Pairing: Severus Snape/Petunia Dursley
Prompt: Through each other, they keep their shreds of Lily.
Content Information/Warnings: Coercion, non-con
Summary: In the aftermath of Lily's death, Petunia's life is falling apart -- until Severus Snape turns up offering help. But Severus has his own reasons, and Petunia has never understood magic.
Author's Notes: This is not a happy story, and these are not happy characters. Please note the warnings. With that said, I hope people enjoy! Thank you to T, I and P for beta-reading.
Petunia was visiting her parents when she noticed him lurking in the alley three houses down, and rage shivered through her.
The rage bubbled while she smoothed the hair from her mother's skeletal face and played the dutiful daughter with the nurse. It churned as she silently begged her dazed father, See me!
When she turned right outside the house instead of left -- nobody inside would notice; they were lost in grief and illness -- it was ready to erupt.
"What are you doing here?" she demanded, turning into the alley.
Severus raised his eyebrows. He'd always been able to make her feel about six years old. "I've been visiting my mother." He shrugged. "I assume you were doing likewise?"
"My mother is dying." It was the first time she'd said it aloud; possibly the first time she'd even thought it. "They're grieving for my sister; I have her son to worry about, and my mother is dying, and you have the nerve to hang about here the way you always used to do when Lily was alive?"
"I'm sorry about your mother," he said abruptly. "She...Lily loved her."
I loved her. I still do. "Lily's gone," she said. "Destroyed by the likes of you. So if you could just leave the rest of us alone, I think we've earned our peace."
He seized her coat sleeve, dragging her back as she turned to leave. "What do you mean, 'the likes of me'?" His silky voice was suddenly rough, and when she looked up, his eyes were burning with fury.
"Let me go." She wrenched her arm but he held on. "What do you think I meant? Your kind, you and your stupid friends who took her away and then killed her. I suppose you're happy now!" She sobbed the last few words, and his fingers loosened on her coat. "Leave us alone!"
She stumbled back to the street, and when she turned, he looked like a little boy again.
On a cold February evening, she was putting out the milk bottles when a dark figure loomed on the other side of the road. Petunia checked that Vernon was still watching Tomorrow's World and that Dudley and Harry were on the living room carpet in their separate baskets, then closed the door and stalked toward Severus.
"I told you to stay away."
"I can't." His voice was low and curt. "It's too much to ask."
Petunia knew that she should not do this. She shouldn't walk the streets on a winter's night with any man, especially not the one who had taken her sister from her. But there was an interloper in her house, left on the doorstep like something out of Oliver Twist, with nothing to explain his presence but that ridiculous letter from that ridiculous old man. Severus was an insider from Lily's world: the world that had swallowed her up and spat out her son for Petunia to care for.
As if she didn't have enough to worry about, with a father lost in grief and a baby of her own.
She marched down the street. His footsteps followed her, but she did not halt until she reached the main road, where they would be less noticeable. When she wheeled about, hoping to take him by surprise, he was closer than she'd thought. He'd always been good at sneaking around.
"What do you want, then?"
Instead of answering, he lit a cigarette and held out the pack. She shook her head.
"I don't exactly know what I want," he said after drawing a long puff.
He'd always been good at lying, too, or so he thought. "Yes," she said. "Yes, you do. You want Lily."
A lorry blared past, and he turned toward the wall, shielding his cigarette.
"I miss her, too." She began walking again and he fell into step, until they had passed the chippy and the corner shop and she was sure that nobody she knew was nearby. "She's gone, Severus," she said, and was surprised by the lump in her throat. "You never had her, and you certainly can't have her now."
He turned to face her. The cigarette was loose in his hand; his face was so expressionless that she had no idea what he intended to do until he kissed her. For a second, all she felt was pleasure, cut with the thrill of kissing someone who wasn't Vernon. Then she jumped back.
His lips twisted in what might have been satisfaction. "It hurts, doesn't it?" He raised his voice over the noise of the traffic. "I know it hurts. I know exactly how much you miss her, Petunia." He licked the corners of his mouth. "I know because I feel the same. And I know how to take the pain away. I can't do it to myself, but I can do it to you. For you."
She thought of the doctor, of the tablets she'd refused after seeing what they did to her father. "What are you--?"
He cut her off with a murmur, and she was floating. A few metres away, another lorry crashed past, but she heard it as if through cotton wool. Nothing mattered. Lily was lost in her past, yes, and her mother, too, but they didn't matter. All that mattered was the man standing before her.
Severus said something else, and only when the pain resumed its assault did she realise how much of it there was.
"What did you do to me?" she demanded, but her anger felt forced. To move around without all that grief and bitterness...it was as if she had been given a window into another world. Was that what magic did for other people? Was it how Lily had felt?
