Grazhir :: Crossover :: 01 :: Vanquished

01 • Vanquished

Harry sat in silence, reading through his book yet another time despite the fact that he could recall every printed word with perfect clarity. Fawkes had assured him repeatedly in the past, and did so even in the present, that it would work. And it had, at least up through the original plan for vanquishing Voldemort.

He sighed and set the book aside, then looked over at his former professor. Very few people had any idea of how Tom Riddle had actually been defeated, if you could call it that, and Severus was the only one actually alive to speak of it, not that he would. He had been the one responsible for creating a golem of sorts, a construct to serve as the corpse of the Dark Lord by way of misdirection.

Harry had no intention of anyone else ever finding out exactly what he’d done, much like he had no intention of letting anyone ever see the book he had memorized. That, like the stone-encapsulated soul of Tom Riddle, would need to be hidden away, though not in the same place, and perhaps he would be better served destroying it instead.

Severus arched one brow in silent inquiry.

Harry glanced off to the side briefly, then said, “I know. I’m brooding again.”

“I should think you would be pleased,” was the response.

“Pleased? Certainly I’m happy that people have gone on with their lives, but I admit I was foolish enough to hold some hope that my friends would not succumb to the pressures of fame. I feel completely left behind and it’s been over a year.”

“No one honors a saint on his hearthstone,” Severus replied evenly.

Harry let out a snort of laughter. “Least of all me.”

“You, brat, are at least humble, which is more than I can say for most people well known as defenders of the Light. Speaking of brooding, have you given any further thought to the recommendation Fawkes gave you?”

Harry adopted a calculated expression of slyness. “And wander off into the great unknown by myself? I’d probably have an accident and kill myself.”

That earned him a soft chuckle. “Possibly. Are you trying to coax me into accompanying you, brat?”

“Well,” Harry said, “you do seem to have this odd habit of trying to save me from myself, so if you think it’s a good idea to go, then shouldn’t you be with me? You’ve told me countless times that I need a keeper.”

Severus leaned forward and stared at him intently. “Would you like me to place a jeweled collar around your neck, brat, and attach a leash?”

Harry smirked and fluttered his lashes. “I thought you’d want to save that sort of thing for bed, Sev, but if you want to practice ahead of time, I’m sure I won’t mind.”

“You are incorrigible.”

“Perhaps,” he said mildly. “You know very well that I wouldn’t do this without you. If you don’t want to take the chance. . . .”

“And you know just as well that I despise this world at present, and they despise me.”

Harry nodded and bit his lip. “And we don’t know what would happen if we did. We could go from mildly intolerable to worse. Fawkes wasn’t exactly explicit about the possible repercussions.”

“That blasted bird spent too much time as Albus’s familiar,” Severus said with some heat. “We could simply move to a new country, but I get the feeling that at some point people will notice you’re no longer around and the questions will begin again, not to mention the demands, the lack of privacy. . . .”

He rubbed his face with both hands and held back a sigh. Severus’s prediction was all too likely to become reality and he had already had his fill of defending his choice of companion and lifestyle. “What if . . . we go and something happens to that . . . sculpture?”

Severus let out a sigh of mild exasperation, which was a far cry from the scowl or sneer or harsh words Harry might have expected in the past. “Brat, you placed the strongest unbreakable charm you know of on it. If you want, we can charter a boat and drop the thing in the middle of the bloody ocean.”

Harry brightened considerably and smiled. “We could.”

*

Several weeks later found Harry and Severus (both disguised) starting their trip. The book likened it to a pilgrimage, though both of them found it highly unlikely that they’d be stopping in at any churches or mosques along the way. Their first stop was Bulgaria. Deep within the depths of a forest the two men stumbled over what looked to be an ancient ruin.

While Severus could not hear it, Harry could detect the faint sound of phoenix song in the air mixed with something else. With a philosophical shrug he tugged on Severus’s sleeve and walked toward the entrance, stepping in cautiously with his wand ready in one hand. To his surprise he found not one trap or ward during their journey, and they eventually arrived in an odd circular chamber.

The platform they stood on was not solid, having many keystone-shaped holes around the perimeter, which when investigated revealed nothing more than an inky black darkness that resisted even lumos. However, of more interest was the sculpture at the center of the platform, covered in a translucent barrier of some kind that glowed in a shifting array of colours.

