Note: This is an AU story, and an attempt to explore the structure of magic in the Harry Potter world. I always wondered why magic had to be done with a wand, and what prevented someone from not using one. I'm also curious as to what exactly magic is. Is it a force? An entity? A virus? Or are they like the mutants from the X-Men universe? For the record, Harry will be powerful. It's the point of the story. Because of that, I can't imagine this will be very long. I don't have it in me to write an epic retelling of all seven years, anyway. The pairing is open, but it won't really pick up 'til fourth year. Gives me time to come with whom to pair him with. If you have thoughts as to who, please; do tell. In my defense, I don't care. Let's see...anything else? Nothing comes to mind.
Hang on, everybody.
We're going for a ride.
We could not understand because we were too far, and could not remember because we were traveling in a night of first ages, of those ages that are gone, leaving hardly a sign- and no memories. We are accustomed to looking on the shackled form of a conquered monster, but there- there you could look at a thing monstrous and free.
Joseph Conrad. "Heart of Darkness"
"My God. Albus! Look at this!"
"What is it, Minerva?"
"His eyes. Look at his eyes."
"My word. How extraordinary."
"Do you know what this is?"
"No, I do not. Not even a suspicion."
"Do you think it has to do with the..."
"Scar? No. The only thing that scar will do is make him famous."
"Must we leave him here? I've been watching him all day. They're the worst sort of muggles. They really are-"
"The only family he has. Fear not for young Harry's safety. I've written a letter."
"A letter? Do you really think all of-of this can be explained in a letter?"
"Of course not. It's why I intend to return tomorrow after my meeting with the Minister and explain to them the importance of the task ahead of them."
"Thank you, Albus. I must confess to being worried they might...mistreat him."
"Do you really think so little of me?"
"I have been accused, not without cause, of not seeing the trees for the forest, Minerva, but never would I allow harm to come to a child."
"I...Forgive me, Albus."
"There is nothing to forgive, my dear. Your concern for young Harry only confirms what I already knew: you are a good woman, Minerva McGonagall. Now, let us be about our task and away from here. I find that, as old as I am, being awake this long is more a trial than it once was."
Three people strode down Magnolia Crescent, a road of a suburb in Surrey. Technically, two people strode. The third was carried. Cookie cutter houses stretched until the intersection at the end of the block, where a different variety took over and branched out to the left and right. It was a completely ordinary piece of England, quiet in the early morning. In fact, the ordinary nature of the place made the oddity of two of the three people stand out even more.
One was a man. To call him old would be to call the ocean wet; true, yet not nearly enough. Age had lined every inch of exposed skin, frown lines and laugh lines present in equal measure. Yet for his age he moved like a man in his fifties, and electric blue eyes twinkled with amusement, intelligence and curiosity. He wore robes of a dark blue color and a pointed hat. As he turned his head from side to side the point would sway gently. His name was Albus Dumbledore. He had a variety of middle names, but never bothered with them.
The woman, Minerva McGonagall, was an austere woman in tartan robes. Her hair was gray and up in a tight bun. She seemed the sort of woman to whom frowning came naturally. At the moment her attention was turned to the bundle of blankets in her arms. There was no trace of a frown on her face. Instead an expression of tenderness softened the hard lines of her mouth and brow.
The focus of her soft look slumbered peacefully in her arms. A beautiful little boy, not yet two. He had a shock of black hair that promised to be unruly at best and wildly untamable at worst. Above his left eye was an angry red scar, shaped like a lightning bolt. The outer edges of it were already starting to fade. Despite the odd nature of the scar, this was not the young boy's most remarkable feature. No, that was his eyes. They were a pale shade of gold and had looked around with a bright curiosity rare in one year old boy. His name was Harry Potter. Though he didn't know, and wouldn't for some time, he had just become the most famous person in the world.
The trio approached a house identical to its neighbors in every way save one. It was almost meticulously clean. The stucco walls had been power-washed to a dull sheen. The driveway was free of oil or gas stains. The car parked in front was clean and polished. The windows were clear and free of any residue. The polished brass number 4 on the door and mailbox gleamed in the dull orange glow of the streetlights.