His face was still unreadable. "I helped, didn't I? Tell me I helped!"
She turned away. "Since when did you care about helping me?"
"Since Lily." He dragged on his cigarette and stubbed it out with his shoe. "Since she died."
The remembered pleasure of the kiss was suddenly humiliating. "And I'm all that's left of her, is that it? Get away from me, Severus Snape, and don't ever come near me again!"
"Well, I would," he drawled, "but I believe I'm all you have left of her, too. Wouldn't you say?"
"My father..." Her father was lying in his sitting room watching Coronation Street and hiding in memories of Lily and her mother. Her mother was dead. Lily was dead. Of course, technically there was Harry. She supposed that he was part of her sister -- but he was also part of what had killed her.
In all the ways that mattered, Severus was right.
"I want to know what happened," she told him. "To Lily. We were..." She halted, tried again. "We weren't close, toward the end. But I deserve to know."
Something cracked like a whip nearby and they both jumped. Severus swore and glanced behind; a strangely dressed man was hurrying toward them. "Get along home," he said. "The protection on this area; I should have realised they'd be monitoring for Unforg- spells like that one. Get along home, Petunia." He turned, and she sprang back as he disappeared with another crack.
Her father died, and Petunia could finally grieve for them all. It didn't take long, once he stopped pretending for her mother's sake that all was well: just a few months, a gradual escalation of the tablets, a gradual sinking into the whisky. The doctor put down a heart attack as the cause of death, but added that any number of things could have contributed, in the end.
It had been hard for him, but at least it was over. For her, too, although not in the way she would have wanted, or could have predicted barely nine months ago. All that remained was to clear out the house, put it on the market and move on with her life. The Evans family was gone, and Petunia was a Dursley now.
When the doorbell went, she was inclined to ignore it. Vernon had reluctantly taken Dudley to visit his side of the family for the day while she sorted through her parents' things. Harry was with that strange old lady who lived round the corner. The caller would be a salesman or the Avon lady; what was the point?
The bell chimed again, and with a sigh, she plodded down the stairs.
It was him. She should have known; he was like a fly, buzzing around the rotted remains of her family.
"I don't have time for this," she said flatly, but when she tried to close the door an invisible barrier kept it open. "I said, I don't have time for this!"
"I helped you a few weeks ago." His sneer surfaced. "You look as if you need a break from your cares."
She bristled. "That's rich coming from the neighbourhood weirdo. You generally look like something the cat dragged in."
"Appearances don't matter to me," he retorted, "but I believe they do to you."
He was right, of course. More than that, he had helped her, and for that brief moment she had felt wonderful. A break from her cares was exactly the way to describe it: she had stopped caring. Stopped hurting, for just a few seconds.
"What would you do to me?" she asked.
He shrugged. "A small enchantment."
"That's not what the man who spoke to me after I saw you last said," she retorted. "A very serious piece of magic, he said."
"Wizards sometimes have strange ideas about things like that," he said. "Why didn't you tell him who'd done it?"
"How did you know...?"
"As I said, wizards have strange ideas. If you'd told them, they'd have taken me in. I wouldn't be here now."
She frowned. "And yet, you want to do it again? To me?"
"If it helps, why not?" He moved closer. "They don't monitor magic around here, so it's safe. But this time," an odd hunger filled his face, "I'll only do it if you tell me to."
She wondered if he was telling the truth. But she was tired, and tired of pretending that she wasn't. She was tired of grieving, of hurting, of not feeling good enough. Wordlessly, she pulled the door open far enough for him to step inside. The house was unkempt; she'd had no energy to clean up after her ailing father, but it wasn't as if Severus would care about that. He rustled past her, and she remembered his lips against hers, that night by the roadside. He was the third man she'd ever kissed, and the first since Vernon.
The door closed smoothly, as if the mysterious barrier had never been there. "I've been working upstairs," she said abruptly. "You'd better come up. I don't have time to stop."
"Petunia." He made it sound like a caress. She looked at him, and he smiled. "Only if you ask, this time," he murmured.
She should have offered him a cup of tea; should have sat in the kitchen with him and reminisced about Lily. Perhaps in their grieving they could help one another, after all. But she'd known him since she was eleven and he could make his own tea if he really wanted a drink. She led the way upstairs.
After they had picked their way between piles of clothes in the fraying bedroom, he produced a bottle of sherry from inside his jacket and set it on the dressing table. He gestured and two glasses appeared beside the bottle.
Petunia rolled her eyes. "I know you like to show off, but honestly, Severus, I could have fetched some glasses from downstairs if you'd given me a second."
