A Harry Potter/Worm Crossover
By Darth Marrs
Harry James Bailey was eight years old when the Simurgh attacked the London metropolitan area.
He remembered it being a perfectly normal Tuesday, just after dinner. School was still out for summer and he'd spent the day with his grandparents, but was back home for shepherd's pie, his favorite.
After a filling dinner, he had his bath before coming back down to watch the telly until his bedtime, snuggled between his parents. His daddy, James Bailey, was a detective constable with the Met. He still wore his uniform shirt, though he'd removed his jacket and belt, which Harry thought made him look quite sharp and authoritative.
His mum sat for chemistry at University College London. She wasn't watching the telly—she was reading from a great tome of a book that looked like it weighed almost as much as Harry. She had a clever little lap desk on which she held her notebook. Occasionally she'd blow a coppery strand of hair from her face while jotting down notes from her book.
Even if she wasn't paying attention, she was there, snuggled up to Harry's side. He didn't even care that the lap desk dug into his thigh a little. He thought that between his parents, he was the safest boy in the world.
He didn't understand what the distant sirens meant when they first began. For that matter, neither did his mum. She looked up, a confused look on her face. "Jimmy, what's that?"
A moment later, the TV channel went out. Words that said, "Signal Lost" floated across the screen.
Daddy paled to a shade of chalk. He shoved his glasses back up his long nose but spoke slowly and with forced calm. "Lily, go upstairs and grab the emergency bags. Grab Harry's too, I'll get the car."
"James?" Now his mum sounded worried.
"There's only one reason they'd set off the new sirens," Daddy said, a little more urgently. "Go, now!"
"Oh Blessed Mary!" Mum jumped from the couch and ran to the stairs.
Harry felt too confused and scared to say much of anything. "Harry, go upstairs and get dressed, we're going to go see your Nana and Papa, okay?"
"Daddy, what's going on?"
"Go, Harry. Go!"
Harry went, running just as fast as his mother. In his room, he ripped off his short summer pajamas and pulled on a pair of trousers and a pullover. He was just pulling on his shoes when his mum ran by his room laden with two large satchels. "Come on, Harry, to the car, love!"
She had her scared-but-trying-not-to-let-Harry-know voice. He'd heard it before, during a riot in London, and again when one of dad's prisoners threatened to kill them.
He ran after her and soon caught up. They rushed out of the front of the house to find Harry's dad already in the car with the trunk open. Up and down Merrilands Rd, where they lived, he saw other people spilling out of their houses and climbing into their cars as fast as they could. He started toward the door when he heard a distant, faint drone, almost like someone screaming, followed by a massive explosion that set off car alarms up and down the street and even caused Mr. Khan's windows to shatter two houses down.
"Harry, get in!" Lily shouted.
Harry climbed into the back as she rushed to the passenger side. In seconds, they were speeding down the street. Despite being a detective constable, James flew through the stop signs, both at Delacombe Avenue and then again at Dorchester Rd. Harry caught a brief glimpse of his school before they sped away, heading southwest from London. There were a lot of other cars coming after them.
"Daddy, Nana and Papa live the other way!" Harry shouted.
"We know, love, we just have to take a different route," Lily said.
Harry watched a lot of telly, and his Daddy loved to take him to the cinema every chance they could go. He'd seen lots of films where the adults were scared and the kids just made it worse by screaming or carrying on. He wasn't one of those kids, though. He trusted his Daddy with the wholesale faith only an eight year old could muster. Even if his Daddy wasn't the best Daddy in the world (which he was, thank you very much), he was a Detective Constable with the Met. There wasn't anything he couldn't do.
So, despite being scared and wanting very much to cry, Harry instead huddled quietly in the back seat and watched Daddy drive while Mum tried calling Nana on their large mobile phone. "No signal," she said.
Daddy flipped on the radio. "…Radio 4. The London Metropolitan area has been attacked by the Endbringer Simurgh. Communications have been severely disrupted. The attack is on-going, therefore the number of casualties and the extent of the damage are not yet known."
