(AN: Thanks to Moey,
who leaves me the best comments in her beta reading! Thanks also to Frankie Beeblebrox who listens
to me whine once in a while. This is the
sequel to my previous story, Blind Date, I suggest
reading that first before reading this. I
also don’t own this world, cause if I did, I would go
and play at Hogwarts instead of writing fanfiction!)
How in the world was he ever going
to ask her?
Dursley was never a man lacking for self-motivation. Not even thirty yet, he was already looking
to be made a director at his company, Grunnings, owing to his superior
management skills and talent at handling clients. His ability to keep drill part deliveries
running smoothly despite the incompetence of many foreign supplies, (especially
those ill-mannered Americans), was just what his superiors thought would be
useful in dealing with some of their less than punctual employees. Through his hard work, perseverance, and
attention to detail, (not to mention a forceful personality and ability to be
rather convincing if necessary), he was to receive a well paying position, a
nice vacation package, and even a car.
Vernon Dursley was well on his well to having all the items that a
self-made, respectable British young man wanted in his life…save one.
He had yet
to ask Petunia Evans to marry him.
mate, Roger, who had several months ago married Petunia’s best friend Andi in a
whirlwind, surprise ceremony, was already hounding him about it. Vernon
had disapproved of their marriage from the start, one weekend they just ran off
and got themselves hitched. In his
typical vulgar way, Roger was proclaiming the virtues and wonders of the
married life, how Vernon would love
it if he just got around to doing it, and how Petunia was just the right girl
for him. As if Vernon
didn’t know Petunia Evans was perfect for him.
What other woman in this day and age would willingly give up a job to
feed and take care of him, keep his house, and if they should be so blessed,
raise his children? Petunia was everything in a wife that Vernon
wanted: sweet, proper, attentive to the views of others, and all together,
perfectly practical. He would be stupid,
nay blind not to take his chance.
But when it
came down to it, he just couldn’t get those blasted words out of his mouth.
know if it was the thought of his mother, hoyden that she was, that stopped
him. She had been harassing him since
the time he had actually announced he was seeing Petunia, demanding that he
marry her at once and provide her grandchildren before she died. The idea of giving the old bat the
satisfaction rather rankled deep inside.
But his poor sister, Marge would often call and tell him of Mother’s new
lament that Vernon didn’t have the guts to go through with it, that he would remain
a bachelor for all time. She would die
with no grandchildren, as Marge had forsaken such earthly happiness to see to
her DUTY in taking care of her mother. Vernon
rather though his Mother didn’t deserve such pleasure while she lived, but it
was a rather silly reason not to marry the girl.
considered if it wasn’t his cautious nature, making sure that the timing of the
question wasn’t right. After all, he had
only just now gotten word on his job title, and it was so soon after Roger and
Andi, maybe waiting would be much more tasteful-didn’t want Petunia to think
that he was trying to ride their coattails.
He hadn’t even met her family yet; wouldn’t it be a bit rude to propose
before asking for a girl’s hand? But
then again, how many people actually do that sort of thing in this day and
age? When it came down to it, Vernon
was scared, scared to death of asking her.
knew deep down in his soul, she might just say no. And that would be an answer he could not
So he sat
there, at this comfortable little table in a nice little restaurant, where he
took Petunia every Friday night after going to the cinema. She was picking at a lettuce salad as he
absently mangled a piece of steak with his knife. He was too busy trying to pluck up the
courage to say something to bother with cutting the thing properly. Petunia eyed him warily as he did so, raising
an eyebrow as she asked, “Is everything all right, Vernon?”
“What? Oh, yes, it’s fine, just things on my mind,
office things.” He smiled haphazardly at
her, and continued to saw at his now pulverized meat as she sipped a glass of
wine thoughtfully. She was getting
worried, he could tell. But how in the
world could he say those simple words, ‘will you marry me?’
picked listlessly at her salad, ignoring the fact that she had eaten hardly any
of it as it was sitting wilting on her now warm plate. Not that she had been hungry to begin with,
but her thoughts that evening had taken whatever appetite she had possessed and
thrown it quickly away. Her mind was
elsewhere, drifting into worried thoughts of her own, as she sat and pondered
quietly to herself over her soggy romaine.
