Hi everyone. This is the fifth year fic that everyone has to write. Please be warned that there is mention of child abuse in this story, but there is no graphic detail and it is NOT the main focus of this story. That will be Harry discovering exactly who he is and what he must do to defeat Voldemort. This is the first Harry Potter fic that I am posting though it is not the first I have written.
Disclaimer: If you see it and recognize it, I did not have the honor of creating it. We all know who did.Harry Potter and the Prophecy of the Phoenix: Chapter 1
Number 4 Privet Drive seemed to be an ordinary house, an illusion the Dursleys strove desperately to maintain, but the seemingly normal walls enclosed a quite abnormal family. The supposed center of this abnormality sat up gasping from a nightmare in the smallest upstairs bedroom
Harry Potter's eyes were wild, taking in his surroundings while trying to control his breathing. A soft cry of pain fell from his lips as one hand went to his throbbing scar and the other arm curled protectively around his ribs.
Vernon Dursley's drill company, Grunnings, had gone under. Unable to accept the fact that his company had failed because of his own incompetence, he blamed Harry and his abnormality. The protests that he was not allowed to perform magic outside his school because he was underage fell on deaf ears. Reeking of cheap alcohol, Vernon had left his gaping nephew with a split lip and a black eye. The Dursleys had done many horrible things to him in the past, but they had never physically harmed him before this summer. They had preferred to torture him psychologically.
Harry had almost been relieved when he heard his Aunt Petunia screech at Vernon, demanding to know what he had done. However, his heart fell abruptly when she started babbling about the neighbors asking questions. She didn't care if Vernon hit her nephew as long as there was no physical evidence that could be seen and could ruin their reputations.
Ever since that first encounter, Vernon, always drunk, was careful to avoid hitting his nephew anywhere that was visible just in case someone saw him and started asking questions. Vernon was also very particular about hitting Harry, not touching his precious wife and son.
Harry tried to fight back and escape at first, but Vernon eventually caught up with him. Without his magic, Harry was simply no match for his hulk of an uncle. He learned early on that if he just took it, the beatings would be shorter and cause less damage, as any resistance on Harry's part only seemed to further incense his inebriated uncle.
Slowly the pain ebbed, and a blanket of exhaustion wrapped around him. He had not had a decent night's sleep his entire summer vacation, and tomorrow would mark the beginning of his fifth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
He wondered briefly if his friends would recognize him. He barely recognized himself anymore. Eyes once sparkling emerald now seemed a lifeless gray, and a sickly pallor had replaced all color in his face except for the dark swelling, from lack of sleep, encircling his eyes. His normally unruly black hair had actually settled but now seemed to hang limply around his face, completely hiding his scar. Also, the height that he had gained over the summer only seemed to emphasize the amount of weight he had lost.
Dudley was still on his Smeltings diet but had yet to lose a pound. If anything, Dudley seemed more enormous than ever. Harry was convinced that Dudley had to be sneaking food. Harry's own efforts had been discovered, and Hedwig had been banished from the home. Harry had been punished severely for this transgression, and he was vaguely aware of his cousin's sneering face in the background. Thus, Hedwig had spent the majority of the summer at the Weasleys', and Harry had spent the majority of the summer alone and miserable.
The only saving grace of the summer was that Dumbledore had personally owled Harry's new books and supplies to him. Inside had been a letter apologizing and explaining that Harry would be unable to leave Privet Drive over the holidays for his own safety. Luckily, the owl had arrived late at night and had gone unnoticed by his relatives.
Also enclosed was a silver badge and a congratulatory note from Professor McGonagall, his head of house. Harry had laughed hollowly at this, convinced more than ever that the members of the entire staff at Hogwarts were all slightly mad though some more than others.
His books had given him something to do in the early morning hours when he was unable to fall back asleep. He had read through each of them twice and was now beginning his third reading. He smiled smugly as he cracked open his Potions text, thinking of the shocked expression on Snape's face when he realized that Harry actually knew the answers to his questions.
Harry dragged his trunk and Hedwig's empty cage toward Platform 9 3/4. His uncle, in an attempt to simply rid himself of Harry, had dropped him off incredibly early.
At least I'll have my choice of compartments. Harry reasoned to himself as he stepped across the barrier. His spirits rose at the sight of the scarlet Hogwarts Express, and a veil of relief seemed to settle on him as he boarded the train. Claiming an empty compartment, Harry basically collapsed into a seat.
He slipped into a state of reverie and was snapped out of it by the pandemonium outside the train that could only be the Weasley family.
