A Breach In The Wall
Disclaimer: These characters are J. K. Rowling’s creation.
It is her depth of insight into the human condition and her
love of twists that inspires me to imagine more to her characters than we have so
far been privy to. My story is
exercise in writing and is for personal enjoyment only. Any other form of
distribution is prohibited without the consent
of the author.
Warning: This story is a spoiler for
all six Harry Potter books.
Apology: The Prologue, previously
posted as, Between the Lines, (not to
be confused with a story now on SQ with the
same name) has been modified to fit with the rest of my story. My apologies to those
that read the first version and
must re-read it now for pertinent changes.
Summary: The Prologue begins the night
after Petunia receives the howler in OotP. Part One fills in the gap between
the end of OotP and the beginning of HBP. Part Two begins as HBP ends and goes
through the summer. Part Three
covers the start of the school year through the Christmas holidays. Part Four is
from the holidays up to exams. Part Five
chronicles the battle with Voldemort (with another memory aside thrown in). The
Epilogue fills in any missing pieces
and concludes the story. Throughout, I emphasize the thoughts, feelings and
motivations of the characters, especially
the Dursleys. I stay only as
true to canon as suits my purposes.
This story is meant to add understanding and depth to the characters and as
an outlet for my wondering “what will
happen next?” – all totally inspired by Rowling’s great
storytelling and the many loose ends and tidbits she has given
us to play with. Wonderful Rowling shows us the world mainly from Harry’s
point of view. When ones’ point of view
is changed, often the truth is changed as well.
Much thanks to my past Beta Reader, Mysterious Muggle for his input on the
Prologue and Part One and for
encouraging me to finish the story, and to my current Beta Reader, PirateQueen for
her willingness to take me on, and
for her corrections and patience.
Buddhist saying: That while
everything is flawed, “the crack is where the light comes
BREACH IN THE WALL
arrival of the dementors in Little Whinging seemed to have caused a breach in the
great, invisible wall that
divided the relentlessly non-magical world of Privet Drive and the world beyond.
Harry’s two lives had somehow
become fused and everything had been turned upside down . . . – OotP p 37
PROLOGUE: Between the Lines
“Ah, and this must be Petunia. . . . Albus Dumbledore,” said
Dumbledore, when Uncle Vernon failed to effect an
introduction. “We have corresponded, of course.” Harry thought this an
odd way of reminding Aunt Petunia that he
had sent her an exploding letter, but Aunt Petunia did not challenge the term.
– HBP p 46 & 47
“It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than
our abilities.” –Dumbledore, CoS p 333
“Remember my Last, Petunia!”
The words echoed, reverberating through her mind, punctuating her fierce
She leaned forward, her elbows locked, putting her weight into it. Her back ached,
but she did not relent. Dragging an
arm across her forehead, she shoved sweaty hair out of her face, then reached over
and repositioned the flashlight so
that its oblique shine fell across the mark. Tears pooled in the corner of her eyes
as she blinked at the spot in
recognition. Releasing the scrub brush, and tugging one rubber glove off, she slid a
finger through the soapy water. The
light had revealed that it was not a scuff mark, but a deep dent. It was not the
first time she had set herself the
impossible task of scrubbing out the scar left long ago by a tumbling highchair. She
wiped her finger on her already
spoiled nightgown and with the back of her hand smeared the tears away. She was not
a stupid woman. She knew her
incessant cleaning was more often than not an unconscious attempt to clean up the
mess of her past, to undo what could
not be undone, to forget what could not be forgotten. Petunia sat back on her heels,
her soaked nightgown clinging to
her stinging knees. Remember? I wish I could forget. But she couldn’t.
Not today, not ever.
That was not so in the beginning. Sometimes she actually believed that it was
only a dream brought on by the probable
envy she had felt when Lily received her letter and her parents had been so proud.
However, there was only one time
she had ever really wanted to be like Lily, and that was years later when she was
much older. If she took the dream as
reality, and not a trick of her imagination, then her letter had dropped through the
mail slot into their small flat while
everyone else was out buying her birthday cake. She had read the letter with
incredulity, having already learned to deny
anything that made her different. At a precociously young age she had figured out
how to control her outbursts and
emotions so that she would not cause trouble. And that was what she dearly wanted,
for she understood very early on,
that they had enough trouble.
