Harry sulked all the way back to London. The train ride was not any fun at all for him. Dumbledore was insisting that he return to his relatives even though he had defeated Voldemort in the Atrium of the Ministry just after they had fought the Death Eaters for the prophecy. Who knew that being upset about his Godfathers death could kill Voldemort when he tried to take possession of Harry's body? Harry could still feel where the five points of light had hit him during that moment of time. He could still picture the scene. Dumbledore and Voldemort had been fighting and Voldemort disappeared. He had somehow entered Harry's body causing his head to feel like it was exploding. There was another place in his body that felt that way too but he couldn't pinpoint the area. Then he had seen five beams of light flying at him. Each had struck a different place on his body and when they did it hurt like nothing he had ever endured before. Each of those five beams seemed to tear through his body and meet up with the spot that hurt in the middle. Then his scar felt like it had been ripped open and the pain from it migrated to the same spot as the others. Then with an almighty scream he had ejected Voldemort and the pain from his body. Voldemort had taken two more breaths as he lay on the floor and then he started to convulse. After screaming and convulsing for a few moments everything stopped. Aurors rushed to the scene and declared the evil wizard dead.
Harry had been hailed as a hero and had been drug this way and that by people wanting to talk to him or thank him or interview him. He hadn't been able to find a bit of peace during that time, it had felt like hours instead of the minutes it was, at least not until he had passed out. He had woken up in the Hogwarts hospital wing nearly two weeks later. Hermione, Ron, Ginny, Neville and Luna had tried to stay by his side but had been banished from the hospital. Once he awoke Madam Pomfrey allowed them to come back. They were having a fantastic time until Dumbledore had arrived and told him he was headed back to Privet Drive for the summer for his safety. Harry had made Hedwig stay at the school he didn't want his uncle to hurt her. He had said last year he'd kill the owl if he saw her again. Now here he was at the station with the Weasleys waiting for his relatives to show up. Instead Dumbledore arrived and greeted the group.
"Hello, what do we have here?" he asked pleasantly.
"Harry's relatives haven't picked him up yet." Molly informed him, "We were just about to go home and take him with us."
"Oh no, I wrote them and told them I'd bring him home." Dumbledore insisted, "I wanted to speak with them about their past treatment of Harry. I want to make sure they understand how we expect him to be treated from now on."
Harry sighed in relief. He had not been looking forward to this summer. He was already depressed because Sirius had died and it was his fault entirely. He didn't think he could handle his normal treatment without blowing up on them. Sure he had defeated Voldemort but he had lost Sirius in the fray. It didn't feel like a victory to him. His five closest friends seemed to be the only ones to understand.
Everyone said their goodbyes and Harry left the train station with his headmaster. They walked to a secluded place before shrinking Harry's trunk and putting it in his, Harry's, pocket and then Dumbledore told him to take his arm. Without warning Dumbledore turned on the spot and took Harry away with him. The sensation of being squeezed through a very tight tube made him panic for just a second but then it was all over.
"What was that?" Harry asked as he bent over trying to keep the contents of his stomach down where they belonged.
"Apparition." Dumbledore explained with a slight smile, "You've heard of it?"
"Yes, a little warning next time would be nice." He huffed again still struggling with his stomach.
"So sorry." Dumbledore waited until Harry righted himself, "Ready?"
"As I'll ever be Professor."
They walked from the forest near the park almost a mile to his relative's home. They didn't talk much as they were both caught up in their own thoughts. Just before they arrived Dumbledore finally spoke up.
"Harry you need to keep inside the house this year as much as possible." He insisted, "We don't want any death eaters to find you and kill you before they can be caught."
"What about that park we landed in?" Harry hoped it wasn't too far.
"No, inside the house." He instructed, "Don't go outside except into the back yard. Promise me please."
"Promise me Harry." Dumbledore looked at him with a very worried expression on his face.
"I'll stay inside as much as possible and only go out into the back yard." Harry agreed.
"Good lad." He was patted on the back, "Ah, here we are."
Vernon met them at the door and quickly invited them in. It was still daylight and Harry was sure he didn't want any of the neighbors to see either one of them. Vernon led them into the kitchen where Dumbledore put a hand on Harry's shoulder. Harry relaxed at his touch so he was unprepared when his wand was taken and he was shoved to the floor.
"We're through with him. We don't need or want him any longer. Make sure he doesn't try to return to school on September first. Use any means necessary." With that Dumbledore snapped Harry's wand and left him in shock and with no defense when the first of many of his uncle's fists begin to hit him.
Harry could see his aunt and Dudley against the far wall watching. He couldn't see them for long though as another hit knocked his glasses off his face. He had no idea how long the beating lasted but he could tell it was dark out when he felt his head being lifted by his hair.
