Harry held onto her tightly as he prepared himself for the summer. Two whole months away from his friend. Two whole months stuck with people who abandoned him and a brother who thought he was guilty of killing a unicorn. A unicorn. Only one with an evil soul could kill a unicorn.
His brother thought Harry had an evil soul.
And no doubt his parents as well.
Luna gave him a squeeze and then pulled away, tears on her face. She would miss him. Harry saw her wipe her eyes and then sign, still sniffling slightly,
/And you'll owl me?\
/Of course. And I'll search the Potter library and find books on Occlumency.\
Luna nodded, slowly regaining her composure.
/And you know the spell?\
Harry chuckled slightly,
/Yes. Gemino. To copy the pages.\
Luna smiled a quivering fragile smile, her eyes showing warmth and longing. She didn't want to leave him either. She didn't want to leave her first friend with people who he obviously hated. People who he didn't spend Christmas with. People who he never talked about.
/And if anything is wrong you tell me?\
/Straight away. I'll tell you everything. And you do the same for me?\
Luna nodded, then her eyes went slightly sad as she saw people behind him. Harry turned to see his 'family' walking towards him. Except it was only Lily. He sighed and turned back to her, to see her giving Sparkles a hug. At least Sparkles would be with him.
Luna waved and started to walk down the platform, looking for her father, secret purple frilly jumper pulled close around her. Harry walked towards his own family, bracketed by his twin who was nervously looking at him. He rolled his eyes and took a breath.
Only two months.
He could do this.
They travelled by portkey. A small golden medallion which they had to touch, and Lily had to say the chosen words.
When they arrived at the manor Harry stood stock still, not allowing his eyes to wonder around the place. He didn't live here. He was staying here. These weren't his family. These were his enemies. They had left him to be used, abused and neglected. If Harry weren't such a good manipulator he would have most likely died at the Dursleys and lived most of his life in pain.
He felt eyes burning into him and he had to move to see the source.
Harry was shocked to see a ten year old girl staring at him with rage and possibly hatred.
She had red hair but that was where the similarities with her mother ended. She was tan, had olive skin. And swirling hazel eyes that could have beat her father's. She was short, but also only young, and was wearing a blue skirt that reached her knees, and a pink top. She was covered in mud, it was on her face, clothes, shoes. Everywhere. And seemed to Harry like some sort of protest.
And she was scowling.
Harry couldn't help but smile warmly at her. Maybe all of his family wouldn't be so bad. Maybe he could have some sort of company anyway.
He turned to Lily, looking for an explanation to who the girl was. Lily smiled at his interest and said,
Amelia Potter. Your sister.
Why did no one tell him anything?
Harry's eyes widened and moved back to Amelia. This little rug rat was his sister? She certainly looked like her parents but didn't seem to think like them.
Amelia looked angry at Harry.
For... some... reason.
Harry shrugged. Not taken in at all by the grandeur of Potter Manor. No, he had already read about it. He was more interested in what the library would be like. What books had just been thrown aside? What secrets did it hold? How could he use them for his gain? What would Luna think?
He already missed her. Harry could tell that the moment she saw Amelia she would have broken out laughing. Such a multitude of emotions on such a small girl. His heart let out a little pang of sorrow for being apart from his friend.
Of course his expression was blank.
He was with the enemy here.
A month had passed.
The Manor was massive. There were over 200 rooms in total, and those were the ones he had explored so far. There were 5 kitchens, all of them explored and cooked in by Harry, as he had realised that when he wasn't being forced he actually enjoyed cooking and set out to cook his own meals. (with the acceptance from the house elves of course, of which he had befriended) There were 2 dining halls, 3 dining rooms, 50 guest suites, 20 resident suites, 2 manor wings with 10 rooms in each, the Potter Manor Library which had 10 separate rooms all filled with books, 20 jail cells (in the dungeons), 50+ hidden passages (all not yet explored), and 80 other rooms which didn't really serve a purpose other than...
Harry's 'bedroom', or place he was sleeping at, was a small room on the sixth floor. It was about the size of his Slytherin dorm room, but instead of shared it was just for him, and instead of single beds there was a large double bed. There was a small bookshelf which he had unsuccessfully enlarged using engorgio, but went back to the same size once the spell wore off. So piles of books ended up littering his room as he read, copied and took notes on them. Harry also found it difficult to fall asleep in his own bed and found himself on many occasions falling asleep outside with Sparkles snuggled up beside him, after a sleep inducing session of meditation.
Harry had finished all his homework in the first three days, to free himself up to work on other projects without having it looming over him. Mostly he worked on Occlumency. He had read three books about it and spent two weeks just trying to find his mind scape. It took deep concentration and he soon learned he worked best outside, so he spent many an hour sitting underneath the trees with Sparkles sleeping by his side, in a deep state of meditation.
