Prologue; When everything's lost

Harry James Potter heaved a small sigh and closed his favourite book. Looking at the cover, which stated 'Charms and Curses for Beginners' Harry dropped the leather book on his bed and stood to stretch.

Glancing at the clock he uttered another sigh and turned away from the brightly shining red letters that clearly stated 12:34. It was officially his and his twin brother, Chase's, fourth birthday.

Or rather, Chase's birthday.

Harry closed his eyes for a minute, trying to recall the last time his parents had actually acknowledged him beside's as a child in their home that they had to feed, clothe, and house. Ok, so once in a while they did acknowledge him, but that was when they usually wanted something done, either for themselves or his 'brother'.

Harry opened his eyes and walked over to his dresser and pulled out an outfit that was coloured green and black; it was one of his favourites. Pulling it on he glanced at the mirror and paused.

Looking back at him was a small boy with thick, silky midnight black hair and exotic, bright emerald eyes. Even though he was small for the age of four, he had lost a lot of his baby fat and was slightly on the lean side thanks to all the time he spent running around outside to avoid his caretakers, also giving him a light, naturally toned tan.

Harry turned away from the mirror and slipped on his shoes while heading to the door. He stopped at the door, placing his hand on the knob and sighed.

He knew that he was uncharacteristically bright for someone his age (hello, he could read already, mainly thanks to the house elves he had begged to teach him), but he couldn't help it. When someone has been neglected for almost three years that person tends to develop certain traits that those around him don't have; in Harry's case, his intelligence. Unknown to most (since people didn't bother paying any heed to him) he had relatively fluent speech patterns and even understood, used, and could even define a lot of big words. That and his reading ability was well beyond any other kids his age.

But then again, there was nothing else to do but read or run when people don't even notice you.

Closing the door behind him Harry trotted down the stairs and turned into the living room that lead to the kitchen. Grabbing something quick to eat he started to exit when his green eyed, red haired mother came in though the kitchen door, twirling and laughing with his twin brother in her arms. Hoping not to be noticed Harry tried to slip from the room, but not before his mother spotted him.

"Harry, can you grab Chase his cup and put some broth from the microwave in it. Chase must be so hungry." She said tickling Chase and not seeming to notice that she had just told her four year old to do something that the average four year old shouldn't be doing.

But Harry just sighed and walked over to the cupboard, taking out the cup that was shaped like a lion and filling it up with the broth. Handing it to his mother she didn't ever seem to notice him and instead pressed the cup to Chase's mouth, causing the boy to cry happily and Harry to roll his eyes. Pathetic, his brother didn't even know how to feed himself. Actually, his brother didn't do much of anything now that he thought about it. Heck, Chase didn't even really use any words beside's the words 'mom', 'dad', 'food', and 'no', (which their parents went haywire when ever he said one for some odd reason; what was he, an infant?) though Harry knew he could speak normally (for a 4 year old) if he wanted to.

In fact, Harry was positive that Chase acted like a baby because he wanted the attention of one. But since he and Chase never really interacted, who knows.

Harry sighed for about the umpteenth time that day and studied his brother. His brother had darkly tanned skin and wide dark brown eyes; a trait he had picked up from their father, that and the wild hair, which was the red colour of their mother's gene. He was small in stature and width but all in all a healthy four year old.

Lily was fussing over him as he gurgled happily (really selling the infant card apparently). Harry resisted the urge to roll his eyes again and instead turned away and started toward the stairs to his bedroom.

Although Harry was ignored and his brother got all the attention Harry did kind of understand why. Chase was what Harry over heard Dumbledore (the strange elderly man that tended to visit them) call 'The Chosen One'. Harry didn't know what Chase was chosen for but whatever it was it got his mother crying and his father shouting angrily, so it had to be something serious and important.

Harry placed his hand on the railing at the bottom of the stairs and was about to head up when a strange and out-of-place noise from outside caught his attention. Harry once again mentally thanked himself for his extraordinarily good hearing and eye sight (something he doubted he inherited from his father's side but had saved him from trouble more then once) and cautiously walked toward the door, glancing back at the kitchen for his mother and wondering briefly why his father was apparently at a meeting at this time of night.

Keeping his steps light and soundless (thank you house elves for teaching him that trick) he made his way to the door and distrustfully looked through the window next to the door. Out in the darkness of their yard Harry could see nothing except the stray toy here and there. Thinking it was just a wild animal he started to turn away when a figure caught his eye. Using his keen eyesight, he was able to make out a tall, thin figure coming out of the shadows.

