icefox94: hey guys, it's icefox here with another oneshot for The Dresden Files. This time, it's a crossover fic with Harry Potter. No, I don't intend to turn this into a "Harry Dresden teaches at Hogwarts" fic (despite how great of a teacher he would be), but if people like the fic, I might think of writing something along the lines of Potter asking for Dresden's help and advice whenever things start to go sour at school, as things tend to do around the Boy Who Lived. If people like the whole Dresden is a teacher at Hogwarts thing, there may be a few times where he... I don't know, subs for things like DADA, Potions, and the other subjects he's good at, but for the most part, any involvement Dresden would have at Hogwarts wouldn't be because he's faculty, it would be because he wanted to support Potter by watching one of his Quidditch games or come to help him when he's in danger. That sort of thing.
Disclaimer: The Dresden Files is owned by Jim Butcher and Harry Potter is owned by J.K. Rowling.
Harry Potter and the Better Family
"Micheal, I have a favor to ask you."
"What is it, Harry?" Micheal questions with a small smile. Micheal Carpenter has done a lot for me and sacrificed much because of me since I met him many years ago and he is still helping me without question. He even took in my daughter six years ago and is letting me live with him until I find my own place again after the first one burned down (don't look at me like that. It wasn't my fault) and now I'm asking him for more. I don't have much of a choice, but I still feel lousy about taking advantage of his generosity.
"It's about a kid, a boy, actually, almost 12 years old. His current guardians are abusing him and I can't sit by and allow that. He's kind of important to me, so I won't be satisfied with just getting him away from his guardians and finding someone else to care for him, even if it's what I should do. I'm not asking you to take care of him, I just want you to let him live here until I'm back on my feet again and I'll take him to live with me, and hopefully Maggie if she wants to live with me, though I won't force her to leave if you are still okay with her staying here-"
"Harry, you're rambling."
"Sorry. So, will you let him stay here?"
"Sure." Micheal accepts. I blink in confusion at his quick reply.
"Really? Just like that?"
"Just like that."
"You're not even going to ask why he's important to me?"
"I'll admit that I am curious, but I figured that you would tell me when you feel like it, if it's something that is safe for me to know in the first place."
"It's probably not, but you already know of plenty of things that aren't safe for you to know, so adding one more isn't really going to hurt things." I admit as I bring out a letter I received early this morning and hand it over to Micheal. He reads it as I enjoy the warm summer breeze and slowly rock the porch swing that both of us are sitting on. Micheal gives the letter back with a frown a few minutes later.
"Have you investigated it? I don't want to see you running halfway around the world just to come back disappointed that the letter was fake."
"That's what I was doing with Murphy and Thomas all day. The information in the letter is legit. I even double checked with Ebenezar when the magical school and warlocks and stuff were mentioned." I say as I look down at the letter and reread it.
Dear Mr. Dresden,
Salutations. I'm sorry to bother you when we don't even know each other, but I accidentally came across information concerning you and a close friend of mine, so I took the liberty of researching you before reaching out to you. Honestly, I haven't found much reliable information, but the little I have found says that you are a powerful, intelligent, if not a little impulsive and destructive, wizard that always helps those in need at the risk of his own life even if he doesn't want to at first and is fiercely loyal to those he cares about. Given this information, I feel like you would be a much better guardian for my friend than his current 'guardians'.
My friend is an 11, almost 12, year old boy named Harry. I met him last year in September at the start of our first year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. He is a lot like you in many ways, actually: smart in some ways but dumb in others, incredibly gifted in spell craft already but not so well with finer magics like potions (though I also somewhat suspect that the latter might in part be due to our teacher being prejudiced against him because of his hate for my friend's father), and he is good and courageous to a fault.
Despite all of the wonderful qualities Harry has and displays on a daily basis, he is abused by his aunt and uncle, his current guardians. His parents, Lily and James, were murdered by a dark wizard named Voldemort, when Harry was a year old. At the time, no one believed that he had any blood related family to take care of him other than his aunt and uncle. His godfather Sirius, whom he was supposed to go to if anything had happened to his parents, was charged with the murder of thirteen muggles and one wizard the very same night his parents were killed and was sent to the high security prison Azkaban and couldn't possibly raise him. Thanks to this, he had no choice other than to be left in the care of his maternal aunt and uncle, who despised him for being the child of a witch and wizard, making him, in turn, a 'freak' for being born to a strange, abnormal couple and would surely grow up to be the same, and was treated as such. His room is a cupboard under the stairs (or was, at the very least. He might have been moved since spending time at school), his only clothes are over sized hand me downs that sometimes have more holes and patches in them than actual cloth, he is incredibly underfed, yelled at and talked down to, forced to cook and clean and do chores that are much too difficult or dangerous for a child his age to do. I'm sure there is more, but Harry doesn't like to talk about his living situation. I'm lucky I know as much as I do.
I have also been trying to send letters to him but haven't heard back once. Our friend Ron has said the same in his own letters to me, which makes me nervous. I fear the worst and ask that you take him away from those horrible people. I know this sounds like a strange request, but you do have good reasons to accept it. See, I was researching Harry's family tree in hopes that I would find other relatives to care for him when I found out that not only was his father adopted, but he wasn't an only child! He came from an orphanage in America, where his name was James Dresden. Yes, Harry's father was the twin you were separated from when you were adopted by Justin DuMorne, making Harry your nephew.
Please, save Harry. You are his only family now. I will not count those horrid people as his blood relations. They don't deserve it.
I know you have a lot of researching to do now, so do what you have to, but if you do decide to care for him, please don't take your time taking him away from those people. He lives in Number 4 Privet Drive, Little Whinging, Surrey, England with Vernon and Petunia Dursley.
Sincerely, Hermione Granger
"Hm. So, who was James? The letter said he was your twin brother, but I thought your only sibling was Thomas?"
