Disclaimer: I do not own Tomb Raider or Harry Potter. Just borrowing characters and elements from the two.
Set before the events of Tomb Raider (2013). Merged the HP and Tomb Raider timelines together. I probably shouldn't have to say this in my stories anymore but expect characters to not be themselves as in canon.
This story is dedicated in memory of Christer. A member of this site and my best friend.
"Neither can live while the other survives."Harry murmured quietly, gazing up at the sky. "What do you think?"
Oddly enough, there was no one around.
As strange as it was, his question was directed to the heavens. He waited expectantly before chuckling and closing his eyes, allowing the cool night air to caress his face. "Of course you won't have the answers."
Sometimes he wondered where things went so wrong. How he ended up where he was now, in the middle of nowhere in England with nothing but a tent and a few of his old possessions. This was pretty much how he'd been living ever since he'd left the wizarding world.
Hogwarts…it felt like nothing more than a distant memory. The few people he'd known, he found himself forgetting their names. He didn't want to remember. They didn't matter anymore…nothing did.
Things changed drastically ever since the end of his 3rd year at Hogwarts. The year the Dementors were brought into the castle in order to catch the supposed mass murderer, Sirius Black.
Yes, everything went well...to an extent. He was able to learn the true story behind the betrayal that led to his parent's death. Pettigrew escaped though due to Remus's untimely transformation into a werewolf, but thanks to careful and clever usage of the time turner and one of his ex-best friend's help, they managed to save Sirius from his horrible fate and helped him escape.
At the end of it all though, Albus Dumbledore decided to reveal the prophecy. The thing that caused Voldemort to go after him and his parents in the first place. Apparently by saving Sirius and stopping both him and Remus from murdering the traitorous rat, he'd 'proved' that he was ready in the headmaster's eyes.
He was in fact ready…or as ready as a person who had been given a death sentence can be. He wasn't going to delude himself into thinking he could face the dark wizard who murdered his parents, the dark wizard with more than a half a century's worth of experience and come out standing. Love…that had been Dumbledore's answer.
On a smaller note, his 'best friends' started dating by the end of the year. He didn't want to intrude on their happiness and they remained blissfully unaware of anything more than the time which is considered wasted if they weren't snogging each other.
Then 4th year came along. The Quidditch world cup was a mess, Death Eaters who had gotten tired of the times of peace decided to get adventurous and ended up burning the entire campsite to the ground and torturing the muggle family that owned it.
Hogwarts was a nightmare. He couldn't keep hanging around his friends anymore. It wasn't their fault…at first. Ever since they'd started dating he felt like the odd one out and what was more was that watching them made him feel far lonelier than he ever had before. It wasn't jealousy…no, he wasn't attracted to Hermione in any way. It was just the old fear of being left behind again.
But then his name came out of the Goblet of Fire and turned his world upside down. Everyone thought he'd put his name in and there was no end to the hostility he faced from his own peers and the other schools. Even his own best friends who he'd thought would never turn their backs on him did. He'd always known Ronald Weasley had an inferiority complex and after time had passed and he looked back on it, the one thing that always surprised him now was how Ron actually had stuck around for as long as he did.
The other one, Hermione…he wouldn't lie and say he expected it of her. But to some point he knew she would follow Ron. He was her boyfriend after all…and it also helped that she'd grown rather distant from him ever since the end of their third year. He didn't blame her.
Even so, he refused to back down. He told Dumbledore as neutrally as he could that if he was to survive this tournament, or if he was to have even the slightest chance of making it past his 18th Birthday, he was going to need some form of preparation other than brewing useless potions, learning how to levitate objects or transfiguring small objects into animals.
Dumbledore had remained quiet while he spoke, taking in everything he said and dismissed him. The next day he'd found a set of heavy volumes along with what was presumably Albus Dumbledore's own personal notes containing the 'secrets' to magic he'd discovered.
There had been more disturbing things…soul magic. More specifically, Horcruxes. He had no idea at the time why Dumbledore would send him information on what could only be described as the worst form of magic that existed, but he found himself reading more on the subject. He couldn't help feeling that he was missing something the headmaster was trying to show him.
Sometime down the year…he'd come across the diary from the second year. It had been during the time he'd been at Dumbledore's office when Fudge had wanted to hear his side of the story of how they'd come across Crouch Sr. near the entrance to the forest. He'd found himself staring at the diary which was locked inside a glass case alongside the sword of Gryffindor…still looking exactly the way it had been since he'd stabbed it. It was then that he'd realized what it was. Meeting the headmaster's eyes at that moment, he knew he'd come to the right conclusion.
The year ended with the death of Cedric Diggory, the champion for Hogwarts and the return of Voldemort. He, Harry Potter, was declared the unofficial winner of the Triwizard tournament. The end of year feast was dedicated to the memory of Cedric and Dumbledore used it to reveal what really happened during the night of the third task, the truth behind Cedric's death.
None of that compared to what happened during the summer, the revelations he had changed everything; they were the reason why he was here now, with a self assigned task and no hope for a future. It was funny really…he had two ways of completing them although both of them would result in him ceasing to breathe. The only difference would be that he would decide when.
Two weeks into the summer vacation, he and Dudley (who happened to have thought it was the best day to catch him on his own with his gang) were attacked by Dementors. It was too sudden…and it had been the last thing he'd expecting to happen. Even a direct attack by Voldemort would have been more likely.
The Dementors quickly found him a lot more enticing than the fat lump of flesh that was Dudley and swarmed upon him. Dudley had turned tail and run, leaving him in the clutches of the Dementors. It was just two…two of those vile creatures. He had managed to repel hundreds of them back during the third year with a perfect, corporeal Patronous charm. This time it was pathetic, try as he might…he could not perform the charm. His memories were far too lacking in happiness.
He ended up getting dangerously close to having his soul sucked out. Lying helplessly to two Dementors that were quickly descending into a feeding frenzy was a surreal, terrifying experience. He couldn't quite explain it, but he could literally feel his soul being ripped out of his grasp and just before he'd lost consciousness he could have sworn he saw something silvery white escape his lips.