A figure wearing a black cloak with the hood up.

Harry instantly got a strong sense of foreboding and slowly backed away from the window, the food in his hands dropping to the floor. The sound of their impact snapped Harry out of the trance he had been in and he ran full speed to the kitchen.

"Mother. Mother!" He said almost in a yell. "There's a stranger in the front yard! I don't know who he is but I have this really bad feeling. He's tall, slim, and is wearing a thick black cloak..."

At the last part his mother's head snapped up and she spun toward him.

"Are you sure?" she demanded. Harry nodded.

"Positive."

Lily's eyes suddenly grew wide and she looked frantically around. Snapping out of it she picked Chase up and pressed him into Harry's arms. Harry almost dropped him because of the sudden weight but thankfully his muscles barely held.

Then Lily was kneeling before him and stroking Chase's confused and upset face while looking into Harry's eyes.

"Listen to me very carefully Harry." she said. Suddenly the house shook slightly and Harry knew that whoever was out there had probably gotten past the first barrier of the protections he had overheard his parents talking about a couple weeks ago. Lily closed her eyes momentarily before opening them again.

"I need you to promise me something." she continued. At Harry's nod she grabbed his shoulders and gripped them.

"Promise me that whatever happens tonight that, no matter what, you'll always protect your brother." she said tearfully.

Harry blinked in confusion (because seriously, of all things to ask or say she goes with that) before swallowing and nodding as the house rocked once more, nearly toppling him. He put a bewildered and scared Chase on his feet and firmly gripped his hand.

"Promise me Harry!" Lily said shaking slightly as the house gave another tremble; the second barrier was broken.

"I promise." Harry said softly. Lily was now fully crying.

"Run, up the stairs. Hide and don't come down, no matter what." she said ushering him to the stairs. Harry struggled up them while practically dragging his whining brother behind him. He was on the top stair when the house shuddered for the third and final time. Harry glanced down long enough to see Lily, who was positioned in front of the door, go flying backward as the door was blasted open and a red light followed in its wake. Not staying long enough to find out who the stranger was Harry ran full speed down the hall toward Chase's room, his grip on his struggling brother firm as his twin cried out in shock for their mother.

Running inside and pushing Chase down onto the floor by the closet, Harry closed the door and locked it, slowly backing up. There was a slow, antagonizing clicking as who ever it was slowly came up the stairs. Harry swallowed quietly and took a step back. As the clicking of foot steps reached the door they paused for a second... then moved on.

Harry could have feinted in relief. Looking back at Chase he was suddenly surprised to see him holding something that glinted in the small amount of light. Upon seeing it Harry swore silently.

A knife.

He must have picked it up sometime in the commotion, probably when it fell to the ground in all the shaking.

Harry turned and was about to come over and take the knife out of his brother's hands when Chase lost his grip on it from all the trembling he was doing. Chase grabbed at it to catch it, but it slipped and instead of catching the hilt he caught it by the blade, which went into the delicate skin of his hand, cutting a deep gash.

Chase dropped the knife, which clattered softly to the floor and, to Harry's horror, he started to scream.

Over the screams Harry heard the foot steps come back to the door and before he could do anything the door was whipped open. Harry, who was right by it, was hit by it and flung to the wall, hitting his head. Harry sunk slowly to the floor and watched in horror as the man slowly approached the screaming Chase, who wasn't paying any attention to the cloaked man and was instead still freaking out over his hand. Holding his head and shaking it Harry shook off the daze and watched as the man rose his wand and pointed it at Chase.

"May the prophesy die with you." Harry distinctively heard the man hiss in a cold voice. But as the man flicked his wand and started saying a spell Harry ran across the room and threw himself in front of his brother. As he watched, a streak of green light rushed out of the now surprised man's wand and hit him straight on. A distant part of his mind pointed out that they were both going to die now, but he brushed the thought away.

Then as the green light surrounded him a blazing pain erupted on his forehead as he watched the green light consume the man as well. The last thing he saw of the man was his hateful bright scarlet eyes gazing at him in a type of shock before the man, along with the green light, disappeared.

Harry lay suspended in the air for a minute, the light around him turning a vivid white. He was dazed and exhausted; his body too weak to move. Turning his head slightly to look once more at his crying brother, the cut from his hand bleeding in a steady stream to the floor, Harry closed his eyes... and disappeared from the Potter household.