Disclaimer-I don't own Harry Potter
The Unpleasant Truth
"Brandy! My favorite!"
Petunia winced as Vernon yanked the bottle out of her hand. Vernon usually held his liquor quite well but when he did get drunk, he always wanted more. It had started with a glass of Zinfandel and now he was drunk as a lord.
"You, me boy!" Vernon said, pointing a beefy finger at Dudley, who looked up from the couch. "You could use s'more rabbit food, if you ask me! Them knockers we got you busted already! You could use a drink, too."
"Vernon, no, Dudley is not ready for alcohol yet."
"Petunia! Dear wife of mine, I'm the boy's father, and I say he needs a drink! Use your bony hand and get Dudders another drink!"
Vernon had a habit of revealing nasty truths while in his cups. Dudley's weight for one, which never failed to make said overweight boy wail—at least, appear to wail. He also had a habit of treating Petunia like the tavern wench.
As Petunia stared at her husband clumsily pouring another glass of brandy, bellowing about the lack of king-sized knickers, she couldn't help thinking of the conversation she'd had the other day with her nephew.
Petunia opened the door to Harry's bedroom. He was lying on his back on his bed, staring at the ceiling.
"Vernon wants to…put away…your school stuff for the rest of the summer now," she said shortly.
"It's over there," Harry said, listlessly flopping his hand in the general vicinity of his trunk.
Petunia went forward and grabbed the handle of the truck.
"So, Aunt Petunia, did Christopher and Mallory lock up mum's stuff when she got home from school?"
Petunia flinched, and then fixed Harry with a cold eye. "How did you know your grandparents' names?"
"You guys must think I'm a total moron." He sat up and turned to look at her. "You have labeled photos of them in the albums. I can read, you know, and I can deduce stuff quite nicely."
"Why did you never ask this before?"
"Because I never cared before. Now, it'll be interesting enough to know, because those "freaks" at the train station don't want me leaving the house."
"Well, no they didn't, I told you 5 years ago that they were proud of having that abnormality in our family."
"Give it a rest."
"What did you say to me?!" she screeched.
"I said, give it a rest. I don't care how much you try to deny it; you had to have loved my mother once." He fixed her with a hollow stare. "You proved it last year when you wouldn't let Vernon throw me out."
"That was because I didn't want freaks swooping down on us from Heaven knows where."
"That's an elaborate line of bull. There were no threats of them "swooping down" on you last year. You did it because on some level, no matter how cobweb-ridden a level it is, you cared about Lily and therefore you care about me."
"Even if that's true, and I'm not saying it is," she said, white-faced and breathing hard, "it doesn't matter. I am perfectly content with my life away from that freak show you call a lifestyle."
"And what was that about?!"
"Do you think you would be happy with your Muggle family if you were a witch? Or even if you hadn't disowned your sister, and showed that you actually cared about me? If you still had ties with the magical world, do you think you would be here? That Vernon would want to be your husband? That Dudley would want to be your son? You're deluded if you think so."
"That's quite enough," Petunia said, her face waxen with rage. She gave the trunk a mighty tug that wrenched it off the floor, and it landed with a bang. "I'll lock you in the cupboard again if you don't knock off that nonsense."
"Do whatever you want, it's only for the next two months, anyway." Harry flopped back down on the bed.
Petunia stormed from the room, the trunk slamming against every step as she dragged it downstairs.
"You're quite spacy, dear, fancy a drink, too?" Vernon asked, slurring his words, splashing the brandy out of his wine glass as he held it out to her.
"No thank you, darling," Petunia said. "Vernon, could you tell me something?"
"Anything at all, dear, anything at all!" he yelled, a drunken grin spread across his face.
"If I were a witch, would you still love me?"
Vernon paused and stared at her. Petunia held her breath, her hands unconsciously wringing together.
Suddenly, his eyes crinkled up, and a great blow of laughter left him. Petunia gasped, feeling that air was leaving her.
"Don't be stupid, Petunia!" Vernon laughed. "Dear one of my heart, I don't think I could look you in the face! If you were one of those in ridiculous robes sending shouting letters and blowing up fireplaces! Good God, woman, don't be stupid!"
"W-what if I wasn't a witch, but still on good terms with my sister?" Her whole frame was shaking in small but violent tremors.
"Meaning you approved of that absurdity? No, dear one, I need a woman exactly like me in thinking, and that's why we get on so well! A toast to us!" His hand shot up in the air, and the brandy fell in his eyes, making him bellow in pain.
Petunia felt like all her blood had left her and she was deadweight, floating in mid-air.
Harry was right. Vernon did not love her in the unconditional way someone was supposed to. Suddenly she could imagine a satisfied, I-told-you-so expression that Harry would have on his face when he found out. But it was drowned out as she discovered she was crying.
"What's wrong, dear one?" Vernon asked, his little eyes peering from his pudgy face.
She turned and walked away.
She pushed upon the door to Harry's room and for a moment stared at her nephew. He was tossing and turning in his sleep, muttering something. Apparently the nightmares from last summer hadn't ceased, but they seemed to be diminishing in the amount of fear they gave him, or he was fighting very hard not to scream.
She kept staring until she couldn't bear watching him flail around. She rushed to his bed, grabbed his shoulders, and shook him with violent, jerky arm movements.
"Get off, get off!" Harry shrieked, throwing her back and reaching for his wand, which he had hidden lest it be shut up with the rest of his things. He pointed it at her, squinting through his own near-sighted vision.
"It's just me, Harry. Petunia."
"Then answer me this. What was my mother's full name?"
"Lillian Geraldine Evans-Potter." (#1)
"And what's your full name?"
"Petunia Fiona Evans-Dursely." (#2)
Harry seemed to digest this, and he seemed satisfied. He reached for his glasses and put them on. "What is it?"
"First off, you were practically having a seizure in your sleep, so I had to wake you up."
"Old nightmare," he said with a small tight, shrug, and suddenly it tore at Petunia that he didn't feel the need or the ability to relay the nightmare to her.
"And second off…you were right."
"I would not be happy here if I were a witch. Or if I was still close to Lily. You were right and I'm a fool and I hope you're happy with that knowledge." She got up to leave.
"Go back to sleep, Harry. You'll know soon enough."
"Urg," Vernon said. He had just woken up on the couch, with a splitting headache and a hangover to beat the band. "Petunia, did I miss work?" Through his blurred vision he could see his wife standing in the living room, staring at him.
"No, Vernon, it's only 6:30. You made quite a spectacle of yourself last night."
"You must forgive me. You know how I like my liquor."
"I do, but I don't forgive you."
"What?" He looked surprised.
"You told me something last night that made it very clear that this marriage is a sham. You told me you could not love me if I were a witch, or if I still loved my sister."
"Petunia, that's just a drunk's rambli—"
"Vernon Richard (#3) Dursely, I want a divorce."
#1 and #2 and #3—I prefer to use the actor's names for the character's middle names. That's probably not their real middle names but bear with me, it doesn't much matter.