It should be obvious, but must declare that I own no rights to the Harry Potter story or the Elder Scrolls game or any of their characters. All such ownership belongs to J. K. Rowling and Bethesda Softworks. Only characters of my own creation are not theirs, and I reserve no rights upon them, so if they catch your fancy feel free to use them.


Prologue: A Most Desperate Plea.

Lilly Potter née Evans prepared her final act of life and love. The Dark Lord Voldemort had found them, and had come to take the life of her child. She would not have it. The ritual circle was already prepared. She had only to invoke the rite and awaken the old powers. She hoped the offer of her life would be enough to secure the bargain.

She had spent almost a month in the depths of the Department of Mysteries researching for this moment. She had never trusted Dumbledore, and had known that their precautions weren't enough by far. The old man seemed far too focused on the prophecy. He was desperate for it to be true, and determined to make it happen.

Lilly only wanted to keep her family safe, and damn the rest of them for daring to suggest that they should sacrifice her child to save them!

She wouldn't dare to hope that any of the old powers would strike down the Dark Lord, but they might take pity on her efforts and safeguard her son. Time was the key to everything. Little Harry could be sent to a place and time where he would be safe from the Dark Lord. James shouted a warning at her to go, even as he prepared to buy her time with his life. "Chronos… Zurvan… Akatosh…" She intoned, cutting her palm and drawing a lightning bolt on her son's forehead with her blood. "Gods of time eternal and space infinite…" She touched each of the twelve runes in the ritual circle with her blood and willed her magic to flow through them. She hoped that thirteen channels would be enough. She wasn't skilled enough to make an array with seventeen runes, which was the next stable arithmantic solution. The array she designed would focus her magic through each of the twelve surrounding runes and into the thirteenth that she had just placed upon her son. "I call upon you to ask a boon…" She continued. Her husband James gave a final cry and was silenced. "I sacrifice all that I am and all that I will be… I give my life's blood and my blood's magic in offering… And beg you save my son!" She intoned as the door to the nursery exploded inwards.

The Dark Lord entered sneered down at her. "Stand aside." He said.

"Never! Take me instead!" She begged.

"Stand aside you foolish girl." He growled.

"Not Harry! Please not Harry!" She sobbed, kneeling protectively over the crib.

"Avada Kedavera." Voldemort spoke and the green light of the killing curse flashed and struck Lilly. Her eyes turned glassy in death and her body slid to the floor. He strode over her body and stared down into the crib, the oddly observant eyes of the toddler watching him. The Dark Lord did not believe in fate or destiny, but he knew the power of prophecy to reveal the potential paths of the future. The boy before him was pathetic, but would have someday rivaled him in power. Such a thing could never be allowed. He pointed his wand between the child's eyes, watching with some amusement as the toddler went cross-eyed. For all that he was held to be the most terrible Dark Lord in centuries, he was not unmerciful. He always gave his enemies a clean, painless death. Only his subordinates were punished for their incompetence with torture and pain. "Avada Kedavera." He said again, and the green light flashed from his wand.

Then the universe stopped expanding as time crashed to a halt. The irradiant green of the curse hovered before the child, suspended in time as a being more powerful than any that had walked the world in millennia took notice. Akatosh took notice. He stared down at the body of the woman who had called him, and at the ritual circle she had prepared. Since she offered herself to him, her soul found his realm upon her death and she had sought him out and begged for his intervention. But he was not as powerful as he had been before the creation of Nirn, and there was a price that must be paid for his intervention.

Akatosh faced the mortal child and reached out with his divinity to touch the boy's soul. He would save him, but at the cost of changing what he was. No longer would he be a child of man. The boy would be adopted as his own child and be blessed with the soul of a Dovah. He would be Akatosh's instrument in this world; a force of balance and change. Akatosh smiled down at the child of man and pushed his power outwards, surrounding and embracing the boy. In a single timeless moment, the act was done. The boy was infused with Akatosh's divine essence and his soul was changed by this power to remake him as a child of Akatosh: Dovahkiin.

But there was something already present within the boy, a magical power so very different from that which was found on Nirn. This magic reacted to the change in a way the Akatosh did not predict. The boy was becoming something else. His changed soul was merging with the magical force that suffused his body. And it was changing him. The magic was adapting itself to his altered soul and adapting his body to the change. He was becoming not merely Dovahkiin, with a dragon soul held within a mortal body, but a Dovah in both soul and body. This would not due. Akatosh took hold of the shapeshifting magic that was dormant in the boy's blood and tied it into the change, allowing the child to remain in mortal flesh until he was old enough to survive the transition. It was unexpected; and there is not much that can surprise an Aedroth.

He stood back and allowed time to resume. Dragons were true immortals, and as such physical death was meaningless to them. The death magic that approached his newly adopted son was not capable of harming him, for it attacked the soul and forcibly separated it from its body. The death magic struck the boy and rebounded off of his draconic soul, turning the magic back upon its caster in violent retribution. Akatosh frowned as the wraith of the Dark Lord fled, knowing that the mortal would only return later to trouble his new child. But he had achieved all he could, and in truth more than he was allowed. There would be consequences from his fellow Aedra and the more powerful of the Daedra.

He spared one last glance at his adopted son before fading away. He had given the boy a chance. The future would resolve itself in time. All he could do now was watch…

XXXXXXXXXX

Chapter One: A Very Troublesome Child.

Harry Potter learned his name for the first time when he was five, and was taken to school for the first time. His Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon had always called him Freak or Boy, and his Cousin Dudley followed their example. Harry was smart enough to know that the words were insults rather than his name, but he had never been told his name to know himself by it. He was so excited to learn his name that he spent several hours muttering it under his breath, testing different ways of saying it until he found one he liked. He even made a fool of himself in his first class: when the teacher was calling attendance and reached his name he leaped into the air and shouted. "That's me!" The teacher had laughed but Dudley had scowled at him angrily.

Which brought him to his current problem: Dudley was chasing after him on the playground intent on 'teaching' him not to stand out. Which meant Dudley was going to hit him. It was one of the first lessons the Dursleys had enforced: he must never be noticed. Thankfully Dudley was already too chubby to catch his much thinner cousin. Harry was strong for his age, and a swift runner. He could keep running all recess. Sadly that would only delay things until they were home and Dudley told on him.

