Letters, Truths and Hopes

A Harry Potter Fanfiction

By animealam

Disclaimer: Harry Potter and Co. are not mine, I only borrow them for a while.

Author's note: This is based on the challenge by Severitus, but is does not comply completely. The Challenge is: Snape is Harry's father. I tried to give it a slight twist, but if by any means it looks similar to other stories it is not intentional. There are far too many going around, not only in ff.net, but other places as well to be completely original anymore; though the challenge to do that is there.

I have already typed around 55 letter sized pages for this story, which are around four chapters, perhaps a bit more. I'll try to update weekly since this story has been bugging my writing time wanting to be 'born'.

I am, as those who have been following my other stories probably noticed, a slow writer, and used to be even slower when I had to handwrite my ideas and then type them (can't carry the desktop computer everywhere with me). I can only say that the invention of the tablet PC might make me write faster (I positively adore the thing, this whole story was written by hand on a tablet PC which converted my handwriting to a word document. NO MORE TYPING!:) ).

About my other stories, Unexpected Child is giving me one MAYOR migraine (past headache now) even though I have drafted a lot of the story I just can't seem to get it to flow nicely, yet I'm still working on it. Apprentice's next chapter should be out really soon, just giving it the final touches before I send it to be betaed. The same happens to Second Chance (I had to do some corrections with the timeline). For those who have read my Inuyasha story Present Time, I'm still not giving up on finishing it one day, but I've been having one hell of a time to get the muse to go back to it.

Also on an OT note, I am looking for writers that want their stories (from all fandoms not just HP) posted in my website fanfic-zone, if you're interested e-mail me. I accept all ratings and types. I have some of my favorites already posted there, but I still have to receive an answer to my request for permission. If your story is there and you haven't received an e-mail from me please inform me if you give your permission.

Warnings:

THIS IS AN AU STORY (AU=Alternate Universe). I personally believe all Severitus Challenge responses are AU, but who knows what is in J.K. Rowling mind.

Not a native English speaker writing.

Characters might be Out Of Character (OOC)

There might be spoilers for all five books.

If you are a James and Sirius fan then probably part of this story is not for you, no flames will be accepted on this. Constructive criticism is welcomed though.


Petunia Dursley sat in the kitchen staring at the opened antique wooden chest before her. Lily had left it in her care the last time she ever saw her, some fourteen years ago. That day their conversation had been strained, as always, and Lily had, in the end, refrained from speaking too much of those 'visions' of hers. But she had managed to tell her that when things became difficult, and she saw no way out, there would be a time when she would need some of the contents stored in the chest. Petunia of course had scoffed at that assertion then. On numerous occasions she had tried to get rid of the freaking chest. No matter what she did, it always reappeared hidden in her closet, and Vernon had never noticed it.

It was only years later after she received the chest, that Petunia finally understood why neither her husband nor her son had been able to see it. Lily had loved her like a true sister despite their differences, and she wanted to protect her, so she had used 'magic' on it to hide from anyone but her, her nephew Harry, and anyone she deemed trustworthy enough to know about it. The fact that they were not even related by blood had either been pushed aside or totally ignored.

Petunia had been adopted by the Evans when she was five years old. Her parents had been close friends with Lily's, so close that the couple had been chosen as her Godparents. When her parents –John and Fiona Thompson- died in a fire the Evans took her in, and it was not just because of their duty.

The Evans had loved her very much since she was a baby. She in return had adored her Godparents, so there was nothing she could begrudge then after the couple became her adoptive parents. They had treated her like in she was their own flesh and blood. She and Lily had been close, but things changed when Lily got her Hogwarts letter. Petunia had been too young and impulsive then to understand why her 'parents' made such a big deal about it, it created a rift between them and Petunia became jealous of Lily's abilities and the special treatment she got by becoming the first witch in the family in five generations of Evans and four generations of Connells.

