Word Count: 981
Summary: Lily’s sister Petunia thinks about what might have been.
Sometimes, just sometimes, Petunia let herself look into Harry’s eyes, because there she saw Lily, and through Lily she saw her father, and something of her mother, and little glimpses of her grandparents, all of their eyes. It was like looking into a pool and catching sight of something at the bottom, and not being quite sure what it was. The resentment was still there, and sometimes she looked and found herself wanting to look away, but at other times all she could see was Lily, and she missed her sister, that jerk who had always been prettier, more fun, more confident, more able, whom she had hated and worshipped in equal measure.
She remembered with a smouldering resentment all those little things Lily had been able to do which had a touch of the supernatural, the times when Lily’s eyes had sparkled and she had given her that look, that what did you expect look. And then when Lily reached eleven she realised they were supernatural, because Lily had been a witch. She had been so, so jealous. She had read somewhere that jealousy eats away at the soul, and it was true. She knew that. The jealousy had gnawed away at her, making her a brittle, hollow shell. She had even been jealous of that Sev boy, despite his oversized clothes that made him look like a bat, despite his lank, greasy hair.
Sometimes – and her stomach twisted a little when she thought of this – she gained a perverse, nasty pleasure from looking at Harry in his oversized, shabby clothes, with his black hair. He reminded her of Sev and how he had stuck out like a sore thumb in normal company. How she had hated that boy, how she hated this boy who lived in her house and ate her food and trod dirt into her carpets and reminded her every, every day of Lily and Sev Snape and of that awful Potter boy who came and took Lily away. Because she had always nurtured a little flame inside her, a little hope that somehow Lily would come back, that they could sit down and laugh and talk and just be sisters again, without that filthy word magic coming between them. If only she’d come home from that school and left it all behind, married someone normal like her Vernon, lived like a normal person. If only she’d come to her senses and settled down, it all would have been different and – and she wouldn’t be dead.
They were all dead. That made something inside her contract and sit heavily under her ribs. Lily. Mum. Dad. Nana and Granddad, and Nain and Taid Evans. All of them gone. All of them dead. It was odd how a family could just shrink away. If it hadn’t been for the Potter boy, she would have had another baby. Dudders wouldn’t be an only child. He would have had a proper brother, not this odd, gangly, weird creature whom she tried to hide away and who stuck like a thorn in her side no matter what. Every day, reminding her of all the things that had taken Lily away. Magic, magic, magic. If only…
She would look at her hands and wonder why her blood and her bones had been spared that freakish abnormality. It was an abnormality. Lily was a freak. Nothing about magic was normal. But to lift her hands and have magic spark from her fingers… Even that Severus boy had been granted that. What a waste, for a boy like him to be given an ability like that.
Sometimes, when Lily was home for the holidays, she would creep into her bedroom and open that trunk of hers and look at her wand. Of course Lily was forbidden to touch it when she was home. Mum and dad knew how unnatural that stuff was, even if they pretended it was such an amazing thing. But sometimes Petunia would sneak into her room and pick up her wand, and hold it in her hands.
And it lay there like a dead stick. She’d seen it come to life in Lily’s hands. She’d seen it on the platform, the only place where Hogwarts and home intersected, the only place Lily could do magic in front of her eyes. It had been like watching living fire, amazing and terrifying in its power and danger. But when she held it she felt nothing; there was nothing there. It was a corpse, an empty, dead branch.
What was it that she had heard Lily say once? The wand chooses the wizard. How could a dead piece of wood choose anyone? When she saw that other stick in Harry’s hands, it made her heart beat a little bit faster, and she didn’t know if it was from fear or jealousy. Maybe both. Maybe she hated Harry because he’d inherited the only bit of Lily that she could never share. Because he had got that spark, and she had – nothing.
Of course not nothing. She had Vernon, and a good car, and a good house, and Dudley, of course. What did Lily have? She didn’t even know where Lily was buried. She had faded away, all her magic with her. But – but – she looked at Harry’s green eyes and she saw seas of lives stretching back into the past. She wondered how many of them shared that strange, dangerous spark. She wondered what happened in Lily’s mind right before she died. She wondered how it would have been if she had just given up the boy and held on to her own life. If it hadn’t been for him, she might be here now, and perhaps they could just sit, and talk, and perhaps – just hold hands. Just hold hands, and talk.