The chapters in this story have gone through a major rewrite as of 2007. The main outline is still here but I have added more description to develop the writing. Hope you enjoy it!

I also want to apologise for the lack of updates this last couple of years, thank you for staying with the story. I will definitely finish this story as I have more time to write now.

Thanks to all those who have taken the time to review this story I appreciate it, especially when there are suggestions of how I can improve my writing skills. I don't mind recieving negative reviews as long as their justified with reasons, so there's no need to hold back if you think I'm rubbish, I won't be offended.

The difficulties of living with the Dursley's

A small black haired boy known as Harry Potter sat watching television with his cousin Dudley. He was currently feeling upset and angry. His eyes flickered every so often to glare at his cousin, who was occupying the larger of the two sofas in the living room. Resentment was coursing through him because he had just been yelled at by Aunt Petunia for being demanding. Harry felt that this had been unfair because he had only politely asked whether he could choose the cartoon Dudley and he could watch for once, rather than Dudley being allowed to choose again. A row had ensued in the kitchen where Harry had had to contend with Dudley's sniggers in her pauses for breath.

Jealously, Harry watched Dudley lean on the edge of the sofa with a look of sated contentment on his face. Reluctantly, he stared at the TV to see what had caught Dudley's attention. A green ninja turtle with a red bandana was fighting a man in a black cloak. A grimace stole over Harry's face, he was sure Dudley was getting new ideas on his next method of causing him pain.

Distracting himself from this undesirable thought, Harry continued to contemplate why Aunt Petunia disliked him so much. He was sure she disliked him because she always gave Dudley anything that he demanded, while ensuring Harry was as miserable as possible. The thought of Dudley increased Harry's resentment as he always had the best toys and attention, which Harry thought was unfair because Dudley was a mean bully, who took every chance he got to punch, kick or pinch him. Even when Aunt Petunia saw the marks her son had left on Harry, she still made excuses for his behaviour. It would be Harry's fault for getting in the way of Dudley's outstretched fist, or Harry had been teasing Dudley and deserved it. Uncle Vernon's responses were even worse as he'd show pleasure; he usually exclaimed that all healthy boys engaged in play fighting, and that Harry should learn to defend himself. Harry personally felt that most children wouldn't be able to beat Dudley, although his cousin was only a few months older than himself, he was still twice the size of his small frame. Dudley could probably flatten Harry just by pushing past him in the hall. Harry was adamant that no matter how hard he fought back, he would never conquer Dudley.

The hitting and punching Harry could at least cope with. However, the indifference and dislike that Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon treated Harry with made him feel as if there was something wrong with him. Neither of them had ever cuddled him as far as he could remember, and he was definitely sure that no one had ever told him that they loved him. Dudley was constantly showered in affection, which reinforced Harry's view that he was unlovable. Surely he must be a terrible person if Aunt Petunia liked a bully more than him. Supporting his views was the fact that his parents had died in a car crash. When Harry was feeling particularly down he believed that this was a lie. He felt that they had left him with his aunt and uncle because they too had disliked him. Feeling miserable at this thought, Harry gave himself the only comfort available, which was to suck his thumb.

Flinching, and jerking his thumb from out of his mouth in surprise, Harry tensed up. Where as before he had been distracted by his thoughts he was now fully alert. Dudley had gotten off the sofa – obviously bored with the TV – and was now staring maliciously at Harry. Fleetingly, looking at the door to his left, Harry wondered whether he'd get there in time to escape Dudley's clutches. However, before he could make the decision, Dudley had already begun to advance towards him.

Smirking, Dudley asked in an authoritative voice, 'Do you know what a Chinese Burn is?'

Harry shook his head uncertainly. 'N – n – no,' he said, while trying, but failing to keep the fear from showing in his face and voice.

Dudley took the final steps towards where Harry sat. Harry responded by shakily getting to his feet. However, he found himself in no better position than he had been previously. The trouble was, both Dudley and he knew that Aunt Petunia had just shouted at him. If he ran into the kitchen whining that Dudley was going to hurt him, she would be even more annoyed and would do nothing. If he took the last option available to him by running upstairs he was certain he'd outrun Dudley, however, there would be no where to run after he'd got there. Additionally he'd get told off because he was only allowed up there when he wanted to go to the toilet.

