"Now Bill, go get Harry and come right back." Molly Weasley looked at her oldest son. "We don't know how those Muggles have been treating him and I'm so worried that we haven't heard from him."
"Will do, Mum" Bill leaned over and kissed his mother's cheek. "Charlie, you ready?" At Charlie's nod, Bill smiled at Molly and disapparated, Charlie right behind him.
They apparated directly into the kitchen at Number 4 Privet Drive, hoping that the popping noise wouldn't wake up the Muggles.
"Charlie, what time is it?" Bill whispered.
"12:05...Happy 18th Birthday, Harry!"
Bill smiled and led the way down the hall to the stairs. He halted by the cupboard under the stairs and carefully picked the lock. Charlie shook his head, "Where the Hell did you learn to do that?"
"Gringotts, where else?"
As soon as Bill had the door open, he stuck his head inside to look for Harry's trunk. What he saw astonished and sickened him. There, in the cupboard under the stairs, was indeed a small cot, covered in a thin, dusty blanket. On top of that were Harry's trunk and his broom. After Bill had levitated the trunk off the cot and out of the door he turned to Charlie, who was staring in horror at the small bed.
"Merlin!" Charlie breathed. "How...?"
"Don't think about it...this is why we're here...to get Harry away from these people."
Leaving the trunk and broom at the bottom of the steps, Bill and Charlie carefully made their way up the stairs.
"Which one is Harry's?" asked Charlie in a whisper.
Bill shrugged, "Don't know...use process of elimination."
As it happened, the first door they came to was covered in several different types of locks, but it did have a small flap cut into he bottom of the door. Not wanting to think about what the flap was for, Bill knelt down and peered through it. "This is it...Alohomora!" Bill whispered the spell and the door opened with a slight squeak. Charlie went into the room first, startled to see nothing but a wand pointed directly at his chest.
"Harry, its Charlie Weasley."
The wand slowly lowered and Harry's head popped up out of the invisibility cloak. "Charlie?" Harry's voice was barely there, a weak croak. "Wha...why're you here?"
Charlie crept over to the bed as Bill came into the room. " We've come to get you Harry. We're taking you home with us." Bill was roaming around the room, looking at everything and nothing at the same time. He turned quickly and asked "Is there anything else, besides your trunk, broom and Hedwig's cage, that you need from here?"
"No...never coming back...just get me out of here."
Charlie noticed Harry's clenched teeth and pale, sweaty skin. "Harry, are you alright?" As Charlie put his hand on Harry's back, fitful moonlight streamed in and highlighted the spectacular bruising along Harry's neck and jaw.
"Lumos!" Bill hissed.
As the blue light from the tip of Bill's wand spilled over Harry's face, Charlie's knees threatened to buckle. He reached out a shaking hand to gently touch a large purple bruise that spread over Harry's left eye and cheekbone. "Gods, Harry! What have they done to you?"
"Don't ask, just get me out of here before they wake up." Harry looked around and wrapped the blanket around himself and his wand. He opened his mouth to say something, but shut it quickly, going even more pale as he shifted on the bed.
"Charlie...Bill? I don't think I can walk. How am I supposed to leave if I can't walk?" Harry's head hung down and he looked as if he would cry.
"I'll carry you." Charlie very gently slid his arms underneath Harry's legs and behind his back. "Alright there? I'm going to lift you now." As Charlie tightened his grip and straightened, Harry gasped and whimpered in pain.
"Bill, I'm going straight to St. Mungo's."
"NO!" Harry hissed. "I'm not going back there, just got out...please, take me to the Burrow. Please!"
Bill nodded slightly and followed them down the stairs. Shrinking the trunk, broom and cage, Bill slipped them into his robes and looked around. "Go now, Charlie. I'll be there...shortly."
"Uh-uh," said Charlie, shaking his head. "I need you to help side-along with Harry. I don't want to hurt him...well, not more than he already is."
Bill paused and then nodded again, placing a gentle hand on Harry's right arm. "Front walk, Charlie."
Charlie gave a short nod. Harry heard a slight pop, felt a huge wave of pain crash over him and everything went black.
As the two men reappeared in Ottery St. Catchpole, Charlie looked down at the younger man in his arms. "He's out, Bill."
Bill heard the catch in Charlie's voice and looked carefully at his brother. Charlie's head was bent toward Harry and Bill thought that Charlie was trying hard not to cry.
"Let's get him inside and I'll go get Poppy Pomfrey...Mum can help get him settled."
Three long hours later, Madame Pomfrey came out of the bedroom and gave a heavy sigh. She walked down the stairs, intent upon letting everyone know how Harry was, now that she had healed the worst of his injuries. Molly heard her coming and ushered her into the kitchen where Bill, Charlie and Arthur Weasley were sitting, drinking tea and staring morosely at the walls.
When they saw the mediwitch from Hogwarts, Bill and Charlie stood up and started to ask questions. The older witch held up a hand to stop them. "Please sit and I will tell you everything I found." They resumed their seats and Poppy began speaking:
"Broken left tibia and femur, three broken ribs, punctured lung, broken nose, fractured jaw, a concussion and severe internal bruising, no internal bleeding other than the punctured lung, but that happened within the last six to seven hours and bleeding was very light. Nothing life threatening, since you got me so quickly, but it will take him quite some time to heal completely. He will continue to bruise as his body heals from the injuries. I repaired all the breaks and internal injuries, but he will need very close care for at least three to four weeks."
Molly put her hands up to her face and started crying. Arthur put his arms around her and began to rock her gently. Bill dropped his head into his hands and took a harsh, shuddering breath. Charlie stared straight ahead of him, his mind whirling. "Bill? Why did I stop you from staying there?"
Charlie jumped up and bolted out of the door. "CHARLIE!" Bill shouted as they all heard the very loud crack of Charlie disapparating.