Chapter 1: Sensing

They say the removal of one sense can heighten others. That's what Harry had heard anyway. Given that the sliver at the bottom of the cupboard door was all the light he had, and that this had been his main source of light for much of his first ten years, it was likely his ears and nose must be spectacular. Harry sniffed and then scoffed to himself. All the better to smell Dudley and his sweat, or the food he'd be lucky to swipe later, or the dust that rained down on his cot. Not sure it's worth it, he chuckled softly to himself.

Lately, though, Harry had started to wonder if maybe his senses were heightened. When Dudley and his gang had started to follow him home one day, Harry would have sworn he could almost feel them and where they were, with bad intentions. He'd felt a slight tingle, and then heard the steps and soft cruel laughs. But he was sure he'd felt the tingle before, not after, the sound. What sense was that then? Precognition? He'd read that definition one night working through a small pocket dictionary he had managed to get to his room, and read with his sliver of light.

And then there was the time he'd ended on the roof suddenly, after trying hard to run way from Dudley but not finding a safe bolt hole. The memory was vague, but the feeling of warmth through him preceded finding himself on the roof. Hadn't it? It wasn't just the rush of relief, and he'd gotten in jumbled in his head?

There had been a number of other instances like those. Turning hair blue, growing his hair out completely overnight, even talking with a snake the other day in the garden. All weird occurrences, and in each instance, thinking back, he thought there was a small rush of…something…before or during the event. The problem was he never had time to stop in the moment before to assess it. I mean, who knows an everyday moment is important until it is past? If you know it is a big moment, then you're too focused on the event to notice your internal feelings anyway, ten-year old Harry thought to himself. This time there is no Aunt Petunia about to see me, no need to hide, so think.

Was it related to that weird feeling he got when left or came home, almost like he hit an invisible tripping spot? He'd never worked out that one, although he hadn't tried in a long time. It had become normal, like breathing. He knew there was some sort of circle around the yard, for it hit him when he took out the trash out back, went to school out the front, or composted weeds to the side of the house. He'd tried to test that too, but Aunt Petunia had said he looked weird walking around the yard in a circle and made him come in. The next time, the punishment had ratcheted up significantly. Harry shuddered, remembering the wrenched shoulder, bruised elbow, and blistered butt. He hadn't tried again after that. Maybe he could try to test that feeling again; it had been a while.

But most times, the feeling was around danger.

Well, one option was to try to find danger and try to keep his head on straight while noticing if his insides did anything weird. The bad side of that was that Dudley would try to make his head not-on-straight and his outsides weird if he caught up to him in the meantime. No, not the best option. So, option two was to try to cause the feelings himself. The snake was weird, because it wasn't dangerous…well, unless the snake was venomous. But even then, Harry had a sense it hadn't really wanted to bite him. The hair was weird because he woke up with the change, not an immediate thing. It seemed like…magic. But Uncle Vernon had showed him how magic wasn't real. The whole family watched magic shows, but only to then laugh at the fools who believed it, debunk every trick, to find out how the sleight of hand or feint had been pulled off.

"Let that be a lesson to you, boy. No such thing as real magic. Just trickery. If it looks too good to be true, it is. Don't fall in with that lot." He'd waited until he'd gotten Harry's nod of acceptance before he pulled his paper back up and continued with his reading.

In a truly odd moment, his uncle had even taken him to the library and helped him get a library card so he could read more about how magic tricks were done, and optical illusions, camera angles, and all kinds of trickery. Harry found this very odd, given Dudley never received the same encouragement. But he wrote this off to Dudley being ginormous and more physically talented, while Harry was clearly the more cerebral of the two. He even got an internal chuckle thinking about Dudley trying to spell the word "cerebral".

Not one to complain, out loud anyway, not anymore, Harry read and read.

Harry was broken from his reflections as heard the soft sounds that indicated Aunt Petunia was awake. He quickly busied himself with throwing on a clean set of clothes from the small bins under his cot. The small space and poor light in the closet also caused him to get organized. Everything in his little space had a place, and Harry could find it easily even in pitch dark. Now, though, he had to get his eyes ready to face the day. He leaned down toward the base of the cupboard door to let his eyes get adjusted. He barely got back up to sitting before Aunt Petunia rapped on the door and then pulled it open.

