Chapter 5 : Petunia Dursley
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-John Milton, Paradise Lost Book 1
Jeremiah Smith, Senior Reporter, The Daily Prophet
The most notorious wizard of this century has fallen at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry after a siege lasting several hours. Followers of the defeated Dark Lord are currently being rounded up in the hundreds and escorted forcefully to Azkaban, where they will await punishment and retribution for the reign of terror.
“There is still a great deal of healing to be done,” says Filius Flitwick, Charms Master at Hogwarts, dusting grime from his silver beard…
CENTAUR REVOLTS SPARK CONTROVERSY ACROSS BRITAIN
Rita Skeeter, Political Correspondent and Columnist, The Daily Prophet
Notorious centaur leader, known simply as ‘Bane,’ has finally been felled by a squad of Senior Aurors in a nasty skirmish outside Brighton. Hordes of magical creatures, spear-headed by the vicious centaurs of the Forbidden Forest, have risen up against wizarding government all over Britain, and the fall of their ringleader is seen as a great triumph.
While many soft-hearted wizards, including the hastily appointed Minister Shacklebolt who is a card-carrying member of the Centaur and Other Magical Inhabitants Coalition (COMIC) have sympathized with the centaurs’ demands for more power, other influential and respected Ministry members insist that the only way to subdue these riots are through pure force and wizarding might.
“These rebellious subordinates are over-reaching their boundaries,” sniffs Dolores Umbridge, advocate for wizarding solidarity. Madam Umbridge, a charismatic woman, is certain that the future of wizardkind depends on squashing this threat, risen from the ashes of You-Know-Who’s tyranny.
“Centaurs are beasts that cannot comprehend wizarding reason, and only by asserting wizarding supremacy will this danger to our children and nation be secured,” she says.
Madam Umbridge, former Undersecretary to the Minister, is currently a front-runner in the Wizemgamot Elections, renowned for her knowledge of law and policy, and her firm hand in delivering justice…
COURTROOM RIOTS: FIVE DEAD, SEVERAL INJURED
Verity Burke, Freelance Journalist, The Daily Prophet
The wizarding world was shocked to learn of a riot and mob breaking out during the long-awaited Death Eater trials this Friday, leaving five individuals dead in it’s wake.
The mob broke out during the trial Stan Shunpike, a former Death Eater whose innocence because of the implied influence Imperius Curse had been widely controversial in the media. Mr. Shunpike was among the dead, as the chains holding him to the convict’s chair prevented him from fleeing from an outbreak of Fiendfyre during the riot.
“It was madness,” says Harry Potter, the savior of the wizarding world who was present during the trial and hoping for Shunpike’s release.
Potter has been a voice for the rehabilitation of former Death Eaters, claiming publically that not all convictions are black and white.
“A lot of people are being punished unfairly,” Potter insists, rubbing his hand over the infamous scar on his forehead. “The riot at the Ministry was just proof: we need to stop killing, and start fixing for the future.”
The matter of Shunpike’s innocence has been closed, and all other trials of former Death Eaters suspended until the Ministry courtrooms have been repaired…
Little Whinging, Christmastime, 12 Years, Seven Months, Fifteen Days and Eight Hours AV
A keener observer would have collected news of the events, following the seeds of change that over the years would change not only wizarding Britain, but the lives of Muggles as well. But all controversy was wasted on the residents of Number Four Privet Drive, Little Whinging.
Mr. and Mrs. Dursley of Number Four Privet Drive were proud to say they were perfectly normal, thank you very much, and that their lives had been for over ten years, exactly when their horrid nephew Harry disappeared from their lives forever. (Besides a year spent with two dreadful, oddball captors who insisting on teaching the Dursleys a dreadful game called Exploding Snap, of course, but the Dursleys ignored all memories of those dark days).
Christmas Day. Petunia fondly watched Vernie and Timmie playing on the floor. Vernie appeared to have his slightly smaller brother in a headlock, and Timmie was whimpering. Ah, boys will be boys. Surrounding them was that year’s carnage: stuffed toys and trains and computer games… of course, the boys had just looked past all this and gone straight to their brand new iPods. Top of the line, Grandad Vernon had boasted proudly, face a crimson red. Petunia sipped her tea and smiled at her grandsons. Nothing could ruin this Christmas day for her.
Nothing, except for what Dudders was about to hand to her from the pile of Christmas mail, uncertainty twisting on his large face. Petunia looked down and let out a little gasp, nearly dropping it in her dismay. She recovered, quickly, clutching it out of reach of the boys: the last thing she wanted was to expose her little darlings to this.
Every year it arrived, and every year Petunia was equally horrified, having blocked last year’s experience from her mind. Last year she had disposed of it without even sneaking a peek.
Every year, she received a Christmas card from the Potters.
There they were, nauseatingly messy and abnormal. The wife, a slight blush spreading across her face as she grinned at the camera. Beside her, a small boy snuggled up against her side, sucking his thumb, a pair of crooked glasses perched on his nose. A large, terrifying canine creature grinned lazily at the camera, drool dripping lazily from his pointed teeth.
