Grazhir :: Crossover :: Kalpa :: 02

02032014-14032014

02

When Harry turned eight he received no gift from his mother, which set his course. On the other hand, Tom had come, in human form. His idea of a gift was rather different, though. “A new life?” he questioned.

Tom nodded, then glanced at Petunia and Dudley. “I am not unaware that Mr Dursley has been making life difficult.” He paused while Harry’s aunt gasped quietly. “I can offer you three a new name and a new life, away from here. You would not be found, and you could start over again.”

Petunia gasped again. “Why?”

“You do not like the idea?”

“I did not say that. Why would you make such an offer? Who are we to you?”

“It’s about a debt I have with Harry,” he said vaguely. “You are his family, thus you are included. This is sensible.”

“We need to think it over,” Harry said quietly, casting a slight smile at the man. “Either way, thank you.”

Even after the man had left Petunia seemed distracted and a bit awed. When Harry inquired she said, “I’m just so surprised. He knows so much and he’s willing to help? Just exactly what kind of debt does he have?”

He grimaced and considered the best way to explain that. “I may not have volunteered truths you were unaware of, Aunt Petunia, but I have never lied to you. What I would tell you in answer to that will be hard for you to understand or believe.”

A fleeting scowl crossed her face. She was, in her own way, just as stubborn as her sister. “I want to know.”

“That man was the one who tried to kill me as a baby.”

Petunia blanched and wobbled in her seat, listing a bit to one side. “What?” she whispered.

“He tried to kill me. Well, I think he intended to kill me and Edward, but obviously it didn’t work out that way. There was some prophecy. He explained, a bit reluctantly, that he thinks he was meant to make the attempt, but that the real danger was never between him and myself. There’s someone else involved, and even he doesn’t know who yet. And because of what happened, and the time he had to think while in—exile, he called it—he decided to attempt to make it up to me. I am in danger, he says, he just doesn’t know from who. So this is his way of trying to protect me, reparations for his actions.”

“And you—you just—you accept that?”

Harry shrugged one shoulder. “I believe he’s being honest. See, it’s a funny thing. He was a snake at the time, and you can’t lie in snake language.”

“. . .I need to lie down for a while,” Petunia said faintly, then suited actions to words.

Harry watched as she carefully stood up and drifted off. She had taken it better than expected, actually. He was very surprised an hour later when the doorbell rang and it was revealed to him, on opening the door, that his mother had come to visit.

“Harry,” she said a little breathlessly.

He blinked at her slowly and stepped back, wordlessly issuing an invitation to enter. He rather thought she looked tired and harassed. Her eyes were shadowed and her face drawn, and for a woman who had always been pale she looked almost translucent. After closing the door he led her into the sitting room and finally spoke. “Would you like some tea?”

She gave him a teary look, then drew him into her arms.

Harry felt, he supposed, more than a little confused. He had honestly thought by this point that his mother had actually forgotten about him, and yet here she was, warm and soft and motherly. . . . “Er, mum, it’s not that I’m not glad to see you, but . . . well . . . I’m having a little trouble here.”

Lily drew back, her hands sliding to rest on his shoulders, and she smiled at him. It was a bit sad and uncertain yet unmistakably a smile. “Oh, Harry, I’m so happy to see you again finally. I love you so much.” She dropped a kiss on his forehead before saying, “Where is your aunt?”

He froze for a moment, unavoidably recalling recent events, and fairly certain that telling his mother about all that would cause an unholy ruckus. “She’s having a lie down. Dudley went off to the shops to get stuff for dinner this evening.”

Lily nodded and then furrowed her brow. “I assume Vernon is at work.”

One of his eyebrows slowly raised at this evidence of ignorance, though why he should be surprised by it was beyond his ken. “. . .Mum, Aunt Petunia divorced him a while back. He. . . .” How on earth was he supposed to explain this?

“He. . . ?” she prompted.

“Let me go make some tea first. Come with me?” he offered.

