So here is the original Part 2 of Incendio where Harry ends up in the Shire with Bilbo. It is not finished and it never will be so if you decide to read it just keep that in mind. But I wanted to give those who wanted to read it the opportunity to if they choose.
Original Part 2
Harry woke to the sounds of birds chirping. He reluctantly opened his eyes only for the canopy of trees to spin before his eyes. Harry closed his eyes as he valiantly tried to keep from losing his dinner. It felt like he'd just taken a very unstable and vicious portkey. The ride had been so rough he actually had to run a hand over his body just to make sure that he still had all his body parts in tact. Fortunately he did. He'd heard about splinching and it didn't sound like a very pleasant experience.
Once he felt a little less dizzy he once more attempted to open his eyes. When he successfully managed that he climbed to his feet to survey his surroundings. He couldn't find any clues as to where he had ended up. Had some Death Eater out for revenge slipped a portkey into the house he shared with Sirius and Remus? But that didn't seem right. They would have sent him somewhere other than the middle of nowhere. Unless something had wrong. Either way he supposed he was grateful for having landed in forest rather than in some trap.
Harry sighed and resigned himself to start walking. He hadn't learned to apparate yet, and he didn't have his wand on him. Not that the loss of his wand was too great. His magic had been acting out a bit since he'd changed forms. Sirius thought it would settle down a bit after a while, and Remus thought that maybe getting him a new wand altogether would help. They were going to look into it more once right before Hogwarts had started again.
For now Harry could only hope that he could just make his way to the nearest town, and phone Sirius or Remus to pick him up. Harry didn't have to walk long before he found a worn dirt road. He picked a direction with the mindset that either way would eventually bring him back to civilization. Although, the forest he'd been traveling in had been beautiful. Everything seemed so peaceful, and untouched.
By midafternoon Harry reached a town or at least he thought it was a town just not like any town Harry had ever seen before. It was like taking a step into the past with their rolling wooden carts, and not a single sign of advanced technology anywhere. There were people bustling about in the distance around picturesque rolling green hills. It was some sort of farming village with all sorts of farm animals and people tending to their gardens. It soon proved to be even more bizarre than he originally thought.
As Harry drew closer to the village he realized that the people weren't small because they were far away, they were in fact just small people. At first Harry thought they were children, but after seeing a face lined with wrinkles he quickly realized that this was not the case. On average they came up to about Harry's waist. They all bore curly heads of hair, pointed ears, and large feet covered with thick curling hair on the tops. None of them wore any shoes, and their clothing was very old fashioned just like their tools and other objects. But despite those minor details they looked a great deal like humans. Harry had never heard of beings like them before.
The small villagers all stared up at Harry with wide-eyes. It seemed like they had never seen someone of Harry's height either. They weren't openly hostile or immediately distrustful so Harry changed his mind to thinking that they were aware of people of his stature but didn't see them very often. Harry continued to walk through the little town observing everything that could. No one approached him and Harry was trying to work up the courage to ask someone where he was. However, the further Harry walked the more things didn't make sense. It was hard to imagine that an entire sprawling town built into the hills would have gone unnoticed like this from wizarding eyes. There was also the fact that they were speaking a different language. A language that Harry was somehow able to perfectly understand. Harry had a slight suspicion of where he was but it was still too mad a thought for him to accept yet.
Eventually Harry had reached the end of the town. There were less of the small people and only a few round doors set in the surrounding hills. Harry paused in the road trying to decide what his next course of action would be.
"You look a little lost there, stranger," came a voice to Harry's left.
"I am," Harry agreed, attempting to speak the language for the first time. It was incredible how easy it was.
Harry turned to locate the owner of the voice who had spoken. It was a man. Harry couldn't really guess his age. All of the people he'd encountered so far seemed to possess joyful and youthful countenances. This man with the golden curls, and kind hazel eyes was no different. If he had to guess, Harry would say he was middle-aged. He was definitely an adult. Harry approached the fence that was along the perimeter of his yard. The man was sitting on a bench, and smoking a ridiculously long pipe. Behind him up the hill a little ways sat a surprisingly bright round green door.
"Ah, makes sense. We don't get many Big Folk visiting the Shire," the man nodded.
"Shire? Is that where I am?" Harry asked.
"Yes, it is indeed, Hobbiton specifically. I take it that it's not where you hoped to be?"
"You could say that," Harry murmured.
The Shire? Hobbiton? They definitely didn't sound at all familiar.
"My name is Bilbo Baggins," the man introduced.
"Harry Potter," Harry replied.
"Perhaps you would like something to eat? You look a bit bewildered, and there's nothing a good meal can't cure," Bilbo pointed out.
"Yes, thank you. I am a bit lost," Harry nodded.
"Right then, come along," Bilbo waved him towards the small green door.
Harry followed him inside, and was utterly awed by what he saw. It was spacious and filled with beautiful woodcarvings. It wasn't like anything that he thought it would be. Thick warm rugs covered the floors, and paintings were hung along the walls. Ornate chandeliers hung from the high ceilings, well high to a hobbit, providing ample light in the spacious home. Hallways stretched in several different directions, and Harry was amazed by just how large this place actually was. He could actually stand up comfortably without worrying about bashing his head on the ceiling. Harry couldn't help but be enchanted by everything he saw.
"Never been inside a hobbit hole I take it? Everyone always seems to think that living in a hole in the ground would be damp and dirty. But not for us hobbits. We keep a very tidy home," Bilbo informed him proudly as he watched Harry's awed expression.
"It's lovely," Harry agreed easily, recognizing that hobbit must have been the name for the type of being that Bilbo was.
"Thank you, my father built Bag End for my mother. She was a bit of an adventurous spirit being a Took. She traveled quite a lot in her younger years. My father hoped that this beautiful home would get her to finally settle down with him," Bilbo told him.
"It looked like it worked," Harry smiled.
"Indeed it did," Bilbo nodded and showed him in to the dining area.
It didn't take Bilbo long to set out cups of tea and a tray filled with an assortment of various bake goods. Harry thanked him several times for the treats, and the hospitality. They quickly struck up a conversation, and it was easy to learn more about just where he had ended up. Bilbo was very knowledgeable about the world he lived in despite having not travelled far from his own front door.
It was while Bilbo was going on about the various things he knew about elves that Harry confirmed to himself that he wasn't in the same world he'd been in when he sat down for his birthday dinner. Somehow he had ended up back in the world he was born in. Harry would have liked to say he was surprised but he was fairly certain that he had realized the truth the moment he first stumbled on the Shire. There was a scent in the air or a feeling in his bones. It wasn't anything specific. It was just familiar. His memories were telling him that he knew this place. He knew this world. This was the world he was born in. He just had no idea how he had gotten here. At least he had found someone willing to help him settle in, even if he didn't realize that's what he was doing.
It soon became apparent that Bilbo enjoyed talking about his knowledge of the world. It helped that Harry was an eager and attentive listener. He even brought out a few books he had to read a few passages to Harry. From Bilbo's stories Harry was able to learn that the world he now resided in was known as Middle Earth by most. There were a number of different sentient beings that inhabited it, and they all got along to varying degrees. There were humans or Men. They seemed to be the same as the humans he was familiar with except that they were far less advanced. There were no cars or electricity. They were still very much in the dark ages. They rode horses, cooked by fire, and used swords and bows.
There were hobbits, obviously, like Bilbo. But they weren't as widely spread as humans were across Middle Earth. They had slightly longer lifespans than humans but beside that they didn't seem to have any magic or anything like that. There were dwarves who were of a similar height to hobbits but sturdier, and hairier or at least that's what Bilbo had heard seeing as how he had never met one personally. They tended to live in mountains, mining gold or something, and didn't really interact much with the other peoples of Middle Earth.
The elves were intriguing considering Bilbo said they were immortal. Some were even thousands of years old. They were stronger and faster than a human, and some were capable of magical powers. Apparently there was even one elvish woman who was capable of reading minds and seeing the future. She was also said to be utterly beautiful even for an elf, which was a fete in itself since all elves were supposedly beautiful. Harry was fascinated to learn about the wizards. There were only a handful of them, and they didn't owe their allegiance to any of the races of Middle Earth. Only the wizards themselves really understood just the extent of their powers. Some wizards were greater than others apparently or so Bilbo thought. All in all they didn't sound anything at all like the wizards Harry had grown up among.
Bilbo had also mentioned some of the more unsavory beings of Middle Earth. He mentioned orcs, goblins, trolls, and dragons. It was only when he got to dragons that Harry leaned forward in interest. Most dragons came from the Withered Heath beyond the Grey Mountains far in the north. But there hadn't been a dragon seen in Middle Earth for over a century now. Harry figured that the Withered Heath would probably be the best place to start looking for his father.