Contrary to what most witches and wizards believed, the Evans were not muggles. Both of them came from old pure-blooded wizarding lines. Randolph Evans was a direct descendant of Godric Gryffindor's youngest son, Osric. That side of the family had not produced a witch or a wizard in five generations and they had been subsequently deleted or ignored in family trees. Elizabeth Connell's history was similar to her husband's but she came from Aefre, one of Salazar Slytherin's siblings. Both had been born squibs like their recent ancestors. Both of their families had been quite wealthy when they were wizards and witches being born to the line. But when squibs began appearing the fortunes were closed off. No squib could access them, but should a wizard or witch be born they would inherit the family's assets. This had been quite common practice among pure-blooded families and was 'supposed' to 'encourage' them to have magical children.

The magic and the money were the cause of Petunia drifting from Lily, although her adoptive sister did not care about the money, there was not much she could do about the magic. She should have understood that the Evans would not love her any less for not being a witch, and they had indeed doted on her to make up from all the things Lily inherited as the first magical heir of both Connell and Evans lines. But she had not been able to rid herself of the thought that she was not 'good enough' and had directed her frustration towards her sister. Lily had not understood and been hurt at first, then she had retaliated on the breaks when she came back home from Hogwarts. It was only after she married that she tried to be more understanding and mend the rift. On that visit Lily had tried to at least have a truce as both their parents had recently died. But she had not been willing to listen, and in the end, Lily left; not without telling her that the chest would open for her when she needed it the most, and three weeks ago it did.

Flashback

Grunnings, the company for which Vernon had worked for almost twenty years, was filing for bankruptcy. They were just not competitive anymore and had progressively lost their market. High placed employees, among which was her husband, had been informed ahead of time to give them a chance to start looking for new jobs. But Vernon was too set in his ways and refused to accept the situation, especially when his resume kept being rejected by the many other companies to which he applied for a position. He had then taken to blaming 'her' nephew the 'freak', for all his problems. Never mind that the boy was at that school of his.

Vernon started drinking heavily and each time that happened, the arguments and recriminations flew every which way. They escalated in bitterness and violence until he hit her. She had been shocked speechless and he had become horrified. Vernon had apologized and swore that it would not happen again, that he would stop drinking. But he never did, and instead he became more frustrated and more violent. He would pick fights at the pubs, but when that resulted on being denied service, and a few altercations with the authorities, he turned his rage towards home. Petunia was there and it was more 'convenient'. No one really questioned what happened, and she did not do anything to stop him. Things reached a point were she could not explain the bruises on her face and arms, so she stopped going out.

After two months of mistreatment Petunia knew she should leave Vernon, but she really had no where to go. She had gossip companions but no real friends, her own fault, she had admitted grudgingly. Her inheritance from the Evans had been used in part to buy the house, and what was left, Vernon had control of it. She also had no schooling beyond the regulation years, and had never worked. Petunia felt trapped and filled with despair, she did not know how to get out of that situation and she began fearing that one day Vernon might actually kill her, however unintentional it might be.

Lily's chest had appeared open on her bed after she received a particularly nasty beating. She was crying in the bedroom and Vernon had just stormed off in a foul mood to the pub to get even drunker. The chest contained many more things than Petunia thought would fit inside. It was obvious that magic had a lot to do with that fact, and while before she would have been disgusted, at the moment she really could feel very little, except from pain. On top of everything was a letter addressed to her, she hesitated for a moment before deciding on reading it. The memory of that long time visit was as clear as if it had been just yesterday, and Lily's words urging her to accept it rang in her mind.

Pet,

(Petunia could not help the chocked sob that escaped at reading her childhood endearment).

If you're finally reading this, it means that my 'visions' (I know you hate hearing about them, but you have this chest because of them, so please bear with me my dear sister.) were unfortunately correct, believe me I wish I had been wrong.

Your husband's become violent and blames both you and my son, Harry, for his misfortunes. I'm positive that you never told him about our little secret; else he might have dropped my son at an orphanage, and I thank you for it. I know you still love him (I never understood what you saw in him Pet, but I respect your choice if he made you happy). You wish Vernon had not changed and he promises he won't do it again, and yet he does and each time it only gets worse. You feel trapped, alone, and believe there is no way out.

