The first thing he noticed as the morning light streamed onto his sleeping face, gently easing him into consciousness, was that he was in pain. He could feel the throbbing of his ribs underneath his skin and he felt the warm stickiness of blood against his stomach and left leg. The first thought that he had after he noted all of these things, was surprise at his state of living. He should have been dead.
Vernon hadn't held anything back upon his return to their home three days ago. Even through the bruises and endless chores, he had known that it was only punishment for Dudley's enlarged tongue the summer before. There hadn't been any attempt to kill him and Harry could easily accept the full return of how he'd been treated all of his life until his Hogwarts letter had arrived. It probably would have continued in this painful but rather livable way until he returned to the Weasley's if not for one thing: Dudley.
He'd never counted on his cousin seeking his own vengeance for the Twins' prank. However stupid his cousin was, Dudley knew that if Harry was discovered to have been mistreated than something much worse would happen again this summer. That realization was, unfortunately, the extent of his intelligence because the moron then decided that the only way to prevent this was for Harry to disappear. So Dudley had single handedly broken his mother's precious china and stole as much money as he wanted from his father's wallet before blaming it on Harry.
Harry fought back the urge to laugh bitterly as he remembered how Vernon believed everything his son had said about the cause of the broken china and missing money despite the fact that Harry had been locked in his room the entire time with no way out. In his uncle's anger, he had decided something along the lines of his son; Harry had to go, one way or another.
The resulting beating was fully meant to kill him. His uncle hadn't held anything back and Harry suspected it was only his magic that was keeping him alive at the moment. He'd discovered early on in life that injuries that would take most months to heal only took him a few days or a week at most. It only made sense the injuries that normally would kill anyone else wouldn't be nearly as fatal to him. He'd wondered, upon his re-entry into the Wizarding World, if this was due to his survival of the Killing Curse or the environment which he'd grown up in.
That didn't matter much anymore because as soon as his uncle returned to dispose of his supposedly dead body, he would finish the job that he'd failed to complete the first time. Harry turned his head in search of some exit, any exit, that he'd be able to use to escape. Unfortunately the only exit was the cat flap in which his relatives had installed to give him food during his second year at Hogwarts.
Harry gave a bitter laugh as blood bubbled from his mouth before slowly inching himself upwards despite the pain he was in. He needed to get to his wand, cloak, and picture album underneath his floorboards. He'd asked Ron to keep his Firebolt over the summer, not trusting himself to ignore the urge to use it, so he wouldn't have to worry about that.
Prying up the loose floorboard, Harry pulled the three things out as well as his money bag (he didn't trust the Dursley's not to go through his trunk) and looked that them before nodding. His money bag was enlarged on the inside and with a bit of effort his managed to get his wand a cloak inside the pouch. Looking at the album, Harry felt the urge to cry. If he'd been able to shrink it was magic there wouldn't be a problem but he was all too well aware of the fact that it was illegal during the summer.
"Please," Harry whispered as he looked at the book. Why wouldn't it fit? He needed it to fit! He gasped as a pulse of magic surrounded the book before it shrank. Vaguely, Harry recalled that when he was younger large amounts of emotion would cause accidental magic and the summer before third year flittered into his thoughts as he recalled that yes, he was still capable of performing such things.
"Thank you," he mumbled before placing the newly shrunken object within the bag carefully. Hedwig had managed to escape the night before but Harry was sure she hadn't gone far in case he needed her. Forcing himself to stand through the pain of his ribs and left leg, Harry stumbled over to his window. Thankfully the bars hadn't been replaced so he easily opened them and waited.
Sure enough, the snowy owl soared over to him from his place in a nearby tree. Smiling at her, he attacked the bag to her leg. "Bring it to me after I get out," he whispered to her. "If anything happens to me, take it to Ron or Hermione instead."
Hedwig hooted before she was off. The burst of strength he'd used to complete his tasks so far finally fled and he collapsed against the window and slid to the floor, gasping as blood flowed from his mouth.
A sudden, horrible thought occurred to him. He was going to die here. Getting his most precious objects to Hedwig had taken all of his remaining energy and he had none felt to use the window to escape. He would bleed out or his uncle would come back but either way he was going to die. Years of surviving Voldemort and monsters was for nothing as he was going to die in the only place he was supposed to be safe.
He didn't want to die. He didn't want to leave the friends and family he had made in the strange world he'd been a part of for the last four years. He wanted to live, to see everything that the Wizarding World had to offer. He wasn't even fifteen yet and he didn't want to die.