Bilbo was interested in hearing about how Harry had found his way to the Shire. Harry panicked and ended up making up some story about him searching for his father. He told Bilbo that his mother had died in an attack by wolves, and he had managed to barely escape with nothing but the clothes on his back. Harry told him his father was a potter and had been off selling his wares at the time. He was now trying to meet back up with him. Luckily, Bilbo was sympathetic to his loss, and didn't press him for more information.
"You can stay here for a little while, just until you get on your feet mind you," Bilbo offered.
"Oh, I wouldn't want to impose," Harry worried.
Bilbo seemed like a very decent and trustworthy sort. But Harry felt like he had already taken advantage of Bilbo's hospitality.
"Nonsense, I have plenty of empty rooms to use. The beds might be a bit small but we can figure something out. I can't just send a boy like yourself off into the night without any sort of provisions or any idea of where your father might be. It would be nice to have some company for a bit, and you could perhaps help me in the garden and with the tidying up," Bilbo insisted.
"Thank you, Mr. Baggins," Harry smiled gratefully at the hobbit.
Harry nodded in acceptance, and helped Bilbo clean up the dishes. For once Harry was grateful for all the chores the Dursleys had given him. It made him an adept dishwasher, and tidier. His cleaning skills were definitely appreciated by Bilbo. The hobbit was a very proper sort who enjoyed fine food, and a tidy home. Harry wanted to repay him by being courteous and helpful. It wasn't everyday that someone let a stranger stay in their home. This stranger had been more welcoming than the Dursleys had ever been.
Late that night Bilbo found Harry a room he could use for the time being. Sleep came difficultly that night, and it wasn't because the bed was a few centimeters too small either. His mind was racing with too many thoughts. He was thinking about what his friends were doing about his unexpected disappearance. Sirius would no doubt be going mad with worry. They'd probably think Death Eaters had kidnapped him before they even considered he'd landed in another world. Harry was also thinking about his father. He was in the world he had been born in, and Harry now had the very real opportunity to meet his birth father. It was a daunting prospect.
When sleep did finally manage to claim him, Harry had strange and unsettling dreams. A fiery red eye with a spilt pupil kept flashing through parts of his dreams causing Harry to toss and turn most of the night. He woke up the next morning feeling unrested, and a bit off. As he couldn't remember what his dreams had been about he decided that he must have just had a nightmare. Harry just pushed those feelings away, and tried to focus on the warmth and beauty of the Shire.
Harry soon became immersed in the life of a hobbit. It was definitely the most relaxing life he'd ever experienced. They had seven meals a day, and spent most of their time working in their gardens or visiting their neighbors. Harry would have thoroughly enjoyed his time in the Shire if it he didn't miss his friends back home, and really should have been looking for a way to get back to them. But before he could even think about going back he wanted to meet his birth father.
However, Harry wasn't quite ready to strike out on his own just yet. Middle Earth was a dangerous place, and he was still trying to get a better understanding of it. He was comfortable in the Shire, living in Bag End with Bilbo. The hobbit likewise seemed reluctant to let him go. Despite their size difference Bilbo viewed him as a child, and wanted to protect Harry. He also thought the hobbit might be lonely. He had plenty of cousins but no siblings and his mother and father had been dead for several years. Bilbo enjoyed having him taking up space in Bag End, and had reluctantly offered to go with Harry when he eventually left. Harry gently turned him down. If Harry did leave he was certainly planning on flying in his dragon form at night in order to shorten his travel time. Without cars, traveling through Middle Earth would take weeks maybe even months to get to some places.
So Harry stayed. The two of them became great friends. They spent their days working in the garden, going for walks, or reading. At night Bilbo would read stories, and eventually Harry added his own. He told Bilbo the story of his own life. Of course Bilbo thought they were onlystories, and praised Harry on his creativity.
"You should really write a book, Harry," Bilbo told him one night.
Harry had finished telling him about his encounter with the Basilisk in his second year. At first it had been difficult to use the proper pronouns when telling his stories. It was all too easy to slip up and use 'I' or 'me' when telling Bilbo about his life. He had to be very careful. Luckily, Bilbo hadn't caught the slip ups.
"No, who would want to read them?" Harry scoffed. His life, a story? It was absurd.
"You've built an entire magical world. It's fantastic! Loads of children and some adults would love to read about the adventure of this wizard boy you've dreamt up," Bilbo insisted.
"You can write them down if you want," Harry offered.
"Perhaps I will," Bilbo sniffed.
Harry laughed and the two of them went back to their tale.
For three months Harry lived with Bilbo in Hobbiton. Harry settled into life there, and became comfortable. There was no hardship or struggles in Bag End beyond Bilbo's snide relatives the Sackville-Baggins who reminded Harry of the Dursleys. He put off thinking about finding his father or finding a way back to Earth. It was too intimidating to venture out into this unfamiliar and hostile world. When Bilbo received an unexpected visitor Harry was forced to confront the reasons of just why he was here.
Harry missed the initial meeting as he had gone fishing that morning for their supper. He'd returned to Bag End later in the day only to have to listen to Bilbo complain about an old acquaintance of his mother's.
"Wait, this Gandalf, he's a wizard?" Harry asked in amazement. Bilbo had never mentioned that he'd known a wizard.
"Not a very good one. I've only ever seen him light firecrackers," Bilbo muttered, pushing his fish around his plate. "Why would he think Iwould be someone who would want to go on an adventure?"
"Maybe it would be fun?" Harry offered with a smile, thinking of his own adventures with Ron and Hermione. At the time they had been scary but looking back he could honestly say that the experiences had made him stronger.
"Why would I want to leave Bag End? I have plenty of amusements here thank you very much," Bilbo nodded, a stern expression set on his face.
"If you say so," Harry shrugged.
The two ate in silence for a bit more only for that silence to be broken by someone ringing the doorbell.
"Do you think it's the wizard?" Harry asked as both he and Bilbo moved towards the door.
"I'll just have to tell him no again," Bilbo said firmly.
Bilbo threw open the door to reveal a short man or at least short to Harry, compared to Bilbo he was quite tall. He had a broad, muscular build. Tattoos covered the top of his bald head while the rest of head was covered in thick dark hair. His ears and nose were large. He had several weapons on his person, and Harry wondered if he was some type of warrior. From Bilbo's descriptions Harry decided that he must have been a dwarf.
"Dwalin, at your service," he stated bowing at the waist.
"Bilbo Baggins and Harry Potter at yours. Do we know each other?" Bilbo questioned in confusion.
"No," the dwarf replied stepping inside Bag End anyway.
He swept passed Harry and Bilbo who sent each other confused looks as he chucked off his cloak, and looked ready to make himself at home.
"Is it down here?" he asked already heading down a hallway.
"Sorry, is what where?" Bilbo asked.
"The food. He said there'd be food, and plenty of it," Dwalin replied.
"He said? Who said?" Bilbo looked more than a little lost. He looked to Harry as if he would have some answers.
Harry just shrugged and followed Dwalin into the dining room where he already sat down at Bilbo's plate and started eating.
"Is there any more?" Dwalin asked.
"Yes," Bilbo answered and went to get a plate of rolls he had by the sink offering them to dwarf only after hiding two in his pocket.
"You can't just barge into people's houses like this," Harry frowned at their unexpected guest.
"You're not a hobbit," Dwalin said, looking Harry over.
"No, but I am Bilbo's friend and you can't just come in and start eating someone's food without being invited," Harry glared.
"I was invited," Dwalin replied with a frown.
"What? Who invited you?" Bilbo demanded. "I certainly don't know any dwarves."
Dwalin opened his mouth to answer Bilbo only for a second ring to sound at the door. Bilbo went to get the door and came back with another dwarf. Harry watched in odd fascination as the two dwarves, brothers apparently, greeted one another. Harry winced in sympathy when the two of them head butted each other. He made a note that dwarves apparently had very hard heads.
Dwalin and Balin quickly went about examining the pantry, and Harry looked to Bilbo to see what he wanted to do. The hobbit was too focused on following them around, and ranting at them to talk to Harry. The dwarves completely ignored Bilbo's speech about not liking uninvited guests. But since Bilbo made no indication that he actually wanted Harry's help in removing them Harry just watched the slightly amusing sight of Bilbo trying to get the dwarves' attention. Hobbits had strict rules pertaining to guests, and Harry supposed that Bilbo was just too polite to actually kick them out.
Then the bell rang for a third time. Harry offered to go get it for the stressed hobbit but Bilbo told him to keep an eye on the dwarves trying to rearrange his dining room. Bilbo returned from answering the door with two new dwarves in tow, looking even more frazzled than before and carrying a bunch of weapons in his arms. They were younger than the first two, and introduced themselves as Fili, the blonde, and Kili, the dark haired one. They instantly joined the first two dwarves in setting up the table for an impromptu feast. Harry attempted to get things under control but yet another ring had Bilbo running back to answer the door.
