AN: Thank JK Rowling and Bioware for creating Harry Potter and Mass Effect (because I certainly didn't).
Moving along with the story. Several people have messaged me for details about the Thorian and eventually we will learn more about it and several other things, but I don't want to toss all the answers onto the table right away. As many of you know, I like to tease everyone with little bits and pieces.
Warning- The following is a rant
I want air a small frustration that many writers and readers of fan fic will understand. I got a guest review after the last chapter (I screened it out because the review had so many writing errors it hurt, normally I'd let it through) that was a complaint that would apply to nearly any story on this site. In summary they were complaining about how Harry didn't act just like Harry does in the books. To this I would retort "Of course he doesn't!" While you could argue until you're blue in the face about nature vs nurture, our experiences help shape and define our person. Any story on this site that deviates even a little from its original content (which is all of them last time I checked) will cause the characters to behave and develop in a different way. The Harry of this story is experiencing things from the Mass Effect universe. How could Harry not be effected by this. I feel that I have kept Harry's core traits intact (courage, loyalty, a slight meekness), but he should deviate from his origins. Who could gun down a bunch of mercs with Wrex and not change? To all writers on this site, feel free to develop your characters the way you want as long as it's done along reasonable lines. To readers, the characters will be different in fan fic and often that's the point. As I've said before to people that do not like how a character or story is being done.
Write the story you want to read.
Harry was in heaven. He truly was.
"I deserve this after having to really slum it for the past couple of weeks." He thought.
Harry looked up across the table to see Ashley giving him a funny look. He then realized that he had been staring hungrily at the plate set before him: bangers and mash with a pint of dark ale! Harry and Ashley had walked for about an hour in the entertainment district of Tayseri ward before Harry had spotted this small restaurant called the Black Duck Pub. His heart leapt at the sight of a horribly stereotypical English pub, but he could not complain too much as the food and drink was to die for. It was one of the few human establishments in the ward and Harry guessed one of the few on the entire Citadel. The interior reminded him a bit of the Three Broomsticks back in Hogsmeade. It had dark colored wood lining the walls and thick bubbly panes of glass looking out onto the street. The chairs and tables were made of the same dark wood and the whole establishment was lit by fake oil lamps that were really omni lights. It was situated along a street that served as a cultural boulevard of sorts for the Citadel and offered slices of the Citadel home worlds. There were clothing suppliers offering traditional asari dresses, a turian tattoo parlor for facial markings, several salarian bistros, an elcor art gallery, and even a volus accountant office complex.
Harry was off daydreaming about ordering another pint and maybe even a scotch egg when he was literally snapped back to attention when Ashley snapped her fingers in front of his eyes.
"Hey, hey! Don't zone out on me again, Harry." she said with consternation in her voice. Ashley had let her hair down from its usual bun and was wearing casual jeans, riding boots, and a snug blue jacket made of a nylon-based fabric. Harry was pretty sure she had her sidearm concealed inside her jacket. He couldn't judge her as his was clearly attached to his hip. Harry was dressed in blue cargo pants, his field boots, and a black shirt. Since they weren't on duty they had decided to not wear their armor out as this would have drew a lot of unwanted attention. He turned his attention to his friend.
"Sorry, Ash. I just haven't been this happy in a long time."
"What's so special about this place anyways? It's dark and serves greasy food."
"You don't understand, Ash. This is a taste of home to me. I seriously haven't had stuff like this in years. Why don't you order something and give it a try? It might challenge your limited colonial palette."
"I'm afraid I won't fit into my armor afterwards if I do."
"Nonsense. One time won't hurt and who knows when we'll have the chance to get here again? Here, try some of mine."
Harry took his knife and fork and sliced off a piece of his sausage and rolled it in the gravy on his plate before offering it to Ashley. She appeared bashful for a bit and hesitated. After a moment she leaned forward and took the bite in her mouth. Her eyes brightened a bit and she savored the food for a moment before swallowing.
"OK, I'll admit it. That's pretty good." She said with defeat.
"See. Here's a menu. Look at it for a moment and order something for yourself on me. I'll be back after a bit."
Harry got up and headed back towards the bar he saw when they entered the establishment. He past a few other humans and a couple of asari scattered at the various tables before reaching the large man behind the bar. He quickly got directed to the restroom which was down a dimly lit hallway further back in the restaurant. Harry took care of his business and was walking back down the hall when a woman in a hood bumped into him.
