What are the mind arts? So far various fanfictions here and the cannon works have given little insight, Occlumency defends the mind and Legilimency attacks it and that's about it. Occlumency according to this site has numerous benefits so Harry Potter must become one by the time he is nine and repel even the most powerful of wizards with ease. I intend to take a different approach inspired by the mind arts involved in several different works here but also from elsewhere. My ideas are inspired or co-opted from the following works.

DarknessEnthroned's 'A Cadmean Victory'

Ryuugi's (from Spacebattles forums, rgm0005 here) 'The Master of Death'

Kurenaino's Morning Star series including 'From Grace, I Fall'

Santi's 'Harry Potter and the Boy Who Lived'

And 'Worthy of Magic' which I can name but no longer find on this site.

I would recommend each and every one of these stories.

Because I like to discuss stuff I created a Forum for this story. You can ask me questions there.

This story will be dark. It will feature mind rape unlike anything that is described in any other work from this fandom that I have read.

Now I have never understood the purpose of bashing in fanfiction. It doesn't make sense to me. I will endeavor to not include it. Dumbledore will have a relationship with Harry that will have its ups and downs. This chapter will contain an up.

Harry Potter will most certainly be damaged psychologically. Ignoring his physical abuse at the hands of the Dursleys which is minor, even with severe beatings, in my opinion, to the psychological effects of long term boredom, especially for a child. Harry was locked in a pit of despair in his cupboard, where he spends time in essentially solitary confinement. I implore you to read the works of animal abuser and psychologist Henry Harlow on the subject. He stated that "twelve months of isolation obliterated the animal's socially."

Modern studies on the practice in prisons finds that a third of all solitary inmates were "actively psychotic or acutely suicidal."

Harry here is agoraphobic, and he is emotionally color blind, at least for now. He has trouble recognizing his own emotions and that is a problem as he enjoys some of them. This leads to his addiction to legilimency.

With that out of the way tell me what you like and what I should fix. I don't want a supremely powerful Harry Potter, especially not at the beginning, and I don't want some hyper-mature eleven year-old.

Now we begin.

Italics are Harry's thoughts. Brackets are the thoughts of others.

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"The mind is not a book, to be opened at will and examined at leisure. Thoughts are not etched on the inside of skulls, to be perused by any invader. The mind is a complex and many-layered thing, Potter."-Severus Snape, JKR's the Order of the Pheonix

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When people called Paris 'The City of Lights' they probably didn't have this in mind. Though the cityscape did have a magnificent red glow beneath dark clouds of smoke and ash.

To say that Paris was burning would be like saying all Mozart did was write music. It was understatement of the worst kind, because, in the distance, the Eiffel Tower was melting. Harry could clearly see it from his place beside his mentor, overlooking the heart of France.

This was the price of standing up to Voldemort.

Gale force winds blew towards the center of the city. The hot air rising pulled in cooler air from the surrounding region. People running to escape were ripped off their feet and flung into the heart of the storm. Street poles melted on every corner and there was no solid glass to be found.

A family burst from their home, running out onto the asphalt only to promptly fall into the liquified street. They tried to push off the ground with their hands only for their hands to sink in and burn, their flesh was peeled from their bodies by the heat.

Three city blocks were pulled off their foundations and toppled towards the conflagration. A car slid down a street before it was caught up in tarmac, the former solid had become a hot flammable liquid.

There were charred and twisted bodies everywhere, some still moving while they were little more than skeletons. In other places the heat was more merciful and it fried the lungs of its victims first.

Harry tried to convince himself that what he was smelling was just the city and that he couldn't smell burning flesh.

This wasn't even Voldemort's power, not truly. This was a natural result of when fires merge in a dense area of flammable material. Sure he had set the fires, an easy thing to do considering he was the greatest pyrokinetic alive, perhaps ever to live. Then he ensured that the city's mechanisms to prevent such a thing failed… but from there all he had had to do was step back.

Here, Hell was on Earth.

"Can you stop the winds Harry, we must act fast," Dumbledore slid his sleeves up and drew his wand. Harry struggled to hear the Headmaster over the sound of melting metropolis.

He shook his head and grabbed the old sorcerer's arm.

"Sir," Harry pleaded.

"We can levitate the rivers. The Seine and Marne, there."

Harry followed the pointed wand and looked out at dry river beds, the firestorm had boiled the rivers off even as water rushed to replace the gaps.

"There's no water, Professor."

Harry had never seen the unflappable wizard so panicked, not even when Harry emerged from the Chamber of Secrets with Tom Riddle's Diary.

"Go help the muggles, I'll create a trench to hold back the flames." Dumbledore's mind must have been whirling, coming up with new plans as fast as possible to try and help; to try and end the disaster.

"We have to stay together. If we split up he'll kill one of us and then the other, especially if we exhaust ourselves with the rivers or digging trenches," Harry argued.

Hordes of people were rushing past the two wizards, some stopped to look at the magicians. The Statute of Secrecy had been the first thing to go when Voldemort went to war.

He could distantly hear, over the din of collapsing buildings and rushing people, pitched and angled just perfectly to reach him, the voice of a little girl. "Are we getting dead yet?"

Harry cursed his understanding of french. He swallowed his empathy, it was thick and bitter.

"We have to catch him, sir, or he'll do it again. Berlin, London, whose to say he'll limit his targets to Europe."

"He'll do it again, Harry." Dumbledore croaked, he was nearly sobbing.

Harry put a comforting hand on the wizard's shoulder and watched.

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Harry Potter pushed his glasses higher up on his nose as he bolted towards Privet drive, away from his cousin Dudley riding on his new racing bike. Harry had been confused why Dudley had wanted a bike at all. He was fat, and hated exercise with a prejudice; unless he happened to be punishing somebody, usually Harry.