There was a large crash and Harry rushed to the front door to see a pile of dwarves on the floor trying to get back to their feet. Behind them stood a tall, older man in gray robes, and wielding a long wooden staff. The man had long gray hair, and a long gray beard. His gray eyes twinkled merrily as the dwarves scampered off towards the dining room and Bilbo's pantry. However, he did look a bit contrite when Bilbo glared at him.
"What is all this, Gandalf?" Bilbo demanded once the wizard had taken a step inside.
"They needed to meet somewhere," Gandalf replied. The wizard's eyes had caught sight of Harry standing there for the first time, and he stared at him with a look of intent surprise. "And just who is this?"
"My friend, Harry, who by the way is an invitedhouse guest, which I am perfectly fine with. It's the visitors that I don't know that I have a problem with. Look at the way they've raided my pantry, and my mother's good tableware," Bilbo bemoaned, running his hands down the sides of his face.
"Now, Bilbo where's that adventurous spirit I once knew? I never thought you'd be one to worry over such things," Gandalf frowned disapprovingly.
"Yes, well people do change," Bilbo muttered.
"No, not those chairs. Those chairs aren't for sitting!" Bilbo cried as he went off chasing after a group of dwarves carrying his chairs.
Harry quickly excused himself from Gandalf's probing gaze. They now had twelve dwarves running about Bag End making a mess. It was a difficult just getting all of their names straight as many of them rhymed. Harry ended up picking out their noticeable features in order to keep all of their names straight. There was Gloin, the red headed dwarf. His brother Oin, the one with the ear trumpet. There were the brothers Dori, Nori, and Ori. Dori had short white braided hair, Nori had reddish brown hair that stuck up around his head like a star, and Ori who had a bowl cut. Brothers Bofur and Bombur were the easiest to tell apart. Bofur was dark haired with a ridiculous hat, and Bombur was red haired and nearly as big as Dudley. The last dwarf was Bifur. The axe in his head had Harry wondering just how the dwarf was still alive.
As the spontaneous feast took off Harry did his best to keep Bilbo calm with the chaos the dwarves were causing. Honestly, Harry thought they were hilarious especially once they started up a song made up right on the spot about Bilbo. But he could see how much their rambunctiousness caused Bilbo distress. It made Harry think that perhaps Gandalf was right, and Bilbo needed a little adventure in his life. The hobbit was wound a bit too tight, and he certainly loved to read about adventure enough.
After the song came another ring of the bell. The last dwarf had finally arrived. This one was majestic in his bearing. It was all he could think of to describe the dwarf who carried himself with such confidence. He had thick dark hair shot through with small strands of silver, and a couple of braids that were simple but elegant. His eyes were a bright blue, which matched his worn but fine clothing. Harry had really come to appreciate clothes in a world where everything was made by hand.
The dwarf's name was Thorin Oakenshield and he the leader of the small party of dwarves. It appeared Thorin was not pleased with the addition of Bilbo to their party. He called Bilbo a grocer and didn't think Bilbo at all capable of going with them on this quest going as far to mock him.
"You hardly know Bilbo," Harry glared at the dwarf.
"I know he is no Burglar, boy," Thorin snapped back.
"He is a wonderful, and kind person. You would be lucky to have him join your quest," Harry proclaimed.
"Harry, thank you, but it's unnecessary," Bilbo murmured, his face was flushed red at Harry's praise.
"I'm only speaking the truth," Harry said still glaring at the dwarf.
The dwarf didn't seem all that bothered by Harry's anger, and easily turned his attention to his fellow dwarves.
"You are a good friend," Bilbo smiled warmly.
"Yes, indeed you are, Mister Potter," Gandalf was smiling at him as well.
Harry shrugged. Harry owed a lot to Bilbo's kindness. He had given him a place to stay in this familiar yet unfamiliar world, and helped him learn to navigate it. Beyond that Harry genuinely liked Bilbo, and didn't like to see others belittle the hobbit. Harry had even set Lobeila Sackville-Baggins's skirts on fire when she had attempted to steal some of Bilbo's good silverware. Thorin Oakenshield would get similar treatment if he continued to upset Bilbo.
After Thorin's arrival the dwarves settled down. There was definitely a more somber mood to the air as they sat around the table with the lights dimmed to discuss whatever quest they were planning to go on. Harry left them to it and tidied up the last few things so that Bilbo wouldn't have to worry about it later. When he was finished he made his way back to the group, and caught them in the middle of their conversation.
"The reign of the beast will end," Oin declared.
"So? What beast?" Bilbo questioned moving back towards the group.
"That would be a reference to Smaug the Terrible, Chiefest and Greatest of Calamities of our Age," explained Bofur. "Air born fire breather, teeth like razors, claws like meat hooks. Extremely fond of precious metals."
"Yes, I know what a dragon is, thank you," Bilbo glared.
Everyone continued to speak but Harry found he could only numbly listen to their words. The dwarves were talking about his father. They'd called him Smaug the Terrible. Harry's father was apparently responsible for displacing these dwarves from their homes, and these dwarves were going on a quest to get their mountain back from him. They were depending on the wizard to help them kill him. Harry wasn't sure how he felt about that. Apparently his father was a nasty bit of work. But didn't Lily say that the loss of Harry had done that to him? Perhaps if Harry got to him first he would be able to reason with him. At least Harry knew exactly where to look for his birth father now.
Harry was only drawn out of his thoughts when the wizard started to yell, and his shadow started spreading threateningly across the walls. Harry sensed a flare of powerful magic from the wizard. He proclaimed Bilbo to be their burglar whether they liked it or not. It caused the dwarves to settle for a moment. Or else they were just so frightened by Gandalf's display of power that they didn't quite know how to respond. Harry didn't blame them. Gandalf's magic was impressive.
Harry took their brief distraction as his moment to escape. He made his way outside and started walking down the various paths. Most hobbits were tucked inside their smials at this time of night. It was completely dark outside, and without electricity it was too dark for hobbits. But Harry could see perfectly in the dark now so it was no struggle to him to walk through the small village that he had become familiar with in the past few months. He felt a sudden pang of homesickness, and wondered what his friends were doing. They would no doubt be back at Hogwarts by now. Did they even know what had happened to him?
Harry gently pushed those thoughts away. It wasn't the time for them. He had to focus on the world he was currently in, and all of the problems that came with it. He didn't know if Bilbo would join the dwarves on their quest but either way, Harry decided that it was time that he left Hobbiton. He would go to Erebor but he wouldn't travel with the dwarves and the wizard. Harry would go faster if he could fly by himself. He would fly at night when his ebony scales would blend in to the night sky, and sleep during the day. Hopefully, he would reach the mountain before Thorin's Company did. What he would do when he got there he had no clue.
Harry would feel terrible, leaving Bilbo, but he knew he had to do this. He'd put it off long enough. Harry had to meet his birth father. If only for the chance to meet him just once. Of course Harry had no idea what he would do if it turned out his father was really the monster the dwarves thought him to be.
By the time that Harry returned to Bag End everyone had settled in for the night. Harry collected a small bag of his possessions. Mostly just some clothes Bilbo had gotten for him, and a book on Middle Earth's history Bilbo had given him. It wasn't much but it was all that he had in this world. He packed a few things from what was left in the pantry. Harry would just have to hunt for the rest of his food when he got hungry. One of the perks of being a dragon was that he didn't have to eat very often. But only if he ate a large quantity of food like a deer or something. Harry had been initially a bit put off by hunting and eating another living creature but his instincts quickly proved him wrong. He actually enjoyed it, and went off to hunt as often as he could.
With his things packed Harry wrote Bilbo a note telling him where he had gone, and thanking the hobbit for all that he had done. He ended it by saying he hoped they would meet again some day soon.
His tasks completed Harry took off into the night. He traveled a bit away from the Shire before shifting into his dragon form and taking flight into the air. Harry knew the general direction that he had to travel, and he'd memorized the land markers leading up to the Lonely Mountain. Whether or not he'd be able to recognize them enough from the air to not lose his way would be another matter all together.
Harry had only made it a little way before the sun began to rise, and so he picked a secluded wood to settle down for the day in. So his days and nights passed. He flew during the night, and slept during the day. There were a few times that he veered off course. It lost him a bit of time having to turn around and correct his path. But Harry thought he was doing well, and making good progress.
