"I am proud to say that you have two beautiful, healthy daughters. They're both sleepy right now, so I'll leave them with you to get acquainted. You're two lucky people."
Dave very carefully took them and placed them on the bed next to Rose. He couldn't stop smiling.
These were his daughters, his and his beloved Rose's. They were everything he'd ever wanted.
"Well, then, Mrs. Evans." He grinned at the old joke. What are we to name these two lovely creatures? It's a big responsibility, you know. One will be Prime Minister, and the other will no doubt be the most famous doctor in the world who finds a cure for the common cold."
He gently touched the two small faces before him; one with flaming red hair, the other with dusky blond.
"She's got to be Lily," Rose said, placing her hand on the red-haired's head. "And she can be Petunia, like we planned." Dave almost laughed. They had spent hours agonizing over names, and had only come up with one -- Petunia, after Rose's mother. It was good that Lily had such distinctive hair, or they might have been here for days.
"Lily and Petunia. I like it."
~*~ Harry Potter was in the attic. He was not practicing his spells or making illegal potions. He wasn't doing homework, or even caring for his broomstick, the Firebolt that was his most prized possession. No, Harry Potter, Boy-Who-Lived, possibly the most famous and adored person ever in the Wizarding world next to Dumbledore, was cleaning. He straightened with a moan, rubbing his back. He didn't mind, actually. When he was working, he couldn't think about what had happened last month, couldnt think about what Dumbledore had told him. "Stupid – bloody – prophecy," he snarled as he dragged another box out into the middle of the floor. That was his mantra – he repeated it, almost hoping that saying it often enough would make the real thing go away. He ripped open the top of the box in frustration. He wanted to talk to someone, but the only person who might have understood was Sirius. And now that Sirius was gone, the raw, aching part of his heart didn't want him to let anyone else help him, as Sirius had done. He stared down into the box.
It was books this time. He stifled another groan. Aunt Petunia made him dust all the books and put them on a shelf in alphabetical order. Most of these were old college textbooks, too – just his luck. After this box, he was going to take a break, no matter what Aunt Petunia said. He pulled out a few randomly, sneezing from the dust that billowed out. Suddenly, he paused, looking in the box.
There was a pink book in there, with faeries and unicorns frolicking on the cover. Not really frolicking – this was a muggle book, after all. Pictures couldn't move on Privet Drive. Harry flipped it open in mild curiosity, and froze. It wasn't a book, it was a journal. And the first date, scrawled in childish handwriting, was his mother's birthday. Sirius had told him last Christmas that his mother was born on December twenty-third, and had always felt a little overshadowed by the impending holiday. Looking at the year, a few quick calculations revealed this to be his mother's eighth birthday. Could it be hers? With his heart quickening, Harry read the first few lines.
Hi! it read. You are my favorite birthday present. My name is Petunia Evans, and today is my eighth birthday.
Harry straightened up, disbelieving. What? He checked the date again. He had been correct the first time. But...his mother and Aunt Petunia were twins?
"This is insane," he muttered. "Not possible. I would have heard about this." Pushing the hair out of his eyes, he stared at the book. Shaking his head, he kept reading, hoping to be proved wrong. The next couple pages described Petunia's other presents, which included a book, some clothes, and a doll. The page after that described the gifts of "my twin, Lily. She's my best-est friend!"
Harry closed his eyes a moment, trying to imagine how two twins – twins – had grown so apart. Finally, he looked down at the book again. He hated his aunt with a passion, but maybe he could learn more about his mother from what Petunia Evans said wrote. Biting his lip, he flipped a few pages and began to read.
Dear Diary, Lily was mean to me today...
"Lily, get up! Everyone's staring!" Petunia hissed out of the side of her mouth. She glanced furtively around. It seemed like the entire park was staring at her twin, lying in the dirt, delicately building an enclosure around a caterpillar. "Lily, please! The caterpillar is fine; he lives here; he's happy."
"He doesn't have a house," said Lily stubbornly. "He needs a house to be happy. Would you be happy without a house?" She looked at Petunia's worried face. "Jeez, Petunia, stop looking like that! I'm not doing anything bad, really. I'm just lying down!"