Harry was, despite his frail body, deceptively fast. Too fast for Dudley to catch unless he was cornered. That was, until the bike.

Thankfully, it had its limits. Harry dodged through a yard, where Dudley couldn't follow, towards his Aunt and Uncle's house. If he made it there he could lock himself in his cupboard. He would be safe.

Well safe from the bike at least. Dudley wouldn't pursue him inside the cupboard.

His glasses fell from his face despite his attempts to keep them on; he blamed the odd shape of the frames. They were ill-fitting and just barely held together by tape, so could never form a very snug fit. They hit the pavement and Harry snatched them up as fast as he could, only to turn and see Dudley practically upon him. He desperately wished he was in his cupboard and closed his eyes tight to brace himself…

No pain ever arrived.

He was in his cupboard. He heard distant shouting, but he was definitely in the cupboard.

He was certainly glad to be amongst his little spider friends again, but not like this. Not in some… freakish manner. Dudley would tell on him without a doubt, and that was sure to net another beating.

And it did.

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By the time Harry woke up the next morning, the bruises of his Uncle's belt had faded. The sore spot on his head from Petunia's frying pan stung softly but not distractingly. This was a regular occurrence and, while this used to mean more beatings to try and make the marks stick – to get the message across, obviously – now that he was in school, he figured that the Dursleys were thankful he healed so quickly.

He crawled out from the cupboard and got to work cooking breakfast and lunches for the family. He already had Vernon's coffee prepared when his uncle descended the stairs.

Harry remained silent while Petunia fussed over Dudley. None of them talked about what happened, which was normal. Dudley sent him a smirk. The smirk that someone with power sends to someone without it.

What's it like?

Harry watched Petunia kiss Dudley and love him the way mothers do for their children. Harry didn't ask. Not asking questions was critical to surviving the Dursleys.

Harry met his cousin's eyes and felt displaced, not like he did yesterday where he moved to his cupboard, but like he was standing still and the floor had fallen away from him. Night terrors of falling endlessly was all he could compare it to, or maybe the feeling of standing up to fast, or perhaps sleeping with a concussion.

Yesterday's movement hardly felt like he had moved at all, but this time he was going fast.

Harry felt loved by his mother and disgust mixed with superiority over his cousin.

Then he was back in his body.

None of the Dursleys seemed to notice. Harry felt overwhelmed by the impressions he had experienced and struggled to detangle them from this own. He never felt loved by his own mother and, though he loathed his cousin, he had never felt superior to him. Those were Dudley's emotions.

Not mine, Dudley's.

It felt wrong. They weren't his, they didn't belong to him.

He breathed slowly and turned back to his tasks before he could make a mistake.

"Bring me the bacon, boy," Vernon sneered.

Harry loaded a plate and handed it to his Uncle. He met his uncle's eyes and felt… hungry. Well, that one might just be him.

He looked at Petunia, meeting her pinched, narrowed eyes with own. Distant sadness and jealousy; envy felt green in his mouth. Closer, there was anger, fear, and a deep loathing. So deep it caused the sore spot on his head to throb.

When he finished consuming the scraps he had been allowed and done the dishes, he left for school. He would be late, as he always was. He would miss some class and it left the impression that he was a poor student. He wasn't. Books were the only company he kept besides the spiders under his cupboard. He wished he was at school already.

He hated the daily walk to school and to make things worse it was hot out today. He preferred the muggier weather that the British typically enjoyed. Well he enjoyed it anyway.

He remembered yesterday when he focused on the cupboard. On being in the cupboard. At getting inside. He focused on the school building.

He wished he was there and shut his eyes tight.

And when he opened them, he was.

There was a loud noise that came with him and he looked at the school parking lot with awe. And he promptly vomited and fell to his knees in his own waste.

He sighed, the acrid smell getting to him and his throat burning uncomfortably. It would be a long day at school. He was certain of that.

But he practiced at school. With whatever it was he could now do. When he looked at people he felt… something. Which was good. Something was nice. Even the disgust he felt in the eyes of a girl in his class when she looked at his tattered hand me downs, still covered in vomit, felt better then what he usually felt. It was nice. For a few moments he felt like he wasn't himself. It was far better than the emptiness which usually clung to his insides. It was brighter than his numbness.

He smiled sheepishly at the girl and she scrunched her face at him.

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Harry knew the Dursleys' minds well; he had several years of practice by now. He determined that this was what he was feeling. Their thoughts and impressions against his eyes. He could read them and feel them without even looking at them. From the corner of his eye he could see them and see further through them. He knew what the students around him felt with a bare glance.

He felt proud. Why shouldn't he? This was his. Something the Dursleys couldn't take away. Couldn't remove even if they killed him.

And he would die before he stopped doing what he did.

It no longer felt like movement. Like he had fallen whenever he met their eye. It instead felt like the world moved around him, rather than he through it.

He saw the same girl who he often dived into inside the classroom. She met his eyes as he walked through the door, and he didn't feel the usual disgust and repulsion. Instead, he felt sadness.

He took his seat, quickly breaking the eye contact. He didn't need it to feel her.

Sadness, despair, loss perhaps?

He mentally shrugged as he attempted to decipher the girl. It could have been any one of those, or something else entirely. He felt a desire to know and turned back to her. He caught the corner of her eyes and saw and heard rather than felt.

There was color, a lot of it, not all where he had expected color to be. Of course, he wasn't using his eyes, so where he expected color was kind of irrelevant. He saw… a cat. It was skinny and grey and all bones. But it was well-groomedf and clearly loved. He saw a shoe box and a shovel. The colors shattered and he was brought back to the classroom he never left.

"Stop staring at me!" The girl hissed at him. He blinked in surprise and flushed in embarrassment as other students turned to look at him, some chuckling at his expense. The teacher turned from the chalkboard and raised an eyebrow.

