Summary: Elim Garak was a man of many secrets. Too many. So many, in fact, that a few were even surprises to himself. When a four-hundred-year-old stasis pod is discovered, the crew of DS9 and our favourite tailor are in for quite a shock when inside lays a slumbering half Cardassian, half human with magic at her finger-tips. A deep dive into Cardassian culture. Cardassian!Harry, Fem!Harry, Dad!Garak, Garak/Bashir. Fem!Harry/undecided. Family orientated.
PROLOGUE: BLEED OUT.
There had been pain. Harriet knew that much. Through the flashes, the jolting sensations, the unexplainable shouting and mumbled words that faded to static, there had been excruciating pain. She couldn't remember much, nothing really, beyond the final death of Voldemort. She remembered the dirt and blood, the stench of rot cloying in the air, the taunting face of Tom, the laughter, and her own shout of Expelliarmus as Voldemort disintegrated and floated away in the wind as nothing but curling ashes.
She remembered falling to her knees, she remembered the utter relief that it was simply over, finished, and she remembered that twisting pain that hit her in the sternum. Things became jagged then, memories that didn't fit together, shards of sensation and noise that left her feeling dizzy and not wholly herself. Someone ran to her, there were hands holding her as she spasmed, shouting, screaming for help… Hermione… Yes, that had been Hermione's voice, Harry remembered.
It all came too fast then. Being carried. Rushed words. Flashing lights. Faces, so many faces. Delirium. Too cold. Freezing. Why was she so cold? What's wrong with her? Get the healers! DNA-matrix mutating… Degeneration… Spells used to change appearance… Lily Potter… Spell rebound and stripped her of the transfiguration spells… Biological transfiguration… Reptilian?... You can't reverse something that is and always has been a part of her, this is truly what she is and-… Can't help… Muggle science may… Experimental… Stasis… Only way…
Then the darkness came, and Harriet knew nothing. For a long while, or perhaps only seconds, Harry couldn't tell, there had only been this void. Silence. Peace. Emptiness. Tranquility that was shattered when that searing light came. She groaned, nerves feeling raw, explosive, as her eyes burned and scrunched from the sudden brightness. She tried to jerk her hand up, over her eyes, anything to block out that scorching light, but her muscles felt like gelatinous fatty masses.
The world came to her slowly, steadily, in bits and pieces. There were lights above her, bright lights, burning lights of hot white that almost bleached everything else away. They made her hiss and groan and grimace as her head flopped to the side, trying to lurch back from the sudden assault on her pupils, blinking rapidly to clear the pulsating spots that filled her vision.
Gradually, the world came to her softly, in malforming shapes and flashes of keen colour. The room was cold looking, sterile but grim, with its cutting edges and slate grey and stone beige pallet, dusted with bronze metal. There were screens around her, black things with green, red and orange shapes, as strange as the rest of the room. She was on a bed of some sort, a sturdy cot, with an odd arching dome of… Glass? Glass, curving around her chest, more lights and strange symbols sweeping across. By her bed, propped against the wall, was a… Pod. Yes, a pod. Harry remembered that pod. She remembered the soft green velvet against her skin. She remembered the warmth of it. She remembered being lowered down, a slither of light streaking across her face as the lid came down right before the darkness took her completely.
Merlin, her head hurt. Had she been attacked? Had the deatheaters struck back after their master's demise? Hermione… Ron… She needed to find them. Harry jolted as the bizarre glass dome beeped, lifting from the bed as it swung away into a compartment of some kind, hidden at the side of her cot. The noise was loud, the light was too bright, she was freezing, the smell of aseptic barrenness stung her nostrils and her head felt like she had been trampled by centaurs.
Bleating and moaning like a new born fawn trying to stand for the first time, Harry heaved herself up, muscles shaking violently, head pounding, stomach churning. Where was she? What was going on? Where was everyone? Her hand gave out from underneath her and her leg slipped as she tumbled off the cot, falling to the soft, plush floor of this strange room. This time, her groaning was cut short by the sound of jogging footsteps. One… Two pairs, Harry counted as she scrambled up to her knees, fighting valiantly not to throw up, pushing away from the door and the oncoming noise.
