Against My Nature
Newt/Harry, Timetravel Shenanigans, Canon Divergent
His plan was to avoid changing the timeline. He knew he wouldn't be able to resist if the opportunity presented itself. So he fled to Africa, where opportunity found him instead.
Chapter Thirty Two
Frank seemed to really take to both Harry and Amira, the Gryffindor more so than any one else – continuing his unfortunate propensity to be mobbed by birds both magical and mundane. Mei took deep offence to the thunderbird's seeming attempt to steal her person and practically dive bombed the larger magical creature, shrieking. Frank seemed more bewildered than offended thankfully, and things settled down rather quickly.
Sat at the wooden table outside the shed, Harry and Newt were mixing up feed and prepping potion ingredients while Amira chased the much healthier fwoopers with giggling laughter as Dougal and Moriarty chased her heels.
"Flint was head of the Slytherin Quidditch team when I was in Hogwarts," Harry explained as he shelled beans into a large tub, "He graduated in my third year, though I heard he got held back a year too, but I'm not sure if it's true. Either way, he joined Voldemort during the Second Rise, became one of the Snatchers. I never knew what happened to him after the War. I assumed he died," the Gryffindor admitted rubbing his chin as he leaned back on the bench, rubbing his fingertips over the container to flake off the bean remnants.
"He said he wasn't the only one to come back though," Newt pointed out worriedly. If these people were now part of Grindelwald's inner circle, and telling him all about Harry, his doings, and his history, then that would definitely explain the attacks Charlus told them the Potters were suffering. An attempt to kill Harry before he was sired, or something else?
Harry shrugged his shoulders, "Flint was enough of an idiot at school that we all thought he had some Troll ancestry in there somewhere. But he was savage, and cruel, and good enough with the Dark Arts that I guess impure blood was secondary to what he could bring to the table of their movement." He rapped his knuckles thoughtfully on the container's rim as he frowned distantly, thinking hard, "Crabbe was killed in the Room during the Battle of Hogwarts... Draco doesn't have contact with them anymore. Pansy is Ginny's bestfriend. Gregory Goyle was arrested post battle. Blaise Zabini went Dark Lord, so I stabbed him in the head with one of his mother's steak knives during a dinner party." He huffed, "Of the remaining Wanted Death Eaters... There aren't many. Millicent Bullstrode, Theodore Nott, Warrington, Montague, possibly Cliodna Zabini, Blaise's mother..." he listed, ticking off fingers as he glared down at the table.
"Any of them dangerous?" Newt asked warily, making Harry snort darkly.
"They're all dangerous, Newt. We spent our teenage years training and learning and preparing for a goddamn magical civil war while eating in the same room as someone you knew would try to kill you the second they thought they could get away with it. Of the lot... Nott is the most dangerous though. Quiet kid, kinda stringy and disturbingly blank. Has a poker face to make a wall proud. But I saw some of the spell combinations he used when he did get into a fight. His father was an UNSPEAKABLE and it was really obvious he taught a lot of stuff he shouldn't have to his son. Zabini, I'm pretty sure she's a more insidious kind of dangerous, the kind that leaves poison on teacups and trip-jinxes at the tops of stairs. Bullstrode was their Dark Arts heavy, if I recall correctly. That and she wasn't afraid to just throw her wand away and get her hands dirty. She tried to choke Hermione unconscious when we were twelve in Duelling Club. I don't know much about Warrington and Montague, they were a few years ahead, we only really clashed on the Quidditch pitch, and Warrington once or twice in my fifth year – Montague was in St Mungos for most of it."
"How much to do they know about, well, everything?"
"Practically nothing," Harry admitted dully, "I never really told anyone the truth of it all. I'm pretty sure they don't even know their precious Dark Lord's birth name. They probably came back thinking they could find him and bring him to Grindelwald, not realising that..." Harry trailed off, frowning before his eyes widened, "Not realising that he won't even be born for another four months! Newt! Voldemort! He's going to be born January First next year!" he yelped, jumping to his feet.
