Harry Potter was battered, beaten and hungry when Hagrid came through the broken doorway of the shambled house in the sea. Just minutes before he’d been blowing out candles drawn in a blanket of dust on the stone floor, wishing himself a happy birthday and not really meaning it, for it was anything but happy. Harry had always been anything but happy. Harry thought that the half-crushed cake Hagrid drew from his coat might have been the finest meal he’d had his entire life, which was funny because there was nothing extraordinary about it at all. Though there was nothing extraordinary about Harry Potter, either.
Harry found out much sooner than anyone had expected that he was much more extraordinary than he, or anyone, had ever imagined.
The knowledge hadn’t come when he pulled the sorcerer's stone from a reflection, or when his touch burned the face of Professor Quirrel. It hadn’t come when he killed a basilisk or defeated Tom Riddle, nor when he fought off a hoard of dementors at only thirteen. Harry hadn’t even realized he was extraordinary the night of Little Hangleton, when his wand somehow countered the Dark Lord’s against all odds. It wasn’t any of that, for it had come much sooner than that. Though, it did, in the end, all lead back to his wand.
The day Harry Potter realized he was extraordinary was the day Hagrid took him to Diagon Alley, and the moment he was handed his wand. It was a lovely thing, eleven inches and carved of holly, though at the time Harry could think of nothing but the fact that he was holding a wand in his hand. A wand! It had chosen him, and he had done magic without even realizing it!
Ollivander told him about the phoenix feather at its core, of course, and Harry did find it quite strange, but there wasn’t much he could do about it then, nor did he understand who Voldemort truly was, how much he had truly destroyed. So while Ollivander seemed somewhat shaken, or at the very least morbidly fascinated, Harry had other concerns.
And oh, if only Ollivander had known. How much more concerned he would have been.
“Before you’re chosen, Harry, there is one more thing I must tell you,” Ollivander had said, a gaze lingering on his wrist. Harry was wearing his muggle clothes, of course, a shirt of Dudley’s that was meant to be short sleeve but hung to Harry’s elbows nonetheless. Still, his pale wrist was clearly visible. Something about the gaze unnerved him enough to flip his wrist to face away, and Ollivander’s eyes rose easily to Harry’s as if he’d only glanced for a second. “When your spell is cast with the correct wand, something may appear on your wrist, just there,” he’d tapped on his wrist, covered beneath the sleeve of his robes. “It is the mark of your soulmate.”
“Soulmate?” Harry asked. He was surprised only briefly before he shook himself. After all he’d seen that day, there was really nothing that should surprise him.
“Soulmate,” Ollivander nodded solemnly. “It will appear to you as your wand’s magic and yours agree to each other, only if you’re younger than the individual bearing your mark. If your soulmate has not yet been acquainted with their own magic, you won’t receive yours until they’re old enough to walk into a shop and choose a wand for themselves. Or, rather, let it choose them.” He smiled then, the briefest tilt of his lips, and he seemed much less frightening to Harry.
“Well, what is it then?” Harry inquired. “What is the mark and what does it mean?”
“The mark is unique for everyone, no two are the same. It could be a sentence or a pairing of words, a symbol or marking that you don’t know the meaning of. You might not understand it at first, but you will, eventually, and when you find your soulmate, you’ll know.”
“Because I’ll love them?” Harry’s voice had tilted up slightly with hope as he spoke the words. Unfortunately, he didn’t think his aunt and uncle loved each other very much at all. He was looking forward to the idea.
Ollivander huffed a bit of a laugh. “Well, we certainly hope so. But, in a more straight-forward sign, they need only to lay a finger on your mark for you to feel it burn, and you will know.”
The hungry look had all but diminished from Ollivander’s eyes by the time he handed Harry the wand with the phoenix core, and although they still glinted a bit with curiosity the flip of Harry’s wrist proved unnecessary. Ollivander's eyes hadn’t so much as flickered downward.
“One last thing,” Ollivander had said before Harry exited the shop back into the hustle and bustle of Diagon Alley. “This mark is a secret only for you and your soulmate. Protect it now and always.”
Harry had nodded solemnly, a hand clamped over his skinny wrist, but didn’t look down at his still pink skin until he’d been easily carried into the crowd outside of his shop.
In green ink, shining sharply, almost menacingly, were two words.