Title: To My Burden Of Years

Author: nilereina

Pairing: (implied) James/Lily, Vernon/Petunia, Harry/Ginny, Hermione/Ron, Hermione/Viktor, Ron/Lavender, Ginny/Dean

Rating: M

Archive: FFN, Unique Realities

Summary: There is one more year left to school at Hogwarts but Harry has decided not to attend, determined to uphold his promise to his mentor, Headmaster Albus Dumbledore...But as he waits for his seventeenth birthday, he decides to try his hand at unloading his burdens...Through a journal, he begins to record the last sixteen years of his life as he remembers them...With every entry created, he unloads his thoughts, questions, observations, fears, and memories...Things no one has ever known about Harry Potter or could possibly answer

Warnings/Disclaimers: HP characters belong to J.K. Rowling...Time line has been based on and credited to The Harry Potter Lexicon (as well as any information I possibly needed for clarification as well as Books 1-6)...M/F relationships according to Rowling...Spoilers for Books 1-6 and Movies 1-4...AU setting for Book 7...Situations of violence, bloodshed, torture, child neglect...Mostly Journal Format

Author Notes: AU setting takes place during summer break before Seventh Year (during the last week of July around Harry's seventeenth birthday)...Some direct quotes will be from Rowling's books (footnotes with the appropriate information are credited Rowling)...I won't always use the same details of the books; those details may possibly come from the movies (ex: Hagrid won't send Harry the Monster book...He'll receive it from Fudge when the Minister buys his books in POA)

Author Notes2: Titles of the books used in Harry's journal are credited to J.K. Rowling (just a summarized thought of Harry's year in his belief)...Some details will be glossed over or completely missed while others will go in depth (I did try containing the more important details...It's possible some that are glossed over or missed will appear in other chapters)...There are deliberate mistakes to give a reality of Harry writing a journal with ink (not everyone writes with a pencil and eraser...and it is very possible to make mistakes)...Some events will fall in random order while other events may be interrupted by chaotic thoughts, observations, and questions and still other events may be in sequence

Author Notes3: There may be a seventh year entry based on Book 7...Depending on the conclusion of the HP series and if anyone wishes, I may rewrite the summer Harry had before his seventeenth birthday...The rewrite of the this story may include Book 7 or Book 7's entry may be a complete different story (depending on what my reviewers would like to see)

Key Code:

Blah-- Harry's thoughts, Emphasis

//Blah//-- Journal entries

//"Blah"//-- Quotes

Blah-- Yelling/Screaming

Blah-- Mispellings/mistakes in Journal

Chapter One

Entrenched in dancing shadows from a single burning candle, sat a lone teen, staring out his barred bedroom window. He was bored. Bored and locked inside his bedroom. For the twelfth time, he glanced at the red numbers of a partially broken alarm clock. Four a.m. Only three more hours to breakfast. He sighed heavily, returning to his heavy thoughts. He had three more hours to spare, to entertain himself, before his aunt would unlock his door so he could prepare breakfast.

Breakfast. This was a very big meal, besides dinner, in his relatives' house. Each morning he rose early to have it ready by seven in the morning, before his uncle headed off to work and his cousin off to where-ever, sometimes even his aunt would take off. They all left him behind, having the neighbors watching the house or sending him off to a babysitter.

Besides, it took some time to prepare breakfast. He always made the same just with a few changes every other day. Sometimes it was fried eggs, others scrambled, and even omelets were created. Along with the eggs came crispy bacon, pancakes with fruit inside, buttered and jelly toast, fresh brewed coffee, freshly squeezed orange juice. That was just for his uncle. His aunt liked a slice of toast, a cup of juice, several cups of coffee, and freshly sliced fruit salad. His cousin was another story. Sure he liked having the same as his father but with extra. Seems they stop the dieting. Boy, will he be barely able to walk without waddling like a duck.

