Disclaimer: I own none of the rights to any Harry Potter material. I make no money from this story. It is solely for enjoyment purposes.

Rating Reasons: child abuse, occasional violence, language, occasional author's (insensitive) notes, suggestive comments (not explicit), and possibly something I've forgotten that doesn't warrant much of an "M" rating in my mind. If I realize any of my writing has content that I have not warned about here I will list that warning at the beginning of that chapter.

Beyond Familiar

Chapter 1: Abuse and the Results

There are events in every person's life that may be referred to as life altering. Sometimes these events often help to establish a person's character. Sometimes they decide a how a person's life may turn out. Sometimes they save a person's life, or end it. Some of these events are anticipated and planned for, while others are never seen coming.

One such event was set to occur in one of the seemingly least likely of places. For what is not anticipated or carefully planned for on the prim street known as Privet Drive? The most surprising thing to happen on Privet Drive in recorded history was the adoption of a nephew by the residents of Number four. That was almost eight years past and the least planned for occurrence since then was death of one of Mrs. Figg's beloved cats in a car accident. No one could have guessed that the morning rays of sunshine on July 31st would mark the last hours of normalcy on Privet Drive for quite some time…

Harry Potter awoke in a bleak mood, not because he forgot it was his 10th birthday, but because he remembered it was. "Happy birthday Harry" he muttered to himself before getting dressed in his cupboard under the stairs before being let out for his chores. If he was simply to be ignored on the day his relatives, the Dursleys, cursed his birth, he thought he would be alright. He knew however that at least one of his relatives had this day circled on his rarely used calendar. Dudley Dursley never forgot his cousin Harry's birthday as it was one of his favorite holidays. Not for the kind of reason that warms your heart, but rather one that makes you want to invent new names to call nasty people. The reason Dudley loved his cousin's birthday was for his favorite tradition: birthday punches. It was in fact some of the only exercise he ever did voluntarily, as was evident from his enormous size, but he truly went above and beyond for the special occasion. Traditionally birthday punches are in good fun and are thrown lightly and number only up to the recipients age. Dudley had a slightly different take on the idea and that is what had Harry flinching every time he heard the bacon pop as he prepared breakfast for the Dursleys.

As Harry started setting the table his Aunt Petunia came in from the garden and her daily criticism of the quality of the neighbor's flower bed. Not that she should say much considering Harry maintained the garden. She quickly noticed her nephew and after scowling at him she informed Harry he was not to get himself a plate until he cleaned and put away the dishes he had dirtied in making breakfast. His Uncle Vernon Dursley soon joined his aunt in the kitchen and quickly noticed something amiss, "Boy, where's the paper?" barked Uncle Vernon through his walrus moustache. Noticing his mistake, Harry scurried from the kitchen to fetch the paper only to return and find his way blocked. Harry cringed internally as he found his cousin blocking the door and knowing what was to come next. Harry dropped the paper just before the first blow connected. He knew his uncle would punish him if he got any blood on the paper. Dudley had an alternative version of the birthday punch tradition, just for Harry, in which he gave one beating for each year of Harry's continued existence. As more blows rained down on Harry he retreated behind the walls he had developed in his mind to reflect on his best and only painless birthday that he could remember.

On his seventh birthday as Harry stood making breakfast he was dwelling on the upcoming beatings he was to receive from his cousin when said walking pig entered the kitchen. As he crossed the threshold Harry felt something like a charge in the air when suddenly Dudley began to vomit. As his aunt rushed Dudley out of the kitchen he suddenly stopped vomiting as soon as he stepped from the kitchen. After a few minutes in the loo to make sure he wouldn't start again he and his mother returned to the kitchen. Once again as they entered the kitchen Dudley became violently ill, this time directly onto Aunt Petunia's new shoes. Determining her son's illness was due to the smell of the breakfast Harry prepared Aunt Petunia took Dudley out to eat and left Harry to dispose of the meal that caused her son to become ill. After they left Harry proceeded to enjoy the largest and best meal of his life.

At the conclusion of this memory Harry suddenly realized his cousin was walking away towards the kitchen. After gathering himself and grabbing the newspaper he hurried back to the kitchen to hurriedly hand it to his uncle. "About time," grumbled his uncle. Harry then shuffled over to claim what scraps of food had been left unclaimed by his piggish cousin. Noticing the newly added dark stains on Harry's shirt Aunt Petunia began to screech about how Harry always tried to make her life more difficult. "Sorry Aunt Petunia, I tripped while passing the stairs and hit my head," Harry apologized. Harry had long since learned how much good it did to tell his relatives what their son did to him. It usually resulted in Uncle Vernon reenacting Dudley's treatment of Harry. Even the school nurse refused to listen to Harry's claims; though that likely had more to do with bribes taken from Vernon Dursley than any professional opinion.

