A/N: I've been trawling through fanfics for a really, really long time now. This is the first time I've ever attempted one, though. I Hope you'll be patient with me as far as the story goes. Two Sides is sort of a flagship for me and I've put in a lot of ideas and themes that I've personally always wanted to read in a fanfic. Although I'm doing this because I love to write, I'm not nearly arrogant enough to write for no audience and simply for the sake of myself. Stories are meant to be read and my continuing this fic would depend entirely on the response it receives. That being said, this will eventually turn into a Harry/Hermione. Not because I like it but because that's what would best suit this particular storyline.

P.S. Harry doesn't become Voldemort- dark, so don't worry.


PROLOGUE

A screech woke the Dursley household early Monday morning. Petunia Dursley, a thin, bony woman with a long face reminiscent of a horse, quickly stifled her scream as she recognized the squirming bundle on her front doorstep, her hands flying to her mouth. It had been a while since she had seen those green eyes and that absurd shock of black her sister's husband insisted was hair. In fact, it had been a while since she had even thought of them. With a quick, furtive look around to check if any of her neighbours had noticed, Petunia Dursley shot out an arm and grabbed her nephew, slamming the door shut.

Shaking fingers flew quickly around the now wide awake bundle looking for a note, a letter, anything as Petunia desperately tried to calm her thundering heart. Feeling something coarse and heavy, she pulled out a letter from the folds of the blanket. With trembling hands she unfolded the heavy, odd textured paper and began to read.

"VERNON!"

There was the sound of heavy steps and shortly, a rather large man with a moustache that made him look like a walrus appeared. He clutched his dressing gown around him with one hand while the other rubbed his eye.

"What is it, Petunia? Mrs Bigby's cat get to the milk again?"

The portly man stopped short at the sight that greeted him.

"What the ruddy hell is that?"

"They're dead, Vernon. This is theirs."

The baby gurgled happily.


CHAPTER 1

"Up! Get up, boy!" a sharp voice pierced the calm morning air through the slit in the cupboard door. "I will not have Diddums wait for his breakfast because you were too lazy to get out of bed in time. Up, boy, NOW!"

Inside the cupboard in question, a small boy with bright green eyes and scruffy jet black hair sat up sleepily, pushing a pair of worn out round glasses to his face. At the loud rapping proceeding a lack of response at his bedroom door Harry Potter mumbled incoherently before raising his voice.

"I'll get started at once, Aunt Petunia."

The rapping ceased and Harry quickly extricated himself from his sheets and rushed outside. As quickly as possible, he made his way to the kitchen and slipped inside praying he would be alone. He breathed a sigh of relief. He was alone, as evidenced by the severe lack of raised voices at his arrival. Within minutes, the pan was spitting and a delicious smell of frying bacon and hot coffee permeated the rather large Dursley household.

Just as he was done and had begun flipping the bacon onto plates, Vernon Dursley wandered in with the day's papers under an arm. Ignoring Harry, he lowered himself into a chair with a grunt before tucking in. Soon after, Dudley 'Diddums' Dursley burst in and his eyes lit up when he saw the food. Harry stood away to the side and stared out of the window. This was a common occurrence at the Dursley's. So common, in fact, that Harry almost missed what Uncle Vernon was saying for it being so far off from the daily routine. That and the fact that Uncle Vernon was speaking in what might have passed for an outdoor voice instead of the usual yell when he was addressing Harry.

"..and Mrs. Figg will have to rest up for a month. You better behave, boy, or it will be the cupboard and no food for a week!"

Startled, Harry said the first thing that came to his mind, "Huh?" Uncle Vernon's eyes narrowed dangerously. Dudley began sniggering at the other end of the table. He had seen this happen countless times but it never lost its charm. Although he was much too scared to blatantly bully the freak, not after the first few times, he enjoyed his father putting Harry in what he deemed 'his rightful place'. The freak never pulled any of his rubbish around his father.

When his father's yells were well on their way, Dudley allowed his thoughts to drift and try as he might to avoid a particularly nasty bunch of them, his thought steering set up seemed decidedly uncooperative today

Eight year old Dudley was in the garden playing with his brand new toy car that his Aunt Marge had gifted him. A too small Harry was watching him from afar, his eyes staring at the shiny red car longingly. Dudley could see him from the corner of his eye and it pleased him that the plan was working so far.

