A/N - Something that popped into my angsty head that needed to be written down. I apologise in advance.
Disclaimer: I don't own it, I just attach myself to the most tragic elements and wring them into one-shots.
From the moment she arrived, she knew she didn't belong. For a split second, she wished that she had tried harder to persuade Vernon to accompany her, but dismissed it immediately. That would only have made things worse. The alien eyes that followed her as she made her way down the aisle of the tiny Church in Godric's Hollow were filled either with sympathy or hatred; she supposed that depended on whether or not they had known her sister personally. She could imagine with horrible clarity the way Vernon would have reacted to it, practically hear his scoffs and sighs as she edged into a pew near the back of the Church.
She tried not to look at anything but her plain black shoes; not the other mourners, nor the obviously enchanted bouquets of lilies that shimmered around the room. More than anything, she tried not to look at the pair of mahogany coffins that floated just out of reach above the alter.
Around her she could see the hems of black robes gracing the floor, but she did not trust herself to look up into the faces of their owners. If she allowed herself to look at anyone, the risk was too great that they would meet her gaze and make the mistake of pitying her. She was not, after all, grieving. She was there because her parents would have been mortified to know she was not, despite the fact that Lily had not deigned to attend their memorial service. Staying locked away in her cottage hadn't done Lily much good in the end.
She barely heard the speaker (he was certainly not a vicar, no man of God would dress in midnight blue robes) as he lectured the congregation on the bravery and sacrifice of Lily and James Potter. These were people she barely knew. There was nothing in the speech about the young girl who used to thread daises into her hair, or who made her sister hold her hand at family gatherings, despite the fact that she could hold an engaging conversation with people five times her age.
Following the coffins out of the little church, watching them lowered (without the aid of harnesses) into the earth beneath a marble headstone, reality still seemed suspended. The people around the graveside who wept in their grief were strangers to her, so how could the body lying in the ground before her be her sister? Only one face in the crowd held even the slightest familiarity; that of a young man in shabby robes whose face bore no tears, only a blank, hollow expression that she could not fathom. It was the expression of a man who had lost everything.
Even as she watched him, she knew she would not speak with him, console him, grieve with him. Her principles were absolute. She would not associate with his kind, even now. She was here out of duty, nothing more. So she told herself she was not touched when a small girl, she must have been seven or eight, with bright turquoise hair walked up to him and took his hand. What concerned her was how the child's mother could allow her to keep her hair that ridiculous colour, rather than the lost look that returned to the young man's face when the girl was lead away again.
Soon, the congregation disbanded, leaving only the shabby wizard and herself by the graveside. Afraid that he might speak to her, and yet somehow rooted to the spot, Petunia wrenched herself away, leaving him alone with his grief. The streets were getting dark already, yet she had no intention of returning to Privet Drive. Instead, she walked the darkened streets of Godric's Hollow, stopping outside the ruin of the little cottage in which Lily had had so much faith. How meagre and pathetic it looked now, with its crumbling, blackened walls. She took a deep breath, stood up a little straighter, and walked briskly to the outskirts of the village, where she might hail a taxi to take her home.
Vernon said nothing when she returned after dark, shivering from the cold of standing outside for hours. The silence continued as the couple dressed for bed and he kissed her goodnight. There was, however, no sleep to be found as she lay rigid beside her snoring husband. Eventually, she peeled back the sheets and stole from the room. She did not intentionally creep down the stairs to the cupboard in which Vernon had insisted her nephew was kept. Quite of their own accord, her fingers pulled back the bolt on the door and opened it to see the child sleeping fitfully. His tiny fists were balled as he whimpered quietly, his dark eyelashes fluttering on his soft, pale cheeks.
Instinctively, she reached out and placed a hand on his chest, as she murmured,
"Shh, Harry. It's all right."
His eyes blinked open at her touch, and he looked around him for a second before his bottom lip started to quiver as he took in the unfamiliar surroundings. A tiny cry escaped his lips, and she couldn't stop herself from winding her arms around him and pulling him to her. She tried her best to comfort him, stroking the downy hair of his head, but he felt wrong in her arms. It was then that it struck her how very permanent this was; she would never return this weeping child to his mother, her sister. She would never see her sister again. Harry cried louder and she held him closer to her, her own breath coming in great sobs as tears began to stream down her cheeks.
It felt as though there was not enough air to fill her lungs, that she was suffocating on the lump that had started in her chest and was moving up her throat. Still her hands clutched at what remained of her sister, the tiny boy who cried and cried with her because this was their loss. Both child and woman cried because everything was wrong now, everything strange and unfamiliar, everything was changed irrevocably and nothing would right it again. For one moment, they were united.
Then, Harry took one shuddering breath and subsided, sniffing gently. She felt her tears still wet on her cheeks as she prised his head from her shoulder and laid him back in the makeshift cot. Breathing slowly and determinedly, she straightened up and closed the door on her nephew. She made her way back up the stairs to her bedroom, and slipped into bed beside Vernon who, if he had heard her cries, betrayed no sign of it. Drained and heavy, she fell into an exhausted sleep.
When she awoke the next morning to the sound of her own son's hungry cries, she sat straight up, washed the previous night from her face, and attended to him.
That morning, Petunia Dursley went on.
A/N - Not sure what I think of this, so I would really appreciate reviews :)