Remembering His Last
Petunia Dursley, inhabitant of a completely normal house, living in a completely normal neighbourhood with her completely normal little family, couldn't help but let out a little scream when she discovered a basket with a sleeping child on her doorstep. It was November 1st and rather cold, so she quickly hefted the basket up and into the warmth of her home.
"What is it, Pet?" her husband, one Vernon Dursely, asked as he pounded down the stairs. "What happened?"
"I'm fine," she replied in a curiously flat voice. "But I think we have a problem."
Vernon came up and gasped as his eyes fell on the toddler. "That's your sister's brat! What is he doing here? Where are his parents?"
Petunia tugged a letter from the folds of the blanket. Upon reading her name on the envelope, she felt the last of the warmth in her body drain away.
"Something terrible happened," she whispered. "Vernon ..."
Her husband put an arm around her shoulder and gently urged her to open the letter. Together, they read the dreadful news: Lily and James Potter had perished in an attack, leaving little Harry an orphan and in desperate need for a family that would care for him.
"He should grow up among his own kind," Vernon said, gruffly but not unkindly. "We can't have one like them with our own son. You know how it ended for you and your sister."
"I know." Petunia sobbed. "But he's my nephew, Vernon. What can we do?"
In that moment, two things happened at once. Harry Potter woke up, revealing startingly green eyes, and a very strange creature appeared, just like that, on their kitchen table.
"Oh, it be so terrible!" the ugly little thing wailed, tugging at its ears. Big, fat tears were rolling down its cheeks and it was quivering like a beaten dog. "Old bad wizard brought little Master Harry to no good muggles!"
"Now wait here!" Vernon thundered. "Who are you calling no good?"
"You not be wanting Master Harry Potter sir! Lady Lily told Misty so!" The creature glared at Petunia. "Lady Lily be sorry, but she be knowing that Master Harry not be happy here!"
"Then we're in agreement," Petunia said, wiping her red-rimmed eyes. "Can you take him elsewhere?"
The thing named Misty wailed again. "It not be safe for poor Master Harry! Misty be bad house elf!" She hiccoughed and fumbled for something in her little uniform. As she pulled out a large handkerchief, something that looked like a miniature trunk fell from her pocket.
"What is that?" Vernon demanded.
"Oh, that be memory trunk for Master Harry," Misty replied, blowing her nose. "In there be portraits of his parents and other useful things so Master Harry be knowing his family."
"Misty ... that's your name, right?" Petunia asked. "Misty, may we please open the trunk? If my sister had a portrait done, she might be able to help."
"Pet, that's ridiculous." Vernon scoffed.
"Misty can! Portrait with special magic, it be already awake. But muggles not be touching anything!"
"I promise." Petunia leaned forward, even as her husband scooted back from the table, as Misty enlarged the trunk.
"Hello Misty," a once beloved voice said gently. "Is it already time?"
"Lily ..." Petunia's voice broke.
The elf, because that was how she called herself, carefully turned the frame around. A beautiful young woman with red hair looked at Petunia and Vernon and let out a gasp.
"Oh no. There must be a mistake, Misty! I didn't want Harry to go here!"
"You're dead," Petunia whispered, grief unexpectedly crushing her heart in her chest. "Why are you dead?"
Lily sighed. "I'm so sorry, Petunia. James and I went into hiding, but the dark wizard I told you about must have found us after all. Believe me when I tell you both that we had no intention of leaving our son with you. I respected your desire to remain separate from the wizarding world, and so did James. We'll find a solution."
"Harry was just left on our doorstep," Vernon growled. "Who even does that to a child that has just lost his parents?"
Lily looked disturbed. "It won't have been Sirius, he loves Harry like he were his own, and Remus was out of the country. After our death a number of people could have taken him."
"It was your headmaster," Petunia said. "Dumbledore. He sent a letter with your boy."