The high relief sculpture itself looked much like the one Harry had turned Voldemort into, though this one was clearly fashioned from a female creature, a veela, and like Riddle’s, they could not see the entirety of her face. Her long silvery hair flowed around her body like a frozen wave, slowly mutating into feathers in shades of sea green and blue.

“At least it’s attractive,” Severus commented absently, then snapped back into focus with a slight shake of his head. “Well, brat? What are you waiting for?” he demanded.

Harry cast his lover a look of irritation. “I’m still not entirely sure about this. That’s a soul in there, after all, trapped for eternity.”

Severus scowled in return. “A soul which, to all accounts, did this willingly. A soul which serves absolutely no purpose if no one comes forth to take up the task and use it for the guardianship it was intended for.”

“I could release her.”

“You could. You could also speak with her and see if that’s what she actually wants. I find it incredibly presumptuous of you to pass judgment without bothering to see all sides of this situation,” Severus retorted.

Harry sighed and backed down from his stance. “You’re right.” He looked back at the sculpture for several long moments, then held out one hand. A second later an ornate staff appeared in his grasp and he knelt, laying it across his thighs. Behind him he could hear Severus stepping back to give him room, though to his mind, room was a relative term.

In point of fact, he would need to do something akin to prayer, and Harry had never exactly been a religious person. After several deep, calming breaths Harry bowed his head, closed his eyes, and called within his head, a mental plea, to the soul bound in the sculpture. He entreated, not for help, but for an audience, simply to speak, and continued his request until a glow greater than what was normal for the chamber began to seep past his closed lids, at which point he opened his eyes to see a ghostly veela girl hovering above the barrier.

“Why do you call in such a manner?” she asked.

Harry was not entirely certain if Severus could even hear her voice, and dared not look behind him to see. “I wish to know if you are content to remain as you are or would rather be released from your confinement.”

Her face took on a puzzled aspect. “You, a summoner, would ask such a thing?”

“It is not my nature to condone what could be slavery,” he replied softly. “I would know if you underwent this . . . transformation . . . willingly, and if it is a burden you would prefer to be released from, rather than serve any with the ability.”

She laughed, a silvery sound, and reached forward to pass a ghostly hand down the side of his face. “I assure you, I was willing. And am. Though”—she glanced over his shoulder for a moment—“I see that you have not followed the scriptures in more ways than one.”

Harry stiffened.

“It is of no matter,” she said carelessly, then stared at him. “Why have you come, then? And do, please, make yourself more comfortable—both of you. I haven’t spoken to anyone in centuries.”

Several hours later—Harry was slightly dizzy from her restless pacing around the circumference of the barrier—she had been filled in not only on the war with Voldemort and his vanquishment, but his disposal and their reasons for seeking her out.

“And will you take the advice of this Fawkes?” she asked. “Will you both make this journey and gather allies such as myself, and then step into the unknown?”

Harry glanced at Severus, then said simply, “Yes.”

She smiled and said, “You may call me Siren,” before crouching and launching herself at him, disappearing as she entered Harry’s body.

*

Harry came awake all at once and was surprised that he had to at all, though not that his head was cradled by Severus’s lap. “What happened?”

“You passed out, brat.”

He blinked and nodded slightly. “I guess I ought to have expected that.”

Severus ran his fingers through Harry’s hair before saying, “Perhaps. However, once I had ascertained that you were in no danger, I fell to thinking about the fact that Siren did not call you on a point of potential hypocrisy.”

“Huh?”

“The fact that Riddle is currently enjoying the same ‘life’ as she given your comments on slavery.”

Harry thought about that for a moment, starting to wonder himself, when he heard a faint response in his head. “She says if a phoenix endorsed it, who is she to complain. And, we also took great care to make sure no one would ever find the results. She doesn’t find it a point of contention, in any case.”

Severus nodded, his dark hair falling into his face. “You should know, brat, that she left something behind.”

“Huh?” Harry repeated.

Severus heaved a gentle sigh. “You’ve been marked. I noticed it when I was checking you over for any injuries. Take a look at your arm.”

Harry reflexively lifted his right arm and glanced over it, then noticed a . . . tattoo? Were it not for the fact that it was apparently embedded in his skin he would have called it a bracelet or armband. Solid silver lines encircled his upper arm, enclosing a background of pearl in which resided a figure remarkably similar to the chamber’s sculpture. “Hn. The book never said anything about this. I wonder if more will appear as we find each of the others.”

“It seems logical, though we won’t know until we try.”

“And you’ve never accused me of being logical,” Harry said with some amusement.

