Wanted: Love

Ch1: Never a Moment's Peace

Harry moaned miserably in a puddle of blood on the floor, shivering. He wasn't sure if the reason he was so cold was because of his flu or because of the blood loss. His skin was covered in blisters, his lip was bleeding, and a nasty bruise was forming around his left eye. His glasses lay broken and forgotten a few feet away from him. Scrapes and bruises were visible everywhere. All he could concentrate on was the tremendous pain that seemed to be ripping at every fiber of his being. And as he lay there, wallowing in his own misery, his mind forced him to replay the events of the previous day that had led to his currents situation.

He had been in the kitchen attempting to cook dinner for his relatives which proved very difficult as Dudley continuously whacked him around the legs with his Smeltings stick, which had become a sort of ritual every summer. Harry had already nearly chopped several of his fingers off when he was cutting the vegetables, and, although, he hadn't disconnected any of his body parts, he had nicked himself fairly deeply several times with the paring knife he was using. But quickly rinsing the food off, his uncle hadn't known that he had bled onto them.

It wasn't until the incident with the pot full of noodles that Vernon had started beating him. Just as he had lifted the heavy pot full of boiling water and steamy noodles off the stove, Dudley had "accidentally" bumped into him and sent him flying backwards. Luckily, Harry had managed not to drop the pot but, as he had found out of the years, things never worked out for him and it was great pain that he discovered that he had put his hand out to steady himself on the still very hot stove.

As the searing pain exploded from his hand, he released the pot without thinking and the water and noodles crashed to the floor and splashed up on to of him. And while this sent Dudley into great fits of laughter, Harry found it considerably less amusing. His skin was burning with unbelievable agony and it was then that his aunt and uncle had decided to enter the room.

The rest of that evening had been pure torture. It was undoubtedly the longest stretch of abuse Harry had ever had to endure, lasting well past the moon's ascent to the sky. The only upside that Harry could see to the situation was that he didn't think any bones had been broken. It would be over soon, though, it was September 1st, and he could finally go back to Hogwarts. Ten years had passed since the rainy day that Harry had attempted to run away. And if their hatred of him was back then was large than it had been nothing short of the equivalent of a monsoon ever since he found out he was a wizard.

The abuse Harry had put up with until his eleventh birthday had been random and unpredictable. But since he returned from his first year of Hogwarts he had been able to identify a pattern. The first month back he would be beaten once a week. The second month, three, sometimes four times a week. And August was always left for his recovery. This year, however, things were different. There was no pattern for which Harry could brace himself for.

The attacks were just about every day now, getting worse and worse by the minute. He simply didn't understand it. There was no way he would be able to heal himself by this afternoon, and there was no way that they would be able to keep him there. He wouldn't allow it. His friends wouldn't either. . .at least he didn't think they would, but lately he wasn't sure what to expect from them.

He had not heard anything from anyone in the wizarding world all summer with the exception of the annual letter from Hogwarts telling him what supplies he needed for the upcoming year. At first Harry had amused himself with the idea that perhaps Dobby was blocking his letters again but the thought quickly died with the arrival of his Hogwarts letter. He supposed that they probably had their own reasons for not contacting him.

Hagrid, Sirius, and Remus were probably too busy with their missions for Dumbledore; Ron's family was most likely nothing short of chaotic as it had been chosen as the base of operations since the Ministry building had been destroyed by Voldemort three months ago, at the end of Harry's fifth year at Hogwarts. And Ron also had his new girlfriend, Lavender Brown, to keep him busy so Harry wasn't all too surprised by the lack of communication.

Hermione. . .he couldn't come up with anything to explain her, perhaps she was just busy worrying about the practice N.E.W.T.S. they were having this upcoming year. And even though it seemed like something that Hermione would do it hardly seemed reason enough to shun him from her life all summer. Then again, it could always be her romance with Viktor Krum that kept her busy as did Ron's with Lavender. Whatever the reasons for Ron and Hermione ignoring him were he would be sure to find out on the Hogwarts Express that afternoon.

Still, he couldn't help but feel that something was wrong. He had sent at least a dozen letters to Ron and Hermione but had received none in return and since Hedwig had never failed to deliver a letter he knew something had to be up. Hedwig. . .she had left a couple days before his birthday and hadn't returned since. That was another thing. Not that he was overly obsessed with getting gifts from his friends for his birthday but he hadn't even received a single card wishing him a happy birthday. Not that Harry could have called his birthday a happy one. It had been chosen, undoubtedly on purpose, as a "Beating Day" as Harry had come to call them.