"Now," she said tersely.

"Yes, ma'am," said Harry, quickly bustling out and into the kitchen to prepare breakfast.

Harry had started to make a game of the morning routine, trying to handicap breakfast eating times like a race to see if he could come up with a tie. He'd had to give Dudley a minute handicap over Uncle Vernon for breakfast, but Aunt Petunia nibbled, so she needed an extra five. He also viewed the entire process as giving Dudley a head start on trying to get to school first to avoid dealing with him. Even after snatching leftovers and cleaning, Harry managed to get there first on most days. Of course, it helped that Harry wanted to be there. The friendships we lacking, but the teachers…Harry had always gotten along better with adults than kids his own age, and the teachers were no exception. Not that he'd trust them, exactly, but he found that what Uncle Vernon had told Dudley was true, people tend to like people who show they appreciate their work. Harry loved learning. While he was careful to keep his grades from being too good, he could at least show genuine enthusiasm in class.

So it was that Harry bounded up the steps to school, unaware today would be the start of something completely different. He nodded to some acquaintances but otherwise walked to his class and sat down ready to go. It wasn't until about halfway through the day he felt it. He hadn't wandered to the back of the class yet, but as he went to get a sheet of paper from the shelf, he felt an odd tingle, a warmth…he wasn't sure of the right word, but it was the same feeling he'd had before. He looked around at his class nervously, but no one seemed to see or feel anything amiss. Harry turned back to see if he could find the source of the feeling. He tried to idly walk down the shelves, walking by the source and back again until he felt he knew about where to look for it. Nothing seemed out of whack. It seemed like it was…down?

"Harry, okay there?" asked his teacher.

Frustrated, Harry called back, "Yes, I just dropped something." He made a show of leaning down, and actually saw a pencil sticking out from beneath the shelf. He grabbed it, and immediately felt a small warmth. He stared at it in shock. This was the source? Why would a pencil of all things feel like this? No one else seemed to look at it oddly, though.

He walked with it back to his desk, and put it away, determined to not lose it. If Harry paid any undue attention to it, it could cause someone to snitch or, later, for Dudley to want to take it. Instead, Harry buried it until he got home. Late that night, once everyone was in their room preparing to sleep, only then did Harry finally give in to the compulsion that had been hounding him all day.

He gasped softly as he pulled the pencil out of his pencil bag. It still made his hand tingle, but now in the darkness of his cupboard it fairly glowed! Something about the pencil absolutely shone in his eyes. Harry quickly looked around, afraid the light from the pencil would shine out his cupboard door, attracting attention. Somehow, though, the rest of his cupboard remained dark. There was no light on the walls, illuminated from the glowing pencil; the walls were still as dark as ever. And yet, the pencil shone in Harry's eyes. He turned it all over, but nothing seemed unusual. He even scratched briefly on a scrap of paper, which he chided himself for, as he couldn't even see it in the light. But still, nothing felt different.

Why did it glow now and not before? Or maybe it had, he decided, but it was drowned out in bright fluorescent light? It didn't really give off light so much as have some kind of ambient light Harry could see. He doubted anyone else would, somehow, just like no one else felt it. After a long examination, Harry put it on a small shelf, and went to sleep watching it.

The next morning it was hard to wake up. His eyes were gritty and it made his eyelashes stick together. He rubbed them hard to break the gunk and still managed to wash up and get breakfast on the table with no more than a splatter or two on his arms from the bacon. He popped alert when he got back in his cupboard to dress and spied the pencil again. He decided to leave the pencil in his cupboard; why risk it as school where someone might readily borrow it without asking? No one ever came in his cupboard, and the light wouldn't shine out.

He proceeded through his morning routine, managing to avoid a Dudley and friends trap on his way to school. He was anxious to get to class. Was there anything else like the pencil? A mystery was fun, he decided.