How in the
world was she going to tell him?
this point, Petunia had skillfully avoided the entire issue of her sister. Vernon,
despite his single mindedness in the workplace, had never pursued the matter
with any great detail, and she supposed that he just didn’t stop to consider
that when she said her sister was ‘gifted’ that it was anything other than what
most normal people thought it meant. He
assumed her sister was going to a school where they taught you advanced mathematics
and how to build lasers, performing miracles of science that would advance
industry. Petunia had cultivated this
idea. It was safe to do so. Lily was away at school, he had yet to meet
her parents, and besides it wasn’t as if they were at a point in their
relationship that she would have to reveal her biggest and most horrible
secret. But now things were changing,
and Petunia knew she was running out of time.
was getting a new job title, and he had started discussing things such as
purchasing a house, perhaps settling down.
Petunia was thrilled at first when he began to speak so-this mean only
one thing! But her excitement was soon
tempered by the realization that as of yet, Vernon Dursley still knew nothing
about her. Yes, he knew Petunia Evans, a
prim, proper, and very practical schoolteacher, a nice woman who knew how to
cook, dress, could keep appearances, and was always in the know with those bits
of social information that would always help someone in Vernon’s
position. But he had no knowledge of the
rest of her, the part of her that was scared to death of being seen. She wasn’t so sure she wanted him to find out
knew she might not have a choice soon.
Lily was returning home from her blasted school in a week. Her parents, already long petitioning to meet
this young man she had taken up with would now insist now that her sister was
home and she had no more excuses for putting it off. And the Evanses, if they accepted Vernon,
would have no qualms about hiding Lily’s true nature anymore, especially if he
was to be a member of the family.
didn’t want him to have to find out from someone else that her sister was a
freak of nature.
But how was
she supposed to break it to him? How was
one to just up and say that their sister has magical abilities, can turn you
into a newt if she wishes, perhaps hex your cereal or curse your coffee? Vernon
would consider her to be stark, raving mad.
He would think she was a lunatic.
leave her alone, and that was the one thing Petunia was most afraid of.
himself seemed to be lost in his own thoughts, and Petunia felt the slightest
bit guilty. His new job required a whole
host of new duties that she was sure were weighing on his mind, and here she
was mulling over her own problems. There,
he nearly mangled that steak there. He
always ordered the steak here and had never mangled it before. With concern, Petunia asked gently, “Is
everything all right, Vernon?”
Oh, yes, it’s fine, just things on my mind, office things.” He smiled
reassuringly at her and returned to picking at his steak. Petunia cursed her sister then for
complicating her life so. Here she was
obsessing over her blasted strange sister, and Vernon
was worrying himself away over something real, something stressful…something
blessedly normal. This, perhaps, she
to talk about it?”
colored then, a rather uncomfortable shade of purple, one he turned when he
rather not speak about something.
“Well…not really, just concerns about the new job, that type of thing.
Will I fit it? Will I do well? You know how it is.” He took a bite of shredded meat, and chewed
it rather vigorously. Petunia felt her
heart twinge. Her poor dear was worried
he would do well in his new title.
love, I’m sure you will be fine! I mean,
how could you not be fine? You will be
the youngest director in the company! They
don’t just give those titles away to just anyone, now do they?”
suppose they don’t.” Vernon smiled
slightly, the old pride reviving a bit.
“I guess you are right, Petunia.
I shouldn’t worry so.” He reached
across the table to pat her hand.
shouldn’t. Besides, I think you are
amazing, even if you don’t think so, and that should count for something,
beamed. “You’re right, dear. Absolutely correct! I shouldn’t worry about such things at
all!” He took another bite of what
remained of his meal and smiled happily at her.
“How can a
man worry with a woman as wonderful as you around?” Vernon
smiled happily at him, even as her insides twinged just a little bit with fear
of how that opinion would hold up after he knew the truth.
was still beaming when they left the restaurant and returned to her flat. She thought that he was amazing, yes she
did. If she thought that, perhaps she
wouldn’t mind having him as a husband then.
Well, it was settled. As soon as
they got in he would ask her to be his wife.
