Title: What Once Had Been
Disclaimer: JK owns all, I’m just borrowing them
Summary: What once had been does not mean that it will always be. Petunia reflects on what had been and what she has now.
A/N: One shot. It always seems like I’m rescuing one character or another, and for some reason I chose Petunia. Don’t ask me why, cuz I really can’t tell you. My pen started moving one night, and poof - this came out. What Once Had Been
The woman stared silently at the four walls of the house at Number 4 Privet Drive. She sighed. It was so very confining, but Vernon liked it. That had been her mantra for the last two years: but Vernon liked it so. Then one year ago today, the news came. Her parents had been killed in a tragic car crash. Her mind strayed to her sister, Lily.
Petunia Dursley didn’t think about her past if she could avoid it. And she’d been avoiding it perfectly well for the last five years. Since her older sister had been out of her life. Lily was a year older than her, fourteen months to be exact. Now here Petunia was, waiting for her sister to answer her call.
The last thing she expected was the ringing of the doorbell. Petunia made her face as neutral as possible as she rose to answer the door. She had to remember the act.
A red-haired woman she barely recognized stood on Vernon’s doorstep. Lily Potter smiled sadly at her and reached to embrace her sister.
“Petti, darling - may I come in?”
“Who are you?” Petunia feigned.
“Petunia Louise Evans, don’t you dare give me that hogwash. Especially not now.” Lily murmured quietly, staring her younger sister down.
“Get inside before that gossipy woman next door sees you. She tells Vernon absolutely everything.” Petunia hissed.
“Not to be judgmental, Petti, especially at a time like this, but you could have done much better than that moron Dursley.” Lily kissed Petunia’s cheek the second the door was closed. Her nose crinkled the second she got a proper look at the house. “Petti, I never figured you for the floral decor. You could never stand the way Mummy decorated our room in the old house.”
“Let’s not speak of such things.” Petunia said stiffly. “You heard then?”
“Petti, she and Daddy are gone. You are all the family I have left. I still can’t believe you married Vernon. You couldn’t stand him when we were children.”
“Yes, well, you ran off and married James.” Petunia sighed. She didn’t want to explain why she had chosen Vernon. It was so difficult to explain. “And you don’t like Vernon because he doesn’t like your condition.”
“My condition? It’s not a condition, it’s a gift that I have been given. And you’re right about one thing. I don’t like Vernon because he’s a fat-headed bigoted bastard who treats you like you’ve got two brain cells to rub together. And you used to like my ‘condition‘ especially when I turned all those brussel sprouts into ice cream when Mum wasn‘t looking.” Lily let out an exasperated sigh. “We both know why you flung yourself into the arms of the biggest bully in all of Surrey, and that reason’s name is Remus.”
Pain flickered in Petunia’s eyes. No, she didn’t need this, not after the news of her parents deaths.
“No, I love Vernon -” But even Petunia heard the falter in her voice.
“Then you weren’t up all those nights thinking of him? Crying out his name in your sleep? I shared a room with you for nearly seventeen years, Petti. You can lie to me, but you can’t lie to yourself.” Lily took Petunia’s shaking hands in her own. “There’s still time. He still loves you. Leave Vernon, be happy Petti.” Lily slipped a piece of paper into her sister’s hand.
“Even - “ Petunia sighed unhappily. “Even if I wanted to do this, I can’t.”
“And why the bloody hell not? Are you afraid Vernon will hurt you? He’ll never find you -”
“It’s not that.”
“Then what is it?”
“I’m pregnant, Lily. It‘s Vernon‘s, obviously. If it‘s a boy we‘re going to name it Dudley, and if it‘s a girl, Hyacinth.” The words came out automatically. To be truthful, she hated both of the names, but Vernon adored them. And could she have really come up with anything on her own?
“Remus would take care of you both. You wouldn’t have to be stuck with Dursley. Remus would love your child as if it were his own. He’d make a fantastic father.”
“Are you insane? I can’t take Vernon’s child away from him.”
Vernon had never known about her torrid affair with Remus Lupin, her sister’s wizard friend from school. He might never have married her if he’d known she’d had a past as shady as her sister’s.
“Just think it over, Petti. I know he still loves you.” The mantle clock rang out the hour, and Lily rose. “I’ve made arrangements for Mum and Dad’s memorial mass. I’ll understand if you don’t come. Just think it over, Petti?” Petunia nodded as her sister hugged her tightly. “Congratulations, Petti. You’ll make a wonderful mother. If you ever need anything, use the owl I charmed for you. Do you still remember the word?”
“Yes.” Petunia smiled wistfully.
“Hey, maybe some day your little one’ll have a cousin to play with. Take care of yourself, Petti.”
“You as well, Lily.”
Lily quickly apparated out of the house, leaving Petunia to face the heavy silence. Petunia’s hand clutched the note and she carefully unfolded it.Dearest Petti,
It saddens me to hear that you’ve married Vernon Dursley. I know I’ve no right to tell you how to live your life, nor do I have the right to rip apart what I can only believe is a happy marriage. I am still here, Pet, perhaps idly waiting for you. Should you wish to see me, I’ll be at the Leaky Cauldron until the twelfth. I’m in room seventeen. I can only urge you to follow your heart, wherever it may lead you.
With all the love I possess
Tears hit the heavy parchment. His loving words had come far too late. She folded the note carefully back up and slipped into the storage cupboard under the stairs. Pulling back the rather pointless vent, she pulled out the small strong box she’d placed there. Taking the key from the chain round her neck, she unlocked the box and put the note with all of the other mementoes of her love filled teen years. Dozens of love notes and photographs filled the box, and this note would soon join them. She did not allow herself to lament over her disappointing life.
Vernon would be home soon, and she’d barely gotten supper started. Petunia smiled sadly as her hand went to her still flat stomach. There was hope for her child, and she imagined what her child would be like. Perhaps Lily’s dream of their children playing together might come true. One final thought hit her as she put the water on to boil.
You never really forget the first boy you fall in love with, just as you never forget the sister who always watched out for you. And you never stopped dreaming for the impossible