Harry sighed, deciding that it would be better for Dudley to catch him and throw him on the ground once or twice than to face Vernon later. Dudley was a bully and a jerk, but he was fair. He wouldn't tell on Harry if his cousin had already been 'punished' for doing something. And if Vernon found out, Dudley would just brag about having put Harry in his place, and his inevitable exaggerations would make Vernon think Harry had been dealt with adequately.

It was a good plan, and Harry rolled with the shove and stumbled onto the grass as his cousin finally 'caught' him. Sadly a teacher also saw this event unfold, and immediately blew her whistle sternly, stomping over to yell at them both. Dudley ended up with a suspension on his first day, and had to phone home to his mother to let her know. Harry sighed, knowing there wouldn't be any escape for him now.

After school he was sent straight to his cupboard without dinner, and wasn't let out until late the next morning. It was already well past the start of school when his aunt opened the door, and she pettily informed him that she wouldn't provide a note for his tardiness. Dudley was his room playing games, completely unconcerned with missing school. Harry knew there wasn't any point in trying to get to school. He had long since missed the bus and his aunt would never drive him. Instead he did his chores and ate the few pieces of toast his aunt allowed him.

While outside in the garden he looked up at the wispy clouds drifting softly across the light blue sky, and couldn't help but smile. The sun warmed his face and a gentle breeze ruffled his hair. He could close his eyes and imagine himself leaping into the sky and flying away, leaving the Dursleys behind forever. It was one of his favorite imaginings. Someday he would escape the neglectful hate of his relatives. Someday he would find his freedom in the pale sky.

XXXXXXXXXX

Harry was having trouble in school. His Cousin Dudley had been told, in no uncertain terms, that he had best be doing better in school than 'the Freak' or else he would lose his privileges and have to start doing chores. It was supposed to motivate him, but Dudley decided that instead of working harder himself, he would just make sure that Harry failed. It was subtle at first, stealing assignments or doing something that got Harry locked in his cupboard the night before their homework was due. Then Dudley got more overt, getting Harry blamed for starting trouble in class, or deliberately sabotaging his work.

Harry had his own problems. He had taken to sitting in the back of the class so as to avoid having his back to Dudley -something that had become dangerous for him- and the result was that he could no longer see the blackboard. When he asked the teacher to write her words bigger, she had given him a considerate look and asked him to stay after class. When she escorted him to the nurse and the man had given him an eye exam, he found out that he needed glasses. The nurse gave him a note to take home to his relatives, and his teacher took him to his next class.

Uncle Vernon was not impressed by the note, and promptly tore it up in a fit of annoyance. Aunt Petunia just shook her head and took him to pick out some reading glasses that weekend. The fact that they were the wrong sort of glasses was ignored, and the fact that his eyes were damaged from the lack of light in his cupboard rather than an inherited condition wasn't even considered. In a strange twist of beneficial coincidence for Harry, Dudley broke his glasses only two weeks later, and his replacement pair was actually close enough to what his prescription would have been for him to get by. But they still focused oddly and gave him a headache if he used them for long.

XXXXXXXXXX

Ripper was afraid of him. Uncle Vernon's sister was over for a visit, and Marge had brought her prize-winning pit-bull with her. The dog was viscous and acted like a right little terror, chasing Harry around the house while snapping at his heels, much to the amusement of his relatives. He had actually hid himself in his cupboard, only for the dog to slam against the door and claw away at the paint, barking and snarling. Harry had kicked the door out, bashing the dog's nose and making it yelp.

That hadn't sat well with Marge. She drunkenly came over and dragged him out and held him down while her dog worried at his pant leg. Finally she let him up, but Vernon had seen the damage Ripper inflicted on the cupboard door and told him to go outside. Harry took his chance and ran, closing the back door behind him so the dog couldn't follow. He was fine for a while, and sat nursing his scratched legs. At least the dog hadn't managed to bite him. But then that horrid woman opened the door and let her dog out to do its business. However the dog had other ideas than taking a crap, and immediately set about chasing Harry, who scrambled to his feet as soon as he heard the door being opened.

The dog charged him, and all his hurt and anger and frustration built up in a boiling fury inside him until he thought he would burst. He felt invincible, and growled at the animal as it came near. The insolent cur dared to snarl back and actually leapt forwards. {Fear-Run-Terror} "Faas Ru Maar!" Harry shouted. Instinct drove him to speak, and the words hit the dog like a physical blow. It slid to a halt so fast it tore up the grass with its claws, and then it ran back to the house whimpering and whining pathetically, begging to be let back in. Nobody inside knew what had happened. Marge just assumed that Ripper had finished his business and was being extra cuddly with her.

Harry wandered around the yard, looking up as the stars twinkled in the twilight of evening. He sat down and laid back to watch them shine. He closed his eyes and imagined flying through the empty night, with only the glinting starlight around him. But even his imagination wasn't comforting, because even as he flew among the stars he was still alone. He wanted someone to play and have fun with. He wanted someone to like him and care about him, and who he could care about in turn. He wanted someone to share his secrets with, and who would trust him with theirs. He wanted a friend.

He stayed outside until almost midnight. When Uncle Vernon and Marge had gone to bed, his Aunt Petunia had come out to find him sleeping fitfully against the tree. She carried him back to his cupboard and tucked him into his blanket, and even allowed herself a slight smile as he snuggled against his pillow. She woke him early the next day, before anyone else was awake, and gave him a large helping of breakfast as a silent apology for the previous night. Harry knew she didn't really love him, but at least she didn't hate him like Uncle Vernon did. He accepted her apology just as silently, and made himself scarce. Marge left that afternoon, complaining about how Ripper was ill and that she had to take him to a vet.