"Sorry, I was just…" he trailed off, hoping to leave the impression he spaced out in her direction. It was partially true, but he didn't know how to describe what he wanted to say and ended up flushed scarlet, trying to sink onto his seat. He turned his attention to the teacher instead. She seemed to think he was disrupting things intentionally, he felt concern for her job and indignity at his behavior before he broke the connection and turned back to his desk.

He never entered the mind of the girl whose cat died again. He felt too embarrassed by the memory of his humiliation. He did, however, break further into Dudley and the Dursley's heads. He knew what he saw between black perspective lines and white wisps. They were memories; moments he had never experienced himself, never were there for, and yet felt them anyway.

He knew that when he saw things like this, it was too far. That he was pushing away the privacy of others. He didn't care, he felt wonderful things sometimes. Terrible things as well, true, but nowhere near as bad as the real memories made in his aunt and uncle's house.

So what, if his happiest memory was being proposed to some thirty years ago?

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Harry picked up the letter and stared at it. He felt something in his chest move and a rush of feelings as he stared at the innocuous envelope that so boldly displayed his name. He had no friends, no one who cared for him. Who would send a letter to somebody like him?

But the words on the envelope were plain and clear, in deep green ink above a purple seal bearing four animals and the letter H.

Mr. H. Potter

The Cupboard under the Stairs

4 Privet Drive

Little Whinging


The letter was snatched from his hand before he could so much as tear the edge.

"That's mine!" He seethed, trying to snatch it back from his uncle's meaty paw.

"Who would bother writing to you?" Vernon shook his head with the words. They came out taunting and biting. As Vernon inspected the envelope his face turned colors so quickly even Harry was slightly concerned.

I hope that's not contagious.

Vernon gasped out his wife's name, stumbling over the syllables is his… anger? Terror? Harry couldn't tell, but it made for an interesting color. Petunia grasped it with a curious expression, and when Harry read her he felt only confusion at the state of events.

Not particularly helpful.

She gasped and clutched at her throat and made stiff noises. Harry read her again, but he wasn't prepared for the onslaught of dread and jealousy.

"As that letter is mine," Harry announced loudly, punctuating each word, "I would like to read it."

Petunia met his eyes.

Red hair and green soft eyes, the face of a cute girl and the harder, more angular face of a dark-haired boy. A branch falling, fear and dread… a carved stick. Envy like Harry had never felt before in his life and, deep pain from wounds that were never allowed to heal.

["A witch in the family!" …" couldn't be" …"so proud" …" arrogant little" …" I'm going to tell mummy" …" You're a freak Lily!" …]

"What's that about-" Harry interrupted himself abruptly. He couldn't let them know. How would he ask about what he saw without admitting that he saw it?

A witch? What was going on? Was that Petunia's voice talking to my mother, Lily?

He caught Vernon's eye and felt his anger. Harry took a step back, retreating down the hallway to his cupboard. Dudley began to screech about wanting to read it while Harry backed up.

"Vernon," Aunt Petunia was saying in a quivering voice, "look at the address. How could they possibly know where he sleeps? You don't think they're watching the house?"

"Watching - spying - might be following us," muttered Uncle Vernon frantically. His speech was sporadic in the way it always turned when he was furious or worried, or when the bank called.

There was a knock at the door.

It was crisp and polite. Everyone turned towards the sound. Vernon froze, turning the color of day old porridge. Petunia collapsed onto the back of a chair, using it to steady her shaking legs.

There were two more knocks just as polite.

Harry took a step towards it. He usually opened the doors for guests and took their coats and things. When he stepped forward Vernon made an odd strangled noise and Harry took a step back to look at him curiously and cautiously.

There was fourth, fifth, and sixth knock at the door.

It was Dudley who eventually opened the door to a tall, bearded man with piercing, blue eyes that peered out at him over half-moon spectacles. He was dressed strangely, wearing robes like a minister or preacher or something…

Like a witch? Or maybe, a wizard?

The man broke Harry from his thoughts.

"Ah," he began, spying the letter in Petunia's hand, "I see young Harry has received his letter. Has he read it? It is, of course, very good to see you again Petunia, it has been quite some time since my last visit." He spoke pleasantly. "I shall assume you have invited me warmly into your lovely home."

The man stepped forward and Petunia squeaked, Dudley took a step back in shock and Vernon's mustache seemed to seize.

The man took the opportunity to look around the room. His eyes flickered to Harry, and the cupboard which Harry had opened the door to escape into. The man's eyes were fast and bright, and Harry doubted he missed the photo albums and pictures framed on the walls which contained zero evidence of Harry even living here.

He also doubted he missed the bed tucked under the stairs, people weren't supposed to know about the cupboard. He would be beat for this.

The urge to duck into his cupboard was strong.

"Harry, it is wonderful to see you again, my boy." His voice was warm and pleasant. Harry flinched when was called boy, it was usually a sign of Vernon's growing anger. "I haven't seen you since you were a baby. I see you have your mother's eyes, though it would be difficult to miss your father in you."

Harry had never heard such things in his life, he felt warm and confused. Usually pain followed his attempts to discover more about his family.

"No!" Vernon seemed to regain himself, standing and shrieking, "we won't have him go to any school to practice his freakishness! We won't have it!"

Harry felt his chest tighten and hair prickle. The man's eyes seemed to glow! What was he?

"I'm afraid it is quite out of your hands Mr. Dursley." The rebuke was short and contained the first hints of anger in the man's voice since he had arrived.

"When I saw how young Harry's letter was addressed, I was understandably shocked. I didn't believe it. After all, had you two died and your son was sent to live with Lily Potter, I very much doubt that she would have given him a cupboard under the stairs to live in. I see now that I was mistaken, and that young Harry is not safe here. I'm afraid that I have come to collect him, and he shan't be returning."

