Prologue

You know, after Harry got back from Hogwarts this year, he thought he could just sit around and do sod all, for the summer, like most kids. He, reasonably enough, thought he had earned a hiatus. He was wrong. He is Harry Potter, Wizarding celebrity/saviour/scapegoat/student, regularly known as the Boy-Who-Lived. As a general rule of thumb, if your name is hyphenated, you really don't get much of a break. Voldemort learned this 'bout twenty years ago, when somebody had the guts (and stupidity) to try and get an interview. But I digress. Anyway, after the whole Ministry: Mysteries department fiasco, which resulted in the death of Harry's godfather, Harry thought that he really needed a break.

He was taking one, sat in his room with a headache. It was the expected British summer; wet. Harry liked the rain. It probably had something to do with the fact, every time someone hurried past, he almost laughed at their misfortune, being caught in this rain. The only emotions that had been coaxed out of him in the past month. "Oh look, it's the prudish Wilkinsons to No15! I've always wanted to see them get a good soaking!" "Oh, it's old Bella Figg, isn't she one of Bumble's people? Her cats look annoyed." Thoughts like these were to simply to stave off the boredom and depression, but he couldn't bring himself to feel anything more than dull curiosity. He was too emotionally empty.

Nobody should have to suffer the sorrow-filled life he has. Its not fair on anyone.

Author: Jacobim Von Styluss

Disclaimer: This ain't mine, and never will be. Unless JKR's selling, of course.

Harry spent most of his days leaning against his wall, or the window when it rains. At no point did he show emotion, for the most part, just sat there. He only ate when his relatives, usually Petunia, pushed food through the cat flap, the one he'd had when his relatives decided to lock him up over one summer, and only let him out for bathroom breaks. He rarely finished his food, because, while he wasn't suicidal, he still saw no point to eat much. He needed little energy, and had become used to hunger. While he cared little for the stomach cramps, he could live happily with anything less. Or as happy as he was normally, which frankly wasn't very.

Okay, so maybe the cramps were a little annoying, but nothing he hadn't dealt with before. He'd withstood multiple cruciatuses, he shouldn't even notice something so inconsequential. It was only a little pain, after all. Damn it, he was getting weak. He growled at his own laziness, yet he did nothing more, and stayed sat where he was.

The pain grew until eventually Harry couldn't move properly, without nearly throwing up. It was irrelevant. Harry simply didn't get up to get his food. The pain continued...

Harry wasn't crying. Harry didn't mourn Sirius. He didn't want to crack the mask of emotionlessness he'd got so good at, only little droplets managing to filter through, being quashed before they took hold. Harry didn't want to show emotion anymore... it only led to hurt.

Harry still did nothing, the Dursleys carried on, without him. Petunia had heard of his loss, and wisely, chose not to tell Vernon. He would see a weakness, and mercilessly attack him over it. Petunia was not heartless, and never hated Harry for his magic. She also didn't tell Vernon that Harry did no chores. He would force him to. Luckily, Vernon had longer hours now at Grunnings, and spent most of the evening (and their money), drinking.

She held no feelings towards magic, neither positive or negative, and never disliked her sister. She was actually happy for Lily, and her power. While she was slightly jealous at the time.. She merely made it seem so because she didn't want to anger Vernon. While at the start, she loved him she soon came to realise that he was a prejudiced man. She could live with faults of personality, but then he started to drink. Heavily. No good reason, he just did. This was about fifteen years back, a couple of months before Harry came to live with them. When Harry and Dudley were two, she told him quietly that maybe he had a problem, and should seek help. Later that night, she realised he no longer loved her, and her last scrap of love for him shattered. She was glad to see it go, for he was irrational at best, and she wanted no emotional attachment to him. What broke her love...

Flashback

"Honey, are you sure you need to drink so much?" she asked meekly.

"You think I have a problem?" he slurred, seemingly unangry about the idea.

"Well, yes, maybe you could get help?"

"Well... I suppose..." and then swung, breaking her jaw. She fell to the ground yelling out in pain and shock. He kicked her.

"That'll teach you not to show me disrespect in this house, woman!" He yelled.

End Flashback

She went to hospital and claimed to have fell down the stairs. She couldn't believe that he had done this, and didn't want to repeat it to an outsider. She would forgive him if he apologized, and love him again if he went for alcoholic's help. Instead, he said "I hope you learned your lesson, bitch. You better start treating me right."

