Disclaimer: I do not own anything from Harry Potter. I do, however, own New Beginnings, and I also own Brad, Mike, and Joanya.

Summary: AU. Having had enough of the Dursley's abuse, Harry runs away to New Beginnings. What will it be like when he goes back to school? Can he cope being away from his new friends? Will he be understood? H/D SLASH. Warning: rape, abuse, cutting.

A/N: Yes! Another one! But I've been working on this one for a while, and Love of Sanity is very short, it's almost done. So, I decided to post this now, rather than later. Please review, I'd love to know what you think!

On with the show!

Ch. 1.

Harry blinked as he woke up. Rolling over, he stopped the alarm and surveyed his room. All of his trinkets had been packed up, ready for him to return to Hogwarts later that day. The room was still bright, though, as posters and drawings were plastered all over the wardrobes.

Harry sighed and lay back in bed. He didn't particularly want to leave. He thought about the events of the summer.

Before he'd left school, Dumbledore had informed him that he to stay at the Dursleys' all summer. A chill had gone down Harry's spine at hearing that. Longer at the Dursleys' meant more beatings, more rapes, and more self-harm than usual. As a precaution, he got Madame Pomfrey to fix his eyesight before he left, ensuring that Vernon wouldn't be able to break his glasses. That had happened once, and he'd gotten glass stuck in his face.

Harry had dutifully stayed at the Dursleys' until his sixteenth birthday, when Vernon's 'present' was to let Dudley join in the raping for the first time, making Harry feel even more ashamed. As soon as his relatives had gone out for the day, Harry had packed his trunk and left. He'd barely reached the town centre when his strength had given out, and his weakened body had collapsed in the middle of the street.

Luckily, two boys and a girl had come to his rescue. All victims of abuse themselves, they recognised the signs in Harry. They helped him to a nearby facility called New Beginnings. It was a small block of flats especially built for teens that had run away from abusive homes.

The downstairs of the building housed a common room, a soundproofed music room, staff room, councillor's offices, and most importantly, an infirmary. The top three floors housed the flats.

When Harry had been patched up, he was given a key to flat nine on the third floor. His trunk had already been placed there by one of the boys who had helped him. Brad, a tall, sandy haired and muscular boy, and his two friends, Mike-a dark haired, blue eyed boy, and Joanya-a brown eyed girl with choppy, layered hair, coloured pink on top and purple underneath, had visited every day Harry had been in the infirmary, and the four had become fast friends.

Brad, Mike and Joanya showed Harry where to pick up the benefits arranged by the staff that all the teens had. They took him shopping for new clothes and other belongings. They walked him to his first few sessions with Angelica, his red haired councillor. They brought a kitchen knife to him every night and stayed until he had finished cooking before taking it back, until his cutting was under control, and he was allowed to buy his own. They went with him to the tattoo parlour when Angelica gave him permission to get some. They held his hands as he told Simon, the resident solicitor he was pressing charges against his family. Mike spent a night with him to prove that sex wasn't always painful, as part of his counselling. Harry loved them. They supported him, and he supported them. They had their own stories, and had told him them. He knew he wasn't alone in his pain, and it comforted him.

Today, he would be separated from that comfort, and he wasn't sure he could cope. He didn't want to tell Ron and Hermione. At least not yet. He couldn't. They wouldn't understand.

They didn't know what it was like to have so much pain inside that you had to slice your skin open and let the pain flow away with the blood. Joanya knew. She'd been a cutter herself.

Ron and Hermione didn't know the feeling of dirtiness and worthlessness that accompanied rape. Mike did.

They didn't understand the physical and mental pain being beaten caused. Brad, Mike and Joanya knew.

The three of them knew all of his secrets. Sure, Angelica also knew about his home life, what and where his tattoos were, his talent for the guitar, singing and song writing, his style and tastes. But she didn't know he was a wizard. She thought he was going to a school for the gifted. Brad, Mike and Joanya knew the truth. Harry couldn't and wouldn't hide it from them.

A door slammed down the hall, and what sounded like a war erupted. Harry rolled out of bed and left the bedroom. In the small hallway of his flat, Harry unlocked his door and opened it, peeking out curiously. Bonnie and Sam were having a pillow fight. Harry withdrew, grinning. That was one of the best things about living at New Beginnings. As long as you abided the few rules (no drinking/smoking/drugs, no vandalism, be back by eleven-phone with good reason if it's impossible for you to meet curfew, attend all counselling sessions), the staff didn't care what you did. They were there to watch out for you, to let you live the childhood none of them had had. The staff worked shifts, and there were always four people on duty, and counsellors as well during the day. New Beginnings was twenty-four hour work.

As Harry sat at his breakfast bar eating a bowl of cereal, he surveyed his pale yellow living room. It wasn't much, but it was nice. The large windows, spanning most of the far wall, wrapping around the corner had deep yellow curtains, and the carpet was a dark green. He had a paler green couch on the left wall with a TV and DVD player on a stand facing it. In the corner stood his guitar in its case, and opposite that, on a low table under the window, was a large stereo. The walls were bare, as they weren't allowed to stick things on them, but his kitchen cupboards were, like wardrobes, plastered in posters, pictures and photos.

Sighing, Harry slipped off his stool, turning around and taking the two steps to his sink, where he washed the pots and poured the last of the milk down the sink. He'd made sure that this morning's cereal would be the last of the food in the flat, and it had been the last portion.