Dad considered himself an entrepreneur, and only reluctantly took odd jobs
when absolutely necessary. Mum was
sickly and wasn’t getting better. Petunia would hurry home from school to find
her despondent, curled in a chair, the
curtains pulled, and Dad off somewhere pursuing another opportunity. Cajoling her
all the while, Petunia would let the
light in, wash the breakfast dishes and set out a simple snack. Lily always walked
home with friends and by the time
she arrived, the house would be bright and Mum would have rallied enough to sit at
the small kitchen table with them.
When Lily thanked their mum for the snack, no-one ever corrected her. It was a small
deception, but Lily was a
sensitive child with a sixth sense about people and their emotions and easily upset.
So if they could spare her the worry
and fear that Petunia felt, then it was worth it. She was always relieved that Mum
seemed better when Lily was there,
even if it was, perhaps, only an act. It was hard to tell for sure, everyone’s
spirits naturally brighten whenever Lily was
They moved often as their dad chased dreams, and wherever they lived, Petunia
did her best to transform it into a
typical home. While she did what she could, she dreamed of having a normal family,
with a normal home, and the
normal life of a child. It was all she ever wanted, to be normal, to fit in, and to
be liked. Lily was outgoing and made
friends easily in each new place. It took Petunia longer. Always though, Lily would
eventually cause something to
happen. Petunia would offer plausible explanations, but whispers would spread and
inevitably her still tenuous
friendships would be lost. Soon after they would move again.
And now this: A letter saying that she really was different in a way that she
had never dreamed of. A letter offering her
a chance for a real, though unusual, childhood. But, even if she wanted to, how
could she? They didn’t have any money
and someone had to nurse mother, clean the house, and look after Dad and Lily.
Besides, if she was different, which
she doubted, Lily was much more so. It would be best to stay and let Lily go next
year. Petunia threw Dumbledore’s
first letter into the bin.
But that was only the first letter. She had two others, and though she had
not read them for over fourteen years, she had
lived with their words every day. Now, as she changed her nightgown in the dark and
slid between the crisp sheets, she
felt a growing compulsion to read them again, to search between the lines, to
ascertain that her reasoning and actions
were justified. It wasn’t like she had been given a choice. She had considered
every chilling detail. Had meticulously
run the frightful scenarios through her head and done what she had to do. And it had
been the best she knew how. But
was it good enough? She hadn’t counted on how bitterness and hate would feed
upon themselves, engorging till they
had a life of their own. She hadn’t even counted on the simple force of habit.
Would Lily forgive that? No. How could
she? If Lily had treated Dudley the way she and Vernon had treated Harry . . .
Petunia shivered at the notion, pulling
the sheet up tight under her chin.
The box won’t open anyway, she thought. I won’t be able
to read the letters. Not now, after all these years. Moonlight
slid unerringly across the neat, clean bedroom rendering shades of grey from the
dark and transforming in its wake
familiar objects into menacing monsters. Vernon snored, his mass sprawled against
her rigid body. Petunia turned
toward him, seeking the security she found in his bulk. Maybe if she focussed on the
regular rhythm of his snoring.
There was comfort in order and the ordinary. She had learned that minute details and
the banal kept her busy, kept her
mind from wandering and gave her a sense of control.
Vernon shifted in his sleep, rolling over with his back towards her. Petunia
grasped the sheet with both fists and tugged
hard, but it didn’t budge. It was securely tucked and its flimsy covering
offered no sense of protection or hiding place
anyway. If only she could shut out the world and bury her feelings. But the desire
to justify herself only grew stronger.
If I’m going to try, it has to be before moon set. With an aching sigh
that lodged deep in her chest, she slipped back out
of bed. Though it was a hot summer night, she wrapped a robe around her, hoping to
ease her shivering. Her hands
shook as she quietly rummaged amongst her many storage boxes, finally withdrawing
one from the very back of the
closet. For a moment, she stood frozen, listening to Vernon’s loud,
undisturbed snoring. Then, without a sound, she
grasped the box to her breast and scurried down the hall to the bathroom, locking
the door behind her.