Harry whimpered and stared up into his cousin's plump face, he saw no remorse. Would he actually go through with hurting him? Harry immediately knew the answer to his question, yes, Dudley would definitely hurt him. His eyes were focused on Harry's and they were mean. The fact that Dudley was several inches taller than him did not help matters.

'Leave me alone,' said Harry quietly, not really making a proper effort to defend himself because he knew that Dudley would not care how much he begged him to leave him alone, he would still do whatever he wanted anyway.

Dudley stayed stock still, glaring down at Harry with a smirk plastered on his face. Harry couldn't move because he was sandwiched between the sofa and Dudley. He pushed him; he was thinking that maybe Dudley just wanted to scare him.

Dudley immediately retaliated as if this was the moment he had been waiting for. He grabbed Harry's wrist in his hand. 'I'm going to have to hurt you now that you pushed me,' he said delightedly.

Both his cousin's hands clenched his wrist tightly, and as Harry attempted to pull it out of his cousin's grasp the grip tightened painfully.

'No, stop, you're hurting me. I haven't done anything wrong, leave me alone!' yelped Harry desperately.

Yet Dudley hadn't even started. Harry's eyes widened in shock as pain suddenly burst through him. Dudley had started to twist the skin on his arm in the opposite direction and he had a sadistic look as he looked into Harry's eyes, smiling as he did it.

The pain in Harry's arm was immense and however hard he tried to remove Dudley's fingers from around his wrist they just slipped off. Tears of fear and pain pricked his eyes, and Harry felt humiliated that he was allowing Dudley to taunt him again. He did not want to lose! Renewing his struggle Harry kicked at Dudley's shins while pulling in the opposite direction, hoping to surprise Dudley into letting him go.

Dudley's eyes registered surprise, but his grip still held firm. He responded by tightening his grip to make Harry stop kicking him, which he was rewarded with a second later.

A sob escaped Harry's mouth even though he had been desperate for it not to. Then a tear soon followed. He looked down hopelessly to see his arm turning bright red from the friction and he made one last effort to save himself before he completely dissolved into tears. In desperation, he bent down and bit Dudley on the fingers. The result was immediate, Dudley yelped and then let go. Harry was then able to clasp his red and swollen arm which was throbbing painfully. Only now did he allow himself to wail in pain, hoping his aunt would come and protect him from her son coming back to hurt him.

Eyes widening in fear of punishment, Dudley looked down at his own fingers, and then let out a yowl that was louder than his cousin's in order to ensure his mother knew he was the true victim of the fray.

The door to the sitting room immediately banged open to the screams of the two children. Petunia Dursley glanced around the room quickly to gather the source of the commotion. She then hurried over to her son, fear evident in her eyes.

'What is it popkin?' she said her voice registering panic. 'What's the matter?' she repeated when she finally got in front of him and bent down to look into his face.

The child sniffled several times before answering, 'H – he bit m – my fing – gers,' he said between sobs of emotion, but he managed to hold them up and point to Harry.

Petunia's face registered relief as she heard her son's explanation. She looked over at her small nephew who was still sobbing quietly and threw him a sneer. However she immediately turned her attention back to her son in order to provide him with sympathy.

'Oh Diddy, how awful!' she exclaimed as she gently took his hand in her own to have a look, she bent down and kissed them. 'We must go and put a plaster on them, and then it will be all better.' She carried on looking at him to fathom out whether he was really okay. She then turned to sort out her nephew.

'You nasty little boy,' she directed at Harry hatefully. 'How dare you bite Dudley!' she finished, her voice rising to a screech.

Harry shook his head adamantly between tears. 'N – n – no.' And he pushed his arm out for her to see the damage her son had done to him. However his attempts at defending his actions were ignored. Petunia was already taking her son's hand and leading him out of the room without a glance in the direction of her nephew, who was still crying and holding his arm protectively.

Only a small amount of surprise was acknowledged by Harry, his aunt hadn't paid any attention to him at all. This was not entirely unusual for him, but he still would have thought that she would have made his arm better for him. It burned painfully.

Harry was soon shocked out of his misery when the door opened again. His aunt had come back. Perhaps she cared after all, and was now coming to sort him out, take his pain away. He turned towards her hopefully, tears still streaming down his face.

Yet Harry's hope was futile, his aunt walked past without acknowledging him. She bent slightly to collect her son's soft ninja turtle that he had left on the sofa, and then went back to the door to leave the room.

