Chapter 2 : Training Days
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Chapter 2: Training Days
“Harry, time to get up, let’s get moving, there’s a lot to do today,” Reiji said as he shook Harry gently.
“Alright, I’m up.”
Reiji walked away and Harry stretched and sat up, he slid his glasses on and looked at the clock, he groaned when he saw it was only four in the morning. A cold splash of water from the kitchen sink was just what Harry needed, he dried his face and changed into the set of clothes that had been set out for him, they were comfortable and easy to move in.
“You ready kid?” Reiji asked as he and Sky walked out from the back hallway.
“I guess so, what are we doing? And why are we starting so early?”
“There’s a lot to do today and until you can do wandless magic without trouble, we’re going to continue waking up this early. But for now we’re getting your martial arts training started,” Sky explained.
“We’ll start by running down the stairs and out to the fields at the edge of town, Sky will lead the way but she’s fast so just do what you can and I’ll match your pace,” Reiji said as they left the apartment. “If your heart starts giving you any trouble just say so and slow down for a little, we don’t need you hurting yourself all over again.”
Harry nodded and followed Sky as they all ran down the stairs; it was strange to run down the narrow steps, he would have fallen several times had Reiji not been there. Then it was out the door and in the same direction as they had gone for lunch the day before. Sky truly was fast, she was out of sight before they had even gone a full mile, Harry could never even hope to compete with that speed, but that didn’t mean he didn’t try and Reiji was right beside him looking like was just out on a light jog. The field that they had referred to was a good five miles away from the apartment and Harry nearly died when they reached it, he couldn’t breathe at all and the only good thing about being so tired was the fact that his heart didn’t hurt at all, though it was pounding in his ears.
“This is new to you Harry, so we’re going to give you time to catch your breath, by the end of summer you won’t have that luxury,” Reiji said as he looked down at the younger boy.
All Harry could do was wave a hand; he didn’t have the strength to talk. While he was recovering he watched Reiji and Sky practice on their own, he could barely see some of their moves and he was sure that there was no possible way he would ever be that good. Ten minutes later he was able to breathe again and he stood up, causing the two to stop their practice and turn to him.
“We’ll start with the basics,” Reiji said, Sky just sat back and watched; she obviously wasn’t going to be his teacher with this. “Once you’ve mastered the basics we’ll move on to the more interesting and more advanced stuff.”
They started with blocks, again and again and again Harry blocked the same punch that Reiji was giving, they had started slow once Reiji had shown Harry what to do but now they were faster and he felt like he had the hang of it. Then they moved on to a different type of block. For hours they worked on Harry’s blocking, the sun had come up and they kept going, block, block, block, it was all they did but Harry didn’t complain, he knew he would have to know all of this.
“Reiji, I’m starving, that’s enough for today, let’s get breakfast and clean up and then we can get going with wandless magic,” Sky said, she stood up and stretched her arms over her head.
“Alright Harry, are you up for a run back to the apartment?”
“Not really, but I’ll go as far as I can anyway.”
They started running again, this time Sky stayed close to them and set an easy pace for Harry to keep up with. No one that they passed seemed bothered by them running through town and Harry supposed that they were used to it with Sky and Reiji living there, they probably ran all the time. When they got back to the apartment after a grueling run up the stairs that Harry already despised, he was forced into the first shower since Sky claimed he stunk.
Breakfast was more than Harry expected, there a full spread of food and it seemed like Sky and Reiji had made it all. Sky took the next shower as Harry sat down and dug in, he was starving. It was a surprise that the three of them were able to eat so much food, but they finished it off and Harry waited for his next instructions.
“Alright, now you get to start learning wandless magic, are you ready?” Sky asked as she led him over to the center of the room. The furnisher all moved to the walls and a small pile of little round pebbles rolled to the center. “Have a seat, you’re going to move those pebbles from point A,” a circle appeared around the pile, “to point B,” another circle appeared about two feet away from the first.
“Alright, so I’m just using a levitation charm?”
“I don’t care what you use, but you can’t touch the pebbles in any way.”