A man was the first to enter. He was a tall fellow, around thirty, Harry would guess, with amber skin, warm eyes and a boyish sort of smile. He was dressed as peculiarly as this room was, in an overall, pressed and neat, official looking, with a blue flash to his shoulders and high-neck. A blonde woman came in behind him, dressed in the same uniform as the man.
Harry scrambled further away, her back clashing against the base of her cot, stinging and wincing at the clang that rang out. The man smiled at her, dimpled, white tooth and friendly. Harry's gut roiled as her throat dried and bile rose. Who were these people? Where was madam Pomfrey? Where was she?
"We're not going to hurt you. I'm just going to scan you, okay? Keep calm. This won't hurt a bit."
The man said as he took a small step forward, grin widening. Harry swallowed heavily, trembling hand tensing at her side as she pushed herself further into the cot at her back, the cold metal making her shiver. Cold. So cold. She was going to bloody freeze. Worst of all, she couldn't understand a word of what he was saying, not a single one. Hermione. Hermione would know what was going on. Harry needed to find her. Now.
The man's hand dropped to his side, to his belt, as he pulled something free. A rectangle, a metal contraption that bleeped and bopped and flashed a sickly blue. Harry's heart jumped into her throat as he aimed the thing at her, stepping even closer. Her gaze jumped to the door, but it was blocked by the blonde, and there was no way out behind her, just the damned pod. Her eyes trailed to the pod, spotting something red and shiny laying at the base, pushed up in the corner. Hermione's beaded bag.
Harry barked as the man came closer. He halted immediately, brows creasing as he cocked his head at her, but whatever he may have thought, it didn't deter him from mumbling in that strange language again, from taking another step closer. Out. She needed to get out and find Hermione, Ron, Molly, anybody. Harry's hand shot out towards the pod.
The bag lurched in the pod, falling over as the clasp came undone, something thin, long and pleasantly polished flying out of the depths of the deceivably small bag. Harry could almost laugh as her wand, safety, came hurtling towards her, snapping into her hand like a missing part of her own body. Without it, she felt naked. Wherever she was, thankfully, Hermione had half the mind not to leave her defenceless. As soon as she had a full grasp on her wand, when the world stopped spinning as much and the threat of doubling over to vomit passed, she aimed the tip at the man.
"I said stay back!"
Away. She needed to get away. She needed to breathe. She needed warmth and somewhere darker, and, Merlin, the world was spinning around her and she couldn't think straight. Chest quaking from the heavy breaths she was inhaling through flared nostril, Harry latched her free hand behind her, onto the rim of the cot, hauling herself to a stand, despite the protest of her quivering legs. The man pulled back a step, eyeing her, gaze flickering between her own and the wand in her hand as he slowly tapped something, a little oddly shaped button, on his chest and began to speak in that rolling language of his.
"Bashir to security, can you please come to sickbay? Our… Guest is awake and she's looking quite frightened. I don't think she can understand us and the universal translator isn't picking up on her hissing sounds. She's also managed to arm herself with some-sort of rudimentary weapon."
Nothing made sense. No one was familiar. This room, these people, the cold, it was all so alien and Harry was having trouble focusing on anything else but the pounding of her heart. Deatheaters? Where were the deatheaters? Hogwarts had been filled with them, so many… Where these deatheaters? If so… Had they lost the war? Were Hermione and Ron on the run again? Nothing. Made. Sense. Savagely, Harry scrubbed at her eyes, her breath faltering as her mind whirled.
Unfortunately, the blonde woman decided that was the perfect time to intervene. All Harry saw was the stiffening of her shoulders, a tensing sort of motion Harry was all too familiar with, the readiness for action, for fighting, her hand going to another weird metal thing at her hip, like a muggle gun but not quite a gun, and her steady step forward. Harry lashed out.