Something in him snapped before he lost consciousness, awakening something else in him. Something far viler and more sinister than he had ever imagined. It had fought back to protect its host.
It was then that he realized what he was. What that thing was…
A shadow of Lord Voldemort was residing in him. He was nothing more than another anchor to Voldemort's life. It all made sense…he was a Horcrux.
He woke later in a larger, more comfortable bed than the one he had been accustomed to back at the Dursleys. As it turns out, Mundungus…a member of Dumbledore's anti-Voldemort group, the Order of the Phoenix; had managed to save him just before his soul had left his body. Apparently he had been under the watch of Dumbledore's personal groupies ever since he'd gotten back.
It only took a few days before he had fully recovered. By that time he already had the plan fully formed in his mind. Two days in bed with the knowledge that there was a piece of Voldemort's soul living inside of him was enough to harden his resolve. He was never meant to win. The prophecy was nothing but a load of shit.
He wasn't even meant to be alive today. He should have died that day along with his parents.
It was with this mindset that he got up on the third day since his arrival at Grimmauld place. It was the day that Harry James Potter vanished off the face of the wizarding world.
He was packed. He'd charmed his trunk, all of his prized possessions locked safely inside it including a personal gift from Nicholas Flamel which he'd received during the summer after his first year. No one was aware of this and he hadn't felt the need to divulge it.
He'd sent Hedwig away to hunt with instructions to find him…wherever he may be. His wand, the wand was the only problem now. He needed to get rid of the tracking charms one way or the other…until that happened, he was going to be completely defenseless once he left this place. At least he had his father's old cloak to ensure he could survive long enough without magic…for now.
There was only one thing left to do. He slipped his hand inside his pocket, feeling the cold metal of the pocket watch Sirius had given him last Christmas. He'd charmed it into a portkey which was set to take him to his destination in London in another…14 minutes to be exact. He had to hurry.
Voices stopped abruptly as he removed the enchantments on the door leading to the kitchen and pushed it open to find Dumbledore and the rest of the Order sitting there. For a moment his eyes met Sirius's concerned ones…he had seen how happy his godfather looked when he'd gotten back. If he had any regrets, not seeing his godfather again would be one.
"Harry! You know you're not supposed to be here." Mrs. Weasley chided, coming around the table and taking his arm. He shook it off before walking forward, fixing his eyes on Dumbledore. There was something he needed to know…something he had to. Was Dumbledore really the man he portrayed himself to be? Did he really care, or was he just a pawn to him. A tool that had to be disposed of after it's done its job?
"How long?" He asked quietly, his voice scratchy from unused for so long. The look of confusion on the headmaster was a little amusing.
"Is there something you needed Harry?"
"How long…" He repeated, narrowing his eyes and refusing to look away as the headmaster's twinkling blue eyes met his. "…Have you known what this is?" He touched the fringe of hair hanging just above his scar. He was pleased to see the unsettled look that settled on the old man's face.
"I'm afraid I don't know what you're talking about…"
"The prophecy was a lie wasn't it?" Gasps arose from all around, but he ploughed on. "I am not an equal to Voldemort…I'm not the one to kill him." A hollow laugh escaped his lips. "I wasn't even meant to be alive was I?"
"What are you saying?" Sirius asked, getting up slowly. He ignored him.
"Why did you even allow me to live all this time? I could have died so many times over the last few years and it would have been over. Why'd you keep me alive? Was it just so I could help you get rid of the rest of Voldemort's Horcruxes before I give up my life and let one of you...or even one of them…" He gestured upwards vaguely, indicating the rest of the teenagers who were no doubt listening in. "Step in and do the honors?"
Silence fell as everyone were looking between him and Dumbledore. Only Alastor Moody seemed to have the faintest idea of what a 'Horcrux' was. He could see the man putting two and two together.
"Answer me!" He growled. Dumbledore looked at him helplessly, it was like the life had been extinguished in his eyes.
"I'm trying to find another way Harry…I swear, I never intended it to end that way-"
"Don't pretend. You and I both know there is no other way…but I must admit, you are a very resourceful man sir..." He smiled, enjoying the way Dumbledore's face blanched and the rest of the order looked so clueless. Now they knew what it felt like, to be kept in the dark. "Get a marked man to do all the dirty work… if he dies during that, oh well, bad things happen." A cold smirk appeared on his face. "Because that's what I am right? Expendable."
"We've been trying to protect you all this time!" This time it was Remus who'd spoken, but he waved him off airily.
"Oh don't worry, I'm sure you've all been trying to 'protect me'. Nice job by the way…almost got my soul sucked out…or part of it anyway." He added uncaringly. "Tell them all what your plans are for me Dumbledore…tell them how in the end I am the final obstacle to ending Voldemort?"
The others did not know what to say. Dumbledore was speechless, and inwardly, Harry was cheering. It just felt so…good.
"I've had it. I know what I have to do. If that's the way I have to go out, it will be by my own terms." He paused, taking a deep breath. "Effective of today, I'm leaving Hogwarts. The Horcruxes? They're your job…can't keep it a secret anymore right?" He added mockingly, glancing around the table.
"Once you've destroyed them, I will play out my part and leave the way clear to finishing Voldemort off. In the meantime all I want is to be left alone. After all…depending on the time it takes frainingor you to get things done on your end, who knows how long I have left?" He slowly took a step backwards, refusing to look at Sirius. He didn't want to have any reason to stop, to turn back. The clock behind them indicated it was 4:18pm. Just two more minutes until the portkey activates.
"What makes you think we're going to let you go boy?" Moody suddenly growled, stalking towards him. He quickly backed up, his wand in his hand making them freeze. His wand was not trained on any of them. The tip of his wand was glowing a silvery white and it was just a few inches away from his throat.
"What are you doing?!" Sirius yelled, trying to get up only to be restrained by the others.
"I don't particularly care if I die now. Although I would prefer a bit later…so what will it be?" He pressed the tip against his throat, feeling the skin burn. Dumbledore looked stricken. The particular spell he'd used had imbued the tip of his wand with a rare magical substance…a poison…quite unlike anything that can be 'brewed' and right now, it had started entering his system. The uniqueness of the spell was that the antidote could only be administered by the caster…the caster who just so happens to be himself.
