Grazhir :: Crossover :: Kalpa :: 28

12102014-19102014

28

Viator gathered up his stash of scales and tucked them away in an obviously enchanted pocket, and Harry and Viktor went to loot what they could off the dragon’s skeleton, after which they all started walking again. Harry tried again to voice what was on his mind. “You are Tom,” he said, seeing Viator nod out of the corner of his eye. “Would I be wrong to take that literally?”

Yuki laughed. “He is Tom. That is his name.”

Harry shook his head. “Not that kind of literal. And you. . . . So very close. It’s all a bit confusing. If this world can be reborn. . . .” he said, then checked again with Aura Whisper.

Yuki moved over in front of him and began walking backward. “Would it help if I did this?” he asked.

He watched in bemusement as Yuki’s hair changed from ink black to fiery red and lengthened, his skin paled and his features shifted, and his eyes altered from liquid black to a very familiar green. He was looking at an older version of himself had he his mother’s hair. Yuki glanced up at the sky for a moment, asking, “How old am I again? Oh, right, thirty-something.” He grinned at Harry as his appearance shifted back.

He looked at his husband to see his reaction and did something of a double-take when he realized Viktor wasn’t even paying attention. His focus was called back when Yuki spoke again.

“Oh, Viktor and your Tom are blissfully unaware of this conversation,” Yuki said, a mischievous gleam in his eyes. “I am not without certain powers.”

“Yuki, get on with it,” Viator drawled.

Yuki pouted and nodded. “Tom and I are from a different dimension, where the conditions are, well, a bit different. No Aedra or Daedra, I’m afraid, amongst other things.”

He glanced down at the markings again.

“I hold the Deathly Hallows,” Yuki said, “so please do be aware that should they come up in conversation here you can treat them as nothing more than a story. Once I took possession—well, there can be only one.”

Harry was ineludibly reminded of Highlander.

Yuki giggled and tossed his hair back, still walking backward. “We’re here on holiday because a certain entity asked me for a favor. You see, what I said earlier was misleading. That bullet would have killed you, exploded your heart, so I took it for you. You’re a little too important for some silly freaked-out muggle to kill. The symbol of Meridia is simply because I knew you would recognize it and because we’re presently wailing on the undead. It made sense.”

“Have you always been crazy?” he asked, without conscious intent.

Yuki snickered madly and shook his head. “No, no. I was sort of sane the first time around, but then I stopped letting people walk all over me and did something absolutely cracked. It’s worked out extremely well, I admit, even if I am loopier now than one of those muggle fun straws.”

Harry glanced around quickly and realized that they had not actually moved far, despite that they were all still walking.

“Harry,” Yuki said, and the tone of his voice made him listen closely, “you have yourself one fine husband in Viktor. Cherish him. He loves you so purely it’s almost painful to witness. You have yourself one fine version of Tom. Honor him. He may not always be right, but he is sincerely doing his best to make sure you get through all this alive. Keep coming up with those interesting ideas you get. I’d have been bursting with pride to be you, if that tells you anything.”

He felt his eyes sting at that. “How long are you staying?”

That grin came back. “Oh, not long. The main favor was to make sure that idiot muggle didn’t ruin everything. Things are going to hell in a hand-basket for the muggles and more and more territory will be warded away from them. Gellert is thrilled, actually, because he wants to rule the world, and the more constrained the muggles are the better, and the less opportunity they’ll have to resurrect their technology and fight back. This world is going to change so drastically.”

Harry nodded. “Am I going to go crazy?”

Yuki shook his head. “I’m not all-knowing. I can’t imagine why you would offhand, unless you should decide to give Sheogorath a hand. Poor guy could use one. But I kind of doubt the gods of this dimension would allow that to happen before all of this is over and settled. It would give you too much power, you see. Now, I have a few gifts for you.”

He frowned in disbelief. “You already saved my life.”

Yuki shrugged. “So?” He reached into a pocket and withdrew two spheres, then offered them. “Music. One vocal, one instrumental.”

He eyed them almost skeptically, but accepted them anyway. They went into one of his enchanted pockets.