His mother nodded and released him, following him into the kitchen and taking a seat at the table while he began preparing things. “I’m happy to see you, too, mum. Have you just come for a visit, or. . . ?”

He was mildly surprised when his mother sighed heavily and slumped a little in her seat. “I don’t quite know how to tell you this, Harry, but seeing as how you’re not unaware that it happens, I guess I’ll just say it. I’ve left your father.”

Harry paused, lid halfway to the kettle, and turned to face her. “. . .Why?”

“I never agreed with him, never, about sending you here. I didn’t care that you were a squib, Harry. You’re my son and I love you. I tried so hard to make things work with your father and brother, with Sirius and Remus always hanging around, and I just can’t any longer. I’ve tried so hard to stop them from turning your brother into an arrogant little sod, but nothing I do works, or for very long, anyway. I’m done with it, I can’t bear it any longer. It’s making me ill.

“I love magic, and I love your father and brother, but now I can’t say I like them very much. So I left him, divorced him. James has sole custody of Edward and I have sole custody of you.” She looked around as Harry began getting the cups ready. “And if my sister is in the same boat, for whatever reasons, maybe the four of us can make a nice family. Maybe we can reconcile.”

“Maybe we can,” came Petunia’s voice, a bit rough in tone, her form revealed as she slipped through the doorway. “Hello, Lily.”

Harry thought it would be a very good idea to give the two of them time alone, so he fixed the tea, placed everything on the table, and ducked out into the garden. That is not to say he didn’t listen in, because he did. But the appearance of privacy was important.

James and his two best friends—brothers, some would say—had managed to raise Edward to be, by this point, arrogant and entitled, a boy who reveled in his fame and soaked up the adulation of the masses. Between her frustrating ineffectiveness at countering all that, her husband’s attitude toward squibs, their general patronizing attitude toward muggles in general—well, Lily simply couldn’t take it any longer.

It said much to Harry, even at such a young age, that his father put up only a token protest over the whole divorce. His mother had been given a very generous settlement, so they were in no danger of living in poverty.

And naturally it came out, during Petunia’s turn to unload, that not only was Dudley magical, but so was Harry, at which point his mother’s voice called out his name. He waited a little, to give lie to the idea he had been anywhere near the window, then returned to the kitchen. Petunia pushed a plate of biscuits toward him when he sat down and went to get another cup.

“You can do magic, Harry?” Lily asked, her eyes wide with wonder, and perhaps a bit of pride.

“So far as I know. I never told Aunt Petunia that I—” he shot his aunt an apologetic look “—had been, er, encouraging the plants in her garden to grow better and nicely, but it did come out after Dudley showed signs of magic that I didn’t think I was a squib at all. I don’t have bouts of accidental magic and it’s not like I’ve tried any spells, but I know I’m not a squib.”

“And you didn’t—no, never mind. I remember the things I explained to you, even after all this time, and I think I know why you—”

“Mum, I’m home!” called Dudley, the front door closing audibly down the hall.

Harry jumped up to go help, whispering once he got out there that his mother was visiting and for Dudley not to be surprised. Dudley fairly charmingly greeted Lily and went on with putting things away, making sure his own mother got receipts and the change, because they both knew she kept very careful track of their finances to ensure they would all be all right. “I’m going to go play my game if that’s okay,” Dudley announced, glancing at his mother for permission, then dashing off upstairs.

“Will you join us for dinner?” Petunia asked, rising to begin preparations.

*

A week later Tom returned. Petunia had answered the door and reentered the room desperately signaling with her eyes at Harry, who did not have enough time to figure out what she was trying to say before Tom appeared. His mother, after one look at the man, had gasped and jumped up, wand at the ready, making sure Harry was behind her.

Tom watched all this with a faint smile of amusement, not quite a smirk, and said, “Mrs Potter, a pleasure to see you.”

Harry snorted quietly and shuffled sideways along the sofa. “Hello, Tom. Your timing is either brilliant or really awful.”

“Oh?” Tom eyed Lily for a moment. “I am going to guess from this reaction that your mother is unaware of certain things.”

“Well spotted,” he replied.