"Sorry, didn't see you there," she said before continuing down the hallway.
"It's fine." Harry began to say, but the woman continued to leave without some much as a backwards glance. Harry made his way back towards Ashley when he noticed something in his pants pocket. He put his hand inside and fished out a folded slip of paper. He unfolded it and saw a message written in a sloppy scrawl.
Meet me in the alleyway outside as soon as you're done with your date. It's important. Bring her if you want.
Harry's eyebrows nearly reached his hairline. What was she doing here and how did she know where to find him? Harry quickly remembered who this was and realized that it meant that she was here on business and she knew where he was by virtue of this was Kasumi. He quickly gathered himself mentally and made his way back to the table while trying to appear nonchalant. Ashley was still holding the menu and staring at the pictures of entrees.
"OK," she began as Harry took his seat. "I think I've settled on fish and chips. That seemed safest. Is it any good?"
"A good classic and what I recommend for starters to good old fashioned English pub food."
"Wow, your accent has become more noticeable here. You sound like a bad guy from some of those old sci fi movie vids."
"It just reminds me of home. We had a place like this where I grew up. Food and drink was a bit different, but the atmosphere was much the same."
Soon their waiter came back by and Harry waved him down. He returned later with a plate of fish and chips. It was even lying on what looked like copies of old newspapers from Earth. Ashley took a hesitant bite before succumbing to the taste and digging in. Harry learned a lot about Ashley during their meal. She apparently was really into literature and could quite literally quote Ulysses from memory. She told him about her grandfather who apparently was the general that surrendered to the turians on Shanxi and how this legacy has plagued her family ever since. Harry felt sympathy for her. He knew what it was like to have your family's history held against you. Snape had really seen to that.
Before long their pleasant meal was drawing to a close and Harry remembered that Kasumi was waiting on him.
"Hey, Ash. I got a message from a friend a little bit ago and they want to talk to me. You're welcome to come along if you'd like." He said.
"Uh, sure. I guess. Is there something wrong?" she asked.
"Not really sure, but knowing her there probably is."
Harry led Ashley down the dimly lit alley way that bordered the Black Duck while listening intently for any sound his intrepid friend might make. He stopped for a second and held his breath when he thought he heard the sound of a boot off to the side near a wall.
He thrust out his hand towards the wall when he suddenly heard Kasumi cry "Stop!"
He withdrew his hand and his old friend re-appeared in the space he had gestured to with a crackle of energy. She was wearing a blue and grey suit of light armor that clung tightly to her body and had her face obscured by a matching hood. Harry grinned at her and she grinned back at him under the hood. They both suddenly closed the distance between each other and embraced in a tight hug.
"How do you always know where to find me?" She asked with laughter in her voice.
"You always try the same thing. Invisibility isn't enough. You have to hide as if they could see you and keep quiet." Harry said.
Harry heard a slight cough behind his head and remembered his company that evening.
"Ash, this is my old friend…"
"Katherine," Kasumi interjected, extending her hand to Ashley. "Katherine Kim."
"Yes," Harry said slowly. "Little old Kat Kat." He was trying to contain a smile.
Kasumi glowered at Harry so intensely that Harry felt it through her hood. If she was going to make up names again then he could have some fun with it.
"So," Ash said. "How do you two know one another?"
Harry felt a surge of jealousy from Ashley when he met her eyes to respond.
"Why would she be jealous? She's just my friend." He wondered.
"We met back on Earth before I got sent to Grissom Academy." Harry said. "She is a wicked technical specialist and also a real sneak when she's not around me."
"That's just because you were there when I learning how to be sneaky. You know most of my tricks."
Harry knew about Kasumi's line of work and her need for secrecy. She was one of the few people that he had told his secrets too and he one of the few that knew her real identity and profession. Harry knew that she would die before giving him away and he felt the same for her.
Ashley was completely cut out of the circle as two close friends reunited and left her feeling a bit awkward at how relaxed Harry appeared around this woman. She wanted to know how Harry could know someone that wouldn't even show her face and definitely possessed a restricted omni-tool mod that allowed her to go invisible. That hug seemed too friendly for her taste and Harry never seemed that comfortable with any physical affection from anyone. She had tried to initiate some small contacts such as a hand on the shoulder before and met only marginal success. Now this mysterious Katherine was here and seemingly ruining the good vibes Ashley had been developing with Harry.
