Chapter Two: A Day With Aunt Petunia
Petunia Dursley was on the sofa watching the morning talk shows when her nephew entered the parlor looking nervous and worried. "What is it, child?" she demanded. Not unkindly, exactly, but certainly not warmly. Vernon was at work and Dudley had already gone off to one of his dear little friends' houses.
Petunia alone knew Harry was now able to do magic, having passed his OWL examinations. She'd seen the letter from the ministry of magic, and remembered Lily had been allowed the same after completion of her fifth year of Hogwarts. In the three weeks Harry had been home, Petunia had allowed him to do the housework by magic. She'd quite enjoyed her "Vacation" which allowed her time to catch up on her favorite programs, several craft projects and reading.
"I'm going to be leaving on Monday, Aunt Petunia. I'm not certain what time yet. I imagine that Mrs. Figg will be given the time, or someone will simply show up Monday to fetch me, So I should probably be ready first thing in the morning. Though it could be midnight, I don't know. I've been accepted into an Apprentice Study Program."
"Apprentice of what?"
"Not sure yet. I won't actually be apprenticed for five years ... this is sort of a Pre-Apprentice Program, to round out a full classical--erm, classical wizarding education, and then I'll be apprenticed when I've got that done."
"And what does this school of yours offer now, if not a classical education?" Aunt Petunia demanded. Her tone made the word school sound like a rather nasty obscenity.
Harry shrugged. "Well, there's things like archery, lute and lyre and harp playing, painting, horseback riding, wood working and metal crafting which aren't normally part of the curriculum of Hogwarts. Uhm, the basic things like Potions and Herbology. Astronomy, Divination, Charms--"
"Your mother was quite good in that class, I recall. There is a trunk, with 30 blasted locks on it mind you! Downstairs, it belonged to her. You may--shrink it and take it with you." Petunia nodded. Then she mused aloud about perhaps getting Duddykins some piano lessons. A gentleman should be well-rounded. Though Vernon had always thought it to nancyish for his only son.
Harry stood silent, waiting for his Aunt to finish her thinking-aloud rambling. The two of them had gotten on much better than they ever had in his entire memory these last weeks, but he certainly wasn't going to risk her ire--and refusal to allow him to join the apprenticeship studies.
If Aunt Petunia thought piano lessons were going to make Dudley a well rounded gentleman then, well, Harry would let her have her illusions. Of course, she thought Dudley had gone to a friends and was going to the library this morning, then a tea party this afternoon and perhaps some croquet. Harry gave a mental snort. Dudley's plan for the day was going to his girlfriend's for a quick shag and then getting drunk and beating up the mouthy thirteen year old who had moved in down the street.
Petunia's musings took her back round to what was a classical wizarding education. (After all, if there was something remotely normal it wouldn't do if Harry had learnt it and Dudley hadn't).
Petunia's eyes went wide when Harry went on with some of the other things on his list--formal dress for high tea, muggle history, botany, languages ...
"Quick, upstairs dress yourself...well, I suppose you are dressed." Petunia glanced down at the dress she herself wore. "Oh, this will do. Come, let me get my purse and keys. I'll leave Vernon a note."
"I need to stop round to Mrs. Figgs'."
Petunia nodded curtly.
Post to be sent off was left with Mrs. Figg and he picked up his new mail.
"Can you sufficiently hide the purchases today from Vernon?"
"Yes, Aunt Petunia"
"Good" Petunia pulled into the parking lot of the bank. "The account here is cursed."
Harry blinked at that.
