Edit:04-18-08: i just fixed some mistakes like the gun strapped to Lara's thigh... thank you wolf-in-hell for pointing that out! and thanks to Isaboo for correcting the spelling of Lily's name!
All right, i know i know i know!! i've been writing my harry/buffy xover, but i don't have enough to post yet. i was cleaning my room and watching tomb raider at the same time when the letter just popped into my head. the rest came out because i wanted a bit more back ground... i don't know if this is going to be a one shot or not... if anyone has any ideas i'm open to suggestions...
btw- Hilary is my fav tomb raider character, in case you can't tell... and ignore the incongruity with the time line and electronic devices... i realize that SIMON couldn't have been built in the eighties, so i just bumped up the time line because i like Bryce and his gagets...
i didn't do a lot of editing on this, just thought i'd post it to get it out of my head. enjoy anyway!
tomb raider and harry potter do not belong to me.
Hilary was always turned out neatly. A ruthlessly correct tie, starched shirt and tailored three piece suit were completed with shoes shiny enough to brush your teeth in. He wasn't consistent with his use of gloves, but his hair was always neatly brushed and moussed into place, his teeth always flossed and white, though he rarely smiled. He had an impeccable accent, correct and fluid, along with a tone that could cut through iron, though rarely ruffled his charges feathers.
It wasn't, as it happened, Lara's feathers that where being ruffled at the moment. And his amicable and polite exterior was actually at the breaking point. The damn owl was trying to tear his face off!
"Hilary, what are you doing?" Lara started down the main staircase, in awe of the battle going on between her butler and his avian friend. As soon as her voice rang out, the tableau paused, and the bird gently lit upon her shoulder. Lara grinned as Hilary tried to put himself back together, tugged sternly on his vest and brushed back his hair with his hands, then nodded to the lady and cleared his throat.
"That creature landed on my kitchen window sill and proceeded to attack me when I tried to remove whatever that thing is from its leg!" His voice was the very picture of offended dignity.
"Well, the message tube is directed to me," she tapped the birds leg and she politely held it out so Lara could undo her letter. When she had the tube the bird flew off her shoulder and perched on the stair railing. There were two letters; one had her name written on it with red ink in a familiar loopy hand. The other looked to be a lawyer's letter, with a correctly addressed and severe black ink and gold embossed seal on the back.
"Very well, then," Hilary took a few deep breaths and nodded. "If you'll excuse me, I was in the middle of setting for dinner."
"Of course, I'll be in shortly," she waved absently as she opened the letter from her cousin first. "Don't forget to tell Bryce about dinner. He's been fixing SIMON and I'm sure he'll forget to eat again."
"Of course," and Hilary turned on his heal, not even bothering to chide that lady's didn't sit on stairwells to read their mail. Lara had always been an unusual lady.
I hope this letter finds you well, as by now you are aware that if you are reading this, I am not. I have stated my will very clearly, but my lawyers implore me to send for you in the event that the other recipients may not welcome your presence. I have written this letter in case that may hold true, and you shall only receive it if I am, I am sorry to say, dead.
I can only pray that you arrive in London in time to attend the reading, if you are not off on some fantastical adventure. I shall not blame you if you are, your life has always been one of action, unlike mine until very recently. You see, James, Harry and I have gone into hiding, or will have by the time I seal this letter and hand it to my lawyers to deliver just in case. Isn't Belinda a beautiful owl? She will stay with you and send your return acceptance or rejection to Henroy and Fitz, my lawyers.
