A/N: Hey all,

Long time, no see, right? So I have had my own reasons for avoiding this story, which involved a whole ton of healing, grieving, stress, and growing up a crap-ton. I had this fragment lying on my hard drive... which I polished up a bit and decided to toss out to all you who actually enjoy reading this and for some reason, still are after two years.

I plan on re-writing this. I really do.

Which leads me to this:

Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter. I don't own any part of Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, or anything else the J.R.R. Tolkein may have even touched, let alone written.

Chapter 5

Harry slumped against the wall as he exited from the hobbit's room. He knew he needed to get a grip on himself but his arm was still shaking from the death grip he had on his wand while controlling the fiendfyre. Not many took into account the tensing of the muscles in one's arm and the adrenaline crash that came with trying not to become well done and served with a side of chips.

Staggering a few steps across the hall, Harry considered his options. They would find out that the Ring had been taken. Harry didn't bother covering his tracks, no point really when you destroy lawn ornaments.

Harry stopped and slid down the wall opposite the room he left. This whole situation was unexpected. The destroyed property was expected, Harry was not a master of the spell, but sacrifices had to be made in the form of personal property. Not his personal property, but the sentiment remains.

The ring should have been destroyed. It didn't make sense. Fiendfyre eradicated magic. Magic binds souls to objects. Eliminate the magic and the soul would be unbound and collapse at once and then be defenseless in the flames.

Looking up at the intricately carved ceiling Harry couldn't help but wonder if his magic was leaving him in this new place. He could only wonder what the implications of stepping into a completely different world would have on the laws of magic that he knew. Actually the more he thought about Gandalf, the more he wondered about the title of 'wizard'. In the weeks Harry had spent in this strange land, he had never seen the wizard use magic beyond glancing at the surface of his mind. No sparks, no wand, no true Legillimancy, not even an owl for a pet.

'No'. Harry thought while staring at the Hobbit's door. 'The wizard only has the uncanny ability to-'

Harry was jerked out of his thoughts as the wall in front of him turned into the ceiling above him. Squirming about, Harry tried to figure out where the wall behind him went. His eyes came to rest on a pair of grey boots. Following them up, Harry's gaze came to rest upon the grey beard of a smiling old man.

Speak of the devil.

"Ah, there you are. I was beginning to worry that you were going to steal into the night. Glad exhaustion is for once serving in my favor", said the elderly voice from above, "And here I find you at my door, good gracious me." After a small smile, Gandalf turned around and entered into the room behind them.

Rubbing his head, Harry mildly cursed the wizard with his thoughts.

"And if you choose not to come inside, I think you would make an excellent doorstop." Continued the voice in a derisive tone from the room.

Harry picked himself off the ground, muttered, "Damn wizards" and wandered inside.

He followed the light and took three steps into the lodgings of the wizard. The door shut behind him of its own accord, causing Harry to jump and level his wand at it.

The voice, somewhat exasperated, came from around the corner behind him, "I assure you stranger that here in Rivendell, it is not the doors that are accustomed to attacking guests."

Lowering his wand, but not holstering it, Harry followed the voice around the corner into the glow of the fireplace. The room had the same architecture that Harry had come to associate with the elves, however the decorations were more…human. A few dusty tomes on a stool that served as a resting place for a plate of bread. A glass orb with block shaped runes rested haphazardly upon a stack of parchment. A staff that leaned against a hearth where a kettle sat, presumably full, but not boiling. A sword was tucked behind a comfy, but not overstuffed, armchair.

The place retained articles that could be found everywhere else in the waypost of the elves, but for the first time Harry saw them in what seemed like chaos compared to the clean and pristine environment the elves had created. It was closest he had felt to the Burrow in over two years.

Shaking the dark thoughts from his head and holstering his hand, he looked up to see Gandalf take his seat at the table before the hearth. Three cups were set at the table, and a grey-robed arm gestured to the two remaining seats. Selecting the seat facing the wizard with his back to the wall beside the entrance, Harry felt he could settle down to enjoy tea so long as he could keep his eye on the biggest threat he had found in the past few days.

"Now that you are settled, is there anything you'd like to ask?" Gandalf inquired while he was preoccupied with stuffing his pipe.

Harry was almost disappointed by the lack of interrogation, "No inquiries?" he said as he leaned back slightly in his chair.

