Houses Competition: Year 2, Round 4
[Prompt]: Petunia Dursley
Word Count: 1954
Beta: Pix (THANK YOU FOR YOUR HELP OMG)
Tags: OOC Petunia Dursley
In Love We Trust
The first time Petunia Dursley had happily hosted a birthday party for Harry Potter was when he was four years old. She had been extremely excited because a fourth birthday party is one of the first birthdays where a child would start to actually remember them. There had been a chocolate truffle cake, homemade, of course, along with an assortment of everything she knew her nephew loved - butterscotch milkshake, apple pie, potato scones and cookies, fresh from the oven.
Streamers and bunches of balloons hung from the arches all over the house. She had cute signs hung in the windows, and one big one on the front door. Harry had been instructed not to step out of his room until he heard Uncle Vernon call for him. She had sent Dudley to keep Harry company, and had instructed her son to be tight-lipped about the details of the celebration.
All the neighbours had come, setting prettily wrapped packages on the gift table. Once they were all inside, Vernon called out for Harry. Shaking with nervous excitement with Dudley on his heels, Harry was met with the familiar faces of all his neighbours wishing him a happy birthday.
Petunia fawned over him, requesting him to bear with his uncomfortable bow tie for only half an hour and promising to undo it herself later. She'd kissed the top of his head as she led him to the cake, and watched with delight as his eyes widened with glee. After the candles lit up, he scrunched his eyes shut, making a wish with utter concentration before blowing them all out.
Vernon was on his side seconds later and slipped the harmless plastic knife in Harry's hands. Grasping his small hand with his chubby one, he guided his nephew in cutting out a careful triangular piece of cake. Harry promptly had a small bite of it, grinning as the rest of the Dursleys took a small bite of it too.
That night, Harry had confided in Petunia that he had wished he could see his mum and dad, or at least knew what they looked like. For the first time in years, she had wished she hadn't thrown away every last photo she had had of her sister, if not for anything else, for this little boy.
At Harry's next birthday, Petunia was not as excited. Not a lot of people had been invited either because of the unfortunate haircut incident. She was too afraid to have people around the boy because she wouldn't know what to expect. After that, it hadn't been just his hair growing out whenever she cut it; vegetables he didn't want to eat disappeared off his plate and his toys hovered above the floor sometimes. He'd even accidentally broken a wine glass in the kitchen from all the way across the hall, which had scared Petunia, her husband, and even Dudley too.
She herself was still unsure about how she felt about all the strange things going on. The whole situation made her extremely nervous. She had decided that if she didn't address the issue with him and he didn't know what he was, maybe the magic in him would just fade away.
So counting on that thought, though a part of her told her that she was being irrational, she didn't talk to him about it at all. She never mentioned stories about her sister growing up and going through the same things that he did. She never let him know that what he was going through might be 'normal' for him. She only wanted the weirdness to go away. Fortunately, the birthday evening had passed without incident, the cake was cut and the guests thanked her and left after a pleasant evening, and all was well.
On his ninth birthday, a confused Harry was locked away in the cupboard under the stairs, and Petunia had hardened herself against the wails of her nephew as he called out to her. She refused to explain to Dudley about why she had done it as he tried to get his mother to unlock his cousin. That night, she forced herself to be firm. She had instructed her son to go to bed without another word.
The next day, she unlocked the cupboard to give the boy some breakfast. His face was swollen from all the crying, and the moment the door had opened, he had hugged her tightly, apologising over and over again. It broke Petunia's heart a little because she knew that Harry still had no idea what he was apologising for and had always been told that an apology could fix everything.
It couldn't fix him. It couldn't take the magic out of him. Unfortunately, nothing ever would.
Harry's eleventh birthday had been a nightmare. Petunia would never forget that horrible day and the days that had led up to it. The entire family had fled for their lives, hiding out in a little-know location where Vernon insisted that they would be safe. Petunia had been skeptical of the plan, but she'd gone along with it anyway, having no other idea at the time. They were all so terrified, and they had to think of Dudley, first and foremost. After the giant had taken Harry away, Vernon had paced around the makeshift bedroom in the lighthouse restlessly, grumbling under his breath. Petunia sat silently on her bed as the storm raged on outside, having just managed to put Dudley to sleep.
She had snubbed Vernon's desire to find Harry. First off, because her husband wouldn't know what to do with the boy once he found him, and second, Petunia realized the reality of their situation was out of their control now. Besides, even if they did go looking for Harry, she had an inkling that they wouldn't be able to find him.