Petunia looked even more worried. "But the sign said to stay off the grass!" She seemed to shrink a little into herself at Lily's sarcastic look. "I...oh, okay. I'm sorry, Lily. I just don't like people thinking I'm weird or something."
Lily sighed. "Petunia, forget what they think! Do something on your own! If you go through life just worried about what other people think, you'll end up like Ms. Dimpler. Do you want to be like her?"
Petunia wrinkled her nose. Ms. Dimpler was a nosy old lady, always listening to other people's conversations and then gossiping with other nosy old ladies. She hired people to keep her house in perfect shape, though. Her grass was always mowed and her house was always clean. Just going by her home made Petunia cringe. Lily hated Ms. Dimpler with a passion. Petunia didn't hate anyone, really, but she definitely didn't like the old booger.
"No...I wouldn't want to be like her…" Petunia trailed off, upset. She had lost the argument again! Lily always pulled something out of the air that threw her off balance and made her agree. Petunia loved her twin, but sometimes she was sad that Lily was so much better than she was. The only thing Petunia had over Lily was that she'd been born first, older by three minutes.
Lily noticed her expression and gave up on the house-building. "Don't cry, Pet! I'm sorry. Let's go find Mum and Daddy, okay? Maybe we can get ice cream." Petunia smiled back at her weakly, but inside she was thinking that she didn't even like ice cream.
Harry smiled faintly as he closed the book. Apparently his mum could give as good as she got. It was really the first time he'd taken a look into his mother's life. Most of the adults he knew had been friends of his father. He wondered again why no one had told him that Petunia was Lily's twin. It had to have slipped their minds or something. That explanation didn't seem right, but it was all he could think of.
"Boy, if you want dinner, you better get down here on the double!" His aunt's screechy voice rang through the house like a Harpy's yowl. Harry shook off his reverie and went downstairs. He couldn't help staring at Aunt Petunia in a new way, though. Twins. He could barely believe it.
The boy, Petunia decided, was looking at her very oddly. She had no idea why; perhaps he was angry with her for something or other. She didn't care. Just so long as he kept those letters rolling to those...creeps...she didn't really care what he did, if it didn't hurt her Dudders.
As she thought this, she sighed long and deeply, tears starting into her eyes. Dudley had never been the same since the Incident, as she and Vernon had taken to calling it. Oh, he'd seem all right, but then he would pause, stare off into space, and start shaking. He had gotten teased about it at Smeltings, apparently. She meant to have a word with those teachers. Honestly, letting those bullies have a go at her baby. They should take better care of the delicate types. No one understood her boy...
In his pajamas, Harry stared at the pink cover of the journal. He'd taken it down from the attic in hopes of finding another entry or two about his mother. He found lots of little mentions – Lily painted a petunia for me today! It's so pretty! – but mostly Petunia wrote about her school and boys. One thing had surprised him, though. Throughout the entries, Petunia seemed to always be trying to impress Lily, or do something better than her. They fought often, but were really quite close. Lily was more a smart, bookish kind of girl, while Petunia was a bit of a homebody, playing with dolls and helping make dinner. They loved each other, though, and always seemed to find time for each other's interests as well as their own. He wondered what made Petunia change her mind so drastically.
As he leafed through the journal, skimming entries, he finally found his mother's name. Apparently, she and Petunia had another fight. Grinning, he read on.
Dear Diary, I had a row with Lily today. Mummy and I had a talk...
"You're just a stupid bookworm, Lily!" Petunia was shouting at the top of her lungs. She hated getting angry, but Lily had really pushed her today. She'd been outside, pulling weeds in the garden like Mummy asked her to. Lily had come up and bossily told her that she wasn't pulling up weeds, she was pulling up the flowers. She'd gotten mad and yelled at her. A little voice told her it wasn't Lily's fault that Petunia had been wrong, but she was ignoring it. Stupid Lily was always right.
"Hey, at least a bookworm knows more than a twit who can't even understand that two plus two is four!" Lily was winning the argument again. How did that happen? Petunia pulled her trump card. She shot Lily a hurt look and started trudging away, a tear running down her cheek. Lily sighed behind her; in between her hiccups, Petunia smiled grimly. Lily was going to feel guilty, but so what. At least she, Petunia, hadnt lost their argument miserably...again.