Where did he learn this one? Off Dumbledore's own notes of course.
"What have you done…" Dumbledore asked weakly.
"Do you have any idea what's going on in my mind right now professor? How am I supposed to react? Knowing that all these times I've been trying so hard to survive was all in vain…" He slowly lowered the wand, beginning to feel the effects of the poison.
"You choose. Either I die now or you promise me that you will all leave me alone. If the rest of my days mean being stuck in Hogwarts, dying now will be a relief. Leave me alone and I will at least have time to select my own terms." His voice was getting weaker. "At least give me that. All I want is your word."
A moment of silence passed. Time was slowly running out, his portkey was going to activate whatever Dumbledore's answer was, but he knew if he could get the answer he wanted from the headmaster, he would have one less thing to worry about.
Just as the countdown to the final 7 seconds began, Dumbledore nodded, tears forming in his eyes. "Yes. You have my word."
The portkey activated, whisking him away into nothingness. As it did, he heard the old man's voice in his head. "If there is any other way, I swear to you upon my life that I will do whatever it takes to save you."
The portkey had done its job in getting him to the Leaky Cauldron and he'd made sure to administer the antidote to himself before putting the hood up on his jacket and making his way through the crowded pub and towards the entrance to Diagon Alley.
The only looks he managed to garner were merely curious ones of a few people trying to catch a glimpse of his face. It wasn't everyday someone wore muggle attire here.
Once he got to Gringotts he made a complete withdrawal out of his vault, draining it to the last galleon. It was amusing watching Griphook, the goblin in charge of vault look like he was going to faint once he made his request.
It seemed that with money, virtually anything was possible, especially in Knockturn Alley. It really wasn't that bad he realized, as long as you kept to yourself and never interacted with people on the roads. Sure there were rather seedy looking shops with an impressive collection of dark artifacts, but the place was a veritable gold mine if one looked correctly. He was lucky to find a particular shop that specialized in enchantments, notably tracking charms.
The shopkeeper was blind which worked to his advantage. A slight dent to his bottomless wallet later his wand was reconditioned and the legal tracking charms were soon discarded.
After coming back into the light of Diagon Alley, he lingered just a bit more to get a few books that caught his fancy, under the guise of additional study for his next year at Hogwarts when asked. Then it was back into the Leaky Cauldron and out into muggle London.
Then for the first time since he'd left number 12 Grimmauld place, he came to a complete halt in the middle of the street. He had been so focused in planning how best to get away and to be left alone that he had spared no thought to what he would do after he'd achieved them.
Given the hand fate had already dealt him, there were no more 'wrong' choices he could make right?
It was with that thought that he hailed a passing bus, deciding to just improvise along the way.
Pulling himself out of his musings and stifling a yawn he stood up before stretching slightly and ducking inside his tent.
It had been about seven months now, since he'd disappeared off the 'official' radar.
It was quite good actually…the tent was magically expanded of course. It was basically just one big room with an attached bathroom. There was a medium sized bed, a desk along with a chair, a bookshelf filled to the brim with books he'd collected over his time, a wardrobe and a few cupboards. He even had a muggle stove at the corner along with a small fridge. Of course…they weren't exactly 'working' seeing as electricity and magic were like oil and water.
They were pretty easy to use. All he had to do was use magic to light the stove and he had enchanted the fridge with a permanent freezing charm.
Stepping inside the bathroom he smiled wanly at his reflection on the mirror. Even after so long it never ceased to unsettle him.
He'd played around with glamour charms enough to alter his appearance. He no longer had the scar, his eyes were a dull brown instead of the usual emerald green and his hair was a dirty shade of blonde. The main difference was that he no longer used glasses. He'd tested out his new look back in London a few months ago, at the Leaky Cauldron and it had been extremely refreshing to be able to mingle in with the crowd. Heck, he'd even stumbled into Remus who had mumbled an apology before walking without a second glance at him.
He looked so…normal. There was nothing remarkable about his appearance anymore. He'd never appreciated the effect his vivid green eyes had on him back in the day, they'd practically defined him.
The only thing that irritated him was that he had to keep reapplying the charms once every 12 hours. If not, they would fade away within an hour.
Yawning widely he set about re-applying them. It had been at least a month since he'd last seen his normal self and to be honest, he didn't want to. The last time he'd looked at himself in the mirror, the green in his eyes had merely served as a bitter reminder that he was on borrowed time. At least this way he was slowing his pace, even managing to postpone the sense of impending doom.
Dumbledore's pet phoenix had managed to find him when he'd been in Norwich about a month ago carrying a note for him. It had been from the old headmaster, wishing to know of his well-being.
It was all pure irony. The headmaster was probably just checking to make sure the last piece towards ending the war was still somewhere he could reach.
He'd be lying though…if he said he hadn't thought about just running away. While he knew Dumbledore had enough honor to keep his word and let him be…at least until the job was done on their end, what would happen when his time finally came?
Death was not a comforting thought, especially when all he'd done had been trying to survive. Now he just felt pathetic, his wish to 'enjoy' life, while it had been granted, only served to make his final task that much harder.
Running away…keeping this disguise for the rest of his life? That was an option. But could he live with himself knowing he could put an end to all the lives being lost around the country if he just ended his?
Why couldn't he just be selfish?
A soft hoot caught his attention announcing the return of his faithful companion.
"Hey girl…" He mumbled, flopping onto the small bed. No sooner had he done so a small weight landed on his chest as Hedwig hopped onto him. Her large amber eyes looking at him reproachfully. "What?" She hooted again.
"Nothing. Just thinking about stuff." She remained quiet, still gazing at him. "Yeah alright we'll go for a walk then!" This time she gave a soft, satisfied coo before hopping right next to his head, rubbing her head against his cheek while he absentmindedly patted her. "Running out of food too…" He mused out loud, feeling a soft nip at his ear when he said it making him grin. "Yeah, I'll get some bacon. Happy?"
