Blinded at the age of four, Harry Potter only wants to lead a normal life with his family. On his eleventh birthday, he finds out that he can have anything but...
"/I have something to tell you all./"
Harry and his friends had come to Hagrid's hut earlier to visit with the huge man and tell him of their first week at school. While there, he had come to a decision that he had been debating since his encounter with the odd custodian earlier that day. Taking a moment to heave a calming breath and gather his thoughts, he began "You might remember I told you about losing my sight when I was four," he said. "After that I lived in total darkness and accepted it when the doctors had told me I'd not be able to see anything ever again. I believed that until right around my eighth birthday when I started seeing...things. To me, they looked like clouds of swirling sparks, and I thought perhaps this meant my eyes were somehow getting better. The problem was that it wasn't strong light or anything like that when I'd see them, but when I was around other people."
"Auras," said Hermione. "You can somehow see auras."
Draco turned a bit pink and asked sharply, "So you've been faking it? You've been able to see all this time?"
Sensing the anger building in his friend, Harry quickly explained, "It's not like that," he said desperately. "I know where you are and a little bit of what you're feeling. Also, like today with Neville, and the cut you have on your left wrist--" The blond boy covered his arm with a look of surprise, "I can tell if you're hurt. I later found out I can sense anything living if I concentrate; recently I discovered that I can see magic as well, though since I've come to school it's been more a curse than a blessing."
Harry went on to explain to his friends about his sight and how Hogwart's magic was affecting it. He explained about the headaches and his own shortcomings regarding spells being taught to them all. Finally, Harry told them of the encounter he had in the astronomy tower earlier that day and of the things he'd been told. He found it quite odd, however, when Hermione asked the name of the man who'd talked to him and, for the life of him, he couldn't remember it.
"So to sum this all up," said Draco, "you meet some loony old coot in the Astronomy Tower who fed you a load of codswallop about your magic and how to use it, and you trust him just like that?"
"I just had a feeling he was alright."
The blond boy snorted and leaned back in his chair, arms crossed with a disgusted look on his face. "How bloody Gryffindor of you."
"What made you tell us now?" asked Neville.
"When I talked to that custodian today," he replied, "I realized he was right. Apart from you three, I've only told one person about my sight before this, and that was only a few weeks ago, though I believe she suspected something about it for some time."
"Well, now we know," put in Hermione. "So how can we help?"
"Research." Harry smiled to himself as Hermione's aura brightened at the prospect while both Neville's and Draco's heads hit the table with a dull thump. "It's not that bad. There are supposed to be some classrooms in the castle that are insulated from outside magic. Outside finding out where, they are I also need to find anything on people before me who could see auras, as well as whatever there is on blind wizards."
"That's all then?" snapped Draco, still upset from before. "No shining your shoes for you or folding your clothes?"
Harry felt a surge of anger at the other boy's words, but before he could say anything the door to the cabin swung open.
"Sorry, everyone, but the headmaster has me running an errand fer him in just a bit so's I'm goin ter ask yeh ter be headin' on back up t' the castle now."
The friends all wished Hagrid well as they began their journey back up to the school. As they went, Harry couldn't help but feel he'd somehow alienated Draco by keeping secrets. Not wanting to leave anything between them that could fester, he stopped the blond boy and asked him to wait a moment with him before heading on up to the castle.
"Listen," he said when they were alone, "I know that I should have said something sooner, but I just wanted to be careful. You understand that, right?"
Grudgingly, Draco nodded. "Yeah, I guess."
Taking Draco's injured hand in his, he said, "I can help you with this. I found out this summer that sometimes I can heal someone when they've been hurt. I did it once before with my cousin and again with Neville; now I'd like to help you. It's recent? Happened this morning?"
"The family owl scratched me when I posted a letter to my father," said Draco "It's nothing really, just a flesh wound."
Harry's face split into a mad grin at the boy's words. They brought to mind a day just the year before when his aunt had broken down and rented a video to watch on the telly. It had been some farce about King Arthur that Petunia had tried, unsuccessfully for the most part, to describe for him as it played out. One scene had involved a not-quite epic duel between Arthur and the Black Knight. In the process of the battle, the knight had lost all of his limbs, constantly proclaiming that 'It's just a flesh wound.' Poor Petunia had to put up with months of Harry repeating that line whenever he got so much as a scratch.
Shaking his head to clear it of the images of the video, he centred his concentration on the other boy's injury. His senses told him that it was indeed shallow and would heal just fine on its own. Since he had Draco here already, he'd spend the few moments necessary to repair the boy's skin. The power seemed to come to Harry's call much quicker this time than he remembered.
