Author's notes: A special thank you to Zahri, who has been an amazing beta. Not everyone can put up with my countless grammatical errors and endless little mistakes.
And thank you to all of you readers for coming in and reading my little story.
Petunia Evans was quite a peculiar eleven year old. She had a very thin frame and a long neck. Quite often her immature and hurtful classmates would compare her to a giraffe. Petunia, however, was very proud of her thinness and reveled in it. Often she used it to make fun of her younger sister --Lily -- who, at age 9, still had not quite lost all of her baby fat. Petunia's thinness was her only weapon, though, as Lily was often referred to as the "pretty one" when grown-ups thought Petunia wasn't close enough to hear.
But it was not Petunia's thinness that grown-ups would often mention when she came up in conversation. Rather, it was her refusal to be a child. Adults often referred to her as "11 going on 30", though it wasn't in a nice way. Instead, they thought her ways were quite odd for a child. If Lily hadn't been so normal, Petunia's parents might have been questioned for their odd child-raising ways. Petunia, however, didn't realize that the adults thought she was peculiar. She thought that they believed she was a wonderful, mature adult -- and she was intent on proving them right. In fact, after the first time she heard this about herself, she gave up all her toys. She tried to have Lily do the same, but Lily refused. Still, Petunia was sure that someday Lily would learn the difference between reality and make-believe.
But there was another part of Petunia, one that even she thought of as odd and that she desperately tried to hide. You see, Petunia had a knack for getting what she wanted to happen, to happen. It didn't always work and it only occurred when she was truly upset or angry. However, it happened often enough to make Petunia very worried about what the adults would think of her if her secret got out. Such an instance had occurred at her parent's last dinner party. Petunia could still recall what she had done that night.
"Petunia, stop reaching across the table, dear." her mother had said. Petunia had immediately sat up straighter and scowled. Across from her Lily was sitting next to Mr. Evans' business partner, Mr. Cesario. At that moment he had been commenting on what pretty eyes Lily had. This made Petunia scowl even further. For once she had wished that someone would comment on how pretty her eyes were, or what nice posture she had. And for once Petunia had wished Lily wouldn't look so nice. As Petunia had thought this, Mr. Cesario's wine had spilled all over Lily's yellow sundress.
"Look what Lily did!" Petunia had practically screeched, feeling quite gleeful. However she was also slightly worried that someone might blame her.
"Oh Lily," Mrs. Evans had sighed. "Come along now. Let's go get you cleaned up," she had said holding out her hand to her youngest daughter.
Petunia's mouth had dropped open in shock. Surely Lily would get a scolding! Petunia had felt herself filling with anger but had quickly squashed the feeling; she had been afraid that if she had caused another accident someone would have realized she was responsible.
Though the mishap hadn't resulted in Petunia being caught it had set a new system for her to avoid problems. Every time Petunia caused something to happen she immediately blamed Lily -- it had proven to be a good system. Lately, however, it seemed that a lot of things were happening that Petunia wasn't responsible for. This puzzled Petunia but she decided there was no reason for her to worry. Especially as she didn't cause the mishaps there was no possible way that she could get into any trouble.
Petunia was eagerly anticipating the summer holidays, which were due to begin in two weeks. She was sure that during the summer her mother would leave her in charge of Lily. She was quite an obvious choice to be babysitter, Petunia thought, because she was so mature. She had even begun to practice by demanding that Lily clean up the dishes after dinner every night. At first her parents had laughed, but after a while she was sent to her room for being so bossy.
Shortly after Petunia had been released from her timeout (which was extremely unfair! Lily never got punished!), summer holidays began. Petunia spent most of her time indoors helping her mother with the housework but Lily was constantly coming in and out of the house to choose another toy to play with. Petunia wanted to put her foot down and demand she decide if she wanted to be inside or outside, but her mother just smiled at Lily. Petunia had no choice but to accept what was happening.
