Chapter 1 – Beyond the Veil
A/N – The Harry Potter characters are owned by JKR. Jim Butcher owns the characters from the Dresden Files. I wish I could say I created either one, but I can't, only the plot is mine. Some of the HP character development derives from my other story, The Final Battle.
Harry Potter walked purposely into the Auror office of the Ministry. At twenty-five years old, Harry maintained a commanding presence. Holder of the Order of Merlin- First Class, Harry was the most famous and one of the most powerful wizards in the world.
After his defeat of Tom Riddle, aka Lord Voldemort, Harry surprised many in the magical world by leaving public life behind. Tired of fighting and publicity, Harry chose to live simply in his house in Godric's Hollow. Married to his Hogwarts sweetheart, Ginny, Harry now had two dark haired four year-old twin boys. Ginny recently completed her training as a healer at St. Mungo's Hospital and was working in the Pediatrics ward.
Harry's training to fight Riddle would have made him an instant Auror. In fact, his training far exceeded what most Aurors received. Harry disliked the idea for running around the globe under Ministry orders. He had seen too many stupid wizard and witches in the Ministry (Umbridge anyone?) to believe in the orders they gave. His years at Hogwarts and fighting Voldemort gave Harry a deep distrust of governments and other authority figures. However, the fight against Riddle gave Harry a deep passion to fighting the Dark.
Harry often found himself sought out by people with unusual or severe problems. In many cases, it was not his magical strength that was needed but his reputation. Harry seemed to be incapable from turning down some one in need of assistance. Ginny laughing proclaimed it was his white knight complex. Harry's cause for being at the Ministry today was a prime example.
A young ten-year-old girl had bitten by a werewolf. The recently developed Lupin Potion allowed werewolves to maintain complete control over their minds and bodies during the full moon and no pain during the transition. It was a great breakthrough named for Harry's former teacher and fallen hero of the war against Voldemort.
Unfortunately, even in 2006, prejudice against werewolves still remained. The young witch, named Lisa Oligworthy, was scheduled to start Hogwarts in the fall. Several parents raised objections. They were pushing the Board of Governors to deny her entry to the First year class. Harry jumped on that issue and as a Governor himself was campaigning back as hard as he could.
Now Harry strode down the hall of the Aurors' offices looking for his old friend Kingsley Shacklebolt. Kingsley accepted the position as the head of the Aurors after the second war ended. Although Harry was in the Ministry on other business, he also wanted to check in on rumors of want-to-be Death Eaters congregating somewhere in Europe.
Before Harry could reach Kingsley's office door, he heard a familiar woman's voice call out, "Harry!"
Harry turned to see his sister-in-law, Hermione Weasley waving as she followed him down the hall. Harry smiled because he could still see the eleven year-old Hermione's excitement in the beautiful twenty-six year-old woman coming down the hall.
After the war and leaving Hogwarts, Hermione accepted a position in the Department of Mysteries. Hermione enjoyed the task of discovering new types of magic or unraveling ancient artifacts and how they worked. Ron often complained that he never saw her as she threw herself into her work.
Harry grinned at that thought. Ron's complaint might have been true but he had no room to criticize his wife. After leaving Hogwarts, Ron took over the management of Weasley Wizard Wheezes from his brothers. Damage to his leg received during the final battle with Voldemort prevented Ron from pursuing his dream of a Quidditch career. Ron started working at the shop after leaving Hogwarts just to keep busy. More out of boredom then anything else, Ron dove into business strategies and tactics like it was a chess match.
They formed a four way partnership; Harry as a silent financial backer, Ron as manager and Fred/George as the creative genius. Ron ran with the assignment far beyond anyone else's expectations. Soon Weasley Wizard Wheezes could be found near every magic school in the world. Fred and George proudly displayed each letter of protest received from Head Masters around the world.
Ron now was setting his sights on numerous other business ventures. Harry suspected that his childhood insecurity over his family's poverty was the driving force in Ron's efforts. Ron spent long hours traveling from shop to shop and making various business arrangements. The use of the Portals allowed him to travel quickly but he still but in long hours.
During the summer of their seventh year, Hermione created the Portals as a secure method of travel from place to place. Activated in a doorway, the Portal acted as a gate. Using it was like walking from one room to another. The effect was instantaneous. Unlike the Floo, the Death Eaters could not monitor or sabotage one's travel. In addition, any wizard could use it and required minimal magic to activate.
Ron's mother had a word or two to say Ron and Hermione's long hours. Since Harry and Ginny's boys had been born, her hints to her youngest son and his wife grew broader with each passing year. Even Fred and George had started to reproduce. Fred and Angelina had a boy three and a half years ago. George and Katie had a girl on the same day. As the only Weasley not producing grandchildren for Molly to excessively spoil, Ron often caught an earful.