Harry shrugged and sat down in front of the pile of pebbles, instinctively he went for his wand only to remember that he didn’t have it and that it would defeat the purpose of learning wandless magic, so he held out his hand and pretended he had his wand. “Wingardium Leviosa,” he said, making the motion with his imaginary wand. Nothing happened. For nearly an hour he tried to move the pebbles with his imaginary wand but they remained stubbornly in place.
“Isn’t there some secret to this?” he asked at last, his two mentors were reading at the kitchen table.
“Not really. The magic is in you, just as it’s in every witch or wizard, a wand is like a compass, it can point you in the right direction but it can’t get you there. Wands were created to direct the magic that naturally flows through the body; wandless magic is just knowing how to direct your magic without the wand, like finding your way without a compass,” Reiji said, Sky never looked up from her book.
“Great, that was very helpful, I appreciate it,” Harry mumbled sarcastically.
Harry continued his course, growing more and more frustrated with the pebbles when they still refused to move. It didn’t take much longer before he screamed in frustration and moved his hand over them in a wide sweeping motion. Even though he hadn’t touched the pebbles, and he was sure he hadn’t, they still scattered in every direction, flying off and hiding among the furnisher.
“Well, time to move on,” Sky said. She waved her own hand and the pebbles all rolled back into their pile. “I’ll leave those there so you can try again in your free time.”
“Wait, what? Why did they scatter like that?”
“You got frustrated and blew them away, isn’t that obvious?”
“If I did that then why are you stopping me from continuing?”
“Because there’s still more for you to learn today and if I let you keep at this, it will destroy the rest of my plans for the day. Come on, you and I are going out on the town for empathy training!”
Harry wouldn’t argue, he wanted desperately to do wandless magic properly, but Sky obviously felt that there were better uses for his time and he would do as she said for now. They went to a small park where families were gathered and children played.
“Alright, what do you feel?”
Harry looked around him; he wasn’t sure how to answer that question. “Err…”
“It’s alright; your empathy won’t be that strong for at least another week or two. Have a seat, close your eyes, relax, and then tell me what you feel.”
Again he did as he was told, he found a comfortable spot on the grass and he closed his eyes and took a few deep breaths. They came to him after that, the emotions, it was hard to tell one from another at first, but he was able to separate them after about an hour of Sky’s coaching, he still wasn’t sure who they were coming from, but Sky told him he was learning quickly. It must have been well past lunch by the time Harry’s stomach growled; he had been working so hard learning emotions that he hadn’t noticed anything else. Sky had been forced to explain a lot of emotions to him; he wasn’t sure what a lot of them were, he was a bit embarrassed about his lack of emotional knowledge, but his teacher never said a word about it.
They returned to the apartment for lunch, Reiji had already prepared it and it was waiting, though he had already eaten himself. It was a quiet lunch, Sky told Reiji that Harry was starting to understand empathy and the older boy congratulated him, but Harry wasn’t impressed with himself just yet. For the first half hour after lunch they just relaxed and Harry returned to the pile of pebbles and tried to remember how he had moved them before. He thought one of the little rocks had wiggled a little before Sky called on him again.
“Alright, now it’s time for your own emotional training.”
“What does that mean?”
“You’re an empath Harry, you don’t have the luxury of letting your emotions rule over you anymore, no matter what happens, no matter who says what, you have to keep calm and collected on the inside. If you or I feel something too strongly, then the people around us will feel it too, that can’t happen. I didn’t tell you yesterday, but the Ministry collects people like you and me, people with blood gifts, if they find out then they could lock us up and experiment on us to figure out how we do what we do, they’ve done it to others. No one can know you have empathy, secrets can be ripped away from their holders in a lot of different ways, Veritaserum, or Legilimency, and it would only be too easy. Later in the summer Reiji will teach you occlumency, to protect yourself from at least Legilimency, but for now, you need to learn how to keep a cool head.”
“Just tell me what to do.”
“I’m going to talk at you, and I want you to stay calm, no matter what I say. I’m not going to be soft about it, I’m going to try and get you riled up, are you ready?”
“I guess so.”
Sky watched him for a moment and he felt extremely calm, he was sure that he would be alright in this task. “You killed Cedric Diggory.”
“Voldemort killed Cedric! I tried to save him!” The words left him a few minutes before he realized that he had failed right off. Cedric was a terrible button for him, he wasn’t sure if he would ever be able to keep calm when it came to him.