After he finished tamping the pipe, "Oh yes, several in fact, they can wait a bit longer. At my age you learn when the questions can wait and when they cannot" Gandalf finished with a small smile and inhaled from the pipe.

Harry smirked at the action, and after the wizard exhaled a long stream of white smoke, he decided to take the bait, "Okay, here is one: How many people notice that you never light your pipe but still smoke it?"

"Ha! Ha-heug-Ha! Bright lad!" Gandalf hacked out while coughing harshly into one fist and pounded the table with the other, "Bravo! Hek-Eugh My boy! Well done!" With the coughing fit not stopping anytime soon Harry passed over his mug.

Gandalf gratefully accepted the mug, drank deeply from it, and looked up at Harry with watery eyes and a crinkled grin, "Thank you. You are the first person I've come across in a century that has noted that crafty little trick of mine. However, I'd say that the person who could spot my trick would be clever enough to notice that your mug didn't have water in it when I gave it to you. Wouldn't you agree?"

Harry smiled, what had to be his first sober smile in over two months, he had been caught. The wizard before him wasn't blind to his surroundings, his eyesight may not be the keenest, but what he saw he cared enough about to fully notice it. It was also the proof Harry needed.

Chuckling lightly, Harry relaxed back into his chair, "It's probably a safe wager. Though I must say, I was beginning to wonder if you were a wizard that didn't use magic."

Gandalf quirked an eyebrow and exhaled slowly, "Well, that would be because my power and your magic are different, no?"

Now it was Harry's turn to question the meaning in the question, "I'm not quite sure I know what you mean." The question implied curiosity in power, and that was enough to set Harry back on the edge of his paranoia.

Gandalf looked at Harry and seemed to be weighing his options, after a mild shrug, the man continued, "Your powers are not the same as the Istari. We have a different purpose and thus a different type of power than that you would need to fulfill your purpose."

Harry leaned forward to the grey man enshrouded in smoke, "I have no idea what your power is, let alone to compare it to mine. Besides," he said with a smirk, "I make it a point to not believe in purposes. "

Gandalf shrugged and puffed into his pipe, "I have found solace in purpose. I suppose you revile the comfort it brings."

Before Harry could counter the statement there was a sharp knock at the door. Gandalf got up before Harry could tilt his head to the noise. For looking almost 80 years old the man was rather sprightly, but then, who knew how old wizards were just by looking at them?

"Unusually late." Muttered the elder passing in front of him to the door. Harry resisted the urge to draw his wand. It was quite clear that no one here had a reason to want his soul destroyed.

Well…Unless they were an elf.

Harry settled for a gentle grip on his phoenix wand. Just in case.

Aragorn exited the Halfling's room and glanced down the hallway. No one graced the halls this late in Imladris, unless they were causing mischief. The stranger may have already escaped Imladris, a cursed blessing if so.

Taking a deep breath Aragorn knelt to the ground and placed his ear on the cold flagstone. If the 'lokion' of the elves was still in the halls he would hear his footsteps.

It was only after three seconds of pressing his ear to floor that he remembered the stranger's uncanny ability to leave no tracks and make no sound when he walked. Just before he got up, Aragorn heard a chair move and what sounded like someone pounding on a table.

Jumping to his feet, Aragorn brushed himself off and looked in the direction of the noise and smiled. Gandalf was still awake. Stepping towards the door, Aragorn was thankful he could at least consult his friend in this matter. Knocking on the door Aragorn looked at the pale blue eastern horizon and wondered why the wizard was awake. Aragorn had barely glanced at the sky when the door opened before him.

A tired, but jovial, smile greeted him, "I was beginning to worry you wouldn't knock."

Aragorn smiled, of course Gandalf knew something would bring him to his door, "So then you know what brings me here?"

The wizard gestured him in, "Aragorn I think you'll find more answers than you had questions tonight."

'For once.' Aragorn thought as he closed his eyes and let the warmth of the hearth wash over him. He glanced around the room, taking in the comfortable disarray of books and baubles that Gandalf pulled together to form the closest thing to a residence that the Wizard had.

"Does the same thing go for me, as well?" Came a voice below him to his right.

Whirling around to face the unexpected occupant of the room, Aragorn couldn't contain the groan that escaped his lips. There before him, clad in his customary dark robes was the cause of his anxiety.

'Lokion' was becoming a more apt description day by day.

