Author: Emerald Falchion
Disclaimer: I'm not JK Rowling in disguise. Therefore, this isn't mine. So don't blame me for any insanity, unless it's non-canon. That part's all my fault! ;)
Beta: DarkNaruto002 (Thank you so much for all your help!)
Author's Note: I've had a plot bunny following me around for days now, glaring its evil little red eyes at me until I couldn't stand it any longer, so here you are. The beginning is the little rough because when I first sat down I hit writer's block (that's got to be some kind of record- I hadn't even written anything down yet!), so I had to find a way to get my creative juices flowing…. In other words, the prologue's a little out of the ordinary. Don't worry, though, it gets better… I hope!

Prologue: The Boy Who Lived

Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of Number Four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much. They were the last people you'd expect to be involved in anything strange or mysterious, because they just didn't hold with such nonsense.

But wait just one minute… haven't we all heard this before? Forgive me when I say I'd rather not painstakingly recite the first sixteen years of a certain hero's life, especially since JK Rowling has already done so marvelously. However, from this point on, I'm afraid she swayed from the truth of the matter to cater to the masses.

You see, while she was very accurate until then, including even the grievous details, it seems she suddenly changed her policy after she began writing Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Many of the events she named did not occur, and many she omitted were in fact crucial turning points in the war effort. You may even go so far as to say that, from that point on, she was spinning a tale purely of fiction for the enjoyment of her readers. And that is why I am here: to recount the tale of what truly occurred.

Chapter 1: Vacation

Despite the rather uncomfortable conditions of the moment, sitting awkwardly in the backseat of the Dursley's car and squashed between Dudley's monstrous bulk and the unforgiving car door, Harry Potter was actually looking forward to the upcoming weekend. It seemed that the Dursleys had finally decided to take their long desired vacation and couldn't find anywhere to leave Harry except with some cousin's friend's family (or some such nonsense), who would take him in for the weekend while they were off enjoying their stay in paradise. Harry intended to make the most of this wonderful opportunity, however. If these people were even the slightest bit less repulsive than his current "family", he would be ridiculously pleased. So though the car stank, he was hungry, and he had to use the loo, he looked ahead with timid hopefulness.

"Out, boy," his uncle suddenly declared as he pulled to the side of the road. Harry look around, feeling confused as he recognized that this wasn't a residential neighborhood. "We don't have time to drive you all the way there if we want to make it to the hotel check-in on time. Here's the address; it's not far," he said gruffly, thrusting a small piece of crumpled paper at Harry and shooing him out before slamming the door behind him and quickly driving off. Harry frowned slightly but shook off his growing sense of unease and set off to find his temporary home.

Hours later, the sky began to darken to a deeper blue and Harry still hadn't found the house he was looking for. Even though his gut told him it would be smarter to avoid attracting attention (there was a war going on, after all), which was why he hadn't stopped to ask directions yet, he finally decided to risk it rather than wander about the streets. The man he cornered and showed the paper to burst out laughing at once. "Your friends pranked you, kid. There ain't no addresses like that around here. Look at how it's written. That's an American address if I ever saw one."

Dazed, Harry thanked the man and walked out. His mind seemed to be working overtime as he had a series of revelations at once. One, there was no vacation. The Dursleys had acted very odd about the whole thing: packing almost nothing, saying they were only going to be gone for the weekend…. It all added up. If only Harry had seen it before. Two, they were definitely not coming back for him. If they had gone through the trouble to concoct this elaborate scheme and finally be rid of him, they weren't going to want him back any time soon. Which brought him to: three, he had no idea where to go or what to do now, holding his run-down suitcase and abandoned in Muggle London on a Friday night. To top it all off, his scar had begun to prickle insistently, which he rubbed absently as he sat on the curb with a thump to take stock of the situation.

He had in his tiny suitcase only his meager collection of cast-off clothing and a small bag of toiletries. However, he had also packed his rucksack with everything from the Wizarding World that he refused to part with, even for just a weekend, wrapping it in his Invisibility Cloak so the Dursleys wouldn't take it away. For once thankful for his paranoia, he listed off what it contained in his head: the Marauders Map, his wand, a wizarding photo album of his parents and friends, and a small pouch of Galleons along with a little Muggle money in case of emergency. He shivered in the chilly air and pulled on a tattered sweatshirt he had managed to filch from Dudley's old room, wrinkling his nose slightly at the smell.

He supposed the first thing to do would be to find a place to stay, most likely the Leaky Cauldron. As he pulled his wand out to flag his only means of transportation, the Knight Bus, he paused. Did he really want Stan and Ernie knowing he wasn't at the Dursleys? It wasn't that he didn't trust them; simply that they would see no harm in telling anyone and everyone who came aboard that Harry Potter had hitched a ride on the Bus not too long ago. If they attracted the wrong sort of attention…. perhaps it would be better not to let anyone know of his presence. He put his wand away with a sigh, no longer sure what to next.

Well, the first thing to do would be to keep from being recognized… other than his scar, his glasses were his most recognizable feature. He hated to take them off, as he was partially blind without them, but he could at least still see to get around even if he couldn't recognize faces; besides, it was dark anyway. Before he did that, however, he needed a hat to hide his unwieldy black hair and obvious scar.

Entering a small 24-hour convenience store, he looked around and finally spotted a nearly empty box in the corner with leftover winter beanies. There were only two kinds left: pink with orange polka dots or dark green with silver lining around the bottom. As much as Harry was loathe to wear a Slytherin-themed beanie, he much preferred it to the other horror. Luckily for him, he had enough to pay for the beanie as well as a banana and a bag of chips with his scanty supply of Muggle money. Having done so, he shoved the distasteful hat on his head, grimacing slightly, while feeling his forehead to be sure it covered his scar; afterwards, he removed his glasses.

Not sure whether it would be smarter to stay in one place or keep moving, he reluctantly decided he should try to get his bearings and see if he could find a way to get to the Leaky Cauldron without using magic. Knowing which way was North, courtesy of some Wilderness Survival unit from back in grade school, he decided going somewhere would at least feel more productive than remaining stationary. With his suitcase in his hand (and his wand in his back pocket), he headed up the street into the unknown.

Now he only had the most difficult task remaining: survive on his own until he could board the Hogwarts Express and make it to Hogwarts.

Author's Note: I had the idea to include a little taste of what's in the next chapter (just a sentence, mind you) as a sort of teaser trailer, so I think I'll start doing that. Muahahaha!
Teaser: I've finally snapped: Voldemort is concerned for my well-being.