Petunia Dursley gave her home, a rural, cookie-cutter house on Privet Drive in a quaint town called Little Whinging, one last glance before she needed to flee for her "safety". As if this dark wizard would come after the people Harry wanted to avoid most in the world.
Mrs. Dursley let out a prolonged sigh.
She would desperately miss the striped living room in which she stood. She would long for her plush, off-white carpeting (which still had a stain from the cake that Harry had dumped onto Mrs. Mason's head) and even her ugly, electric fireplace that covered up the boarded hole that was her original hearth. Vernon shut up the first fireplace six years ago during the owl debacle in the summer of 1991.
At the mere thought of her nephew, Petunia peered at him while he surveyed the house he was desperate to escape since he was a tot. As she compared him to the skinny boy under her stairs when he was eleven, she hardly recognized him. Before her stood a young man, wiser than his years and stronger than any person of just sixteen should have to be. She noticed a confidence in his gait which probably had a bit to do with the fact that he no longer wore her dear Dudley's hand-me-downs, which hung loosely on his frame, but more to do with his sense of belonging in his world.
Petunia still felt a twinge of envy that she never was accepted as he and Lily were, but she repressed it.
Seeing the young man he had become gave Petunia an inkling of guilt. She had hardly participated in Harry's life, if at all, and could stake no claim in now he was raised.
Mrs. Dursley studied her nephew further.
An ebony mop of hair adorned his head, taunting her, for she never could tame that beast. Wire-rimmed glasses framed his emerald irises that, she observed for the first time, matched Lily's so well.
Harry looked up and caught her appraisal. Not only did his eyes physically appear like Lily's, but they shared the same emotions. The green meant not envy, but sorrow and pity for Petunia.
She felt those sentiments to be the truth once again. She was pitiful.
Jealousy, caused by Lily's magical abilities and Petunia's lack thereof, hammered a giant wedge between the siblings' relationship. The worst part of the situation was that when confronted with the chance to apologize, she proudly declined. Pride meant nothing to her now that her sister was gone and they didn't reconcile. No "sorry"'s, no "good-bye"'s, no declarations of filial love that were long past due and now gone with Lily.
Her words left unspoken tormented Petunia and right that moment, she could make amends. If she just told Harry about her petty envy and aching remorse, she could fill a bit of the gaping hole that was left in her heart after Lily was murdered. Mrs. Dursley had the opportunity to fix what had been broken, what she had damaged in the first place, for far too long.
Doubt seeped into her veins, filling Petunia, stopping her words.
Do I deserve forgiveness?
The burning regret was her curse to own for failing Lily in the only thing she ever asked of her younger sister; taking care of Harry.
Petunia broke eye contact with her nephew and let her misery flow freely as tears while sobbing into her frilly handkerchief. She would keep that pain inside of her. It was her burden, alone, to bear.
As she cried into the laced fabric, she let her prim stoicism slip off like a mask. Harry's aunt broke down for a few, satisfying minutes before the car door outside slammed shut and flung her back into her harsh reality.
Back on went the facade.
"Well… good-bye," Petunia said to Harry, knowing that those would be the last words she would ever say to him. She turned towards the pearly white door and laid one bony hand on the brass knob.
"Good-bye," Harry replied, surprising his aunt. Mrs. Dursley turned to face him once more. She needed to see Lily's eyes one last time and her heart physically ached as it pounded in her chest like a drum.
Maybe she should let him know how she felt. She imagined all the things she wished she could say to Harry.
I miss her too.
I don't deserve your kindness.
I should have loved you like I loved her.
You can do anything you set your mind to.
You're so much stronger than you believe, so much stronger than I ever thought before.
Or maybe it was best to not pick at old wounds.
Petunia Dursley swung open the white door and feeling a tear roll down her face, stepped outside. It was the only one she ever shed for her nephew and, like with his mother, she welcomed the fresh stab of pain like an old friend.