Warnings: Um... it's a crossover? *can't think of anything*
Disclaimer: Harry Potter belongs to Joanne Kathleen Rowling and associates, of whom I am not one. American Gods (especially Shadow) belongs to Neil Gaiman and associates, of whom I am not one.
From the Shadows
It was late. Well, no, that was an understatement. It was sometime before dawn, so it was very late; maybe five in the morning.
At first, Harry had simply thought sleep was slow in coming, that he would wake in the morning a little more tired than usual, but nothing too bad. But he hadn't fallen asleep. Something... buzzed within him. He wasn't sure what it was, but it was thrumming, telling him to get up get up get up and go look explore FIND though he could not say why he had this urge.
That was the reason he refused to give into it until it was so late that he knew if he just laid in bed instead of figuring it out, he would be left very sleepy come morning. Worse, he would be left wondering. Whatever it was was a once in a lifetime thing, and would not extend for more than another hour.
Again, how he knew this, he could not say.
Ever cautious, Harry dug around in his trunk and pulled two objects from within; one was a silvery cloak that he had inherited from his father, an Invisibility Cloak. The other was a worn piece of parchment, really a map, likely a couple of decades old – certainly older than Harry – which Fred and George Weasley had given him over the weekend so he could sneak into Hogsmeade.
The young teenager whispered the map's password and left his dormitory, casting lumos as he went so he could actually read the map. He knew instinctively that what he wanted would be out in the main part of the castle, and it would stand out for more than just because there shouldn't be any dots scurrying about the map at this time of night.
When his eyes lit upon the dot labeled "Peter Pettigrew", he thought he might have found it. Hadn't he heard in the Leaky Cauldron that Pettigrew was dead?
Then movement in the corner of his eye caught Harry's attention, and he forgot all about the living dead.
That dot... had no label.
There was no name on that singular dot, even though Harry knew there should be, that that dot ought to be no exception to all the other dots that, at this very moment, were lined up in dormitories, sleeping, and very much labeled.
His feet led him through the halls as his head worked out where, by the aimless wanderings of the dot, he might intercept that person and see who they might be. The rendezvous occurred on the seventh floor, in front of Barnabas the Barmy. Harry hadn't realized quite how close he was – for he was not yet accustomed to translating size on the map to size on reality – until he saw the dot. The man.
He was large and had dark skin. Not dark like Dean Thomas or Blaise Zabini, but dark. And while his size was not on par with Hagrid, he was a large man. Harry entertained the idea that he might be one of those "Samoans" that he had heard of, but dismissed it in favor of being wary.
After all, even though he was covered by his invisibility cloak, his hands, and the lit wand and open map held within them were not so concealed. The light illuminated the slim corridor quite well, and the stranger barely even paused to blink at the light before he, too, was looking at Harry. He could not see Harry, but given the show of hands it probably wasn't too hard to figure out where the Boy-Who-Lived stood.
"Well?" Harry jumped at the low voice. The accent was mostly American, but it was toned down, like the man had been abroad for much of his life.
"Well what?" Harry wanted to clap his hand to his mouth at the stupid reply, but didn't, lest he reveal more than his hands and the timber and location of his voice did. He was supposed to be the observer, not the person who was certainly not meant to be at Hogwarts.
"Are you intending to stay invisible? Or shall I just ignore you?" The man sounded amused now, and annoyed too.
"Who are you?" Harry wasn't going to take off his cloak. He wasn't stupid. He was pretty sure that this man was not Sirius Black – Black's face had a different structure, and after over a decade in Azkaban he should be pretty haggard. But Harry had taken Polyjuice and knew that disguises in the wizarding world weren't too hard.
"Shadow," the answer was easy, but it still wasn't right. The dot didn't say he was Shadow. It didn't say he was anything.
"What's your name?"
This time there was a pause, then, "Shadow."
"You're lying," Harry wasn't sure what drove him to challenge the man who was larger than him and probably knew a lot more magic.
"I am?" Now he sounded confused and Harry was annoyed.
"You are. The map says –" Harry cut himself off. He blamed sleep deprivation for the slip, but knew that wasn't the truth.
"Map? I've been lost in this castle all night; can I see?" Suddenly the man, Shadow, was rather amiable, but Harry was wary. But the map was out of his hands, even though the man had not moved from his place five meters off. He'd just... reached out and taken it, despite the distance and not touching it until it was in his hands and out of Harry's. Shadow's eyes narrowed, but Harry hardly noticed.
"How'd you do that?" Harry stared in shock. He knew there was a charm to summon things from a distance – he'd see fourth years and up using it – but the man hadn't used a wand and he hadn't summoned. It was like the paper teleported – no, what was that term that Ron used last year? Apparated? – it was like the paper had apparated from Harry's hands to Shadow's.
"Easy; I'll show you another trick," and Shadow reached forward. His hand plucked Harry's memory of meeting Shadow, of seeing the strange dot on the map, of leaving bed, and of having trouble sleeping that night from Harry's head and then he left.
The Boy-Who-Lived shook his head and yawned, looking around. He should have waited to test out the map for another night. It was late, and he had Potions in the morning. Hermione would kill him.
Harry stumbled into bed, wondering what he'd been doing up and about in the first place while Peter Pettigrew scurried through the castle, unaware of how close he had been to being found out.
Author's Note: Really just a drabble (or my version of a drabble – a short one-shot), but I thought it could prove interesting. I dunno... I'll write the Anansi Boys crossover soon too I suppose (though I didn't particularly like that book...)