Petunia looked floored and stammered something unintelligable.

"The wards I set up to defend Harry were meant to defend him against those who might seek to do him harm. My mistake was, it appears, not preparing for the threats which were already inside. When he leaves, they will collapse and you will be vulnerable. Young man," The old man turned towards Harry for the second time, "will you take a walk with me? I feel that we have a great deal to talk about. I am also quite certain I owe you an overdue apology.

Harry looked nervously at the man. He glanced around at the Dursleys and remembered their disgust for him.

He made his decision.

The old man moved to place a hand on Harry's back to guide him from the room. Harry flinched, which caused the man stiffen before gently guiding Harry out the front door. He shut the door behind him and reached into his jacket. Harry looked at him warily, had he made a mistake?

The man presented him with a letter with a yellowing envelope.

"Harry, my name is Albus Dumbledore. I am a wizard, as you yourself are." He gestured for Harry to open the letter. Harry did so and read the contents as they both exited the property of Number 4 Privet Drive.



(Order of Merlin, First Class, Grand Sorc., Chf. Warlock, Supreme

Mugwump, International Confed. of Wizards)

Dear Mr. Potter,

We are pleased to inform you that you have been accepted at Hogwarts

School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Please find enclosed a list of all

necessary books and equipment.

Term begins on September 1. We await your owl by no later than July 31.

Yours sincerely,

Minerva McGonagall,

Deputy Headmistress

Harry looked up at the man with confusion. He only saw sad blue eyes. Then he felt something. Something odd. Like he was moving and the world was still. He felt things that weren't his and he stiffened and gasped. The old man's eyes were now wide with surprise.

"Harry, have you ever done or seen something odd?" He asked after a moment more of walking away from the Dursleys'.

Harry felt frightened, should he tell the old man, Dumbledore, anything?

"Hogwarts is a school for magic, Harry. It is a place where young wizards and witches go to learn, and hone their abilities." Dumbledore seemed to eye him carefully.

"Magic?" Harry said softly, almost in a whisper.

"That's correct," said Dumbledore, who was looking at him oddly.

Harry met Dumbledore's eyes and his curiosity got the better of him.

The emotions were heavy, worry, guilt and something else he couldn't identify. He saw a handsome boy in a bed with Dumbledore beside him and he heard…

He was back in his body with a wince. Dumbledore gave him a measured look at that.

"I will have to ask you not to do that again, Harry."

He stiffened, was he going back to the Dursleys? He nearly panicked on the spot.

"I'm sorry sir I didn't know…"

"Didn't know others could do it too? I suspect you felt me enter your mind earlier. Just as you felt it then, I felt it when you entered mine. It is possible for wizards to use this talent, called Legilimency, and dive into the thoughts of another. It is also possible for wizards to defend against this." Dumbledore explained slowly.

Harry nodded quickly, looking at the ground.

"The things I can do, it's all magic then?"

"What else do you do, young man?"

Dumbledore hadn't called him boy again. He must have noticed somehow. Or perhaps pulled it form his head. Harry paused.

"I can see other people's feelings, when I want, sometimes more. Like that boy near the bed…" Harry trailed off again, seeing Dumbledore's encouraging look he continued faster.

"I can move to places I've been to," he started softly, "and I can move things and, when Dudley or Vernon... well, when they were upset, I could heal really quick." He looked down, slightly ashamed. "I knew I was different, but I didn't ever think that…" He recovered after a moment. "I can speak to snakes as well. I found out at the zoo."

Dumbledore looked down at him with guilt and concern.

"Can you do magic? Will you show me, please?" Harry felt the desperate desire to see that he wasn't alone.

Dumbledore nodded after a moment and held out a pointed, knobbly stick. He gestured, and Harry's clothes abruptly changed. The holes mended and the fabric shrunk to fit his scrawny frame. He looked up in shock and glee.

"Thank you," he gushed out.

"For the clothes?" Dumbledore asked curiously raising an eyebrow.

"You're going to let me keep them? I thought after you showed me…" Harry said slowly.

Dumbledore nodded and smiled slightly but it was almost a grimace. It was unnatural on his wizened face. Harry quietly thanked him again for letting him keep the clothes.

After a moment of walking Dumbledore seemed content to wait for Harry.

"Am I really going to this school?" He asked after reading the letter again. "I don't have any money or an owl. I wouldn't know where to buy any of this." Was he going to have to stay? He was hyperventilating slightly.

"Your parents did not leave you destitute, Harry. You have funds at the wizarding bank, Gringotts. We can purchase your books and school items in Diagon Alley, I can help you find everything there. Clothes too, since I would be loathe to return you to your family, and I doubt you wish to return. Do you have any personal affects you wish to take from your… room?"

Harry shook his head.

"You would help me find everything?" He asked.

"If you wish."

Harry nodded quickly, and Dumbledore seemed to smile in earnest.

They continued to walk, with Harry occasionally asking questions about the wizarding world. Harry asked about his parents, if Dumbledore knew them. Dumbledore told him about a man named Voldemort, who other wizards were afraid to say the name of, and how Harry had survived that night with nothing but a scar upon his forehead.

"Voldemort was destroyed, Halloween night ten years ago. His supporters were arrested and imprisoned. You are quite famous in the wizarding world Harry. There isn't a child that doesn't know your name."

Harry struggled to believe him. How could he be so important? As if knowing what he was thinking Dumbledore continued.

"I must apologize. I didn't know the Dursleys would be so terrible to you. I had thought they would treat you like family."

Harry wasn't sure what he meant. As far as he knew, the Dursleys did treat him like family. They couldn't not treat him as family considering he was family. However they treated him was the way family must be treated, almost by definition.