“Harry? What the hell is going on?” his mother demanded.

“I’ll make some tea,” Petunia announced to no one in particular, then headed to the kitchen.

“Harry!?”

“Tom, please have a seat. Mum—this is complicated.”

“Well uncomplicate it!”

Tom took a seat and said in a terribly friendly manner, “I’m rather surprised you recognized me, Mrs Potter, after all these years. And I do look a bit different now.”

Lily shot him a wary look, wand still in hand, and replied, “It’s the eyes. There are some actors, on the television or in films, that you can always recognize, even if they’re disguised and their voices are changed. It’s all in the eyes.”

“How remarkable. Please do sit down. I assure you there is no need for violence.”

“Right,” she drawled, though she did sit down. Her wand stayed handy, of course. “Harry? Explain.”

“Well. . . .” It took what seemed like forever to get through the story, but between Harry and Tom they managed. Lily continued to display a certain amount of wariness, but the combined efforts of the two, plus Petunia’s obvious ease, finally saw her tucking her wand away again and actually listening with a great deal more attention as opposed to rampant skepticism.

“So you’re telling me that Harry, not Edward, is the Boy-Who-Lived? And that he’s a parselmouth like you, and that he has a whole lot of your memories because of what happened that night?”

“Correct. I think I would know which child it was I tried to kill, after all.”

Lily scowled at him for the flippancy of the response. “And now you’re offering to remove everyone to another country, partly because Vernon is being a right pain, and partly to assist Harry in his desire to not go anywhere near his father again?”

“Correct,” Tom repeated. “As near as I can determine what little of the prophecy that was overheard lent itself to gross misinterpretation by all parties. Oh, not the part where Harry is involved, but the overall meaning. I am convinced that while I was meant to make the attempt and fail, I am not the dark lord in question who needs to be dealt with.”

“And you can’t lie in snake language,” Harry added, “so he at least honestly believes this to be the truth.”

“Oh dear lord,” Lily muttered, an expression of “why me?” on her face as she gazed at the ceiling. Then she took a deep breath and said briskly, “Well. No matter what, James isn’t going to find out. He’s already made a royal mess of things with Edward and I can’t bear to think what he’d try if he realized that Harry was actually the Boy-Who-Lived. And Edward’s nose would be put seriously out of joint. He might even resort to backstabbing and sabotage after learning he was no longer the ‘important’ one. God, what a mess.”

“So you can see why I offered to relocate everyone?” Tom asked.

“Yes. It’s not like they’d bother to pay attention to who got into a different school. And it would also avoid getting Dumbledore involved.”

Tom sneered at the mention. “I assure you it would be no trouble whatsoever to ensure that Harry and Dudley were ignored by Hogwarts come time for their letters. Karkaroff may be a sniveling coward, but he will issue invitations for the boys.”

“And language?”

“Also not a problem. I wouldn’t be surprised if Harry can already speak any language I can. Gifting it to you, your sister, and your nephew is miniscule in terms of effort.”

“Even though my sister is non-magical?” she asked skeptically.

Tom arched a brow. “I believe you would find, should you speak to the goblins, that you are not a mere muggle-born. I have every expectation that you and your sister share magical blood somewhere in your ancestry. Petunia may not be able to express magic, but her son can, and that is not how it usually works.”

“You have a point,” she conceded.

“Naturally.”

Lily aimed a halfhearted scowl at the man as Petunia announced that dinner was ready.

*

A month later they had emigrated to Norway, near Trondheim. Lily arranged, after they settled in, for her accounts (and Harry’s trust) to be moved to the Gringotts of that country, and also to have tests done regarding magic in their ancestry. Riddle was correct on that point, though it was cold comfort to Petunia. Still, she was able to be given languages, not something possible had she truly been non-magical. Lily also had proper magical custody of Dudley, just in case.

Dudley, being very much the child his age implied, thought all of it was terribly fun. He did not have the enforced maturity of Harry and was therefore left out of a lot of discussions. It did not bother him in the least that his British citizenship had been switched to that of Norway; he was more concerned that some of his favorite sweets were no longer easily obtainable in their new home.