Another coo was his only response to which he chuckled before straightening up. "You know you're really high maintenance for an owl." He muttered as he fished out a jacket from the closet along with a scarf. "It's going to be difficult trying to find someone to take care of you later…okay, okay…" He raised his hands in surrender as she looked away. "Touchy subject. But anyways, how do I look?"
She replied with a bark.
"No. I'm keeping the disguise." He said firmly as she flew up to his shoulder. The last time he'd forgotten to do the glamours and let himself get reverted to his normal appearance she'd been ecstatic. Until he redid them and she flew out, not returning for the next few days.
"Alright so when we get towards the town you're taking off, can't have you on my shoulder. Come on…" He groaned when she turned her head away. "…you know we don't want attention…it's not every day muggles see owls perched on a person's shoulder."
"And yes…it's not normal for anyone to see a person having a conversation with an owl."
Northampton was really quite peaceful. He'd been around the area for about a month now which was a new record. Usually he'd be gone within a few weeks but the spot where he was camped out was next to perfect and it was well away from prying eyes and yet it was close enough that he could reach the nearby town within just a half hour of walking.
The town was nice as well. Well…in his eyes at least. It had taken him some time to get used to interacting with the 'muggle' lifestyle but the transition had been smooth. Even enjoyable! The evenings when he'd get tired of his solitude he'd just come down here. Perhaps get a warm cup of coffee or hot chocolate and relax at a café, watching the world go by and occasionally having conversations with fellow patrons…or watch a movie at the local cinema…or browse around the local library, looking for anything interesting to read.
Right now he was doing one of the aforementioned, sipping a cup of coffee outside of a café. He'd already finished shopping, the bags were all fitted into a small messenger bag he'd bought a while back (charmed so that literally anything could be thrown in there along without the weight shifting dramatically…or a bulge from forming).
He was enjoying himself immensely though. It was so weird how something as simple as letting the cold, night air caress his face while sitting outside with a warm drink could make him happy.
The view was exceptionally beautiful today as well.
Now…he was not the type to actively ogle at women. Not to the degree his former class mates did. But he did appreciate it when one happened to be in his line of sight. Especially if she happened to be pretty.
And that she was, sitting a few tables away from him, curled up on the side of her bench with a book. Her rather dark brown hair was pulled back in a ponytail and her lips were pursed into a rather cute frown as she kept reading.
Catching himself on the last observation he hurriedly looked away, feeling a slight heat rise on his cheeks. He forced himself to not let his eyes stray towards her. But over the next hour he failed miserably, even after he'd fished out a book of his own.
Once during one such peek he was certain their eyes had met. It was hard not to, seeing as they seemed like the only two idiots who were outside instead of in where it was warm. Quickly casting his eyes down he pretended he hadn't noticed her.
Another agonizing ten minutes later he got up, deciding that he'd tortured himself enough for one night. Passing by her table he chanced another quick glance despite himself only to find a her staring back at him. Smiling sheepishly at being caught he offered her a brief nod of his head before walking off hurriedly, not noticing the smirk on the girl's face as he did.
"Back again dear?" The kindly old librarian asked. She definitely was a far cry from the bi-erm….madam pince.
"Yeah." He smiled, taking off his jacket. "How are you today?"
"Quite alright." She returned his grin, her eyes twinkling slightly. "You should be careful you know…hanging around a library everyday can't be too good to a young man like you."
"What? You don't like me coming here every day?" He asked teasingly making her laugh.
"Oh heavens no…I'd be sad if you ever stopped coming here." His smile faltered slightly. "But I know you're new in town. You look like you could use a few friends and this isn't the best place for that."
"Ahh…I was never too good with people."
"Bah…you're too young for that!" He laughed at her indignant tone. "Go out and have some fun for a change!"
"But I like it here. Just me and…" He spread his arms towards the countless bookshelves down the hall. "…the written works. Besides, how else am I going to see you every day if I don't turn up?" He added cheekily making the woman chuckle, waving her hand at him.
"Go find a nice young woman to say that to. I'm too old for you. Go on, scoot."
"Love you too Shirley." He called over his shoulder, disregarding the angry looks directed at him by the people who were seated in the reading section, clearly affronted at the noise he was making. He didn't care…he probably wasn't going to get into any sort of trouble here anyway.
Another week had gone by and he was enjoying every bit of it. Although he was now seriously considering moving within the next few days.
He was just getting too attached to this place. He didn't need any more difficulties when the time finally comes.
A few days ago he'd received a note from Dumbledore again. Apparently four Horcruxes had already been located and destroyed leaving just two more.
Despite the headmaster's repeated reassurances in the letter that even after the Horcruxes were all gone he was under no obligation to come back, and that even if he did they were going to find some way to separate the soul from his body without harming him, he knew those were just empty words.
He had also received a letter from Sirius. It had been short, yet it had answered a few simple questions that he had been too afraid to ask. The wellbeing of the Weasleys and Hermione, of Remus, how the war was going.
They were all alright. The war was apparently tipping in their favor.
Good for them.
He'd simply sent a reply back, reassuring Sirius that he was fine.
He refused to feel guilty for leaving them. For once he'd been selfish, wasn't he allowed to? But he hadn't completely given up on everything and become despondent. Ever since he'd left he'd never let up on his training. With each day that went by, signaling the approach of his inevitable end it only served to anger him more.
That anger served as his motivation to train. Every day without fail in the morning he'd be up, trying to learn whatever he could and develop himself as much as he could. While he may not be a match for Voldemort himself, he was more than capable of handling his servants. He would go down swinging.
But the afternoons, those were for just relaxing. These were the times when he should push all that away and just do what he wanted to do.
Sighing softly to himself he started thumbing through the books, looking for something interesting to read. He had another three hours before the movie he wanted to see was showing so he was planning on getting some reading done before then.
"Curse of the pharaohs should be interesting." A female voice whispered beside him making him jump. "You looked like you were having trouble selecting something sir-peeks-a-lot."
"Uh…" Trust his luck for him to run into the pretty brunette he'd made a fool of himself of here of all places. "Yeah...thanks." She smiled briefly at him before beginning to thumb over the books herself.
Come on Potter…you can do better than that.
