Grazhir :: Crossover :: 02 :: Visiting

02 • Visiting

Harry sat very close to his lover once they were situated inside Yuna’s and Tidus’s home. A cursory look around revealed it to be in sad shape, but he made the assumption based on the condition of other buildings in the area that they had not yet had the chance to effect many repairs. In any case, he was grateful that Severus had no problems taking control, and that he could just sit back and try to make sense of things at his own pace, not at the lightning quick speed his lover usually could manage.

“Who would you prefer to start?” Yuna asked.

Severus immediately replied, “You.”

“All right,” she said agreeably. “I think the best place to begin, in order to describe how we are presently, is back around a thousand years ago. This place, Zanarkand, was once a thriving city with thousands of inhabitants. The other large city of the time was called Bevelle, and it still exists today. Back then there was a lot of friction between the two and a war started. Zanarkand had a fighting force of summoners along with other types of combatants, such as black mages, swordsmen, and so on. Bevelle, on the other hand, tended toward the use of machina.”

“Machina?”

“They’re known more often as machines these days. Like, um, mechanical weapons. My guns would be an example,” she said, then pulled them out of their holsters to display them briefly. “Relying on something other than just magic, basically, and preferably things that could hurt from a distance, so as to preserve the lives of their own fighting forces. Now, between this city and Bevelle is Mt. Gagazet and a place called the Calm Lands, so not all the fighting took place in the cities themselves.

“It came to a point that Zanarkand knew it was going to lose. They simply couldn’t stand against Bevelle’s machina, so a man named Yevon, a summoner, did something rather bold. Many summoners had already given their lives on the front lines, and their forces were low, so Yevon persuaded those remaining, along with the living common folk, to become Fayth of a particular kind. Not so much to allow summoners to call them forth as Aeons, but for something else entirely.

“The Fayth Wall still exists, but it’s dead now. We’ll show you later on if you’d like. Those newly created Fayth began what you’d call a mass shared dream they summoned as a group. They created a new Zanarkand, to keep the city alive after a fashion, but they also did something else, in conjunction with the original Fayth they had—they created something called Sin.

“Yevon decided if they couldn’t save Zanarkand, then he would destroy it himself, and then visit upon the rest of Spira despair and retribution for the destruction of his beloved home. The war ended after that, with this new horror, Sin, roaming around destroying civilization.”

She paused for a second, then brightened. “I’m fairly certain I have at least one memory sphere handy so you could see what Sin looked like. Anyway, then Bevelle had a new problem. They might have won the war, but they were losing everything else. So they made a deal of sorts, from what we can tell. Yevon had a daughter called Yunalesca, who was also a summoner. She created the concept of a Final Aeon, and her husband volunteered to be it. In exchange for Bevelle adopting a quasi-religion venerating Yu Yevon, she would destroy Sin.

“And she did, except that brought on the next problem. Sin couldn’t die. He could be temporarily defeated, but so long as the Fayth existed, he could rebuild his body, his shell, with the souls of the dead. The periods between times, when Sin was not rampaging, became known as a Calm. I think . . . in the past thousand years . . . there have been only five Calms? Six?”

Severus interjected, “You said the Fayth Wall was dead, and you were surprised at Harry’s summoning. Does that mean this Sin creature no longer exists?”

She smiled and nodded, but it was Tidus who spoke next. “The Fayth were able to explain, Bahamut at least, what Yuna needed to do. She refused, when it came her time to obtain the Final Aeon, to sacrifice one of her guardians, even though most everyone would have done it. We had to fight Sin directly, disable it, then get inside and go straight to the source, Yu Yevon. Along the way Yuna had to defeat her Aeons in order to get to him. Yevon never died, but he wasn’t exactly alive, either.”

“Sounds a lot like Voldemort,” Harry muttered, then tried to look innocent when Severus stared at him.

“We fought Yu Yevon and defeated him. Given that he no longer had the protection of the Aeons and his armor, it wasn’t all that difficult. At that point, Sin was no more, and would never be again.”

