I think some warnings about this particular fiction would not be amiss:
The theme is cliché at first glance, I realised while writing. But trust me, it is not so. That said, this is not a story in which Harry joins the Fellowship of the Ring, has a romantic relationship with an Elf/Man/Dwarf/whoever else (slashy or no), or fights in the War of the Rings. I am exploring the idea of a second chance of childhood for him; but yes, the plotline may be spattered with violence and dare every once in a while. After all, even the Sorting Hat admits that Harry has the traits of all the Houses in Hogwarts. Nothing short of disaster would result from that, in all senses of the word.
The fiction will be rather short in terms of the number of chapters. I would like to think that the word count for each chapter is short too, but some people might still consider 3,000 words long… Well, this warning is rather tentative, at least for the word count part. I cannot expand the story much, even if I want to or there are plot bunnies hopping around in my head to help stretch it. I am conscious about the other neglected stories after all, you know. :sheepish:
I am not a native speaker of English. I am visually-impaired too, which makes me depend on the use of screen reader. That makes this story prone to mistakes – more often awkward than not. So, please, people, if you see grammatical, contextual and spelling mistakes, please inform me and I will try to fix them as soon as possible. I would like to think myself capable in writing English, but there is just so much a non-native speaker could achieve. Homophones, formatting and colour-coding are always a pain to tackle too, seeing that I can't do the usual spell-checking. (The screen reader would not read the underlined/coloured text.)
Should I put a disclaimer for this story? Dunno. It sounds a bit ridiculous, seeing that the site is clearly for fan fictions. But anyway, I had better said that the idea of Elfling! Harry is not my own. The details are mine, though; so please, be fair and tell me if you would like to borrow some.
Hmm. I hope I am not driving you away with the things I spouted out. All the same, I hope you will enjoy the ride. This is my second try of a crossover between Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings, but my first in the sub-genre. Your encouragement, opinions, and criticisms would be highly appreciated.
Edit: Thank you for Walter Dash and malko050987 for their corrections!
The festivities went for days on end in Hogwarts and every corner of the Great Britain, celebrating the second and final defeat of the Dark Lord – Voldemort. Death Eaters were hunted down and imprisoned or – in some cases – killed, and creatures with evil intentions were banished from the country.
However, people who were mourning were not only supporters of Voldemort. Those who had lost their friends and family members in the last year, or in the very-last battle on Hogwarts' grounds, also mourned the deaths of their loved ones.
One Harry Potter was not included in the former category. ((He was neither a party-goer nor an evil-hunter – not anymore.) But neither did he consider himself a part of the latter, given his being quite dazed; his mood was certainly not festive at all, and he felt too… empty… to mourn anyone right now. – He was currently lounging, exhausted in every aspect of himself, in his four-poster bed; the room would have been his dormitory room, had he attended his last year in the magical school. There was no one in sight. Hermione was with Ron in the Great Hall, consoling the red-haired – or at least trying to – on the lost of his brother Fred. The rest of his schoolmates were either dead, mourning, or celebrating in their own homes. Kreatcher, the house-elf he inheritted from his late godfather Sirius Black, was putting back order to the war-torn – almost literally – castle together with Hogwarts' house-elves… He was totally alone.
He should have been happy and proud. (He was the cause of Voldemort's downfall; the disarming spell from his stolen wand had clashed mid-way with the killing curse the Dark Lord had aimed at him, making the curse rebound and kill Voldemort instead.) He should have been out, comforting the mourners, or posing and answering questions (for publicity sake, if not for mere reaffirmation that the dreaded wizard who was the bane of Wizarding and Muggle Worlds this last half century was really dead). He should have—
His mouth opened in a wide yawn, and he slipped into slumber like a heavy rock plunking into the still depths of a lake. He had not bothered to change into pyjamas. (What he wore now was the travelling attire he had worn when battling against Voldemort and his Death Eaters.) He had ceased to think about himself and his surroundings, weary from the constant danger and expectation from everyone around him. He just wanted everything to… end, somehow.
