Warnings: Slash, schmoop, my fairly pretentious writing style, etc.
Word Count: ~7000 (COMPLETE)
Summary: A bout of accidental magic takes Harry Potter, all of six, to Munich Circus. There he meets a boy with blue skin and a similar talent. Freaks stick together, right? COMPLETE.
Disclaimer: I don't hold the copyrights, I didn't create them, and I make no profit from this.
Notes: Three out of four crossovers reposted, and I've only had a handful of stupid people asking for sequels, since they're apparently incapable of reading author's notes. Only Time will be back up sometime in the next week.
Please, no sequel requests. This story is COMPLETE, as in finished.
Freak Like Me
I'm so glad you're a freak like me
Love like I dream of
Like they sing of in the beautiful song
Feeling it deep tonight
And I'd rather die
Than be without you when the morning comes
You make me feel like my search is done.
~Macy Gray, Freak Like Me
He's six the first time it happens, skinny and weak and not fast enough, being chased by Dudley and Piers and all of their friends, who outweigh and outrun and outfight and outnumber Harry ten to one. That's not hard, because Harry, at six, looks like he's four, and everyone always comments on it and Aunt Petunia turns up her nose and talks about bad genes in front of the neighbors. Harry also has no friends, no one to come to his rescue when Dudley decides it's a fine day for a rousing game of Harry Hunting, and there's no one he can ask to be his friend, because Dudley and the other boys are big and mean and scary, and frighten everyone else away.
Harry runs, because there's not much else he can do besides give up, and even at six, giving up to a stupid bully like Dudley is unthinkable. They're going to catch him—they always do—but he can at least make them work for it. He knows the alleys and streets around here, because when Aunt Petunia sends him to the store he always has to run and take lots of shortcuts to make it back by the time she says, and he can—maybe, possibly, hopefully—give Dudley's group the slip for the first time in months. When Dudley gets home, he'll take it out on Harry for ruining the game, but Dudley alone is a thousand times better than Dudley in a gang.
He almost makes it, almost gets away—but then Piers, the rat-like one, spots him as he ducks past a row of garbage cans and shouts excitedly, feeling the game drawing to a close, and Harry says a word that he heard on one of the television shows that Dudley isn't supposed to watch, but does anyway. They chase him, but Harry darts around the garbage cans and through the dirty alley, and makes to jump over a pile of garbage on the ground when there is suddenly a sharp crack, a feeling curiously like being sucked up through a giant's straw, and he is somewhere completely different, tumbling face-first into a pile of musty blankets in a shadowy room. The thump as he lands is loud, and throws up clouds of dust from the floor, and Harry starts sneezing as it tickles his nose. He's not alone, he can tell from the way the air feels—the same way he can tell when Dudley is thinking of going Harry Hunting, except this feeling isn't mean or nasty at all. If anything, it's surprised and kind of welcoming, and Harry likes the way it touches his skin.
"Hello," he says, once he's stopped sneezing, because Aunt Petunia always says to be polite in other people's houses, even though Dudley never is.
The shadows move, and another boy comes out of them, and he's blue, which Harry thinks is just about the most splendid thing he's ever seen. And he has a tail.
"Hello," the other boy says hesitantly, and his voice is thick and kind of gravelly, but he has an accent, and that just makes him even cooler.
"I'm Harry," Harry offers with a grin, pushing his glasses back up when they try to slide off. The nose-part is cracking again, from the last time Dudley stomped on them, but Harry can still see through them, so Aunt Petunia says he doesn't need another pair. "Why are you blue?"
"I am Kurt," the other boy returns hesitantly, though his voice grows stronger when Harry only looks curious, and not murderous. "I vas…born dis vay. Vhy are you here?"