As for Draco, he gasped as a warm tingling sensation rushed through his arm but he didn't move. He trusted Harry and allowed him to continue what he was doing. Soon enough, Harry was finished and released the completely repaired wrist. The blond boy rubbed the area where the wound had been and saw that not even a small scar remained. He looked up to Harry's face as the boy tugged on his robes.
"Come on," said Harry "We have to catch up to the others."
Later on that evening, Harry and Neville found themselves outside the potions classroom with minutes to spare. They stood uncomfortably outside the door, unsure if they were supposed to wait for the professor, knock, or just go in. Suddenly, the door swung open to reveal the Potions Master glaring down at them.
"Mr. Longbottom, Mr. Potter, were you planning on standing at the door the entire night? Get in here." Snape turned, his robes billowing behind him, and the two boys followed into the dimly lit classroom.
"Longbottom," he said, "help Potter find his seat at the front row workstation to the right of my desk, then take the one to its left." The Potions Master waited with an inscrutable expression on his face as the two boys took their seats "The two of you are the most inept and dangerous students among my first years, perhaps in my entire experience teaching this class. Were it up to me, neither of you would again darken the door of this classroom. The headmaster, however, has asked that I waste more of my valuable time attempting to teach you proper potion making," he said with a sneer. "Potter, this will likely be the last time you are here. I have agreed to allow you one chance to prove yourself to me. When you fail, I will remove you from my class and have you placed in something less...challenging. You both will be attempting the same boil removal potion from this morning, and Mr. Longbottom, I'll be supervising your attempt personally." Then, leaning back on the desk and crossing his arms, he said, "Go collect the necessary components and begin."
Harry followed Neville and slowly gathered his supplies. He wasn't able to read the labels since none of them had a translation charm on them, but that was the entire reason he'd bought samples of the common potions ingredients when he'd gone to Diagon Alley. He had gathered a couple of the ingredients by scent alone before turning to his friend. "Psst... Neville," he whispered. "How are they all arranged?"
"Err...alphabetically, I think," the boy replied.
Knowing that, Harry made quick work of gathering all the rest of the necessary ingredients for his potion. Returning to his desk, he organized all of his tools and components so that he'd know their location by touch and opened his inner eye for the first time since that afternoon.
He'd held off using it as much as he could because although the headache from that morning was somewhat better, there was still a two hour class with Snape that was bound to cause a headache all its own. Harry went about preparing the potion just as the professor had asked. As his inner eye came into focus, he could sense Neville at his desk, shaking with fear while Snape stood over him nearly snarling with irritation.
"Mr. Potter," said the Potions Master suddenly, "quit standing around and continue preparing your potion...unless you're unable."
Harry quickly got to work stewing slugs and grinding snake fangs. He ignored the professor's steady barrage of insults because he was finally back in his element He'd been right when he'd first read the potions text; it was much like cooking, except for the part about the recipe exploding when something was done wrong. Harry found that preparing potions was, if anything, easier because, as he brewed it, the liquid was becoming magical and he could see a beautiful pattern emerging in its signature.
After an hour of tense preparation where Snape would either yell at Neville for some mistake, or bark questions at Harry during a delicate part of the process in an attempt to throw the boy off, he finished his potion and studied its patterns as he set it aside to cool. It was nearly perfect except...instinctively, he placed a hand on the rim of the cauldron and extended his own magic into the liquid, much as he did for healing. Using his ability he completed the pattern where he thought necessary until it felt 'right,' and then pulled back. Casting his attention towards Snape, he was happy to see that the Potions Master hadn't noticed this last bit, as the man was busy grading potions assignments from earlier in the day.
Harry's attention was suddenly turned towards Neville as he heard the dry sound of porcupine quills being picked up. "Neville!" he said in a stage whisper. "Neville, remember this morning! Take the potion off the fire before you add the quills!"
"Oh...right, Harry Thanks."
The boy wasn't all that sure his advice would do any good, however. From the smell and odd aura around it, the potion would probably do anything but cure boils no matter what was done now. He snapped his head back towards the front of the room as Snape suddenly spoke.
"Mr. Potter," said the professor irritably, "if you can't continue with your own potion, please refrain from distracting Mr. Longbottom when he is so diligently trying to yet again blow up my laboratory."
"But sir," he replied, "I've just finished. I'm waiting for it to cool before I put it in a vial."
Professor Snape snorted in derision and strode towards the desk. Harry waited quietly as the professor's aura shifted from anger and impatience to astonishment. "Where did you get this potion?" he asked. "It was in your bag, wasn't it?"