"My grandmother was a witch who married a muggle. My mother Violet, your grandmother, was a witch as well. However, she was one of the victims of Grindelwald, and her magic was destroyed by him. My father was the squib son of a squib-witch and a muggle. He had a bit of ability to forsee things but nothing so he'd have gotten a letter to that school of yours. My grandmother's father, Harlan Gentry was one of the last Apprenticed Masters. The account was put in this bank as his only child, my grandmother Dahlia, decided to marry and live muggle. Only a wizard or witch descendant of Dahlia may access it after they have reached their majority--or, the qualification of entering Apprenticeship Study. Harlan Gentry cursed it to bind it to the oldest traditions. Lily, I believe, made only two withdrawals from the account. My mother never did for she was reduced to a squib, and on top of that bore only daughters. You may withdraw what you like; we will go to a bookstore, and get you proper clothing. I don't know much, but you WILL make a good showing for the Gentry family ... is that understood? As Lily was the Witch of the two of us, only her first child to meet the requirements of the inheritance can access this account. That really matters little, you being Lily's only child."
"Thank you for bringing me Aunt Petunia."
"Well, soon enough they'd be wanting to know WHY you didn't have access to this."
Harry nodded. There was that--if anyone knew about the Squib remainders of the Gentry family. The name sounded--vaguely familiar. Hermione must have mentioned it. Of course, keeping up with whatever Hermione was nattering on about if it didn't pertain to an immediate death threat or quiz was a bit hard to do at times. He hated to admit it, but his ears only seemed to perk up at "Honestly don't you two ever read--" because that was usually followed by a concise summation of whatever she had been going on about for the past hour or so. At least that's the way it seemed. Hermione could get very deep in lecture mode, and almost give Binns a run for his money in putting a body to sleep.
"Here's your passbook, and your identification."
Harry blinked at the passport, which was more amazing than the bankbook...he hadn't realized that there was a muggle photograph of him in existence. Let alone that the Dursleys had had one.
"It's legal enough. Your mother got the passport for you when you were an infant. It's ... self-updating or some such nonsense," Petunia scoffed.
Harry shrugged. Of all the odd things he had encountered at Hogwarts, this day with Aunt Petunia was shaping up to beat it all.
"I have not one whit of that--magic--thank you," Petunia glared.
"I--I didn't mean to be rude, and if you did I would never tell ... I was just curious. After all, sounds to me I have a chance at a child without magic and Dudley a child with magic."
Petunia shuddered closing her eyes and looking ill. "Swear to me now on your mother's grave, Harry Potter, you will check up on your cousin twice a year, he doesn't need to even see you--but you keep watch, and if he does have a wizard child you will take that child away immediately. Swear to me! Don't--don't allow what happened to my daughter happen to my grandchild."
"Rose," Petunia whispered softly. "My daughter Rose. She would be 18 this year. She was a witch. Vernon didn't approve; she is buried at Gentry Field. I despise magic. It cost me my sister, it cost me my daughter, it has brought nothing but hell into our family. But do not allow Dudley to smother his child as Vernon did Rose. Dudley's firstborn will be normal ... but the second, I don't know. And the youngest will have Gentry Green eyes, and with the eyes comes the accursed magic."
Harry blinked at the eerie tone of his Aunt's voice. Rather like Professor Trelawney's when she actually had made a real prediction.
"I swear, Aunt Petunia."
"Those damned eyes of yours. Just like Lily's, Just like--" Petunia's breath hitched as she forced out her daughter's name, "Rose's. Gentry Green. Gentry Cursed." A thought came to Petunia then. "You haven't been messing with the girls at that --school--" Again Petunia managed to make the word school sound like the foulest of curse words. "--of yours? A proper Apprentice begins their Apprenticeship studies a virgin..."
Harry blushed beet red. "Y-yes Aunt Petunia."
"I--oh bloody hell I've only ever kissed a girl twice, and nothing more than that."
Petunia nodded with a sigh. "I doubt my Dudley can say the same."
Harry's eyes widened.
"I am Vernon Dursley's wife, and I am raising Vernon Dursley's son ... I had hoped. If I loved Dudley enough, that---well, never mind."
"You--I've only two more years of school left, Aunt Petunia, and you'll always have a home with me, as long as I live ... and I'll make sure you have a place available for you, even if I'm not alive."
