Tuum fatum (Latin): Make your own fate
Harry Potter was running away.
He’d taken a cab across town and let his feet carry him the rest of the way. He hadn’t been sure where he was going at first, but he realized quickly there were only a couple places he could go.
He was still seething as his tiny fist knocked against the plain brown door.
A beautiful woman appeared in the doorway, a smile on her face at the sight of her eight-year-old nephew standing on her porch.
“Harry! What are you doing here?”
The dark-haired boy pushed his glasses further up the bridge of his nose and scrunched up the unmarked olive skin on his forehead in frustration. “Aunt Tuny, I’m running away!” he proclaimed before throwing his fists down at his sides dramatically.
Petunia chuckled indulgently at the boy on her doorstep and ushered him inside, thankful, at least, that his idea of running away was nothing like hers had been.
Twelve years earlier.
Petunia Evans was running away.
For six years she had watched with wicked jealousy as her sister packed for Hogwarts. Six long years of explaining why she was still in public school while her perfect sister was away at a special school.
Her sister was special in a good way, and Petunia was nothing.
Petunia was tired of the hand fate had dealt her. Tired of missing her sister, of being jealous and trying to break out of Lily’s shadow to impress their parents. It was time to take matters into her own hands.
Six years ago, her letter to Headmaster Dumbledore pleading to go to Hogwarts had been kindly declined, but if she actually showed up at Hogwarts they would have to let her in. If she could see the castle they would have to let her stay.
On the second of September, the seventeen year old faked sick. Once her parents went to work, she jumped from the bed and grabbed the pack that she’d put together the night before. She couldn’t carry much, but she had some money to fill in the gaps. She didn’t think it would take long to get to Scotland.
And it hadn’t, but she had underestimated how difficult it would be to find any of the landmarks that Lily had told her about. Her sister only ever talked about Hogwarts, and Petunia thought that knowledge alone would help her find the castle. But there are a lot of knotty-looking trees in Scotland, Petunia thought bitterly as she traveled.
She was hungry and exhausted, and the negative feelings of bitterness and jealousy sat like toxins in the pit of her stomach. She’d been searching for seven days, but Petunia was getting close; she could feel it in her bones.
But it was getting dark; she needed to find a place to set up her tent. A rumbling started in the sky above her, and she frowned as she watched storm clouds rolling in. Petunia spotted a thicket of trees that could provide some cover, and she took off running, her feet falling in time with the thunderous symphony.
The full moon was partially covered by dark clouds. As it rose to its place in the sky, Petunia was sitting inside her tent hoping the rain would pass soon. Maybe she was hallucinating — it had been a week since she’d gotten a proper meal, after all — but she was sure she heard a rustling in the distance above the sounds of the storm. She poked her head out and looked around the darkened forest. She was alone, but her curiosity got the better of her.
She walked slowly through the scrub before stopping dead in her tracks. Through the trees she could see big animals moving around in the shadows. A pair of large yellow eyes locked onto hers, and her breath caught in her throat at the sight. Adrenaline pumped through her veins as she turned and ran.
Her lungs were constricting, and her heart thumped wildly against her rib cage as she moved quickly through the rain. She pushed through the pain. She pushed away the shattering feeling in her legs as fear threatened to overwhelm her, and she told herself the animal following her was just a rabid dog.
That was the last thought she had before the beast caught up to her.
Petunia woke with no recollection of her surroundings. As her eyes came back into focus, she noted she was in a beautiful clearing surrounded by large, thick trees. She blinked a few times and found it strange how sharp her vision was. She didn’t have time to question it, though, because acute pain shot through her body. She yelped under the weight of it, curling in on herself.
Something cold nudged her side, and she opened her eyes to see a large wolf. Petunia screamed again, but the animal didn’t flinch. It whined pitifully, and Petunia managed to sit up, bringing her hand near the animal for it to examine her. The wolf huffed — Petunia thought it seemed annoyed, as ridiculous as that sounded — and pushed its muzzle against her hand before sniffing her all over. It was then that she saw the dried blood staining her clothes. Petunia sucked in a breath, her eyes widening in fright. She looked at the animal, and somehow she knew that this thing hadn’t bit her — it had saved her.