Removing the lid from the shoe box, she pushed aside the tissue and lifted
out a seamless metal box. In its top left hand
corner was painted: “To Petunia.” Diagonally across were the
words: “From Lily.” Between the loopy handwriting,
Lily had painted cascading pink petunias. She had also painted the lunar phases
around its sides. Though charmingly
amateur now, Petunia had thought it most beautiful when Lily had given it to her as
a birthday present. The box was
sealed with a verbal charm that Lily had just learned to compose during her second
year at Hogwarts. Petunia gingerly
set it on the windowsill in a pool of moonlight. After all these years, after all
that has happened, did she even dare
speak the words? Her fingers trembled as she laid them gently on the names and
mouthed the incantation.
“Th-th-the garden grows many a flower.
And though some admire the lily
I am happy to attest
that the petunia so cheery and friendly
is the flower I love best.
“Now witness my Petunia before you,
changing yet changeless Moon above
and see into her heart ...”
A lump rose in her throat. Dreading the next lines, she swallowed, screwed
her eyes shut and haltingly continued.
“and j-j-judging her a sister of true love,
allow this lid from box to part.”
Her voice cracked, her hands falling to her side. This is stupid.
It won’t work. I know it won’t. Why should it? Moments
slipped by before her resolve returned enough for her to tentatively replace her
“And may your opening confirm
that no matter how often we disagree
I promise now and forever
to love my Petunia through all eternity
with a love that can never waver.”
For a moment nothing happened. Then she sensed a faint quivering and snatched
her fingers away as if they were
burning. From the tip of one of the slivered painted moons a seam emerged and
encircled the box.
“Oh Lily!” Petunia gasped, slipping to the floor, great choking
sobs racking her body as she cradled the box. She had
seen the box open a thousand times in the past, but now? “Oh Lily, oh
Lily,” she moaned in rasping breaths as she
rocked back and forth.
Slowly, the tears subsided. Petunia mopped her face with a huge wad of
tissue. She stood up unsteadily, and then
slumped down onto the toilet lid. The charm had worked. Maybe, just maybe . .
Petunia gently tilted back the lid. One end of the soft pink velvet interior
was stuffed with papers gathered into bundles
and tied with ribbons. The other end held an array of small trinkets. Her fingers
went immediately to a small vial that
she stroked momentarily before turning her attention to the bundles. Most of the
bundles were neat stacks of letters
addressed in Lily’s flowery hand and dating to the years Lily had attended
Hogwarts. The top bundle, however, was
comprised of wedding invitations, baby announcements, obituaries, news clippings,
and some notes and letters,
including two in a crisp, slanted, script. Petunia picked up the bundle and untied
the old, frayed, hair ribbon. In her
hand was the rationale for everything she had done in the past sixteen years. She
fingered the top letter, Dumbledore’s
last letter, then set it aside on the sink’s edge. Leafing back through the
stack, she found a pink envelope with a flower
border in Lily’s hand, and carefully withdrew the parchment:
My Dear Sweet
CONGRATULATIONS! WOW! I didn’t even
know you were seeing anyone special. And I thought we told each
other everything. Shame on you for keeping Vernon a secret! You should have told us
at Christmas, when I
announced my engagement to James. You could have invited Vernon up and we would have
had a double
I am amazed at how closely our lives are
mirrored. Another one of our coincidences? (I know you’ve finagled many
of them. Mum told me how hard you worked for that scholarship after I did so well on
my O.W.L.s. Marriage won’t
change your college plans I hope. You’d make a great research botanist!)
We will drive everyone crazy with our
weddings so close together! Too bad we can’t have a double wedding. But
since Vernon’s friends, or perhaps I should say my friends, are from a
different world, so to speak, that won’t work.
Luckily for Dad, we have received permission to have our wedding on the
Hogwarts’ grounds, down by the lake --
right where James proposed to me. Most of the arrangements will be magical and
won’t cost Dad anything -- which
means you can plan the wedding you so deserve. When you come up next month to try on
your bridesmaid dress,
bring Vernon. We all want to meet him.
So tell me everything. You mentioned to
Mum that he was on the rugby team and is interested in pursuing politics
after university. Have you known him long? I seem to recall you mentioning a bully
at your school named Vernon.
Is this the same person? Don’t be embarrassed if it is. People change.
Remember, I told you that James used to be
an awful, pompous boy that got away with everything because he was popular and the
seeker on our Quidditch
team? Well, now he’s my loving, adorable James.
So my beloved sister, this may seem
premature . . . but James and I have an immense favour to ask. We have
decided that once we are married that we want to start a family right away. We have
this nagging feeling of urgency.