"Ash, you alright?" Harry asked, snapping Ashley out of her thoughts.
"Yeah," She said. "So what's this all about?"
"Oh, forgive me. I forget myself sometimes." Kasumi said. "Harry, I have a job and I need some help."
"Oh no, Kat Kat. You know I don't get involved in your type of work." Harry said.
"Would you be interested if it involved your pal Saren?"
Harry and Ashley both looked at each other with surprise before Ashley spoke up.
"What do you mean?" she asked.
"Well, let's say that I found out about a large shipment of illegal VI software and supporting omni-tool hardware being smuggled into the Citadel and I decided to intercept it. While we're at it, let's also say that I found out that these VI belong to Saren and his lackeys and were intended to be used for nefarious purposes. Finally, let's also say that I want to get my hands on the software."
"Kat, you know I hate it when you talk around a subject, so stop it. Why haven't you reported this to C-Sec?"
Kasumi started laughing and doubled over on herself with her hands on her knees.
"Oh, Harry. That's rich. C-Sec actually respond to a tip on time? Please. Also, I want the software and some of the hardware for myself so why would I call C-Sec and have them get it all? Look, I need a small team as it will be easier to get in and out. I haven't had time to plan this as it all fell onto my lap so it will be a little less elegant than I like. I figured that sticking it to whatever Saren has in mind as well as making a cut won't hurt anyone. Well, except for Saren and his men, of course. They will probably hurt a lot."
Harry looked at Ashley and she shrugged her shoulders before saying, "Oh, well. This date seems to have fizzled out anyway."
"Yeah," Harry said. "Wait, what?"
Harry was crouched behind a crate with Ashley in the upper levels of a shipping dock. Below them were sixteen asari commandos all armed to the teeth with Eclipse armor and assault rifles. Harry was a little worried about Kasumi's plan, but she said it would be fine so long as they took advantage of the distraction she had in place first. The six of the commandos were fanned out below and keeping an eye on the surrounding area. The rest were supervising the loading of several crates into a shipping frigate. The first phase was to get into position and wait for them to load all but the last crate onto the frigate. So far there were only three left to go which meant they didn't have much longer to wait. Harry readied his pistol and looked to Ashley to find her staring at him.
"You OK, Ash?" Harry asked.
"Are you two seeing each other?" She asked with a serious tone.
"What are you talking about?"
"Katherine. Are you seeing her? I'd understand if you were. You seemed awfully close."
"What? No, eww. She's like a sister to me. She was there for me during a lot of hard times. Plus she's seeing someone anyhow. Pretty serious from what I've been told."
"Oh, good." Ashley said, her voice trailing off at the end.
"Were we on a date?" Harry asked.
"Look sharp. I think we're about to start." Ashley said, ignoring Harry's question.
"Ash, I think we need to talk about this."
"Firebird and Ashes, this is Mist. Are you ready?" came Kasumi's voice over their short range com they set up on their omni-tools.
"We're ready." Ashley replied into the com. "Why do you get a cool call sign and I don't?" She said to Harry.
"Why do you keep ignoring my question?"
Just then, Harry heard a deafening bang and saw a bright flash flare up from the other side of the crate. He popped up and began firing down below onto the stunned asari below. Kasumi had gotten close and tossed a flashbang into the middle of the group and had caused a number of them to go temporarily blind and deaf.
Harry pointed his hand at the densest part of the team and mentally shouted "Bombarda!" which caused a large explosion to fling seven of the guards out into their comrades and surrounding crates. There was a large burn mark in the steel floor and several pools of blue blood forming around the area.
"Ashley! Were we on a date? I'd like an answer." Harry shouted over the sound of gun fire.
"Now's not really the time, Harry." Ashley shouted back.
"Stop avoiding the question and talk to me." Ashley had used her excellent aim and started picking off the outer guard with her heavy pistol that held Harry's special touches and was dropping commandos left and right.
"OK, fine. I had hoped this was a date and let it slip earlier. I sort of like you." Ashley said
Harry sent a cutting curse into a commando and hit her deeply from the shoulder to chest, dropping her.
"Why? I'm not that special." Harry asked.