I know, you're reading through and begging me to come to the point. You always like facts in a straight line, but you've always been better at puzzles than I am, so I can write, with complete honesty. I know you've cracked my "secret society" by now. You always asked such pointed questions at those reunions, and I could never keep enough behind my mouth. You know, of course, that I am a Witch, that I went to school for my gift and met James there. He is a wonderful Wizard, and he loves me dearly. I put in that last part so you could smile and chide me for my foolishness, for James is that same "git" I told you about when I was fifteen and you were giving me that wonderful advice on the male of the species. You told me, if I recall correctly, that men cannot help being idiots. You told me that if I were to watch him, how he acted around others than myself, I would have a better clue as to his character. You were much more experienced with boys at seventeen than I was at fifteen! When I finally saw through the mask he put on for my benefit, I had to admit that with very few exceptions he was a decent human being. Instead of beating up an old friend who'd reduced me to tears, he held me and let me cry on his shoulder. I really think that was a turning point for him. He ceased that relentless terrorizing of our rival house (at least when he didn't have reason to) and really began to listen to me. And as we got closer I discovered things about him that gave him a selfless glow, mostly in regards to a few friends of his. Not that I'm painting roses on him darling, but he wasn't quite the ill mannered ass I had believed him to be at first glance.
I did send you an invitation to the wedding, but I suppose you know that, seeing as how three weeks later that wonderful Nepalese shawl and glass bracelets appeared in the mail. James was a little put out that the bracelets don't fit him… and no, darling, I'm not kidding. He thinks they're marvelous little things and put an unbreakable charm on them first chance he got. He likes it when I wear pretty things like that, and I'm not usually much for ornamentation, as you most likely recall.
And, of course, that wonderful crib blanket you sent when I told you of Harry. He almost cried down the house when I took it away to clean it. He was afraid he'd never see it again. He likes it almost as much as Pa'foo (his stuffed grim).
Now that I'm writing about Harry, I remember what exactly it was that I wanted to ask you. I know that our mothers were cousins, so we're not particularly closely related, but I felt as though I could ask you. You were always my favorite relative, even better than Petunia, at least since she started having "opinions" that I could not understand. I am afraid that if something were to happen to myself and James that she would be the only person available to place Harry with. James tells me that I am being irrational, Sirius is Harry's Godfather and will love him, but I am terrified. The way we are going into hiding means that only Sirius knows where we are. In order to get to us, they have to go through him first, which would leave Harry at loose ends. I love James's other friends dearly, but Peter still doesn't know which end of Harry is up, and no body would let Remus take Harry. I would, but the government still has nasty taboos on werewolves, and how could he really care for Harry during the full moon? Of course now I am off on a tangent again, railing against prejudices that will likely never change.
The point is, if you are agreeable, would you take Harry in? Would you care for him, for me? I don't want him to go to Petunia, she has some odd notions about the wizarding world, and Harry is already experiencing accidental magic. Just the other day he turned his father's hair green. James almost did a jig on the ceiling then realized his only son gave him Slytherin colors. He packed Harry upstairs with paint swatches so quickly I swear Harry is going to take an unnatural liking to green just to spite him.
Remember the time, I was nine I believe, that I climbed that tree in your backyard? I was running away from Petunia, because she pinched me rather hard, and suddenly found myself in that tree house of yours. Nobody else could get up, remember? When you asked me how I did it, and I didn't have any idea, that darling was accidental magic. I apparated, which is a skill they don't teach you until you are sixteen, but when you are a child you can make all sorts of things happen in your panic. I can't image that is something Petunia or her fat husband could tolerate. But you, with all your adventures and brave ways, you could take it in stride. I know you could react to something like that with your usual aplomb.
Along with this letter, if you are receiving this when I hope you will, my lawyers should send you the time and place of our Will reading. It will be in their offices in Diagon Alley. Yes, I know the name is odd, but when you arrive you will realize that the name is quite tame considering the wizarding world as a whole. One of their secretary's will be available to guide you in, for if you are not a Wizard/Witch it is a rather difficult place to spot.
As always I look to you for guidance and support, not for myself, but for my son. I know I am putting you on the spot, and I pray that this reaches you in time, and that you are not too angry with me.
Love you always,
Lily Evans Potter
One of the first things that Lara noticed when she arrived at her "cousins" was that the noise inside the house was deafening. And that was from standing on the street, well away from the front door. A child was bawling his lungs out, it was a wonder he wasn't mute by now. Of course, if Lara was in a crib, by herself, in the bright sun next to an open window, in this chill, she'd be pissed too. She stood on the front porch for a minute, and rang the doorbell when it was obvious that no one was coming to sooth the crying baby. Of course, after ringing the doorbell, she let herself in and walked straight to the child. It took her three seconds to realized that he was wet, and miserable, with tears running down his chubby cheeks and snot clogging his nose, he looked as bad as he no doubt felt.
