Fandom: Harry Potter / Smallville
Status: Oneshot, Complete.
Main characters: Harry Potter, Lex Luthor
Spoilers: HP – All books inc. DH. Smallville – None.
Notes: Written with no real goal, after a particularly vivid dream which ended up eating my weekend. Been vaguely edited. I'm not planning to write any more for it.
First posted at my fic LiveJournal (see profile for links).
It's a hard landing, and Harry's knees take the brunt of the forced contact with the unforgiving concrete floor. He pants softly, sweat dripping into his eyes, his glasses sliding down his nose, his arms shaking as he gently taps his broom with his wand, until it's small enough to pocket beside his bags.
Harry's hidden amidst a battlefield of scrap metal, old warehouses circling him, towering above him in their decrepit glory. He doesn't know exactly where he is, he's apparated to so many random places, flown to so many more that he no longer remembers where he is. Half the time he can't remember how he got there.
He's eighteen now. Voldemort is dead - along with almost everyone he knows...knew. The remaining Death Eaters are in prison, or dead...mostly. The important ones are gone, like Bellatrix, Wormtail, the two Lestrange brothers, Macnair, Mulciber, Waldon, Yaxley and so on, as well as the root of all evil, the toad-faced bitch Dolores Umbridge.
The Malfoys fled, but Harry doesn't really blame them, and he owes Narcissa Malfoy, nee Black, a life debt for stating he was dead to Voldemort in exchange for information about her son. He can't help but feel for her, a woman trapped in a situation of her husband's making and her Black heritage. A woman whose most grevious crime was covering for her son, even if it meant forcing another person to murder to keep him safe.
Harry knows how lucky Draco Malfoy is, after all, his own mother, Lily, is why he has been kept safe for all these years, her sacrifice, her life, paid for his own freedom. Her sacrifice. His father's sacrifice. Sirius's sacrifice, Remus's sacrifice. The hundreds of people who died so the prophecy could be finally fulfilled.
Harry knows he should count himself lucky. Ron survived, Hermione survived. The two people who stood beside him until the bitter end, the two who gave up everything to stand beside him, not just in the deciding battles, but in the day-to-day drudgery of oppression, fighting constantly against a far greater foe.
Standing beside him in the cold, in the wet. No matter how hungry they were, or how tired, or how lost and alone they felt with their faces plastered everywhere they went, being wanted simply because they fought for freedom. They stood beside him despite being tortured when captured, despite the hate, the anger, the helplessness.
That's all over now though. The Ministry is in the hands of Kingsley Shacklebolt, a decent and honourable man who fought alongside them in the Order of the Phoenix. Their school has been rebuilt and the survivors of the war have found their places inside it's halls. They are lauded as heroes, with Harry the greatest hero of them all.
It's never enough though.
There's nothing left for Harry now. He has no home to go to where he can recover. He was expected to lead the army for the Light - which he did, and now he is expected to lead the wizarding world, every second of his life scrutinised, and open for debates.
Coming home to find out his house is no longer his, having been broken into and half his things stolen as trophies by avid fans. Being stalked and attacked by people who wanted to touch their saviour, or by those angry that he won, or because he didn't stop the war soon enough, even though he'd still been a schoolboy when he fought in the final battle and destroyed Voldemort.
Everyone had a reason.
So Harry packed everything up in his trusty rucksack, packed the bag Hermione charmed for him with everything else, and carried his home around in his pocket. He moved constantly, using a deluxe tent - one of much better quality then the one he Ron and Hermione spent the better part of a year in when on the run, and simply made himself unpredictable.
It worked...for a time.
Then he had to dodge tracking spells when he went in public, potions in his food and drink when he stopped to eat, love potions, mind-controlling spells and everything in between slowly drove him to become a hermit.
All this, in less then a year.
So he ran. Packed up his tent for the last time, threw the cloak around himself, and disappeared.
Harry couldn't hear anything other than his own breath, but in an area like this, that meant nothing. He'd learnt his lesson in Tibet, when he'd landed in the middle of nowhere with nothing around him, except for a single mountain goat behind him, which he hadn't heard until it kicked him off the edge of the cliff. Only a quick, and luckily successful, apparation had kept him from falling to his death.
