“Petunia! Shut that child up!” Vernon Dursley shouted angrily from the kitchen table. The persistent wail that came from upstairs made his blood boil, a constant reminder that her child was living in his house.
In the mornings Vernon liked to read the paper over a nice cup off tea before heading off to work. Doing this lately was becoming more and more difficult.
“Petunia!” He cried once more. Rotten child, he was. Not at all like Dudley. He thought, a smug smile on his overly round face.
Dudley, as if knowing his father was thinking of him, gave a delighted squeal from his high chair and promptly tipped his breakfast on the kitchen floor.
From upstairs Vernon heard another wail. Instantly his own son’s playful antics were forgotten as he remembered that child was in his house.
“Petunia!” He cried once more this time bringing her through the kitchen door.
“I’m sorry!” She told her husband quickly rushing into the kitchen with baby Harry on her hip, still screaming. “What happened here?” She asked spotting the puddle of porridge on the floor
Vernon chuckled merrily as Dudley clapped his pudgy hands in glee.
“Ah little tyke spilt his breakfast.” Vernon told her, rustling his newspaper.
Petunia couldn’t help but sigh in frustration as she tried to take Dudley out of his highchair and place him into the playpen in the corner while still holding a screaming Harry. Vernon of course didn’t offer to help.
“Petunia!” Vernon moaned for what he hoped would be the last time. She turned to look at him , both boys in her arms as she awkwardly put Dudley down. “Do something to stop that child from screaming!” He cried angrily.
Still Harry continued to cry, ever louder when she attempted to place him in the highchair. “I’m sorry I don’t know what to do!” She said clearly feeling more than a little distraught. “He’s confused. He wants his mother… I just don’t know what to do.” Petunia whimpered again just as Harry let out another wail.
“Come on, come on. There’s a good boy. Its okay.” Petunia soothed in a motherly voice, although close to tears herself.
All Vernon could do was harrumph his disapproval. “I told you Petunia, I told you.” He said waving his rolled up newspaper over his shoulder as he made his way to the sitting room to finish his tea in peace.
Petunia sighed. He had told her.
It had been only two days that baby Harry had been found on their doorstep with a note. While she had taken her sisters child wilfully in the hopes of proving for a him a safe home Vernon had immediately expressed his disapproval, claiming that another child would only upset things and become a burden.
Now only days later she could already see it wasn’t going to work out for the best.
Vernon had wanted to send him to an orphanage, but Petunia had been adamant in saying no. She may not have gotten on well with her sister but she already knew that she would not be able to live with herself knowing that he was alone in the world.
Jigging the small child in her arms Petunia looked towards her own son who was happily attempting to destroy his playpen with a plastic rattle, but instead only adding to the noise of the small kitchen.
“Oh Harry come on, Please stop.” She begged soothing back his dark hair that she already knew he had inherited from his father.
She had only met James Potter a few times but it was obvious that Harry had inherited his features. Except the eyes. Eyes that were nothing like her own. They were her Mothers eyes.
She could never forget that night. The last time she had seen her sister. How Lily had pleaded that she had something important to tell her but Petunia had refused to listen.
Forever now she would wonder if what Lily had to tell her that night had something to do with her death. Maybe one day Harry would be able to tell her… She thought wistfully as Harry began to whimper softly. Hoisting him higher onto her shoulder she continued to rub his back soothingly as her mind drifted back almost a year and a half ago to the day Lily had arrived on her doorstep. The first thing she had noticed about her little sister was that she too was pregnant.
Petunia and Lily hadn’t seen each other for almost for so long but Petunia hadn’t been at all surprised to see James Potter at her side. But it was the look in her sisters eyes that she remembered most. And the way just as she had started to cry James had whispered something unheard in her ear and pulled her away. What he had said was as much a mystery as what Lily had wanted to say. But as she thought back now it wasn’t curiosity that she associated with their brief meeting but a feeling that she could almost describe as jealousy.
It had been the way he pulled her away, glancing back reproachfully once more that made her jealous. It showed he really cared.
Yes, For only meeting him a few times he had made an impression. The first time when Lily had bought him home for the Christmas break of her last year. Mrs Evans had remarked how wonderful it was that both her daughters had bought home boyfriends for Christmas lunch.