I haven't told many people that Thomas Raith, the only son of the head of the White Court vampire family, was my maternal older half brother, and for good reasons. Both of us have many strong enemies that would use us against each other if they ever found out, so the circle of people in the know is quite small. Micheal is good people of the saintly degree and was there when I first met him and had also worked together with the two of us when we saved our loved ones, Susan Rodrigues and Justine (I've known the woman for years and still don't know her last name. I should ask the next time I see her.), when they were taken by some Red Court vampires years ago.
"That's because I don't talk about him much. I grew up with him for ten years, but two weeks after our father died and we were sent to an orphanage, I accidentally used magic when trying to perform a long jump in P.E. and Justin DuMorne took me away soon after, not listening to my cries and pleas to not be separated from my brother. I searched for him as much as I could, especially after I left Justin's house, but was never successful in finding him. I had hoped it was just because his name was changed when he was adopted or he was taken over seas, but I had never thought that he had also died."
I take a moment to catch my breath, my breathing becoming ragged as the memories begin to spill forth unbidden. Micheal stays quiet next to me and listens with a muscled arm around my shoulders.
"I remember a moment, 11 years ago on our birthday, when I suddenly felt a strong wave of panic, courage, and love, followed by extreme pain that had left me on the floor breathless and then a numbness throughout my whole body. As twins, we had always been in tune with the other, especially after I came into my magic, and there were times when I would feel strong emotions or sensations without reason and took comfort in it because it had meant that James was still alive somewhere. After that night though, I never felt anything like that again. I had denied the evidence that the lack of emotions and sensations gave me from lack of any actual proof of his death, but this letter brought what I needed to find the information on his death and prove it true. Now Thomas truly is my only brother."
Micheal tightens his hold on my shoulder as he suddenly brings me into his chest in a one armed hug. My eyes that had unconsciously closed while I spoke open at this action as I lift my head up to stare blearily at my long time friend in confusion. The former Knight smiles sadly at my look and rubs my shoulder in comfort.
"You don't have to be strong all of the time, Harry. You just found out that your twin brother is dead. It's more than okay to cry over that."
"I-I can't. I sti-" I try to say beyond the lump in my throat that is making my voice break and quiver. Micheal frowns at my resistance and shakes his head.
"Harry, it really is okay to grieve. You holding it in is just making me and everyone else worry more. Have you even mourned Susan's death yet?" My flinch at the question is the only answer he needs before continuing. "Than all the more reason to let yourself mourn now. You can't retrieve your nephew like this, you know."
"Micheal's right." Charity agrees with her husband as she slowly walks into view. I expect her to look annoyed or irritated with me for being stubborn but am surprised to see her close to tears herself. She sits on the porch swing on my other side and even more surprisingly wraps her arms around my waist and lays her cheek on Micheal's hand still clutching my shoulder. "You need this and you're trapped now, so you might as well let it all out, because neither of us are letting go of you until you cry at least a little bit."
"I thought you didn't like me." I say with a choking laugh as Micheal gives Charity a loving look full of approval. He was well aware of the animosity between the two of us because I was almost always the cause of her husband running off to fight dangerous monsters and risking his life and taking her daughter as my apprentice in magic made things worse. It probably didn't help that it was also my fault that Micheal can't walk now without the help of a cane. I saw a valkyrie giving him a look during a dangerous situation and had tried to avert what I thought was his death when he got life threateningly hurt anyways and came out of it permanently damaged.
"You're still not my favorite person, but I've mostly gotten over the reasons why I disliked you." Charity admits with a shrug of her shoulders before lifting her head to stare at me with her admittedly beautiful blue eyes. "You're a good man, Harry, and an important family friend. Honestly, it hurts to see you in pain, even if I do dislike you most of the time. You lost the love of your life and mother of your child five years ago and just now you found out that you have lost your twin brother as well and have grieved for neither of them. I won't pretend that I know either of them and what they would want, but if I had died and left behind people I care about to mourn for me, I would want them to grieve so that they can get over it and be happy again. Bottling up your emotions isn't going to help you grieve, it's just going to make things worse until you explode. Stop being so stubborn and let yourself grieve your loved ones so that your memories of them won't be so tainted in sadness."
This is the last blow needed to break the dam holding back my emotions. I lower my head and cry into their arms.
"Maggie?" I whisper hoarsely as I walk quietly into her room. I was outside with Charity and Micheal for hours, crying my eyes out and talking with them about Susan and James. I didn't even realize how late it had gotten until Murphy and Thomas came to get me.
"Papa?" Maggie questions quietly as she rolls over in bed and slowly sits up, leaning heavily on one arm as her other lifts to rub at her eyes tiredly. "Is everything okay?"
"Yeah, sorry for waking you." I say softly as I walk over to her bed and pet her hair. She smiles lazily and leans into the touch as I kiss her forehead. "I just wanted to tell you that I might be gone when you wake up, but I should be back sometime tomorrow or maybe the day after, but I will definitely be back soon."
I don't plan on being gone longer than a few hours, but with the way I'll be traveling, you never know how long it'll take to get from Point A to Point B and back, so I figured I should cover my bases just in case.
"Where are you going?" Maggie questions as she wakes up a little more.
"I found out this morning that you have a cousin. His parents are gone and his current guardians are mistreating him, so I'm going to go get him so that he can live with us. How does that sound to you?"
"It sounds great! It just means I'll have another brother, right?"
"Right." I agree with a proud smile. I hug her tight and tuck her back into bed. "I'll see you soon, okay?"
"Okay." Maggie says sleepily. She's kissing my cheek in goodbye when she frowns and looks up at me. "Papa, are you okay? You look like you've been crying."
