Harry Potter was walking from his early Potions class, angry once again by at the cold insidiousness of the potions' master, when he caught a glint of moonlit spectacles as they turned around the next corner. “Ah, Harry,” Dumbledore greeted in his kindliest tone. “I’ve been meaning to have a chat with you.” A great smile ruffled across the ancient wizard's beard.
“Yes, Headmaster?” Harry was nervous. He’d only just arrived at Hogwarts and already feared being sent away. Maybe a mistake had been made. Maybe he wasn’t magical enough.
“At noon, I would like you to report to the central tower. There is a portrait there who will let you pass. Merely say: lemons drop. You’ll see it, it’s the one with the centaur. I think Orelius is his name."
Narrator: Harry did as Dumbledore asked. He walked quickly, feeling late for yet another important meeting. He asked for directions in a nervous tone as he went. Some students, the ones without Slytherin colours tinting their robes, pointed him in the right direction as he went, up and down impossible staircases that moved as he went. After much misdirection, Harry saw the centaur - Orion, was it? It stomped its hooves and turned to face the young wizard.
Orelius: Aye, who be there?
Harry: H-Harry Potter.
Orelius: Ahhh. He's been waiting for you inside, mister Potter.
Harry: Who has?
Orelius: Speak the password, and you'll be in the know soon enough.
Harry: Lemons drop.
Narrator: And the picture frame swung open, revealing a way inside. Harry dashed through afraid, that it would close if he lingered too long. He knew that the Fat Lady wouldn't be so cruel, but the strange centaur...He wondered if centaurs like Orelius were real, or if he was just a painting. He ascended a long spiral dark staircase, the cold stone steps and walls, barely lit by hanging candles, which Harry still had not adjusted too. Then there was a door, large and made of a strange, black oak. A MYSTERIOUS VOICE came from inside.
MYSTERIOUS VOICE: Come in, mister Potter. No need to be shy.
Narrator: Harry nearly jumped back, surprised. The door opened on its own. Revealing a dark and ominous room. A chair was silhouetted against a huge large, open window. In the dark corner a desk seemed to lurk, piled with papers and books. A few feet from the door was a wide chair that reminded Harry of the ones in the Gryffindor common room. The carpet was simple and red, and Harry could make out what looked like a bookcase in the corner. Aside from these objects, the room had a single chandelier which hung suspended by nothing at all, its candles bright and casting a dull glow. There light was overpowered by the sun.
MYSTERIOUS VOICE: Why don't you take a seat, mister Potter?
Narrator: Harry sat and waited.
MYSTERIOUS VOICE: Does this time each week work for you?
Harry: I'm sorry, what?
MYSTERIOUS VOICE: This time each week - what is it, three? Yes. Threeish, you're a bit late. Does it work with your course schedule? Oh, my you're a first year, of course it does. Sorry.
Harry: I'm afraid, I don't mean to be rude, but I'm confused.
MYSTERIOUS VOICE: Oh, well it'd be really great if you could come by around now each week. Mondays, let me just pen this down in my datebook.
Narrator: The figure at the window moved, and Harry saw a flash of short, brown beard, large glasses and gangly limbs beneath a thick robe that bore the colours of no house Harry had ever seen. There was something friendly there. Harry heard the scribbling of a quill on parchment, the sudden light from the now fully revealed window dazzling his eyes.
MYSTERIOUS MAN: I'm sorry, the light in here is miserable. Sessionus comencetus!
Narrator: Harry heard the familiar cadence in the man's tone. He was sure it was a man now. Spell craft. The door behind him shut, shudders rose up, covering the blinding light from the window, and the chandelier brightened slightly.
MYSTERIOUS MAN: Patientus Privelegius!
Narrator: Harry waited, braced for something to happen. Nothing came. But something hung in the air. The brown bearded wizard turned, his chair swiveling, the first of that type Harry had seen since he'd left the Dursley's behind. It rolled on wheels as well, and Harry realized, he hadn't ever gotten out of it.
MYSTERIOUS MAN: Hello, Harry. Sorry, rather rude not to do introductions, I was startled out my afternoon brooding.
Harry: I'm sorry, Dumbledore told me to come here around now.
MYSTERIOUS MAN: I'm certain he did. Yes, yes. I'm Doctor Neemadone Brown. But you may call me Doctor Brown. None of the professor this and that in here. I like too keep these little get togethers informal.
Narrator: Doctor Brown leaned forward, offering Harry, a hand. They shook. Harry noticed that the Doctor had a weird propensity for friendly winking, which came out somewhat conspiratorially.
Harry: I'm sorry, Doctor Brown, but I'm not sick. I don't understand. Is this about what happened to my parents?
Doctor Brown: No, nothing like that. We're all sick in somewhere, Harry. May I call you that - good. We're not hear to fix your aches and pains. We're here to talk about you, safely and certainly. Everything you say here is for you and me. You understand?
Harry: Is this...do wizard's have counseling?
Doctor Brown: Ah, exactly. You've got the idea.
Harry: I think I understand.
Doctor Brown: Let's take this little session as a chance to get to know each other. To catch up, like friends.
Narrator: Harry felt oddly out of place, but his first session with Doctor Brown had begun. A long silence ensued.
Doctor Brown: Alright, tell me a little about yourself.
Harry: Well, I'm very happy to be here at Hogwarts.
Narrator: The quill scratched the notebook on the Doctor's lap.
Harry: I'm sorry, what is that?
Doctor Brown: Sorry, I take notes sometimes, just to help work out my memory. This can be helpful, for comparison.