The thought of being comforted was fading before his eyes as he saw Aunt Petunia opening the door and Harry didn't want her to leave, so he took immediate action. He rushed over to her and clung onto her skirt. She instantly turned round to see what was pulling at her and met Harry's eyes. Unsympathetically, she gave her nephew a small push to show that she didn't want anything to do with him. However, Harry ignored her stiffness towards him and buried his wet face into her skirt circling his arms around her legs in an attempt for a cuddle.

His actions were rewarded with a tut and he was pushed roughly away. He stared questioningly up into her eyes and more sobs escaped his lips. One final attempt was made to engage her and he raised his arm for her to see the redness, but she turned and left the room to leave him to cry alone.

Feeling rejected, Harry did the only thing he could do, which was to clamber up onto the sofa and push his thumb into his mouth, cradling his arm until he fell asleep.

An hour had passed since Harry's altercation with his cousin and he had just been called in for dinner. As he took his place at the kitchen table he noticed Aunt Petunia, who sat directly across from him, was deliberately avoiding his eyes, obviously still furious with him for his assault on her son. Averting his eyes guiltily, Harry stared at Dudley who sat next to his mother. Careful to ensure his parents were looking the other way Dudley wagged his tongue and crossed his eyes. Keeping his face expressionless Harry stared down at his plate of meat and vegetables.

The meal was going pleasantly for the Dursley's, Uncle Vernon enquired about what his wife and son had been doing all day and exclaimed happily that Dudley was getting big and would soon be the tallest in the class. There was just one individual at the table who was totally ignored and that was Harry. He didn't mind too much because this was how it always was, however, tonight he was particularly afraid. Aunt Petunia had not told Uncle Vernon about him biting her son's fingers. She threw him the odd sneer every so often, obviously enjoying making him wait. Like him she knew that Uncle Vernon would eventually get round to him and she could tell him then, meanwhile she was enjoying making Harry scared.

Harry tried to take his mind off things by attempting to cut his tough steak. The job was not helped by the fact he could only just see over the table, the Dursley's not having bothered to buy him a booster seat. Normally, when he had difficulties like this he would feel frustrated, but today he didn't care, he was not particularly hungry, fear was consuming him, he knew that he would be shouted at and the waiting was making him more nervous.

'And what about the boy Petunia, how has he been today?' boomed Uncle Vernon with a sneer across the table at her, he was acting like Harry wasn't even there.

The sound of his uncle asking about him had made Harry jump, his knife slipping off his meat and shooting onto his plate making peas jump roll onto the table. This was the moment that he was going to be yelled at. He waited with bated breath, no longer bothering to cut his meat just seating still, waiting for his aunt to give him away.

Petunia sniffed before she answered her husband, she had seen the peas shoot across the table, but for once she chose to ignore it. She drew a deep breath, 'He,' she said jerking her head in his direction. 'Has decided that our hospitality isn't good enough, that he should get to choose what Dudley should watch on TV. And not only that...' said Petunia making a long pause to draw tension, 'he has bit Dudley today... his fingers,' she said pointing at her sons plastered hand.

Harry gulped anxiously and licked his dry lips. He could sense Uncle Vernon working himself up into a temper and the way Aunt Petunia had made him out did make him sound like a bad person, he couldn't blame Uncle Vernon for being mad. If he stood up for himself, perhaps tell Uncle Vernon what had really happened he wouldn't be so angry. After all he was always saying that he should stick up for himself, shouldn't he be proud that he had fought Dudley off?

The chair beside Harry scraped as it was pushed back so that his uncle could turn round to see him properly. Harry did not turn towards him, preferring to stare at the lump of brown meat on his plate, his knife and fork still in either hand pointing towards the ceiling.

'How dare you. How – bloody – dare – you!' yelled Uncle Vernon, his face turning an angry red as he glowered down at his nephew who was shaking, making his knife and fork rattle against the side of his plate.

'We took you in against our better judgement and you repay us by assaulting our son. We look after you, we give you clothes...' his uncle trailed off feeling himself getting into a rage.

Harry bowed his head down to look at his lap. He wanted to tell Uncle Vernon what had really happened, but he did not feel brave enough, he was just a wimp like his uncle always said he was. He stared ruefully down at his swollen arm but he could not find his voice and tell his uncle what had really happened, he wasn't sure he'd believe him anyway, he'd call him a liar.