Yuna snorted softly. “There’s a lot more to it than that, but it’s a basic outline of the past. More recently, Spira has produced three power centers. Bevelle is still one of them, but their false religion was exposed for the lie it was, along with any other number of things. They call themselves New Yevon now. The next is called the Youth League, and that’s centered out at Mushroom Rock, though they’re building a headquarters at Kilika. The final one is housed in the former temple at Djose, where the Aeon Ixion used to rest. The Machine Faction calls that home, and they’re composed mostly of Al Bhed.”

“Al Bhed?”

Yuna went off on a short lecture about the different races in Spira, not one of which aside from human sounded familiar to Harry. What had happened to goblins and veela and . . . everything?

“We did have more problems, but that’s over with. There was a huge machina weapon hiding under Bevelle that was never used in the war back then.”

She proceeded to lecture for another ten minutes on recent history, which made Harry feel distinctly uncomfortable, especially on hearing her describe how she had been essentially possessed, and even others. Thoughts of Voldemort kept pushing forward, and he didn’t realize he had been shivering until Severus wrapped an arm around his shoulders and pulled him closer.

He really wasn’t happy about the concept of Unsent, either, and his reaction to that caused Severus to grab his chin and force his head around to stare into his eyes. “Voldemort is not about to pop out of that cupboard over there and yell, ‘Boo.’ Settle down, or I’ll be forcing a calming potion down your throat.”

Tidus gave them a really funny look, then said, “If it helps, I’m not exactly sure I’m alive myself.” He waved his hand at Yuna when she choked and continued, “I was a dream of the Fayth, just like the Zanarkand I lived in. I was brought to Spira, thinking I had gone forward in time somehow a thousand years. When we defeated Yu Yevon, I . . . couldn’t stay. It wasn’t until a short time ago, after Yuna and her friends took out Vegnagun in the Farplane, that the Fayth were able to, uh, dream me back into reality.”

Severus looked quite intrigued by that, but held his tongue, instead asking about an overview of their concept of spells and potions. After that Yuna brought them over to some machinery along one wall, explaining, “Shinra was nice enough to set all this up for us, so I can show you maps of Spira, and even the contents of memory spheres. That way you can more easily visualize some of things we’ve been talking about.”

A half hour later it was time for Severus to begin explaining, so Harry more or less tuned out, not wanting to go over it again, even just to listen. He was feeling very restless and excitable, not to mention still confused, but knew that once he’d had a chance to think about things, and talk to Severus privately, he would be all right. In the meantime, however, he was having a hard time keeping himself still, and eventually shook his wand into his hand and started casting discreet cleaning and repair charms.

His supposedly surreptitious activities were brought to a screeching halt when his lover grabbed his arm firmly and squeezed. “Harry, it is customary to ask permission from the home owners before you begin exercising your urges to help out.”

He blushed, he knew it, and gave Yuna and Tidus a sheepish look. “Er, sorry.”

They began looking around, their faces showing quite a bit of surprise at the changes that had been happening without their awareness. Apparently, charms like those he had been using were either no longer being used, or. . . .

“Um, we don’t mind, really,” she said. “I just wish I knew how you were doing that.”

“I could show you,” he offered.

“Briefly, Harry, so I can continue with my explanation. There will be plenty of time later to hold practical demonstrations all around.”

Harry gave his lover a half smile. “All right, Sev.” Then he openly pointed his wand at a crumbling section of one wall and clearly cast, verbally, “Reparo.”

Tidus gasped and said, “You’re hired!”

Yuna, equally amazed, turned back to Severus and said, “Please continue.”

So Severus did, and Harry continued to discreetly fix things to keep his mind off their own past. He only really started paying attention when his lover got to the very recent past, such as when he had been trying to decide whether or not to follow Fawkes’s advice.

“We were obviously knocked out by whatever Fawkes did, with you finding us. I would like to believe that was coincidence, but Harry has an alarming amount of good luck,” Severus finished.

“The fact that you can still summon, Harry, means that those Fayth are still out there somewhere, and Yevon must not have known of them.”

“I’ve only tried to summon Fawkes, though,” he replied. “I don’t know about the others yet.”

“Well, we can try tomorrow if you like. For now, I really think we all ought to have something to eat, then get some sleep,” she suggested, then rose gracefully and sauntered off through an archway.

