Aug 17, 2019 8:36 PM
Pottervor
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"Don't be silly, Vernon, she hates the boy."

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"What about what's-her-name, your friend - Yvonne?"

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"On vacation in Majorca," she snaps.

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They could also just take him along on Dudley's birthday trip, but he's hardly about to suggest that.

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"I suppose we could take him to the zoo," she says slowly, "...and leave him in the car..."

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Perhaps he'll die of heat stroke like he's heard happens to dogs when you do that. Wouldn't that be something. No, he shouldn't say that either.

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"That car's new, he's not sitting in it alone..."

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Dudley begins to cry. Or rather, he scrunches up his face and starts wailing - he hasn't really had a real cry in years.

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"Dinky Duddydums, don't cry, Mummy won't let him spoil your special day!" she says, flinging her arms around him. 

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"I... don't... want... him... t-t-to come!" he yells between huge, pretend sobs. "He always sp-spoils everything!" He shoots Victor a nasty grin through the gap in his mothers arms. 

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Victor looks back at him flatly, then looks away before Aunt Petunia or Uncle Vernon can catch him making what might be interpreted as an insolent expression.

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...he's honestly shocked, but before he can do anything about it the doorbell rings.

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"Oh, good Lord, they're here!" she says frantically and goes to answer the door.

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Dudley immediately stops pretending to cry to welcome his best friend, Piers Polkiss, the one who usually holds Dudley's victims' arms while he punches them.

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"You! Boy!" he says, looking at Victor. "Come here." And he saunters off to an out-of-the-way corner.

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"Yes, Uncle Vernon," he says, following.

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When he's sure no one else will hear, he turns his purple-faced fury to Victor. "I'm warning you," he says, putting his face right up close to Victor's, "I'm warning you now, boy - any funny business, anything at all - and you'll be in that cupboard from now until Christmas."

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It's no use trying to explain that he never does things, they just happen.

"Understood, sir. I won't do anything, I promise."

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He squints like he doesn't believe Victor but stands up straight and returns to the living room to talk to Piers' parents. Soon enough they have to go to the car.

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Out to the car they go. Victor sits in the back and makes himself as small as possible, which isn't difficult.

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Eventually they reach the zoo where Dudley and his friend were to spend the former's birthday. The Dursleys stop at an ice cream stand in front of the entrance and get large chocolate ice creams to Dudley and Piers, but before they can usher Victor away the lady inquires as to what he wants.

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—should he say he doesn't want anything—no, it'll confuse the lady and the Dursleys will be embarrassed and they'll blame him for making a scene—he scans the menu for the cheapest thing he can see and says quickly, "I'd like a lemon ice lolly, please."

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Vernon dutifully pays for it and doesn't even complain.

Into the zoo they go.

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The lemon ice lolly is actually kind of nice. The zoo is all right too. He walks a short distance away from the Dursleys and Piers, far enough that Dudley and Piers won't find it convenient to hit him but close enough that Vernon and Petunia won't suspect him of trying to run off.

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At lunchtime they eat at the restaurant, and Dudley throws a tantrum because his knickerbocker glory doesn't have enough ice cream on top, so Vernon buys him another one and Victor's allowed to finish the first.

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