At The End Of The Day
Disclaimer: I'm on here enough that Umbridge may have to lend me her quill so I can remind myself...Harry Potter is not mine and belongs entirely to J.K. Rowling. (Only a few hundred more lines to let it sink in...)
A/N: So, if you follow me as an author then you know by now that I mostly obsess over Remus and the other Marudars. But here's another Lily one-shot because I felt like it and the idea wouldn't leave me alone. Enjoy!
January 18, 1960
"Hi, Lily!" Three year old Petunia cooed to her new little sister, dangling over her crib. Lily cried. "Don't cry, your sissie's here!" Petunia gave Lily a small stuffed bear. Lily spit up on it and continued to screech violently. The door to the nursery burst open and Mummy came rushing into the room, her eyes red and tired, still attempting to tie her robe as she raced to the side of the crib. She picked up Lily quickly and rocked her back and forth.
"Shhh, baby, shhh. It's alright, Mummy's here now." Lily began to calm down in her mother's arms. Once she did, Mummy looked up. "Tuny, what on earth are you doing in here? It's late, you should be asleep!"
"You didn't yell at Lily and she should be asleep!"
"Lily's a baby, Petunia! And you probably woke her up! Now get to bed! It's 2 o'clock!"
"Yes, Mummy." Petunia said sadly.
June 2, 1970
"Mum!" Petunia shouted through the house. "Lily did it again! She did the weird swing-thing!"
"No shouting in the house!" Mum scolded, coming down the stairs to greet her daughters. "Lily, sweetie, I think maybe we should visit a specialist about this. It's not normal, you know. These things you can do." Petunia was struck dumb. Lily specifically disobeys Mum and is let off with consoling sympathy and advice. Petunia tells Mum that Lily broke the rules and Petunia is reprimanded.
"There was a boy at the park today." Lily said thoughtfully. "He saw me do my trick. He called me a witch..."
"I'm sure he meant special, Lily. You're special and he was probably just shocked."
"I'm sure he meant exactly what he said." Petunia said, rolling her eyes. "She is a witch." A horrible, love stealing witch, Petunia added to herself. Who just had to be the "special" one.
"Petunia!" Mum said sharply. "Go to your room! Can't you see your sister is upset?" Petunia glared at her perfect little sister before running up the steps and slamming the door as hard as she could so that it practically rattled the door frame. She then quickly listened down from the air vent to hear what her mother said about that. Did she feel remorse? Would she come to apologize and gather her into her arms, holding her close and stroking her hair like she did to Lily? But all Petunia heard her mother say was, with a sigh, "Teenagers." And then they went back to Lily.
August 4, 1971
Lily had made friend with this boy that had called her a witch. She and Severus had actually become quite close. Petunia was glad for all the time they spent together because then she could have her parents all to herself. They talked to her about all the little things like what classes she would take, what boys had started to look nice, if maybe she would go out for football (father's dream). They talked about some of the big things too, like why her best friend didn't talk to her anymore, that she had started drawing and was really good, and a little bit of embarrassing motherly advice about her "becoming a woman."
They never talked about the really big thing, which was Lily. And Petunia was glad about that. For once she wasn't overshadowed by her younger sister.
And then, the letter came. Severus said it would. Petunia and her parents hadn't believed it and thought he was just making up stories of this school in the wizarding world. Little gullible Lily had drunk up every word he said, but Petunia hadn't tried to tell her otherwise. Let children be children, she had thought. And then the letter came. It came by owl. And it said what Severus said it would. That Lily was a witch and she would attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. A joke, Petunia had thought. It had to be a joke, to play with Lily's young mind. Petunia's parents had agreed.
The same day, a wizard had come to explain magic to them. He had escorted them to Diagon Alley and everything so that Lily could get school books, option ingriedients, robes, a cauldron, and even an owl. She also got a wand. The wizard in the shop had said that the wand chooses the wizard. Petunia had wished and wished with all of her might that one might fly off the shelf and into her hand when she came in, claiming her as master and ensuring her a place at Hogwarts. It wasn't meant to be, no matter how close she angled herself to the boxes.
And the worst part was, she had lost her parents again. "Oh, we have a witch in our family! How wonderful!" They would exclaim. And they would constantly congratulate her when all she did was turn eleven. "We always knew you were special, Lily."
And the, "Not now, Petunia, your sister's talking," phrase had once again become a common occurance. However, before Petunia had lost her parents, she had drawn a pencil sketch of a petunia flower and gave it to them. She had been so proud when they tacked it to the fridge.
That was what she had been staring at now, alone at home while her dad worked, her mum shopped, and Lily was out with her friend. A symbol of love, that she was still apart of this family. Her artwork on the fridge, not Lily's. She had a pencil in one hand and her new school notebook lying open on the kitchen counter. How would she write this?
Dear Mr. Dumbledore,
She crossed it out.