As soon as he walked into the class, he stumbled and almost fell. He could feel multiple tingles this time. He quickly walked to his seat as his classmates chuckled at his clumsiness. Harry knew better than to show an immediate interest in something; he had become much more calculating and patient. He even prided himself on it, but evidently it was because there wasn't much he wanted. Now, with those three different sources of warmth tugging at him, he could barely focus.

Over the course of the day, though, he managed to work out all of them. He couldn't see a glow here, or if he could it was faint enough to feel it was a trick of the light. On his way to get a drink, though, he collected an eraser to a small tingle that shot up his arm. When getting a tissue, he got a tingle from…the tissue. He was glad he'd gotten it before someone else had used it! And the last thing that called to him was a small grammar rules book on the class reading shelf. Harry went up to his teacher and asked if he could borrow it. After extracting a firm promise to bring it back to school tomorrow, she agreed.

His examination that night proved to be the same as the pencil. Each object had a soft glow, each light was similar yet he could feel they were slightly different too. The book was almost golden like the pencil, easily outshining the others. The eraser was a pale almost non-existent blue, while the tissue was a deep onyx light, which fascinated Harry. They even felt different, with the eraser more…structured, but with another feeling he couldn't quite place. The tissue more … deep, dark? Not dangerous, though, he didn't think from the feel. The book, though, it was as if the feeling around the book was more powerful but kind, almost happy. He put them all on his small shelf and again went to sleep watching them.

He was so excited to get to school the next morning that he rushed through his back alley route, the one he usually saved for emergencies. Unfortunately, distracted, he ran right into his cousin's trap. As he rushed out of the alley, he never saw the big foot stuck out to trip him. Harry fell faced first on the asphalt, rubbing his raw and bleeding temple. Dudley chuckled evilly as he stepped over Harry, his friends forming a circle around him.

Dudley reached down and squeezed the back of Harry's neck, making him cringe and contort in pain. He leaned in enough that Harry could tell his cousin hadn't been brushing his teeth regularly.

"Keep trying to run, Potter. It just makes it more fun for us. See you after school." With a crack of his knuckles, he and his friends walked into the school.

Harry went to the bathroom to clean his face, but the pain kept worsening as he went to class. His cousin was good, give him that. The neck pinch would leave bruises and ached badly, but far down enough that they were covered by his shirt; no one else would ever see them. The rest was easily dismissed as a fall, but that didn't make the scratches hurt any less.

The excitement of finding something new, which had helped dull the pain moderately, dried up as soon as he walked in the room. He didn't notice any new sources that caused any sensation in him, but perhaps the pain was distracting. He wanted to search the room anyway. But even the brief disappointment helped make the pain more noticeable. Just a normal day. That is, until he heard the teacher call him from the door.

"Harry…are you okay?" asked his teacher in a concerned voice, not having seen his carefully hidden injury until now as he got closer.

"Yes, I'm fine Ms. Carrington. What is it?" His reflection in her glasses did look pretty beaten.

Caring eyes looked down at him. "You need to go to the office."

Harry's heart chilled. "I brought your book, back, Ms. Carrington. I swear! I just forgot to get it out of my bag."

She waved him off with a small piece of paper in her hand; evidently Harry had missed a note being delivered.

"That's fine, Harry. But that isn't what this is about. I don't know what it is," she added, seeing he was going to ask. "I'm sure it will be fine. Go along and head there. But perhaps a visit to the nurse first; that needs to be cleaned to avoid infection. I'm sure this can wait that long."

Harry walked slowly through the quiet halls. It wasn't the first time he'd been called to the office, normally for fighting back with Dudley. It was one reason Harry had gotten so good at avoiding his cousin. That one thing might be what got him the most grudging respect from kids their age, but also some wondered if he was a bit mad. Today's incident had happened just off school property, and Harry hadn't even responded. His knuckles didn't have any bruises or scrapes. He was at a loss. He decided it would be better if he went to the nurse after; maybe the open scrapes would get some sympathy today, not that it had worked before.

He sat down in an uncomfortable chair along the wall. In just a minute or so, a voice called out, "Come in, Mr. Potter."