"Please take your seat, Aragorn." While the old man was tired, he left no room for argument, "I assure you that this man has done no wrongdoing that warrants Lord Elrond's immediate attention." Looking to the dark clad man Gandalf continued, "I decided that it was time to end the childish bickering and that we all come to a point where cooperation can be achieved."

Aragorn took the remaining seat and glanced at the man beside him. He was surprisingly sober, however looked as unkempt as ever with a scraggly and patched beard and his sleeves were mildly singed. Whatever doubt Aragorn had concerning this man's involvement with the black twisted stone on the terrace was squelched.

Before Aragorn could comment on the burnt material, Gandalf walked to the fireplace muttering and smacked the teapot in the fireplace; it responded in turn with a strong jet of steam.

The man beside him quirked a grin and slowly rested his elbows on the table. Gandalf filled the three cups with hot tea and sat down by his mug next to Aragorn and across from the still unnamed occupant of the room.

"Now, we can have civil discourse." Gandalf said settling deeper into his chair while clutching his mug, before Aragorn could speak however, Gandalf's voice broke in, "My name is Gandalf the Grey, but I have many names. My purpose is to see an end to the Dark Lord Sauron."

Gandalf gestured to Aragorn, "This is Aragorn, son of Arathorn. He is a trusted friend of mine, and is a Ranger of the North."Gandalf set down his mug and glanced across the table, getting no response he picked up his discarded pipe and continued, "I was curious if you were ready to share your name…" Gandalf trailed off, absently chewing at the end of his pipe.

The man to his left sighed and then looked across the table, "The name is Harry Potter," he then turned and looked at Aragorn as if suddenly acknowledging his presence, "Hope that wasn't too anti-climactic."

"An unusual name," Gandalf said after taking a long draw from the pipe, "From what land do you hail from?"

The stranger paused

"You may be wondering how you were roped into this journey for the past few weeks, am I right?"

The stranger shifted his weight, gave a half-grin, and looked at Gandalf, "It has passed my mind once or twice, yes"

Gandalf smiled, "Well it is a bit of a long story, but you heard most of it yesterday, am I correct in this as well?"

Aragorn looked between Gandalf and the man beside him. What was Gandalf talking about? Did that mean the stranger was at the Council? Gandalf also helped steer the young man away from the topic of his origins, what was the wizard playing at?

"I was invited, yes." The stranger said staring steadily at the Grey Wizard. "So I should think I was expected there."

"Oh you were," Gandalf said with an equal chagrin, "It is just tradition that you make your presence known when attending a meeting. So it is safe to assume that you understand the gravity of the situation that you are in now?"

The man blinked and looked at Gandalf in confusion, "I don't want your ring, I have no need for it. I can get out of your way actually, I was planning on leaving this morning."

"I believe you, otherwise I have no doubt that if you wanted it, you would have absconded with it weeks ago." Gandalf paused to blow a long stream of smoke towards the fireplace. "I was referring to the fact that you have been seen by servants of Sauron in the presence of the Ring and you have garnered his curiosity. There is no place you can go where he does not have spies or soldiers who seek to be guerdoned by bringing you to Mordor"

The ball of guilt Aragorn had been carrying for the past few weeks tightened, the stranger- Harry Potter- probably didn't realize the size of the manhunt that would be mounted for him. Despite the man's deplorable behavior, he didn't warrant the attention of the enemy.

The stranger paused for a second, and then let out a barking chuckle that held no humor. Aragorn looked askance to his right and saw Gandalf look grimly across the table over the small cloud of smoke he had created on his end of the table.

"So, your Dark Lord seeks information from me, cause he thinks that I want that piece of-"The man paused and took a deep breath, "I appreciate your concern, but I'll be fine on my own."

Aragorn stood and slammed his hand on the table, "Perhaps we were not clear. The enemy is mounting a hunt for you. Nowhere amongst civilization will be safe. The Enemy has spies everywhere, waiting, listening. Stronger and wiser men than you have been killed and tortured for information less valuable than what you have."

Aragorn looked up from his hand and saw that the stranger was staring blankly at him. It was actually a reasonable response when one considers the enormity of the situation. There was no place that-

"Is that all?"

Aragorn's thoughts were interrupted by Harry smirking at his warning and the same glint that was in his eyes the night before the Council. The same glint that made Aragorn consider the time it would take to reach into his boot for the simple knife stored there.

