September 1st,

It was not only Madam Bones, who had introduced herself to Harry as the Head of Magical Law Enforcement, who had come through the Headmaster's fireplace. Accompanying her were two Aurors. A man with the mane of a lion, introduced as Rufus Scrimgeour, was followed by James Potter. James gave Harry a mildly surprised look, and then nodded at some thought.

'If I might ask, Mr Potter,' Madam Bones began, 'how did you know that this was not Alastor Moody?'

'My eye,' Harry explained, simply. For clarification, he placed a finger under his left eye, against the long silver scar that ran down the left side of his face.

'Hm. And I understand that you gained that eye through performing a healing spell upon receiving the injury?' Amelia inquired.

'That's right.' he replied.

'And what was this spell?' she asked.

'I'm sorry. I misspoke; I didn't cast the spell, it was cast by someone else when my eye was damaged. I don't remember the incantation, and didn't have the chance to ask.' Harry clarified.

'Why couldn't you ask?' Madam Bones wondered.

'She died shortly thereafter.' Harry replied.

'Madam, I believe it best to leave this conversation. It isn't relevant to this matter, and Mr Potter may feel that you are unnecessarily inquiring into his personal life.' Dumbledore said, his words holding some meaning Harry didn't catch.

'Of course. I was only wondering if it might be of use in St Mungos.' she said, with a formal tone.

'Of course.' Dumbledore nodded, smiling.

'It wouldn't be.' Harry said, despite not being prompted. He would hate for them to look into that, and use it on others when there was another option.

'And why is that, Harry?' Dumbledore asked him. The Headmaster had checked that he was okay to call Harry that, and if the young wizard had a choice he'd have everyone else say it, too. He'd never been known as anything else.

'When you have the option of making eyes like Professor Moody's, the benefits are vastly outweighed by the negatives.'

'What negatives?' Rufus Scrimgeour, having remained silent thus far, asked.

'The incredible amount of pain that accompanied it during the change, is the main one. Other than that, it gave me more headaches than I can count at first, and it contributes to my inability to sleep properly. When I close my eyes, it just sees through the lid.'

The imposter made a noise, somewhere between a groan and an angry shout, and everyone's attention turned to him. He did not wake up, but the spell Dumbledore had cast, to remove the Polyjuice Potion's effect in half the time it would normally require, had finally begun.

Harry watched grizzled features turn to those of a skinny man, with pale skin and a mop of straw-coloured hair; not-Moody turned into the man whose shadow Harry had seen. Dumbledore's eyes narrowed, very slightly, and he moved over to the unconscious imposter. Harry didn't recognise the man, as far as he knew. He was vaguely familiar… maybe he'd been in the crowd at some point in the war. Maybe his face was amongst the sea of dead men attributed to Harry.

Dumbledore grasped the man's left forearm, and pulled the sleeve back. He muttered to himself, as the others made similar sounds. Harry craned his neck, and saw the familiar brand of the Death Eater. A snake protruding from the mouth of a skull.

'Barty Crouch Junior,' Dumbledore announced. 'I believe that we should bring this matter to the Wizengamot, and question his father.' he said, with a frown. 'And exhume the body that was buried in Azkaban. I suspect that we will find the boy's mother in his place.

'Harry, we will need to have our chat tomorrow. If you could make your way to Gryffindor tower, I will send for you tomorrow after classes are done.'

-()-

Harry didn't feel like heading straight to the Gryffindor tower, not that he actually knew where it was, and instead headed to the most interesting spot in the castle.

It took some time to decide if it was the same in this world as his own. Whatever magic the room entailed, his eye was unable to peer inside.

Harry stood in front of it, and thought back to what he had seen last time. He didn't quite understand how the room had expanded as it had, but the corridor in which he now stood had barely been wide enough for him to walk through as one wall bulged outwards. And Harry had been unwilling to stay for too long, on the off chance that it would erupt and blow him to Hell.

The door had swung open to give him a good view inside, when Harry had tried every angle to see through with his eye, and he had been rightly amazed by what was inside. The walls changed colour, shape, and texture five times per second, never being quite the same twice. Harry had seen as meadows changed to dungeons, and forests to a room packed full of discarded items. He had no idea what the connection was, but the magic was fascinating nonetheless.

Upon reaching the spot, Harry placed his right hand on the wall, and then raised his left. He rapped the metal knuckles against the brickwork, and placed an ear to the stone. It made the sound one would expect from metal on stone, and Harry grunted.

