Harry sat on his bed wrapping a scrap of cloth around his chest from the beating he had just received. His torso was covered in cuts and bruises from the many beatings he had received from his Aunt and Uncle, mainly his Uncle. They despised magic of any sort. But things had gotten worse this summer. Once Harry had gotten home his school things were wrapped in chains and pad locked. The only key was in his Uncles pocket. They had replaced the bars on the window to keep him from leaving. Harry wasn't allowed to sit with the rest of the family at dinner times. Nor was he allowed to eat unless his chores had been done. Each day the list would get longer and longer. The first list was so long he barely got them finished. But the ones after he never finished. But tonights' beating wasn't about chores. It was over Harry pocketing a piece of toast and a small amount of meat for his owl Hedwig. He had finally been caught. Many nights Harry would go with out so that Hedwig wouldn't suffer. But not this night. Dudley had seen Harry put some toast in his pocket. Even though it was from Harry's own plate Dudley decided to throw a fit.
"Mummy, Daddy!!!!" He yelled. "Harry… took some of my food and, and…" But before Dudley could finish Vernon Dursley came upon Harry with rage.
"HOW DARE YOU STEAL FROM YOUR COUSIN"S PLATE!!!" each word punctuated by a blow to Harry's head with his Uncle's fleshy fists. His Aunt Petunia was over comforting Dudley and filling his plate once more with food. Filled with rage his Uncle picked Harry up by his hair and dragged him to his room. On his way picking up Dudley's Smelting stick. Throwing Harry to the floor in his bedroom Vernon raised the stick and began to beat the young boy with it. Blow after blow, kick after kick Harry sobbed from pain. Then finally the hits stopped and he heard the door close. Crawling over to his bed Harry managed to prop himself up and soon passed out. When Harry awoke it was nearly 12:00am. Finding the remnants of his sheet he wrapped his ribs tight. Remembering the food for Hedwig he pulled it out of his pocket and placed it in her cage.
"Sorry girl, I'm afraid that is all we're gonna get for a while." Silently she nodded and began to nibble on the toast and meat. Slumping down, Harry knew he needed to get Hedwig to safety but how? Looking up at Hedwig she had lost a bit of weight and was a good bit thinner. Maybe just maybe he could get her past the bars on his window and send her to Ron's or Dumbledor. Sighing he found a scrap of paper and since he had no pen he punctured his finger and with a sliver of wood wrote a note in blood.
Most likely by the time you read this I will most likely be gone. My body is slowly giving up to the treatment it has endured since returning from School. Please as my last wish keep Hedwig safe.
Feeling weak from loss of blood and lack of food. Harry some how managed to open the window and send the letter to Dumbledor. As Hedwig faded from view Harry faded into complete darkness. Knowing that this would be his last birthday. Silently Harry's body slid to the floor. Barely breathing Harry was asleep and for the first time in years now nightmares.
Dumbledor sat silently at his desk. The days meetings with the ministry and school staff had worn him down. Voldemort was alive and threatening the wizard and muggle worlds. He felt that something was wrong but couldn't quite place it. Watching Fawkes Dumbledor smiled. His phoenix would be burning soon. Suddenly with a swoosh of white feathers and wings an owl landed on Dumbledor's desk. Looking down at what had come in he saw a sickly looking snow owl. In it's beak was a letter. Dumbledor took the letter and read it. Growing pale with the contents he dropped the letter to his desk and took off down the stairs.
"Minerva come quickly. Severus, Poppy. I need you to come with me to Potter's home."
"What ever for Headmaster?" Severus asked as the trio reached Dumbledor.
"Harry is in danger." The sparkle that is usually in his eyes was gone. The look of shear fear and dread is what replaced it. Pulling a small box out his pockets Dumbledor turned it into a portkey. All four placed a finger upon the small box and in less than five seconds they were all standing outside of Number 4 Privet Drive. Hoping against hope Dumbledor hoped they were in time. Just as they reached the front door it opened and Mr. Dursley was reaching for the morning paper.
"What do you want?" Vernon replied with strangled voice.
"Where is Harry?" Dumbledor asked angrily.
"The lazy lout hasn't gotten up yet."
"Move aside." Demanded Dumbledor. For fear of being harmed Vernon made a hasty retreat into the kitchen. Pulling out his wand Dumbledor spoke a few words in a whisper and soon they were being led to Harry's room. As the group reached a steel plated door, they could smell death. Pointing his wand Dumbledor blew the door away and hurried into the room. Next to the window was the body of young Harry Potter. His clothes blood soaked and torn, bruises covered his face and body. Immediately Poppy went to work. Severus helping her.
"He's alive Albus but only barely." Severus announced. This calmed the worried Headmaster and Deputy Headmistress. Turning on their heals Dumbledor and Minerva left Harry in the hands of the nurse and Potions Master. Reaching the door that lead to the kitchen. Dumbledor destroyed it as well. Setting at the table were all three Dursleys.
"How could you do this to a child of your own blood line. He glared at Petunia?" Before anything else could be said there was a scream from upstairs.
"Albus get up here!" Running up the stairs Albus and Minerva entered Harry's room to find Fawkes. The phoenix lowered his head to the boys mouth and began to cry. As he cried he burst into flames. As Fawkes let out a cry of song his flames flowed around the young boy. As the flames subsided the injuries that were life threatening were gone. But the boy was still unconscious. As Severus picked Harry up the boys chest came into view. Imprinted was the mark of the golden phoenix. The most powerful magical animal known. The last to hold such a mark was Merlin himself.
"Severus, Poppy take Mr. Potter back to Hogwarts. Me and Minerva must attend to some details here first." Albus and Minerva once again went downstairs but this time not to the kitchen but to the fire place. Pointing his wand Dumbledor muttered something and flames appeared in the fire place. Reaching into his pocket he pulled out a small bag of Floo Powder. Tossing it into the flames. Dumbledor called out Minister Fudge and jumped in. Minerva stood waiting on more instructions. Seconds later both Dumbledor and Fudge appeared out of the fireplace.
"Minister follow me."
"Albus, what is this all about?"
"Minister upon investigation and facts presented to me and three others I have come to the decision that Harry Potter is not safe living with his Aunt and Uncle."
"Come now, what is this about.?"
"Cornelius the boy's Uncle has nearly killed him. Harry is on his way to Hogwarts for treatment as we speak."
"Be serious now Albus, Harry is famous why would anyone want to hurt him?"
"You know very well Minister that some muggles very much dislike anything to do with magic. Here is a letter Harry sent to me." Handing the letter Fudge, Albus went on. "Can you guess what it is written in?" Waiting for some reply, and receiving none he continued, "His very own blood." Both Minerva and Fudge gasp at the realization. Immediately Fudge took care of the matter. Declaring the Dursley's unfit to care for a child. The decision of placement would rest on Albus' shoulders.