Even if he doesn't know exactly why, Harry can guess. Uncle Vernon's said it enough times, and Dudley has repeated it, and Harry has always been blamed when anything out of the ordinary happens. This, of course, is most likely just more of the same. "I'm a freak," he tells Kurt, and somehow he thinks that Kurt won't mind so much, though he has no idea if someone who is blue and so cool will want to be friends with a freak, since he gathers from the way people say freak that it's a bad thing.
But, apparently, Kurt doesn't mind, because his eyes—yellow eyes, which are just as awesome as being blue—light up, and he says, "Yes, dat is vat people call me, too. Is it bad?"
"I think so," Harry says doubtfully, and thinks of Dudley growing wider and wider instead of taller and taller, and Aunt Petunia with her horse-face and giraffe-neck and expression like she's smelled something bad, and Uncle Vernon with his extra blubber and walrus-mustache. Somehow, if they aren't freaks, he doesn't mind being one, and says as much.
Kurt looks confused, probably because he doesn't have any horse-faced aunts or walrus-uncles or baby-whale-cousins, but he nods in acceptance and offers to let Harry look at his toys. Harry promptly accepts, because even though he knows he has to go back to Privet Drive at some point (though he hasn't figured out how he even got here yet), Kurt actually looks at him, and talks to him, and seems to like him, and Harry thinks Kurt is the grandest person he's ever met, even without the blue skin and the tail and the yellow eyes and the fangs he flashes when he laughs.
They might both be freaks, but they can still be wonderful friends.
That's only the first time, and though it takes them a few days to figure out how to get Harry back (and Harry thinks Kurt is even more awesome, because he can already teleport anywhere he wants, and not just by accident), Harry finds that he can jump back at any time he wants, as long as he's really trying to get there. One time, he doesn't want it quite enough, and ends up in a place where people speak in a funny way, and look at him strangely, and feel scary, and he jumps—or teleports, as Kurt calls it—away as fast as he can. That time he really, really wants to see Kurt, so he manages to pop straight into the other boy's rooms and straight into one of his warm, firm, blue hugs, which are probably the most comforting thing Harry's ever felt in the whole wide world, and which Kurt swears he only gives to Harry.
They can't see each other all the time, because they're both still freaks, and Harry has long, long lists of chores to do in the summer and Kurt has to be a part of the Munich Circus, which is where he lives. It isn't so bad, though. Harry usually teleports into Kurt's room whenever the Dursleys have gotten mad or freaked out and have locked him in his cupboard, because Kurt has blankets and food and books and is very, very warm, and he doesn't mind that Harry steals the covers when they sleep together. He's safe, too, because even though he looks strange he's always gentle, and speaks about his Lord in a reverent voice and quotes things like "do no harm" that sound like very good ideas to Harry, who thinks that he should introduce Dudley to this Lord whenever he gets the chance.
It isn't always by choice that they make their jumps, though it normally is. When Harry is seven, Dudley goes a bit far in using him as a punching bag, and it leaves Harry with a strange pain in his side that won't let him breathe deeply and a swollen nose that grates oddly whenever he bumps it and a wrist that hurts all the time. Uncle Vernon yells at him for making Dudley mad and comes at him with one hand raised, and Harry panics. Before he can think, he's in Kurt's room again, and Kurt is waking out of a sound sleep and panicking, too, when he sees the way Harry looks. That time, he stays with Kurt for two weeks, watching him stick to walls and do death-defying (from someone other than a teleporter, at least) stunts while the crowd cheers and shouts in the heavy, gravelly language that Harry's finally beginning to understand.
He loves the circus people, really, because they're all nice, and Kurt seems to love them, too. They all treat him like he's just Kurt's imaginary friend made tangible and give both of them bits of candy for doing chores or running messages, which is incredible, because Harry's never gotten anything for doing chores before. Kurt just acts like it's normal, so Harry plays along, and if he's a bit wide-eyes and somewhat astonished whenever one of the performers hands out a treat, they just pinch his cheeks and comment on what pretty big eyes he has, and how he looks like a sweet little doll. Harry doesn't like that as much, but Kurt always grins proudly like he's the reason Harry is so cute, so he doesn't have the heart to say anything, and bears it with quiet dignity.
