Disclaimer: I don't own any of the Harry Potter books or characters.
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"I must govern the clock, not be governed by it"– Golda Meir
Harry waited silently, completely dressed and perched on the edge of his bed in his bedroom on the second floor of Number 4, Privet Drive. 11:55 p.m. shown from the alarm clock next to him on his desk; illuminating a miniscule section of the room and glowing bright green in the darkness that surrounded him. Five more minutes, only five more painfully long minutes, and he would be free; free to do whatever he wanted. He would no longer be forced to spend his summers at the Dursley's with only blood wards protecting him, from Voldemort, yes, but not his own family.
The first thing he would do when he turned seventeen, he'd decided months ago when he was still in school, would be apparating to Sirius' home–Number 12 Grimmauld Place. It was his now, the Order wasn't even using it anymore. Not since Dumbledore died. It was no longer a safe place for them to converge, what with Snape knowing its location and being able to inform his Death Eater pals about it.
Harry adjusted the rucksack on his shoulder. Although it was small, it had an undetectable extension charm placed upon it and contained everything that he held dear to himself. Hedwig was already gone. He'd sent her on ahead of him. There was no need for her to be with him when he apparated. She would just be a hassle; another thing for him to hold.
It was nearly time now; only a matter seconds stood between Harry and complete freedom. A small part of him told him the he should feel nostalgic about his time spent with the Dursley's, and that he should feel a touch of sadness for leaving the home where he'd grown up, but a larger, more sensible section of his mind ordered the smaller part to keep its thoughts to itself. His family had been horrible to him for all his known life and he was ready to get out of the hellhole.
After all, he hadn't planed everything perfectly and spent hours researching in the library for his plan to fail prematurely. As soon as he got to Grimmauld place, he would set up new wards around the house to keep people out. He'd even managed to sneak away from the Dursley's during the first week of the summer holidays and shop in Diagon Alley for the books necessary for him to become acquainted with blood wards. Since blood wards had been able to keep Voldemort from finding his hiding spot at Number Four, they should (if done properly) be able to continue keeping the fruitcake at bay until Harry was ready to face him. All he really had to do, anyways, was say a few words, donate a few drops of his blood and "poof", a new protective shield that wouldn't allow Snape, or any other Death Eater or Dark Lord he brought, in.
The small clock on the bedside stand was the source of the quiet sound, announcing the time and resetting itself to run for another twenty-four hours. The alarm caused small hairs all over Harry's body to stand on end in anticipation of what was to come in the next few minutes.
It was midnight now, July thirty-first, but Harry didn't feel any different. He had just turned 17 and was finally at the legal age for wizards to do magic without being court-ordered. It was ridiculous, really that law the Ministry had in place. Harry didn't understand why it was there except to bother people. It couldn't have been in place because the Ministry thought students to be incompetent; Harry had proven time and time again from his very first day at Hogwarts that he was capable of taking just about anything that was thrown in his way. A thought did occur to him more than once, though, that the Ministry had its Anti-Underage Magic law in place as a tiny discrimination against muggle-borns. During second year, Dobby had been the one to use magic, not Harry, but the Ministry had sent a letter to Harry warning him not to do magic again over the summer, ever, or he'd be expelled, yet, when he was at the Weasley's house a week later and there was constant magic all around him, no letters came. A pureblood or half-blood living with magical parents could practice magic and get ahead of the game without the Ministry being able to distinguish if the one performing the charms was adult or child but if magic happened in a muggle-borns house, obviously it was the student misbehaving.
Harry had decided during his fifth year at Hogwarts that he wanted to be an auror and fight against Dark witches and wizards. But, the more he thought about his unavoidable duel with Voldemort, the more unappealing fighting wizarding crime became. And after having both witnessed and fallen victim to some of the most appalling decisions made by the Ministry of Magic, the more he considered a job in politics.
At least, for a short while, until most things had been changed or straightened out. Then, he'd probably quit whatever high-paying job he was employed to and live off his vast fortune for a few years, doing what he wanted, maybe play some professional Qudditch, and then teach at Hogwarts. Or write an autobiography. That would probably sell quite well around the wizarding world. He'd have to fluff it up a bit, make some of the duller moments in his life more interesting for the reader, but who would know? He's the one who lived through it all, no one else. Who'd be there to call him on his bluff?
He smiled a small smile to himself before picturing his destination in his mind, turning on the spot, and disappearing forever from the lives of his only living relatives. He wasn't about to stick around to find out whether or not Voldemort really could find him without his mother's blood wards in place.
Seconds later, he appeared in the dusty old living room of Number 12 Grimmauld Place and immediately set about constructing the house's new wards. Hedwig was already situated on the stone mantel of the fireplace, watching his every movement with her amber eyes.
Harry didn't even shrug off his rucksack before starting the ritual. He pulled out a plastic tupperware container, already about a sixth of the way full of his own blood (which he had collected over the past month), a paintbrush, and a rune covered knife that he'd purchased in Diagon Alley with the books. He popped the lid off of the tupperware and tossed it off into a dark corner of the room. It was no longer necessary. The only thing he was focused on at the moment was creating the protective wards around his new home before Voldemort decided to use their mind-connection to determine Harry's location. He dipped the paintbrush into his pre-drawn blood, and began to paint runic symbols on the hardwood floor.
After about five minutes of the tedious work, he placed the brush into the container and the container on the ground outside of the bloody characters. He straightened up, and looked down at the crimson liquid on the floor. It sparkled eerily in the flickering light of the candles that had magically lighted themselves when Harry first appeared in the room. He held the handle of the knife firmly in his right hand and carefully rested the blade in his left.
"Tolle animam meam tuto annos retro." Harry spoke the Latin spell in a clear, unwavering voice before quickly slashing his palm with the knife. He winced slightly at the pain it brought but watched, transfixed, as the blood rolled down his palm and dripped onto the floor. As it hit, a bright white light engulfed the room and Harry felt a familiar, but very unwelcome tugging sensation in his navel.