"It's alright, sir. How do your family treat one another?" He asked, before realizing his mistake and apologizing for such a personal question.

Dumbledore seemed to age in those moment. "It's quite alright, young man. I am a Headmaster, and curiosity is a virtue we seek to encourage."

There was a pause as they turned a street corner.

"Was that boy, the one you were thinking about, was he like me too?"

Dumbledore smiled softly.

"No, I don't believe so."

Harry felt confused, but that appeared to be becoming the norm by this point, so he let it drop.

"Are you prepared to depart?"

Harry nodded, smiling brightly.

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Harry had been shocked at the piles of gold in his vault. Just a day ago he could never have considered such a thing, never mind belonging to him. It was a ghost of his parents touching upon his life. He was also curious about what Dumbledore had retrieved from Gringotts but, between the dizzying revelations of the day, and how rude it would have been to ask, he stayed quiet. Dumbledore retrieved the parcel with a wink aimed at the boy, before dropping the key to his trust vault into Harry's hand, which he gripped like a lifeline.

Dumbledore had taken him to the alley and, after helping him purchase his schooling supplies and a beautiful snowy owl, had checked him into a room in a place called the Leaky Cauldron. Harry felt was an odd name for a place. Dumbledore had also made sure to scare away any wizards looking to meet Harry. The young wizard thought it was odd people wanted to meet him so badly, but he decided it might be smart to imitate Dumbledore and just ignore it.

He felt especially pleased to hold his wand. He often held it just to feel it in his palm, indulging in the sensation of the wood against his skin. A supple, eleven-inch branch of Holly, with a slightly carved handle and a phoenix feather core. He felt proud to hold it and it gave him a rush just to feel it's electric touch against his palm.

He was concerned about its brother, or rather, the owner of his wand's twin. Ollivander had called it curious but Dumbledore didn't seem at all surprised. Which Harry supposed made for a curious situation.

Dumbledore had recommended several books for Harry to purchase, alongside several sets of both wizarding and muggle clothing. Harry had taken Dumbledore's suggestions to heart. Harry, now in his room in the Leaky Cauldron, did not have much to do except read – unless he wanted to be ogled at by passersby in Diagon Alley, should he feel the desire to explore it – so he mostly stayed cooped up and read his new books, comfortably ensconced in his room where Tom would bring meals. They food was good too, and he felt warm sitting by the fire in his room.

He learned that he loved the smell of the burning logs. The Dursley's fireplace likely hadn't been lit since the building was constructed. Too messy, too much work. It was new, and therefore wonderful.

A few days into his stay, he received two books from Dumbledore, An Introductory Guide to the Mind Arts, and The Mind, The Maze for his Birthday. Harry had never received a present before in his life and he had to wipe away a few tears when he opened it.

Harry fell asleep holding it close to his chest.

Dumbledore had also delivered several potions. He had stated his concern that Harry had been malnourished and his growth had been discouraged by the Dursleys. His father was, Harry was told, taller and broader at his age than he was now. So, the potions were a means to correct his mistreatment under the Dursley's 'care'. They wouldn't make him buff, like the people from Dudley's television, but it would help him fill out and make him taller. Unless Dumbledore was wrong, and Harry was supposed to be this tall.

Harry doubted it. Dumbledore hadn't been wrong yet.

Dumbledore also gave him something for his sight, which was atrocious even with his glasses due to the poor prescription. It would seem that his constant war to keep his damaged glasses on his nose hadn't gone unnoticed by the professor.

Harry had sent Dumbledore a thank you, hoping beyond hope he was using his owl properly. He wasn't sure that he was, but it seemed innocuous enough even if he was doing it wrong.

After a few days he had finished several books meant to introduce muggleborn witches and wizards to the magical world. Touching on laws and expectations and unique customs which separated the worlds both literally, through the statute of secrecy, and metaphorically, through the differences in greetings and exclamations. Harry thought anyone who shouted things like 'Merlin's beard!' had to be at least a little odd.

Finally, he had received a ring as the head of the Potter family. It made sense, given he was the only survivor, who else could it be? Although, it didn't really let him do anything, nor access any vaults save his trust vault. The Potter family owned several properties which could now only be described as vacant lots. Voldemort had razed Potter Manor, the Scottish cottage and a French estate in his pursuit of Harry's parents.

Since then, he had been anxiously awaiting the day he would board that famous train. He had read multiple introductions to magical theory in the meantime, and the first several chapters of his school books. The theory seemed difficult to him. When he compared the manner he performed and thought of legilimency, to the way it was introduced in the book, it was vastly different. He could only hope that, in practice, magic would be easier than these books made it out to be. He understood the principles from his own experience. He had to desire something and push his will into it. The clearer he wanted it, and the more he tried, the more likely it was to work.

It seemed similar to the idea of intent and power for spells. Which he understood was important for transfiguration.

He hoped he would do well and the teachers would like him. He wanted to at least have that over his old school, even if he didn't think he would make any friends.

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When the day for the train ride came Harry felt unprepared. He had visited King's Cross Station so that he would know where to go when the time came but he had been unable to find the platform. Dumbledore assured him that he should walk through the pillars between platforms nine and ten but when he attempted it he had made something of a fool of himself. He guessed that the platform wasn't always there and that when the time came, it would be ready.

He willed himself into an alley he had selected when scouting the station, the way he used to do. Apparition, he now knew it was called. He knew it was illegal for him to apparate but there was no way to track him. It was something they registered wizards and witches for so they could receive help if they splinched themselves, mostly to protect the Statute of Secrecy. He felt confident that he wouldn't splinch himself. Admittedly, he was carrying more than he usually did. But, he had practiced beforehand to make sure he would be able to do it; especially with Hedwig.

He arrived with a snap of displaced air. He immediately felt anxious and attempted to clear his mind, but failed repeatedly. He pushed on and made his way to platforms nine and ten.