Kurt comes to Number Four a few times, but that's more dangerous. While the circus performers are happy to see them and think that two boys who can teleport are even more darling than one boy who can, Harry knows that Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia won't share this view. Nor does Dudley, they find out, when Harry's cousin accidentally finds them in the bushes in the park. When Harry gets home, he's locked in his cupboard for a week, with Aunt Petunia checking on him every hour or so, so he can't even go see Kurt. It's a miserable few days for both of them before Kurt teleports himself into the cupboard, and hides under the bed every time they hear footsteps in the hall. They have a grand time together, because they always do, and the extra secrecy just makes it even more fun.
They're both still freaks, and they both still know it, but neither minds quite so much anymore because they have someone to share it with. Even when the circus performers won't let them out of the circus because of people whispering about mutants and rounding up non-humans, Harry and Kurt are still friends, so they find something else to do with their time. Kurt likes to read—strange books, usually, with titles like Crime and Punishment and Ecce Homo and Bleak House and Civil Disobedience, and really long books about genetics and how people think. Harry reads them, too, because they're interesting enough as long as he has a dictionary to look up words, and curling up with Kurt in front of the fire is infinitely more fun than going back the Dursleys. When school starts up, the teachers look at him funny when he talks about Barbara McClintockand Francis Crick and can quote Shakespeare easily and speak fluent German—especially when the Dursleys keep insisting that he's a hoodlum and a criminal (at all of eight) and in need of discipline.
When Harry is nine, and Ripper chases him up a tree, Harry doesn't wait for Aunt Marge to call him off—he immediately jumps to where Kurt is giving an evening show, and waits for him backstage. The other performers, well used to their sudden appearances and vanishings, just smile and greet him cheerfully, and one woman in a sparkly blue mermaid suit offers to sew up the torn leg of his pants for him. They're chatting about her act (diving from the top of a ladder into a shallow pool, and then putting on a show of aquatic acrobatics in the end with deeper water) when Kurt comes in and sits by Harry's feet, not caring that the green-eyed boy is just wearing a shirt and a blanket—they got over seeing each other naked about the time they started sharing a bed. The high-diver beams at them like they've done something wonderful and gives them both candy.
Harry and Kurt just look at each other and shrug, writing it off as something weird that adults do—because they're nine, and pretty much everything adults do is weird—and going up to Kurt's room in one corner of the attic, where someone (probably the fire breather, who's a bit of a pyromaniac) has already gotten a cheerful fire going in the hearth. They sit in front of it and talk about the future and what they can remember of the past, and what they want to be—though that's only because it's a question they feel like they should ask, even if neither of them knows the answer or really even cares.
"Together," Harry says firmly. "When we grow up, I want us to be together."
Kurt agrees, quickly and happily and with much relief, and they don't ask it again.
Things start to change with the zoo outing on Dudley's birthday. Harry's always known he's freakish in a different way than Kurt is—after all, Kurt's never re-grown his hair overnight, or turned his teacher's wig blue, or shrunk one of Dudley's ugly jumpers, and he's certainly never talked to a snake or made glass vanish—and while Harry doesn't mind (because all the other circus performers are freaks in different ways, too, and they're happy enough), he's never had an explanation for why he's like that. So, in a way, Hagrid's arrival on his birthday and the subsequent answers he receives are easy enough to accept, and rather comforting.
Harry, of course, tells Kurt everything as soon as he has a free moment to jump to Munich.
They sneak into the Englischer Garten and hide out in the Chinese pagoda, watching the tourists and laughing at their dazzled expressions, while Harry tells Kurt everything he can remember about the madman who tried to kill him as a baby and Diagon Alley and Gringotts Bank and the Leaky Cauldron. Kurt is fascinated, especially about the spell books, and makes Harry promise to bring them next time he comes. Harry does, and they spend hours pouring over every little detail of the strange things contained in Magical Drafts and Potions, Magical Theory, and A Beginner's Guide to Transfiguration—plus several that Harry got simply because he thought Kurt would enjoy reading them.