He quieted to whimpers as soon as Lara lifted him, then hiccupped a bit as she bent in search of a diaper bag.
"What are you doing here?" a snide lash came from the stairwell.
"I am taking care of my nephew Patty, what does it look like?" Lara turned to glare. "Where is his diaper bag?"
"He didn't come with one," Petunia crossed her arms in defiance. "When those people dropped him on my doorstep they didn't leave one with him, or food, or clothes, or anything other than his stupid blanket and a letter telling me they'd give me more details later. It's not like I need more details! My sister and her stupid husband got blown up and they stuck their freak of a child with me!"
"Petunia, I could really care less, all I need right now is a diaper," Lara filed the information away for later though.
"They're upstairs in Dudley's room…" she stopped short as Lara started to follow. "Oh no you don't! I don't want him anywhere NEAR my son! You keep his unnatural ways down here!" and stomped off without waiting for a response.
"Damn Harry, darling, what idiot left you here?" Lara cuddled her nephew, despite his wet bottom, and promised him right then that she'd never let him stay with Petunia. Not for one more day.
Lara waited in her hotel for the summons she was assured would come. She passed the time playing with Harry and making sure that no permanent harm had come to him by staying with Petunia for a week. His face was washed, gently with a luke warm washcloth as per Hilary's hasty phoned in instructions, and he was dressed in a brand new one piece she'd purchased an hour ago from the hotel's vacation supply store along with diapers and other baby supplies.
Harry was crawling right along, giggling hysterically every time Lara picked him up, and then wiggled to be put back down. In fact, since they'd left the Dursley's Harry had been enthusiastic and energetic. He didn't stop watching everything. He seemed to study each face and every bright color. Sounds held his attention for long moments, the lights blinking from the traffic signals sent him into peals of laughter. It got to the point where every time he giggled, Lara giggled too. That was when she decided that going up to the room and tiring the kid out might be a good idea.
He was finally winding down when a soft knock came at the door. Lara set Harry in the middle of the king sized bed, and piled the pillows around him so he couldn't crawl off the edge, before going to answer it.
"Lady Croft?" A tiny blond lady in a neat maroon suit and tidy black ankle boots stood at the door. In her hand was a clip board with several papers and a picture of Lara and Lilly from the last reunion they'd had.
"Yes, I assume you're from Henroy and Fitz?" Lara held out a hand to welcome the lady in.
"Yes, I am Stephanie Blackwell, I've been handling the correspondence, so it was decided that I should escort you," she broke off as a laughing Harry appeared at the open doorway to the bedroom. Her eyes were wide as she took in the black haired youth, his brilliant green eyes, and the scar that his bangs didn't quite conceal yet. "Oh, my!"
"Harry!" Lara moved quickly and scooped up her nephew. "I put those pillows there for a reason. I should have paid more attention to your mother's earlier letters, you are quite the escape artist, aren't you!" she nuzzled his neck and was rewarded with a giggle.
"Is he quite all right? I wasn't aware he was injured in the attack!"
"Apparently, he's fine. It's healing well and he doesn't really seem to notice it. Let me get him into a jumper Miss. Blackwell, and we'll be right along."
"Should he come out into the open though? I would think he'd be a target!" Miss. Blackwell stepped back as Lara glared.
"Why would he be a target? This is still something that hasn't been explained in anyway to me. All I have so far is that some maniac took an interest in my cousin and blew her and her husband up!"
"No, I'm sorry, I don't know, who?"
"The Dark Lord, Harry defeated him, so his Death Eaters might be after him!"
"This is starting to sound like a bad Saturday morning cartoon," Lara bounced Harry on her hip and started speaking to him in playful tones. "Isn't it just? Your parents get blown up, you kill the bad guy, and now you're being sent into exile… and I'm sure that in a few years you'll be recalled to fight yet another baddie. Yep, because you are so good at it, you could do it in your sleep!" She laughed as she slid a hooded sweater over the giggling black haired child, if she didn't laugh she'd shoot the woman, and plopped a ridiculously big hat on his little head. "There, that should do as a disguise, then, shouldn't it?"