Gandalf immediately inserted himself into the exchange of warnings, "While I am sure you would have a surprise or two up your sleeves, and probably could find a means to escape the enemy's notice, Sauron will probably have a surprise or twelve to gain the information you carry. I may also be correct in assuming you do not know the lay of the lands around us as well as the enemy does, and therefore will be at a bit of a disadvantage."

Harry scowled at the implication of weakness and opened his mouth to counter Gandalf but then snapped it shut and worked his jaw as the focus of his ire was shifted to the elderly wizard.

Gandalf sighed and tried to appease the young man before him, "I am not suggesting you are weak, nor trying to cozen you into thinking I know how the Darkness in the East will try capture you. I am merely suggesting that your journey away from the hospitality of the elves could be made easier with assistance." Aragorn noticed Gandalf's nose twitch in amusement as he said the word "hospitality", perhaps knowing full well how the young man interpreted the patience and kindness of Lord Elrond.

Harry looked away from the wizard and scratched the scruff on his jaw as he weighed the old wizard's words. Gandalf pressed on, perhaps sensing a change in how his suggestion was received, "I will not try to tempt you with purpose but I do have a proposition that could benefit you greatly." Gandalf raised his mug which Aragorn noticed contained a small amount of water, "From one traveler to another"

Harry smirked and raised his mug in kind and took a sip from it, leaving Aragorn to wonder what was going on as he stared at his empty mug.

"Gandalf, this is not the time for jests"

"Lord Elrond, you know I am not in the habit of jesting when it comes to the Dark Lord Sauron"

"He will not be in the company of the Ring. He has taken it once already-"

"-And then returned it, a feat that can only be claimed by a few. I am not suggesting he becomes a member of the nine who will protect the ring-bearer only that he travels amongst them"

The voices echoed down the hall towards Elrond's study and passed out of the hearing of corner that seemed to ripple in the early winter wind. Harry could only imagine how Gandalf broke the initial news to the Lord Elrond. While the wizard had tact massed in tonnage, Harry suspected that the wizard enjoyed the occasional opportunity to excuse himself from it.

Harry knew that Gandalf wasn't prying into his past, but he couldn't figure out why. Was the old wizard a master of the mind arts, and broke into his mind already? Probably not. Harry would like to think he would notice if someone stirred the pot up there. Also, Gandalf would probably be less trusting if he knew what Harry had done in the past year. Harry was pretty sure he didn't count as one of 'good guys' anymore. Perhaps Gandalf believed he could take Harry in a fight if he turned on him, regardless of how dangerous his past was. Harry wondered who would win in that fight, while Harry had youth and a not too shabby arsenal of spells up his sleeve, the aged wizard had power that Harry doubted anyone in Rivendell had seen tapped to its potential.

Whatever the reason, Gandalf seemed to have taken Harry into the trust of an acquaintance at least, which Harry still couldn't wrap his mind around. After all, if a Dark Lord is out there, the first thing you have to learn is not to trust strangers. Heck, sometimes you can't even trust your friends.

Gandalf's friends certainly did not trust him. Well, perhaps he should narrow that down to his human and elf friends. The dwarves loved him and on the rare occasion when his chats with Gandalf were a rouse to have him enter the hall while dinner was served, the dwarves insisted that Harry join them. The oldest Hobbit sat with them on occasion, but was usually seated next to his host: Lord Elrond.

Lord Elrond. Now he was an interesting being.

Harry knew he was an old geezer in the body of someone who barely looked forty years old, but as Harry glanced around at the frescoes of the old war in Rivendell, he felt a weird sort of understanding for the ancient elf.

He had seen the first war, lived it, fought it, and yet, couldn't stop it from becoming a second war in his life time. While Harry was only alive for the tail-end of the First War, he watched as his enemy rose up unchallenged until it became too late.

While he could understand Elrond's mistrust in him, he couldn't help but feel a bit irked about him stonewalling Gandalf's plan to help Harry.

The plan that had him travelling with the Fellowship of the Ring.

A/N: Short n' sweet. I highly doubt I will ever update this version of the story again, but will definitely plan on re-writing it. I'll post the news on this story when I get around to it. I'll probably watch The Hobbit when it hits theatres and then decide on going through with it.

If anyone wants to adopt this, drop me a PM and we can chat about it. Don't know If I will agree, but don't be afraid to ask.