Until he was woken in the middle of the day by an awful stench. Harry immediately sat up looking around for the source. He had fallen asleep on a large rock set in a vast field of rocks and sparse trees. He wanted to have a good perch to keep an eye out for things. Bilbo had repeatedly warned him of the dangers of Middle Earth. This wasn't like the world he had grown up in. Sure there had been a great deal of danger in Hogwarts and even the muggle world. But it wasn't like being out here all on his own in the wilderness. Harry was a dragon but he was still only fifteen, and traveling through such untamed territory was a new and slightly terrifying experience. Luckily before now he'd avoided any real dangers by flying but things had changed.
It took his brain a couple of minutes but eventually he placed the scent. Harry remembered their scent from his time with Smaug. These were the creatures that had taken him from his birth father, and soon Harry got his first good look at them. They were hideous beasts. Their skin was molted and warped, made even further grotesque by the paint smeared across their skin. They rode large vicious wolf-like creatures that were the size of horses. Wargs his brain supplied him courtesy of Bilbo.
Despite himself Harry was caught up in the remembered terror these creatures had caused him, and couldn't find it within him to run even as they drew closer to him. Certainly Harry had faced monsters more terrible than them but his childhood fear had him frozen. His fear allowed them to surrounded the rock where Harry was perched. The lead orc stopped his warg in front of Harry while the others still circled the rock. Harry did his best to keep his eyes on all of them but it was a difficult task. It was times like this that he wished he had his wand even if it hadn't been working for him very well. He felt more confident using magic than revealing his dragon form. It was still engrained in him that it should be something to hide especially with Middle Earth's view on dragons.
"Come down, boy," the lead orc screeched.
"No, thank you," Harry replied, preparing to change forms and take off into the air. It was really his only option at this point. He certainly couldn't fight all of them.
"Our master has been searching everywhere for you, and we will be the ones to return you to him," The orc snarled gleefully.
That caught Harry's attention, and he paused his escape.
"What do you mean your master is looking for me? What does he want with me?" Harry questioned.
"I don't know why he wants you, boy. But he does, and we will be rewarded for giving you to him. He gave your scent to our wargs so we could hunt you down," the orc's red eyes glinted.
Harry wanted to know just who their master was but he also realized that there was no way he was willing to go with them just to find out.
"Sorry, but I don't think I'll be coming down," Harry told them.
"As you wish," the orc grinned.
Before Harry could react something pierced his right shoulder. He screamed in agony as something lodged in his shoulder and he was painfully yanked backward off the rock. Harry soon realized they had shot him with an arrow with a rope attached to it to displace him from his perch. Harry went to shift forms but the pain it caused his shoulder had him freezing in agony. It gave the orcs enough time to wrap him in a chained net. It reminded him far too much of his first capture by the orcs. It was possible that this master was the same one who had originally taken him from his birth father. If this was the case Harry definitely didn't want to go with them.
Harry knew he had to remove the arrow before he could shift. But he found it rather difficult to attempt to remove it while tied up in a net and strapped to the side of a running warg. However, they had only gone a short distance before Harry's captors started getting shot off their mounts. The warg Harry was strapped to was shot through the neck causing Harry, the orc, and the warg to crash into the ground. It jostled the arrow embedded in his shoulder and caused a wave of blood to leak out of the wound. His blood splashed across the chained net, and melted through the links of the chains. Harry dragged himself from the net and away from the warg. His vision was darkening but he was able to witness longhaired beings with pointed ears in shining armor shoot down the last of the orcs and wargs before succumbing to the pain.
Harry woke with a sudden gasp only to later cry out when his shoulder blazed with pain. He collapsed back to the soft bed he rested on, and looked around his surroundings. The room he was in was incredible. It was made of white stone and the architecture was like nothing he had ever seen before. It was intricate and beautiful. A quick glance out the open window proved that the city he was in was an even more amazing sight than the room. Harry could only gape out at the city set nestled into the stone cliffs. Huge waterfalls crashed harmlessly around it, and climbing vines crept around the structures built right into the stone. There was an air of peace and safety to this place, and Harry found himself instantly put at ease.
"A beautiful sight, is it not?" came a smooth male voice.
Harry turned towards the doorway. A dark haired man stood there. Although considering the tapered ears Harry realized he was wasn't actually a man at all. He was an elf, and just as ageless and elegant as Bilbo had reported them to be.
"It is, but if I may ask, where am I exactly?" Harry asked.
The elf smiled. "The Valley of Imladris, the last Homely House east of the sea. Or as it is more widely known: Rivendell. I am Lord Elrond. And you are?"
"Harry Potter," Harry answered easily.
"Well met, Mr. Potter," Elrond nodded.
"Er—nice to meet you, too. Thank you for killing the orcs. You saved me from them," Harry smiled gratefully.
"They do not normally travel this close to our borders. I took a few of my men to go and remove them for our lands. We were surprised to find you. Orcs do not normally take prisoners, and we could not in good faith leave you to the whims of orcs," Elrond said gently.
"Thank you, again. I don't know what I would have done," Harry murmured self-consciously. As grateful as he was he didn't like that he had been saved by unknown people.
"I can sense that there is something different about you," the elf suddenly said, his sharp eyes were gazing intently at Harry.
"I don't know what you mean," Harry replied nervously.
"Your blood burned the ones who tried to clean your wound, and you are healing much too quickly for a child of Man. I promise we will not harm you if you mean no harm to us, and I will personally keep whatever secret it is you are keeping," Elrond reassured. "I must know that you will not cause harm to anyone here."
"I swear I wouldn't hurt anyone unless they attacked me first," Harry swore holding the elf lord's eyes.
"Thank you for such a promise, Harry. Now, why were the orcs after you?" Elrond asked kindly.
Harry didn't know if he could trust this elf. He seemed kind and understanding. But would he be understanding enough to not kill him when he knew the truth about him? Dragons weren't the most well liked creatures in Middle Earth, and considering his father's reputation he couldn't exactly blame them.
"I don't know for certain. But it is possible they know what I am," Harry explained.
"And what are you?" Elrond questioned.
"A dragon," Harry answered, and for the briefest of moment's he allowed his eyes to shift to their natural golden hue.
Elrond's placid face showed the minutest hints of surprise.
"I have never known a dragon capable of taking the form of a man," Elrond finally answered.
"I don't really know how it happened. I was young when I was turned into a human, and I've spent most of my life thinking I was human. It's only recently that I've been able to change forms," Harry explained.
He wasn't quite ready to tell Elrond about the growing up in another world part.
"I see that there is more to this story that you do not wish to share. I will respect those wishes. If there comes a time that you do wish to share know I am always a willing ear to listen and provide guidance. You may stay here until you are rested, provided you cause no mischief," the elf lord gave him a stern look.
"I promise," Harry assured him.
And so Harry stayed in Rivendell. Luckily Harry healed quickly, and the arrow left no long lasting effects thanks to the elves. It did not affect his ability to shift in the slightest. Harry wouldn't have known what to do if he was ever permanently cut off from his dragon form ever again. Even when Harry was fully healed he was still in no rush to leave Rivendell.
The elves were fascinating. They were so peaceful, and helpful. It made sense considering just old they were, and how long they would live. Why would they need to rush when they would live forever? They were also very knowledgeable on a wealth of different subjects. Harry learned a lot from them. Elrond's twin sons, Elrohir and Elladan, also helped Harry learn how to use a sword. They'd tried bow and arrows first but Harry was absolutely rubbish at them so they settled for teaching him how to use a sword. Harry was decent at it. He was quick and light on his feet, and stronger than a person his size should have been thanks to some crossover from his dragon strength. But the elves were far faster, and far more skilled from centuries of practice. The twins did assure him that he could be great if he kept practicing.
The more time he spent with Elrond the more he grew to trust the elf. The Lord of Rivendell was just as kind as Harry first suspected. He was also ancient and intelligent. If there was anyone who could have helped Harry with his world hopping dilemma it would have been Elrond. Taking Elrond up on his offer Harry eventually told him the truth of his origins. The elf lord listened quietly, and respectively. Only when Harry was finished did Elrond weigh in his thoughts.
"You have been through much, Harry, in your short life," Elrond appeared impressed.
The two of them were sitting in one of the higher points in Rivendell. It was a beautiful view, one that Harry would always treasure. Just like he treasured the view from the top of Hogwarts' Astronomy Tower.
"Yeah, I suppose I have. And isn't that strange? Hundreds of years have passed here while it's only been a little over a decade for me?" Harry asked.
"Not as strange as you would think. Only those who live above this mortal plane of being truly understand the grand workings of the worlds. It is possible that time passes more quickly in our world than in the one you have grown up in. Or perhaps you were sent forward in time when you were returned here," Elrond explained.
"How did I end up there? Do you think the master the orcs were talking about is the same one who took me the first time?" Harry asked.
Elrond turned his gaze towards the buildings below, a contemplative look on his face.
"I am afraid I do not have the answers to your questions, Harry. I can however look through old texts and search for a way to return you to the world you grew up. If this is what you wish?"
