There he goes …..My sister’s son…. The one I was forced to neglect for the past 16 years. I still remember that night…
Vernon was acting very shifty. He even asked me about Lily. My Lilykins. The one I was forced to act angry and miffed with .You see the problem was that I was jealous. Of her. But otherwise I loved her very much. She was my little sister. My only sister. But I pushed her away.
We went to bed and everything was as usual. I opened the door in the morning just to find him there clutching a letter in one hand and looking at me with her eyes .Lily’s eyes. So I did the only rational thing that came to my mind. I screamed.
Vernon came running down. He came to a standstill on seeing Harry. I bent down and picked him up from his basket.
“ P-Petunia, what are you doing?”
“We can’t keep him outside. He’ll catch a cold”
Vernon looked terrified. “He’ll be just like her”
“We can’t just leave him out there Vernon. Don’t you get it. He’s my nephew. Our nephew.”
“Look let’s just read the letter and then we’ll decide. OK?
It is with my heartfelt condolences that I inform you that your sister Lily Potter and her husband James Potter were killed yesterday night by Lord Voldemort. Harry is the only living member of the Potter family left. You’re his guardians. I hope you take care of him as if he’s your own son.
I’m sorry to say that your sister was betrayed by James’s best friend, Sirius Black, who was working with Voldemort.
The moment you take him into your house, an old blood protection charm will be activated which will protect you and you’re family from Voldemort or anyone meaning to harm Harry. So if not for your sister’s memory, do it at least for your family.
“Petunia there is no way we are keeping him. Do you hear me? No way”
“Please Vernon! Do it for Dudley”
“I’m going back to bed.”
He didn’t bother replying.
Now there he was leaving me again like my sister. Away from my clutches. Awfully brave and willing to die for ones he did not even know. I still had the letter I was last sent by my sister. It came one week after her death.
I was cleaning the kitchen when the doorbell rang. It was the postman with the letters. I sorted through them separating bills from letters. As I was going through them, I saw it. Her handwriting. The one I thought I would never see again. It was dated on the day she had died. Her last letter to me.
I know you don't like me sending you letters and that you don't want to hear about my life. But I don't like the way things were left between us and I may not be able to send you any more letters for a while. I don't know if you've heard or not, but Petty, I have a son now. His name is Harry and he's got our Mom's eyes. But that's the only feature he's inherited from me. Other than that he is a spitting image of his father. He is almost one year old now and he is already a handful. A very mischievous baby. James is already bragging that Harry has inherited his prankster genes. I pray that he has not though I doubt that he has.
I’m going to disclose some confidential details now. I’m sending this by Muggle post as I don’t want it to be intercepted.
You see there was a prophecy made regarding Harry. Voldemort (he is the evil Dark Lord I'd told you about in my previous letters) heard a part of it and is now coming after us. So we’re going to cast the Fidelius Charm. An immensely complex spell involving the magical concealment of a secret inside a single, living soul. The information is hidden inside the chosen person, or Secret-Keeper, and is henceforth impossible to find — unless, of course, the Secret-Keeper chooses to divulge it.
So the official story is that Sirius Black is our secret keeper. But that is only a decoy. The real secret keeper is Peter Pettigrew. Not even Dumbledore knows this. No one will suspect that Peter is the secret keeper. You’re the only one who knows this aside from the four of us. I won’t be able to talk to you anymore till Voldemort is dead. I’ll see you someday. I promise you.
She always kept her promises. But she didn’t keep this promise. She knew I was just acting. She would send me letters even when I didn’t sent any back.
I tried to contact Dumbledore asking him to meet me somewhere but he kept saying that it was dangerous for Harry to see him or any magical folk before he was 11. He also asked me to make sure that he did not get a big head but got Lily’s character instead. I tried my best. I treated him the exact opposite way I treated my son. I didn’t see him as the cause of my sister’s death. If it wasn’t for the prophecy then my sister wouldn’t have been killed. He was my only link to my sister.
Then came that dratted letter. We were living a very peaceful life other than the occasional bursts of magic from Harry. I felt so proud at those moments but I hid it. I acted furious. I did not allow anyone to take photographs of him. I didn’t want anyone to know where he was. I tried to avoid taking him out. Then came Dudders’ birthday. We had to take him to the zoo since no one else was there to take him. There he talked to the snake. I was watching him every single moment, gauging his reaction, comparing it with Lily’s. Although he is his father’s replica in looks, he is his mother’s replica in character. I watched him leave me again knowing he would return. He came back a bit grown with battle scars.
He left me again for the next year and came back with more battle scars but when he left me again for the third year, he came back happy with relatively less battle scars. He told us that Sirius Black, his Godfather, had broken out of Azkaban, the wizarding prison and was on the run and would check on him.
And with fourth year everything changed. He came back looking depressed with not only battle scars but also mental scars. He would scream every night. It took everything I had to not go and comfort him.