The wolf howled quietly, breaking Petunia out of her epiphany. She heard rustling in the trees, and the wolf’s pack emerged. Petunia watched in awe as they circled around her and sniffed her wound. Her jeans were ripped at the bottom, and the bite she’d endured looked shockingly clean. As she processed that she’d been bitten by something, the pain intensified, radiating from her leg throughout her whole body.
“What happened to me?” she asked the wolves, and she felt stupid for doing so, but she knew instinctively that these beasts were intelligent.
The first wolf whined again, and its eyes seemed sad as it nuzzled her body with its snout.
“I need help,” she said, feeling the pain overwhelming her, darkness clouding the edge of her vision.
The wolf nuzzled under her, and she maneuvered onto its back. She managed to grab a handful of scruff before the animal took off running. Petunia struggled to stay awake as the wolf’s steady gate lulled her. If it hadn’t been for the pain coursing through her, she may have lost consciousness, but she was awake as the wolf broke through the treeline and approached a grand castle.
She could see it.
She turned her head back and forth, and she nearly hooted in excitement because she could see the Whomping Willow, looking exactly as Lily had described. Hugging the animal tighter, Petunia flinched slightly at the howl it emitted as it reached the grand front doors.
A tall, white-haired man with a long beard appeared. “Ah, Galen, what a pleasant surprise,” the man’s voice was wistful as he spoke. He stared curiously through his half-moon spectacles at the sight of a bleeding stranger on the wolf’s back. Petunia desperately wanted to look around the castle, but she closed her eyes, listening closely to the man in front of her. “What have you here?”
The wolf growled low in its throat. “I see,” but his tone had lost its lightness. “Can you carry her to the Hospital Wing, Galen?” The wolf barked softly, and Petunia felt them moving once more. She tried to glance around, but she passed out the moment she was placed in a bed.
“Albus, I recognize her.”
The vaguely familiar voice Petunia heard as she woke sounded nervous, and she decided not to open her eyes.
“She’s a muggle. How is she here?”
“She’s more than just a muggle now,” the older man from earlier said, and Petunia felt the bed sheet moved away from her legs.
The woman gasped. “Muggles don’t usually survive such bites,” the witch tightly.
“You say you recognize her. Who is she? A sister to one of our muggleborns, perhaps?”
“Lily Evans is her sister,” Minerva responded. “I’ll go fetch her.”
Petunia heard the click of the witch’s heels fading away but kept her eyes closed.
“How are you feeling, Ms. Evans?” the older man asked, and Petunia’s eyes popped open.
“How did you know I was awake?” she asked accusingly, but the older man only smiled.
“I know lots of things, Ms. Evans,” he responded, twirling his beard between wrinkled fingers. “What I do not know is why you were in the forests of Scotland.”
Petunia cast her gaze downward, and she could feel her face growing hot from embarrassment. “I thought if I could find the castle, you’d let me stay.” She knew it sounded foolish.
“Hmm,” Albus mused over her words. “That’s very ambitious of you, dear. And very dangerous.”
“It was worth it, sir,” she said as she finally took the chance to look at her surroundings. She was in a large room filled with beds, and she felt a thrill at the sight of a woman performing magic on another patient a few feet away.
“We shall see,” the wizard responded darkly.
The elderly wizard had given her a moment alone as they awaited Lily’s entrance. She’d gotten a strange look from a boy as he came through the room with his friends and headed for the bed at the end of the hall where she’d spied a woman performing magic. She watched them as they disappeared behind the curtains around the bed. Petunia saw a flash of another boy whose face was marred with scars, and a strange myriad of emotions washed through her. Petunia had never been a very emotional girl and had never felt such a range of emotions before — from excitement to fear, confusion to clarity. Something inside of her was stirring, something she’d never known to be within her. Had it been dormant all this time? If not, where was it coming from?
