Title: Is that a carrot in your pocket?
Author: dapper scavenger
Pairing: Will be slash
Rating: PG for now. Will likely increase later.
Disclaimer: Tolkein's & Rowling's. Not mine.
Summary: After the war with Voldemort has ended, Harry seeks the peace he cannot find within his own world.
Author's Notes: A very silly plot bunny I had. I'm not sure if it will go anywhere yet.
It was cold.
Sweet Merlin, it wasn't just cold. It was freezing. Harry was shivering before he had even regained consciousness.
A guttural groan escaped his dry, chapped lips. His entire body ached and his head throbbed with a dull pain. Forest green eyes cracked open, hazy with confusion, and blinked once, twice.
Where on earth was he?
Rolling hills and fields stretched out as far as the eye could see. Lonely trees and small, prickly brown bushes were the sole occupants dotting the barren landscape.
A persistent wind blasted his naked form, chilling him to the bone. He could not stay here. He would die of exposure before the day was out!
With practised efficiency, he took stock of his situation. He was alone, in a strange land, with no supplies to speak of. How could he have misjudged so badly? He had spent hours carefully choosing and preparing the items he would need, such as hard-wearing clothing, his precious photograph album and his invisibility cloak. Each had been meticulously cleansed and enchanted to allow them to pass through with him.
Not even his glasses had made the journey, he realised with a startled exclamation. How was it that he could see so clearly without them? He rubbed his eyes, not entirely convinced he wasn't deluding himself, only to gape in surprise when they focussed again. His vision was perfect. Was this some side-affect of the ritual?
A fresh gust of wind caused him to shiver again and he clutched his arms close to his bare chest. Perhaps now was not the time to be fretting over errors past, he mentally chastised. Without his wand he was in a predicament. It would have been such a simple matter to conjure some clothes and ascertain the nearest town. As it was, he barely had enough reserves left in him to cast a wandless warming charm.
Even that tiny bit of magic left his dizzy and breathless. He urgently needed to rest and gather his strength.
Now that he had dealt with the immediate danger of hypothermia, he stood to gaze over the landscape. Harry had long considered Scotland to be the most beautiful country he had ever seen; its magnificent lochs, carved-out glens and rugged, rocky outcrops were breathtaking in all their untamed glory. Compared to the remote, desolate wilderness he suddenly found himself in, however, Scotland may as well have been a bustling metropolis.
There was no sign of any people. Had the ritual gone wrong?
It was supposed to find him a new home, a new life where he could have the peace he had always craved. The war had been so hard on him. On all of them, really, but Harry in particular had felt its impact. There were many hardships and losses: Sirius, Hermione, Remus, to name but a few. Finally, after years of toil, of alternating hope and despair, he had defeated Voldemort.
It had come too late for Harry. While the rest of the wizarding world breathed a collective sigh of relief and plunged themselves into weeks of celebrations, he had nothing left worth celebrating.
He had tried to disappear. He had emigrated, twice in fact, but his fame preceded him. He tried to lose himself in the muggle world, taking jobs as a general labourer but he would invariably be tracked down by insistent reporters and journalists, each hoping to get the exclusive article on exactly how Harry Potter had defeated the Dark Lord.
It was an act of desperation; this crossing of worlds. He had never expected to use the information he'd found in his family vault but he could no longer endure the constant torment of reliving his memories. It did not matter if he did not have wealth or prestige in whatever world he ended up in. He wanted to forge a new life and to find something worth living for. Surely there must be something out there which would make his continued existence worthwhile?
So it was with hopes of finding peace he had traversed the planes between worlds. He smiled wryly to himself as he took in his surroundings. This bleak and utter silence was not quite the peace he'd had in mind.
At least he would not starve. Nor would he have to suffer the cold once his pathetically weak warming charm wore off. After all, he might not be able to perform complex, draining charms without his wand, but innate blood-magic was a different matter altogether.
He filled his thoughts with the feel of wind whistling about his ears, the scent of sun-warmed hay and the taste of sweet, wild grass. The sound of hooves thudding against soft earth reached his ears and suddenly he was running. His hot breath formed loose puffs of steam in the cold air as the creature within him was let loose.
Exhilaration overrode his exhaustion. He was free! The independent spirit of his animal form revelled in the feeling. He had made it!
Harry could have laughed with joy. As a horse, however, his only means of expressing his triumph was to let loose a ringing neigh at the sky above.
Harry snorted ruefully. Galloping madcap across the plains while suffering from magical exhaustion had not been one of his better ideas. After stumbling to a sweating, trembling stop, he had been barely managed to find shelter amongst a formation of rocks before succumbing to his body's demands for sleep.
He had awoken to the same bleak landscape that he had so hastily travelled the day before. At least he thought he had only slept one night. Restoring one's magic could take days, depending on the ambient levels in one's surroundings. The more magical a place, the quicker it returned. Harry had a feeling that there was plenty of latent magic in this land. The air fairly crackled with it.
It was odd, though. Such an overtly magical place as this should be a nexus for wizarding kind. He wasn't sure if he liked the implications of that. Either there were places with even greater dormant magic somewhere in this world, or there simply weren't any witches or wizards here. These were not reassuring thoughts.
First things first, he decided, lowering his head to tear at the rough clumps of grass. He could not think on an empty stomach.
Becoming an animagus had not been what he'd expected. He'd rather hoped his animal form would have been something a little bit more exciting. He had speculated over it long and hard, thinking perhaps his form could help him in his fight against Voldemort. A hawk, for example, would have provided him with the means to spy from above and escape tricky situations. A Gryffindor lion would have been a mighty asset in a battle. He had even thought he might be a stag, like his father.
What he had not expected was to turn into a horse. A horse, of all creatures! What good was that?
His transfiguration teacher had berated his obvious dismay in her usual brisk manner. It was Hermione who had convinced him to accept his form.
"That's fantastic, Harry!" she had gushed. "I can't believe you've mastered such a large and difficult form!"
"But I'm a horse, 'Mione. How is that going to help me?" he had whined in return. Hermione had rolled her eyes and, rather predictably, turned to her books for an answer.
"The horse is a symbol of freedom and represents the ability to overcome all obstacles. They are adventuresome creatures who will be driven to discover their own direction. Horses are said to be able to sense the good or evil within people and are gifted with enhanced insight and intuition. They are venerated for their grace, nobility, familial devotion and loyalty to their friends."
"It says all that about me?"
Hermione had laughed at his dumbfounded expression. "Oh, Harry, it's perfect! How could you be anything else?"
Harry's spirits had lifted with every word she'd said. So what if he was not a sleek hawk or a majestic lion? A hawk would have soon tired fighting against these strong winds. A lion would not have found prey in these barren hills. As a horse he could endure here indefinitely. Or at least as long as it took him to find civilisation.
He hoped it would not take too long. He did not mind being in his animagus form; it was as much a part of him as his human form. He knew from experience, however, that the longer he spent as a horse the more 'horse-like' his thoughts would become. While it was all well and good to find nourishment from the land, he had been rather disturbed one day when he realised he was comparing different varieties of grass much in the way one would compare flavours of ice cream.
The patch he was currently gnawing on reminded him somewhat of mint choc chip. As a horse he thought it delicious. It was just a little bit weird.