Disclaimer: This goes for the entire fic, so read it now - No, I'm not J.K. Rowling, and no, I don't own Harry Potter.
This fic will be quite long, and will begin to get into its stride at around chapters 5 - 8. The first few chapters are relatively bad (in my opinion, anyway), so feel free to scan through them instead of properly reading.
Feel free to review to your heart's content, but remember that this fic is already written. If there is something of some concept you don't understand, it will likely be addressed in a later chapter.
The reason for the AU/Divergence in the Summary - it is intended to be a divergence, but a few small details (mostly character development) will be altered, hence the AU. As for the M - I don't intend to have anything particularly sexual or overly disturbing, but just in case. The fic will definitely be darker than canon, although I'm not entirely sure that is saying much.
I've taken inspiration from A Cadmean Victory, Serpentine Advice, and Harry Potter and the Lightning Lord. Check them out, they're all infinitely better than this.
I've added a prologue to give some insight into Harry's childhood. It does not actually change any of the events in Years 1 -3 of Harry's schooling, so assume that it matches Harry's childhood in canon. The actual story (starting from the next chapter) will begin in the fourth year. It is not important to the story, but I would rather not jump ten years with no character development.
I would specify what is normal dialogue, thoughts, Parseltounge, etc., but I'm fairly certain you can work that out on your own.
A soft creaking noise permeated through the quiet hallway of number four, Privet Drive. The house was the epitome of a normal suburban home: perfect lawn, nicely styled house, and anything else that might come to one's mind.
Unfortunately, there was one thing, or person, within the house that often did not come to the minds of most normal people. A four year old Harry Potter was currently locked inside the old cupboard under the stairs feeling rather hungry.
Around fourteen hours ago, Harry's Aunt Petunia had announced that the family (which meant everyone except Harry) would be taking a lovely trip to the beach. She had set out a hastily prepared sandwich, as well as a list of chores for him to complete in order to earn his dinner.
Harry had been told that he would have until six in the evening (when the Dursleys planned to return home) to finish his chores, which Harry felt was fairly achievable. He had been in a rather good mood because of it; it was not often that Harry had a sure fire way of earning his dinner, and Harry was not one to look a gift horse in the face.
Looking back, Harry probably would have been better off had he checked the gift horse a bit more carefully. Uncle Vernon, Aunt Petunia, and Dudley had arrived home several hours before six, his uncle stating that they had been concerned that he might burn down the house, or some other sort of freakish activity.
Upon seeing that little Harry had not finished his chores, Uncle Vernon immediately decided a suitable punishment would be to send Harry off to his cupboard for the rest of the day. Aunt Petunia, however, must have thought differently; she allowed him to stay out of the cupboard long enough to finish the remaining chores.
It was now approaching one in the morning, and Harry's stomach was growling with hunger. The only source of light in the cupboard was through the holes made in the door. There was only a single lightbulb in his cupboard, which hung from the ceiling on some sort of chain.
Sadly, the switch for the bulb was on the outside of the cupboard. Dudley often took advantage of this, occasionally waking Harry up in the middle of the night whenever Dudley needed to use the toilet.
The young Potter curiously peaked through the holes in his cupboard. He was rather short for his age, and certainly on the skinny side. Harry also had lovely eyes, which were emerald in colour. They were obscured by glasses that were held together by pieces of tape, and occasionally his jet black hair.
Harry's favourite thing about his appearance, however, was his scar. According to his Aunt Petunia, he had gotten it during the car crash that had killed his drunken bum of a father and his good for nothing mother. Although that had initially saddened him, Harry had learnt to take anything his aunt and uncle told him with a grain of salt.
Upon seeing and hearing nobody around, Harry tried to force the door open. It was likely in vain; Harry was not even remotely strong, and was likely the one of the weaker children of his age. It would have been the exact opposite if Harry had been properly fed by his aunt and uncle. They often made Harry do manual labor which, combined with three respectable meals a day, would do wonders to a child's body.
