Harry Potter and the Trouble With Neurotypicals 3

Harry Potter, the Boy Who Lived, is a young and abused Black boy with Asperger's syndrome, and is hated by his guardians, the Dursleys. A little over a week before his birthday, he discovers that he is also a wizard, and the Dursleys knew all along. Not only is he a wizard, but he's also famous in the wizarding world! An AU fanfic.

(Transgender character introduced in chapter 7)

Harry Potter and the Trouble With Neurotypicals
By = Fayanora

Author's note: Harry Potter is J.K. Rowling's work, not mine. I only wish I'd written it so I could be wealthier than the queen, but alas, such is not the case.

Chapter 3: Freedom

Harry barricaded the door of his new bedroom after Hagrid left, fearful of his uncle getting retribution on him. Luckily, his uncle didn't come into his room that night; he was probably terrified of Harry, but Harry didn't know how long that would keep the man away, especially since they'd known all along he had magic. To try to take his mind off his worries, he opened his History of Magic textbook and began to read it. He found a name for his owl there, calling her Hedwig.

He was about to go to bed when an owl tapped on the window. He opened it and took the letter from its leg. It was from Professor McGonagall.

Dear Mr. Potter,

The incident today, and the things you told me, have been weighing on my mind all day long, and so I talked with Dumbledore about it. He then looked into what he could do. He is still investigating long-term solutions, but he agreed with me that your relatives cannot be trusted with your safety. I have sent this owl to warn you that I will be dropping by tonight, to relocate you to a place called The Burrow, where the Weasley family will keep you for the remainder of the summer holidays. They are well known and trusted, and are very warm and loving people. See you soon.

Yours sincerely,
Professor Minerva McGonagall

He had barely finished reading the letter when the doorbell rang, soon followed by his uncle bellowing.

“Who the BLOODY HELL is calling at this hour of the night?”

Harry stayed in his new room, not wanting to be anywhere near his uncle while this was happening. He did listen at the door, however, and heard the door slam open, his uncle begin to speak, and then fall dumb. Finally being curious enough to risk coming out of his room, he hung around at the top of the stairs.

"What are you back for? And at this late hour of the night, no less? Do you have any idea what TIME it is? No, I suppose you don't; your lot don't---"

"MISTER Dursley, IF you would be so kind as to shut up for a minute and let me in so I can explain, I would gladly do that. Unless you'd rather we wake up the whole neighborhood?"

Harry could not see his uncle from where he stood, but could hear the grinding of teeth, and could almost swear he heard the pounding of the vein in his uncle's temple. But he must have seen the wisdom in this, and reluctantly let McGonagall in, closing the door behind her.

"Thank you. Now, I'm sorry to be here so late at night, but after the appalling spectacle you put on earlier, and after some of the things Harry said, I had a talk with Professor Dumbledore, the Hogwarts headmaster, and he quite agrees with me that it is unsafe for Harry here, at least for the time being. We have not made any permanent changes to the arrangements, and we're not even sure if we will or not. Dumbledore explained to me that he set up blood wards that protect Harry from You-Know-Who and his Death Eaters while he lives in this house, but if you have been mistreating him anywhere near as bad as--"

"We haven't done anything to the boy that he didn't deserve! Young hooligan, he should thank his lucky stars we haven't sent him to Saint Brutus's Secure Center for Incurably Criminal B--"

Harry peered down to see why Vernon had suddenly gone quiet, save for some whimpering, and saw that McGonagall was pointing her wand at his nose.

"That boy has not deserved any of the treatment you have given him. He is malnourished, was living in a cupboard under your staircase until Hagrid forced you to move him to a proper bedroom, he has been worked like a slave and treated like dirt by you and your whole family. And after I explained all that to Dumbledore, he was so upset with you that I am quite surprised he did not send you a Howler, which would have been a very rude awakening for you indeed. Right now the only thing standing between the Ministry turning you in to the Muggle authorities for child neglect and abuse are the blood wards I mentioned, and a thorough examination by a trained Healer for evidence. And if we can figure out a protection for Harry that does not involve the three of you being in charge of his welfare, you and your wife will go to prison.”