As she was coming inside, she wiped her face and started up the stairs. Unfortunately, her mum saw her.
"Pet, did you finish weeding the garden already?" Petunia winced and turned around. She opened her mouth, but she couldn't think of a lie inventive enough to explain why she'd left her task, had tearstains on her face, and had made Lily angry. Sighing, she trudged back downstairs to the kitchen. Her mother took one look at her face and shook her head.
"Been fighting with Lily again?" Petunia sat down heavily on a bench. How did her mother always know? Her whole story flowed out of her.
"And I knew that I shouldn't be a-angry," she hiccoughed out, crying for real this time, "but Lily's so much smarter than me, and so much prettier than me, and she gets everything-" she had to stop, because she was crying too hard.
"Oh, honey." Her mum sat down next to her. "Lily's just better at some things that you are, just like you're better at some things than she is. Like how Lily can't cook toast without blowing up the kitchen, but you help me make dinner all the time! I know it's hard, but she doesn't want to hurt you, even when you're yelling at each other. Lily would stick up for you against anyone, but she just doesn't understand your feelings sometimes. You two love each other, I know it. You're my little flowers."
Petunia let out one small, shuddering sigh, and leaned against her mother. "I still wish I was better at telling her how I feel."
Harry put down the journal, feeling odd. He actually pitied the little Petunia. He hated her modern-day counterpart, but he remembered how everything Dudley did seemed so important when he was little. Dudley hadn't been home yet this summer; he was with Vernon in a mental hospital that would help him, supposedly, get back to normal. Harry felt a little guilty about Dudley's attack by the Dementors, but not very. It was Dudley's own fault, really. He'd kicked Harry's wand away from him. Even morons deserve pity, though.
He flicked out the light and laid down. He wouldn't sleep through the night; he almost never did, now. Stay awake until midnight, wake up at two, wake up at five, get up at half six. That was his schedule, now. The nightmares kept him awake; nightmares of Sirius's face mouthing silent accusations to him, sometimes joined by Cedric and Harry's parents. Other nights he dreamed of Voldemort laughing at him, or Voldemort killing him. If he wasn't getting enough sleep, oh well. Madam Pomfrey might give him some Dreamless Sleep potion back at school. He rolled over and began his nightly litany.
Clear your mind...
He got a letter the next day that cleared his mind of all thoughts, including the journal, Occlumency and Dudley. It was brief, from an owl he didn't recognize. He unfolded it and stared at the unfamiliar messy scrawl. Harry, it read, Tonks here. V. boring here, just some housecleaning going on. We thought maybe you could come and give us all a hand with some skeletons we've found in the closets. Ta ta for now! –Tonks
Harry stared at if for several minutes, trying to understand its cryptic message. Obviously, he was going to Grimmauld Place, but he doubted it was really for housekeeping. Skeletons in the closets...had they found out something about Sirius? He quickly repressed the brief hope that flared up in his heart. No, he knew Sirius was gone. He pushed down the lump in his throat that came upon him at odd times. It wasn't manly to cry. In a vain effort to control his emotions, he looked back at the letter.
As close as he could figure it, some of the Order would be here soon to pick him up. They were going to Grimmauld Place, but he didn't know why. It must be important to take him away from the Dursleys, though. His thoughts whirling, he started throwing things into his trunk. As he came to the journal, he paused. He left it out. Who knew when they'd get here? Maybe he would want something to read.
Sitting on his newly-packed trunk, Harry finished the last entry in the little book (about Petunia's summer camp). If he'd expected to find more about his mother, he mused, he had been sorely disappointed. The book had ended abruptly, without explanation from little Petunia as to why. She had kept it for three and a half years, so Harry couldn't see why she would stop so suddenly. There was still a little room in the end of the diary, as she had only written in it about once every couple of weeks, and it was a long book. Pondering, Harry absently flipped the blank pages at the end. However, on the last couple of pages, there was more writing! Intrigued, he started to read.
"Good morning, sweetie. Have some breakfast." Petunia's mother greeted her with a kiss and a quick hug. Petunia sat and grabbed a muffin.
"So, are we going shopping today?" Lily, of course, was eager to go shopping for school supplies. She was looking forward to St. Cecilia's, the boarding school they would both be attending in the fall. Petunia wasn't so sure. It was going to be hard to be away from her mum and dad for so long. Just then, she heard the thunk of letters on the hall carpet.