Hermione caught up to Harry and said, "Harry, I am glad I caught you. I need to speak with you privately."
Sensing the excitement bubbling in her, Harry gestured towards and empty conference room. "We can talk in here."
As soon as they were in the room and the door shut Hermione exploded, "Harry, I think I know a way to get Sirius back!"
Harry was shocked, "What?! How?"
"I am not sure it will work. The Veil he fell through leads to one of two places. One is a dimension that ancient Celtic wizards called Fairie. The other one translates in ancient runes as the Land of the Dead. If it connects to Fairie there is a chance we can find him if he survived there."
Harry collapsed into a near by chair. Find his godfather after ten years? Harry had given up on that dream long ago.
"How would we get there?" Harry asked.
"I discovered a way to modify the Portal's exit point. The Portals today work in three-dimensional space to travel between Portals. I figured out how to modify one to connect to other magical realms. That should allow us to step into the Fairie realm."
Harry shook his head, "I thought we needed a Portal on the other side as well. And are we talking about the Fairie realm of popular legend?"
Hermione smiled with pure excitement, "The answer to both of your questions is yes and no. I figured out a way to make a one-way trip through a Portal to a desired location. Once there we can find an appropriate door to make into a Portal." Hermione cocked her head to the side, "To answerer your second question, yes it is where the legends come from but I don't expect the legends to be too accurate. After all, look at the stories Muggles tell about witches and wizards."
Harry smiled and agreed with her about that fact. Growing up with in a Muggle community had given Harry lots of time to hear the Muggle stories about magic. In fact, Harry manipulated those misconceptions during his summers at the Dursleys.
"I take it you have an experiment in mind?" Harry asked.
"Since this in an unofficial project, we should meet later tonight. If I can open a stable Portal, we should be able to pass through. Once we establish a Portal on the other side we can explore for any sign of Sirius," Hermione replied.
"I feel two strong emotions right now. One is to run downstairs right now and jump through. The other is we could be taking this too fast." Harry said in a tone that indicated he was thinking out loud.
Hermione shrugged, "It is a risk. We have a fifty percent chance that this is the realm Sirius was transported to when he fell through the veil. When you figure the chance that he survived all this time, the chance of success is even smaller. I am confident though that I can create the Portal on the other side to get back."
Harry grinned, "Ron and I really were a bad influence on you back in school." Harry paused and said, "But you a right. We have to try this. Sirius would have done it for us."
Hermione smiled, "Eight o'clock in my office then? See you tonight!"
Hermione breezed out of the conference room. Harry shook his head in bemusement and continued on his interrupted errand.
Later that night, Harry walked quietly into the Department of Mysteries. Even after ten years it felt odd to walk through the halls where his first battle with the Death Eaters had been fought. Harry and his small band of friends fought against several of Riddle's top Death Eaters. Today Harry was not sure he would believe the group survived unless he had lived it himself.
Harry walked to Hermione's office door and knocked. At a muffled, "Come in," he opened the door.
Hermione sat with a pile of books on her desk and scrolls stacked in neat piles. She looked up and smiled at Harry and then did a double take. "Why are you dressed like that, Harry? You haven't worn that since the war ended."
Harry stood dressed in black wizard robes. Ginny and Hermione had made the robes and the Muggle-type clothing underneath. The robes were completely charmed to be weather-proof, cleaned and out of the way in combat. The Muggle clothing was charmed to act like armor when hit be a weapon like a blade or a bullet. Harry's outfit and similar ones for Ron, Hermione and Ginny were created early in their seventh year to help in their fight with Riddle. Within the robes, Harry usually wore his wand in a wrist sheath and his shrunken katana in it scabbard on his waist. It shocked Hermione to see Harry wearing it now.
"We are going to a strange realm where we could meet anything. The old legends often speak of the guile and viciousness of the fairies. Even the 'good' fairies of nursery rhymes seem to give two sided gifts. I don't want to be unprepared."
Hermione conceded this point with a nod. She smiled and asked, "How did you get out of the house in that without Ginny either blowing up or tagging along?"
Grinning back, he replied, "She is working tonight. If I had told Ginny about our experiment tonight she would have insisted she join us." Forestalling her next question, Harry said, "The kids are with Molly. No doubt they have manipulated their grandmother into late night snacks and story time already."
Hermione smiled back but with a tinge of sadness. No one in the family but Ron and Ginny realized the reason she and Ron did not have children. One of the battles with the Death Eaters had injured Hermione in a way that was undetected until it was too late. It did not seem intentional but the injury would prevent Hermione from ever being able to bear a child. Hermione attempted to compensate by smothering her nieces and nephews with excessive attention but the pain never went away. Neither Ron nor Hermione ever had the courage to tell their parents or Harry. Harry carried enough undeserved guilt already.