"HOW--"

"NO, not a single word, Mr. Dursley! You and your wife have let your anti-wizard bigotry and your... your... anti-Black racism - a ridiculous reason to hate someone, by the way - and have used it as an excuse to mistreat a relative of yours, a child who should have been loved and cared for. Frankly, on top of child abuse, you ought to also be charged with illegal slavery, as well.

"For the meantime, however, we are taking Harry off your hands for the remainder of the summer. A very nice wizarding family has volunteered to care for him until he can go to Hogwarts. Mr. and Mrs. Weasley, both very loyal to Dumbledore. So, Harry, why don't you pack your things, so we can leave this miserable lot to their own devices for now."

"Oh, uh... yes, sure. Be right back!"

It didn't take long; he hadn't actually unpacked his school things yet, so all he had to do was add his few other meager possessions to his trunk, and then drag the heavy trunk to the top of the stairs. When McGonagall saw how much trouble it was giving him, she charmed the trunk to float down the stairs.

"Um... thanks, Professor."

"It's no trouble, Mr. Potter."

"So how are we leaving, Professor?"

"Professor Dumbledore gave me a portkey," she said, pulling a battered looking teddy bear with a missing eye from her robes. Harry looked at it curiously.

"I'm unsure how good of a choice this one was, but it won't be a portkey once we get to the Burrow. Anyway, just let me send your trunk and owl along first." She pointed her wand at his trunk with Hedwig in her cage atop it, and they vanished with a small pop.

"Now, hold the bear with me."

He took the bear's leg, Vernon staring at the two of them like they were mad. "And three, two, one..."

Harry felt a jerk behind his navel and a rushing of wind as he and Professor McGonagall flew through a swirly, blurry space, then he landed hard on his bottom in grass, and the world re-formed around him. Straightening his glasses, he looked behind McGonagall and saw a tremendously tall house that looked like it had been a barn once before being added to again and again. It looked like it only remained standing because of magic. Which, he mused, was probably true.

"Welcome to the Burrow, home of the Weasley family. It's in a village called Ottery Saint Catchpole. By the way, Potter, your glasses have seen better days. May I...?"

"Um... may you what, Professor?"

"Repair them for you, of course."

"Oh, okay."

He was about to take them off and hand them to her when she pointed her wand at them and said "Oculus reparo."

The tape holding his glasses together vanished, but they stayed in place; his glasses had been repaired.

"Thanks. Hey, do you know if magic can correct eyesight?"

She blinked at him significantly. He wasn't great shakes at figuring out facial expressions, but he did notice she was wearing glasses.

"Oh. I take it that's a no."

"Not as yet, Mister Potter."

"Why not?”

"Hmm... well I don't know why we haven't figured it out yet, but maybe if you can figure out how to do it, you could make a name for yourself. Well, one you'd properly earned, rather than by accident of fate. Anyway, we need to get up to the Burrow."

Nobody was awake at the Burrow, with the exception of a plump, kindly woman with flaming red hair, and an apron hastily flung over her nightgown. "Professor McGonagall, how nice to see you again," the kindly woman beamed, holding her arms out. The two women hugged, which struck Harry as a little odd for the severe, rigid Professor McGonagall to do.

"Likewise, Molly."

"Ah, and this must be young Harry." She glanced briefly at the lightning-shaped scar on his head, pretending hastily she hadn't done so. Then she clucked disapprovingly. "You're skinny as a rail dear, what have those horrible people been feeding you, birdseed?"

"So I take it Dumbledore explained the situation to you, Molly?"

"Yes, he did. I hope you throw the book at those people, Minerva. And I hope it's a very large and heavy book at that. Have a safe trip back, Minerva. Anyway, Harry m'dear, I have some stew on the fire for you, leftover from earlier tonight."

"W-what? No no, that's okay. I ate earlier at the Leaky Cauldron, with Hagrid."

"Yes, dear, but that was hours ago," she said, taking his hand and pulling him gently along to the house. "You're a growing boy, you need food to fuel that growth."

"I don't want to be a burden," Harry said, practically whispering.

"Oh now don't talk like that, it's no trouble at all. Minerva may not have told you, but I have a very large family, so one more mouth won't be any bother at all. And anyway, even if it was, I'd manage. We Weasleys always do. Anything to help out a child in need."

