The Sugar Quill
Author: Cendrillon (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: Revelations  Chapter: Chapter 2: Petunia's Past
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Revelations

by Cendrillon

Disclaimer: The wonderful world of Harry Potter is entirely the property of the incredible J.K. Rowling, and I am, unfortunately, not her and not benefitting from any monetary compensation for this story.
Author's Note: Many thanks to my beta reader, Ozma, for her assistance and suggestions with this chapter and to all of the wonderful readers who have encouraged me with their reviews.



Chapter 2: Petunia's Past

"But you said your parents died in a fire," Uncle Vernon said, clearly flustered.

"Well, I never wanted to face what really happened," Petunia said defensively. She sounded like she was somewhere on the edge between crying and shouting. "It was too horrible and...strange. Can you even imagine? I came home from work and the house was destroyed, burnt to cinders. But, Vernon, their bodies were completely intact. They weren't burned or bleeding, even though the house had crashed down around them. No one could determine what had killed them exactly, but they looked terrified. I'll never," she paused, "never forget the look on their faces. And I knew, I just knew this had to be because of her and her kind. Their deaths were not...not natural."

"And you think this...this what's-his-name, the one who killed your sister, murdered your parents?"

There was a short pause before Petunia answered, "I'm certain of it. Vernon, I'm frightened. What if he's after the boy?"

"We'll chuck the boy out. I'll not have him putting my family in danger," Vernon responded angrily, his voice rising with every word. Harry heard the loud squeak of the sofa as his uncle stood up followed shortly by several heavy footsteps. Harry immediately flattened himself against the wall and looked desperately up the stairs. There was no way he could escape unnoticed if his uncle came out at this moment.

"Stop, Vernon," Petunia called sharply and the footsteps walked slowly back to where they came from, "We can't. We can't throw him out, Vernon. He'll kill the boy."

"Better him than us," Vernon snapped back.

"We won't be safe either if we throw him out," Petunia said desperately. "The last warning," she muttered. Harry thought of the Howler Dumbledore sent his aunt last year. "Remember my last, Petunia!" it had said. He had often wondered what it meant exactly.

"What?" Uncle Vernon asked.

"The letter- the letter that came with the boy, it gave a warning. It said that my sister sacrificed herself to save her son and that put some kind of protection over him and our home while he's staying here. But if he ever leaves permanently, that protection will vanish."

"So the boy won't be protected," Uncle Vernon said dismissively. "He's almost 16, he can handle himself."

"Vernon, you don't understand, it's not just the boy. Oh," Petunia sobbed, "it's too horrible to say."

"What, Petunia? What is it?" Vernon demanded.

"We...we won't be protected either. The man who killed my sister and probably my parents will come after all of us and the protection over our home will vanish. The boy has to stay here for our safety, for Dudley's safety."

"Why would this madman want to kill us? We're not...not like them," he said with disgust.

"He killed my parents, didn't he? Why would he have wanted to kill them?" Petunia said bitterly.

The stair suddenly creaked under Harry's right foot as he stepped down to listen closer.

"Who's there?" Vernon roared, just before he appeared around the corner in front of Harry, who at that moment had never wished more for his Apparition license.

"Oh, it's you," he sneered. "And what are you doing lurking about here so late? Listening to our private conversation?" Vernon accused as his face reddened with anger.

"N-No," Harry said a little too hastily, "I was, uh, just coming back."

"Back from where?"

"Um," Harry paused, struggling for words to come as he stared into his uncle's furious face, "just walking around a bit."

"You will not be leaving this house again until you leave for that...that school. Do you understand?"

"Yes, Uncle Vernon," Harry replied quickly.

Aunt Petunia had now appeared at his uncle's side and was looking at Harry with red-rimmed eyes full of the intense sadness he understood now more completely than ever. He suddenly felt a compulsion to do something he'd never done before. He stepped down and hugged his aunt for the first time in his life. She stiffened immediately but to Harry's surprise, he felt her relax for a moment before he let go.

"Well, uh, good night," Harry said awkwardly before he started back up the stairs, leaving his aunt and uncle silently staring at him in shock. Harry turned around at the top of the stairs, seeing an opportunity. "Oh, um, by the way, I'll be leaving on Friday for the rest of the summer. Some people will come for me after dinner," he said quickly in one breath. Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia were still in so much shock that they couldn't reply before he had disappeared into his bedroom.

* * * * *

The next morning, Harry awoke to a very unpleasant sight. As he blinked the sleep out of his eyes, he saw Dudley Dursley come into focus, standing over his bed.

Harry groaned and turned on his side, away from Dudley. He pulled the sheet over his head. "Go away," he mumbled as he tried to go back to sleep.

"Potter, wake up!" Dudley tugged at the sheets, pulling them down.

Harry sat up and glared at his cousin. "Fine, I'm up," he said angrily. "What do you want?" Harry demanded as he reached over for his glasses.

"You were doing it again," Dudley grinned.

Harry sighed and rolled his eyes, "Doing what?" he asked, thoroughly annoyed.

