A Different Harry.

A Harry Potter fanfiction (my first, and probably only).

A/N: Oddly enough, I'm not a huge 'harry potter' fan- I like the idea of the story, but a lot of little things about it irk me, so I don't really 'love' it. But this little piece came into my head, and I couldn't get anything done until I wrote it out. If I have to suffer, so do you =D and so here it is.

Notes on the story: It doesn't contain any spoilers, is set Pre-Hogwarts, and is AU because it differs from the books.

I used to watch them, my family. I'd watch how they laughed, and talked, and were happy.

Without me.

It wasn't big things- not like they shouted abuse at me day and night, or beat me or starved me.

They didn't do anything like that.

They just... didn't like me as much, I suppose. As much as him. Or, sometimes, I think, at all.

I really wasn't anything much to them, I think, and that's what hurts most of all.

My aunt- Petunia, my uncle- Vernon and my cousin- a bit older than me, Dudley.

That's my family.

Aunt Petunia loves her home- she's always reading magazines about things to do to make it nicer, and she loves gossiping with the other ladies in our street, too. Sometimes I think she must be made of tea and biscuits, with how much they have them.

I'm pretty good at making biscuits, I think. And lamington fingers. I'd found the recipe one day in a book, and had made them that weekend, carefully cutting the pieces evenly before coating them in the runny chocolate icing and dipping them in coconut.

That Sunday, I'd heard the ladies in the book club ask where Aunt Petunia had bought them, and she'd said they were home made, but didn't bother saying who made them. The compliments my baking got that weekend were some of the nicest I've ever had, even if they didn't know that I'd made them.

Uncle Vernon seems to love his job- actually, I kind of imagine him like Marge's dog, Ripper- he really gets into it, and when he finds a client he wants, he doesn't stop until he seals the deal. Uncle Vernon hasn't ever really had much to do with me, which is funny, when we live in the same house. Sometimes, I'd wash the car or sort out the toolshed, which I liked, because I was really the only one who used the gardening tools at least. The garden bed along the back fence was all my own doing- something I had that Dudley never would (not that he'd want it). Not long after I'd turned 8, Aunt Petunia decided she wanted a 'kitchen garden' in the backyard, with herbs and little vegetables and such. While Dudley was playing with his friend, Aunt Petunia took me along to the nursery, where she bought garden edging and soil mix and pots and little hand tools- even a little watering can. The man there was really nice to me- and Aunt Petunia, but he took the time to explain what plants we couldn't grow and picked out little seedlings for us. We took them home, and Aunt Petunia said because I'd looked so interested, it would my job to look after the kitchen garden.

I didn't mind, even though I knew she just didn't really want to get dirty planting all the seedlings. That Christmas, I got two big books on plants and gardening- one that was almost a bit like an encyclopaedia and listed a whole heap of different plants and what they've been used for- from way back in ancient times to now. The other was a more normal gardening book, with really nice pictures and tips about how to grow things and stuff. I liked the biggest book best- it had little boxes with cool stuff in- like how the 'aloe vera' plant had been so special at one time, there was a battle over it- imagine, soldiers fighting all because of a little plant!

Oh. My cousin- Dudley. He's a bit of a bully at school, because he's always trying to show off, but he just ignores me, like Aunt and Uncle do, so it doesn't bother me that much. One time, one of his friends, Piers, tried to push me around after school, but Dudley just looked at me and him and said 'why bother?' like he was really bored (and he looked like he was, too). No one bothered me after that. It was like I didn't even exist. I used to wish that Dudley and I could be friends- I s'pose I still do now, a bit, but only because I don't have any friends, but I think he's just a bit too spoiled (not that he sees it), and I think, if he wanted to, I'd be one of those kids he picks on when he's bored, too, so we're stuck being cousins, and ignoring each other.

My Aunt and Uncle, though, adore Dudley. They're really pretty good parents, to Dudley. They're a lot... nicer, happier, with him than with me. Not that they're horrible to me- not at all.

When our birthdays and Christmas came around, we'd both get presents. And I was happy with mine- I was a kid, and I think all kids love presents, no matter what.

Like one year, we both got bicycles – only his cost over $500, and they gave him a bunch of gear to go with it, while mine was, well, at the cheaper end of the scale, shall we say. I did get a cool helmet though.

It wasn't just that one time, either, that made me think I was different to them. When we moved upwards in school, and we needed new uniforms, I got a second hand one- just one- from the school canteen lady, while they bought new shirts, shorts, socks and shoes for him. So I was careful with my uniform, and washed it by hand myself, too.

On outings- for shopping or for fun, was another time they showed that what I wanted wasn't ever going to be as important as what he wanted. It was never my choice when it came to eating out, or even just what I had to eat, and whatever shop I'd like to go in only ever got a visit if someone else wanted to go.

Even school wasn't safe. I was a good student- I was careful not to be too good, but I was decent, and I liked art. So when my teacher took one of my drawings to be exhibited in a nearby gallery (because it was that good, she'd said), I was excited enough that when I got home, I told my aunt and uncle, and asked if we could go to the exhibit opening, to see my piece.

My aunt must have been really surprised, because she said yes. I was so happy and excited, I forgot, for a while, that I didn't matter so much.

The day of the exhibit opening came, and the hours slowly ticked into the afternoon. Excited, I had grabbed a shower and put on a clean set of clothes- I'd ironed them myself, and even cleaned up my shoes. I waited for my Aunt or Uncle to tell us to get in the car to go- they were dressed too.

Turns out they weren't dressed to go to the gallery. Just dinner. Apparently with a 'family friend'.

It wasn't even like they did it on purpose, really- they just forgot. And my aunt does not 'just forget' things- she seems to remember all sorts of stuff, like dates, the times every tv show she likes is on, what my uncle's business partners and clients like for dinner or dessert.

It was just me no one seemed to be able to remember.

My heart broke even more that night- not because it was really so surprising, I suppose, but because I'd been so excited- she'd said yes, after all. So I stayed at home, sitting on my bed, wringing part of the duvet in each of my hands as I tried not to cry. It didn't work, but it gave me something to hold onto I guess.

I didn't bother telling them anything anymore after that.

A while later and I'd pretty much stopped talking to them altogether, except when they needed me to.

None of them noticed, and life went on as usual. I spent more time in my room with the door shut when I was at home, and in the library or on the park bench or swing when I was out. I didn't show my teacher any of my drawings anymore. The sad look I got when I explained I couldn't go to see my drawing when the exhibit was on made my stomach go all queasy. I hate pity. It doesn't do anything except make people feel bad and uncomfortable.

So I kept going, being left alone, and spending my time between my garden beds, the library and the park, reading anything that looked interesting, and baking on the weekends for Aunt Petunia's book club (though she was always around the kitchen when I did, just in case. Sometimes, she'd even make the little sandwiches while I mixed up cake batter or rolled biscuits into shape).

Everything changed the day I got that letter.

I wasn't sure if I liked it or not.

A/N. So, what did you all think?

A little weird, introspective piece from me to you.