Harry didn't like the big hat. He couldn't see as much with it's floppy brim in his way. But he couldn't take it off either. It tied under his chin and he didn't have the dexterity in his fingers yet to navigate bows. But he had other ways of getting the hat off. He could cry, and Pons, Pa'foo or Moo-moo would take it off. But as he continued crying, none of them showed. So he kept on crying, but not because of the hat anymore.
Harry was still whimpering a bit as Lara sat in the offered chair at the office. It looked pretty much like every other lawyers office she'd been in, the only difference being the moving portraits and the interoffice paper airplane memos. She thought that was rather intriguing in fact, surely more fun than an intercom system. As she was the first to come in she got her pick of chairs. Considering the secretary's concern she chose one out of eyesight from the window and the door, almost hidden in the tiny room, next to the lawyer. She watched with thinly veiled curiosity as Miss. Blackstone offered her tea, and then conjured it up with the flick of a wrist and a clear command in Latin.
"Thank you," she accepted the cup and bounced Harry a bit on her knee. She had dressed carefully for the meeting, as Lilly used to. She wore a long skirt and sturdy knee high boots, and a long sleeved t-shirt under a primly buttoned vest. Of course, she was also prepared for any eventuality. The skirt was split well enough for total freedom of movement, a 45 was strapped to her thigh, and she had several throwing daggers hidden under her vest. Her long brown hair was tied back in a severe French braid, and a few explosive surprises were hidden within it. Concealed in the heel of her boots she had a lock-picking kit and a small first aid kit. She also had a few marine friends haunting the alley outside. Once she'd learned, or really sussed out, about Lilly's education a few other things in her life made sense. Mostly a few "lucky situations" her friends had gotten out of alive that really should have killed them. She'd called them from the hotel after Miss. Blackstone spilled more complete details. When she told them what she was doing in Magical London, they'd offered their assistance, with not a single favor being used. It seemed that James was quite popular in their policing ways, and it was an honor to protect his cub.
The door swung open, and in walked a rather scruffy looking man. His light brown hair was sticking up in all different directions, his eyes red and puffy from crying, his hands shook a bit as he raised a handkerchief up to his nose. As he blew out, Harry shot out his hands.
"Moo-Moo!" he exclaimed, clapping his pudgy hands as the man jumped about a foot in the air. The shock only lasted a bare moment though; she had to give him credit for that. He was across the room in two seconds, and a second later had Harry clutched to his chest. The way Harry was laughing and patting the mans cheeks told Lara that she should take a deep breath and not immolate the man where he stood.
"Cub! My little cub, oh I missed you!" he was nuzzling Harry's ear, his hands firmly under the child's rear and soft on his back, supportive but not restrictive. He seemed to collapse in the next chair over, all the energy he used to get to Harry used up.
"Moo-Moo! Pa'foo!" Harry's little head swiveled around, looking for someone else, and he didn't notice the sudden tensing of one of his favorite people.
"Sorry little Prongslet," he hugged Harry gently. "Padfoot won't be coming in today."
The rest filtered in, taking their seats calmly, but still glancing over at Lara curiously. Not one of them knew her, of course, and only Remus had ever been shown pictures of Lilly's distant cousin. No one knew who she was, as a consequence, except Remus and he was keeping his own council… with Harry at the moment, babbling non-stop to the werewolf as if he could understand the incomprehensible baby babble.
Lara seemed to be completely ignoring them, but of course she knew exactly who they were. She didn't believe in entering a situation without all the knowledge she could possibly have at her disposal. Albus Dumbledore, with an impressive list of nonsense titles following after him like little geese, sat next to the window. It was a bit telling, as it was the farthest seat from Harry, and therefore he distanced himself from the baby he'd thought he'd placed in a home far away from the magical community. If he was making a point, Lara wished he wouldn't. Minerva McGonagall, in contrast, sat next to Remus Lupin, and took turns making funny faces and tugging on Harry's hands as he let her.
