Date Written: July 2011
Pairing: I don't know what happened and couldn't stop them – Petunia/Tobias
Rating: PG maybe
Word Count: 3700
Warnings: A/U – may mention abuse nothing graphic – occasional swear words – changing POV's
Summary: Petunia only ever wanted to be normal. What if, when things became to strange, she sought help from the only wizard she really knew?
A/N: This thing tormented me for quite a while and went through several mental drafts before I actually decided I had to write it down. I don't know whether I like it or not.
Disclaimer: I own everything. What? Oh, well damn, alright, y'all know what I mean.
I couldn't stand it anymore. It was not normal. I had to do something. It had to stop. I didn't like the boy, but he was the only one I could think of who might be able to help, might be able to explain at least some of it.
Driving through our old neighborhood, past the play park, I wanted to cry. I wanted to run back home. Wanted to pretend everything was normal, but it wasn't. It was very much, not normal.
I stopped in front of one of the houses and stared for a few minutes, thinking. Papa had always been so busy, working in the yard, cleaning or fixing something. Even with all that, and working long hours as a machinist at the mill, he, and mum, always made time for Lily and I. Oh I know that Lily was their favorite but they rarely let it show and I know they loved me. They just loved me differently and for different things. I miss them, and my little sister.
Dudley started to fuss so I drove on. Three blocks, turn right, cross the rail road tracks and the house I was looking for was number seven. My peer group and I had always thought it looked haunted, Lily had insisted it wasn't big enough to be.
Looking at it now, I think I have to agree with my sister. The house was small and dingy and surprisingly, I don't think it had changed in the slightest from when I last saw it.
I parked the car, got the boys out and walked up to the door. Taking a deep breath I knocked.
~~~~ T ~~~~
I opened the door to find a rather attractive woman with two young children, one blond like the woman and one brunet, on the step.
"Oh… I… Mr. Snape?" she questioned and exclaimed, "Thank god." when I nodded. I could feel my left eyebrow climbing up my forehead. Women, attractive or not, do not normally thank god for my presence.
"You don't remember me, do you? Petunia Dursley, used to be Evans." She said with a smile and a little shrug.
"Evans? Henry's girl?" I asked as a memory of my son with a beautiful titan haired girl flashed across my consciousness. I snorted, "Thought you was a red head."
Petunia laughed a little sadly, "That would have been my sister. She passed a couple of years ago. I…" She looked at the dark haired boy. "Do you have any way to contact Severus?"
I looked closer at the boy, he was around three maybe four years old, could only be described as scrawny. He was alert and obviously curious but standing politely still, unlike the other one who was tugging at his mother's hand and whining. He didn't really look like my boy had at that age, but pretty as I remember the other Evans girl being… and he had the same flashing green eyes I remembered in my son's frequent companion.
I opened the door wider and said, "In. Sorry 'bout your sister." I then motioned them through to the kitchen table. "Sit." I ordered as I turned the heat on under the kettle and plucked up the clipboard that my wife had hung on a nail by the phone. Almost to the bottom of the accumulated papers I found what I was looking for. I had to take a deep breath. My late wife, unlike me, had very pretty handwriting. I dialed the number and waited.
"I need to get a message to Severus Snape." I said. The pert female voice on the other end of the line asked if I were the parent of one of his students. I couldn't help wondering what the hell she was talking about. Was my boy a teacher now? Confusion does not help me to keep my temper. "No, damn it, this is his father. You tell that boy I need him to come home, and I need him here now. You understand me." She squeaked something that might have been an affirmative and I hung up just as the kettle started to shriek.
I was dutifully introduced to young Harry and Dudley. Served Petunia a cup and opened a fresh tin of biscuits. I couldn't help smirking when just as I set cups that were more sugared milk than tea in front of the boys, the door banged open and Severus shouted, "Da?"
~~~~ S ~~~~
I read the message with a trepidation that turned to horror. It was almost verbatim to what he had said the only other time my father had called the school; I was fifteen then. Although in that one, he had added the fact that my mother was dead. This time I was left to wonder what the problem was.
