Chapter Zero ~ Introduction

Disclaimer for this Story:

Everything you recognise is not mine. Just borrowing, no money earned. (I will only post this here. Once has to be enough; I wont do it in every Chapter...!)

A/N: I'm not a native English speaker, I had a great team of Beta-readers until Chapter 27, since I absolutely dislike reading un-betad stories myself. I thought of rewriting some chapters, but I decided not to. My English has grown with this story and to rewrite it would be like erasing my past of development. I hope you understand. I just re-corrected the chapters based on the correction my betas, BreannaTala, Miriam1, Laurenke1, cara-tanaka, Zarahustra46 and many readers who helped me along, had given me before 2013. (Thank you again so much! You have done a great job!)

I also thank you already for each review and I am looking forward to your thoughts. Questions will be answerd in Chapter 36. I'm still writing.

- Thoughts and Memories are cursive, just like this.

- Harry speaking after Chapter 20 is cursive with '…..'

- Parseltounge is marked with *...*

- Severus Snape is 'OUT OF CHARACTER'!

- Manipulative Dumbledore!

- Severitus: that means Severus is a parental figure!


- Remember, Dursley's are just cruel. And so are Dark Lords, Death Eaters and some memories.

Chapter One ~ R. rugosa Alba

Light trickled through a little crack in the wooden door, but it wouldn't be enough to lighten the tiny room under the stairs. It wasn't a big room - just barely big enough to fit a little thin mattress under the lower part by the stairs and a shelf on the other side.

On the mattress, on the very far corner and directly under the stairs, lay a small body curled up into a ball - knees to its chest – sleeping.

- . -

The house was silent, everybody still asleep.

- . -

When the sun shone through the cracks in the door and the wood had a golden shimmer, the little thin body moved slowly and sluggishly came to life. The sleep faded, and so did the dream: a warm summer dream of freedom and happiness. The skinny little boy got up from his bed, stretched his stiff body and shivered in the cool air. He barely could move. Long red cuts, some open and some healed, criss-crossed his back. Blue and green bruises coloured his shoulders and on one side of his neck was a yellow stripe.

He pulled fresh underwear and a shirt out of the lower shelf and dressed in oversized, baggy jeans. His grey socks had a hole on the left big toe, so he pulled the socks off and switched them, so his little toe on his right foot had the hole. With careful precision, he turned to make his bed and covered the light green sheet on the mattress with the blue blanket he had since he could remember. It was too small to cover him fully, but it gave him warm feet at night. Right next to his bed, next to the wall and on a carton box were his glasses. He grabbed them and put them on his nose. They still didn't fit right. Years ago, his aunt had found them in a neighbours trash can. Silently, he opened the now-golden-looking door - just a crack, so it won't make any noise, slid into the hallway and closed the hidden cupboard door.

- . -

Still everybody else was sound asleep.

- . –

Light from the morning sun shined through the window directly across the door and made the air in the hallway look like a golden stream. An icy film lay on the outside glass, just melting by the sudden warmth of the winter light. The little boy gave a quiet, "Good morning," to a black spider on the top left corner of the window, which looked golden, too. He made his way to the small guest bathroom on the other side of the stairs.

He used the bathroom, brushed his teeth, cleaned his face and hands with cold water – since he was not allowed to use warm water – and combed his hair. On the day before, there had been a hole of missing hair right above his right ear. Now, there wasn't a hole anymore – the messy hair had grown back and covered his head like a fur cap. Amazed he shook his head carefully to find the missing hair and slowly, he put the comb back to its place on the white wooden shelf right underneath the mirror and watched his own movements in the glass. Very softly he touched the spot where the missing hair used to be; it felt sore. When he looked up, there were tears in his emerald green eyes, aware of the pain. Before it could overwhelm him, he pulled himself out of the memory of the incident and wiped his tears away. He touched the glass again and carefully caressed his reflection in the mirror.

"We'll be strong," he whispered silently to himself.

- . -

When he closed the bathroom door and headed to the kitchen, the house no longer had the golden hue. Without making any noise he started cooking milky porridge with toast and setting the breakfast table. Just a little before he was done cooking his Aunt Petunia came into the kitchen, still dressed in her bathrobe and pink plush slippers. "Boy…" she said, as she got herself a cup of tea and sat down at the table to get her breakfast.

Suddenly the door slammed open as Dudley ran into the kitchen. Harry was just too slow to react when his cousin jumped over the chair and crashed into him, slamming Harry against the hot and heavy stove. He couldn't remember Dudley ever moving so fast before – sure, he loved to be loud – but not fast. The impact made him hit his chin on the corner of the stove, burning the right side of his face before he slid down to the floor in enormous pain, Dudley on his back. Tears immediately ran down his face. But all Dudley did was pick himself up and grin. To make it worse, he patted Harry on his painful shoulders.

"Thanks, for the soft fall," Dudley said slyly and sat next to his mother at the table where he poured himself a glass of juice.

Petunia rose and grabbed Harry hard by the top of his arm. She jerked him back and shook him a little. "Stop this fussing right now! You are not a baby anymore! I can't stand this crying attitude. No wonder no one wanted you. Go back to your cupboard and out of my sight. Just stay in there!"

Dudley grinned at him. "Mum, don't forget to pack me some good candy. Remember, my class is going to this special surprise field trip today and I want a good place in the bus!"

Petunia smiled at Dudley, let go of Harry and went to the counter to get the lunch bags ready. Dudley whispered to Harry: "I guess you can't go?" He snickered and pushed Harry rudely through the door.

Just after Harry got to his cupboard, Vernon came down the stairs. Without even one look in his nephew's direction, he turned towards the kitchen where he grunted "Good morning; shit weather," before sitting down and shovelling his breakfast into his big mouth.

- . -

In the cupboard, Harry lay his red, burned face down on the cold floor, silently sobbing. Tears were falling from his eyes as he wished his Mum and Dad had taken him along to wherever they had gone. With his fingers, he traced the folds of the green sheet peeping out under the blue blanket covering the rugged mattress. He had had the blanket for a very long time, maybe already when he had been a baby.

Why? he asked his mum in silence. Why haven't you taken me along to where you went?

Slowly his eyes shut and he fell into an exhausted sleep. He did not hear Uncle Vernon lock the cupboard door and leave with Dudley, nor did he hear Aunt Petunia when she left the house later on to go shopping to meet her chatting girlfriends in the city. He did not notice the weather change during the day with heavy clouds slowly covering the sky. By late afternoon the sun had disappeared and the sky had turned into a depressing, dark grey.

Aunt Petunia arrived humming a new tune, carrying bags and boxes filled with all kinds of fancy trinkets. Singing, she turned the lights on in the now-dark house. In the kitchen, she started cooking dinner for just Vernon and herself, because Dudley would be staying overnight at Pier's. Shortly, a thought of the surprise field trip came into her mind, but because Dudley was absent to babble about it, she only wondered what stories he would tell tomorrow. Any thought about Harry in the cupboard, lying there in pain, never crossed her mind. She had completely forgotten about him.