"I made it, sir!" Harry replied angrily. "You were right there!"
Neville chose that very moment to melt his second cauldron of the day. His experience earlier had honed his reflexes, and Neville quickly stepped away from the growing mess before he could be splashed. Heaving a great sigh, the Potions Master looked tiredly at Neville and said, "Mr. Longbottom, I think that will be quite enough damage for one day. I expect to have two feet of parchment from you on the proper preparation of boil removal potion on my desk Monday. For now, just get out of my sight." Turning back to Harry, he continued, "And you, Mr. Potter, will be going nowhere. You will rebrew this potion under my eye."
Neville fled the classroom as if demons were chasing him, leaving Harry with Snape as he set his table up to brew the potion again. Snape took his original cauldron to his desk and replaced it with one of his own. Over the next hour and a half, Harry made the potion with Snape following the boy's every move, from collecting the components to the final cooling process at the end. After finishing cleanup at his workstation and gathering his things, he went to stand before Snape's desk. The man's aura showed no real change in his overall regard for the boy, but there were some new feelings mixed in as well, though Harry was having a time figuring what they were.
"You will continue to attend regular classes with your friends but not participate in the practical," the potions master said as he studied the six stoppered vials gathered from his second attempt. Harry was angry and almost said something he'd regret until Snape cut him off. "You show... some promise in the brewing of potions, therefore you will meet with me after classes every Wednesday and Friday for your practical exercise. Now please leave as I've spent far more time with you idiot children than I can stand."
Harry left the classroom both happy and frustrated. Potions making was everything he could have hoped for; it was exacting and really pushed the limits of his skill to do it properly. Now, though, he would have to put up being alone with that git for hours at a time. Stopping at an intersection, he realized that he'd been walking without paying attention to where he was going. He'd instinctively closed his inner eye on leaving Snapes classroom and now he wasn't really sure exactly where he was. The boy thought he'd heard the scrape of a shoe nearby and became a bit uneasy, as the other person hadn't said anything before hand.
He tried to open his inner eye but his headache returned with jackhammer force almost before he'd opened his senses. Harry wavered unsteadily on his feet and almost fell when several things happened at once. The pain in his head suddenly redoubled in intensity, the scent of garlic became overpowering, and a hand wrapped itself around his upper arm.
"Mr. P-potter. W-what has you out th-this late?"
Feeling slightly relieved that it was only Professor Quirrell, he answered with a grimace, "I had a late class with Professor Snape." Even with his inner eye closed, the headache was becoming fiercer though, for some reason, it seemed to be centred around his scar now. "Listen," he said, "I'm not really feeling all that well. I'll see you in Defense on Monday, right?"
Rather than let the boy go, Professor Quirrell's grip only seemed to tighten. "If you're not feeling well, come to my office. I have something that will fix you up right."
Through the haze of pain Harry knew something was wrong in what the man had just said, but he couldn't place it. He began to stumble after Quirrell as the man pulled him incessantly along until a flutter of wings and an angry hiss stopped them both.
"Hedwig," he whispered in relief as the unwanted hand disappeared from his arm. Seconds later, he felt the welcome weight of his closest friends as she settled on his shoulders and the sound of a familiar set of footsteps could be heard clattering rapidly down the hall.
"Stupid snake." Draco came around the corner in his dressing gown muttering angrily to himself "Wake me up in the middle of the night, will she? When I find her-" He stopped short, seeing his friend for the first time. "Harry! There you are! Neville came back hours ago and Granger is worried sick...oh, good evening, professor. I see you've found Harry as well."
"Err...Y-yes. Now th-that you're h-here I'll be on m-my way." The professor nodded nervously to them both and departed down the hall.
"You alright, Harry?" asked the blond as he took the other boy's arm to steady him. "You don't look so good."
"Headache. Not to worry, it's letting up some," Harry said looking thoughtfully after Quirrell as the pain behind his scar seemed to bleed away to nothing. "Come on, let's get back to the dorms. I'm knackered."
The new week started with little change from the one before. Hermione and Draco were still mad at each other, and Neville now had to do remedial potions with Snape every evening. Harry was still having problems in most of his classes, but it wasn't as frustrating because at least now he understood why. He'd even gotten Hermione and Draco to be civil with each other long enough to help him do some research in the library. After days of searching, they'd had little success, however. It seemed there were no listings anywhere in the available books about magically shielded rooms in the castle.
"Well, at least there's one good thing, Harry," said Draco as they all sat at a table in the library. "Tomorrow's Thursday."
"What's so good about Thursday?" the boy asked puzzled.