"Yeah, I was crying for a while, but I'm fine now. And before you ask, even if I turn out to not be fine, your Aunt Karrin and Uncle Thomas will be with me, so they'll be able to help me out if anything happens."
"If you say so." Maggie grumbles. She kisses my cheek once more and lays down fully. "Night, Papa. See you soon."
"Night." I whisper as she falls asleep once more. I watch my daughter's softly rising chest for a few moments before crouching down and petting the woolly mammoth sleeping underneath her tall bed frame. Mouse's tail wags when he sees me fully and he nuzzles his face into my hand. I smile at the large dog and give him a hug. "I'll be gone for a few hours, maybe a day or two at most if I'm unlucky, so take care of Maggie for me, okay?"
Mouse huffs at the question and licks my face, his tail stopping momentarily when he tastes the salt there. I tighten my hug briefly and pull away to look him in the eyes, loosening my hold in order to lightly scratch him behind his ears.
"I'm okay now, boy. I just got some bad news this morning, but thanks to Micheal and Charity, I've been able to grieve a bit. If I still need comfort later, you'll be the first to know."
Mouse gives me an 'I better be' look and licks my face again.
"Haha, yeah, yeah, I love you too, you walking carpet. See you soon."
I quietly close the door and make my way downstairs and out of the door with a quick wave of goodbye to Micheal, Charity, and the older kids that are still awake. I stroll up to the gate and lean on it as I stare at one of my oldest friends and my older brother.
"Fancy meeting you two here."
"Just get in the damn car so that we can get going. The holy magic surrounding the house is making me uncomfortable." Thomas grumbles, his body almost shrinking away from the house uneasily as he says this.
"What, can't handle a little bit of the Almighty, Raith?" Murphy teases with a grin. Thomas sneers at her at the question.
"I'm a White Court vampire. What do you think?"
"You seemed to handle being in St. Mary's perfectly fine when we were preparing to go rescue Maggie."
"That was different."
"How was it different?"
"Enough of that, you two." I say with a clap of my hands for attention as I stand in front of the bickering duo. "Thomas, as much as you'd like to think otherwise, you are not a monster, so you don't have to worry about the angels guarding the place smiting you. Now let's get in the car so that we can get my nephew away from his abusive caretakers. Okay?"
"Sure thing, Boss." Thomas says with a perfect salute and cheeky grin. Murphy just rolls her eyes with a fond smile on her face before carefully getting into her car, making me frown. Murphy has been healing nicely from our recent scuffle with Nicodemus, but she is still pretty banged up. Thomas and I tried to get her to stay home and relax, but she is as stubborn as she is sm- tough. Both of us must have been thinking of this, because Murphy raises a blond eyebrow from her spot in the drivers seat at me and my stationary brother.
"Are you two coming, or do I have to book a flight for England?"
At the verbal poke, Thomas and I follow her lead and climb into the car. I give her the address of a mostly safe Way (There's not a single area of the Nevernever that is completely safe, but at least it's not an area full of molten lava or being drenched in acid rain.) we can use to get close to the younger Harry's current residence and we take off. After some time driving, Murphy parks her car in the parking lot of a nearby park and I lead them to a cluster of trees by the large duck pond.
"Aparturum." I say as I slash a line in the air in front of me, creating a jagged opening into the Nevernever. Once it opens fully, I lead Murphy and Thomas through the Way and close it behind me, than walk forward for a few minutes in the fairy garden we stepped into, listening to my mother's voice coming from the jewel in my pentacle while leaving the job of monster lookout to my companions. When my mother's voice tells me to stop, I halt and open another Way again, letting my brother and friend through before following them into the real world again and closing the portal behind us.
"Where are we?" Murphy questions as we look around at our surroundings.
"Just outside of a housing complex called Little Whinging. Let's start walking. We're looking for Number 4 Privet Drive." I inform as I walk towards the housing complex in question.
We walk around for a while, looking around and asking the few people up and about at four in the morning for directions, until we find the house we're looking for almost twenty minutes later. I've barely even looked at the perfect little house in front of me before I start scowling.
"Ugh, looks like someone is obsessed with being perfectly normal."
"Are you saying that because you're biased to hate them or because you hate normality?" Murphy questions dryly.
"I don't hate normality, I just think it's boring." I correct dramatically. "And the answer to your question was yes."
"It wasn't a yes or no question."
"Really? I didn't hear any other options."
"Come on, let's get the kid and get out of here. We're being watched." Thomas grumbles in annoyance as he glances around. Murphy and I look around as well and catch a few feminine silhouette's rushing away from their curtain covered windows as they catch us looking at them. I snicker at what I see and slap my brother on the back.
"They're probably all bored housewives staring at the sexy new face on the block, eh? Mister long lost Greek god of body cologne."
Thomas glowers at me before his dark eyes narrow in a smirk.
"At least I have options. How often do ladies look at you the way they look at me?"
Now it's my turn to glower. With my brother being a sex vampire and all, he doesn't even need to try to look better than any other male on the planet. He never works out and he always has a six pack, for crying out loud! Don't get me wrong, I love my brother and would do practically anything for him, but...
"I really hate you sometimes, you know that?"
"I love you too."
"Hey, you boys can flirt later. We're still kinda busy right now." Murphy says nonchalantly as she walks up to Number 4.
"Jealous that I'm giving someone else attention?"
"Keep talking like that, Raith, and I'll make it a lot harder for you to feed from now on." the short blond threatens casually. Thomas winces at the implications and wisely shuts up. I inwardly cackle, for wizards do not giggle, at my brother's misfortune and easily take the lead of our trio, soundly knocking on the door when we get there.
A few seconds of silence pass as Thomas and I hear some quiet movement in the house with our heightened senses, but then it settles down again. I knock a second time, even louder than before. The movement within the house is now accompanied by quiet cursing. I am in the middle of my third series of obnoxiously loud knocks when the door is wrenched open and a large walrus of a man with a face purple in anger glares at me with narrowed bloodshot eyes.