He scowled, turning it into a sickly smile. "Not showing off, my dear, and I remember how you liked to accuse Lily of that, too. Just habit." Pouring two glasses, he handed one to her and held up his own. "To Lily."
Petunia raised her glass. "To Lily." To Dad. To Mum, she added silently. She sipped, then jerked back. "You -- you didn't put anything in this, did you? One of your weird potion things?"
"A good potion-maker has his honour to think about," Severus replied. "No, Petunia. I wouldn't do that to Lily's sister."
"You did plenty of other things," Petunia retorted.
He stepped closer, eyebrows raised. "Oh, yes? Tell me what I did when I was a silly child."
She could have described countless incidents that she suspected him of perpetrating, from pinches and strange rashes to pilfered letters. What came out, though, was: "You took Lily from me."
His guard dropped for a second, allowing her to see the boy who still lurked behind the self-possessed mask. I know you, Severus Snape, she thought. I know you never thought I was important; it was always Lily you cared about. But I was there, too. I know you.
"I suppose you're right. You could look at it that way." He had retreated behind his glass, so that only his eyes were visible, hooded and cold. Now he held the glass up to the light and took a swig. "And then James Potter took her away from both of us. We know where that led."
"She would have been safer with you, would she?" she snapped. "I doubt that, somehow."
"I could have kept her safe," he said fiercely. "I would have defended her until there was no blood left in my body."
A detail from Dumbledore's wretched letter came back to her. "James -- he tried to hold them off."
Severus waved a hand dismissively. "I would have kept her safe," he repeated. "I know I could have."
"But you didn't." Petunia ran the sweet sherry over her tongue before swallowing, feeling exhausted. "Well, go on," she said. "Do it."
His mouth fell open and he pressed his lips back together. "All right." He slid his wand from an inside pocket of his jacket, pointed it at her, and hesitated. "Just...a couple of small charms first."
She didn't catch the words he used -- it had always infuriated her that their stupid spells were in another language -- but an unfamiliar flare of colour caught her eye and she choked back a shriek. Her blonde hair had turned dark red, the exact shade of...
Gently, he stroked his wand down her cheek. A glance in the mirror showed that her bone structure had changed. "What are you doing?" she asked breathlessly, but she knew. She knew exactly what he was doing.
"One last thing," he said. She felt nothing, but in the mirror, the colour of her irises deepened. The change was subtle, unless you knew both Petunia and Lily. Petunia knew those eyes very well indeed, and they weren't her own.
"Stop this," she said, although part of her didn't want him to; part of her wanted to see how far he would take it, and what she would do.
"You said yes," he said, and the face behind her in the mirror was pale and desperate. "I said I wouldn't do it unless you agreed." He murmured one more incantation, and Petunia felt light as air. She could see Lily in the mirror -- or not Lily, not exactly, but an approximation of her. She knew Lily was dead. She knew her parents were dead. She knew that they had died for Lily because they could not live for her, Petunia. She knew all these things, but they no longer hurt. Nothing hurt at all.
"Lily," Severus whispered, and she turned to face him. He laid his wand down on the dressing table and touched her cheek with sweaty fingers.
"I don't hurt any more," she said in a small voice.
"I know." He nodded for too long. "God, I know." His hand travelled down her face, down her neck, across her shoulder, down her arm, and he pulled her close.
They were on their third glass of sherry and he had opened her blouse. She let him; she would have let him do anything, because he had taken away the pain. Even so, she hesitated as his hand slipped inside her bra.
"I want you to enjoy this, Li- -- Petunia."
She heard, and she wanted to please him, but she couldn't feel much of anything. Still, she made an effort and nodded. "Yes, Severus."
It seemed to be enough. With a groan, he pulled her against him, one hand sliding up her skirt and inside her knickers, an achievement that had taken Vernon a good four months. His fingers felt large and alien, but not unpleasant, especially when he slipped one inside.
"Lily," he muttered into her shoulder.
She wasn't Lily, and she wondered if she should tell him he'd made a mistake. But he'd told her to enjoy herself, so she moved against him and was eventually surprised into an orgasm that left her panting and him triumphant.
"So you are enjoying this!" he crowed, and grabbed his wand. When she glanced down her clothes had vanished; she could see herself plainly, still writhing against his other hand.
"Lily," he said softly, "get on the bed."
Somewhere far away and deep inside her, a voice was raised in protest. But it was a very distant voice, and her conscious mind was consumed with Severus and what he desired.
She lay down and her instant obedience seemed to release the last of his restraint. With a groan of "Lily," he lunged forward and dragged her on her back to the edge of the bed, leaned his knees against it, and shoved into her. Somewhere through the mist of him and his desires, pleasure dawned again and she squeezed her calves around his bony buttocks.