He watched a gaggle of red heads push through the crowds ahead of him. The eldest redhead, a plump woman, said something about muggles which he could hear from where he was. The tallest redhead had already pushed through the barrier. It seemed simple enough. Enter the platform by walking through the wall, just like Dumbledore had said.

Do I risk doing it without help?

He considered attempting the platform without assistance, and eventually decided to wait until the family of redheads were through. It helped to remind himself that it was likely others would come along, should he need help, and he could just ask them. It was unlikely he would be the last to show up for the train.

He braced himself as he strode forward, not knowing what was on the other side.

Its crowded.

Dozens of people were pushing their way towards the train and then away. Waving parents, excited children, and a whole menagerie of pets. Harry nearly panicked and apparated back to his cupboard. He steeled himself and kept his head down, aiming for the closest entrance to the train that he could see. He wasn't spotted, which was nice. His heart beat frantically in his chest. He tried to calm himself with some basic exercises, but it did little of use. He chose the first available empty compartment, which happened to be by the door he entered. It seems that his fellow students didn't like to be near the entrances and exits to the train. He closed the door behind him after lifting his trunk up to the rack, and pulled the curtains.

He sank into the seat with a sigh of relief, his heart finally slowing down from its staccato beat. It still jumped when people passed his compartment though. He wanted to lock the door, but he wasn't sure it would be allowed. He really didn't want his teachers to hate him on the first day.

They should at least get to know me before they decide to hate me.

He relaxed a little and found the mind exercises worked better. He pulled out his wand and grinned. It was time to finally cast a spell. He ran through the first motion of the levitation spell. It was the first charm in the book, so it seemed like the best place to start. He had arrived early enough that he had plenty of time before the train was supposed to leave.

He performed the wand movement as he had practiced and spoke the incantation flawlessly.

The quill he had set on the other side of the compartment didn't so much as quiver. He frowned and tried again. Nothing. He might have actually singed it a little. He tried once more, and it might have wiggled, but only just. He decided that it was just his imagination that it moved at all. Was he already going to fail?

He did it again, desperately and nothing happened. He was losing focus.

He cleared his mind and focused on lifting the quill. He performed the incantation and wand movement flawlessly. The quill rose to meet the elevation of his wand tip.

He grinned excitedly and almost jumped at his success until his excitement turned the quill to ash.


He frowned and brought out another quill. This time he levitated it perfectly and directed it about the compartment easily. He had time to try out a few other spells too. The first few charms, some of the transfiguration basics, and one of the defense spells. However, without a target, he wouldn't know if his lightly powered stunner actually worked. He didn't want to try it on Hedwig, who had been softly hooting at his success.

Hedwig hooted again as someone stopped outside his compartment. Harry pulled out The Mind, The Maze for some comfort. He jumped when the person knocked politely.

"Hello?" A girl's voice.

"Oh, it's not locked," he replied nervously.

The person outside opened the door and looked at him. She was pretty, which didn't help him much, with Scandinavian features, honey colored hair and blue eyes.

"Are you studying?" She asked politely. "Do you mind if I sit?"

"Make yourself comfortable."

He stood and placed her trunk for her. He sat back down afterwards and immediately returned to his book to try and escape. She sat down opposite him and just stared at him for a moment, her eyes naturally gravitating to his forehead. He saw her eyes widen and felt his heart race as he promptly panicked. He did his best to stay composed and cleared his mind. He relaxed. The train pulled away from the station.

It was one girl. He could leave if he wanted.

"Can I do something for you?" He asked.

She returned her gaze to his eyes and he saw through her. He spread his touch across her mind gently. He didn't want her to notice if she knew anything about Occlumency. She knew he was Harry Potter, but she was also nervous and trying to calm down, which made him feel slightly better. At least he wasn't alone in that regard.

She wants to ask me something. But she won't.

True enough, she didn't. She extended her hand instead.

"I'm Daphne Greengrass. Thanks for inviting me in and helping with my trunk."

Polite and cold. She wants to…

He took her hand.

"I'm Harry Potter and it was my pleasure," he spoke clearly, enunciating each word like he was tasting them.

He could see her hair stand on end.

I make her uncomfortable. The way I talk. I am speaking too softly.

He would speak louder, then. Harry's fingers on the inside of Daphne's skull rested gently on the surface. He was unwilling to dive deeper, and wasn't even sure if he was able. The mind of a witch seemed different than the mind of a muggle. His own ability was likely too clumsy and while he felt certain an accomplished Occlumens would have noticed by now, that doesn't mean she knew nothing about the mind arts.

Pureblood…Sacred twenty eight…Potter Ring…

He felt the words in her thoughts. He resisted the immediate urge to withdraw his hand to look at the ring and settled for merely withdrawing his hand.

He felt impressions of nervousness, a desire to find something, a desire to make things move.

He cocked his head at her.

Am I puzzle to her? Or do I merely puzzle her?

He decided that she wouldn't hurt him and turned his gaze back to his book. Daphne glanced at it and read the title.

"The Mind, The Maze?" She looked at him for a moment, his eyes moved away from the description on sending impressions to coax out potentially valuable memories as she explained, "My father had a copy in the family library."

"Have you read it?" This was definitely a more interesting turn in the conversation.

She shook her head and he felt disappointed, and relieved, of course. He turned his gaze back to the words. There was a means to send pain through the link to another mind. To use emotions and feelings to find what one desired. The book described a probe for deeper thoughts as well. He frowned. He had always felt like a bird flying through the skies of another mind. Or a fish through their thoughts. Perhaps he had never been deep enough.

"Where did you get it?" She asked, maintaining the conversation. To be fair, there hadn't been enough silence to break the dialogue truly, but he had hoped from her nonverbal answer that she was done with him.

