Disclaimer: I own NOTHING
An oppressive quiet hung over the car throughout the beginning of the ride from King's Cross station.
"Let me out here" Harry commanded quietly, breaking the silence.
"What" Vernon blustered, "who are you to tell me what to do."
"I'll give you a simple choice" Harry gave his uncle an icy glare, "you will either let me out of the car right now, or I will inform my friends that you have been mistreating me, that you need a little visit to remind you to be courteous."
"Fine" Vernon growled in anger, "but don't expect me to wait around for you."
"I don't" Harry stepped onto the curb taking only his owl, "what I do expect is for you to take Dudley and Aunt Petunia out to eat and to take your time heading home."
"Who are you to order me around boy?" Vernon was begging to lose control over his temper.
"Here" Harry handed his uncle a fifty pound note, "enjoy yourselves."
"Where did you get this boy" Vernon asked in shock.
"Goodbye Uncle" Harry waved to his astonished relatives, "I don't believe that we will be seeing each other again."
The Dursleys didn't bother to respond, choosing to drive away without a backward glance.
Harry smiled sadly as he watched them go and then he opened the cage to let his owl free.
"Take this to Hermione girl" he attached a short note to the owl's leg, "and stay with her until I come to get you."
Hooting sadly, Hedwig gave his ear a last affectionate nip before taking off to deliver her master's message.
Harry watched until his beloved pet had faded from sight then he turned and began the short walk back to the wizarding world.
Taking a deep breath before he entered the Leaky Cauldron, Harry opened the door and quickly walked to the door that guarded the entrance to Diagon Alley.
He paused for a second in front of the brick entrance, fearing that cries of 'the-boy-who-lived' would erupt from behind, destroying his chance of having an enjoyable summer.
After several moments of silence, he tapped the correct sequence on the bricks and walked through the entrance to the wizarding world.
Rushing to Gringotts, he immediately went to the nearest open teller; "yes" the goblin looked down at him.
"I need a way to access my account while abroad" Harry answered quickly, "and I'll need to be able to get muggle money as well as Galleons."
"Key" the goblin asked reaching out to accept his vault key, "one moment please."
The goblin rummaged through a small chest on his desk for several minutes before pulling out a small pouch, "this pouch will draw coins directly from your account and if you tap it three times with your wand then it will change into a muggle wallet which will allow you to draw the appropriate muggle currency, will that be all?"
"I'll also need all of my transactions to be kept private" Harry hardened his features, "I do not want anyone finding out about any of my purchases."
"Of course not" the goblin seemed mildly offended, "we pride ourselves on our confidentiality."
"Good" Harry nodded in satisfaction, "otherwise I would have been forced to close my accounts and announce to the Daily Prophet that I no longer trust Gringotts to manage my fortunes."
"I see" the goblin frowned, "rest assured that no one but yourself shall receive any accurate information concerning your account."
"Thank you" Harry nodded politely, "so unless you have anything you want to talk about, then I've got to be going."
"No Mr. Potter" the goblin's face could have been carved from stone, "I don't think we have anything else to discuss."
Resisting the urge to smirk, Harry turned and slowly made his way towards the exit, for hopeful that his plan to have an enjoyable summer would work for the first time.
From Gringotts, Harry made his way to the 'Ye Olde Travel Shoppe' which was a small specialty shop for wizards and witches intending to spend time abroad.
Harry heard a faint ringing sound as he opened the door and he looked around for the shop keeper.
"What can I do for you?" an old man approached, "planning to go abroad are you?"
"Maybe" Harry shrugged, "I just want to drift around and see where I end up?"
"Ah" the old man smiled with understanding, "just graduated from one of the magic schools and now you want to go find yourself."
"Something like that" Harry agreed with a sad smile.
"Then I have just the thing for you" the old man replied enthusiastically, "my patented ultimate backpackers' kit, it has everything the young wanderer could ask for, a large multi compartment leather, frame pack, charmed to be light as a feather and to hold many times its normal capacity."
"Really?" Harry began to take an interest, "what else?"
"It comes with a portable stove, cookware, a tent, sleeping bag and much more" the shop keep was really getting into it, "everything you need to travel anywhere from the tropics to the top of Mt Everest, this pack has it all."
"Wow" Harry was mildly impressed, "what else would you recommend for someone who was planning to drift around?"
"A few more things sir" he shrugged, "the pack contains all of the essentials but there are several items that I can recommend to make life more pleasant in addition to the pack" the old man looked at Harry's ragged appearance, "you'll be wanting some new clothing, something to help you with other languages, and it may be a good idea to have a guide book along as well."
"Ok," Harry shrugged, "give me the best of whatever you recommend, just be quick about it, I want to be out of the country as soon as I can."
"No problems kid," The shop keep put several items on the table, "these glasses will adjust to any prescription, and in addition to many other things, allow you to read any language. This silver hoop goes in either ear and converts any language you hear into English, this ring goes on whichever hand you use to write with and allows you to write any language, and finally this small bar of silver goes through your tongue and magically contorts your mouth to allow you to speak any language, in time and with enough use they will eventually teach you the languages that you use."