Yuki then pulled out a piece of parchment and offered it. “A list of shrines and their locations. You can cross-check this against whatever information your fanged friend brings back.”

Harry took that, too, and tucked it away.

“You’re already working on Malacath and the goblins,” Yuki said, ignoring Harry’s reaction, “but you might consider Hircine. I would say Dibella, but the Aedra do not usually go in for the whole quest thing.”

“Any others?” he asked, not sure he actually wanted to know.

Yuki wrinkled his nose thoughtfully. “Well, it’s more who you should avoid. I recommend you stay away from Mehrunes Dagon, Molag Bal, Namira, Peryite, and Vaermina. Probably stay away from Nocturnal, but your friend already explained to you why that is.”

“Something tells me Occlumency is about as useful around you as it is the gods,” Harry commented dryly.

Yuki smirked wickedly. “Sorry,” he said, not sounding at all sorry. “It’s a perquisite I happen to enjoy.” He looked offside for a moment, then said, “What am I forgetting?”

“Barty, other favors,” Viator prompted.

“Ah, right. The changes I made to Barty will stick,” Yuki said, “so no worries about his appearance reverting. He just needs a new name, like they did for you. As for the other favors, Tom and I have decided to meddle a little while we’re here, and coincidentally help you out, though not so directly critical as earlier. Keep an eye on the British Ministry.”

“Okay,” he said slowly, then asked, “Are house-elves in any way connected to the elven races of Nirn?”

Yuki looked at him intently for a few seconds, then blinked and shook his head. “No, actually, though I can see why you might wonder that. In places where wizarding magic crops up the house-elves tend to also. It’s just one of those things. Any other questions I may be able to answer?”

His brow furrowed, gaze drifting off to the right. Instead of going for specifics and risking his questions being rejected outright he asked, “Any advice?”

Yuki stared at him, a slow smirk forming. “So clever. I like you. Okay. Don’t worry too much about James and his merry band of idiots. Stick to honing your skills, like those rings, speed with that bow, and so on. Keep your eye on the end goal, which is Grindelwald. The why isn’t as important as the doing.”

“Alduin?” he risked asking.

He got an opaque look for that question.

“Did you have your own dark lord to deal with?”

The grin came back. “Oh yes, but not the one you have.”

“First time around?”

Yuki gave him a considering look, then said slowly, “The dimension I live in is not my original one. But because I had already obtained the Deathly Hallows and tried something really insane, I was . . . reborn, you might say, in a different one. Because of my powers and knowledge things turned out very differently, and they were already somewhat different to begin with. Having the Hallows does a number on your brain, subtle though it might seem to the one being altered, and I’ve changed because of it.”

He detected a certain delicacy of wording and wondered why. Odds were he would never know. What else could he ask? His gaze flickered to the side, toward Viktor. Grindelwald did not seem to be going after the magical population; his attack on Durmstrang seemed to be a singular event, and Dumbledore was something else entirely given that the man had defeated him in the past and led to his incarceration in a prison of his own making. The point being, he thought, that Viktor was likely safe if he continued playing for the Bulgarian National Team.

He sincerely doubted that his counterpart would spill the details on how to sneak into Nurmengard. He could ask why he wasn’t freaking out over being faced with himself of another dimension or all those dead muggles, but the numbness to that particular aspect of this lunacy would probably wear off at some point. There were any number of things he could probably think of to ask given enough time, but perhaps he should let it lie and be grateful for what had already been given, his life first and foremost.

Yuki smirked suddenly and nodded. “I definitely like you. Now, how about we get on with clearing out that other bunch of draugr?”

“Okay.” Yuki was suddenly elsewhere and they were making progress again. Tom and Viktor were, as Yuki had put it, blissfully unaware that anything out of the ordinary had happened. But because he wasn’t certain just how much actual time had passed in truth he Shouted again, doing a slow turn to ensure he knew what was around. The only blue was so faint as to not worry him, and the cluster of red was looming large still to the south.