"Ah, here we are." Albus Dumbledore stopped out front and regarded the house with a bemused eye. Minerva stopped beside him and fussed with Harry's blankets. "Well, we know he won't suffer for hygiene."
The stern woman stopped what she was doing and turned to regard her companion with a raised eyebrow. In answer Albus gestured broadly at the house. "Look at this house, my dear. It is almost perfectly clean. I doubt Molly Weasley could do better with a bevy of spells and a free weekend." he clapped his hands together. "Now, let's be about our business here."
They went up to the door and Minerva knelt, gently placing Harry on the stoop. Albus produced an envelope from an inside pocket and placed it next to the blankets. On it, in bold, capital letters, was written; READ ME IMMEDIATELY. He knelt and placed a wrinkled hand on Harry's head, brushing the soft hair on the baby's head.
"Until tomorrow, Harry." The old man swallowed the sudden lump in his throat and stood. Minerva came up next to him and placed a comforting hand on his shoulder.
"He'll be fine, Albus."
"I know, Minerva. I can't help but worry. Come, it's late, we're tired, and there's much to do."
With two pops, they disappeared, leaving a sleeping Harry on the stoop of number 4, Privet Drive. Around him the air shimmered, and if someone were to stick their hand in the air near him, they would find it warm and soothing. It was October, after all, and Harry was only a baby. The charm would keep him warm and sleeping until the door was opened.
Petunia Dursley was a woman of strict habits. Every morning at six she would wake and sneak quietly out of bed, avoid waking her husband, and go down to the kitchen to enjoy a cup of tea before the day truly started. She went to the door to see if the milkman had come yet, and her scream of surprise woke everyone in the house. Her cup fell and shattered, spilling tea all over her pristine floor. "Vernon!" she screamed. "Vernon!" her hands flew to her chest when she saw the black hair on the baby's head. The last time she'd seen that hair... "My God." her face drained of all color and her heart stopped. "James."
Her screams woke the baby, who decided that since everyone else was yelling, he might as well join in. Instinct kicked in and Petunia picked him up and cradled him, rocking back and forth and cooing softly to him. Feet thundered on the stairs and she turned to see her husband come rocketing into the kitchen with a baseball bat in hand.
"Petunia!" he shouted. "What is it? What's wrong?" he skidded to a halt when he saw the baby she was holding. She couldn't blame him in the least. "Petunia?" She shook her head.
"He has James' hair." she said quietly. Vernon blanched.
"Why is he here?"
She shook her head again. " I don't know. Lily said they had to go into hiding. That was the last I heard from her."
Vernon set the bat down and came over, touching her arm. "She's fine, Pet." She knew her husband. She knew when he was lying. He peered past her and frowned at the open door. "What's that?"
"What's what?" she turned. He moved her aside and went to the stoop, bent, and picked something up.
"It's a letter. Says 'read me immediately.'". He held it out to her. "I think you should."
Juggling the baby, she took the letter from Vernon. She felt the thickness of it, remembered the last time she'd felt paper like this. It was a long, long time ago. This was a letter from Lily's people. Bitter jealousy, years old, reared its head. The baby in her arms babbled and patted her face with his tiny hands. She crushed it ruthlessly. This little boy was not Lily. Even if he was, it wouldn't matter. Family was family. "Can you take him?" she asked.
Vernon took the boy in his arms. "Look at his eyes." he muttered as she opened the letter."I've never seen anything like them. What's your name, little man? Where'd you get eyes like that, huh?"
Petunia sat heavily, hand going to her mouth. The letter lay on the kitchen table. Her eyes welled with tears. "Harry," she said hoarsely. "His name is Harry."
"Pet?" she burst into tears. Vernon picked up the letter and read.
My dearest Petunia,
It seems I am fated to forever deliver bad tidings to you. I'm unsure how much Lily told you, but some time last year, for reasons unknown to us, she became the target of an evil man, a man calling himself Voldemort. He terrorized our world for years. Everyone who fought him, everyone who stood their ground died.
