Summary: Harry sacrifices himself to Voldemort in the Forbidden Forest expecting to die. Instead he wakes up in the Third Age of Middle Earth, lost and confused. Realistic crossover with canon Harry. No power-ups, elfling Harry or tenth walker. No slash.
Disclaimer: Harry Potter belongs to JK Rowling. The Lord of the Rings belongs to the Tolkien Estate. I write this parody work for pleasure, not commercial gain, and claim no ownership of copyrighted materials belonging to others.
Format: The paragraphs in this story have been formatted to be read using the 1/2 reading option, which narrows the text in the centre of the page.
The Next Great Adventure
Chapter One: Awakening
Voldemort had raised his wand. His head was tilted to one side, like a curious child, wondering what would happen if he proceeded. Harry looked back into the red eyes, and wanted it to happen now, quickly, while he could still stand, before he lost control, before he betrayed fear-
He saw the mouth move and a flash of green light, and everything was gone.
Harry woke to the sound of leaves rustling in the wind. He froze and tried to keep his breathing shallow, his cheek resting on the cool earth of the forest floor. Somehow, miraculously, he had survived Voldemort's Killing Curse. But he was not out of danger yet: though he could hear nothing, Death Eaters surely remained nearby. How long had he been unconscious?
Heart thudding in his chest, he opened his eyes a fraction, just enough to peek out from beneath his eyelids. But when he saw where he was, he gasped and sat upright.
He was no longer in the Forbidden Forest, and there were no Death Eaters nearby. There wasn't anybody nearby. He found himself alone on the summit of a grassy hillock, sitting in the shade of a tall tree, with a cool spring sun high in the sky. Around him was nothing but pristine countryside: in one direction was a line of rolling hills, in the other a river. He could not see a road or electrical pylon within miles.
And that was when Harry realised - he could see. He patted his face in disbelief, but his hands confirmed what his eyes told him, for they found no evidence of his glasses. For a moment he was at a complete loss. He knew of no magic that could heal the eyes so completely, but the truth could not be denied. Was this some side-effect of Voldemort's Killing Curse?
He rubbed his scar in thought; a well-practiced movement. But this time it was different. For the first time in years Harry could feel nothing coming from his scar. No pain, no strange emotions, not even a mild tingling. The plan had worked. The horcrux was gone.
A laugh bubbled out of him, a wide grin on his face, and he whooped for joy, the sound of it carrying across the landscape. It was only now that Harry realised what a burden his scar had been.
Dumbledore! He'd always kept his cards so close to his chest, plans ravelled within plans. But once again Harry's trust in him had been repaid, for here he was, alive and free of Voldemort's horcrux.
The thought of Voldemort brought him up short. He had no idea how much time had passed, but it couldn't have been more than a few hours. The attack on Hogwarts would still be underway, and his friends needed him. He spun on the spot, his mind fixed on the castle, but the apparition failed. Harry stumbled in surprise, his foot barely missing his glasses on the ground. He frowned and picked them up, holding the lenses to his eyes. He felt a sharp pain and yanked them away.
"So that's what Hermione meant…" he muttered, understanding now the feeling she described when she wore his glasses. He shrugged and placed them in his mokeskin pouch, before reaching inside his robes for the hawthorn wand.
It wasn't there. His heart jumped in panic and he began to frantically pat himself down, convinced that he'd find his wand somewhere, but his surety quickly gave way to doubt and then despair. It was gone. Worse, his invisibility cloak had also disappeared, and neither of them could be found on the ground around him, though he looped around the tree four times before admitting it.
Harry tried to keep the panic at bay. It was only Malfoy's wand, after all. But the loss of his cloak hit him hard indeed. Had the Death Eaters taken it? Why, then, would they have left him the mokeskin pouch? And why bring him here - wherever he was? Nothing was making any sense.
Harry closed his eyes and breathed out through his nose, searching for that feeling of detached control he had discovered when digging Dobby's grave. His grasp of occlumency had been dearly bought, yet once gained it was easily recalled.