The books are strange, but in a good way, and Kurt seems excited that Harry will be going to a school that teaches only other freaks, like them. Harry wonders at this, because the Bible that Kurt made him read a while back says, "Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live." He points this out, once, but Kurt—all of eleven, the same as Harry—just turns deathly serious and talks about mistranslations and paranoia in the time of King James I, and how the actual meaning is far closer to "poisoner," and how the period's "an eye for an eye" laws mean that death was a completely acceptable punishment for poisoning someone.
Harry thinks those explanations sound good enough for him, and thereafter carefully avoids all mention of the subject.
(Even if he still doesn't completely buy into the religion, it makes Kurt happy, and that's all that matters.)
Then, before either of them expects it, September first has come, and Harry is whisked off aboard the Hogwarts Express. Kurt comes to see him off, and hides in the shadows where he is completely invisible (a skill Harry has always envied) as Harry slides through the barrier at Platform 9 ¾ with one last wave behind him.
The Weasleys think that he's waving to his family.
He doesn't correct them, because he is. Kurt's the only family he's ever needed or wanted.
On the train, he sits with one of the Weasley boys—the youngest—who stares at him as he reads one of the several books that Kurt gave him as a parting gift—Hogwarts: A History, which Harry gave to him first, and which has become a particular favorite of Harry's. He finds the stories of the founders to be enthralling, especially the founder of Slytherin, Salazar—who wanted to "preserve blood purity," even though they're all freaks equally. Harry wonders why Salazar didn't realize this, and thinks about how things would be different if, say, all the freakish children were found at birth and carefully monitored. They wouldn't grow up thinking that being freakish was a bad thing, if that happened.
For some reason he can't quite name, that notion quite appeals to Harry.
When the boy, Ron, finally speaks, it's only to ask if Harry is really Harry Potter in a somewhat high, squeaky voice. Even as he responds with an affirmative, Harry wonders if this is a bad sign or a good one, and shows the scar that makes him famous, and then goes back to his book.
When the door to their compartment slides open a little while later, just as Harry is sharing what he got off the snack cart with Ron, who looks hungry—Harry can sympathize; he's been hungry quite often, living with the Dursleys—a bushy-haired girl steps in with a round-faced boy at her side. She immediately spots the book Harry left carefully on the seat, and her face lights up.
"Oh!" she says excitedly. "I've read that one. Did you like the part about the Houses? Which House do you think you'll be in?"
She drops down on the seat beside him, apparently abandoning the other boy to search for his toad alone, and waits for Harry's answer.
Ron stares as though she's grown a second and third head.
It is, needless to say, a very interesting trip to Hogwarts.
It turns out that, while Harry can't jump to Munich anymore while he's on school grounds, the drawings in Hogwarts: A History are quite sufficient to allow Kurt to jump to him. Harry doesn't tell Ron or Hermione where he goes on the weekends, but when he shows up to dinner looking cheerful and relaxed, Hermione just smiles at him and Ron talks about Quidditch like he never left, and Harry slides back into his spot between them with ease. Kurt, for his part, loves the school, and would spend more time there if he could. He still acts in the circus, though, so their time is limited.
Nevertheless, one would be hard-pressed to find any better friends than them.
It is Kurt Harry goes to when he becomes the youngest Seeker in a century, and when Snape's glare makes his scar hurt, it's Kurt's idea that maybe Harry is overreacting to the Potions Master—because, really, would Headmaster Dumbledore, with all of his titles and accomplishments, actually employ someone who was truly evil? As this reasoning comes from Kurt, who always seems to know everything and is his best friend, Harry is somewhat more inclined to accept it than he might be otherwise. He allows that he might be dramatizing things a little bit, though he's happy he did all the extra reading with Kurt over the summer so that he could answer the Potions Master's questions in the first class. Because of that, Snape doesn't glare at him quite as fiercely as he could, and Harry tries to stay quiet in class and give the man the benefit of the doubt.