Harry continued living in that manner for some time, despite his remaining friends' coaxing him to open up. It might be the best solution for him, in hindsight. – Apparently some people were beginning to suspect him as the next Dark Lord, while the others wanted to keep him in a hero pedestal or hord him for themselves. –
The goblins of Gringotts were neither, but they had their own brand of negative interest on him. If only he had not been so desperate as to trick a goblin into stealing Hufflepuff's Cup from Belatrix Lestrange's vault…
Well, it was the past, and a past as crucial as that could not be mended… unfortunately. – And it appeared that the present was also not mendable, because, the first – and last – time he tried to go into the white marble building of the Wizarding bank after the Last Battle, he was ambushed by battle-ready, ferocious warrior goblins. – The thought of his parents' fortune being horded by the greedy creatures contributed to his many sleepless nights in the Burrow, aside from myriad other jarring events he had been a part of. The money could have been donated to the Weasleys, or to the orphaned magical children or… – So many other purposes, and not falling to the possession of the undeserving goblins. His talk with Griphook about Gryffindor's sword some months ago brought a bitter taste to his mouth every time he reminisced about it.
Ron and Hermione were also impacted by the general opinion, since public knew that they always accompanied the boy-who-lived. Unlike Harry, though, the couple happily ignored the various treatments as they were tucked in their own little world. Ron had proposed to Hermione only some days after Voldemort's defeat, and they had spent the weeks afterwards planning for their wedding and… snogging each other. They were rarely seen without one another, as if they were glued together. – That made Harry feel lonesome, but he would never tell them, because he knew. They deserved their peace and happiness after most willingly accompanying him in every bitter turn in his life.
But a birthday was a birthday, and it was hard to maintain gloomy recollections when the day came in the Burrow for the messy-haired boy…
It was now July 31, 1998. The warm sunlight and chirping birds greeted Harry as he uncoiled himself and rolled to his back, stretching like a cat. He was eighteen years old now; and judging from the assortment of delicious smells of food from the kitchen below, Mrs. Weasley had prepared a special breakfast for this special day of his. (Above all, it was what had nudged him quickly to full awareness.)
That, and the banging on the door. He was not swift enough in reaching for his wand, though. A blurred form with frizzy hair tackled him, making him sprawl back on the bed. "Hermione…" Harry choked. The girl was pinning his chest.
Ron came in after her, in a much more sedate pace, grinning at him. "Happy birthday, mate," he chirped, not caring that his girlfriend was now at a compromising position atop Harry. "How's your night?"
Good, a small sarcastic voice in Harry's head would have said, but his logic won over. He settled for humming noncommittally while disentangling himself from Hermione in as gentle a manner as he could. Before Ron could fire another uncomfortable question, he shot back. "How was yours?"
Ron flushed red. Harry's eyebrows rose to his hairline and he snickered. Playful suspicion was written on his thin face and in his green eyes.
"I wasn't doing anything!" Ron blurted. Harry rolled his eyes and stuck his tongue out.
They ended up chasing one another throughout the house in mock anger, still in pyjamas, Hermione's yell of "No running in the house!" ringing in their ears. But of course, no less than Mrs. Weasley could put a stop on the boys' antics, and so Hermione quickly exploited the knowledge to its full advantage.
It was two much-subdued boys – in posture but not in expression – who sat for breakfast this morning in the Weasleys' packed kitchen. All of the family were there; those who survived the recent war. Arthur Weasley was talking quietly with Bill and Charlie, their heads touching, on one end of the table. Percey was nervously playing with his porridge spoon, and beside him sat a gloomy George. Ginny and Fleur were also talking in a secretive manner one to another… – That spiked up Harry's suspicion that something was going on, something he was not a part of. His merry mood dampened.
Unknowingly, he imitated Percey – toying with the tableware closest to him. His face fell into a thoughtful expression. Everyone had behaved normally when he had firstly entered the kitchen. They had greeted him and wished him a happy birthday. Ironic that now they made him no more happy, he groused to himself as he forced a spoonful of mashed potatoes down his throat. He was unsettled.
But, if he would be honest to himself, the feeling had begun long before, when Hermione had tackled him flat to his bed. He had had a strange, unnerving thought that he might not get a next chance of being on the receiving end of Hermione's enthusiastic, heartfelt hugs and Ron's honest, sometimes-naïve comments. All the conspiratorial whispering around him just heightened the sense, not dulling it any. His gut feeling had never failed him before when survival was concerned, so…
"Oi, mate, watch out for your meal. See if there's a beetle or two in there." Ron tapped Harry's temple. The ruminating boy nearly spewed out his meal – whatever it was now – and glared irritatedly at his friend. He said nothing, though, and that worried Ron, much.