That day she swore an oath. She would stay, to prevent any real damage coming to Harry and Dudley. One action she hated herself for was sending a letter to Hogwarts, stating that Dudley would not be educated there. She could not let Dudley be treated like Harry. While she loved Harry, there was little she could do for him, and Dudley could at least be treated humanely. She wote desperate letters to Dumbledore for years, asking Harry to be taken from her and her husband, saying he was being mistreated. Every reply was the same:

'I am sure the situation is by no means as dire as you make it out to be. I have full faith in your parenting abilities.'

Petunia came to a conclusion. The old man didn't care. She knew all about Harry, and realised that he was nothing more than a tool to him, a mere press opportunity, someone to add to Dumbledore's list of blind followers.

She added to her oath. She would take the two of them, up and leave the very day physical harm came to either Harry or Dudley.

Harry spent most of his time, leaning against the window, with his eyes shut, enjoying the noise of the rain streaming down the window. Imagining he was outside, free, able to live as he chose, and if that meant running in the rain than so be it. However, Dumbledore had banned him from leaving the house. And anyway, he was a celebrity. He'd never be free. Never free...

Harry didn't realise he was crying, until he felt the salt trickle into his mouth. The dam broke, and he grieved. Water streamed down either side of the window that night, aone natural, the other a salty reminder of the only man whose grievances compared to Harry's own.

Harry didn't move from where he sat, in an uneven chair, leant against a dirty window that night. He slept where he sat.

It was the best night's sleep he had in weeks, since before the exams. It didn't matter that he had a glass pillow, and a solid wood bed, for he dreamt all night of all the good times with Sirius. While he cried in his sleep, there was a bittersweet happiness to them, and these were tears Harry was willing to shed.

Vernon got home early that day, July 28th. Petunia felt a feeling of foreboding before Vernon stepped through the door, and this was confirmed when Vernon stepped into the kitchen.

"Petunia, why the hell are you doing the chores? I thought we made it clear the freak would do it as punishment for his... condition."

She felt her tenuous control over her temper break and she snapped, "Well you thought wrong. You made it clear that he would do so, I made no such agreement."

His face turned puce. "Don't talk back to me, woman," he spat, slapping her across the face. "I'm going upstairs to punish the freak for his laziness."

He stomped upstairs. Petunia held her face in shock. He'd never hit her while sober before. She snapped out of it when she heard a thump. She realised that Harry was being beaten, and, choking down a sob, picked up the phone.

After she had put down the receiver, Dudley arrived home. "Whats going on, mum? Oh my god, what happened to your face?"

"Your father happened. Please, I know with your boxing skills you have a chance. Go help Harry, before Vernon causes him any real damage."

Dudley paled a little, but steeled himself and nodded. He ran upstairs.

Five minutes later

Harry was unconscious, and in a sorry state. Dudley stood in front of him, shielding his prone form from any more attacks. Dudley had taken a couple of punches, hard ones, but he took them like a pro and remained standing, for the cousin he had always hated. His mother explained a lot as soon as he got home and away from Vernon. Dudley dropped his childish prejudice immediately, for he was having doubts anyway. He agreed to help Harry whenever it was needed, and despite the pain of the punches – Vernon was strong – there was nowhere he would rather be right now. He was finally making up for years of unfair treatment. Suddenly, two policemen burst into the room, and attempted to apprehend Vernon. However, Vernon let out a yell and threw an adrenaline fuelled punch at one of the officers, knocking him sideways, and threw an elbow into the other constable's midsection, knocking the wind out of him.

Dudley saw his chance, Vernon was distracted. He changed his stance, flexed his fist and swung. His father lifted slightly off the ground, and skidded along the carpet outside Harry's room, unconscious. The winded officer handcuffed vernon and, with a pained grin at Dudley, lifted him out of the room, while the other officer asked for a hand up.

As Dudley hauled him to his feet, the officer offered congratulations on a good hit. "Where did you learn to deliver a punch like that?"

"School, I'm the amateur boxing champ there."

"Impressive. Right, well, I'll need a statement. I'll get one from your mother afterwards, unless it is as I suspect. She might be going with her husband to the constabulary, in which case the statement will be taken there."