After a while when Harry still hadn't moved, Dudley began to get frustrated. What good was his trying to bait Harry if the boy just sat there? Quickly coming to a decision, Dudley jumped up and moved to where Harry was now watching with a wary look in his green eyes. By the time he reached, Harry hadn't moved although he seemed poised to take flight at the slightest hint of a threat.

Idly leaning against the fence, Dudley looked down and was once again reminded just how small his cousin really was. It made him that much larger and that made him feel good. "I saw you looking. If you want to play you have to ask me ", said Dudley.

Harry looked into his eyes and Dudley felt a mild discomfort but he brushed it off easily. Slowly, almost as if sure it was a trap, Harry asked him, "Could I play with the car for some time, please?" Dudley grinned and held out the car. "Here you go. Make sure you don't break it."

Eyes never leaving the massive blob that was his cousin, Harry reached for the car and blinked when Dudley suddenly caught hold of his arm. Harry's mouth turned down at the corners, he was already fighting tears and that just spurred Dudley on. Dudley grinned and began twisting Harry's arm deliberately. Harry gasped at the pain and tears leaked out while he looked fearfully at his cousin.

And suddenly, Dudley released him and with a jerk had smashed his new car into the fence. Smirking at Harry he said, "I wanted a blue car. Now Mummy and Daddy will HAVE to buy me a blue one! And all this is your fault! Look what you did to my car! I'll tell Daddy on you and he'll set you right!"

Harry, who had been cowering till now, abruptly stiffened. "No! Uncle Vernon would beat me again. Don't do it Dudley" he said. Dudley laughed and turned around making to march back to the house. A small hand shot out and grabbed his arm. Dudley spun around incensed and with a mighty punch, Harry was lying in the grass wheezing. Dudley advanced on him, his eyes glittering and promising pain.

Suddenly, Dudley was flung back with such a force that he flew across the garden and fell right into a bed of Aunt Petunia's roses. Groaning, he looked up to see Harry standing there, his face red and mouth trembling. He blinked and just as suddenly, Harry was gone and his place was taken by his mother looking concerned. Dudley did not venture near Harry for almost a year.

Dudley was brought back by the sound of his mother coming in and he realised he'd missed his father shouting at Harry. Feeling slightly disappointed, he shrugged and wolfed down his remaining breakfast before pushing off the table, kissing his mother on the cheek and waving at his father. He walked out and was immediately greeted by the sight of Piers Polkiss, his best mate waiting at the gate.

The day passed uneventfully for Dudley. He and Piers had made for the Polkiss' and spent the morning playing video games. After a quick lunch at their house, the pair decided to watch television for a while and ended up spending the entire afternoon in front of the telly. In the evening they were shooed out by Mrs Polkiss saying they needed to get some fresh air or they'd become sick. Deciding to head toward the park and see if they could find a kid to have fun with, Dudley and Piers set out.

Harry had had a relatively mild day. Apart from the initial yelling he'd received from Uncle Vernon in the morning, the day had worn pleasantly as he completed his various household chores. In the evening, Aunt Petunia had told him to clear out of the house while she picked up the gifts and goodies for Dudley's birthday party the next day. Enjoying the relative freedom, Harry walked without a thought to where he was headed and found himself in the park.

No one was about this early on a hot summer day but Harry didn't mind. He liked the quiet. Walking over to a swing, he sat on it and used his feet to push himself. He just sat there with eyes half closed, facing the sun and one foot lazily swinging over the seat enjoying the warmth. Dudley and Piers rounded the corner to the park and saw a boy on a swing in the distance.

Feelings of unease and a sense of foreboding filled Dudley as they edged closer to the boy on the swing trying to remain unseen until they were close enough. Moving closer, he suddenly recognised the hair and his old clothes. Putting his hand out, he caught Piers and shook his head. Piers gave an inquiring look but followed when Dudley made his way back.

"It was my cousin" said Dudley by way of explanation and Piers stood shocked. That was close. Without another word, they almost ran and ended up at the nearest ice cream shop. Eating a triple chocolate sundae, Dudley shuddered as he remembered the last time him and Piers had rounded on Harry.