"What the bloody hell do you want so god damned early in the morning!" The man seethes in rage at being woken up before he needed to for work.
"I'm here for the boy."
"What do you want with my son?" Mr. Dursley demands to know as he looks me up and down in disgust. You know, normally I don't really care if people disapprove of my looks, I wear the strange things like my duster and carry around my staff and blasting rod to protect myself and everything else is because I can't afford much more than Walmart and thrift stores, but for some reason, I resent this man judging me so harshly. I wonder why.
"I'm not talking about your son, I'm talking about your nephew, Harry."
"Oh, what has the freak done now?"
I can feel Thomas and Murphy tensing in anger at the overweight man's hateful words as my hands clench into tight fists, mentally repeating over and over again 'Don't punch his lights out. Don't punch his lights out.' Despite how much the Mantle and my own inner Neanderthal would love nothing more than to beat the crap out of this tub of lard for abusing my flesh and blood, that would just make getting little Harry out of here quickly and peacefully harder than it needs to be.
"Nothing that I'm aware of." I say with false cheer. "See, I'm his paternal uncle and I came here to adopt him. I even had all of the paperwork taken care of before coming." Here, I hook a thumb towards Murphy, who takes her queue to reveal said paperwork with a blank expression on her face. "Not that you adopted him legally in the first place. So, can I come in now?"
"What are you talking about?! His freakish father was an only child!"
My fake smile drops from my face and I turn towards Thomas and Murphy.
"Murph, will you take care of... Mr. Dursley for me while I get Harry?" Before I strangle him.
"Sure, Harry." the blond says with a grim nod. She heard the unspoken words and needed no convincing.
"Thomas, follow me and help out with any heavy lifting."
"Hey, hold on now! I will not allow you strangers into my house without any evidence of your claims!"
"I don't really have the type of evidence you are looking for, given that my brother is dead and we were separated when we were children and all that jazz, so you'll have to take our word, and the adoption paperwork my friend here has, as the proof you need."
"That's not nearly enough!"
I sigh at the unreasonable man and shake my head. I mean, really, he obviously doesn't like little Harry and doesn't want him in his house, so why is he putting up such a big resistance?
My brother simply nods and pushes the door open one handed, knocking the walrus out of the way and to the ground in the process. As the man is struggling to get up, Thomas and I pass through the open door, grimacing as the threshold takes away a huge chunk of our magic (for me) and supernatural powers (for him), and glance into the cupboard under the stairs. There was some old moth eaten blankets laying on the floor and a few empty shelves, but other than the spider sitting in it's cobweb in one of the corners, the tiny space is empty. Looks like the girl in the letter guessed correctly when she supposed that young Harry may have changed rooms. I share a look with my brother and close the door before we simultaneously jog up the stairs. The letter said Harry's room was under the stairs, but given his uncle's (hell's bells, I can't believe I share a familiar status to little Harry with that blubbery man) reaction to my mention of him, I'm not surprised that he was moved to slightly better accommodations out of fear of magical retaliation. It was better to be safe than sorry anyways, and quicker to check the cupboard then go upstairs instead of going upstairs and having to go back down again if he wasn't moved.
Mr. Dursley sputters and heaves himself up in a manner suggesting he meant to follow us when Murphy stops him and begins to question him about his adoption of Harry, how he's been treated while living here, and basically acting like the experienced police officer she used to be. I smirk down the stairs at her as she gives me a wink behind the angry man's back and slip into the nearest room. I take off my pendant and let a bit of magic into it, causing a silver blue light to spill into the room.
It is dark, and small, looking more like the size of a baby's room than a growing boy. There are metal bars on the curtained window and a desk shoved into the corner next to it with a large bird cage holding a gorgeous snowy owl in it.
When I turn the pendant more in it's direction, it cracks an annoyed eye open, ruffles it's feathers, and turns away to hide it's head under one of it's wings. Thomas and I smile and laugh quietly at the owl's actions, both of us probably reminded of Mister and Mouse, before turning to the rest of the room.
Shoved into the other corner of the small room, taking up most of the opposite wall, is a small bed with a large trunk sitting at the foot of it and closet directly across from it. Almost hidden in the mattress is an even smaller boy nestled into the thin blankets, shivering from the cool temperature in the room. I signal for Thomas to stay by the door and approach the bed as silently as possible, kneeling next to the bed and reaching my free hand out to gently shake the child's bony shoulder.
Little Harry wakes up quickly, his eyes snapping open once the fog flees from his startling green eyes. When he sees me crouched in front of him and Thomas standing by the door, he shoots up into a sitting position and scoots away into the wall behind him. I raise my hand in surrender as he tries to bury himself into the wall and stares at me with wide unfocused eyes.
"Who are you and what are you doing in my room?!" The boy questions in a British accented voice, high pitched with panic at the dangerous looking strangers in his bedroom.
"Relax, Harry. I mean you no harm." I assure soothingly. "My name is Harry as well, Harry Dresden. The man behind me is Thomas Raith. We came to take you away from here."
"Why?" Harry questions, narrowing his still foggy eyes in suspicion. His voice lost the reedy squeak it had from his scare, but it was still high pitched from his youth. "I don't even know you."
"I know. I didn't know about you until this morning either, or I guess it would be yesterday morning because of the time difference." I admit with a frown at the squinting eyes that are still out of focus. I look around the room as I speak, and my eyes light upon a pair of beaten up glasses on the bedside table. "A friend of yours got concerned about you and sent me a letter. Are these your glasses? Do you wear them all the time, or just for reading?"
"Um, I wear them all the time. Everything is fuzzy without them. You said a friend of mine sent you a letter?" Little Harry says uncertainly.