Harry looked back as they got to the porch, and saw McGonagall disappear with a pop from where she had been standing, then looked forward again just in time to avoid tripping over the stoop. Not long after that, he was sitting at a large and battered table, and a bowl full of thick, beefy stew was flying through the air to land in front of him, a spoon quickly following it. It was only then that he realized Mrs. Weasley had been right; he was hungry. So with no other thought beyond that, he began to dig in.

"Anyway, Harry, I guess we weren't properly introduced," Mrs. Weasley said, sitting across from him. "But I'm Molly Weasley."

"Thanks for getting me away from the Dursleys."

"No problem, dear. I don't know what Dumbledore was thinking, putting you with those people, but at least he's now starting to see sense. I hope he won't be making you go back. I'll hex him myself before I let that happen. Anyway, in Dumbledore's letter he told me to tell you that Minerva will be back tomorrow to take you to Saint Mungo's to get looked at."

"Saint Mungo's?"

"Ah yes, you were raised by Muggles. Saint Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries, it's the local wizarding hospital. Their Healers will examine you for evidence of child abuse and neglect. Then it will be up to Dumbledore and McGonagall to figure out what to do with that evidence. And, I suppose, what to do with you over the summer. I hope they'll let you come here."

"McGonagall said there are blood wards at the Dursley's that protect me from the Death Eaters."

"Death Eaters? But You-Know-Who is gone, and most of his followers are in prison or abroad."

"Most?"

"Yes, well, a few of them escaped prison by claiming they'd been controlled. Problem is, there's a lot of people who were legitimately being controlled by You-Know-Who, but it's nearly impossible to tell who's lying and who's telling the truth. Anyway, you don't need to worry about them, they haven't made any trouble for 11 years, they're not about to start now. Eat, Harry, you-- oh, you're done? Well you're probably tired now. I'd normally put you in with Ron, but he's asleep right now, and I want to introduce the two of you before I put you with him. So just for tonight, I'll transfigure the sofa for you."

"You'll... what now?"

"Just you follow me and watch," she said. So he followed her into the living room, where she pointed her wand at the sofa, and it stretched out into a bed. With a couple flicks of her wand, she summoned sheets, a pillow, and a comforter from a cupboard and made the bed magically. She even summoned privacy curtains to go around it.

"Thank you, Mrs. Weasley."

She smiled warmly at him. "You're welcome, Harry." She tucked him in, and he felt more loved than he could ever remember, even though she'd only just met him. He fell asleep as soon as his head hit the pillow.

* - *

The smell of cooking woke him up, which was a novel experience for him. Usually Aunt Petunia's shrill voice woke him up, and cooking smells didn't start until he began cooking for the Dursleys. He sniffed as he opened his eyes, ignoring the blurriness of the world for the moment as he took in the smell of eggs, bacon, and toast. Then he looked around and saw what looked like a table, blurry as it was. He fumbled his hands on it for a while, looking for his glasses. He found them shortly, and put them on his face. As he did, he paused, his mind reeling from the sudden realization that in just three days, he'd gone from downtrodden abuse victim to finding out he was a wizard and living in a house where he was treated like a human being instead of a work horse.

A few minutes later, he walked into the kitchen/dining room to see seven bright-red heads around the table. He recognized Mrs. Weasley, and he thought the balding man might be Mr. Weasley, but he didn't know anyone else.

"Oh Harry, you're up. Everyone, this is Harry, he's our guest for the rest of the summer,” said Mrs. Weasley.

"Harry?" Mr. Weasley asked, looking up curiously. "Harry Potter?"

"Yeah, dad, it is! See his scar!" one of two male twins said excitedly.

"Now Fred, don't be rude. He's a guest, not a museum exhibit."

"I'm Fred! He's George! Honestly woman, you call yourself our mother."

"Oh, sorry Fred."

"Ha! Only joking, I am George!"

"Oh now, stop that you too. Anyway, Harry, one of these two idiots is Fred, the other is George."

A younger boy, nearly as tall as the twins, waved at him. "I'm Ron. The one staring at you like a deer in wandlight is Ginny, my little sister."

"Hi Ron, Ginny. Fred, George."

An older boy, looking very serious, stood up and held a hand out to Harry pompously. "Welcome to the Burrow, Harry Potter. My name is Percy Weasley. How do you do?"

The others rolling their eyes at Percy, Harry took his hand and shook it. "Um, quite well. And you?"

"Oh yes, quite well indeed. Honor to meet you at last, of course."