It had been a day like this in the middle of July when the most peculiar thing happened. Lily had run inside to get yet another toy but stopped in front of her mother and tugged on her sleeve.
"I just saw an owl, Mum!" Lily said, eyes wide and excited.
"Don't be silly, dear. It's still light outside. Why don't you head back outside now?" her mum replied, gently pushing Lily back towards the door.
Petunia's mom looked at her. "What a vivid imagination she has sometimes!" she said with a small laugh. "Can you run upstairs and get the laundry?"
Petunia nodded and ran up the stairs, eager to prove how helpful she could be. She would even sort the laundry before she brought it back down! Just to prove to her mother that she could.
Petunia was standing by the bed, with the laundry, carefully sorting the piles of laundry into whites, darks and colours when she felt a pair of claws land on her shoulder. Petunia jumped and let out a small scream, spinning in a circle to get the thing off her. Feeling that the claws were out of her shoulder, Petunia stopped and looked around her. Standing on a pile of laundry -the white laundry! - was a small tan owl. He was watching her questioningly with his small, beady black eyes and ruffling his feathers as he waited.
"An owl!" Petunia thought with a grin. "Wait until I tell Mum that Lily let an owl in the house!" The grin faded from her face though as she noticed the open window.
Knowing that she couldn't blame Lily for it now, Petunia decided to just shoo the owl out of the house. She flung her long arms at it.
"Out!" she said, moving closer to it menacingly.
The owl just hooted and sat there on the blue bedspread -- he still appeared to be waiting. Suddenly Petunia caught sight of a letter that was tied around its leg.
"A letter! Who would tie a letter to an owl?" she thought, but reached for the envelope anyway.
Gingerly she reached closer and closer to the bird, which was beginning to look rather bored. Now close enough, Petunia grabbed the letter and pulled her hand back before the owl could bite her. But as she looked down at the envelope another shock made her ignore the presence of the owl.
The letter was addressed to her! Not only was it addressed to her, but it also had the location of her bedroom and everything! Petunia's eyes were wide with astonishment as she eagerly tore into the envelope, desperate to know who had trained an owl just to send a letter to her. As Petunia read the letter, however, she grew more and more confused. The letter read,
HogwartsSchool of Witchcraft and Wizardry Headmaster: Albus Dumbledore
Dear Ms. Evans,
We are pleased to inform you that a place at HogwartsSchool of Witchcraft and Wizardry is open to you. We await your decision by July 31. Please send reply by owl. You will also find a list of necessary materials for your first year enclosed.
Sincerely, Richard Regulus Deputy Headmaster
"Magic!" thought Petunia. "Magic isn't real!" Petunia stood there staring down at the letter, not quite sure of what to believe. "They think I could be a witch? No it must be a practical joke!" she decided, but even to herself she did not sound very convinced.
But who was trying to trick her like this? And why would they do it? It isn't very nice to act so rudely towards her. After all, what if she had believed it and had gotten her hopes set on going to this Hogwarts? But still as much as she tried to convince herself, Petunia didn't fully believe that this was a practical joke.
Petunia's thoughts were intruded on by the voice of her mother.
"Petunia," she called, "are you bringing down the laundry?"
Petunia shook off her thoughts and replied to her mother, "Yes, Mum, I'm just sorting it into piles. I'll be right down."
"I'm glad I can count on you to always act so grown up, Petunia. You're a real help around the house," her mother called back up the stairs.
Petunia looked back at the laundry that was sitting right in front of her. Unfortunately that stupid owl was also still there. But her mother's words rang in her head and helped her make her decision. She picked up a pen from the bedside table and quickly scribbled on the back of the letter and gave it back to the owl to return to wherever it came from. That finished, she ran back down the stairs to finish the chores with her mother.
As Petunia tidied the house alongside her mother, an owl flew across the skies of London. Carried with him was a letter with a reply that simply read, Grown ups don't believe in magic.