"Mhm." I hum as I pick up his glasses and hold them out to their owner. "Here's your glasses."
"Thank you." Harry thanks with a nod and cautiously leans forward to receive his glasses, shoving them on hurriedly when he grabs them. When he can see clearly, his eyes widen as they light upon my still glowing pendant. "You're a wizard."
"If you're surprised at seeing my pentacle glow, just wait until you can see what else I'm capable of."
"You better not, kid. There's a reason why "there's a building on fire and I didn't do it" is one of his automatic responses." Thomas snorts from by the door.
"Hey, how many times have the wards on my house fried you? None. And you know why? Because I'm a damn good wizard and made you a proper charm to protect you from them. How about all of the times I've fought by your side? Did I ever hit you with any of my spells?" I exclaim in fake hurt.
"Anyways." Thomas continues, ignoring my indignant 'Hey!' as he crosses his arms and leans against the door, looking like some clothing model posing for a camera. Stupid White Court and their stupid naturally pretty bodies. "We came here for a reason, so how about you explain it to the kid so that we can get back home?"
"Right." I agree and turn back to my nephew poorly trying to conceal his amusement at our banter. When I look at him again, he sobers up and stares at me seriously, obviously waiting for my explanation. "So, I mentioned already that I got a letter from one of your friends, right?" When little Harry merely nods, I continue. "She said her name is Hermione Granger and she was worried about you because you haven't been responding to any of her or your friend Ron's letters."
"Letters? But, I haven't gotten any letters all summer."
"Do you receive them personally by owls or are they sent through the mail?"
"Well, Hermione is muggle born, so I don't know if she has an owl or not, but I know Ron at least has a family owl and would send letters that way."
"The owls might have gotten lost." Thomas suggests. Harry shakes his head though.
"These owls were specially trained in the magical world, they don't get lost. If they're good enough, like my owl, you don't even need an address. You just need to know the name of the person."
"Your owl sounds like it's pretty smart."
"She's very smart. She can understand everything I say. I can tell by the look in her eyes. It's almost like a human transfigured themselves into an owl or something." Harry says with pride.
"I can understand that. I have a dog and cat that are pretty smart too. Especially the dog. He's probably smarter than most of the people I know, but I have no way of knowing since I don't speak woolly mammoth."
"Yeah, he's massive. You've probably never seen another dog as big as he is."
"I bet I have. Or bigger."
"Harry, remember why we're here." Thomas interrupts quietly from by the door. Right. Murphy can only work her cop wonders so much before the oaf gets frustrated and comes stomping into the room to try to throw us out.
"Sorry, Thomas." I say apologetically. He shrugs and nods towards little Harry. "Anyways, your friend Hermione contacted me about her worry because she found out that we're related."
"We are? How?" Harry demands, suddenly tense and suspicious again. "I thought my only blood related family was Aunt Petunia?"
"I'm your uncle, on your father's side. We were born fraternal twins, though people would always mistake us as identical twins because we still looked just like the other." I inform as I finally rise from my crouch and slowly sit on the edge of Harry's bed, looking to the boy the entire time for his okay on the movements. "Our mother died the night we were born and our father died when we were ten, so we were sent to an orphanage. We tried to stay together, but the man that adopted me didn't want James and he wouldn't let me refuse the adoption. He dragged me off anyways, without even letting me say goodbye..."
I didn't even realize my voice had trailed off until I feel a hand squeezing my own. I glance up and Harry smiles nervously at me. I smile back and squeeze his hand in return.
"After I was adopted, I tried to search for James when I could, but Justin, the man that had adopted me, kept me pretty busy learning magic, and Ebenezar did the same when he... adopted me after Justin, so I didn't really have much of a chance to really look for him until I left Eb's house, but by then, it was almost impossible to find the information I needed, and the almost part of that is mostly down to luck and being in the right place at the right time, so I never did find him. I didn't even know what had happened to him until I got that letter from your friend, saying that he had died eleven years ago, along with your mother."
"I'm sorry for your loss."
"What are you apologizing for? You lost your parents too, you know."
"Yeah, but I've had my whole life to deal with it. You've only had a day. Therefore, you need the comfort more than I do." Harry says with a calm smile.
"Thank you." I whisper with a smile of my own. He nods and his look changes to one of curiosity.
"When you first introduced yourselves, you said you had come to take me away from here. Was that true?"
"Of course it was true... unless, of course, you want to stay here. Then we were totally just joking around and only came here to meet you."
"Will I be able to keep Hedwig?"
"It would be rude and cruel of me to say you couldn't. We can work something out with her and my cat once we're all settled in, if my cat decides he still wants to stay with me. He's been living with a friend for reasons and seems to be comfortable there. My dog is pretty cool with most creatures though, so you won't have anything to worry about from him."
"Will I be able to continue going to Hogwarts?"
"That's the magical boarding school you go to in Scotland, right?" At Harry's nod, I rub my chin and glance at the barred window without really looking at it as I think of the ups and downs of my nephew continuing his schooling there. "Is it well protected?"
"Very. It's one of the safest places in the world and also the best magical school in the world. Dad went there too."
"Hm, I guess you can continue to go if your headmaster doesn't mind you commuting from a different country, seeing as I don't live in England. How did you get to your school during your first year?"
"There's a train I take at King's Cross that takes me directly to Hogwarts. All of the other students take it as well. We also take the train to leave at the end of the year."
"Well, I won't be completely comfortable with you going unless I can get a tour of the school and see the defenses myself, but if you're determined to continue going regardless of if I can or not, I suppose I can make the trip to King's Cross twice a year for you. Do the questions mean that you'll take my offer of living with me?"
"Yes. I've been wishing that a long lost family member would take me away from here for my entire life. I'd love to live with you and never come back here ever again."