Newt blinked staring up at him before frowning, "Harry, you're not going to – "
"What? No! Newt, his mother will die in Childbirth! He'll be left in a muggle orphanage," the Gryffindor explained as he started pacing, rubbing at his face, "I can't just leave him there. Not knowing how they'll treat him and how that'll mould him into what he'll become." He scrubbed a hand through his hair, "Do you know any families who would be willing to adopt him, and raise him right? I'd ask the Potters but... asking them to raise their murderer is a bit..." he trailed off awkwardly, distressed and a little frantic in a way that Newt had never seen him be before. Not even the furore of rushing to find Amira was quite like this.
So this was what Harry was like when he faced a problem he literally could do nothing about – a little scatty and frantic.
However, "Are you sure you could trust another family to do it?" he asked knowingly.
Harry shook his head, "Probably not. But I don't think I could do it right either, knowing what I know. I'd be too hard on him, constantly watching him for slip ups, suspicious, treating him like a bomb about to go off. No child deserves that," he explained, shaking his head as he flexed his hands repeatedly and gestured as he paced. "The Goldsteins maybe?" he mumbled thoughtfully.
"Who?" Newt asked curiously.
Harry blinked at him, "The – the Goldsteins, Pureblood family. Generally Hufflepuff. You don't know them?" he asked curiously. Newt shook his head, he'd never heard of that family at Hogwarts, or at any of his mother's social events. "Huh..." the Gryffindor said, seemingly at a loss. "Well... how are the... the Weasleys? What's their financial situation?" he asked curiously.
"Nevermind," Harry quickly said with a wince of his own.
"They just lost the family fortune," Newt admitted with a grimace. "Arturius Weasley defaulted on a Duel to Drago Malfoy over his younger sister a few years ago. Now that Arty is the Head of the family, Drago claimed it. Took the whole lot, broke their marriage due to some clause in the marriage contact about finances, and handed his sister off to a buddy of his. They're completely destitute. Not even a roof over their heads. Drago even claimed their wands," he added with a disgusted shake of his head. To take things that far was the lowest of the low in every social circle. But it did however hold the double standard of ensuring that no one would ever risk tangling with Drago Malfoy again if he was going to go so far as to completely ruin you and your family to the point of casting you out of the Magical World entirely.
Harry's eyes narrowed thoughtfully, "Well, that's something I think I will resolve when I get back to England. How does one go about challenging someone to a Duel?" he asked slowly.
For a moment, Newt wanted to warn him about how dangerous Drago Malfoy was in a duel, then he remembered what he had seen and decided his breath would be better spent warning the healers at St Mungos to get a bed ready for the Malfoy Head. "Typically because you have never been introduced to each other, you would have to approach him, announce your names, titles, and then challenge him as a champion of the Weasley family on the grounds of his deplorable behaviour. Just, the Weasleys may not appreciate it, just to warn you. They're a proud family, and they won't want the help."
Harry shrugged a shoulder, "Well, they're getting it. I can never pay back Molly and Arthur, or their children, or Ron for what they did for me. But I can do this. And if they ask, or try to refuse, I'll tell them. They're as much my family as the Potters. More so, actually. If I can stop Ron from growing up in a rebuilt pig sty, then I'm doing it."
Newt caught his hand and tugged him into his lap, pressing a kiss to his cheek, "Just be prepared to have Arty try to bluster a hundred and one refusals, and maybe try to challenge you to a Duel to reclaim it himself," he warned, beginning to pepper the side of Harry's neck with more kisses.
"I learned to successfully argue with both Molly and Ginny. I think I can handle him."
In order to return Frank to where he needed to be, and then get back to England in time for young Tom Riddle's birth, Harry and Newt needed to haul ass down south in order to catch a boat from Equatorial Guinea – they couldn't very well stay in Egypt and wait for the ship to New York there after Newt's abduction of the Thunderbird. Frank may have been illegally smuggled into the country, but that didn't change the fact that he was also desperately needed there either (Harry contemplated contacting the Netherlands Ministry to inform them that the Egyptians may need a few weather mages or they may continue to do something stupid), and by stealing him back to take to America, Newt had not made himself very popular with any of the Egyptian mages.