It was term time and Dudley and the scrawny cousin of his attended the same school; Stonewall High. During lunch, Dudley and his gang made it a point to torment the kids and steal all the lunch they could get their hands on. Piers had been his best friend right from the start. They were too alike not to have been. Both hulking, huge boys below average academically and nearly useless on the field. They even lived close to each other and that clinched it. Harry, Dudley and his gang were in the same class and Harry was, to put it simply, brilliant. He was intelligent, polite and quiet and every teacher's favourite.

Dudley, by this time had learnt enough to leave Harry alone. A number of small inexplicable events had convinced him that Harry Hunting was really not worth what Harry would do to him later. Piers, on the other hand, had no such compunctions and was constantly surprised and irritated at being held back from targeting Harry for a bit of fun.

In Piers' opinion, Harry was small, the teacher's pet and small. That fit his plaything criteria perfectly. He was aghast when Dudley had muttered a quiet "Leave him alone" when he'd pointed out the skinny midget in glasses to him one afternoon. As is human nature, being denied the chance to mess with the kid that made the others look bad, Piers was all the more determined to take upon himself cornering Harry secretly after attempting on many occasions to convince Dudley to join him.

One afternoon when Dudley was engrossed in a bit of homework (his teacher had assured him she would take him on a tour to the principal's office if he failed to hand it in again), Piers found his chance. Mumbling something about going to the loo, he made his way around the school grounds, his eyes flitting constantly in the search of black hair and glasses. Spotting Harry under a largish window set in a secluded side of the building, Piers grinned and strutted over.

Dudley, in a remarkable show of quick thinking, realised just what Piers was up to when he headed the wrong direction once out of the door. He quickly got up to follow and bumped the table causing his books to fall over. Cursing, he picked them up and hurried after the disappearing figure of Piers. Weaving between the older students and pushing the smaller, he noticed Piers vanish around a side of the building and gave chase.

When he rounded the side, fear gripped him. It was empty. Looking around, a sudden movement in one of the open store rooms caught his attention and he waddled over as fast as his fat legs would allow. Pushing past the door with the broken lock, Dudley peeked inside promptly screamed. He and Piers were still screaming when the school attendant came to find them a half hour later. The school nurse put it down to dark places and a boy's hyperactive imagination. The attendant did not mention the quiet, polite boy who was everyone's favourite walking out quietly the other end.

Shaking, Dudley decided to order another ice when he realised that the freak had managed to make him miss another thing he loved; eating ice cream that day. Oh well, it wasn't like he could do anything about it, he shrugged. When the two were finished, they wandered around the neighbourhood aimlessly, taking pleasure in the frightened young faces peeping from the windows and the kids on the block hurriedly rushing inside as they drew closer.

Finally, darkness set in as the sun finished painting the sky in a riot of colours and retired for the night. Dudley glanced up, noting the late hour and decide to head back. Polkiss' was closer and he bade goodbye before turning towards his home. Dudley kicked a stone along the road and a rather hard kick forced the stone to skitter a long way and come to a stop by the feet of a most strange figure. It was tall; half covered by the shadows and seemed to be wearing a very fluid, loose fitting overcoat of some sort, one that went down all the way to his feet.

The figure seemed to have been watching his house before the stone caused it to turn slowly. Dudley stopped, frightened for some reason. The figure seemed to consider him for a moment before reaching within the folds of his overcoat and drawing a stick. It raised the stick and with a final look toward the fat little boy, turned and vanished with a CRACK!

Dudley uttered a frightened little squeak and ran up the drive to his house, not stopping once inside and all the way to the bedroom where he locked the door and crawled beneath his bed. Harry. This was all his fault somehow. He must have seen Dudley and Piers stalking up to him in the park earlier in the day and was now punishing him. He stayed there until he heard his mother shout that dinner was ready. Feeling distinctly better after lying there for over an hour, he crawled out and rushed downstairs.

Pushing open the kitchen door, the first sight that greeted him was of the freak standing to a side, staring out of the window as was his wont during any meal. He hesitated, but seeing that Harry hadn't turned or shown the slightest signs of acknowledging him, he slowly made his way to the table where his parents were already started. Sitting down, he began to eat happily, all thoughts of the day's encounter forgotten as he tried to stuff third helpings of the roast down and still leave room for a bit of that marvellous cheese cake he had seen on the counter.