He wanted to see the inside.

Harry moved to the left, and tried again. He stared hard at the wall, and knocked his hand against it. It was tempting to punch through, but that would likely be a bad idea. Whatever the wall was, the magic had to be dangerous.

Harry moved to the right, nearer to the corner around which he had come, and covered his right eye with his left hand. Harry raised his wand, held in the right hand's grip, and took a breath. He hoped it wouldn't explode, if only because that would hurt and attract a hell of a lot of attention.

'Revelio!' Harry flinched, as the charm flew into the wall, and waited for something bad to happen.

Nothing did, and Harry walked up to the wall again. He stood face to face next to it, and raised his wand once more. He looked at the bricks, scratched his head, and began tapping the point of his Blackthorn wand against them.

This one and that, and then another and another. Harry tried a dozen patterns, then a dozen more, in hopes that it might be the same idea as Diagon Alley's entrance.

Evidently, it was not.

Harry swore at the surface, and walked down to the left side of the corridor. He paced back, and then forth, and debated blowing a hole through to the other side.

All he wanted was to see what was inside. Was that too much to… huh.

There was a door there.

There hadn't been before.

Harry pulled the handle, and the ornate wooden door swung open. He raised his wand, waiting for something to attack him, and cast lumos with a thought.

Harry sent the ball of light into the darkness of the room, towards the right wall, and his left eye examined the contents inside as his right adjusted.

It was empty.

That was anticlimactic.

Harry took a slow step forwards, wand still raised and ready to defend should the need arise, and looked around. He brightened the ball of light, and it floated to the ceiling as he walked the edge of the room. It seemed far less marvelous in this world than his own. A shame, since he'd wanted a place to practice magic without interruption.

'What the hell?' the room extinguished Harry's light, and it was almost as though the room and Harry inside blinked out of existence for a split second. When Harry blinked, his left eye was unobstructed. When it was dark, his left eye saw shades of grey. So… where did everything go for that second?

And how was the room now a hundred meter space with dummies and targets, made of various materials, along the far wall, as well as bookshelves on the wall to Harry's right?

Harry smiled.

He'd known this room was interesting. Apparently he had underestimated it, even so.

'Who made you? Who made this room?' Harry asked, looking at the ceiling.

He noticed a book in the corner of his eye, on a plinth, and walked over to it. That had appeared as soon as he asked, it wasn't a mighty leap to think it would answer his question.

The Lives and Times of Helga Hufflepuff, Godric Gryffindor and Rowena Ravenclaw.

'The founders, huh? That makes sense.' Harry commented, as he opened the book and scanned the first page. It was written in latin, 'Do you have it in English?'

Harry turned around, and found another book, on an identical stand. He flicked the cover open, and began to read.

It was an interesting subject, but not one Harry especially cared about or one presented in an especially clear way. Whoever had written the book was embittered towards the three, and it was rather clear by the language used. If he was to guess, Harry would say Salazar Slytherin was the author. That was why he only read a chapter before closing it and moving over to the books on the wall.

They had plain covers, and Harry made a thoughtful sound.

'Could I get some books on defensive and offensive magics? And the tactics that best make use of the different branches of magic?'

Harry turned his head, and saw a new bookcase. He turned it again, and found that the one he had been browsing was now gone.

'Okay. And could you please give me the instructions for how to properly make use of this room?' he asked, next. He seemed to be figuring it out, but actually being told how to use it would make this process far easier.

A pamphlet drifted down past Harry's face.

'Thank you.'

He read the pamphlet through thrice, and nodded. That was relatively simple to understand. Harry was glad that the room had known he meant how to operate it, and not the mechanics of this incredible enchantment. There was literally no chance that he would understand the spellwork that had gone into… this. No more than a dog understands the mechanics of a car as it sticks its head out of the window, anyway.

It could not create food and drink, because nothing that was created by the room could be taken out. That meant that- if the room did provide sustenance- a person could spend a fortnight in the room, drinking their fill of water or ale or butterbeer, and then walk outside and die of thirst. A safeguard, put in place by the Founders.

Short of food and drink, it could create most anything. As Harry had seen, it could create targets and show him any books that were, or had been, inside the Castle. It could create models that were borderline sentient, if that was what the user wanted, but not resembling a person the user knew. Apparently, the Founders suspected that some students might use the room for something other than learning and training if they had that option.