"I'll get it, Mum." She stood and practically ran into the hall. She was hoping to find a letter from Bryan, a boy she'd met earlier this summer, but no luck. Instead, there was an odd looking envelope for Lily. It had funny writing...was it parchment? And how did they get her exact position? Lily Evans, the kitchen. Weird.
"Oy, Lil! Funny letter for you. Make some odd friends at camp? Someone who uses parchment and ink for a letter?" Waving it just out of reach, Petunia grinned mockingly. Her twin looked up from her toast curiously.
"Give it to me, Pet. It's probably nothing, some stupid ad or something." Still, Lily ripped it open with obvious interest. She skimmed the first few lines, her eyes widening. The blood drained from her face, and she made a sort of choking, gasping noise. Their mother whirled around.
"Lily, what is it, darling? Are you all right?" Lily nodded her head dumbly. Petunia stood up abruptly and strode across the room.
"Lemme see! What is it, Lil? C'mon!" She snatched the letter out of her sister's hands. "Dear Miss Evans," she read. "We are pleased to inform you that you have been accepted at Hogwarts School of...what?" Stunned, Petunia let her mother take the letter out of her hands. At her mother's expression, she started babbling. "Oh, it's some stupid prank letter, right? Yeah, it's one of those boys that live down the road, they think they're so funny, but they're wrong, I mean, it's wrong...right?" She trailed off.
Her mother had a shocked expression on her face. Wordlessly, she held it out towards the twins. Lily was still in shock, so Petunia took it and continued reading out loud. "...At Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry," she continued, her voice shaking the tiniest bit. "We understand that you have had no prior experience with the magical world. If you are interested, please feel free to attend our seminar, held in London on the thirty-first of July..." Then Petunia's eyes widened, as she saw what Lily and her mother had. She said a word that would usually have gotten her mouth washed out with soap, but no one was listening to her now. For right there on the page in front of her, words had just appeared.
Believe it, Petunia. It's real.
She gently released the letter. Her whole world was spinning, but one new truth had just appeared to her. It was real. The letter was true, and it was for Lily, not her. Lily had been born magical, and she, Petunia, had not. She knew Lily; knew her best in all the world. So she knew that Lily would take this chance, would jump for it, and leave Petunia behind. She sat down heavily on the floor. At that instant, she felt older than she ever had before, and far older than her eleven and a half years. Lily, however jumped up and screamed. She started jumping up and down, and Mum was, too.
"Omygodomygod-" they were both shrieking at the top of their lungs. Suddenly, her mother stopped and leaned against the counter. Lily stopped too, and looked at the letter, her eyes shining. Petunia's heart sank even lower. She wanted this too; why didn't she have a letter? Was she not good enough for this...school?
"Oh, Pet, it's so exciting! I can go! Oooh, I get to go to a school and learn magic, Petunia, real magic! And I'll learn how to make things appear like those words and I-" Petunia couldn't hear any more. She ran out of the room, sobbing. I, I, I! Not we. And it would never be "we" again. She knew that from the bottom of her soul. Now something separated the inseparable, and it would never be the same. Petunia hated these wizards, hated them with all her heart. They would take Lily away and make her into someone else, someone different, and Petunia would be the same old Petunia forever.
"That's why this is at the end of my diary. I grew up this past week, and I don't need you any more. Why should I bother to write down my mundane life when Lily will have so much more? No, I don't even know why I bothered with this anyway. This is the end. I'll go to St. Cecilia's, where we all are so boring. Home's got nothing for me now. I'll always be the non-magical daughter. Mum and Dad will never quite forget that Lily's so much better than me. So what? I don't need them. I don't need anyone. I'm severing all ties with the past, because the past is gone, baby, gone forever. You are past, now. Good-bye."
Harry looked up, absolutely shell-shocked. He couldn't absorb the news he had just received, but he couldn't imagine why he hadn't thought of it sooner. Of course Petunia would feel inferior; of course her parents would treat her differently than Lily. No wonder she was so bitter. And with her being so uncomfortable with people thinking she was different, then of course she wanted to hide that she and her family weren't the same. It was as though a light had come on in his brain.