As you know, things are not as one might wish in our magical world. That wizard we
were discussing at Christmas,
and his force of like-minded, power-hungry followers, are gaining strength. There
have been some really terrible
incidences. Oh, sometimes I have the most horrible dreams . . . Anyway, we have
asked Sirius if he would be the
Godfather of any children we might have -- and we want you to be the Godmother.
Please, please say yes! It would
greatly put my heart at ease.
That odd, confused mixture of sisterly love and sibling rivalry that had been
their relationship, and admittedly, caused
more than a few rash actions and hurts washed over her. Was that once my life?
The same life-span I’m in now?
Petunia reluctantly folded the letter and gently placed it in the box. They had
still been naive, hopeful and almost happy
Petunia chose another letter in Lily’s hand. This one had been ripped
and taped back together.
Please . . .
You have every reason to be upset about
what happened at your wedding, but you have to believe me -- it wasn’t
James! I have questioned him and the rest of our magical friends and they all swear
they had nothing to do with it!
As you know, there are serious repercussions if any of us do magic in the company of
uninitiated Muggles, which,
of course, there were plenty of at your wedding.
I understand why you and Vernon are
reluctant to accept our word, after what happened to Vernon at James’s
bachelor party. You KNOW that when I heard about the prank and that Vernon and you
had left and weren’t
coming back, I was so incensed with James that I almost called off the wedding. It
broke my heart not to have you
by my side. This isn’t an excuse, but they really only intended to poke fun,
and I think it only got out of hand
because they needed a release after our last bout with You-Know-Who! We have so many
counter-jinxes and spells
to fix things, that we sometimes forget how a Muggle, new to the idea of magic,
might react. James says to tell
Vernon that he, and the others, apologize again. He also personally promised me, on
our love (and I truly believe
him), that he will never, ever play his “pranks” on anyone again --
another reason I know he had nothing to do with
what happened at your wedding.
Honestly, you have to admit, neither
incident was really that bad. In a few years, you will look back on both episodes
and laugh. Funny stories to tell your child!
Yeah, Mum told me. Don’t be mad.
I’m hurt, however, that I did not hear it from you. You beat me this time!
not by much. I’m due about a month after you.
Please, please dear Sis, put this all
behind us. I need you more than ever. You are the only sister I have or want.
Sometimes I have this really terrible feeling of foreboding. Please, for the sake of
your future Godchild and mine --
you haven’t changed your mind about our pact, I hope.
Your loving sister,
She had hated missing Lily and James’s wedding, but couldn’t do
otherwise. It had taken pleadings, promises and
threats for Vernon to finally agree to let her invite them and the others to their
wedding. And then . . . what a fiasco.
Vernon had ripped the letter from her hand. He had been so incensed and
humiliated both times. It didn’t matter that
she knew it wasn’t James or Lily’s fault. She couldn’t tell Vernon
the truth. Maybe she could have patched things up if
there had been enough time. But with everything that was happening in both families
-- Mum’s sickness, Vernon’s
disgruntled job search, babies, the Wizard war and . . . she pushed the thought of
him from her mind -- she had put it
off. Then that awful, dreadful night came, when she was sure she and Dudley were
dying. And to top it off, Harry
appeared the very next night on their doorstep clutching a letter. A letter that
destroyed her hopes and froze her heart. It
was easy to find in the pile, all crumpled and tear-stained.
It is with my deepest regret that I must
inform you that your sister Lily is dead, as is James and your parents. This is
your nephew, little Harry Potter. I humbly request that you take him into your heart
and home and raise him as
your own. I fear you are his only hope of survival. If you refuse, your
family’s sacrifice may be in vain. Please allow
me to explain.
As you are aware, there is a Wizard war
going on. James and Lily had been fighting against a group of renegades
led by a powerful wizard who calls himself Voldemort. Voldemort tried to kill Harry
to fulfill or thwart a prophecy
about a child born in the seventh month. James died protecting his family. With
James out of the way, Voldemort
aimed the killing curse at Harry. Lily, in desperation and love, called forth
everything within her to save her child.
The answering spell -- an ancient blood spell -- saved Harry by deflecting a large
portion of Voldemort’s spell back
on himself, perhaps destroying him, and then dispersing the remainder of its effect
to those bound to Lily by blood.