You knew Lily. You knew how brave she was. She could never allow this to continue if there was something she could do about it. She and James fought him. With everything that they had, they fought him. They were the bravest people I have ever had the good fortune to meet.
Last night Voldemort found Lily and her family. I don't know how, I don't know why, but he found them. The only survivor of that conflict is in your arms right now. Somehow, Harry was able to do something grown wizards could not. He lived. Voldemort is gone. Whether it is forever or for the moment, I do not know. I do know that because of what he has done, Harry will be famous in our world. Imagine it, Petunia. Famous before he could walk or talk, before he ever knew his name!
You're sitting there; grieving, upset, and confused. You are in all probability very angry with me. How could I do this? How could I leave you with a child and a letter and hope that all would be well? I can't. I won't. Sometime within the next few hours of your opening this letter I will come and answer any questions you might have. You are not alone in this. You never will be.
You may hate me. You may blame me for what happened to your sister. You have every right to. Whatever your feelings towards me may be, I must beg you: raise Harry. Love him. He has no one else in the world. Just you. He needs you.
I'm so sorry.
"She's dead." Petunia whispered, brokenly. "She's dead, she's dead. Oh, Lily, why?" she rocked back and forth and sobbed into her hands. Vernon stood there with a dead woman's child in his arms and watched his wife's heart break. Harry picked up on the emotion swirling around the room and started crying. Nothing Vernon did would calm him, it wasn't until Petunia mastered her tears and gave a watery smile to Harry that the boy quieted. Harry reached for her, talking soft nonsense, and she took him from her husband.
Vernon fidgeted, folding the letter along the creases one way, then the other. His mind spun. There were too many questions, too many things he didn't know. He knew his wife. She'd tell him. Eventually. In the meantime, there were things to be done. Dudley's old cot had to be dug out of the attic. The spare bedroom would have to be cleaned out. Adoption papers, social security, vaccines, doctor's appointments. His family was not poor, and he spent wisely, but this would stretch them thin.
He was drawn from his thoughts by a soft, "Vernon?" He looked up and saw Petunia looking at him with a fierce determination in her eyes.
"Pet?" he asked.
"We're taking him in." she said, and her tone brooked no arguments. Even if he'd had any, he wouldn't have voiced them. There were parts of his character that he knew were unpleasant. He had a temper. He was overly fond of food. He tended to put too much emphasis on wealth. But never, not ever, would he be called cruel.
He had only one thing to say. "Welcome to the family, Harry." He reached over and tousled the boy's soft, wild black hair. Harry laughed and batted at Vernon's big, scarred hands. He couldn't help but smile in return.
"Mum? Dad?" a shorter, blonder version of Vernon came into the kitchen in pajamas designed to look like army fatigues. He rubbed sleep from his eyes. "What's going on? Why's everyone yelling?" he saw the baby in his mother's arms. "Who's that?"
Vernon pushed out the free chair with his foot. There were so many things he would rather do than explain this to his son. It had to be done, though. "Sit down, son." he said, softly. Harry watched with bright golden eyes from Petunia's arms. "We've got a lot to talk about."
Dudley took the news as well as a three year old could. As far as he cared, he had a brother to play and fight with as he grew up. The hows and whys of it never entered the little boy's mind. The novelty of his new brother wore thin when the baby fell asleep in his mum's arms.
He yawned again. Commotion over, he decided it was much too early to be awake. Dudley toddled back upstairs to his room, crawled back into his still-warm bed, and fell asleep.
Vernon sighed. "He seemed to handle it okay." Petunia snorted and shifted Harry to a more comfortable position in her arms. He stirred and turned his face into her chest.
"He's three," she said flatly. "It'll take some time for it to sink in. Hell, I've got him in my arms and I'm having difficulty accepting this. Hopefully when Albus comes he can make things clearer."