"I don't know if I would want to go back right away. Smaug is apparently a monster but…"
"You would like to meet him. As you should, if it is what you desire," Elrond nodded.
"Even if he is vicious beast?" Harry prodded.
"To you, Smaug was not a monster. He was a loving father. It is not wrong for you to want to seek him out. To want to meet the one who loved and cared for you as a child. Perhaps seeing you again will remind him of better times," Elrond purposed.
"And if it doesn't?" Harry demanded.
Elrond gazed at him steadily. "Then I fear there will be great repercussions, and many lives will be lost. I would have been quite against the dwarves returning to the mountain if you were not here. Waking Smaug would not be an intelligent decision at all. With you there upon his waking it may change things."
"Wonderful," Harry sighed.
"Do not lose hope. You have survived a great many things, and I have faith you will accomplish anything you put your mind to, Ancal son of Smaug," Elrond stated.
"It's strange, hearing you call me that name," Harry murmured.
"I fear that there are those who will seek to use you, Harry. Darkness is growing, and you are a powerful force to wield if you give them the chance. I suspect that was the original intent of your capture. However, something went wrong, and instead of becoming enslaved you were sent to another world. A much better path for you I think," Elrond smiled.
Harry frowned. He couldn't imagine what would have happened to him if he had been raised to be nothing more than a beast enslaved to be used as a weapon.
Harry turned the topic of conversation to something more pleasant. He asked Elrond about his magic. Harry's magic hadn't been working with his wand the same as it had before the spell on him was lifted. There was a new, wilder element to his magic that didn't quite bond with his phoenix feather wand in the same manner. He could still perform spells but it had been like using a wand that wasn't his. Since he'd been in Middle Earth, Harry had been trying to perform wandless magic, and he'd had some success with small spells. But it was frustrating not being able to rely on his magic.
"Perhaps you need a new focus for your magic," Elrond observed.
"That's what my godfather thought. But where could I get one in Middle Earth?" Harry asked.
"The wizards of our world wield staffs, and they are chosen by wizards in a similar manner to those in your world. The Istari find a focus that resonates with them, and their magic to better amplify and focus it. The wands of the world you came from were crafted using wood merged with a token from a magical being, correct?" Elrond stroked his chin thoughtfully.
"I do not think wood would be a wise choice for you to use any longer," Elrond murmured.
"Why not?" Harry asked curiously.
"Dragon and wood, is not always the best of combinations," Elrond pointed out.
"I can't argue with that logic," Harry chuckled.
Elrond smiled as well.
Their discussion eventually turned towards the creation of dragons. Elrond had slowly been filling him on the history of his species. Of course to understand it he had to tell him all about Eru Iluvatar, the creator of Middle Earth, and his Ainur or as the elves called them the Valar. They had created the landscape of Middle Earth, and its people. Harry had wondered if they were responsible for Harry's traveling between worlds. Elrond didn't know but told him that it was certainly possible that they could be. They had the power and ability to do so. It was a lot to take in to know for certain that this world had actual god-like beings watching over them.
There were fifteen Valar originally but only fourteen after Melkor who later called himself Morgoth split from them. He started some great war, which led to him eventually creating dragons. The first dragon Morgoth created was Ancalagon who was undoubtedly the mightiest of all firedrakes. He was apparently so large that when he was struck down he crushed an entire mountain range.
"That name sounds familiar, and not because the first half is my birth name," said Harry with a frown as he tried to recall where he had heard.
"Yes, it is interesting that Smaug would have decided to name you after Ancalagon," Elrond nodded.
"I remember! It was on my genealogy chart. The list with my ancestors," Harry grinned, pleased that he had remembered.
"I believe all firedrakes hold some connection to Ancalagon the Black," Elrond informed him.
"No, he wasn't very far down on my chart. I think… No, I know he was my grandfather. My mother's father," Harry said with utter conviction.
"You are certain?" Elrond demanded.
"Positive. My birth mother's name was Ancia. But I don't have any memories of her."
"I have of heard of her. Ancia the Elegant, I believe she was known as for the stately way she conducted herself. She was the last surviving daughter of Ancalagon. She was a very proud dragon from what I know of her, and did not deign to involve herself in the fights and struggles of her kind. Of course none dared to go against knowing her strength and fierceness," Elrond explained.
"I don't think she was involved in raising me," Harry told him, not sure what he felt towards his birth mother who never wanted him, and who he no longer had the chance of confronting.
"No, but it seems you had a good mother in Lily Potter, if only for a short time," Elrond perceived.
"Very true, I had three great parents. I didn't need her," Harry smiled.
Harry once again changed the subject of their conversation. He was a bit worn out by everything they had discussed. But he was glad that he had decided to confide in Elrond. He had provided helpful feedback, and it was simply a relief to have someone else to talk about all this with.
Over the next several weeks Harry didn't see a lot of Elrond. He was looking up various options for Harry to go back to Earth just so that they could be prepared. Harry was grateful for the option. He definitely wanted to be able to see his friends, Sirius, and Remus again some day. He missed Hogwarts and Hedwig. But he couldn't deny that a part of him was a little bit in love with Middle Earth. It was beautiful and magical. Sure there was the bit about no indoor plumbing but Harry rather liked everything else.
One evening after sparring with Elrohir and Elladan, Harry was returning to his room when Elrond approached him with a box. Elrond offered the box to Harry, and he took it.
Harry opened the box to find a metal a long, gleaming metal wand nestled inside. It was a beautiful silver in color. The handle was smooth and solid with a rounded end while the wand itself was carved with thin intricate strands woven together to form a sharp tip. It looked sharp enough and strong enough to also stab someone in a pinch. It was a several of inches longer than his other wand.
"Is this?" Harry asked in awe.
He couldn't help but reach inside and pull out the wand. The minute he did Harry could feel his magic surge up to connect to the wand in his hand. A shower of fiery sparks rained from the tip of his wand, and Harry knew that he would once again be able to practice his magic.
"Yes, I thought on your difficulty in channeling your magic. I have a bit of skill in elvish sword making. I believed a metal wand would serve you better than a wooden one. I also recalled that I was in possession of a scale of Ancalagon the Black. I shaved off a sliver of the scale to use as the core of the wand, and forged the rest of the metal myself. I did not know if I would be successful in this endeavor so I did not tell what I was doing. I wanted it to be a surprise. Now go on see if it works for you," Elrond encouraged, smiling widely.
Harry didn't waste any time. "Wingardium Leviosa," Harry swished and flicked his new wand at a nearby stand. The stand rose into the air as perfectly as it once would with his phoenix feather wand.
"I'm pleased to see that your magic has bonded so well to it," Elrond said, looking thoroughly pleased with himself.
"Thank you. How can I ever repay you for all of this?" Harry asked.
"Well, perhaps to begin with you can return all of the golden objects you have systemically removed from various places throughout Rivendell?" Elrond lifted an eyebrow.
Harry flushed. "I'm really sorry. It's just this is really the first time I've been around a decent amount of gold since the spell broke. Sometimes I don't even realize I've picked up something until I find myself trying to stuff it under the covers of my bed."
"It's all right. They are your natural instincts, and you are doing quite well. You haven't gone on any rampages for gold. We can work on trying to resist the temptation all together," Elrond explained calmly.
"Thank you, again," Harry laughed.
"Second, I believe that there will a come time that you will be needed. I only ask that heed that call, and come to the aid of Middle Earth should there ever be a need," Elrond stated solemnly.
"Why me? What would I be protecting Middle Earth from?" Harry demanded.
Harry had already defeated one Dark Lord. What was Elrond asking him to fight?
"You misunderstand me, Harry. I simply ask that you stand beside the free people of Middle Earth if a darkness were to arise. It has happened before, and I have no doubts that it will happen again."
Harry could understand that but making a promise like that would bind him to Middle Earth. It was a promise that he was going to be around in the future. But Harry was never one to back down from a fight. His life facing Voldemort had assured that. If there was someone out there trying to impose their will on others than Harry couldn't just sit by and watch. He loved Middle Earth too, and the thought of anyone trying to destroy it, made fire swirl angrily in his chest. Harry would protect it if he could.
"I will," Harry swore.
Elrond smiled, a warm genuine smile that lit up the normally placid elf's entire face. "Thank you, Harry."
Harry was practicing with his wand like he had been for the past few weeks when the horn blew calling the riders to their horses.
"What's wrong?" Harry managed to ask Elrohir and Elladan who were rushing to grab their bows.
"Orcs in our borders again," Elrohir replied excitedly.
"We haven't had this much excitement in ages," Elladan
"Do you think they're here for me?" Harry worried.
"We can't know until we go after them," Elrohir replied.
"I want to come with you," Harry said.