"Likewise," said Harry, not knowing what else to say.

"Sit down, dear, and have some bacon and eggs," Mrs. Weasley said.

He did as she asked; he was practically starving, after all. After he'd eaten for a few minutes, Mr. Weasley said, "So, raised by Muggles, right? Muggles are fascinating. Tell me, Harry, do you know how an aeroplane stays in the air?"

"Oh come now, Arthur, he's 11, how's he supposed to--"

"Through a process called lift. Muggle scientists figured it out. The wings of the plane move the air in such a way that there's a vacuum above the wings, and wind swirls below the wing, pushing it up into the vacuum. And that's how huge metal devices can be supported by nothing more than air. Something similar happens with bird wings, but it's a slightly different process, since they flap their wings."

Everyone had gone quiet, looking rather impressed.

"Wow, Harry," one of the twins said, "you've got quite a brain on you. You'll probably be a Ravenclaw, brains like that. The teachers will love you."

"Except Snape, of course, but he hates everyone," said the other twin.

Harry shrugged. "My aunt, uncle, and cousin hate me, as in 'they truly despise me.' Dudley made sure I had no friends. My only friends were books. My uncle wouldn't let me get a library card, so I had to read everything in the library, but that didn't really do more than slow me down a little."

"Weh, iv oo wuv buks--"

"RONALD! Don't talk with your mouth full!"

Ron swallowed loudly, then said, "If you love books, Harry, you'll love Hogwarts. I hear they've got an enormous library."

"Yeah, and Flourish and Blotts, the biggest bookstore in Diagon Alley."

Harry beamed. "Yeah, I've been to Flourish and Blotts, with Hagrid. It was amazing! And since I discovered my parents left me... uh, some money, I bought a few extra. It was a great feeling, I'd never had money before then."

Ron balked. "What, none at all?"

"The Dursleys never let me have any."

Ron looked incredulous. "Wow, mate. I mean, we're not exactly... having a lot of money ourselves, but even I get pocket money to spend now and then."

Harry shrugged. "Yeah, well, there's a lot I didn't have growing up. Heck, the only reason I have glasses is because I kept dropping things and bumping into stuff when they made me work, and eventually they figured out I wasn't doing it on purpose. But I don't want to talk about it anymore."

"Yes, and that's all well and good here, but later when Minerva takes you to Saint Mungo's, they're going to need you to talk about it with them."

Harry nodded. "I think I can talk with doctor about it."

“Doctor? You mean those Muggle nutters that cut people up? Nah, Saint Mungo's uses Healers.”

Harry shrugged. “Either way...”

Everyone nodded, and regular breakfast conversation started up again. Harry tuned it out, though, getting lost in his own thoughts. He didn't speak again until after he was done eating.

"Mrs. Weasley, do you know when Professor McGonagall is supposed to come pick me up?"

"Oh, not until around 2pm, dear."

Harry looked at the battered wristwatch that had briefly been Dudley's before his cousin chucked it out the window saying he didn't like the color; it was 9 AM. He had five hours.

"May I go out and explore the village? I never got much opportunity to leave the house with the Dursleys always wanting me to do stuff."

"Hmm... what do you think, Arthur?"

"Well... Percy? Could you go with him? I'd feel better if you were watching him."

"As much as I would love to oblige, father, I'm not of age yet and so I'm not allowed to do magic outside of school."

"Yes, but if you were defending Harry's life, they'd let you off."

"Hmm... well, I have all my homework done, so I guess I can do that."

"Can I come too?" asked Ron.

"Yeah, we can come as well, if you like," said one of the twins.

"If it's okay with your parents, I don't mind."

Mr. and Mrs. Weasley nodded. Mr. Weasley said, "The more, the better. More witnesses, if nothing else. But you all be back before 2, okay?"

"Right, mum, no problem."

A few minutes later, Harry and four of the Weasleys were walking to the village of Ottery Saint Catchpole, which wasn't very big and wasn't very interesting, but Harry was just glad to be able to have the freedom to be outside in the warm summer air. The whole time, Ron talked at him about Quidditch, and Hogwarts, and the wizarding world. The twins interjected now and then, but mostly it was Ron talking, which Harry was glad for. He didn't mind walking with the five Weasleys, but if all of them had been talking, he would have minded very much.