Lily took the brunt of it, sacrificing herself. Harry, protected by Lily’s
love, survived. Your parents, being in the
vicinity, also absorbed a great deal. They have been confirmed dead by Muggle
authorities. As Lily’s only sibling, I
assume you also undoubtedly felt a substantial amount of the spell as evidenced by
any unexplained pain and
anguish you might have felt the night before last. I want you to know that Lily did
not choose to use this spell. It is
not the type of spell that can be taught or used on command, but is called forth out
of a deep, desperate love. She
could not have known the toll it would take on your family.
Voldemort, whether dead or near death, has
many followers that will continue to do his bidding and search for
Harry. Lily’s love, bound by the spell to her blood -- and hence your blood --
is Harry’s only hope. As long as he
finds refuge in the home where his mother’s blood resides, he will be
protected. With your parents dead, you are the
only one left in a direct blood line. I have put additional charms and spells on the
house. I suspect that the blood-bond may also work in reverse. Lily’s love,
Lily’s blood in Harry’s veins, may offer you a measure of
Of course, secrecy is of utmost
importance. I have covered my trail well, but Voldemort has spies, so I strongly
suggest you resist talking about this incident, Harry’s parents, or magic in
general. It would also be wise to cut any
ties you have with the magical community. You can never tell who might be listening
or who is untrustworthy.
Harry will be best hidden as a completely ordinary boy.
One additional piece of advice. Though I
hope that you will love and raise Harry as your own, and though you may
feel great empathy for him, he has already experienced more love than most of us
ever will. I believe he will be best
served by being raised with an emphasis on self-reliance and courage, and not by
being pampered or shielded from
everyday troubles. That Harry has survived is unheard of, and it is quite likely
that destiny has a very difficult, even
dangerous, and assuredly almost impossible task in store for him. Please do what you
can to prepare him until he is
ready to begin his studies at Hogwarts.
I know that I am asking much of you, and
your husband, so let me be clear: If you keep Harry, you will have
entered into a pact to lend your protection until he becomes of age. If you do not
agree, you are likely sealing his
Even after all these years, Petunia’s stomach twisted. She gulped for
breath as though she was drowning. She again felt
herself sinking. Her hands clenched as rage rose within her. She doubted that if
Lily had known the consequences that
she would have acted differently. Petunia knew enough about how magic worked, to
know that at that moment, Lily
hadn’t cared about anyone but Harry -- not her, not Dudley, not their parents
or any of their relatives. And it had cost
her, changed the direction of her life more than anyone knew. She hadn’t even
been able to go to her families’ funerals.
Her entire extended family was lost to her -- many by death, the rest because she
had been forced to cut off contact.
Both sides of her parentage, especially the Evans clan, were littered with magic. It
was a recessive gene, like red hair.
They were proud of it, too, and not overly concerned about being discreet. Petunia
often wondered if the blood-bond,
or blood “curse,” as she called it, had affected any of her aunts,
uncles or cousins, but never had the opportunity to ask.
Of course, Vernon didn’t think it any great loss, and even suggested that
maybe one of them could take Harry, after she
had adamantly refused to send him back. Seal his fate? she remembered
thinking. Send him back to them? What kind of
people leave a baby alone on someone’s doorstep anyway, especially when he is
in danger? If Dumbledore had
knocked on the door like anyone else would have, she could have told him no, but
what could she do now? She had no
choice. Besides, she wasn’t doing it for Dumbledore or the Wizarding world, or
even for Harry. Though she was
estranged from Lily and therefore had not become Harry’s Godmother, and even
if she had, it was understood that if
Harry inherited his parents’ abilities, Sirius would be his primary caregiver,
she could not put aside the fact that, at one
time, she had made a promise to Lily. And no matter how bitter she felt, she
understood somewhere deep inside that
she would have done the same if Dudley was in danger. Lily didn’t have a
choice, and neither did she. And, she pointed
out to Vernon, Harry needn’t cost them a lot. She’d read him the part
where Dumbledore specifically said not to spoil
him. Besides, what is done, is done. She prided herself on being practical . . . at
least until a month later, when that
awful owl came with its foreboding message.