Harry sighed, first his friends and now Hedwig. He wasn't particularly worried about her, though, but he did have to admit that he missed her company. Every summer since he had gotten her, she had always stayed with him, nipping her beak affectionately after every beating. Harry could really use some of her comfort right about then, it was the closest he had to a mother's love and that was all he wanted at the moment. Harry cursed himself for it, too. He hated being weak. When he was younger, being alone had never bothered him. He was used to the cold, harsh life that fate had chosen to deal him and had adapted to living life alone. But after his first year at Hogwarts he had discovered what companionship could give to his otherwise meaningless life.

Even so, Harry hated depending on people. When you're by yourself there's only one person to help you when you're down, only one person to protect when danger rears its head. But when you depend on other people. . . .it only makes things more complicated and difficult. Harry allowed himself to be carried away in his train of thoughts and even the pain began to dull a little as he became lost in a sea of speculation. But Harry's life was never easy for long and it just happened that than his door burst open and in stalked Vernon.

"What!? You haven't moved from that spot all night? You lazy good for nothing-" Vernon kept on and on but Harry wasn't listening.

Of course he hadn't moved. How could he? He couldn't remember ever being as sore as he was at the present moment. Not even the fall from his broom during the Quidditch match in his third year could come anywhere close to this.

"-Are you even listening, boy!?" shouted Vernon menacingly.

"Huh?" asked Harry, instantly regretting it.


Harry glared at him, "Exactly what have you ever done that could be considered charitable!? All you've ever done is kick when I'm down-"

He was tired of always taking his uncle's ranting and raving, especially when half the time everything he said was a lie. Besides, his uncle would have a full nine months to call down before Harry would have to face him again.

Vernon's eyes spit fire as he interrupted Harry, "THAT'S IT! EVERYTHING I'VE DONE IS CHARITABLE! YOU UNGRATEFUL LITTLE BRAT!"

With that Vernon grabbed a lamp off Harry's bedside table and whacked Harry over the head with it. Harry could feel blood begin to seep from his head, acting like glue between his scalp and his hair. He wasn't sure if it was his imagination or not but he could almost swear that he could feel a piece of the pottery sticking out of his head.

Completely taken by shock, Harry unintentionally allowed himself to be picked up. Vernon than walked over to the window, opened it and, before Harry could register what was happening, tossed him out. Harry hit the ground with a sickening thud. After being tossed out a second story window, he was certain that at least several of his bones had been broken.

Vernon stuck his head out the window, "And don't you even think about coming back in until the garden has been weeded and the grass mowed!" Vernon's words, however, went unheeded, as Harry had passed out.

When he finally came around, it was pitch black outside and Harry, still glasses-less couldn't see a thing. Reaching his hand up to his head he felt something protruding out of the skull. Pulling it out, he instantly wishing that he hadn't; he could feel blood pouring from the injury down through his hair, over his neck, and dropping to the ground. Harry wasn't wearing any shoes so, with remote ease, he pulled a sock off of his foot and pushed it against his head in a futile attempt to stop the bleeding.

After a few minutes, he could feel the blood stop running down the back of his head and he slowly tried to pick himself up. However, a sudden, extremely fiery burst of pain spread outward from all parts of his body and it took all his will power not to allow himself to collapse back into a heap on the ground. Harry presumed that this was to be expected. After all, you don't get thrown out of a second story window and walk away unscathed. The Dursleys were lucky that they had a tall wooden fence enclosing the backyard (AN: It's never stated if they do or not so just deal with it), otherwise, a neighbor would have been sure to have seen him and call the police.

It took Harry at least a good fifteen minutes to carry himself over to the back door of the Dursley's home. As luck would have it, the door was open and Harry carefully slid inside, making as little noise as possible.

As he slowly made his way out of the kitchen he noticed that the noodles and pot were still lying askew on the floor, 'Lazy prats can't even clean up a little mess.'

Harry guessed that they were planning on having him clean it up in the morning, though, Harry himself had no intention of being there when they awoke. Another good hour later, Harry had made it to his room; it had taken him quite a while to figure out a way to skip the stair that creaked with him only having one good leg to hobble about on.

Exhausted, Harry let himself drop onto his bed. Several minutes later, he had managed to catch his breath and briefly considered sending Hedwig to the Weasley's for help but rejected the idea for a few reasons. The top one being that Harry had promised himself that he wouldn't involve his friends or anyone else in his home life, no matter how bad it got. Things were bad enough with Voldemort on the rampage and the last thing anyone needed was to be worried with Harry's well being. Besides, he deserved what he got. The Dursleys were his punishment for bringing Voldemort back into the world.

