It is said that different universes branch off from the potential ways each situation can go. For instance in one universe Vernon Dursley successfully frames a schoolmate for an illegal and highly dangerous prank involving a bronze statue of the Smeltings mascot and is allowed to remain at the school and continue his association with the "Proper sort" and adopts his father's views on what is and isn't acceptable. In another universe, a fifteen year old Vernon Dursley is accidentally killed after he underestimates the weight of the statue he is trying to steal to use in a rather hilarious prank, and Petunia ends up settling down with a Squib who was just as jealous of his magical relations as she was hers. In another, Vernon underestimates the weight of the statue and is merely paralyzed from the waist down. In the universe in which this story takes place, Vernon doesn't underestimate the weight of the statue, but he is caught before he could frame another student, expelled, and sent to a local comprehensive where he finds a whole 'nother world outside of that of his narrow minded, disciplinarian father.
A great deal has been said on the subject of Soulmates, much of it overly romantic, completely ridiculous and outright false. In every universe, true Soulmates will meet at least once. Whether or not the relationship will continue beyond this initial meeting is up to chance, though the Soulmates in question will find themselves drawn to each-other. Those of you who read the accounts of the universe chronicled by J. K. Rowling would probably be disgusted and horrified to discover that Vernon and Petunia Dursley were true Soulmates.
Our story begins here...
Venron Dursley - a large muscular twenty-two year old man who would be classified as a hooligan by those who generally describe themselves as "Decent hard-working folk" the instant they first saw him - had only set foot into the pub he was seated in because he'd heard from a friend who he knew was a good judge of such things that the music wasn't half bad. Usually, he wouldn't be caught dead in a pub this close to the local university. It wasn't the fact that a great deal of the students were the bunch of snobs that looked down on the sort of people that did actual labor that bothered him, so much as the time he had run into a couple of his former friends from Smeltings and saw what they had become. That encounter had been exceedingly unpleasant to say the least. He did manage get a few good blows in before the cops arrived though.
In the five years since his bastard of a father had died - he couldn't believe that there was a time he'd practically worshiped the ground that man walked on - he had pretty much been forced to make his own way in the world, as he had been cut out of the will after a rather spectacular fight that had resulted in him being kicked out of the house as well. Fortunately, he had been able to turn his passion for anything with a motor, and his ability to take just about anything apart and put it back together again in working order into gainful employment. In fact, he had just gotten off his shift at the garage at which he worked when he had dropped by the pub to check out the band his friend had recommended. Taking a swig from the pint that had just been delivered, he listened to the music. The group onstage were a bunch of classically trained musicians from the university, and they weren't half bad for a punk band.
It was while he was on his third pint that She walked up to him with a determined look in her eyes. She was rather plain looking, somewhat horse-faced, and her clothes didn't quite suit her. But, who was he to judge, he wasn't the handsomest of men either. Over the course of several drinks, he learned that the woman whose name was Petunia had sharp wit and a wicked sense of humor under her usually stern exterior. She also had a certain...dissatisfaction with her lot in life. Even though she was the elder, her family only had eyes for her charming, pretty, intelligent, and above all, perfect sister Lily who had married right out of high school. All of Petunia's accomplishments had been taken for granted or ignored by her parents. Her family had sent her off to the university to find a husband rather than so she could pursue the career she desired.
By the end of the evening, Vernon had Petunia's phone number and plans for a date.
Petunia had only gone into the pub near the university because one of her few friends - a Sociology major named Yvonne- had dragged her. She usually made it a point to stay away from such places. If her mother knew that she had set foot inside a pub, she would give her that hurt and disappointed look she always gave her when she had yet again fallen short of Perfect Lily's standards. Perfect Lily was a lady, and would never even dream of doing such a crass thing as set foot inside an establishment that served alcohol.
She wasn't entirely sure what it was about him that caught her eye, but the beefy dark haired man wearing a leather jacket, torn and stained jeans, and heavy workboots had caught her attention. He was everything her parents didn't want for their daughter. Her parents - who had been in the middle class only by the skin of their teeth during her childhood, and poor during theirs - had encouraged their daughters to marry up. The long haired man at the bar that she couldn't stop staring at sure as hell wasn't "Up".
It had taken two insanely sweet drinks for her to gather her courage and go over and talk to him, but talk to him she did, and what a pleasant conversation that had been. She hadn't laughed that hard in years. The man's - Vernon - impressions of famous actors had been absolutely hilarious.
By the end of the evening, she knew that she was in love.
It was on October 12 1979 that Vernon Dursley's world changed forever. It was on that day that he discovered that due to a bit of carelessness on his and Petunia's part, his life wouldn't just be about him anymore. Petunia had refused to consider an abortion, and he wasn't about to let any child of his grow up without a father. He would have to work extra hours to provide for his new family until Petunia finished her degree and was able to work herself (he had refused to let her drop out since she was less than a year away from finishing), but he was sure that everything would somehow manage to work out in the end.
It was during the wedding that took place a couple days before Christmas that Vernon learned how vicious Petunia could be to those she held grudges against. Inviting someone to her wedding out of spite had - in a way - been a very Petunia thing to do. He almost felt sorry for that Snape fellow who had spent the evening staring longingly at Lily. It was at that wedding that he had learned about the "Magical world" that Petunia had been forced to keep secret from him, and how it could be as bad as or worse than the "Real world".
On June 23 1980, Ryan Dursley was born just weeks after Petunia had finished her nursing degree. Vernon had put his foot down when Petunia wanted to name the child Dudley, pointing out that the child would be picked on his entire life for having such a name. Petunia - wanting what was best for her son - eventually agreed.
Three months later, Petunia's parents died in an "accident" that had been undoubtedly been a result of the civil war that was being waged between two different factions of wizards. Petunia was prepared to blame her sister for their parent's deaths - the damage to the sisters' relationship caused by her mother pitting the two girls against each-other (it would seem that when Petunia was out of earshot, their mother would start telling Lily how perfect Petunia was and start complaining that Lily wasn't like her) had been extensive - until Vernon had pointed out that the guy her sister was fighting against would have eventually killed them anyway, even if Lily hadn't gotten involved because they were "Muggles", since that was how that kind of person worked. The Evanses left Petunia their retirement home on Privet Drive in their will "Since she needed a proper home, not some rundown flat".
Vernon wondered about the sort of people who would retire to a place where all of the houses were identical, rather than a nice sunny beach somewhere. When they arrived at Privet drive, the locals sneered at Vernon's grease stained clothes, and constantly made biting comments about the fact that Petunia worked and left her baby at a daycare as well. Hey, it wasn't like everybody could drive a company car to a high paying executive position, and if he could, he wouldn't want to. He was doing what he loved, and making money while he did so. If he were stuck in an office, he would die of boredom.
By the time Harry arrived on their doorstep, the Dursleys' greatest desire wasn't to be normal, it was to tear the condescending smiles off the faces of their neighbors.
AN: Minor edits made on 6-20-11.