AN: Hey guys! It's getting close to midnight, and at midnight, it's July 31, one of the most eventful days of the year! Not only is it Harry Potter and JKR's birthday, it's the day that I will somehow find a way to sneak into Pottermore. If you havent heard of that yet, go to www (dot) pottermore (dot) com (except use a real link. I did it like that cuz fanfic will get mad and take away my acount if I put links in here.) So I'm up, waiting, and I was bored, so I finished this story I've been working on for a while. It's not my best work, I'm pretty tired, but I think it's good enough to post. Everything has to be edited at some point anyway. I have four minutes until I have to be at Pottermore, so I'll make this short.
Petunia really wants to learn more about the wizarding world, but can't bear to let her parents see her doing this, so she sneaks down in the middle of the night to read Lily's latest letter which also includes pictures. Enjoy!
Letters, letters, letters.
Petunia hated letters. It used to be that if an envelope was in the mailbox with your name on it, it was an exciting ordeal.
Not anymore. Not even when they came by owl.
Ever since Lily had gone off to that freak school of hers, and letters were the only way to communicate, they had lost their appeal. Now, whenever Petunia found a letter addressed to her, she simply threw it out because it reminded her too much of owl post from Lily.
Lily would send letters about once a week, and they were always short, never taking up more than half a roll. As much as Petunia hated them, she almost wished they would come more often because that would mean that Lily had little to do, that her life there had little excitement, and that she was bored. But of course, the letters came less and less frequently, and they were always filled with tales of adventures with Lily's freaky friends, annoying but cute boys, and magic. Petunia's last hope had been that she would hate it where she herself had been refused entry, but of course, that wouldn't happen. It seemed that there was simply nothing bad about Hogwarts.
As it was a frequent occurrence now, Petunia lay awake in bed, even though it was long past when she should have been asleep. Tomorrow, she was going to regret this, but for now, all she could do was imagine a world she would never be a part of. Was it really as great as her sister said it was? Was it really all that beautiful and fun at Hogwarts castle? Would it have been a place where she would finally enjoy her classes? They were magical after all, and Lily raved about them every chance she got. But mostly, what would she be doing write now if she had magic powers too?
Petunia could imagine it all so well. She glanced at the clock. It was nearing midnight now, but she would still be wide awake, talking in the dark with the best friends she could also say she lived with. She would be immensely happy and content, after a great day. She had had three great meals, her classes had been great, and she had made her devilishly handsome crush laugh. She had laughed while doing her homework with her friends during breaks, and they had wandered the school during free time after dinner, laughing even more while they pranked the group of boys that all their crushes belonged to, and friends from other houses. But none of those friendships could compare to the friendship of her and her four girls. Even the teachers knew that no one else came close. Finally, someone suggested that they go to bed, and they did, confident that tomorrow would be just as great.
But, as Petunia full well knew, you can't really lie to yourself. The truth was, she had no idea what would happen tomorrow, and it would most likely be the exact opposite of her imaginary fairy tale. She would go back to her grimy, factory like school with no greenery to be seen, and be bored to tears through all her classes, while the friends she had only because of shallow popularity rambled on and on about things she could care less about. They would never know about magic, and that would be all the better for them. They would never have to know what they couldn't have.
They were so much luckier than her. They didn't have little sisters that outshined them in every way possible. They were all the prettiest, the apple of their parents eyes. But Petunia was very average, overly skinny and horsey faced, and her parents obvious favorite was Lily. It seemed like all of Petunia's friends knew this too, because they never missed a chance to rub it in her face. If she could just go to Hogwarts, she could throw it all back at them. She would send letters by owl to her parents, to forward to one of her current friends, bragging about how great everything about her new school was, from the classes, to the facilities, and especially the people. Maybe then, they would finally be able to see how she felt now.
How she felt now. Petunia squeezed her eyes shut, trying to curb her longing, but it was so strong that she simply couldn't. It seemed like the only thing she wanted from the world that moment was a chance to finally go to Hogwarts. Just to be able to ride the Hogwarts Express and see the castle once would make her, she thought, the happiest girl in the world.
But here she was, lying in her bed in Surrey. No owl came swooping through her window with a phantom acceptance letter. If she just had magic powers she could wish herself into a tower dorm room at her dream school. But that was exactly the problem. She didn't have any magic. She wouldn't have been wishing for it if she had it. Magic.
She shouldn't have even thought the word. With it came wanting so intense it was physical pain. Just a little bit of information might curb it a little bit. That was all she could ask for right now. Maybe some god out there might stop staring at beautiful, perfect Lily, and notice her for once. Maybe they would finally give her one thing she wanted.
