Disclaimer: Harry Potter and his world do not belong to me, but the original aspects of this plot and fic DO! Do not take 'em if you know what's good for you! *growls*


A/N: Ok, this is a SEVERITUS'S CHALLENGE. At first I used to HATE these!! Now, I'm hooked with them and figured the only way to get over this obsession is to write one myself, so here goes.


PLEASE TAKE NOTICE: This is in fact my THIRD Fanfic and the other two (Harry's year 5 & six) are my number one priority, I have been working on them for soooo long, developing original plot ideas and such, well I really wanted to post something to pass the time. So here it is. A SEVERITUS'S CHALLENGE. Please, if you do not like these, please don't judge me by this, for I strongly believe you will find my other's more interesting when I post them! Thanks! ;)

Now on with the story....

~ O*O~

Chapter One

With a sigh, Harry Potter shrugged out of his bedclothes and swept up his schoolbooks into a neat pile. After placing them in an old, mouldy pillowcase, he climbed under his bed and hid them underneath the loose floorboard.

To keep from reliving the third task being turned into horrifying nightmares each night, Harry had resorted to studying magic by night and conveniently, completing his homework.

Emitting a slight groan as he stood up and stretched, he walked over to his barred window and gazed into the night sky.

The bars on the window were parted wide enough for a bird or small animal to fit through, and for this Harry was extremely grateful. He could now secretly let Hedwig out for hunting and a chance to stretch her wings, even send letters if necessary.

Of course the Dursleys didn't realise this, as they thought they has secured 'that ruddy owl!' with a padlock on her cage. Fortunately for Harry, they hadn't considered the idea of their nephew picking the lock and clicking it back shut before dawn.

The sun was beginning to rise over the horizon, and Harry could just make out a tiny form gradually nearing his window. Sure enough, Hedwig soared over the 'Privet Drive' sign with two dead mice dangling from her beak. She landed gracefully on the outer sill of Harry's window and, squeezing her snowy wings together, she waddled somewhat awkwardly in between the bars and glided into her cage.

Harry hastily shut the cage door and clicked the padlock shut with a weak, apologetic smile.

"I'm sorry Hedwig, but it's for the best."

Hedwig turned her affectionate, amber gaze on him in a way that seemed to say: don't-worry-about-me-look-at-yourself-you're-far-too-skinny.

She dropped the dead mice on her cage floor and began to quietly feast. Harry went to his bed and grasped lovingly the only blanket the Dursley's had let him keep over the thinning bed sheets; it was the same blanket the Dursleys had found baby Harry curled up in on their doorstep that hateful morning. It was the only possession that was truly his from Godric's Hollow. With care, he draped the knitted blanket over Hedwig's cage, obscuring her from view, if anyone should see her eating. Lightly running back to bed as the sunlight poured through the bars, he assumed a sleeping pose just in time to hear the locks slide back on the door.

"Up! I've turned on the coffee machine, now you can finish the rest of breakfast!" snapped the irritable voice of his aunt.

Muttering under his breath, Harry quickly dressed and made his way down to the kitchen.

"Here," grumbled Aunt petunia, handing him a plate of a single slice of burnt toast and a half-filled glass of water. Pitiful.

"Finish that you ungrateful brat and start the bacon. Don't forget I want the pancakes done before eight! This is my Duddey's special day and I won't have you ruining it!" she turned her horse faced head away and turned on a sickly-sweet voice that made Harry want to gag.

"Dudley! Come downstairs sweetums. Your father and me are letting you off your diet today for your birthday!"

Harry rolled his eyes. There was always some special reason to let Dudley off his diet. Everyday.

"Where are my presents?" demanded Dudley, stamping a podgy foot which made the china rattle.

"In the living room darling, Daddy's already in there waiting for you." Then she turned a nasty glare on Harry. "Stay here until the breakfast is cooked then go up to your bedroom." And with that she left to accompany her husband.

Dudley smiled smugly at Harry and stuck out a foot. Harry tripped with the frying pan going flying and coming back to meet him on the ground. In the face. Harry yelped as Dudley laughed and waddled out to join his parents. Cursing under his breath, Harry stood up and felt his left eye where the pan had struck. Yep. Definite bruising and swelling.

Holding the cloth under the cold water of the faucet, Harry glanced up at the clock. 7:50am.

He didn't have time, he scrambled around getting the pancake mix together and cooking, the bread in the toaster, the table set and eggs cooking.

The clock chimed eight times. He hadn't made it.

A/N: Whew! First chapter completed! Yes, I know, I know! Boring, boring, boring but it is going to get heaps more interesting I swear! *crosses heart* aaaand.. lots of tense moments! ;) Don't forget to click that little blue button down there and leave me a review! No Flames please!! My hair is so long it would probably catch alight! *shudders* Constructive criticism welcome but praise even more so! *wink wink* Don't forget more reviews, quicker, looooonger chapters! Trust me! If I get a mountain of reviews, I tend to get to happy and will probably end up letting out the longest chapter Fanfiction Net has ever seen! Ok, well I'm rambling now, but please.. give this Fanfic a chance! I'll update as soon as I get the time ((and the reviews ;) )) Byeeeeee!