Petunia gaped at the boy. "You're nothing like that miserable wretch your mother brought home are you? You look like him ... oh so arrogant, bragging his money and his pedigree. Assuring Mother and Father that Lily would have no trouble in whatever passes for society of your kind, because his family dated back centuries and was quite remarkable. No better than Vernon or Dudley, though not as brutal. But an arrogant little bastard. Thought he was gracing the lowly muggles with his magnificent presence. Lily---Lily was a seer, and she was quite ambitious. She thought with that bastard she married she would be able to do oh so much good. Show the purebloods that the muggles weren't so bad. Oh James adored her, was good to her in his way. He treated her as an empty headed show piece or a well trained dog. And that other one she was friends with. Skulking strange thing--and if that boy had ever heard of shampoo I--I'm a Witch!" Petunia shook her head. "He was at least somewhat mannerly, even if he did have the strangest name. Always in the shadows, always watching."
"That sounds like Professor Snape" Harry said, wide-eyed.
"Snape? What is the first name?"
"That's it ... that was the boy." Petunia frowned. "Rather queer sort, even for your kind ... Well come on, let's get a move on. Have to be home before my boys."
Harry was, to say the least, beyond confused by his Aunt and her string of shocking revelations. His mother had died for him, his Aunt still slept in the same bed as her daughter's murderer seventeen or eighteen years after the fact. He had no time to dwell on it as the day wore on. The bank was ... strange. As strange as the conversation with Aunt Petunia, and everything else, including his Aunt allowing him to use magic about the house. With the acknowledged return of Voldemort, Fudge had given into Dumbledore's demand of a Pass/Fail list of the OWLs and a return to the old statutes which set the Underage Magical Restriction at completion of OWLs or Sixteen. (This had been traditionally the age until just before the rise of Grindelwald nearly sixty years before).
The bank officer fawned over them. Aunt Petunia was having none of it, demanding that the ATM card, checks and signature card that she had called about the week before be turned over to them and let them be on their way.
Harry looked curiously at his Aunt.
"You will be turning sixteen before the month is out. I called the first to arrange the checks and card, as I was obligated to as your gaurdian."
Harry looked back at the floor. The best way to keep his Aunt, well if not happy, at least not furious with him was to keep his eyes down. She made quick work of the bank and they were soon on their way.
Late that night Harry lay awake on his bed. His mind reeling so that he hadn't even looked at his stack of wizarding mail that had been delivered to Mrs. Figgs (all correspondence to Harry was directed to Dumbledore, and an Order member saw to it that the post got to Mrs. Figgs). He hadn't even looked at the Daily Prophet, to which he had a subscription (that had been at Hermione's insistence).
He was shocked and reeling yet from his Aunt's revelations from that morning. He had wanted to ask questions. He had a million still running through his head, but he dared not. Aunt Petunia could still refuse to let him begin the Apprenticeship Studies Program. Perhaps ... perhaps he could owl Mrs. Figg, and she could pass the letter on to Aunt Petunia. At worst, Aunt Petunia would burn the letter and refuse to ever speak to him again, but he would be sixteen soon, technically of age in the wizarding world in all matters. Aunt Petunia would have no more say over what he did.
Yes, he would do that. He would also look up Harlan Gentry and the Gentry family the first opportunity he had when he returned to Hogwarts.
Strange that he had a name to put to his eyes in a way. Gentry Green, Gentry Cursed Aunt Petunia had said.
Harry had to wonder if she wasn't right. After all, his mother had had the same green eyes and had not lived to see her twenty second birthday. His, until today, unheard of Cousin Rose had had Gentry Green eyes and hadn't even survived her first few months of life, due to her very own Muggle of a father. And then there was Harry himself. Prophecies fating him to kill the Dark Lord and save the world, or die. Or both.
Sleep finally claimed the exhausted, confused boy shortly before dawn. And when it did come, it was fitful and restless. The horrors that had taken place two months before in the Department of Mysteries replayed in his dreams.
He awoke only a few short hours after finally falling to sleep, shouting "SIRIUS!!"
<< Back | Story Index | Next Chapter >>
Back to Top | Stories by Author | Stories by Title | Main Page