He didn't recognize the voice. And it wasn't the school head's office, but a small office beside it. Harry shrugged in surprise. Someone new. That could be helpful. The room was fairly empty, just a pair of comfy looking chairs but no desk, Harry noticed. A table and a small bookshelf, but that was about it.

When he went in, he saw a man he'd never seen before. He looked ancient, wearing an old pinstripe, deep navy suit, but that was just a side fact Harry's mind noticed. Harry quickly observed the man's incredibly white hair and long, long beard and the soft wrinkles besides his eyes, almost hidden by his glasses. The man gave him a soft but warm smile, which turned to concern when his eyes glanced to Harry's forehead. What jumped out almost immediately behind the image, though, was the feeling! This man felt like the book he'd found. He even had an almost golden glow to him. Harry's jaw dropped as he stared at the man.

In a slow, methodical, but comfortingly deep voice, the man spoke, looking down over his spectacles. "Excuse my interruption on your education, Mr. Potter. Frightfully unforgivable, given my own position. My name is Mr. Dumbledore. And while I do have urgent business with you, would you mind if first I gave you something to help with that new injury of yours?"

Harry shook his head as he responded, "Nice to meet you, Mr. Dumbledore, and no, I wouldn't mind."

The old man popped easily to his feet and pulled out a small cloth which he gently dabbed on Harry's injury. Instantly, the pain disappeared. Harry reached up to check it in astonishment, but the older man gently waved his hands down. Somehow the cloth had disappeared.

Mr. Dumbledore said gently, "Allow that to sit a bit, if you would. It will help." He cocked his head, observing Harry for a moment. "There is another injury, isn't there? No need to hide it, my boy."

The elderly gentleman waved his arm for a moment, like he was trying to catch his balance but Harry felt a warm glow suddenly. As he looked around for the source, he heard a deep sigh. "Your neck, I believe."

Dumbledore returned to his seat and, with another wave as he balanced his way into his seat, Harry's neck suddenly didn't hurt anymore. Harry had felt that again; another warmth, this time with almost a soft pressure behind it. It somehow felt like the older man and the pencil, and the book. How odd!

Harry felt his neck, gently poking and twisting it, but there was no pain. He turned back to Mr. Dumbledore, wide-eyed. Dumbledore stared at Harry deeply in return, seeming to catalogue everything he saw. Harry could feel … well, he wasn't sure what, but it was like the feeling you get just before a storm arrives. Like you feel your arm hairs and almost like a breeze is coming. Harry looked around the room, and then back at Mr. Dumbledore, who took a deep breath with his eyes closed. The room seemed to calm and the pressure of an impending front was gone.

Deep blue eyes looked at him sadly. "My apologies, Harry. I have long looked forward to and dreaded this day. I have much to tell you. You might as well make yourself comfortable."

Harry shifted in his chair, curious. "Yes, sir," he said, to show he was listening, something his uncle had demanded.

"Harry…may I call you Harry?"

Harry nodded.

Dumbledore leaned forward. "Many thanks. Harry, you are the son of two wonderful young friends of mine who died many years ago."

Harry gasped. This man knew, was friends with, his parents? He leaned forward too. "Really?"

"Indubitably. It means yes," he added at Harry's confused look. "As I doubt you know, given current appearances, they were killed by an evil man."

"Oh was there a drunk driver involved too? I thought it was a one car accident."

Dumbledore closed his eyes as he leaned back into his chair for support and shook his head, looking pained. "Harry, let me start someplace else, although I promise to tell you more about your parents too. I think it will make this easier. Have you ever noticed anything odd about the world? Things you do or notice that others do not?"

Harry shook his head, and then dropped it. Maybe he shouldn't have taken that pencil and eraser, they weren't really his. Surely no one would complain about a tissue, though, and his teacher had given him permission about the book. "Yes, and I'm sorry I took the pencil and…"

Mr. Dumbledore held up a hand. "I am not concerned that you took them, my boy. I am much more interested in the fact that you noticed them. Quite unusual. I almost didn't try but when my friends Severus and Minerva … well, let's just say I am quite pleased I set up a little experiment. Now please, answer honestly, did it feel as if they were calling to you?"