Harry had settled in expecting things to be normal, inasmuch as they could be, and was soon enough proven wrong. The change in climate meant that growing a garden was not the thing of ease it had been in England and he was inclined very soon on to “encourage” the plants his mother and aunt had laid out (with some input from Tom).

Three hours later the world shook.

That in itself was thought to be nothing more than tectonic activity, though the non-magical population was a bit mystified by the event and its short duration. Harry didn’t give it much thought—that is, until a dragon arrived and landed near their home, looking for all the world as though it had come for tea.

Petunia had shrieked like a banshee and fled inside, Dudley gaped in amazement, Lily had her wand out ready to strike at the slightest provocation, and Harry just stood there, eyeing the creature with a mixture of awe and trepidation. After all, dragons were said to be quite vicious, and even handlers on reserves were known to be injured on a semi-regular basis.

And then the creature spoke in a rumbling voice. “Krosis. I do not mean to cause alarm. Daar vahdin los kril. The woman is brave.”

Harry stepped closer, irresistibly curious at this seeming anomaly.

“Why are you here?” his mother asked shakily, reaching out her free arm to block Harry’s advance.

“I am called Paarthurnax,” it replied. “One here speaks the language of dov, dragonkind. The Thu’um, Shout, was heard by my kind, and that of those called the Greybeards. I come to investigate.”

“Shout?” she said. “You heard a shout? From here?”

Geh. Yes. The words of my kind are laced with power. Even our names are so, and to Shout them on the wind is to call or direct tinvaak, speech, to the one named. A Shout originated from here not so long ago this day. Only mortals with dedication and fen, will, can speak such words and have them be heard. There is one other, but. . . .”

“From here?” she again asked.

Harry lost enough of his awe to roll his eyes and say, “Er, mum, you’re repeating yourself. Maybe you should send a message to Tom? He might be interested in joining, er, whatever this is.”

Lily seemed to collect herself and nodded. “Perhaps you’re right,” she replied, and suited actions to words with a patronus.

Harry addressed the dragon next. “Can you tell what kind of, er, Shout it was?”

Geh. One rarely heard.” Paarthurnax paused for a moment as a crack announced the arrival of Tom, then continued, “It was to assist life. Haas dun daar.”

Harry wobbled, his eyes going wide.

Tom leaned in toward Lily and said quietly, “Care to fill me in?”

“I am Paarthurnax,” the dragon repeated, this time directed to Tom.

Harry had never explained to anyone what he meant by “encourage” when it came to plants. He just spoke to them, in what he had thought were nonsensical sounds. They had just . . . sounded right. But this dragon knew precisely what he had said. And had heard it? From however far away? And from more of a whisper than a shout?

“Ah. I see,” Paarthurnax rumbled at Harry. “It is you. Dovah I may be, but I have kept company with certain mortals long enough to see this. Your expression is like jun ko vul, light in the dark.”

“Still waiting on an explanation,” Tom said a bit testily.

Lily turned to look at her son with an expression which may have been mild horror. “Harry? You’re talking about my son?”

Geh. It is so,” Paarthurnax replied. “I see now, looking deeper, that your kul, son, is dovahkiin, Dragonborn.”

“Dragonborn? Oh my god,” Lily cried.

This had the effect of snapping Harry out of it. “Mum, are you even religious?”

“. . .Well, no, now that you mention it, but some expressions are hard to stop using.”

“Still waiting,” Tom growled.

Paarthurnax turned his attention to Tom. “The kiir, child, is very special. He speaks the language of dov, dragonkind. It is possible for mortals to do so, but only with great dedication and will and study. But there are those special, those with the blood of the dov, gifted to them. It appears that this kiir is one such. The last dovahkiin was eons ago, in a previous kalpa.”

Harry noticed that Tom got a very peculiar expression on his face at that, part satisfied, part confused, and part . . . hungry. “Gifted by whom?” the man asked.