Petunia's whole life, he could see now, was trying to convince herself that she didn't need Lily or Lily's world. She had succeeded admirably for a time. She'd convinced herself that Lily and her ilk were inferior, and she'd had a perfectly normal husband and baby. She'd even managed to forget, most of the time, that any world other than her own existed. But then he had showed up. Harry was the anachronism who had thrown her world off its peaceful little axis. He was a living, breathing reminder of her twin. No forgetting was possible, now. Suddenly, Harry could truly understand some of the hate that Petunia bore for him and his parents.
Harry rubbed his hand across his aching forehead. First his father had turned out to be the arrogant boy that Snape had always portrayed him as, and now this! All his childhood illusions about his noble, kind, loving, perfect parents had been shattered beyond repair. He wanted desperately to talk to someone, but there was no one to talk to, now that Sirius was gone.
"Merlin..." he breathed, staring at the journal. He heard a car horn honk, and looked out the window. The Weasley clan was piling out of a car, all in muggle attire. Quickly Harry tossed the book into the trunk. He couldn't think, couldn't breathe. His whole world had just turned upside-down again, and there was no one to make it right.
Petunia breathed in the crisp night air deeply. Someone was baking gingerbread. She smiled faintly, thinking of the early-Christmas dinner they'd had at St. Cecilia's on the last day of term. Her best friend, Yvonne, was absolutely addicted to gingerbread. She'd eaten both her share and Petunia's, too. Petunia and Yvonne were close, almost as close as sisters. Certainly closer than Petunia and Lily were. Petunia scowled, thinking of Lily. Her hand went to the ring she wore on her finger night and day. It looked like a simple silver circle with a green stone, but if she broke off the stone and pressed the metal hidden beneath it, Petunia would be transported some place "safe." She didn't know where or why she would need to go there. Lily didn't deign to explain to her, but better safe than sorry.
She and Lily didn't talk much anymore. That was fine by Petunia. Ever since Lily came back from her first year at Hogwarts, she had seemed snobbish and superior. It was only to be expected, after all. Considering how much better Lily was, anyway. Petunia had exchanged many harsh words with her that summer, and things had been broken that could never be fixed again. She couldn't bring herself to feel bad about it. It was Lily's fault, all of it.
Petunia turned the corner, finishing her walk home from babysitting the Polkis's youngest son. Suddenly she froze. A green light flashed out of a window in her house – her parent's window. She broke into a run as she heard her mother scream, but the light was repeated and no sound issued forth again. Petunia stopped again, her heart pounding. She couldn't think, couldn't breathe. With shaking hands, she broke off the cheap jewel from her hand.
The door to her house flew open, and a person came out wearing a dark dress, it seemed like. Robes, said the random piece of her mind that was not gibbering in fear. Lily calls them robes. Then that voice, too went silent as the man turned to face her. She could see his face plainly under the streetlight, sallow, with an unnaturally large nose and black, greasy hair. The man jerked in surprise to see her, then raised his wand and leveled it in her direction. Petunia waited no longer. Pressing her finger frantically against the ring, she closed her eyes and prayed. Even through her eyelids, she could see the flash of green light that came just before something hooked her in her stomach and pulled her through space.
She landed with a thud on a carpet in a well-furnished office. An elderly man sat in deep conversation with a young woman. They both jerked around, staring at Petunia in confusion. Petunia looked at him wide-eyed, trying too regain her breath. Her heart was about to pound out of her chest. Finally she choked out a few words.
"Mum...Mum and Dad are back there,"she whispered. The man's face changed to concern.
"You would be young Miss Evans, I suppose?" At her mute nod, he turned to the young woman, who was still staring at Petunia in shock.
"Minerva, I want the Order to Lily Evans's house now. No delays." The woman ran out of the room. The man came over to her and reached down, sympathy showing on his face.
"I am sure you are very –" he started, but Petunia cut him off. She scurried away from him, still on all fours.
"Don't touch me! Stay back – Stay..." she whispered furiously, but the world was spinning in front of her, and everything went black. Her last thought was that this was Lily's fault. Lily had gotten her family mixed up in this, and now that Mum and Dad were gone, she would never forgive her. Never...