Behind the mother and son, the older boy appeared to about to drop a wriggling spider on his brother’s head. Petunia shuddered in horror. Doubtlessly it was some sort of freak spider altered to bite one’s nose off or something equally repulsive. Her horrid nephew would indeed have found that funny. The elder boy had messy brown hair that annoyingly reminded her of her nephew and his dreadful mop. For a moment she felt a tang of pity for the unnamed redheaded wife: imagine being forced to raise two of them! She, Petunia, had perhaps gotten the better end of the stick.
The wicked nephew in question grinned proudly at the camera, irritatingly scrawny and obnoxiously arrogant as he had been as a child, tormenting poor Dudders, snidely lurking in the cupboard under the stairs and making things explode. Seeing his familiar cheeky grin made poor Petunia want to tear at her hair. As she watched, Harry ran a hand through his own hair and smiled up at her bashfully, his arms wrapped tightly around a small toddler he bounced in his lap.
Tiny, elfin, the little girl beamed at the camera, one miniature hand clasped firmly and territorially around her father’s sleeve. She giggled as his lips gave her a light, affectionate kiss on the cheek, snuggling closer into his warm lap. Her hair framed her face in a dark red halo, her cheeks rosy and thin, her eyes sparkling.
And while others said the little girl was the spitting image of her mother and her Weasley uncles, while some claimed the little girl had her father’s thoughtful frown and the rueful will of the Potters, Petunia Dursley looked at her and all she saw was Evans.
Evans in the quizzical tilt of her head. Evans in the softness of her hair. Evans in her thin face. Evans in her bright glow, emanating throughout the picture and warmly melting all that it touched.
She looks like me, Petunia thought to herself. Like us.
Petunia flipped the card open, in her haste nearly forgetting to conceal the moving picture from her boys. She skimmed the rounded writing:
Dear friends and family,
It has been another hectic year at the Potter home! Harry has recently been promoted to Senior Auror in the department. The boys keep us busy with their antics: James brags endlessly about how he’s going to be the new Gryffindor Seeker and Albus talks constantly about getting his first wand. As if we would let him near a wand until absolutely necessary- he’d have the house blown up in minutes! Lily –
And there it was, the name Petunia had gone so many years without uttering, the name that this child, this reincarnated Evans, now bore. The name, dry and rough on the tip of her tongue, waiting to be spoken.
-chatters away constantly and is quite pleased with herself. Harry spoils her rotten and is her constant attendant, of course. Much love, and a Merry Christmas to all!
Ginny, Harry, James, Albus, Lily, and Moony (ruff!)
Petunia excused herself, smiling tightly at her grandsons and Diddlekins as she passed. In the empty kitchen, she poured herself a cup of tea (one milk, no sugar) and sipped at it quickly, letting the warm, fluid liquid settle her nerves. Out of habit, she left a small layer of tea in the bottom of the cup: it was the Lily’s share, an inherited habit from when she was a girl called Tuney Evans.
All those years ago, young Tuney and Lily Evans had giggled when Daddy, an enthusiastic whiskey drinker, had explained it to them: when whiskey is ageing in a barrel, a portion of it evaporates and this is for the angels. Of course, Lily would never really understand evaporation, she went to learn Potions and Charms and all sorts of horrid things of which Petunia had no desire to learn.
Tuney and Lily had taken to saving the last little bit of their portions for each other: some nights, Tuney’s share would be the delicious center of a chocolate chip cookie, and she would gobble it down gratefully. Other times, she would save the sweetest lemonade for Lily’s share. And every so often, edging past middle age, Petunia Dursley would save a little share for Lily, just in case she was hungry in Heaven. She would never acknowledge it aloud, of course.
Feeling calmer, Petunia swirled the Lily’s share in the teacup before putting it aside. She cringed as the cutlery jar squeaked loudly and extracted a pair of scissors.
Carefully, meticulously, Petunia snipped the card from the Potters, leaving only the small piece in which the toddler Lily beamed out. Putting this in her pocket, she crumpled up the rest of the picture and tossed it in the bin, Harry Potter’s likeness looking puzzled at the disappearance of his daughter, the cut-out from his arms: one of the little black-haired boys began to cry silently.
Composing herself and walking back to rejoin the rest of the family, Petunia smiled primly and gave Vernon a quick, pristine kiss on the cheek. On the carpet, little Vernie shoved his small brother into the Christmas tree (“Mine! Mine!”).
In Petunia Dursley’s pocket, her thin fingers closed gently around the grinning picture of little Lily Potter. In the kitchen, the teacup containing the Lily’s share seemed to stir.
A/N: Last chapter! There is a line that resembles Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, beginning “Mr. and Mrs. Dursley of Number Four…” so JK Rowling owns that! Thank you to everyone who stuck with this story collection, I loved experimenting with it and writing it! :)
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