"What about Harry?"

"The paramedics are here, they were just getting everything out of the ambulance."

"Okay, I'll give a statement, so long as you take me to the hospital to see Harry afterwards."

The officer agreed to drive him to Greater Whinging University Hospital, and pick up his mother from the station after the statement. Dudley and the officer – who gave his name as David to put Dudley at ease – relocated to the kitchen, where they talked about Harry's past life, exactly what happened within the house, and exactly what happened earlier that day.

"Well David, I suppose I'll have to start from the beginning. Hallowe'en '81, Harry's parents were murdered by a terrorist," after all, he couldn't give everything away "who went by the name of Voldemort. His real name is something Riddle, my mum said. Anyway, because of a family argument my dad, and until recently I thought my mother as well, hated Harry's side of the family. Harry's mum, Aunt Lily as she probably would have been, was Mum's sister.

"He was sent to live with us, and my dad always mistreated him, and I won't deny I used to bully him. My dad always called him the freak, and to be honest I was parroting my father's beliefs. I never looked hard at Harry and saw the great person he truly is. However, he got back from school a few days after me – we both go to boarding schools - and before he did my mum told me everything. How she didn't hate Aunt Lily or Uncle James, but that my father hated them and would occasionally resort to household violence if she ever said anything positive in their defence. She sisn't leave because she didn't want to risk losing custody over us and wanted to stay until we could leave, to ensure we were safe.

"She told me Harry was to be left alone because a friend of his had died in front of his eyes, and he could do nothing. She knew anything we did would offer no comfort, so we were to simply make no demands. Harry never showed this summer, so we left him a meal whenever we ate, inside his room. I wanted to give him space, so whenever I took up his meals I left them inside his cat-flap,"

Here David rose an eyebrow. "Cat-flap?"

"Yeah... that was when Dad locked him in his room all summer. They were for leaving him meals. Did you notice the locks on his door? Dad put those up and used them every summer. He expected them to be in use this summer. However, whenever he got home, he was so drunk he never noticed, then slept in. Because this meant he was late for work every morning, he wouldn't have time to check. However, Harry still didn't surface. We left him to his grief.

"This morning, I went out to a friend's house. When I arrived back, Mum was putting down the phone. I assume it was from phoning you guys. Anyway, Mum had a huge mark on her face and when I asked she just said it was my dad. Then she asked me to go help Harry. I think she was worried my father was going to kill him, because she wouldn't have wanted me taking on my father otherwise.

"Luckily, due to my boxing experience, I could beat not on power, because his build is stronger than mine, but technique. That was probably the best fight I've given, and I'm damn proud of that punch," He grinned, and then his whole demeanour changed, and he lowered his head into his hands. "Harry was in a sorry state," he mumbled, "My father was thrashing him with his belt, growling 'It's your fault, It's your fault, It's your fault,' over and over again. I think he lost his job. It wouldn't surprise me. He was drinking more every day, and being later in than ever.

Dudley took a deep breath. "Here's the worst part... He, he... smashed the buckle into Harry's head, and laughed." Dudley started to cry. David silently got a bit of toilet roll for Dudley to wipe his eyes. David was feeling a bit shaken himself. Not so much about the abuse because he saw abuse fairly often, sadly, but the worst of it was who it was happening to. This boy was an orphan who had just lost another person important to him, and then this happens.

Dudley finished the story, "Well, I pushed him back onto the wall, and basically got in front of Harry. I couldn't let him near him again, Harry wasn't moving. I thought he was gonna die, but luckily I could channel this fear into a sort of anger, or an adrenaline if you will. Using this emotional fuel, I decided now was the time to make amends for Harry's life. A couple of minutes later you guys turned up, and thanks to the distraction I was able to get a knockout hit."

David collected himself, shook Dudley's hand, and thanked him for the statement. "Well, shall we be going?" Dudley smiled. "Gladly." he stated.

AN: - Sooooo...

I wanna ask you people a favour, it's very easy to do. It involves typing around 5 – 25 words, whereas there is 2743 words in this chapter. It's called reviewing, and it makes we authors muchos happy...

Sooooo...

You gonna?

The button's down here, this corner of the screen...

Go on, you know you wanna...

(This was mostly a test of my persuasion skills. Did I pass:))