"It was a birthday present," Harry answered softly, with a touch of happiness.

She grinned back, "From who?"

He frowned, the question was slightly personal but there was nothing illegal about Legilimency or learning it. It was difficult to prove that it was being used and it was more about the rudeness and invasion of privacy it represented than anything else for common wizards. Wizards who had powerful secrets to keep might react strongly to the breach and defend themselves – both directly and legally – but the vast majority of the population knew little about the mind arts and wouldn't detect the breach at all. It wasn't like he would get Dumbledore in trouble if he was honest. Not illegal, just obscure. There were of course exceptions so that the ministry could keep secrets but, aside from that, it was just magic.

He rubbed the crease in his jawbone where he broke it. Or had it broken, he supposed.

"Professor Dumbledore gave it to me," he finally answered.

Her eyes widened.

[Headmaster… trained…]

"Has the headmaster given you any other training?"

He frowned. "No training, just the book."

He felt her relief or… something. He struggled to identify. She was… scared that the headmaster might have trained him. No that wasn't quite right. Why? Would others be put on edge from that too, or was it just her?

She meets my eyes even after seeing I'm studying the mind? She must believe that she would detect a breach or otherwise that I can't do it wordlessly, let alone wandlessly.

It was a fair assumption, against most first-year students. That, or she was simply ignorant about the mechanics of the art; also possible.

He returned to his book and the landscape passed them by them in silence for what felt like hours. He felt extremely uncomfortable. In the end she had withdrawn a notebook two write something down before getting a book of her own to read.

There was another knock. A bushy haired girl with large front teeth opened the door without preamble.


"Have either of you seen a toad? A boy named Neville lost his."

Daphne looked up and shook her head while Harry looked at her confused.

"Why don't you use the point-me charm?"

The bushy haired girl seemed surprised. Harry pulled out his wand from the pocket in the front of his robes near his chest and held it out.

"Point-me Neville's Toad."

The wand swung to the right angled towards the bushy haired girl and towards the front of the train.

"It's that way," he informed her softly.

"Was that one of our charms? I've tried a few simple spells just for practice and it's all worked for me. Nobody in my family's magic at all, it was ever such a surprise when I got my letter, but I was ever so pleased, of course, I mean, it's the very best school of witchcraft there is, I've heard - I've learned all our course books by heart, of course, I just hope it will be enough - I'm Hermione Granger, by the way, who are you. Are you a second year?"

Harry blinked and looked at her.

She's just anxious. She's worried she won't make any friends and she'll be miserable here.

Just like me.

"I'm Harry Potter, and this is Daphne Greengrass. I'll be a first year here." He realized he wasn't certain if Daphne was a first year. He looked at her.

"I am also a first year," Daphne added politely.

The bushy haired girl looked at Harry, ignoring Daphne and looking at his forehead.

Even more rude.

"Are you really? I know all about you, of course - I got a few extra books. for background reading, and you're in Modern Magical History, The Rise and Fall of the Dark Arts and Great Wizarding Events of the Twentieth Century."


"You've read all about me?" Harry felt concerned. He most certainly hoped she was just being rude and wasn't telling the truth. He would hate if everyone already knew all about his family.

"Goodness, didn't you know? I'd have found out everything I could if it was me," said Hermione. "Do either of you know what house you'll be in? I've been asking around, and I hope I'm in Gryffindor, it sounds by far the best; I hear Dumbledore himself was in it, but I suppose Ravenclaw wouldn't be too bad... Anyway, we'd better go and look for Neville's toad. You two had better change, you know, I expect we'll be there soon."

She left as swiftly as she came. Dragging the boy – Neville, Harry presumed – with her.

My sympathies.

He wrinkled his nose.

"She made it difficult to be polite," said Daphne.

Harry stood up and shut the compartment door.

"She was a bit much, but I imagine that she's nervous. It might be difficult being a muggleborn, getting sent off to school to another world." Harry blinked. "What did she mean about houses?"

"Houses are just a way to divide the students into similar groups. It makes it easier for us to make friends." Daphne returned, she seemed happier answering his questions than asking him questions.

He met her gaze.

"You don't put much stock in the houses?"

She shook her head. "My mother was in Ravenclaw and my father was in Slytherin. It doesn't really matter which house you are in. You can still be friends with people outside of yours."

It made sense Harry decided.

"Your family are all also magical?"

She closed her book and set it on her lap.

"My father, mother and sister. I have more extended family than that, but largely, yes."

Harry nodded. "More family?"

She bit her bottom lip and Harry realized he could have been more specific with his question.

"Most pureblood wizards and witches are related. You and I are probably seventh or eighth cousins or something." Harry narrowed his brow at that.

The compartment door slid open again, this time without even a knock. Harry scowled.

Three boys entered, and the middle one immediately spotted Harry. "Is it true?" He asked. "They're saying all down the train that Harry Potter's in this compartment. So, it's you, is it?" His eyes flicked over to Daphne. "Greengrass," he drawled with a smirk. He reminded Harry of Dudley at that moment.

I should have locked the door.

"Yes," said Harry. He was looking at the other boys. Standing on either side of the pale boy, they looked like bodyguards, or bookends.

"Oh, this is Crabbe," the blonde muttered absently as he turned back to Harry, "and this is Goyle. My name's Malfoy, Draco Malfoy."

Daphne seemed to snicker. Harry felt confused. He didn't know what to do. He cleared his head as swiftly as he could.

Draco gave an arrogant leering look at Daphne, "You're laughing at me? I expected better from you Greengrass, it's not like your name is completely dirt." Daphne glowered at Draco.

He turned back to Harry. "You'll soon find out some wizarding families are much better than others, Potter. You don't want to go making friends with the wrong sort. I can help you there."

