The morning of July the twenty second was quiet and calm as the sun rose, drying the dew on the well tended lawns and gardens of Privet Drive. The street looked as normal and peaceful as any other in the neighborhood. On a day that was as ordinary as any other. It had been years since anything strange or untoward had happened on the street. Just as it had been years since the Dursley's had lived on the street. Though every now and then, when there was no other news or gossip to share, the residents would return to the topic of the most shameful event the street had seen. After all such calamities do not happen every day.

It had been nearly seven years since the night Petunia Dursley had had her husband and nephew taken from her home by police. Since she had been subjected to the embarrassment of the judgmental stares of her neighbors and been the topic of gossip for months following. Petunia Dursley had since faced some hard truths.

It had been a very unwelcome surprise that had been waiting for Petunia when she returned home after her husbands trial. Vernon had been found guilty of child abuse and sentenced to 4 years in prison. He would only have received a three year sentence had he not shouted before the whole court that it had all been the little freak's fault. Petunia had been so mortified she had kept her head down and dragged Dudley, who was screaming for sweets, out of the court.

She pulled the car into the drive, past a black town car which had been parked in front of her house. By the time she had wrestled Dudley out of his car seat, being slapped in the face several times by the chubby little hands, the occupant of the town car had gotten out and approached her. The woman was dressed very well in a tailored black suit and had a very cold smile.

"Mrs. Petunia Dursley." she began.

"No." Petunia said pulling Dudley along faster, "No comment!" The woman followed her quickly.

"Mrs. Dursley, I am not a reporter." She said as Petunia unlocked her door. "My name is Miranda Essex and I'm here regarding this house."

"What are you talking about?" Petunia had demanded.

"Well you are aware that this house was never in the Dursley name, aren't you?" she had said and watched with that cold smile as all the color had drained from Petunia's face. "Would you like to discuss this in private, or would you prefer we stand in the front garden for all the neighbors to hear?"

Petunia had let the Essex woman in only to be told that everything Vernon had told her about the house was a lie. She had always known that the house itself was a wedding gift from Lily and her husband but she had not know that Vernon had never transferred the deed into their names, instead leaving it in Lily and James Potter's names and leaving their estate with the subsequent taxes and bills. She was shocked to realize that her sister's family had been paying their bills since she and Vernon had married.

The problem was that since her name was not on the property and Harry had since been adopted by a "Distinguished Gentleman", she would either have to start paying rent or she would have to move out. She had not made a decision on the day, instead yelled at the woman to get out.

After the Essex woman had left, Petunia pulled out all of her husbands papers and was forced to face the truth. Vernon had been lying to her their entire marriage. His salary was not as large as he had told her, and their savings were not as vast. They had been spending their whole income because she had thought they had plenty and he had lied. Now she had next to nothing, and her home wasn't even hers.

Petunia had reached out to Marge Dursley at first, but her sister in law had blamed Petunia for Vernon being locked up. After all it had been her good for nothing nephew that had been the cause of all the problems. Marge had refused to help Petunia but was more then willing to take Dudley and raise him as her own. Petunia had refused flat out. She had already lost her husband, she would not loose her son too.

Petunia had been forced to get a job, but as she had not worked in her life, she found she was not qualified for anything other then service work.

She had secured a position as a waitress at a local restaurant, but her aloof attitude was off putting to customers and the manager had demoted her to dish washing. She had made enough in her wages to pay for the rent on her home but it left very little for any luxuries. She couldn't afford the sweets Dudley demanded or the cakes, crisps, ice creams, or the dozens of other snacks she used to give him. Dudley had to get used to eating only one helping at dinner and not having fizzy drinks or deserts.

Dudley in his turn, had a wretched time of it, since he didn't have any cool new toys none of his old friends wanted anything to do with him, and since his father was arrested other children would tease him.

After almost a year Petunia had moved she and Dudley to the city to live in a small two bedroom apartment with much cheaper rent. She had gotten a job cleaning in a posh hotel. The pay was much better but her pride had been terribly wounded when she had run into an old school friend of hers who was staying as a guest of the hotel. Her old friend had seen her working as a maid, recognized her, and averted her eyes. She had been humbled, but she had also become more practical.

It had been discovered when Dudley was placed into his new school that he suffered from dyslexia, which explained his dismal grades previously. Dudley had been placed in a special class to help him learn to deal with his learning disability. The class had assisted Dudley with more then just his grades, his self esteem had improved along with his reading and he had far fewer disciplinary problems at school.

When Vernon was released from prison, many pounds lighter and very bitter, he moved into the apartment with Petunia and Dudley. Vernon was angry from the moment they had arrived at apartment building. He was angry the house was gone, but he never took responsibility for not transferring the deed into their names, instead blamed Petunia for loosing the house. He was angry that he couldn't get his job back at Grunnings, and the only job he was able to get was as a trash collector, emptying bins all day. He was angry that his wife worked as a maid and made more money than he did. He was angry that his son was in the class for slow and stupid children. And he was absolutely furious that somewhere that little freak was living in the lap of luxury while he was in squalor. Vernon Dursley was angry. And when Vernon got angry, he drank, and when he drank he became violent.

It had been a week before Dudley's ninth birthday, when Petunia had come home from work and saw her husband hit her son. She had frozen for a moment almost not believing her eyes. But when Vernon raised his hand to strike Dudley again, she flew at him.

The neighbors had called the police, who had promptly arrived to find Dudley cowering in a corner and Petunia in front of him shouting at Vernon to get out. Vernon had been arrested that night, and Petunia and Dudley treated for their minor injuries.

That night had been the turning point for Petunia, she could no longer blame others for the problems in her life. When Lily had gotten her letter, Petunia had blamed her, blamed her for having magic when she herself did not. She had blamed Lily for marrying a wealthy man, for any problems with the house she gave them. She had blamed Lily for dying. Then she had blamed Harry. She had blamed him for Lily dying, for whenever her husband had been upset, for Vernon's drinking. She had blamed Harry every time Vernon had struck him. She had blamed him for Vernon's arrest, for loosing the house, for having to work as a maid and live in a small apartment. But she had no one to blame now but herself. That night Petunia Dursley had taken a long hard look at herself, and had made a decision.

Two days after Dudley's birthday Vernon Dursley received the divorce papers in prison.

After the divorce Petunia had doubled her efforts at work, and after a year had become Head of Housekeeping and with her large pay rise she was able to get a mortgage on a small three bedroom row house for she and Dudley. She was even able to put the past behind her enough to begin seeing a polite shop owner named Douglas Greene, who was very kind to her and supportive of Dudley.

Petunia had realized, after Dudley had turned eleven, that despite her life not turning out the way she had dreamed, she was contented with it.

But there were moments every now and then that she did wonder, what had become of her nephew? But these thoughts would always pass. Where ever the boy was, he was probably better off.