He snorted, trying to hold in his laughter, spit flying from the corners of his mouth. If he was correct, today his cousin would demand a side order of sausages and waffles with syrup, whip cream, and chocolate chips. I think fried potatoes are for tomorrow. He sighed heavily, wishing he had the list now but he wouldn't know breakfast's agenda until his door was unlocked.

For now, he suffered as sleep refused to arrive. Maybe now will be good. He glanced down at a small, tattered, blue journal. A single finger ran over the raised golden elaborate letters. L.E.'s Secrets. I can't believe I found her! Earlier that summer, he had been cleaning out the attic when he accidentally dropped a crumbling box. The contents spilled out, revealing photos of his mother and aunt. Buried beneath the scraps and loose photos was the journal. He had taken it, stuffing it beneath his oversized shirt, hoping to read it later.

He enjoyed learning of his mother's first years at home and then school. Made him feel closer to her as he learned more about his father from others. Swallowing, he reverently opened to the very last page she had written on, starting his own words upon the next empty page. Carefully he dipped his quill in to ink, not willing to lose a single drop, allowing his jumbled thoughts to flow free. Here goes nothing.

//July 25th 4:15 a.m.

My Past, Present, Future July 31, 1980-July 31, 1991 Birth to 11 yrs. old

Some say that writing makes everything better, helps ease tension when words cannot be used or understood. Another once told me to always write what I know. How does one write what they know when things are crossed and jumbled? Tied tightly in knots, nimble fingers working away. Well, perhaps it is time I work my way through and around the knots of my mind. Perhaps it is time to speak out. Perhaps it is time I release this burden.

My name is Harry James Potter. The only child of Lily Evans-Potter and James Potter. An orphan living with his only breathing relatives. More of that later.

I was born on July 31, 1980. And if I'm not mistaking, thats that's about six days away from now as I write. I shall turn seventeen, be of age in my world. And finally able to leave behind half of the history I know as a nightmare. There isn't much of my past from birth to barely over a year can be told. What I do know is what little I can remember in my dreams, barely even able to recall such things when I wake.

My parents died on October 31, 1981. Until I was eleven I didn't know the truth. According to my relatives, my parents died in a car crash. I was the only survivor, a scar upon my forehead the only testament to the fatal crash.

I don't remember much of my life with my relatives, the Dursleys. I blocked most of it out or remember only the bad. Petunia Evans-Dursley. My aunt from my mother's side. Vernon Dursley. My uncle through marriage. Dudley Dursley. Their precious baby boy, my cousin. They believed themselves the perfect family. The working husband. The doting wife. The obedient son.

I saw them as this: The verbally abusive uncle. The neglectful aunt. The bullying cousin. I was the one...in their minds...that ruined their perfect image. I was the unwanted nephew...cousin.

When my parents died, I came in to my aunt's care. How or why? That I hadn't understand either. At least not yet. They did but refused to let me in on that little secret. Petunia cared for me enough to keep me alive, barely. I spent ten and a half years beneath the stairs. A cramped little cupboard. My sanctuary. My punishment. My bedroom. But it was mine.

Never like me. They were always saying so. Never failed to let me know how they felt. Especially Dudley.

Dudley. The boy is F.A.T.!!!! Why can't they see that? They call him big-boned. A perfect gentleman. Just fine. Healthy. They don't seem to care that he is eating himself into a grave. An early grave. Every time I turn about, he's eating! Or bullying! You'd think with the so-called exercise of chasing children smaller than him, weaker, would slim him down. But it's like it helps make him fatter.

I swim in his clothes. Hanging off my thin form. All my clothes are hand-me-downs. All from Dudley. When he gains new, I get the old. Worn thin. Huge. Sometimes ragged and torn. I do my best to stitch the tears, knowing I need that clothing to last me. Been times they must last until two years later.

Bullies. Oh, how I hate them. Never knowing such blood lived within my own family. Bullies make life terrible. Dudley is one. He and his little gang. It is they who keep me isolated. No friends. No trust. No companionship. No life.

