A/N: So this fic is inspired by Opalish’s “The Problem with Cupboards” which I have borrowed for the prologue, with her permission of course. On Harry's sixteenth birthday, this letter is sent to Dumbledore.
Disclaimer: Harry Potter and Buffy the Vampire Slayer belong to people that are not me so please don't sue me.
As far as I can tell, the main problem with growing up in a cupboard is that it gets you used to living in a cage. And then when you're finally let out, you're so blinded by your supposed freedom that you don't even realize that all you've done is move into a bigger, stronger cage.
I thought Hogwarts was my freedom, my escape from the cupboard. The funny thing is, I'd probably have been better off staying with the spiders under the stairs. I'd have grown up miserable and angry, but it couldn't be worse than this.
You know how everyone says that ignorance is bliss? It isn't - ignorance is godawful. But it's better than knowing too much.
It's better than knowing that someone who professes to care for me sent me to live in hell on earth for ten years. It's better than knowing that someone was watching as I starved, as Dudley and his friends beat me, as Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia stuffed me in a cupboard and hit me and called me names. It's better than knowing someone was watching and never did a damned thing to help.
Yeah, ignorance would be a hell of a lot easier.
If I were the vengeful type, I'd want to know that I was betrayed like that. But I'm too tired to want to get even. I'm too tired to care much about anything, anymore.
When I was little, I'd have killed for a hug. I would have done anything just to be touched with affection. The closest I ever got was a teacher patting my head and telling me I was a good boy. And by the time I finally did get my hug, I couldn't do anything but stand there wondering when the other shoe would drop.
Well, the shoe's dropped, and I've realized that I'm just as much in prison as Sirius used to be.
What kind of kid grows up in a cupboard? What kind of kid lives with bars on his window and locks on his door?
I hate the Dursleys. I hate them even more than I hate Snape or Voldemort or Bellatrix, because they twisted me. I grew up thinking it was normal, the way they treated me. Begging for scraps when I could have had the whole damned pie if I'd just known how to use my power... And as a kid, I would have used that power. I'd have done anything to make them pay.
You probably wouldn't think it, but I was a bloodthirsty little bastard when I was younger. Being in Gryffindor has bled that out of me, though - I don't care about causing other people pain anymore. I just want peace and quiet, now, somewhere small and dark like a cupboard, where no one lies to you or betrays you or rips your heart to shreds with a word or a tear. Everything was so simple in the cupboard. Back then, it was just about survival.
Now there's things like honor and guilt and regret, and I don't know how to handle it all. Anger, I can manage - I've always been angry, as long as I can remember. But I don't know how to go from being no better than an animal to a hero. I don't know how to act. I don't even know who I am.
Because after you escape the cupboard to enter your brand new cage, sooner or later you realize that you preferred the darkness and the spiders. Sooner or later you begin to wonder why you ever wanted to leave. Sooner or later, you understand that there's only two ways to go - back into the cupboard, or out through your prison's bars and into yet another cage.
Cages and cupboards - that's what life is. Everything else is a lie.
And that's the worst thing about growing up in a cupboard. After a while, you realize that freedom is just another way of saying ignorance, and then there's nothing left for you.
I don't want pity. I don't care if you understand or not; I don't care much about anything. I just figure I owe you an explanation. But that's all I owe you.
I'm leaving. I don't know where I'll go, and I suggest you don't try to find me.
Fight your own fucking war, sir.
-Harry James Potter
A/N2: So it begins. The paring for Harry is with Angel, as will be made very clear later, and when it crosses it will be Spuffy but there are a few chapters before it crosses and even more before Spike and Buffy get thier act together. ;D Please review!