The voice inside her head grew louder, repeating, No, no, no! like the beat of a drum. But Petunia -- or was she Lily? Was she magic the way her sister had been? And would they all love her now? -- Petunia was too caught up in the other sensations, which multiplied with every thrust of Severus's hips.
"That's it," he was muttering now into her shoulder. "Come for me, Lily, come for me!"
She gritted her teeth and tried, because he was the world -- but he'd called her by the wrong name; the order wasn't for her.
"Name," she gasped. "My name..."
"Petunia," he spat. "Petunia, Lily, look at me and come."
With a cry, she let go, gazing into his dark eyes, and saw the moment when his features blurred into ecstasy. He pumped again and again, scattering pleasure ever-deeper inside her, and they fell back onto the mattress.
She barely heard his hoarse, "Finite Incantatem," but she knew what that one meant even before the voice inside her screamed at full pitch and the memories crashed back into place.
Scrambling across the bed, she whipped up her blouse from the dingy carpet. "What--" Her voice came out as a croak and she took a breath. "What did you do to me?"
His wand was still in his hand and his expression was unreadable. "I made you feel better."
"I -- you--" The aftershocks of orgasm were still coursing through her. "I'm a married woman!" Vernon, oh, God, Vernon would divorce her on the spot if he ever found out about this.
"I know." He muttered a lazy incantation and was abruptly fully dressed. "Don't worry; I have no wish to intrude on your domestic bliss."
"As if you could," she spluttered. Assailed by a vision of herself opening her thighs, shuddering with delight, she pulled on her skirt. "Oh, my God!"
"Scourgify." The semen that was sliding down her thighs disappeared, and she clutched her hands across her chest. "Stop! Get away from me." She was crying, and it was from this horrible thing that he'd done; it was. But something had been set loose inside her; grief battered against her chest, breaking ever closer to the surface.
He turned away. "You asked," he said indistinctly. "I said I'd only do it if you asked."
"Asked for help! Not for..." She couldn't put into words what he had done. Her mind whispered a word -- a terrible, accusatory word -- but she brushed it away and busied herself with her clothing. When she felt able, she checked the dressing table mirror. Severus was still on the bed behind her, fussing with his own clothes, but she focused on her appearance. Lily's features were gone and her hair was its trusty blonde. But she fancied that she could see her sister, lurking just behind her own, mask-like features.
Severus moved behind her and she sprang around. "Get out." He opened his mouth, but she gave him no chance to speak. "I don't ever want to see you again." She spoke as coldly as she could. Lily might have been fiery, but Petunia was a queen of ice; she would freeze Severus out of her life for good. "If you bother me again, I'll report you to the police."
He sneered. "What for? All I have to do is tell them what we did."
"I'm a respectable wife and mother. My husband is a man in high standing with the community." She heard Lily's fire in her voice and swallowed down her revulsion. "What do you think the police will think when they see you? I believe your father had something of a record..."
His cheeks grew livid as if she had slapped him. In all the years they had known him, he had never talked about his parents -- or not to her. But she'd heard her parents talking; she knew what everybody said.
"I got what I wanted, anyway." He turned to the door.
"Good!" she shouted after him. "Because you'll have to live on that for the rest of your life. Nobody else'll have you."
He turned, halfway down the stairs. "Maybe I will," he yelled back. The rage in his expression crumpled. "I loved her. Truly, I did." It sounded like a plea.
Petunia remembered her features merging with Lily's, and shivered. "You're poisonous. All of you wizards are poisonous. You took my sister, but that wasn't enough, was it? Well, now it's enough."
She thought of baby Harry, waiting for her at Mrs Figg's, demanding her attention, which should have been all for Dudley. "You people won't take any more from my family. It's enough."
Still he hesitated on the stair. The shower was just at her elbow and she longed to wash Severus off. Maybe if she scrubbed hard enough, she could get Lily off, too.
She turned away. The front door slammed a second before she closed the bathroom door.
I'm a respectable wife and mother. She undid her blouse again, shuddering at the way her body remembered its arousal.
He'd taken her longing for Lily and twisted it into something...disgusting. He was disgusting. She was glad Lily had fallen out with him; glad she'd married that Potter boy, even if they were both gone now; both dead.
But she wasn't sure she'd ever be able to look at Harry, at her sister's eyes in that innocent face, without remembering Severus gazing into her own eyes as he climaxed.
She slipped off her skirt and knickers. The latter were damp and sticky, although he had cleaned up the cause of the stickiness. She threw them into the sink.
It was enough. She stepped into the shower and began to soap herself clean.