Harry was doing his upstairs chores the next day. Cleaning toilets and Dudley's room mostly, although Dudley's room took the better part of an hour to finish, the dumb slob. He was just passing the master bedroom with a trash can he needed to change, when he heard something from inside.
"Petunia, it's not working!" Vernon declared, "You said that you thought treating him this way, acting like we didn't care, would protect him, serve him better in the long run. Well, it's not working. That boy is completely alone in his world, he shouldn't have to feel alone in this one too."
Harry stopped, they were talking about him. His head said he should continue on his way, but instinct said he needed to stay and listen more. Instinct won out.
"Vernon, it is working. Trust me," Petunia stated, "those people dislike normal people like us, if they thought he liked us, they'd turn him away."
"They already have, Petunia." he thrust some newspapers at her. Yes, he too was subscribed to the Daily Prophet, if only to keep up with what was going on his nephew's life, as he never could talk directly to him about it. At least this way, he would have some inkling of when he needed to step in. "You remember that letter they sent last year, expelling him for protecting our son from those Dementie-thingies. It was only through the quick action of that headmaster of his that saved his arse. And look at these articles, all claiming him to be balmy, out of his mind, unhinged and disturbed because of the traumatic happenings of his past."
Petunia looked away, "I still think we're doing the right thing. He needs to learn that life is hard. I won't spoil him the way we did, Dudley."
Vernon pursed his mouth, "Spoil him? I think the boy could do with some spoiling! Petunia, you know what I think?" she didn't answer, but he pressed on, "I think you still can't get over your anger at your sister, and you're taking it on her son, who never did anything to you, who never did anything save for being orphaned at a year old and having us as his only living relatives. That's not a crime, Petunia. And it's time you stopped being so vindictive towards him. I'm done playing this game, no one will win, and he's the one who stands to lose everything."
The horsey-woman sputtered, "V…Vernon…I'm not being vindictive…I do care about him, I do." she insisted. Of course she did, she told herself, normal people cared about their nephews, and she was perfectly normal. "I just think you're being a little hasty in deciding that we need to change our plan with him."
Vernon sighed, "I see you need to see what I did." he stood.
Harry heard his uncle moving and quickly walked away with the trash can. He was on the staircase when he heard the door open.
"Boy!" his uncle barked at him.
Harry stopped and turned, "Yes, Uncle Vernon?" he asked, still confused at what he'd overheard.
Vernon gestured, "Come in here."
Harry put down the garbage can and went into the bedroom as ordered. Better not to ask questions and get whatever was going on, over with.
Vernon clapped a hand on Harry's shoulder, which Harry guessed was to keep him from running away from whatever he was going to do, "Hold out your right hand."
Harry looked up at him, "My hand? Why?" he asked.
"Just do it!" Vernon barked at him. The boy flinched away but did as he was told.
Holding his hand out, palm down, towards his aunt, he wondered what all this was about. Why was his uncle interested in his hand?
Petunia gaped at the word-shaped scars that marred his flesh, "How did you get these scars, boy?"
Harry faltered, they probably wanted another reason to mistreat them, but it was too embarrassing. "Um…"
"You better answer your aunt," Vernon warned him. "Who did that to you?"
The young wizard realized he couldn't hide what happened. He should just tell the truth, "It was a teacher at my school. The man who has been trying to kill me since I was a year old, he returned in my fourth year, and I tried to warn them, but the Ministry didn't believe me, or Dumbledore, and they didn't want us to tell anyone else so," for some reason, Harry found himself blurting out the whole terrible story. "And she accused me of lying, but I wasn't lying, and they told everyone I was crazy…"
Petunia looked at her husband. Finally, she understood what he was saying. The boy was truly alone. "And did you not tell anyone she was doing this? This is illegal," she jabbed a finger at the scars.
Harry shook his head, "Why do you care anyway? You never cared about things like this before, not when it was me." he looked down at the floor, avoiding his aunt's eyes.
Vernon huffed deeply, "Well, things are going to change, boy. You are our nephew, our blood, well Petunia's blood anyway. And no one is going to just be allowed to do things like this to you without dealing with us."
AN: Sorry for taking so long with this chapter. I've been really weary lately. It's almost Christmas time^^ I love Christmas. If you have suggestions for where you think this should go, what sort of obstacles Harry and his family should face or whatnot, please, feel free to say so.