Dear Professor Dumbledore,
Better. But still not right. Writing on her school paper was just weird. Lilly's letter had come on parchment, she remembered, and that was one of the things that they had bought for her in Diagon Alley, along with quills and ink. Perhaps this Headmaster would take her more seriously if she wrote her letter on parchment.
Quickly and quietly, Petunia crept into Lily's empty room. Though no one was home, if Lily suddenly did come in, she didn't want to immediately give her whereabouts. She rummaged around until she finally found some neatly stacked parchment beside a couple jars of ink and several quills. She snatched the ink, a quill, and some parchment, then hurriedly jogged to her room across the hall, locking the door behind her. She dipped the quill into the ink and dangled it over the parchment. A single drop fell, staining a small corner. After a little practice with the unfamiliar writing tool, Petunia eventually got the hang of it so that she could write with her typically neat and perfect penmanship. Impressions were everything, after all. She thought a little, and then began writing.
Dear Professor Dumbledore,
You don't know me. My name is Petunia Evans and I'm Lily Evans's older sister. Earlier this year, my sister received a letter accepting her into your school. My family and I have never heard of magic being real before so you can probably imagine it as quite a shock. I would like to thank you for allowing my sister to learn magic, but you see she and I are very close. And I will miss her when she leaves, since I won't see her again until Christmas. So, I was wondering if I might be allowed to come to Hogwarts as well? If I had a wand like Lily then I'm sure to be able to do spells. And I'm quite good at cooking which is like Potions, correct? I know I've recently turned fourteen and would be way too old to be with Lily's class but I could catch up quickly, I have very high marks at my current school. I don't even have to attend classes. I could maybe just go to the school and do my boring, non-magical classwork. This is all just to be with Lily, you see. Please, please consider it, Professor? I'd be super good, you wouldn't even have to know I was there.
Petunia knew the last part was definitely true. She could easily disappear in a large castle with a thousand other kids if she barely even existed in her own house. She sealed the letter and then addressed it to Headmaster Albus Dumbledore, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. And now all she needed was that owl.
Lily's owl from the first moment of seeing Petunia, had decided not to like her. Petunia approached the cage in Lily's room cautiously, making no sudden movements. Slowly, she reached for the cage's latch but the bird snapped at her fingers. She shrieked and jumped away. How was she going to mail this if she couldn't even unlatch the cage?
"Need help?" Petunia leaped into the air, suprised. She turned and Lily stood in the doorway.
"I...I-I was j-just...I..." Petunia stuttered.
"Needed to send something?" Lily asked. "It's alright, I can help." She went over and unlatched the cage, letting her demon bird rest on her forearm. "There now, Magnus, stay still." She pet his head whilst Petunia quickly tied the letter to the bird's leg before he could decide to peck her fingers off.
When she had finished, Lily opened the window and Magnus flew out. She watched him for a while before turning to Petunia again. "You don't have to tell me why you were writing the Headmaster." Lily said. Then she smiled. "But I hope you get good news back!" She skipped off, leaving Petunia wondering about exactly what her sister knew about her letter.
August 8, 1971
Dear Miss Evans,
I am very glad that you are glad of your sister's acceptance. It is always important for siblings to be there for one another. Which is why you want to go to school with Lily. I am truly very sorry, but you see, Petunia, I'm afraid you cannot attend. I am sure that you are a very bright and gifted girl, however not in the sense that our school offers. Even if you had a wand, it wouldn't work the same for you as you are what the magical population calls a Muggle. And I'm sorry to say, though I don't deny your talents, Potions is a little different from cooking. And Petunia I believe you would learn much more and go much farther if you continued your education at a Muggle school. Thank you for writing to me and I admire your determination and compassion to stay with your sister. I hope we keep in touch, Petunia.
Headmaster Albus Dumbledore
When Petunia first saw the letter and read through it, she tore it to shreads. She then painstakingly taped it back together again. Because, she reminded herself, it was a letter from the Headmaster of Hogwarts and if she didn't think about its contents, then she could tell herself she was just as important and special as Lily.
September 1, 1971
Platform 9 3/4 was truly a magical and wondrous place though Petunia would never let that on. Her parents were much too excited for Lily and she knew that her sister didn't need more attention. Lily came up to Petunia before she left, trying to console her about the letter that she wasn't meant to read. Petunia had called her a freak. She couldn't take the words back though she wished she could have. Petunia didn't think her sister was a freak, not really. Oh, she would give anything to be a witch herself, going to Hogwarts! After the train left, her mother noticed her expression. Mistaking the sorrow for being about the fight with Lily, she patted Petunia's shoulder.
"At the end of the day, dear, you're still sisters."