And then came the fifth year. I knew what was going on in the wizarding world because it was part of the agreement between the old man and me.
The doorbell rang at noon the day after the kids had gone to school. I went to answer the door. There stood an old man with a crooked nose wearing half-moon spectacles and having blue eyes. He had the longest beards I had ever seen which seemed to shine in the sunlight. He exuded an aura of power but also had the air of a calm and loving grandfather.
“Hello” he said “I presume you’re Mrs. Petunia Dursley?”
“I’m Professor Dumbledore. Albus Dumbledore.”
“Oh. Please Come In”
We talked for a long time. I wanted to tell him about the letter but he didn’t give me an opening. It was mostly like an interview with me answering questions.
“Petunia, do you remember that in my letter I had asked you to look after Harry as if he was your own? He came to Hogwarts looking underfed and unhealthy”
“Sir, I did all I could. Vernon set conditions for me keeping him. I wasn’t allowed to show him love. It was also a part of Vernon’s condition that he work for his living and that he didn’t take any extra space. I found him the largest cupboard there was. But when that letter came Vernon became paranoid and now Harry has his own room. Vernon’s still scared of wizards, sir, and he is also instilling that fear into Dudley. Hagrid scared them even more the day he came to collect Harry.”
“What about you, Petunia”
“Sir, I was never scared of wizards. It was my pride not my fear that kept me away from my sister.”
“So you’re still willing to take Harry during summer.”
“Yes, sir. But one condition, sir. I want to know everything, everything going on in that world concerning Harry.”
“That can be arranged”
“Thank you, sir. Just one more thing, sir. Can you keep our correspondence a secret?”
“Yes, I shall”
“Thank you, sir”
“So I bid your leave Petunia. Thank you for taking care of Harry and take care.”
But he was already gone before I could breach the subject of the letter.
I felt sorry and pain for him. He was supposed to grow with my sister as his mother and James as his father maybe with siblings not with an uncle and aunt who hated him and a cousin who bullied him. He was not supposed to look over his shoulder every single time. He was supposed to enjoy life and childhood not see his friend die in front of him. He should’ve had a normal summer with his mother seeing him off to school not his best friend’s mother. He shouldn’t have to save his cousin from Dementors. I was so proud of him for saving Dudley but Vernon was going to throw him out. Fortunately Dumbledore’s letter came or I don’t know what I would’ve done. Vernon listened to me for once in his life.
Harry went earlier that year. But unlike other years he went without saying goodbye. He came back looking even more depressed. He never left his room. He barely ate his food. And then Dumbledore came to visit us. I was surprised since we had kept our correspondence a secret. I didn’t receive the usual letter from him describing Harry’s year, so I had no idea of what was going on. I learnt from him that Sirius was dead and Harry had inherited everything. Dumbledore’s usual letter came telling me how Harry had to watch Sirius die, of how he had been possessed by Voldemort. I was again scared for Harry. Oh, how I longed to not let him go knowingly into danger but what could I, his hated aunt do? He went with Dumbledore this time. He came back looking like he would collapse from the weight of the world. I didn’t get my usual letter so I wondered what happened. He then told us that we had to go into hiding.
We were eating dinner silently when Harry broke the silence.
“You’ll have to go into hiding”
“What?!?” Vernon asked.
“I said you’ll have to go into hiding. We think Voldemort have infiltrated the Ministry. He’ll come after you next.”
“What about Dumbledore?” I asked.
“Dumbledore, Dumbledore’s dead.” Harry said
I sat there shell-shocked. Dumbledore had died? Now who would protect Harry when he went to do foolish things?
Later I had visited Harry in his room when everyone was sleeping. He was awake so I just silently watched him. He was packing, sorting his things into different piles. I wondered what he was doing.
Vernon kept changing his mind. In the end it was decided that we would go.
Now I’m standing here looking at him. He has grown from that small baby to a handsome young man. He has that look in his eyes of having been through things children his age shouldn’t go through. I want to hug him, tell him not to leave me. Because I know that if he leaves me again he won’t come back. Like my sister.
I left him without saying a word, knowing that if I opened my mouth, I wouldn’t be able to leave him.
As Vernon drove, I looked back. He was leaving me to go to his world. Like his mother. To die for his world. Like his mother. I hoped that the Weasleys would look after him.
I can still hear her, Lily, sometimes. She keeps scolding me for how I treated Harry but then keeps thanking me for looking after him. I can feel her. I’ve visited her grave sometimes. I still go there when I miss her. Why did she leave? I know she was given a choice to live. Dumbledore told me. I wondered at that time why she didn’t make the right choice. Why she had died for him. Why she would leave me willingly. But now I understand that she had made the right choice. I would do the same thing in her place. She left me so that her son could live. Her son left me so that everyone else could live.
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