There had also been other books in the library. Many on Potter laws and politics. Harry was disappointed to find out that because he had been born after Edward he was not the Potter heir. He was in fact the second Potter heir, whilst Edward was the Heir Apparent, to inherit everything once James died or passed on the title. That meant Harry had no seat at Wizengamort, no power at the Ministry, and inherited nothing if James said it was to be.
It was quite a let down.
But Harry realised he would just have to make his own fortune. Create his own power. And make his own empire. Maybe it was better that he started with nothing because that would make his rise to power that much more interesting.
Harry did have a title, as an heir for being a child of the Most Noble and Ancient House of Potter. It did carry some weight and power, just not as much as he would have had if he were Heir Apparent. He was Harry James Potter, Second Heir of the Most Noble and Ancient House of Potter. If Edward died he would become Heir Apparent, and Amelia Second Heir, but that seemed less likely as Harry was apparently the Boy Who Lived not Edward.
So Harry would probably be expected by people to die in the future.
Well... No thanks. Harry will just live his own life Thankyouverymuch.
He also read up on Pure-blood greeting customs. Harry couldn't do most of them because he was deaf but he could forfill the basics.
But even if he wasn't Heir Apparent of the Potter House Harry would probably visit Gringotts anyway just to do a blood test, to make sure, however unlikely, that he had not been the heir to another house. He had decided that he would go when they went shopping in Diagon Alley for the next year. Harry wondered who the Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher for the next year would be.
Hopefully not a possessed teacher this time around.
Also, Edward wasn't getting any letters.
Harry didn't really care.
Mostly because in the month he had been there their relationship had deteriorated further and he wasn't even returning Harry's smiles. What happened to "Hello brother I've missed you"? Huh?
Harry was too busy to think about his twin, and that was just the way he liked it.
He missed Luna terribly and wrote to her constantly, sending books and copied pages and telling her how snobbish his family was.
Most of his family.
Amelia was okay.
Once she had realised that he was not, in fact, evil she warmed up to him instantly and they became fast friends. When Harry had realised that he actually enjoyed cooking and gardening he had started to cook his own breakfast and hang out in the Potter garden whilst he was plotting or meditating. Amelia had caught him one morning making pancakes and had instantly joined him.
After a week of silence from Harry she had asked why he never talked, and Harry had told her he was deaf, but that she needed to keep it a secret because people finding out he was deaf would interfere with his plans. She had understood and soon started talking non-stop, obviously not used to the attention.
Harry realised that he liked his sister very much. She was feisty and stubborn but was also smart and cunning, wishing desperately to be out of Edward's shadow. Amelia was often lonely at the manor as James and Lily, who she called Mum and Dad, spent all their time with Edward. Training him. Praising him. Lily only ever spent time with her to cook and gossip, it was as if she didn't even know her, as if she only knew who she wanted her to be.
Amelia was also strikingly intelligent. Often working things out at around the same time as Harry. And she loved to play and cook and garden with him, generally getting to know her long lost brother. Harry didn't see Amelia as his little sister which he had to protect, although he would protect her. Harry saw her as her own person. And a brilliant person at that. Harry assured her that the houses didn't matter and she would be his sister no matter what.
Amelia who made pancakes with him in the morning. Amelia who liked to sing while he gardened. Amelia who thought Sparkles was an imaginary pet. Who loved magic but had never been allowed to use it. Never even allowed to have a training wand. Who was seen as fragile and pretty and perfect by her parents.
Amelia hated dresses and loved mud.
Amelia was also determined not to forgive her parents as quickly as Edward, who seemed now to just ignore Harry in favour of them and forget about the fact that they abandoned him. No, she was determined to be the best sister for Harry.
For Harry who was smart and understood her. For Harry who was cunning when he needed to be but childish as well. For Harry who had dreams for his life. For Harry who sometimes flinched when she touched him, and didn't like her hugs. For Harry who had an imaginary friend called Sparkles. And for Harry who had a diary but every time she tried to read it she couldn't and would end up getting stung by a stinging hex.
For Harry who had been the only one that summer to get her something for her birthday which she actually wanted.
He got her a book.
Amelia could have cried.
For Harry's birthday a huge party had been thrown at the Potter Manor, but that was for Edward's birthday. The family had seemed to have forgotten that they were twins and that they shared a birthday. In the end he had only gotten three presents. One was a pair of black pyjamas with golden runes of calming and peace embroidered into it, from Luna, as she had seen his nightmares over Christmas break. And now, with the help of Sparkles and his pyjamas, he no longer even had flashes of his old life, and slept heavenly well. Sparkles had gotten him a baby grass snake called Juno, but Harry had set it free again because he still wasn't over Silas. Amelia had, somehow, remembered and had made him a batch of cupcakes. When Edward had thought they were for him Amelia had basically hissed and said they were for Harry.