Putting these thought in the back of her mind, Hermione rose from her chair and said, "I feel underdressed. Harry, I wasn't planning on the two of us going to look for Sirius tonight. I just wanted to establish the portal."
"You have the brains, I have to compensate somehow." Harry replied. "Besides, I am sure you have a couple surprises on you." Then Harry shrugged. "I know we don't plan on starting the search tonight. Our respective spouses would kill us if we went off without them, but I also wanted to be prepared for whatever my 'luck' brings us."
Hermione suppressed a smile at Harry's allusion to all of the really bizarre events that always seemed to happen to him. "Probably a good idea now that you mention it," she laughed.
Leading Harry out of the office they entered Hermione's workroom. A framed door stood in the center of the room. A number of tables stood against the walls. A chalkboard hung on the wall filled with notes, diagrams and other information.
Hermione motioned Harry to the side and said, "This will not take long. I just need to alter the connection charm to align with the veil." A few short seconds later Hermione said, "Okay. The Portal will open for two minutes. First I will push a staff with some charms on it to test the environment to make sure it is safe for us to breathe. Then we can look through the Portal and see where it connected. But remember, we have to be clear of the Portal before the connection ends."
Harry moved to the front of the doorway but just off to the side. Hermione moved across from him and looked at the doorway. "Fairie!"
The Portal opened to reveal what looked like a tranquil field beyond the Portal's silvery sheen. Harry looked at Hermione and nodded for her to proceed.
Hermione shoved the end of the staff she was holding into the open Portal. A second later three green lights appeared on the staff near Hermione's hands. "The air is breathable and it has a normal gravity."
"So, it is safe to look through?" Harry asked.
"It appears so," Hermione answered. "Let me look first."
Harry suppressed his impulse to insist that he take the risk first, but years of experience with his brilliant friend made him keep his mouth shut. Instead, he stepped up alongside the mirror to help her if needed.
Hermione stepped up to the Portal and slowly placed her face against the shimmering surface. She pushed through so her entire face was through.
Harry watched as Hermione seemed to look around calmly. He felt himself start to relax a bit.
Suddenly, Hermione threw her hands to the pane surrounding the Portal in an attempt to pull back through. She struggled but she seemed to be getting pulled further in. Harry grabbed her waist to try to pull her back. The instant he had a good hold on her, she was yanked into the Portal taking Harry with her.
Harry and Hermione dropped to the ground and rolled from the force that had pulled them through the Portal. Harry regained his feet in time to see the Portal wink out of existence.
"Oh bugger me," he groaned. Harry Potter strikes again! Ginny was going to kill him.
Hermione groaned from the ground. Harry walked over and offered her a hand up. "What happened?" he asked.
Rubbing the back of her neck, Hermione said, "I don't know. One second I am looking around and the next something grabbed me by the neck and was pulling me in. I never even saw who or what had me." She looked around and groaned, "Ron's going to kill you."
"Me?" Harry protested. "I was just trying to pull you back through!"
"No, but he knows how things are around you." Harry grumbled but didn't make any other comments. They had other things to worry about.
The pair found themselves on a rolling open field. The field seemed to be made of clouds. A heavy ground fog covered the ground. A slight breeze made the fog stir around their feet. A short distance away stood a massive stone table.
Harry motioned to Hermione and they carefully made their way to the table. Once they were closer, they noted it was covered with odd runes. Hermione had never seen ones similar.
"I should have brought tracing scrolls with me!" Hermione squealed in her excitement over the new runes. Hermione pulled a small notebook out of her pocket and quickly began copying the unknown runes.
"Well, we hadn't planned on exploring this side yet," Harry commented dryly. Harry turned to look around. As far as he could see, was only mist-covered ground. Where were they to find a doorway to make a Portal? Could Sirius have survived here for ten years?
Suddenly, Hermione let out a yelp, "Harry!"
Harry turned quickly with his wand dropping into his hand. Behind him a grove of trees appeared. One-half of the grove seemed held locked in winter's grip. The other seemed to be in the full bloom of summer. Where they met sat a great wooden throne. The throne did not look like it had been made so much as grown. One either side of the throne stood a statue of a woman holding a sword with the point resting on the ground.
Hermione hissed to Harry, "One second it was just there."
Harry stepped to the side of the table and called out, "Hello! Is anyone here? My name is Harry. I am a wizard from…"
A woman's voice came from nowhere, "A wizard named Harry." The voice had an odd, eerie resonance to it.