Vernon's brows furrowed as something occurred to him. He leaned forward and lowered his voice. "Do you think this lunatic-what's the name? Voldemort?- will come after Harry again?"he didn't say it, but Petunia picked up on his question.
"The letter made it seem like he was dead, but with that world..." she trailed off and shrugged helplessly. "I don't know. Anything's possible. I hope not."
He smiled. "Another question to ask, I suppose. It's a good thing he didn't think the letter alone would explain everything."
"He's not an idiot, Vernon. Odd, yes, but not stupid."
It was a subdued Petunia Dursley that answered the door when Albus Dumbledore knocked some four hours later. She looked as tired as he felt. The sleep he'd sought after leaving Harry hadn't come. His meeting with Minister Fudge hadn't gone well. While ecstatic that Voldemort was done, he was insistent that Harry be placed with a "proper" family. That meant pureblood, and that simply wasn't happening. Albus had said as much. Fudge wasn't thrilled, and blustered legal action to get what he wanted.
That avenue hadn't worked, either. The benefit of holding as many positions as he did, he was essentially unassailable. Albus was very, very aware of the dangers of holding as much power as he did and second guessed himself as often as possible. The result of the meeting was no sleep, a headache, an annoyed Minister for Magic and Headmaster of Hogwarts, and no ground gained by either side.
Very frustrating. The end result of the fruitless meeting was that he'd had to go straight from the Ministry to the Dursley's house. Now, on no sleep, he had to explain to a woman why he needed her to change the course of her family's life. If nothing else, it promised to be an interesting conversation.
He sighed and hesitated at the door. He was not looking forward to this. No point in delaying any longer. He knocked twice and waited with clasped wrists for someone to answer the door. The door swung open and a tired, red-eyed Petunia Dursley answered. He felt his heart wrench at the sight. He'd done that. He smiled gently at her. "Ah, Mrs. Dursley. May I come in? I fear I'm not dressed for inconspicuousness at present."
"Please do," she said, voice hoarse but calm. "but keep it down, we've just gotten Harry down again."
"He's alright?" He stepped in and looked around the clean, almost austere kitchen. Pictures of Petunia, her husband and her son adorned various surfaces. It was his dearest hope that they'd show Harry the same love they clearly showered on their own son.
"Fine," she waved a distracted hand. "Better than fine, he seems perfectly healthy, in fact."
"Good, good. I trust you read my letter?"
"We did." a new voice, a man's voice said. Albus turned to see a thick, powerful looking man enter the room. Despite his size, he moved well, suggesting training. Perhaps a boxer. The hands made it likely. He smiled at who had to be Vernon, and received a nod in return. "It raised more questions than answers, though."
Albus nodded. "I expected as much. Please, this may take some time, and I'm not as young as I once was. May I sit?"
"What? Oh, of course!" Petunia waved him into a seat, which he sank into gratefully.
"Now," he said, once everyone was seated. "Where to begin? There is far more to this story than can be told in a single sitting, so I shall focus our tale on the events leading up to the night before, where your sister gave her life for her son. It started in the early sixties, with a brilliant, young student named Tom Riddle..."
Albus told them everything he knew. It was near three in the afternoon when he began, and close to seven when he finally finished. The entire time, the Dursley's sat, spellbound. Only Dudley or Harry could draw their attention away from his tale. Once he was done they sat blinking at him, disbelief and shock warring on their faces, with a rising current of fear. He didn't blame them in the least.
Vernon swallowed heavily. "So, he's gone, then? This Voldywart fellow? Dead and gone?"
"Yes, but as Petunia has no doubt told you, that doesn't carry the same...permanency it does in your world."
"You keep talking about your world and our world as if they're two different things, Mr. Dumbledore." Vernon said, frowning. "I don't care for the implication."
Albus raised an eyebrow. "Which implication would that be, Mr. Dursley?"
"That your world is somehow superior to ours."
"Ah. I see. I apologize if I have given you that impression, it is the furthest from the truth. Wizards and witches are still very much human. Many of us choose to live like you. We simply have some abilities that most do not, is all. I like to think of us as...what is the term? Ah, yes, a minority group. Like the Belgians. I do so enjoy Belgium."
