Better Than Squashing the Magic Out of Him

Summary: The Dursleys hope that by raising Harry just like Dudley, maybe they can just erase the freakishness out of him; he can be a nice normal boy like their son. And when Harry gets his letter from Hogwarts…[One-shot, AU.]

Author's Notes: I'm looking for a more fitting title for this, I welcome any suggestions. My little take on catching flies with honey instead of vinegar I suppose. I hope you enjoy-the plot bunny attacked and refused to stop bothering me until I posted this.

Albus Dumbledore left Harry James Potter on Dursleys' front steps, with a note tucked in with the blanket, explaining what had happened to Lily and James Potter. There was no more he could do for the boy. He was leaving him in the hands of the only family he had left.

Mr. Vernon Dursley opened the door to get the morning paper and stared at the basket on his doorstep. He could see, just barely nestled in the covers, a tuft of dark hair sticking out as the infant rolled over. "Petunia…" he said quietly, his voice shaking a little.

With Dudley tucked in the crook of one arm, Petunia came to see what her husband was worried about. She saw the baby in the basket and peeked her head out, checking to see if any of the neighbors had seen. "Bring it in, Vernon," she whispered urgently, hoping to get it off her front step before the neighbors noticed. The basket was set on the kitchen table where breakfast had only just been set down a moment before. Petunia read the note, her face going from pale to white to a ghastly shade of green. "My sister…my sister passed. Last night. She and her husband both. Murdered." She shook her head. "I knew those freaks were a bad crowd. I thought Lily would eventually see reason. I knew when she married Potter that she was with the freaks to stay…and now she's brought a freak into the world and saddled us with him." She glared down at her sleeping nephew as though he was to blame for the whole situation.

He barely stirred, nestling deeper into the blanket.

Vernon looked down nervously into the blanket. Petunia had never talked much about her sister. All he knew was that she'd gone and joined some sort of band of freaks. "Is he a freak? He looks just like a baby."

"We didn't know Lily was really a freak 'til she was eleven. She could do…weird things…sometimes, but we didn't know why." Petunia frowned.

Vernon put a large, comforting arm around his wife's shoulders. "We don't have to keep him. We can send him to a home. The neighbors haven't seen. They never have to know he was here."

Petunia rocked Dudley in her arms and the baby burped. "Maybe he doesn't have to be a freak. Maybe God sent him to us to be saved. If he grows up in a nice normal house…maybe he won't be a freak." After all, Lily was her sister. "He doesn't have any other family, Vernon."

Vernon took Dudley into his arms. "What do you think little tyke? You want a cousin?"

Duddley had just learned a new word that morning and beat his little fists against his father's shoulder. "No!" All the same, he was staring curiously into the basket. "No?"

Petunia picked Harry up out of the basket and held him at arm's length, inspecting him. "They clearly didn't take care of him. Underfed and look at this cut on his forehead. Pitiful. Best thing that could have happened to you was them dying and you ending up in our care."

Dudley stared curiously at the other baby in his mother's arms. He wrinkled up his nose and poked Harry.

Harry didn't cry, he just looked around, examining his surroundings with bright green eyes.

Petunia looked over at Vernon. "If we raise him just like Dudley, he should grow up normal. Scare that…freakishness right out of him." She said magic as if it were a swear word. She'd only briefly told Vernon about Lily. While he knew they didn't speak and she was involved in something terrible, Petunia had never specifically mention wizardry or witchcraft to him. There was no need.

Her husband looked at her. "I'll be late for work. You don't have to decide right now. Let me know when I come home and we'll decide what to do with him. He can stay…or we can send him to the home." He traded with her, picking Harry up for a moment, putting Dudley in the basket. "He doesn't weigh a thing…" He tossed him up in the air experimentally and the infant went up about a foot and came back into his hands. He shook his head. "He could almost fly through the air.

Petunia gritted her teeth at that comment but said nothing, staring at her son lying in the strange basket, imagining if something had happened to her and Vernon. What would Lily have done if Dudley had turned up on her doorstep? Lily would have kept him, without a moment's hesitation. Granted, Petunia would have rather any number of people raise him other than Lily…but she would have done it. "We're keeping him. Buy another crib on your way home?"

Vernon nodded, picking up his jacket and handing Harry to her. "Anything else?"

She shook her head. "Dudley's clothes from a few months ago should fit him…he's so small."

Harry had just come in from getting the mail and was setting the stack on the table when he noticed a strange letter with his name on it. Curious, he opened it, heading upstairs to his room to read. He stared at the letter in his hands. This had to be some sort of joke. Wizardry didn't exist. Whoever heard of a platform called 9 and ¾ anyway? He was going off to Smeltings with Dudley soon. Uncle Vernon said money was a little tight, but they could just afford to send them both. Harry wished his parents had left some money when they died in that car crash, but he guessed they didn't. He crumpled the letter up and threw it in the rubbish bin.

"Harry! Coming out to play football?" Dudley called out from downstairs.

He didn't give the letter a second thought as he ran after Dudley and their friends.