"Screaming in your sleep. You dreaming about that boyfriend of yours again? What was his name? Oh, yes, Cedric. How could I forget with you screaming his name every night last summer," Dudley cackled.

"Oh, shut up, Dudley." Harry reached for a pillow to pull over his head.

"No wonder you like boys. What girl would ever go out with a four-eyed weirdo like you?" Dudley said maliciously.

Harry glowered at Dudley. "I think you've got that wrong. The real question is what girl would go out with a slothful pig like you? And for your information, I did have a girlfriend last year, which is more than you can say, I'm sure." Harry was steaming with anger, not just at Dudley but at the world, and Dudley would now feel the full force of it. "I scream in my sleep because I have seen horrors that you could never begin to imagine. What in your life has ever caused you to wake up in a cold sweat? When has your life ever been anything other than perfect?"

Dudley's face blanched and he looked away from Harry. "You don't know anything about my life, Potter," Dudley murmured.

A thought occurred to Harry and a hint of a smile passed his lips. "You're thinking of the dementors, aren't you? What did you see that night, Dudley? What could possibly be your worst nightmare? You've had everything you've ever wanted. You have a family who thinks the sun rises and sets on you. You've always been the bully, never the one who was picked on. You left that job to me."

"Shut it, Potter," Dudley swore angrily stepping closer, throwing Harry into his massive shadow.

Harry laughed slightly, "You actually think you frighten me anymore? But I've hit on something, haven't I? Smeltings hasn't gone too well for you. You've been teased and rejected, haven't you?"

"I SAID, SHUT IT," Dudley shouted, to which Harry responded by laughing uncontrollably. "STOP LAUGHING!"

"I can't, this is too...ha ha ha...priceless."

"Yeah, well at least I don't scream in my sleep. I bet you cry too. Boo hoo. Poor little Potter, scared of his dreams."

Harry's laughter ceased immediately. "Don't," Harry said forcefully, springing out of bed and rising to his full height, which was now several inches taller than Dudley, "ever mention my dreams again. You have no clue what is out there. You know, Dudley, the dementors are loose, hundreds of them. And if you don't leave me alone, I might not be so willing to save your lousy, pathetic hide the next time they come to Little Whinging."

Dudley almost stumbled as he whimpered and ran out of the room as fast as something the size of a small elephant could.

Harry smiled with satisfaction and returned to bed. But he couldn't get back to sleep, too many thoughts were swirling in his head. He knew that he would probably have to pay for that outburst, but he just didn't care. He was depressed again. Dudley was probably right about the screaming, his throat felt raw and sore, and he was fairly certain it wasn't from shouting at Dudley. But he hadn't dreamt about Cedric or even Voldemort. It was Sirius who haunted his dreams last night, as he did every night. Every night since that horrible day in June, his mind had taken him to the Department of Mysteries and he would see Sirius falling over and over through the veil. The nightmares were slowly and effectively torturing him. As soon as he got back to Hogwarts, he planned to ask Madam Pomfrey for a dreamless sleep potion.

And then, on top of all of that, to have Dudley criticizing his love life was too much. Harry sighed at the thought of what a mess he had made with Cho. He had totally screwed up the relationship that he had wanted for two years. But Harry found, oddly, that it didn't really matter anymore to him. Girls didn't seem all that important when evil wizards wanted to kill you. The whole Cho thing seemed so trivial now, though once it had seemed to matter so much. The truth was that when he finally got to know Cho, all she did was cry and talk about Cedric. And they really had nothing in common other than Quidditch. Even Ginny had more in common with him.

"BOY! GET DOWN HERE!" Aunt Petunia's angry voice carried loudly up the stairs.

Harry pounded his fist into his pillow, muttering under his breath, "Dudley, you prat, can't you keep your bloody mouth shut for once?"

Harry reluctantly got out of bed and rushed downstairs to the kitchen where his aunt was waiting impatiently, tapping her foot.

"What do you have to say for yourself?"

"Umm...about what?" Harry feigned innocence.

"You know very well what. What was that display last night and what's this about you leaving tomorrow?" she demanded.

Harry's eyes narrowed with confusion and he looked at Dudley. Dudley was grinning at him, looking coldly smug. He clearly realized that Harry thought he had tattled.

"You did hear us, didn't you?" Petunia asked angrily.

"Yes, alright, yes, I heard all of it. But why didn't you tell me before? WHY IS EVERYTHING KEPT SECRET FROM ME?" Harry shouted back.

"Don't you dare talk to me like that. You're lucky we've kept a roof over your head. You heard us last night, you heard the story, do you think I really want to remember it? As far as I'm concerned, my parents would still be alive if it weren't for your kind," Petunia yelled back fiercely. "As it is, we're stuck with you, so you will not be leaving this house."

"Try to stop me," Harry dared. "But don't worry, I don't have a choice either, so I will be returning next summer. You will all be safe thanks to my mother."

Harry knew at once that he had gone too far. Aunt Petunia looked more frightening than Harry could ever remember. She looked like she was ready to strangle him. But he was saved from her wrath by the arrival of a brown owl who swooped in and dropped a letter at his feet.

"How many times do I have to tell you? NO OWLS IN THE KITCHEN!" Petunia shrieked.

