The Dursleys never wanted this.
They never wanted to become that kind of family. They wanted to become the type of people to lock a toddler in a cupboard. The type of people who appeared on news broadcasts and got tutted at by housewives across the country.
They never wanted any of it.
Petunia was never a pleasant women. Prone to envy and bitterness, she spent most of her young life wishing for what others had. She disliked having her views changed, bullheadedly keeping to whatever stance she took first. She picked on other girls, gossiped behind their backs. She cheated on tests, lied to her parents, and once held a grudge against Diana Falker for two years. But she was not a monster.
Vernon was never a pleasant man. Brutish and mean spirited, he took delight in other people's failings. Once he got a first impression of someone, that was not likely to ever change, no matter how different the person became. He was the person out on the playground everyone made sure not to get to close to, for fear of catching his attention. He kicked dogs, bullied younger kids, and even broke another boy's arm during a game of football. But he was not a monster.
For the first week with their nephew, the Dursleys treated relatively well. They went out and bought more nappies, another crib, and other essentials. He got the same amount of food as their son, though with a touch less care in it's making. They even began to set up the second guest bedroom for him.
And then it started. Small at first, Dudley would cry louder than usual, or one of the two parents would snap at each other. Nothing big, nothing noticeable. Soon though, it appeared as if a grey haze had descended over the family's lives. It bleached the god and put the bad into sharp contrast. Nightmares plagued the entire family. Visions of black figures and bright lights melded into their dreams. Daily tantrums and horrible arguments hounded them during the day. It took them almost two years to figure out what was happening.
By then it was too late, their minds were already twisted by hate and anger. They moved the three year old to the cupboard under the stairs and the nightmares abated. Still though, the house was dark, grimy, and no amount of light or ammonia could help it.
Petunia took to cleaning the house every weekend, then every day. Her attempts to scrub out the aura of misery and despair only brought her more fully into contact with it.
Petunia withered under her constant work, the neverending stress taking its toll. Her once pretty face grew marred by frown lines and no amount of food quite putting the meat back on her bones. Vernon, on the other hand, started filling out. Always rather stocky, he was now gaining weight like mad, almost a pound a week it seemed. No amount of dieting or workouts could fix it, the most they succeeded at doing was stressing him out even further.
And still the boy would look at them, flashes of misunderstanding and confusion. Soon they grew to resent him, how could he stay so pure while they darkened under his influence?
Vernon first struck the boy when he was eight, after almost three straight days of nightmares and worrying about a recent visit to the doctor.
Petunia soon followed her husbands example, lashing out with whatever she had in her hands, but never with her bare flesh. If she didn't touch him, that meant it wasn't as bad, right?
Harry watched as his relatives grew more and more abusive, always wondering why.
None of them suspected the source, none of them even dreamed of it. A sliver of torn tissue never quite healed. Always a bit raised and just a shade redder than the surrounding flesh. And still no one thought to look at it, not even to question how a small cut given years ago had not faded at all.
No sane man would blame a scar for twisting a family's souls.