Before she could come to a conclusion, her sister pushed through the doors. A flash of red hair and suddenly she was being suffocated by her sister’s hug. Lily asked a hundred questions in one breath that Petunia largely ignored.
“I’m fine, Lils,” she said, wincing from the weight of her sister’s body.
Lily straightened and rounded on the adults. “What’s happened to her? How is she here?”
“Lily,” Dumbledore stepped forward, “Your sister was attempting to visit Hogwarts.” His gaze snapped to Petunia, and she knew he would’ve preferred a stronger word — infiltrate, maybe. “As you know, last night was the first full moon of the term,” he continued, and Petunia found herself wondering why that was something to note. “Your sister encountered a werewolf on her travels.”
Both girls gasped. Petunia because she couldn’t believe she’d encountered a mythical beast, something she didn’t truly know to be real. Lily because there was a sliver of hope this story didn’t end badly. The red head gripped her sister’s hand tightly. “Unlike most muggles before her, Petunia has survived the initial bite, but I believe she will transform next month. If she survives that, we will have to find more permanent accommodations for her.”
“Petunia, you have been bitten by a werewolf during the full moon,” Dumbledore said carefully. “I regret to inform you that you are now a werewolf. This process is not well documented because muggles often die from the initial bite. We don’t know how the transformation will affect you or if you’ll have some of the more magical abilities of a werewolf.”
“We will alert your parents as to your whereabouts and let them know you’ve been injured and that you must stay here,” McGonagall cut in. “We would like to further examine you, run some tests. We’ll need to get you healthy and as prepared as possible for the next moon.”
Petunia nodded, though her mouth was dry, and she was filled with dread. What had she done? She was no closer to being a Hogwarts student than she’d been a week ago. But now she would be transforming into an animal once a month? For the rest of her life? And the rest of her life could be all of one more month? It was so beyond anything she’d ever considered for her life, so much more and so much less than anything she thought possible.
“What can I do?” Lily asked, turning her face to look at her sister with teary eyes and trembling lips.
“Visit when you can?” Petunia asked, smiling weakly. She’d missed her sister, after all. It wasn’t what she’d hoped for, but it was something.
“Petunia will need her rest, but yes, stay up with your studies and prefect duties, and spend time with your sister when you can,” McGonagall said.
“But what if — ?” Lily couldn’t say it, and she clung to her sister even tighter.
“We won’t think about that now,” Dumbledore responded. The wistful nature of his voice was starting to return.
“I’ll be ok, Lily,” Petunia said, hoping she sounded comforting. “But if you all don’t mind, I’d like some time to, you know, think about all of this.”
Lily sniffled but nodded her head. She bent down to gently kiss her sister’s cheek. Dumbledore silently clapped his hands together. “Let us know if there’s anything you need, Petunia. Our matron, Madam Pomfrey, is here to assist you,” he said with finality. Dumbledore’s gaze flashed to the bed at the end of the hall before turning to leave the room.
Petunia was left to her thoughts for only a couple of minutes before the group of boys reappeared. They all looked strangely at her now. The one in glasses she thought to be James reached her bedside first. He regarded her for a moment, but his gaze kept sliding back to the door through which her sister had exited.
“Sorry to hear about your furry little problem,” James said. He smirked, and Petunia pursed her lips, sitting up a little straighter and looking at each of the three boys now by her bedside. She was discomfited by their presence, but she didn’t want them to know that. The scarred boy — Remus, she presumed — wasn’t with them.
“Though it was a stupid thing to do, traipsing through the forest all by yourself without magic,” the raven-haired wizard said. “And that’s coming from Sirius Black,” he continued, gesturing to himself. “And that’s James Potter and Peter Pettigrew, by the way.”