He reported that and Tom nodded. They made their way to that group of draugr and spent quite some time clearing them out. Harry used his dagger and magicka for part of it, wanting to improve with that weapon, and for others he used the dagger and creatively employed magic. He also kept an eye out on Viktor in case he needed assistance in some way, and Viktor was doing the same with him.

Yuki, of course, was back to warbling and dancing, and Harry had to wonder just what had happened to his counterpart. He would have to do a little research on the Deathly Hallows because information on that seemed to be missing in his memories. It was also extremely strange to him that Yuki had paired off with Tom. Would he be able to share a memory of their little chat?

‘I’d really rather you didn’t,’ he heard in his head, causing him to completely miss with the spell he had just cast. Viktor shot him a questioning look, but he just shook his head and kept on fighting.

‘You can edge around this request, I suppose,’ he heard, ‘but I would really prefer you not attempt to share in full. It’s not like anyone can, you know, capture us and interrogate us for information, but we came here for you, Harry, not anyone else. They don’t really need to know what I’ve said, except obliquely. I could force you to comply with barely any effort, but I am asking, one Harry to another.’ Yuki cackled and jumped, spinning through the air and coming down on a draugr with that katana, slicing it in half like a hot knife through butter.

‘Okay,’ he thought, wondering if crazy was catching.

‘Maybe Tom and I will return someday for a true holiday, but for now. . . .’

Harry shook his head and concentrated where he ought to. On their way to the next bunch he spotted another group of indeterminates, called it out, then grabbed his bow when he heard the roar of another dragon. “I’m starting to get tired,” he said quietly.

Tom gave him an assessing look and nodded.

When they arrived at the dragon it was rather confusing scene. The draugr had also converged on the humans and the dragon was indiscriminately killing both. But, given that it had plenty to keep it distracted it was a fairly simple prospect for Harry and his companions to kill the thing.

“I’m starting to wonder if draugr can use portkeys,” he muttered, dropping another one.

Viktor snickered and set one on fire as Harry flung out his hand to reanimate one of the still whole but defeated draugr. Naturally, by the time everything hostile was dead the humans were also. He sighed. Grindelwald was really pushing his forces against the muggles. He was a bit surprised that any of them were left in the city, but he also knew that even if they fled to the less populated areas they would have trouble with food, and if too many of them congregated the odds of an attack multiplied. He sighed again as Viktor slid an arm around his shoulders and pulled him close.

“You ready to stop?” Viktor asked.

“Yeah. I’m tired, and I’ve seen more than enough dead,” he replied, closing his eyes for a moment against the sight of so much carnage. When he opened them he saw Yuki in his line of sight, giving him a wink, and felt himself smiling a little.

Tom strolled over, eyes watchful on their surroundings, and said, “Let’s go home.”

Yuki laughed again, rather psychotically, and vanished from sight. Viator just shook his head and vanished as well. Harry blinked, then reached out to touch the offered portkey. In Skyrim he put his weapons away and hugged Viktor. Surprisingly neither of the two said anything about the Viators—the “travelers”, he realized, wanting to laugh at the joke, but also finding it more than a little corny.

Viktor tightened his hold, then said, “How about we shower and then get something to eat?”

Two days later they went on another hunting trip, this time taking Severus, Lucius, Draco, and Barty along (for whom Tom had crafted a new wand, despite wanting his follower to master the rings). Before they left the safety of Skyrim Tom said, “Severus, you already understand what Harry is capable of, but for you other three it may be a bit of a shock. You will listen when he calls out reports on potential or definite hostiles. If we find nothing of note in Trondheim we’ll go to Oslo instead. Understood?”

A muted chorus of, “Yes, my lord,” was heard, so Tom held out a larger than normal portkey. They again stepped out of the safety of the wards that already extended quite a ways out from the magical shopping district.

Harry took a breath and Shouted, “Laas Yah Nir!” and did a slow turn, getting and situating his weapons as he did so. “Indeterminates north, a fairly large group. Hostiles closing in from the east.”

Tom nodded and asked, “Are you hearing any . . . words of power?”

“No. But given how it went the last time I don’t expect to until one shows up.”

“Very well. Let’s go.”

