"You stupid freak!" Petunia screamed.

"Abnormal, disgusting waste of damn space!" Vernon roared.

"Perversion of nature!"

"Useless, lazy, insolent, dirty animal!"

"Pathetic cry-baby!"

"Arrogant, nasty brat!"

"Ungrateful idiot!"

Those were just some of the things Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia yelled at him every day from the moment he was left on their doorstep that fateful night many years ago.

"Get to your cupboard and stay there until we release you! No food until you've decided to stop your stupid freaky habits!" they would shout, and Uncle Vernon would drag him to his cupboard, not caring if he hurt him in the process. They were also not afraid to slap and kick him until he lay bruised on the floor, and then they would yell at him for being lazy. They hardly ever called him Harry, in fact it was surprising the boy even knew his real name. They only used it when introducing him to somebody.

Dudley himself took great pleasure in using him as a personal punching bag, because he knew his parents wouldn't scold him. Harry had always understood that if he sat on the sofa to watch TV, he was called lazy, but if Dudley sat on the sofa, he was patted on the head and called a good, quiet boy. If Harry wanted more food, he was slapped and called greedy. If Dudley wanted more food, he was given it, and Vernon would say that he was a healthy sized boy and tell him to keep it up. If Harry cried, he was mocked and laughed at for it, but if Dudley cried he was made a fuss of, and Harry would be punished for "making him cry." If Harry played with Dudley's toys, he would be thrown in his cupboard. If Dudley played with Harry's toys, he was beamed at and told that he was a sweet, clever little boy (and if Harry protested that they were his toys, he was called a selfish, greedy liar).

Harry had always been told that Dudley was the Special Boy, and that he deserved Special Treatment, but Harry was unworthy of it. He had been told that he was a dirty, stupid, lying, evil, ugly, pathetic freak and that Dudley was much better than him. Vernon once said that the scar on his forehead and his glasses (which were covered in Sellotape because Dudley had punched him in the face so often) were both signs of his stupidity and uselessness. Harry was punished for many things, even those that weren't his fault and those that were actually caused by Dudley. Dudley loved telling tales on him even when he hadn't done anything, just to watch Vernon use his belt on Harry. Often, Dudley would kick and punch Harry in front of his mother, and Petunia would tell Harry off for provoking him. Once, Dudley pushed Harry into a swimming pool when he was four and he nearly drowned, but Vernon punished Harry for creating a scene, not watching where he was going, and ruining the clothes he had been wearing. As for his nearly drowning, Vernon and Petunia just acted like they were sorry he hadn't died. When Harry was staying with Mrs Figg the day Vernon and Petunia took Dudley to the cinema when he was six, Harry was feeling ill (he had told his aunt and uncle but they had ignored him) and he threw up on Mrs Figg's sofa. Alarmed, Mrs Figg contacted Uncle Vernon, who was furious and punished Harry for lying, creating a scene and embarrassing him and Petunia. They did take him to the doctor's, even though they believed he was making up his illness. They told him they were only taking him because they didn't want him giving their Dudders an infection.

When Dudley outgrew his bright orange sweater with pink bobbles, Harry was forced to wear it, and when he told them he didn't like it, they called him an ungrateful brat and gave him a week in his cupboard as punishment. When Dudley lost his new computer game, they blamed Harry, and when he couldn't tell them where it was, they sneered and slapped him and threatened him with no food and locked him in his cupboard for two weeks. He was only allowed out to go to the toilet.

"Don't ask questions" was one stupid rule he was told over and over again. If he asked questions, even innocent ones such as "what are we going to do today?" he was called a stupid, nosy, insolent boy and punished for it. The no-asking-questions rule was started when he asked Petunia how he got his scar and what happened to his parents.

"They died, you stupid boy. I thought you'd have worked it out by now" she snapped.

"Is that how I got my scar, Auntie 'Tunia? But how?"

"In the car crash when your parents died. Don't ask questions."

"Oh. "

A pause.

"Auntie, what did my mummy and daddy look like?"

"They were ugly and stupid, just like you. Don't ask questions or I'll give you another week in your cupboard!"

It was when he went to bed later that the tears came. He cried and cried and couldn't stop.

"Shut up, freak! You're being noisy! I'll tell Daddy!" Dudley whined.

In a matter of days, Dudley learnt of the death of Lily and James Potter. Far from being sympathetic, he began teasing Harry about it. "Oh, look at poor little Harry, he hasn't got any presents because his mummy and daddy are dead" he would jeer, "why aren't you with your mummy today, Freak? oh, I forgot - she died, didn't she? How did she die, Potter? Did she kill herself?" which would make Harry cry more. Also, Uncle Vernon would often snarl that Harry had better be grateful because he and Petunia took him in when James and Lily abandoned him because they didn't want him.