It was obvious that Vernon did not feel the same way. He had spent the entire day staring wearily at the new comer that had quickly impressed Mrs and Mr Evans, no doubt feeling his position as much loved son-in-law was to be quickly taken over.
But then again it was hard not to be impressed by James Potter. After all he was everything the Evans’ could have wanted for their daughter. He was charming, witty, polite and most importantly clearly adored their darling Lily.
And although petunia was to be married in less than a couple of months there was something about the way he stared at Lily that made her wistful. It made her relationship with Vernon seem impersonal. Just to prove her point while James Potter joked with her sister Vernon continued to shovel food into his mouth. He wouldn’t take his eyes off that plate until it was completely empty. But don’t get her wrong, she loved Vernon with all her heart. But sometimes she couldn’t help but wonder the extent of his love for her.
When he had stumbled across Lily and James’ secret he had told Petunia that it was okay. But deep down Petunia knew I would never be.
For years now she had listened to her husband pass judgment on magic and the Potters filling Petunia with guilt when she agreed for the sake of peace. Really that day all she had wanted to do was chase them down the path to apologise for all those years of snide remarks and bitter innuendos, for not calling to tell her of her pregnancy or attending their wedding…
Now it was all too late.
Her sister and her husband were dead and she was left to care for their son that would grow up never knowing how wonderful his mother was or see the love in his fathers eyes.
With a soft finger Petunia gently traced the shape of Harry’s face finishing at the raw mark on his forehead. The letter had not explained the cut. Or what had happened for that matter. Just that she needed to take care of him. And she would.
“Harry, Harry, Harry.” She whispered as he stared up at her with those eyes. Cradling him gently she took a seat at the kitchen table, glancing once more at Dudley to make sure he was okay. “You mother was a good person, I’m sorry you will never know her…” She whispered, smoothing back his hair again, “You are all I have left of her…Sweet baby I promise to keep you safe…To keep her son safe. I owe her that. And one day you will find out what happened to her. She-”
“Petunia?” Vernon asked from the doorway where he stood with a worried expression on his face.
Petunia had no idea how long he had been standing there but did not doubt he had heard what she had said. Coughing nervously she stood to place Harry in the play pen with Dudley, handing him a small stuffed rabbit.
“We will have to get him a proper crib.” Petunia said lightly, standing up right again and turning to look at her husband. “And possibly another highchair.”
For a moment he stood in the doorway staring at her before he spoke. “Don’t ignore Dudley.” Vernon intoned as without taking his eyes off her he walked to the sink to deposit his empty tea cup.
Dudley, if it was possible for a one and half year old, stared up at his mother reproachfully before looking at the boy he was supposed to share his things with. Ceasing the opportunity he leant forward to give Harry a good wack with his rattle, causing Harry to start up again.
Dudley seeing his mother come forward decided to join in. Petunia, without hesitation picked up Harry to inspect his head and wipe away his tears.
Looking up she saw Vernon standing by the sink with a smug look on his face. Guilt washed over her as she looked down at her son, who was turning purple with the effort of trying to get his mothers attention.
“I'm off to work.” He stated coldly as Petunia continued to look between her son and Harry confused as to what had just happened.
Quickly she placed Harry in the playpen with Dudley again who immediately stopped crying as he began to prod Harry.
Vernon watched her do this as he smirked in satisfaction. Walking towards her he dutifully gave her a peck on the cheek, turning once more to look at the two boys.
“Harry,” He mused, “Nasty name for a nasty child. Mark my words Petunia he will grow up to be nothing but a filth layabout.
“Yes, a good for nothing trouble maker.” She said pursing her lips and waving goodbye to an extremely satisfied Vernon.
She loved her husband. Faults and all. And she would do anything to keep him happy. Even if that was keeping her thoughts about Harry Potter to herself.
After all it was much easier like this, she thought as Dudley gave him one poke too many and Harry began to whimper again.
Yes, much easier…
*** A/N- another mindless one-shot straight from the mind of me! I must tell you this is not one of my best efforts. In a way i dont think it flows. But alas. this is a site where we can all share...and sharing is caring people!
tell me what you think. i welcome all comments, the good and the bad!
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