“I know who you are,” Petunia scoffed. “Lily’s told me all about you.”
James perked up. “Evans talks about me?” He looked hopefully at Petunia, who rolled her eyes.
“Oh yes, she’s told me all about your antics,” she said, surveying the wizards with a judgemental edge to her narrowed eyes.
They all stood a little straighter under her gaze, and Sirius cleared his throat. “Well we just came by to make sure you’re cool. Our mate’s a werewolf, too, ya know. They’ll be sticking you with him, I imagine.”
“And if you hurt him, we’ll have to hurt you,” James said with a shrug. “Marauders over dames, it’s a rule.”
“We also wanted to tell you we’re here for you if you need anything,” Peter said, his voice an octave higher than the others.
She’d nearly forgotten he was there, but Petunia smiled politely at him before turning back to James. “You say your friend is a werewolf? How do you know he didn’t give me this furry little problem ?”
The three wizards exchanged glances. “Trust us, we know,” Sirius said. Petunia snorted indelicately.
“Well if you’ll excuse us, we’ve got to go see a man about a dog,” James said, barely hiding his snicker as he looked to Sirius.
“It was nice to meet you,” Peter said as they all started toward the door.
Petunia didn’t recall falling asleep, but she dreamed of giant beasts with large teeth filed down to points, illuminated by the glimmering light of the full moon. She tossed and turned until she woke covered in a thin layer of sweat.
Her heart skipped every couple of beats as she struggled to catch her breath. Petunia carefully pulled up into a sitting position. It was then that she noticed a man standing at the end of her bed, twisting his fingers around the wire frame. She drew her eyes down his body, and he flinched under her gaze as she stopped to stare at every visible scar. Some were light from age, but others were raw and red, fresh from the previous night. “Is this what I have to look forward to?” Petunia’s question sounded nasty from her lips, but there was fear bubbling from the heart of her words.
Remus unlatched his fists from the bed’s frame and slowly stepped closer, the hint of a sad smile tugging at his lips. “It’s different for everyone. A lot of these are from before.”
“Before what?” Petunia asked, and she found herself surprisingly interested to hear the answer.
Remus stared directly into her eyes making Petunia a little uncomfortable, and she fidgeted with the top blanket. She couldn’t look away. It was as if she were being drawn into him like a desperate moth to the ever-glowing flame. Petunia didn’t understand the feelings warring within her.
“Before I had friends.”
His light tone contrasted sharply with Petunia’s visceral response to his words. Her face remained stoic, but inside she felt herself crumbling under the weight of fear and rage at her situation. She didn’t have any friends! If she made it out of this transformation alive, would her skin be horrendously scarred forever like the man before her?
“Don’t worry,” he continued, and she fought back an ironic cackle. “I’ll be there for you. Dumbledore set up a safe place for me, and I’m sure he’ll want you to be there too for the full moon. I can - I - uh - you know - can help protect you.”
Petunia had never been one to refrain from an eye roll, but the sight of him stopped her. While she’d never cared much about others before, she wanted to understand everything about him. Petunia knew herself to be a judgemental bitch, hiding from her emotions by attacking others. But now? She felt like someone who asked questions and yearned to listen, at least in Remus’ case. The men in her old life were arrogant and demeaning. Remus wasn’t like that. He could barely take care of himself during the full moon, but she believed that he’d do anything to help her.
Petunia wrote her parents every day of the next month, but she never told them that she might die. After everything that had happened, she just couldn’t bare it, even if that meant leaving the responsibility to Lily should something happen to her.
Her sister visited multiple times a week. She had a way of pulling Petunia out of the depths of her worries and making her laugh. They were starting to get back to the affectionate relationship they’d had before. Petunia only hoped it wasn’t too late.
Remus visited her often as well, answering her questions and sharing his experiences. When she was alone late at night, it was hard to stop herself from thinking she was a freak — worse than Lily would ever be — but when she was around Remus, she couldn’t help but appreciate the magic within her and possibly between them.