Believe me when I say I understand your situation Pet. James is like that (except he doesn't need to be drunk and he's never repented), only he's such a good actor that barely anyone would believe me, even though there are 'magical' ways to prove I'm not lying. I really wish Mum and Dad had not insisted that I should marry him, that an alliance with the Potter bloodline would bring the Evans back into wizarding society. He never intended to fulfill the marriage contract, although he managed to convince Mum, Dad, and a few others that he did. He never fooled me though. I should have refused, but they had been so proud, so… happy that I did not have the heart to ruin it. But enough of that, my problems with James aren't important anymore (I know we're both dead by the time you read this, and yes, I 'saw' it); what is, is that you get treated and we do something about getting you safe and away from Vernon.

This made Petunia frown, she would have never thought that the man her sister married had been abusive, but then she had not been interested in talking to Lily. She had noticed that Lily was not too thrilled to be getting married, and that unlike her own expectancy for her wedding with Vernon, Lily had been actually depressed and more than a little sad. Thinking hard she could remember the occasional lost or sad looks that slipped on her face when she thought no one was looking at her wedding. Petunia had been tempted then to push her animosity aside and see what ailed her sister, but hurt pride won. Reading those lines she regretted not asking her, and keeping her distance.

Inside the chest you will find a box, open it, you'll see it expands (I know you don't like magic, but this can't be helped Pet. It's going to be necessary to get you away). There are several vials in it. The one with light blue liquid is labeled Grudtar's all purpose healing draught'. It's highly concentrated so take only two small sips now, you'll feel better, and don't worry. I know you don't trust my cooking skills Sis, so a very skilled friend brewed all of them for me.

Petunia could not help but shake her head, nor the rueful smile that formed on her lips. Lily would be Lily even in writing and almost fifteen years dead and buried. She was a bit unsure about drinking the 'medicine', but so far Lils had been right. She took the two sips and almost immediately felt a light-tingling on the parts of her body that hurt. She went on reading.

I bet you're already feeling better Pet, but still in pain. Now take a sip of the yucky green potion labeled 'Painless Potion'. Tastes as awful as it looks, but it works wonders. Keep the potions and the box in the chest. And don't worry about that brute finding them, just as it was before, Vernon won't be able to see it. It's charmed so that only you, Harry, and later if you decide your son, or any other trustworthy people can see it. You're probably going to need the potions often, at least for a little while longer.

Now with that taken care of I better hurry with the rest of the explanations, I know I don't have much time on this letter and there's a lot that needs to be said and explained. If you take a look at the chest you will find there are a few more letters, those that I wrote for you are labeled with your name and a number. It is important that you read them in the correct order. There are letters for five other people that I entrust to you for their safe delivery.

The letters are for my son, Severus Snape, Albus Dumbledore, Remus Lupin and a Goblin at Gringotts bank named Cavedweller. You must give Harry his letter as soon as possible after he arrives from Hogwarts. The others he will help you to deliver as soon as he reads his letter. I know that Vernon will be in a rage against my son, you three (yes, I'm sorry to tell you, but he is going to rage against his own son too) are going to need the potions so use them wisely Pet. That man tends to put the blame for even his own stupidity on magic. If my visions were accurate the Hogwarts Express should be there in about three weeks.

Once Harry has read his letter please give him the chest. He will know what to do with the other objects I put in there. Have a bag or suitcase with those things that you want to take with you and the same for your son. In his letter Harry has specific instructions how to leave the house and where to go. I made delayed arrangements. You'll find in the chest a neckband with a green and red gemstone, there are also a couple of wristbands with smaller gemstones. The neckband is for my baby, the wristbands for you and my nephew. Make sure you all wear them before any of you step out of the house.

