Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter or any of the charchters.

Today was Harry's seventeenth birthday and he wasn't really sure whether or not to be happy about it. He knew that he was becoming a man but he also knew that this meant the beginning of a very dangerous journey for him, Ron and Hermione. He was now able to use magic without the Ministry of Magic coming after him so the plan had been for the three of them to head out the day after his birthday after revealing on his birthday that they were leaving on a mission and weren't coming back until it's over. They wouldn't reveal where they were going just that they were going and before the mission was over (because of the final battle against Voldemort and his followers) that they were going to need all of the help they could get. They had been preparing for weeks: getting books, in the case of Ron and Hermione practicing spells, getting anything that might be useful from Fred and George's shop including some of the items they made that shielded the wearer like the Shield Charm and picking out likely places to go and search. Harry decided to put these things out of his mind for a while at least and just enjoy his birthday. He got dressed and headed down to breakfast. He, Ron and Hermione had spent two weeks with the Dursleys, who couldn't bother them because of Ron and Hermione's ability to use magic on them if they did, and then came to the Burrow for the rest of the time up until they were ready to leave. Later in the afternoon the party started and a lot of people came including members of the Order (they had been using the Burrow as headquarters because they couldn't be sure with Dumbledore dead if Number 12 Grimwald Place was safe anymore). Suddenly during the middle of the party Fawkes showed up surprising everyone.

"Fawkes," said Harry surprised. "What's he doing here? I thought he hasn't been seen since Dumbledore's death."

"He hasn't," said Professor McGonagall equally surprised as Fawkes landed on Harry's shoulder. "Usually when a phoenix's master dies they go and sing their lament for the world to hear and then if there is another person they particularly like they may choose to take them as their new master, but I'm not sure why he chose to come here all of sudden."

"We'll figure it out later, how about we get to opening your presents, mate," said Ron.

"Alright," said Harry.

His first two gifts were a box of Chocolate Frogs and a book on Quditich from Ron and a box of Bertie Bott's Every Flavored Beans (a/n sorry if I got that wrong).

"Thanks, guys," said Harry excitedly.

The rest of the gifts he received were just as great. From Fred and George he got a box containing 3 of everything that they had in their store that would be useful for him in his future journeys which was pretty much everything in their store except the love potions which they did not give to him (they brought him all of that stuff because they could tell that he was up to something major after all of these years when he, Ron and Hermione suddenly started buying things that looked like they could help him in a battle or a major mission leading up to one). Mr. And Mrs. Weasley got him something that was quite unexpected and touched him deeply. They got him a clock hand with his name on it to put on their family clock that showed where the entire family was at different times. They explained that he was as good as a member of the family so they decided to add him to the family clock. But the most surprising present he got was when McGonagall approached him with a present. He really didn't expect her to get him anything.

"Professor Dumbledore left me instructions to give this to you on your seventeenth birthday, Harry," said Professor McGonagall. "He said that no matter what happened you were going to end up getting this as a gift when you turned seventeen whether he was alive or not."

And with that she handed him a long thin package and a letter. Harry opened the letter, which said:

Dear Harry,

If you're reading this right now I am most probably not alive any longer and you have to complete what we started on your own or with your friends if they wish to go. By the way if they want to come let them. They could prove to be an invaluable asset during your journey. Considering what you face ahead I thought that this would be an appropriate present to help you out. You have shown that you are worthy of holding it by finding it and retrieving it when no one else had ever been able to. You showed you were worthy by simply being able to retrieve and wield this once for a short while and there are few who are worthy enough to do even that. I believe you will find it very useful in the future and that it will serve you well.

Sincerely yours,

Albus Dumbledore

P.S. If Fawkes suddenly shows up don't be surprised: it means he has chosen you to be his new master. You also proved that you were worthy of that with all of your courage over the years and you proved to him that you could handle having him by your side in battle when you battled the basilisk and Riddle together in your second year.

