Harry Potter always thought he'd enjoy anonymity, but this was ridiculous. And as his eyes scanned the forested area around him, with no sign of civilization anywhere, he found himself actually missing the concrete, bricks, and mortar of muggle London. A bloody building, any building, would be nice. And was it too much to ask for some smog, and the whirring sound of automobiles passing by on a nearby street? All this nature, and no people around to cut it down and build a condominium, or at least a fine wizarding establishment… it was just unnatural. He had somehow managed to find himself in the land that time forgot, and considering that he belonged to a society that still used quills and ink bottles, that was truly saying something.
It was his damn Gryffindor curiosity at fault, and Harry vowed silently to himself that once he got back home, he'd hire someone else to explore the uncharted areas of the Black properties he'd inherited. Why he thought that entering the room locked with ten locks and wards, and curses, all metaphorically screaming 'keep out or you're going to wind up in the forested land where dinosaurs still probably roam' he didn't know. And why he thought, once in the room, that walking through a golden arch filled with rippled air, like staring into space during a heat wave, was a good idea on top of his already dubious series of good ideas, remained beyond him. Perhaps Draco Malfoy had been right all along, perhaps he was thick. Not that he'd ever, ever admit that aloud. In fact, when he got home and told his friends about this jaunt, the whole thing was intentional because Harry had wanted to visit some lovely trees. And he didn't care if Hermione wasn't likely to believe that or not.
First things first, however, he needed to find a way out of this hell, preferably before encountering an insect of any kind…
The sound of a stick breaking caught his attention, and his hand automatically went to his wand. But before he could even get out an 'immobulus' a creature that looked like a house elf on steroids sprinted by him, followed by an arrow whizzing through the air and sticking the tripped out thingamabob in the back.
An arrow. A real, honest to god arrow. Harry had to do a double take just to make sure he had seen what he thought he saw. He had been joking to himself when he thought that dinosaurs still roamed here, but apparently he wasn't too far off. Only instead of dinosaurs he had somehow transported back in time to the time of Robin Hood and his merry men. Who the fuck still used arrows…
"Don't move," a demanding voice called out, and Harry whirled around to come face to face with… good god, the man looked like a model. Long, flowing blonde hair, eyes bright and as blue as the sky on a cloudless summer day… Harry felt his heart rate pick up, and he flashed the stranger a hesitant, shy smile. Anyone that gorgeous had to be an okay sort of bloke, even if he did hold a bow and arrow set in his hands, currently pointed at Harry's face. Archery really was an underrated sport, maybe he should take it up. Perhaps this guy taught a class…
"Er, hello, my name is Harry. I can see that you're very busy hunting, uh, things, but could you lead me to the nearest portal to London. I'd greatly appreciate it," he asked, cursing himself for the uncertainty and awe in his voice. No being had the right to be that attractive, they just didn't. Particularly a male someone when Harry had come out to his friends not days before. This place, wherever it was, was suddenly looking much more promising. Whatever they fed the locals here must be smashing, to turn out such a fine specimen of manhood… with a sudden shudder, Harry realized that yes, Malfoy really was right, he was thick, because here he was with an arrow pointed at his face and all he could think about was his hormones. It sucked being 18, and driven by more primitive parts of his brain, it really did.
"London?" Mr. Gorgeous asked, "I've heard not of London. You are in the forests of Mirkwood, in Middle Earth," the man stated dubiously, looking at Harry as if he had grown another head. Which pretty much reminded him of home, as lately everyone had taken to giving him similar looks, the more and more he stated how he didn't want to become an auror because he was tired of fighting dark wizards and he didn't want to go out in public and be hounded by reporters asking for the inside scoop on his defeat of Voldermort, and how he just wanted to be left alone, and find a nice bloke to settle down with and have constant sex. Apparently even strangers thought him weird.
"Middle Earth, huh, as opposed to Higher Earth or Lower Earth? Last I heard, Earth was between Venus and Mars, but hey, if Pluto can be de-planet-afied, then sure, there are three Earths," Harry joked, moving his hands up in mock surrender, while taking a subtle step back.
The strangers expression turned even more dubious at Harry's words, and Harry just shook his head, wondering if there was any being, anywhere, that would ever truly get him. He had lucked out in the muggle world, he had lucked out in the wizarding world, and apparently things weren't looking too good here in Sherwood forest, either.
"That was a joke," Harry explained to Mr. Gorgeous, "I get kind of nervous and tend to be flippant whenever fearing for my life, so do you, uh, think you can point that arrow somewhere else. I'd kind of like my nose to remain on my face."
The stranger lowered his arms slowly, his eye ranking up and down Harry's form, as if he were sizing him up. Harry wanted to think he saw appreciation in those startling blue eyes, but chalked it up to wishful thinking on his part. The chances of this guy being gay and not married were about as likely as this place having a diner or pub somewhere in the near proximity, but hey, a guy couldn't help but dream.
"Thanks for not shooting me, I appreciate that. I'm a bit lost and you and the, whatever that was that you just killed, are the only beings I've come across in hours. I entered a portal, accidentally mind, in one of my homes in London and ended up here. Problem is, I don't know where here is, or if you have any wizarding establishments near by…" Harry asked, unsure, really if he should be mentioning the word wizarding to the stranger in front of him, but something about the ethereal glow emanating from the skin of the being, and the slight point to his ears, told Harry that this person was definitely not a muggle, and thus, more likely aware that a magical world existed. If not, he'd just think Harry was definitely crazy and was less likely to believe anything he said anyway. He really had nothing to lose.
