It was dark. And cold. A reflection of the emotions that were swirling in the room's occupant, so hidden in the shadows that one could pass right over the huddled figure. Upon closer inspection the malnourished, bruised and bleeding body of a teenaged boy could be seen, knees pulled tightly to his chest as if trying to draw as far as he could into himself.

It was Harry Potter's second week home from his fourth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, and it quickly had turned into a nightmare. Dumbledore had seen that it was fit to inform the Dursley's of what had happened during the school year. To be precise, the death of one Cedric Diggory. Already feeling the heavy burden of guilt, he sank deeper into depression with the constant jeers of "murderer" directed towards him. Once the beatings starting, however, the verbal abuse seemed like petty child's play.

Vernon Dursley's business had hit some rough spots during the summer, and was quickly losing its worth. Aside from drowning his hardships with alcohol, he had decided that none other than his own freakish nephew, Harry Potter, was the root of all his problems. After that realization, Vernon started physically abusing the boy. Starting with simple cuffs to the head and slaps, to downright brutal punches and kicks that would only end when young boy had fallen unconscious.

A soft moan was emitted as the small figure shifted slightly, jarring the bruised and broken ribs. One hand was cradled near his chest, a constantly throbbing reminder of last night's tirade.

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A thick, beefy hand grabbed a pitifully small wrist that was attached to a nearly unconscious boy-who-lived and proceeded to ruthlessly drag the weak body up into his prison-like room.

As soon as they had reached the doorway, the large man yanked the child to his feet, squeezing the wrist mercilessly in rage.

"Next time I expect all of your chores done boy," he spat, squeezing the wrist one last time, smiling nastily with pleasure as he felt a fragile bone snap, and throwing the boy in before hastily bolting the door shut.
Harry had curled up into the corner, nursing his broken body.

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That was last night, and he had been left alone since then. Harry sighed wearily. * I deserve this, don't I? * He questioned himself. * If it hadn't have been for me, Cedric would still be alive. * Yes somewhere in the back of his mind he was praying for someone to come and take him away from this hell he was trapped within.

A sudden thundering broke through his thoughts. * Oh no, * his mind screamed with fear.

A large man with an angry red face practically exploded through the door, clutching a letter addressed in scrawling black ink that Harry immediately recognized as Ron's. Harry wisely said nothing, his eyes wide with undisguised fear.

"What is this?" Vernon hissed, glaring menacingly down at the broken boy. Harry didn't utter one word. "Thought you'd slip notes to your disgusting little friends, did you? Wanted to get out of here as quickly as possible to let everybody know what has happened to your worthless self?"

"N-no Uncle Vernon! I s-swear I didn't write anybody! A-and I wouldn't t- tell anybody either!" Harry stuttered in a panic. Truthfully, he really wouldn't tell anybody about his abusive family. * Imagine the news of the famous-boy-who-lived beaten down by a pathetic muggle * he thought bitterly.

"Liar," his Uncle hissed. Then suddenly, his thin mouth twisted into an evil smirk. "It didn't work out the way you planned boy. Seems nobody wants to come and save the murderer." One thick finger stabbed at a line in the middle of the letter as he shoved it up to Harry's face.

'Sorry Harry, Dumbledore said you couldn't stay with us this summer. Mum tried to convince him, but he wouldn't budge (I surprised that he lasted under Mum's temper!). The good news is my Dad got a raise, so we are spending some time in Romania with Charlie again. Hermione is coming with us too. I ended up asking her out.. '

The letter was promptly ripped away, tearing Harry's last hopes away with him. He watched as his Uncle approached him as a predator would its prey whispering, " You're mine all summer boy" making him visibly flinch. Dudley was peeking through the doorway, grinning manically. He couldn't mention his godfather; last time he'd done that his Uncle had punched him in the face, giving him a swollen black eye for several days.

That was the beating he would always remember. At some point Harry remember his uncle pulling out the letter opener he had used to open Ron's letter. He remembered crying in pain as it was randomly carved into his flesh, his cries echoing throughout the room as tears poured down his face squashing what little hope might have burned.

That was the last time Harry Potter cried.

% a/n % Please r/r! I am just posting this prologue to see if anybody thinks it's a story that will bear fruit. Please let me know! It would be a dark-Harry fic. OF COURSE! I am thinking about combining my other two stories, A Forgotten Youth and A Simple Wish, and creating this new one. I think those stories are just missing something that I feel that I can use now to create a hopefully better verson. Let me know what you think. Thanks!