"You can't, the horses hate you," Elladan chuckled before he and his brother both ran off.
Harry sighed. It was true. Even the elves' intelligent and powerful steeds wouldn't let Harry anywhere near them. Harry resigned himself to waiting around until the riders got back.
In the end Harry was glad he didn't go with them. A familiar group of weary looking dwarves, a hobbit, and a gray robed wizard stumbled into the courtyard of Rivendell. Shocked, Harry immediately tried to duck out of sight. But it was too late. He'd been spotted.
"Harry?" Bilbo called.
The entire company's eyes turned towards him, and Harry reluctantly walked out from behind the column. He made his way down to the company.
"It is you," Bilbo grinned.
The hobbit looked a little more worn than the last time Harry had seen him but at least he was still all in one piece.
Harry knelt down beside the hobbit, and the hobbit stepped forward to embrace him. "Bilbo, it's so good to see you again."
"You too, Harry. Although, I don't know why you left in the first place," Bilbo chided.
"I'm sorry for leaving like that. I thought if I didn't leave then I never would," Harry replied.
"You could have traveled with us," Bilbo pointed out.
"I know, I wasn't really thinking clearly," Harry told him.
"Well, it is quite fortuitous that we should meet up again here. Bilbo was quite worried about you," Gandalf stepped in.
"I got attacked by orcs while travelling. The elves were near by and saved me. Lord Elrond allowed me to stay and heal from my injuries," Harry explained.
"We were attacked as well," Kili exclaimed.
"I do not like this. The orcs are growing bolder," Gandalf frowned.
"I agree, old friend," Elrond called as he and the other riders circled in to the courtyard.
The dwarves drew closer to themselves, and even pulled Bilbo into the circle of their huddle. It seemed that Bilbo had found a place among them whether they realized it or not.
"It is the second time orcs have nearly crossed our borders. This time I suppose we have you to thank for that," Elrond dismounted and went to greet his guests.
Thorin and the rest of dwarves seemed suspicious of the elves. They didn't accept Elrond's offer of hospitality until they offered food. Bilbo was still a little upset about Harry's sudden departure but he was happy to be in Rivendell. Harry asked after their own journey so far, and Bilbo was more than willing to tell them all about the trouble they had gotten into. As they settled into the familiar practice of telling stories between themselves Bilbo's hurt disappeared. Hobbits were very forgiving people, and Harry had learned a lot from his time with them. He was even more grateful to have Bilbo as a friend.
The dwarves soon started up an impromptu party. The dwarf with the hat, Bofur, got up to sing and dance while the others tossed food at him. Harry couldn't help but laugh at the expressions on some of the elves' faces when food went sailing past them. As the evening wore on Harry decided to spend some time with the dwarves. They were all in good spirits now that Elrond could help them read their map. He wanted to get to know the dwarves a bit better. He honestly felt a bit guilty that it had been his father who had taken their home from them.
"Did you break the furniture to make a fire?" Harry goggled at the sight of the dwarves sitting around an impromptu campfire.
"Right you are, laddie," Bofur agreed from where he was roasting a sausage over the flame.
"I take it you're not too fond of vegetables?" Harry asked. "Well, except for you," Harry glanced at Bifur who was roasting a piece of lettuce of some kind.
The dwarf with the axe in his head just grunted at him. Harry wasn't exactly sure if he was welcome but he took a seat beside them anyway.
"So you haven't found your father yet, laddie?" Bofur asked jovially. "Bilbo mentioned something about you losing him."
The other dwarves were all giving him suspicious looks. If only they knew who and what he really was.
"No, not yet," Harry murmured.
"That's too bad," Bofur replied.
Harry shrugged and asked them about their trip so far even if he already knew what had happened from Bilbo. At least it got a few of the others interested in talking with him. The younger dwarves Fili and Kili soon joined the conversation to tell him all about the mountain trolls. The conversation soon drifted to Harry asking a little bit about dwarves. They were all too happy to comply as long as it wasn't anything too personal. Dwarves were a very secretive bunch.
"What are you going to do about the dragon?" Harry finally worked up the courage to ask.
"It's been years. Old Smaug might not even be alive," Gloin stated.
"But if he is?" Harry insisted, after all he knew for a fact that he was.
"Then we will slay the worm where he lays, and get back our mountain," announced a voice from behind him.
They all turned to see Thorin standing in the doorway. Harry locked eyes with the dwarf, and he could see the determination in those eyes. It was a look Harry was familiar as it was one he'd seen in his own eyes. It hit Harry then that, in a way, Smaug was like Thorin's Voldemort. Smaug had destroyed Thorin's life. He'd taken everything from the dwarf just like Voldemort had ruined Harry's. Harry just hoped that it wouldn't come to Thorin slaying Smaug.
The dwarves and Bilbo stayed for several days. The dwarves ran around causing trouble, and generally just doing what they could to annoy and surprise the elves. Harry had even caught the star headed dwarf, Nori, stuffing elven candelabras in his bag. But considering he was still trying to tamp down his own desire to tuck away precious objects he wasn't about to call the dwarf out for stealing. When Nori had seen Harry wasn't about to rat him out he sent Harry a bright grin and a salute before slinking off. After that Nori was a great deal more friendly towards him.
The dwarves and Bilbo stayed until Elrond was able read their map for them. Harry was a little disheartened to learn that there was only one way to enter the mountain, and that Smaug had tightly sealed all of the other entrances. Harry had missed this information when they had discussed this back at Bag End. He wasn't sure what he would do now. Traveling with the dwarves seemed to be the best and the worst option. Best because they could lead him to the only door into the mountain, and worst because he would no doubt end up revealing just what he really was to them. The dwarves hated Smaug above all else, and Harry knew they weren't going to take him being a dragon very well. They barely liked him now when they thought he was a human.
Harry was still trying to decide what to do when Bilbo came to him, telling him that they were leaving. There were some who didn't want to see them complete their quest, and wanted to keep them here in Rivendell. So while Gandalf distracted them, the dwarves and Bilbo would sneak away.
"Goodbye, Harry," Bilbo whispered to him just before they left.
"Be safe, Bilbo, and I'll see you again soon," Harry smiled.
Bilbo nodded resolutely. They embraced and then Bilbo was gone. Harry returned to his room for the night.
In the morning he was woken by Elrond. He had spoken with the Lady Galadriel, the elf woman Bilbo had told him about. She told Elrond that she knew about Harry, and that it was important for Harry to travel the rest of the way to Erebor with the dwarves.
"This only seems to echo my own feelings on the matter. From the moment I met you I knew I could trust you. Of course I was a bit surprised when you reveled your true form, and for once I believed my senses had steered me wrong. However, you have certainly proved to be more than trustworthy, and I have assured Gandalf of this fact," Elrond explained.
"Was he suspicious?" Harry asked, wondering if the wizard had been able to guess what he really was.
"Mithrandir could sense something different about you. He does not know what you truly are. It is a truth you alone must impart to him," Elrond assured. "It is also up to you whether you heed the Lady Galadriel's words or not. Gandalf will soon depart to catch up to Thorin's Company you may choose to go with him or you may choose to stay," Elrond offered.
"I wouldn't be much of a Gryffindor if I didn't go, I suppose," Harry mumbled. He was dreading more than ever facing his father.
"I cannot deny that your path would be easier were you to stay here, and I would not be honest if I said I did not want you to stay. However, I know how much you desire to meet your father, and how beneficial it will be for you to finally confront the one from your memories. You cannot hide from who you are forever, Harry," Elrond said gently.
"Why do you have to be right all the time?" Harry frowned at him.
Elrond laughed. "It is a skill that took me many years to achieve."
Harry rolled his eyes. But in the end he decided to listen to the advice of a woman he had never met. It was more that Elrond trusted Galadriel and Gandalf. They had been his friends for centuries, and were considered some of the wisest beings in all of Middle Earth. Harry wanted to go with Bilbo anyway, and Elrond was right. He couldn't hide what he was forever. He was going to confront Smaug even if that led to everyone knowing the truth about what he was. For a world without telephones they certainly could spread gossip quicker than the students of Hogwarts.
Gandalf had already started out by the time that Harry had made his decision and then packed all of his belongings. Harry said his goodbyes to the elves he had lived with these past few months. He would miss them just like he missed Hermione, Ron, Sirius, and all of the other people from his other world. But he had something he needed to do, and for once it wasn't to kill a dark lord. It was something even more terrifying. Harry was going to face his father who may or may not try to attack him.
It didn't stop Harry from running off to catch up with Gandalf.
"Lord Elrond said I might have another companion," Gandalf smiled kindly at him once Harry reached him.
"I need to get to Erebor," Harry replied.