Another reason was because Hedwig had still yet to come back. This bothered Harry somewhat, no matter where she went Hedwig had always come back in time for their trip to Hogwarts. Harry's eyes widened at this thought.

"Hogwarts." he breathed, "I missed the train for Hogwarts."

Harry sat up, much to the distress of his body, and looked around the room. There was no doubt in his mind that someone would come to see why he hadn't returned to school, but the question Harry couldn't answer would be whether he would be alive when they came. His uncle had never broken anything in all the years that Harry had lived there and now, on the day that he should have been freed for nine months of their tyranny.

'What could they possibly be thinking?' Harry mentally asked himself. Surely they knew what his friends, especially Sirius and Remus, would do if they found out.

'So why don't you tell them?' his mind asked him.

Harry shook his head but quickly stopped as it hurt too much. He couldn't tell them. It would only be another three months after this year. Harry sighed. There wasn't much of a choice. He couldn't stay here and wait for someone to rescue him, who knew how long it would be before he was rescued and what of his condition then? If he was this bad now, it was very possible for the damage toll to double or triple. Then everyone would know about his home life. He couldn't let them know that. He had to get to Hogwarts on his own. He would come up with some excuse for condition then. Right now he just had to get out before the Dursleys woke up.

Standing unsteadily on his feet he grabbed his wand from the floor board under his bed then grabbed his glasses and, thanking his lucky star that summer was over and he could legally use magic again, repaired them. Harry then hobbled downstairs unlocked the cupboard under the stairs and grabbed his broom. He had to travel light. Someone from the school could come get his things later. Right now all he had to worry about was getting to Hogwarts.

Just as he was about to leave the house, Harry was struck with a brilliant idea. Making it easier on himself, he mounted his broom and flew upstairs to his aunt and uncle's room. Creeping in, utterly silent, Harry pointed his wand at his relatives and whispered a few well chosen words before flying back downstairs and to the door. They certainly would get a surprise when they woke up. Knowing how they obsessed with being "normal," Harry was certain that the simple hex he used would horrify them. (AN: Wanna know what he did? Ya gotta read to the next chapter!) Harry made his way back downstairs and opened the door and was surprised, to say the least, to see Hedwig flying around the front yard expectantly.

As soon as she saw Harry she hooted and flew over to him, landing on his shoulder and nipping at his ear.

"Where have you been?" Harry asked her quietly as he closed the front door. Hedwig hooted and Harry gave her a small smile.

"Come on, we have to get to Hogwarts." he said mounting his broom. Hedwig stared at him with worried eyes and it was then that Harry realized how he must look.

"I'm fine, I just need to see Madame Pomfrey for a few minutes then I'll be good as new." he said reassuringly. Hedwig looked at him somewhat disapprovingly but hooted in acceptance anyway.

"Let's go." Harry said kicking off with his good leg.


Harry woke up in a pile of leaves clumped together in a pitiful attempt at a bed. Hedwig was nipping at him in an urgent manner. They had been traveling for two days by night and still hadn't reached Hogwarts. Harry knew that Hedwig was getting worried. He had no doubt that if she wasn't slowed down by him than she would have reached the castle on the first night. And even though Harry was traveling on his Firebolt, the condition that he was in didn't yield to speedy travel. So, to the partial annoyance of Hedwig, they had taken it nice and slow. Harry rolled over but instantly shot up at the pressure the ground inflicted on his ribs. Hedwig looked satisfied with herself and pushed off from the ground as to tell him it was time to go.

"I know, Hedwig. Just give me a minute." said Harry hoarsely. If he looked anything like the way he felt, it would have rivaled Sirius when he first escaped.

Reaching up to his head, Harry pulled several leaves out of the hole in head that had been left by the lamp. Stomach grumbling, eyelids feeling like ten ton weights, and soaked to the bone due to the nonstop rain that had started around noon the previous day, Harry used the tree he was next to to help him up. Mounting his Firebolt, Hedwig took off and Harry's broom followed her.

Not trusting himself to have enough energy to guide the broom, Harry had cast a charm on it to hone in on Hedwig and follow her. Harry carefully rested his chest on the broom, making sure to avoid the broken ribs, and let one hand hold the broom while the other drooped in the air. He wasn't sure how much longer he could take this. He had barely slept five minutes the whole summer. His head was killing him, his chest felt like a thousand tiny daggers drilled into it with every breath, and if he had to make one more landing on his broken leg he doubted he'd ever be able to walk again.