Harry heard something hit the ground near him and heard a beeping that was growing faster. Ashley noticed it too and grabbed Harry and flung them both over the other side of a crate just as the grenade exploded.
"Why not?" Ashley said in a breathless tone. "You're handsome, talented, kind, you don't judge me for being a girl or who my family is, and I really enjoy you doing pushups."
Harry somehow managed to blush even considering he was shooting the knee out from another commando.
Harry saw flashes of his sneaky friend here and there during the firefight. Kasumi would cloak herself, rendering herself invisible, and sneak up behind a commando and fire into them from behind before disappearing.
"Well, to be honest, I'm terrible with girls. You'd be better off liking someone else." Harry said.
"You can't be that bad." Ashley said firing at the last two commandos behind another crate in the docking area.
"Seriously. First girl I ever kissed started crying in the middle of it." Harry said. He caused the crate to fly into the nearby wall, crushing the commandos and just as soon as it began, it was over. Harry tried not to think about the large amount of asari he had just killed, but he would not feel sorry for them. Eclipse was one of the many scourges on galactic society and caused much death and suffering. Harry learned that you had to commit a murder just to join so Harry felt like he was putting down a rabid dog. Harry saw Kasumi walk up to an asari that was severely injured and likely never going to recover. She looked sadly upon the asari's massive wound in her side and missing leg before shooting her in the head to end her pain.
"No rest for the wicked." Ashley said as she looked at the mess around her. "C-Sec is surely on their way."
"No," Kasumi said. "My boyfriend has been jamming all security feeds in the area. We're going to leave this last crate here and make off with the ship. Once we're clear, we'll drop a line to C-Sec and let them find the Eclipse with a crate of the contraband. Not that it matters as they're dead, but who cares. Well, we had better get aboard."
They quickly went up the cargo ramp of the freighter and closed it behind them. Kasumi made her way to the cockpit and sealed the ship.
"Don't mind me," Kasumi said. "Please, resume your discussion earlier."
"What did we help you steal from gangsters, Katherine?" Harry asked.
"You're no fun, but illicit goods are, so let's go see." she said.
They made their way down to the cargo hold of the frigate and looked at the haul. Kasumi took a data pad and looked over it.
"OK, each of these crates here...," she said while gesturing towards some of the crates "contains micro servers loaded with a VI virus that could monitor and cripple C-Sec systems when activated. These will have to be destroyed. The other crates contain prototype omni-tools that do not meet Council regulations. Highly illegal. Want one?"
"What?" Harry and Ashley said in unison.
"I asked if you wanted one. I did a scan of these and the hardware in these omni-tools is top of the line. I'm willing to part with a few as thanks for assisting me."
"You just said they were illegal." Harry said.
"Yes, but last I heard you were running with a Spectre. I'm sure she can get an exception made for you."
"Not a bad point." Ashley said. "If the Council is willing to allow Spectres to work outside the law, why not have the best gear?"
"OK, Kat Kat. We'll take a few." Harry said.
"Great!" She exclaimed. She opened a crate and took out a black and red omni-tool. She activated her own and waved it over illegal piece of equipment.
"I've taken the liberty to add a piece of software to this that I use that you'll find interesting." she said before tossing the omni-tool to Harry.
Harry caught it and activated his own tool. Once his personal files and settings were transferred to this new device he replaced his old omni-tool with it. Ashley had done the same. They each pocketed several more to take back to their squad mates.
"Well, you guys had better leave unless you want to go with me to fence the rest of these omni-tools." Kasumi said.
Harry and Ashley said their goodbyes and the two of them exited the ship. They watched as Kasumi backed the ship out and flew the ship away from the Citadel. They quickly exited out the cargo area through the discreet exit Kasumi had shown them and made their way back onto the busy streets of the ward. Silently they made their way to where they had left the skycar they had rented.
"Well, we'd better head back to the Normandy." Harry said. "I'm sorry that this little side excursion cut into our time out to get… mmm!"
Ashley had grabbed Harry by his shirt collar and yanked him into a fierce kiss that lasted several breathless seconds. Harry's mind was simultaneously on fire and feeling like it was doused in water. He eventually wrapped his arms around his friend's small waist and returned her embrace.
When she finally broke away, she smiled at him and placed a hand on his cheek before saying, "This has been the best first date ever."
AN PS: This site's document manager has become more of a pain to use. Anyone else feel it has gotten harder to upload?