"Mary mother of God," Lily whispered. "Is it going to be like Lausanne?"
Harry didn't know what Simurgh or Lousanne was, but he understood what an Endbringer was. He'd seen pictures of New York and Moscow after Endbringer attacks from school, and knew they occurred now two or three times a year.
The dull drone in the back of his head got louder, making him want to scratch the back of his neck. He saw his Daddy gripping the wheel so hard his knuckles were white. "Jimmy, look out!" Mum cried.
The car swerved so violently Harry tumbled into the foot well of the back seat. He heard Daddy cursing under his breath, sounding almost as angry as the time Sean Black got the chief position over him.
Harry picked himself up from the foot well and looked out the back window while the radio continued to broadcast emergency evacuation orders. The eastern horizon looked orange with the late evening's sunlight shining through great clouds of dust and smoke in the air.
What caught his eye, though, was a glowing orb of light that seemed to be getting larger as he watched. Buildings floated around it, some as small as houses, some as large as office towers. He felt a surge of fear when he looked at the light, despite the fact that superheroes had arrived and were fighting the Endbringer. They were too far away for Harry to see who was fighting, but he could see bright flashes of laser fire, so he assumed Legend was probably one of them. Maybe Eidolon. He thought Legend was the most awesome of the heroes, though.
The droning sound in the back of Harry's mind grew louder and louder with each passing moment. He was distantly aware of the fact that Mum was shouting something at Daddy, but it was difficult to understand or concentrate with that droning sound. He heard undertones in it, and a faint hint of a melody that made him strain even harder to hear, as if that melody was the most important thing he'd ever listened too.
Morning sunlight shone through a broad window overlooking a breathtaking scene of a lake surrounded by mountains with rings of forests on their slopes. He sat at an oak table, an empty plate in front of him, and across from him he saw a woman perhaps his mother's age. She had long, frizzy brunette hair that hung loose and wild around her face. She wore a crimson sports jersey of some kind, with a great stylized lion on it that was three sizes too big. She was leaning forward, both hands clasped possessively on a cup of coffee or black tea, he couldn't tell which.
Despite looking frazzled and tired, she glanced up at him and smiled. It was a familiar smile, a gentle smile. It was a smile he saw Mum sometimes give Daddy when they were huddled on the couch together watching Telly. He didn't know her; had never seen her before, and yet his heart swelled so much with longing he felt tears in his eyes and found it difficult to breath.
"…that slut. Don't even try to deny it, James Charles Bailey!"
"God damn it, Lils, we weren't even dating, why the fuck do you even care? And don't think I forgot about you and Sean! We were dating when you slept with my best-fucking-friend!"
Harry blinked. The drone in the back of his mind seemed louder, more persistent. It made his eyes ache and his ears throb. He sat up in alarm when he realized Mum and Daddy were fighting—really fighting. Mum's hands were flinging around wildly while she screamed, and Dad was pounding the wheel while shouting right back.
However, what really worried Harry was that they were still driving. They were driving really, really fast.
Seat belt, love.
Harry's hands latched the seatbelt across his waist without even thinking about the voice that, at least momentarily, cut out the constant droning in his head.
He craned his neck to look out the back again; the orb of light looked closer. He could see the faint hint of what almost looked like wings, but wings arrayed in a way that not only didn't make sense, but seemed to make his headache worse if he tried figuring it out. The drone shifted abruptly to a loud, piercing scream, and once again Harry was somewhere else.
Heavy stone walls surrounded him; a room in a castle, with the breathtaking view of the lake outside a window behind him. A cluttered desk sat in front of him, and on the desk a great stone bowl. Within the bowl, he saw a silver figure. It was the woman from his first vision, but older, worn and tired.
Bloody. Her lip had been split and she had a black eye that ran down to her cheek. Her hair was matted with blood and she looked barely able to stand. Harry didn't understand who or what she was, or why his heart thudded with a sudden flush of fear, rage and horror. The feelings grew unbearable when a gun appeared within the bowl, only a foot away from the figure.