Vernon blinked. "...Right. Belgium aside, that makes sense. Harry is definitely a... wizard?"
"Yes, and this is something I must warn you about. If you do take him in, and I suspect you have, if the glare your lovely wife is leveling on me is any indication, then you should be on the lookout for bursts of accidental magic."
Petunia lessened her glare and asked. "What would that be, exactly?"
"When a wizard or a witch is very young, their magic is still, for lack of a better word, setting itself in their bodies. It can lead to flare ups. Nothing major, maybe a light going on or off, a sweet being summoned from the top cabinet. If he's upset with you your hair might turn blue or vanish for an hour. I've set a ward on the property that will tell me if any significant bursts of magic occur. I'll be by to sort out whatever damage Harry accidentally inflicts."
Vernon still looked like he was having difficulty accepting that there were a group of people that could do something he himself couldn't. "I suppose I should thank you for that," he said after a while. "Though... it's a lot to handle, Mr. Dumbledore, and I want to say thank you for coming and answering our questions. I'm curious though: is there a way we can reach you, if we have any more?"
Albus thought for a moment. "Ordinarily, I would suggest owl post-" both Vernon and Petunia flinched. "however, as that's not exactly inconspicuous, I have an alternative, if I may."
He removed his wand from an inside pocket. Vernon leaned slightly away, a look of alarm on his face, while his wife did the exact opposite. Her look of near hunger spoke of a long unresolved longing. He still remembered her letter.
With a curious looping motion and he conjured a small ceramic dish the color of puce.
"What's that?" Vernon gestured at the dish.
"This, Mr. Dursley, is how we will communicate. If there is anything you need from me, any questions you might ask, simply touch this tray and say my name. It functions similarly to your...telephones? Is that the word?"
"Yes." Petunia waved him on impatiently.
"Right, thank you. So, I have this dish's twin in my office. When you activate yours, mine will chime, and we will be able to converse through it."
Vernon frowned. "Why not just..." he waved a hand at Albus' wand. "magic a set of telephones."
Albus smiled. "Because magic and electricity do not cooperate in the slightest. As I understand it there are people in the Department of Mysteries working to resolve the issue, but the last I heard, there's been no headway made. Now, if there's nothing else, I must be leaving. I've taken up too much of your time already."
He rose and shook the couple's hands, hopes much higher than they'd been a day ago. His heart still keened in grief over the losses of James and Lily, but now, seeing the acceptance of the Dursleys, he had a glimmer of hope for young Harry's future. He left their house and let the relief he'd been feeling show. There were many things he still had to do, talking and answering their questions had taken up an enormous amount of time, but today marked a first in recent years: Albus Dumbledore let himself be just a little bit selfish.
He apparated to Hogwarts, went to his quarters, and fell asleep.
Petunia began to suspect that Harry wasn't entirely normal, even for wizards, when he was six. Up until then his bursts of accidental magic were small. He levitated Dudley's model airplane across the room several times. Once Vernon's mustache turned from its normal brown to a kaleidoscope of colors. Odd, but not destructive.
Not until that night. Not until Halloween.
She woke up when the door to her bedroom rattled. "Dudley?" she said, rubbing sleep from her eyes. "Dudders? Harry?". The room shook, and she shrieked, falling back onto her husband, who jerked awake.
"Whazza? What's going on?" he asked, helping her off of him. Then the entire house started shaking. Pictures fell off walls, windows rattled in their panes. An almighty crash came from the kitchen as the plates and bowls fell out of their respective cabinets.
The shout had her surging to her feet and staggering across the shaking floor, Vernon hot on her heels. "I'll get Harry!" he shouted, "Get Dudley!" he hauled open the door to Harry's bedroom and darted inside.
What he saw made him stop dead in his tracks.