"Flying lessons!" replied the blond with a huge grin on his face. Both Harry and Hermione dropped their heads to the table in despair. Hermione had been futilely reading every book she could get her hands on in an attempt to be prepared for the class, and Harry only saw it as another subject where he would look useless.
Morning found them in the Great Hall eating breakfast as the owl post came through. Harry was reading another letter from Petunia describing Dudley's progress when Neville held up a glass ball from his package.
"What do you have there, Neville?" asked Hermione.
"It's a remember-all My gran sent it.
Draco impulsively reached out and grabbed it from the other boy's hand. "Look, it's already glowing red. Reminding you to hide from Professor Snape?"
Draco was suddenly shoved violently from behind, knocking the ball out of his grasp. Harry casually reached out his hand as the ball went in the air and snagged it without even thinking. The blond boy jumped up and turned to face his attacker, a very red-haired and red-faced Ronald Weasley.
"What the bloody hell did you do that for?" he asked heatedly
"Give it back, Malfoy!"
"Give what back, you bloody arse?" Draco snarled with clenched fists. Both boys looked ready to begin swinging on each other, and Harry was starting to get up to intervene when Professor McGonagall swept up to the table.
"What's going on here?" she asked sternly as she interposed herself between the two boys.
"Professor," said Ron, "Malfoy took Neville's remember-all."
The woman turned to see Neville holding the ball in question with an almost guilty look on his face. Harry had just passed it back to him as the professor had begun questioning the students. Turning back to the Weasley boy with an almost angry gleam in her eye she said, "Mr. Weasley, please see me in my office after classes have finished today."
"No buts, Mr. Weasley," she admonished. "Now return to your table."
Turning back to the friends seated at the Merlin table, she said in a more reasonable tone, "Mr. Potter, you've been excused from flying lessons today. Instead please report to Madame Pomfrey at the Hospital Wing for that period."
Feeling a weight lifted from his shoulders, yet at the same time somewhat disappointed, he finished his meal and accepted Hermione's offer to walk with him to the infirmary. As they got up and passed near the Gryffindors clustered around their table, he heard the angry voice of Ron Weasley as he told his housemates about what had just happened.
Forty-five minutes later found Harry sitting in Pomfrey's office as she ran yet another test on his eyes. She'd started the moment he'd arrived, performing multiple tests and having him try to remember every cough and skinned knee since the day he'd been born. She'd just begun another round of tests when the infirmary doors burst open to admit Madam Hooch and a moaning Neville Longbottom.
"Poppy," said the professor, "a little help if you please. The lad couldn't stay on his broom and broke his wrist."
Harry followed as the woman examined Neville and went to the back with the professor to retrieve a potion. Going up to his friend and taking the injured wrist in his hand, he asked, "What happened, Nev?"
"It's so odd. The broom just seemed to take off with me. I know I'm not the best flyer, but I couldn't get it to do anything I wanted. It's almost like somebody else was controlling it..." The boy suddenly sighed with relief. "Whatever you're doing with my wrist, Harry, don't stop. It's feeling loads better."
Harry had been using the time Neville described his failed flying lesson to repair the damaged bone and tissue in his wrist. The flesh had been easy; he'd done harder work with Draco's cut the previous weekend. It was the bone that had him sweating. It was hard and didn't want to heal easily, but the boy marshaled his strength and made it happen.
The magic came to him so readily this time that he was a bit shocked when it was finished and the familiar drained feeling washed over him. Harry realized that he might have overdone it with the bone when his legs started feeling a bit wobbly underneath him.
"Uh, Neville," he started to say weakly as he stumbled into the other boy's arms
The chubby boy let out a startled squawk as Harry fairly collapsed in front of him. Moments later, the two witches were running back into the room and lifting the raven-haired boy onto a bed.
"What happened?" demanded Poppy of Neville.
The boy, too shocked to even think of lying, said, "He fixed my wrist and just passed out."
"Fixed your wrist?" she questioned with an odd look in her eye. "Let me see."
Harry woke to the sound of a feminine voice using some rather un-feminine language. Whoever it was, from the sound of it, was swinging a broom crazily about at some object. A snickering hiss soon told him the identity of the intruder.
Smiling and sitting up in the bed, he realized he was in the infirmary, though by the grumbling in his stomach he knew that he'd been here much longer than he'd originally planned. He was brought back to the rapidly declining situation by the crash of something being swept off a table.
"Hedwig," he called. "Come here, girl." Seconds later, he felt a welcome weight settle on his shoulders.
"Mr. Potter, I see you're awake," Madame Pomfrey said as she passed her wand over him. "Fully rested I see. It seems that you have talent as a natural healer, and if you're interested, I'd like you to consider taking an additional class with me to develop your gift."