Vernon did the rest.

'Harry Hunting'...a game. Similar to tag or hide-n-seek. A way to torment me to their enjoyment. How I hate that Smelting stick. Hurts when struck.

Neglect and starvation. Petunia's specialty I guess. Or maybe it's just me. Is that normal? Does everyone treat their unwanted pests that way? If they didn't want someone living with them, couldn't another family member take them? Why force them to stay? Why keep something unwanted? Petunia had no problem throwing out broken toys, ruined food. She willingly tossed out unwanted items, selling them off or giving them away. So, why keep me?

Was there other family? I don't ever remember visiting a grandmother or grandfather. Or an aunt, an uncle, a cousin. No godmother, godfather. Was she an orphan too? Was my mother the only one left of their family? What about Vernon's? I only know Marge Dursley...my so-called aunt on his side. Don't like her either. And she refuses to like me, always having rude comments or desires to toss me out. I believe if she could, I'd be gone within the moment I arrived.

Chores and more chores. Seemed all I was good for. School wasn't much any more. I thought it to be a change of scenery, a chance to shine. But I would be locked away in my cupboard for being better than their perfect Dudley. I pulled back. Then again, my punishments consisted of scraps to eat or nothing and my cupboard for a day or so. Didn't pull back too often, if rarely.

Forgotten chores...perfect grades...weren't my only reasons of punishment. If I did anything freaky, at least according to Vernon, I was punished. Never did understand that whole line "any funny business, any at all"(1) but it didn't always matter. After all, I was usually blamed for such things: my hair growing back after being practically sheared off...climbing buildings when I found myself on the roof trying to hide behind trashcans from Dudley.

Ah, but now I could explain it. Then I couldn't. No more than I could about the glass vanishing. I swore it could have been magic and Vernon could barely speak through the rage. Once again, I was banned to my cupboard for a long time.

How I wanted friends. Maybe if I had them then I wouldn't be freaky. Perhaps I would be normal and they would accept me. But all they did was ruin me. They wanted their reputation clean and respectful. They allowed the neighborhood to believe I was brought in their home out of the kindness of their hearts. Giving me a cupboard to sleep, scraps to eat, over-sized clothing to wear.

St. Brutus' Secure Center for Incurably Criminal Boys. A mouthful. But supposedly my new school. For good reason. I vanished during nine months of the year only to return summer holidays.

The truth had come to haunt. Around my eleventh birthday. I remember waking and sitting at the kitchen table. Mail call. Among the letters was one for me:

"Mr. H. Potter

The Cupboard Under the Stairs

4 Privet Drive

Little Whinging

Surrey" (2)

How did this person know where I slept? How did they know of my exact place of residence? Who sent it? Why not leave an address label of the sender? All I saw was some weird stamp on the flap of envelope. A part of me excited, the other confused. Who knew me enough to send me a letter in hopes I would recognize it? Were there people watching me? Why did they contact me now? Why not come for me earlier?

And the Dursleys knew. One look at that weird stamp and they clammed up tighter than a snare drum. Vernon did everything to keep the letters away. He blocked the mail slot. They laid by the stoop. He burned them. But they still came down the chimney, when there was no fire.. Finally we fled...place to place. No good. Letters came...addressed to me. Each with the place I slept and where I was.

I was always curious of lighthouses. Tall buildings dedicated to aide the ships at sea. Lights revolving in hopes they would see to avoid collision with land. A tiny bedroom and small living room below the tower with the huge light bulb. Petunia and Vernon took the only bed. Dudley took the only couch. Me, the dirt covered floor.

I was eleven. Laying on the ground and drawing an outline of a cake with candles. Watching Dudley's wrist-watch for the time...midnight. How I wished for a grand party. Huge birthday cake...lots of presents...games...laughter...friends. My dream that may never come true. How is it that Dudley gets what he wants and I never could? What was so different about me? What was it that made them hate me? How does Dudley know who I am? Why won't they tell me?

