Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter.
Hello, and welcome to a story that, in my opinion, is begging to be told. I know there have been stories with similar themes out there, but I plan to make mine very different from the ones I've already read. I am also working on two other stories at the moment, but I promise that this one will get as much time and effort put into it as the others do.
Please let me know what you think. In this opening chapter, the way Petunia and Vernon raised Harry will be explained. I hope you enjoy how I made Petunia think very differently in this universe.
The Boy Who Said No
Petunia Dursley sat at her kitchen table, her hands trembling as she stared at a piece of parchment lying in front of her. Her cup of tea, for once, was not calming her down in the slightest; it was the first time in ages that the simple beverage did nothing to ease her constant anxiety. She had barely touched it, and it had therefore gone cold. But Petunia, usually so meticulous and perfect in her habits, did not care.
Her thoughts were going at what seemed like a thousand miles an hour as her unrelenting gaze fixated on that piece of parchment, as if staring at it for long enough would just make it all go away. But it continued to lie there, stubborn and unyielding, and her demons refused to rest. Closing her eyes, Petunia laid her head on the table, an action that would be scorned by her if she saw anyone else doing it.
The parchment had been delivered that afternoon, and even though Petunia had known and dreaded its coming, she was still not prepared for it when it came to pass. To the naked eye, it would look mysterious and intriguing, but to her, it awakened all the bad feelings and memories she possessed.
Her nephew, Harry Potter, had an important birthday coming; he was soon to turn eleven years old. For a small amount of individuals in the country, it was a huge milestone, a new chapter in their story that was about to begin. This was the time that every young witch or wizard received their acceptance letter from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
Petunia felt her heart literally bursting with an enormous amount of mixed emotions as her hands continued to tremble. Oh, how she wished with all her being that the cycle wasn't beginning again. Out of everything that had happened in Petunia Dursley's life, she wanted nothing more than for magic to not exist. If the rest of her days contained nothing but boredom and inanity, she would gladly take it over the sheer terror and uncertainty that shook her to her core now.
An image of Petunia's little sister, Lily, flooded her mind. Dear, sweet little Lily, her baby sister whom she had loved with all of her heart. Her Lily, who she'd have given her entire soul to protect. Shining, gorgeous Lily, who Petunia had treated abominably, resenting her for her talents, her gifts, and her bravery. The last time Petunia had seen her beloved sister she had screamed at her, "Get away from me, freak. I hate you. It's because of you and your unnatural world that our parents are dead. I never want to speak to you again." Lily, tears streaming down her face, whispered endless apologies and had literally begged Petunia's forgiveness, which the bitter, spiteful woman had not granted. Little was she to know that she would never see her sister alive again.
The guilt Petunia felt was never-ending, and when Harry had arrived on her doorstep, it was like a sign from a higher power. She had been granted a second chance, a way of seeking redemption for the vile, soul-crushing things she had said to her baby sister. Because Petunia was now mature enough to know that the blame for their parents' deaths did not lie with Lily. Oh no, Petunia knew exactly whose fault it was. It was the same evil that had killed Lily too, that had snatched her from right under Petunia's nose and ripped the life from her forever.
The wizarding world had changed Lily from the innocent, trusting little girl who used to idolize her older sister, who would follow her around and chant, "Tuney! Tuney!" Petunia had, at the time, been thoroughly annoyed by the nickname, but now, she would give anything to be "Tuney" again. The girl who used to play dress-up, who used to giggle with Tuney on Christmas Eve while they attempted (and failed) to be as quiet as possible while they waited for Santa Claus to arrive, was gone. She had died in a war. She was twenty-one years old, and had died in a war. She belonged to a world that, no matter how many times she had tried to explain it to Petunia, was beyond her understanding. Lily had been sucked into that world, and had grown farther and farther apart from Petunia until she was barely recognizable.
And now, there was no hope for reconciliation, no hope for ever mending fences between them. Because Lily had died for a world she loved, a world who failed to protect her. A world that robbed people like Mr. and Mrs. Evans of their light, and the wizards had the nerve to try and cover it up. After all, those pathetic, difficient Muggles weren't supposed to know anything, were they? Petunia was only given the real facts because she was the sister of a witch. But to everyone else, Mr. and Mrs. Evans died in a gas explosion. Who cared about the truth anyway? Better for the wizards to save their own skins, right? Obviously people didn't deserve to know how their loved ones were murdered, Petunia mused with bitter sarcasm.
The Hogwarts acceptance letter was still sitting innocently on the kitchen table, making Petunia's rage spike to new levels as she thought of what she was about to do, the thing that would be her next step in her path to redemption. She had realized, from the moment that Harry had arrived on her doorstep in the middle of the night with only a letter in his possession, that she must take action. Over the years of raising, nurturing, and loving him, her resolve had only intensified, and her anger and bitterness towards the wizarding world had done the same.
Once upon a time, Petunia Dursley had blamed Lily for circumstances she could not control. It would be so easy, almost too easy, to do the same thing with Harry. She had read the letter that Godforsaken fool, Albus Dumbledore, had placed in the basket along with Harry, and she knew she was potentially saving the boy's life by keeping him with her family. But there was terror there, too, pure and strong, terror that the evil wizard who had snuffed out her baby sister's life would come after the Dursleys, just like he had come after her parents in order to punish Lily. But she couldn't treat Harry like she had treated Lily, could she? Harry was as much a victim of this world as Lily had been.
And she would not let Harry be a real part of that world, and Petunia would do whatever it took. There were truly no words adequate enough to express her loathing for the magical world; it had taken too much from her. Her parents, who she still loved deeply despite their preferential treatment of Lily, parents who had died needlessly in a stupid war they could never really prepare for, and above all, Lily, who she'd vowed to always take care of, Lily who, at the age of six, had had a nightmare and crawled into Petunia's bed, sobbing, and Petunia had said softly, "Don't worry, little sis. There are no monsters here, and even if there were, I would destroy them all for you."
But Petunia had failed. Lily had been harmed by a monster and she wasn't able to destroy it for her. The realization that Lily had destroyed that monster for her own son always brought Petunia to tears. But she could never forgive herself; she was the older sister, and she was supposed to fulfill that simple childhood vow.
But now she had been given another chance. She would destroy the monsters for Harry, because it was the closest she could get to Lily, the way to tell her she was truly sorry, and she needed her forgiveness.
And when the sun rose the next morning, she and Harry would sit down, eat their breakfast, and write a reply. Harry Potter would not be attending Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. He would not be part of a world which had expectations of him that were nothing short of cruel. They worshiped him, idolized him, and fawned all over him for a deed which, at one year old, was entirely impossible for him to perform. Petunia would not allow Harry to be sucked into the vortex, because she knew if she did, he would never come out again.
And she would protect her nephew until there was no more breath left in her body. This was a promise she would not break.