A/N: Hey, this is my first Harry Potter fic, so I'm going to post just the prologue and see what kind of response I get. If you like what I've got, review and I'll keep posting.

Spoilers: All books up toThe Order of the Phoenix

Pairings: mentions of Hermione/Ron, Ginny/Draco; main pairing is Harry/Snape, but that won't happen for a while.

Disclaimer: Obviously, I don't own the character or the Harry Potter world; I only borrowed them to play for a while, and will return them to J.K. Rowling when I'm done, with a minimum of trauma inflicted upon them.

Harry Potter and the Return of the Prodigal
Himura Seraphina

Prologue: The Boy Who Lived and The Man He Became

Once, he had been The Boy Who Lived. A single scar marked him, that small wound the only remembrance of the deed that no other wizard, no matter how powerful, had managed to accomplish. It was a reminder that, by his existence, he had managed to defy and survive the Dark Lord, Voldemort.

It was a constant, aching reminder of all that he had lost, before he had had a chance to know it.

It had tied him to the mind and presence of the monster whom he had faced once already, as a child.

It had given him glimpses into torture and torment; let him feel pain and curses that no one was supposed to be able to survive.

It was the mark of his fate, making him not only the Boy Who Lived, but also The Boy Who Killed.

He had killed.

He had seen his friends die, because of him. He had seen the soldiers of Light fall to the Dark, sacrificing to allow him to go on, to move forward towards destiny: the destiny seen before his birth by a fraud of a seer, which foretold that only he could destroy Voldemort and save his world. Both of them.

He had killed the monster.

And he had lost himself.

He had been born Harry James Potter, son of Lily and James Potter. He had become The Boy Who Lived by the time he was one year old—and an orphan. He was Hogwarts youngest Seeker in a century at eleven—and he had found that the faceless evil he barely understood was still alive. At fourteen, he had become the Triwizard Champion—and the evil had risen, with a face and form, and brought death with him. He had lost the only family he had left at fifteen, while the evil laughed at his pain. At seventeen, he became The Boy Who Triumphed—and the evil which had been Tom Riddle and Lord Voldemort lay dead at his feet, while he stood, a wand in one hand, a sword in the other, and blood on his hands.

At eighteen, he had disappeared.

And The Boy Who Lived became The Boy Who Vanished.

There were whispers—there were always whispers. People who claimed he was dead, that he was alive and living next door. That he was living as a Muggle, that he had gone mad, that he had moved to the country to raise hounds. And every time some one claimed to have seen him, the stories and the speculations were brought out again, chewed over along with tea and butterbeer. The dead were mourned, and heroes honored, and everyone wondered where The Boy Who Lived and The Boy Who Triumphed had gone.

Once, he had been Harry Potter, The Boy Who Lived. Once, he had been young and full of righteous fury at the monster that had stolen his family and sent his kind into fearful whispers. Then he had been full of pained memories and cruel nightmares, and he wanted to destroy the monster because it was his duty. And when the day came, he did it for one reason. To make it stop.

Once, he had been The Boy Who Lived. Thirteen years ago, he had destroyed his enemy, Voldemort who was Tom Riddle. For thirteen years, he had been The Boy Who Vanished, while he was no longer a boy, but a man.

Once, he had been The Boy Who Lived. And he was going home.