Yes, no hesitation this time around, Dursley! He straightened his mustache absently as he
considered all the ways he could go about asking her. Perhaps as she brought out the tea for the
two of them, or maybe he could put on a romantic record, dance her around her
tiny living room, swoop to one knee, and then ask her. Yes, he rather liked that last idea. Maybe as he said goodnight, he could pretend
he forgot something, and drop to one knee then, yes, maybe…
sounded as silly and romantic as Roger did.
But for this moment he really didn’t care overly much.
let the two of them inside her neat, clean flat, and had gone about hanging up
their jackets and straightening up the loveseat for him to sit on, as she
bustled into the kitchen to make some after dinner tea. Vernon
watched her go, calling as she went, “You want me to put some music on, dear?”
be lovely.” Petunia called back, and he could hear her put the kettle on the
on the radio intending to turn on a music program, but clicked across a news
report that stopped him for the briefest of seconds.
“The Home Office today has announced that it
is looking into a series of strange disappearances of citizens across Britain.
Over the last several years men and women across the country have
inexplicably vanished from homes and businesses, many of the victims having no
traceable reason for disappearing. The
cases have gotten a great deal of scrutiny in the wake of last weeks apparent
disappearance of a Birmingham family, with no trace as to where they had gone
to, and leaving behind a three year old child who had no recollection of the
whereabouts of his parents. No official
statement has been made by the Home Office concerning these incidents, and foul
play has indeed not been ruled out.”
shook his head as he listened. “Have you
heard about that Petunia dear? All those
people just up and going missing?”
made some sort of affirmative noise from the kitchen. Vernon
proceeded to change the station to something a little more romantic. “I read it in the newspaper,” he continued,
“seems there’s been a few of these happenings of late, real strange ones. I used to think it was just useless
lay-abouts trying to get out of some sort of marital payment or taxes or
something. But I don’t know, seems
something nefarious is going about.”
came out of the kitchen with a tray of sweets and set them down on the coffee
table in front of the love seat. “It’s
getting to the point where average, normal people can’t even be in their own
homes safely nowadays. I wouldn’t be
surprised if it’s not some crazed cult or the like, and Scotland Yard and none
of the local police can figure it out.
That’s the only way the Home Office would take it on I would think?”
“Perhaps it’s spies,” Vernon
“Spies…why would they be attacking honest citizens?”
it’s a Russian plot to brainwash average Britons, you know, breed that sort of
chuckled. “As you say, Vernon,
I don’t think it’s that nefarious, but…”
shook his finger. “You wouldn’t think
There was a
click at Petunia’s window just then, a clear and audible tap.
Petunia and Vernon turned then to
stare at the window, he in curiosity, and she in horror.
whatever could that be?” Vernon
puzzled as Petunia went over quickly to look out the darkened glass.
it’s just some pigeon, must have been attracted by the light. I’ll shoo it away.” She rapped at the window smartly, and
something dark fluttered off.
that, birds aren’t usually big nighttime flyers, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a
pigeon at night.”
know, get the odd one here and there, isn’t that unusual,” Petunia tittered
nervously and firmly shut the curtains to the window. She turned back around and smiled at Vernon. “There now, no nasty bird, Let’s
sit and have some tea, shall we?” She
smiled brightly and rushed to the kitchen where the kettle had just started to
shrugged, and sat at the love seat. The
strains of some feel good, romantic song by some American group he didn’t even
recognize filled the tiny sitting room as he munched on a small sweet
thoughtfully. How to go about this?
returned, tea tray in hand, setting it next to the sweets, and pouring each a
cup. Happily she sat down next to Vernon,
handing him his, and then sipped from her own.
Vernon noticed how fine her
hands looked, fine and thin like those of a sparrow. On impulse he took the one not balancing the
tea saucer and held it, her fingers still warm from the hot drink.
he began, finding his throat seizing up at just that moment. He coughed a little, then set his own tea
down, trying desperately to fight back the rising fear in his own insides. “Petunia, I was wondering if you had
considered much about your future.”
looked slightly perplexed by this question.