"Great. Pack up your things and we'll leave."
This is all Harry needs to hop out of his bed and scurry around the room, tossing his clothes, a photo album, a couple of framed photos, some of his owl's things, and a couple of small old figurines into a large trunk at the foot of the bed. He closes it and shoves a pair of beat up shoes and hole filled socks on and throws an old jacket on over his thin tshirt and faded ratty jeans he pulled on over his surprisingly nice pajama bottoms.
"Okay, all of my things fit in the trunk, so the only things that need to be carried are the trunk and Hedwig's cage."
"Great! Thomas, you get the trunk. I'll get the owl."
"Why do I always get the heavy stuff?" Thomas mock complains with a frown. I raise my eyebrow at him.
"Do I hear complaining, high priest of Bowflex?"
"No, no, of course not." Thomas denies as he effortlessly slings the trunk over one of his shoulders, smirking a little Harry's eyes practically fall out of his head at my brother's display of strength.
"That's what I thought." I say with my own smile as I slip my pentacle around my neck once more and carefully pick up Hedwig's cage. The owl gives me what is obviously a 'drop me and I'll rip your face off' look and burrows into her fluffed up chest feathers.
We leave the room, which allows me to let my pentacle's light fade away, and head down the stairs, where Murphy is still dealing with the whale. The blond looks up at us and her cornflower blue eyes fill with intense relief.
"It's about time. What took you so long?"
"Harry got distracted talking to Harry." Thomas says while the group walks out the door, ignoring the large man of the house sputtering in anger as his horse-like wife and blubbery son finally wander out of their rooms to inspect the commotion. Little Harry gives his uncle, aunt, and cousin a hurried goodbye and a wish to never see them again before scurrying after us.
"Ugh, having two Harrys around is going to be confusing." Murphy groans.
"There's three Harrys now, actually. Micheal's youngest son is named Harry too."
"Three Harrys? What are we supposed to call you all?"
"Well, Harry Carpenter is called Hank already, so we just need to figure something out for the two of us."
"Big Harry and Little Harry."
"What are we, dogs?" I question incredulously at my brother's suggestion.
"Hey, if the hair fits."
"Okay, so if we're shaggy dogs, what's that make you? A poodle?"
"Poodles wish they looked this good. Besides, my hair is nowhere near curly enough to be a poodle 'fro."
"Um, Uncle Harry?"
"W-what is it, Harry?" I question with a slight stutter. I was not expecting the kid to call me uncle so quickly. I have to say, I like it.
"I was just wondering where your vehicle is? I can't see the house anymore and we're still walking."
"Oh, we're just outside of Little Whinging, so not much farther." Murphy assures. "My name is Karrin Murphy, by the way. You can just call me Karrin though. I've been a friend of your uncle for more than a decade, so if you ever have any questions about his sanity or think he needs help, just get a hold of me, okay?"
"Murph, what are you trying to do, make the kid scared of me?"
"No, just making sure that he'll be alright in case something happens. You are quite the trouble magnet, you know."
The three of us bicker the whole journey to the site of the Way, proving to little Harry exactly how close we are, and I hand Hedwig off to Murphy before opening the portal into the Nevernever.
"Wicked! I've never seen magic like that before! Where does the portal lead?" Harry exclaims.
"This is a Way to the Nevernever." I explain as I close the portal behind us and take Hedwig back from Murphy before leading us through the garden once more. "It's a quick way to travel and convenient if you know how to navigate the Ways, but the Nevernever is dangerous and full of the unexpected, so it's usually better to only use it for emergencies and if you need to get somewhere in a hurry. It's also sometimes better for wizards like me when we want to travel overseas since planes can suddenly stop working and fall out of the sky because of our magic."
"Dresden, remind me never to get on a plane with you." Murphy says dryly.
"I don't plan to ever step foot into a plane, so I don't think you have anything to worry about."
"Wait a minute." Harry interrupts with a wave of his hands. "Your magic makes planes stop working?"
"Yeah. Well, my type of magic, anyways. According to my mentor, your magic is different. The way mine works is it doesn't mix well with technology. Whenever I'm around any sort of technology, it starts to have problems or stops working entirely. The more powerful you are, the faster stuff dies on you. In terms of raw magical power, I'm a bit of a powerhouse, so things die pretty quickly on me, even when I make efforts to reign it in. the only bit of technology I can even use is the old sturdy stuff. It still breaks down on me, but after years of use instead of a few minutes or hours."
"That sounds like it sucks."
"It does sometimes. I came into my magic when I was young, so it was easier to get used to doing things the old fashioned way than if it were to have happened to me now. I mean, it still sucks when my friends want me to join them for a movie, or listen to music, or go on an elevator when we go somewhere, but for the most part, things aren't so bad."
By this time, we have made it to the site of the Chicago portal. I open it and gesture for the three trailing behind me to step out first, closing the portal behind us once everyone is out. When I turn around, Harry is taking in the park and surrounding buildings and greenery with wide emerald orbs. I walk over to him and clasp his shoulder.
"Welcome to Chicago, Harry."
"Chicago? As in Chicago Illinois?"
"We're in America?"
"Come on, we still have a car ride to go until we can get back home. Then you can go back to sleep."
"I'm not tired. I'm fine." Harry denies around a yawn.
"Harry, it was four in the morning when we picked you up. It's okay to admit you're tired."
"... Okay, I'm tired."
"There you go."
We climb into Murphy's car and drive off to the Carpenter house. As we get settled in, Harry turns to Thomas.
"So, how do you know Uncle Harry, Mr. Raith?"
"Egad, please don't called me Mr. Raith. Mr. Raith is my no good father. Just call me Thomas."