Regardless, Harry was incapable of opening the door. Uncle Vernon had recently installed a lock on the door in order to keep Harry locked inside when needed. Harry could just barely see the lock through the holes in his door. It was a small silver padlock that connected the door of the cupboard to the wall.
Well that's not very good.
Harry was rather frustrated with the lock at the moment. It was the only thing that stood in the way of him and a nice meal. He was very capable of sneaking around, he was sure he would not be heard by any of the other occupants in the house. Harry was also more than capable of making a good meal; Aunt Petunia had recently begun teaching him how to cook, as she planned to have him start cooking for the family by his fifth birthday.
Open . . . come on, please, I'm really hungry . . . just open.
The lock remained as stationary as ever.
It wasn't as though Harry had expected that to work, but it was still worth a shot. A few weeks ago Dudley had been watching a program on the television where the trick worked. Harry had been locked in his cupboard at the time, but he had still been able to see through the cracks.
Aunt Petunia had not at all been pleased when she saw what Dudley was watching. Harry hadn't finished developing his memory yet, but he was sure it was some sort of magic show. She had angrily switched the television channel, repeatedly informing Dudley that there was no such thing as magic.
Both Harry and Dudley had been rather displeased to see her change the channel to some gardening show. Dudley knew nothing about plants, and was therefore bored out of his mind. Harry, thanks to his chores, knew way too much about gardening than he would have liked. Unfortunately, Harry wasn't exactly capable of persuading his aunt not to change the channel. He wasn't even supposed to be watching in the first place.
Harry had been surprised to see that Aunt Petunia wasn't even willing to change the channel when Dudley threw one of his many temper tantrums. If there was one thing that was true at number four, Privet Drive (as far as Harry knew, anyway), it was that whenever Dudley wanted something, he got it. Harry had also been rather annoyed that Dudley was denied the one time Harry actually wanted him to get his wish.
Harry snapped out of his thoughts, looking back at the lock. It seemed to have been put in place rather hastily. Perhaps it would fall off with a bit of good luck? Harry hoped so, as there wasn't much else that he could really do. Banging his door was certain to attract the attention, and ire, of the Dursleys.
Unlock, just unlock so I can get some food . . . just open!
Harry watched with wide eyes as the lock shifted slightly in place, causing the cupboard door to open slightly. He was never this lucky, one could easily realize that when they saw the room he slept in every night. But the door was quite obviously open, allowing a small amount of moonlight entry into the cupboard.
A half hour later Harry had returned to the cupboard and was happily munching on a bowl of mac and cheese. It had taken him much longer than was necessary to make, but he had done so on purpose, not at all interested in attracting the attention of the Dursleys.
He had also snuck quite a few snacks into his cupboard, including donuts, cakes, cookies, and chocolates. Harry was never allowed any sort of confectionary item, largely due to Dudley complaining whenever Harry received one. Harry would be sure to spread these out for as long as possible.
Harry Potter happily went to sleep that night, having had one of the best meals of his life. His young mind continued to dream of his meal, even as he went to sleep.
When Harry woke up the next morning, he had forgotten all about the unlocking of the door, too happy to finally have decent food by his side.
" - and once you have put your books in your bags, you may head off to the yard for your snack break." said the teacher, standing at the front of the classroom.
The students of Harry's year two class all roared with delight, before each sprinting out of the classroom. Harry, however, was not nearly as interested.
The now seven year old Harry was still as skinny and frail as he was years ago, his eating habits not having been changed by his aunt or uncle. His facial features, however, had improved. His cheekbones had become slightly more defined, and his emerald eyes often gave a soft and beautiful glow.
Regardless, Harry was very lonely. When he and Dudley had started their schooling, Dudley had been sure to cement Harry's reputation as a loser, and had quickly succeeded. Harry now had zero friends of his own, and he could think of absolutely no one who even remotely liked him.
All of the boys at the school either ignored him or bullied him. The girls were mostly the same, although a few did send him occasional glances of sympathy. That annoyed Harry the most; it was as though they really wanted to help him, but decided against it. Why couldn't they just help him out when Dudley and his gang weren't around?
