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Despite My Best Efforts by Aisu Hoshino
Chapter 1: Despite My Best Efforts
Disclaimer: I don’t own Harry Potter.
In most cases, the younger child in a family gets frustrated at having to live up to the older child’s standards. The older child worries about being replaced by the younger – a worry that normally goes away after a while because there is nothing to worry about.
Neither one of those statements is completely true in my case.
I was the eldest in the family, yet I was constantly compared to Lily, and the being-replaced feeling never went away.
It wasn’t a problem when I was a little child; my parents never showed any favoritism for the first five years of Lily’s life. That was the happiest time in my life. I’d come home from school and be praised for good grades and looked up to by my younger sister. I loved her very much then, when she would come to me with every little problem she had – or, rather, thought she had (kids worry about pointless things). I often laughed or smiled and strange things that would happen with Lily, unaware that they were signs of her magical abilities.
Things began going downhill when Lily started school. She made better grades than I did and made more friends more quickly. I had a couple of close friends in school, but everybody seemed to love Lily. Her brains and popularity quickly made her more prized by my parents, especially my father.
At first it wasn’t too bad and I tried to ignore it. However, when my parents started buying Lily anything she desired even when it wasn’t her birthday or Christmas. When I would ask for something when it wasn’t one of those days, their response was either “You have an allowance, get it yourself” (she had an allowance, too), “she needs this for ____” (I needed stuff, too), or “Stop being a baby, Petunia” (they were being unfair!).
For a while I thought things would improve – Lily would have to disappoint them at some time, I told myself – but things only got worse. I became just a person who they fed and housed instead of their daughter.
Then during the summer when Lily was eleven, something unexpected happened. A letter came inviting Lily to attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. We all thought it was a prank at first, until a person from the Ministry of Magic came and confirmed that magic was real by turning my hair electric blue.
Surely, I thought, this will change things for the better. Everything was clear now; Lily was a freak of nature and had bewitched everyone into praising and liking her. My parents would see this and bestow their love upon me again!
I was dead wrong; things only worsened. They were so proud to have someone so “unique and special” in the family. Lily wasn’t around much after she started that school, but my parents talked about her so much that I would have preferred her to be there. Whenever I did something wrong, I always heard the phrase “Lily would never do such a thing!”. When Lily was home, she got every ounce of attention anyone had to offer. She would tell everything about events at that school as if it were the best place on earth.
When my parents died, they left almost everything to Lily. I got the furniture in the living room, because every piece was Lily’s least favorite color and Lily had been given a beautiful furniture set by the parents of that Potter boy when they got married.
Potter – he was another thing Lily had over me. At the age of 19 she had a good-paying job that she seemed to love and was married to a rich, handsome, talented guy who adored her more than I thought anyone could adore anybody (and this was after living with my parents for all my life!). I was in my twenties, had a job I hated, and didn’t even have a boyfriend.
And then I met Vernon. I fell in love with him instantly. When we were in a crowd, he paid little attention to anyone else, he had big plans, he wanted a family, and he hated Lily and her abilities more so than me.
We married quickly and life was sweet. I had Dudley over a month before Lily had Harry, meaning I was the first to have a child and I decided to be a better mother than Lily could ever dream of. Dudley would have all of my love and attention and would be spoiled like I never was. When they were older, I thought, Dudley would be much better off than Harry and there would be no doubt who was the best mother between me and Lily.
And then Lily was killed.
Although I hated Lily with every fiber of my being, I never wanted her dead. I never dreamed anybody, wizard or Muggle, could kill her. I was so worried when I heard of her death; although Volde-whatever was dead, what was to stop his followers from killing my Dudley. I couldn’t, I wouldn’t let it happen.
When Dumbledore told me to take Harry in, I hated the idea – until I read further down the letter and found the part about Harry not being able to be harmed. If he was protected in our home, then so were we.
Taking Harry in also gave me the opportunity to pay Lily back for all troubles she caused me. Dudley would have lots of friends and would have anything his heart desired and Harry would be lonely and unwanted like I always was.
My plans have failed me again, like always. Harry will be the savior of the world and Dudley, as much as I hate to admit it, will amount to little – especially when compared to that. Even after death, Lily has outdone me, despite my best efforts. In life she was smart, beautiful, talented, and loved by everyone. In death, she went bravely and ensured that someone with the power to defeat Volde-whatever lived.
Despite my best efforts, I, Petunia Corrine Evans Dursley, have failed everyone and at everything – school, work, myself, and even Dudley, whom I swore to never, ever fail.
Author’s Notes:I know there are other things I should have worked on before this, but I was hit with a burst of inspiration and had to write this. If you read this, pleas review. All comments are appreciated, whether they are positive or negative.