AU on OotP and HBP. The Order had gone to retrieve Harry that night – there was only one small problem: Harry wasn't there. Though the Order didn't know it, Harry had been badly beaten by his uncle and cousin and left for dead in a dark ditch. The Muggle doctors and social workers decided he was an unfortunate victim of a dangerous cult, and sent him into protective custody. Now Harry's trying to leave, and the Muggles keep thwarting him at every attempt, bringing him farther from the wizarding world and deeper into a depression. The Order is desperate to find him before the Death-Eaters do, but each time they manage to track him down, the Muggles move him. How will this drama end?

DISCLAIMER: I don't own any of J.K. Rowling's wonderful works.


"Hey, you're back early," Ron commented as he and Hermione appeared at the top of the stairs. "Where's Harry?"

Remus waved him off irritably. "Not right now, Ron. Where's – " His question was cut off abruptly by Sirius emerging from the kitchen. Immediately, the rather noisy main floor fell silent. "Ah. There's Sirius."

"Yeah, here's Sirius. Where's Harry?" Sirius asked him bluntly.

"That seems to be the question of the night," Tonks said under her breath.

"What was that?" Sirius asked dangerously, eyes narrowing in Remus' direction. Much as everybody knew that Remus wasn't solely responsible for bringing Harry safely back, they also knew that Sirius counted on Remus to act in his place, and if Remus failed to perform the task set for him, it was a failure by Sirius as well. And Sirius didn't do very well with failure.

Remus sighed, preparing himself for the fireworks. "He's not at his aunt and uncle's house, Sirius. We can't find him."

He could already see the anger simmering away in Sirius' steely grey eyes. "What do you mean, he's not there?" Sirius asked through clenched teeth.

"I mean, he's not in the house. Nor anywhere within ten blocks," Remus replied testily.

"He wouldn't… leave on his own, would he?" Ron asked Hermione uncertainly as the two teens joined the group downstairs. "Not after he got told twice to stay where he was…"

"Well, who really knows what was going on down there that evening?" Hermione asked, though her voice betrayed a degree of uncertainty. "And he's bound to be a little irritated at us right now. He probably told Hedwig to peck us until we told him what he wanted to know." She rubbed her sore hands ruefully. "And the Ministry sending him those owls about wand-snapping and expulsion wouldn't have helped the matter any."

"I don't think he took off," Remus said quietly, "because all of his things are still in the house. Didn't take his wand, didn't take his Cloak, didn't take his broom, didn't take money…"

"Well, what happened, then?" Sirius asked in a low voice that was far too calm given the situation.