"I-I'm Harry by the way. Harry Potter." He stammered out, feeling slightly foolish as he reached over and pulled out the book she'd recommended. "And I didn't mean to…you know, peek so much." He finished quickly, blushing deeply as he did. She turned just in time to get a good look at his face just then before laughing.
"I didn't reprimand you for it now did I?" She said playfully, extending her hand. "Lara Croft…pleased to meet you."
He grinned back, accepting the offered hand. He was proud of himself for not completely losing his wits as he usually did when meeting someone new, especially those of the female variety.
"The pleasure's mine."
Soon afterwards they found themselves back at the café where he was caught 'being a creeper' as she put it. The two of them had checked out their books and he, feeling braver than usual had asked if she'd like to have a drink together.
To his surprise she'd accepted. Which was how they'd ended up here.
"You don't look like you live around here?" She asked curiously, brushing a few strands of her hair away from her eyes as she did.
"No…I'm from London." He said quietly. "Been travelling for a while now."
"God I envy you…" She sighed, a wistful look in her eyes.
"You're grounded here then?" He asked with a half-smile to which she pouted.
"No…well, not exactly. I'm still finishing my degree in Archaeology so I can't afford to roam around the country."
"When you're done with it though…"
"…I hope to be on the other side of the globe." She finished. "What about you? How is it that someone like you is travelling alone?"
"I'm just taking a self-imposed leave of absence from my school." He lied easily. "I'll probably have to go back sometime within the next few months." They fell into an amicable silence for a few moments before he asked; "So what about you? Archaeology sounds fascinating."
And they talked aimlessly, the movie he was planning on watching vanishing without a trace from his mind as the hours went by.
Lara was something of a prodigy as far as he could tell. She was really young for someone who was finishing her master's in Archaeology, which even given his limited knowledge of the muggle education system was, knew that people rarely ever completed them in their twenties. Seeing as she was only eighteen, it was quite the achievement. Plus he found that she could speak a number of other languages including French and Russian.
She really had a fondness for what she was studying. When he mentioned he'd visited the Stonehenge she immediately started grilling him for every little detail she could get out of him about it. It seemed despite her passions she had not really been able to travel too much.
Even amidst all this he couldn't help admiring her, something which he had to work hard on not letting her notice. He'd heard people say his eyes were pretty before and he'd never understood how that worked, but seeing her hazel ones flecked with blue made for a good explanation.
It was getting pretty dark when she finally got a phone call from someone which she dismissed within a few short words, seemingly not too keen on talking for too long with.
"My mother…" She sighed once the call ended. "We're having some guests over apparently and she wants me home."
"Ah…" He murmured, slightly crestfallen. "I'm guessing you should get going then."
"Yeah." She smiled softly. "Our driver should be coming by to pick me up soon…If you want I could drop you off somewhere-?"
"Nah…thanks for the offer though." He grinned back. "I've got a few things to do around here before I go back." She nodded and they looked at each other for a few moments. "So err…I guess this is goodbye."
"You're not leaving the town are you?" She asked.
"Not tomorrow…probably by the end of the week." He rubbed his arm nervously. "Erm…would you like to do this again sometime before then?"
"I'd like that." She smiled, tucking a strand of hair behind her ear. "Same time, same place tomorrow?"
"Sure." He said happily.
For the first time in so long, he had a smile on his face as he made his way back to his tent and Hedwig.
Things…certainly took a turn for the better. At least where Lara was concerned. He got to learn a lot more about her over the next few days while she him, although of course he completely avoided telling her about magic.
His plans for leaving in a week were shattered. He knew he was being an idiot but he was growing to like their time together and he couldn't bring himself to leave. If she still remembered about him telling her of his plans to leave the first time they'd spoken she made no mention of it.
But the guilt kept growing.
The muggle newspapers carried many more unexplained incidents where people were dying to freak incidents. It had only been a few weeks now but there had already been three major incidents that had cost the lives of more than fifty people.
These 'accidents' were gradually increasing in their frequency as well. Either Voldemort was getting more and more bloodthirsty or he was getting more desperate as time went by. The Order were doing their work as far as they were concerned, only one horcrux remained which Dumbledore suspected was the snake.
He also recognized the unwritten plea on Dumbledore's note.
The snake was on Voldemort's person the whole time. He could remember the slimy, foul creature from the night of the resurrection. Voldemort certainly did seem to carry a degree of fondness for it. If the snake is in fact the horcrux then he wasn't going to let it out of sight until the war was over.
If Harry wasn't mistaken, that was where he came in. The sacrificial pawn. He'd either take out the snake or die trying. A win-win on both situations although he'd prefer a third option, one where he killed the snake and Voldemort without having to die…but who was he kidding? He'd cheated death more than enough times now.
And to kill Voldemort? Hah…perhaps he should've trained harder, gotten better at magic…but he still had to die in the end so what's the point?
Perhaps it was finally time to start saying his goodbyes.
"Yep." Harry was out of breath from laughing, wiping tears from his eyes. "And then, she yells 'just because you haven't noticed I'm a woman yet doesn't mean no one else has!"
"I can't tell if it's her I should feel sorry for or for the boy."
"Why would you feel sorry for Ron?" Harry asked, bemused.
"Well…do you like this Hermione person?" Her lips pursed slightly as her eyes avoided his for a moment.
"Hermione? Nah…Never looked at her that way. Too annoying."
"Then you don't mind me saying that the girl has some seriously low standards. That probably means she wants someone less than her since she doesn't like being challenged." Lara said as if it was the most obvious thing in the world.
He blinked once, twice before taking a sip of his drink. "Do you analyze everyone you meet or hear about?"
She pouted. "No."
"Then you don't want to hear what I can make of you?" She asked innocently.
"Well then you tell me yourself then."
"No." He groaned in pain when she punched his arm.
"Come on." She whined, "What's with you today? Always giving these short, closed off answers."
He sighed before turning to look at her before nodding slowly. "Although!" He cut in before she could fully rejoice. "You can ask me one thing and one thing alone. And I'll answer as honestly as I can."
"Well…I guess I could ask you about women then." She muttered thoughtfully, swirling her drink around the glass.