It's not easy, because Snape can be a nasty git, and the Slytherins are even nastier, but he does it because Kurt wants him to, and Kurt is usually right about things that involve other people.
Which is odd, Harry admits, seeing as he's blue, and isn't often around other people, but that's just Kurt, really, and Harry loves him for it.
When he looks into the Mirror of Erised, that one night, he sees himself and Kurt, sitting back-to-back in front of a crackling fire, reading silently, and he smiles and goes on his way, thinking that there isn't anything in the world that he could want more than that peaceful scene.
And the best part of all is that he can have it for the asking.
Then there's the whole mess with the Sorcerer's Stone, and Harry is utterly relieved that he listened to Kurt about Professor Snape, because as soon as he, Ron, and Hermione leave McGonagall's office—and it's so damned frustrating that she won't believe them that Quirrell has been acting oddly, and that the defenses aren't good enough when they're all that's standing against a man who helped put them up—he heads for the dungeons. Snape might be a right bloody bastard, but as long as Dumbledore trusts him enough to keep him at Hogwarts, he must be at least slightly dependable. He's also a suspicious wanker, which is the reason he immediately comes to mind when Harry tries to think of options for stopping Quirrell.
The look on his face is priceless, though, when his three least favorite students come bursting into his office, shouting about the Stone and thieves and danger. Harry—because he doesn't have to like the man, even if he trusts him—files it away for future amusement, to share with Kurt—
And Kurt meets them in the front hall, which gives Snape even more of a heart attack, and startles Hermione enough that she makes a kind of squeaky-scream noise, and Ron chokes on air. But Kurt only has eyes for Harry, and says in his quiet, intense way, "Der is trouble?"
Harry nods, and tells him what's going on, and the others gape at him like he's lost his mind until Harry rolls his eyes, grabs Kurt's wrist, and says, "Can you get us there?" even though he knows that Kurt never teleports anywhere he hasn't seen. But this is serious, and urgent, and Kurt knows that Harry wouldn't ask if it wasn't, so he nods back with steel in his eyes.
I trust you, say Harry's eyes.
I won't let you down, say Kurt's.
There's no need for words between them.
Not before, not now, not ever, and that is the most wonderful thing in the world.
"Hang on," he tells Harry, wrapping him in arms that are still the most wonderful thing Harry's ever felt, even now, and Harry looks back to meet the Potions Master's startled gaze.
"Hurry," is all Harry tells him, before he and Kurt are gone.
This is something Harry knows he needs to do, no matter how foolish it is to face even a shadow of the former Dark Lord without help.
But he does have help.
Kurt is there.
He's there for all the rest of it, too—basilisks and murderers and family coming back, tournaments and Tasks and the return of the most evil man Harry's ever faced. It's Kurt who's there for him, despite everything, with everything, through everything, a calm voice in the raging storm that is Harry's life.
(Horcrux hunts and Death Eaters and fair-weather friends, all of it, even when Harry wants him to leave and be safe, years when he's the only thing that's constant in Harry's life, and it's incredible, really.)
Kurt can't help with everything, because he isn't a wizard, and he has his own life that is just as screwed-up as Harry's, but the fact that he would help if he could is all that Harry needs. Harry has to send him away when they're on the run from the Death Eaters, because he can't stand the thought of Kurt getting hurt because of him, but they both promise (silently, because they've never needed words, not really) that this isn't the end.
Harry wants to keep that promise, but he's never truly expected to survive Voldemort, and that's just one more reason to bid Kurt farewell now, instead of later (when it will be even more painful).
And so they say goodbye.
When he steps into the forest, heading to face Voldemort that final time, knowing he will die and absolutely fine with it, Kurt is the last thing he thinks about.
