Harry Potter and the End of the Beginning

"Potter! Get up you worthless fucking piece of shit!"came Vernon Dursley's angry cry, early one July morning. "Yes Uncle Vernon."Harry mumbled, he was once again having another terrible summer with the Dursleys. He still couldn't believe that Dumbledore made him come back here, even though the Dursley's were such dictators; not that he knew that. Harry kept it secret. As he walked into the kitchen he could see his uncle's fat, purple, puffed up face, as well as his horse-faced aunt's nagging face and his fat, clueless cousin's demanding, whining face. It was going to be another long day.

By the end of the day Harry was exhausted he'd had to cook for all of the Dursley's plus the guests they'd had coming for that evening. And because there were guests he had more chores then normal too, he had to mow the lawn with the old, push mower, then he had to clean the whole house, plus weeding the garden and every time he'd made a simple or complex mistake; Uncle Vernon beat him. Or Aunt Petunia or even Dudley had whacked him with the whip. This was going to be another hellish summer.

He remembered all the years before Hogwarts, when they had broken almost all of his bones until he was bleeding all over. His little cupboard was still stained with his blood and other profanities scribbled on his wall with his own blood by Dudley.

The shackles hung from the ceiling of the cupboard where they had hung him whilst he was gaged and blindfolded with barbed-wire covered cloth. He was not to receive anything but beatings and torment for the first eleven years of his life. This break would just be another to add to the list.

Harry had learned at an early age that he was not worth it, he would intentionally do bad in school just to avoid beatings. After all being better than Dudley meant a definite beating; and Dudley was really stupid.

Finally it was time to go back to Hogwarts and boy was Harry excited, it was his second year back and he hadn't gotten to see Ron or Hermione all summer! His back was killing him though...Wood would be annoyed that he hadn't practised all summer too. It's not like it was his fault; he hoped that no one would notice the circles under his eyes or that he'd lost a lot of weight or that he had a slight limp on his left side, Dudley had taken great pleasure snapping his left, calf bone in half with his foot, Harry had to make his own cast for that. Finally he found the car with Ron and Hermione in it, "Hey guys."he said. "Harry!"Hermione called, jumping up and hugging him, he barely stopped himself from wincing in pain. "Hey guys"he said, forcing a grin. "Hey Harry how was your summer?"Ron asked.

"Not to bad...how was yours?"Harry lied. "Awesome Fred and George were bloody brilliant with their beating!"Ron exclaimed, excitedly. Hermione rolled her eyes "I had a great summer too, I got a bunch of reading done!" they both sighed. Finally they got to the school Harry could already feel the comfort of the school rushing over him. He breathed in the school air and knew that he was home. During the sorting he could feel someone staring at him, so he looked around only to see that it was one Minerva McGonagall. He hoped that she couldn't see anything strange about him from there, that would be bad.

Unluckily for Harry, Mcgonagall did see something strange about him; she just couldn't place what it was. Slowly she leaned over towards Severus Snape, "Do you see anything strange about Harry?"she asked. "Personally I prefer to ignore Potter and his entourage of hooligans.""You know what I meant Severus, something looks off about him but I can't figure out what it is."she hissed. "Perhaps it's just a trick of the light Minerva, I don't see anything from here."he replied cooly. "Perhaps." she said briskly.

(Time Skip)It is now closing in on Christmas when Dumbledore has to send the students home for Christmas, because of the Chamber of Secrets being potentially reopened. Thankfully most students were leaving early, so our hero's still got their Polyjuice Potion work done and learned that Malfoy was not the culprit. Harry had virtually begged Dumbledore to let him stay. But to no avail, so now as he boarded the Hogwarts Express alone, the others had taken flew powder or left earlier including Ron and Hermione, he prepared for a horrid break. Not Christmas, just a break. The Dursley's had never let him have Christmas before and they sure as hell weren't going to start now.

Slowly Harry trudged up the steps into the Dursley's house and put his belongings into his blood-stained cupboard under the stairs. Only to be called to the kitchen by his uncle "Alright Potter you dirty, rotten, bastard. You are going to do all the cooking and cleaning this Christmas, and I don't want any complaining either. But when we have guests over you will be in your room, completely silent, and pretending not to exist. Do I make myself clear?"he spat, purple faced as always. "Yes Uncle Vernon."Harry responded dryly. It was going to be a long holiday.

And so Harry slaved away everyday from dawn until late at night, he got about 3 hours of sleep on a good night, when he wasn't being hung from shackles with barbed-wire over his eyes and mouth, along with lacerations on his torso, arms, legs and feet. As an added bonus if he was doing anything less then perfect he would be beaten. One day presents from the Weasley's and Hermione came via owl, in the Weasley's case and postage in Hermione's case. But Vernon, sick bastard he is, took them and made Harry watch as he burned them.

No Harry would receive nothing on Christmas. He spent all of Christmas Day locked in the cupboard underneath the stairs, listening to the Christmas that he would never have.