His adopted son was floating. Along with everything else in the room. The little twin bed, complete with motorcycle sheets, was a foot and a half off the ground. Toys and stuffed animals orbited around a small ball of light floating six inches above the bed. It took him a second to connect the ball of light with Harry. "Harry!" he yelled, dodging toys as he neared his son's bed. "Harry, stop!"
Harry yelled, "Don't hurt her!"
Every window in the house exploded.
Vernon was thrown to the ground, followed shortly by toys, Harry's bed, then finally, gently landing in a ball on the sheets, Harry. The little boy had his eyes screwed tightly closed his arms clamped around his legs. His lips moved, but Vernon couldn't hear anything.
He could read his son's lips, though, and what the boy was muttering, over and over, was "Don't hurt her, don't hurt her, don't hurt her, don't hurt her."
Vernon understood in a flash. He remembered what Dumbledore had said about how Harry's birth parents had died. His heart broke for the boy, again, as he realized what he had been dreaming. He crawled across the destroyed room and gathered the terrified child in his arms, holding him close. "Don't worry, son," he whispered, and kissed the top of Harry's head. "She's safe, they can't hurt her. Wake up, Harry. It's time to wake up. Come on, son, wake up."
With a jerk, Harry woke. He looked around wildly, eyes the color of amber, before settling on his dad. "Daddy? Did mum ever have red hair?"
Vernon held Harry closer. "No, son. She didn't."
"Oh." his eyes welled with tears. "I had a nightmare. There was a monster with red eyes and he was hurting this lady and she had red hair and I wanted him to stop but I couldn't move and I was so scared, dad!" he turned his face into his dad's night shirt and started to cry.
That was how Petunia and Dudley found them, seconds later. Nobody told Harry that what he'd dreamed was a nightmare. Dudley didn't because the sight of his little brother so torn up about something made everything else not matter, and his parents didn't because it would be a lie. They didn't want to lie to their son, nor did they think the truth would help. So they held their silence.
It was the hardest thing Petunia had ever done.
Albus appeared outside the house moments later. None of the damage Harry had caused was permanent, and easily fixed with a few repairing charms. What was more difficult to explain was why the incident had occurred at all. He'd paled when Vernon told him about the contents of Harry's dream. It sounded like a memory of how his mother had died.
It was impossible, plain and simple. Then again, it was supposed to be impossible that a boy of six have enough power to shake an entire house and shatter every window in the building. Yet, Albus had just spent the last hour undoing the damage caused by that exact thing happening. With reassurances to the Dursleys that yes, Harry was fine. No, it wasn't normal for magic to be like that. Of course he'd look into why.
He left them sitting in their living room, Harry curled in Vernon's arms, fast asleep. Petunia and Dudley were talking quietly on the sofa, her answering the anxious boy's questions about his brother.
One other remarkable thing he'd seen that night. The complete absence of Harry's scar. If he'd have looked closer, he'd have seen that all that remained was a thin, white, outline of what it once was. But he didn't. He was old, it was late, and he had bigger things on his mind.
The years passed, and Harry grew from a bright eyed boy into a young man. He was thin, it seemed that no matter how much food his mum gave him he stayed thin. She fretted about his weight, but he seemed happy and healthy, so she kept it to herself. She watched his face shed the baby fat of youth, turning into the perfect cheekbones and aquiline nose that looked so achingly like Lily. His hair, though, that riot of black that refused to be tamed, that was all James.
The one thing that refused to explained was his eyes. They were remarkable, beautiful even. But they weren't normal. Not even close. She could remember meeting a man once with violet eyes, but that was the extent of it. Her son's eyes were gold. Bright gold, and they practically shone with intelligence.
At the moment, however, she was more than a little annoyed with the boy. She rapped on his door again. "Up! Get up, Harry!"
"I'm up, mum!" his muffled voice came back. "I can't find my jumper!"
She sighed, rested her forehead on his door, and counted to three. Slowly. "Did you check under your bed? Or your hamper?"
There was a long pause. "Coming, mum!"