Harry's head popped back up in surprise. That was exactly how it felt. He nodded.

"Interesting. And how did they look? Anything interesting there? And did they all feel alike?" The older man looked over his glasses at Harry, quite focused on the response.

Harry shared his recollections on the color and feel of the objects, and the older man nodded happily, his eyes seeming to twinkle. "Well done, Harry, I must say, top marks. You seem incredibly attuned and sensitive, a magical empath, I might dare say. Hmm. A rare gift. A rare gift indeed…" He ran to a stop, thinking and rubbing his beard.

"Sir?" asked Harry eventually. Uncle Vernon had taught him to not pester or ask questions, but this was torture.

The old man shook his head, bringing himself back to the present. "Yes, Harry, I owe you some answers and a very large apology."

Harry gaped. "To me?

"I do. Let me explain." A bell rang. "Ah, the universal sign of school change. Your lunchtime, am I correct?"

Harry nodded as his stomach grumbled, right on cue, but he felt a sudden pressure on the other side of the room. He spun, but saw nothing. He turned back to Mr. Dumbledore who inquired into his action, but Harry shrugged, embarrassed. Mr. Dumbledore just smiled as his own stomach gave a rumble too. "Hmm, great minds, and all that. Let me see, I think I have something here."

He motioned to the side of the room, where the small table was now laid out with food and drink. How had Harry missed that?! Mr. Dumbledore walked over to it, and motioned for Harry to join him. Several types of sandwiches were stacked neatly, along with chopped fruit and some pretzels and crisps. He portioned out some of the food, motioning for Harry to do the same.

"Harry," he said after they had both regained their seats and managed a few bites. "This may be a surprise, but you are a wizard."

Harry's eyes grew large as his mouth dropped open. "A what?"

Dumbledore's eyes twinkled. "You heard me, I believe."

He shook his head. "But, magic's not real."

Dumbledore nodded judiciously. "So you have, I'm sure, been relentlessly told. But what do you think all those things you do and sense are? Magic. Not the television or trick stuff, but 'that really happened' type of magic. And unless I miss my guess, you are very, very sensitive to it. Extremely and unusually so. Which could present some problems but some very wonderful opportunities."

Harry thought back over his own recent musings. He had noticed something different, and that would account for it…

"Watch," said Mr. Dumbledore, as he pulled out a piece of long thin wood. "My wand, a tool witches and wizards use to aid our magic." With that, he spun it around and the desk turned into a small rabbit figurine. It glowed bright golden, as the book had.

"You did the book?" Harry gasped out, choking a little on his roast beef sandwich. "And my neck, that is what I felt before wasn't it?!"

Mr. Dumbledore nodded, delighted. "Very astute, Harry. I did indeed, both of them. The question I suppose you'd like answered is why. And that is a complicated answer indeed."

Harry hung on every word as Mr. Dumbledore began. "The magic-using world is very small, Harry. Out of all the people you have ever met or ever seen, there are likely only a very few who can use magic. Some blend into the everyday world you are used to. This is what some magic users call the Muggle, or non-magic using, sensing, or capable world. You have lived in this world for your last nine years, but many magic users cannot. This is critically important to my story, and my conjectures," he added, seeing Harry looked confused.

Dumbledore continued with a slight shift of his glasses. "You see, many years ago, a young man named Tom Riddle chose to become an evil wizard and changed his own name to Lord Voldemort."

Harry replied in surprise. "He managed to become a real lord?"

Mr. Dumbledore chuckled. "Not quite, Harry, for such a formal title do not exist in the wizarding world. And he is not someone the Muggle Queen would have supported. But we all know of such titles, and Tom wanted to seem important so others would follow him. And many did. One thing he promised was to stop Muggles from stealing magic."

Harry shook his head, confused. "But how…"

The older man's deep voice was comforting, but his words less so. "I must apologize in advance, Harry. For while I will do my best to give you as much information as I can in as linear a fashion as I can, I will not be able to explain everything in one sitting. But please do try to remember your questions and I will do my best to answer them at a later time. Suffice it to say, it is not possibly true to steal magic like this. But they were evil and it provided a handy excuse for the killing and torture that were not unknown to them. Some stood up to try to stop them, but one of Voldemort's weapons is to breed chaos and distrust, difficult enemies to defeat. It kept getting worse until one night, Tom tried to kill a baby just after killing his parents. It failed, leaving Tom vanished and the baby with a scar on his forehead."