“Well, of course Vernon, how
could I not?”
felt his face redden; that was a rather silly question. “Of course, of course…but I meant…well…what
have you thought about perhaps a future…err…with me?”
face went very still then, and her features even paler than normal. Her pale blue eyes were wide with…perhaps
shock, he hoped not horror…as she stared at him, and he could feel her hand
“Me? You want to marry me?” Petunia sounded amazed.
suppose I do, else I wouldn’t still be here, would I?” Vernon
tried to laugh it off, but felt his own heart skip a beat.
tea saucer rattled then just slightly, and she quickly set it on the table
before she made a mess. “It’s not that
I’m not thrilled, but…Vernon, you
really want to? It’s not just because
you feel lonely now with Roger going off and marrying Andi all the sudden, is
knew she would think that. “No, dear,
it’s nothing of the sort. I even talked
it over with Roger, he thinks it’s grand, and besides, I would figure by now
you would know that I’m rather fond of the idea myself.” He smiled shyly at her.
just don’t know what to say!”
be a pleasant response.” Vernon
held her hand just a bit more tightly.
of course it would, but…we haven’t been together long, not even six months, and
what will our families think?”
they will be thrilled with it as well.” Women always did worry about what
A tapping sounded again at Petunia’s window, and this time it was louder and
bird,” Vernon murmured as Petunia
turned somewhat dazed towards the closed window. “Sit here, I’ll go handle this. Pigeon or no,
he’s not ruining this, the biggest moment of my life.”
It took a
moment for realization to hit Petunia as Vernon
stood to move towards the window. “Vernon,
late, Vernon had opened the
curtains to be greeted by the largest owl he had ever seen perched stately on
the window sill, and tapping angrily on the glass.
yelped and backed away from the window, his eyes going wide and his big frame
nearly tumbling over a chair behind him.
“Petunia, it’s an owl!”
run to grab Vernon’s shoulder
before he crashed into one of her figurine laden shelves. “Vernon,
really, it’s all right.”
pointed a shaking finger back at the window.
“But…it’s an OWL!”
owls are birds, and they tend to hunt at night.
It must think I have something for it.” There was a tight edge to
Petunia’s voice, and she wouldn’t look him in the eye. “Now, go sit, have some more tea, and I’ll see if I can’t get it away from here.”
“Is that a
letter it’s carrying?” Vernon
wasn’t going to let this owl thing go.
how absurd, who would send a letter on a bird? Must just be some trash that it’s gathered or
something, it couldn’t possibly…” Petunia was already moving towards the
window, oblivious to the fact that the bird was rather pointedly trying to
present a white paper envelope with Petunia’s name in bright purple ink on the
the paper has your name on it.” Vernon
gasped, more in amazement and confusion than fear.
stared down at the window. The bird with
the letter stared back. Petunia let out
a low whimper. The bird ruffled its feather’s
at her and tapped the window again.
it wants in then?” Vernon
unable to fix any of this, sat on the couch and sobbed.
confused than ever, Vernon stared
first from his sobbing girlfriend, then to the owl, his head twisting between
the two as if it wanted to pop off.
Finally, unsure if what he was doing was wise, he went to the window and
opened it enough for the creature to enter.
It did so, hopped the sill, glided to the coffee table and landed beside
the tray of sweets. It then presented its
leg to Petunia, with the letter on it, and waited patiently, eyeing a
particular sweet carefully as it did so.
stared at the thing with watery and over-large eyes, her face twitching in
anger and resignation. She reached
towards the bird, took off the letter, and the owl proceeded to nick the sweet
in it’s small beak, take to wing, and fly out the window, stray feathers flying
in its wake. Petunia merely sat and
stared at the letter, Vernon stared
at the window, his mouth open and agape.
several moments he turned to stare at his girlfriend, pointing fixedly at the
window. “Petunia, dear…that was just an
owl that flew into your window, you know?”
nodded and sniffed loudly. “Yes, Vernon,
delivered you a letter, like…a ruddy homing pigeon.”
reached for a disposable tissue in a box by the love seat and blew her nose.
of strange person would send you letters at night with an owl?” Vernon
was all befuddled. This was odd. It was most peculiar. It was most unlike his Petunia at all.
voice was small and soft then. In fact
he could barely hear it. “My sister,”
she muttered, “my sister is the one who sent it. I keep telling her not to, but she can’t send
anything any other way from school.”