"Oh, dear. I don't see him. I hope that awful uncle of his brings him." Came Mrs. Weasley's fretting voice. Though Harry had only known her for a few years, she was as close to a mother figure that he had ever known.
Smiling, Harry opened the window and called out, "It's okay, Mrs. Weasley. I made it."
"Oh, Harry dear. How are you?"
"I'm fine, thanks."
That taken care of, she turned to her children and Hermione, who had spent the last week at the Burrow, giving them last minute instructions and shoving them onto the train before it left without them.
Ron and Hermione were all smiles until they actually entered the compartment and saw their friend. Smiles faded into looks of concern as they took in his even slighter, almost-emaciated stature and the dark smudges under his eyes.
Before either could comment, Harry anticipated their concerns. "I'm all right."
That did not seem to satisfy them at all.
"Didn't they feed you at all?" Ron inquired as Hermione rushed to pull him into a tight hug.
Harry normally would have chuckled at Ron's comment, knowing the priority food had with Ron, but the sudden pressure against his ribs caused him to gasp in pain.
Hermione pulled away immediately. "You are not all right. What happened?"
"Drop it, Hermione, please." There was a twinge of desperation in his voice.
Reluctantly she acquiesced with a look saying that she would let the subject go for now but that the discussion would resume later.
A worried hoot averted Harry's gaze to the owl cage holding both Ron's owl, Pig, and Hedwig.
"Hedwig!" Harry greeted happily as Ron opened the cage to release her. Landing on his arm, she nipped at him affectionately and then turned an irritated gaze to the miniature owl still in the cage. Laughing for the first time in ages and ignoring the complaint of his ribs, Harry admonished, "Oh come now. It wasn't that bad, was it?"
When she ruffled her feathers in response, the entire trio burst into laughter, significantly easing the tension in the compartment.
Harry reclined back into his seat after putting Hedwig into her own cage. "So, how was your summer?"
Ron started before Hermione had a chance to speak. "You better watch out for Fred and George, Harry. Somehow they found an investor for their joke shop and were inventing all summer. Turned me blue for an entire week. Mom went off her rocker, but they felt so bad about it that they bought me new dress robes out of their investment money."
Harry grinned to himself. Fred and George had certainly kept their part of the bargain after Harry had given them his Triwizard Tournament earnings, and they had even found a way to buy the robes without arousing Ron's suspicions.
Hermione started talking about her week in Bulgaria, and Harry noticed that Ron's lips had tightened. Hermione was oblivious, however, and went on excitedly about all of the different books and sights she saw.
"What about you, Harry?" Ron asked, still trying to find the reason for his friend's appearance.
"The Dursleys were as horrible as ever, and Dudley was still on his diet." The tone of his voice implied that this was all that he was going to say.
"Did you two at least start studying for your O.W.L.s?" Hermione questioned, looking as if she already knew the answer.
"Of course not. Harry and I are going to wait until the last minute to cram. Right Harry?"
Two sets of eyes turned to him, and either answer would be the wrong one. Instead, Harry averted his gaze from Ron's.
"Harry!" Ron exclaimed with a hint of betrayal in his voice.
"It's not like I had anything better to do." He muttered, half-listening as Hermione and Ron got into another argument about the importance of school work. A small smile played on his lips. With all that had happened, some things never changed.
Harry did not know quite when he dozed off, but images of the third task and his horrific summer vacation began to flash unrelentingly through his head. They seemed to close in on him, and it was getting hard to breathe. It felt as if he was drowning, his lungs burning ferociously.
The chorus of two voices snapped him out of it, and he awoke to see Hermione and Ron looking at him in alarm. Apparently, a temporary truce had been called.
"You okay, mate?" Ron questioned, as Harry could not seem to catch his breath.
Harry had subconsciously wrapped his arm around his ribcage, and Hermione eyed it suspiciously.
"Yeah." He managed after dragging sufficient oxygen into his lungs.
"Does your scar hurt?" Hermione was looking at him as if she was afraid he would break.
"No. It was just a normal nightmare. Don't worry, Hermione. I'll be sure to tell Dumbledore if something happens." The truth was his scar was hurting a little. It constantly ached now, but he was not about to admit to it because Hermione had a tendency to overreact.
Ron's eyes were wide. "A normal nightmare?"
"Harry," Hermione's voice was soft, "when was the last time you got a decent night's sleep?"
"It's been a while." He admitted.
"Well it does!"
"Can't you show some sensitivity every once in awhile?"
Harry sighed. There they went arguing again. "If I didn't know better, I'd say you two were an old married couple."
A stunned silence met his statement, and Harry smirked in victory, turning to gaze at the scenery rushing past the window.