The spell hit her right in the middle of her chest, enough power behind the spell flinging the woman back a foot or two before she unceremoniously crashed into the wall by the side of the large doorway. The man lept into action, hitting his Merlin-damned chest badge again as he darted around her, keeping his back away. Smart man.
"Security, emergency in sickbay!"
Then he was falling next to the woman, using that rectangle thing again, sweeping it over her and Harry clocked the doorway. Empty. Freedom. Run. Harry bolted for it, her heart a war-drum in her ears, her breath rapid and cutting. She managed to dive right through the two large plates of metal before they swooshed shut.
Hallways. Narrow, bright, puzzling hallways greeted Harry. She span around, tried to get her bearings, tried to remember anything, but nothing seemed right. Everything was wrong. Everything was strange. Everything was foreign. Yet, she only had but a moment to take in her surroundings before a beam of some kind, hot and red, skimmed her shoulder and crashed into the wall besides her head. She snapped around, saw a man down the hallway, a tall one with broad shoulders and dressed in a strange, beige uniform, holding the same gun-but-not-gun the blonde woman had, this one pointed right at her.
"Stop right there!"
These weren't muggles. They couldn't be. She needed to run, she needed to get away, she couldn't stay here, not with these curious beings. Harry fired back a Stupefy, dashing down the hallway, the opposite way to the man with a weapon. Left. Right. Left. Left. Right. Left. Around she went, running, confused, alone. She ran for a lifetime, she ran for a second, she simply ran and ended up nowhere. Finally, she took a sharp right and ran straight into an open, blindingly bright and colourful place. Subsequently, she also ran smack bang into a crowd of people. There was yelling, shouts, people falling over and the noise, the light, everything was too much. Harry's hands clamped down over her ears, her eyes scrunched shut, and still, their foreign words rambled in her head like a brigade of Thestrals.
"Is that a Cardassian?"
"Where are her neck ridges?"
"She doesn't look well…"
"What's a Cardassian doing on Deep space nine?!"
Harry stumbled, nearly loosing her balance as her eyes flickered open and, really, she wished she never woke up. The people around her… They weren't human. Some had ridges going down their noses with shiny earrings dangling down from proud lobes. Others had elongated, bold heads, with splodged print shining on their wet looking yellow and blue skin. Others had mouths… Multiple mouths and ridges and spikes and… Merlin, sick… She was going to be sick. Find Hermione. Find her and everything will be alright. Everything will be fine.
In full panic, Harry pushed away, bulldozing through the crowd, further into the circling shopping or, perhaps, promenade place. The smells of food, spices, perfume, the sight of a rack of clothing and strange statues perched on tables, stood outside little shops, bright, neon lights flashing above, advertising. Too much. Too much. Too much!
The people around her stopped, they stared, and they spoke and she couldn't think! Facing her, a door swooped open and a man, followed by another three, stepped out. Beige uniforms, ridged noses, apart from the one in the middle, with those bloody guns already in hand. He, the leader taking point in their little group, looked like a melted ken doll. Skin tight, features smooth, undefined, golden hair slicked back. He spotted her straight away and pointed, and Harry didn't need anymore indication to run for the fucking hills. As she began to sprint away, the middle man shouted.
"Evacuate the promenade! Everyone, out!"
The cry created a tide Harry had to swim against as people rushed and careened, dashing around, flooding the opposite way Harry was trying to run. Away… She needed to get away. She turned violent, shoving, shouldering and pushing her way through the swarming mass of bodies quickly flooding out of the curving shopping centre. As the people began to whittle down to a few stragglers, those beams of light were shot at her again, forcing her to duck and dodge, and dip from one table, to an indent, to an alcove. Harry had barely managed to dodge the last shots fired when two more beige, nose-ridged guards came tumbling out in front of her, guns high and ready. They were fast, but she was faster, even in her delirious, panic-stricken state. Run. Run. Run. Run. It was all she could think.