Flashing a genuine smile at the woman, he readily agreed and was soon on his way back to the Merlin dorms with Madame Pomfrey's voice following him down the hall, warning him to never again let that animal anywhere near her infirmary.
Using his sight, he quickly navigated back to Merlin house and stood before the knight. "Harry!" the portrait said with relief. "Your housemates have been worried sick about you!...you are alright then?"
"Fine, Sir Percival. Could you open up, please? I've had a really long day."
Entering the common room, he found Draco and Hermione standing in the middle of the room, each glaring at the other with animosity. "What?" Harry asked tiredly, wondering if he even wanted to know.
"Harry," said the girl, "Draco and Ron Weasley got in a terrible row after Neville hurt himself. Draco challenged him to a wizards' duel at midnight"
"What could he have done for you to do that?" Harry asked the blond.
Draco and Hermione looked uneasily to each other then back to Harry, "Nothing really and it's not like I'm actually going. So lets just forget about it and go to bed."
"Tell him the rest," said Hermione.
"What 'rest'?" asked Harry.
"Err, well you see," said Draco uneasily, "I might have mentioned to someone that students would be out of bed and in the trophy room when Filch might have been close enough to hear..."
Harry stood silent for a moment then turned back towards the entrance.
"Where are you going?" the blond asked in alarm.
"To keep Weasley from being expelled for your fun," Harry replied heatedly over his shoulder.
Harry hadn't gotten more than twenty feet down the corridor before he heard and felt both Hermione and Draco coming after him. They made quick progress to the trophy room and spotted Ron pacing nervously all by himself. Hearing them enter, he looked up and, fearful and defiant, he raised his wand to a ready stance.
"Let's get this over with," he said shakily.
"Duel's off," said Harry. "Filch got word about it somehow We're getting out of here."
They'd taken just a couple steps towards the door when they heard Filch's voice.
"They're near by, Ms. Norris. I can feel it."
As one, they all wheeled about and ran out the other door and down the corridor, only to run into Peeves flitting about and snickering. "What's this? Ickle firsties out of bed after hours...would be horrible if Mr. Filch caught you, yes?"
"Yes, it would Peeves," answered Harry, his voice calm despite the underlying sense of urgency. "Please don't tell him."
"Just get out of our way!" insisted Ron, taking an ineffectual swing at the poltergeist. Which, of course, was the wrong thing to do.
"LOOK, LOOK! FIRSTIES OUT OF BED!!!!"
Scrambling wildly, they all ran to the nearest door, but found it locked.
"We're caught," moaned Draco "My father is going to kill me!"
"Get out of the way," said Hermione as she waved her wand at the door. "Alohomora!" The door swung open and everyone jumped in and closed it as Filch came running into the corridor.
"Peeves! Where did they go?"
"Ah, ah, ah... I'm not telling you nothing unless you say please!"
"Just tell me where they went!" shouted the caretaker.
"Nothing! I said I wouldn't say nothing until you said please! Ha ha ha."
Everyone except Harry continued listening at the door as the voices faded. His mind's eye could see in all directions at once, and he was finding what was going on behind them of much more concern than anything going on in the corridor.
"Err... guys? I think we should be getting out of here," he said softly.
"Not yet Harry," said Hermione. "I think they're still out there."
Wordlessly, Harry grabbed the girl by her shoulders and turned her around. Eyes wide with fear she said, "You're right, we should be going."
It was then Ron and Draco both turned to find out what could be so bad in the room and saw a giant three-headed dog with rolling eyes and sharp fangs slowly stalking towards the four. With a collective scream, they charged back out the door and slammed it behind them.
Minutes later Harry, Hermione, and Draco entered their common room, having left Ron at the entrance to Gryffindor Tower.
"Father was right, Dumbledore is bloody insane," said Draco. "Who would keep a monster like that in a school?"
"It's not just that. What was it guarding?" said Hermione.
"What are you talking about?" asked Draco.
"Didn't you see what it was standing on? There was a trap door!"
"I couldn't see anything," said Harry. "Just the dog...ah, bloody hell!"
"What?" his friends asked in unison. "What's wrong?"
"I think I found one of the shielded rooms," he said with a moan.
"Don't worry mate," said Draco "We found this one. We'll find the others."
"You need to stop," said Hermione. "Running around after curfew, getting into fights. Keep it up and you'll get yourself killed...or worse-expelled!"
The boys stood together in the common room as she stormed up the stairs, waiting until they heard her door slam to burst into gales of laughter.