XXXXXXXXXX

Akatosh had watched his adopted son call upon his Thu'um for the first time, and longed to intervene on his behalf. He couldn't help but love all of his children, even his errant firstborn Alduin. But the Aedra had been quite adamant about enforcing the compact for his interference. The anomalous realm within which the Earth existed could only be reached by moving sideways through time, placing it well beyond the reach of the other Aedra and Daedra, who were confined to the realms of Aetherius and Oblivion. But they had nonetheless known about his actions. He dared not violate the compact a second time so soon after the first. But there were other ways he could interfere. His son wanted a friend? Akatosh looked into the uncertain future and found a myriad of possibilities. He could push at one or two potentials to bring them to fruition. He would find a way to bring someone to him who would be his friend…

XXXXXXXXXX

Harry was being chased by Dudley at school again. The differences between him and his cousin had become more exaggerated over the last few years. Dudley was now quite large, and couldn't run for more than a few minutes before becoming winded. But he was tall, had long legs, and could sprint very fast for short distances. And he had enough bulk that if he could land his tackle it would hurt. Harry had found this out the hard way. He had not gotten much taller, and was still thin and boney. But he could run for a long time before he got tired, and even if he wasn't always faster than Dudley, he could turn and dodge well enough.

Except that Dudley had gotten himself a bunch of friends.

Harry's cousin had run off anyone that might have been willing to be his friend, and his gang made sure that Harry spent all of his time avoiding them rather than playing or having fun. None of the other kids wanted the bother of being friends with Harry. Even if most of them weren't particularly mean to him, they were too scared of Dudley to be nice. A few teachers had made a fuss about the bullying at one point, but it hadn't come to anything. The one who had been most adamant on Harry's behalf was sacked by Superintendent Polkiss, who was a close friend of Uncle Vernon and was the father of Piers Polkiss, one of Dudley's friends. The other teachers quickly stopped complaining, though a few still tried to keep Harry out of trouble.

The day had started wonderfully different, and Harry really should have known it couldn't last. A new student was starting school, and she fell into Harry's age group. After she was introduced to the class, Hermione Granger took the empty seat next to Harry. She didn't know that it had been empty for a reason. Harry saw this as a chance to make a friend and decided not to tell her. They chatted amicably for the first half of the day, and Harry even had her laughing at a joke he was retelling.

He never noticed the hate-filled glares from Dudley.

He didn't see Hermione at lunch, and went looking for her at recess. He found her sobbing quietly on a plastic bench alongside the blacktop. He walked up and sat beside her. "What's wrong?" He asked, already fearing the answer.

She flinched away at his voice. "Go away!" She said. "Your cousin warned me about what you were planning. You're just pretending to be my friend so you can prank me! You're a jerk!"

"My cousin is a liar!" Harry said. "I wasn't planning anything. I just wanted a friend."

"Sara told me what you said about me: that I'd be useful for doing your homework." She sniffed back a sob. "Well I'm not going to!"

"Sara is Andrew's sister, and Andrew one of my cousin's friends." Harry argued. "The only prank is the one they're trying to pull, getting you to stop being my friend. She's probably in on it. I'm your friend. I wouldn't hurt you. Please don't believe them!" He begged.

She sniffled again and looked at him with reddened eyes. "You promise?"

He nodded. "I promise. Friends?" Harry held up his pinky finger and Hermione did the same. They crossed pinkies and pulled apart.

"Aawwh, ain't they cute?" Piers said as Dudley's gang approached. "Look like a right couple of stinkers, don't they?"

"I got you pegged already." Andrew said while looking at Hermione. "You're nothing but a little miss know-it-all. But you should'a been a little smarter and listened to our warn'n."

Harry could see that they weren't here for him; they were here to chase off Hermione. They knew they could go after him anytime they wanted. She went wide-eyed as Dudley reached forward and snatched her bag, dumping her books on the ground and started kicking them. "Stop!" She yelled, jumping up. "What are you doing!? Stop!" She slapped wildly at him but he just shoved her and she fell on the blacktop, skinning her palm and elbow. Harry was frozen with fear and indecision. Seven years of living with the Dursleys had taught him not to fight back.

But Hermione was crying.

His friend was crying.

Harry felt his fear melt away into pure fury. Hermione was his friend, and he protected what was his. She reached for her books with both hands, heedless of Dudley's foot kicking and stomping on them. Just as Dudley was about to crush her hands with his boot, Harry stood up and roared. {Force} "Fus!" The word made his will into a force that knocked Dudley and all of his friends back. Everyone but Piers was thrown to the ground, and even he stumbled wildly before regaining his footing. Harry stared them down, and his eyes held a furious promise of retribution.

Andrew took one look at him and ran, not even waiting for his friends. Piers helped Dudley to his feet, and both of them backed away. "You'll get it now Freak!" Dudley told him. "Dad'll take the belt to you for this!" Then he broke and ran away alongside Piers.

"I'm sorry." Harry said, crouching down beside Hermione and trying to help her collect her things. She was so distraught by the senseless violence that she didn't seem to notice Harry blast them away from her. He had been afraid that she would be scared of him. "This is my fault. If it weren't for me they never would have bothered you." He finished gathering her things and offered her back her books and her bag. "I'm so sorry. I understand…" He faltered and took a breath to fix his courage. "I-understand-if-you-don't-want-to-be-my-friend-anymore." He exhaled in a rush. She sniffed and sobbed quietly, but took the bag from him and pulled her legs up to her chest, refusing to look at him. "And… I won't hold you to your promise." He sighed and got up to go find somewhere to be alone. His first real friend didn't want him anymore, and he couldn't blame her at all. He had never hated Dudley more than he did at that moment.

"Don't go." She whispered into her knees. "Don't leave me. I'll still be your friend." She grasped more tightly at her books, tears dropping freely on the damaged covers. Even as she watched they started to mend and fix themselves. She seemed more panicked than surprised, and quickly stuffed them into her bag before looking up at Harry worriedly.

"It's okay." He sat back down beside her. "I make stuff happen too." She stiffened. "I don't want you to be afraid, but I just got so angry that Dudley and his gang were pushed back."

She looked at him with wide eyes still watery from tears. "I saw." She said. "And I'm not scared. You're like me. I still want to be your friend." She mumbled. "If you still want me to."

