Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter.
That Awful Day
Petunia Dursley sat in her kitchen, her hands shaking as she stared into space. Vernon had lumbered upstairs and gone to bed, and her poor Dudley ... she shuddered as the image of Dudley surfaced in her mind. He was upstairs in his own bed, weak and shaken. Not that long before, he'd been violently ill. She had wanted to stay with him, to comfort him through the night, but he had told her that he would be okay, and practically begged her to leave the room. Reluctantly, she had done so, but her instincts were screaming at her to go back to him and stay with him as the night progressed.
And that Potter brat ... another shudder rippled through Petunia's body, but this one was of revulsion. Harry Potter, with that messy mop of black hair,, those filthy round-rimmed glasses, and those eyes, those despicable, grotesque, probing, judging eyes that looked at Petunia, the eyes that screamed betrayal whenever they gazed upon her. How could you treat me like that? they seemed to say, and that only drove Petunia into a further fury. The boy had no right, absolutely no right, to look at her that way.
As she wrapped her quaking hands around her tea mug, she thought back over the events of the evening. Her tea had gone cold, but she didn't seem to care; she hadn't taken a sip of it in a long time. Her mind was churning and frothing with so many negative emotions, it was so hard to differentiate between them. Terror, grief, fury, and hatred roiled through her in equal measure.
I knew it, she thought, and her face showed an expression of pure venom. I knew this would happen. I never wanted anything to do with Lily's lot, because I knew they would hurt my family. And I was right.
She remembered back to a time when she had heard her precious, naive, trusting little sister discussing Dementors with that vile boy, Severus Snape. She recalled a similar shudder of equal fear and disgust travelling up her spine as the two spoke of them. She thought back to the countless nights when she had tried to tell herself over and over again that it was better for her not to go to that freak school, because then she would never have to worry about demonic creatures like those. This was only marginally successful, for the raw jealousy that Lily had the perfect life was always ripping through her, threatening to swallow her whole.
She and Lily used to be so incredibly close, she reflected, and then magic had stolen her, made her truly unrecognizable from the little girl who used to play dolls with her, and always ask for Petunia's approval whenever she wanted to do anything. She remembered that dark day when everything changed, when Lily started to show her things that made dread bubble in her stomach. There had been that freaky trick with the swings, and the equally bizarre one with the flower petals. When she had been alone, she had tried with all her might to do those things, too, but it never worked. She wasn't like spoiled, perfect, pampered, I-Can-Do-No-Wrong Princess Lily.
Bitterly, she thought of how the Dementors had touched her family anyway, even though she'd never been able to go to the freak school. If she had, she snarled to herself, she might have been able to save her Dudders, just like Lily had saved Harry from the monster trying to destroy him. No! she instantly thought, horrified by where her mind was going. If my sister had seen that world for what it truly was, then neither Harry nor Dudley would have to be saved in the first place.
Well, you should be grateful Harry was around to do so, especially with how Dudley has always treated him, a persistent voice nagged at her, and she mentally cringed back from it. That voice sounded far too much like Lily's for comfort, and it always spoke truths that crushed her to her core. You should be grateful to him rather than hating him and treating him like less than dirt. How could you do that to my baby? Who are you, Petunia?
Petunia was truly sick of her conflicting emotions, especially this one. Guilt. Because deep down, she knew she treated Harry abominably, but she couldn't seem to stop. And the longer it went on, the more angrily her conscience spoke to her. But it was a vicious cycle, and she knew it would never end. The anger at what her sister had become, her fury at Albus Dumbledore, whose awful voice from tonight's accursed letter still echoed through her mind, for putting her and her precious family in this situation, her abhorrence and terror towards the thing currently upstairs in the second bedroom, her spite and envy at the man who had loved Lily and had helped bring about Petunia's misery, warred with the guilt eating her alive every single time she looked into Harry's emerald eyes, and the sorrow and grief when she thought back on who Lily used to be.
Because that was the crux of it. A part of her which she rarely thought about, a part she tried insistently to bury, mourned for her little sister, the girl she had promised to always love and protect, and she had failed. She had let Lily go to that world, find a place in it, and subsequently die for it. Her little sister left her emotionally years ago, and now there was no physical presence of her left either, except in the boy who had her green eyes, and who had, she thought as her heart clenched with a surge of emotion, saved her son's life.
And then, Petunia did something she swore she would never do again. She had promised herself, on the first night that she and Vernon had been burdened with Harry, to never let it happen. But now, as she finally let go of her teacup, the overwhelming emotions were too much for her, and she broke her promise. Petunia Dursley lay her head on the kitchen table, closed her eyes, and began to sob.