A similarly disturbing woman's voice answered, "Did we not have enough trouble with him the last time?"
Harry was confused. The last time? Harry had never been here before.
Harry called out to the voices, "I am looking for my godfather. He…"
The second voice returned, "He must be confused. Why else would he call Leanansidhe a male?"
"We do not need the wizard's interference at this juncture. Let us send him home, "the first voice said.
"Wait!" Harry yelled, "I am looking for someone. We will leave quickly if you can help us locate him."
"Good bye wizard. It is not time yet." Harry heard the voices say in unison.
The whole landscape flashed white and Harry felt himself falling a great distance. With a sudden thud, Harry landed in a rubbish bin. Harry sat in shock amidst old banana peels, coffee grounds and other items to disgusting to mention.
Looking around in sudden panic, Harry called out, "Hermione! "
Receiving no answer, Harry struggled to his feet and dropped out of the bin. Calling for Hermione, Harry looked around the small alley where he had landed. There was no sign of Hermione.
Harry realized that Hermione must be stuck in the Fairie realm. Why had they kept Hermione? How could he get back to help her? For that matter, where was he?
Placing his wand back into his wrist sheath, Harry walked carefully to the end of the alley. Obviously, Harry was in a large city. Harry spotted a large number of yellow taxis driving on the wrong side of the road. From the looks of the cars and the dress of the people passing on the sidewalk, it was a city in the United States.
Harry and Ginny had holidayed in the colonies one summer soon after they were married. Touring the country, Harry enjoyed the wide openness of much of the country. He did not care for many of the cities but Ginny had loved shopping in New York City.
Many of the passersby were giving Harry and his black robes odd glances. Harry ducked back into the alley and removed his robe. Folding the robe up, Harry shrank it with a charm and placed it in a pocket. Harry walked back out onto the sidewalk. Harry started walking down the street looking around in desperation for any sign of Hermione.
"You okay, Mack?" a gruff male voice asked.
Harry turned to face a police officer standing behind him. Harry noticed his badge said, "Chicago"
Knowing that a Muggle law enforcement person could not help him, Harry said, "No thank you officer. I am just looking around for a friend."
"Are you sure? You look a little lost," the officer asked.
"Yes thank-you." Harry said.
The officer nodded and moved off but Harry could still feel the officer's eyes on his back. Harry noticed a small walk-down pub. That would be an excellent place to figure out how to find Hermione without attracting attention. It looked like a homey place to think. It reminded Harry of the Leaky Cauldron back in London.
Harry walked down the stairs and into the pub. The sign above the door said McAnally's.
Harry walked into the pub and felt right at home. The low ceilings and atmosphere gave a sense of safety and security. Harry felt stillness as he crossed the pub's threshold. Taking a quick glance around Harry notice there were no Muggle forms of entertainment in evidence. This early in the day, no one else was in the pub except the barman. Based on the feeling entering the bar, Harry realized he had walked into a wizarding establishment.
"Need something?" asked the man behind the bar.
Harry walked over to the bar and said, "Yes, I would like a butterbeer, please."
"I've never heard of 'butterbeer'. We only have our local brew."
"Okay, I will take that," Harry replied
Harry discreetly studied the barman. The barman was a tall, gangly man with squinty eyes. Harry could not guess his age but his face had an odd sense of wisdom to it. He moved efficiently around the bar and obviously felt at home here.
Placing a glass of beer in front of Harry, he said, "That will be $3."
"Would you accept British Galleons?" Harry asked.
"What? I've never heard of those either," the barman answered with a very perplexed look on his face.
Harry wondered if he was right about this being a wizarding establishment. How could the barman not even have heard of Galleons? American wizards used Muggle money but the man should still have known what Harry was talking about.
Fortunately, Harry always carried some Muggle money just in case. He reached into his wallet and took out some British pound notes. Placing them on the bar Harry said, "I am sorry. I just arrived in town. Will this do?"
The barman took the notes and nodded. Harry got the sense the man did not talk much.
Placing Harry's change on the bar, the barman said, "My name is Mac. I take it you are a wizard."
Harry nodded and sipped the beer. In shock, Harry pulled the glass away from his lips and looked at the beer inside. This was simply the best beer Harry had ever had.
"I just… um, arrived in town unexpectedly. My name is Harry," Harry told the barman. Harry decided to keep his full identity a secret for a bit.
A grunt from the barman answered this. A couple of minutes passed in silence while Harry nursed the excellent brew. Harry's mind was in overdrive trying to figure out what had gone wrong.
"Are you visiting from England?" the barman asked.
"Yes," was Harry's simple reply.
"Do you need help? Have you contacted the local Warden or the White Council?"
Now Harry was really confused. "The White Council?"
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