“One presumes Bormahu, father to dov, known also as Akatosh and Auri-El, first of the Divines.”

Tom nodded slowly. “Previous kalpa?”

Paarthurnax hesitated. “The world was eaten, then reborn.”

“Like the Midgard Serpent?” Harry piped up.

“Of a sort.”

“Harry,” Tom said in exasperation, “the Midgard Serpent doesn’t eat the world.”

“No, but he is supposed to be responsible for its end.”

“Okay,” Tom said, turning back to the dragon. “The previous world ended, but the . . . gods did not.”

Geh. Aedra and Daedra, what you may call gods and devils, continue to exist, and they continue to rule their domains. But this world, once Nirn, is different. When Alduin, in his prophesied role, ate the world, it was born anew. Some of the powers prevented total destruction by taking parts of Nirn and . . . transplanting them into this new world. We, dov, are one of the races so saved. Another would be the Nords.”

‘Nords? Like Nordic peoples? Vikings?’ thought Harry.

“Only Bormahu is known to have gifted mortals as dovahkiin, and to do this there must be a reason. One set of survivors, the Greybeards, are able to use Thu’um, dov words of power, but they are not dovahkiin. The Nords believed that Kyne gave them this ability.”

“But what exactly is the difference?” Tom asked.

Dovahkiin are gifted with the blood of dov. It is very easy for them to learn the words of power, to use them. It is a part of their rii, essence. He is ripe with lah, magicka, but . . . not necessarily of your kind.”

“What!?” Lily gasped. “What are you saying?”

“I am not a squib,” Harry protested quite firmly.

“The telling would be easier were you to have tinvaak, speech, with the Greybeards. I could take the dovahkiin—”

“I am not letting my son ride off on a dragon!” Lily interrupted shrilly.

“And it’s not like I know how to make a portkey—well, actually, I do, but I don’t have a wand, so. . . .”

Tom pinched the bridge of his nose and sighed. “I could go, see where I’d need to make a portkey to, then apparate back here. Then we could all go.”

Paarthurnax eyed Riddle. “This would be unprecedented.”

“Oh?” Tom retorted. “And what else would you suggest? That we drive there? Take a train? Ride winged horses and blow the Statute of Secrecy all to hell?”

Harry, for his part, thought riding off on a dragon would be a fantastic adventure, but he could see why his mother would object. But seriously, he sincerely doubted that Tom knew how to drive a car.

Eventually, after much discussion, Tom mounted a somewhat reluctant Paarthurnax and was flown away.

Several hours later, as they were all enjoying dinner, a crack signaled the arrival of someone, presumably Tom. And it was him, entering the room with a bemused look on his face.

“Did you meet them?” Harry asked eagerly, gesturing at one of the empty chairs.

Tom shook his head as he sat. “No. The dragon brought me to just outside. And as I presume it would still be considered bad manners to appear directly inside that is just as well. He told me he would inform the Greybeards to expect our arrival in the near future.” He accepted a cup of tea from Petunia with a nod and continued, “Apparently he is responsible for teaching these Greybeards the Way of the Voice, as he called it, which holds certain ethical standards for use of thu’um. I admit to being a mildly perplexed on that point. It sounded as though these people spend years learning to master this ability, but prefer only to use it in times of true need. These Greybeards seem to be pacifists.”

His mother looked confused by that. “But that’s like spending all that time at Hogwarts learning to control and use magic, only to never bother using it unless you absolutely have to.”

“You mean like martial arts,” Harry said, “except that they do use them during competitions because I think you have to compete for some of them to reach higher belt levels. Or something like that.”

Dudley grinned suddenly. “Learning martial arts is supposed to teach you control and discipline. In some ways being able to defend yourself using them is incidental.”

“At any rate,” Tom said, regaining control of the conversation, “I have been informed that the Greybeards have an extensive library in that fortress of theirs, so we should be able to become well acquainted with the history of Nirn. And, perhaps, to get an explanation of what he meant about Harry’s magic. On a side note, that earthquake you mentioned happened here wasn’t an earthquake. That was the effect of the Greybeards’ Shout, a summons for Harry to appear before them.”

