Chapter One – Open Wounds

A cold moon shone its pearly light over the ghostly houses of Little Whinging, Surry, as if hoping to spot something that was out of place in this seemingly perfect neighbourhood. And it succeeded. A few rays of its pale light found a darkened window and fell upon a boy, or so one would think by his appearance. But this was no child. This was a young man, old beyond his years, a battle weary warrior forged in fire and shadows. This man was Harry Potter, and he was probably the most out of place thing you could hope to find in this 'ordinary' street. For Harry Potter, was a wizard. And not just any wizard either. Harry Potter was one of the most unusual and powerful wizards you could ever wish to meet, for he is the only person ever to survive a killing curse, and a killing curse from the most powerful Dark Wizard in over a century at that. Harry Potter, at the age of only one, had survived Lord Voldemort's attempt to kill him. And to make him even more extraordinary, he had not only survived him once, but four times! Although, not without cost. For Harry Potter did not live with his parents in this little suburb, for they had been murdered by Lord Voldemort in the very first attack by him that Harry had survived. And now, not even a month ago, he had been forced to watch a fellow school mate murdered in front of him, only to survive, once again, himself.

It would be hard for a muggle, or even an average witch or wizard to comprehend to mental anguish and torture these experiences had caused to this gentle hearted boy. Yet the moon knew. The moon understood. And if someone was watching with the moon through the tiny window of number four, then they might be able to begin to understand too. For this night was just like every other night that had passed for Harry for the past 3 weeks. As the ethereal radiance shone on his small, uncomfortable bed, it was possible to see his lean form twisted in his thin and tatty sheet, which was soaked through with sweat as he thrashed about, caught in the grips of a terrifying nightmare once more. Low moans issued from his straining throat, intermixed with intermitting words, as he fought with his dream.

'No...Noooo...please...stop...don't kill him...no, not again...please...NO!!!' The final word came out as a tortured, heart-rending scream as he bolted upright, his eyes wide and terrified, his breathing coming in heavy gasps as he fought to connect with the present once again. As he began to comprehend where he was, he heard a heavy thump from the room next door and an angry voice shout out 'Enough!' He heard heavy footsteps stomping down the hall and stopping outside his room and the clatter of many locks could be heard, before his door banged open, revealing the massive and currently very angry bulk of Harry's Uncle Vernon.

'I HAVE HAD ENOUGH OF YOUR SCREAMING POTTER!!!' he bellowed. 'Every night since you came back from that freakish school of yours you have kept this family awake. And it ends now! You are going to stop disturbing us even if I have to beat it into you!' And from behind his back he brought out a thick black leather belt. Harry's eyes widened with fright, and he scrambled out of bed, trying desperately to put as much space as possible between him and his uncle. His uncle lunged for him, arm outstretched, clearly intending to hold harry down while he beat him. Harry may have been tired and weak from his nightmare, but years of seeker training and dodging spells made it automatic to quickly move away, jumping over his bed to get away. However, this move had now put him in a corner with no way of escape, and Harry knew he was in for it. His uncle hadn't beaten him since before he got his first Hogwarts letter, but Harry remembered what it was like, and Vernon had four years of unresolved and unreleased frustration and anger to take out on Harry now. As his uncle closed in on him, Harry closed his eyes and prayed that he would pass out before his uncle had finished with him. As he felt the first burning stripe laid across him chest, he wondered what he had ever done to deserve this. No, forget that, he thought, as another stinging lash landed across his right cheek, knocking his head into his wardrobe, he knew what he had done to deserve this. He had been conceived. As Harry endured the fiery lash strokes, one after the other, setting every inch of his skin screaming in pain, he thought about every moment of his life that had led him here. Him, the Boy-Who- Lived, the hero of the Wizarding World, being beaten into a pulp by his muggle uncle. If only Dumbledore could see his precious Golden Boy now, he thought bitterly. Maybe then he would understand why he hated coming back here every summer. He had never told anyone about the abuse though. Not even when he was little, and he went into school, with his torso purple from bruises and his back burning from whip stripes. He didn't tell anyone when he went to Hogwarts either. Not Ron, not Hermione, not Dumbledore. But surely someone had noticed something, had wondered why the only clothes he wore that weren't his school uniform were 10 sizes too big for him, and as ragged as hell. Mrs Weasley always complained about how thin he was, but she never asked why he always came from his relatives looking as if he hadn't had a square meal since he left Hogwarts. But then again, did he really want them to know. Could he really live with the shame of them knowing? That was the reason he had never told. Because he was ashamed that they would think he was weak, a little boy beaten by his own family, people who were meant to love for him. But the only people who loved for him were either dead or unable to be with him. Dead like Cedric. Dead. Murdered. Because of Voldemort. As he thought about Voldemort, and all the pain he had caused him and his friends and family, anger began to build up in him, the likes of which he had never known before. Because of Voldemort he was stuck here with relatives he beat and starved him. But it wasn't just Voldemort though, Harry suddenly thought, not noticing that his Uncle had stopping lashing at him with the belt and had left the room, muttering about freaks and sleeping. Voldemort was the root as all his pain, but he had been aided by someone else, someone who Harry had trusted ever since he had first heard about him. Albus Dumbledore. Sure he had explained to Harry that he had to come back to the Dursley's because he was 'safe' here, but his first Hogwarts letter had been addressed to the cupboard under the bloody stairs. Didn't he think that that was the slightest bit off? And every year at Hogwarts, he had faced danger and death, in a place where he was supposed to be safe and protected, Where Cedric was supposed to be safe, where Ginny was supposed to be safe. But no. Cedric was dead and Ginny had nearly died, as well as dozens of other students, including Hermione. Dumbledore had failed to keep him and his family safe. And his friends were his family, he realised. Not these people who he happened to share a blood relationship with, but the people who he loved. And he did love them, he suddenly comprehended. Ron, Hermione, Ginny, all of the Weasleys, Remus, and Sirius. He loved them. And he would do anything to protect them. He felt a fire raging at the very core of his being, and for once, for the first time in his who life, Harry felt strong. He would keep his family safe, even if that meant going against Dumbledore's wishes. It was the man's own fault. He had failed way too many times. Now it was time for him to face up to his mistakes.

Harry James Potter sat up, ignoring the pain that bombarded his body. It was nothing compared to Voldemort's Cruciatus curse. Wiping some of the blood away from one of the cuts on his chest, he raised his hand, letting the moonlight shine on the blood, turning it black. Harry felt something stir inside him, and without knowing why he did it, he pressed his bloody fingers to the centre of his battered and bleeding chest and spoke the words which would change his life forever.

'I, Harry James Potter, Heir to the Potter family, here by swear by my blood and my magic, that I will protect my family no matter what it takes, even if it means my life for theirs. I will bring an end to Lord Voldemort, and I will have my freedom. So I will it, so mote it be.'

And as he spoke, a golden light shone around him like an aura, shining so bright it was like a star, making his eyes shine like emeralds, and if anyone had been there to see it, they would have felt courage, and honour, and power, and love, radiating from the young man who had just become a warrior for the light.

Disclaimer: Same as ever. I do not own anything that you recognise in this story, although I wish I did. J.K - you are fantastic.

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