And things that were left in the room, unless the person had the thought in mind to store them safely, would go to the Room of Hidden Things.

Harry made a mental note to see what was contained in that variation.

The last thing Harry thought was especially noteworthy was a warning to be very specific when using the room. If, for example, someone discovered that he was training within they could ask to be let into "Harry Potter's training room" unless he told the room specifically not to allow anyone access. Harry did so, and looked at the dummies across the room.

He raised his wand, and spoke to the room at large, 'It's probably included in amongst the basic settings, but please make the room soundproof. I don't want people outside to be able to hear.' Harry said, as the tip began to glow a dull gold..

'Arida.' he spoke, and his magic began its consumption of the targets with a torrent of white-hot sand.

-()-

Harry was the subject of more than a few stares, as he walked into the Great Hall for breakfast the next morning, and found himself staring back with a little more challenge than he should have done. He was tired and frustrated, after spending well over an hour training with wand and then another two with his body, before heading off to look for the Gryffindor Common Room, and annoyed with himself and everyone else for the fact that they did not think to tell him of the Password that would be required.

Harry had gone back to the Room, and it had happily given him a mat to rest upon. But that did nothing to change the fact that his Trunk, and belongings, were past the Fat Lady's portrait. Which meant he had to wait for people to wake up, and leave their beds, before he could fetch the things he needed.

Lazy bastards. None of them had been up before Seven, not wanting to leave their warm beds before they had to, and even then Harry had been staring at the red haired girl, through the Portrait, for ten minutes or more before she had finally opened the door.

Based on the badge that had been pinned to her robe, with the letter P, she was a prefect. And, based on the look of fright on her face when the Portrait swung open, she had not been expecting to see Harry, standing still as a statue before her, when she left the safety of the Common Room.

When Harry had gotten to his Dorm Room, labelled as the Fourth Year Dorm, he had heard snores and mumbled nonsense as his new Roommates slumbered on. He had had a vindictive urge to animate their beds, but decided against doing so. It would do no good, after all, to worsen their opinions of him further than they no doubt were already.

He had showered, a pair of simple wards to let him know if someone came through door or window, gotten dressed, and left his things in the trunk. He had no idea what he'd need today, and so would need to come back after being given instructions.

Those who were staring at Harry were the few who had come down already, and most of the student body were still in their beds. The only one who had been up in Harry's dorm was a slightly overweight boy with dark hair; he had been stood near the Weasleys when Harry had seen them on the platform.

Harry sat at his table, ignoring the brown haired boy at Hufflepuff's table, prettier than many girls Harry had seen, who was muttering something to himself as he stared at Harry. He looked like a scared muggle soldier psyching himself up for the battle to come.

Harry began to eat, feeling the hunger from the night before growing with the smell of so much cooked and seasoned food, and was most-way through his third plate when a happy Hermione Granger joined him.

'Good morning, Harry.'

Harry paused, swallowing his current mouthful, to reply, 'Morning. You look… eager.' he commented, eyeing the bulging rucksack she had placed on the bench beside her.

'It's the year before OWLs,' Hermione said, as though reminding Harry.

'What are OWLs? I assume you aren't talking about the bird.'

'Ordinary Wizarding Levels! Has nobody explained them to you yet?! How are you going to pass them, if you haven't even started learning for them yet?! This is a disaster! You're going to need to work in the Library every day to catch up! Of course, I can help out if you need a tutor to help you catch up with what you've missed! But we'll need to work out a schedule, and I'll need to give you my notes, and did Dumbledore give you the books we used before? He did, didn't he? Okay, so you can get started on that, and I'm sure Mary will be happy to give you a hand in Defense, she's the best in our year at that, and maybe if you ask Neville he'll give you a hand in Herbology! He's much better than even me in that, it's really quite incredible-'

'Did you just say Neville?'

'Yes, Neville! Don't just assume he's rubbish because he's a little shy! People always do that, and it really affects his confidence. No matter what we do, he looks at others and sees them laughing and immediately fumbles with whatever spell he's trying! It really isn't fair to do that, he's a nice boy!'

'I… okay. That's not why I was asking; maybe he's a talented wizard, maybe he's not. I don't especially care and definitely don't have an opinion either way.' Harry told her. Hermione frowned at him, but he continued, 'Have you ever met his parents?'

'Yes? His father's a strict man, but he's nice enough. He's been around at Mary's a few times, I think Mr Potter and Mr Longbottom work together,' she answered.