The next morning, the shaken family made the drive back to Privet Drive in complete silence. The silence was only broken once by Dudley, who had quietly whispered, "Is that why you hate him?"
It was met with a strained response from Vernon. "Shut up, boy!"
Petunia did not bother correcting her son; she had never hated Harry, no. She was a little scared of what he was, and quite possibly even slightly envious. As she gazed out at the landscape whizzing past them, she chanced a look at Dudley, clearly uncomfortable as he nervously played with his hands.
"Magic is not something to be proud of Dudley," she said at last, taking a deep breath.
He looked up at his mother curiously, waiting for her to continue.
"My sister was a witch," she said, making Dudley gasp. "And when you have m-magic, you are not normal. Not having magic? That is normal. Harry isn't. Your Aunt Lily wasn't either."
With that, she turned her gaze back to the window, absentmindedly staring outside the car. She let the rest of the scenery pass, unfocused and blurry, all the while ignoring the furtive looks Vernon was throwing at her. Their quiet, respectable life, or the facade that they had built up around themselves, had finally slipped, fallen, and shattered all around them. There was no use in pretending that they were a 'normal' family, with a 'normal' boy that they had taken to raise as their own. Harry had hardly been 'normal', and the strangeness and completely 'un-normal' occurrences that had plagued them for all those years could no longer be denied as anything other than what they really were.
He was a wizard. He was going to a wizard school. He was going to be a thing that Petunia's sister had become, and there was nothing that she or Vernon could do to prevent that. Part of her heart felt for the boy who had no real family any longer. They could hardly pretend to be supportive of something that Vernon refused to accept and Petunia could not bring herself to reconcile with. But he was a boy who still needed someone, and as long as he needed them, she would take him in. That strange man had said they wouldn't have a choice about it anyway. Even so, Petunia would have taken Harry back if he came to them. She wondered if Harry would come back for the summer and winter holidays, or choose to stay in that godforsaken castle Lily had always raved about. She wouldn't be surprised if he chose to stay back.
The year Harry had turned seventeen had been a long year. He had been quieter than usual at home, staying locked up in his room, this time out of choice. Petunia's hand would shake as she sipped from the long-stemmed wine glass in the middle of the night, listening to the screams from his nightmares every once in a while. It hadn't seemed as bad as it used to be but it had been enough to leave Petunia restless and unable to sleep.
When Harry had told her that they should leave the house along with Vernon and Dudley, for their own safety, she hadn't completely believed him. She initially suspected that he wanted the house to himself.
She remembered with clarity his eleventh birthday, when they HAD run from the house, and how it hadn't done the family any good anyway.
And then, with a controlled anger that she hadn't seen since the last time she'd seen her sister Lily, he had explained that the wizard who had murdered his parents would come for him again. That his family would be the first that the monster would target. Again. That was the first time Petunia had realized that her sister and her husband had died because a wizard had wanted to kill her nephew, who was but a baby.
The tremor in Harry's voice was confirmation enough that he was telling the truth, and she had curtly nodded and Vernon had shrugged helplessly as she instructed her husband and son to pack their things.
It was only after he had returned months after their hurried departure at night that she realized the burden her nephew had carried all these years. He had confided having seen his mother's spirit to her, and she had listened with tears in her eyes. She couldn't believe that he had died, if only for seconds. But then he was a wizard, so what did she really know? Something about the way he said it, with resignation and a tiredness that made him seem so much older than she knew him to be, that made her believe it.
The next time Petunia Dursley happily hosted a birthday party for Harry Potter was when he turned eighteen. She was extremely excited because she was determined to make up for all the terrible birthdays he'd had in between. The house had been freshly scrubbed, and she had made Dudley help, even with the whining and complaining. She had asked Harry to invite some of his friends too. When he told her that a few would be coming, she was so proud that he had found friends to call his own.
Balloons once again were tied up in every corner of their house. Streamers ran from point to point along the ceiling, lining up with the finials and trim, ending with big bows everytime they hit a corner. The centerpiece on the dining room table was a large chocolate truffle cake, homemade, of course, along with an assortment of everything she remembered her nephew loved - butterscotch milkshakes, apple pie, potato scones, and cookies. The beverages on the sideboard included a curious addition as well, something called 'butterbeer' that she had started to enjoy very much.