“While Yuna’s cooking let me see about getting a room set up. I’m not sure what we’ve got left for stuff,” Tidus said, bouncing to his feet.

Harry and Severus also rose, following him through a different arch and down a dilapidated hall, then into the second door on the right. Tidus rubbed his chin, then said, “It’s not much, I know. I just need to go fetch some cots.”

“Do not trouble yourself,” Severus said, then produced his own wand. A few waves resulted in a pile of rubble in one corner becoming a magnificent four poster bed complete with curtains. Then he turned to the blond and said, “If your own accommodations could be made nicer, simply say so. Either Harry or I can assist.”

Tidus gaped for a minute, then nodded. “Just like that one?”

“Certainly.”

“I’ll clean up in here, Sev,” Harry said, “and make some linens and stuff.”

Severus nodded and turned back to Tidus, who finally shook himself slightly and headed back out the door. A short time later they were all back in the main room, and Yuna called out to Tidus to help her. Within minutes they were enjoying a meal, and though everything looked a bit funny to him, Harry could not say he disliked it. He was more grateful for the fact that Tidus hadn’t said a word about the fact that he and Severus would be sharing a bed.

The next morning after breakfast they went outside, so Harry could ease his mind on a few things.

“I’ve never seen any of them,” Yuna said once Harry had summoned each of his Aeons once, just to be sure he could.

“Yeah, but,” Tidus interjected, “hardly anyone was aware of Aeons like Yojimbo, Anima, and the Magus Sisters.”

She smiled sweetly at him and nodded. “True. And I’ve often wondered if we even needed them, but now I can see we might not have. Well, aside from Anima.” Then she turned an assessing gaze on Harry and Severus. “Are you both mages only? You don’t have weapons of any kind?”

Harry wrinkled his brow as Severus said, “Neither of us bears a weapon, though we are both versed in some non-magical methods of fighting. Edged weapons, mostly.”

Tidus frowned and was about to speak when Harry said, “That’s not entirely true, Sev. I brought Godric’s sword, and, er, Salazar’s daggers.”

Severus arched a brow at his lover and crossed his arms over his chest.

“The daggers are for you, Sev,” Harry said hastily. “I thought you might like to have them. And . . . I’ll just go get them now, okay?” He dashed off back into the house, not quite sure how he should be interpreting that look. By the time he retrieved them from his enlarged trunk and was back in the main room, everyone else had taken seats.

“Here,” he said softly as he sat down, placing the sheathed daggers in Severus’s lap. He was startled a moment later when Severus briefly placed a hand over his, then relaxed, knowing it had just been his lover being surprised earlier, not angry.

“I’ve been thinking,” Yuna said slowly, “about what you said last night, and I’m curious, if it’s all right to ask, why you didn’t just . . . send this Riddle person?”

Harry positioned the sword across his lap so he could fiddle with his hair. “Well, that was mentioned in the book, but I’m afraid I didn’t understand what it meant.”

She nodded, then smiled brilliantly. “I can show you. And by that I mean, how to do it, and how it looks.”

Five minutes later they were clustered around the sphere player watching Tidus’s memory of the first time he saw Yuna dance, in Kilika. “And this . . . sends the souls of the dead? Prevents them from becoming fiends?”

Yuna nodded. “It isn’t so much that it’s difficult to do, it’s just. . . .”

“Emotionally draining,” supplied Tidus.

They spent the next few days just getting accustomed to each other, and with Tidus and Yuna explaining in a lot more depth about the world they now lived in. Harry was privately amused that his lover seemed to be experiencing something of a wet dream when it came to potential potions, especially given the sorts of things that could be gathered from the fiends that infested the lands.

“Well, I think maybe we should take a trip,” Yuna said one morning. “You really ought to visit some of the towns and cities here, and maybe we could test out how good you are with those weapons some place like Besaid Island. The fiends here are too fierce to practice on, you know?”

“What about our house?” Tidus said. “I know the machina the Al Bhed gave us work to keep the fiends away, but is it enough if we’re not here?”

Harry felt Severus’s gaze on him and nodded faintly.

“We will add our own type of warding on this structure,” Severus said.