"Wow," Harry nodded impressed by the items, "what else?"
"This book," the man indicated a book entitled 'Everything you will Ever Need to Know while Traveling around the World,' "is full of useful information and . . . I would recommend that you read the warnings in the front about underage magic before you do anything else, and this set of clothing will magically alter its self to whatever is needed for whatever climate you are in, it has charms to be self-cleaning and self-repairing and it can change colors and stiles with a thought."
"There is one more thing that I would like to get," Harry bit his lower lip, "I was wondering if you had an item that would allow me to . . . blend in better?"
"Want to immerse yourself in the culture huh?" The storeowner nodded his head, "got just the thing, this bracelet creates a powerful SEP field around you and it will help you remained unnoticed unless you commit an aggressive or incredibly strange act."
"Thanks," Harry gave a relived smile, "do you know where I could arrange for a portkey to get me to the continent?"
"Pick up you kit and I'll have one ready for you in a jiffy"
"Here you go lad," the man handed Harry a small stone.
"Thanks, how much do I owe you?"
"Don't worry about it Harry," the man smiled at Harry's shocked look, "conceder it a thanks for looking out for us and sorry about believing the worst of you, it's untraceable and it will take you to Holland right about . . ." Harry disappeared, "now, I hope you find what you are looking for lad."
Pandemonium would best describe the scene outside number 4 Privet Drive when the Dursleys arrived without Harry.
Within minutes, Albus Dumbledore had arrived along with several members of his Order to begin their investigation.
"The Dursleys say that he had them drop him off in London Professor," one of the Order members reported to the Headmaster, "says that he didn't want to stay with them and decided to just leave."
"I found something in their car that belonged to Harry," Remus Lupin ran up brandishing a small paper pamphlet, "it has Harry's scent all over it."
"Thank you Remus," the Headmaster accepted the small pamphlet, "I believe it's time I went and had a chat with Harry's friends about his whereabouts."
The Headmaster appeared before a small upper-class suburban home and rang the doorbell once, "Hello?" A good looking woman answered the door, "what can I help you with?"
"Greetings," Dumbledore smiled, "I'm the Headmaster at Hermione's school and I was wondering if I could speak with her."
"Of course," the woman nodded, "won't you come in?"
"Professor Dumbledore," a bushy headed young woman called from atop a stair case, "I'm glad that you got my letter, but I didn't expect to see you this soon."
"I'm afraid that I didn't get any letter Ms. Granger," Dumbledore smiled at her kindly, "what was the problem?"
"I got a strange letter from Harry that I thought you should know about," the intelligent young witch looked worried, "and I was hoping that you would check to see if he was doing ok."
"I'm afraid that I have some bad news," Dumbledore took a deep breath, "Harry had his uncle drop him off somewhere in London, and he has been missing for several hours."
"You don't think he got captured do you?"
"Rest assured that I've had no information that would lead me to that conclusion," the Headmaster reached into his robes and pulled out the worn pamphlet that had been found by Remus Lupin, "I'm afraid the only clue we have is this brochure that we found in his relatives' car."
"May I see that Professor?" Hermione took the pamphlet gently, "this looks like a standard handout from one of the charity organizations that were in the Muggle Portion of King's Cross."
"Why do you think that Harry kept it?"
"Well, this particular charity tries to help dieing children and . . . oh no." The pretty young witch paled, "Harry thinks he's going to die."
"What do you mean by that Ms. Granger?" The Headmaster demanded, "What leads you to that conclusion?"
"This belongs to the 'Make A Wish Foundation' they do things to bring happiness to terminally ill children," Hermione brandished the pamphlet, "Harry must have learned something that makes him think that he doesn't have much time left to live."
"I see," the Headmaster's shoulders dropped, "is that why he didn't return to Privet Drive?"
"He wants to make the most of the time he has left," Hermione was holding back tears, "not to spend it with people he hates."
"Thank you, you've been most helpful," the Headmaster gave Hermione a sad smile and disappeared with a faint pop.
After Dumbledore's disappearance, Hermione ran up to her room and reread the short note that had been sent along with Hedwig, clutching it to her chest she let the tears fall and hoped for the safe return of her best friend.
Please look over Hedwig; I want to live before I die.
AN: I included the shopping trip because I like writing about the items that one can find, sure I could have done something different but at least I confined myself to one store. Harry sent Hedwig to Hermione for several reasons; one of them is that she does not have access to an owl during the holidays. Got the idea for this from the 'make a wish' foundation, Harry is convinced that he is going to die so he wants to do the things he always wanted to do before he goes. The scene with the goblin was because of all the fics that have Dumbledore watching Harry's funding, he may or may not be in this fic, don't think that it will be important to the storyline but I thought that I may as well throw it in. Hermione figured it out because she is A. Muggle Born and B. Very Intelligent, besides I like the character and I wanted to give her a bit of screen time. For any who don't know, the 'Make a Wish Foundation' try to give dieing children their fondest desire before they die, things like meeting pro athletes and going to Disney Land.