Title: Fighting to Survive

Author: nilereina

Pairings: not until later in the story

Rating: M

Category: Action/Adventure, Drama

Summary: After the Fifth Year incident, Harry has learned his fate...He is the saviour foretold to defeat the Dark Lord...But Harry knows he can't, that he can't win or survive without help...Harry embarks on a journey to defend himself and learn anything, everything, to defeat his enemy...Along the way Harry also learns that he must pay a price for such knowledge...He knows that he may lose everything in order to survive, to save others...But can he willingly pay the price, knowing he's dashing his dreams, his hopes to pieces?

Archive: FFN, http/groups. Belongs to J.K. Rowling. Not mine, just borrow for the sake of the story...implied M/F and M/M pairings...situations of torture, child abuse, bloodshed, rape...AU setting, takes place after Book 5

Author Notes: no Harry pairings, story mainly based on his struggle to survive...story plot doesn't follow Book 6, story written before Book 6 came out...credit for various characters outside HP world given to various sites visited beforehand, although I don't have the links or site owners names

Key Codes: Blah----- thoughts, emphasis, flashbacks

Blah---- shouting/yelling, Parseltongue

Blah--- foreign languages/tongues

Blah-- headlines, articles, letters

Chapter One

"Welcome to a new year here at Hogwarts." Standing before four stone tables of students, Albus Dumbledore, Headmaster at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry smiled brightlyas clear blue eyes twinkled behind half-moon spectacles, beneath bushy white brows. He let one pale hand thread through the waist-length white beard and hair, as well as smoothing down the folds of a gaudy colored outer robe of eye-cringing purple with glittery silver stars, surrounding a second robe of a rich dark blue.

While he began his customary speech, several diligent waiting Professors stayed seated at the Head Table, although most were wishing he would just hurry. "To start with, a few rules for those who are new and those who have forgotten. First, our caretaker, Mr. Filch," all eyes were pinned upon a scruffy looking cat held within the arms of an even scruffier looking mandressed in shabby dark clothing, "will be helping the Professors on nightly tours of the castle. He also bidseveryone to please stop by his office for a look at the various items banned from the halls of Hogwarts."

Many students frowned, glaring at the smug caretaker. He had banned plenty of jokes and various items from ever being used, althoughsome had snuck a few past his beady eyes. "Secondly, detentions have been approved by myself and the Deputy Headmistress to enter the Forbidden Forest for any needed potions ingredients or ingredients for Madame Sprout's greenhouses. Otherwise, the Forbidden Forest is just that, forbidden."

"Third, the Ministry of Magic has finally conceded the fact that Voldemort has, indeed, returned to the Wizarding World. He was spotted by most of the Aurors and the Minister himself." Audible gasps filled the room as several students glared in the direction of the Slytherins, who simply glared back. Albus ignored the sounds, continuing his speech, "Therefore, all Hogsmeade visits will be supervisedby stationed Aurors and chosen Professors. And finally, Quidditch Captains are expected to speak to their Head of House for tryout schedules and game schedules. Also, we welcome back our Defense Against the Dark Arts Professor, Remus Lupin."

The cheers escalated in pitch as the tawny-eyed lycanthropy-afflicted manstood, embarrasment flooding his cheeks. At one time he had not been able toget any employment, nor could he keep a job once people learned he was a werewolf. The Ministry had been unsure unsure of re-hiringhim, even with the Wolfsbane potion; they believedRemus was still a bloodthirsty Dark creature. But Albus Dumbledore, and one other Potion Master alongside Severus Snape, gave their absolute promise that the potion did work and would keep the werewolf in check as long as Remus was constant in taking the potion.

"Now that that's been settled, Zip, Zap, Zoom! Dig in!" The older students were quite usedto the strange words for each Welcoming Feast. But the First Years looked bewildered and fearful, despite the reassurance of their fellow Housemates.

Conversations rose and fell with each bite as friends made their relationships anew. The House-elves always outdid themselves with the Welcoming and Leaving Feasts, even with the desserts. And the Headmaster always had to have the last word before he let his students slip out the Great Hall doors. "Students, the night draws to an end. But before you leave I have some last minute news to give out. This year we have chosen our new Head Boy and Girl. From Slytherin is our Head Boy, Orlando Nott and from Ravenclaw our Head Girl, Marie Curie. We have also chosen new Prefects from each House. From Slytherin, Millicent Bulstrode and Draco Malfoy. From Hufflepuff, Susan Bones and Justin Finch-Fletchley. From Ravenclaw, Terry Boot and Sally-Anne Perks. Finally, from Gryffindor, Hermione Granger and.." here everyone held their breath, hoping beyond hope, "Harry Potter. Prefects, if you will, please direct the First years to your Common Rooms."

Slowly standing, a sixteen-year-old teenwas not happy. A single hand ran through wild strands of shoulder length black hair. Bright emerald eyes squinted behind thick, constantly taped glasses, glasses he refused to fix while staying with his relatives until after he settled into his dorm room, as the new Gryffindor First Years stared in awe, looking for the hidden, famous, lightening bolt scar upon his forehead.

The excited whispers caused the slightly full lips to curl into a thin, white, angry line. Harry Potter was really not happy. He didn't want to be in the spotlight. He had done almost everything he could to stay out but for some reason Fate seemed to keep him in the public eye. Hedid his best at those times to play the perfect Gryffindor, the perfect Savior, the perfect person who could do no wrong. Buthe was beginning to cave beneath it all.

As his thin body rose from the stone table to guide the new First Years he could feel the burning gazes of two people, but refused to turn around. The gazes belonged to two very concerned Professors. They could almost feel the change in the young man. They both also knew that the change was not a good sign. Something seemed very off about the young man, something that frightenedthem, one in particular since he'd already lost almost everyone in his 'family.' But they both simply glanced at the other and silently agreed to do anything, and everything, to protect Harry Potter, if he asked.