The original idea that created this story was 'what if the Sorting Hat wanting to put Harry in Slytherin wasn't just a lame plot device?' In the first couple of books, this was clearly just to reinforce the connection to Voldemort then muddy the waters for the whole Heir of Slytherin mystery.
However, for the house of cunning and ambition, canon Harry does not fit at all. He might show an ounce of cunning somewhere in the entire series but he is the anti-thesis of ambitious. He hates his fame, wanting only to be a normal guy, even though the one time he uses his fame (when Hermione forces him to do so in OotP with the interview) actually has a great effect. Hell, a ton of Harry's problems could have probably been avoided if he had a PR agent (and a decent lawyer) but that is an idea for a very different story.
Personally, I find canon Harry to be almost completely unbelievable. A badly abused child, treated like a slave for his entire life, does not just turn out magically well-adjusted, at least not without a lot of therapy.
Therefore, this story is of a Harry Potter that could have been in Slytherin. He will be distrustful- especially of adults/authority as no one has ever done anything to help him. He will be cynical- the foolish behavior of other characters will be remarked upon often. He will be morally much more grey than canon- even canon Harry kills someone at the end of the first book- and this Harry, suffering an abusive childhood, will be much less forgiving. But most of all, he will be independent. After a childhood of enslavement, freedom will be his main ambition. What he does with freedom (and the responsibility he has to deal with along the way) will be a big part of this story.
However, I will try to avoid (or at least twist) many of the tropes and cliches that I've seen in similar Harry breaks free fanfics. For one thing, this starts at the end of Chamber of Secrets, rather than the popular end of Order of the Phoenix/Sirius emancipation via will idea. For another thing, breaking free from Dumbledore will not be a focus.
That being said, because Harry will be different from canon, he will also react very differently to many of the characters- especially the good guys. I will be trying to avoid bashing any characters (though I'm not opposed to bashing in general) because one of the points of this story is that Harry shouldn't put up with all the bullshit he does in canon if not for the fact that he flat out is a Magical Jesus figure by the end of the series.
However, bashing supposed good guy characters is not necessary to show them in a negative light. In canon, Dumbledore endangers the lives of all the students at Hogwarts multiple times (pretty much in every book). Hiding the stone in book 1 in a school full of children to try to trap Voldemort there is the first example. Not closing the school in book 2 when he knows Voldemort opened the chamber & used the monster to kill Myrtle is also ridiculous. Granting a Death Eater free reign in book 6 nearly gets a bunch of people killed all because Dumbledore moronically wants to prove that Malfoy can be redeemed (ignoring the fact that the little scumbag has been preaching genocide since before he hit puberty & does not in any way deserve even a chance at redemption). Not to mention that he flat out admits to condoning Harry's abusive childhood at the end of book 5.
Dumbledore is a manipulative, secretive bastard who intentionally ruins Harry's entire life in canon. Hell, there isn't even any point to sending him back to the Dursleys for the summer after years 4+ since Voldemort has already countered the mother's love blood protection nonsense.
Therefore, don't be surprised when this distrustful version of Harry is much less gullible & willing to put up with Dumbledore's crap. However, don't expect to see a plot of Dumbles, Molly, & company stealing all his money, setting him up in an illegal marriage contract with Ginny, or dosing him with potions. Nor should you expect to see the old man refer to Harry as his weapon or constantly spouting off about the greater good. I'm not even against those tropes in general, but this ain't that type of story.
Let this be a warning that many characters will come off in a negative light in this story. Even a bunch of the characters that I generally like. For example, I like Ginny- although I think that she needed a lot more development and the romance should have been stretched out over the course of several books instead of just popping up out of the blue in HBP after being Ron's little sister/friendly acquaintance for the first 5 books. Despite personally liking her, she will not come off all that well in this story.
On the other hand, for those of you who like Harry with various Slytherin girls stories, this should be right up your alley. This could have easily been a Harry/Daphne story. But I decided to use Pansy instead for a few reasons.
1. She is the one Slytherin girl that actually gets some characterization in the books.
2. She seems quite likely to have had parents that would support Voldemort.
3. Way too many stories that feature Pansy also feature Draco, or even worse Draco/Hermione (which is beyond disgusting- he's a bigot that wants to kill her for fuck's sake)
4. Pansy is basically the mean girl role in the series, which I wanted to play around with.
As a point of departure though, this Pansy is rebellious. Canon Pansy shows up at the flying lesson being a bitch (but seemingly knowing Parvati & Neville already- something that will come up in this story) but otherwise doesn't appear again until book 3 when she starts hanging around Draco all the time. Therefore, I've taken the trope idea that while canon Pansy is basically set up with Draco/betrothed to him somewhere around the beginning of the story, this Pansy is disgusted by Draco & wants to be free from him.
Also, with Pansy's family being potential Death Eaters, this fits perfectly with a second idea that started off this entire thing- what if Harry found a girl from a magical background who also suffered an abusive childhood? How would they team up & get along? How would their similar backgrounds effect them- both negatively & positively... etc.
That being said, this story has become even more of a romance than I originally planned just because I've enjoyed writing that part of it so much. The intensity of that first teenage love, magnified in this case by trauma, magic, & the various adventures that Harry always gets drawn into- this is what I am enjoying about the story.
Hopefully, I will finish it. What I have already written (50k+ words) is much longer than anything else I've ever done. I have had the rough outline of the full story (covering Harry's entire time at Hogwarts) in my head since before I even started writing. I wrote out a more thorough outline for the end of year 2 up through everything that happens in PoA once I'd written the first couple of chapters. However, as I write, occasionally I will run into things that need to be changed or elaborated upon- the 9th chapter came about in this manner once I realized I had to add a scene.
As a note about the rating- this story will eventually feature sex & violence. There will be cursing throughout, although I won't have them swear like a sailor the way I did at that age. I hope you enjoy the story.