Disclaimer: See Chapter 1.
A/N: Thanks to everyone who reviewed and has continued to review. Most of the notes are at the bottom, but I really wanted to say thanks.
Son of Osiris
...And the Bird?
Bill and Ginny were frantic when they couldn't find Harry the next morning. They enlisted the help of the military people to search for him, but Daniel had the right idea. "The temple. Would he have gone back there last night?"
The Weasleys were red heads, and both had the characteristic fair skin that came so often with that color. But when they both paled visibly, it didn't take more than a moment for everyone to head for the structure that filled the Americans with such dread. SG-1 was worried that he might have been infested by the Goa'uld that the temple seemed to be claiming as its only occupant. Daniel was worried about physical traps. Bill was worried about magical ones. And Ginny was worried about ten thousand things at once, but couldn't have pinned one down and told it to anyone if she'd tried.
If Bill was surprised when the military personnel got their guns out, or that Daniel had one as well, he hid it. Something strange was going on here, and Harry was either in danger or he was bloody well about to be in deep shite.
They found him on the ground, unconscious. Ginny would have gone to him, but Bill held her back. Every instinct he had developed to do his job as a curse breaker was on high alert the moment they walked into the temple. "Stop, Gin. Something's been set off."
Daniel looked at him. "What is it?"
Bill glanced at the Muggles, but made his decision quickly. "Magic. Harry broke the curses that were protecting that tile. And something's very wrong in there." Daniel would have asked, but Bill said, "No time. I realize we both have secrets to keep, but every fiber of my being is vibrating right now with the sense that something very bad just happened. I know I'm not cleared for this, but I need you four to be straight with me."
Jack shook his head. "I swear, Danny. You can't even go on vacation!"
Sam said, "What kind of magic?"
"Let's just say that the curse on Tut's tomb was weak because the guy performing it didn't really like the kid." Daniel hissed at the implications of that. "This was meant to keep people out, but it didn't really seem to be dangerous. Whatever was behind it, though, is giving me some severe willies." He turned back to Harry. What have you gotten yourself into, kid?
Daniel wanted to ask Bill a thousand and one questions, but they were all secondary. "I'm telling him, Jack. He's got information and we need to know just what the hell is going on here."
Jack hesitated, but nodded. "Okay. Just remember, this is all classified. You two can't tell anyone about it. You could get in real trouble, and so could we."
Daniel said, "Okay, quick version. Ra and the other Egyptian gods were alien parasites who posed as the actual deities in ancient times. I was searching here because the story sounds like Fhadentep managed to remove the thing without harming the host, which is something we can't do with all our technology. The warning on the tile said that they didn't even kill it. It was being preserved alive in this temple. When Harry got past those curses, he might have been infected."
Bill swallowed hard. Harry was a good friend to their family. What if this Meneris had destroyed that friend?
Suddenly, it looked as if that question might be answered sooner than later. With a gasp, Harry sat straight up. When he opened his eyes, they glowed. "Crap." Bill couldn't agree with Jack more.
Harry looked out at the people in the room. But he could do nothing, say nothing. He should have listened to Fawkes' words on the tile! He knew now that Fawkes and Khafre were the same bird, and he should have heeded that warning. He hadn't thought!
Meneris chuckled in his head. You should probably do that next time you go poking at strange curses. My previous host did very well at hiding me. Only one person in history would ever have been able to break that spell. He knew, even then, that you would be the only one to both disregard it and be able to counter it.
So why didn't he just kill you? You held him prisoner so long in his own body!
Some prophesy he had made. He thought I might help you when you came around. He was a fool. Harry could feel the sneer.
And the others saw it, leaving no doubt that Harry was not in control of his own body. Ginny, desperate to know if Harry was alright, said, "Harry?"
Harry's voice resonated in the Goa'uld way. "He is here. But he's not in control at the moment." He glanced at the hardware SG-1 was sporting. "I suppose you know what I am. Do you think your weapons are enough to stop me?"
Bill had his wand out in a moment and cried out, "Accio Harry's wand!" The wand came flying through the air to land in his hand.
But Meneris just grinned. "Fool. I was in the body of a phoenix! You think I don't know a thing or two about magic?" He put his hand out, palm flat, as though he had a ribbon device and without a sound shot a green burst of pure magic.
Bill had anticipated something and had errected a shield that used the stone of the temple itself as a support, which strengthened it. But though no one behind that shield was hurt, it snapped like a dry twig. Bill cursed. "We've got to get out of here!"
Meneris laughed. "Too late, Tau'ri." He raised his hand again.