Three more shots blasted out from behind her, forcing her to take a keen left roll, jumping over a short table or open window into a shop. She crashed to the floor, something… A bottle she had swept over, breaking underneath her, stabbing into her side, right through her ribs, tearing. Harry howled as she rolled over on the floor, shakily grabbing the large shard of glass and yanking it free as her wand hand went to press into the weeping wound. She threw the glass shard away from her. Still, she haggled herself into a sitting position, using a shelf beside her to yank herself up, hissing through her teeth as her side throbbed at the jostling movement. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck! What the fuck were those people? Where the hell was she? What in Merlin's name was going on? Oh… Oh… She couldn't breath… Air… Needed… Air…
Snap out of it. Look around. Find somewhere to hide or a weapon… Or something, to get you out of this mess! That's right. Breath. In. Out. Calm. She needed to get her head straight if she was going to get out of this. Grimacing, Harry pulled her hand away from her wound, feeling blood seep into her shirt, to see how bad the damage was but her hand caught her gaze.
Brown. Her blood… It was brown… Why was it brown? Her hand came up, level to her face, and she saw it. Her skin… Her skin… It was grey… light nimbus cloud grey. Harry's hand dropped back to her stab wound as she leant forward, too alarmed to care much for the twang of pain from her wound to do much distracting, scanning the shelves around her of the little bar she was ducking behind. Bottles surrounded her, but the bar itself was black, polished, reflective. Her arm swept out, knocking the bottles off as she crawled closer, dragging herself forward by her free hand, knuckles white as she gripped her wand, closer to her reflection.
If the thing staring back at her didn't blink when she blinked, turn her head when she did, or lift its hand to skim her face like she did, Harry would call it a stranger. That wasn't her staring back at her. It couldn't be… Could it? No, those were definitely her eyes, as green as lime mixed with shamrock. That was her hair, right down to the last rebellious onyx curl defying gravity to give her a look of having a lion's mane that swung at her hips. That was her shape of eyes and overall, her nose… But everything else was gone. Wrong.
Scales as grey as her skin were arching over her eyes, replacing her brows, gliding around her socket to line her cheekbone. Ridges sprouted from them, lining upwards, into her hairline, one fractured and split by her lightening bolt scar. In the middle of her forehead was a weird shape, a circle, a spoon of some kind, ridged and half formed, but proudly there, tinted blue in the middle. Little ridges ran down from it, over her nose, thin ones, lining it, glazing down and dipping off into her cupids bow.
More of those damned ridges lined her chin and jawline, blending ear to cheekbone, and those scales came back around her neck, though she had no ridges, on either side, two tinted blue, like the spoon, halfway down. From the thin, too large white shirt of some kind, a combo to her white trouser she had awoken in, a hospital get up Harry would guess, she could see ridges lining her collarbone, thick ones, as well as another spoon, for lack of a better word, proudly jutting out from between her breasts, just above. What was she?
"Hey, what are you doing in my bar! It's closed, if you couldn't read the sign!"
Harry's gaze wrenched away, over to the side of her, to the opening of the bar, to the voice. The person was short, extremely so and so very, very orange. His ears were large, bat-like, shooting out from either side of his bold head and his teeth, Merlin, they were sharp little daggers underneath his wrinkled nose. Footsteps rang out behind her, from over the window, and Harry lept at the small being. She had her arm around his neck before he could so much as shout, her wand pressing into his neck before he could call for help and steadily, she backed away from the bar she was hiding behind, eyeing the room she found herself in.
It was definitely a bar, perhaps a restaurant, but none of it mattered. She needed to get away, find a healer, someone, anyone, who could tell her what the hell was going on. Spotting the door to the place, the being in her arms began to protest and mewl, Harry limped over to it, dragging the small being with her, wincing as her side flared up in pain, something moist and thick and hot beginning to run down into the waistband of her trousers.
"Hey now, no need for that. If you wanted a drink, all you had to do was ask! What do you want? Anything? Free on the house!"
This door didn't swoosh open when she got close to it like the others. In fact, the thick metal looked like it could take a good beating. Not willing to move her wand away from her hostage, and the only bargaining chip she had should those beings outside fire at her again, should he run for it when her guard was down, Harry yanked him closer to the door, jutting her chin at it. He only blankly stared at her.
