AN: Seven years ago, I posted my first ever chapter on this site. It was a beginner's effort, filled with awkward phrasing, too many link words and not enough punctuation. Ever since then, I like to think I've grown as a writer and as a person, so it's fitting that today I'm posting the final chapter for a story of mine. Yes, after careful consideration I've decided that Lost and found has run its course, and if I were to give this crossover section its due justice, I should embark in a more serious writing effort.
So in the light of the brilliant suggestions you've given me with the reviews for the last chapter, I've decided to write a proper story, not a collection of one-shots, in which I will have the opportunity to develop both the characters and the plot, and not give out key elements of the plot line too early in the story. (In my defense, when I wrote those tidbits, there wasn't supposed to be anything after them.)
That's why, this is it. The final one-shot, which, as you'll be able to see, is setting the scene nicely for the story brewing in my mind ever since I've talked by PM with some of you. Enjoy for now, and come back in February. I'll have a first chapter ready by then for And Lost Again (working title; I'm accepting suggestions. )
Category: crossover with Harry Potter.
Rating: T ;
Warning: swearing, but nothing worse than what the show has given us so far. Also un-betaed, so if you see any glaring mistakes, don't hesitate to point them out to me. I promise to listen. :)
Spoilers: none. I'm exploring the Winter months between Season 2 and 3 because the writers didn't. :D
"Wingardium leviosa," Harry said, hand outstretched in front of him. The hawk feather twitched a little, but never rose from the ground, making it impossible to determine if it had been his magic, or just the fetid breeze stirring things up in the watch tower. The stench of the rotting meat was one of the first things he'd grown accustomed to; they all had, but it was days like this, when a dull pain kept throbbing at his temples, and his skin itched as if covered with a thousand ants, that he could smell it once again.
Today's results were disappointing. He'd been holed in the watch tower remembering his spells since morning, because ever since that Incendio had shown him that active spell casting was still within his reach, he'd started practicing whenever he could, but half of the incantations he'd tried never did anything, and the ones that worked were too powerless to count.
Harry sighed, letting his head rest against the wall behind him, one hand shielding his eyes. He had no idea why it was so bloody difficult to cast spells. It was as if his body was against him, or better, too new and unused to magic to channel it properly. Not for the first time he questioned whether death had made him a new body when had cast him into this world, or had just taken one that was available and put his soul into it.
Or maybe he was just losing his mind. It seemed the trend within the group, starting with their rapidly deteriorating leader.
At that thought, Harry lowered his hand and gazed outside, searching the perimeter of the prison's outer court. Movement caught in the corner of his eye had him twitching with the rifle in his hands until he realized that the slowly moving figure was none other than Hershel. He watched the old man shuffle through the grass until Hershel was nearing a portion of the fence where there weren't any walkers, and only then Harry realized what was happening.
Rick was out there, searching for his sanity in the middle of the walkers, and Hershel was trying to guide him back.
Harry shook his head slowly, partially because of the headache and partially because of what he'd thought about that. They were falling apart, as a group, ever since they entered the prison, and not for the first time, he questioned himself, what was he still doing there, with them? After Rick had lost it when Lori died, to the surprise of everyone - even though they could have seen it coming - Harry had been his shadow in the dark halls of the prison while a grief possessed Rick wreaked his vengeance on the walkers trapped inside. Silent and deadly, Harry had kept himself a few paces behind, finishing off any walker that was still moving after Rick went through them. Even then he was thinking of leaving, of taking Sirius and just disappearing into the night, because ever since they've entered the prison, Sirius wouldn't come inside, and Harry keenly missed him every night when the dog's comforting presence wasn't keeping the nightmares at bay.
And then Rick seemed to get better, acknowledged Judith as his daughter, and Harry thought, yes this was it; I can go now, only to have Glenn and Maggie missing on a supply run, and half the group going away for their rescue. He'd stayed behind at the prison during that time; someone had to protect the ones who were most vulnerable in their group, but that didn't help him understand why they had come back without Daryl – Rick wasn't talking about it – and why the cop was falling into a thousand pieces.