As we hadn't really spoken since mother's funeral, I did wonder briefly how he knew I was at the school. Then again, maybe he assumed that the operator could get a message to anyone. I had to admit that, though I had never thought about it before, she quite likely could.
Luckily I was just starting my only class of the afternoon. It was what I call a triple, a NEWT level class with the Sixth and Seventh Years from all the houses together. I quickly assigned an essay and dismissed the students to the library so that I would have all afternoon to deal with my father. I sent the youth that had delivered Da's message to the Headmaster with the explanation that I had a missive from home and would be back as soon as I could.
I almost expected to find the old man passed out drunk or dead on the floor when I entered the house. I certainly did not expect to find him entertaining a woman and two small… well one of the two children was small. The other was rather fat neither of them looked to be more than four, the littler one probably only three.
I looked at my father for an explanation and asked again, "Da?"
~~~~ P ~~~~
Severus' expression the second time he said 'Da?' was quite comical but I kept myself from laughing.
Mr. Snape smirked and said, "You're late. Sit down boy. You got some explainin' to do."
I could tell Severus was confused when he sat and questioned, "I explain? You're the one who apparently needs to explain, Da."
They were glairing in such a way that I was momentarily afraid of them both. It did give me time to notice that they looked a great deal alike. They were both tall and thin, with dark hair and eyes. Although in Mr. Snape's case it was considerably shorter and there were strands of silver among the black, most of them collecting rather attractively at his temples.
I cleared my throat and spoke, "Hello Severus, it's been a long time."
Severus turned his glair on me and I chuckled. "That didn't work on me when you were eight, and it isn't going to work now." Although if I had not known him when he was a snot nosed little know-it-all brat, I might have been intimidated.
He blinked as his scowl deepened briefly. "Petunia? What…?" He then turned his shocked gaze on my nephew.
I was a little confused when Mr. Snape said, "Well boy," he made a little motion that seemed to indicate Harry and continued, "You do somethin' stupid?"
~~~~ T ~~~~
My boy looked completely flabbergasted at my question before looking sadly at the little one and shaking his head. He whispered, "I have done many stupid things Da, but not that."
I snorted and just to get under his skin I muttered, "Don't know what you're waitin' for."
He just rolled his eyes and shook his head. His jaw clenched to keep whatever sarcastic comment he wanted to make from coming out.
Petunia snickered. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to give you the impression that… well…" She was blushing in what I thought was a very pretty way as she looked between me and my boy. "Harry's father, James… he…" She stopped to take a sip of her tea, which was most likely cold by now. After taking what I assume was a calming breath she continued, "James and Lily went to school with Severus. Harry was only fifteen month old when they were both killed a little over three years ago."
I snorted. "So the little one is havin', shall we say, accidents?"
Petunia nodded and I noticed the little one hunching his shoulders, almost like he thought he'd be hit. I knew the look well and avoided looking at my own boy.
~~~~ H ~~~~
I liked getting to go in the car even if Dudley did kick and hit when Aunt couldn't see. Mr. Snape seemed nice. He gave me the same size cup and just as many biscuits as he gave Dudley. They weren't even stale and I got to eat all my own since Dudley was sitting on the other side of Aunt.
I liked hearing about my dad and learning that I was named after him, at least I thought so since my middle name was the same as his.
Then Mr. Snape said I'd had an accident and I got scared. I didn't know what I'd done, but I knew it was bad to have accidents. I expected him to do what Uncle does when I'm bad. I really thought he would reach over the table and slap me upside the head.
I was really surprised when the other man, the one Aunt called Severus chuckled and ruffled my hair, just like Uncle does to Dudley when he likes something he did.
"I assume that is why you've come to me; to help him learn control?" Mr. Severus asked as he looked at Aunt.
Aunt looked like she might cry. I looked to see if there were any biscuits left since they almost always make Dudley stop crying.
Aunt said, "My husband… Vernon isn't handling it well. He's… He… Oh god!"
I quickly slid off my chair and patted her on the leg. "It be alwight Aunt. I'll be good. I pwomis."
Dudley's lip shook as he whined, "Mummy?" I could tell he was getting ready to throw and tantrum. He doesn't like sharing and his reaction when Aunt started to hug me was normal. He shoved me hard and shouted, "NO FEEK; MY MUMMY!"
