Disclaimer: If I owned Harry Potter, I wouldn't be posting on this website. Everything here you've seen before are the property of J.K. Rowling

Prologue

Life, mused Harry Potter, was Hell. He had been back at the Dursleys' for only three days, and in that stretch of time, one bit of bad news had come after another. It started in the car, with Uncle Vernon grumbling under his breath about "freaks" having no right to tell him how to live his life and raise his family. Upon arrival at his bedroom, a somber-looking Fawkes greeted Harry with a letter from Dumbledore. The letter, written in the Headmasters typical stoic-yet-cheerful style, had informed Harry that for security reasons, he could not send or receive any mail except that which had been screened by the Headmaster and sent with Fawkes.

Bitterly suspecting that this meant another summer cut off from the Wizarding World, Harry crumpled the parchment and was on the point of throwing it at Fawkes, but the phoenix had already Apparated away, or however it was that phoenixes traveled. Peeved at the lack of suitable outlets for his anger, Harry stormed down the stairs intent on baiting Dudley. When he reached the landing and turned to face the living room, however, he saw not an overweight youth pigging out in front of the TV, but rather a grapefruit-sized and hairy-knuckled fist hurtling at frightening velocity toward his face.

CRACK!

The fist drove directly into Harry's jaw, and caught unawares, Harry was knocked flat onto the floor, stunned. This hadn't happened in quite a long time. The fist, which turned out to belong to Uncle Vernon, retracted as its owner began yelling ferociously, punctuating an important point every so often with a swift kick to the ribs. As it was, Harry caught very little of what the man said, processing only small snatches between blows.

"…LIAR…"

"…BESMIRCHING MY GOOD NAME…"

"…WILL NOT TOLERATE…"

"…BUNCH OF WORTHLESS FREAKS!"

The last word was emphasized with a direct hit on Harry's face, and then his Uncle stalked away, still a violent shade of purple.

Later in the evening, at dinner, Harry noticed that he was back on the stale bread and moldy cheese diet, while the Dursleys ate a full lobster each. It was at the conclusion of this meal that the Dursleys notified him that he was to be confined to the house for the remainder of his stay.

That night, Harry's dreams were filled with horrors from the Department of Mysteries. This had been rather standard while at Hogwarts, but now, they were worse. Now, Ron was eaten by the brain. Now, Neville was tortured into insanity by Lestrange as she cackled, "Like father, like son!" Now, Fawkes didn't show up to save Dumbledore from Voldemort's Avada Kedavra. Now, Hermione was cleaved in half by Dolohov's spell. Harry woke up with a scream, and it took several minutes for him to calm down and drift back to sleep.

When Harry rose the next morning, he saw that his window had been refitted with bars. The door was locked. And a cold tin of soup was sitting just in front of his cat flap.

Brilliant, Harry thought. So glad I'm ' protected' here.

Just as Harry had that thought, the sound of turning locks met his ears, and his Uncle entered the room, carrying a cricket bat. Without any preamble, he whacked Harry across the forehead with it, screamed something about lying freaks that didn't eat the food they were given, and stomped out.

And so, a routine was established. Three times a day, cold soup was pushed through the flap. Three times a day, Vernon would follow it through the door, carrying some fresh blunt object. Three times a day, Harry would be knocked unconscious. Three times a day, the hate in him would grow just a little bit stronger.

Yes, thought Harry, life has indeed been Hell. His gaze fell upon his wand, lying innocently on top of a T-Shirt on his trunk. Would it be worth it? It would be considered self-defense, right? You couldn't get expelled for self-defense. He couldn't get expelled for self-defense. He was protected by Dumbledore. He was Harry Potter, the Boy-Who-Lived. The public would understand. The Wizengamot would understand, and that's all that really mattered.

And so Harry sat, for what felt like hours, staring at the wand, trying to work up the nerve to do it. With one word, he could delay the pain. With another, he could return all that Uncle Vernon had inflicted upon him, and then some. With two, he could be free of this nightmare forever.

Forever. The word called to him like a long-lost lover, like a tray of Heaven's manna to a starving Ethiopian. He would do it.

Harry did not flinch when his uncle burst through the door, and had Vernon been a smarter man, he would have taken this as his cue to leave. Instead, he raised the 9-iron he was carrying and sneered at his nephew.

"Very funny, Potter. You can't scare me with that stick. You're not allowed to do magic in the summer."

Harry's eyes were curiously blank as he raised his wand, his voice oddly devoid of the emotions he normally wore on his sleeve.

"I don't care, Uncle," he stated flatly, and Vernon's eyes widened in shock as a tiny pinprick of green light glowed on the tip of Harry's wand.

"Goodbye, Vernon," said Harry, and then he ended with a whisper.

"Avada Kedavra!"

AN: Hey, so here it is, my first chapter. Please review!