She turned to face the gun directly, closing her eyes a moment before the weapon fired. The image burned away in a flash of fire and the sound of man screaming.
The screaming was real; it was his Daddy, shouting at Mum that he ought to break her neck for sleeping with Sean Black.
Mum screamed back, "Jimmy, LOOK OUT!"
Harry looked between their seats as a house—an actual house—fell from the sky onto the street in front of them. Daddy cried out in alarm as he spun on the wheel. They were going so fast, there was no possibility of breaking. Momentum overcame mass; the car spun off its tires in a roll.
Glass shattered; mum screamed. Daddy cried out. The world spun in a stomach-churning kaleidoscope of color and motion. The seat belt dug cruelly into Harry's waist as his arms and legs flailed about helplessly. Shattered glass sprayed against his head, arms and neck as the car rolled until it came to an abrupt, shocking halt.
Harry hung sideways from the belt. With shaking fingers, he undid the latch and fell against the door below him in the side-ways auto. "Mummy?" he whimpered. "Daddy?"
He forced himself to stand up on the door, his height easily fitting within the side-ways auto. He stared at the front and saw blood. He saw sheered-off, ragged beams of wood from the fallen house impaling his mum through her stomach like a giant push pin, keeping her in her chair even as her whole body hung at an odd angle, her arms, head and hair all dripping blood. The tip of the wood poked out the back of the fabric of her seat, covered in red. She didn't move; he couldn't even see her chest moving. A glance at his Dad showed a crushed mass of flesh—he couldn't even identify it as his Daddy, though a part of him knew it was.
The singing was so loud it felt as if it might make his bones shake apart. He stared at the bloody, shattered remnants of his world, and once again found himself somewhere else.
A little girl, barely a toddler, sat on his lap. She had angelic white-blond hair but sparkling green eyes that looked almost like his did in the mirror. "Got a secret," she whispered.
"Tell me." His voice in his odd vision sounded older.
"You aren't who you think you are," the toddler said.
"Who am I, then?"
"You are Forever."
He fell from the car, tumbling down from the passenger side where he'd climbed out without even realizing it. The road was littered with pieces of wood, plaster and crashed cars. There were people, but there were also monsters running about in the increasing gloom of dusk. The monsters screamed and attacked each other, themselves or the people around him. Extra limbs, long necks, animal faces or metal skin, the monsters moved about as if they were as shocked to be there as those they attacked. The people did the same, shouting and screaming and running around with cricket bats or beams of wood where they struck each other.
Not everyone was affected. Harry saw a father running with a child in his arms, and a mother on the other side of the road herding two older kids away from the fallen house.
Harry hurt badly, but the pain felt distant and obscure. Familiar, in an odd sense. Though he'd never been hurt so badly in his life, for some reason a part of his mind dismissed the pain. "I've been hurt worse."
His knees gave out and he fell painfully to the asphalt of the road. The gloom receded before a brilliant, painful light, while the singing grew so loud the hairs on his arms stood on end and his chest felt as if it were being squeezed in a vice. He looked up and saw HER, floating in the air and looking directly down at him.
She should have been beautiful, Harry thought distantly. It looked as if a healthy, beautiful woman had been bleached of all color and then stretched out to three times her height, until she became almost skeleton thin. And yet she wasn't skeletal at all—her skin looked smooth and silver, without a trace of bones beneath. Platinum hair blew in a non-existent wind to frame a thin, sharp face and wide, empty white eyes that stared directly down at him.
Pure, pristine white wings surrounded her, sprouting not just from her bare back, but from her naked arms, legs, thighs and even each other. Some were smaller than his hand, some as large as his house. They moved randomly about, and with each movement one of the many floating houses, trollies or office buildings moved as well. Each movement was perfectly timed to block an incoming attack from the many capes who were, even at that moment, attacking her.
Her mouth was open, and the singing burned out of her, causing the air in front of her to shimmer. She was singing to him alone, now. She was singing at him alone.
He was somewhere else. He didn't stand, because there was nothing to stand on. All around him he saw brilliant, scintillating waves of light, of colors he could not even begin to describe because the human eye was never meant to see them. Energy beyond human comprehension swirled around and through him. The light was life itself, the soul of the Universe and something no mortal being had ever seen, much less even conceived off.