Harry had been inconsolable, crying constantly those first few weeks. And
when Harry cried, Dudley cried, and
Petunia felt nauseated and weak. They had initially fixed up a sleeping area for
Harry in Dudley’s room. After a week
of sleepless nights and trying days, they moved Harry into the spare room to see if
that would help. Finally, after a
particularly bad night that ended in a nasty fight with Vernon, she spent the entire
next day on her hands and knees
scrubbing out the closet cubbyhole under the stairs. If he still cried, they
couldn’t hear it. It seemed to be the best
solution at the time.
That Saturday morning, though, they were enjoying a rare moment of peace and
quiet. Petunia was actually feeling a
little better as she washed the dishes. Vernon was sitting at the kitchen table
reading the newspaper and finishing up his
cup of coffee. Dudley was in his highchair making a mash of what was left of his
scrambled eggs, toast, baked beans
and diced tomatoes. Harry, under the table, was mauling a piece of toast –
they couldn’t afford two highchairs.
Suddenly, an owl flew in the window straight at Dudley. Dudley screamed and flung
his plate at the huge bird. Vernon
jumped up, swinging his newspaper at the owl and tripping over Harry, who had
scooted out from under the table to
see what was happening. It’s hard to say who knocked over the highchair, but
it went flying and Petunia caught Dudley
just inches before he would have hit his head sharply on the hard floor. After
making sure that her screaming son was
unhurt, she cooed softly to quiet him as she retrieved the brown envelope stuck to
his filthy bib, and opened it with
one-hand against the counter. Turning it upside down a piece of parchment and a
small box slid out. She picked up the
note and shook it open. The blood drained from her face. Far away, it seemed, she
could hear Vernon cursing and
chasing the owl out the window, then slamming it shut. Harry was laughing. It was
the very first time that she had ever
heard him laugh, and under the circumstances, it struck her as ominous. Eventually,
she grew aware that Vernon was
yelling at her, his eyes glued on her stricken face. He was frantically asking if
Dudley was hurt. “He’s fine . . . for
now,” she finally managed to whisper. Clutching her son tight to her chest
despite the mess, she handed Vernon the
note and sank into a chair.
She now picked up the small, stained, brown envelope that still held the
small box with her sister and James’s wedding
rings and the note. Petunia didn’t bother to pull them out. She knew, by
heart, every word the owl had delivered.
Two sisters’ sons raised side by
in separate worlds, but by blood tied
The first born must choose to stay
or be true to blood, and enter the
But be forewarned, once he crosses into
he can attain his heart’s
Or it can cost him nothing
than everything he does
Beware it is what he does
that may prevent his coming
Vernon had raged. He raged at the owl “who tried to kill his
son.” He raged at Harry. He raged at magic. He raged at
her. Petunia had never revealed the entire contents of the letters, especially
Dumbledore’s. She had simply paraphrased
selected details. But as Vernon raged, she perceived dawning comprehension in his
face. He had already acquired a
dislike of, and anger toward, magic. Harry was a burden, a bother, an annoyance.
Now, though, there was a palpable
shift. His family -- his son -- was in danger, and he was powerless to protect them.
Hate and fear took root. Petunia felt
her insides lurch.
The following Monday morning, at Vernon’s insistence, Petunia posted a
letter to Dumbledore along with a copy of the
owl’s note. The letter demanded that Harry be removed immediately. But that
wasn’t all it contained. Petunia had
concerns other than Harry on her mind. She had spent all weekend going over
everything in her head, putting the
pieces of the puzzle together into a fearful, ever more alarming picture.
Petunia picked the letter up off of the sink. It was Dumbledore’s
reply, his last letter.
I found your recent letter most
distressing in all respects. I caution you not to make any rash decisions. Had I
known on that tragic night that you were estranged from Lily and that Mr. Dursley
held such bitter anger toward
James and Lily, I would have found another solution, even if it wasn’t as safe
for Harry. I question why you agreed
to take him, particularly after the severe reactions you and your son experienced.
But now, I’m afraid it is too late to
make new arrangements without putting everyone involved in immediate danger
(especially considering everything
you’ve just written to me). I am resigned to the possibility that little Harry
may not be destined for happiness. That
he is well and safe may be all that we can hope for.
It pains me to hear that with two small
boys in the house, you and your husband have been unable to afford your
education and career aspirations. I was not privy to the terms of your
parents’ or sister’s Will, but I’m sure if you
were a beneficiary, you would have been contacted by now. I regret that we are
unable to offer any financial aid
without drawing suspicion from both the magical world and from your own government.