Finally two weeks later he was back on the Hogwarts Express, Hermione saw him first and immediately called out to him "Harry!"turning Harry barely saw Hermione before she was on him, shortly followed by Ron. "Hey mate, how were your holidays?"before Harry could respond Hermione asked "Did you like your gift?"he knew he couldn't lie out of this one. He sighed, "I don't know."he said quietly. "What was that?" Hermione asked. "I said I don't know!"Harry exclaimed, slightly louder then he meant to, thankfully nobody heard him. "What do you mean you don't know?" Ron asked confused. "The Dursley's burnt my gifts."he said flatly. Hermione and Ron stared at him, mouths open in silent horror. "WHAT?" they both simultaneously exploded.

"Just what I said, they burnt the gifts because I don't deserve Christmas."he explained as though they should understand this. "Harry that-that's the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard!"Hermione stated. "We've got to tell somebody so you can move and-""Hold it right there Hermione! This isn't important enough to bother the professors with, especially with the Chamber of Secrets being reopened."he said firmly "But Harry-" "No buts Hermione. It isn't that important."with that he turned and called that he was going to talk to Wood for a while. "I dunno bout you, but I'm pretty sure we ought tell somebody."Ron said, turning to Hermione who nodded. "Come on we better go find Professor McGonagall."

"Professor!"was the cry that Professor McGonagal heard, when she turned to see none other then Hermione Granger, and Ronald Weasley. "What is it you two?"she asked, curious. Normally students didn't come running to find her right after the holidays. "It's about Harry professor, can we talk to you in your office."slowly she nodded, wondering what was wrong with Harry. "Alright you two, what's the problem with Mr. Potter?"she asked once they were in her office. "Well professor it's not Harry that's the problem you see, it's his aunt and uncle."Hermione explained. "What about them?"McGonagall was now more curious then before. "They burnt Harry's Christmas presents!" they both said causing McGonagall to be taken back. 'What kind of sick, twisted, being burns a child's Christmas gifts?' "May I ask why Mr. Potter didn't come to tell me himself?" Hermione sighed "He said that it wasn't important enough to bother the professors with." Mcgonagall wasn't surprised, Harry always placed higher value on things that had nothing to do with him. "I'll speak with him and Professor Dumbledore about it, in the mean time there's a feast downstairs that you should be getting to."

After a very angered argument with one Albus Dumbledore, it was decided that Minerva could speak with Harry about the fiasco over the holidays. Thus after having the second year Gryffindors and Slytherins as they were leaving McGonagal called out "Potter, stay a moment please." confused Harry sauntered over to Professor McGonagal's desk, "Is something wrong professor?" Minerva shook her head. "Harry could you come to my office for a moment please?"

Now Harry was generally confused, it was weird enough that he was asked to stay for no apparent reason but even weirder she wanted to talk in her office. That meant this was a private matter, 'Maybe it's about the chamber...' he thought, sincerely hoping that they'd found the culprit and could prove him innocent. Having everyone look at you as though you were going to kill them was really getting annoying.

Once seated he glanced up slowly "What is it professor?"she looked up from her desk at him. 'I thought something looked off about him.'she noted the dark black rings around his eyes. "Harry, I was spoken to by some of your fellow Gryffindors after the holidays ended..."she started. Harry all but had annoyance and fear plastered across his forehead. Annoyance because he had a pretty good guess who had talked to her and what it was about. The fear was from what she might say to him or do to him for not speaking of it earlier.

'I told them this wasn't important why did they have to tell McGonagal of all people? I thought if anything Ron would've convinced Hermione to go to Flitwick or something...gah! This is bad!' Slowly he met his professor's eyes "What did they tell you about that concerns me professor?"he asked sounding genuinely confused.

"It's about your holiday Harry, or rather how you spent it."Harry immediately looked nervous "It was Ron and Hermione wasn't it...?"slowly she nodded, 'May as well tell him if he already knows.'she thought nonchalantly "Yes Harry your friends were quite concerned about your holiday...or lack there of." Harry gulped and looked away.

"Um...Professor I really should be going I'll be late for potions...and Professor Snape will be angry... and...and..."Minerva was no fool Harry was scared that she had found out. "Harry, I'm not angry with you for not telling me just confused at why you didn't."Harry looked at his professor in sheer amazement. 'She's not angry with me?'he was beyond flabbergasted or shocked he was just amazed. "Well are you going to tell me what happened?"McGonagall asked wryly.

Harry wasn't sure if he should or not, "...it was the same as any other holiday I've ever had."he explained simply praying that Ron and Hermione hadn't told her any details. To bad for Harry that wasn't the case, "My God Harry why didn't you say anything last year? If Ron and Hermione were telling the truth that is horrid."he gulped 'Just how much did they spill?'he wondered.

Minerva McGonagal was not an easily angered woman but this was where she drew the line. 'Burning a child's Christmas gifts! My God what is the world coming to?' she thought looking at the boy in front of her curiously. 'Oh Albus why didn't I fight you harder on where to leave Harry? What have we done?'