Wandering through the door on his left, Harry crossed his hallway and entered the bathroom. After cleaning his teeth and showering, he went into his room and dressed in a pair of dark green cargos, a thin long sleeved white top, and a light green t-shirt over the top. It was still warm out, being early autumn, but Harry needed to hide the self-inflicted scars on his left forearm, and the dagger tattoo on his right.

He made his bed and went back into the bathroom, where he used his damp towel to dry his toiletries before putting them in his wash bag and chucking the towel in his nearly empty laundry basket. He needn't worry about it smelling. Joanya had promised to come in once a week and clean, she'd wash it for him.

Going back into the hall, Harry threw his wash bag into his trunk and locked it carefully. Striding into the living room, he picked up his guitar and the bag he'd packed for the train. He glanced around once more, sadly. He'd miss this place, despite the fact that he'd be back for Christmas, if not before for the trials. This place was his until he turned eighteen.

A knock on the door had the raven boy heading back into the hall. Opening the door, Harry was met with the sight of a boarder shorts and t-shirt clad Mike grinning at him. There was a feather stuck in his hair from the on-going pillow fight down the hall that Tom had now joined in on. Mike lived on the other front corner of the building and had had to pass through the feather storm to reach Harry's door.

"Nine o'clock Harry!" he said. "Taxi'll be here soon."

Harry nodded and shoved his feet into his scuffed, mud-stained trainers. He and Mike each grabbed an end of his trunk and Mike carried his bag while Harry took care of his instrument. Outside the door, Mike passed Harry his keys, which he'd taken off the hook by the door. Harry put down his guitar, leaning it against his legs while he shut and locked his door. Pocketing his keys, Harry picked up the guitar case, and the two boys walked halfway down the corridor, passed through the door to the stairwell and carefully made their way down two flights, pushed through the door at the bottom, and emerged in the main hallway.

The first thing Harry saw was Joanya standing in the doorway to Angelica's office, talking to the councillor. The girl was wearing an ankle length brown gypsy skirt, a pale pink sleeveless top, and brown, heeled sandals. A multi-coloured shell pendant hung around her neck and her loose hair framed her face. She had a carrier bag slung over one of her scarred forearms.

Angelica, wearing her usual smart black trousers and fitted t-shirt noticed the boys first.

"Harry, could I have a word before you go?" she motioned to her office and Harry nodded.

Stepping into the familiar room, leaving his belongings in the hallway, Harry shut the door behind him.

"I just wanted to say, if you need me, just write to me, I know you're not allowed a phone at school, so that'll have to be the best we can do," Angelica said. "Remember also, if you're uncomfortable with a situation, leave it. I know you're worried about telling people what's happened, but just breathe deeply and try to stay calm. Take your time telling them, let it be on your terms, not theirs."

"I will," Harry smiled. "Thanks Ang."

"I'll send you the occasional note in your friends' packages, just to see how you're doing," the councillor replied. "And Simon will get in touch over the trials."

"Ok."

They left the office to find Brad holding the discarded end of Harry's trunk.

"Taxi's here," Joanya called from the front door.

"Well, let's go," Brad answered.

Harry picked up his bag and guitar, heading for the door, signing out on the way. Once the four exited, Harry turned and gazed up at the building, focusing on the windows of his flat.

"I'll miss this place," he muttered.

"And it'll miss you, too," Mike patted him on the back.

"You'll be back sooner than you think!" Brad grinned, slipping into the front seat.

They were an odd group Harry thought, squashed between Mike and Joanya in the back seat.

One would think that with her brightly coloured hair, Joanya would be wild, but in actual fact, she was a caring, mothering type. Brad was the wild one, though he dressed dark and dangerous in his black baggy pants and mesh tops. The three piercings in each ear and the scar on his cheek didn't help much. Mike, in his surfer clothes looked cool and laid back, but he was the liveliest person Harry had ever met, and performed the craziest stunts. One of which was climbing out of his window, streaking down the street and climbing back in the window at midnight last week during a game of truth or dare. As for Harry, he dressed like any normal sixteen-year-old boy, but didn't act like one. He was too quiet. Mostly. He could be quite vocal at times, with the right crowd about.

By just looking at the four, you wouldn't think that they would be such good friends, but they defied the norms. They were abnormal, and they showed it.

At the station, they paid the fare, and unloaded Harry's stuff from the boot. They chatted non-stop on the train to London, and before they knew it, they were loading a cart at King's Cross Station.

Arriving at platforms nine and ten, Harry turned to his friends. It was eleven o'clock and he had fifteen minutes to say goodbye and get on the train.

Joanya reached into the carrier bag and pulled out a plastic tub.

"I know you'll eat junk on that train," she said, wagging a playful finger at him. "But you better eat this first Harry James Potter!"

Harry laughed, taking the box and putting it in his bag.

"I will, I promise."

"We got you this for you, too," the girl held out the carrier to him.

"Don't open it until you get homesick!" Mike put in.

"Ok," Harry carefully wrapped the bag around the gift-wrapped object, and slipped it into his bag.

Joanya stepped forward and hugged him tightly.

"You take care of yourself," she whispered.

"I will," the raven boy assured her.

After a moment, she stepped back, and Brad took her place.

"I know you're worried about that Snape guy and the Malfoy kid," he said. "But just ignore them if they start anything."

Harry nodded against the taller boy's shoulder. Mike stepped forward next, drawing Harry into his embrace.

"Don't forget to write," were his parting words.

"You'll be swimming in letters by the time I get back!" Harry grinned.

Leaving his friends, he went to lean on the barrier, and with a final wave to his friends, he slipped through, pulling his luggage cart with him onto Platform Nine and Three Quarters.

A/N: Well, what did you think? Please tell me! Love,

Len