She tried to hold onto that magical feeling as he escorted her across the grounds toward the knotted tree Lily had always told her about steering clear of. Petunia tried to push her nerves away — worries ranging from how much this would hurt to what it might feel like to die. She watched Remus levitate a twig and pushed it into the roots of the Whomping Willow. The tree’s limbs stopped swinging, and Remus ushered her forward.
Her companion had advised her to bring a change of clothes, and she put the backup outfit in a corner of the old, rickety shack. Petunia’s nerves were jumping anxiously inside of her, and she felt energized in a way she never had before. She shook as Remus stood in front of her. His nostrils flared, and his jaw twitched as they waited in the darkness for the moon to take over. The control he was exuding wafted toward her. It was strange, and she wondered desperately what he was thinking about. He was on her mind when a sharp pain ripped through her. Petunia buckled and fell to her knees, only barely registering the scream elicited from her lips. Her skin was being ripped apart, bones breaking and reshaping themselves, muscles stretching. Fear coursed through her, and she registered every ounce of pain as her body broke itself and built something new from the remains. As the wolf inside her began to take shape, however, Petunia found that she felt more alive, more in tune with herself than she had ever been.
Everything was crisper in werewolf form. Her slanted eyes fell on the werewolf across from her, and she took a deep breath from her newly-formed snout, inhaling the distinct scent that was Remus. In this form, he was somehow more of himself while also being something else entirely. Moving clumsily on her newly formed four feet toward Remus was the last thing she fully remembered before she woke up in the man’s arms the next morning.
The first thing she noticed was that they were nude, and the next thing that dawned on her was how comfortable she felt caged in the arms of someone she’d only known for a month. As she stared at his features while he slept, flashes of the previous night came back to her.
His friends had sat the night out since it was her first transformation. No one had known what to expect from her, but she and Remus had found an easy rapport as fellow werewolves. She recalled them sniffing each other and playing together and their howls forming a beautiful symphony.
When Remus woke — with fewer fresh cuts on his body than before — his face dropped at the sight of her. She saw confusion, fear, and embarrassment in his honey brown eyes.
“I’m sorry - I - uh,” his voice was scratchy as he allowed it to drift off into silence. Remus scrambled away from her suddenly, rolling along the floor and standing in one swift motion, and moved to clothe himself. She tried to smile comfortingly at him, tried to make him know by just a look that she didn’t want things to be awkward between them, but he said nothing as they made their way to the Hospital Wing.
Madam Pomfrey sent word to the headmaster when she saw Remus and Petunia come through the doors. To her great surprise, both looked healthier than expected, though they limped slightly from the pain of walking with freshly reformed bones. Each werewolf carried new scratches, but most looked nearly healed thanks to lycanthropy’s enhanced immunities.
She put them in beds next to each other and began administering the usual pain potions, and the elderly witch managed to move gracefully in the thick silence hanging between her patients.
“Thank Circe,” the matron murmured under her breath as Dumbledore entered.
“Ms. Evans,” he said cheerfully as he reached her bedside. “It’s lovely to see you back.”
Petunia’s smile was weak as her limbs settled further into the comfort of the bed — the warmth from the covers no match, though, to what she’d felt lying next to Remus. “Thank you, sir.”
“It would seem, however, that this leaves us in a predicament. You are a magical being, and yet you do not have magic,” Dumbledore said. Petunia merely stared at him, waiting for further explanation. “You cannot attend Hogwarts, but I do not think returning to the muggle world would be in anyone’s best interest.”
Dumbledore stared intensely at her through his glasses, and Petunia felt he was reading her like a book. “What would you have me do then?” she asked sharply. “Shall I relegate myself to the shack full time?”
“I was thinking that we could get you a job in the village and secure you room and board there,” the elderly wizard countered. “I hope you will stay with us. We can help you, and hopefully you can help us too. A muggle werewolf is very rare.”
