AN: Wow, I can't believe that I managed to type this up in just two hours. Anyway, I had an idea about a new story while I was typing up Fate's Gamble (My main story) and this just wouldn't leave me alone. So, I hope it is well received and all of that stuff, I'm sure you've heard it all before. Oh, I will say that Fate's Gamble is my priority story and this is my secondary one, so don't expect me to update this story with any regularity. That's not to say that I won't update it often, because I will, just don't try and hold me to any kind of schedule. Also, unlike Fate's Gamble, I'll be aiming for four to six thousand words a chapter, not the ten thousand ones my other story has.
Beta'd by: NIX'S WARDEN
Chapter 1 – Two New Beginnings
"This is goodbye."
With a smile on her face and her eyes closed, Reinforce was fully prepared to be completely annihilated, to die, if she was truly a living being. The last thing she had seen, the last thing she had ever expected to see, was Hayate's tear-filled face as she begged her not to go, but it was not to be.
The damage to the tome had been far too serious, far more than they had initially believed there was. The protection program had stopped, but the basic structure had still remained. If left for too long, she would have automatically created a new protection program, loosing control all over again.
It was impossible to restore the previous protection program, the one before the corruption, the Tome of the Night Sky had been permanently erased from Reinforce's programming and memory. Without knowing the original form of the program, restoring it was an effort in futility.
So, because of all that, Reinforce had chosen to be destroyed, rather than risk encroaching on Hayate ever again. She had met with the knights, Nanoha Takamachi and Fate Testarossa Harlaown on the surface of the planet. All of them together had been gathered for the sole purpose of destroying her utterly.
She had not expected Hayate, her master, to make her way out to her, but she had. Initially in her wheelchair, and then falling out and crawling towards Reinforce, Hayate had begged her not to go, promised to take care of the tome, but Reinforce knew that it was useless, she needed to be destroyed to keep Hayate safe!
So she had been destroyed. She had felt herself fading, her programming coming apart, piece by piece she began to be destroyed, becoming nothing more than a memory. She felt as the protection program, something that was deeply rooted in her, be destroyed and knew that her master was now truly free.
However, something unexpected occurred. Just as she was about to be completely destroyed, she felt a tugging sensation. She vanished, but she was not destroyed. Her memories were complete, and her programming was mostly intact, even if there were bits and pieces of it missing.
As she was being pulled to wherever she was going, she felt parts of herself regenerate. Thankfully, the protection program that had caused all of that havoc in Uminari City, and so many other places before, was not one of those parts that regenerated.
She came to a stop in mid-air. In her surprise, Reinforce flailed around before she impacted the ground on all fours and groaned slightly in pain. She looked up and locked eyes with a small child, maybe even a little younger than Hayate was, but this one was male and didn't have Asiatic features.
Reinforce looked the child over, noting that it was a boy with green eyes and black hair. His clothes were ill-fitting and looked to be hand-me-downs, if not outright charity clothing. He looked more than a little malnourished and unhealthy, but there was one thing in particular that drew her attention, the melted and disfigured half of his face.
Harry Potter had not been having a good day. He was ten years old, even if he did look more like nine or maybe eight. He had intense green eyes and shaggy inky black hair that looked an absolute mess no matter what he tried to make it lay flat. His skin was also rather pale, a testament to having slept in a cupboard under the stairs for nine years.
He lived with his aunt and uncle, Petunia and Vernon Dursley, because his parents were dead. He had been told that his parents had been killed in a drunk driving incident, one that was their own fault, but Harry doubted that was the truth. His aunt and uncle didn't seem to like his mother and father, and that meant they didn't like their offspring either, meaning himself.
Dudley Dursley, Petunia and Vernon's son, who was therefore Harry's cousin, was an unpleasant person. In general, he had taken after his father. Both Vernon and Dudley Dursley were large, the difference being that one could equate Vernon to a whale and Dudley to a hippopotamus. From Petunia, he had inherited his blonde hair that seemed to have been slapped on top of his head rather than having it actually grow there.