Harry's eyes grew wide around as he reached for his own forehead.

Dumbledore nodded, the twinkle in his eye gone again. "Yes, Harry, I am afraid to say. It was you, and Tom did kill your parents. But unfortunately, Tom tried this alone, and all his supporters were not caught in the same backlash that killed Tom."

"But if you said there was distrust…" Harry said, thinking, his hand resting on his chin.

The older man smiled in approval. Bright boy! "Indeed, for who were they, his followers? We found many but not all. And they were devoted to their Lord, wanting to kill the baby who stopped their master."

Harry looked frightened, but mustered his courage as Dumbledore watched him closely. "Then why was I put with my aunt and uncle? They wouldn't be able to do anything."

The old man nodded kindly. "Almost true. However, due to your aunt's relationship to you, an old magic kept you safe in her home. One where I knew you would be safe, safer than anywhere in the world. I wanted to leave you with them while I helped round up the last of the evil followers, get things settled right."

Harry asked, "But I don't understand. Why would they even take me? I don't think they liked my mom and I know they didn't like my dad."

Dumbledore took a long sip of his drink before looking out the window for a moment. "Ah, why indeed? First, know that we tried to follow your parent's will, Harry, and leave you with some specific families, but the ones they mentioned were not available or blocked by law. That left us dire choices. You may not understand yet the power of magic to confuse and confound, but suffice to say I wanted to be positive you were safe, and knowing just which families were safe was difficult. Old magics often allow much interplay within families, so it wasn't enough I trusted a new core family, but I had to know all the relatives were safe too."

Harry couldn't help himself and asked, "Interplay…?"

After thinking for long moments as he stroked his beard, Dumbledore replied, "I am sorry Harry, that is a tricky one to answer. It is like saying it isn't enough that I trust you, but that I have to also be able to trust your cousin because he is able and likely to be where you are. That was true for many of your potential homes. That one will be easier to explain in time, okay? Yes? Ah, so kind. To continue, I could have tried to put you with a different family, with fewer protections, even with myself but I was afraid the numerous activities and roles I play would leave me vulnerable to a mistake. But there was one place, one place I knew you would be safe, no slip ups possible."

Harry shook his head, it made sense the way the older man explained it. "My aunt's house."

"Yes. No other magical could possibly gain entry and hurt you there. But once the choice was made, it got worse, far worse than I hoped. I had asked to be able to make regular visits, or have monitoring spells, to have myself or someone check on you, answer any questions, but Petunia and Vernon had only one rule if they took you in. In addition to the magical protection which I explained to them as to you, I was not to contact you, nor was I to encourage or allow anyone magical to contact you, or the contract would be null and void and they would turn you out. No spells, no contact. Why they agreed I still do not know, but those were their terms. It took a great deal of thought before I agreed, and for ever agreeing to those conditions I apologize."

Harry shook his head. It sounded like there weren't many options, and all he knew was that family went to family typically. He couldn't fault Mr. Dumbledore's logic. At least he wasn't an orphan; his aunt and uncle had shown him enough video and photos to make sure he knew to be grateful and that his fate could have been worse. A sudden thought occurred to him.

"And now that you have made contact…"

With a sad look, Dumbledore nodded. "My contract with them is null and void, and they can and most likely would choose to turn you out. If I may be so bold, Harry, please do not worry. I feel you will be much happier with your new situation. I have watched carefully, but forgive my presumption, dear boy, but it does not look like you have many friends or possessions you will miss."

Harry shrugged. The statement was disturbingly accurate. But bad as it could be at home, any change was no guarantee to be better. In a small voice that disturbed himself, Harry asked, "Where am I going, then, sir?"

Dumbledore smiled widely, clearly happy, which helped alleviate some of Harry's worry. "I will show you momentarily. If you would indulge me just a bit longer, I would finish this part of our tale even as we have finished this delicious lunch. I suspect you will soon come to the question of why I acted now."