My happy birthday. To me. And my surprise, the truth. Through the door it came. Or should I say he came?

"Rubeus Hagrid, Keeper of Keys and Grounds at Hogwarts." (3) A huge man bearing an even larger pink umbrella. A man carrying my letter. It was he who began the truth. He who showed me that my dreams were a reality.

My first friend the Dursleys couldn't keep away.

Stunned me speechless. I thought he was lying. He had to be, right? Vernon always said magic wasn't real. So, who was right? Turned out, Hagrid. His umbrella created fire that night. Right before my eyes. Magic was real. And I, I was a magical being called a wizard.

In one night my world shattered.

Why couldn't they tell me? Why hide it? But it was what they wanted. Car crash...drunks...unemployed...lazy. Words all my life describing my parents. That night it was: "I was the only one to see her as she was--a freak!" (4)

Freaks. What a word to describe magic. Unnatural...weird...abnormal. Words fed in to my own soul.

Truth. A madman murdered my family. A wizard bent on domination. Dursleys knew. Knew Mum married a wizard. Then was murdered.

A powerful Dark Lord. One I supposedly defeated, but not know how. How could a tiny infant defeat some thing that powerful? How is that even possible? Those in the Muggle world would be asking the same. Are the wizards and witches insane or what? Wouldn't be for a while I'd learn part of the truth...even then I was a bit skeptica.

The Boy Who Lived. What crock is that? So I survived. Everyday there are survivors from fatal disasters. Big deal. Something we see everyday on the television...on the news...on the radio...in the paper. At age eleven I find myself a symbol...a sign...a saint. Someone to chase the haunting shadows. A so-called paragon 9oof goodness.

I wonder. If I had declined my offer, would another school call on me? Then again who wouldn't want the fame of teaching Famous Harry Potter. What exactly is fame? What can it really get you? Friends you never knew? Offers who'd never come around if I wasn't rich or famous? Would anyone befriend me if I was Just Harry? Someone with a family, a true family? Someone not connected to fame or wanting to be connected? Would they want me if I was a nobody? Just a regular kid going to school to learn and going home to relatives? An orphan?

Then there's He Who Must Not Be Named...You Know Who...no, I don't know who. Who is that? Does he not have a name? Was he born nameless? How can they believe everyone knows who? I mean someone's bound not to know, right? Then I learn his name. Voldemort. Lord Voldemort. Dark Lord Voldemort. Everyone's bogeyman within the magical world. So-called scary man. Say his name and he comes calling.

Do they honestly believe that? It's like urban legends. Turn out the lights...say the name...and that person comes.

Ronald Weasley was like that. Feared saying a name. My second friend but first best friend. I had no Dudley bullying him, no Vernon saying I was a criminal. He preferred Ron. Over time I learned of his family. Bill, the oldest, works at Gringotts. A curse-breaker. Sounds interesting. Wonder what they do exactly? Perhaps I should ask the next time I see Bill. Charlie, the second oldest, works at Romania. A dragon keeper. Ah, him I met but in my Fourth Year. A dangerous career but all the well interesting as curse-breaker. Percy, the third oldest, works (now) at the Ministry. Was Head Boy in school, even Prefect. A stickler for rules and thorough research. On the outs with family. Fred and George, the identical twins, pranks galore. Loved a good joke and worshipped the Marauders. They made life entertaining, even used their gift as payback. They left Hogwarts by my Sixth Year, opening a joke shop. Ron, the youngest boy, my best friend. A Quidditch obsessed boy, hot-tempered, but reliable. Then there's Ginny, the youngest, the only girl of the family. Like her brothers; Ron, Fred, and George, she became my friend...I became her crush, her loving obsession...Soon I saw her the same way.