I was falling, and then strong hands had me and pulled me close. I had a memory of another man holding me this way and I had to bite my lip pretty hard to keep from crying.
~~~~ S ~~~~
I couldn't help myself when I saw him falling; I almost unconsciously summoned him to me. I wouldn't have been able to catch in time him without my magic, not with a chair and corner of the table between us.
Cuddling him close I realized that as small as he was he was nearly five. I wondered if he would continue to favor his father or if he would eventually grow to look like Lily.
I shifted the boy on my lap so as to look at him better. When he looked up at me with her eyes my mouth opened and I was speaking before I even thought what I would say. "You look like your mother. She was my best friend when we were little you know."
He had the most radiant smile, it wasn't Lily or James, and I suddenly realized it was uniquely Harry. I caressed his hair again making it even messier then before.
I found myself saying, "I knew your father too. We didn't get on very well when we were in school but I believe he grew up to be very brave."
His smile widened then he screwed up his face as though making a great effort to remember something. He said, "Pafoo?"
I shook my head and glanced at Petunia. She had a pained look on her face.
Harry said, "UnPafoo, UnMoomoo? Unfang?" He looked desperate now. "Weetay?"
Petunia sighed as she shook her head, "I don't know who he's asking for. There is only one real name."
There were tears collecting on Harry's long eyelashes as he whispered, "Auntie Alice?"
I gasp. I couldn't help it. Of course, I knew who he meant. There was only one Alice that shared a dorm with Lily, had been her matron of honor or would be close enough to the Potters that Harry would call her Auntie.
I breathed out, "Alice." I pulled the boy closer, hugging him tight. "I'm so sorry Harry, Aunt Alice and Uncle Frank are very sick and can't come now."
I looked up at my father and Petunia, "They were friends of the Potters. Alice Longbottom is Harry's godmother." It dawned on me I should be able to guess who the other three where. I sighed, shaking my head and looking at Harry said, "Uncle Padfoot and Uncle Wormtail can't come either."
Harry sniffled, "Unca Moomoo can't come too?" he asked sadly.
A smile tugged at the corner of my lips as I said, "I may be able to arrange for you to see him. If…" I held up one finger as I finished, "If, I can find him."
~~~~ T ~~~~
I was proud of my boy. I was very happy to realize that when the time came he would be a much better father than I had ever been to him.
Still watching Severus and Harry I spoke to Petunia who was cuddling her own son, "When you say your husband isn't dealin' well; what part of it does he have the most trouble with?"
Petunia sighed, "I don't know. He refuses to talk about it or even acknowledge that his behavior is unusual." She was becoming upset again. "He's so focused on the strange things that happen around Harry that I don't think he even realizes he's completely over reacting. If I had known he would be like this, I wouldn't have said anything until Harry's letter arrived.
I asked, "Does he drink?"
She sighed, "Not very much, a glass or two with dinner a few nights a week. I don't think I've ever seen him really drunk." She shuddered. "And I don't think I want to."
Severus spoke up, "Let's not beat about the bush, Petunia. Is he abusive to you or either of the children?"
She burst into tears again as she nodded and answered, "He's not normal. Normal men don't call little boys names. They don't shun one child and lavish attention on another. Or lock the door when a child hides in the cupboard. They don't hit when they don't get their way. And they certainly don't teach their son to hit to get his way."
Severus got an odd look on his face as he asked, "Are you willing to take some advice?"
Dabbing at her eyes with her napkin, Petunia nodded.
I said, "You need to leave him. You can't make him change. He's the only one that can do that. And he's got to do it on his own." I looked at my boy. "To my sorrow, I learned that a bit late."
~~~~ P ~~~~
I looked between the two men. "I don't understand."
"I'm an alcoholic." Mr. Snape said matter-of-factly. "Recovering; sober nearly three years now." I noticed Severus shocked look as his father continued, "And what I mean is that nobody can," he shook his head. "Will even try, to climb out of that kind of hole until they find themselves layin' smack on the bottom. Then, and only then can you finally see what you been doin' wrong and realize you can try to fix it, or you can lay there and die."
