"You filthy piece of trash!" Aunt snarled at the trembling boy standing behind a giant puddle of mop water. His overly large clothing was covered in suds and soaked through, as was the tips of his coal colored hair.
"A simple chore! You can't get anything right!" She continued, ignoring the fact that the boy could barely lift the bucket with his small size, and the mop was easily twice as tall as he was. An obese boy who looked older than the terrified child was sitting on a chair, watching the spectacle while eating ice cream. He didn't seem to think that his mother – for he clearly was her child – yelling at the other boy was something startling; it was a common sight for the large boy.
"Get this cleaned up, then do it right! And then go to your cupboard and stay there!"
The boy hastily picked up the mostly empty bucket, taking care to not spill any more than he already had. It took a couple hours, but soon the kitchen was fully mopped, and he was sitting inside a small cupboard under the flight of stairs leading to the second story of the house.
It was just another day in the Dursley household, and a boy trapped by fate to be there was just merely surviving.
Vernon Dursley pulled into the drive and shifted the car into park, not turning off the car as he leaned back in his seat and took a deep breath. It had been over nine years since his nephew, Harry, had come to live with their family, and each year that passed he grew more worried about the boy.
At first, he couldn't understand why his wife hated the child. He was merely a toddler, if that! His parents may have come from a rather unusual lot of people – magic, really? – but the boy had done no wrong beside being born to them, and the hatred that Petunia held for his late mother was shifted to him.
He ignored the way she paid more attention to their own child, only a month older than Harry, as maybe she needed to get used to having two children nearly the same age. The next year, Harry had barely grown and Dudley was growing much too fast horizontally. He tried to bring it up to his wife, but she snapped at him and he backed off. Every year it grew worse, one boy clearly neglected and one overindulged.
Holding the tickets in his hand, he turned off the car, placed his most cheerful expression on his face, and got out to go into the house and announce that he had won two tickets to a two-month cruise.
"Pet, love, I can't get the time off work, why don't you and Dudley just go and enjoy yourselves? You've been wanting to go somewhere for months," Vernon said sweetly, watching his wife give into his coercing.
"Fine, Dudley and I will go, but you call every night!"
"Of course love," he said, and she squealed and started to go pack. He watched her go up the stairs, Dudley stomping behind her to go get ready for an around-the-world cruise that had cost him most of his retirement savings to purchase. But he had a motive behind this, and it was for the best.
He sat down on the computer and started checking his email, acting busy. When he had several pages opened, he opened his word processor and started drafting a letter that would change the future for several people, yet he only knew one of them.
Petunia and Dudley were finally gone, and the first thing he did was let Harry out of the cupboard. He grabbed several blankets and pillows, and handed them to the small boy.
"Go make yourself a bed in the living room for now. I don't want you sleeping in that filth."
Harry stared at him blankly, before turning and going to do what he was told. Vernon went back to working on the letter. When Harry came back and stood there, Vernon didn't look at him before talking.
"Go make two sandwiches. Eat one of them, and set the other on a plate in the fridge. In two hours, you will eat that one as well. Use any meat or filling you want to. Don't use the stove, or use any sharp knives."
He could tell he was throwing Harry for a loop, but the boy didn't say a word – hadn't since he arrived all those years ago – and went to go do what he was told. It was almost an hour later when Harry returned for more instructions.
Vernon continued to tell the boy commands, just because Harry knew nothing different. So Harry was told to go take a bath, go into his cupboard and pull everything out of it, to keep anything he wanted from inside of it and to put the rest into the rubbish bins. He was to go outside in the backyard for an hour and do whatever he wanted that didn't involve working, and then to take a nap. He ate the other sandwich, threw out all of his old clothes, put on the new ones Vernon had bought him, brushed his hair and teeth, ate the food Vernon ordered from carry-out, and then went to sleep.
This is how the next two days were spent.
After reading the letter he had typed several times to make sure it was vague enough to not trace anything back to their family, but detailed enough to know why the boy was left alone, he took a glance at his wife's nephew, who was sitting quietly in the corner trying to be invisible. He had taken to doing that when he wasn't sure what to do and Vernon had nothing for him.
"Boy, get over here," Vernon said, his voice neutral. Harry came over, staring at him blankly and waiting for more instructions. Vernon gestured to the package of copy paper he had purchased at the corner store that morning.
"Open that package of paper, stick a sheet inside the tray, and when it's finished printing, take it out and fold it up."
Harry followed the instructions perfectly, and when he had the neatly folded paper in his grip, Vernon stood up, and motioned for the boy to follow him. He buckled the boy into the front seat and headed into London. His wife had no clue when she got back from vacation that there would be one less person in their household; but it was for the boy. It was to keep him safe from his wife.
Arriving in downtown London, he pulled over next to a small bistro and purchased him and his nephew a final meal to share together. When his nephew finished eating, he swiftly gave him a hug, ignoring the tenseness that filled the small boy.
"Now head outside, take a left, and walk until you see the tall building that will have a globe painted on the windows. Go inside and sit there until you see someone you feel you can trust to give the paper to."
His nephew's eyes widened, catching on to what was happening. His uncle gave a sad smile, before kissing the boy on his forehead; a gesture that the young boy had witnessed many times but never received.
"I am sorry you couldn't have the family you should have had with us. But I can't watch you be hurt anymore, and I can't protect you from her. When you find people who love you like you deserve, forget about us. Forget her, forget your cousin, and forget me. Be happy."
He walked out with his nephew, and watched him walk away.
He knew it had to be done; it didn't make it easier.
It was for the boy.