Disclaimer: I own nothing.
A/N: First Harry Potter I think I can write semi-regularly. I like my sociopaths, I guess.
Harry Potter was not like normal boys. He knew this, as did the other children around him. He didn't appear to be all that threatening: a small boy, thin, with a guarded expression, he usually kept to himself, observing from the sidelines. He was the last to be picked in the schoolyard games, he wasn't anybody's friend, for certain, but the children around him soon learned that it was altogether much better if they didn't pick on the small boy from Number Four, Privet Drive.
Little things of theirs would go missing, first. Then small pranks would be played, simple ones like glue on the chair, or confetti weakly attached to the lid of the desk. If the children continued, however, things got serious.
Harry Potter had one major strength: he could know things. He had blackmail material on everybody. The abuse from his aunt had suddenly stopped when he casually mentioned a letter she had sent to some headmaster of an odd-sounding school, and while he still wasn't fed very much, the chores had lessened, and he wasn't sent to his cupboard for just anything.
But for the children, things were more severe. Contraband would be discovered, crumpled-up love poems would find themselves in the recipient's desk, all things that had a common denominator: none could ever be traced back to Harry Potter. But everyone knew: mess with the Potter boy at your own risk.
Even the school bully, Harry's oafish cousin Dudley, was less ominous than Harry Potter. Sure, Dudley could hit you, but the teachers could do something about that. What Potter did was untraceable, and absolutely humiliating.
So the children did what had to be done, and simply left Harry Potter alone, which suited him just fine. He could sit alone on the swings during recess, and stare out at the children playing, and learn about them. Harry Potter, of course, had a secret.
He could find out things. He could look at a person, wonder what their favorite color was, and suddenly he could simply know it was a certain shade of red. He could wonder what the definition of a word was, or the answer to a math problem, or his Aunt Petunia's most embarrassing secret, and then he would know. It was as though he had reference materials in his head, although that would be impossible. Impossible or not, though, it happened, and it caused other people to leave him alone, which was fine by him. He really preferred it that way. None of them were useful.
It was shortly before his eleventh birthday when the first letter came, from the strange-sounding school that Aunt Petunia had sent a letter to. He simply held onto it, and passed the other letters to his relatives, who ignored him, as usual. He entered his cupboard, filled with small trinkets he had stolen from bothersome classmates, and began to read the emerald green ink.
It was fascinating, an entire world he'd had no clue existed. And why? Because he hadn't asked the right questions. It was a lesson he took to heart, because nothing was worse than making mistakes and not fixing their causes. To properly use his gift, he needed to figure out how things connected. He'd had clues, since his Aunt Petunia had had relations with magic – through his mother, he discovered with a jolt – but he'd never acted on them. It needed to stop. Knowledge was power, and if there was one thing Harry truly hated, it was feeling powerless.
A/N: Basically, my idea is that abused kids respond very differently to similar circumstances. In the series, Harry latches on to the lack of acceptance from the Dursleys, and seeks it out wherever possible, meaning he forgives his friends easily, he trusts Dumbledore, and he lets Sirius Black into his life after only a few freaking hours spent together. Here, he lacks power, and he'll seek it out. Don't worry, he's no Riddle - he wants to be left alone, to have power, not necessarily use it. I get the feeling my Harry would see himself as a recluse God in the Mirror of Erised. Maybe he will, actually.