As I wrote previously, it is
best that you keep a low profile and our contact to a minimum until Harry begins
school with us.
I want to mention that the funerals were
really lovely. I am sorry that you could not attend. I know how much they
meant to you. Though it will be too little, too late, after Harry is at Hogwarts, I
could share my memory of them with
you if you like.
Concerning the owl and its package: I
fully appreciate your hysterics. Additionally, I am extremely disturbed that
you received an owl without my knowledge and from an unknown source obviously aware
of the situation. Your
photocopy of the note, along with the description of your son’s illness at the
time of Voldemort’s attack, totally
surprised me -- as did your description of the changes you felt. However, they lead
me to only one conclusion: The
blood-bond is much stronger than even I suspected. I never considered that, as
diluted as it is in your son, that he
would have felt anything. Had I known, I again might have chosen differently. I am
ashamed of my dereliction. I
should have considered all possibilities no matter how remote. That much I owed you.
Please forgive my ignorance
and what it has cost -- is costing -- you and your family.
The note is a complete mystery. You say
that you do not know who sent it, but that you recognize the rings as
definitely belonging to James and Lily. What concerns me most is that few people
would have had access to their
rings after they were murdered. If anything else happens, or if there is additional
contact or suspicious behavior,
please alert me right away. It is of the utmost importance. As to the note itself, I
checked with the Department of
Mysteries and was informed that they do not keep track of prophecies concerning
non-magical persons -- a grave
oversight in my opinion. As to its interpretation, I can only confirm your worst
Now to the last matter you mentioned: I
pray that you reconsider. I believe that Mr. Dursley should have a say in
this, despite what you’ve told me of his attitude. I do not know what effect,
if any, the blood spell would have had on
the child you are carrying. I am concerned, though, that you feel something is
different. Considering how Dudley
reacted, it is quite possible that the fetus was affected. As you also surmise, it
is possible that your baby will be
magical, as it does run in your
family, as you well know. I caution that there is no way to be sure on any of this
this stage. However, as I am indebted to you, and have learned not to discount a
mother’s intuition, I am taking
your request seriously.
I have spoken to a fine, upstanding,
childless couple who are willing to provide a secure, loving and gentle home for
your child. They have agreed to take -- in fact, have already taken -- a concoction
of potions that I had my potions
master formulate. One potion feigns a pregnancy so that even the midwife will not be
able to tell the difference.
Another is a veracity-altering charm, so that they, themselves, now believe the
pregnancy is real. If they end up with
your baby, they will know no other truth than that the child is theirs. The depth of
the couple’s sacrifice, generosity,
and ability to love is such that, before taking the potion, they were made aware
that if you change your mind -- and
they understand that I am urging you to do so -- they will think that they have lost
their first and only child in
childbirth. I did assure them, that if that were the case, I would reveal the truth
to them as soon as I deemed it safe
to do so. As they have Squibs on both sides of the family, they are completely unconcerned that the child may be
But let me repeat myself: PETUNIA DURSLEY, ARE YOU SURE? Losing a
child under any circumstance is very
traumatic. I assume you have given careful consideration to the effect this will
have on you and your husband. It is
possible that it will be far worse than your assumption about raising magical
offspring could ever be. Humans have
a great capacity for love, and if given the opportunity to change, often do. I
beseech you to give Mr. Dursley this
opportunity. But if you are determined, I have included a vial containing a draught
that you should take when you
begin labor. NOTE: DRINK THE ENTIRE CONTENTS AS THERE IS A RETURN RECEIPT CHARM
ATTACHED TO THE VIAL WHEN EMPTIED WHICH WILL INFORM ME OF YOUR INTENTIONS SO THAT
I CAN PROCEED ACCORDINGLY.
After drinking the potion, your baby will
be born silent, and to all appearances, breathless. Your doctors will attempt
to revive the child. This will be your last
chance to change your mind! If you wish to keep your baby simply call out
to it, and the spell will be broken. But if you remain silent, your baby will
feign death, be processed, and a trusted
party will take it from there with no one but us three the wiser. I assure you that
your baby will not be in discomfort
or danger at any time.
Again, I urge you to reconsider. Magical
or not, your child should be safe with you as long as you abide by my
earlier instructions. As previously discussed, the ancient blood spell that Lily
used to save Harry created a very
strong blood-bond that flows through his veins, your veins, and apparently those of
your children. I have a feeling
that blood-bond will draw them together despite our best efforts. Your sacrifice may
be for naught, and your
decision may haunt you in ways that you cannot possibly foresee. Please, please
reconsider. This is not a path you
have to choose.