"Serpentsortia Duplicis," Harry whispered, and twelve small snakes appeared, each one the length of his forearm, absolutely identical with plain brown and black markings. He held a hand out and one snake slithered across it, wrapping itself about Harry's wrist.
Search the area. Harry ordered. The snakes obeyed silently.
This spell was a useful one. Each snake was literally identical to the others, and what one knew the others knew. As such, the one Harry held could relay information quickly and accurately. The only drawback to such a spell, other than the obvious need to be a parselmouth, was that the spell itself drew on the magic of the speaker to power itself. Thus a weak wizard or witch would probably only manage to or three snakes for an hour, whereas Voldemort could probably have managed hundreds, if not thousands for years.
Harry had never bothered trying for any more than he needed in a given situation, and the most he'd needed had been one-hundred-and-thirty-two for twenty-six hours after landing in a magical bog which he was unable to apparate from.
A few minutes later the snake on Harry's arm relayed a message. Nine people. Assume Muggles. Eight armed with muggle guns and active. One unarmed and restrained in bad condition. Request instructions.
Harry frowned. He swung the invisibility cloak around himself. Assist him. Harry stated quietly, I'm on my way to you now. Try and stay out of sight. Bite if necessary.
The closer Harry got, the clearer things got. There was a man, age unknown, but Harry assumed he was old, maybe the same age as Kingsley Shacklebolt, due to his bald head, tied to a chair with his hands behind his back and a blindfold on over his eyes. Around the room were a bunch of men in generic black muggle suits, one man in grey, and another who wore brown trousers and a black shirt, standing over the man tied to the chair.
As Harry watched, the man in the brown trousers backhanded his prisoner and then punched him in the stomach, laughing as the bald man coughed up blood.
Return to me. Harry told his snakes, quietly making his way closer to the men standing in the centre of the large, empty warehouse. Engorgio Harry waited until each snake, barring the one around his wrist was fourteen feet in length before stopping the spell. I want those men stopped. Incapacitate them please, try not to kill them if possible.
Agreed, the snakes whispered.
Harry snuck around to another pile of scrap, this one barely covering him as he waited for his snaked to attack. They are ready, started the snake on Harry's arm. Keep your eyes shut for a moment, I'll blind them.
The snake nodded, and Harry knew his message had been passed on. He took aim then thrust his wand so it aimed directly into the centre of the men. "LUMOS SOLEM MAXIMUS!!" Harry screamed, keeping his eyes firmly screwed shut as he forced an indecent amout of power into the spell.
The inside of the warehouse exploded in a corona of white light, so bright it burnt the eyes of the men caught in it. One man started shooting aimlessly, and another man screamed for an instant as he was hit by a stray bullet and died instantly.
"Stop shooting you idiot!" Someone shouted, before he screamed and then suddenly went silent as a giant snake wrapped him up in it's coils, compacting his chest until his ribs cracked and he passed out. The other snakes were doing exactly the same things, and within minutes the warehouse was dark and silent, unconscious bodies littering the floor.
Harry released the spell keeping the snakes there, and they disappeared in small shimmers. His wand went into his pocket, and Harry drew out a small dagger - a gift from Neville, after Harry let him keep the sword - engraved with leaves, and made his way to the man who was tied to the chair.
The closer Harry got, the easier he could see that he'd been wrong about the man's age. This close up Harry guessed that he was less then half of Kingsley's age.
"Excuse me, sir?" Harry asked. "Can you hear me?"
There was no answer, and the man's head lolled on his chest.
Harry gritted his teeth and sliced the dagger through the blindfold, pulling it off and pocketing it absently. "Look, I'm going to cut you free and move you out of the way. I don't know if you're faking it or not, but I would greatly appreciate it if you would refrain from attacking me, as I would not be particularly happy after the lengths I've had to go to in order to incapacitate those other men."
One bruised and purpled eye opened slowly, as the other one was too swollen for the man to even attempt to open. Bright blue showed briefly - and Harry's breath caught at that familiar colour - before narrowing sharply.
"You're a kid." Was stated flatly.
Harry bristled. "Do you want my help or not?"
The man closed his eye again and took a deep breath before opening it again. "Fine. But you'd better hurry. You never know when they might wake up...unless you killed them."
Harry shook his head. "No. But they won't be in any condition to move for a long time."