His priority was to return to Hogwarts as soon as possible, but he couldn't apparate without a wand. He was clearly stranded far from any civilisation, and wizards were rare at the best of times. The chances of stumbling across one in the wilderness were thin. That meant he'd have to take a more direct approach. A more dangerous one.
"Voldemort," he said, deciding on it before he could second-guess himself. He tensed, ready to charge at the first wizard to apparate in, but no Snatchers came. Five minutes passed, and then ten, and still no Snatchers arrived. Were they all at Hogwarts, fighting for Voldemort?
Harry sighed and looked around. There was nothing for it: he would have to walk, though it would take him far too long. Once he found a town he could take Muggle transportation to London, and then to Grimmauld Place. He would simply have to hope that the house was not being watched.
He chose the river almost on a whim, but there was some reason to it, because Harry was distinctly aware that he had neither food nor water. At least along the river he would have plenty of the latter. He only hoped it wasn't too far before he found a road or town, because without a wand he had few survival skills in the wild.
It must have taken Harry at least an hour to reach the river, though he wasn't wearing a watch so he couldn't know for sure. He approached the tree-lined bank to the sound of water rushing over rocks, and he scrambled down to get a closer look. The river was wide but shallow, not even deep enough to reach his knee, and fast moving.
His stomach rumbled and Harry knelt to drink, cupping his hands into the water and bringing it up to his face. It was icy cold, but it was all Harry had so he drank until he could drink no more, trying to pretend the sloshing fullness in his stomach was the result of food. After a year of camping with minimal supplies this was not unfamiliar.
Harry looked up and down stream, trying to decide which way to go next. "Eenie, meenie, miny, mo," he muttered, before choosing downstream. There were more towns by the coast, he figured, and the walking would be easier going downhill.
He walked and walked, quickly at first, but slowing to a steady plod when it became clear that it was going to take him some time. Every so often a wind picked up, gathering speed across the wild fields, but fortunately the air was warmer than Harry expected. In fact, it was unusually warm for May, and after another break for water Harry took off his robe, leaving himself in just his jeans and t-shirt. Perhaps his luck was turning.
But as the day wore on and the sun lowered in the sky, a sinking feeling settled in somewhere behind Harry's empty stomach. Despite having travelled miles, the land looked as empty as ever. If he didn't find somewhere soon he was going to have to camp, this time with no tent, no food, and no wand.
He kept walking even as the sun was setting, determined to find shelter, but once it was dark Harry had to admit it to himself: he would be sleeping beneath the stars that night. And so he found a particularly large tree and settled himself at its base, his back against the trunk.
As soon as he did, the cumulative strain of the day hit him. He had fought, he had seen friends die, and he had walked for miles after being stranded in the middle of nowhere. He was hungry, wandless, and confused, not to mention getting cold now that the sun had set. He tugged his robe closer around himself, trying to sink into it further, but the cotton was thin and not designed for such weather.
But worst of all he was worried for his friends at Hogwarts. Would the battle be over by now? Or would they still be fighting, the defences holding out? Harry thought back to his last instruction to Neville, telling him to kill Nagini. With Harry's connection to Voldemort broken, there was no way to know if he'd succeeded. For all Harry knew, Voldemort was already dead and the celebrations had begun, with the Boy Who Lived presumed dead in the forest. But no - Ron and Hermione would not forsake him. They, at least, would insist on finding him, if only to bring back his body.
That was, of course, assuming Voldemort was dead. A sudden burst of frustration took Harry and he slammed his fist down on the ground, a stick snapping beneath it. Assuming Voldemort was dead. That was not an assumption he could make.
The wind blew hard and he shivered. It was going to be a long, terrible night. If only he could…
He stared at the broken stick and wondered. Could he? There was only one way to be sure. He focused on the stick, concentrating as hard as he could, thinking of fire and heat, almost hearing the roar of Goyle's Fiendfyre.
He pointed his finger at the stick. "Incendio!"
A sob almost escaped him, a thick, choking feeling in his throat, but he suppressed it with clenched fists. He had fought basilisks and dragons. He had faced Voldemort again and again. He could endure a night of cold.
It took many restless hours for sleep to take him, the cold and the hardness of the ground conspiring to keep him awake, but eventually his exhaustion beat his discomfort and the darkness took him.