"Burkina Faso isn't too far away from Ginuea," Harry pointed out, Amira in his lap, as they flew across the vast tracks of desert and hard scrubland. "We can check and find out if there are any Runespoor reserves on our way! If there are, we can leave the girls with them!" he called.
"Sounds good – ah, there! Train!" Newt shouted back, the two of them spotting the trundling metal behemoth in the distance. Alas with all the people piled on the roof, the two hadn't a hope of getting anywhere near it and hidden beneath Disillusionment Charms, they were still somewhat safe from discovery as long as no one was paying close enough attention to see the clouds distorting as they passed.
The two exchanged looks, about as well as they could under the disillusionment charms, before Harry adjusted his grip on the little girl, and shot on ahead curving along ahead of the train to follow the tracks up ahead. Newt following suit on the Firebolt and idly wishing they weren't in such a hurry to avoid trouble and get back to England that they could walk. He would have liked to see the landscape at ground-level and find any magical creatures in the sand.
It took two days to reach Burkina Faso by broom, the two of them only stopping to make camp – ward a tiny patch of dirt and set the case up in a way that it couldn't be found, or washed away, blown over, or close and lock on them.
There were indeed runespoor sancturies in Burkina Faso, occupying huge swathes of warded land, a small mountain range, and a lake, the place was filled with lividly coloured serpents – less than a tenth of their girls' size.
"Ah. Um," Newt observed intelligently as the small family of three stood beside their guide to the Sanctuaries, Shuri.
"Is dere a problem, Mista Scamanda?" the older woman asked in thickly accented English, her lined face stern and unamused as she observed him.
"No, no, not as... such..." he trailed off before scratching his head, "I... honestly don't know what to make of it. The runespoor we rescued is... significantly larger than any of these breeds. Her mother likewise. I thought all runespoors were of similar..." he trailed off awkwardly, a frown of concern crossing his features.
Shuri hmm'd, "May I see dis creacha?" she asked.
"Ah, yes, of course," the Hufflepuff agreed, opening his suitcase, "This way!" he called as he climbed in, in front of Shuri's astonished gaze.
"It's perfectly safe, Keeper Shuri," Harry explained in English, being unfamiliar with her native tongue, and Gourmantche using primarily their very own dialect that was quite divorced from the national language of Mossi, and their 'official' language of French (which Harry actually knew only a little due to Fleur and Gabrielle swearing a lot in it).
"You keep your animals in a suitcase?" she demanded disapprovingly, scowling at him.
Harry chuckled, "We keep ourselves in there too. Take a look, it isn't as bad as you're fearing."
The stern woman hrrmph'd and stubbornly forced herself into the case despite her obvious discomfort with the very idea, though her expression changed to one of awe and shock when she got a better look inside. Just the foyer was larger than anything she had seen in an expanded space, and it looked like there was more judging by the two doors.
"This way, Madam Shuri!" the crazy British Mythozoologist exclaimed through the slightly open dark brown doorway.
Harry had to cover his mouth to hide his laughter when she got a look at the animal enclosures.
Bubbles, Buttercup, and Blossom were not pureblooded Runespoors.
Her mother had been half-Basilisk, naturally born, or artificially created and unleashed no one could possibly know. But either way, she had inherited nothing from her basilisk blood besides great size, and armoured scales, meaning that despite her size, there was a home for her within the Sanctuaries of Gourmantche's Pama Reserve. Shuri would ensure she was well taken care of – and prevent any breeding accidents.
It was a wonder that her mother had managed to produce an egg at all. By all rights such a cross-breed should have been infertile.
"Perhaps she was one of that mad General's breeding experiments," Shuri offered with a shrug and a scowl before they shook hands and parted ways.