“It’s your fault he’s dead.”
“No, I did everything I could to save his life!” He had failed again, only a few minutes after his first botched attempt at control.
“Did you try everything? Did you really?”
“I did! It’s Voldemort’s fault!”
“It may have been his wand, but you’re the reason Cedric was there at all. If you weren’t so noble he would still be alive.”
“There was nothing I could have done! Cedric was like a brother, we helped each other, looked after each other, I didn’t mean for it to happen!”
“But it did happen, didn’t it? Cedric is dead, and it’s your fault.”
“It’s not… it’s not…”
“Cedric is one of your biggest weaknesses right now, you have to toughen up so that it doesn’t get under your skin, and people will use him to make you drop your guard.”
“And my other weaknesses?”
“Your guardians, Sirius is a former Azkaban inmate, he may have been innocent, but a lot of people will use him against you as well, they’ll threaten him to force your hand. Remus too, as a werewolf he knows criticism and he can handle himself, but you’re still up in arms whenever anyone says anything against him.”
“I can learn to deal with all of that, now what else, I know there’s more.”
“Everyone you care about, your friends and their families, you’ll go out of your way to protect them so they can be used against you as well. I’m not telling you not to care about people, but you’ve got to grow a thicker skin so threats against them won’t hurt you. And your past with your family.”
“Then start talking again, start a little easier this time, I’m not ready to deal with Cedric just yet.”
“And everyone knows that, so they’ll use him against you first.”
“Well unless you want to kill me, give me a few days, I haven’t had any time to even try to get over it, to me it was only two days ago!”
Sky smiled and she walked forward and hugged Harry and he just stood there, he wasn’t sure what else there was he could do.
“What was that for?” he asked when Sky stepped back at last.
“Sometimes people just need a hug, don’t you feel better?”
It surprised Harry to realize that he did feel better, “Yeah, how did you do that?”
“Hugs are magical things, that and I’m an empath. When you learn control I’ll teach you.”
Three weeks into his training, everything changed. Reiji woke Harry at four sharp and he groaned but got up anyway and changed for the long run out to the field. Harry couldn’t keep up with Sky of course, he was sure he would never be that fast, but he was barely winded when they reached their destination and he was ready to start at once.
“Alright, block!” Reiji said, throwing one of the usual punches that started the day. Harry blocked just fine, but he grabbed a hold of Reiji’s fist at the same time.
“Enough of this Reiji, we’ve been doing blocks for three weeks, I’ve mastered every single one that you taught me and I could do them in my sleep. I want to learn something else, a punch, a kick, anything.”
Reiji just grinned and Harry let him go. “Alright then, something else it is.”
The usual three hours were spent with Harry throwing the punches and doing his very best to get past Reiji’s blocks, he had seen all the punches so many times that he really didn’t need to be taught, just adjusted when something was off.
After breakfast Harry immediately set to wandless magic training, so far the best he had gotten out of his pile of pebbles was a little wiggle here and there, but today was different. Instead of using his imaginary wand as he had been sticking to since the very beginning, Harry decided that he didn’t need the imaginary wand, it wasn’t working, so he would imitate Sky and Reiji’s way of simply waving their hands to get things done. Harry held his hand out, palm down and just moved it across the pile, willing one of the pebbles to move, but nothing. He focused on a specific pebble the next time and got a wiggle, causing it to fall off the pile. Again, he moved his hand over the pile, willing a single pebble to float up and over and this time it worked. Harry was so shocked by the breakthrough that the pebble flew all the way to the wall, but after he calmed himself down a little and tried calling it over, it leapt up and flew right into his open hand. Sky and Reiji had abandoned their books by then; they just sat there at the table watching Harry rejoice over floating pebbles that had started circling around him.
“Look, I did it, I did it!”
“That’s great Harry,” Sky said. She got up and the pebbles all dropped to the ground and rolled to the second circle and Harry grinned wider. “You’re still a little rough around the edges, but you’ve made a lot of progress today, so we’re going to give it a break and get to the control part of it tomorrow. After you’ve mastered it, we’ll teach you some advanced magic that’s far beyond the N.E.W.T. level. We’ll even teach you the spell that apparating was derived from.”