Harry did not sleep for long. He came to before the sun had even risen, its coming nothing more than a pale glow on the horizon. A chill had taken him while he slept, stiffening his limbs and making his robes damp. Every part of him ached. He got to his feet with a groan, far too uncomfortable to wait for the sun. Walking would hopefully warm him up.
He was too miserable to appreciate the beauty of the sunrise, though he did welcome the first warmth of its rays after half an hour of walking. Had he been a Muggle, Harry had no doubt that the night would have left him deeply unwell, but wizards were luckily made of hardier stuff. Once the sun was up he quickly shook off the cold, once again taking off his robe as he found himself sweating.
But even a wizard's endurance had its limits. His hunger had now become an all-consuming need, almost two days having passed since he last ate at Hogwarts, and Harry found himself searching the banks for anything edible: mushrooms, berries, even flowers. Nothing presented itself. In a moment of insanity he tried to eat a leaf, but it was so bitter that he spat it out.
His pace, so determined when he had begun, now slowed to an amble. He lacked the energy for anything more. The river was getting deeper and quieter, he noticed idly. Few rocks were now large enough to break the surface of the water, making it look almost still.
Harry fell into a deep melancholy as the world once again began to darken, resigning himself to another night of cold and hunger. But this time he was determined to be better prepared, and so, while he still had the light, he searched the area for a camping spot. He found a good tree with a hollowed trunk to protect him from the wind, then gathered some sticks for a fire.
"Incendio!" he tried once more, pointing his finger at the pile of sticks, but once again nothing happened. He made several attempts, each time experimenting with a different technique. He even tried writing the rune for fire - one of the few runes he knew - into the dirt, but that too failed.
He reached inside the mokeskin pouch for the pieces of his broken wand. He knew from his second year how dangerous such things could be, but desperate times called for desperate measures. He took the larger piece and pointed it at the sticks.
Sparks flew, blinding him with their sudden brightness, and Harry dropped the wand with a gasp of pain. But not all of the sparks shot into his hand, and some of them indeed landed on the sticks, which burst into sudden flame. The heat of the fire washed over Harry immediately, a small thrill of victory going through him despite his injury. He cradled his burnt hand and wiggled his fingers, sucking air through his teeth as the burn throbbed.
He rushed to the bank and plunged his hand into the cool water, breathing out in deep satisfaction as some of the throbbing faded. For several minutes he crouched there, swirling his hand through the water. It was not healed, not by a long stretch, but the worst of the pain seemed to have passed.
He returned to his fire, gathering more sticks for it along the way. For quite some time Harry simply stared into the flames crackling in the dark, basking in the waves of warmth emanating outwards. It was ironic, he thought, that this - one of the simplest spells he knew - was now also one of the most satisfying pieces of magic he had ever performed.
He wondered what everyone would be doing at Hogwarts now. It was impossible to know. Perhaps the halls were empty but for the bodies of all his friends. Perhaps they were enjoying a rich feast, tables loaded with glistening roast meats, deep savoury pies and hearty casseroles.
And then Harry realised: he didn't need to guess. He took off his mokeskin pouch and emptied its contents onto the ground, quickly picking up the Marauder's map.
"I solemnly swear -"
He paused, staring at the map. It was already active. That was strange… he didn't remember leaving it open. But he shrugged and flattened it out, careful to avoid placing it too close to the fire, and searched the Great Hall.
There wasn't anyone there. In fact, there wasn't anyone anywhere, not in all of Hogwarts. Harry's heart sank. There was only one explanation: Voldemort had killed everyone.
"Mischief managed," he said, unable to bear the sight of it. But nothing happened. "Mischief managed," he repeated, firmer this time, tapping his finger against the paper. No response.
Was it damaged somehow? Was that why it wasn't showing anyone within Hogwarts? Harry could only hope so - hope that Voldemort's Killing Curse had somehow also broken the Marauder's map. The alternative was too terrible to imagine.