The self-satisfied look on Harry face made the other man pause briefly, in categorising his own wounds as Harry cut him free.
"Lex Luthor." The man offered.
Harry shook his head. "Just Harry."
Luthor shook his head. "I see. Well, I expect you want a reward then?"
Harry blinked. "What?" He asked, looking bewildered.
"You saved my life," Luthor said. He rubbed his wrists before blanching as he took in the state of the bodies around him on the floor, blood pooling in places where the bones had cracked and pierced the skin.
Harry followed his gaze and glared pre-emptively. "They were hurting you."
Harry missed it when Lex Luthor's gaze turned speculative. "I don't suppose you want a job do you?" Luthor paused. "You do know who I am, don't you?"
"Um..." Harry shrugged. "To be honest, I don't even know where I am, much less who you are."
Luthor finished inspecting the bodies and plucked something out of a pocket with a look of smug satisfaction. "I knew they wouldn't get rid of my phone." He turned to Harry. "Come with me."
Harry looked at him warily. "Why?"
Luthor turned to him. "You did say you didn't know where you were, didn't you? I'll give you a tour, and you can tell me this interesting tale of how you miraculously appeared in the middle of nowhere and saved the multi-billionaire Luthor heir from certain doom."
"Right. So, let me get this straight. You were hitchhiking, and you told the driver to take you anywhere he was going, as you didn't particularly care where you ended up, except, you fell asleep, and he dropped you off near those warehouses for some reason that you don't know because you didn't think to ask, you heard some noises, found me being assaulted and somehow, even though you barely look fifteen, are small, skinny and are without any obvious weapons, managed to incapacitate eight grown men with guns and rescue me." Luthor paused, swirling the wine in his glass around. "Sound about right?"
Harry flushed but nodded slowly anyway. "I guess."
Luthor sighed. "Look, kid. I'm grateful you saved me, really." He pointed with his fork at the barely eaten plate of food Harry had in front of him. "Now eat. My cook gets upset if she thinks you don't like your food."
Harry smiled sadly. "Sounds like someone I knew."
Harry paused, wiping his eyes suddenly. "An old friend. He died last year."
"Ah. I'm sorry to hear that."
Harry watched Luthor as he ate. When they'd left the warehouse, a few scant hours earlier, Luthor had spoken to someone over the phone, and a long silver car, obviously expensive even to Harry's eyes, had turned up in less than fifteen minutes, along with a grey-haired doctor, who'd seen to the most obvious of Luthor's wounds in the limousine whilst Harry watched with interest.
Now bandaged and clean, in new clothes, (Harry had taken the offer of a shower, but declined new clothes, his own being perfectly clean and spelled to stay fresh,) and with a hot meal, Harry was starting to wonder what he was doing here.
Lex Luthor reminded Harry a bit of Severus Snape. There was just too much calculating coolness and masked disdain about him. Whilst he had been perfectly polite and good to Harry, so far, he'd also somehow managed to keep Harry talking, whilst making him feel like a student again. There was also an aura of power around the man which slightly disturbed Harry. It wasn't magic, but Harry would have bet his last knut that whatever it was, it wasn't entirely muggle either.
By the end of the meal, Harry's eyes kept drifting shut, and his yawns became impossible to hide. Luthor offered a room for the night, stating that the penthouse apartment they were in had many more than were currently being occupied.
Harry agreed, barely waiting long enough to strip off his clothes and glasses, hide his wand under the pillow, take a small sip of his ever-present vial of dreamless sleep potion (half-strength, just enough to help him sleep, but weak enough that he could wake up immediately in the event of an emergency), and cover himself up in sinfully smooth sheets before falling asleep.
Harry's internal alarm clock woke him up as dawn spread over the horizon. No matter where he was in the world, he always knew instinctively when sunrise was, and his body reacted accordingly. The small and very decorative clock by the bed showed 5:37am. Harry sat up, dragged his clothes over with a foot, and proceeded to unshrink another set of clothes from his bags, knowing the dirty clothes would be automatically cleaned and laundered by his bag once they were added.
He showered, brushed his teeth with the unopened guest toothbrush and toothpaste, dressed in jeans and a t-shirt and then tidied his room up before deciding to try and find the kitchen.