'You can't even give me the courtesy of looking at me,' bellowed Uncle Vernon deciding that he still wasn't finished.

It was enough to shock Harry into looking up into his fuming face. 'S—sorry,' he stuttered fearfully, his eyes wide and scared, blinking back tears.

Uncle Vernon turned away from him in disgust. 'I think we should put him in a children's home,' he threatened looking back down at his nephew an ugly sneer on his face. 'They'll soon show you not to bite people, you'll get picked on by the bigger children too.' He said nastily.

Aunt Petunia stiffened, 'No Vernon, you remember what we talked about before, he has to stay.' She said regretfully.

Her husband looked at her displeased at her admonishing him in front of Harry. 'Well we have to do something with him, he has to learn that this kind of behaviour must not be tolerated. I think we should get rid of him once and for all.'

Harry continued to stare down at his lap, his uncle had said this plenty of times before, but he was unsure whether like those times he really meant it. It might be just to scare him and show that he was the one in control, either way he did not know and he would just have to wait and see.

Getting into his stride Uncle Vernon stood up to tower over him, he grabbed Harry's sleeve, 'You know what?' he growled, 'I think you should have a look to see what its like outside at night, then you'll be thankful for what you aunt and I provide you with. Come with me,' and he began to prise Harry away from his seat. Harry grabbed a hold of the bottom of his chair in order to remain sitting on it, but his uncle was intent on pulling him away and he lifted him up in the air and slammed his feet back onto the floor intending to drag him into the hall.

Aunt Petunia had also got up from her seat but unlike her husband she did not seem to want to throw Harry out. 'Vernon!' interrupted aunt Petunia staring up at him. 'Leave it!' And to add insult to her interruption she placed a firm hand on her husband's upper arm as if to push him into his seat.

Vernon glared at her while evidently a war raged inside his head. It was not usual for Uncle Vernon to give up so easily, but with one last withering look in Harry's direction he answered her.

'I wasn't really going to chuck him out' he said stiffly just show him, but evidently I don't have my wife's support.' He threw Harry's arm from him and stomped from the room, slamming the door behind him.

Petunia stared anxiously after her husband for a few seconds, but then proceeded to clear the dishes away from the table. She dumped them angrily into the sink and turned to face the table. Her eyes immediately rested on her nephew who was still staring at the door in shock, he had only just escaped punishment. His heart was beating furiously in his chest and he felt like he wanted to cry.

'Get out!'

Startled, Harry turned to find an empty table and his aunt towering above him. Her face was contorted with rage and she wasted no time in placing a vice like grip, upon his upper arm in order to pull him away from his seat. Harry winced, but didn't cry out. She was obviously angry at him for ruining once again what was probably going to have been a perfectly good evening.

'Get to your cupboard.'

The kitchen door was opened and Harry obediently walked out into the hall. As soon as his aunt had released her grip on his arm, the door was slammed behind him and he was left alone in the hall. He stared at the door which was situated under the stairs and he was not soothed. This cupboard was his bedroom and he hated it. It was dark and small. Yet he knew he couldn't put off going to bed, Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon were mad at him and so the best thing for him to do was hide out in his cupboard. All the same, it did not fill him with relief that he would be able to get away from his relatives.

Pulling the door open with a pop, Harry walked inside and closed the door behind him, he was immediately cast in darkness, the thing that he hated. He had learnt that if he waited several minutes then his eyes would get used to the dark and he would be able to see the outline of objects and so this was what he did. When Harry's eyes had gotten used to the dark he could see the outline of a thin mattress which was his bed, other than this the 'room' had hardly any other objects. The most noticeable thing about it apart from being a cupboard was that it lacked the usual colourful objects that adorned children's bedrooms.

Cringing, at the darkness, Harry quickly grabbed his pyjamas and pulled them on. He got under his covers and squeezed his eyes shut, this made him feel better because at least he wouldn't see any monsters if they were hiding in the dark. Before he drifted off to sleep, he hoped fitfully that his aunt and uncle would forgive him enough to wish him happy birthday in the morning. After all he would be five, and everyone knew that that was very old. He really hoped uncle Vernon didn't really want to chuck him out, it was an old tactic he used but he said it so often Harry knew he wanted to do it for real, he just didn't know whether he really would do it.