How I wanted a family. I think I would have given up everything just for a chance. I still remember the awe and astonishment of Ron, "Are you really Harry Potter?" (5)

Hermione Granger. A bit bossy, rule-abiding, studious. But she, too, became a friend. My second best friend. Never thought I'd have one friend, let alone three. She was the daughter of two Muggle dentists. Ron the son of a stay-at-home Mum and a Ministry worker father. Wish I knew what my Mum and Dad did. Maybe I can get someone to tell me what they did or wanted to do instead of telling me what they were like or acted.

James Potter. My father. A Pureblood wizard. Pureblood only meant that the magical line never went outside...never strayed. A bloodline that always remains within magical blood. Never marrying outside their status. Much like Muggles. Imagine my surprise to learn new words. Muggles are non-magical.

Non-magical. How is that possible? If Muggles are non-magical then how are Muggleborns created? They have magic just not the access. Then again, they do. Talent...superb luck...intuition...Muggle seers. Magic accessed to that point.

How do they not notice? So alike and they don't realize.

Purebloods. Rich Society. Both care about their money, their status, their nobility. They believed they were above everyone. Snobbish. Married only another of same status. Arranged marriages. Tracing backgrounds for the perfect match. Don't believe in fate or love. Only money and higher status. Family always of money and status...Purebloods always of magic and status. How ironic.

Half-bloods. Jocks and Cheerleaders. Have the status but not much else. Tolerable in high society. Possible leaders...high money earners. Try for higher positions with the rich...able to rub elbows with famous. Family with love of sports and sports alone. Wanting scholarships if money not enough. Desiring impressive schools and resumes. (half magical...half muggle... one parent from each side marrying)

Muggleborns. Intellectuals and Brainiacs. Barely tolerable but well-known for their services. Accountants...Book-keepers...Lawyers...Judges...and more. They are the ones keeping the world-go-round. But not desired for any marriageable match. Just needed for various reasons to keep themselves clean or to organize their lives.

Squibs. Magical blood but little ability. They were much like Muggles. A shameful secret in the family. The ones who hear and know everything. The ones who hide in the shadows. The servants...the peasants...the gold diggers rising high. They learn and remember. They struggle to be like others in society...struggle to survive period.

James Potter was a part of the Pureblood society. More like the black sheep within it. From what I learned, he wasn't much for tradition but love. Especially when it came to Lily Evans. He was the Heir to a powerful family, a prestigious Light family. Same family I will soon be the Head of as I am the only Potter left. I wonder. Have they truly looked for others or just assume? How do we know they aren't hiding some place? How do we know they are trying to protect themselves or their family or their children? What makes us think I'm the last if people assume or haven't thoroughly checked?

Light. Dark. What a magical way of saying Good and Evil. But don't they say you can't have one without the other. Maybe they haven't gotten the memo yet. It's a balance destined to be kept.

Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. A magical school to train witches and wizards. James Potter went from a no-good drunk to a high placed Pureblood. At age eleven, he received a letter to attend school. What exactly do Purebloods learn before they're eleven? Is it politics? Running the family business? Preparing for classes? Can they actually use magic at home when underage? Are there ways to work around Ministry wards and laws?

Seven years. At his side, three best friends. The four became a well-known group called the Marauders. Playing pranks on anyone and everyone they could. Laughs they could afford and enjoyed. Everyone seemed to praise them. But one man willingly took the stand. He refused to allow me to continue thinking...believing...that James Potter was an untouchable God. James Potter was also a bully. One student during his year was his constant target for pranks...humiliation abound. That student suffered beneath the hilarious touch of James Potter, Sirius Black, Peter Pettigrew, and Remus Lupin. Then again all I ever heard was James Potter and Sirius Black being the true bullies.

All schools have rivalries...Hogwarts was one. They pushed and pushed until it came to head. From what I learned, James regretted those moments. Besides the regrets and pranks there was one other thing that James pursued...Lily Evans. At first the two hated each other...disliked each other's attitude. James loved having fun. Lily was studious. But some time during their last year, love bloomed.