“So you just want to study me? Run tests on me like I’m some kind of freak?”
“Petunia…” Remus spoke quietly, the first word he’d said since they woke up together. Her eyes flashed in his direction and narrowed suspiciously at the sight of him intruding on this exchange. She considered him, her lips pursed. Petunia knew that she had nowhere to go. As she looked at Remus, she realized maybe she wouldn’t want to be anywhere else, even if she had a place to go.
“Fine,” her tone was clipped when she turned back to Dumbledore. “When do I start?”
By the time Christmas break rolled around, Petunia was pleasantly surprised at how everything had turned out. She and her sister — and the Marauders — had all elected to stay in Scotland for the holiday. The full moon would rise during the break, so the werewolves didn’t have much choice. It just so happened that the full moon would also signal Petunia’s eighteenth birthday.
Dumbledore had gotten her a job and a room at the Hog’s Head. Since his brother owned the place, the fact she would need a few days off each month wasn’t a deal breaker. Dumbledore and Madam Pomfrey came to her for tests and pain moderation.
Lily and the Marauders had visited her as often as possible. Remus, however, visited on more than just Hogsmeade weekends.
She wasn’t sure how he was able to sneak out of the castle so often, but she’d also never bothered to ask. Petunia had always had more important things to discuss with him — was it normal for her to feel this and that way? And they’d end up talking about more than their lycanthropy; often they’d talk about everything but that.
There were times when she would see Remus and everything else in the world would melt away. There were times when they could both pretend they were normal . It was after those visits that Petunia would find herself awake late into the night, wondering if how she felt toward him was about more than just that he was a fellow werewolf. She knew that he saw her for what she was, but she was starting to think he saw her for who she was as well. Remus could see beyond the werewolf inside of her, even if he couldn’t yet see that about himself.
While Petunia cleaned up the bar after her shift, she thought about him and their blossoming relationship. As if on cue, he materialized before her, breaking through the crowd of drunks. A glorious smile lit up his face. “Happy birthday,” he said, leaning over the bar to give her a quick kiss on the cheek.
She fought the blush threatening to warm her cheeks. “Thank you,” she murmured. “What are you doing here so early?”
“It’s your birthday,” he said, as if that cleared everything up. Remus walked around the side of the bar and held his arm out for Petunia. She called out behind her, “Aberforth, I’m leaving!” When a loud grunt was all she got in response, she smiled up at Remus and took his arm delicately.
They walked in a comfortable silence through the village, but they didn’t get far before Petunia realized where they were headed. “Remus, why are we going there this early?”
He looked over at her, and she caught a glimpse of the wolf within, ready for its forthcoming release. “I didn’t get you a present,” Remus said, and the corners of his lips turned down slightly as he held the rickety door of the shack open for her. “But I want to show you something.”
Petunia followed him to a back room she’d never explored. The same faint mildewy odor hung in the air as it did in all the other rooms, and the walls were cracked and stained. A four-posted bed looked to be on its last leg on one side of the room. In front of it sat a grand piano. The instrument was weathered and covered in a thick dusting of filth, but when Remus sat down at the small, creaky bench and placed his slender fingers gently atop the keys, Petunia’s breath caught in her throat.
His eyes flashed up to hers as he started to play. The song was sad, timid, passionate, hopeful. The sound filled her up, and she could feel it radiating from within her as if he’d gotten the notes for the melodies by reading her very soul.
It overwhelmed her senses, and she slowly came to sit next to him on the bench. Heat and tension radiated between them. Remus was careful not to let them touch for too long anytime he reached toward her as he focused on playing the keys just right.
As the song slowly faded, the wizard took a deep breath before meeting Petunia’s gaze once more. Tears shimmered in her eyes both from the sheer beauty of the gift he’d just given her and the devastation she felt that it was over.
“That was,” Petunia started, but her voice was too wet, too shaky. She cleared her throat. “That was beautiful, Remus. Thank you.”