"What's wrong, Harry?" Hermione whispered softly. Her barely-moving lips were a mere inch from Harry's right ear, as she pretended to lean over to reach for the salt shaker. "You can tell us. Is it the press? The goblins? Those stupid fans of yours?"
"We have special presents for you, but you must tell us first what's bothering you," Ron said through the corner of his mouth, his blue eyes shining dimly with half-hearted humor. "Trust us, you'll like them very much. So now?"
Unfortunately, no measure of coaxing from his two best friends could bring Harry to confess what had been going on in his head. If he was to leave them forever, he thought, referring to the foreboding feeling he had been having this morning, then it was best to spend what time he had with them without them worrying about him. He pulled his thoughts forcefully from the hanging sense of doom over his head, then tried to enjoy the breakfast and the warm feeling of familiarity permiating the moddest and cluttered kitchen. He succeeded, in part.
The family gathered in the sitting-room after breakfast, watching Harry face his enormous pile of birthday presents. Mr. Weasley had confirmed to him that all of them were free of harmful and dark objects, since the Order had checked them beforehand, yet Harry was reluctant to approach the small mountain filling the rug before the fireplace any nearer than half a meter, which was actually the distance from the edge of it to the door. He had never gotten any worthy birthday gifts – or anything at all – from the Dursleys, and his gifts while in Hogwarts were only handful; not that he minded either. But now—
"Are… these all for me?" he stuttered in a quiet voice, as though the pile of presents would come alive and attack him if they were aroused from their slumber. (The small mountain looked certainly monstrous enough!)
"Well, I won't get jealous on you for this, Harry. Think on how long it'll take to unwrap everything!" Ron snickered; getting an efficient, stern reproach of "Ronald Weasley!" from his mother, sister and girlfriend for his cheekiness.
Harry gulped. "And no one would help me deal with them?" he confirmed. When everyone shook their heads, he stepped into the room like someone to his execusion.
As he had predicted, the gifts were all from his admirers. He sighed exasperatedly while repeatedly spelling off the wrappers and glancing at the gifts before passing them to anyone near. In the meantime, Ginny told him, while making a strange sound like an angry cat, that the Orders had disposed of quite a few strong love potions smuggled in bars of chocolate or other sweets. That brought a green tint to his face better and faster than when he had tasted a feces jellybean from Bertie Bott's Every Flavour Beans yesterday.
He got all sorts of things he liked and did not. He got a lifetime-free ice-cream certificate from Florien Fortescue, who had just come back from hiding, plus a cooling box – Wizarding version – which contained self-refilling chambers of every flavour of ice cream possible, complete with a scoop for each flavour and self-refilling cones. The owner of Honeydukes gave him a similar gift. (The note attached to the lid of the box said: "Happy birthday, Harry Potter! We hope you would enjoy this gift of ours. Just prick your finger and let a drop of your blood fall on the emblem of my shop on the lid, so the box can be activated. It only answers to you and no other. Touch the box, closed, with your bare skin and speak whatever you want in what quantity. Your request will be obliged soon unless you decided to rob me of all my stocks!") Then there was also a resizable trunk with a flat in it, complete with training, duelling and ritual rooms and a library, courtecy of the luggage shop in Diagon Alley, Flourish and Blotts Bookstore, and the Auror Department of the Ministry of Magic.
But he also got things like a crystal ball and a pack of the dizzying-scented mixture of herbs (from Sybill Trelawney), a package of dragon dunk and other myriad disgusting items (from Pansy Parkinson, which he quickly disposed of together with his vomit), and a set of dancing-and-singing-"Harry Potter my saviour" Wizarding action figures (from an anonymous sender).
He and his surrogate family spent the day opening and commenting about the gifts before stowing them away; broken only by lunch, snacks, and supper. The children feasted on the many packages of sweets Harry got for his birthday, and Ron was only – understandably – jealous on the Honeydukes and Fortescue self-refilling boxes. (Harry remedied that by tossing the certificate card to him, warning him against losing it, and telling him to spoil his future children with much ice cream. An early wedding gift, the green-eyed boy said, regretting it right afterwards because Hermione went into one of her longest tirades over him and Ron about spoiling children.)