Magic swirled around him as he cried and gasped blood until finally; he seemed to be smaller than before. Looking around wildly and in pain, Harry saw that he was now the perfect size to fit through the cat flap. Trying to stand, Harry immediately collapsed and saw that paws had replaced his feet.
It didn't matter, though. He had a chance now, a chance to live through this ordeal. Forcing himself to stand he heard the loud thundering of his uncle's steps up the stairs. Vernon was coming for him. Fear and adrenaline rushed through his body and gave him a renewed sense of strength. Standing, Harry moved two paws at a time, like he had seen cats at Hogwarts and dogs in the nearby park do, and suddenly, he was off.
The flap gave way easily to his rush of paws and he skidded out into the hallway before passing his shocked uncle and making his ways down the stairs to where his aunt was opening the door and brining in groceries. Speeding past her shocked shriek, Harry felt sun and fresh air hit his fur (he had fur!) as he made his way down the paved sidewalk and running out into the street. He pulled a sharp right, planning on getting to the park and hiding in the nearby trees, not stopping until Number Four Privet Drive wasn't visible if he turned around.
He was free! He was free and he was alive! And-he smacked into a pair of trousers as he knocked a passerby onto their bottoms. The impacted aggravated his already near fatal injuries and Harry felt a twinge in his gut before blood filled his mouth and pain overcame his mind.
The blackness the followed was welcomed with a strange mix of fear and relief.
It was easier than it should have been to locate the town in which one Harry James Potter lived in. It was even more satisfying in discovering that beside's the blood wards (which were useless now that he shared the boys blood) there was nothing else protecting Harry Potter's home from him. Dumbledore, the fool, had left his pawn alone and without protection and didn't even realize it. It made him want to laugh.
His resurrection had gone exactly as he'd planned. Well, almost. Wormtail, the moron, had allowed Nagini's scales to mix with the potion and he'd temporarily had been driven insane and had appeared as a strange snake-man hybrid. In that insanity he had allowed the Potter boy to escape once more.
Wormtail had been properly punished for his mistake and all it had done was delay the boy's end for a mere few more weeks as the summer holidays came and Potter was released with his classmate's for the next three months.
His thoughts, however, were interrupted when a furred animal collided with his feet and sent him sprawling to the ground. Grimacing, he turned to kill the infernal animal before pausing as the magic that surrounded the beast.
He'd scanned this entire area and the only magic around here was the house of a squib with a large amount of kneazles as well as Potter's home. Seeing as this was a wolf and not just any wolf, but a Black Wolf, Voldemort was confused. And he didn't like being confused.
Black Wolves were thought to be the result of mutations introduced into the genes of the Gray Wolves by dog-wolf hybridism. However, the Wizarding Community had discovered it a result of the differing magical core in the animal. Black Wolves were on par with the intelligence of a Kneazle and were preferred familiars for most of the elite of the Wizarding World. This one looked to be adolescent still however there was more than the innate magic of the animal coating its fur.
"Animagus?" Lord Voldemort blinked at the bloody and unconscious creature. To be a magical animagus was rare and to be a wolf was even more so. Wolves were pack animals but more than that they were brave, loyal, and cunning as well as intelligent. Wolf Animagi were the more often the result of abuse and mistreatment from a young age as most of the qualities that a young witch or wizard gained depended more on their early years of life and were harder to change than those of muggle children.
Closing his eye, the Dark Lord focused his magic on the thoughts of the animagus, looking for the reason that this animal was here.
Flashes of a large, angry man and pain and fear answered his prodding along with a snowy white owl flying off with a small bag. "Potter," he muttered, frowning. Potter was supposed to be coddled according to the information Severus had gathered. Coddled and spoiled by his relatives.
This spoke otherwise for a forced animagus transformation was thought impossible unless underneath life threatening stress. Something, besides himself, had threatened the young Potter boy's life and he had a large suspicion as to what that something was. The images that he'd received from the boy's mind merely aggravated those suspicions to the point where Voldemort was almost tempted to tear the boys mind apart in his curiosity. Almost.
Either way, the boy would die if left here. His magic was already waning and his injuries were beginning to kill his body. "Be grateful, Potter." The Dark Lord sneered at his enemy. "If I wasn't curious as to what caused this I would leave you for dead."
Bending down and picking up the wolf, the Dark Lord Aparated to the safety of his hideout to begin healing the dying animagus.