He put the map back into the pouch and turned to his other possessions, lingering over them as he returned them. First went the letter his mother had written to Sirius, the photograph of baby Harry riding his toy broomstick folded inside. Next went his glasses, which he still hadn't needed. A handful of silver sickles and bronze knuts followed, still in there after over a year. He hadn't had much opportunity to spend money recently. Then, carefully, he replaced the shards of his broken wand and the fake locket left for Voldemort by Regulus Black.
That left the snitch and the broken shard of Sirius' two-way mirror. He picked up the latter, wondering with a flash of hope if he might find Aberforth Dumbledore on the other end, but it reflected only his own face. Harry frowned. It wasn't meant to do that. Had the two-way connection of the mirror also been broken by Voldemort's spell?
Lastly he picked up the snitch. It was a trivial thing, completely useless to him now, but it saddened him to think of its magic as dead. He flicked it into the air, testing it, and to his surprise a pair of wings sprung from its sides, beating rapidly with its distinctive whirring sound. Harry stared at it hovering in front of his face, utterly confused. How had the magic of the snitch survived when the map and mirror had failed?
Harry doubted even Hermione could have told him. This was Defence Against the Dark Arts stuff, and Harry knew almost everything there was to know about the Killing Curse. It wasn't supposed to have any effect on enchantments, of that he was certain. The curse passed through shields, but it didn't break them. So the question was not why the snitch still worked, but why the map and mirror had failed.
Harry had no answer for that. He grabbed the snitch from the air and put it back in the pouch. He was still thinking on the problem when he fell asleep.
The fire had long died by the time Harry woke, and so dawn was once again a cold and stiff affair. He'd fallen asleep with his head at an awkward angle and was rewarded now with a crick in his neck. His burnt palm was red and and still pulsed in pain, but it was not quite as bad as the night before.
Worryingly, his hunger had faded somewhat. Harry knew that was not a good sign, and when he stood up he had to steady himself against the tree until the world stopped spinning. He was weakening quickly. Soon his magic would weaken also, if it hadn't already begun to do so, and once that happened the morning chills would become far more dangerous. With weak magic he would be as vulnerable to sickness as any Muggle. He'd seen it again and again at Hogwarts, every year at exam time when Madam Pomfrey was forced to hand out Pepper-Up potions. The stress of the exams weakened the magic.
He had to find a settlement before that happened.
He set off with new determination, driven now not by worry for his friends but fear for himself. It was only just occurring to Harry that he might not find his way back home; there was a real possibility that he could die out here in the wild. As before he took his robes off around midday, wrinkling his nose at the smell of old dried sweat that clung to him. He had not washed for days and his clothes were smudged with grass and dirt stains.
But he could not waste energy washing in the river, nor afford to get unnecessarily cold. He would just have to hope that, when he found a road, Muggles would not be put off by the smell of him.
Harry walked automatically, still following the sinuous winding of the river, and his mind drifted as he went, lost in a kind of wakeful dreaming. And so it was that he had already climbed over the low stone wall when he stopped and turned to look at it.
It wasn't much: the type of old, crumbling wall which divided one farmer's fields from the next, waist high and stretching off into the distance. But it was enough: where there was a wall, there was a wall-maker. Harry had found civilisation.
The enclosed field in which he found himself was large and dotted with groups of sheep munching on the grass. On the far side he could see a wooden gate, and beyond that a dirt path leading through another field and into some trees.
Harry set off with a new spring in his step, his mind suddenly focused by the near-achievement of his goal. The Muggles would no doubt think him strange, coming out of nowhere wearing dirty and smelly clothes, a robe over his arm, but they could at least point him in the direction of a main road. He would have to take a risk and call the Knight Bus, because no Muggle was going to accept his wizarding money. The chance of capture was high, but Harry needed food urgently.
He was nearing the trees when he saw the man. He was coming down the pathway with a pair of dogs trotting beside him, and was dressed very strangely, even more so than Harry. He wore a loose white shirt, long enough that it hung to mid-thigh. It was tied around his waist with a belt and the sleeves were rolled up. And he didn't wear trousers but tight brown breeches, which were tucked into tall boots.
All in all he looked several hundred years out of place. Had Harry somehow stumbled into an eccentric wizard?