“Derived from? I didn’t even know apparating was a spell.”
“It’s not, and to be perfectly honest, this spell isn’t legal. It’s ancient magic and will take you from where you are to where you want to be, no matter where that is or what protections there are, it can’t be traced either. But it’s difficult, and if you get caught then you will be arrested, so be careful. This is how we got into Hogwarts to kidnap you.”
“You’ll also start occlumency lessons once you’ve learned control,” Reiji said from the table. “Meaning you will no longer have any free time at all.”
“I can’t wait,” Harry was only partially sarcastic about that, he wanted to learn all he could, but he would regret no longer being able to practice his wandless magic in that free time.
Two months wasn’t a very long time, but Harry wouldn’t have traded his two months with Sky and Reiji for the world. Not only did he become a fairly accomplished martial artist, but he mastered wandless magic, learned advanced magic, and learned occlumency to the point where he could keep Reiji out every single time. On top of that he mastered his empathy, not only could he identify every emotion he came across, but he could find where it came from as well. He could look for only specific emotions or specific people, and he was really quite impressed with himself when he was able to alter the emotions of other people, which Sky warned him against doing. Then it was finally time to leave, there were only three days left before September first when it would come time to leave for Hogwarts again.
Harry walked down the hallway that led to Sky and Reiji’s rooms; he had to talk to Sky one more time before he left in the morning. Yet he didn’t make it to her room, he stopped at the spare room that Harry knew to be a bedroom but not one that was occupied. Curiosity finally got to him and he opened the door slowly and poked his head in only to see someone asleep in the bed, though he had no idea who it was.
“Don’t wake him, he’ll be grumpy if you do,” Sky whispered behind him. She pulled him out of the room and closed the door without a sound.
“Who is that?”
“That’s the person who healed your heart, he works most of the time, this is the first time he’s been home in two weeks and he’ll be gone before I wake up to say anything to him.”
“Is he one of your brothers?”
“Yeah, that’s Tarragon. Now you didn’t go looking for him, so why are you back here?”
“I came to talk to you.”
“Alright, find a seat.” Sky was obviously in the middle of cleaning her room, every surface was cluttered.
Harry sat on the corner of the bed and looked at Sky, who just sat on the floor.
“I wanted to ask why you did all of this for me?”
“Why? I thought it was obvious why I was doing this for you.”
“Not to me it isn’t.”
Sky smiled gently and took a deep breath, as though trying to figure out how to word her explanation.
“I knew the moment your empathy surfaced, I guess empaths have this odd way of sensing other empaths, how doesn’t matter, I still knew. I didn’t have anyone to teach me what was happening when my empathy surfaced, I was forced to learn everything on my own and it wasn’t easy, I figured that if I could help you to learn, then you wouldn’t be scared, the way I was. If anything, the one thing you would have learned here without a doubt, was how to control your empathy, which you did masterfully I might add. When I spoke to my mom about taking you away to teach you, she was the one that decided you could benefit from martial arts and wandless magic, occlumency was something you would have learned anyway to help with your empathy.”
“So I can thank your mum for half of what I learned here?”
“In a way, yes. My mom is an extraordinary woman, I’m not her daughter but she’s never treated me as anything less than her own child. When I was only a few months old my parents were killed by Death Eaters, I was taken in my godmother even though she already had two sons and was expecting another and she raised me like she raised them. I always had a good home with her and with my brothers so even though I understand you emotions about your blood relatives, I can’t relate to that feeling. I did this so that you would know you aren’t alone, no matter what happens in your future, you will never have to go through it alone, I’ll come any time you call for me and I’ll understand everything you’re feeling when no one else will.”
“I suppose I should thank you then, for kidnapping me, and healing me, and teaching me, and for allowing me to call on you when I feel alone.”
“No problem, I enjoyed every part of this summer, you’re a whole lot of fun you know. Go and get some sleep, I’ll make you a big breakfast in the morning and we can talk a little more then.”
Harry nodded, thanked Sky again, and returned to his couch, he gave up trying to sleep on the lumpy couch a while ago and so, like he did every night, he transfigured it into a bed and stretched out on top of the covers, though he didn’t sleep.
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