I have rivalries. Draco Malfoy...though he seems more as Ron's adversary than mine. They spend more time battling each other. Malfoy/Weasley feud. Explosive when either are near the other. One thinking he was better because of status and money...the other happy with what he has but would like money. Both hating based on bad blood.

Does the world realize what they learn and teach their children? Don't the parents know that it is their fault their child goes bad at times? They teach to hate what they hate. It happens in the Muggle world. Race, color, culture, status, sex, sexual orientation, appearance, background. Ironic, is it not? Magical world hates the same...but with big words: Creature...Bloodline...Affiliations.

Lily Evans. A Muggleborn. Talented and powerful. A sweet girl with a temper and the ability to back it up. She came from a small family. Mother...Father...Sister, Petunia. Lily forged ahead to prove herself as a witch among those who hate. Her family was lost to the war or at least that's what I was led to believe. Petunia hated everything to do with magic, wanting nothing to do with Lily and her world.

What do the Muggleborns say? At age eleven, an owl arrives with a letter of acceptance. All children start school by age five but those chose by eleven never return to middle school, let alone high school. How do their parents explain the absence? We do have truant officers and schools alert the authorities. Does anyone explain to the parents that the letter isn't a joke?

How does the Ministry deal with them? If they wish to return to the Muggle world, how is it possible? Can they regain their schooling? Get a degree with a rocky background? What if the letter is declined? Would another school offer? Can more than one offer come through? Can someone decline just to decline? Accidental magic mixed with emotions is difficult, possibly dangerous. How could one decline with that problem? Can it be blocked?

And maybe I'll kn never know.

What I do know is that some time after they graduated, Lily and James married. Shortly after, Lily was pregnant and years months later a baby boy was born. Around the same time, they had gone in to hiding. A Dark wizard was looking for them. Voldemort was hunting them. Or hunting those against him and his ideals.

On Octer October 31, 1981, they had been found. James Potter murdered first, believed to have been trying to protect his family or give them time run. Lily raced for her son, soon confronting Voldemort. She begged for mercy, murdered for her trouble. When the wand was pointed to baby Harry, something went wrong. Voldemort was banished and little Harry was the only survivor. Later placed with his only living relatives, the Dursleys.

Narrow-minded and stubborn. That's the magical world. Set upon a pedestal I was. Fell several times. I want to leave. Instead I think. Think of how the Dursleys would react if they learned of my fortune. It'll pay my way through school and classes. Anything else I wish.

How do Muggleborns pay their way? Do they even receive a vault? Does the Ministry pay? Or will the parents exchange Muggle money? What about Half-bloods? When does the magical spouse reveal their secret? Do they even reveal at all until the letter? How is the child affected? Are they taught anything or kept oblivious? Why can't we, the ignorant ones of a new world, be taught the basics? Why isn't there a class teaching us the ways of the magical world? I'm mean, they have a Muggle Studies! Why not Magical Studies? Big deal, they have a history class. That teaches us Muggleborns and Muggle raised nothing.

Ah, but daylight has broken above the horizon. Breakfast awaits shortly. One day I hope to fully know the answers.

Mum, Dad. Are you proud yet? I may not remember much but I have you in my heart.//

Harry sighed pleasurably as he stretched cramped muscles, unfolding from his chair. Yawning, he began to carefully pack away his items, blowing the last few words of ink dry. Reaching into the hole in his bedroom floor, he drew out the soft folds of his invisibility cloak. Quill, inkwell, and journal were wrapped in a loose section of the cloak. Then all were gently replaced before he stood. "Time to play the House elf, Harry. Breakfast and chores to be done."

Footnote: Quotes from J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone...Quote 1: Page 24...Quote 2: Page 34...Quote 3: Page 48...Quote 4: Page53...Quote 5: Page 98