But there was another reason as to why nobody liked being around Harry, and even he knew it. Strange things often occurred when Harry was around. A few months ago, Harry had managed to completely regrow his hair, which his Aunt Petunia had chopped off. A bit before that, he had somehow shrunk a sweater his aunt tried to force him to wear.
Just last week, he had managed to turn his teacher's wig blue. He had absolutely no idea how he could have possibly done that, and neither did anyone else - but they all still blamed him.
That, combined with Dudley's favourite sport of Harry Hunting, was why Harry despised recess breaks. Whenever he was being chastised by Dudley and his gang, he occasionally managed to cause something strange to happen, which always ended with him being locked in his cupboard for days on end.
"Harry?" asked Miss White, Harry's teacher. She was a fairly attractive teacher in her mid twenties, who had somewhat recently moved to Surrey a few years prior. Miss White knew very well why Harry did not seem in a rush to head to recess, but that didn't mean she could keep him in the classroom, nor did that mean she particularly wanted to. Even she, as his teacher, had to admit that boy was strange in a way that slightly unsettled her.
Harry nodded slowly, knowing that she would not allow him to stay inside. They had had this conversation many times before, and they each ended in the same way. Harry could only hope that nothing strange would happen to him today.
It's confirmed, I officially have the worst luck in the universe.
Harry sat on the top of the roof of the school kitchens, where he was currently being yelled at by about a half dozen different adults. After Miss White had sent him out to recess, Dudley and his many friends had begun another round of Harry hunting.
They had all chased him around the school for a solid ten minutes while the rest of the class watched with amusement. It didn't seem to register to any of them that the game would likely end with Harry lying on the floor in pain, curled up in a fetal position; or perhaps it did, and they simply didn't care.
Either way, Harry had eventually chosen to jump behind one of the large trash cans outside the kitchen doors, desperately hoping to get away from Dudley and his horrible friends.
To Harry's surprise (as well as everyone else's), he somehow gotten his wish. He had suddenly appeared, sitting on the chimney of the school right above the kitchens.
Miss White had been incredibly annoyed at him when she saw him, and didn't seem to care when Harry yelled that he had been chased by Dudley and his gang. The headmistress of the school didn't care much either, especially not after she had been forced to call the fire department to get him down.
"Alright, son, just give me your hand!" said one of the firemen. He was standing in a basket, which was connected to a ladder on top of the fire truck.
At least he doesn't hate me.
Not that it meant much, considering that Harry had just met him. It meant even less considering that he would soon likely be sent home, probably to be locked in his cupboard once more.
A ten year old Harry slowly made his way through the Railview Hotel with the Dursleys, making their way down to one of the restaurants. The last week had been a rather wild one for Harry, one that was filled with ups and downs.
Over the course of the week, Harry had received hundreds of letters from someone, though he hadn't yet found out who, as Uncle Vernon wouldn't allow him to get the letters. It frustrated Harry greatly; never in his life had anyone wanted to so much as look his way, and when finally there was someone who quite clearly wanted to talk to him, he wasn't allowed to even find out who it was.
On the other hand, the week had introduced dozens of things to Harry that he had never experienced before. After hundred of letters suddenly shot through the house via the fire place one Sunday morning, Uncle Vernon had forced them to pack their bags. He had then driven them to all sorts of strange places, successfully convincing both Harry and Dudley that he had gone mad.
Regardless, the experience had felt like a sort of road trip to Harry, which he quite liked. When they had finally stopped at the Railview Hotel, Harry found he rather liked the place. It wasn't lavish by any means, but it was certainly much better than what he had at Privet Drive, even if he was forced to sleep on the couch.
The skies of Cokeworth, the small town where the Railview Hotel was located, were a beautiful pure white. Harry decided he quite liked the way the clouds completely covered the sky. It looked to him like a blank canvas, a sort of fresh start. The beauty of the blue skies that most others seemed to enjoy simply could not compare.
It was made even better by the fact that Dudley absolutely hated the place. Harry's overweight cousin did not at all like the white skies, nor did he enjoy the amenities of the hotel. He often complained that it was hard for him to play games on his computer, and that the food at the restaurant wasn't very tasty.