That morning, as was usual at Number Four Privet Drive, Harry had been awakened very early in the morning by his aunt Petunia. He had then gotten out of his cupboard under the stairs, where he slept, and proceeded to start cooking breakfast for the family.
Breakfast in the Dursley household consisted of a lot of bacon, eggs, sausage and toast. Well, that was true for two of them at least, Vernon and Dudley. Petunia tended to prefer muesli or something different. Harry, well, he got whatever scraps were left afterwards, and a slice of dry toast if he was lucky.
He had then washed the dishes and prepared to go to school. There were other jobs that he did around the house, the hoovering, dusting, mopping the laminate flooring, cleaning the bathroom, emptying the bins, cutting the grass, watering the flowers, all sorts of other things too, but he would do them when he had come home from school.
At school, they had found that for their third period of the day, the one before lunch, they would have a supply teacher. The reason they would have a supply teacher was because their regular one's child was in hospital and about to undergo surgery. Mr. White was going to be at the hospital for when his daughter got out of the operation room, to be there in person.
The first lesson of the day had been English, but because of how distracted the teacher was, they were told to just read a book or something. Harry ended up reading a book called 'The Hobbit' by J.R.R. Tolkien. The book was a bit beyond what Harry really should have been reading at that age, but he liked it.
One of the things he liked about it was that it had magic and fantasy and things like that in it. The Dursleys didn't like to hear the word 'magic' for some reason, they tended to get very angry when the word was even mentioned. Harry was a bit suspicious of this, maybe magic people had done something wrong to Petunia and Vernon or something, maybe they'd had bad experiences with magic before or something.
Whether magic existed or not, Harry would keep an open mind about such things, there had to be a reason that his aunt and uncle reacted as violently as they did to the mention of it. Maybe Harry was magical! Maybe there was some magical relative of his that would swoop in and rescue him from the Dursleys!
Yeah, right. Harry might only be ten years old, but he was... a little bit cynical. Having someone just swoop in and save him was just a tad too convenient for his tastes, there would have to be a reason for them to be there, a reason for them not to have come before, reasons why he had been left with the Dursleys in the first place.
Anyway, after the first period of reading, second period was for maths. Harry was good at maths, it was something he was proud of, but he wasn't allowed to let people know he was good at maths. The Dursleys didn't like it if he did better than Dudley, so that just meant that Harry had to be even better to make himself look worse.
If you didn't know the answer to a question and guessed it, there was a chance you could be right. If you did know the answer and deliberately got it wrong, well, that was something completely different. Harry fell into the latter of those two categories, being capable of figuring out the answer, but purposefully getting it wrong so Dudley always got higher marks than he did.
The class bid goodbye to Mr. White after second period, and he left the school while the class went outside for morning break. Almost everyone in the school went into their groups of friends and played together doing something, the exception was Harry.
Harry didn't have friends, no one wanted to associate with him. Down Privet Drive and the streets around there, the Dursleys had spread rumours about Harry, how he was a delinquent child, how he was always causing trouble, how he was a thief, how everything that went wrong thereabouts could be traced back to him.
That meant that parents warned their children against making friends with him, keeping their offspring away from bad influences. That was only one reason that Harry didn't have any friends though. Another reason for Harry's lack of friends was Dudley and his gang.
Dudley, as any child tends to do, used his own parents as an example. The example he had been given was that Harry was a freak and freaks deserve to be punished for their freakishness, What that freakishness might be, Dudley didn't know, but that wouldn't stop him from punishing Harry for it, as well as anyone who wanted to get close to him.
The result of Dudley's bullying was that anyone who showed even a slight interest in Harry was... forcibly discouraged by Dudley and the other thuggish children that had gathered around him. Even then, when Harry didn't have any friends, they had a game called 'Harry Hunting' where they chased him and beat him up if they ever caught him.
Not that they ever really caught him though, he was too fast for that. Thanks to them chasing him like they did, Harry was remarkably fit for someone his age, especially when one took into account what little food he ate. He almost always managed to escape Dudley's attention, keeping as far away from him as he could.