A thunder of young footsteps. Petunia lifted her head away just moments before the door was wrenched open and an eleven year old-in two weeks- Harry grinned sheepishly at her, tugging his jumper, Darth Vader's head looming on the front, down around his middle. "Well? Are you ready now? It's only your brother's birthday, I'm sure he can wait if you can't find your trainers."
Harry's grin vanished. He dashed back into his room.
"Trainers? Seriously? Harry."
Dudley was, understandably she thought, a bit miffed about the delay in getting to the zoo. It wouldn't be as bad as if Harry had suddenly developed this habit, but that wasn't the case. No, he'd been losing things since he had things to lose. Toys, clothes, food. Himself on a few heart-stopping occasions, one of which she still had nightmares about. But she wasn't going to think about that, she told herself, herding her sons through the bustling front gates of the zoo. She was thankful they'd directed their energy elsewhere; the pair of them had bickered the entire ride there and she was seriously considering feeding one or both of them to a lion.
Still, she couldn't help but smile at the wide eyed wonder the pair of them wore on their faces. The four of them meandered through the zoo, her or Vernon being dragged by the hand towards an exhibit Dudley or Harry thought was particularly interesting.
She so regretted that Lily wasn't here to see her son grow up.
Then again, maybe there were merits to being dead.
For instance, she wouldn't have to try and explain to an eleven year old why they shouldn't take a boa constrictor home with them. Even if it promised not to eat anyone. The fact that Harry could talk to snakes didn't surprise her. She chalked it up to being a wizard, pinched her nose, and tried again. "Because, first, I and your father say no. Secondly, it belongs in the zoo. Barring that, Brazil. It's too cold for it here."
"But muuum! I could make it warmer. You know, with my...thing."
"I don't understand why you won't call it magic, Harry."
She hoped that changing the subject would get her easily distracted son to focus on something else long enough for him to forget about adopting an eight foot snake.
Harry sighed in a weary manner. "Because it just seems silly when I call it that. 'Sides, from what you and Mr. Dumbledore tell me, what I can do isn't exactly magic anyways. Talking of which, has he figured it out yet?"
Petunia breathed a sigh of relief. He'd forgotten. They'd dodged the rock, and were now charging headlong towards the hard place. She looked to her husband for support. He grinned at her and shrugged, turning his attention to the road. "No, he hasn't. He says he's close, but he wanted to make absolutely sure before telling us. He told me he was going to talk to some experts before coming by in a week or so."
"Oh." she looked in the rearview mirror. Harry had turned to watch the cars. Dudley had fallen asleep next to him. "That's okay. I don't mind not knowing. Do you think my real mom knew?"
She ignored how her heart wrenched at the word 'real'. She knew he didn't mean anything by it. "I don't think so, Harry. Lily was a brilliant, brilliant woman, but you...you're unique. A class of your own."
Silence descended. Petunia wrangled with her emotions, Vernon with the traffic. Harry made a ball of dull amber light and tossed it between his hands. Dudley slept onwards. As they made the turn off the motorway, he started to snore.
"I've got him."
Vernon carried Dudley into the house and up the stairs to his room. Petunia nudged Harry into the kitchen and started to make a snack for him. There was still an ache in her chest, caused by the absence of her sister. Years had passed, and she had done her grieving, but there would always be a part of her that missed her sister. From time to time she was reminded of that. "Would you check the mail, Harry? It'll be ready in a minute."
"Sure, mum." she heard him whistle idly as he went to the door. The whistling stopped. "Hello, then. What's this? Mr. H. Potter? The Second Bedroom? Oh. Mum! It's here!"
"What is?" she asked, coming into the hallway. Harry had dropped most of the mail onto the hallway table. What he hadn't dropped was a letter made from a familiar material. A wax seal held the envelope closed and Harry's name was written in bottle green ink.
"It's my Hogwarts letter." he looked up at her, eyes shining with delight. "I'm going to school!"
Petunia Dursley smiled.
So, what'd you think? Good? Bad? So amazing you had to read it twice? For the love of God, don't keep it to yourself. Tell me, tell me, tell me!