"But Vernon isn't…" I started to protest, even as part of my attention was on the boys where they had moved to one corner of the kitchen. They seemed to be getting along at least for the moment.
Severus shook his head. "The principal is the same, or so I understand, whether for addiction, in any of its many forms, or the abuser. It is a sickness that only the one afflicted can choose to cure."
"What you are saying is that," I had to wipe my eyes again, "he won't change unless he wants to?"
Severus said, "Precisely."
At the same time Mr. Snape said, "Exactly."
I had to smile as they glared at each other again. Then reality crashed in and I sobbed, "But where will I go?"
Mr. Snape snorted, "You're here. I got a spare room. It ain't much, but it's clean, and if Severus don't mind," he looked pointedly at Severus, "the boys can share his old room in the attic."
Severus stood. "I'll just make sure I didn't leave anything the boys shouldn't have." he said as he left the room.
"I don't know how to thank you for this Mr. Snape." I looked to where the boys were now playing just to be sure they were still behaving.
Mr. Snape grunted, "It's Toby, and I wouldn't object to a home cooked meal once in a while or maybe some baked goods to take to my meetin's."
I smiled through the tears. "I think I can manage that. What kind of meetings?"
He chuckled. "AA, those of us that's reconerin' like to get together and talk over any problems we're havin'."
I was getting ready to ask what kind of baked goods Toby would prefer when Severus returned. He had his wand out and was stopping every few feet and tapping the walls. He was frowning in what I assumed was concentration.
~~~~ T ~~~~
"Severus Tobias Snape!" I growled. "What in hell are you doin'?" His mother would have had his hide for such a display in front of guests, even if they did know about magic.
I watched my boy's spine snap taught before he turned. There was anger in his eyes for a moment before he looked at his wand then around the room.
Severus cleared his throat as he stowed his wand in his sleeve. The same place his mother kept hers, I never figured out how it didn't fall out. He said, "My apologies. The wards need work."
'Of course they do. Eileen had been forever fiddling with the damned things' I thought but said instead, "That's no excuse for bein' rude boy. I don't know what I need with them anyway."
Severus pinched the bridge of his nose, a habit he no doubt picked up from his mother. I could tell he was forcing himself to remain calm and not come back with something sarcastic. He sighed and delivered a lecture on what wards are and what they do. The boy always was too smart for his own good.
"Wards are a form of protection, for not only those living in the house but for the house itself. They prevent rodents and insects from entering the warded area as well as preventing damage from fire or water. They can be set to slow the deterioration of the structure. They can also keep mug… those without knowledge of magic from noticing things they shouldn't. For example; a teddy bear that flies about the room, strangely dressed visitors, owls, or any number of other things."
"Other things?" Petunia asked anxiously, "Like bruises on a small boy or loud voices?"
Severus sank into his chair and nodded as he said, "They could, depending on their strength." He shrugged. "If they are strong enough they can keep everyone from noticing there is a house there at all."
Severus glanced at the boys as he said, "There is something you need to be aware of about Harry's place in my world."
~~~~ P ~~~~
I only ever wanted to be normal. It took really seeing what was abnormal in my life to realize that what is normal for one person may not be normal for another.
Now normal for me is being divorced and three years into my second marriage. Normal is driving Dudley to see his dad and aunt on Saturdays. Normal is having a step son that is only two years younger than I. Normal is raising a magical child or maybe I should say magical children as Toby and I have a two year old that is showing signs of magic and another on the way.
Normal is seeing my sister's son off to boarding school for the first time. I hate sending him into a different world, but that world is what is completely normal for Harry, and for Severus who I know will watch over him, just as he has for the last six years.
I know that I will miss my little Harry just as much as I will my Dudley. Vernon insists that his son attend his old school just as Harry is attending that of his parents. And for us this is normal.
~~~~ S ~~~~
I smirked as the bright little boy I have taught and guided as a brother for the last six years strode confidently into the great hall with the other first years. I was the only one not surprised by his sorting into Ravenclaw. I believe I am the only one to really see Harry instead of a miniature James or the boy-who-lived.
I know the next seven years are going to be interesting as the Wizarding world gets to know their hero. He is certainly not what they are expecting.
The End – I Think