The bell went later, signalling third period, and all of the kids went back indoors. When the got to their classroom, they found their supply teacher there. It turned out to be a woman, Mrs. Davies, who was rather out of breath. It turned out that Mrs. Davies usually taught at secondary schools and had rushed there from where she had been.
When the class found out she specialised in chemistry, and it was supposed to be a science lesson then, they had all pretty much begged her for a chemistry lesson that would be interesting. Mrs. Davies was a nice woman, and she soon caved into their request.
It just so happened that she had some acids and alkalis with her, having accidentally brought them along in her rush, and she put on a bit of a demonstration for the class. It was quite interesting to see, watching her mix two clear chemicals to make a coloured one, seeing a reaction between an acid and an alkali in a test tube and many other things.
In all of the excitement, no one really noticed Dudley stealing a random bottle from Mrs. Davies bag and tucking it into his pocket.
At lunchtime, Harry sat outside with his back against the school wall. He didn't have a lunch with him, but that was normal, so he was sitting by himself and trying to read more of that book that he'd been reading in first period. It was really interesting and Harry wondered what it would be like to live in a world of elves, dwarves, hobbits, wizards and dragons.
He was so caught up in the book that he didn't immediately notice when Dudley and his gang managed to creep up on him. The first thing he knew of what was happening was when Dudley's second in command, Piers Polkiss, and another useless lump, Malcolm Gordon, grabbed both his arms, making him drop the book on the floor.
Harry struggled against them, but he knew it was useless. As fast as he was, and he was pretty bloody fast, they had a grip on him and both were much stronger than he was. He looked around, seeing Dudley and the other two members of his gang, Frank Marks and David Brooks, there as well.
"Well, well, well, what are you doing, freak?" Dudley asked with a rather impressive sneer on his face.
Harry didn't answer, knowing that saying anything at all would have probably just made things worse. He simply relaxed and looked at Dudley, fighting would only get him even more injured than normal and even normal hurt like all hell. He saw something in Dudley's hand and his eyes went wide as he recognised it as one of Mrs. Davies' bottles of chemicals.
"You see this?" Dudley asked, waving the bottle around. "This made interesting things happen in class, I wonder what it would do to you?" Dudley grinned, making a face that Harry could not help but compare to a pig, those pigs really had it tough.
"There's an interesting display up near Miss Bells room, you know." Dudley said, making Harry blink in confusion. Miss Bell liked religion and regularly changed the display outside her room to showcase different religions. Two months ago it had been the Greek gods, last month had been Hinduism and this month was the Norse gods.
"There's one that looks really freaky, do you think we could make you look like her?" Her? Wait, did they mean Hel, the Norse queen of the dead? Granted, the display of her looked really creepy, having half of her flesh withered and decayed, but what did he mean by...
Harry realised what Dudley was saying and began to struggle as best he could. It was useless though, Piers and Malcolm were just too strong for him. Dudley pulled the top off of the chemical bottle and upended it over Harry's head, letting the acid cover the left side of Harry's face and run down underneath his collar.
Harry shrieked in pain, writhing as he felt his skin burn and sizzle underneath the chemical onslaught. He had closed his eyes which saved him from becoming blind, but it burned, by heck did it burn! His cries of pain made Malcolm and Piers let go of him and back off, and it seemed to sufficiently creep them out that Dudley and his gang fled.
Harry was in an out of the way part of the playground, around a corner and out of sight of the main school building, so no one saw him writhing and rolling around in pain, nor did they really notice Dudley and his gang legging it away from there, so Harry was left pretty much all by himself.
The pain eventually stopped and Harry found that, despite feeling weaker than he did before, he was still alive and not dying or anything. He looked around for something and noticed a shard of glass that was sitting on top of a bin. He went towards it and found that it seemed to be a broken part of a girl's compact mirror or something similar.
He tilted it so he could get a good look at his face and found that, yes, he really did resemble that display of Hel now. The entire left side of his face looked melted, burned, ugly and was completely disfigured. His eyelid could barely open, and reaching up he tried to peel it back by hand.
It worked, but it was also incredibly painful at the same time. Not knowing what to do, Harry returned to where he had been before, picked up the book he'd dropped and slumped against the wall. He was startled when there was a flash of light in front and above him.