"I'll always be your friend." He said. She wrapped one arm around him and clutched her bag with her other. He flinched only slightly, but relaxed into her hug and slowly put his arms around her. 'My friend.' He thought. 'And no one will ever take her from me.' He promised. {Mine} "Dii." He murmured aloud without noticing. His voice echoed his promise and his magic surged around them. Her own magic flared out to mingle briefly with his.

XXXXXXXXXX

Harry and Hermione sat together the rest of the day, and neither mentioned what happened during recess. When Hermione asked about the school library, Harry explained that what they had was more of a small office for the public library. They shuffled books between the school and the actual library every week, but never had much on hand at school. He offered to show her the public library, and she insisted that they go as soon as school let out. He was glad that she was in such a good mood, and decided that whatever punishment his relatives would give him would be worth it to make her happy.

After school Harry showed Hermione the way to the Little Whinging public library. It wasn't the largest library around, but the two storied building was plenty big enough for a small town. They spent two hours inside, and Hermione taught Harry how to use the Dewey Decimal Classification to find or look up books. Finally Hermione decided it was time to head home for dinner, and she invited Harry to come along. Since he figured he couldn't possibly get into any more trouble, Harry followed his friend home.

XXXXXXXXXX

Trudy Fairchild was an aged woman who took no nonsense from anybody. So when her granddaughter came home with a polite young boy she met at school, she smiled and invited the lad in. Only later did she learn that this was the notorious Harry Potter. If the rumors were to be believed he was a delinquent and a liar and a bully. Such was his infamous reputation amongst the gossips of Little Whinging that even old ladies like her had heard of him. Yet here he sat at her table and quietly ate the food she prepared. He even thanked her for it! And he was so scrawny to look at, and his clothes were far too large for him.

Trudy began to suspect that the rumors might be a tad over exaggerated. After all, how much of a delinquent could an eight year old be? And really, her granddaughter had better sense than to fall in with the wrong sort of kids. Hermione was an incredibly smart child; a true protégé of her generation. And she had such a temper! She had no hesitation in standing up for what was fair. Trudy couldn't see her choosing to be friends with someone who bullied others. Of course, it had only been her first day. It was possible that she didn't really know him that well.

So she asked about how they met. And the story she heard made her very, very angry. Her granddaughter was the victim of bullying on her first day, but it was Harry's cousin who was pushing others around! And all because Dudley Dursley wanted to dissuade her from being friends with Harry. Well she would see to that little problem!

She left them to play in the living room while she made a phone call to Petunia.

XXXXXXXXXX

Harry had a wonderful dinner. In fact it was one of the biggest he had ever eaten. And he had lots of fun with Hermione. They talked about a lot of things, and somehow they ended up talking about their parents. Harry admitted that he didn't know anything about his mom and dad, except what the Dursleys had told him. But he also knew from the sad look Aunt Petunia always had whenever Uncle Vernon bemoaned Harry's parents that his Uncle was lying to him. His Uncle insisted that his parents were drunken layabouts that they died in a car crash. Harry didn't believe him, but he also didn't know the truth. Hermione on the other hand had two very loving parents and no siblings at all. But what Harry learned about them made him very sad. Hermione was living with her grandmother only while her parents were moving their practice and finding a new house. She would be moving back with them next summer, and leave him behind.

He promised himself that he wouldn't cry; that he would make the most of his friend while he had her. She seemed to understand his brooding mood and let him be.

Hermione's grandmother peeked in on them and told Harry that it was getting late. Understanding the hint, he got up to leave and said his goodbyes. It was a long walk home, knowing he would be punished severely as soon as he arrived. He briefly considered running away, but decided against it just as quickly. He had nowhere to go, and he didn't want to lose his new friend. Finally he reached Number Four, Privet Drive. His Aunt stood in the doorway waiting for him with her arms crossed and a stern glare. He gulped.

"Get inside." Was all she said. He walked past her and took off his shoes. He wondered if he would be allowed to use the washroom before being sent to his cupboard. "Trudy called." His Aunt said. "She had some crock story about Dudley bullying her granddaughter and you standing up for her." Harry cringed, but never expected what happened next. "Dudley's grounded." She said, putting a hand on his shoulder and marching him into the kitchen. "I've tolerated a lot of things. I've looked the other way more times than I should have. I've ignored problems even though I've seen it myself. But hitting girls is going too far." She sat him down and put a plate in front of him. On it sat a single piece of cake. "You did good, standing up for her." He stared at the cake in total disbelief. "Clean up and go to bed when you're done eating." She said and then left the kitchen without another word.

That night Harry dreamed again of flying, but this time he wasn't alone. This time Hermione clung upon his back as he spread his wings and soared into the clear cerulean sky.

XXXXXXXXXX

Harry found that his Aunt Petunia's newfound generosity towards him had strict limits. She still expected him to do heaps of chores and often forbid him from visiting Hermione, but she made his Uncle Vernon do some of the work and ensured that he could sit at the dinner table and eat a fairly portioned meal. Even if it was only one meal a day, it was consistent. And school provided a decent lunch for most of the week. He was allowed to visit Hermione twice a week, unless he was being punished. She was never invited over, but Harry wouldn't have wanted to bring his friend anywhere near his uncle, regardless.

They spent most of their time at the library. It was something of a sanctuary from Dudley. Harry's cousin never went there. Mrs. Miller, the librarian, was not a gossiper and had never had cause to think ill of Harry. She had kindly welcomed them both and helped them get familiar with the layout of the building. They read about a vast number of subjects, from math and machinery to dinosaurs and philosophy. Harry had a sharp mind for a child, but didn't always understand the things they were reading. Hermione, though, was brilliant well beyond her years and had seemingly no trouble at all. She always took the time to explain things to him, and Harry was immensely grateful.

Harry was reading about two of his favorite things when the librarian walked over to them. She approached unnoticed and peered at their books with interest. 'Fiercest Dinosaurs of the Cretaceous Period and Aircraft and Flight.' She read silently, before hurrying off. She returned five minutes later with two new books which she placed quietly on the table. Harry smiled up at her just as she returned to the front desk to help another visitor. Then he reached over to examine her offerings. Birds of Prey and How They Fly was the first one, and Of Myths and Dragons was the second. He added both to his pile eagerly. Hermione only snorted with barely suppressed laughter. Mrs. Miller had simply given up trying to offer her anything, and instead just helped her to find whatever she was looking for at the moment.