At school, Dudley purposely got Harry into trouble so that he got yelled at by his class teacher, the Headmistress, and his aunt and uncle. One time, Dudley stole a younger boy's school bag and dumped it on Harry's peg in the cloakroom after nicking a chocolate bar and a mobile phone from it, so that when people searched for it, Harry was the immediate suspect. When Harry protested that it hadn't been him but couldn't suggest who had done it, they all thought he was a liar. He had been scolded by the Headmistress and then had to suffer a bottom-whacking from Uncle Vernon while Aunt Petunia stood by, shrieking that he was a liar and a thief, and Dudley sat grinning stupidly on the sofa, scoffing crisps by the handful. When they had started school at the age of five, Petunia told them that they had to go because it was the law, but had added to Harry that he obviously was too stupid to learn anything. If Harry ever did better than Dudley at school, they would just sneer and call him an arrogant show-off and insisted that Dudley was a talented boy whose teachers misunderstood him. If Dudley got into trouble at school, the Dursleys insisted that Harry had framed him and Harry would be punished.

His first word spoken at the Dursley house was "Mama." When Aunt Petunia heard him, she paled and yelled at him to shut up. When he said "Dada" five minutes later, she threatened to leave him outside in a dustbin where he belonged if he ever mentioned his abhorrent parents again. Then he began to wail, not able to understand why his parents no longer came to him, or why the soft, soothing voice and warm, gentle hands of his mother had been replaced by a harsh, loud voice and icy hands with sharp fingernails, and he was put in his cupboard all day for being noisy and disturbing Dudley.

Every year on his birthday, he got something useless and second-hand and broken, or he got nothing at all. On his second birthday they gave him a pacifier to "make him shut up." His third birthday was ignored. On his fourth birthday he got an empty water bottle. On his fifth birthday he got Dudley's old dungarees, which were baggy and torn and had hot chocolate all down the front. Dudley snatched them back only an hour after Harry received them. His sixth birthday was ignored. On his seventh birthday, he received a 2p coin (when he pointed out that he wouldn't be able to buy anything with it, he was locked in his cupboard for two days for being greedy). On his eighth birthday he was given a shirt of Dudley's, which reached almost to his knees and was so baggy that it hung off his body like a shawl. On his ninth birthday he got a plastic toy knight on a horse, which would have been excellent if it had not belonged to Dudley and been broken so often that it was cocooned in Sellotape. On his tenth birthday he got the coat hanger and Vernon's old socks. Once he began at Hogwarts, his birthdays were pretty much ignored. If Harry ever questioned why Dudley got more presents than him, or why Dudley's were better or more expensive, he was severely punished. On his ninth birthday, he made the mistake upon seeing the present, of asking "But, Uncle Vernon, Aunt Petunia...what is it?" For this he was yelled at for being ungrateful and locked in his cupboard for a week. He never saw that toy knight on horseback ever again - not that he was upset about that, although it would have been nice to play with a proper toy for once, even if it was covered in Sellotape. On the day that Dedalus Diggle bowed to him in a shop, they had been taking Dudley to buy him some new school shoes (his old ones were battered, scuffed and had holes in them). While Petunia bustled off to show Dudley the most expensive shoes, leaving Harry alone by the door of the shop, a strange little man in violet robes bounced into the shop, looking around dubiously as though unsure what to do next. Suddenly, he spied Harry and his eyes found the lightning-shaped scar, and his eyes widened.

"Harry Potter!" he squealed, so loudly that other customers turned to stare. "It is an honour to meet you!" He bowed low, trembling in excitement.

"Err...it's an honour to meet you too" Harry replied, bewildered, having no idea how this strange man knew his name.

By this time, Petunia had returned. Her eyes travelled to the bowing Dedalus, and narrowed. She knew that he was another "weirdo" - a wizard.

"Boy! What on EARTH are you doing? Do you know this man?" she demanded.

"No, Aunt Petunia" Harry said truthfully.

"Liar" she hissed, dragging him out of the shop, Dudley waddling along behind. "This means another week in your cupboard!"

Life with the Dursley family was sheer misery and absolute boredom. Harry was not sad to leave it behind about sixteen years later.

More than fifteen years after the final battle of the wizarding world, Harry received a card from Dudley, asking him to visit Number 4 for Christmas dinner. He went with Ginny and their three children and met the Dursleys again for the first time since a disastrous birthday party he'd invited Dudley to when Lily, his daughter, was four. This second meeting of the whole Dursley and Potter family went reasonably well until Vernon insulted Ginny and the Potters left. It is best not to repeat what he said to her. After that, they only went on occasional afternoon visits, and exchanged Christmas or birthday cards.