Hedwig seemed to sense all her master's agony and slowed down long enough to nudge his shoulder with her head before taking up the front again. Harry appreciated her concern but couldn't help but feel a bit cross about her leaving him for so long. His stomach gave a sudden lurch as the broom made an unexpected height adjustment to avoid a flock of ducks. Harry closed his eyes and tried to calm the feeling of nausea that threatened to over take him, though, he couldn't imagine what he could possibly have left to throw up as he hadn't eaten in over three days. His broom gave another shake and Harry opened his eyes wearily and lifted his head to see what the cause was this time.

Harry's heart seemed to jump into his throat. Hedwig was still flying, getting farther and farther away from him, unaware that anything was wrong. His broom shook again and Harry suddenly experienced a feeling of deja vu of his first Quidditch match where his broom had tried to buck him off. He looked down to the ground and saw a group of people in robes that could be mistaken for none other than those of Death Eaters.

'Just my luck.' Harry thought bitterly to himself as he tried desperately to stay on his broom.

Hedwig, who had finally realized something was wrong, had flown back to him and stared at him with eyes that asked, "What should I do?"

Harry shook his head as his broom shook again. This time, Harry couldn't muster enough strength to cling to the broom and fell off. In a last attempt to help him, Hedwig clamped her beak on his clothes and managed to at least slow the descent, if only a little. Harry was certain that he heard more bones crack as he landed but little time to deliberate on it as the Death Eaters quickly surrounded him. There were only three of them, but they, by far, outnumbered Harry.

"Well, well, well. Who do we have here? A little wizard out for a midnight ride? Tisk, Tisk. I should have thought Dumbledore had warned you all against this type of thing." said one of them in an unmistakable female voice.

'Dumbledore?' Harry asked himself, 'Am I at Hogwarts?'

"Looks like this one's already been damaged, though." said another one, this one a male, as he kicked Harry in the side.

Harry winced and let out a gasp of pain.

"Pathetic, simply pathetic. Tell me, what's your name?" asked the third one, also a male. Harry didn't say anything, if they thought he was stupid enough to tell them that he was Harry Potter than they had less brains then Neville.

Harry immediately sent a mental apology to the boy he had just insulted as the man kicked him again, "Answer me, boy!"

Harry was quickly reminded of uncle Vernon but had little time to reflect on that though as at that moment, Hedwig swooped down and started attacking the three Death Eaters. While they were distracted, Harry reached into his pocket and pulled out his wand. Hedwig noticed this and flew off, leaving Harry quite alone with the three full grown wizards.

"Stupid owl! Is that a pet of yours, boy!?" asked the woman.

Harry didn't respond; he was too busy trying to think of some good hexes that would at least buy him some time.

"Answer us!" the first man shouted.

Harry turned around, pointed his wand at them and shouted, "Petrificus Totalus!"

The two men froze and fell to the ground but the woman remained unharmed and gaped at him. Regaining herself, she looked at his face and recognized him.

"Harry Potter!" she hissed at him.

With that she did a quick spell and within a second at least twenty other Death Eaters had appeared. Harry gulped; if it was just one Death Eater he stood a chance, but twenty one? He was doomed.

"What is it, Parkinson?" asked one of the new arrivals.

'Parkinson?' Harry asked himself, 'Of course, this must be Pansy's mum.'

"Found someone I think Voldemort might be interested in." said Parkinson nodding her head in Harry's direction. The Death Eaters glanced at Harry than broke out into a loud mummer. Harry felt all his morale go down the drain, he was dead for sure.

'Might as well of stayed at the Dursley's' thought Harry to himself bitterly.

Than, before Harry knew what was happening, tidal waves of curses were being shot at him. Not able to move very well because of his injuries, Harry squirmed about on the ground, trying his best to block out the Death Eaters' laughter. Without realizing it, he had maneuvered himself next to the Death Eater that Parkinson had first talked to. He laughed evilly and cast Crucio on him.

Harry felt his vision begin to blur and darkness begin to overtake him, he gladly accepted this but refused to scream. To scream would only give him satisfaction and that's the last thing he needed to give them. Plus, if he was going to die it might as well be while he was unconscious so he wouldn't feel anything. And besides, death wouldn't the worst thing that happened, it had to be better than living when no one wanted you. With that thought in mind, he let his head droop to the side and thought no more.

Author's Note: Okay, I was going to end this chapter after Harry and Hedwig leave left the Dursley's home but then that would mean that the next chapter was like three paragraphs long. So I just decided to make it one chapter. Does it flow well together? I hope so. Please read and review!!!!