Then the whole family had been embarrassed (minus Harry and Amelia) at forgetting Harry's birthday.
He had simply shrugged.
Harry had also bonded with the house elves.
He had loved learning all their names, which they had written down for him, and questioned them about house elf laws and magic, which they were very secretive about. Harry had organised an agreement with them that he was allowed to cook his own meals, but they were allowed to clean his room and organise (not put away) his books. He had also told them he was deaf and given them the copied pages of the Hogwarts BSL book, so they could learn to communicate with him.
And he told them as a master of the manor not to reveal this condition to anyone, lest they face the consequences of their own magic. The house elves instantly agreed and seemed to value him more than James anyway. Which was strange. Because James was Lord Potter. But Harry brushed it off as having a real connection with them, and there was probably some house elf law lost with time that thought that wizards who truly cared for their house elves would be treated as true masters or something.
He tried not to think too much about it as he was very busy with other things.
Harry had also found a secret passage in the library. There had been a mysterious arch that ended in a blank wall, along with a small metal snake wrapped around the adjacent banister. Harry put two and two together and spent many afternoons writing parstletongue at the feature, often while he was still reading because it was quite a boring endeavour.
It ended up being the Potter insignia.
Induere cultioribus vestimentis as noctem et diem tamquam umbra.
Wear the night as your cloak, and the day as your mask.
Quite ironic given the rest of the family was brash attention seekers.
And through that secret passage there was another room. Another part of the library. And within that library were more books for him to read. And most importantly one book. One book locked within a safe charmed with Blood Magic. Harry had pricked his finger upon it after days of investigation. And within that safe was a book.
Mind, body and magic.
By Myrddin Emrys
Otherwise known as Merlin.
Harry had read it cover to cover, it was over one and a half thousand pages long, and was so precious to the Potter Library that he could not even remove it from the room. Under no circumstances was he allowed to copy the pages. And the only way he could pass on the knowledge was to bring the other person to the Manor and then the library.
Perhaps he could have arranged for Luna to come over.
But that holiday it was quite impossible because Luna was travelling in the Syrian jungle in search of the three headed bumbra beetle. A specimen only seen once in all of history by humans, and only twenty times by wizards. But its existence was still under debate.
Harry had read that book and realised that Occlumency could have been achieved easier and more effectively using the ancient techniques from Merlin's book. Instead of building walls and contraptions around one's mind and memories (and unknown to people magic), it was easier to fully connect one's mind, body and magic, to be able to create almost unbeatable and undetectable defences. Of course during the connection of mind, body and magic, one's mind was vulnerable, Harry saw no problem with this as he was mostly alone and he hadn't felt the presence of Legilimency yet. Something during his other Occlumency training he had managed to achieve.
So, within the week of finding Merlin's book Harry was able to enter his mind-scape.
-It was slightly underwhelming. There was a large field that expanded as far as the eye could see, with small patches of dry grass clumped together in spots, the ground and vegetation represented his body. Which was still quite malnourished from his life at the Dursleys, after seeing what it was like he was determined to by nourishment potions to bring him back up to the appropriate height and weight, and to exercise more.
There was a large lake, covered in a rolling mist, water sparkling underneath. It was the same size as the black lake, and it represented his pool of magic. To be drained and filled as he used spells and spent time resting. Above him was a cloudy sky, covering the sun. The sun represented his mind, and although it was large, it also wasn't properly connected to his body and magic. He couldn't remove the mist from his magic, and he couldn't grow new trees for his body.
There was a single tree by the lake, it was large and gnarled, looking eleven years old, with thousands of shimmering blue leaves. Each leaf represented a day of memories. It was his tree of memories, shimmering beautifully with the magic of the lake. Harry walked over to it, uncrossing his legs and standing, and let a new leaf rest gently on his hand. He looked inside to see a day in last November, when he and Luna had successfully finished learning the Expelliarmus spell, which only took three days to master.
Harry nodded, seeing the tree perfectly healthy, and sat back down on the ground with his legs crossed. He closed his eyes and concentrated on moving the clouds away from the sun, the first step in connecting himself. When he opened his eyes a few moments later he was exhausted, but happy to see the sun in the sky shining brightly. As the sun shone the mist on the lake evaporated leaving him with a perfect view of his glittering magic. The whole lake was a bright exuberant blue, except...
What was that?
There was a dark streak of red in his lake. It looked like blood but was in the shape of a lightning bolt. It had latched onto his magic and it smelt rotten and wrong. Harry winced as he looked at it and saw the dark streak spread ever so slightly. No no no no. This wouldn't do! This was his magic. The book hadn't said anything about what to do with this.