Harry opened the present with great anticipation of what it could be. Everyone gasped as he pulled the sword of Godric Gryffindor out of the box.

"Wow, mate," said Ron. "Isn't that, that sword you pulled out of the Sorting Hat second year and killed the basilisk with?"

"Yeah, Dumbledore says that he thinks that it will serve me well in the future and that I might find a good use for it," said Harry giving Ron and Hermione a significant look that made them understand what he meant. "He also said that if Fawkes showed up not to be surprised, that just means that he has chosen me to be his new master."

"Wow," said Hermione in awe. "For a phoenix to choose a new master so quickly after its old ones death, and a master much younger and much less powerful than its old one is very, very rare. You should feel honored Harry."

"I do," said Harry. "But I'm glad. We're going to need his help and I know we fight well together because we defeated the basilisk together and I couldn't have done that without his help. We combined forces and we were able to defeat the basilisk as a team and I think if we could do that without anyone else's help then he will be a very valuable asset."

"Also, there's one more thing," said Professor McGonagall. "I'm extending an invitation to the three of you to join the Order of the Phoenix now that you are of age. Normally we wouldn't take someone on as young as you three even though they were of age, but you three have more than proved yourselves worthy and also for some reason you seem central to this fight. So what do you think?"

"Yes," all three of them said together.

"Fine that's settled then," said Professor McGonagall. "We have an Order meeting tonight at seven o'clock sharp so you three are expected to be there and on time."

Later on before the meeting Harry, Ron and Hermione began to finalize their plans. They decided to bring a lot of the stuff that Fred and George had given Harry for his birthday along with the things that they had already bought. They also decided to leave Pig, Hedwig and Crookshanks at the Burrow with Mr. and Mrs. Weasley, but to take Fawkes with them.

"He'll be useful," said Harry. "And plus, his tears have healing powers and we probably will need that."

They finalized their plans and decided to let the Order know that they were going to be leaving on a mission and to tell them that it had to do with defeating Voldemort forever and that Dumbledore assigned it to them and that they couldn't tell them exactly what it was. They figured they needed to do this much at least because they knew that they'd need the help of the Order in the end to help finish the final battle against Voldemort.

Later that night at the Order meeting Harry, Ron and Hermione paid very close attention to what was going on looking for any vital clues that might help them in their quest. At the end when Moody, who had taken over for Dumbledore, asked if anyone had anything else to add, Harry stood up and said that yes he did.

"What is it," asked Moody.

"Before Dumbledore died he assigned me with a mission," said Harry. "It is one of vital importance that he himself was working upon. He wanted me to finish it if something happened to him. That's where he was the night that he died: out on this mission with me. He allowed me to tell Ron and Hermione what it was and about it but he didn't want me to tell anyone else. Tomorrow we are heading out on this mission of ours. We don't know where this path will lead us but we do know that before the end we will need all of the help that we can get. We may arrive at weird times and ask weird questions of you but it is imperative that we get the answers to them. You will understand when it is over but until then it is too much of a risk to reveal this to anyone else. It has to do with Voldemort's one true weakness and he mustn't know that we have any idea that we know what it is otherwise we will never be able to finish the mission. Therefore tomorrow, we are going to set off and we will not return unless there's a vital question that you might know the answer to, until we finish this once and for all."

There was a lot of protest at the table at this but Harry, Ron and Hermione held firm and the Order ended up having to accept their decision, which they did mostly because this was something that Dumbledore himself had supported.

That night the three of them went to bed excited and a good bit scared about what tomorrow brought along with the prospects for their future. Harry lay in bed wondering if becoming of age was worth it since it meant that it was finally time for him to go and do one of the most dangerous things anyone had ever done, but he realized that his parents, Sirius and Dumbledore would have wanted him to do this and he decided to make them proud. He would finish this and bring an end to the greatest threat that ever existed to the wizarding world. It would be the first thing that he would do now that he was a man.

Please review. If your going to flame me try not to be too harsh. I wrote this on a spur of the moment type of thing.