"Hello!" Harry called, waving his hand to attract the stranger's attention. The man froze and his dogs erupted into barks, bounding towards him. Harry kept walking forward at a steady pace, trying not to think about Ripper. He needn't have worried, for before the dogs reached him the man seemed to recover from the shock of seeing Harry and whistled, summoning the dogs back towards him.
As Harry got closer he was struck by how much taller he was than the stranger, who barely reached eye-height. Harry was by no means short, coming in at a respectable five foot ten, but it was rare for him to tower over a grown man. Harry might have thought him a child, but for his thick brown beard.
"Hello," Harry repeated once he was close enough for talking, and he held out his hand to shake. "I'm Harry Potter."
The man looked down at his hand, then back up with a frown. He seemed to be fascinated by Harry's clothes.
"Er, right," Harry said, withdrawing his hand, "sorry for barging in on you like this, but I'm a bit lost. Is there a town near here? Or a road?"
The man said something, but it wasn't English.
"Ah," Harry said, his shoulders slumping as the hope of an easy end to his problems died. "Bugger. I don't suppose you speak any English, do you? Eng-lish."
The man said something again, louder this time, and Harry got the impression he was annoyed. "What language is that anyway?" he said, mostly to himself. "Welsh? Gaelic?"
The man pulled out a crude knife and Harry stiffened, suddenly tensing, ready for a fight. The man raised the knife threateningly, then with his free hand made a shooing motion.
"You want me off your land?" Harry asked, holding up his own hands in a placating gesture. This was not going well. This man was his escape from this wilderness. An idea occurred to Harry. Slowly, as if to show no trickery on his part, Harry reached a finger and thumb into the pouch hanging from his neck, making sure not to let them disappear too far inside.
He withdrew a silver sickle and the man's eyebrows shot up. He lowered his knife.
"That's more like it," Harry said, smiling now. With one hand he held the coin aloft, and with the other he began a game of charades: first he mimed spooning food into his mouth, then he rubbed his arm as if washing it, before finally resting his head on his hand as if it were a pillow.
The man's eyes narrowed and he made a sharp beckoning motion towards the coin. Harry reached out and gave it to him, and the man held it up to his eye, examining it closely before sniffing, then scraping it with a tooth. He seemed satisfied, because he made a gruff noise before jerking his head back the direction he had come, indicating that Harry should follow him.
"Yes!" Harry said, relief flooding through him, for he had been unsure if the strange Muggle would accept his currency. As they walked up the path and into the trees, Harry tried to introduce himself.
"Harry," he said, pointing his finger at his chest. "Har-ry." Then he pointed at the man. "You?"
"Andorn," he replied, but said no more.
They entered a large clearing in the trees, in the midst of which was a single-story stone cottage with a thatched roof. It was small, but it looked cosy and quite solid. Andorn shouted something, making Harry jump, and a moment later a woman in an old-fashioned dress bustled out of the cottage door, frowning when she saw Harry. She was dark-haired and short like Andon, but somewhat younger.
The pair of them exchanged words as they approached the door. From the way they spoke, Harry supposed they were married. When they reached his wife, Andorn passed her the silver coin. The woman examined it even closer than Andorn had, then looked at Harry, taking note of his height and clothes. Hesitantly, she reached out for his robe, still slung over his arm. Bemused, Harry let her take it, but when she felt the fabric she gasped and started to speak rapidly at her husband.
Harry had the vague impression that she was telling him off. And then she turned back to Harry and gave him a small curtsey. To Harry's surprise Andorn followed suit, inclining his head in a little bow.
"Er, that's really not necessary," Harry said, now very confused and slightly uncomfortable. Had they recognised him? But even Dobby didn't bow to him.
The woman said something to Andorn, cocking her head, but he simply shrugged. And then she waved him away and led Harry inside.
The cottage was a rustic affair. Most of its space was taken up by a single dark room with a stone floor, dominated by a large hearth in which a fire was already lit, the smoke disappearing up the chimney. Next to the fire was a portable metal tub, and over it a large cooking pot. The walls were covered by drapings, and the sparse furniture was all made of wood. A large table sat in the centre of the room, a bench either side of it, and a few cabinets were dotted around.