"And just why is that?" Gandalf asked as they started walking again. "Lord Elrond and Lady Galadriel were quite tight lipped on just what role you are to play in this little quest of ours. In fact Lady Galadriel insisted on your involvement."
"You see it all started…"
As Gandalf and Harry continued on their way Harry told the wizard everything that had happened to him. He could tell that the wizard was a little more wary of Harry than Elrond had been. Or else Elrond had been better at hiding it.
"I will not lie to you, Harry, after you have been so honest with me. I supported this quest to reclaim Erebor in order to remove Smaug. I fear a great evil is stirring, and that Smaug could be convinced to cause great tragedy if given the right motivation. However, you change everything. For the better I think. Lord Elrond trusts you, and from what I have seen of you, you are a good soul," Gandalf finally stated.
"Thank you," Harry nodded. "Dragons aren't normally good souls I take it?"
"Lord Elrond told you of the creation of dragons?" Gandalf asked.
"He told me a bit. But I think he was trying to hide some things from me to protect me. And of course I know a bit from Bilbo, and what the dwarves said of Smaug," Harry admitted.
"I see. I believe it is important you know how the rest of Middle Earth views dragons. They were made to be instruments of true destruction. Dragons as a race are vicious, dark creatures. The only things they care for are their hoards and themselves, and they were only ever loyal to the one who created them. Rarely do they even enjoy the company of others of their kind, and only ever spent much time in another's presence for breeding purposes or to raise their young. Some, like Smaug did with you, form attachments to their young, and would spend their days together even after the child was grown."
"They sound sort of awful," Harry murmured, feeling a bit cold.
"I must admit I was a bit worried when you first told me what you were. But Lord Elrond's trust, Lady Galadriel's insistence, and my own observations leave me with the belief that you are much different from most dragons. Whether this is simply your own unique nature or because you have spent most of your life as a human I cannot say."
"It's a little terrifying to think if I hadn't been kidnapped I may be some vicious beast," Harry was terrified that there was still a chance he could turn out that way. He couldn't ignore the fact that sometimes when he was in his dragon form there was a part of him that couldn't help but think of all others as weak. His instincts were sharper in that form, and things didn't bother him as much as they should.
"There is no use thinking of what could have been or what will be. Leave such matters to me. I have been doing it for a long time," the wizard smiled, his eyes twinkling.
"Why do I get the feeling that you're something of a meddler?" Harry frowned at the gray wizard.
"Meddler? Me? Never," Gandalf sent him a grin and a wink.
Harry couldn't help but laugh at the wizard and relax a bit in his presence.
"Do you think that evil you mentioned could try to use me too?" Harry asked after a moment of silence. He was thinking of the orcs and their master. Could they be one in the same?
"A dragon has a strong will and a strong mind. They owe allegiance to no one but themselves. I fear Smaug will turn to darkness because he can easily be bribed with gold or land. Not because his mind could be corrupted. I believe that the one who took you, took you when you were young in hopes of gaining a foothold in your mind while you were still young enough and vulnerable enough to do so. You are older now and would not be so easily manipulated," Gandalf reassured.
"Is your plan to still kill Smaug?" Harry asked.
"Now that you will be traveling with us to the Lonely Mountain, I believe there might be a chance Smaug can be reasoned with. I fear what might happen otherwise," Gandalf said softly.
"You're afraid he'll kill whoever wakes him up?" Harry asked.
"I do indeed, along with a great many other if he is given the chance. This is why I believe you need to be there. Perhaps your return can temper some of Smaug's rage."
"And if it doesn't?" Harry persisted.
"You are a smart young man. You have experienced the difficulties of battle. What would you have us do if Smaug were to rampage through the skies once more?" Gandalf questioned.
"Stop him," Harry whispered.
"Indeed," Gandalf nodded, pausing to lean against his staff.
"If he doesn't recognize me, if he doesn't listen to reason, I'll help. I'll you stop him," Harry promised.
Gandalf's gray eyes searched his own currently green ones. "Thank you, Harry. It will give us a great advantage over him to have your help. First, let us hope that such a thing doesn't come to that."
Harry nodded his agreement. Harry desperately wanted to meet his birth father. The one who had loved and cared for him so deeply in his memories. But things had gone so horribly wrong afterwards, and it was hard for Harry to reconcile that his father was probably a fire-breathing monster now.
The two of them traveled together for the next week or so. The dwarves and Bilbo had really gotten a better head start than Gandalf and Harry realized. But it was all right because Harry and Gandalf got the chance to talk a little bit about the difference between spells he'd learned in Hogwarts and the spells Gandalf knew. Gandalf gave him a small lecture about magic and how it was all about the intent and determination of the wielder rather than the spells themselves. Harry had been in Middle Earth for a half a year, and his magical education had suffered because of it. He should have been half way done with his fifth year by now.
Harry and Gandalf reached the Misty Mountains by nightfall. Gandalf tracked down the trails of the company as the rain had washed away too much of their scent for Harry to track any longer. Their trail led to a small cave in the mountains that had a huge hole in the floor. Someone had dug away at the cave floor to create a trap, which fell down a long tunnel into the depths of the mountains.
"Goblins," Gandalf sneered.
"I take it they're not like the goblins of my world?" Harry asked.
"No, they are decidedly more… repugnant," Gandalf answered.
"Do you think they've taken them?" Harry wondered.
"Without question," Gandalf nodded. "And we must go after them."
Harry nodded his agreement even if he wasn't all too thrilled of the idea of going any deeper into the goblin tunnels. Gandalf managed to find a path for them to take deeper into the mountain tunnels. The deeper they got, the stronger the stench of the goblins became. Harry couldn't wait until they got out of here. It was nothing like the tunnels under Gringotts. Hopefully they found Bilbo and the dwarves soon.
It was slightly terrifying to Harry as well. It was his first experience going into unfriendly territory in Middle Earth. It was also going to be his first chance to be in an actual fight that involved other creatures attacking him with swords instead of magic. He'd been in plenty of difficult circumstances. But he'd never been involved in the type of situation he was in now. Harry was going into a mountain that housed a whole legion of unfriendly and vicious goblins. Although, if worse came to worse Harry could just take his true form and burn them all up. At least then it would improve the stench a little.
He and Gandalf finally came upon the goblin city. It wasn't really all that impressive especially after seeing the Shire and Rivendell. Rickety wooden bridges and platforms were strung up everywhere by rope, and they looked like one strong shove would send them crashing into the deep caverns below.
It was easy enough to locate the company. The shouts and snarls were easy to follow as well as the morbid and off tune song being sung by the giant goblin. Gandalf and Harry had arrived just in time to hear the goblin king sentencing the party to death. The dwarves began to fight in earnest. Gandalf cast a blinding white spell that had Harry seeing spots. It had done its job of momentarily blasting away the goblins around the company but there were thousands of goblins in the caves and even now they were swarming closer. Harry drew the blade that Elrond had given to him. It was now or never to see just how much those lessons had paid off.
"Take up arms," Gandalf snarled to the dwarves.
The dwarves didn't need to be told twice. What happened next was the maddest thing that Harry had ever been a part of. They slashed and shoved their way through the goblin hordes. It helped that the dwarves all seemed to be half mad and utterly fearless. Harry's training with Elrohir and Elladan didn't hurt either. However there did come a point when they were bit overwhelmed that he pulled out his wand.
He, Fili, and Nori had gotten separated from the main group, and the goblins were closing in no matter how swift and cunning Fili and Nori were with their various knives and swords. Harry had no choice but to pull out his wand or else be overwhelmed. He ended up using it to stab a goblin who got too close before he got the chance to actually fire off a spell. But eventually he picked a simple but effective spell that would clear away some of the goblins.
"Bombarda!" he cried.
The blast caused the goblins to be sent flying in every direction. Fili and Nori both took a moment to gape at him.
"We have to move!" Harry shouted at them.
It seemed to shake them from their shock and Fili went charging first into the cleared space after his brother. Nori and Fili kept close to his side after that especially with Harry cutting through swaths of goblins using cutting and blasting curses. It was disturbingly easy to fight using magic against other creatures that didn't have anything to protect from it, and maybe Harry would have felt a little guilty if it wasn't for the fact that the goblins were trying so hard to kill them.
Eventually they made their escape. But it was only when they made it outside and were trying to regain their breath that Harry realized that Bilbo wasn't with the dwarves. Harry said as much, and Thorin went off about how Bilbo should have never gone with them anyway and had probably taken off. Harry was about to defend the hobbit when he appeared from around a tree. Bilbo went on to tell them he had decided not to leave because he wanted to help the dwarves get their home back. It seemed to enamor the other dwarves to Bilbo even if their leader wasn't quite so easily convinced.
He didn't have a lot of time to be angry with Bilbo for Harry suddenly caught a scent on the breeze, a scent that had him freezing in terror.