"Women. What do you want the most from your partner?"
"Sex." She gasped, the faintest tinge of red appearing on her cheeks while he burst out laughing earning them a couple of annoyed looks from the tables around them. "Really?! You're an absolute prat."
"What? I said I'd answer truthfully and I did. I'm not going to lie." He said with a perfectly straight face which earned him another punch.
"You're incorrigible." She huffed, turning away.
"Fine…" She looked at him with the corner of her eye to which he raised both arms in surrender. "Fine! She needs to be a brunette with her hair styled in a ponytail, needs to be really into looking at rundown old rocks and buildings. Plus she needs to be freakishly strong to a point that she can bruise anyone she hits, no matter how lightly she punches."
"That sounds li…" She trailed off, looking at him mutely to which he smiled cheerfully, downing his glass in one go.
"Sorry love, loads to do." He pecked her cheek before bolting out the door.
He was probably going to pay for it dearly tomorrow but…this vacation had been about having fun right?
Should be worth it.
Scratch that. It was worth it.
"This is horrible." Lara murmured, her voice noticeably subdued as she turned the page of the paper. "Another freak accident? These things are happening way too frequently to be termed 'accidents'."
Harry grunted in affirmation, not really listening to what she was saying as he watched the sky steadily darken, the sun setting slowly. They were back at the place where they'd first met, Lara had just finished with her class earlier.
He knew what she was reading, a bridge had collapsed in a town not too far from where they were, killing more than twenty people. Again there was no official explanations to how.
Perhaps this was the sign that his time was up. Hadn't he wasted enough time already? Dumbledore certainly was respecting his wishes and not coming for him with the Order at his side to hand him over to Voldemort, but what was he doing.
Waking up every morning, burying himself under the lie of 'just one more day'. He really was a fool. A fool and a coward.
"Harry?" He looked up to find Lara had put the paper away and had taken instead to watching him. "You look like you have a chip on your shoulder."
"Aye…maybe I do." He muttered with a sigh.
"Feel like sharing?" She asked gently making him look away.
"Not right now." He said apologetically making her nod before perking up.
"You don't really have anything to d-" She was cut off when a loud scream tore through the gentle buzz around them.
"What's going on?" He heard a man sitting a few tables away ask before right in front of them, a car was blasted across the road with a deafening bang before it engulfed in flames followed by more screams.
But then he saw it as the sky was lit by an eerie green light before the shape of a skull materialized, people were either staring in silent horror, mesmerized by the display or scrambling out the way.
Over the din of the screams he could hear laughter growing louder and louder as flashes of light illuminated the roads from all sides.
"Lara! Get up." He said urgently, pulling her to him as she was gazing fearfully at the sky.
"What's happening?!" She asked in a panicked voice.
"We need to get out of here. Now." He said grimly, gripping her arm tighter as the laughter got louder. "Just stay with me alright?"
"We should call the police!"
"Yeah, they're not going to be much help." He said shortly. Jets of green light were lighting up the surroundings as people were falling around them like flies. Lara was too frozen to move but he tugged at her arm forcefully, moving them out the way as the café they were just at exploded in a flash of white.
"Crucio!" He heard a disembodied voice shout behind him as he forced their heads down, the sickly orange curse sailing over their heads as he looked behind them. There were Death Eaters everywhere but there were also ministry task force members engaging them now as he recognized the purple robes on one of the men who was engaged in a duel no more than a few feet away from them.
Pulling Lara roughly with him he ran with the muggles around them who were fleeing towards the town center. As much as he wanted to join in the battle behind them his first priority was getting her to safety.
But the renewed screams from the front brought them to a screeching halt. More Death Eaters were popping up around them. Even as he watched a woman was hit by a flash of green before she crumpled lifelessly to the floor.
He barely had time to react as another slew of curses flew their way, prompting him push Lara away from him, out of harm's way as he himself narrowly avoided a killing curse although he wasn't at all quick enough to dodge the cutting curses that got his arm and leg respectively, making him loose his footing.
Throwing caution to the winds with anger coursing through him he whipped out his wand and fired a bone breaker at one of the Death Eaters that was advancing on him and a cutting curse of his own at one who had his back turned. Both hit their mark, the former he suspected was probably out of his mind with surprise to have been done in by a 'muggle'.
His actions unfortunately drew in the attention of the rest of them, losing interest of the muggles around them as cries of 'wizard' were sent up. He couldn't even get to his feet as more curses flew his way which he countered by conjuring a massive wall in front of him.
He only managed to target another two of them who had carelessly gotten closer to him but he couldn't roll away in time as he got hit by a bone breaking curse on his wand arm. It was only for a second but he thought he could see the triumphant gleam underneath that silver mask as the caster raised his wand again, preparing for the final blow.
But none came.
The Death Eater slowly lowered his wand, his movements oddly sluggish before he fell to his knees before crumbling forward. Standing behind him was Lara holding a gun, or rather, the barrel of the gun, the handle pointing towards him showing that she'd knocked his attacker out.
She was by his side the next second, her hand closing around his arm where he could hazily see blood trickling out of where he'd gotten cut earlier. She was speaking but he couldn't quite hear her over the sound of the screams and his own ears not working too well at the moment. There still were Death Eaters materializing around them as they were moving in to join the battle against the ministry a bit further away from them while the rest were moving on to wipe out anyone else they could.
It was only a matter of time before the two of them were noticed.
"Lara…" He groaned. "Get me up." He couldn't hear what she said but he felt her arm around his shoulder as she pulled him to his feet. He stifled a cry of pain as he felt his leg sting, the cut there felt much deeper than what he had on his arm.
"I need you…to trust me. I will get us to a safe place." Not waiting to hear her answer he gripped her shoulder tightly with his arm as he forced himself to push past the pain and concentrate on the one safe place he knew.
Closing his eyes he twisted on the spot. This time he did scream as he felt as though his wounds were being ripped open and the part of his arm where the bone was broken felt like it was being pummeled by an unseen force before it was gone just as immediately, the screams and shouts from earlier all but gone.
He could just barely make out the campsite before he felt his knees give way.
