The little boy sat shivering in his cupboard, no longer even hungry as the sounds of his cousins birthday party drifted through the cracks.
The eleven year old rejoiced as he learned he was a wizard and went to school. He visited the school nurse for a lingering injury and let her scan him, believing wizards might be able to change his life where Muggles had failed. He was proven wrong again.
The nurse, shocked, called the Headmaster, who looked neither shocked nor surprised. A whispered conference later, the nurse healed his wounds and never spoke about the incident again.
His friends came to rescue him in a flying car and told their parents he was being locked up and starved. He was given sympathetic looks and plenty of food, but no help. The next year, he went right back.
Year after year he fought his nemesis, Voldemort, until it became almost a comforting routine. Until the Dark Lord invaded the school himself in his sixth year at the Leaving Feast. The Great Hall was packed full when the Death Eaters streamed in, and lastly, the graceful deathly stalk of Voldemort broke the silence.
"Ah…" the abomination smiled, "home."
"Do you find that funny, Harry?" Voldemort inquired, "do you not feel the need to jump up and protect? As you know, only we can kill each other. Do you not wish to kill me, now that I attack your home, Harry?" the tone was deceptively mild.
"Oh, no, you're welcome to it," Harry waved his hand dismissively, "be my guest."
"HARRY!" voices shouted in shock.
"Mr Potter," the Headmaster stood up, "surely you wish to fight for your home, your parents home?"
The boy let out a bitter laugh. "My home? This isn't my home. I have no home. Why should I care about this place? No," he turned to the waiting Voldemort, "you can have it."
"Indeed?" the Dark Lord did not seem overly surprised, "well, your lack of resistance does make things easier, I must say."
"Mr Potter," Professor McGonagall snapped, "how can you say such a thing? How can you desert your world, and your friends, and everyone who has worked so hard for you?"
Something had changed. Voldemort sensed it first, although he had already known. The boy was no longer a boy – he had turned into a man.
"I am returning exactly the care and dedication you showed me, Professors," Harry said coolly, "which is none at all. Why should I feel obliged to fight for you, when you left me with people who harmed me, abused me, starved me? You who sent me back every year although you knew, before I started Hogwarts even, what they did to me? Why should I care? No, thank you."
A dark figure moved from the Head table to the Death Eaters and Harry.
"Hello, professor Snape," Harry greeted cheerfully.
"Severus," Voldemort greeted equally pleased, "you've done very well."
"Severus!" Dumbledore looked aghast, "have you betrayed us?"
"Oh no, he didn't," Harry smiled, "you see, Professor Snape was the only one willing to aid me. He discovered the truth about my treatment from the Dursleys during Occlumency lessons and has been talking to me ever since. I suspect he informed Tom over there of his findings."
"He did," Voldemort confirmed, "that is when I realized you might not be as much of an enemy as I suspected."
Dumbledore shook his head sadly. "What have you done, Harry? What are you going to do?"
"Exactly what you have done – nothing," Harry informed him.
"You're going to let Voldemort take over? You're going to get us killed?" angry and terrified voices started.
"What about it, Harry?" Voldemort asked in amusement.
"Oh, you are welcome to the Wizarding World, I won't bother you as long as you promise to leave alone a few select individuals. You have the list, I believe. In return, feel free to mess with my dear relatives as much as you like."
Every face in the hall was pale and angry. Harry shrugged.
"I was abused, and no one took notice. The ones that did easily obliged Headmaster Dumbledore in not taking any action. The only ones who did come to my aid where my friends, children still at that time. Hermione, Ron, Fred and George. The only ones on the 'do not touch' list I just mentioned. I was abandoned by you, and then as an eleven year old forced into the responsibility of saving your entire world while you sat on your arses and did nothing, but only sprang into action to vilify me. What do I owe you? You gave me nothing, only demanded. The more I gave, the more you wanted."
"Your parents would be ashamed of you," someone shouted.
Harry shrugged. "What would my parents say to all of you, if they knew what you did? How would they react? Would they choose your side, the people who allowed their son to be hurt and even took an active hand in it, or me, the son they willingly died for?"
Snape stepped forward. "Either they got the point now, Harry, or they'll never get it."
"Ah, true," the young man sighed, "well, thanks for everything, Severus. I do hope to see you around."
"You are very welcome," the Potions Master replied with a small smile, "I shall miss our 'detentions'."
"Me too. Don't be a stranger."
With a brief hug, he turned from the Potions Master to face Voldemort. "Severus is also on that list."
"I suspected as much," the snake-faced man scowled, "very well. What is your proposal, Harry James Potter, and what contract would you make with me, Tom Marvolo Riddle?" he asked formally.
"The Wizarding World, with mentioned exceptions, to you, and the Muggle World to me," Harry responded, "With the exceptions mentioned, I shall not interfere in the Wizarding World or the way you see fit to run it. In return, you shall not interfere with the Muggle world. Our divisions shall be clear."
"So they shall be."
"What have you done?!?!" Dumbledore shouted, "Harry!"
"We are two wizards of equal, high power," Harry calmly explained as if he was a teacher speaking to a student, "it is not unheard of that two such wizards, when they do not desire to fight each other, come to an understanding regarding their territories. We did just that. And now I must take my leave, as I am no longer on my own territory. Ron, Hermione, Severus – none of you shall be harmed in either world, neither shall Fred and George. You can travel between them as often as you wish. The rest of you," his eyes settled on the staff table, "had better not be caught on my territory."
He held out a hand to Voldemort, shook with the Dark Wizard, and walked out the doors, never to set foot in the Wizarding World again.