A day or so later found Yuna placing a call to someone called Brother, using something called a commsphere, asking him to give them a lift. Harry couldn’t understand a word the man said, and what little he could see made him not exactly thrilled at the idea of meeting this Brother, either. Then again, he didn’t necessarily look much more outrageous than many a punk Harry had seen walking about London, so. . . .

The ship, they were told, was called the Celsius, and it was like some child’s dream of a fantastically oversized toy to play with. Severus touched his hand to get his attention and murmured, “At least these people have managed to make magic and technology work together.”

Harry blinked and murmured back, “Yeah, but according to Tidus, they have fiends that can attack with magic, and machina as well. Interesting trade-off, huh?”

They were led onboard and onto the bridge, where Harry got his first clear look at Brother. Severus stiffened beside him in silent disapproval; he probably thought the man was ten times worse than any Gryffindor ever could be when it came to idiocy.

Buddy, when they were introduced, seemed to be fairly laid back, and little Shinra was a complete mystery (given his all-encompassing clothing) aside from them having been informed he was a genius. Harry was hardly surprised when Severus immediately engaged the boy in a discussion about memory spheres and their contents.

Frana du, Yuna?Where to, Yuna?” Brother asked after making an odd squawking noise and jumping a few times.

“Oh, Besaid please.”

Brother nodded and fiddled with the console in front of him, then shot a not so nice look at Tidus before saying, “Ec ra dnaydehk oui nekrd? E femm dyga lyna uv ed, oui ghufIs he treating you right? I will take care of it, you know.”

“Brother!” Yuna looked torn between outrage and laughter.

Tidus snorted softly and leaned over to whisper to Harry, “Despite being Yuna’s cousin, he has a thing for her, and doesn’t appreciate that I returned.”

Harry gave him a wide-eyed look for a moment. “I see. You know the language?”

“Picked it up during my journey. It’s more of a code than a language, though, but most non-Al Bhed can’t be bothered to learn it. Probably because of the whole Yevon thing. You know, heathen languages and all that.”

Harry sighed almost imperceptibly. It reminded him of certain pureblood manifestos. “How hard is it to learn?”

Tidus shook his head. “I have a set of primers if you want them. Listen, it’s going to take a few hours to get to Besaid. I can give you a tour if you like.”

“All right. Let me just see if Severus would like to come along. He looks pretty deep in conversation with, er, Shinra.” He turned away and approached the two men; Shinra was saying something about the liquid used in spheres.

Harry cleared his throat softly to catch their attention. “Tidus is giving me a tour. Are you okay here or would you like to come too?”

Severus looked almost interested for a second, then shook his head. “I am fine where I am.”

He half smirked; there were some things about Severus he thought he could never grow tired of. “All right.” Harry hadn’t even managed to turn back around and Severus and Shinra were engrossed again. Yuna was shaking her head as he approached Tidus, and after giving him a smile she headed over toward the two men he had just left.

“Hey, let’s go.”

Tidus took him all over the ship, from the engine room to the deck, and they eventually settled on stools at the bar in the cabin. Harry was part way through his drink when he realized that his new friend kept fidgeting.

“What is it?” His friend looked like he had an itch he couldn’t wait to scratch, or a question he was dying for an answer to.

“Oh, um, heh,” Tidus said, grinning nervously. “How long have you and Severus been . . . traveling . . . together?”

Harry chuckled softly. He had not expected such delicacy from a man who had been, so far, blunt and forthright about pretty much everything. “I kind of tuned out when Sev was explaining things, so if I say something you already know. . . .” He ran a hand through his hair before continuing. “Though, I doubt he would ever have explained this. I’ve known him since I was eleven. He was my professor for seven years, actually, and he hated me from the moment he laid eyes on me.”

Tidus looked shocked, but that wasn’t a surprise to Harry. “One of his reasons was something weirdly valid, and it was easy enough for me to forgive. The other one, though, took a lot of work to get beyond. He hated me because I was my father’s son. They went to school together, and my dad wasn’t always a nice person. He was young, I know, but that doesn’t really excuse his behavior.

“Let’s just say that my dad really didn’t like Sev, and the feeling ended up being mutual. And then I came along, looking so much like my father, and I guess Sev saw it as a second chance, a way to take out his anger on someone who couldn’t fight back, you know?”