He held out his hand to shake Harry's, but Harry didn't take it. He saw through Draco. He felt the connection and pushed, the endless boredom of Harry's cupboard and the pain of a beating slipped into Draco's mind. The boy flinched stepping back wildly from Harry. He had no occlumency, no defence.

Harry clumsily shoved fear behind Draco's eyes before he lost control of whatever he was doing.

His body guards stepped forward and Draco fell back scrambling away. The two oafs were too dumb to understand what was happening. Draco fled from the compartment and his lackeys trailed behind looking confused with scrunched faces.

I hope I don't look like that when I am confused.

He shivered at the thought.

Harry stood and closed the door again with a huff. Daphne was watching him. It was a little unnerving, but he attempted to ignore it.

That was careless of me. He might have known occlumency. Stupid.

Harry breathed deep and tried to forgive himself, but he couldn't help but cringe at the memory of his actions.

When Hermione returned and immediately opened the door again, Harry actually snapped his book shut in frustration.

Daphne giggled lightly. He spared her a glance only long enough to discover that she found his attempts to keep the door closed and other people's attempts to open it comedic.

He could see it, and the different perspective calmed him enough to turn to Hermione without a scowl.

"What now?" He asked, tone no longer quite as polite, but still soft.

Hermione blinked at him owlishly.

"You'd better hurry up and put your robes on, I've just been up to the front to ask the conductor, and he says we're nearly there. You haven't been fighting, have you? You'll be in trouble before we even get there!"

"There's been no fighting, and everyone keeps entering this compartment." Daphne returned. Her tone was a great deal more measured than his.

"All right." She gave them that curious look again. "I only came in here because people outside are behaving very childishly, racing up and down the corridors."

Daphne giggled lightly at Harry's frustration as Hermione left.

Harry stood. "I'll leave while you change," he said simply. He stood without further ceremony, took his robes out, and departed for the loo to change.

When they did finally arrive, the First-Years gathered around a giant of a man named Hagrid. Harry ended up sharing a boat with Daphne, a freckled brunette girl and a boy of African descent with dark hair and darker eyes.

Harry saw the castle and immediately fell in love. It was sitting there across a great dark lake, still like a mirror, and perched regally atop a mountain. Its windows sparkled with orange and yellow light, while the turrets and towers rose around the castle like an ornate stone crown.

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When they reached the other side of the lake, Neville somehow rediscovered his Toad, causing Harry to blink and glance around at the slippery rock they had berthed on.

How…I mean it was on the train…Where…?

No one else seemed as confused by that as he was. He decided to ignore it and explain it with magic. A Professor McGonagall came out to explain the house system, and Harry jumped when a crowd of silvery ghosts floated around the corner. Or rather, through the corner. The children formed a line at McGonagall's command and followed her inside the Great Hall. The name almost didn't do the room justice. It was lit by floating candles, and glittering gold goblets, dishes and cutlery sat at four long tables. Harry barely even noticed the many people inside. The room had completely enraptured him. The sky looked dark and magnificent within the ceiling of the hall.

There was an old hat that sang a quick song, and the first years were called up one by one to have it placed on their heads. Daphne was sorted into Slytherin with the freckled brunette and Draco – she had his condolences – and Hermione went to Gryffindor with the African boy from the boat, he also had Harry's best wishes.

"Harry Potter!" Harry swallowed his fear and cleared his mind.

He sat down amongst the whispers and the people staring before the hat fell over his eyes.

Hmm," said a small voice in his ear, (or was it in his head?) "difficult. Very difficult. Plenty of courage, I see."

He wondered if that hat actually believed that.

"You don't think you have courage? I see you facing your fears already."

Harry remembered the crowded train. He decided the hat might have a point.

It still smells a bit odd though.

It chuckled in his ear.

"Not a bad mind either. There's talent, my goodness, yes - and a nice thirst to prove yourself, now that's interesting... So where shall I put you? Somewhere to escape? You could lay low in Ravenclaw, you know? Hufflepuff would see you surrounded by loyal friends. No, no. They would never let you hide. Or… I believe… perhaps… Ravenclaw!" The hat roared the house name and Harry shakily returned it to McGonagall before walking over to the table, to great applause.

The applaud me, but they don't even know me.

Dumbledore gave a speech, which Harry thought was odd, about dying if you entered the third-floor corridor. He hadn't seemed one half so much mad before, especially with the nonsensical words. Harry felt that was strange to say the least. But the feast was delicious.

Harry stumbled up to the Ravenclaw tower with the other first-years. He was exhausted. The day had been draining, what with everything that happened.

Penelope Clearwater, a prefect, explained that to enter the room, one would need to answer a riddle. She rapped the knocker sharply and it began:

"I don't know where I am, I don't know where I am going, but once I am gone I am what I am. What am I?"

Penelope looked out at the exhausted first years.


Harry didn't think he had said it aloud, but evidently he was losing his faculties, as the door swung open at his word.

Schedules were handed out, they would all be the same until third year, and the comings and goings of the school were explained. Harry looked about and saw an imitation of the planets hanging in the air, drifting slightly and spinning around, presumably in time with their larger counterparts. There were bookcases and a cozy-looking fire, along with several places to read, and even what looked like two orator's platforms.

Do they have house debates?

That was a pretty stupid question. Of course they did.

Harry looked up at the books. Stacked high in the tower. He was led up to the dormitory where his bed was waiting for him. He changed and fell asleep without a word to his new dormmates. He felt warm inside, despite his exhaustion.

This was important. This was good. He could belong here.

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"There was never anything to be gained from observing what humans said to one another - language was just there to hide their thoughts." Terry Pratchet

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I think that went well. Please review any spelling mistake or points for improvement.

Thank you,

Because I like to discuss stuff I created a Forum for this story. You can ask me questions there.


Edited 4/18/18.