"You're fine." Thomas assures when he sees Harry's apologetic look and ruffles his wild dark hair. "I met Harry at a party. A Red Court noble, that's basically a vampire as modern media portray them: being pretty to look at but ugly on the inside, drinks blood and has super strength but weak to sunlight, that sort of thing. Anyways, this Red Court noble Bianca was hosting the party and my father sent me to represent the Raith family in his place. That's also when Harry's girlfriend was infected by the vampires and Harry started a war with the entire Red Court population by burning down the building with all of the vampires inside of it."
"That's... some first meeting." Harry says hesitantly.
"That's why Thomas made that crack about burning buildings earlier." I inform from the front seat. "They hurt me. They hurt my girlfriend. They hurt Thomas's girlfriend. So I hurt them back. You don't mess with anyone in my town or I make you regret it. It doesn't help that I also have a tendency to accidentally burn buildings with my magic while fighting."
"How are your girlfriends now?"
"Justine, Thomas's girlfriend, is fine. She was bitten a lot, but not infected, and has made a full recovery as far as I'm aware." I inform, glancing back to my brother for clarification, who nods. "As for Susan, my girlfriend, she was infected and stuck between being a human and being a vampire. Drinking blood would be the only thing she needed to do to fully turn. After we got out of danger, she left town to try to find a cure... and to stay away from me. For some reason, her blood lust and her love for me were tied together, so whenever she was around me, she wanted to drain me dry."
"Oh." Harry says quietly with a sober look on his face. He raises his head and stares at me through the mirror. "Has she found a cure yet?"
"No." I answer through a thick knot in my throat. Murphy's hands tighten visibly around her steering wheel and Thomas's hands clench down on his folded arms as he glares out of his window. Harry sees this and frowns in worry. "She died, six years ago. She was betrayed in the worst way by a comrade and the knowledge made her snap and feed on him, which started the process for her vampirism. To save her from that, along with the lives of many other people, long story that I might tell you later, I killed her."
"I... I'm sorry for your loss. Again." Harry apologizes quietly.
"Hey, it's not your fault, kid. It happened six years ago, so don't worry about it." I assure, trying to smile comfortingly at him. From the worry still gracing his thin features, I'm not doing a very good job. Okay, topic change. "Thomas, you were telling Harry how we met?"
"Yes!" Thomas say hurriedly, the relief in his voice almost tangible. "Even after working together with him during the vampire party, Harry was still pretty suspicious of me for a while, given that I'm kind of a vampire myself." Thomas explains, going into detail about it when Harry gives him an alarmed look. "I'm the type that feeds off of life energy, so I'm nothing like the Red Court. I don't bite and infect people when I feed and I don't feed on blood."
"Harry, have you ever heard of creatures called Incubi?" I ask him.
"Yeah. They're male demons that feed off of energies humans give off when we have sex, right?"
"Yeah, basically. Just think of Thomas as an Incubus. He feeds off of lust and gets super strength, speed, durability, and heightened senses because of it. There's a lot more to it than that that not even I fully understand, but that's the basic gist of it."
"Huh. So, how did you become friends if Uncle Harry distrusted you so much?"
"He got to know me over the years and began to realize that I'm not just a monster pretending to be nice, though I sometimes have problems believing that myself... It also helps that he found out that we are brothers."
"Why do- wait, brothers? You're my uncle too?" Harry can't believe that he has another uncle he never knew about, and all in the span of one day. Thomas smiles at the look he receives and nods.
"Yeah, we're only half siblings though. Same mother and different father. I'm the older brother by about five years."
"Why didn't you say anything before?" Harry questions. The vampire frowns and glances to the front passenger seat. I pretend I don't notice the look and adjust my grip on Hedwig's cage.
"I thought it could wait. Harry was pretty anxious to meet you, given you're the only child of his long lost twin brother, so I decided to give him his time to tell you and once you had absorbed that information, we would tell you about your relation to me."
"Just remember not to call him uncle all of the time." I warn with a serious look on my face as I stare at the younger wizard from the front seat. "There's plenty of people that hate us and would use you against him if they knew of your relation to him, or use us against each other if they found out we're brothers, so just call him Thomas unless we're around trustworthy people or in a safe place where we don't have to worry about eavesdroppers. Okay?"
I don't bother telling him not to call me uncle. He'll be living with me along with Maggie, so it doesn't really matter if any enemies that find out about him think he's my nephew, son, or adopted son, they'll still treat him the same if they ever get a hold of him.
"Okay." Harry agrees with a nervous gulp. I smile at the look and ruffle his hair.
"Don't worry too much about it. Where we'll be staying, you won't have to worry about untrustworthy people or eavesdroppers." I should probably warn him about Mab, considering her tendency to appear out of nowhere at the most inconvenient times, but it's been a long night/morning for him... yeah, it can wait until the morning.
"Yeah, the Carpenters are good people." Murphy agrees.
"Carpenters?" Harry parrots in confusion. "We're not going to your house, Uncle Harry?"
"I'm afraid not. My place was burned down, so I'm staying with the Carpenters until I can find another place... and office... and car... it wasn't my fault."
"Harry kind of had a really bad week six years ago that made him lose everything of material wealth he had and then he kinda went into a coma for five years, though we thought he was dead, and then he disappeared for another half a year because he was recovering from his coma and his boss was keeping him busy. The rest of the last year was because he was trapped on an island in the middle of Lake Michigan. If he left, what we thought was a parasite would have burst out of his head and killed everyone he cared about." Murphy explains casually.
"I'll go into detail about it later." I promise with a wave of my hand as Murphy stops in front of the Carpenter house. We all get out, with Thomas carrying Harry's trunk and me carrying Hedwig once more, and gather in front of the gate to stare at the large house in front of us. "Home sweet home, at least for now. What's your first impression?"