Then the air between Meneris and those he was attacking burst into golden flames. A phoenix emerged from this fire, which was what it looked like when a phoenix Apparated. The bird screamed defiantly at Meneris.
Ginny whispered to Bill, "That's Fawkes!"
Bill looked at the fiery bird more closely. He had only seen Fawkes once, but he agreed with Ginny. This was the phoenix which had attached itself to Albus Dumbledore. What was he doing here, and without the headmaster?
Meneris glared at the bird. "Khafre. What the hell are you doing here?" Then he grinned. "Come to see your handywork? Why should you have worked so hard to make this prophesy come true?" Inside him, Harry could feel the parasite's genuine curiosity.
Fawkes touched one of the walls with a golden tallon. The temple had been so tuned to the magic of the phoenix by Fhadentep that it responded immediately to his will. Words started to write themselves on the wall in golden script, both in English and ancient Egyptian hieratic. "The brightest light in this world shines from his soul, but he faces the greatest darkness. Together, you and Harry could destroy Voldemort. I can insure your safe passage to another host on a different world if you will agree to it."
Daniel wasn't following the conversation at all, but he was anxious to know just what was going on with this bird. A real, honest-to-god phoenix! And it seemed to be the same individual that this Goa'uld had posessed before. Were phoenixes immortal? Was that the only reason Khafre had survived the removal of his symbiote? And why was Khafre making certain that everyone in the room could read his words?
Jack wanted to tell the bird not to be making deals with the devil, but he didn't think that would be a good idea right now. The power that had come from that twenty-year-old kid's body was nothing short of astounding, and Jack didn't mind the bird distracting the Goa'uld. He was hoping he wouldn't have to think too closely about the unreality of this whole mess for a while, as well.
Sam was itching to find out more, but she didn't forget in her enthusiasm just what was going on here, and she didn't like the fact that Harry seemed to be nothing more than a weapon to the bird.
Teal'c had heard of the legend of the sun-bird, of course, but he had never seen one. They were among the few creatures which had never been removed from Earth in the exodus. And like the others, he hoped that Khafre would be cautious. Still, if anyone would know how to deal with this Goa'uld, it would be the person who had been his host for over a thousand years.
Meneris had no intention of dealing. He wanted to keep this body, and he didn't care one whit what the bird wanted. But it might be fun to watch him fall for it if he said yes. The foolish creature was willing to believe the best of people, and had for centuries tried to give him reason to become "good". He would be easy to decieve, and then to kill.
Harry was struggling to come to the fore, using every trick of Occulmensy and Legilimensy he knew, and finally, he temporarily broke free. He shouted, "Get out! He hates you Fawkes! He's just going to--Ack!" Insensed, Meneris regained control, but it was a struggle. The fiery glow in the eyes flickered in an out, something none of SG-1 had ever seen.
Well, almost none. Teal'c said, "He is resisting Meneris's control. Only the very strongly minded can hope to succeed, but he seems to have a chance."
The group waited tensely, watching the struggle between symbiote and host with macabre fascination. It could have been as little as five minutes or as long as an hour and none could have told the difference, but the battle was waged quietly in the mind of the young man in front of them. Quietly and painfully. No sounds were made and no magic errupted, but lesions began to spread from the back of his neck where the symbiote had entered, and blood began to leak from the ears and nose. Then the light flickered once more and died, and the body fell over, unconscious.
Sam looked closely. "The symbiote wasn't expelled."
Teal'c shook his head. "It would not be. Only death or voluntary jumping can cause them to leave. If HarryPotter has won this battle, Meneris will be trapped within him, giving him all the physical enhancements of a Goa'uld without having any control over his host's body. This is very rare. It has only happened twice before, and both times, the victorious human killed themselves to destroy their symbiote."
Bill nodded, but said, "Harry won't do that. If he's won this fight, he'll keep going, at least for a while. He's got this damned guilt thing going, and he thinks it's his duty to stop the man who killed his parents. He'll use Meneris, at least until that's done." What Harry would do after that, he didn't know, but he didn't want to say that in front of his sister, knowing that she loved The-Boy-Who-Lived very much.
Jack raised an eyebrow, but didn't say anything. He hoped the red-head was right, but he wasn't going to get his hopes up. He knew that he'd probably off himself in the kid's shoes, just like he almost did on Abydos trying to take Ra with him. Of course, it was much better, the way things had turned out, that he hadn't, but how could he have known that at the time?
