Disclaimer: This story contains elements from the Harry Potter
series by JK Rowling. I’ve borrowed Privet Drive and Petunia from
her for a moment, but I’m not making any money off it, and the story itself
is all mine.
Author’s Note: Many thanks to my brilliant Sugar Quill
beta reader Arianrhod. Any mistakes can be blamed on me, while any lack of mistakes
is thanks to her.
About the story: This story fits in the Artists and Scientists Universe. It
won’t make much sense unless you’ve read both Artists and Scientists
and A New Home. This story is inspired on the following quote from Petunia,
and tries to make sense of it in light of the family history as told in Artists and Scientists and A New Home.
(Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s stone, p. 44) ‘Knew!’ shrieked
Aunt Petunia suddenly. ‘Knew! Of course we knew! How could you not be, my dratted sister being what she was? Oh, she got a letter just like that and disappeared off to that – that school – and came home every holiday with her pockets full of frog-spawn, turning teacups into rats. I was the only one who saw her for what she was – a freak! But for my mother and father, oh no, it was Lily this and Lily that, they were proud of having a witch in the family!’
Petunia didn’t understand. She
had slammed the doors, yelled at everyone and everything in sight,
buried her head under her pillow, but it didn’t help. She just
didn’t understand. Because of one letter, the world around her
had shattered. Her most firm beliefs, the groundings of her life,
suddenly weren’t worth anything. Because of one letter, her
parents had gone mad, as well as her sister, and she was the only
left recognising her sister for what she was.
Petunia had grown up knowing she
shouldn’t associate with strange people. Her father’s
brother, she had been told, was a freak. He had made friends with
people like himself, and nothing but bad things had come from that.
Her parents never elaborated on that, but this uncle had been
abandoned by the family, that was telling enough. He was the black
sheep of the family, and one should better not talk about black
But now the letter had come, and
everything had changed. The letter had proved that Petunia’s
adorable little sister was just as much of a freak as Uncle Charles.
Petunia had come to the right decision at once: she shouldn’t
associate with Lily any more. But her parents seemed to have
forgotten about that important rule. They didn’t seem to
remember Uncle Charles and why they had abandoned him at all. They
had laughed and hugged Lily, and they were happy.
Strictly speaking, Petunia wasn’t
allowed to know about Hogwarts and what the letter meant. Her parents
had never told their daughters what exactly was wrong with Uncle
Charles, but Petunia had always liked to figure out little mysteries,
and so she had found out. She hadn’t really been looking for
information on Uncle Charles. No, if she remembered correctly, she
had been trying to find out what the boy of number seven, on the opposite
side of the street, was up to.
She had caught him quite a few times climbing out of his bedroom
window around midnight, and she had been certain that her parents
knew more about that. So she had been sneaking around a bit.
She had overheard many of her parents’
conversations. None of them had been about the boy of number seven,
but still, she had uncovered highly interesting information. For one
thing, the girl of number ten turned out to be adopted. For another,
Petunia had found out that one of her father’s colleagues had
been kissing their boss. But the most interesting fact she had
overheard was that Uncle Charles was a Wizard. He could do magic. He
had even attended a special school for freaks like him.
Hogwarts. Petunia had recognised the
name at once when the letter came today. Lily was invited to
Hogwarts, the freak school Uncle Charles had gone to. And her parents
had been happy. Petunia still couldn’t believe it. Her
mother had smiled at Lily, saying she was happy for her and that of
course Lily could go if she wanted to.
Things had only become worse when
Petunia’s father had arrived home. He and her mother had talked
for a long time in their bedroom, without any doubt planning a
surprise party for Lily. Neither Petunia nor Lily had been allowed
near. When they finally had left the bedchamber, Petunia’s
father had hugged Lily and told her it was all right, that they
weren’t mad at her, and that they would support her no matter
what she would choose. And that she could always come back home if
she didn’t like it at school.
Petunia hadn’t understood. She
had yelled at her parents. She had told them Lily was just like Uncle
Charles, and had they forgotten about him? Why didn’t they see
that Lily was a freak, and that she would come home after a year
turning teacups into rats?
Then her father had taken her in his
arms. He had told her Lily was still her little sister, and hadn’t
changed one bit now the letter had come. He had told her she should
still love Lily, and be happy for Lily, because of her special
talent. He had also told her that they would of course monitor the
situation carefully, and that Lily could come back from Hogwarts when
things would go wrong.
Petunia had pulled herself free and run to her room, where she was now,
sobbing under her pillow. She
couldn’t understand. Why weren’t her parents mad at Lily?
Why didn’t they tell her she was a freak now, and freaks
weren’t allowed in the family? Why didn’t they forbid her
to go to Hogwarts?
Whatever had happened to her parents,
Petunia hadn’t lost her mind. She knew exactly what she should
do. She just wouldn’t talk to Lily ever again. That wouldn’t
be too difficult, as Lily was off to school for most of the year. It
pained Petunia to think about eating meals with only the three of
them; she would miss her little sister. But if Lily made the choice
to become a freak, there was nothing Petunia could do about it,
except to try not to mix with her and other freaks.
She took a piece of paper and a pencil,
and wrote down her newest resolution, so she would never forget.
Petunia looked around the room. What
was left to move? Her eyes travelled over the bed, the desk, to the
wardrobe, and then back to the desk. Had she emptied the desk
properly? She opened the top drawer. Nothing but a few pencils. Then
she opened the second drawer. Nothing at all. She was about to close
it when she noticed something strange: the colour of the bottom of
the second drawer was not the same as in the first drawer.
She suddenly remembered. It was a fake
bottom, which she had made when she was seven or eight years old. She
had used it for years to hide little secrets from her parents and
sister. Intrigued, Petunia lifted the fake bottom of the drawer, and
saw a few pieces of paper lying under it. She took the top one out –
it had a few sentences written in childish writing – and read
I will never associate with strange
people. I will never talk to Lily or anyone of her kind again if I
can avoid it. If I just avoid them, no harm will come to me because
Petunia felt a tear
leak from her eye. How very wrong she had been. She sank to the floor
and leaned her back against the wall. She remembered very clearly the
day she had written that resolution. Lily had received that
letter, and her parents had been so happy. Their opinion about freaks
had changed at once. They had supported Lily, encouraged her to go to
that school, treated her like she was better than Petunia. And within
four years, that had brought them to their deaths.
covered her face with her hands, and sobbed. For her parents, whom
she had buried only a few days ago, for her sister, who still
was endangering her life at that school, and for herself,
who was left in this big house without parents and without a little
sister. She mourned, and vowed to keep away from those freaks, and
never have anything to with any witches or wizards again. She
would pretend not to have a sister at all.