"I won't be killing you today. Your life is mine and I'm planning on enjoying my summer." His uncle dropped his head and it bounced off the floor once before settling back. Harry heard his aunt and uncle laughing all the way to the stairs.
"I'm heading out with my gang." Dudley stated.
"That is fine, just be home early so you can rest before we work the freak over together. Father and son bonding moment don't you think." Both laughed loudly.
Harry heard the front door close and then footsteps stomped up the stairs and another door closed. He tried to sit up but the dizziness wouldn't let him. Instead he pulled himself across the kitchen floor to the back door. He nearly sobbed when he saw Dudley silently opening the door, his escape was cut off.
"I'm going to get you out of here so try not to make any sounds." Dudley whispered as he bent down to pick up Harry and handed him his glasses.
"You saved me last summer from those demon things." He offered, "I thought I should return the favor."
"Thanks just help me to my feet." Harry whispered back.
They snuck out the back door and walked around to the gate at the side. Dudley had left it open because it squeaked. They didn't close it as they stumbled their way down the street avoiding the lights until they walked they passed Piers house.
"Wait here." Dudley propped him up against a tree in a deep shadow. He ran up to the house and knocked. Harry had no idea how long he'd been gone when he returned with a hooded sweatshirt over his arm, "Here put this on, if we meet any more wizards wanting to kill you they won't recognize you right off."
"Thanks." Harry breathed.
"Can you stop any of the bleeding?" Dudley looked him over, "I'm afraid you're going to bleed to death before I can get you some help."
"I don't have a wand. He snapped it." Harry sighed.
"You used to do magic all the time before you got your wand." He pointed out, "Does it force you to stop when you get one?"
"Can't hurt to try." Harry thought to himself before putting his hand on his battered lip, "Episkey." The bleeding slowed to a stop so he tried it on a few other places and it seemed to be working. Next he rubbed his hand over his face and whispered, "Tergeo."
"That's the ticket." Dudley smiled, "Anything to get rid of the bruises?"
"I know of some potions but no spells." He shrugged and pulled on the hoody, "I'll be fine now. You can go home if you want."
"I don't think so." Dudley shook his head, "I bet wizards can read minds or something and your professor will know I helped you. I don't think he'll be very happy with me."
"He can and he will read your mind." Harry agreed, "He doesn't wait for you to give him permission. I agree he won't be very happy. So we'll stick together and keep each other safe."
"Where are we going?" Dudley asked.
"I don't know. I don't know how many people agree with what he just did." Harry confessed, "I guess we can head to Diagon Alley and I can go to the bank tomorrow."
"Why the bank, can you get a loan or something?" Dudley wondered if Harry had injured his brain when his dad was beating him.
"Don't need a loan. I'm loaded." Harry laughed, "We can get some money then head somewhere safe."
"How do we get to that alley?"
"I'm going to try the Knight Bus but I'm not sure it will work without my wand." Harry fished around in his pockets and found a galleon, and a hand full each of sickles and knuts., "I've got the money for it if it will stop." He threw out his right arm and waited but nothing happened, "No good."
Dudley was looking at him like he was crazy, "What's the night bus?"
"It's wizarding transport. It looks like a violently purple, triple decker bus." Harry grinned, "If I had a wand I could flag it down and get a ride to London. Instead it looks like we've got a long walk ahead of us."
"Piers has an older brother with a car." Dudley suggested, "Maybe we can get him to drive us."
"I don't know. If Dumbledore comes searching for me he might think to look at your friends." Harry thought aloud, "Although sometimes wizards don't have much common sense so we may be ok."
"We can have them drop us off at a bus depot in London so they'll think we just moved on." Dudley suggested, "Besides Dad won't volunteer that you escaped. He'll try to convince him you died so he doesn't get in trouble for not completing the job."
"Ok, let's do it." Harry agreed, "What are you going to tell Piers?"
"Not that you are Harry so don't talk." Dudley led him up to the door and knocked again.
"Dud back again?" Piers opened the door, "What's going on?"
"Listen I've gotten in some trouble and need to disappear for a bit." Dudley whispered, "Do you think your brother would mind driving us to London so we can catch a bus or something?"
"Who is this with you." He tried to look under Harry's hood.
"A friend from school and that's all you need to know." Dudley growled, "It won't be good if you know too much."
"Right got it." Piers stepped back into the house for a few minutes before returning with an older version of himself.
"You got any money?" the older guy asked, "Need you to pay for my gas."
"I can give you twenty pounds." Dudley offered, "I need the rest to get lost."
"Yes alright. I wanted to go to a party in London anyway." He grunted, "Piers you're staying because I won't be back for a couple days and you can't go where I'm going."