'What about his mother?' Harry asked.

'No… I think something happened to her, when I asked Neville about her he got really depressed.' Hermione was still frowning, but instead of judgement she seemed to be wondering where Harry was going with this subject.

'Can you point him out to me, when he comes down?' he asked, the food on his plate forgotten.

'That's him over there,' Hermione said, confused, 'but don't you want to talk about- hey, where are you going?'

Harry had risen to his feet, picking up his plate and cutlery, and was now making his way over to the boy Hermione had pointed to. Neville was staring at his plate, rather than trying to talk to anybody around.

When Harry sat down in the seat opposite, the boy nearly jumped out of his skin. When Neville looked up, Harry watched the boy lose all the colour in his face.

'I- I don't- I…' Neville stammered, staring at Harry with wide eyes. It made sense; Harry's interactions with others thus far had consisted of putting the Head Boy in Hospital and getting Dumbledore to attack Mad-Eye Moody in the middle of the Great Hall.

After a few moments waiting, Harry spoke, 'Is your mother in St Mungos?' he asked, simply.

Neville's nerves seemed to vanish immediately, 'Yes…' he said, suspicious.

'You look a bit like her, now that I think about it. Assuming I'm right, and she's in the Permanent ward, being treated for some form of Magic-induced mental illness?' Neville was staring at Harry now, his mother's round cheeks were sunken in the hospital, but the feature was shared between them, as were their eyes, 'I just thought I'd let you know she cares deeply about you.'

'She… what are you talking about?' Neville demanded, staring into Harry's eyes unflinchingly.

'I was there for a while over the summer. I happened into the ward where she's staying. Her mutterings were the loudest thing in that place. But I guess you'd know, right?' Harry asked, 'I only say it because I wanted to tell you to cherish that. Cherish the fact that she cares enough about you to, even in that state, focus so wholly on your wellbeing.'

'I don't… what are you talking about? My mum… she just gives me sweet wrappers. I don't even think she recognises me. Just… don't talk about her.' The boy's eyes were harder now.

Harry wondered, briefly, if he should insult her. He could call her a whore or a pathetic vegetable, so that the boy in front of him would snap. He would be cursing Harry before the words were fully out of his mouth, and maybe that would teach him that to buck up. How better to help the woman's son, than to give him a chance to discover his magic in a way few received?

Or maybe the truth would do it. But Harry's words wouldn't be enough.

'I don't know much about minds and the way magic affects them, maybe this was a recent change, but you should go and visit her at night. You'll see.' Harry shrugged, and left Neville to glare into the now empty space opposite.

Amaryllis had joined Hermione by that time, but wasn't speaking as Harry took a seat on the bench opposite.

'Good morning,' Harry said, to the girl.

Amaryllis gave a barely-legible morning back-it sounded more like murrrnurrr- and Harry raised an eyebrow.

'She was having nightmares about Quidditch being abolished and faceless figures stealing her Firebolt,' Hermione explained, with an amused smile, as she held a piece of toast before Amaryllis' lips. The-girl-who-lived took a bite, chewed, and swallowed. But she made no effort to take the bread off Hermione. Hermione rolled her eyes.

As the bushy haired girl fed her Quidditch-crazed friend, Harry saw Nymphadora enter the hall.

His eye followed her to her seat at the Hufflepuff table, and Harry felt himself tense as she sat across from the pretty boy who had been staring at him earlier. He was very handsome. The boy grinned as Tonks spoke, and said something that made the girl laugh. The words didn't reach Harry's ears, but her laugh was a sound he had memorised years before.

Harry glared at the fork in his left hand, twisted and bent out of its previous shape, and placed it next to his plate. He took a breath, and shook his head.

Harry wasn't used to feeling jealousy.

He didn't like the feeling.

To take his mind off it, Harry took another fork from a nearby plate, and resumed his earlier efforts to replenish the stores of energy that had been expended the night before. He'd lost his appetite, though.

Harry noticed the pretty boy have another girl, blonde, sit next to him, and watched the conversation with more interest than was logical. He wanted to understand, and his magical eye was pinned to Nymphadora as they conversed. She didn't show any signs of distress, not even annoyance, as the new girl stroked the boy's arm and she laughed at every other word he said. Harry wondered if he was very funny, or if the girl was being flirtatious. The latter seemed likely. He didn't quite understand what that meant for Nymphadora, and his attention moved away as Hermione stiffened and stared at an approaching figure.