"I can't help it," Harry said angrily as he picked up the letter and slid it open.

Harry,

There has been a change of plan. I'll come and pick you up tonight instead. Something has come up, I'll explain later. I'll Apparate in at five o'clock. I'd like to talk to your aunt and uncle while I'm there, so you might warn them.

See you soon,

Moony

"Well, what is it?" Petunia asked sharply.

"I'm leaving today at five instead of tomorrow. Someone is picking me up and he'd like to talk to you."

"It's not that horrible red-haired man, is it? I forbid it, he is not allowed back in this house!" she said angrily.

"No, it's not Mr. Weasley."

"Well, if it's not him, then who-," Petunia paused as a look of horror suddenly passed over her face. "The murderer? You invited him to our home?" she cried out. Dudley nearly fell off his chair at those words.

Harry sighed, "No, it's not Sirius, and he was never a murderer, he was falsely charged. He was...he was killed in June by one of Voldemort's supporters. The man coming tonight is Remus Lupin, he was my professor and a friend of my parents."

"How is he arriving?" Petunia asked with raised eyebrows.

"Oh, he's just popping in," Harry said with a grin. "I'd better go and pack." Harry turned around and sprinted up the stairs before his aunt could say another word.

* * * * *

His bedroom was a complete disaster. He just hadn't cared about anything and that included having a neat room. Clothes and books were scattered everywhere. As he opened his trunk, he found that it was practically empty. The only things left in it were the Firebolt he had been unable to use since Dumbledore had returned it to him and the shattered mirror that Sirius had given him.

Harry picked up the shattered bits of mirror and put them in a bag, reminding himself to ask Remus to fix it. Harry deeply regretted breaking the last gift Sirius had given him. It hurt too much to realize he would never be able to speak to Sirius again. If only there was some way to communicate with the dead. If only he could just know that Sirius was all right somewhere out there.

But maybe...maybe there was a way to speak to the dead. After all, he had heard the voices hadn't he? Luna said she could hear the dead through the veil. If he could go back to the Ministry and find the veil, maybe he could talk to Sirius again and... and even his parents. If they were together, maybe Sirius would be happy to be with his best friend again. I've got to know, he thought in frustration, I've got to know what happened to him.

Harry packed the rest of his things carefully and waited impatiently for Remus as he tried to think of reasons to go to the Ministry. He could ask Mr. Weasley to show him more of the Ministry, saying that he was looking into various careers. He could ask Tonks to show him Auror Headquarters. He could say he was visiting Neville and go to the Ministry instead. But that wouldn't work. Harry realized with disappointment that several Order members would be accompanying him wherever he went.

Well, he would find some way to get to the Ministry. And he would find out what happened to Sirius. He had to.

He put Hedwig in her cage and carried it downstairs, placing the cage by the front door. Then he dragged the trunk down while Dudley watched amused as he struggled with the heavy object. Harry sat down on the trunk and looked nervously between the door and the living room where his aunt and uncle were waiting, sitting far from the fireplace this time. Harry wondered where Remus would appear when he heard a small "crack" near the door, only loud enough for him to hear.

"Harry," Remus whispered in greeting next to him.

"They're waiting for you," Harry said nodding towards the living room. "Good luck." Harry led him into the room to face his aunt and uncle who were staring somewhat skeptically at Lupin's faded jeans and worn old shirt.

"Uncle Vernon, Aunt Petunia, this is Professor Lupin," Harry said quickly, hoping that calling him by that title would make them think more highly of Remus.

"Mr. Dursley," Remus said in greeting, extending his hand. Uncle Vernon frowned and scoffed and did not offer his hand in return.

Lupin raised an eyebrow at Vernon's rude behavior, but turned to Petunia. "Petunia," he said kindly, "How nice to see you again."

Petunia shot him a quizzical look.

"Oh, perhaps you don't remember? We met at James and Lily's wedding."

Harry noticed Uncle Vernon's face contorting into a grimace at the mention of his parents.

Petunia stiffened and replied, "Er... of course."

Lupin turned to Harry, "Harry, I'd like to speak with your aunt and uncle alone for a moment."

"But...but-"

"Harry, please, just for a moment," Lupin said sternly, leaving no room for questions.

Harry shot Lupin a confused look, which was met only by the same stern stare. Harry scowled as he walked towards the door. He waited by his trunk, wishing the whole time that he had one of Fred and George's Extendable Ears. Even when he put his ear up to the door, he couldn't tell what they were talking about. Their voices were very low and Harry was astonished that his uncle hadn't even raised his voice yet.

A half hour later, Lupin emerged. Harry stared at him expectantly, waiting for an answer about what they had discussed.

"Well, ready to go then? You take Hedwig, I'll grab the trunk," Lupin said hastily.

"But what happened?"

Lupin ignored his question. "Take hold of this," Lupin said as he pulled out an ordinary looking playing card from his pocket. "One...two...three."

Harry instantly felt the nauseous effects of a Portkey. A second later, he was stumbling onto the stone floor of the kitchen in number twelve, Grimmauld Place.

 

 

 

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