There was an older woman, gray haired but still fair faced, who sat a seat away from Dumbledore, and held a sleeping blond infant in her arms. Lara guessed that since the Longbottom's hadn't shown, but the child was Neville (she had a picture of both Harry and Neville that Lily had taken at their half birthdays. The kids had been hugging, it was very cute, she felt the need to check for cavity's after seeing that) so the woman must be his grandmother. In between Dumbledore and Mrs. Longbottom sat an Auror, who was introduced as Mr. Moody. He was missing a leg, and had several interesting scars. He wore a device over his eye, though with a start Lara realized that it wasn't over his eye, but replacing it instead. He looked her over, until she started to think he could see under her clothes, and gave her a knowing nod. She didn't know why, but for some reason, he approved of her.
There was one chair left, between Mrs. Longbottom and Mrs. McGonagall, but Miss. Blackstone swept in and took it, sitting primly with a quill and a piece of parchment in her hands. She was going to transcribe the event, apparently.
"All right, hello all and welcome to my office. My name is Laurence Fitz, and if we can all state our names for the record we can get down to business," The man who walked in and shut the office door was a tall and cheerful bloke. He had long strawberry blond hair kept in a neat plait tied with a piece of thin black ribbon. He wore the dark pin striped suit like he'd been born wearing it, and the long black robe he wore over it he took off and laid on the back of his chair as soon as possible. His clear blue eyes slid over all assembled and rested on Lara.
"Yes, of course Mr. Fitz. My name is Lara Croft."
"Lady Croft, may I be the first to welcome you to the Wizarding World?" He asked, giving her his hand, and then kissing the back of hers in a smooth practiced gesture that seemed unrehearsed to any not in the know.
"I've been in the know for a while now Mr. Fitz," she flirted back, well aware that he was setting a stage. "But as no one has seen fit to welcome me to it yet, you may be."
"I am Remus Lupin, and I would care to welcome you as well Miss. Croft. I'd heard so much about you from Lily," his eyes were bright as he played with Harry, passing him back to Lara for a moment so he could pull a napkin from his pocket. Harry had slobbered some on his hand.
"Her letters were full of James and his friends. I feel I know you already, please call me Lara."
"If you'll call me Remus," he returned, and then held out his hands for Harry again. It was so neatly done that none in the room could doubt Lara's right to be present, muggle or not.
The other's all introduced themselves, pausing once on Augusta Longbottom as she shifted Neville and asked Lara if she was getting on with Harry all right.
"I'm afraid it hasn't gotten out to the general public yet, but Neville's parents, my son and his wife, were hurt badly in a Death Eater attack. We're not sure how long it could take for them to recover, so as much as I know Alice would love to take Harry in as his Godmother, it's just not possible at the moment."
"Mrs. Longbottom," Lara kept her gaze gently. "You have enough to worry about, Harry is perfectly fine with me, and you need to concentrate on your grandson."
"Of course, darling, of course," Augusta smiled gently and shushed Neville as he started to fussily wake up. After a moment he settled back down and introductions resumed.
"All right, now that we've got that out of the way, then let us get down to the reading of the will."
Lara would have laughed if she didn't want to hit the old man so much. Albus Dumbledore was still trying to convince her that Petunia would be a better choice for Harry's guardian.
"Look, Professor Dumbledore, Lily and James stated clearly in the will that if either of Harry's Godparents were not able to care for him, they wanted him to come to me. If you have a problem with that, take it up with a lawyer!" She held out her hands to Remus, who was cuddling Harry close and was reluctant to say goodbye. "Though I warn you, my lawyers are paid very well, and have a keen nose for bullshit."
"I'm merely worried about the lack of wards around your house," Dumbledore followed as Remus reluctantly released Harry, but did not stop walking with them.
"Then you may put as many wards as you want around my house. You would have to do that anyway with Petunia, and at least this way Harry will get fed and changed when he needs it!" she didn't mean to say that last part, but she was fed up, sincerely pissed at the old man for leaving Harry like that. To her surprise it wasn't Dumbledore that requested more information, it was McGonagall. After Lara told her about how she found Harry, Minerva spun around and smacked Dumbledore across the shoulder.