News of General Galgut's activities amongst the South African magical communities, the ways he manipulated both muggle and magical governments, and even drugged the population and utilised both muggle and magical innovation in order to achieve his position had turned a great deal of the country on its head. The South African Ministries were in shambles and desperately trying to shore themselves up before the white powers poked their fingers into the still open wounds from the Great War. Harry knew absolutely nothing about the magical History of this part of the world, he was fairly certain he had changed things here a great deal by killing the General, but how much, he hadn't the faintest idea, nor whether or not that would affect the Second World War.
Either way, the small family of three humans and a suitcase of their monsters made their way south-east from Burkina Faso's Gourmantche territory into Benin, a small sliver of land famous for being the home of the muggle 'voodoo' religion, and the origin of Vodun magic, Spirit Summoning. It was said, that at the height of the Dahomey Kingdom's magical power, their Mage-King sat atop a throne made of human skulls, each the wisest or greatest warrior of his tribe, and through evocations and sacrifice with Vodun, he was able to call upon their wisdom and knowledge, even their will and strength, to strike down his enemies, feed his people, and bring justice to the wrong-doer.
Harry did not sleep well in that country.
His dreams filled with whispers and shadows, and whenever he woke, he never felt like he was alone.
It got so bad, that he ended up covering all the mirrors in their suitcase, and while he huddled against Newt while he slept, he wouldn't allow intimacy between them. Often times when he woke, he would immediately go and check on Amira, relaxing only when he found Mei within her room.
Thankfully with the brooms they weren't in the country for long.
They passed through into Nigeria and Harry's nightmares abated considerably enough for him to think twice about their final destination in the country.
"Don't we need permits to get into New York?" he asked as they ate breakfast at the kitchen table, one eyebrow arched as he sipped his tea, Amira humming on his left as she licked fruit jam from her chill pink fingers. She had rapidly fallen in love with the empty tundra environment when she found it, enchanted with snow and everything to do with it. Harry had been forced to make her specific snow-appropriate clothing just so she could play in the powdery white stuff, which she did at almost every given opportunity. He had even gone so far as to adjust the little observation out-house Newt had made back when he had housed a yeti in the enclosure. The man eating beast had been too wild for him to interact with under normal circumstances, so in order to observe its behaviours and activities he had hidden himself within the outhouse, sadly the yeti passed away from at the time unknown circumstances, but later discovered a burst appendix.
Newt grimaced at the reminder of the paperwork, "I have the papers, but I have yet to submit them I will admit. I wasn't – well, we may need to bribe someone to fudge your records a little," he admitted with a wrinkle of his nose.
"Only a little," Harry agreed dryly with a smirk.
"Is there me paper?" Amira asked curiously in broken English. She had been making great progress on getting the hang of the language, and Newt had likewise been learning Arabic in exchange – though their clever little Stardust was getting it a lot faster than her freckled guardian.
"Are there papers for me," Harry corrected gently, and repeated it in Arabic for her before shaking his head, "No sweetheart. You're not old enough to need them yet, thankfully."
Newt grimaced, "I have no idea how we're going to explain her presence without admitting to kidnapping charges," he admitted, dragging a long fingered hand through his hair.
His husband snorted darkly, "Obscurials aren't classed as human," he stated bitterly, "That's why it isn't illegal to kill one. We're in the 'Dangerous Beasts' category, even in the nineties."
The mythozoologist's face twisted in anger for a moment as Harry stroked their daughter's hair and smiled at her when she peered up at him curiously. Her recovery was going so well, her magic no longer shimmered at physical contact with Harry unless they both willed it, a shimmer remained like rippling light on a pond, but it was barely visible and entirely unnoticeable unless searched for.
"Well, that's just going to have to be something we change once we get Harold to back us in making your Child Protection division in the Aurors," he declared firmly as he got to his feet and collected their dirty breakfast dishes. "I'll fill those permits in tonight, and we can ask Mei very nicely if she would pretty please deliver them to MACUSA."
"What is MACUSA?" Amira asked, not familiar with the word.
"Magical Congress United States of America," Harry listed carefully for her.
"America? We're going to America?!" she exclaimed excitedly.
And chapter done. Shorter than usual but... uuuuuuuuuugh, Merry Christmas, enjoy your multiple updates!