The Leewit watched as a blond haired man leaned forward in his seat, making roaring sounds as he attacked one plastic dinosaur with another one.
"You can't win, you're a plant eater!" he growled out, jiggling the T-Rex up and down. "Ah, but what you don't understand is I will win because I have a force much greater than you on my side," he argued while jiggling the Triceratops.
"What? Truth and justice?" he growled out, bouncing the T-Rex up and down. "No, I'm his favorite since his wife bought me for him," he said in faux heroic voice before ramming the Triceratops into the T-Rex and then giving a five minute long dying speech that included the T-Rex's will as apparently it had a large collection of shiny rocks it wanted to make sure the neighbor's kids got because his own were so ill mannered. There was also a plot twist where it turned out the Triceratops was the neighbor which made The Leewit burst out laughing.
"I didn't know we had passengers," the pilot said as he set his plastic dinosaurs on the console, not the least bit embarrassed.
"Not so much passengers as temporary crew or stowaways," The Leewit offered as she entered what would be called a bridge on a bigger ship or a cockpit on a smaller one.
"Stowaways? What are you running from?" he asked sympathetically.
The Leewit smiled slightly, feeling his concern. "My parents are celebrating their anniversary."
He frowned. "Hopping a ship seems to be a bit much to avoid that."
"You aren't a reader with a large range," she replied, getting a confused look before his eyes widened in understanding and he winced.
"Okay, yeah, I can see where that could be a bit… uncomfortable," he admitted. He offered a hand. "Wash, ship's pilot."
The little blonde witch grabbed his hand in a firm grip and shook it. "The Leewit."
"Is that a title or a name?" Wash asked as he rubbed his hand, surprised at her grip.
"Both," The Leewit replied.
"So, a reader? How's that working for you? I've only met one and she wasn't real happy about it," he offered, hiding River's status as one, out of habit.
"Good instincts," she complimented him. "I already know about River and her lack of control. Part of helping with that is teaching the rest of you how to make it harder for readers to hear your thoughts so she doesn't have to work as hard at not hearing them." The Leewit set her backpack down and pulled a tablet out of it, turning it on and paging through until she found the file she was looking for.
Wash raised an eyebrow. "Latin based language?" he asked, surprised to find the device had an unfamiliar language that he could actually puzzle out a few words of just by context.
"You know Latin?" she asked.
"Learned it when I found out they used it for dinosaur names," he admitted with a shrug. "I needed something to do while dad and me were traveling the verse, so I studied a bunch of different things."
"It's called Universum Imperium and is the main trade language where I'm from," she explained.
"There you are," Kaylee said. "Simon is finished looking over River so he can talk shop with you now."
"See if you can figure this out, I'll translate it for you later if you can't," The Leewit told him.
"Sure," Wash said absently, focusing on the pad and trying to figure out the meaning through context, something made more complicated because he wasn't sure of most of the words. Still, it was much more interesting than the crossword puzzles he sometimes did to help pass the time on watch. "Thanks."
The Leewit followed Kaylee through the ship. "I wasn't upset that he wanted to look after his sister first," she assured the older woman, "I just wanted to get started on teaching the crew the techniques needed to help her while he was doing so."
"Oh good, I was worried we'd offended you or something," Kaylee said, relieved.
"If you'd offended me there would be no doubt in your mind, I'm very open about that sort of thing," The Leewit assured her.
"That's good… I guess," Kaylee offered lamely.
"It is," The Leewit said firmly. "A lot of problems can be solved with a little communication."
"That is true," she agreed.
"Anyway, I wouldn't deny someone help just because their doctor offended me," The Leewit said as they entered the medical bay.
"So they'd have to offend you themselves before you wouldn't help them," Kaylee reasoned.
"No, I'd be sure to help them if they offended me," she said. "There is little more satisfying than having someone who you despise firmly in your debt."
Simon caught their conversation as they entered and found himself nodding along. "There's also the Hippocratic Oath to be considered, but healing someone out of spite is remarkably rewarding."
"Had some experience with that?" Kaylee asked her boyfriend.
"Of course," he agreed. "I treat Jayne all the time."
"I didn't think you despised him," she said surprised.
"Well… not so much anymore, but I still don't like him," Simon admitted.
"He grows on you," Kaylee told The Leewit.
"I'd make the required comment about fungus or infections, but it's actually true in his case," Simon admitted. "Once you learn to overlook his ignorant comments, bad jokes, the smell of his cologne, the constant need for interaction… he's tolerable."
"So… basically every aspect of his person?" The Leewit asked, amused.
"Exactly," Simon agreed. "Once you learn to ignore his very existence he is tolerable."
Kaylee giggled and rolled her eyes, knowing Simon was joking, mostly.