That makes everything worthwhile.
But Harry doesn't die, not permanently, and everything is fine. Better than fine. The world is saved, and Voldemort is gone, and Harry is free of everything that has ever held him down, except for the one bond that he has always wanted, and he thinks it's time he finally embraces that bond fully.
It's easy enough to find out where Kurt is, with a simple Locator Charm, and Harry says his goodbyes—maybe final, maybe not—to the Wizarding World, and heads for Boston.
Family, his heart sings. Family.
He remembers stealing moments at the Munich Circus, in the Englischer Garten watching the tourists, reading with Kurt in his cozy loft, showing him Diagon Alley before Fourth Year—because in Diagon Alley, even being blue isn't enough to draw more than a few glances. It's like New York City that way, Harry thinks—showing him Hogsmeade in Fifth, curling up against him after Fifth when thoughts of Sirius were overwhelming.
He leaves England—leaves Hogwarts—without a backward glance.
Their goodbye was not forever, is not forever, will not be forever.
This time, Harry will say hello, and then he will never say goodbye again.
The first day after Harry had woken up from the incident with the Stone, Snape had been there, a dour black shadow against the cheerful brightness of the Hospital Wing. Harry, at all of eleven, hadn't known what to say to this man who glowered so fiercely but had aided them when no one else would, so he had kept silent.
And then Snape had taken a seat beside his bed and said, "You made friends with a mutant?"
Harry, who knew that word, even though it was usually spoken with a derisive bite instead of the professor's clipped tones, had bristled, because Kurt might have been a friend, might have been a freak, but he and Harry had long since decided that "freak" was a word only to be used between themselves, and "mutant" usually preceded "freak" by only a few sentences.
"Yes, sir," he had bitten out, trying to stay polite, but not wanting to. They were both freaks, even among their respective communities—Kurt in the mutant world or the Munich Circus and Harry in the Wizarding World—but that didn't mean either looked kindly on those labeling them that way.
But Snape had not said anything about freaks. Instead, he had handed Harry an old, tattered photograph of a beautiful girl with long red hair and green eyes, who had her arms wrapped around the shoulders of a sullen, scowling boy with a hook-like nose.
"Your mother," Snape said simply, "was much the same, choosing contentious friends."
America is vastly different, the first time he sets foot on its shores. In Britain, in Scotland, magic has been ordered for centuries, poured into the correct channels and shaped into something that can be controlled, used, depended on. But the moment Harry lands from his International Portkey, he can instantly feel the difference. America has magic, yes, and just as much as Britain, but here it's wild. There is no magical government, only small local groups. No wand-waving, just willpower. The Salem Witches' Institute is the only holdover of European magic, and it's small. All the others live by the land and their own code, and somehow Harry immediately knows that this is where he belongs, among these people who don't answer to anyone or anything, where magic—not Dark, not Light, not anything in between, just magic—is the only law.
"Extraordinary," he whispers, stepping onto the green, green grass that surrounds the Portkey arrival area.
The witch who's there to greet arrivals—unofficially, because there's no one to make her, and she just owns the inn down the road—smiles at him as though she knows, and picks up one of his bags, and leads him to her inn.
"Welcome home," she says, and it is.
It takes him only three days to get settled. First, he asks his host about any laws he should know of, about Muggles seeing things, or using spells, and she laughs at him. There are no laws here, nothing to enforce them. The mutants are so common that it's easy enough to pass any magic off as a simple talent, and Memory Charms or Potions take care of whatever can't be so simply dismissed.
It's oddly unnerving, when Harry thinks about the things he's been called to the Ministry for, for the warning he got for a spell that he didn't even do, for getting brought into court for simply defending himself and his cousin. Leaving Europe, it's as though these magic users left all of that behind, too, as though this is some strange haven where everyone exists in an eternal state of calm acceptance.
He knows that not everything is that way, of course, but seeing the witches and wizards—or warlocks, some prefer to be called—here, it's hard to remember at first.