A woman fell out of the sky and landed on all fours right in front of him. She groaned a bit in pain, nothing serious, and Harry took the opportunity to look her over. The woman looked to be in her late teens, maybe twenty at the most. She had long silver hair and her clothes were a bit odd.
She wore black shoes and had socks of two different lengths. The sock on her left leg was a pretty regular length, going just part way up her shin. The sock on her right leg was longer though, reaching to above her knee. She wore a mini dress kind of thing, with a skirt that started a few inches above where her longer sock stopped and had no sleeves. There was a design of a yellow cross in thin lines diagonally across the top half of her dress, a yellow line going around her waist and joining up the bottom points of the cross. She wore fingerless gloves that looked to be reinforced with metal across the knuckles and she had a... dog collar around her neck?
When she looked up, Harry looked right into her crimson red eyes as they observed each other silently. Harry noted that The silver haired and red eyed woman seemed to be observing him just as much, if not more, than he had been in regards to her. Her eyes soon settled on the disfigured half of his face, the most noticeable thing about him now, much more eye-catching than his lightning bolt scar was.
"Hello." Harry said, a little cautiously. "Who are you?" He asked.
Reinforce considered the question for a moment. She had not intended for the name Reinforce to stick to herself, having much preferred it if Hayate would bestow that name onto the one who would become the next vessel of the tome, as there would most definitely be a need for one in the future. Still, it was a name she had been given, and she would not scorn Hayate now.
"My name is Reinforce, what's yours?" She asked back.
"Harry Potter. Why did you fall out of the sky, miss Reinforce?" Harry replied.
"I did not mean to fall out of the sky." Reinforce told him, shaking her head. "I meant to die. I was carrying a... disease that was infecting my friend, and I could only get rid of it and protect her by dying and taking it with me. It seems the disease is gone now though, but what am I to do?" Reinforce asked, mostly of herself.
"You were trying to die so you could protect someone?" Harry asked, getting a nod from Reinforce in reply.
"So that means you're one of the good guys, right?" Reinforce blinked at this. "You were trying to sacrifice yourself to save others, isn't that what the sort of thing that good guys do?"
Reinforce sighed, before taking a seat next to Harry, leaning against the wall like he was. "Not really." She replied, not sure how much of what she was about to say would be understood. "Being a good guy is about trying to make sure that no one has to sacrifice themselves, that everyone is safe and good, but a good guy will also make the tough choices when they turn up, the ones that others are too scared or cannot take. And no, I was one of the bad guys very recently."
"What did you do?" Harry asked her.
Reinforce shifted a little uncomfortably. "I went out of control. My master was being eaten by me, and I was a threat to the safety of this planet. I was only stopped because my master gave me a heart and two people she knew teamed up with her to destroy the corruption I had caused to exist."
"Then it's not your fault and you're not a bad guy." Harry said, surprising Reinforce. "If you weren't in control then there was nothing you could have done, so that means you're not to blame, right?"
Reinforce gave a small smile. "Maybe you're right. Still, that doesn't answer what I should do now."
"You're alone now?" Harry asked, getting a nod from Reinforce. "Then you're like me then." Reinforce gave him a curious look and Harry shrugged his shoulders. "My parents are dead, my aunt and uncle say it was a car accident, I don't think I believe them."
Harry took a breath and continued, not sure why he was confiding in this strange woman that had fallen from the sky. "I live with them now, my aunt Petunia, my uncle Vernon, and my cousin Dudley. They don't like me, but they won't tell me why." Reinforce frowned at that, but didn't say anything.
"I sleep in the cupboard under the stairs and, even though I'm just ten, I know that's not normal. Dudley has two bedrooms you know, one for his bed and everything he likes and another for all the toys he's broken, doesn't want or doesn't like. The other kids at school talk about stuff their parents do for them, the breakfasts and suppers they make, and none of them have to cook either." Harry said, beginning to get a little bit gloomy.
"Dudley did this to me." Harry indicated his face. "But I know Petunia and Vernon won't punish him, it'll turn out to be my fault somehow, I just know it. A few teachers noticed something wasn't right with me before and they tried to have something done about it, they weren't there when I went back to school on Monday, it was said that they'd got jobs elsewhere."
