Memories are fresh
'Round my hometown
Ooh, the people I've met
Are the wonders of my world
-Hometown Glory, Adele
Petunia nearly stumbled off the bus as let her off on an all-too-familiar street. The lamps were shining their ominous rays in the darkened streets, seeming to ask what she thought she was doing here. She certainly didn't know. All she knew was that Lily was dead, and there some unseen force that dragged her back to her childhood town.
She caught sight of the street sign for the first time, and her breath caught in her throat with the same sensation of a suppressed scream. Spinner's End. She set off at a brisk walk, hoping to make it to the house before she lost her nerve and turned around all together. She hadn't been even in close vicinity to her childhood home since before her parents had died nearly four years ago. That had been the last time she had seen anyone in her family.
The last time that she had seen him.
She rounded the corner, trying to shake the image of cool gray eyes and soft, dark hair out of her nagging mind. She shouldn't be thinking of him at all now; she was a happily married woman with a child. She didn't even know what had become of him.
Then, suddenly, the house was upon her, staring down like a grim relative, asking, "Where have you been? Why haven't you come to see me?"
She felt like screeching back up at it, "The last time, you betrayed me!"
But dignified women such as herself did not scream at buildings in the dead of night. Instead, she gingerly pushed open the front gate, and it creaked and groaned like weary bones. The cobblestones were loose under her feet, and she had to concentrate very hard not to fall; a ridiculous vision crossed her mind, for who would be here to help her if she were to trip and break her neck?
The house was unlocked, as Lily had demanded it be left, though only God knew why. The furniture was still in place, causing Petunia to sneer as she thought of all the time's her sister had promised that her worthless husband would dispose of it properly. And yet she felt a vague sense of comfort in knowing that some things were still intact.
She had no interest in the majority of the house; there was only one thing that she had come to see, and that was the garden. Truth be told, there wasn't much to it and never had been. Her mother had loved flowers and had done her best to make them flourish in the sooty air of Cokeworth. She had managed a pretty decent display that summer of '78, when the garden party had been thrown.
She and Lily had been on the rocks for years, ever since she was denied entrance to that school. It was only in the beginning of Lily's final year, when Dumbledore granted her special permission to visit the school, that things began to get better. She was given the chance that few Muggles had, and Lily had shown her a beautiful time in the castle and the surrounding village. It quenched Petunia's thirst for this strange, dream-world for a time, but nothing could really satisfy the pangs of jealousy she had.
That is, until she met Sirius Black. When Lily began dating her future husband, James Potter, in her seventh year, he was a frequent visitor on the holidays. And, always, they would tote Sirius along behind him; Petunia always supposed that it was because he had no proper family, but these things were not proper to talk about.
He made her laugh, despite the fact that he was crude and not all-together well-groomed. He was handsome and sent butterflies twittering about in her stomach like she was a twelve-year old schoolchild. He had even stolen her first kiss at the top of the staircase when he visited over Christmas break.
There were always rules with Sirius; he never allowed her to get too close to him, and it was imperative that James and Lily were never told what was going on. Petunia loved the thrill of having a secret lover, but she was twenty years old and knew that she couldn't spend her time waiting for him forever.
The garden. She let out a sigh as she felt the untended grass scrape against her ankles. Her mother's striped carnations were still flourishing. She had always told her mother that they were a tacky flower to choose and why didn't she plant something elegant like peonies. Now, however, she buried her face in their colorful petals and took a long whiff. They smelled the same. I'm sorry. I can't be with you. They smelled like that summer night.
It had been early summer, so it wasn't too hot out and there was a kind breeze floating through the early evening air. Their parents had thrown a party in honor of Lily's graduation, and a few of her school friends had been invited. Their names had flown over Petunia's head, and so she only referred to them in her mind as "the fat one" or "the blonde with big teeth and too much blush", but it was still nice to be included. She had hoped that her conversation plans that evening would lock her place in indefinitely.
When she finally found Sirius, he was lurking underneath a drooping tree, with only the carnations for company. "All right?" she asked, sidling up next to him, noting that he was swaying almost as much as the flowers in the wind. "Had a bit to drink?"
"Celebrating," he said gruffly, taking another swig from his wine glass.
"I see," said Petunia tensely. This is not what she had anticipated. "Is James still thinking of proposing at the end of the night?"
Sirius finally looked at her, startled. "Did I tell you that?"
"Last night," she said, nodding. "Were you drunk then, too?"
"No," he muttered. "Just got a lot on my mind."
There was no tactful way to start this conversation. Their intentions had never been made clear, but Petunia couldn't help but believe that she and Sirius were heading down the same road. Never mind that he had said he didn't believe in true love, never mind that he had warned her against any expectations. She knew that he loved her and that's all that was important.
"Do you ever think of doing anything like that?" she asked, plucking a carnation and playing with the petals. "Marriage, I mean."
There was a long silence. Sirius drained his glass, and she tried to listen to the music to drown out the pounding of her heart. It seemed like he would never respond, that he would leave her hanging in limbo forever while her little sister swung around the dance floor with her very public love.
"I told you not to fall in love with me," he said finally.
She spun her head around so fast she thought her neck might break. "I thought you were joking."
"Look, Pet," he said, only pity in his eyes. "This has been fun. It really has, and you've been wonderful, but there is too much danger in the world right now. There's too much going on."
"What danger could you possibly be talking about?" she asked incredulously, trying to ignore the shattering sound in her eardrums.
"You wouldn't understand," he muttered, clearly looking for a way out of the conversation.
"Why?" asked Petunia icily. "Because I'm a Muggle?"
Sirius stared at her, mouth agape. Finally, he took a deep breath and said, "Frankly, yes."
She turned from him, just in time to see James get down on one knee, mercifully drawing away any potential eavesdroppers. She blinked hard fighting back tears and flinched when she felt a strong hand on her arm.
"We always knew this wasn't going to work," he said softly. "If it were easier...if it were a different time..."
"Then what?" she hissed. "You'd marry me like a decent man would?"
"Then I'd love you fully, Pet," he said, true despair in his voice. "But love is not for these times, and I have to go. I'm sorry. I can't be with you."
The weight of his hand left her, and the space remaining filled her with cold hatred and fury. She crushed the flower in her hands, its broken petals falling to the ground in clumps. This was the final straw. These wizards and their magic would always regard her with contempt, like she was some fragile imbecile because she couldn't make sparks fly out of a stick. Well, she'd had enough. Screw Lily and all her attempts to include her; it had never been anything more than a dream.
Watching her spoiled sister cling to her new fiance made bile rise up her throat, and Petunia fled the garden party, out into the steets, never to return.
Until now, four years later, with her sister, parents, James, and probably Sirius all dead and buried in the ground. She stuck her face back into the carnations and cried until the sun began to show. Embarrassed that she had allowed herself such a foolish adventure, she picked herself up off the ground, brushed off her skirt, and dried the tears from her cheeks.
Without a backwards glance, she marched through the kitchen and back out to the bus stop. This was the end of the wizarding world for Petunia Dursley. She would leave her memories where she left her tears. She'd had her purge and it was done.
It was going to be as if it all never existed.
Track This Story: Feed
JOIN HARRY POTTER FANFICTION
Get access to every new feature the moment it comes out.Register Today!