Naturally, Harry found the village's tiny library. He was not impressed, but browsed the shelves anyway with mild interest. The others seemed much more impressed, though; they'd never thought to come here before, with the exception of the twins, who were browsing the non-fiction section for books about Muggle magic tricks.

"A lot of wizards don't value Muggle learning, but we do," said either Fred or George. Harry had a hard enough time telling the other Weasleys apart, and the twins were impossible for him to differentiate.

"Yeah, we learned how to pick locks, and other useful things, by coming here. After all, we're underage wizards, we can't magically open locks when we're home, so we had to learn the Muggle way, which got us interested in other stuff."

Though it didn't have much in the way of books, the library did have a small periodicals section, which included some science magazines that Harry read with enthusiasm. Even Ron managed to get interested in reading; he was reading Muggle children's books with expressions ranging from amusement to confusion to one of being impressed.

After about an hour, someone else came into the small library, a blond girl about a year younger than Harry, who had a far-off expression on her face and wore a painfully yellow dress. Her hair was a little messy, and she was barefoot up until she got to the door, at which point she took some sandals out of her bag and put them on, under the watchful glare of the librarian.

"Ah," Ron said, looking up. "Loony Lovegood."

"Ronald," Percy said reprovingly, "her name is Luna."

"Yeah," said Harry. "Don't poke fun, it's not nice."

Ron's ears went red. "Sorry," he mumbled.

"Don't be sorry, be nice. Anyway, is she a Muggle?"

"No, she's a witch. Well, her father is a wizard, and I think I saw her do accidental magic once," said Ron. "Anyway, she won't be going to Hogwarts til next year, if she gets her letter, which I think she will."

"And she lives in the village?"

"Outskirts, like we do; only, the other side of the village. I've never seen it before, though."

Harry put a bookmark in the magazine, set it aside, and walked over. Ron and the Weasleys were nice enough, and maybe they'd become friends, but they were... well... they were neurotypical, a word he remembered from a book about Asperger's Syndrome, a condition he thought he had. And this girl, there was something different about her. He didn't know what, but he was drawn to her. Also, having never had friends before, now he could it made him a little... greedy? Yes, he was for friends.

He walked over to her and held out his hand. "Hi, I'm Harry."

The odd girl looked up at him with mild curiosity in her face, Her eyes flicked to his scar. "Hello, Harry," she said in a dreamy, far-off voice. "I'm Luna Lovegood. Is your surname Potter?"

"Yes, it is."

"Ah. Well, it's a pleasure to meet you, Harry. I didn't know you lived in town."

"I don't. I'm staying with the Weasleys for the rest of the summer."

"Ah, good. I like the Weasleys, they're nice. Ron judges me a little, but he mostly keeps it to himself."

"Yes, I noticed that as well."

"So you like reading Muggle books too, then? It's always good to see wizards take an interest in Muggle writing. They've accomplished so many amazing things without magic. Did you know they've even been to the moon? Or at least they say they have. Some Muggles aren't so sure it actually happened."

"Uh, yes, I knew that. I was raised by Muggles. We learned about the moon landing in school."

"Wow," said either Fred or George, having overheard. "Muggles have been to the moon?"

"I wonder what would happen if you put a werewolf on the moon?" asked the other one.

"Well," Harry said, "unless they had a spacesuit on, they'd probably die from lack of air before they had a chance to transform."

"Yes, but what if they had a spacesuit on? Would they change? Would they be able to change, in the suit? Or would the suit rip and they'd die of lack of air?"

"No idea. Probably."

"My daddy thinks a werewolf on the moon would only change if they saw a full Earth in the sky. But he wouldn't want to try to find out, unless the werewolf volunteered. My daddy thinks lycanthropy should be treated like an illness, not like something dangerous. Werewolves are only dangerous during the full moon, after they've transformed. Now an umgubular slashkilter, those are dangerous all the time."

Harry stared at Luna, lost for words. Ron whispered in his ear, "Luna and her dad believe some weird things."

"No need to whisper, Ron," Luna said in her same dreamy voice, "I know what you're saying about me. But that's okay, I'm used to people talking about me behind my back. And even in front of me. I forgive you."

Ron looked embarrassed. His ears were red again, and he hung his head a little. "Sorry," he mumbled.

"It's alright. I know I'm unusual. But really, who isn't? And Harry's even more unusual than me, aren't you, Harry?"