Harry focussed again, determined to stop the rotten magic from spreading. He isolated it. And felt a cutting pain on his chest, but he ignored it as he needed to get this thing out. Harry squished it further and further together until it was only a pin pricks size on the lake, his energy running out quickly, and he could even see his own magic being drained, his lake's shores falling downwards. He gathered the rotten piece, focused some more, and then imagined it flying away and out of his mind.
More pain shot through his body and he saw the rotten piece be engulfed by the lake and die in a dramatic twirl of black smoke.
Then Harry collapsed, and didn't wake until the next day-
Harry was lying on his bed, reading a chapter on the appropriate way to drink tea when a house elf appeared in front of him carrying a box of letters. It was a short and half-starved looking creature, wearing a pillow case. It certainly didn't look anywhere near as healthy as the house elves at Potter Manor and Harry instantly felt bad for it.
Harry stared at him, confused to why a house elf was in his room.
He just... didn't know.
Once the house elf saw his green eyes his face blanched, if a house elf's face could, and Harry saw him mutter,
Dobby be making a mistake. This be being the wrong Potter. This be being... Harry Potter.
A thought seemed to hit Dobby like a tonne of bricks and his face contorted in confusion.
It be seeming that this be being Master Harry Potter. But that be being no sense as Master Harry Potter is not Dobby's master.
Dobby shook his head in confusion and Harry continued to stare, intrigue now coursing through his veins. And his wand already slid into its holster, prepared in case the creature were to attack. He saw the house elf concentrate. Then when nothing happened a look of fear moved onto the creature's face. It turned to Harry, its voice shrill.
Dobby is meant to be leaving now but Dobby cannot. Does young master know why this is? Does young master know why Dobby cannot be leaving his side?
Harry continued to stare, wanting to see how this would have played out. Why was a house elf in his bedroom?
Why does Master Harry Potter not speak to Dobby?
Harry continued with his stony silence, because there wasn't much else he could do. He didn't know how to talk and he didn't even really know what sound was! Plus he was not determined enough to get a piece of paper and write, or reveal his disability to a house elf. Not because he thought it was a lower creature, Harry had a completely different stance, but because he didn't know it at all.
Dobby's eyes widened and he saw it start to shiver slightly.
Young master! What has Dobby done wrong? Dobby not be meaning to be doing it, whatever it be. Dobby just be meaning to warn other Potter, great Edward Potter, of dangers at Hogwarts! Please, young master, talk to Dobby and tell Dobby what he is be doing wrong!
Harry saw the house elf sniff the air for a moment before look at him speculatively.
Dobby be feeling that there is something different about Master Harry Potter. Dobby feels a different type of magic in you. And Dobby feels that his loyalty is twisted! Dobby be being such a bad house elf. He be belonging to the Malfoys but Dobby be feeling he be belonging to you as well! Please Master Harry Potter tell Dobby what to do. Let Dobby leave. Dobby never meant any harm.
Dobby suddenly looked quite solemn and bowed his head slightly, remorse taking his posture.
Dobby is meant to be cleaning. Dobby is meant to be cleaning at the Malfoys. Dobby has been called but he cannot leave Master Harry Potter's side. Please let Dobby leave, young master, please do not tell the peoples that Dobby is being bad.
Dobby started to cry out hysterically.
But Dobby is being bad! Dobby is ordering a master to be not speaking of Dobby! Dobby is not answering a call from the Malfoys. Three times they have called. Three times and Dobby be being a bad house elf and staying by young master's side. And young master be not even speaking! Young master be sitting there and staring at Dobby and not speaking because Dobby is a bad bad house elf and Dobby went against his other master's orders and Dobby never should have come. But Hogwarts be being so dangerous and Edward Potter saved all the world and all the house elves and Dobby be being CRAZY! Let Dobby leave master. Dobby be needed somewhere else and you need to order Dobby to leave.
A thought crossed Dobby's mind as Harry continued to stare at him in intrigue.
He sort of wanted to intervene and to tell the house elf to return back to his masters, but at the same time he had learnt a lot of useful information from Dobby. And Dobby was a creature, another creature that had been treated badly by wizards, and a large part of him wanted to somehow free the house elf. But he was also the house elf for the Malfoys, and they were an influential family in Wizengamort.
In the end Dobby's own cunning actually saved him from the decision.
Master Harry Potter Dobby be having an idea. Now Dobby's ideas not be being good and not be being worth it but Dobby be thinking. If young master were to let Dobby go back to the Malfoys to do what they be saying then Dobby would come straight back here afterwards. Dobby would not be telling them about yous or what yous been doing or what Dobbys been doing. What does young master say? Can he agree that Dobby be going back and then returning here?
Harry nodded hesitantly, slightly nervously of the repercussions of Dobby's actions. At least he hadn't bothered the rest of the family, they surely would have tried to have him beheaded or something so outrageous.