Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter, it belongs to JK Rowling, etc, etc. Anyone who thinks I do own Harry Potter is an idiot.

A/N: This is the first one-shot in a series that will cover the history of my Alternate Universe Harry story. For those who have read them, and are waiting for the next chapter for Year of Discord, I promise it will be coming soon. The reason I've been gone so long is because my computer died and I've only just got a new one. Anyway, I hope you enjoy, and let me know what you think.

Potter: A History

Beginnings

Harry Potter hated his life.

Ever since his parents had died in a car crash when he was only one-year-old he had been forced to live with his Aunt and Uncle, and they had no love for him. Harry suspected it had something to do with all the strangeness that surrounded his existence. They blamed him for the odd things that happened, so Harry figured it must be his fault, even though he had no control over them – they just happened.

His cousin Dudley picked up on the way his parents treated Harry (with casual neglect and off-hand abuse) and emulated them. Many a time had Harry locked himself in his bedroom (really just a cupboard under the stairs), nursing a bloody nose and lamenting his broken spectacles, while outside Dudley banged noisily on the door until he just got bored and went away.

Harry would cry silently, loathing himself for his weakness. At those times he could almost feel something, dark and malicious, bubbling inside his body, but unable to break free, it would trickle harmlessly out and frizzle away. That power scared Harry, maybe even more than he feared his cousin's meaty fists.

What made it all worse was that he knew he deserved it. That evil inside him was proof of it. It was why his Aunt, Uncle and Dudley all hated him. It was why no one ever tried to save him. And so he would lie in his cupboard and cry.

He was evil and he deserved everything he got, and it was all he could ever hope for –a life of scorn, as hatred devoured him. There was no hope for Harry Potter.

At ten years old he had come to accept that. He moved through life, kept his head down as much as possible, and got on with it. He had considered committing suicide, but he was too cowardly to ever follow through.

Now he was almost eleven, the minutes ticking by, nearing the midnight marker that would usher in another pointless year. He lay on the hard wooden floor of the shack and stared gloomily at the wall as the wind howled outside.

How had he come to be here?

The letter. He didn't even dare consider its contents, but he was curious. What would drive his uncle to such extremes as this? It must be bad, he thought, to justify this madness. Of course it's bad, it's addressed to me. He almost laughed at his own dour thoughts, but Harry never laughed. He'd learnt to keep his mouth shut, to move without drawing attention to himself, and to never, ever show even the slightest sign of amusement.

Shaking his head morosely, he glanced at his snoring cousin, who was stretched out on the musty sofa, and then over to the clock on the wall.

He counted down the seconds in his head.

Three.

Two.

One.

BANG!