The day continued in the same manner until after lunch and five birthday beatings later Harry found himself working in the Dursley's garden. Harry usually loved this particular part of Number four as it kept him secluded and he could pretend to be anywhere else. However when Dudley is searching for secluded places to give birthday beatings it was probably the worst possible place to be discovered by his rather brutish cousin. As the beating commenced Harry began to feel something rising up within him and he knew something bad was about to happen. He had only ever felt it a handful of times, including that during that precious memory of his seventh birthday. Suddenly as Harry felt a rib pop under one of his cousin's fiercer blows he felt as if the energy was about to be released. The only thought going through Harry's mind as the energy surged was for the blows to stop raining down. As this thought came to mind the air seemed to shimmer in front of Harry's body, before either had time to register this phenomenon in their minds Dudley's hand suddenly stopped in its descent towards his face. This sudden stop was marked by a loud crunching sound emanating from Dudley's now slightly disfigured fist. It appeared as though his hand had connected with a brick wall rather than the flesh Dudley had expected to encounter. Of course, nobody breaks almost every bone in their hand while remaining silent so Dudley's response to such pain brought his parents hurdling out of the house in a way that would never occur for Harry in a million years.

While Harry was still recovering from both the change in events and from his cousin's treatment just prior to the change he began to realize what his relatives were saying. "What happened?" Uncle Vernon asked Dudley, while Aunt Petunia sobbed hysterically over the state of her lovely angle's hand. The next three words from his cousin's mouth would forever change the course of Harry's life. "He did it." This statement accompanied by an accusatory finger from Dudley's uninjured hand sealed Harry's fate. As the older Dursleys finally became aware of Harry's presence the malice and ill intent became palpable in the small backyard of Number four. Vernon was the first to react, thundering towards Harry like a raging bull as Harry backed away quickly until he hit the back wall of the house. As Vernon reached him, Harry threw his right arm in front of his face to protect himself. Vernon was having none of that and grabbed the boy's forearm and slammed it against the house, or more accurately, the corner of the house. The resulting loud snap served to encourage Aunt Petunia to rush Dudley inside to protect his poor innocent eyes from seeing the just punishment of the monster that attacked her little angel. The sound of bone breaking and the ensuing cry of pain also served another purpose; it fueled Vernon Dursley's rage at his freak of a nephew.

With Vernon's rage hitting an all-time high Harry only had time to wonder if he would survive his birthday before the first punch landed. Vernon Dursley proceeded to bludgeon Harry's thin frame until Vernon was forced to hold Harry up by the throat to keep him from collapsing. Even after breaking two ribs (in addition to the one broken earlier by Dudley) Vernon did not seem to be content with the pain inflicted upon the ten year old boy. Harry thought it strange how he could still be alive and wondered why his broken ribs hadn't damaged something vital inside him in order to end the torment. He had no way to know that a force, not of fate, but of his own subconscious making was preventing his internal organs from the actions of his "family". While Harry was cursing the workings of fate he faintly noted through the pain that, for the second time that day, there was a feeling of energy suffusing the air. Though, he found it difficult to focus on anything beyond his current predicament and the accompanying mind-numbing pain.

When you feel like you are about to die people say that you will see your life flash before your eyes. I don't believe this statement was ever recorded properly. In my experience it seems more appropriate to say you see life flash before your eyes. Not your memories, but the life that exists around you, the realm of the living you are about to leave behind as your soul abandons the flesh to that mysterious next plane of existence. In that moment where you believe it is all about to end, you see the life around you, the beauty of LIFE itself. Not until that moment will you realize the bounty of life that walks the planet with us or the plethora of plant life that sustains it. It is as though you see the world in slow motion so as to allow you all the time to see the world that you will be missing out on. It is in those terrible moments when you recognize impending doom that you truly learn to recognize life and just how full of life the world around us truly is.

It was in these moments of hyperawareness that Harry Potter found himself envying the little garden snake that he could see wiggling its way under the neighbor's fence to escape the danger and noise found in the Dursley's garden. "If only it was so easy," Harry thought "Before I could even have a chance at escape I would have to get this monster off of me." As Harry's head bounced once more off of the house he had called prison for nine years the charge that had been building in the air seemed to come to a head. As a white flash suddenly dominated Harry's vision his only thought was to praise whatever powers saw fit to end it all.

A/N: Ok, so there's the painful part out of the way. I hate reading about abuse that I know actually happens to others in real life but I never realized how truly painful it is to write and invent. After dealing with that the rest should come together fairly easily. I will keep any changes in the schedule for the new chapters on my profile page. I think it's silly to post release dates in the author's notes then apologize in the next chapter. Even if I can't get a new chapter posted I will try to keep my progress listed on my profile. Also, don't expect every chapter to have equal length. I will try to type at a consistent pace but for organizational reasons some shorter chapters might be released faster while other longer chapters might take a bit longer. Keep in mind that I am new at this and while I greatly appreciate constructive criticism I don't want to deal with rude comments outside of work. I have a fire extinguisher ready for flamers and a warm handshake for anyone willing to give USEFUL tips (that for anybody thinking of being "cute"). Any grammar mistakes are my fault as spellcheck did its best with me. On a final note (and joke) about reviews: be gentle, it's my first time. ***If anyone would like to volunteer to be my beta for this story I would appreciate a PM***

P.S. I have had those feelings mentioned earlier when mentioning near death experiences. Whoever tells you they saw their life before their eyes was likely confused while trying to tell you they had all their regrets pass through their mind alongside some very choice cursing. Usually they're either cursing the situation, a person involved, or themselves (because of a choice or mistake). Also, I must credit my friend Bryan with giving me the idea for the birthday punches as my shoulder is still sore. (It was all in good fun but he could have switched which arm he hit…)