"Well, we better put on your robes. We'll be there any minute now." Hermione announced almost-haughtily.
Harry found himself unable to pay attention to the Sorting Ceremony. Ron had not taken Harry's position of prefect well, especially since Hermione had predictably become a prefect as well, and Harry did not need an attack of his friend's jealousy now.
He was also feeling dizzy and nauseous from exhaustion and malnutrition, and there was an odd sort of buzzing in his scar.
Something wasn't right.
His scar had never felt like this before.
He rubbed it unconsciously until he felt Ron and Hermione's eyes burning into him.
"Harry-" Hermione started.
"It just feels funny. I'll talk to Dumbledore after the feast."
He was saved from further questions as the feast suddenly appeared on the table. Ron characteristically heaped mounds of everything onto his plate while Harry, whose appetite normally mirrored Ron's, only served himself meager quantities.
Hermione turned disapproving eyes to Harry's plate.
"Hermione, this is more than what I got at the Dursleys', and I'm not feeling well. I'll be lucky to finish this." Harry responded without taking his eyes off his plate. He pushed around his food before bringing a bite to his mouth.
He really wished that Ron and Hermione would take their gazes off of him.
It was then that his scar exploded with pain.
The world around him disappeared.
He could not hear Ron and Hermione call to him in alarm as his eyes suddenly turned stark white, could not see Dumbledore rise in concern and head for him with McGonagall and Hagrid at his heels, and could not feel his body fall to the ground seconds before it burst into flames.
He was in the middle of a wooded area somewhere in front of a house, feeling quite disoriented and vaguely noticing the full moon.
The pain in his scar was so intense that his legs refused to hold him any longer, and he collapsed onto his knees.
"Are you sure they're in there?"
The voice belonged to Lucius Malfoy, and it was alarmingly close.
"Y-yes. The werewolf won't leave the house in fear of hurting someone, and his friend won't leave him alone."
A surge of fear shot through Harry as he realized the significance of those words. He struggled to his feet, thinking that somehow he could warn them, that he could save them, that they would not die purposelessly like Cedric.
The house seemed suddenly surrounded by Death Eaters, but Harry knew that they had probably been there before. He broke into a run towards the house and missed Lucius give the others the signal.
There was a massive cry of, "Incendio,"and the house erupted into a ball of flame. The force sent Harry flying backwards. Pushing himself up once more, he gazed in anguish at the fiery grave.
He was too late.
The Dark Mark appeared in the sky as if to mock him, to point out that he was a failure. He was the Boy-Who-Lived, but everyone around him seemed to die.
Satisfied with their handiwork, the Death Eaters disapparated.
Harry approached the flames, feeling the heat on his skin. He waved his hand, not noticing that he had no wand, and whispered an incantation that he did not know.
Instantly, the flames were snuffed as if he had blown out a candle.
He did not stop his approach until he was in the center of the ash where his legs gave out again.
"I'm sorry." He whispered as a single tear trailed down his cheek.
Unseen by the boy in his grief, two pairs of canine eyes were peering at the rubble from behind the bushes.
"Harry?" Dumbledore's concerned voice was beckoning him back.
Harry opened his eyes reluctantly. His scar was throbbing violently, and he did not want to face what had happened. At least his nightmares would be different tonight.
It took him a moment to realize that he was still in the Great Hall, which had been deserted, the feast forgotten.
"Harry." Dumbledore continued when Harry met his gaze. "What happened?"
A lump formed in Harry's throat, and he forced back tears. He noticed vaguely that the familiar sparkle was completely absent from Dumbledore's eyes.
"Death Eaters. Professor Lupin and Sirius were killed." The words sounded hollow and distant to his own ears. Had he really said them?
McGonagall gasped in surprise at the latter name, and Harry finally realized Hagrid and McGonagall's presence along with Dumbledore's.
Dumbledore raised a hand to quell the questions of the pair.
The pain in his scar intensified once again, and Harry moaned softly, bringing his hand to it.
He pulled his hand away in shock, shaking slightly, as it came into contact with a warm sticky substance and found his fingers stained crimson.
"My scar's bleeding."
He felt warm and fuzzy, feeling darkness creeping around him.
Am I going into shock? He wondered wildly.
"Harry, has this ever happened before?"
This must be bad. Dumbledore looks frightened.
"No." He responded before tumbling into the beckoning darkness.
Thank you so much if you made it this far. I won't threaten not to post if I don't get a certain number of reviews. That just makes me not want to review. However, I appreciate reviews greatly and hope that your finger hits the button at the bottom of the screen. If you absolutely hated it and you want to see the story banished, then I will write no more.