Harry readied his bow and led them on an intercept course, pausing once halfway to check with Aura Whisper again. They were almost there when he muttered, “I wonder if the muggles have somehow figured out that being closer to our wards lessens the chance they’ll be attacked, even if they can’t sense them.”

“You may well be correct, Harry,” Tom replied.

“If you can figure out a way to enchant some glasses or goggles with a detection spell, that’d be useful,” he said, then nocked an arrow and drew. “Time to dance, folks.” He edged around the corner and started shooting. ‘That’s wonderful,’ he thought. ‘Now I’m sounding vaguely like Yuki and the next thing I know I’ll be using that music sphere he gave me.’

Lucius, Draco, and Barty seemed more than a little taken aback at the sheer lethality of Harry’s bow, but quickly rallied and began casting their best against the teeming undead, who had already done severe damage to the humans they had caught. It was not unexpected to Harry’s thinking that the muggles all died again, which made him sigh. He checked to see where there was more activity and called it, then started in that direction.

As they were walking he blinked at something of an epiphany. Maybe one of the reasons Yuki liked to play music while he fought was to keep him from sliding into depression? He laughed.

“Harry?” Viktor asked.

“Yuki gave me something before he left, one of those spheres. I was just thinking that seeing all the dead is depressing, but the music helps to keep your spirits up.”

“And potentially draw in undesirables,” Viktor commented, “but I appreciate your thinking. I admit, Yuki seemed to quite enjoy himself.”

A sound off in the distance alerted him to something being not quite right. Another check with Aura Whisper showed him a cluster of hostiles, but not on the ground; it was coming from the air. He spun around quickly, checking the buildings, then said urgently, “Inside, now!” He grabbed Viktor’s hand and dragged him off to one that was still mostly standing.

The others followed and grouped up inside, and it was Tom who arched a questioning brow at him demanding an answer.

“That sounds like a helicopter, and if it is it means the muggle military is in the area. We look human so odds are they’d try to ‘help’ us, but if they figure out we’re magical all bets are off. They’ll attack.”

“Is it wrong of me to be hoping a dragon shows up right about now?” Viktor asked.

He looked at his husband for a moment, then snickered. “It would be kind of interesting to see dragon versus helicopter, especially if the helicopter has guns and possibly missiles.” He turned to Tom and said, “Maybe another bracelet, with things like Detect Life, Detect Dead, and if you can do it, for kicks, Homenum Revelio? I just—” He looked away for a second, then continued, “What if Grindelwald gets wind of this weird bunch of people who can do this unheard of magic? Sends spies? Tries to kidnap one of us?”

Tom exhaled heavily and nodded. “Yes. You’re right. We can’t have you spending all your time checking.”

The sound became louder and Harry slid over to a window and peered around the edge. “I can only hope they aren’t using infrared in this direction,” he said, then Shouted again.

“Not that I’m advocating the tactic,” Viktor said, “but why hasn’t Grindelwald blown the military installations as well as their power sources?”

Tactically speaking that would make good sense and he nodded at his husband. “They’re headed toward the muggles,” he said, just as a roar drowned out part of what he was saying. “Huh, one dragon as ordered.”

Viktor palmed his face. “And?” he asked, looking between Harry and Tom.

“I think we can quietly sneak in behind the action,” Tom said, eyeing Harry, who nodded. “Very well. I shouldn’t need to stress that we should try to stay unnoticed. Let’s go.”

A not quite creep along the streets brought them to a point where they could see the dragon flaming the helicopter, which did indeed have guns, and was firing back. However, the sheer heat from the dragon’s breath was melting parts of the vehicle and Harry knew it was more or less all over. Indeed, the rotor mast melted enough to separate and the blades went whirling off to smash into a building as the main body fell at an angle and impacted the street and slid, coming to a stop up against another building.

He Shouted again and circled in place, then returned focus to the crash. No people were coming out, but the dragon was still there, so it could obviously sense that some of them yet lived. The mass of hostiles they had been heading for was closer and almost overlapping the blue of indeterminates. They stayed back, waiting to see if anyone would emerge from the helicopter. The dragon flamed it several more times before flying off toward the action.