"Portal? Did the Valar send you here? Why do you seek the Istari?" the archer asked, his blue eyes murky with confusion.
"The Isa-what? Who is the Valar? Never heard of him. I seek wizards because I'm a lost one, and finding another of my kind can help me get home. Do you know of any? Can you take me to one?" Harry inquired again, flashing his wand in front of the archer for good measure, hoping that would give him a clue as to what he was talking about.
The blue-eyed blonde smirked at Harry, his stance relaxing entirely as he gave Harry another once over.
"Aren't you a bit young to be a wizard, as you call it?" the blonde asked, putting his bow and arrow set away on a strap behind his back and folding his arms and setting Harry on edge in a way that he hadn't experienced since attending a potions class with Professor Snape.
At that point, Harry didn't care how good the man in front of him looked, it was just plain rude to doubt him and cast aspersions on his age when he was only asking for help. Obviously manners were a cultivated art that had to have developed in the industrial age, and not before, if the lack of manners here were any indication.
This guy had to be related to the Malfoys somehow.
Well, never let it be said that Harry Potter didn't rise to any challenge placed in front of him. With a quick slash of his wand, and an 'incendio' pointed at a nearby tree, a small flame caught and held, and the being turned from him, to the tree, and back to him again with wide eyes.
"I will take you to Gandalf, he is a wizard," the blonde said, his eyes conveying a new found respect.
And Harry could feels his cheeks heat up and turn red in his customary blush, no matter how hard he tried to hold on to his previous indignation.
"Er, thanks, that would be great," Harry replied, looking down on the earth below him. It was progress anyway. With any luck he would be tucked into a meal of Kreacher's beef stew and homemade bread by nightfall. Things were definitely looking up.
With another wave of his wand, he put out the fire, and turned to his companion.
"I am Legolas, Prince of the woodland elves of northern Mirkwood," the blonde said, giving him a slight smile. And Harry felt his knees buckle, just a little. If the arrow-wielding, threatening figure was a turn on, the smiling version was even more so.
So, his companion was an elf. A prince of elves no less. For whatever reason that didn't surprise Harry. Legolas definitely had a refined look to him that spoke of royalty. The elf heritage, though, that was a bit shocking. The only elves Harry had ever been exposed to were house elves, and there was no way that Harry could put Legolas and Kreacher anywhere near each other categorically in his brain. Still though, life spend in the wizarding world had somewhat jaded him to the sheer amount of magical creatures that roamed the world, and he supposed meeting a tall, slender, and handsome version of elves wasn't too weird in the grand scheme of things. Blast ended-skrewts, now those were weird.
"It's nice to meet you, Legolas," Harry replied, hoping fervently for his blush to disappear, but knowing it was futile. If all elves looked like this one, then Harry definitely liked elves. And the fact that Legolas' blue eyes kept staring, as if he somehow, for reasons that escaped him, found Harry fascinating… well, that did little in calming his libido or his embarrassment.
Why did he have to travel to some unknown dimension somewhere in a prehistoric forest to find someone like Legolas? Why didn't they grow them like this in England? Harry shook his head to get rid of his morose thoughts. It didn't really matter as he had no intents on staying here anyway, and besides of which, interested looks are not, there was no telling whether Legolas barked up his tree, figuratively speaking. Could elves be gay? Did they even have the same type of anatomy that human men did?
Harry couldn't help the coughing fit that caught a hold of him at that thought, and Legolas rushed to Harry's side, a long hand with slender fingers coming up to lightly pat Harry on the back to help calm his lungs. Harry could feel the heat of Legolas' skin through the thin cotton of his shirt and the moment Legolas' hand came in contact with his back, even through the material, there was something electrifying that jolted Harry, as if Legolas had just shocked him by rubbing his feet against carpet prior to touching him, only infinitely more pleasant.
Even the elf was shocked by it, if his stunned expression and his slowly backing away from Harry was anything to go by.
Good gods and goddesses, could this world possibly get any odder? He had already been grappling with an instant attraction to the elf, and now it appeared they found each other shocking in a very literal way. This was the weirdest day of his entire short life, even weirder than that fateful day when a half giant had huffed and puffed and blew his door down, offering him a birthday cake and telling him that he was a wizard.
"Elo! Ertha meleth!," the elf whispered.
Harry had no idea what the elf was saying, and in a decidedly unGryffindor fashion, was too afraid to ask him to translate. Whatever had happened between the two of them was more than a little intimidating, and Harry just wanted to go home, now more than ever. He couldn't afford electrical currents, couldn't afford attractive elves who spoke in beautiful tongues - he couldn't afford anything that caught him off balance. He'd had enough of that when Voldemort was alive. He preferred a nice, structured world, thank you very much, preferably one within civilization. That last year of searching for horcruxes before Voldemort's defeat had put him off of living it up in nature for life.
"So, uh, lead the way," Harry stated, turning away from the awed look Legolas was shooting him, while trying to calm his ever racing heart.
Screw mystery portals anyway. When Harry got back home he was adding another lock to that damn door.
To be continued…
elo: an exclamation of wonder, admiration, delight
ertha: to unite
meleth: love (as a noun)