The bird book was interesting. Birds flew very differently from aircraft, and the different ways they used the advantage of flight to hunt were fascinating. The peregrine falcon flew very high to avoid being seen, and could spot small prey from over two kilometers away. It attacked by diving from that incredible height, reaching speeds in excess of three-hundred and twenty kilometers per hour. The golden eagle was another bird of prey featured in the book, which explained the differences between the flight mechanisms of smaller versus larger birds. Some golden eagles had been trained to work in tandem with humans to hunt foxes and wolves.

The book about dragons was of course fiction. But that didn't make it any less interesting. The first few chapters told about many of the myths and legends regarding dragons, and the similarities between them. Almost all human cultures had a dragon mythos of some kind, and usually depicted them as creatures of insatiable greed and supreme arrogance. Harry didn't like that very much; for some reason he felt a strange kinship with the dragons. But not all of the folklore had such negative portrayals of dragons. Two of the stories made him smile with delight. There was a short legend of a Germanic village that fed a nearby dragon every month, and when the Norse invaded the region the dragon protected the villagers.

Another story told about a princess who was to be wed to a suitor she loathed, and took it upon herself to run away. A dragon found her starving and alone, wandering in the wilderness, and took her to its horde to feed her and give her shelter. When her father promised whatever knight should bring her back could have her as a bride, the dragon protected her from the knights that sought to claim the kingdom through marriage. Eventually a simple farmer came calling, and instead of attacking the dragon he tried to reason with it. After negotiating with the dragon, he was allowed to see the princess. He visited many times and eventually won her heart. She left with him and the dragon gifted them a part of its horde as a wedding present.

Harry would later sign out both books to take home with him.

"Hermione." Harry said.

She looked up from her book. "Yes Harry?"

"We've been learning all this stuff about science and history and whatnot…"

"And?" She asked. "What's wrong with that?" She was a little annoyed today. It was probably his fault. He always did something or said something without thinking and hurt her feelings, and she never told him what it was so he couldn't fix it. Dudley had teased them last week, asking if she was his girlfriend. Harry had said yes immediately. She was a girl, and she was his friend. She had been quite angry with him -apparently for not asking her first- but not really upset at being claimed as his girlfriend. He still didn't understand what he did wrong.

"Nothing." He said quickly. "It's just… I wonder about the stuff we can do. I mean if you and I can make stuff happen sometimes, maybe other people can too. Wouldn't that be in books and stuff?"

She blinked and then sat back with a sigh. "I have looked. There isn't anything in any books."

"But some of these stories about dragons also mention wizards and magic and that seems just like the kind of stuff we can do."

"But Harry." She said, exasperated. "That's all just fiction. That means it isn't true."

"Maybe the people who put it in fiction didn't know it was true." Harry argued. "Maybe they weren't like us."

The possibility completely stumped Hermione, and Harry grinned at having caught her out of her element. All at once her face lit up in excitement. "Harry that's brilliant!" She said. "I knew as soon as we found each other that there had to be more of us out there. I've been looking, but it's been hard without knowing exactly what I'm searching for. Mom and Dad always told me never to tell anyone about the stuff I can make happen. They were afraid someone would take me away if people learned what I could do. Honestly as much as I detest your relatives, they might have the right idea with keeping your abilities hidden. You said your uncle lied about how your parents died, so it's possible that they were hiding and were found by whoever hunts people like us. My parents wouldn't say who they were afraid of, but whoever they are they must be really bad. Any others out there like us are probably in hiding as well, but they must be somewhere. They could have hidden all the knowledge in plain sight by disguising it as fiction! We'll have a hard time finding out which books are real and which are made-up, but even if they aren't real they might give us some new ideas on things to try. Without someone who already knows to teach us I don't know how else we'll learn."

They had been trying many different things, attempting to reproduce the strange events that sometimes happened to them. They were 'experimenting' as Hermione explained it to him, testing different things to try to make stuff happen. It was part of something she called the scientific process, but to Harry just meant guessing and testing to see if you guessed right. So far they had determined that being emotional was a key component in triggering their power. If either of them was very upset or scared, then something was more likely to happen. Another component was intent. What happened was focused somehow based on what either of them wanted to happen. But it wasn't something either of them could really control.

Mrs. Miller was suddenly bombarded with Hermione's request for all things pertaining to magic, especially learning how to use it and what sort of things it could be used for. She was directed to a number of adventure novels by a handful of authors, some more science-fiction than fantasy, but all offering a story about a person discovering their magic and learning to use it. She devoured these eagerly and set about making a list of new things to test.

XXXXXXXXXX

"Hermione!" Harry shouted. Their latest experiment had backfired spectacularly. Hermione had been trying to cause a small stone to move. She had succeeded in making it roll around with a gesture of her hand, and then proceeded to make it lift into the air. She had been so happy, almost squealing with delight at her triumph.

Then the rock exploded.

Her hand had been stretched out towards the rock, directing its movement. Small bits of stone lacerated her hand and arm, and another piece of rock had cut a fine line across her cheek, just below her eye. She fell into a sitting position whimpering softly and crying while holding her arm with her other hand.

"Hermione are you alright?" Harry demanded, sinking to the ground beside her. They were in a small clearing in the woods, about a mile from her grandmother's house; almost twenty minutes walking distance, much too far for him to leave her to go get help.

She shook her head quietly. "Hurts." She sobbed.

Harry stared at her wounds, and felt a rush of worry at how much flesh had been torn up and how much blood there was. It was not unlike the newspaper print of the boy hurt when playing with fireworks. Harry felt sick because the boy had later lost his arm. His instinct surged forward and before he even realized what he was doing he voiced his intent and made it real. {Mend-Heal-Restore} "Vokren Vahraan Vokrii!" Harry shouted. The magic, tinged with his worry and fear, wrapped around her arm and shined like starlight. Little flashes of white sparked and flared, flowing through her hand and arm. Even as he watched, the torn flesh knitted together and the wounds sealed without any trace of scar or blemish. Hermione gasped and threw herself into him, hugging him with relief. {Mine} "Dii." Harry whispered.

