Chapter One – Broken Wings
It was shortly before school let out in his third year of elementary, that Harry saw a bow for the first time. The teacher was doing a history lesson on medieval weapons, and had miraculously managed to get permission to bring in real examples. While the rest of the mostly male class fawned over the broadswords, Harry hesitantly approached the two bows that had been laid out – a long bow and a short bow.
Although Harry didn't know it, his teacher saw his awed look. And if Harry somehow earned a few extra detentions in those early summer days, no one noted that fact as odd. Harry, of course, would keep the secret 'til he died, because he would not give the Dursley's a reason to take away his only hobby and gift – the short bow that he was learning to wield.
Darkest Before Dawn
To an outsider Harry's childhood would have been hell. Had anyone bothered to check on him, just the cupboard under the stairs would have been enough to turn even the most level headed into a one person mob, not to mention the bruises, chores and starvation that was also forced upon the boy. But for Harry, it was simply life.
Oh, he knew that what his relatives did was wrong, but no one ever listened when he tried to tell them. So, instead of complaining, he survived. Even before he got his bow, he was quite proficient in finding things he could eat in the gardens and parks surrounding Privet Drive, and was even able to start fires to cook what wasn't safe raw. And after he got his bow, well, he usually practiced by trying to hit the very agile squirrels and chipmunks.
Even though it wasn't normal, it was how he survived, and if nothing else, he was very good a surviving. After all, he survived in an environment the most couldn't. and expected, with all the foresight an almost eleven year old could, to continue to survive like that until he was old enough to leave the Dursley's.
Of course, he foresight never factored in the appearance of a Hogwarts letter.
Even though the teacher was gone by the next year, Harry kept up with his lessons in the use of his very well hidden bow. In fact, he practiced constantly, up until he left for Hogwarts. Once there, his guide, Hagrid, proved quite helpful, as he taught Harry how to wield a crossbow – never mind that he was eleven – and how to move through the forest.
Harry, between his magic lessons and exploring the castle with his fellow Gryffindors, eagerly soaked up the lessons, which would continue sporadically for his entire time at Hogwarts. Of course, that he sometimes went into the forest, with only his faithful pet hawk to accompany him, did not need to be known.
AN: I am posting this for Dannichigo. She thought the original was worth reading, and after that I couldn't stop expanding it. So, this is one of my stories from my files, and I hope everyone likes it! Please don't forget to review!