"Read it to me," Lily demanded and Petunia complied, even if her voice was a little shaky and rough. The contents were hard to digest for all of them, even for Lily who was already dead and incapaple of real emotion. "That old fool," she finally said, fury visibly rising in her. Her pale skin turned red and her long hair began to float in a show of superior portrait magic. "Misty, please get James up here. We need to talk - as a family."
For the first time since that disastrous day had begun, Petunia felt a little sliver of hope pierce the vast darkness of despair. "You have an idea," she stated.
"I do, but I need all of us to work on it," Lily replied. "Ah, there you are, my love."
James entered Lily's frame and kissed her temple. "What happened? I could feel your agitation even in the trunk."
"Dumbledore dared to send Harry to Petunia and Vernon," his wife informed him, "and I've decided to ruin his life."
"Is it as we feared?"
Vernon glared at James. "What is going on? You'll explain everything to us!"
"We will," Lily agreed coolly, "but I'll thank you to mind your manners, or Misty will teach you how to behave around a tired, bewildered child. Tuny, if you'd please take him and feed him?"
"Yes, of course." Petunia carefully extracted her squirming nephew and rested him against her chest. Since Dudley was still drinking milk, she just allowed Harry to latch onto a breast, which he did after some hesitation. "Now, what is going on in your world?"
For the next hour, both portraits explained the situation with the dark lord called Voldemort and how Dumbledore had seen fit to persuade James and Lily to go into hiding in a small cottage, away from their little army of house elves and everyone else who might have come to their rescue.
"He bespelled us," James said. "Death stripped all of his manipulative magic away so I know exactly what happened. He bespelled us and left us to die."
"And he obviously plans to do the same with our boy, just to feed his own ego and cement his place as some kind of king. I won't let him." Lily's icy glare softened as she looked at her sleeping son in Petunia's arms. "As I said, I have a plan."
"Tell us," Vernon said, brushing crumps from his first breakfast from his moustache. "If it helps punish the fool who thought he could foist a child off on us without consequences, I'm all for it."
Lily smirked. "Oh, he'll rue the day he deigned to first send us to our deaths and then ignore our wills. Remember my last, that are his words, right? Well, you will remember ... just a little too well. First of all, you'll keep Harry and love him like your own son. Can you do that, Tuny?"
"I can," Petunia whispered. "You'll be here, though? You'll help?"
"Of course we will," James promised fiercely.
"We'll teach Harry everything he needs to know about the wizarding world, just like you'll teach him all about the muggle world. We'll send our elves to buy him all the books he could need or want, and you'll make sure that he learns at least one form of martial arts before the old goat invites him to Hogwarts." Lily looked contemplative for a moment. "I'm of a mind to not send Harry there, just to see Dumbledore shit kittens ..."
"We can talk about that more when the time comes," Vernon said, a little impatiently. "What else?"
"You'll get in contact with the goblins of Gringotts, the wizarding bank, and have our wills read, so you can open up our estates and the trust vault we left for Harry. You'll need the money, as wizarding children need a lot of food and attention to thrive. Of course the goblins will insist on a strict contract, but you'll profit from it as well. Dudley will visit the same schools as Harry until Harry starts his magical education, and you'll have money enough to have your house properly warded."
"I'll do that," Petunia said quickly when she saw Vernon's frown. "I agree, it'll be necessary. Thank you."
"All of your safety is important to James and me. We lost too much family already, on both our sides. Speaking of Gringotts, please employ one of their healers to have a look at Harry," Lily added. "The cut on his forehead looks bad and I'm sure a normal doctor would ask too many questions."
"Yes, of course." Petunia sniffed loudly, blurting out, "I've missed you, Lily! I'm so sorry that we parted on such mean terms."
"I'm sorry, too," Lily said. "We're here now, though, and can be a family. We'll help each other and see that Dumbledore and all the other damn magicals get theirs."
"Hear, hear," Vernon toasted them with his tea cup.
As if wanting to add his own agreement, Harry raised his little fist and gurgled something in baby speech. Petunia couldn't help herself, she stroked the boy's soft, dark hair and pressed a kiss to his head.
"We'll make it alright, love," she whispered. "They won't know what hit them."