Suddenly, she had an idea. The letters! They were full of everything magic! For something she hated so much, it seemed like they were saving her. She could read them, and then instantly fall into another world. In fact, a new letter had come just today! When she had gotten home from school, her parents had been sitting in the kitchen trying to get everything they could out of the weekly news from their favorite daughter.
Petunia quietly slipped out of bed and headed down the stairs. She could read the letter now, and her parents would never know. It wasn't that they didn't want her to, in fact, they tried to get her to every time one came. It was just that she didn't want to ruin her reputation of not associating with Lily in any way. She trod carefully down the hall and down the stairs, avoiding the third step to the bottom that squeaked. Down another hallway, through the door to the kitchen, and there it was, on the breakfast table.
The parchment was rolled up, the string lying next to it. Petunia had to stop herself from flat out sprinting to it. She quickly unrolled it, and started to read greedily.
Hey Mom, Dad, and maybe Petunia:
Can you believe it's already the end of October? I can't! I could swear that all the magic around here is messing with the time, but I know that's not true. I guess I'm having even more fun than I realized! That also means that it's been two months since I've seen any of you, and I miss you guys a lot! Of course, if time keeps moving this fast, I'll be seeing you all tomorrow!
So much stuff is happening around here, but I feel like I haven't really told you much this whole time, so I'm taking a bit of time to write a bit more. Today in charms class, we started working on our levitation charms! For the first half of class we focused on the theory and wand movements, but then in the last twenty minutes, Professor Flitwick let us try it out! I'm finding that magic is a lot more complicated than it sounds, and that you can't just do whatever you want. Just to make a feather fly a few inches off the ground, you have to execute the swish and flick wand movement perfectly, enunciate the incantation without a flaw, and put a great deal of will power behind it. It's Wingardium Leviosa, but you have to say it exactly like Win-gard-ee-um Lev-ee-oh-sa or else you might find yourself with a small explosion on your hands. I got it after a few tries but Jess (my best friend, you should know that if you've been reading my letters) coughed while she was doing the spell and has been in the shower this whole break trying to get all the ash and charred bits of feather out of her hair.
Tomorrow, even, is the Halloween feast! One of the second years told me that last year, they had live bats and jack-o'-lanters so big that you could have fit 3 people inside them! Hagrid's been growing the pumpkins for a while now, and if the get any bigger, he might even be able to fit inside them! I've also heard that the food is amazing, which isn't hard to believe because every meal is like a feast here. But what's special about this feast is that there's everything pumpkin in one place. Pumpkin juice, pumpkin pasties, pumpkin pie, pumpkin muffins, pumkin bread, you name it. There's also supposed to be everything sweet. Lots of Bertie Bott's hopefully! It's so much fun to sit around the table with friends and challenge each other to eat strangely colored ones! Me and my friends are planning not to eat lunch tomorrow so that we have as much room as possible to stuff ourselves.
Well, this letter has been almost twice as long as usual, and I didn't get any homework from my first two classes, and since I'm writing this in the break between second and third hour, that means I don't have any homework so far. Jess is in the shower, and the other girls are somewhere flirting with James Potter and his minions, so this has worked out perfectly since I was planning to write a longer letter anyway. Well, they say that a picture is worth a thousand words, so I've also enclosed a few pictures that we took with Liz's camera to make up for other short letters. Hope everything's good at home.
Petunia read the letter a few times over. The edges of the parchment were wrinkled from her vice-like grip. It was just her luck that the first letter she would read would be the longest so far, with the most insight into her sister's magical life. And though Petunia knew this would probably only hurt her later, she was strangely grateful for it because reading it; it really did feel like she had just slipped into another, better world.
Reading the letter for the third time, Petunia noticed a line she had skipped over before. Pictures! Lily had sent pictures! Looking at those, she would finally be able to see the real Hogwarts, and her fantasy life would be more real than ever! Her eyes frantically searched over the table until she found a small stack of glossy rectangles next to a forgotten mug of cold coffee.
She snatched them up, but then dropped them quickly, clapping her hand over her mouth to stifle the involuntary scream she had just uttered. But really, who could blame her? She had very little experience with magical items, and so of course, she had been rather shocked when the picture on top of the stack had moved. After a few moments, when her heartbeat had returned to its normal pace, she picked them back up and started to inspect them more closely.