“Do what?” Vernon
felt his head begin to hurt.
began to sob openly then, and Vernon, at a loss as to what to do, thought that
despite his own confusion and slight edge of worry over the events of the last
five minutes, perhaps he should sit with her and comfort her, as obviously she
Petunia, don’t cry.” He moved towards the small sofa, sat beside her, and
wrapped his comforting arm around her thin and shaking shoulders. “It’s not as bad as all that. It’s just a bird, and you did mention to me
once your sister had one.” He had assumed she had a parrot or a canary though,
not some great, country bird-of-prey.
“Now, why don’t you just calm down and explain it all to me, won’t you?”
stopped to gulp for air, blow her nose, and wipe the streaming tears away from
her now very pink face. “Oh, Vernon,
I don’t know if I should, and if I do, you wouldn’t believe me anyway.”
was surprised to hear this. He was a
rather open minded man, he though, well at least on reasonable matters, and
Petunia had proven to be nothing but a perfectly normal, logical young
woman. How could anything be that crazy
as to prove to be unbelievable?
“Try me!” he
said quietly as he smoothed a stray and damp strand of hair out of her face.
Petunia’s mouth pulled tight as she tried to fight back another wave of
tears. “My sister Lily is…a witch.”
encouraged. Oh dear, he never realized
that there was any sort of animosity on the part of Petunia towards her younger
sister. Yes, she rarely spoke of her,
not that she acts like a witch. Lily
really is a witch. She can do…magic.”
blinked uncomprehendingly. “I’m afraid I
didn’t hear you right, Petunia, you said…”
CAN DO MAGIC!” Petunia fairly screamed, jumping off the couch and pacing the
room then. “Lily can do things no normal
human being can do. She’s a strange,
freakish…abnormality!” Petunia was
crumpling the letter in her hands tightly, squeezing it into a little ball in
which she used to shake it at Vernon.
was rather stunned by this display.
Petunia was so even tempered, so good natured. She never, ever lost control around him about
anything. Now here she was screaming at
him about her sister being a witch and being unnatural. He wondered if perhaps he hadn’t misjudged
this woman he had fallen in love with this entire time.
when I was eight years old. I was
teasing Lily, you know how sisters are.
I took away her favorite toy because she was pestering me and wouldn’t
leave me alone. Next thing I know the
toy had come alive and was wiggling in my hands. Lily laughed at me, thought it was funny,
said that the toy didn’t like me and wanted to get away. I was horrified and told Mother, but she
thought I was merely trying to get Lily in trouble and had an over-active
imagination. How ironic I would be the
one accused of that.” Petunia fairly
spat out the last words.
didn’t stop there. No, over the years
more incidents happened, always when she was agitated with me over
something. I would get more pudding at
dinner, and suddenly half of mine would end up on her plate. Or as she got older, my makeup would end up
strange colors, or my hair. I’d find my locked
diary mysteriously undone and rifled through, things that no one was humanly
capable of doing. I would tell my
parents, but they would say that Lily couldn’t POSSIBLY be doing all those things
that I was accusing her of, and even if she was, she was just doing it to be
like me. She would grow out of it soon
enough. I couldn’t wait for her too. It was driving me rather mad having that pest
for a sister.”
just starting to become someone I could tolerate the summer after she turned
eleven, and then she got a letter, a letter delivered by an OWL!” Petunia glared out the window in the
direction the owl had flown off in. “It
was from some school, a magic school, which told her she herself was a witch, a
magic user, and she could go to this school with other magic users, and they
would all learn their weird powers together!
My parents were jubilant. They couldn’t believe that Lily was so
‘unique’. They didn’t bother to mention
that all those things I had told them about her over the years were right, that
she was doing all those impossible things.
Instead they got her a trunk full of potions and wands, bought her that
blasted owl, and sent her packing for Scotland somewhere, to do God knows what
God knows where.”
year it was the same. She would come
home with all her new spells and tricks, and try to show me all these strange
things she had learned, and it was all so…horribly wrong. No one I knew could do these things, and she
was being taught, no encouraged to use these abilities, and to forsake
everything normal and decent in this world to go run off and live in a world of
make believe! And my parents seemed fine
with this. In fact I couldn’t say a word
to them on the subject.”