"It's nice, like Number 4, but less perfect and more homey, in a way." Harry says as he looks carefully around. "Everything is well taken care of, but not in the obsessive way my aunt and uncle demanded and there's plenty of signs of a happy family here with various balls in the yard and the play set I can see a bit of in the back yard."
"In other words, you like it?"
"Good." I say with a ruffle of his hair and open the yard gate. "Alright, gang, let's help Harry get settled in."
"Why don't you take the trunk now, Harry?" Thomas questions. I turn to him and sigh.
"Thomas, I told you already, you're not an evil monster, so the guardian angel's aren't going to smite you if you try to enter the house."
"I'd rather not take any chances, if you don't mind." Thomas denies stubbornly as Harry gapes at the mention of angels.
"Oh, for the love of Hecate. Murphy, hold the owl for me."
"No, Harry-" Thomas starts to protests, as I pick him up, trunk and all, and walk through the gate with him, with no small amount of help from the Winter Mantle. Little Harry and Murphy follow behind, with Harry now marveling at my strength. If only this strength was purely my own, then I wouldn't mind him being a little awestruck. I turn my head towards my older brother still easily carrying the trunk now hanging from his arms and smile cheekily at him. "See? No smiting from the nice angels on guard duty."
"I will get you back for this."
"Oh no! I'm so scawed!" I say in a childish voice, even morphing my 'r' into a 'w' as I widen my dark eyes in mock fright.
"You better be."
I open the door of the Carpenter house and walk into the living room, where Micheal and Charity still sat, along with Maggie and Mouse, who should still be in bed.
"Hail the conquering heroes!" I say dramatically, being careful to keep my volume low to not wake any sleeping children. Maggie cheers sleepily at my return and hops up from the couch to barrel into my stomach after I set her annoyed uncle back on his feet, causing the Carpenter parents to raise their brows at me in question. I glance at my irritated brother adjusting his grip on the trunk and turn to the couple. "He was being a pansy and trying to avoid entering the angel protected house. Something about being a monster and not wanting to get smited. Or is it smote? Smitten? No, that's when you're in love with someone. What's the past tense of smite?"
"Smote is past tense and smitten is perfect tense and past participle." Micheal says automatically, curiously glancing at little Harry. "Is this your nephew, Harry?"
"Huh, interesting. Yes, it is. Harry, this is my good friend Micheal Carpenter and his wife Charity. They're good people. If you ever have any problems and I can't help you for whatever reason, you can come to them. They're also one of the few people you can trust with information like Thomas and I being your uncles."
"Hello, Mr and Mrs Carpenter. My name is Harry Potter. Thank you for allowing my uncle and I to stay with you until he can find a place of his own again." Harry greets and thanks with an awkward bow. "I hope you don't mind that I brought my owl with me. She's important to me."
"Of course we don't mind, Harry." Micheal assures with a kind smile. "It's good to meet you. And please, call me Micheal."
"And you can do away with the Mrs Carpenter for me as well. Just call me Charity." the Carpenter mother says as she runs cursory cerulean pools over Harry's too thin body. "My, my, those relatives of yours sure did a number on you, didn't they." Charity growls with a disgusted cluck of her tongue at her observations. "With how thin you are, I bet you're hungry. I'll go make you something to eat. Do you have any food allergies or anything you don't like to eat?"
"No, not at all." Harry denies with a shake of his head and a small blush. "Thank you."
"No need to thank me. I am not going to have a child living under my roof looking like he'll blow away with a strong breeze." Charity says with a wave of her hand. As she walks toward the kitchen, she catches my eyes with her serious blues. "Tomorrow, you are taking him clothes shopping. I don't care if I have to give you money for it. The state of his clothes is atrocious."
"You don't give me enough credit, Charity! I was planning on doing that anyways!"
"You better or you'll be hearing from me."
"I hear from you even when I do everything right!"
The tall blond ignores my protests and walks into the kitchen to make my nephew some food. I huff at her obviously low opinion of me and cross my arms.
"Stars and Stones, she finds flaws in anything she can just so she can scold me!"
"Don't be like that, Harry. You know she likes you. Her scolding is more teasing now than anything." Micheal chides. I deflate at this as I remember the emotional scene I made on the porch a few hours ago and shake my head, turning to the young teen currently buried in my stomach.
"Why aren't you in bed, Missy?"
"I couldn't sleep." Maggie says around a yawn as she nuzzles her medium brown face into my stomach again. I shake my head at her and look over at the curious young wizard.
"Continuing on with the introductions, Harry, this is my daughter Margaret Dresden and the walking rug next to us is my-her dog Mouse. Maggie, this is your cousin I told you about. His name is also Harry. He's a few years younger than you are."
"Papa, Mouse is our dog, not just mine, now that you're finally here with me. Besides, he was your dog before I ever met him." Maggie corrects as she finally releases her hold on me and turns to Harry, smiling brightly at his nervous smile in greeting.
"Hello, Harry! I'm your cousin Maggie!" Maggie greets with a sweet smile as she holds her hand out to Harry. The small boy's smile broadens at this warm greeting and he holds his hand out as well. She shakes his hand formally for a few seconds, than throws the hand away in order to hug him. Harry's emerald green eyes widen in surprise at the sudden move, but soften and start to moisten with happy tears as he hugs her back. Maggie continues to smile as she holds the now trembling boy and pets his wild hair in comfort.
The adults in the room smile at the two children as I crouch down next to Mouse and scratch him behind the ears.
"Mouse, I've got another kid for you to help me watch over. You don't mind, do you?" Mouse answers this ridiculous question by huffing at me and licking my cheek. I laugh quietly and ruffle the fur on his head. "I didn't think you would."
Maggie and Harry move away from their hug and Harry stares at the rest of the rooms occupants with a bright smile on his too thin face. I walk over to him and give him a loving hug as well.
"Welcome home, Harry."