It was only just starting to lighten outside, and Harry was momentarily mesmerised by the view out of the windows, a view he was much too tired to appreciate the night before. The kitchen, when he found it, was an artwork of chrome, silver and steel. Everything gleamed, shone and otherwise glowed in the sunlight. Sleek lines and ultra-modern cutting-edge appliances where everywhere. Harry felt his stomach fall into his shoes.
Taking in a deep breath, Harry straightened his shoulders and forced himself to calm. The fridge yielded an amazing spread of items, as did the cupboards, and Harry found some pans, bowls and cutlery. Within moments, he started chopping away, humming under his breath as he remembered doing something similar at the Burrow with Molly Weasley and Ginny.
Twenty minutes later he set the table just as Luthor stumbled in, going directly to the coffee machine and pouring himself a large mug of the thick, dark liquid. Harry made a face. Coffee was brilliant...with copious amounts of sugar.
"Morning!" Harry greeted, placing a plate with a delicious smelling omelette in it in front of Luthor, as well as a bowl with a beautiful selection of diced and sliced fruit with a lightly lemon scented clear sauce. "Eat," Harry stated, when Luthor stared at him.
Harry pointed to his own selection of the same. "I'm having exactly the same, and breakfast is a very important meal, so eat."
Luthor took a long gulp of his coffee before picking up his fork and spearing a bit of the egg. His face twitched slightly, then he took another bite. He cleared the plate, and the bowl before asking, "Is there anything you can't do?"
Harry shrugged. "I've cooked for as long as I can remember. After a while, you just get good at it, I suppose."
Luthor finished his coffee and poured himself another, Harry declined when he was offered a mug, indicating his own cup of tea.
"How long are you planning to stay in Metropolis?" Luthor asked.
Harry blinked. "Is that where I am?"
Luthor gave a small curt nod.
"Oh." Harry paused. "I don't really know anything about Metropolis, so I can't say. I suppose I'll have a look around before I make up my mind."
"Do you have anything to get back to? Parents? Friends? Girlfriend?"
Harry bit his lip. "No," he stated, not bothering to clarify his statement. "Not really."
"Then, if you will accept, I would like to offer to show you around. You'll find there's not much in Metropolis that I don't know about." Luthor smiled, although Harry missed the sharp gleam in his eyes.
Harry thought about it for a few moments. If worse came to worst, he'd just disappear again, so he didn't really have anything to lose. Harry nodded. "Okay. Sure."
Metropolis, as it turned out, was filled with everything you could imagine – except wizards. It was amazing, moreso to Harry, who had lived in both worlds and was used to seeing flashes of the magical world hidden in beside the muggle world. Somehow, this city, instead of feeling empty, felt cleaner in a way, being completely muggle.
The long silver limousine was perfect for moving about the massive bustling city, although Harry would have preferred to get up close and personal to many of the interesting shops and streets that the car couldn't fit through.
"Metropolis," Luthor started to say dryly, "prides itself as a modern and very important place." He used a hand to wave idly at a monstrously old-looking building. "But some," he stated, "have very little idea as to what 'modern' actually means."
"Is it old then?" Harry asked.
"No. It's actually only seven years old, but the bank which commissioned it ended up being unable to afford its completion. It's now an office block inside for commerce and travel."
Harry made a face. "It's ugly."
A corner of Lex's mouth twitched. "Some would say...distinguished."
"Some, maybe. But I bet those people are the kind who think that they can buy style." Harry tilted his head to the side, narrowing his eyes slightly before clearing his face and adopting an expression of pure innocence. "I noticed you didn't include yourself when you said 'some'. Do you think it's ugly then too?" Harry asked guilelessly.
Luthor flicked a glance at him, and Harry kept his face in an innocent expression, noting the slight surprise and amusement in Luthor's blue eyes.
"Just how old are you kid?"
Harry sat back. "I'll be nineteen in two months." He paused, "Why?"
"Stay in touch kid, and I'll see about offering you a job one of these days," Luthor said, a touch wryly.
"You're serious about that then?" Harry asked, looking suddenly confused.
Luthor spread his arms so they rested along the back of the seat he was sitting at, opposite Harry. "Not many people would dare to talk to me the way you do."
"Oh. I wasn't trying to be rude or anything."