We are constructing a precarious
“house of cards” in this ever-complicated game of secrecy and deceit.
reluctant player, I laid the foundation when I asked you to take Harry. Now we must
place each card with a careful,
steady hand if we hope to succeed. The winds of time are against us. If the
foundation is not sound, all will crumble.
Always at your
Petunia sat deadly still, the pain of the silence echoing forth from that
fateful day to this moment. The tears were gone,
long since cried. Dumbledore was right. Though she had feared the direction
Vernon’s rage was taking him, something
more essential was lost when he held their “stillborn” daughter. It was
as if he had taken his general faith in the
goodness of the world and had squeezed it into some small, hidden-away container.
She understood completely.
Reaching into the box, she held the vial up to the light. She often felt that she
had exchanged a portion of her own soul
with its original contents, and that’s why she had such a feeling of emptiness
deep inside. Or perhaps they had both
buried a portion of their soul in the small coffin that she knew was otherwise
empty. She would never forgive herself
for what she had done to Vernon. She, at least, knew the truth, and could furtively
search the faces on the platform at
King’s Cross when leaving or picking up Harry.
Petunia sat there rocking slightly, cradling the vial in her palm, the words
covering her lap. How long she remained,
she did not know. She was startled by a rap on the door.
“Mummy? I need to use the loo.”
“Okay Diddly, just a minute.”
She flushed, using the noise to cover any sound as she quickly stuffed
everything back in the box and closed the lid.
She splashed some water onto her streaked face, and roughly scrubbed it, while she
waited for the seam to disappear.
Then, pushing the tissue aside, she gently dropped it in the shoe box. She grabbed
another towel off of the door and
wrapped it around the box. She glanced in the mirror to see if it looked like a
bundle of dirty towels and caught her
breath with the semblance it had to a swathed child. With a sigh, she opened the
“There you go, Diddlekums. These are dirty. I’ll be right back
with a fresh towel.” He was so big now, but still so
vulnerable. She and Vernon showered him with all they knew to give. What was it
that he possibly could still lack?
Dudley frowned as she searched his eyes. “Are you feeling any
“Not really. I still feel terribly cold and I have an awful headache
and can’t sleep,” Dudley moaned. She lightly felt his
forehead, but resisted the urge to draw him close. “Is there any chocolate
left? ” he mumbled.
She dropped her hand. “You ate it all. Did it really help? I might have
some baker’s chocolate up in the cabinet. You
won’t like it as much. And I think I have something that should help you
sleep. I’ll bring them up. You should be fine
“Okay, Mum,” Dudley yawned.
With the box and Dudley safely back where they each belonged, Petunia curled
beside Vernon and listened to his
snoring. No one had any right to fault him. It seemed inconceivable to her now that
she had betrayed his trust. And yet
she had. She had asked a lot of him. More than he knew. More than she would ever
confess. It is only natural for a man
to fear what he cannot understand or protect his loved ones from. He’s a good
man, she thought. We’re well liked by
our friends, and he’s respected by his colleagues -- even without a college
degree. And Dudley . . . he simply mirrors
what he observes. That’s what children do. She could, and would if
necessary, defend them both. But could she defend
herself? I keep a clean house and a respectable garden. The neighbors never have
cause to complain, or take undue
note of us even with Harry’s . . . I keep a keen eye out for anything strange
or unusual. It’s been hard but we’ve made it
thus far. I’ve been stern, there’s no room for mistakes, but I
don’t think of myself as mean and hard-hearted.
But I am, aren’t I? At least to Harry. She had gone to the past
for answers. She had read the letters, dug at the roots of
the bitterness that had become her constant companion and she did not like what she
had uncovered. She could defend
her reasoning. It was all right there in the letters: An explanation . . . but not a
justification. She had told herself she
was doing what was best for her family, but she realized now that her choices had
been ruled by fear and guilt and not
by love, and most certainly not out of love for herself or for Harry. The hollowness
inside expanded to swallow her.
She felt trapped by circumstances, by the past, by emotions beyond her control, and
by her inability to believe that she
could affect change. Or that even if she did, that it would atone for