Within this realm of brilliance flew luminescent beings. He could not look directly at them because to do so hurt his mind and made his skin feel as if he were sunburned, but from far enough away he caught glimpses of them moving about the continuum of brilliance. Some were the size of stars, others smaller than Harry himself. Size didn't matter, he realized, because it was an illusion. All that mattered was energy and life. The light of the continuum didn't just swirl around them, it fed from them and fed them, sustaining a nearly eternal symbiosis.
This place was more ancient than the stars themselves.
A streak of black fire ripped through the continuum of brilliance, slamming into a star-sized being. It ruptured, spilling shards of painful light all around. The other beings appeared around their fallen comrade, and Harry sensed a rage to destroy galaxies.
Another black beam ripped through the continuum. No, not black. A mere white—a streak of destructive energy that burned through the continuum, but was made less bright by the sheer brilliance of creation around it. Following the beam came a strange object, itself almost the size of a moon. It looked like a giant spinning top—a sphere with a large pillar rising from either end. It was from the nearest pillar that another white-black beam burned through the living light around him.
A being of light struck back, and something around the moon-sized craft flared as it deflected the energy. The moon-sized machine fire again, destroying yet another being of energy before itself succumbing to the counterattack.
Behind it came another moon-sized craft, and another. Five. Eight. A dozen. A hundred. Ten thousand. The huge craft came and fired their deadly weapons, and the beings of light gathered to destroy them. The scintillating light around Harry began to pulse, and in the back of his mind he heard a terrible screeching, as if the universe itself was crying in pain.
No ship could survive more than two blows from the light beings, but there were so many it didn't matter. These terrible, monstrous constructions burned away the beauty and the life, destroying the beings of light even as they were destroyed.
Harry wept as the Universe convulsed in agony around him as her first children died. One final shot proved too much, and the scintillating light collapsed in on itself, leaving only a single, wounded being of light, and a single monstrous craft drifting damaged in the dark.
He felt pain and rage pouring off that single, wounded being of light. Her light did not shine brilliant, but began to burn darker as the rage overcame her essence.
Suddenly Harry floated in the void of space, staring at a brilliant disk of light. It was the Milky Way, he realized.
Movement caught his eye. He watched, his mind numbed beyond understanding, as a globular cluster galaxy soared through empty space at speeds that defied reality itself. The outer spiral arms distorted under the conflicting gravitational forces as the smaller galaxy plowed directly into the larger one, as if thrown.
Throughout both, he saw millions of flares of light as stars and planets collided or were ripped apart by the unimaginable gravitational forces. Though he could not see her, he knew it was the sole surviving being of light that guided the smaller galaxy, ensuring the destruction of everything in its path. The two galaxies continued to collide, leaving massive swatches of destroyed stars in their wake, until the two supermassive black holes that formed the cores of each galaxy collided.
Space itself sundered apart. The explosion was so massive it swept aside not just solar systems, but whole galactic arms in a sea of primordial energy harking back to the origins of the universe billions of years ago. In his mind, a single foreign thought emerged: "My God. It was my fault."
Harry knelt on the cracked asphalt as the sun set over Surrey. Behind him, the auto that entombed his Mum and Dad was on fire, crushed up as it was against a collapsed house. Above him, a monster floated in an orb of light, shining like an angel not of Heaven, but of hell. She sang down at him, her terrible voice warping the minds of everyone within ten miles.
In the sky around her, desperate heroes tried to fight her off. Harry could see Alexandria herself punching through the many floating barriers the Simurgh created. Opposite her, Legend fired his lasers while Eidolon seemed to be using gravity itself.
She ignored their attacks and kept her empty white eyes on Harry as she sang.
The sound burned the air around him; it beat against not just his mind, but against his skin.