"I hope you can read Latin," The Leewit said, extending her tablet towards the ship's doc, "because all my files are in Universum Imperium which is based on Latin. I can provide translations, but it'll be faster if you can puzzle out some of it yourself at least enough to get a feel for the medical data I have."
Simon paged through the files, finding the tablet easy to use and translating the titles of the various files in his head with a speed that The Leewit found herself impressed by.
"Does everyone on the crew know Latin but me?" Kaylee asked in disbelief.
"Doubtful," Simon replied absently. "I know it as it was part of my medical training, and of course River knows it… as she would read my course books when she was bored. Book would know it, as it's traditional for Priests to learn it. Inara probably knows it, as I can easily see Companion training requiring it, but I doubt Mal, Zoe, or Wash know it and the idea of Jayne knowing it is laughable."
"Wash knows it, learned it while he traveled," Kaylee said with a sigh.
"It's a weird coincidence that so many of us on the ship know it," Simon said. He looked up from the tablet. "The medical data on this is more advanced in many fields than I had access to in The Core. I'd almost say it had to be fake, but it's not, is it?"
"No," The Leewit replied, "it's all real."
"What planet are you from?"
"Karres," The Leewit told him.
Simon nodded. "Not a planet I know of, but I'm not going to look a gift horse in the mouth. We have a member of the crew who is suffering from a degenerative neurological condition, it's believed to be hereditary, but it could have been induced by faulty terraforming efforts. You know the material better than I do, what would you suggest?" He extended the tablet to her.
The Leewit accepted the tablet and quickly paged through files until she found one that should be able to handle something as simple as a hereditary disease and passed it back to him. "A simple retrovirus would be able to attach a gene mod that could overwrite the faulty sequence."
"That would be brilliant, but designing the genmod would take years," Simon said, looking through the file, eyes lighting up as he could see how it could be used to correct a variety of genetic problems caused throughout the verse by the semi-successful terraforming processes used by the Alliance and not just solve Inara's problem.
"Or we could use one that we already have available," The Leewit pointed out.
Simon looked at her in confusion until she raised an arm and tapped her wrist.
"You have a gene mod?" he asked aloud.
"What's a gene mod?" Kaylee asked.
"Short for genetic modification, in this case referring to a pre-made set of genetic modifications designed as an improvement over the standard human genome," The Leewit explained.
"How stable are they?" Simon asked. "I'm not trying to be insulting," he quickly added, "but it's rather obvious they prioritized mental abilities like reading over long term stability."
"Actually they didn't," The Leewit corrected him, "my abilities have nothing to do with my gene mod. The vast majority of people with it are not readers. My abilities are the results of training."
"You can train to be a reader?" Kaylee asked.
The Leewit nodded. "On Karres the reason it runs in families is because we train in it and people who join our family pick up talents over time without any need for gene mods. The gene mod I have is the standard health mod."
"They have a stable standard health mod?" Simon asked slowly, frowning in thought. "You… aren't local. I'm guessing one of the lost generation ships made it to a different system. I'm not sure why you would be traveling alone if that was the case. Are you also being hunted by The Alliance?" he asked, his mouth running faster than his brain.
The Leewit smiled. "They don't know to hunt us and we're allowed to travel on our own. We have probability readers to tell us if we're going to get into any trouble we can't escape on our own."
"Probability readers… Precognition?" he asked intently.
"What if they're wrong?" Kaylee asked, concerned.
"They've been at it for centuries and haven't been wrong yet," The Leewit said with a shrug.
"I suppose that is a reason to be confident of their services," Simon allowed before concentrating on the subject at hand. "The gene mod you carry… you are confident it will work?"
"Easily," The Leewit assured him.
Simon beamed. "Then, let's get to work!"
The fire died down around them, revealing a medieval medical ward and an older woman in a red gown with a white apron over it who stared at the three for a moment. "Albus?" she asked, surprised.
"Madame Pomfrey," he greeted her with a wide smile. "Sorry to drop in on you like this, but I've just retrieved Mr. Potter and would like you to give him a quick checkup while I arrange lunch."
"Potter? Harry Potter?!" a young woman on one of the rows of beds gasped in disbelief, her hair turning dark red before switching to blue and then settling into a bright pink.
"You should be resting," Pomfrey chided her as the Headmaster vanished in a burst of fire, his phoenix deciding they needed to be elsewhere.
"I'm still in bed," the young woman complained, not sure how that wasn't resting.
"Resting involves keeping calm and not yelling any random thing you happen to think of," the matronly woman said dryly.
"Harry Potter appeared in front of me in a burst of flame," the young woman replied in the same tone, "if I didn't have a response it's a good indication of death."