She gently placed her hand on his arm. He flinched away as if scalded.
He looked pained. Petunia watched his internal struggle play out on his face, but she could also feel it, her own emotions warred against each other without understanding why. “I have to tell you something,” he said finally, no longer meeting her eye. “I should have told you a long time ago.” Remus took another deep, shaky breath. “According to werewolf lore, every werewolf has a mate.”
Remus was looking at anything but her.
“Some of the things you’ve been feeling… well, I knew before you confided that with me, I knew the moment you were first brought into the Hospital Wing…”
“Remus,” Petunia said tentatively, standing to give herself space to breathe. “What are you saying?”
He looked up at her then, and it was like she could feel his shame — that he had only just told her; that he thought she deserved better; that either of them were werewolves at all. Petunia could feel it as if the emotions were organically and originally her own.
“We’re mates, Petunia.”
When she opened her mouth to respond, a jolt of pain shot through her, and all that came from her lips was a horrible scream. Petunia fell to her knees as the full moon reached its peak in the sky. Remus’ cries of agony soon mingled with hers, and their pain created a sound altogether different and more horrifying than that of the piano’s dust-covered keys.
From the very moment she woke up the next morning, Petunia’s muscles reminded her of how she’d acted overnight. She’d been angry — aggressively so — but the soothing heat emitting from the wizard wrapped around her naked form salved her aches a little.
She took a deep breath, inhaling the mixture of bitter cold air and Remus’ unmistakable and irresistible scent. Now that she’d been made aware of their situation, the way she reacted to him — the way the wolf within her reacted to him — made a lot more sense. They’d only ever flirted, and yet she was perfectly content to wake up with his naked body enveloping her. They’d definitely never kissed before, but suddenly the idea of making love with Remus wasn’t very much of a stretch to the imagination.
Petunia was still upset that he’d waited so long to tell her they were mates, but she couldn’t hold onto that same passionate anger she’d felt the night before. She was too tired.
His arms tightened around her, and he nuzzled his face in her hair. She shivered beneath him, and his excitement became obvious. Petunia turned in his arms, his length pressing against her abdomen.
“Remus,” she whispered, her voice heavy with lust. His eyes were dark as they bored into her, and she held her breath waiting for what would come next.
Suddenly she was cold, and it all happened so fast that it took her a moment to register that the wizard had jumped up and strode across the room. She could see his shoulders rise and fall with shaky breaths, and he was cradling his head in his hands.
“We can’t do this,” he said, his voice muffled.
“What do you mean?” Petunia was embarrassed, and she hastily pulled the blanket at her feet over her bare chest.
“Do you still not get it, Petunia?”
The bitterness laced within his words concerned her. She had always had a tendency toward negative feelings, but she had used that negativity to judge others in an attempt to make herself feel better. Remus on the other hand made himself pay for his own darkness.
“We’re monsters,” he said, dropping his hands and finally turning around to look at her. He wrinkled his upper lip, and the disgust she saw there broke her heart. He may be looking at her, but he saw himself. “We can’t - ever - I can’t - not with anyone,” Remus shook his head. “I couldn’t risk bringing a child into the world to be this.”
Petunia frowned, slowly getting to her feet. She was careful to keep the blanket covering most of her body as she walked toward him. Her dark green eyes bored into Remus’ own. The sadness and self-loathing she found there was overwhelming. “I want to show you something."
She turned from him and moved to get dressed. Petunia looked back just once to make sure he was following her lead. Satisfied that he was, she returned to her own business, her mind a mess of thoughts and emotions.
As they walked out of the underground tunnel from the Whomping Willow, Petunia used every ounce of willpower she had not to grab his hand, to try and comfort him in some way. Her head and her heart agreed on something for once. Everything inside of her demanded to connect with Remus. He was her mate, and she was starting to understand what that really meant. She only hoped what she had to show him would have the effect she intended. Side-by-side they walked across the grounds to the edge of the Forbidden Forest, and though Petunia caught Remus staring at her when she turned to check on him, he didn’t say anything.