Fawkes landed on the stones next to the injured body that they were all praying still belonged to Harry. He let his tears fall onto the young man's neck, healing the wound and lesions that had been caused by the Goa'uld symbiote thrashing around under the skin. Then he began to sing, the magical notes filling all who heard them with hope. Harry stirred.
Surreptitiously, all four members of SG-1 readied their weapons. If Meneris had won, they would not be taking chances.
As Harry looked up, all were thankful to see only green looking back at them, brighter than normal only because he was tearing up. Jerking herself free from her brother's grip, Ginny then ran to Harry's side, kneeling next to him and Fawkes. "Harry? Are you all right?"
He shook his head and whispered, "He's still here, Gin. I can't get rid of him completely. He can still talk to me. He's going to drive me insane!" Tears now streaked down his face, falling freely, and he made no move to wipe them away.
"No he's not, Harry. You can beat this! I know you can."
Fawkes chirped in agreement. Words appeared on the wall. "Of course you can. Now that you have removed his control, you can isolate him. You will not be able to remove him completely, only he can do that, but he will not be either so loud in your mind or so powerful against your consciousness. He will be reduced to an unwanted traveler, and after a while, he will likely remove himself from your body just to escape the monotony."
Harry snorted despite himself at Meneris's reply. "He said, 'Not bloody likely, you stringy, meddling chicken.' Do you realize how much you sound like Dumbledore?"
A bird's beak couldn't smile, but a very familiar twinkle lodged itself in the bird's eyes. "Who sounds like whom?" Then he became more serious. "Now, Harry, you need to concentrate on isolating his presence in your mind, much like hiding those memories you would not want a Legilimens to see by using Occulmensy. He is many thoughts, but they are all connected, all part of one thing. Group those thoughts together, isolate them."
Harry nodded, then closed his eyes and concentrated on doing exactly that. The others in the room could do nothing but watch with varying degrees of amazement and confusion while he did as the phoenix advised him. "Done."
"Good. Now baracade him. Put up as many shields as you can. The first ones should point toward him to prevent his escape, and the last ones should point away from him to keep any other intruders from finding and freeing him. It won't do much good to keep him from getting out if Voldemort finds him and lets him out just to create confusion."
Slowly Harry did exactly that, blocking Meneris with seven shields and blocking Voldemort with just as many. Not that the reptile often tried these days to break into his mind; it had proven too painful for him, just like Harry's physical touch was painful. Still, no reason to take chances.
When after several tense moments, Harry's shields were complete and anchored so that only death or Harry's will could release the creature in his mind. Finally able to focus on the here and now, the young wizard looked around himself and blushed furiously. Uh oh. The Muggles had seen this. "Um, Bill?"
Bill was not happy, and his tone was flat. "I told them a little, Harry. They have their own secrets in this mess. I think we're all going to have to have a long talk." Then he shouted, "But for now, what in Merlin's name were you thinking coming in here alone?"
Harry sighed and answered quietly, "I had hoped to do a little digging without the Muggles around so that I could do it without worrying that they would see something that they shouldn't. Do we want them remembering this, by the way?"
Not at all oblivious to Harry's attempts at misdirection, Bill decided to wait until later to dress him down like he deserved. For right now, there were more important issues at hand. "They've given us their own secrets, ones just as important as ours. It seems that they've been fighting a war with creatures like this Meneris for quite a few years on other worlds. No word yet as to how they're doing that, but then we stayed on the essentials while we were worrying about you."
Jack decided it was time for a little O'Niell flavor in this conversation. "I don't know much about magic, kid, but I know about traps, and it's really stupid to trigger one just because you want to see what it's hiding."
Harry snorted humorlessly. "I don't think I need you to tell me how stupid I've been, given the circumstances."
Clearing his throat, Daniel said, "Well, now that you seem to be safe, mind giving us a little more detail about what the hell has been going on here?"
Ginny'd had enough of this little room, however. "Not here. Let's go somewhere a little more comfortable."
Everyone agreed with the younger woman's assessment, so after first looking outside to make sure that no one would see the brilliantly plumed phoenix sitting on Harry's shoulder, the seven left the little temple for SG-1's base camp. Harry was certain that there would be plenty of problems as both sides dealt with the secrets the other was keeping, but hopefully they would soon be able to help one another.
Man, I'm sorry this took so long. I promise I'm not dead. My husband and I just bought a house, and things seem a bit more stable, so hopefully I can get caught up on things. On the list, AAB: The Heir of Slytherin, Finding Home, Love By Accident, Oz, and A Power the Dark Lord Knows Not. All have new chapters in the works, but this one was the first one ready.