Harry has always dreamed of water. He dreams of many things – flashes of green and big black dogs, fireworks, flying motorcycles. But mostly he dreams of water. He never mentions these things to his aunt and uncle, who disdain anything that is less than totally normal; and if his aunt looks into his eyes and sees someone older look back, and if his cousin doesn’t dare lay a hand on him despite his bluster, it is never spoken of. Harry goes to school and soaks up knowledge and gets poor marks on purpose. When his class has swimming lessons he swims like a fish, and his relatives don’t mind much because at least this is a normal skill. In his dreams Harry hears a voice that he knows is familiar, but can’t make out, calling a name more his own than the one he knows, but that he can’t quite remember.
When the right wand is placed in Harry’s hand, he feels like he has regained a part of his soul. Sparks burst from the tip, and by reflex he wills them into fireworks of sea green and blue. The voice from his dreams says, “At last you can hear me clearly, my bearer.” Harry knows that this is part of his other power, the force he can sense in himself but not in other wizards. (Reiatsu, whisper murky memories.) He replies silently, “I’m sorry I don’t remember your name yet. But I will soon.”
Ollivander studies him with narrowed eyes and says, “You wield the power of the soul as well as of magic. Be cautious, for Dark wizards often seek such things, and the law makes no exception for those born to it.” Harry just nods, somehow not surprised that such things are forbidden to mortals. And he can’t help thinking his wand should be a sword.
“You are far older than you seem,” the Sorting Hat tells him. “You have experienced more than any Hogwarts student could dream of, though you remember little of it. Your magic is entwined with Water, which would suit Slytherin as it once was, but not as it is today. You value knowledge for its utility, not for its own sake, so you would not suit Ravenclaw. You have more than enough loyalty for Hufflepuff, and … oh. Courage even in the face of certain death. Definitely a GRYFFINDOR!”
Harry’s classmates and teachers don’t quite know what to make of him. He seems indifferent to his fame; if anyone brings it up, he tells them that he’s no hero, only a survivor. He bewilders both Ron and Hermione by completing his homework promptly and exactly to the specified length. He bewilders everyone by finding Snape amusing. Hermione is scandalised that he spends History of Magic doing homework for other classes, but later starts doing the same.
Defense class is useless, and Harry spends that time silently chatting with his wand (sword). He doesn’t ask about all the things he can’t remember, sure that he will in time. He performs well in his other classes but without enthusiasm; his professors worry about this, except for Flitwick, who shows his first-year class the Aguamenti charm and sees Harry’s face light up as if Christmas has come early. The spell becomes Harry’s favourite, despite being an upper-year spell, and he shows astounding control over the shape and amount of water he produces.
Snape grudgingly admits that Harry takes after his mother as well as his father, since he is helping the hapless Neville Longbottom with his potions. Neville responds with a mix of hero-worship and determination that reminds Harry of someone he can’t quite remember. He develops a protective streak towards the other boy, as demonstrated in their first flying lesson when he knocks Neville’s Remembrall out of Malfoy’s hand with a well-aimed Aguamenti.
Halloween arrives with a feast and an emergency. As soon as Quirrel delivers his warning and passes out, Harry knows that someone needs to find Hermione. He looks for Professor McGonagall, who is already leaving the Great Hall; he tries to tell a Prefect, but Percy just brushes him off. Harry’s jaw tenses. He has a responsibility to the members of his House (Division) even if he isn’t a Prefect (Seated Officer). When the Gryffindors start up the stairs to their tower, Harry slips aside. Without discussion, Ron and Neville stay beside him. Neville is white with terror, but determined; Ron looks eager for an adventure.
“Right,” whispers Harry. “Ron, do you know which loo Hermione is in?”
‘The one on the second floor that’s haunted.”
Harry nods and starts moving – there is no time to waste. “If we do run into the troll, what spells are you going to use?”
“Um, l-leg-locking jinx,” says Neville. “That way it can’t chase us.”
“Tickling charm to distract it, I guess,” says Ron. “I wish we knew the Stunning Hex.”
“I wish we knew the cutting curse,” Harry replies. “I’m going to try for an Aguamenti big enough to knock it out.” With that decided, they walk the rest of the way in silence.
They reach the second-floor girls’ loo safely, but before they can convince Hermione to come out, a roar echoes from nearby. Harry grabs both of his friends by the arms and plunges through the door, closing the latch behind them.
“You can’t come in here!” yells the ghost of a young girl.
“Not the time!” Heavy footsteps shake the walls and floor, and pause outside the door. Hermione emerges from a toilet stall, her eyes wide. Harry’s wand is in his hand, ready to cast.
The troll’s club smashes through the door, and the troll follows after it. The three boys cast their spells but only Harry’s water hits its target; it knocks the troll back, but not far enough.
The club swings up, starts to drop. “Wingardium Leviosa!” yells Neville, and the club flies out of the troll’s grip and into the ceiling. Ron casts the tickling hex again; Hermione gathers her wits and does the same, and this time the spell takes effect. The troll flails around madly, unfortunately between the students and the door.
Harry furrows his brow. “Help me,” he asks the voice in his soul, and draws on all the strength of both magic and reiatsu. Without words a torrent of water bursts from his wand; it smashes the troll through the wall into the corridor, breaking its neck and crushing its skull in the process. Harry’s sight blurs with exhaustion, and he sits down heavily. He is smiling, because his friends are safe, and because he has remembered something very important. “Thank you,” he says to the voice in his soul, “Nejibana.”