Nothing. Not even a blink. Once again, Harry tried to nod towards the door. Finally he seemed to clock on as he slowly raised his hand, making sure she could see it, as he began to fiddle on a little panel by the door, pressing a series of buttons on a little glass screen. The beep of the door opening was like music to Harry's frayed nerves. Pulling them to the side, Harry peeped around the corner. Fuck.
Melted ken doll, four beige nose-ridged guards and boyish smile man were all waiting outside, ready. She pulled back and tightened her hold onto the orange bat person, who began mewling again. Right. She would walk out, calmly, hold onto her hostage until she found a way out of here and then release him once she was safely gone. Then, she would find Hermione, figure out what had happened and somehow reverse whatever it was that was done to her to make her look like this. No one needed to get hurt. She could do this… If she didn't bleed out by then, that is. Slowly, Harry stepped out of the dark, empty bar, wand still pressing into the neck of the small being she had headlocked and faced the little firing squad that was ready to jump her.
"Are you okay Quark?"
The boyish man spoke, leading to the being in her arms to clack back in a different language. Still, they seemed to understand each other, at least. That must have been nice.
"Do I look okay doctor? I found a bleeding Cardassian in my bar in the middle of the night who keeps hissing at me and jabbing me with a stick! If she tightens her hold anymore, she's going to snap my neck!"
The man… Doctor, she thought he might have been a doctor, stepped forward and Harry jerked the orange thing closer, wand grinding into the being's neck.
"Don't come any closer. I don't want to hurt anyone. I just want to go home… Home… Do you understand me? Home… I'm just trying to get home."
Home. Was there even a home to go back to? If these beings were in league with deatheaters, then they had won. Hogwarts would be gone. Everything would be gone… No. No. This was different. She just needed to find someone, anyone, familiar. Then everything would make sense. She had to believe that. Melted man went to raise his gun at her but the doctor lifted his hand, holding him off.
"Don't! She isn't going to hurt him. She's scared and injured, look… She's bleeding. I've ran scans on the people she's hit so far and she's only stunned them. Nothing more. We just have to wait until her universal translator kicks in."
The doctor turned to another one, one of the nose-ridged ones.
"Find Garak and bring him here. You should have informed him that she was awake as soon as I comm'd through."
Harry groaned as the stab wound in her side began to pulsate in gnawing pain, her legs began to shake from the strain of holding herself upright, her eyes stinging from the bright light around her and the bile was back in her throat. Too much. Everything was too much. However, though she couldn't understand him, the doctors voice was light, calm, soft. She could make it. She could find them, Hermione, Ron, Neville, she had to. Then everything would be okay. Everything would be right.
Cautiously, the doctor gestured down to the orange man as the beige guards lowered their weapons. What was it Shacklebolt told her once? Don't fight harder, fight smarter. In her weakened state, growing more dim by the tick of the clock, she had enough strength to perhaps cast two, three more stupefy's, before she blacked out. Not enough to take out everyone surrounding her before she could run for it or not get shot with one of their beams. And that was if she disregarded the possibility that they could do anything more than fire those beams at her. Which, to her, was unlikely. Beings and creatures who could do things like that often had more tricks up their sleeves. She should know. She was a witch after all.
If she couldn't force her way out, perhaps she could reason with them. Show them she wasn't a danger. Give them a solid reason to let her go. Her wand dropped as she pushed the orange being forward, towards his people. It happened all so fast. The orange bat being ran towards the group, the doctor smiled at her and one of the beige guards behind him lifted his gun. Harry swore as the doctor shouted at the same time as the beige guard fired.
The pop of Harry apparating melded into the pound of her heart and for a split moment, she thought she was dying. When she landed, it was only a few feet away from the confused group, all the distance her dwindling magic could manage, but the suddenness of her rapid disappearance was enough to daze them and her landing spot was just enough out of sight to give her a head start as she stumbled and slid shoulder first into a bronze wall. One breath, two breaths, a hand scrunching into her slash, trying to stem the bleeding and she was staggering blindly away.