Know that despite our differences I did and still love you Pet, you were always my sister and my best friend. I… saw what my Harry's life would be with you and Vernon. It saddened me that you harbored so much resentment but I have had time to think about the way you felt and I want you to know that I forgive you for the way you treated my baby. Whether Harry will be able to forgive you and your son is another matter, but I know he won't refuse to help you.

Love Lils

P.S. The next time you need the potions read letter number two.

End of Flashback

Harry would be arriving in just a few hours, and that was the reason why she had been sitting at the kitchen table reminiscing about the chest. Her sister's letters had done a lot to make her think and realize what a stupid child, and later adult, she had been. Lils had, even dead, found a way to look after her; just like she had promised to her parents. And she would have a new life away from Vernon because of magic and hopefully the help of a boy she had wronged most of his short life.

Petunia was taking advantage that Vernon was out at the pub and Dudley was also out with his friends. Her son had taken badly the changes in their home life. They had sheltered and pampered him to the extreme, believing that was the best they could provide for him. Now she realized that they were wrong. The very day he arrived from Smeltings, Dudley threw a monumental tantrum -as was his wont- when he was informed that he would not get whatever it had been his fancy at the moment. She had tried to explain they could not waste their savings on expensive trinkets anymore. That was their sole source of income since his father had lost his job.

Vernon had been most of the day in a foul mood, as he had been ever since he got 'the news', so he started drinking early. Before Grunnings closure, he would have indulged his son and ignored his whining; now he had no patience whatsoever. So when Dudley did not cease the tantrum, after receiving a scathing remark, the likes of which had only been directed towards Harry, Vernon struck him hard enough to send him off his chair and to the floor. Petunia had tried to defend her offspring and got a mild beating before her horrified son's eyes.

She and Dudley talked after that. He had not wanted to acknowledge that his father had gone overboard and dismissed the incident as one in a life time thing despite what his mother told him. He had been attending counseling at school, and the tantrum had only been to see if he still could do them. It became clear that he not only felt uncomfortable doing them, but that his father had finally grown tired of them. Of course, after four days of the same harsh treatment, he began to realize things had taken a turn for the worse. Despite being spoiled and more than a bit selfish he did love his mother. He could not stand seeing what his father did to her, and had ended at the business end of Vernon's fists, just as his mother, when he tried to defend her.

This time, when his mother wanted to talk, he had listened. She told him of Lily's magical chest and the letters, after hearing about it he was able to see it for the first time. Petunia informed him that she was going to leave Vernon because she could not stand the situation any longer, but she would not force him to go with her. He was, after all, almost sixteen and could decide on his own if he wanted to stay with his father, with her, or even live on his own if he was able to find a way to support himself, as she was sure Vernon was not going to give them any money.

Dudley had until the day his 'cousin' arrived to make a decision. He was not really happy that their plans of leaving depended on 'the freak'. After some thought, he realized that with the way they had treated Harry over the years, he was bound to refuse to help them, and he could not blame him. If he was in his cousin's shoes, he would tell them to go see a shrink or something, and then leave without a backward glance.

This last year at school Dudley had been forced to attend therapy because of his obesity, inability to loose weight and his tendency to mistreat the younger years. I seemed that many of those children complained to their parents over the summer, and Smeltings Headmaster was forced to do something about it. He still had not lost weight, but he had learned quite a few things about himself and his family.

For the first time in his life someone he really respected -Mr. Byron his councelor - had made him realize that the way his family treated Harry was neither 'normal' nor 'acceptable'. To his immense surprise the man knew about magic, his brother was married to witch or something of the sort, so he could talk about freely about 'it', and he began to see 'it' in a different way. As part of the summer work Mr. Byron assigned him, he was to get to know his cousin, doing his best to push away those ideas both his parents had instilled in him. They might never become friends, but at least he would have tried.

He also had learned the hard way how his cousin felt when he and the gang went 'Harry Hunting'. There had been some transfers from another school, and those boys were even worse than he was. He had grown fatter over the previous summer, so he became less agile, less frightening, and instead of being the bully, he became the bullied. Not a nice experience by any means.


Not betaed yet