Doctor Brown: Go on then, do tell Harry.
Harry: I think I've made this friend, Ron.
Doctor Brown: Good, good. I was worried transitioning from a muggle family to here would make it hard to make friends, but you're progressing very well.
Harry: I'm sorry, Professor Brown-
Doctor Brown: Doctor Brown. Professor Brown's my father. I just help you to figure out you.
Narrator: Harry wondered what that meant.
Harry: Can you not say, well, things like that?
Doctor Brown: Oh, you mean about your progress?
Doctor Brown: I see, that makes you uncomfortable. I'm sorry. Please go on.
Harry: I've nothing else to really say.
Doctor Brown: Oh, come now Harry. You must have had friends before you came to Hogwarts.
Harry: Not really.
Doctor Brown: Oh, Harry. It's alright, confiding so much in our first meeting may have been a bit much to ask.
Harry: No really, I had no friends. Ron is the first friend I've ever had.
Doctor Brown: You can be friends with muggles, you know.
Harry: I know. I had no muggle or wizard friends until I got on the train.
Doctor Brown: That...is different. So let's talk about something else. Your family?
Harry: My parents are dead.
Doctor Brown: No, I mean the family you grew up with, the Dursleys.
Harry: Oh, they're not my family.
Doctor Brown: Harry, that's a hard thing to say. They took you in, didn't they?
Harry: I suppose so, yes.
Doctor Brown: Gave you clothes?
Harry: From Goodwill.
Doctor Brown: What is Goodwill?
Harry: It's where homeless people and the very poor get clothes and things.
Doctor Brown: Ah, so your foster family is very poor?
Harry: No, they're very wealthy. They have a huge house in a really nice area.
Doctor Brown: Then, why didn't they...alright, moving on. They must care for you? They gave you a place to live didn't they.
Harry: I guess so.
Doctor Brown: Ah, tell me about your room at home.
Harry: Sure. Well, I keep my clothes behind my head, in the drawer-
Doctor Brown: Bit of a hoarder are we?
Harry: I'm sorry, what?
Doctor Brown: You know, you keep lots of things. Have to jam all your clothes into one drawer and such.
Harry: No, I only have one drawer. There's no room from anything else.
Doctor Brown: I'm sorry what?
Harry: In the cupboard under the steps.
Doctor Brown: Oh, that's smart. They've used a paradox spell to make a small room a large one to accommodate you.
Harry: Sorry Doctor Brown, you're losing me again.
Doctor Brown: Ah, you are a first year. You can make a small space bigger on the inside than on the outside, like your room.
Harry: Not like my room. The Dursleys aren't magical.
Doctor Brown: Oh, yes. I did know that, sorry.......Wait, did you say cupboard?
Harry: Yes, my room is the cupboard under the steps. I wake up every day when Dudley, he's the Dursleys' son, my cousin I guess. Right, when Dudley booms down the steps in the morning.
Doctor Brown: Ah, thin steps then.
Harry: No, he wants to wake me to prepare breakfast. He walks hard on purpose.
Doctor Brown: Maybe when you get back you could talk to your foster family about that? Boys will be boys, but you have to stand up for yourself Harry.
Harry: No, not with the Dursleys. Dudley will just hit me.
Doctor Brown: In front of your foster parents?
Harry: Yes, of course. They talk about it over dinner when it happens. It's easier just to stay in my room.
Doctor Brown: Your cupboard.
Harry: I prefer to think of it as a room, but I guess it's where they keep the mops and things too.
Doctor Brown: Harry, I'm sorry. I'm going to have call this session short.
Harry: It's alright, but why?
Doctor Brown: Because I don't think your taking this process seriously. I'm trying to help you fit in and grow, but you're telling me all these fantastic things about cupboards and cousinly beatings. How can we understand one another if you won't take this seriously.
Harry: I am taking this seriously, Doctor Brown. It's really like I say it is.
Doctor Brown: If I find out that you're wasting my time with these- these strange tales, I will go to Dumbledore.
Harry: I'm serious, Doctor. I just grew up like anybody else.
Narrator: It was those words that marked a great occasion. The occasion in which Doctor Neemadone Brown realized the can of pure, abused shit he'd just opened. He blinked once, hard, and then put down his pen.
Doctor Brown: Well at least you're a wizard.
Narrator: He was trying to comfort the boy, though Harry seemed in no need of such considerations.
Harry: I know. It's incredible. I just found out eight days ago.
Doctor Brown: Oh, well, I can see why that might have happened. You got your admissions letter and that must have been exciting.
Harry: I got hundreds.
Doctor Brown: Hundreds?
Harry: I never get mail, so the Dursleys burned all the letters and we had to leave the house.
Doctor Brown: Ah, I'm sorry Harry?
Harry: For what?
Doctor Brown: Ah, never mind. Verbal slip up. Go on.
Harry: So we went to an island and rented a house and then Hagrid-
Doctor Brown: I'm sorry, hold up just a moment. You left your house? Why?
Harry: To avoid the letters.
Doctor Brown: To. Avoid. The Letters...And then Hagrid, the groundskeeper, came to that house? The one you were staying at?
Harry: Yes, and he brought me a birthday cake, it was my birthday, and said I was a wizard. Then we left because I had to get ready for school. I could hardly believe it.
Doctor Brown: I know the feeling, Harry. I know the feeling.
Narrator: And that was how the Doctor Brown began his relationship with Harry Potter, the boy who lived so horribly that he had no idea how terribly miserable everything was.