“Remarkable,” he whispered.

“Personally, I find it rather presumptuous, summoning Harry like some servant.”

Lily gave a slight shrug. “I’m inclined to agree.”

“The thing I don’t get is that Paarthurnax said Alduin ate the world, that prophecy was involved. Doesn’t it kind of imply that it will happen again at some point?”

“We can’t know that, Harry,” his mother said. “But we can ask. I’d certainly like to understand better what he was talking about. And really, this is saying there really are gods, or god-like beings. Sure, we’ve all read about things like that in mythology, but this makes it real.”

“How on earth did you fly so far without being seen?” Dudley asked.

Tom eyed the boy with a touch of disdain. “Magic, of course.”

“So I suppose we should plan what to bring for our visit,” Harry said, mostly to get Tom’s attention off his cousin. Riddle might not be a psychotic, murder-happy dark lord, but neither was he particularly tolerant or patient.

His mother wrinkled her nose and glanced at Petunia, then Tom. “Is it still the custom to bring wine, do you think?”

That had not really been what Harry was thinking, but his mother did have a point. It was generally polite to bring a gift to present to your host(s).

“If these people are anything like the old cultures, then yes. They probably only drank wine, mead, and ale once they reached adulthood,” Tom opined.

“I suppose I could nip off and get a selection after dinner,” Lily mused.

While his mother was doing that Harry had every intention of tossing a bunch of notebooks and writing implements into a bag of some sort. And figuring out what, exactly, one wore to a meeting like this.

His mother found him rifling through his clothing some time later and said, “Harry, if they know about magic there’s no reason not to just wear a set of robes over something comfortable. Since we don’t know how long we’ll be there bring enough for a couple of days, just in case.”

“It’s just going to be you, me, and Tom?”

“Yes, I think so. Petunia would probably be bored and it doesn’t directly concern Dudley. They can have some mother-son time together. Besides, portkeys tend to make my sister feel so ill. I think she’d be highly embarrassed to portkey over there just to be sick in front of witnesses, and potentially strangers.”

Harry nodded and began grabbing several sets of clothing from his dresser. He would have to put his toiletries into a kit bag as well, though thinking about that did make him wonder just what sort of facilities these people would have. And what robes he did have were plain and utilitarian, mainly to wear to blend in while shopping in a magical community; he never wore them otherwise. That being the case packing took him all of fifteen minutes, with only his kit bag to be packed in the morning.

He had a lot of trouble getting to sleep that night and rather desperately wished that Tom had been able to bring back some of those books. On the other hand, if Harry had one or more of them he might not have gotten any sleep at all. There was also nothing to say that they were in a language he could even understand. How frustrating to be left in such ignorance. He had to assume these people spoke a language they could understand, but did they also speak the language of their ancestors? Would it be something Harry could learn easily enough, or would he have to plod through books at a disgustingly slow pace, translating as he went along, just so he could get the gist of things?

Eventually, unable to quiet his mind even with meditation, he went to his mother for a mild sleeping potion, and woke up the next morning feeling mostly refreshed. Breakfast felt like a rushed affair even if it wasn’t and he hurried through his morning routine, his arrival back downstairs coinciding with Tom’s.

Tom noted the robes and the backpack hanging from one shoulder and nodded. “I will assume you are prepared, then.”

“As much as I can be not really knowing what to expect.”

“It is, unfortunately, quite cold where we’re going. You may wish to wear a cloak in addition to your robes.”

Harry frowned and dashed back upstairs long enough to grab the only one he had. His mother had bought it for him not long after they moved, one with charms on it to help keep him warm in addition to the fur lining.

“You look presentable,” Tom pronounced, once Harry was back downstairs. “And your mother—where is she?”

“Finishing up in her room. She should be down momentarily. Very momentarily,” he amended, hearing her at the top of the stairs.

“In that case, let us prepare to depart.” Tom pulled a small gem from his pocket and swiftly made it into a portkey.