“That’s. . . .”

Harry shrugged. “I grew to hate Sev because of how he treated me and my friends. And even though I trusted him with my life, I sure as hell didn’t trust him much in any other way. Still, after my godfather died, things started to change, and even more so after the headmaster of the school died. We both had to learn to set aside the past and see each other for who we really were.

“It might have been Fawkes that first led me to the solution for vanquishing Voldemort, but it was Sev who worked tirelessly to make sure I could do it. He spent all those years making sure I stayed alive, and then all that time keeping things together. He was the only one I trusted completely. I think he was one of the only people who could even understand me.”

“So, you’re . . . together.”

“Yeah. There were a lot of people who wanted my attention, but, I couldn’t trust them. They all wanted things I didn’t. Even my friends went a little crazy after all was said and done. I feel kind of like they lost themselves in the fame. Not Sev, though. He was like me, just wanting to be away from it all.

“Anyway, we lived almost in seclusion for about a year before Fawkes came to see us again and offered us this adventure.” He fell silent, hoping that Tidus wasn’t going to go all censorious on him, but knowing he could handle it if he did.

“Huh,” was what he finally heard. “I think I can relate a little. I mean, I hated my old man, but I guess I was way too young to understand who he was. He really wasn’t cut out to be a father, or at least not to someone like me. And he ended up becoming Sin. I was so worried that they’d hate me when they found out, that they’d find a way to blame me somehow, or think I’d become . . . I dunno . . . evil or something.

“It took that whole pilgrimage for me to finally see my dad as a person, and be able to forgive him, and forgive myself for still caring, and never being able to let go of wishing that, just once, he’d tell me he was proud of me. And in a way, it was nice that, even though I was famous in Zanarkand, people here didn’t understand that and didn’t necessarily care or believe in it, you know?”

“They liked you for you.”

Tidus laughed suddenly. “Yeah, even though I don’t always bother to think before I jump in.”

Harry looked over and smiled. “Sev keeps me grounded. I expect Yuna does that for you, too.”

Tidus nodded. “Say, would you like me to try teaching you some more white magic?”

*

“I’m so sorry to interrupt,” she said, “but I was wondering, Shinra, if you could do a bit of specialized work for our two new friends?”

Severus arched a brow at her, but remained silent. She knew as well as Tidus that neither of them wished anyone to know the truth about their origins or past.

“What do you mean?”

“Well, I was hoping you could explain to Severus how the dress spheres are made,” Yuna said with a tilt of her head. “And while I’m thinking about it, do you know of any equipment offhand that could be used in the manufacture of potions and other stuff like that?”

Shinra’s body language expressed slight confusion in Severus’s opinion. “Yes, I can, if you think it’s a good idea. I don’t know about equipment, though. I mean, we create our own version of a potion, and those grenades, but pretty much everything else is farmed from fiends for sale in shops. You know that.”

She nodded and graced him with a smile. “Yeah. But wouldn’t it be nice if someone could make those things?” Yuna glanced briefly at Severus, then back to Shinra. “The Alchemist sphere is the closest thing I know of to readily available potions, but only a few people can handle something like that, and it only works in battle.”

Shinra’s position changed to convey deep thought. “It would be an interesting challenge,” the boy murmured after a bit.

Seeming to sense a victory Yuna added, “I mean, you found a way to analyze spheres, right? Why not some equipment to analyze other things? The end result might not be a better understanding of machina, but I think Severus might be interested, and you’d have directly affected the welfare of everyone in Spira.”

The boy shifted again, still considering.

“Well, I’ll let you think about that,” Yuna said. “See you later!” And then she wandered off, headed toward the lift.

‘Clever girl,’ he thought as she disappeared from view, a mild sense of admiration welling up, and admire her he did, grudging as it was. He had learned about nearly everything over the past few days that Yuna had gone through; only a fool would deny her courage, her loyalty, and yes, even her cunning. And since Harry, Severus was far more open to the idea of clear sight, even if he wasn’t always accepting of what he saw.

He spared a glance toward Brother, stifling a shudder as the man moved about again like a demented chicken, squawking and pestering the navigator. His attention was pulled away as Shinra shifted again and said, “So, about the sphere system.”