Harry slowly opened his eyes to a rather pleasant scent that was strangely familiar to him. Even without his glasses he could recognize the roof of his tent and for a few moments he felt as if everything was alright before memories of what had happened hit him making him jerk upright, groaning as he did so as a fresh wave of pain engulfed him.
Reaching over to the side he found his glasses before putting them on, right before there was a loud, indignant hoot and Hedwig flew up to his shoulder before proceeding to rub her head against his cheek making odd crooning noises.
"It's okay…" He murmured, bringing his uninjured arm up to stroke her snowy plume. "I'm alright, see?"
"No you're most definitely not." A familiar voice made him look up to find Lara leaning against the tent pole with her arms folded. She looked uninjured bar the few cuts on her face. "Black hair eh…and those lovely green eyes of yours must've charmed some lasses at least." Her voice was neutral but the look on her face told another story.
So the glamor charms had faded…how long had he been out? "Lara…" She didn't answer, but she didn't seem to want to walk away which was a start. "Are you hurt?"
"By what? The fact that you're an imposter who lied to me from the moment we met or that…whatever the hell that was back there with that freak show? A freak show that you belong to apparently."
"I never lied to you."
"Yeah? Just never saw reason to mention it right?"
"Figures." The two looked at each other for a few moments before he looked away.
"Are you hurt at all? Physically I mean." He asked again to which pursed her lips before shaking her head in negative. "Okay."
The painful silence filled the tent again before she cleared her throat. "I patched you up as best I could…I was just coming back to change those bandages, you seem to have opened your cuts again."
"Oh…" He glanced down at his arm to find that it was bleeding profusely again. A few moments passed as he refused to look up away from his wound before he decided to try changing the bandage, mostly to avoid the awkwardness with the way she was staring at him. He'd barely moved his arm up when she was by his side.
"Don't be an idiot and try to do it by yourself…your other arm has a few broken bones in it as well. Let me." Not a word was exchanged between the two of them as she set to work. He was mildly impressed by how well versed she seemed to be at treating injuries of this scale.
"Don't you have anything to put to stop the cut from opening? Looks like you may need some stitches." He glanced at his arm for a few moments, the cut was indeed worse than he'd thought. Looking down at his leg he saw it was not any better.
"I have some stitches on the middle drawer." She got up without a word before returning with them. "I can do i-"
"Shut up." He wisely fell silent, allowing her to work on the cuts as he remained as still as he could. He was no longer bothered by the pain, more inclined to embarrassment as he suddenly became aware that he was bare chested. She had also gotten rid of her jacket as well prompting him to ask her how long they'd been here.
"3-4 hours." She muttered as she continued to work on his leg.
"I told them I had been out of town when they called." She said simply. "Far easier to explain than saying 'I was saved from a massacre by a wizard." She looked at him for a few moments. "That's what you are right? I heard them shout that when you got one of them."
"Yeah." He said softly, mentally berating himself. That town…those people…this was all his fault.
"So do I get an explanation Harry? Is your name really even Harry Potter?"
"It is." He muttered. "And I know you may not believe me but I am the same person you knew."
"What's with you changing your face and everything?"
"I'm well known in my community…the wizarding community." He said shortly. "It was a disguise."
"And what happened earlier was…?"
"A massacre…just like you said." He mumbled. "Those accidents you see in papers? It's nothing but a result of the secret war taking place right now as we speak. Been going on for months now"
"So...I guess we just happened to be caught in a crossfire?" She asked.
"No…Death Eaters...those men in black robes and masks enjoy killing non magic users just for the heck of it." He said with a noncommittal shrug. "Non magic users…people like you and pretty much everyone you know." He added at her questioning look. "This war is between them and the ministry…that is to say, our government."
"Which side are you on?" He narrowed his eyes at her and to her credit, she did look abashed.
"I haven't harmed a single human being that hasn't deserved it, nor do I possess a desire to wipe out all the people who can't use magic." He shook his head.
"If I was on their side we wouldn't be having this conversation right now. It's forbidden to make people, 'muggles' as they refer to people who don't use or know about magic aware to its existence…unless they're the witch or wizard's kin or significant other. We're neither so…" He grimaced.
"If you were with a ministry official you'd go home with no memory of what happened and probably believe what you'll read tomorrow in the paper that will detail what happened tonight as a 'freak accident'. Would you like me to do that?"
"Huh?" He smiled at the momentary crack in her otherwise icy mask she'd adorned right now.
"Do you want me to make you forget this, everything that had happened? I know it's too much to take in for anyone…hell, I know I'd make myself forget I had anything to do with my world and wash my hands of this bloody war."
"How much would I forget?" She asked carefully. "All done by the way, I'd advise you to stay as still as you can."
"Thank you." He said gratefully, looking down at his now stitched up cuts before looking at her again. "And to answer your question, as much as you'd like. Just tonight or…" He stumbled slightly over what he was going to say next, something he hoped she didn't pick up on. "Or...all memory of me right up to where we first met."
"That's out of question Harry." She sighed. "You're my friend…just changed the way I look at you I guess." He smiled at that which she returned. "You seemed to handle yourself well there…looked like you knew what you were doing against them."
"Hah…I wish." He muttered. "Almost got you killed in the process."
"I'm still here aren't I? For that I thank you." He nodded but didn't say anything else. For a few moments silence fell again before she spoke.
"Are you involved in this war?" He almost laughed at that question. Sure…he may have dropped a bombshell on her but he felt it was a bit much to tell her he was more than half the reason the war was going on in the first place.
"Not really." He said softly. "But I think the time has come for me to enter it."
"Why?" She asked, her voice cracking slightly. "You've been here these past few weeks right? Why can't you just keep being who you are?"
"Because it's not me." He smiled tiredly. "I was just tired of everything and had to get away from it all…but today I got to see firsthand the horror of what I was doing. The amount of people I saw fall…"
"You're just one person." She said quietly.
"Maybe…but that's all it takes to make a difference sometimes." He grinned. "I mean…I was planning on going back a week ago, but I met one person I wanted to spend more time with." She smiled again, this time looking a bit happier than before. "To be honest though you surprised me as well…that gun…" He nodded towards the revolver sitting on his bedside table. "Plus you're taking this way more calmly than I'd expect someone who's just seen what you've seen and heard what you'd heard."