"Um... am I?"

"Well you survived a killing curse from a very evil man, and your brain doesn't work the same way most other people's brains do, though those two things are not connected at all."

"Yeah, that's true. I tend to be mildly to moderately uncomfortable around other people. The Weasleys are nice, and I want to be friends with them and I think I will, but even they make me mildly uncomfortable. You don't, though. Something about you... you're the only person I've ever met that I think I could spend a lot of time with and not get my headaches."

"Really? Well that's nice of you to say. I wish I could go with you to Hogwarts this year, but sadly I'm not old enough yet. Next year, though. It will be nice to have friends before I even get there. I've never had friends before."

"Neither have I; my cousin wouldn't let me have any. Anyway, I'll write you when I get there. I have an owl now, named Hedwig. Do you... would you like to meet her?"

"That sounds wonderful. That is, if they Weasleys don't mind."

"Actually," Percy said, "I do think mother would be more comfortable if we went back. So yes, you may come with us, Luna. Harry, if you want to check out those magazines, get them on Fred or George's card."

Not long after that, they'd gotten their books and magazines checked out, and were walking back to the Burrow, Harry and Luna trailing behind. Luna was barefoot again, her eyes tracking something flying around them that only she could see.

"What are you looking at?" Harry asked.

"Oh, just a wrackspurt. I'm watching it in case it flies into one of our heads and makes our brains go fuzzy. Do you think that's weird?"

"No. Until recently, I didn't believe in magic, so who am I to say what does and doesn't exist? If I can have a conversation with a boa constrictor about Brazil, I don't see that wrackspurts would be any--"

"WHAT?" Ron shouted, whirling around. "What did you say?"

Harry frowned a little, a headache starting to threaten to manifest. "I said 'if I can have a conversation with a boa constrictor about Brazil'--"

"You can speak with snakes?"

"Well boa constrictors were snakes last I knew, so yes. Why?" Everyone was staring at him, even Luna. Admittedly, Luna was looking impressed, and everyone else was looking uncomfortable.

Percy spoke before Ron could. "Speaking with snakes is called parseltongue, Harry, and it is a rare gift. One that most wizards and witches associate with the dark arts."

"Oh that's silly," Luna said. "Snakes are just animals. Talking with them isn't a dark art. Animagi can speak with animals when they're in animal form. Just because Salazar Slytherin and the dark lord Vol--"

Everyone gasped. "--demort," she continued, "could speak with snakes doesn't make parseltongue a dark art."

"Well, I guess not," Percy said. "Harry doesn't strike me as being evil, at least. But still, Harry, you should keep that fact about yourself as secret as you can. A lot of people will judge you ill for it."

"And what about the rest of you?"

"What Percy said, mate," Fred or George said. "In fact, we think it's pretty cool."

Harry turned to Ron. Ron nodded. "A bit startling to hear someone just blurt it out like that, but I agree with Percy and Luna."

"Hmm... maybe I should get a pet snake, too?"

"You'd have to ask Professor McGonagall about it first. Only owls, cats, and toads are officially allowed at Hogwarts," said Percy. "I've seen a few other pets there, which were allowed. The official rules are in place merely so the school doesn't become a zoo or a menagerie. And also because some people have kept some very strange and even dangerous animals as pets, before."

"You mean like how Hagrid wishes he had a dragon?"

Percy nodded. "Yes, but even if Hogwarts rules allowed it, our laws forbid dragons being kept as pets. They're enormous, they breathe fire, and they cannot be tamed. It would be a serious breach of the International Statute of Secrecy. It's hard enough keeping Muggles ignorant of wild dragons in Britain and elsewhere without keeping them as pets in populated areas."

Harry's eyes went wide. "There are dragons in Britain?"

"Yeah," Ron said. "Common Welsch Green and Hebridean Blacks."

"Anyway, all,” Percy interrupted, “we're here now."

"Lunchtime!" Ron shouted, running ahead. Harry checked his watch; it was 12:45.

Lunch was sandwiches and crisps - home made by the look of it. Luna tried to politely decline a sandwich, but Mrs. Weasley insisted, so Luna insisted on "paying" for her meal with a free copy of her father's magazine, the Quibbler. Mrs. Weasley merely rolled her eyes and sighed, but Harry took the copy and read it while eating. He found it nearly impossible to believe anything written in it, but he did try to keep an open mind about it. And so, like nearly everything else he read, he remembered it all, no matter how absurd it was.