In his hands, which rested on his bent knees, he held an amulet that wasn't there a moment ago. It looked like something from a play—a circle of gold etched with tiny symbols he could not recognize surrounding an amethyst as large as his palm. The amethyst itself appeared to have been quartered by some precise chisel, with each quarter bearing a strange animal he couldn't quite make out in the gloom.
The Simurgh's song made the air shimmer. Almost of their own accord, his hands lifted the amulet up until it dangled by a golden chain that appeared as he held it. Harry put on the necklace and slipped the amulet under his shirt so it rested against his chest.
Immediately it began to burn, as if his chest was on fire. It didn't matter—he already hurt in so many places, and the song beat down on him so hard, what did this new, smaller pain matter? He bore the pain in silence as he looked up at the monster above him.
Simurgh's song suddenly changed to a loud, angry shriek. All the houses and buildings collapsed around her as she dove for him. Her long, clawed fingers reached down to rend the flesh from his body.
A grey missile struck her before she could reach Harry, slamming hero and monster alike through a petrol station on the side of the road. The other capes descended as well and began pummeling the Simurgh with every power they had. The screeching sounded more angry than hurt, but abruptly the Endbringer launched itself out of the petrol station, shooting upward in a flash of pristine white wings and lingering flame from the ignited petrol until she disappeared into the heavens.
The silence that followed throbbed in Harry's head almost as painfully as the Simurgh's singing had. He continued kneeling on the road as the heavy realization settled across his shoulders that he would never again sit on the couch, nestled between his mum and dad, to watch the telly. He jabbed a thumb into his thigh, trying to recall the feeling of mum's lap desk digging into his leg.
The tears came, streaming down his face. A great, racking sob stole his breath. He leaned over until his head rested on the cement and cried as memories floated through his mind of his Mum and Dad, but also of others he'd never met, and yet missed terribly anyway.
A gentle hand touched his shoulder. He tried to look up to see a man with a thick head of dark blond, windswept hair. He wore a mask that covered his eyes and cheekbones, while his body was covered in a tight blue suit decorated with what looked like white lightening. A heavy cape of the same material pooled around his feet where he knelt down beside Harry.
Harry knew the hero, of course. He had trading cards of the Triumvirate. This was Legend, who though perhaps not the most powerful was easily the most friendly. Hiccupping and sobbing, Harry said, "I think my mum and dad are dead."
Legend switched from kneeling to sitting cross-legged. Harry heard a swish behind him and glanced back to see a gray streak fly up from the passenger side of his parents auto. He never saw Alexandria, but could guess from Legend's expression that she confirmed his parents were gone.
"I'm so sorry," Legend said. He spoke gently; kindly. "What's your name?"
"Harry, what's your last name?"
He opened his mouth to answer, but for some reason the answer didn't come as quickly as it should have. He should have said Bailey, because that was the name he was born with. It didn't sound right, though. "I'm not sure," he finally said.
The answer didn't actually seem to surprise Legend. "That's okay, Harry. I know you're scared, and I'm so very sorry for what has happened. If you stay here, though, you won't be safe. Would you come with me?"
Harry hiccupped and wiped his nose on the back of his arm. "Okay," he said softly.
"Legend, the protocols."
Harry glanced over Legend's shoulders and saw Eidolon himself floating nearby, a soft green light shining around the white mask that looked at him from within his hood.
"She went after this boy directly, Eidolon," Legend said. "She stopped singing and physically attacked him. She's never done that before. He must be important—too important to leave for the D.D.I.D. protocols. We'll hold him in quarantine for as long as we need, but we can't just leave him, my friend."
"You know what Alexandria would say."
"Then she should have stayed to say it." With that Legend stood and offered a sniffling Harry one gloved hand. Harry accepted it, and made no protest when he was easily lifted into the hero's arms, straddling his hip like he sometimes did with Mum when he was a baby.
He didn't make a sound when Legend lifted them both gently into the air. From his new vantage, and with the last light of the dying day, he saw the trail of destruction that had followed their car all the way from his house.
He sank his head into Legend's shoulders and wept again until he fell into a drained sleep filled with terrible, wondrous dreams of places that could never have existed, and people he didn't know and yet loved all the same.