Hershel stopped when he'd reached the fence and was talking to Rick, and their exchange sparked Harry's curiosity. But, in the tower Harry was too far away to make out what was being said, making him feel more keenly the lack of his spells.
A listening charm would have been good right about then.
And with that his thoughts went back to his magic and all the changes he'd observed in the last few weeks. Some of them were beneficial for his survival, as his newly discovered sense for the walkers. He knew, that if he concentrated enough, he could tell when walkers were near him, like getting too close to something frozen and having the cold radiating back to him. It was strange and it felt wrong and slimy, whenever he thought about it, but it was the best warning system he'd had in the current situation. But the other developments, he was not too keen on them.
If only he had realized what the shadows meant, he thought, maybe Lori and T-Dog might have still been alive. Not that was the only shit that was happening to him. It started when he cradled Judith in his arms for the first time. The baby smiled, content, but Harry had frozen for a long moment. The others had put it down to him missing his children and with alacrity; Beth had come near them and took her away, while cooing at the babbling baby. But the thing was; none of the others were seeing what Harry had been seeing, and still was seeing every time he went to sleep.
Death in every scenario possible, hundreds of them, each involving Judith somehow. In some of them, and those were the kind ones; she was an old woman, but still strong as she stood in front of a nameless danger, every inch of her, her father's daughter. In others, she was a young adult, or a teenager, running away from a herd of walkers, or worse humans. But in the vast majority of them, she was still a toddler or a baby, while walkers ended her life. Those were the ones that had him waking up gasping for breath and wanting to throw up. Because in each of them, there was a shadow of a man, starting the events that led to her death.
And that there was the point, Harry realized, because he could never walk away when there were innocents needing him. And he would do anything in his power to protect them; he vowed even as a new spike of pain rattled his head, when light glinting off something hit him directly in the eye. Tired after several restless nights, Harry didn't react other than wincing, until the sound of gunfire chased away the mental cobwebs and had him scrambling with his semi-automatic.
The rifle felt strange in his hands, half of his shots going wildly as he returned fire to someone who was shooting the cement where Carol had hidden behind a downed body. Harry didn't have the time to think about it as he kept shooting, and when a second burst of gunfire forced the shooter to slow down, he caught a glance of Carol running to safety.
Some spells would have really come in handy; Harry thought while rapid gunfire drowned the sound of everything else, until a reinforced vehicle crashed through their fence and stopped in the middle of the prison's outer court. Harry shot at it, almost growling with rage. The car had a door opening in the back, walkers shuffling through as the armored driver exited the car and started running. He didn't get too far as a black shape tackled from behind and the guy's terrified screaming mingled with the sound of gunfire.
"Good boy," whispered Harry vindictively, just as he tried to shoot another walker. It was then that a burst of gunfire caught his attention, and he saw two figures outside a car directing the fight. One of them, in particular, made his blood ran cold as an icy fury gripped him.
He knew that man; he had seen him in too many nightmares, until Harry had started to hate his one-eyed stare almost as much as he had hated Voldemort a long time ago.
Suddenly, the battle ceased to matter, as his whole attention went to the man grinning while shooting his automatic. Harry never saw the walkers cornering Rick, or the Dixon brothers' timely save, nor did he see Michone carve the walkers with her katana. His whole attention was on the one he would later found out was called the Governor, as he took his rifle, settled it as stable as possible and aimed it carefully.
Take a deep breath, exhale and then shoot, Rick's voice instructed from the back of his mind, while Harry pointed the rifle with steady hands and razor sharpen focus.
Harry never noticed his hands glowing faintly acid green and then the glow spreading like static until it covered the entire rifle.
The target was in sight.
Harry took the shot.
AN: Every one of your reviews have been precious to me so I'm taking this opportunity to thank you for them. And if you want to make suggestions, to offer to beta or to just plain chat, send me a PM, I usually respond to them when Real Life allows it.
See you with the sequel! Until then, lets hope they don't kill anyone else too soon after Beth.
Hopefully that wasn't a spoiler. :)