Another check had him nodding and heading on, arrow already in his hand. Several minutes later of cautious travel brought them to the site of yet more carnage. Harry and Viktor concentrated on the dragon while the others picked off draugr. Once the dragon was down and its soul absorbed, Harry switched his focus to the undead, easily taking them down with one arrow per, usually to the head.

Draco was doing surprisingly well for only having recently finished school. Durmstrang did teach what most people would label Dark Arts, but waited until after the OWLs to do so. Prior to that, of course, it was more of a mindset that helped, in the long run, to steer students away from what was commonly called Dark Arts addiction. He did, Harry noticed, stay close to Lucius rather than stand out a bit more openly.

He did another check and as he pivoted back toward the current action he saw a draugr sneaking up on—“Sev, down!” he yelled, drawing hard and releasing. The arrow shot through the space his stepfather’s head had been a split second ago and nailed the draugr in the eye, knocking it to the ground.

Severus came back up from his crouch and checked the space around him, then repositioned to a much safer location before sending more spells. Harry paused long enough to reanimate one of the defeated, summon a Dremora Lord, then bring another arrow to bear. Not even an hour later and Draco was breathing heavily, simply not used to such prolonged activity. That was when they heard more roaring.

Harry’s head snapped around toward it. “That’s not a dragon,” he said, and Shouted, then flinched when in addition to the roars he could hear heavy impacts and the sound of falling masonry.

“Giants,” Tom said sharply. “Viktor, get Harry up on a roof!”

Viktor scanned the surrounding rooftops, then stepped up much closer to him and held out his arm. Harry took it and braced himself as his husband side-along apparated them. It wasn’t long before they had all made the change in pairs. Draco and Lucius, Severus and Barty, with Tom joining the Malfoys. Harry kept his eyes on the glow, waiting.

“Will you bring in a few distractions?” Viktor asked.

“Yes. I can bring in a decoy and add a couple of other harassers, though I don’t think one of those draugr will last at all long.” The booming was getting much louder and he could see clouds of dust puffing up. ‘At least Draco is getting a chance to rest for a moment,’ he thought.

Two giants appeared from the floating debris dust, holding massive clubs they were using to knock holes in the sides of buildings. He glanced at Tom, got a nod, then Shouted, “Fiik Lo Sah!” As soon as his decoy was away he flung out his right hand to reanimate a draugr, then summoned another Dremora Lord.

Viktor and the others were already casting a variety of spells so Harry returned to launching arrows into he mix. The moment his throat recovered he Shouted at one of the giants, “Zun Haal Viik!” and watched with some satisfaction as its club went flying off.

“Control the other one?” Tom called.

He nodded, eyes still on the targets. When he was able he faced the club-wielding giant and Shouted again. “Gol Hah Dov!” A second later his target turned and started attacking its companion. They seemed to be doing well until more roaring was heard.

“Shit,” he muttered. “Going to try something I’m not sure will work,” he called out. “A dragon ally might show up!” He looked up at the sky and Shouted, “Durnehviir!”

The clouds overhead billowed out and from them a dragon dropped, roaring in pleasure. “Qahnaarin!” it bellowed.

“Her successor,” Harry yelled back. “We could use some help!”

The dragon dropped to perch on a nearby rooftop and extended its neck to bring its head closer to peer at him. “Dovahkiin.”

Drem yol lok. Geh. Valdis taught me how to call you,” he replied, slightly creeped out at its almost colourless, semi-undead appearance. “There are more giants incoming.”

The dragon’s head whipped around to look, and then it launched into the air and began to attack. Viktor reached over to grab his hand and squeeze it; he could feel fine tremors being transmitted and knew that his husband was a bit freaked out again. He pulled Viktor’s hand up and kissed the back, then released it and grabbed an arrow instead.

For a long five minutes Durnehviir battled the additional two giants as the humans continued to send their own attacks, against both giant and draugr. As his control slipped over the one giant he animated one of the dead ones and summoned another Dremora Lord. Durnehviir flew back into the clouds and vanished when his tether to the Soul Cairn recalled him; but by then they were down to just a single, wounded giant and only a handful of draugr.