The first picture was of five girls, all looking incredibly happy. They were sitting in a line on a red velvet couch with their arms around each other's shoulders, an obvious pose, but their smiles still seemed genuine, and they were leaning against each other, not to mention laughing hysterically. Perhaps they had been having a fun moment, and had asked a random passerby to take this shot. The girl on the far left was small, but very pretty. She was probably of Asian descent, as she had dark eyes and glossy dark hair that looked very good in the two loose braids it was in. She was delicate, but not overly skinny, and she was wearing a school uniform like everybody else, a white shirt, gray sweater, and a red and gold striped tie. While this girl was pretty in the way a delicate flower is pretty, the next girl could have been a supermodel. You could tell she was taller than the others, even when they were all sitting down, and she had incredibly long bleach blond hair she probably could have sat on if she hadn't pulled it in front of her shoulders. Her pale skin was flawless, and her eyes were a pale blue-gray that could change from mysterious to sexy in an instant. In this particular moment though, they were portraying a subtle air of mischief that caused Petunia to instantly mark her as someone who was incredibly funny. The next girl had terra-cotta skin, dark chocolate eyes, and chin length hair to match. She had a strong square jaw, and seemed like she probably had a very strong personality. Petunia got the feeling she wouldn't hesitate to stand up for what she believed in, and perhaps had gotten into a few fights over that. The next person, however, was unmistakably Lily. Her beautiful dark red hair fell in a thick curtain to the middle of her back. Her rich green eyes were full of laughter, and her pale skin seemed to glow. Petunia quickly skipped to the last girl, who was leaning her head onto Lily's shoulder as she laughed. She had soft looking caramel hair that fell in gentle waves to her armpits. Her skin was slightly tanner than Lily's though not by much, and she had a smattering of freckles across her cheeks. She had a small nose and deep, dark blue eyes, that almost had a manic glint in them. It was obvious that she was crazy and shameless, the life of the party who would do almost anything and not care what other people thought.
It was obvious that these girls were closer than anything. Without even looking at the captions, Petunia could tell that the girl on the end with caramel hair was Jess, Lily's best friend. But she didn't know who the other people were, so she read the caption. It said: Doing homework in the common room with the girls. Left to right, Abby Chu, Liz Octurn, Mary MacDonald, Me, Jess Winston.
The next picture was outside. All the girls from the last picture were there. They had taken off their shoes and stockings, rolled up their sleeves, and were in the shallow water of a clear lake splashing each other. Then, three boys, one with messy dark hair and glasses, another with impeccably neat dark hair, and one with short blond hair, ran into the picture, soaked the girls and ran away. The caption read: We were having a water fight in the lake when three of the Marauders, James, Sirius, and Remus, came and ambushed us. Peter stayed on shore and used Liz's camera to catch it on film. Groaning, Petunia chided herself for being jealous of this scene. Her sister was being splashed by water, for crying out loud! Why did she want that? Taking a moment to think it over, Petunia realized that it was because of two things. One, her friends would never loosen up enough to even have a water fight. They would just shriek and worry about their clothes, and two, though she hated to admit it, those boys were pretty damn attractive. All of the good looking boys at her school didn't want anything to do with her, but these ones were clearly flirting with her sister.
The last picture was unexpected. It was the same girls, and the same three boys, but they were in a stone room sitting at a long table. All of them were next to each other on one bench, and had plates covered in whipped cream in front of them. Petunia assumed they were in the great hall, where Lily said they ate their meals.
But the surprising part was that all of their faces were absolutely covered in whipped cream. This peaked her curiosity, so Petunia read the caption, which said: We had pie for dessert, so the Marauders challenged us to a contest to see who could eat their slice fasted without their hands. James won of course, but it was still lots of fun, even if I don't like him. As if to prove her point, the boy with glasses in the picture wiped some whipped cream of his face and put it in Lily's hair. She retaliated by slapping him so that whipped cream went everywhere and the other kids laughed. Yes, that was probably James.
Suddenly, Petunia had seen enough. She put down the stack of pictures and ran up the stairs, not caring how much noise she made. She shut the door to her room, and buried her face in her pillow, trying unsuccessfully to hold back the tears. That slap had done it. Throughout the whole letter and all of the pictures, Petunia had effectively been able to replace Lily with herself, and had lived vicariously through that. But that slap, Petunia would never have done that. James was beautiful, and if a boy like that was so obviously flirting with her, she would have done nothing to stop him.
But Lily was beautiful too. She probably had all the boys at that school of hers falling all over her. She could afford to reject some of them, and so she did. That had effectively ended Petunia's fantasy.
Now the realization crashed over her, and it wasn't pleasant. There was the cold hard fact that she would never have magic, and that Lily would always be better, but there was also the fury and self hatred she felt for deluding herself and for caving in to what she wanted.
Never again, she promised herself, would this happen. Never again would she choose a temporary high, because the crash after was so much worse. Magic, she thought, was not to be associated with, for though it may fix some problems, it will only create more later.
AN: Love it? Hate it? Review! Please please please! I'll never get better if I don't get feedback, so help me become a better writter! I always appreciate it so much!