Harry, however, very much enjoyed the food at the restaurant. It was much, much better than the food Aunt Petunia hastily cooked up for him, that was for sure. In fact, the only foods Harry had eaten that were better than the restaurant's were the meals he prepared himself.
Over the years Harry had spent in Privet Drive, he had rarely been allowed to eat any of the meals he cooked even though he had to cook for the Dursleys every day. He had occasionally stolen leftovers from the Dursley's plate, sometimes even sneaking out of his cupboard at night to cook something. That, however, occurred only once a month at best, and therefore did not satisfy Harry much.
Harry happily sat down at the table he and the Dursleys had been assigned, and the four of them were eventually served. As the Dursley's could not constantly begrudge Harry food without attracting attention, they allowed him to order the cheapest thing off the menu, which happened to be pancakes.
Harry was more than happy with that. The pancakes were covered in whipped cream, chocolate fudge, syrup, and chocolate chips, making for a rather peculiar yet delicious combination. Dudley seemed to agree with him, considering the way he was angrily eyeing Harry's meal.
Dudley had chosen to order the most expensive meal from the menu, which turned out to be some sort of crab cake. It certainly looked good to Harry, but wasn't nearly as sweet and savory as his pancakes. Harry happily swallowed another bite of his breakfast, enjoying the taste that spread through his mouth.
"'Scuse me?" asked a voice from behind them. The four Dursley's turned around to find a middle-aged blonde woman holding a rather familiar looking envelope.
"Would one of you happen to be Mr. Harry Potter?" she asked, holding up the letter, "We got 'round a hundred of these at our desk."
Before Harry could react, Uncle Vernon shot out of his seat, following the woman to the front desk.
Harry groaned, suddenly forgetting the bliss his pancakes had given him.
A small wooden boat slowly made its way towards a floating rock in the ocean, just barely making its way through the treacherous waters. Within the boat were the three Dursleys and Harry, the youngest two currently under the impression that the elder half of the family had gone mad.
"He's mad, he is." Harry muttered, something which was heard by Dudley. It was a testament to how much Dudley agreed that he, for once in his life, didn't immediately start claiming Harry to be lying, or begin antagonizing him.
Or perhaps he's afraid of the storm. I dunno what Uncle Vernon's playing at.
After another half hour of rowing their boat, the four eventually arrived upon the large rock that Uncle Vernon had seen earlier. Upon the rock was a dilapidated shack that reeked of seaweed. The rock itself was slippery and covered in moss.
Harry slowly got up from the wooden row boat, trying desperately not to fall. The slippery stone floor, combined with water covering his glasses, made the task much more difficult than it might have seemed. He eventually made his way into the shack where he was not surprised to see was just as unappealing on the inside as it appeared from the outside.
"Best of luck with those letters, eh?" said Vernon cheerfully, before he pulled out some food for them all.
"There's no television here!" Dudley complained, "Why are we on some shack in the middle of a storm in the ocean?"
That's probably the most intelligent question he's ever asked in his life.
After they had finished their rations (Harry's being much smaller than the other's), they finally prepared for bed. How they might fall asleep, Harry had no idea; the storm outside was loud and vicious. Harry wouldn't even be surprised if the storm killed them all while they slept.
The Dursleys had managed to find a bed in the upper portion of the shack, which they would be sleeping in. Dudley would be sleeping in a pull out bed that was found on the first floor, while Harry himself would be sleeping on the floor, using a few thin sheets.
Regardless of all that, Harry was still in a good mood. In just a few minutes, he would be turning eleven. It wasn't as though anyone else would care, but it was still something that excited Harry a bit. After all, it wasn't everyday that you turned eleven.
Seven . . . six . . . five . . . four . . . three . . . two . . . one. Happy birthday to -
An hour later, Harry fell asleep feeling happier than he ever had in his life. He was a wizard, he was special, people really did care about him. His mother and father had loved him very much, they had died for him. Harry had never felt so happy before, so loved.
Outside the shack, the storm calmed ever so slightly.