"Tonks," she said with a heavy sigh, "do you really feel the need for a more extensive potions regiment?"
The young woman's eyes widened in panic. "No, Madame Pomfrey! Getting rest now," she said quickly, closing her eyes and pretending to sleep.
"Good," the nurse said smugly.
"Excellent bedside manner," The Leewit complimented her, "we can't have patients thinking they know what's best for themselves, if that was true they'd never have ended up in our care in the first place."
"You're studying to be a nurse?" Madame Pomfrey asked curiously while waving the two to sit on one of the beds.
"It's one of my specialties," The Leewit said proudly.
"It's good to see the younger generations take an interest," she said with a smile, "you can never have too many healers."
"Very true," The Leewit agreed.
"Since Albus didn't bother with the social niceties, let me introduce myself, I am Madame Pomfrey, the resident healer for Hogwarts school for witchcraft and wizardry," she introduced herself.
"I'm The Leewit and this is Harry Potter," the little formerly blonde and now red haired witch introduced them.
"I know Mr. Potter," Pomfrey assured them, "I treated him here when his parents died before he was sent to live with his only remaining family, but it's good to see you again," she told Harry. "Now, let's get a look at you." She raised her wand and waved it over Harry, but The Leewit flicked her fingers and the spell flickered and died.
"Is there a problem?" she asked, since it was rather obvious what had disrupted her spell and if the young witch was anxious enough to have a bout of accidental magic in defense of her friend then it was only right to soothe her worries.
"I don't like people casting spells on Harry when I don't know what they are," The Leewit said firmly.
Madame Pomfrey nodded, seemingly not at all upset. "A sensible attitude. I'm going to cast a general diagnostic spell on Mr. Potter, it'll let me know his base physical condition and level of health, as well as notify me of any magical maladies he may be suffering from."
The Leewit nodded and sat quietly while she cast the spell again.
"That can't be right," Madame Pomfrey said before repeating the spell several times with an ever growing frown. "Mr. Potter, has anything strange happened to you recently?"
"Lots," Harry replied cheerfully.
"One of my people's healers had to treat him for severe malnutrition as well as a number of other problems," The Leewit offered, guessing that the woman was confused by the nature of the changes The Institute had implemented when cloning them.
"May I?" the mediwitch asked, turning her wand towards The Leewit so she could compare scans of the two.
"Go ahead," she allowed and paid close attention to the weave of klatha as the spell washed over her.
"Is it common to replace your entire skeletal system where you're from?" Madame Pomfrey asked in disbelief, repeating the scan and looking even more confused.
"Having a skeletal system that is much less prone to damage and normal wear and tear prevents a number of medical problems that can crop up later in life," The Leewit deflected.
"I didn't even know that was possible," Madame Pomfrey said, waving her wand over the two once more. "Mr. Potter's scar was created by the darkest magic, something we are incapable of removing… yet it's gone and according to my scan you're a muggle, which you obviously aren't, however you both seem to be in excellent health."
The Leewit nodded, already knowing that but unsure what a muggle was and unwilling to admit her ignorance until she knew more of the society they were in, as it differed greatly from the one she'd expected and was nothing at all like the one Harry described from living with the Dursleys.
"How do you replace someone's entire skeleton?" Tonks asked.
"Very carefully," the young witch replied.
Harry simply grinned, silently following along as he listened to The Leewit's thoughts.
The Headmaster chose that moment to return, sweeping in his colorful robes but minus the red and gold swan like bird that had been on his shoulder. "Sorry about that, Fawkes was in a rush to return to his perch for his nap and seemed to be rather insistent that I go with him to refill his food tray." He turned to Madame Pomfrey. "I trust Harry is well?"
"Completely healthy, no trace of his scar or the dark magic that made it and his skeletal system has been completely replaced," she reported.
"Wonderful…" the old wizard's voice trailed off. "Pardon?"
"He's completely healthy," Madame Pomfrey said innocently.
"The bit after that," Albus said.
"Oh, his scar is completely gone, not a trace of it or any dark magic at all," she said, giving Harry a smile.
"And after that?" Albus asked.
"His skeletal system has been replaced," she said dryly. "No idea what it's been replaced by, but it's lighter and stronger than bone and doesn't seem to have caused him any harm."
"Why would someone do that?" he asked, confused.
"Because bones can be broken and wear down over time, not to mention it limits your strength," The Leewit offered.
"I can follow some of that," Tonks said, "but how does it limit your strength?"
"People often injure themselves by lifting things that are too heavy for their bones and cartilage to support but not their muscles," she explained, "this solves that problem."