Harry nodded. That was a question he'd considered.

Dumbledore's eye twinkle was back again suddenly. Harry marveled at how it came and disappeared with his tone. Uncle Vernon would have complained about the older man's lack of a poker face. "I have ways of sensing magic, much as you yourself do. I monitor the magic on the outside of your home, where there were wards. The most I was allowed to do. That is protection on your home and you from living with your family. Unfortunately, they have grown weaker over time, as you have doubtless felt less and less like it is a home, perhaps by seeing what other children's families and homes are like. Regardless, the wards have weakened to the point that there are other solutions which are more powerful for your protection. While not foolproof, they seem better. So after Severus and Minerva gave me independent reports from their observations, I had Severus help me develop a test."

"Who is Severus?"

Dumbledore took off his glasses and cleaned them on his robe briefly before resettling them on his nose. "Ah, he is a complicated man. He followed Tom for awhile…"

"He's evil?" squeaked Harry.

Shaking his head quickly, Dumbledore said, "Very much not. Let's say he was misguided. We can all do things we regret Harry. But he fought Tom in the most secret and dangerous of fashions when he learned what Tom was truly like. And now he helps me. So we made a magic 'trap' if you will. Quite ingenious if I do say so myself. You would only notice the magic if you were unhappy with your home life. It is more complicated than that in the making of the magic, but that is essentially what it amounts to."

"So if I was happy I wouldn't have been able to find them?" Harry suddenly became nervous. Finding all of this out was wonderful and he might never have known? No, he would have found out still, but later…

Dumbledore nodded. "You may have still sensed something. Your powers there are impressive. However, while you may have felt something, I do not believe you would have been able to find them. Much like you become accustomed to the air around you. As you did with the wards."

"So the different things I found…" he ran to a stop, not sure what his question was, but Mr. Dumbledore seemed to know.

With a soft smile, Dumbledore said, "Yes, you are quite attuned to magic. I think you will do great things Harry. You have already noticed my magic. It will perhaps not surprise you to know Severus conjured one of the spells as well. You may even guess which?"

"The onyx one," said Harry, somehow sure that the feel of magic on the tissue met the man described.

Mr. Dumbledore smiled approvingly. "It is. And what sense did it give you?"

Harry thought. "Dangerous, yet beautiful magic. Strong, disciplined, not evil, though," finished Harry, remembering.

This seemed to delight the old wizard. "Indeed? I will have to share that with him; I may finally get him to blush after all these years. Quite astute. And the final magic?"

"Softer, very pale blue, clean and comforting."

A magnanimous nod followed that evaluation. "Poppy's magic in a nutshell, Harry. She is a healer. What you would call a doctor."

Harry nodded, fascinated. "And you and Severus?"

"Ah, my failing, Harry. That would be Professor Snape to you. And I, well, I am Headmaster Dumbledore at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, although I am often called professor. Hogwarts, I am happy to add, is where you will be living if that turns out to be acceptable to you."

Harry almost wiggled. "With you?"

Mr., no, Professor Dumbledore chuckled as he stood. With a quick sweep of his wand, the table of food and drinks disappeared. "Me and a great deal of others, Mr. Potter. Shall we go see it?"

Harry nodded, happily.

"Fawkes?" the older man called, and held out his arm.

Harry barely processed the bright flash of light in the physical world as he was assaulted by the blinding light on the "magical" realm as he was starting to think of it. Sadly, thinking was something beyond him, as the light from the creature knocked him out entirely before he even saw what it was. If the other things he had seen provided a warmth and a glow, this was like being hit with an inferno. He collapsed in a heap, his head stopped from bouncing off the floor only by Dumbledore's still lightning quick reflexes.

Fawkes gave a mournful hoot as he looked down, and then hopped down to nestle softly on Harry's chest where he started chirping as he looked up at Dumbledore.

"I sense it too, old friend. This is going to complicate things a bit." Dumbledore thought briefly before quickly whispering to his phoenix, "Spinner's End, please."