July 6, 1972
It didn't take long for the fridge to be covered in Lily's accomplishments. Report cards with strange grading but high marks, as well as an assortment of other individual assignments. Petunia's flower picture was soon buried among the schoolwork. One day, it was gone from the fridge completely. Petunia was boiling with rage until she noticed that Lily was sitting at the kitchen table, quite alone, staring at Petunia's flower in front of her. It was strange to see her alone as she had usually spent most of her days with Severus.
"It's beautiful." Lily said. "I never knew you were such a good artist."
"Oh." Petunia said, shocked. "Well, thank you." She couldn't deny that she felt pleased. "Just tack it back on the fridge when you're done."
"I will." Lily said. She studied it a little more before asking timidly. "I was wondering...if you might draw me a lily?"
"A lily?" Petunia asked.
"Yes, a lily flower." Lily repeated. "And we can hang it on the fridge too and-"
"No!" Petunia shouted. "Why, because if I drew a lily then mum and dad would be sure to keep my artwork in sight, is that it? I'm not giving you more praise then you already have so if that's what you're after, then you can forget it, freak!" Petunia stormed up the steps and into her room.
Her mother came to get her later for dinner. When Petunia refused, her mother sighed, leaning her forehead against the doorframe. "You are still sisters, you know." She said softly. "At the end of the day, you'll always be sisters. I think you should apologize, Petunia, I-"
"I'm not apologizing." Petunia interrupted.
"Alright then." Another sigh, before her mother walked away.
Lily did tack Petunia's picture back on the fridge. But it had not lasted to the end of the summer.
July 20, 1978
Petunia was a bit giddy. She was, for what had seemed the first in a long time, excited to see her little sister. Petunia was engaged to a man that she felt special around. And now that her sister had graduated school and that dreaded Severus wasn't around every single minute with her, she felt that she could enjoy herself with Lily as company. Lily and her boyfriend were coming to Petunia and Vernon's house. Petunia knew that Lily's boyfriend was a wizard but she wasn't too concerned. With Vernon around, she would always be the center of someone's attention at least. The doorbell rang just as Petunia had finished setting the table. She raced to the door like a little kid awaiting to greet some well-loved family member during the holidays. She laughed at herself, patted her hair down, and smoothed her skirt. Then she opened the door, a wide smile breaking onto her face. "Lily!"
"Tuny!" The Evans' sisters broke into a long embrace in the entryway. When the two pulled apart, Lily gestured to the man next to her. "Tuny," she said. "This is my boyfriend, James Potter." Petunia examined the pale skinny young man with jet black, extremely untidy hair and wide dark hazel eyes behind his glasses. He gave her a smile.
"It is a pleasure to meet you, Miss Evans." He smiled a smile that was sure to be a classic charmer. Petunia resumed the nobody-is-good-enough-for-my-sister posture.
"Greetings, Mr. Potter." She said stiffly.
He snickered and nudged Lily. "Just like McGonagall, eh?" He said and the two laughed. Petunia did not ask who McGonagall was. She would not let little inside jokes get to her tonight. She led the way to the dining room where Vernon already waited. He stood and shook James's hand while Petunia introduced him as her fiance. Soon, when small talk failed them, which it did quickly, they sat to eat.
Vernon had been aloud to know about magic when he decided to marry Petunia. He then looked her sister and her boyfriend up and down. They looked ordinary. Like anyone else Vernon had met before. And the conversation had been mostly between Petunia and Lily about the upcoming wedding. Vernon eyed their clothing. It was very cheap looking. Nice, no doubt, but it must have been bought on a low salary. He decided he would play a little bit with Mr. Potter.
"So, Mr. Potter, what is it that you do for a living?" Vernon asked with a smirk.
"Well, Mr. Dursley I'm afraid that I don't quite have a traditional job as of now. My time has been occupied lately with volunteer work from the war."
"War?" Petunia asked nervously.
"Not to worry, Miss Evans, we're handling it." James said it almost condescendingly. Petunia took a deep breath and clasped her hands in her lap, determined to keep an orderly appearance. James meanwhile had decided to have a bit of fun with Vernon as well.
"It's not as though I'd need to work." He continued smugly. "I've got a rather large fortune from my father's research in hair potions and I may never need to really work a day in my life." He smiled at him. "So, what do you do, Mr. Dursley?"
Lily had seemed to grow red as a tomato next to James. Petunia could tell that she was obviously angry at her boyfriend's arrogance. It made Petunia just a tad happy to see her so flustered.
"Drills at Grunnings." Vernon said gruffly, evidently not expecting James's answer to be so prepared. He then smiled wryly. "The pay is good there. It's how I afford that brand new station wagon you probably saw in the drive. She drives real nice and I bought her for cash. Big enough for a family too." He grinned at Petunia when adding the last part. "I'm afraid I failed to notice your car, Mr. Potter." In fact, Vernon knew for a fact that James and Lily had not come by car. He imagined they had walked and now planned to catch him in the act of pretending to have money.