Then, the woman who had disliked Harry before the sorting- Minerva Mcgonagall- began to walk the length of the Gryffindor table with cards of paper. She handed one to each student, and gave Harry a judgemental look as she handed one to him.

Harry looked at the timetable, as Hermione snatched hers from the teacher's hand. She began to read it as though it held the secret to eternal wealth.

'Whew,' Amaryllis said, with a smile, 'we don't have Snape until Wednesday. Thank Merlin.'

They had Transfiguration first, and Harry, after finishing his plate, stood to go and fetch his things. His magical eye had returned to Tonks, and he saw the pretty boy as he hastily stood, also. The flirting girl nearly fell over, as the boy she had been leaning upon vacated his place.

She didn't look happy.

Harry was nearly through the doors, when the boy called out to him. His pace while chasing Harry had been between a fast-walk and a jog.

'Hey! Can I have a word?' the boy asked, with an insincere grin. The underlying nervousness, perhaps even fear, was given away by his pale countenance.

Harry looked at him, and the boy waited for a few seconds before continuing.

'Listen, I, uh, heard about what happened with Jeffries. And I just wanted to say that… well, while I may have had a hand in starting the rumours about Tonks, that was, like, four years ago. We've mended bridges now, and while she doesn't like me I think she's forgiven me for the most part,' he was grinning by the end of it, as he saw Harry visibly relax, misinterpreting the reason. 'Oh, and I'm Cedric, by the way. Cedric Diggory.'

'Pleasure,' Harry shook the extended hand, 'I'm Harry, and as long as you don't attack her, I won't hold rumours against you.'

'Are you and she an item? Sorry, I didn't mean to pry, or anything…' Cedric was backing away now, and Harry wondered whether the older boy had seen something in his eyes, 'I just thought, with how you stood up for her…'

Harry simply shook his head, and waved a metal hand to show that Cedric had not offended him, 'She's only known me for a couple of weeks, I'm sure she's got more appealing suitors.'

'Oh, right. The… stuff. I dunno, I think there are a good few girls who wouldn't mind the attention, none of them seemed to be shy about talking it over in our Common Room yesterday,' Cedric was grinning at this point, his eyebrows waggling. 'But they might just be excited to see a new student above first year. We don't get transfers often.

'Oh, are you old enough to enter your name into the Tournament?' Cedric asked, suddenly.

'There's an age requirement?'

'Yeah… I think you'd left when Mcgonagall announced that, hadn't you? The competitors have got to be over seventeen. I guess I'm asking to scope out my competitors, you know?'

'Sensible. But, no, I'm only sixteen.'

'Good thing, that. You look like you'd be pretty fierce in the physical tasks. Not that I'd complain if you thrashed the Beauxbatons and Durmstrang Champions, I'd just rather it was me doing the thrashing.'

'Good luck. I think someone wants a word with you.' Harry nodded over Cedric's shoulder, where the blonde girl who had been obvious in her interest in the handsome boy was approaching with determination etched into her expression.

'Crap. I regret that so much.' Cedric said, wincing at some memory as he glanced over at her. 'See you 'round,' he said, and then left speedily.

'Where did Cedric go?!' the girl's voice was high-pitched and loud. Harry winced, as his ears rang, and pointed in the appropriate direction. The girl gave him an unnerving smile, 'Thank you. Welcome to Hogwarts,' she said, in a strange tone of voice that might have been meant as charming, before storming off in pursuit.

Harry shook his head, and then headed for the stairs. There were quite a few between the Hall and the Gryffindor Tower.

As Harry placed his foot on the first step, Ronald Weasley came tearing around the corner, his uniform scruffy, with a look of alarm on his face. 'They haven't stopped serving Breakfast yet, have they?!' he asked, voice one of desperation, as he spotted Harry.

'No, there's still time… though you might want to slow down,' Harry told the air, as Ron sprinted down the stairs. Somehow, the boy didn't tumble down them, and tore into the Great Hall with the desperation of a starving man.

Harry shook his head, and climbed the stairs. He glanced at the timetable in his hand, and wondered what Care of Magical Creatures would be covering. He had that third period, followed by lunch and then Ancient Runes and Arithmancy. He wondered who had chosen the subjects for him, and why they had assumed he would be able to catch up with so much on his plate.

He could, of course, with a magical eye that could read at incredible speeds, but it seemed odd to expect so much from a comatose teenager.