Once those were finally down Harry checked the area again and sighed in relief. Tom apparated over and eyed him so he said, “I don’t see anything else at the moment. But Draco looks like he’s about to collapse.”

Tom nodded. “Head back to Skyrim. I’ll tell the others,” he said, then apparated again.

He slung his bow back and turned to Viktor, who had their portkey ready. He smiled and laid a finger on it.

Back in the entrance hall he had enough time to stow his weapons before Draco portkeyed in; the blond immediately skittered over with a look of awe on his face. “Oh, wow, Harry. I had no idea!”

He smiled. “Thank you?”

“Just wow,” Draco said, sounding almost like a squealing fangirl. “And that bow!”

He looked over at Viktor and scowled when he saw just how amused his husband was rather than sympathetic. “Er, well, right. I need a shower,” he said, then more or less fled.

Viktor caught up with him as he was undressing and joined him in stripping down. “I am sorry. It was just too funny seeing you in that position.”

He scowled again, but admitted, even if only in the privacy of his own mind, that it was amusing. Draco had calmed down by the time they assembled for dinner, but he still gave off an aura of excitement. Severus sat to his other side and very quietly said, “Thank you.”

Harry gave him a smile and nodded; words were unnecessary.

“I’ve realized, Harry,” Tom said, “that you have yet to say anything about those books and scrolls you brought back.”

“Oh, er. I guess I heard that bit about insanity and. . . .”

“I think, on further reflection, that the warning was meant to prevent you from becoming too interested in all that was there, to the exclusion of purpose and the test itself.”

He considered that. “Yes,” he said slowly, deciding that he agreed. “I’ll get them out and we can go over them. After dinner?”

Lily decided to drop a bombshell when she said, “I received another letter from James,” which got everyone’s attention. “He asked when I was coming back to Britain to be with the Order of the Phoenix again.”

He stared at his mother for a long moment, but was distracted when Severus started laughing so infectiously that he couldn’t help but join in. Most everyone at the table who understood was showing some kind of mirthful response.

Tom chuckled darkly and asked, “And how do you plan to respond, if at all?”

He had to lean forward to see around Severus. His mother had an indecisive look on her face, but finally she said, “I was thinking of saying that being a part of the Order almost got my whole family killed last time around, so not to expect me. I, er, divorced myself from that whole situation a decade ago.”

Tom smirked at her wording, as did Lucius.

She looked at her husband and said, “I have to wonder if next you’ll be getting a letter from Dumbledore. Or if he’ll try to persuade me once James gets a negative response. Now that I think about it I’m a bit surprised you haven’t already.”

Severus shrugged. “Dumbledore surely realized when I left so suddenly that his hold over me, however tenuous, was broken. It was certainly nothing he did that effected your survival or even safety in the end, and it is not as though he managed to secure some vague promise from me about future behavior. If anything he greatly underestimated the Dark Lord’s sanity and purpose that night.”

Harry suddenly realized he was missing information, which prompted him to ask, “Severus, what has he been doing all this time since Tom returned?”

“I never told him when my Dark Mark returned as it had been. Lily lived, which meant the Dark Lord—it was not until the attack at the World Cup Final that he assumed he had returned. He did ask me then and I had to show him that it was indeed back. He would have taken no other evidence than that of his own eyes for something of that nature.”

“And your answer to why you never said anything?” Viktor asked.

“That I never felt it return and that I’ve felt such disgust since I overheard those words that I have never looked at my bare arm since that time and do anything to avoid seeing it,” Severus replied.

And whether that was true or not it made a fair amount of sense, and even showed loyalty to a master who had, in fact, heard his plea and spared the life of an enemy combatant. “All right,” he said. “So what has he been doing since then?”

“He seems to be convinced that the Dark Lord used something called Horcruxes to defeat death and has been searching for them, the idea being that if he destroys them all then the Dark Lord will be fully mortal again and can be killed for real.”

Harry laughed, and laughed some more.