't a plaything. So if I ever see either one of you treating your knife as anything other than the deadly weapon that it is, I'm going to take it way from you, until you learn the proper way to respect and handle it.

"Now the thing is, boys, I don't care how big or mean someone might be, you stick a knife into the right places a couple of times, and they'll stop bothering you soon enough…"


Aldershot Garrison
Aldershot, England

Firing range

Spring 1990

"I really appreciate your allowing my boys to make use of the range here, Andy," Vernon said as he watched Dudley and Harry paying rapt attention to the Sergeant instructing the small group of military brats in the proper care and maintenance of the L128A1 Benelli M4 Super 90 shotgun, the L9A1 Browning Hi-Power semiautomatic and L105A1 Sig Sauer P226 pistols and the L1A1 SLR standard battle rifle.

"No problem at all, Vernon," the rather grizzled-looking non-com smiled as he also looked over the group in front of them. "I'm just glad to see you've taught them two lads to have the proper respect for any sort of weapons. There're far too many kids watching those blasted American movies nowadays, who think that they just have to point a weapon in the general direction of whatever it is they're trying to shoot, and they'll automatically hit the ten-ring."

"Yes, you're right about that, old friend," Vernon sighed. "The boys managed to talk me into renting one of those Rambo movies a couple weeks back, saying that they wanted to see what sort of weapons they'd be encountering soon, since they knew they'd be attending the classes here. I swear, it seems like I kept having to stop the film every couple of minutes to tell them what that idiot was doing wrong, and how it would end up killing someone in real life.

"By the end of the film, though," Vernon grinned with pride at his old squad mate, "both Harry and Dudders were yelling at the screen and telling the bloody fool what he should've been doing, instead…"


Holy Trinity Church
Bramley, Surrey

Memorial mass

October 31, 1990

As they knelt in silent contemplation after the memorial mass Petunia conducted each year for her murdered sister and brother-in-law, Vernon voiced his own silent, personal prayer in the hope that the long-deceased souls of his in-laws might be able to hear him and be reassured about their child's future.

{ Bloody hell, I hope you can hear me and that you've been watching us the past few years, Lily, Jamie, } Vernon thought with as much intensity as he could summon as he stared at the dancing lights of the votive candles in their racks.

{ I've done the best I could the past few years, to make sure that young Harry is as prepared as he can be for whichever blighter is it who took you two from him, when he finally does come after him – the way those government spooks think he will, } Dursley reflected to himself, directing his thoughts towards Lily and James Potter.

{ And I know you two did the best you could to protect him and that you kept him alive, though it cost both of you your own lives. Neither Tuney nor myself have the least bit at all of the magic you both thought so much of, } Vernon acknowledged with a grimace, { so I've tried to teach him everything that I've learned over the course of a hard and nasty life dealing with those who tried to lift themselves up and lord over everyone they could. }

{ Don't know how much good it'll do him, but I'm also dead certain that what I've taught the boys won't ever do your boy any harm, } Vernon thought to Harry's foully murdered parents, { and if it helps him make your killer hesitate for even a single second, that second might be all Harry needs to take him down for good. }

{ Sod it. From what Tuney's told me about your world and what you both told us about how things work among your people, I'm fully expecting someone to be contacting us within the next twelve months about Harry's schooling, } Vernon continued his recitation to his unseen listeners.

{ We've both done all we can to make sure Harry's as prepared as we can make him for whatever he might run into, } he promised, { because Tuney and I both know that once he leaves us, there won't be anything more we can do to protect him. }

{ But don't either of you worry about that, } Vernon allowed himself the slightest hint of the pleased grin he had worn each time he'd watched his company march off to their graduation ceremony.

{ My nephew's got a good head on his shoulders, just ten years old or otherwise. I reckon once he's done with that bloody bastard who killed you both, if he decides your world's just not interesting enough for him, then young Harry would make a fine Royal Marine in ours. }


4 Privet Drive
Little Whinging, Surrey

July 31, 1991

"Harry, there's a letter arrived in the mail for you," Harry heard Aunt Tuney call up the stairs to him from the front hallway.

"I think it's something you might want to look at right away, dear. It looks to me a great deal like the letter your mother received when she turned eleven…"

Harry James Potter, heir to both the legacy of the Ancient and Noble House of Potter and a destiny he had never wanted or asked for, subsequently raced down the stairs – to see an owl, of all things, flapping its wings in the Dursley's living room.

His life would never be the same again, the young boy realized as he hesitantly accepted the envelope from the patiently waiting avian. After all, thanks to his aunt's admittedly limited knowledge gleaned from conversations with her sister, Harry knew exactly what the creature's presence signified – and that he was about to enter a world that he knew precious little about.

Despite his numerous misgivings, though, the so-called Boy-Who-Lived truly had no real idea about just how thoroughly his life was about to be turned upside down.

FIN (for now)

(Don't worry, people, this definitely will be continued sometime in the future, as my muse's whims dictate.)

The End

You have reached the end of "God Bless Sergeant Bastard". This story is complete.

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