Reinforce lightly, hesitantly because she'd never done it before, put one arm over Harry and hugged him. Now, with her hand and arm over him, she could feel just how thin Harry was, feel his ribs against her flesh through his clothes. Once more, she wondered what she should do, and she thought she might have an answer.
She had said her goodbyes to Hayate and, even if she could somehow go back, it would probably open wounds that were just about to close, with a bit of healing and help perhaps, but maybe she could look out for a different child, this one. Of course, she would need a way to hide, but she had an idea.
"Miss Reinforce, does magic exist?" Harry asked suddenly, making Reinforce jump a little.
"Yes, Harry, it does. And please, just call me Reinforce." She told him, before she cast a small Photon Lancer directly into the air above them. That spell had been one she had absorbed from Fate Testarossa Harlaown, one that she had seemingly retained. Collect and use was a rare skill, one that it seemed she'd kept, even after her 'destruction'.
Harry's eyes had went wide at the small display of magic and Reinforce smiled lightly at his awe at such a basic spell. "C-Can I do magic too?" He asked her and Reinforce looked at him carefully. She reached forwards and Harry's eyes went really wide when her hand sank into his chest and an orb of light came out.
"Yes, you can. Your linker core looks... really strange, but it's still a linker core." Reinforce paused for a moment. "Harry, do you trust me enough to try something?" She asked, wondering if her crazy idea would work or whether it would simply fail.
Harry eyed her carefully, but he eventually nodded his head. Reinforce released Harry's linker core and let it settle back into his chest as she took a breath. "Unison In." She muttered and Harry was shocked yet again when she started to enter his body.
He didn't panic though, he had said he would trust Reinforce, so trust her he would. Once she was done, doing whatever she was doing, Harry felt a slight itching at his temple, where his lightning bolt scar was. He ignored it for now, looking at his reflection in that compact mirror he'd looked in before.
To his surprise, his hair was now the same silver colour Reinforce's had been, and his eyes were the same red colour. He touched his own body to find that, yes, it was still him, but he had changed. Apart from the change in colour, his hair had also gotten longer, about waist-length it seemed.
Reinforce then went to try something else, not separating from Harry, but not being such a major part of him at the same time. She thought of it as sort of going into a 'standby' mode as it were. The results kind of worked, but there was also evidence that Reinforce was still there.
His hair remained waist-length, and it was now straight, but there was a single streak of silver in it. Harry's right eye was back to being green, but his left eye was still the same red as Reinforce's was. However, before either of them could really think about these changes, something strange happened.
The lightning bolt scar on Harry's forehead which had been itching a little stronger and a little stronger as Reinforce maintained the unison, suddenly burst. Black gunk leaked out of the scar and an unearthly scream sounded forth. Harry's magic, not yet stable due to his young age, began to react in an unpredictable way.
Reinforce would have widened her eyes in surprise if she'd been in a body of her own at the time and hastily went about trying to shore up Harry's linker core as best she could. There was also a sort of gap left behind when his scar had cracked open and she filled that as well.
The result of these actions were several-fold. First, Harry's nature became 'tainted' by Reinforce's and he permanently took on some of her 'essence'. So, even if they separated, Harry's left eye would always be red and there would always be that streak of silver in his hair.
Another thing that changed was Harry's magical core. Now, instead of being almost completely alien to Reinforce, it began to take on a structure similar enough to a linker core she recognised, but still remaining different in some regards. She didn't know why it had changed, or what effect those changes would have, but she decided to keep a close eye on it from now on.
A third result from the scar bursting was an incredible headache that assaulted Harry, causing him to pass out. Of course, having the most perfect of timing, it was only then that a teacher took notice of what was going on around that corner and came to look.
They would find Harry face down on the ground, passed out, half his face melted, his hair longer with a streak of sliver in it, a book on the ground next to him and the sharp and unpleasant smell of strong acid in the air. It was only when they got Harry to a hospital and he opened his eyes that the miss-matched red and green would be noticed.