"I gathered," Luthor said, looking amused. "Still, the lack of overwhelming fear is a novelty I enjoy."
"Would you equate fear with respect?" Harry asked curiously.
"Fools fear what they do not understand to respect, while the arrogant expect fear when they believe themselves respected," Luthor said, contempt weaving through his words.
"Do many people fear you then?"
"In my position, it's not often I find those who simply respect me, kid. Fear is somewhat normal for me, in what I expect from others. That is not to say it is unwanted, but in moderation, and according to my power or what I do." Luthor paused, his eyes sharp, pinning Harry's like a blade. "You'll find kid, that people often fear others, especially where power and influence is involved. Respect, that's a whole different animal."
Harry's lips drew taut. "Some people enjoy using fear, power and influence as a weapon though, don't they, and others enjoy knowing that they are feared. I can't respect someone who willingly and willfully causes fear, just to reap the benefits. I've seen it when someone in power abuses their position, and it's never pretty."
"Smart kid," Luthor said.
Harry shrugged. "Good people with power can be just as feared as a bad person with power. The difference lays in who enjoys it more and how they utilise it."
"And me?" Luthor asked mildly, "where would you place me?"
Harry grinned. "Ah, but I don't know enough about you yet to say, do I?"
Luthor gave a short laugh. "True kid, very true." Luthor's phone rang then and he listened for a minute before he pressed a button by the door and said, "take us to LexCorp's main building, please."
Harry tilted his head in question. "LexCorp?"
Luthor gave him a shark-like smirk. "Just something I need to take care of."
The car pulled into an brightly lit underground car park, and the driver got out and held the door open for them. Harry thanked the driver politely and followed Luthor into the large square lift. It felt a bit weird to him, after yesterday. One day he was running around the world magically, the next...well, he could never have predicted this.
The hallway they exited into was spacious and airy, lots of cream décor and beautiful plants, understated works of art that even Harry could tell were the real deal. There was a lot of muffled noise coming from the surrounding offices, and the people who passed by were extremely respectful, nodding and saying 'Mr Luthor' as they walked by. Harry noted that they didn't visibly react to the newly healing bruises on Luthor's face.
"They respect you," Harry stated, "they don't fear you."
"Noticed that did you?" Luthor smiled, "Yes, you're right. I find that my employees work better and more efficiently if they don't fear me and wind up in hysterics every time I show up unexpectedly."
Luthor's office was situated at the end of the hall, just past an open-plan area containing four large desks, two of which were occupied by his personal assistants. The office had an entire wall of floor to ceiling windows, very slightly tinted, and the décor was more 1920s traditional than modern, at least upon first glance.
Newer appliances, like a computer, Harry found out (after watching Luthor whilst sitting in a deep and utterly gorgeous leather sofa), were built into the desk itself and was touch and light sensitive, meaning he needed no keyboard or mouse, making everything completely streamlined and elegant.
Harry wandered around the room, looking at a few of the art deco pieces while Luthor spoke quietly into an ear-piece he fitted in from his desk and tapped on the computer screen. After fifteen minutes or so, Luthor stood up with a polite and perfunctory apology, just as an assistant knocked and entered, an envelope in hand which she gave to Luthor with a few whispered words before nodding at Luthor's reply and leaving.
Luthor turned to Harry. "How would you like to see some of Metropolis's night life?" he asked with a smirk.
"Um," Harry looked slightly uncomfortable, "you mean like a nightclub?"
Luthor shook his head, "nothing quite so plebeian," he said dryly, "although much more dangerous."
"Dangerous," Harry asked curiously.
"You might equate it to swimming with sharks," Luthor stated, "be it figuratively, and not literal."
"A dinner party, gala, etcetera. A gathering of posturing, wealthy individuals who all believe themselves the hub of the business world, the ton, if you will."
Harry's eyes widened. "Me?" he asked, absolutely aghast.
"Why not," Luthor said, appearing amused at the gamut of expressions running across Harry's face, "after all, it would undoubtedly do some good to introduce my erstwhile saviour to my otherwise stuffy acquaintances. Want to come?"
When Luthor bared his teeth in a fierce grin, Harry squeaked out an affirmative.
Well, he did say he wanted to experience new things, Harry thought miserably.