When he asks how to go about finding a mutant—because he and Kurt had lost contact sometime around the start of the Seventh Year and the beginning of his flight from the Death Eaters—the woman is just as cheerful, and tells him about a school for mutant children in upstate New York. The headmaster there, apparently, is a telepath who can find any mutant, as long as he looks hard enough.
Harry's willing to try it, because he hasn't just jumped to Kurt in years, dealing with Voldemort and all the insanity that went with him. He doesn't know if he'll be welcomed after falling out of contact for so long. It's a stupid fear, and he's readily aware of that fact, but that doesn't change the reality of its existence.
Nor does it change the fact that Harry would be jumping with no idea of where he was going to come out, and that's a recipe for disaster, without a doubt. Hermione had managed to beat some sense into him, even if it was only barely.
So, no matter how much he wants to, he doesn't immediately Apparate to wherever his magic takes him when he thinks of Kurt. Instead, he gets Apparition coordinates and repacks his things, says goodbye to the friendly innkeeper and walks out into the cool morning with his bag over his shoulder. It's not all of his worldly possessions, but it's all of the ones that matter—things from school, things from Lupin, things from Sirius, and most importantly things from Kurt.
He has every birthday present Kurt's ever given him, carefully saved away.
It's all right, though, because Kurt does the same with what Harry gives to him.
Harry smiles, feeling the magic in the air sing through his veins, rolling around him like a vast, unpredictable tide, and he thinks of Kurt. Blue skin, carved with marks. Golden eyes, bright with faith and humor. Sharp features, a little too odd for classical handsomeness, but fitting. Dark hair, with just the faintest hint of curl.
Ah, he thinks, and the realization that suddenly grips him isn't really sudden at all. It's like sliding into a familiar skin, warm and comforting.
Ah, I'm in love with him.
He wonders how long it's been that way, and finds he doesn't care at all.
Love, Dumbledore had said. Love is the power the Dark Lord knows not.
It makes sense, Harry thinks. Love is a balance between two things, a divide between left and right, up and down, give and take. It requires dependence and independence, thought and instinct. Voldemort was never able to strike a balance, not in anything, and he suffered for that. Harry and Kurt, well…
Together, their balance could right the whole world.
(Not that Harry wants to try or anything—the world can save itself, if it ever needs saving again—but if it ever did come down to the two of them, he's pretty sure that it wouldn't be a problem.)
Voldemort never knew love, couldn't know love, and that was his weakness. The power he knew not. The thing that defeated him when other wizards had tried for years. Harry has no illusions about who he is, or what he is. He's still a freak, still different, still not ordinary—but for all of that, he's not that powerful. He doesn't want to be, either. He gave up the Hallows, gave up on being Master of Death, gave up on staying in the Wizarding World and going on to get more schooling. How he is now is fine. Any more, and he's afraid he'll be too far from the boy Kurt knows, and that thought alone is more terrifying than Voldemort ever managed to be.
Harry looks at the small, tattered wizarding photo that he carries everywhere, at the bright, smiling girl and the dark, glowering boy, and thinks about love.
The Xavier School for the Gifted is large and beautiful and out of the way, not hidden, but not in the open, either. Harry Apparates to right outside the gates and spends a moment looking up at it, savoring the warm sun that glints off the tower-like wings and strikes his face in a burst of warmth. There are children on the lawn, in groups. As he watches, a girl playing tag darts right through the bole of an oak and comes out on the other side. The other cry about unfairness, but chase her anyway, while several others about their age—about Harry's age, though he feels far older—look towards the gate, having heard the sharp crack heralding his appearance.
"Hello," Harry say to the nearest, a girl with a white streak in her mink-brown hair. He smiles politely, and doesn't force the gate open. "I'm looking for Professor Xavier. Is there any way to let him know I'm here?"