"The gun is something I've been carrying since I was fourteen." She said softly. "I've never used it of course…never killed anyone and I don't plan on it either. My dad insisted on getting me trained in self-defense…that included learning the use of firearms and he eventually got me used to the habit of having a handgun concealed in my bag."
"Rather have one and not need it, than need it and not have one eh…" He mused thoughtfully making her laugh.
"As for not being surprised…I am. This changes the way I look at a lot of things but is it that hard to believe that there is a secret world within the one I know? Not after researching what I have or seeing some of the things I have." She winked. "You didn't think you were the only one with secrets did you?"
"What…so you mean you're really a blonde with blue eyes?"
"Such a prat…" She sighed making him laugh which proved rather painful.
"I guess I'll have to hear those the next time we meet." He said softly after a while as she drew her knees up to her chest.
"You're really leaving?"
"I have to. I can't just sit here…not after seeing what I saw."
"But what about your…"
"These?" He pointed at his wounds. "I'm sure there are people who can patch me up. My former school's nurse could have all this healed in a few hours…well, the cuts at least. I just happen to suck at healing magic."
"Oh…" She fell silent. "Okay then."
"Let me get you back home then…" He grunted, getting to his feet painfully even as she started protesting. "Not letting you go back alone after tonight so shove it." He opened his bottom drawer and extracted a vial filled with a deep blue liquid which he downed in one go before making a face.
"What is it?" She asked curiously, picking up the vial.
"Numbing solution. I won't have a problem moving around." She pursed her lips but got to her feet without saying anything and returned the gun to her bag which was lying on a chair at the corner.
Once they'd left the safety of his tent he had everything packed in a matter of seconds, shrinking the folded contents on his tent into the size of a small book before tossing it into his trunk which in turn he shrunk down to the size of a medium sized rock before slipping it in his pocket. He then proceeded to take down the wards and enchantments he'd erected around the perimeter while Lara watched in fascination.
"Handy." She remarked when he was done, stowing his wand away in his pocket.
Hedwig was proving especially difficult as she seemed to be a bit too reluctant to leave him at the moment. Try as he might he couldn't seem to be able to convince her to just leave him alone so he could apparate Lara to safety. For more than a few minutes the two were locked in a heated argument, one that served to amuse their current audience greatly.
"Sorry!" He called after her before she flew away with an indignant hoot and slight cuff on his shoulder leaving him staring after her before turning to Lara who was giggling by now.
"It's like watching an old couple." She grinned as he walked up to her making a face.
"I wouldn't be surprised." He growled under his breath. "She's so bloody possessive." She smirked unseen by him before he breathed out a long, low sigh. "Where to then?"
"It's not too far…I know this place, used to camp here with my parents when I was younger." She said with a shrug. "Are you going to…to…port me? There?"
"Well…that's the plan." He muttered, wincing slightly as he glanced down at his stitched hand and the other that was in a sling. He really didn't want to apparate like this and risk tearing the stitches. She seemed to have read his mind.
"Let's just walk…take us about half an hour or so. I don't think you're up to doing that thing again."
The two remained silent for most of the walk. He had no idea what he was going to say to her and she seemed to be absorbed in her own thoughts as well. Before he knew it they were walking up to a large estate with a heavy looking iron gate at the middle where he could see a guard posted.
"You seem to be rather well off." He remarked making her give him a pained grimace as they came to a halt a little way away from the gate.
"My father's rich. Not me." She said rather irritably before her eyes softened. "Can't you stay?"
"I can't." He murmured softly. "Especially not after what happened. I need to do what I have to." She nodded, refusing to meet his eyes. "Stay away from that town for the next few days alright? The ministry will be there making sure to cover up everything that's happened and they'll be targeting any witnesses."
"I will." He smiled slightly before taking a step back.
"It was fun. Wish I'd met you sooner."
"I do as well." She faltered for a bit before taking a step closer. "The black hair and green eyes suit you much better than that crap you had before."
He chuckled softly, his throat dryer than normal. She was a bit too close, he could practically see the areas where the blue had coincided with the brown in her eyes.
He felt a feather light touch on his lips as her eyes closed, her hand coming up around his shoulder just as his came around her waist, the pain in his arms forgotten for a few blissful moments.
She sighed softly, her warm breath tingling his lips as she drew away. "Promise me we'll see each other again." Her voice was far softer than he'd gotten used to hearing.
"I…" His voice wasn't working too well at the moment. "I can't." He grinned weakly. "I can't make a girl a promise…that I know I can't keep."
She nodded slowly before stepping away from him. "Guess this is goodbye then…Harry the wizard."
"Guess so." He murmured before clearing his throat. "I read that book you recommended me...try not to go prowling around any Egyptian tombs and taking stuff from them yeah?"
That got a smile from her. "I'm an archaeologist…not some kind of grave robber."
"You're all the same to me." He muttered. She smiled again as she held his gaze for a few moments before nodding silently. And without a word she was gone, walking swiftly up to the gate which was opening.
He stood there, watching her until he'd lost her figure in the darkness before turning around himself, walking down the dimly lit road.
The next morning found Lara sitting on her bed with a melancholic smile on her face with a small piece of parchment clutched inside her fist.
In it was a single sentence written in neat, loopy handwriting; I'll see you when I see you.
AN: This story was meant to be more than just a one-shot but I don't think I have it in me to continue. If you notice any abruptness or change of tone, that's probably my fault.
This story is something we both came up with since we share the same affinity for this particular shipping. He provided the initial idea for the pairing, yet wanted me to write the story so he could read it. He'd always been a fan of my works here for reasons I don't know...but am glad for since it led to a friendship I never dreamed of finding in something like a site for fanfiction.
I still want to keep my end of the promise up. So Chris, you'd better hold your end up as well and read the bloody thing.
This one's for you. As are everything else I may write in the future.
Sorry I couldn't get this to you in time.
Toodles for now...ya Norwegian wanker.