The few windows were covered with wooden shutters, not glass, and there were no interior doors leading to the two separate rooms. Instead the doorways were blocked with curtains.
The woman was watching Harry carefully and he was suddenly reminded of his first visit to the Weasleys. He smiled encouragingly, and the woman smiled back. She had a missing front tooth, Harry noticed.
"Mireth," she said, pointing to herself.
"Harry," he replied with a smile.
She said something, but Harry didn't understand. He tried to communicate with a shrug. Mireth looked frustrated, but pointed to the tub.
"A bath?" Harry said, and he nodded his head, hoping that she understood that. Apparently she did, for Mireth beckoned him over and, with his help, hefted the pot from above the fire. It was already filled with hot water, and Harry felt briefly guilty for interrupting whatever they were using it for. Together they poured the water into the tub, though it didn't even fill it half way.
Mireth said something, then turned her back to him. Was she waiting for him to change? Harry supposed so, and he tried to ignore his embarrassment as he quickly stripped off and got into the bath, his knees pulled up to his chest.
Mireth turned back around, picked up his discarded clothes and, before he could say anything, bustled off with them, leaving the house by the back door. Harry was left alone with his Muggle trainers and mokeskin pouch.
As he washed himself (with difficulty), Harry wondered who these people were. Clearly they lived without any kind of technology, which made him think they were wizards, but there was no sign of magic in their house. They seemed incredibly poor, though here and there, now he had the chance to look closer, he could see signs of greater wealth. A lute rested on top of a cabinet, and a metal lantern hung from the ceiling.
Were they perhaps squibs who had rejected the Muggle world? Such an idea seemed absurd to Harry, but he wouldn't put it past families like the Blacks and Malfoys to leave their squib children living like this. But then there was their strange language. Surely he wasn't in Scotland or Wales, for anyone living there would know at least some English.
And that made him worry that he was in some foreign country. But that made little sense either, because he could think of no country where people lived like this. Parts of Africa, perhaps, but these people were very much not African.
He couldn't make heads or tails of it.
Eventually, as the water began to cool, Mireth returned with a rough towel and a change of clothes, which must have been Andorn's. Harry tried to use gestures to ask where his own clothes were, pointing first at the clothes then himself. Eventually the woman realised what he was asking and mimed a scrubbing action. Harry smiled in thanks, for he hadn't asked for them to clean his clothes, and took the towel.
Once again Mireth turned around so he could change, and when she turned back she clapped her hands at the sight of him wearing her husband's clothes. They didn't fit well at all, but they were dry and clean. And Harry had to admit, he felt much better. All he needed now was some food…
They didn't eat until much later, because Mireth still needed to begin cooking. She set Harry down at the table and he watched as she went about her business, chopping vegetables with a steel knife, fetching herbs from the garden and finally bringing in what looked like a rabbit carcass. She butchered it quite efficiently and added it to the pot. The final ingredient was salt, which Mireth unveiled carefully, taking a block of it wrapped in cloth from a cabinet.
Andorn returned before the food was ready and sat himself opposite Harry, at first attempting some gruff conversation before quickly giving up. Finally, just as the sun was setting, it was time to eat. Mireth set out bread, then pewter bowls and spoons before ladling each of them a large portion of broth. Meanwhile, Andorn left for one of the other rooms and came back with three flagons of ale.
They ate in a silence broken only by the occasional word from Andorn and Mireth. The latter especially seemed concerned that Harry should enjoy his meal, and he made sure to smile at her regularly. In truth it was nothing special, the broth thin and the rabbit stringy, but after his long hunger it tasted like the best Hogwarts feast. His stomach tightened and rumbled as the first food in days hit it, but luckily he managed to keep it down.
When they were finished, Mireth cleared the bowls away and, once everything was washed, they moved to sit in front of the fire. Andorn played his lute and Mireth sang softly. She had quite a beautiful voice, Harry thought. Soon enough he began to drift into sleep, the exhaustion of the last few days catching up with him now that he was safe, warm, clean and full.
He was barely aware of being guided to a straw bed covered in animal pelts, and then he was asleep.