She hesitates for a moment, as though listening to a voice he can't hear, and then says, "He already knows. You can come in. And he said to tell you that your shields are impressive." The gate swings open while Harry's still puzzling that out, and he takes a few steps in before he realizes that his Occlumency barriers—Snape, he thinks with a twinge of pain, because the man was never kind, but he was a part of Harry's life that could never be removed—are still in place, and remembers that Charles Xavier is a telepath.
"Thank you," he tells the girl, because he's not willing to drop his shields around the world's most powerful telepath, no matter how much he needs that telepath's help.
The girl just smiles at him and returns to her friends, and Harry walks up the long path to the mansion, wondering about the odd little bits of magic he can feel here and there—as if some of the mutants have powers so similar to the magic he is used to, it just bled over.
They are us and we are them, he thinks, watching them. Only in a different form.
It's a comforting thought, because no matter how little mutants are accepted, they are still accepted. Maybe, someday, wizards and witches will be, too.
A man is waiting for him, framed by the front door. He's big and brawny and tastes feral in Harry's mind, a whisper of raw rage beneath the veneer of civility. Harry smiles at him, but doesn't meet his eyes—like a challenger would, with a solid stare—and says, "You're not Xavier, I take it?"
The man's mouth quirks slightly around the end of his cigar, and he shakes his head. "Logan. Wolverine," he offers instead. "I'll take you up to him."
Harry follows him, and thinks about how far he's come by now, and how much farther he can feel this man has left to go.
They step into the hall, where a long flight of stairs winds upwards, and a man is coming down them. A man with blue skin, and pointed ears, and a tail, and three fingers on each hand. A man Harry would know in the dark, or with his eyes closed, or if he was deaf and blind. And Harry freezes—can't think of anything else to do, because it's Kurt and he's there and Harry's so overwhelmingly in love with him, and has been for so long, and—
And Kurt freezes, too, yellow eyes going wide and filling with a recognition that Harry knows, because it's currently pounding at his thoughts, sweeping through every inch of his body like an inexorable tide, like the magic that's so present in the air. He takes a deep breath, and manages to smile past the overwhelming knowledge that's building in his chest.
"Hello, Kurt," he says quietly, but he knows Kurt will hear him.
He always does.
"Harry," Kurt breathes, and it's equal parts disbelief, awe, wonder, and love. There's a sudden crack, and he's right there, and Harry falls forward into him, grabbing hold of the old, worn clothes Kurt wears as strong arms come up and wrap around him in the same way that he remembers so well, the warm grip that shuts out everything bad and encompasses everything that has ever been good. The embrace is everything they've both wanted for over a year now, reassurance and worry and a thousand questions asked and answered.
Kurt puts his three-fingered hand on Harry's face, tilts his chin up, and kisses him, and that's more than Harry ever dreamed about, but just right at the same time. He kisses back, they kiss each other, small presses of lips to the corners of each other's mouths, the gentle slide of lips across each other, tiny nips and the devouring sweeps of tongues that make up something that is so easy even when something in the back of Harry's mind is telling him it should be hard.
By the time they break apart, hardly able to breathe, Logan is shaking his head and muttering in what sounds like amused disgust, and Kurt is grinning so widely that it looks like a shark's smile. Harry knows his own expression is much the same, can feel it, relishes it as he presses closer to the only person to ever be everything to him.
"Freaks, the both of you," Logan scoffs, but there's laughter in his growl.
Harry smiled up at Kurt, warm all the way down to his toes, and can't find it in himself to mind the words.
"My freak," Kurt says, and it's beautifully fond and possessive and protective, and Harry leans into him with a laugh.
"Together," he corrects, leaning up to kiss Kurt—his friend, his love, his lover, his rock, his cornerstone, his everything—once more. Once more before they start the rest of their lives, which will only include each other, and where everyone else will just be secondary. Their eyes meet, and Harry smiles, because there's so much joy in him that it has to come out somewhere. He kisses Kurt, and whispers, "Because you're the only freak like me."