Albus just stared at her for a few seconds. "That is a novel way of solving that problem I suppose. Where exactly are you from? I'm unaware of any magical society that… replaces someone's entire skeleton to prevent possible problems in the future."
"Karres," The Leewit replied. "We tend to keep to ourselves, so I doubt you'd be able to find it."
Harry laughed, but didn't say anything well aware of how much of an understatement that was.
Albus nodded slowly and pulled out his wand, creating a table with two bench seats. "I believe I promised lunch and I'm sure you're both hungry, so why don't we continue this over lunch?"
Tonks made a whining noise much like a puppy, her face taking on a canine aspect, her eyes doubling in size as she looked at Madame Pomfrey.
The older witch sighed. "You may join them for lunch if they don't mind, but then right back to bed!" she said firmly.
"How'd you do that?" Harry asked.
"I'm a metamorph," Tonks said proudly as she climbed out of bed and they all took a seat at the table, next to Harry on the other side of The Leewit and across from the headmaster.
"Never heard of it," The Leewit said, "and that was a real physical change, not just shifting light." Her face got blurry for a second before snapping back into focus as she sighed. "It's going to take all week to regain my skills."
"You're a metamorph?" Tonks asked curiously, before the two kids looked around as if searching for someone as food appeared on the table in front of them.
"House elves," Albus said, surprised the two had sensed them, "they handle a lot of the menial positions in the school, such as laundry and cooking. I assume you don't have them where you come from?"
"No," The Leewit agreed, "we don't. We prefer to do things ourselves, self reliance is one of our defining traits. If you can't help yourself, how can you help others?"
Albus slowly nodded. "An admirable ethos, self reliance is a trait everyone should strive for," he noted while watching her load up Harry's plate with at least twice as much as the boy could possibly eat.
Harry gestured and a piece of pumpkin pie floated towards his plate until The Leewit gestured and it returned to where it came from.
"I know, desert only after I've cleared my plate," Harry said with a grin.
"Wandless magic?" Tonks asked in disbelief.
"You rely on wands for everything?" The Leewit asked, surprised that simple telekinesis was something a wand would be required for.
"Most things, though there are some societies that prefer to forgo wands as well," Albus told them. "Your people don't rely on wands I assume?" he asked The Leewit.
"We don't rely on anything outside ourselves," the young witch said proudly.
"And you've been teaching Harry?"
"He's a quick learner," she said with an approving nod, making Harry grin through a mouth full of chicken.
"Can you do that?" Tonks asked the headmaster.
"Not with the same ease," Albus cheerfully replied, "it's a power I know not."
"Aren't you supposed to have dark hair and glasses?" Tonks asked Harry, having already heard why his famous scar was missing, but curious about the other changes.
The Leewit and Harry had a quick mental conversation that he covered up by taking a drink of pumpkin juice before replying, "Had my eyes fixed when they were fixing all the other things that were wrong with me. The hair is because of riding with Fawkes."
"I was blonde," The Leewit offered.
"Are your people going to be upset with me for retrieving Harry and taking you without talking to them first?" Albus asked, wanting to avoid upsetting anyone, especially those who had managed to heal Harry's curse scar and remove the horcrux without harming him. A hidden magical society with healing abilities of that magnitude would be great allies in the war to come.
"No," The Leewit waved it off, "if something bad was going to happen to us they'd have let us know in advance and taken precautions. I was taking Harry camping anyway, so they know not to expect us back for a few months."
"You have seers that are that accurate?" Albus asked, sensing she was telling the truth, even if she was hiding quite a bit, which was understandable if her people were keeping themselves secret from the Wizarding World as well as the muggle one.
"It's a pretty common talent, both my parents have it, which adds a whole new level of difficulty to getting away with things," she offered.
"Seers are pretty rare," Tonks offered, "also really fuzzy about what's going to happen and not always right, at least all the ones I've heard of in the last couple of centuries."
"The more you try to see something specific the harder it is to see," The Leewit told her, "best just to keep an eye out for general danger so you have a head's up on it."
"That… is a unique way to look at it," Dumbledore said thoughtfully, wondering if it was their teaching methods that had reduced the number of seers in their world. He decided that was a thought for another time and tried to bring the focus to Harry's housing and schooling situation, "Harry, I'm currently attempting to locate suitable housing for you. Due to your unique situation it's more complicated than with most people. I'm not sure how much you know about your own situation. What have your relatives told you?"
"That my parents were drunks who died in the car accident that gave me my scar and I was stealing food from their mouths and should be happy they took an ungrateful freak like me in," Harry replied, causing everyone but Leewit, who was currently designing increasingly complex accidents for his relatives, to stare at him. "What?" he asked.
Editing by: Abyssal Angel & Mist of Rainbows/Shadows