Harry Potter looked at the piece of parchment in his hand again as he had been doing on and off for the past few hours until it had become so dark he could no longer see the words, not that it really mattered. He had memorised the words within 20 seconds of reading it.

'We'll be there. Be ready' was written in Lupin's steady script; short and sweet and the only message he had received over the summer. Well the only message of interest; Lupin had dropped by earlier in the summer when extra wards had been put up on the house with two pieces of charmed parchment, so that they could communicate with each other wherever they were, but so far all he'd managed to receive were 'How Are You? 's. It was probably some sort of security thing that they had a huge discussion about where things like coding charms and messenger mice were brought up; but they had settled on nothing. He looked down at his wristwatch for a few seconds wondering if he could make out the digits if he stared long enough, apparently not as he had to press the button for a backlight to see the time. 11:35; 25 minutes till freedom, til he became of age. It was now that he looked around his room for a last minute check to insure that he hadn't left anything behind; he was never coming back and the last thing he needed was to leave something important behind. He wondered who would be there to pick him up; just once person to whisk him away in the dark of the night or maybe an entire group of them armed and at the ready. Where would they be going he wondered; back to Grimmauld Place? Somewhere new? It didn't really matter; Harry wasn't planning to stay long anyway, long enough to… to… do… something? A flush of angered confusion hit him and he slammed his palms flat on the floor.

He looked up at the sound of multiple pops nearby and walked to the window and looked out. Order members of course, about 20 of them and as his watch now read 11:59 they were just on time. Grabbing his cloak, he picked up his shrunken luggage and pocketed it, OK, so it was underage magic, but he wasn't really planning on being found until Voldemort was dead and surely he'll be forgiven for it then. The sound of more pops caused him to backtrack to the window where he found himself rooted to the spot in horror because Privet Drive was now hosting a long line of sinister looking Death Eaters. 00:00; 'Happy Birthday Harry' he thought to himself as he watched one of the Death Eaters lift their wand; 'Crucio,' he didn't wait to see who had been hit, instead grabbing his wand and running down the stairs to the sound of a heart-wrenching scream.

"What is the meaning of this boy?" Uncle Vernon growled coming out of the living room and grasping his arm viciously followed by a terrified looking Petunia.

"Daddy, what's happening?" came Dudley's confused voice from the upstairs landing.

"Don't worry son, I'll handle it! Go back to-"

"NO!" Harry hissed suddenly; he'd completely forgotten about the Dursley's, but he was going to try and keep them as safe as possible. "No, Get Out!"

"Now look here boy. This is MY house and you have no right to-" Vernon was turning a shade of red that Harry could see even in the darkness, his voice was rising alarmingly fast and his hand feeling for the light switch.

"NO!" Harry hissed knocking the hand away and looking nervously over his shoulder at the door.

"Why are you so THICK! They'll kill you if you're seen! Get Out!" he spat ignoring the sound of the battle outside and shepherding the Dursley's out to the back. Vernon looked like he was going to say something back; but Petunia had stopped him and led her family out, she knew the danger.

"Run," Harry whispered, "and you've never heard the name Harry Potter before, ever. Change your names until I tell you otherwise. Be inconspicuous. Run."

Much to Harry's surprise, the Dursley's went docilely, apparently they had realised they were in danger. Pulling his invisibility cloak over himself he left through the back also realising that chances are it would be noticeable to both sides if the front door opened and no one came out. He wondered about the other muggles in the neighbourhood but knew that he could do nothing for them and just hoped they had the good sense to stay away. Following the outside wall to the front, Harry could hear the fighting getting louder. He stalked up to the closest Death Eater and stupefied him from behind much to Lupin's momentary surprise before he suddenly lunged forward and grabbed Harry by the arm and hissed "stay safe" somewhere in his hair. Harry reached out and squeezed Lupin's other arm in confirmation before Lupin suddenly fell to the floor screaming in pain under a crucio. Harry turned to face the attacker, unable to recognise who it was with the mask on and began to raise his wand wondering what spell to use, then stared in surprise as the Death Eater went down… at the wand of another discreet Death Eater. Why would a Death Eater be willing to take down one of their own unless-

"SNAPE! The wards!"

Harry felt his heart stop. Snape was here, Snape the backstabbing traitor was HERE. However when the Death Eater he had just been examining turned to the voice Harry's world froze. That was just- well it was just- huh? Snape? Harry found himself watching as Snape went over to the house; then a rush of tingly magic ran over him before the wards on Privet Drive fell, and Snape was the first to go charging in.