They traveled for a time before she could smell them. The twitch of Remus’ jaw made her sure he smelled them too.
“Remus,” she started cautiously, “as you know I’ve always been jealous of my sister’s magic. I wanted nothing more than to be magical myself. And, well, I got a lot more than I bargained for.”
Petunia couldn’t help but laugh at the thought. Months ago she’d made the stupid decision to travel by herself to a castle she wasn’t even supposed to be able to see in the hopes that she could make potions and perform transfiguration along with her sister. She stopped just outside of the clearing she knew was there and grabbed Remus’ hands.
“But after all of that,” she continued, “I still think magic is wonderful, even the magic that transforms us each month.”
Remus’ eyebrows wrinkled together, as if he couldn’t believe someone thought it was wonderful to be a monster. She could see every year he’d spent hating who — or what — he was in the shadows and scars on his face.
She led him through one more line of trees, and he gasped at the sight he found in the clearing. A pack of wolves stared at him. Galen stepped forward, and Remus reached for his mate. He growled when he saw her move toward the wolf. She turned back to him with a pointed look and he quieted.
“Remus, if you and I ever got pregnant we would have a beautiful human child,” Petunia said sternly, her tone not conveying how absolutely ridiculous she found this whole line of thought, especially considering they hadn’t even kissed yet. “In some parallel universe where you can’t keep your paws off me in werewolf form, if I ever got pregnant, we would make these beautiful animals.”
Petunia turned back to the pack and knelt where she stood. Galen padded across the ground and ran into Petunia’s arms, nuzzling at her neck and woofing excitedly. His tail wagged so fast it was hard to see. Remus watched, every bone in his body at attention in case this wild animal attacked her.
“What is this?”
Petunia turned, her arm still wrapped around the wolf’s grey mane. “Galen and his pack were born of two werewolves. Dumbledore brought them here ages ago, and the night I was bitten, they saved my life,” she said. “They’re so smart, Remus. They don’t hunt humans, either. They’re not monsters.” Petunia stood, petting the animal beside her once more before striding up to the wizard. She confidently placed a hand against his scarred cheek. Her skin sang even at the innocent contact. “We are not monsters,” she whispered.
She could almost see the dark clouds in his eyes lifting. She knew they may return, and she would be ready for them. But for now, he’d seen her point. Remus stared intently down at her and licked his lips, drawing her eyes to the motion. He growled instinctively at her attention. Remus wrapped a firm hand around the back of her head and pulled her to him, claiming her lips in a searing kiss. Petunia whimpered against him, and Remus vowed to himself he would get her to make that sound again, forever. It was as if everything in the world had been fuzzy until this moment when the pieces all clicked back into place.
Howling rang out around them, and the wolves began to circle the couple. Galen nuzzled the woman, pushing her toward Remus, while another wolf on Remus’ side pushed him. He pulled away from the kiss, but still held Petunia close to him. She laughed quietly.
“I think they like us together,” she said as they both took in the sight of the wolves encircling them. The light in her eyes sparked a fire within his heart, and affection for this fierce, confident, smart, beautiful woman engulfed him. She was everything he never knew he needed.
Twelve years later.
As Petunia sat down with her nephew to have tea — after Floo calling his parents — she realized that she had inadvertently but unequivocally written herself into the Marauders’ history by choosing to run away that day.
What was once a shaky relationship with her sister, ripped apart by jealousy and bitterness, was now one thriving on shared experiences and genuine love.
Petunia had gone from the sidelines of the Wizarding World to being a vital part of the resistance in the war against Voldemort. And when the prophecy was foretold and the Potters forced into hiding, there was no question as to whom would be their secret keeper — Petunia Evans Lupin.
She could not be more grateful that hers was a place Harry could run to when his life — which would be untarnished by war and grief if she had anything to say about it — wasn’t going the way he wanted.