After lunch, Harry introduced Luna to Hedwig, whom Luna called a “gorgeous owl.” Luna gave Hedwig an owl treat, and she and Harry talked for several minutes.

Eventually they got tired of standing, so they sat down in the sitting room and Harry dug out his Potions textbook and began to read, to relax himself as he waited for McGonagall to show up. Ron kept looking oddly at Harry as Harry read his book while still managing to add to the conversation now and then, and so did the other Weasleys to a lesser degree, but Luna acted like it was perfectly normal. In fact, she was reading her own copy of the Quibbler in the same manner Harry was reading his Potions book.

"Why are you doing schoolwork before school's even started?"

"To you, this is just schoolwork. To me, it's a fascinating look at a world I've only recently become aware of. Plus, I've always liked the learning part of school, even if I hated the bullying and the not having friends."

At 2pm on the dot, Professor McGonagall showed up to take Harry to Saint Mungo's with her. Luna waved goodbye and said she'd stay at the Burrow at least until he got back.

Harry managed to keep a headache away during the trip to Saint Mungo's by immersing himself in the Potions book, but did look up now and then to see where he was going and watch for threats. Given his apparent history, he thought it prudent to begin working on ways to pay attention to his surroundings without letting them overwhelm him, and this was an important first step.

The Saint Mungo's building itself was outwardly very mundane, appearing to be the front of a shop that was closed for remodeling, with some dummies modeling boring clothing. He was only mildly surprised when one of the mummies moved slightly, letting them in. Then the noise and fuss in the lobby threatened to overwhelm him again, so he tuned it out and kept reading his Potions book, all through McGonagall's explanation of what they were there for, the brief wait, and then all the way to the room one of the Healer's assistants led them to.

The Healer's assistant had Harry put his book down to get his weight, and let him go back to his book once that was done and some questions answered. He was very glad this room was quiet. When the Healer came in, he put the book down.

"Let's see, Harry James Potter," said the Healer, a kindly looking blond woman in her early 30's. "Ten years old until July 31st, African heritage. Hmm..." she said a few other things he barely registered, then began the examination. It was much like the few times he'd been to the doctor, but the magical equivalent of an x-ray was done by wand, and there were magical devices he didn't understand taking readings he couldn't fathom.

When the physical exam was done, she asked him a lot of questions, including some of a nature he hoped nobody outside this room would ever know he'd been asked; even McGonagall looked uncomfortable. By the time the Healer finished, she had to give him a potion for the headache he'd gotten.

"You were right, Professor McGonagall," the Healer told her. "He has indeed been abused and neglected. The physical abuse isn't as bad as I'd feared, after what you and Dumbledore said, but still bad enough. And he's very malnourished; I could feel his ribs too easily, and he's much too short for his age. If you want to press charges, there's more than enough here to convict."

"Thank you," Professor McGonagall said. "Please hold onto it for now. We still haven't figured out what to do about his security arrangements, and until we do, we have to wait. I hope we do figure out something, because I don't think he's actually safe there."

"Yes, given what I've observed, and what you reported, Mr. Potter, I'm frankly astonished you've turned out as well as you seem to have done. I would recommend a return visit to see a mental health specialist, because you have a lot of symptoms that could be PTSD - hardly surprising. But there appear to be other things going on as well, that I'm not qualified to diagnose."

"Thank you very much, Healer Green."

Harry thanked the Healer too, and followed McGonagall out, his nose once more in his Potions book.

Later, when she dropped him back off at the Burrow, he made the effort to bid Luna farewell, made easier by her picking up on his distress and accommodating it. More difficult was getting Ron to understand he needed some time alone to recover, but the twins helped him out in that regard, taking Ron outside for some Quidditch while Harry - whose things had been moved into Ron's room - went up to his bed and switched from the Potions book to History of Magic. At this rate, he was going to be well on his way to the top of his class by the time he got to Hogwart's.

Note: I mostly abhor the movies, at least from the third one and later, and mostly dislike the use of movie canon in fanfics (as opposed to book canon), but "oculus reparo" is one part of movie canon I like, and there are a few other details from the movies I prefer.



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