"Harry?" Gandalf questioned, the wizard having caught his reaction.
"Orcs," Harry whispered in dread, turning his gaze towards the scent.
The dwarves muttered amongst themselves, and regained their battle stances as they looked around for the as of yet unseen threat.
"There are no orcs, we've long outrun them," Thorin snapped.
Thorin had only finished speaking when the howls of wargs rang down the hill. The howls were soon followed by the wargs themselves. A large pale orc on a white warg stood atop the hill. Some of the dwarves obviously recognized the orc and there were loud shouts of denial.
"Out of the fire…" Thorin began.
"And into the pot," Gandalf finished.
"Run!" someone cried.
It didn't need to be said twice. Harry snatched up Bilbo much to the hobbit's displeasure, and used his longer legs to leave the dwarves in the dust. However, gaining a bit of a lead didn't really matter much in the long run considering the only place for them to run was off the edge of a cliff.
"The trees!" Bilbo cried, pointing towards the tree closest to the edge of the cliff.
Harry hoisted Bilbo into the tree where Gandalf pulled him the rest of the way up. Harry then went back to help give several of the dwarves boosts up into the trees before climbing up himself. Harry's blood was roaring through his veins in a demand to shift, and fly very far and fast away from here. Just like his previous experience with the orcs Harry was sick in his terror of them. He had faced basilisks and a dark lord orcs certainly couldn't measure up to them. Harry was a dragon, for Merlin's sake, he shouldn't be afraid of those disgusting little creatures. But he was. It was an irrational, instinctual fear of them left over from their treatment of him when he was young. Harry was absolutely no help as the wargs soon surrounded them.
The wargs leapt and snapped at the trees that they had taken shelter in. Soon the trees were toppling like dominoes, one right into the other. The dwarves all ended up with Harry, Gandalf, and Bilbo in the tree by the edge of the cliff. Gandalf set alight some pinecones to lob at the wargs and orcs. It worked for a time. The tree they were in began to creak and it was beginning to lean threateningly over the side of the cliff. Thorin went to make a stand against the pale orc but Harry's attention was more focused on not falling out of the tree. He noticed one of the dwarves near him, Fili, slipping a bit, and he quickly reached out to grab the back of his jacket and hall him more firmly into the tree. His momentary distraction had allowed Bilbo to slip by him, and Harry watched in awe as Bilbo tackled an orc all on his own.
The hobbit quickly stabbed the orc that had been about to remove Thorin's head. The large, pale skinned orc was still heading straight towards them though. Bilbo's courage and the thought of him being hurt rallied Harry enough to try and make his way to the hobbit's side. Before he could reach Bilbo's side great eagles swooped down. They dropped the wargs off the sides of the cliffs, and carefully scooped up the dwarves and Bilbo. An eagle had been heading to pick up Harry as well but it seemed to realize what Harry was at the last moment. It loosed an angry shriek and quickly pulled away. Harry could hear Gandalf shouting to the eagles. With obvious great reluctance the eagle carrying Gandalf went back to snatch Harry, none too gently, off the ground with its talons.
Flying without being under the power of his own wings was extremely uncomfortable to Harry. It seemed it was almost as uncomfortable for Harry as it was for the eagle, and both of them remained stiff throughout the entire trip. They carried them until dawn began to break over the horizon. The eagles dropped them off on a nearby cliff, and took off without looking back. None of the dwarves had seen the eagles' hesitation at picking up Harry, and all of them were soon focused on Thorin apologizing to Bilbo to really even care all that much about Harry even being there. Harry personally thought they were all just too stunned that their leader was hugging Bilbo.
"It's good to see you again, wizard, and you've brought a guest," Thorin Oakenshield turned his sharp blue eyes towards Harry.
"Everyone remembers Harry from Bilbo's and from Rivendell. He will be joining us for the rest of our journey," Gandalf explained.
"A Man child?" Dwalin demanded.
"Not just any child of Man. Nori and I saw you casting magic," Fili spoke up looking at Harry in clear curiosity.
"Magic?" Bilbo spluttered.
"Yes, Bilbo, Harry has a talent for magic. I first sensed when we first met. The elves have helped him develop his talent a bit, and I will train him a bit further. He will be quite useful to you as your quest continues," Gandalf stated firmly.
Since they had all just been reminded on just how good Gandalf was at picking travel companions the dwarves accepted Harry's addition to their company without a lot of fuss. They also couldn't argue with the thought of having another magic user with them either. It was a relief to Harry, and Bilbo seemed to be thrilled to have Harry joining him. Even if the hobbit was in a bit of awe over him now that it was revealed that he could do magic.
Joining the company wasn't easy. The next month or so of traveling proved that. The dwarves didn't trust easily, and the orcs were still hot on their heels giving rise to Harry's fear of them. There were half a dozen times that Harry thought taking off on his own would be easier. But then he would realize he couldn't just leave Bilbo behind knowing that he might be in danger.
The company had a couple of days rest in the house of Beorn, a bear shape-shifter. The man's shifting ability was fascinating to Harry not that he was willing to talk about his ability to Harry. It was obvious that the shape-shifter knew that there was more to Harry than met the eye, and didn't exactly like him in his house. Only Gandalf speaking with him kept Beorn from kicking him out or bringing up the matter with the others. Harry tried not to let his distrust bother him. It wasn't like he was the first person to hate Harry for something beyond his control, and he wouldn't be the last if the dwarves' hate of all things dragon was anything to go by.
But Harry was still happy to leave Beorn's home, and continue on their path towards Erebor. Of course he wasn't quite feeling the same way when they actually started traveling through the Mirkwood. The forest was dark and dank and rotten. The scent of decay was so strong on his tongue it made him gag. So he started walking. The forest gave him an uneasy feeling, and he wanted to leave far behind as quickly as he could. The dwarves seemed to feel the same, and they pushed themselves to walk as far as they could. The trees were covered in dark rot, and things floated in the air. The further he went in the forest the more disoriented he felt. Harry hardly even noticed the increasing number of spider webs around him.
He wasn't the only one who was feeling a bit out of sorts as the days dragged on in Mirkwood. They stuck to the path but time seemed to be dragging. The dwarves were all irritable, and Harry found himself exercising a great deal of his mental strength not to burn them all for hardly any reason. They were running out of food, and it was a new experience to Harry to be involved in a trek that involved such a thing. He was no stranger to hunger thanks to Dursleys. But he could at least rely on the fact that they would always eventually feed him. This was not the case in their current situation.
Things actually started looking up when they were attacked by spiders. The fight with the spiders brought elves who weren't quite as friendly as those in Rivendell had been. Despite their insistence that they were just traveling through the elves still bound them up and carted them off to their dungeons. The only one who didn't receive a similar treatment was Bilbo who was nowhere to be seen. They all could only hope that Bilbo was safe out in the forest.
Thorin was the only one who was actually allowed to speak to their host while everyone else was just simply thrown into a prison cell. Harry tried using his magic to open the doors to prison. His pack that contained his wand, and his sword, along with all of the dwarves' weapons had been taken by the elves. Harry was determined to get out of his cell. He already knew being inside the enclosed wasn't going to be very good. His dragon instincts were screaming at him to break free, and just how wrong it was to be trapped like this. But the bars to the cells were extremely strong, and Harry suspected they were also a bit enchanted. If he had his wand maybe things may have been different but bar actually turning into a dragon and rampaging his way out of here he didn't know how he was going to get out.
At least he was close to Fili. He got along well with the blonde haired dwarf prince. He and his brother insisted on befriending Harry after had grabbed him when he'd been falling in the tree. Fili and Kili reminded him a bit of Fred and George but weren't quite as big of troublemakers. Of course that could have been because that Fili and Kili had to be more mature and serious on a quest like the one that they were on. It certainly had been eye opening to Harry so far. They were in near constant danger, and none of them even knew if they'd reach a safe and happy ending.
A few days later Harry caught Bilbo's scent. The hobbit was close by but Harry never caught sight of him. Harry figured that there was some truth to what Gandalf had been saying about hobbits, they could be quite sneaky.
The company spent more than a week in Mirkwood with the hospitality of the elves. They were all just beginning to despair when Bilbo arrived jangling the keys to their cells. Once out Harry insisted on getting his pack before following the plan for escape that Bilbo had thought up. Gloin and a couple of others agreed so they lead a quite party to retrieve their supplies while the others went to prepare for their escape.
Their mission successful they returned to rest of the dwarves only for Harry to wish they had gotten caught. Bilbo's plan was to escape in wine barrels and escape down the river. Harry didn't think it was the hobbit's best plan, and quickly offered himself up to be the last one. He sealed the dwarves into their barrels and pulled the lever to release them into the river. Only then did he reluctantly follow them by jumping into the river.
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