She shuddered. "Thank you." She said. "I'm so stupid!"

"No you're not." Harry said, almost amused. He was still too concerned to be amused.

"I could have died! And if you hadn't been here and healed me I would have probably passed out before I could make it back." She said. "I'd say it was stupid do something like this out here when we didn't know what would happen."

"That's just it. We didn't know what would happen. That's why we're out here. Can you imagine that rock exploding in your grandmother's house? We didn't know, so we made the best decision we could with the information we had. Isn't that what you're always telling me to do?"

"But Harry, I should have known this could happen just from what we were trying to do!"

"I don't see how." Harry said.

She released him from the hug and shakily pulled out her notepad. "Push your magic into an object until it is saturated in it, and control the object by directing your magic to move." She read. "That's the theory we were trying. But nothing can hold unlimited energy. Pour enough heat into water and it vaporizes, into wood and it burns, and into stone and it melts. If I had noticed that it was getting hot, maybe we could have stopped in time."

"It didn't melt though." Harry said.

"Because it had bubble of air stuck inside! It got hot enough that the air expanded and the stone exploded." She explained. "I didn't notice because I was so excited that it worked, but I kept pushing more and more magic into it the whole time I was controlling it."

Harry nodded slowly. He didn't quite understand, but it would be better to get Hermione home than to let her try to teach him something in the middle of the woods. Especially after she had just been hurt. He helped her up and they started walking back, Hermione holding tightly to his hand. Harry didn't mind at all.

"And Harry! Did you notice? When you healed me you spoke some strange words! I seem to remember you also said something weird back when you tossed your cousin off of me the day we first met. I don't remember the words, though. Do you think your magic is somehow tied to your voice?"

"I don't know." Harry replied. "I just thought about you being hurt and then I felt really upset, then the words just flowed out of my mouth."

"What was that other thing you said? Afterwards, I mean. You said that one before."

Harry tried to think back. "I don't know." He said. "I was just thinking about you."

"Well it definitely wasn't my name." She shook her head. "But it felt weird: like you were referring to me. I just knew you meant me when you said that word. And I felt safe and protected in your arms."

He thought again about Hermione, and everything she had come to mean to him in the last few months. She was his first and only friend, and their friendship was the only thing he had that he valued. {Mine} "Dii." He said softly. His voice carried all his love and trust in her and she felt it as though it physically embraced her.

She looked at him sharply. "That's it!" She said. "Dee." She looked at him. "Anything?"

"No." He said, causing her to pout.

"You do it again." She ordered.

"Dii." He dutifully repeated.

"That didn't work." She said. "What are you doing different?"

"I don't know." He said. But then again, he realized that he did know. "Wait." He said, thinking hard about Hermione. {Mine} "Dii." He tried again. His voice embraced her again.

"That did it." She squealed. "So what's the solution?"

"I had to be thinking about you when I said it." He explained.

She suddenly had a look of intense concentration on her face. "Dee!" She shouted, and then looked at him expectantly. He shook his head. "Dee." She tried again. "Dee. Dee. Dee!"

He bit his lip to keep from laughing. "Like this." He said, focusing everything he had on how much he had come to love her and her friendship. {Mine} "Dii!" He shouted.

His passion touched every part of her, his love for her blossomed in the back of her mind and his affection caressed her body. For a single moment she felt utterly loved and cherished. Her whole body shuddered and he caught her as she stumbled. "That was intense." She said.

"You okay?" He asked.

"Fine." She said quickly. "I'm fine." She paused to take a breath. "I think I can do it." She closed her eyes and imagined all her time alone and friendless, all the bullying and fake attitudes, all the times she cried herself to sleep because she had no one. Then she thought about Harry and how he was just like her; ignored by the people who should have cared for him and then bullied and abused by his peers. Until they found each other. He was hers and she was never letting him go. {Mine} "Dii." She said imbuing the word with true meaning. He felt her feelings wash over him and couldn't help but smile.

XXXXXXXXXX

Another month had passed, and Harry's cousin had forgotten the lessons of the playground. Dudley decided that since his mother wasn't going to let his dad punish the freak, he would have to do it himself. Vernon Dursley encouraged this, even going so far as to get his son some boxing lessons, but warned him not to get caught. Dudley had three more lackeys now, and his group of friends was becoming more of a gang every day. They caught Harry and Hermione on their way to the library after school at the end of the week.

"Oh crap." Harry said. Seeing six people walking towards them led by Dudley convinced Harry that they needed to be someplace else. Not one of them was smaller than Hermione -let alone Harry- and they didn't seem to have peaceful conversation on their minds.

Hermione seemed to share his sentiments. "The library's closer than my gran's." She said. "Let's make a run for it." When the gang saw that the two of them had quickened their pace to hasten to the library, they immediately gave chase.

"Don't let them get away!" Piers shouted.

The pair of children ran from their pursuers, but Dudley and Andrew cut through old man Clay's yard and got in front of them as they turned the corner. Harry faltered upon seeing his cousin, but Hermione kept her wits about her and grabbed his hand, dragging him across the street. They cut through the alley behind the convenience store and raced down the utilities corridor, turning another corner. A building blocked one side of the alley and a double fence with wood-panels and chain-link blocked the neighboring lot. After thirty more strides Hermione had to pause to catch her breath, threading her fingers through the chain-link for support.

"Come on! They're right behind us." Harry said.

"I just need… to catch my breath…" Hermione panted.

Harry didn't like being chased like this. He didn't like being cornered. And most of all he didn't like his friend being threatened by these stupid bullies. Instinct overtook him again and before he realized it he was recalling words of power. {Vanished-Unseen-Hidden} "Vognun Vonun Soven." He voiced. The magic surged and wrapped around them, concealing them from both sight and notice.

Dudley and Jessie stepped out of the alley and raced to where they thought their quarry would be. "Where'd they go?" Jessie asked.

Taking deep gasping breaths, Dudley answered. "I don't know. Do you think they jumped the fence?" Just then Piers and Andrew caught up. "Piers, check the other side." He gestured at the chain-link.