“So, when I
got old enough, I left and went to university.
It was safe there, normal, people learned things that you used in the
real world. There weren’t potions, there
was Chemistry; there wasn’t wand waving, there was literature. I could learn a real job, a useful one
teaching, not how to raise strange three headed creatures or the properties of
imaginary plants. My parents encouraged
me, yes, but I felt they always saw me as rather plain and boring next to Lily,
with her tales of adventure in her weird little world. And so I moved away to the city after
graduation, and took my job teaching.
And I still try to stay close, but now…”
She stared down at the balled up letter in her hands.
never had a lot of boyfriends before you, Vernon. I was rather too afraid of what I would hear
from them if they learned the truth. And
I couldn’t tell them, I was made to promise never to tell normal people about
the existence of those other folk. But…I
had hoped to tell you, thought perhaps I could before you met Lily, and was
rather looking for a time and place to bring it up. But it never exactly appeared, and now…well I
couldn’t hide it now that an owl had shown up, as if it were a normal, everyday
was sitting very still and very pale on the love seat, watching Petunia
carefully as she turned to look at him, drained and flushed. He wasn’t sure what to say at this point, his
mind was a bit too full to comprehend all this.
Instead, he looked down at his own clasped and shaking hands.
should go then, Petunia,” he finally said, “I need to sort this out for a bit,
and…I don’t know if I’ll sort it out tonight.
But it’s rather a lot, you know, finding out that your future
sister-in-law is…a witch, as you call it.
I have to think these things out for a bit.” He rose from the love seat then, and began to
move towards the closet where Petunia had so thoughtfully hung his jacket
made no move to stop him. “I see. Well, I’ll speak to you at a later date then,
nodded rather absently. “Yes, a later
date then, dear. I’ll keep in
touch.” He reached inside the tidy
closet, drew out his blazer, pulled it on, ran nervous fingers through his hair
and down his mustache, and nodded at her.
night then, Petunia, and…try not to get too much worked up over all this.” He reached for the door then, opened it,
stopped to take a brief, worried glance back out her window, and then left.
watched the door for a long moment, standing stiff and tall, biting her lip
trying not to cry. She waited for it to
open again, and when it didn’t, she sat back down on the sofa and tried to
stiffly a sob.
her hand and studied the white envelope in front of her. It was typical, normal paper stock, probably
something Lily had taken with her to school.
She smoothed the paper over her knees, glaring at the purple ink on the
front, and flipped it over to slip a finger under the flap that glued the whole
the letter quickly, her face hardening as she did so. Angrily, she cast the letter down, and then
burst into tears yet again. On it the
I can’t believe I’ll be home in a week from
Hogwarts. I so hate leaving this place,
it’s been my home and refuge for so long now.
With things they way they are in the world right now, I don’t know how I
can say goodbye. But I am looking
forward to seeing you and Mum and Dad soon, and I have such wonderful things to
tell you about.
One of those things is concerning the boy I
brought home over Christmas, you remember him, James? Remember we were made Head Boy and Girl
together? I didn’t like him much really
till then…all right, perhaps a little, but really he was such a troublemaker and
show off. In any case, we had started
dating, remember, and well…he’s asked me to consider marrying him. Not right now, of course, we have yet to
figure out what we are doing with the rest of our lives, and things are rather
worrisome at the moment. But give us a
year or so, perhaps I will say yes. In
any case, he wants to come by a lot more this summer, and get to know you and
Mum and Dad. What do you think of all
this? I told him if in a year, if things
change and we still want to marry, I would, but I don’t know if I’m being
too rash? After all, I’ve got to get
used to being in the real wizarding world
Mother says you have a new boyfriend. I hope I get to meet him when I get
home. I’m so happy for you Petunia. Perhaps then we both can get married. Imagine how thrilled Mum would be over
that. Let me know what you think about
what James and I have been discussing, I need some sisterly advice here. Please?
Thank you, and love always.