“Indeed. Now, if you’re feeling well, I suggest we move along. We have several more of these. . . .”

Harry, noticing that his lover couldn’t decide on an appropriate word, said, “Temples?”

“All right, we have several more temples to find.”

“Okay. Not that I’m trying to be reasonable or anything, but I suppose we could hunt down a nice hotel and rest first. I feel slightly disoriented at the moment.”

Severus snorted softly. “As you say, brat.”

Their next stop was in Romania, and a rather similar conversation with a vampire ensued. From there they moved on and gathered up a unicorn and werewolf as their allies. Each of them left behind a similar marking as had Siren, each appearing within the original band she had left on Harry’s arm. And Fawkes appeared to them that evening as they rested.

Child.—

“Yes, Fawkes?”

There is only one left for you to obtain.

Harry blinked. That might explain his current lack of motivation, his loss of a sense of direction. Then he remembered that Severus could not understand the phoenix. “Just one remaining? And do you know where we might find it?”

Of course. I will guide you there myself, child, after you have rested. In the morning, prepare for your last trip. It will not be arduous.

He nodded and turned to his lover. “All right. Fawkes says he’ll guide us in the morning.”

“And after that?” was Severus’s not unreasonable question.

“Oh.” Harry looked back at Fawkes.

I will explain then. For now, rest and refresh yourselves. I will return once the sun has risen.— Then Fawkes disappeared in a burst of flame.

Harry dropped his head. Despite that fact that he had once again passed out, he was feeling fairly all right. A slightly wicked grin transformed his face, and a moment later he had transfigured a scrap piece of paper. “Sev,” he said, dangling a jeweled collar from one finger, “want to play?”

*

They had already eaten and packed up their meager belongings when Fawkes arrived in another burst of flame. Both looked up with interest.

If you are ready, we will go.

“Certainly. Where to?”

Fawkes gave him a series of convoluted directions (which Harry scrambled to put to paper as he knew it was likely he would not remember them properly), then promptly flashed out again. Harry handed over the instructions and waited for his lover’s opinion.

Severus’s reaction was to snort softly and roll his eyes. “It would have been as simple to tell us Bane’s End. I am well aware of its location. Get your things, brat. I will provide the direction, but you will need to augment me as I apparate us. Did he say anything else?”

Harry started to shake his head, then paused. “Well, I got the impression that if there was anything we couldn’t live without, we ought to fetch those things first. He didn’t say it outright, though.”

Severus arched a brow at him and nodded. “Then we will return to the house first. If necessary, we can make a stop at Gringotts before we join Fawkes.”

It was several hours later that they arrived at Bane’s End. Harry found it to be an oddly dizzying place. The architecture pulled his eyes off in strange and conflicting directions, almost as though there were competing aversion and attraction charms all over the place. Severus, who seemed to have no such problems with the view, gently grabbed Harry’s arm and led him within.

Fawkes had not yet deigned to appear so they wended through the structure, heading deeper and deeper, until they arrived at a familiar looking chamber. However, this one did not contain a sculpture; the center of the platform was bare stone.

“Is it just me, or are you also confused?” Harry asked Severus.

“We shall wait for that blasted phoenix. No doubt he will have answers.”

Harry shook his head; it really was a good thing that Severus had such a sharp mind and was rarely caught off guard. Compared to his lover, Harry was freakishly excitable. And at that, Harry jumped in surprise as Fawkes flashed into the room, and waved a hand in irritation at the snickering that provoked from Severus.

Greetings, child.

“Hello again, Fawkes.” Harry eyed the bare floor for a moment, then said, “We seem to be missing something here.”

Yes. That is why I am here. I will be your final ally.

“What!? Are you trying to tell me you expect me to transform you?”

Not exactly, child. I can do that on my own. You must, however, call me forth like any other so that I may bond with you. I must in order to be able to send you and your companion onward.

Harry glanced back at Severus and quickly relayed the phoenix’s words.

“I see no particular reason to stop now,” Severus replied after a few moments. “It is his choice.”

And so it went.

*

Harry groaned and rolled onto his side, trying to figure out who in hell was making such a racket. He cracked open one eye, then sat up quickly, looking around wildly for a moment until he spotted Severus. The second he was at his lover’s side he looked back at the source of his surprise. There, dressed in very revealing clothing, was a young girl with light brown hair. She sported a pair of what resembled muggle firearms and was shooting with amazing accuracy at a tentacled creature Harry could not put a name to.

