NeoRyu777 signing on.

Ahem. I do not own Harry Potter, Final Fantasy VIII, or any other ideas you recognize as copyrighted. Only the OCs and original ideas are my own. Thank you.

This is my first fic, please be kind. As for pairings, I haven't decided on any yet. Flamers will be ignored.

NOTE: The following prologue is done from Harry's point of view, and as such, Harry's thoughts and speech will be limited to his five-year-old self. I promise, it will get better.

A World of Difference


Number 4 Privet Drive. It was a dull place, really, an entirely normal house in an entirely normal neighborhood that prided itself on being absolutely, mind-bogglingly normal. Except that the residents there, the Dursley family, had a great and terrible secret. Petunia Dursley's sister was a witch, a powerful one at that, and had died with her husband – a wizard – a few years ago, leaving their son, Harry James Potter, on their doorstep.

Petunia had no doubts that young Harry was magical, as opposed to her darling son, Dudley. How could he not be, with a wizard and a witch for parents? This belief was only proven when the boy levitated one of her Dudley's toys out of his crib to play with. She and her husband, Vernon, hated magic, loathed it with a passion unmatched by any other. They thought it was freakish and unnatural, and as a result, treated Harry as something inhuman.

It was July 30th, four years after Lily and James Potter had been killed. Harry was in his cupboard, silently counting down the time until his birthday using the watch he had found on the ground one day.

Knowing that he wouldn't have a cake or ice cream like his cousin Dudley did every birthday, or even any presents, Harry had used his fingers to draw one in the dust that had settled by his door, complete with five candles. Only a few minutes more, Harry thought to himself excitedly. And then I'll be old enough to go to school!

Harry had found out about school by overhearing his Aunt Petunia talk to his obese cousin Dudley, explaining that the year that children turned five years old, they were to go to first grade, where they would meet new people and make friends and learn. The prospect of actually leaving the house to actually learn and make friends sustained Harry when he received his beatings, gave him determination and strong will to succeed.

The watch beeped, marking a new hour, and Harry smiled; he was five years old! He was so happy that he wanted to do something, hug something, but there was nothing he could do. He was locked in his cupboard, with nothing but a bedroll and a few spiders. He gently scooped one up with his palm and brought it close to his face.

"I'm five years old now!" he whispered quietly, in full childish innocence. Spiders didn't scare him; they were in fact his only companions here in the cupboard. "D'ya think Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon will let me go to school?"

The spider made no response of course, but moved across Harry's small hand slowly. Harry put it down as gently as he could, and pulled up the covers to his bedroll, falling asleep with a smile on his face.

The next morning, Harry woke up cheerfully as his Aunt Petunia unlocked his cupboard. He'd had a wonderful dream that he was going to a nameless school where he made friends quickly and was able to play with them. He hoped the dream was close to real life.

As he was making eggs and bacon for his relatives, Harry tried to pluck up the nerve to ask his Aunt Petunia the question he desperately wanted answered. He had learned long ago that questions from him were not tolerated, but surely the answer was worth the usual punishment of a beating, especially if it was an affirmative.

On the other hand, if he asked in the middle of the meal, then it was likely that the food would be taken away from him, so Harry decided to wait until after breakfast. Beatings from Uncle Vernon were much worse than from Aunt Petunia, so he also waited until his uncle had left for work.

After Vernon left in his car, Harry turned to his aunt meekly. "Aunt Petunia?"

"What is it, boy?"

Harry was exceedingly nervous. "I'm five years old now…"

"What? You want a present, boy? Too bad!"

Harry shook his head. "No, I don't want a present. Or cake or anything else," he asserted firmly. "Am I going to go to school this year?"

Petunia's eyes narrowed. "Who told you about school?"

Harry was about to panic and began stuttering. "I, I heard you talking to Dudley one day w-w-while I was c-cleaning. Y-y-you said that when b-boys t-turn f-f-f-five, they g-go to school in fall."

Petunia frowned, remembering the one time Dudley had asked about primary school. How dare Potter listen in on us?! That little freak will get what's coming to him! "Absolutely not!" she said with a sneer. "School is for proper boys, you little freak!"

All of Harry's hopes were shattered in an instant as the words echoed in his ears. He burst into tears and ran out the door as fast as his scrawny legs could carry him, not hearing Petunia yelling at him not to leave the house. Harry ran all the way to the park where he sat underneath the slide, hugging his knees to his chest as he rocked back and forth, sobbing.

He wished with all his heart to be in a place where he could be accepted, where he wasn't hated instantly. Unknown to Harry, that day a solar eclipse was predicted for early in the morning, and as he made his wish, the moon fully eclipsed the sun. Furthermore, Harry did not know that solar eclipses were the most powerful events that influenced magic and made the impossible possible.

Harry felt something deep and powerful surge within him, tugging at his very soul, causing an inordinate amount of pain. Unable to stand it, Harry blacked out.