"Didn't I tell you they were the worst sort of Muggles!"
After that shocking slap it took very little time to shut the Headmaster up. He was rather upset that his brilliant plan had failed so stupendously. Though he did promise to get himself, Moody and a team of Warders to Lara's residence as fast as humanly possible, he made an excuse about school lists and supplies and popped away through a fireplace quicker than you could blink.
"Remus, I have a few questions for you, if you don't mind? I was going to go back to the hotel and get some food, I'm starving," Remus paused for a moment, trying to work out the actual invitation in his head. "Yes Remus, I was asking you to come over for dinner." She could almost see the gears working in his head, it was an education watching that man think.
"I would love to," Remus replied, blushing a bit. But he held out his hands, now knowing they were going to the same place, he wanted to hold on to Harry.
It had been a while since Remus had sat across from a pretty girl with food in between them. In fact it had been since Hogwarts, four years ago now. He still didn't have any idea what she wanted, but he knew that she liked her steak rare, her baked potato with sour cream and chives, and a nice burgundy to go with them. They'd already fed Harry and put him to bed, chuckling over his large yawns and insistent efforts to stay up and play some more, but ultimately he laid down and fell asleep. He wondered if this was what James had felt like when he was with Lily? But he shook his head at the thought. That had been true love, the kind that could make observers uncomfortable and happy and sad all at the same time. Lara was a warm person, a beautiful one, but he was quite positive he wasn't in love, not even puppy love (but the woman could get the blood pumping!). He shifted a bit in his seat as he started in on his supper.
Lara waited until Remus had inhaled most of his steak and half of his potato before broaching the subject. Delicate, she had to remind herself, not to much to fast.
"Yes?" he sat back in his chair and took a small sip of wine. He was ready for whatever she could throw at him… or so he thought.
"I love Harry dearly," she started out and glanced back at the bedroom where Harry was dozing. "And as much as I would love to be a full time mom, I just don't have the ability at the moment. I think I'm going to need to hire a nanny…"
"A nanny?" Remus started racking his brain, trying to think of magical nanny's that might not warp Harry's opinion of himself overly much. He was already being referred to as The-Boy-Who-Lived. No kid deserved that title.
"Yes, and I would like to hire you for the position, if it's not a bother," she was rarely nervous about anything, but she was about this. According to Lilly the werewolf had problems holding a job because of his infliction, and he was inordinately sensitive about pity jobs.
"Me?" he set the wine glass down and studied her curiously. All manners of thoughts were going through his head. If he accepted… he'd have Harry around all the time! He could essentially do what he wanted and raise his best friends child the way he should have been allowed to if those stupid laws weren't posted! He'd have a job, which was a big plus, and it was something he could do easily. He could tutor Harry, from early on, and make sure he had a set of values that his mother could be proud of! Then he shook his head. He couldn't. All the very valid points Dumbledore had made came flooding back. He'd threatened to kidnap Harry, to just take him away and live with him in the woods. They'd be fine! But Dumbledore had pointed out, who would protect Harry on the full moon? How could he care for an infant when he couldn't even care for himself?
"And before you ask," Lara interrupted as he opened his mouth to decline regretfully. "I should tell you that I have a very efficient Butler and a very nice friend living with me who both have a horrible amount of siblings and nieces and nephews. They know how to handle children, and they would be more than happy to help out on your… moon days. That is assuming, that I wouldn't be there to take care of him as well. It's just that… well," time for the big guns. "I do find myself a bit nervous about the magic thing. Not scared or anything, but what if he does something like, turn my couch into a chicken? Lilly turned a hat into a rabbit once and couldn't figure out how to turn it back…"
"I guess… we could give it a try?" Remus offered, and then shot back the rest of his wine.
"We'll set you up at the house," Lara smirked, buisness acomplished. "I have 38 rooms; we should be able to find one that suits you."
all right, there you go! that's what flashed through my head as i was sorting laundry... which reminds me, i have to switch to the dryer now... yeeps! hope you liked it!