Piers nodded and tried to peer through the cracks in the wood on the other side of the chain. Seeing nothing he grabbed the chain and started to pull himself up and over. As he reached the top of the fence something slammed into the wood and the whole fence shook. Piers almost lost his grip and fell over the other side, only just managing to catch himself. "There's a big fucking dog over here! No way they got over without that thing getting them." He said. The dog slammed into the fence again and Piers yelped, trying to hang on. Dudley jumped up and grabbed his legs, pulling him back down on top of him. "Thanks Dudley." Piers said as he got up. "I'd rather not be that dog's chew toy."

"Let's go then." Dudley said. "We'll catch them next week."

The gang moved off and Hermione let out the breath she had been holding. "That was new." She said, turning to look at Harry.

He shrugged. "It just sort of happened. I don't know how I knew what to say. I just did." He tried to explain, even though he didn't understand it himself.

"Like someone was telling you the words and you repeated them?"

"No. Like I already knew the words and just needed to remember them." He said.

"Instinctive." She muttered. "I don't really feel like going to the library anymore. Let's just head to gran's." She said.

Harry agreed and followed alongside her. On their way they discovered that no one could see or hear them, even when they waved their hands in their faces or moved things around right in front of them. Only if they interacted with something that someone was already focused on would they see the children. They also learned that if they were to actually touch someone, then that person would be able to notice them afterwards, even after they stopped touching them. This was likely how they could still see each other, since they had been holding hands when Harry spoke the words.

They stopped in the park to play around with their seeming invisibility for a while, until after a little over an hour the concealment effect wore off. They had a few good laughs before heading to Trudy's house for supper. They told Hermione's gran about the incident with Dudley's gang, but when Trudy called the Dursleys to complain to Petunia, Vernon answered the phone and shouted at her before telling her that she could 'keep the freak' and then slamming the phone onto the receiver. Trudy resolved to speak with Petunia in person at church that weekend.

Hermione was glad enough to have Harry stay for a sleepover, and promptly broke out the extra blankets and pillows. Harry helped set the table for supper and enjoyed a meal as a part of their family. Trudy further resolved to see about removing Harry from the Dursley's care.

XXXXXXXXXX

The ancient blood magic laid in place upon the Dursley family by Albus Dumbledore worked to protect them from any who wished them harm. It would keep not only their persons and property safe, but also their reputations. It did not prevent the slander that they themselves spread about their nephew, and it did not prevent their own abuse of his person. But when Trudy Fairchild spoke with the officer working for children's services, the magic reacted to the threat and the report, which should have been followed up on by the start of the next week, was lost. A second call some weeks later had the same outcome.

After seeing no results from her earlier reporting of the abuse, Trudy sent a letter to a local politician. This was also lost in the mail. A visit in person to the police station to file a report at least got the police's attention for a short while. During the increased scrutiny, Dudley's gang was caught vandalizing a car and each of the children involved were escorted home, and fines were pressed upon their families to compensate the car owner. But all too soon the incident was forgotten and they continued as before.

Finally Trudy became desperate and called her longtime friend and arranged for tea with her and her husband. Her husband was a circuit judge, and maintained a not insignificant amount of political power. When she explained the situation he seemed enthusiastic. It was a chance to step in and do the right thing. That he would be seen doing it only made him more eager. This effort also collapsed as he was suddenly caught up in a scandal and forced to retreat from public view, spending every favor owed to him just to hold onto his job.

Trudy was at a loss for what to do to remove Harry from the Dursleys, so instead she did all she could to make sure Harry felt welcome in her home and got a good meal every time he stopped by.

XXXXXXXXXX

Harry was not sobbing like a child. He most certainly wasn't. He just had trouble breathing through all the sadness. Those weren't tears. Harry Potter did not cry tears. He just had some grief in his eyes. That was all. He had learned long ago that crying didn't help anything, and only made things worse. So why couldn't he stop himself?

Because he was losing his only friend.

After seven months, Hermione's parents were taking her back. In truth their new house had been ready for some time, but they hadn't wanted to force her to change schools twice in one year. But now school was out for the summer, and they wanted their daughter back with them. Hermione was crying too. Harry thought the whole thing was stupid. If neither of them wanted her to leave, then she should be allowed to stay.

Sadly, his opinion was ignored.

"But I don't want you to go." Harry said, pleading.

"I know, Harry." Hermione replied, giving him a hug. "But they are my parents. And I don't want to leave them any more than I want to leave you." She hesitated, knowing she was hurting him by not fighting this more. "I'll come back and visit. Christmas and Easter holidays for sure. And a few weeks during the summer. Maybe even this summer. Every year. I promise. And I'll write you. And you can call me anytime you're over gran's."

Trudy decided to make her own feelings known. "My house is always open to you, Harry." She said. "You're a good boy, and anytime you want to get away from the Dursleys for a few hours or the whole day, just come by."

Harry wiped his tears and nodded. "Thank you, Mrs. Fairchild."

Trudy harrumphed. "You can call me gran."

"Thanks gran." He tried again. She nodded approval. He turned to Hermione. "I'm going to miss you." He hugged her close and murmured. {Mine} "Dii." She closed her eyes against her tears as his love and affection washed over her.

"I'll miss you too." She said. "Take care of yourself, Harry." Then she returned his whisper. {Mine} "Dii." And he could no longer pretend he wasn't crying.

XXXXXXXXXX

Two weeks later Harry sat at the dinner table in the Dursley residence. He sat in silence, eating the bits of broccoli and potato that were left after his uncle and cousin had taken their portions. None of the chicken was left for him, even though he had prepared the meal. It irked him, but he stayed silent and mashed his potato with his fork. The Dursleys had been less tolerant lately, since he was home more often and was no longer being seen regularly outside of the house. His list of chores was growing almost every day; ostensibly since he didn't have school at the moment and they wanted to keep him busy and 'out of trouble' and such.

Vernon had decided that since he hadn't yet faced any repercussions for his treatment of the boy, especially in light of the threats from Trudy, he was free to do as he wished to discipline the freak. Except that the boy hadn't done anything to warrant it. Yet. Instead he meekly accepted anything he was told to do. He never talked back, never shirked the work he was given, and hadn't caused any problems with his freakishness since that girl left. Vernon wondered if it was finally over, if everything would just go back to normal.

