Disclaimer: I do not own anything in, of, or from the Harry Potter universe.

Takes place during the summer after OotP.

The Second Survivor

Chapter 1 - Prologue:

Her dead weight felt like lead in Harry's arms, it was all he could do to kick at the door without toppling over on the mat. Harry cursed at his luck as his cousin opened the door, for he knew that Dudley would just slam it in his face, leaving Harry and his burden out in the pouring rain. Dudley's eyes widened as they fell on Harry's burden, and to Harry's surprise, he removed his bulk from blocking the doorway, allowing Harry to carry the young woman in. Just as he stepped over the threshold, the arms that had been locked around the girl's unconscious form for over an hour now finally gave way. Performing the first feat of quick thinking he had ever displayed in his life, Dudley came forward to slow her decent, lowering her gently to the floor.

Closing the door behind him, Harry leaned against it for support, his legs quaking beneath him. He was just grateful that he had had the initiative to pursue a strict workout schedule this summer. He told himself it was to improve his quidditch game, but in reality he couldn't expect himself to stay alive during the final battle if he was out of shape. He had learned the value of mobility in a wizard's duel. Shaking his head against thoughts that always seemed to be wandering off toward the prophecy, Harry just concentrated on remaining upright. He had pushed himself past his limit of endurance. He didn't even think he could make it up the stairs. All he wanted was to lie down right there in the entryway and sleep for a week.

He brought his head up when he heard someone else enter the entry way. Aunt Petunia entered from the kitchen, glaring furiously at Harry, not even glancing at the woman on the floor. Harry braced himself for an onslaught, thinking that he really didn't have the energy to even look at her straight on. The extreme weariness eminting from his eyes and posture must have made him look horribly pathetic, because she paused as she realized that he was about to collapse. Only then did she bother to notice the bleeding woman on the floor.

She was beautiful, with soft features and full dark lips. Her long dark hair was tangled and wet from the rain, but the dark halo it created behind her head on the entry floor made her pale face seem to glow. She was bleeding in a dozen different places, looking like she had just walked through a food processor. The cuts were clean and shallow, there were just so many of them. Blood seeped from them, staining her unusual attire. She wore a brown shirt that laced up one side. It was covered by a dark brown coat that fell to her knees. On her feet were soft leather boots that came most of the way up her calf, the tops of which were covered by a dark green skirt, the bottom of which was unevenly cut, with tendrils past her knees and slits up to mid thigh. She was also wearing a pair of tan leggings under the skirt, tucked into the tops of her boots. The strange thing was that none of the clothes seemed to have been cut by whatever had sliced her up, just the skin underneath was torn. Stranger yet, she had a wide brown belt fastened around her waist, off which hung a long sword in a dark scabbard. Its hilt was silver, embedded with blue stones that seemed to glow with an inner light. They matched the perfectly cut stone that hung around her neck on a delicate silver chain.

Dudley still hadn't taken his eyes off of her. He seemed afraid that if he looked away she would disappear. Aunt Petunia's eyes widened and she backed away to the wall. Harry could see the wheels turning in her head. Harry took a deep breath in, his chest aching with the motion. Letting his words ride on the released air, he tried to dispel some of the anxiety gathering in her eyes, "She's no witch," he whispered. His aunt looked at him and he breathed again, "I don't know who she is." With his strength spent, Harry slid along the door to the floor, coming to rest in the pool his dripping clothes had created. His vision turning black as he heard his Aunt call for Uncle Vernon. His last thought was a wish that they would not dump the poor woman he had carried so far back out on the door mat.

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It's short, I know. And I know I not the best writer, so bear with me and let me get the story out. I am very fond of constructive criticism, so if you have any advice to give me on writing, I'm all ears. Please review.