Severus stirred and Harry automatically reached out to pull him up and support him, watching in amazement as a blond young man leapt onto the scene from nowhere and drove a massive sword into the other creature crowding the immediate area. “I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore,” Harry whispered, then blinked when both strangers turned to look at them. “Um, hello.”

“Hi!” the girl chirped. “Are you okay? Oh! My name is Yuna, and this is Tidus.”

“We’re fine,” Harry said after a look at Severus. “I’m Harry. My . . . companion . . . is Severus.” He hesitated, then asked, “If you don’t mind, just what were those things?”

She tilted her head curiously. “I was fighting a variety of ochu, and Tidus took care of the behemoth,” she said slowly, exchanging a concerned look with the blond. “Are you sure you’re all right?”

“Where are we?” Severus asked abruptly.

“Zanarkand ruins,” Tidus replied cheerfully. “Though, we’re trying to change that.”

“I’ll get you for this, Fawkes,” Harry muttered, then slowly rose to his feet. “I’m sorry, Zan-ar-kand?”

“You’re obviously not from around here, or . . . did you hit your head?” Yuna said. “It’s really no trouble if you’re hurt. We have plenty of potions, or can use spells to heal you.”

Severus stood up and took position just behind Harry. “Spells?”

“Well, yes.” She exchanged another concerned look with Tidus.

“If you don’t mind,” Severus said smoothly, “I believe my companion and I need to have a short talk.” He then grabbed Harry’s hand and dragged him off a few steps, far enough so they could speak in low voices and not be overheard, but not so far as to seem suspicious.

“Severus, what the hell is going on?”

“I still think Fawkes spent too much time with Albus. I would not doubt he would enjoy our dilemma. On that note, I suggest you attempt to talk to him, as you did Siren, to see what he is willing to tell us.”

Harry frowned and pulled his sleeve up high enough to look at his upper arm. Sure enough, there was a stylized phoenix addition to his armband. After fixing his clothing he closed his eyes and concentrated, then opened them in frustration. “He’s not answering, Sev. I may have to summon him, and I don’t know how those two will react.”

“I believe we need to take the risk, brat. They have mentioned potions and magic, so it may be they will not be greatly surprised.”

Harry stared into Severus’s liquid black eyes for a moment, then nodded. “All right,” he said, then held out his hand, his staff appearing a heartbeat later. A gasp made him whip around to see Yuna sporting a look of total disbelief.

“Is that what I think it is?” she asked in a hushed tone.

“Er, that depends on what you think it is,” Harry said in reply, preferring her to speculate verbally rather than explaining himself.

“Looks a lot like a summoner’s staff if you ask me,” Tidus supplied, his expression partly confused. “I thought you knew every summoner in Spira, Yuna.”

“I do,” she said absently.

Harry looked at Severus again, and on seeing a nod, whirled his staff in an intricate pattern and stepped back as a massive phoenix erupted into existence. “Fawkes, can you please help us? You seem to have left out a huge number of details.”

The phoenix trilled out his amusement, causing Severus to scowl, then turned his magnificent head to stare intently at Yuna and Tidus for quite some time. —You can trust these two, child. Lady Yuna is a High Summoner and Sir Tidus was one of her guardians. They can explain everything you might wish to know about your present circumstances.—

“High Summoner? What the—all right. As you say, Fawkes, though I am rather miffed at you at the moment. And I don’t understand any of this. I’ve never heard of any place called Zanarkand, to be sure.”

You are in what you would call the future, child. Zanarkand did not exist in your time.—

Harry blinked and then narrowed his eyes in suspicion. “Future? Just how far, Fawkes? This doesn’t look anything like Earth.”

Several millennia at least. Time goes by so quickly. Call me at need, child. I will come.— Fawkes flashed out in another burst of heatless flame, so Harry put away his staff absently and turned to face the two strangers.

“Well, okay. Fawkes says you two can be trusted, so I’m just going to accept that. Could we impose on you to help us to understand just where we are? What this place is? What those creatures were?” He turned to Severus. “Several millennia, he said several millennia. I’d kill Fawkes if he wasn’t already, er, something. Sev, please take over.”

His lover nodded and looked at the strangers, arching his brow questioningly as he pulled Harry close to him.

Yuna shook off her surprise and confusion and smiled warmly. “If you like, we can go to our house and talk. I have never seen that particular Aeon before, but I know one when I encounter one. We’d be happy to help you, and I think we’d both love to find out just how you came to be here.”