The presents from his closest friends were last to be opened, having been set aside from the giant-sized pile of other gifts. Harry's heart felt like wanting to jump out from his mouth when he discovered the combined gift of Ron and Hermione: All hocruxes were there plus Gryffindor's sword and the Elder Wand, and they were in perfect shape except for the wand! (He brought it back to shape later in the day, when he was completely alone, with a single command of "Repair yourself.") The couple refused to tell him how they had managed to repair everything (or, in Ravenclaw's diadem's case, recovered). Hermione added a few books about borderline-dark spells – disguised as Quidditch books which no doubt had been Ron's idea – which her card said that he had to use it not to oppress people. (He threw her an incredulous look for that.)
Mrs. Weasley gave him her rare – according to her children – woven quilt, light-blue in colour and strangely soft to his touch. Mr. Weasley gifted him with a lock-opener knife Sirius had given him for Christmas in his fifth year, and also a large box of enchanted Muggle things – which his card told Harry sternly that the boy must open it in secret.
Fleur gave him a copy of her family's inherited recepies. And when he asked why she had gifted him with such precious item, blushingly told him that she had heard him cooking, and she would be honoured if he would try her family's recepies. Flushing nearly scarlet, he acquiesced to her wish and proceeded to Ginny's gift, which consisted of an animated mirror and bathing kit she made herself. When he looked up to thank his girlfriend, he saw that Ginny's face was redder than Fleur's and his. The sitting-room broke into rawcuss peals of laughter, then Mrs. Weasley pestered her about if the teens were courting each other, and if they had done it properly.
The most shocking of all, even above his best friends' joint gift, though, was what Bill, Charlie, George and Percey had attained for him: money from his vault… and more, since they confessed to him that they had discovered five other vaults connected to him (Sirius', the Blacks' ancestral vault, his parents' family vault, his father's ancestral vault, and Peverell's). They had gathered all in a trunk which was much larger in the inside, divided into huge chambers according to the number of the vaults. They had worked diligently side by side, it appeared; Bill with the vast knowledge of Gringotts, curse-breaking and goblin society, Charlie with his skill with magic, courage and talent in duelling, George with his clever ideas and pranks, and Percey with his knowledge and talent in beurocracy.
Harry was flabbergasted with the amount of money he owned (even after his fortune from the Black family had been reduced by half to support Andromeda Tongs and Teddy Lupin, according to Bill), but he ignored it as best as he could now in favour of the items left in vaults other than his trust vault, which he had used during the course of his years as a student. He, for once in his life, had a broad access to his past and his parents'. He wanted to dive into the photo albums and journals as soon as he found them, if not for Mrs. Weasley's pestering him to have supper and some sleep first. He managed to smuggle some journals and photo albums underneath his robe to the bedroom he shared with Ron, though. And his elation with them was what had kept Ron from commenting about his sudden wealth.
The journals kept Harry happy and occupied; that, and sessions of Quidditch playing, cooking, quality time with his best friends and Ginny, and reading other materials. But it did not stay long, unexpectedly.
Half of the Weasleys must go back to work (Percey, Charlie and Mr. Weasley), or were occupied again in their own worlds (George and the now-runaway-from-Gringotts Bill); and it was just three days after Harry's birthday. The Burrow was strangely quiet and empty, and the trio of young adults found themselves loitering aimlessly in the yard or the paddock the family used for Quidditch games.
It was worse for Harry; because, now that he was no longer distracted, the foreboding feeling came back to him, three folds. He was often caught brooding and staring into space, or treating Mrs. Weasley and his friends with more awareness than usual, as if it was the last time he could be with them. And on the fourth day, he decided that enough was enough. – He wrote a will based of what he knew on such matter. (He took a special, secret trip to the library in Hogwarts to research for safe spells to make sure the will was conducted.) Meanwhile, he convinced Kreatcher to work for the Weasleys as a family house-elf upon his departure. And at last, he dug up a small cave under the Weasleys' paddock – of course when his friends were not around – to store the things he intended for them, by the help of a teary Kreatcher.
On the eighth of August in the year 1998, Harry James Potter vanished without a trace, and with that also the rest of his belongings and money stored in his new trunk. The bed he had slept on during the night looked as if someone had left it without getting away from it, and it – alongside Harry himself – became a curiosity until much, much later.