"Oh, you're quite right, Mr. Dursley, we didn't drive here. As a matter of fact, I can't drive at all. However, I have a real sweet Cleansweep racing broom at home. New model and she goes smooth despite her speeds. I've actually got quite the collection of brooms though I wouldn't bring any here. They're just too precious to be taken anywhere." He eyed the room with disdain for dramatics.
Vernon did not like how James had implied that where they lived wasn't good enough to even bring something of value but more importantly he did not like how James talked about riding on brooms as if it were a normal occurrence and as if he were special just because he could. Vernon decided right then that he hated magic. He also decided right then that he hated James Potter.
Petunia saw the signs. Vernon's face was redder than Lily's, bordering on purple. His eyes had narrowed to slits and a vein was throbbing in his forehead. She knew that Vernon was angry and she was too. Lily had managed to ruin his good mood by bringing in that dreadful man.
Vernon rose. "I will not tolerate the mention of such devilish devices in my house!" He hollered, moustache blowing with his spit. Petunia rose as well, rubbing Vernon's shoulders in a useless attempt to calm him down.
"You should be ashamed, Lily, coming here to humiliate my fiance and me, allowing your boyfriend to speak such horrible, awful things!"
"Petunia, please-" Lily sobbed but Petunia cut her short, too angry to feel sympathetic.
"Go, just please go!" She said harshly.
"Now, Miss Evans, perhaps I was a bit out of line, don't do anything rash-"
"Don't you tell her what she can and can't do! GET OUT OF MY HOUSE!"
James and Lily retreated through the walkway and out onto the front step.
"Petunia, let's not let this get between us!" Lily called as Petunia went to shut the door. "It's like mum always says. At the end of the day, we're still sisters."
"You are not my sister!" Petunia hissed before slamming the door in her face.
November 3, 1981
Petunia had not uninvited her sister from the wedding however she made sure to barely even see Lily, only speaking to her when it was unavoidable. The two did not speak about that night again.
When Lily had become engaged and then her wedding had arrived, Petunia and Vernon had gotten a formal invitation. On the back in Lily's script it said, "I really hope you'll come. Love you, Tuny." Petunia knew how sad Lily must be right now after their dad had died and knew that she really wanted her sister there, but Petunia could not. In some sick way, she wanted Lily to know what it felt like to be ignored. She and Vernon did not attend the wedding. And they had tried so hard to never again have contact with Lily and James Potter.
Besides, they had their own life to worry about. There new son, Dudley, had arrived and he became the only thing that the Dursleys truly cared about. But one day, when Petunia was harmlessly placing milk bottles on the doorstep she found that there was already something there. A baby. And a letter. She screamed. After lots of fussing, she read over the letter and discovered that her sister and her husband had died and this was their child. She remembered the letter Lily had sent about their new son, Harry Potter, but hadn't bothered to go see him or even send a congratulations.
Now, the child was hers to raise. A couple days after that, when Vernon was at work and Dudley was being babysat (not a usual occurrence) Petunia took a trip to Godric's Hollow. She could not find the house that her sister may have lived in. She did not know if these were the footsteps Lily usually walked or if Petunia had even gotten the right part of Godric's Hollow. She didn't even know for sure if Lily had lived here. It was strange thing to think about her sister being dead because over the years she had realized that Petunia didn't really know Lily Potter at all and she had hardly known Lily Evans.
Petunia found her way to the graveyard. This had to be her best bet at finding Lily. She balances little Harry on her hip, the dear child sleeping against her shoulder. She walked among the gravestones searching every one to find perhaps a glimpse of Lily. Finally, she found it.
And it had not been hard to find. The grave of Lily and James Potter was very large and absolutely covered in flowers. Petunia paid no mind to James's side of the headstone. She placed her hand on the smooth top of Lily's and that's when the tears started.
Never again would she head Lily's laughing soprano voice. Never again would she see her fiery red hair or the even brighter fire in those emerald eyes. She didn't know Lily all that well, but she knew that she would miss her.
Suddenly, Harry woke lifting his head off her shoulder and looking at her through the same emerald eyes that were Lily's. He looked quite like James otherwise. "That's your mummy." Petunia pointed to the grave, then stopped. She felt anger. How dare Lily go and die, leaving her to raise her child? How dare Petunia be stuck to care for another piece of Lily.
And already Dudley was being sidelined, left with a babysitter. Petunia would not allow this piece of Lily to steal Dudley's childhood the way he's had been stolen.
She sighed, patting the grave. "At the end of the day, Lily." She said softly. "You're still my sister." As she walked away, those emerald eyes watched her and for a moment, Petunia knew that somewhere in that little boy's gaze, there was Lily.
A/N: If you enjoyed it, please review. If you have any comments, questions, constructive criticism, please review. If you have absolutely nothing to say then review and tell me about your day or something. I like reviews. :)