"You had an order not to shoot!"
Get away. Run. Get away. Run. It was all she could think of. Once or twice, her legs threatened to give out, the wound in her side felt like it was tearing open further, perhaps she had splinched herself after all, but she kept going, bracing her bloody hand against the wall to ground herself, hobbling away. It was all she had left. Soon, or maybe hours later, she couldn't tell any longer, she was falling through a hole in the wall… No, not a hole, a door, crashing to her knees. Clawing into the carpet, heaving herself, she managed to come to a tottering stand, wobbling as she delved deeper into the darkened room.
The smell was nice in here, all soft spice and desert sands. The heat… The glorious heat was pleasant beyond words. The light wasn't too bright either and Harry nearly cried from the respite from the attack on her senses. Her eyes slid shut as she swayed where she stood. It was getting harder to keep them open, to focus, to think… Didn't she have a quidditch match to get to? Or was that the O.W.L finals? There was somewhere she needed to go…
She came to like a spider being dropped into a puddle, with a hardy jerk and a scramble of limbs to keep herself balanced. Her gaze shot to a doorway, one she hadn't spotted in her sudden ramble into the room, off to the corner, shadowed and hidden by a rack of clothing. It was the first word in this god forsaken place Harry had understood since awakening. The silhouette stepped out from the darkness and Harry faltered into a grinding stop.
He looked just like her. The very same light grey skin, ridges, scales, though his hair was cropped short and straight, combed away from his face, his eyes were a arctic blue and his neck flared out like a cobra's, but everything else was so startingly, achingly familiar. Too familiar for a stranger. Harry's legs gave out as he rushed towards her crumbled form, dropping his cup to the floor with a shatter. She couldn't fight him off, she could hardly lift her arm anymore, as he dropped down to her, pulling her closer, prying her hand away from her side to see the gnarly slash through her ripped and brown blood-soaked shirt. She could feel the vibrations of his sharp intake of breath rather than hear it. In fact, she was having difficulty hearing anything.
Soon, it was his warm hand pressing strongly against her side. Soon, he was easing her against his chest, head propped against shoulder as Harry began to fight for breath. Soon, that void was back, tugging at her, teasing her.
"Harriet, look at me. Keep focused. I've got you now. You're safe. Safe."
Harry blinked and tried to breathe in, but it hurt. Everything hurt. Bewilderingly, without meaning to, she found herself echoing him, this familiar stranger.
Something thick and hot dribbled from her lips, down her chin. She thought she saw him nod and smile, press something on his chest, but he was just a mass of foggy colours now that couldn't keep their shape. She did feel him though. She felt the soft rise and fall of his own chest, gently rocking her. She felt the gentle hand stroking her hair, she felt the warmth. She felt safe. For the first time since she had awoken, no, before then, before the running and war and horcruxes, before Voldemort, for perhaps the first time in her entire life, all bittersweet sixteen years of it, she felt utterly, completely safe.
"Garak to Dr. Bashir, medical emergency in my shop. I have Harriet but she's injured. I think she's pierced a lung and is haemorrhaging. Please hurry."
Sleep. She wanted to sleep. She needed to sleep. Just a nap. A quick… Nap…
"No. Don't go to sleep. There's no time for that now. Not after all this waiting you've put me through. That's it. Stay with me."
Her voice was jarring, splintered, broken.
He pulled her in tighter, just as a set of footsteps began to get closer.
"Yes. Safe. You're home now. Home and safe."
What do you guys think?
Obviously, things will become clearer the longer we go on in this fic, but while planning it out, I thought this part would be the best for the prologue. Don't worry though, everything gets cleared up… In time ;).
As for the fic itself, it's mainly going to be centred around family, Cardassian culture (Or my interpretation of it, at least), and discovery of oneself. That being said, there will be a smidgeon of romance dusted in, for our simple tailor Garak and dear doctor, as well as Harry, though I haven't decided on her pairing yet. (Suggestions on Harry's pairing are more than welcome!) That being said, romance isn't going to be the main focal point of this fic, though included.