He was wrong, of course.

When dinner was over Harry cleaned up the table and did the dishes. While he was pushing the chairs back his aunt stepped in. "This came for you. From the girl." Petunia said, handing him a piece of mail.

Harry took it eagerly. "Thank you." He told her as she left the kitchen, and then tore open the envelope and sat down to read the letter.

Dear Harry,

I hope you're doing alright, and that the Dursleys are treating you fairly. If they aren't just get word to gran. She'll set them straight. I've been doing okay. I live a lot further from the library here, so it's quite a bother to walk there. Mom gives me a ride every Saturday, and we spend a few hours picking out books to take home for the week. The new house is really big. We have five bedrooms, and a basement, and a huge backyard, and a swimming pool. Dad promised to help me decorate my room. I've got a lamp with a shroud that works like a planetarium and I'm going to use it to paint the ceiling like the night sky.

My parents are at work most of the day during the week. There is a neighbor girl who is still in school that they hired to babysit me. It's annoying because I can't do any practice with what we learned or try any new experiments. But she's nice, and she showed me how to braid my hair. I've been exploring the selection at this new library, but I haven't found anything of interest to us yet. But they have a lot more books, so keep your fingers crossed and hope for a bit of luck. The librarian here is an awful man named Charles. He smells funny and isn't any help at all.

I miss you every day. Write me back soon. Or better yet sneak out to gran's and call me.

Your 'Dii' Always and Forever,

-Hermione

Harry read her letter several times, and his heart ached all the more for the lack of her presence by his side. He cried a little every time his eyes traced over her letter's closing line. {Mine} "Dii." He whispered aloud. He felt his magic search out for her and return unanswered, and it made his hurt even worse. He sighed and sat down to write a reply to Hermione. After an hour he had started several letters that inevitably ended up in the rubbish bin. He just couldn't decide what to say. He was so focused on his writing that he didn't notice Dudley come into the kitchen to grab a drink. Before he realized it, Dudley had snatched her letter and was reading it.

"Give that back!" Harry demanded, rising to his feet.

"Make me." Dudley said, pushing him back as Harry lunged at him. Dudley had far more body-mass than Harry, and easily held him off. He was also taller, and used his height to hold the letter above his cousin's head and taunt him with it.

"I said give it back!" Harry snarled. He jumped on Dudley and started climbing on his shoulders to reach his letter.

Dudley spun around and slammed him into the wall, knocking him off. Then he casually brought the letter forward and tore it to pieces. "Know your place, freak."

Harry was incoherent with rage. He lunged forward and tackled Dudley who stumbled back and tripped over the kitchen chair, sprawling them both on the floor. Then Harry punched and pounded again and again, hitting Dudley as hard as he could in blind fury. Then he felt the world spin and a sharp crack of pain blossom against the side of his head. Vernon had come into the kitchen and walloped him with a wooden stool. Harry flailed about in a daze before slumping against the wall, blood pouring from a gash beneath his hair.

"Boy!" Vernon shouted. "Get to your cupboard!"

Harry clenched his fists and stood shakily. "He tore up her letter!" Harry shouted.

"I don't care! I'm warning you once boy, in respect for your good behavior these past two weeks. Get. In. Your. Cupboard." When Harry didn't move he shouted. "Now!"

Harry turned and left the kitchen. His Aunt Petunia was standing down the hall, staring at him with a sad look in her eyes. When he met her gaze she turned away, ashamed. He stomped over to his cupboard and slammed the door shut as he sat on his ratty mattress and wept tears of anger and frustration. It would be so easy to say the words and throw them both into the wall. So easy to make them hurt; like they made him hurt.

His dreams were once again of flying. He was high in the empty sky, staring down upon the world below, as the quarter moon rose above the horizon and cast its illumination into the night. He flew along the edge of a vast forest that sprawled across the land, reaching all the way to the mountains near the horizon. The edge he followed curved gently away and opened into a slight valley. A lake of water so deep it looked black was reflecting the moonlight against its calm surface. Beside the lake a great stone protrusion rose up from the earth, and upon it was built a massive castle of towering bulwark and stone.

He folded his wings and dove in a spiral towards the earth. As he neared the trees he unfurled his wings again and pulled out of the dive, his claws scraping the highest branches as he flew past at exhilarating speed. He roared into the open air, exerting his dominance of all and claiming dominion over the land. No challenging roar was issued by any who would contest his right to rule. But he was once again alone, even in his dreams. He knew he was missing something. No. That wasn't it. He was missing someone.

He had lost Dii.

He roared out in agony at the loss of his companion and swore to find her again. He struck a steady rhythm with his wings, beating against the air as he gained height and steered his flight in a slow spiral away from his new domain. He felt out with his senses, searching for what he had lost. He would not rest until Dii was with him once again.

XXXXXXXXXX

Harry woke very early the next morning, totally drenched in sweat. He felt weak and his hands shook with fatigue. He reached for the cupboard door but found it locked. In a burst of strength he didn't know he had he pushed against the door and the screws holding the bolt were ripped out of the wall with a wrenching sound. He threw up on the floor, and wanted to gag at how bad it smelled. He stumbled out into the hall and made his way to the kitchen. Grabbing a glass he filled it with water from the tap and gulped it down, easing his parched throat and lessening the taste of bile in his mouth. Then the pain started.

His muscles seized up as a wave of agony ripped through him and he collapsed on the floor. For a while he could not even breathe. When it lessened momentarily he took a deep gasping breath and climbed unsteadily to his feet. He felt suddenly very claustrophobic. The kitchen, as large as it was, seemed terribly confined. He needed an open area. He needed the empty sky.

He made his way to the back door, fumbling with the deadbolt and becoming increasingly frustrated. Finally he got the lock to turn and the door came open. He almost smacked his head onto the grass, only just managing to catch himself with his hands. He crawled away from the house even as the agony returned a thousand-fold. He clenched his teeth against the pain but still screamed. He screamed and screamed until his voice became a muted roar and he passed out.