"Fine." He grumbled, "Be careful Big D."
"Ditto." Dudley replied and pulled Harry behind the older brother.
"Sit in the back I don't want to know who you are or what you've done." The brother stated as they got in, "Don't talk and I'll drop you off near the party I'm going to."
"Perfect." Dudley sat back.
"Get down as far as you can." He instructed, "I don't want anyone to know I have passengers until we're out of town."
Both boys slid down as far as they could. Dudley pulled Harry down onto the seat and the partially laid over him, but held his weight up with his arm, "We can't last forever like this so let us know when we can get up." Sometime later Harry was woke up by Dudley, "We're in London."
"Sorry didn't mean to sleep." Harry mumbled.
"More like passed out." Dudley chuckled.
"Where are we?" Harry looked out trying to figure out where they were.
"Charing Cross Road."
"Stop here and let us out please." Harry called.
"Are you sure, there isn't anything around here." He called back to them.
Harry noticed they were within a few blocks of the Leaky Cauldron, "This is where we want out."
"Fine." The man pulled over and Dudley helped Harry get out of the car.
He then pulled his wallet and gave the guy the money he had promised, "Thanks."
The car pulled away and Harry led the way digging through his pockets again, "Here is three galleons. I think we can get a room for that. If not we can get to Gringotts tomorrow and pay him back. I don't know if he'll let us do this, just don't mention my name and act like you know what you are doing." Harry gave him a quick lesson on wizarding money.
"Where are we staying?" Dudley looked around at the dilapidated street.
"Over there, you can't see it yet." Harry pointed a little in front of them, "Hold my arm and you'll see it appear."
"Holy…" Dudley gaped, "Where did it come from."
"It was always there it just takes a magical person to see it." He grinned, "Come on, you have to do the talking because they know me in here."
"Fine." Dudley stepped in and went right up to the bar. It was fairly empty because it was about one a.m. on a Wednesday night when he made his request for a room.
"I can give you a room with two single beds or one double." Tom offered, "Two galleons for the room, three and I'll throw in a couple sandwiches and drinks."
"We'll take the two singles and the food." Dudley laid the money on the counter.
Tom scooped it up and reached back against the wall, "Room three."
"Thanks." Dudley turned and followed Harry up the stairs.
He let them into the room and shut the door. Tom knocked a few minutes later and Harry opened the door to let him in. He carried a tray with two sandwiches and two bottles of butter beer. Tom set the tray on the table then left and Harry locked the door behind him. Both boys dove onto the food.
"What's this?" Dudley sipped at the drink.
"Butterbeer." Harry answered, "One of the two good drinks they allow kids to have. The other is pumpkin juice."
"It's good." Dudley shrugged.
As soon as the meal was done the two of them fell into the beds fully clothed and were asleep in moments. Harry woke when the sun reached the horizon. He had slept all the way to London so he had already slept more than Dudley. Quietly stepping into the bathroom he pulled off the hoody and got his first good look at the damage. His mouth was a mess and he had a black eye that was nearly swelled shut. He counted it as lucky that his forehead was too bruised to see the scar. He had several more bruises and cuts on his face but his shirt was worse as it was covered with blood. He tried to pull it off but quickly realized it was stuck to him. Harry stripped off his pants, turned on the shower and stepped in with his shirt still on. He hoped if he got the shirt wet it wouldn't rip the scabs off as he removed it. It wasn't a complete success but he was able to stop the bleeding with a little magic again. He was reluctant to use magic because he didn't want to be traced. Who knew what would happen to him if the ministry found him doing magic. He'd probably get tossed into Azkaban without a trial, just like Sirius.
A knock on the door interrupted him, "Harry are you in there?"
"Yes, just getting cleaned up a bit." Harry pulled on the hoody then opened the door.
"You look terrible." Dudley winced.
Harry shrugged in reply and stepped past him, "Any idea what time it is?"
"Seven." Dudley answered, "Do I have time to shower?"
"Yes we've got two hours until Gringotts opens. I'm not planning on leaving the room until the last minute." Harry sighed, "I'll buy you a big lunch to make up for skipping breakfast."
"That sounds good to me." Dudley closed the door and started his shower.
Harry sat on his bed and thought over the last twenty four hours. It seemed amazing to him that this time yesterday he was sitting in the Great Hall trying to fend off people who were patting him on the back for defeating Voldemort. Today he'll be avoiding them so they don't injure him further. At quarter to nine the two of them left the room planning to wait in the pub for someone to go into the alley. As it ended up they didn't have to wait because a small family was heading to the door as they descended the stairs. They hurried and caught up to the family and slipped into the alley without a hitch. They reached the doors of the bank just as they were being opened.