Warnings: Contains many references to Hinduism and Buddhism (not in a convert-y way – I'm an atheist – but in a "this religion works well for this story" way), slash, Twilight (scary stuff there), crude language, shorter chapters than my norm
Disclaimers: Harry Potter belongs to JK Rowling and associates of whom I am not one. Twilight belongs to Stephanie Meyer and associates of whom I am (thankfully) not one. No views, religious or otherwise, are meant to reflect the views of the author (well... except the ones that make fun of Twilight, but those are well deserved!).
1: Right View
All was normal in the Gryffindor Common Room on June 23rd, or as normal as it ever was. The Weasley twins were making things explode, Colin Creevey was boasting about how he and Dennis had finally figured out how to change the "Potter Stinks" badges to "Hogwarts Pride!" that morning, not realizing that the badges on his robes was spouting sparks and hissing insults to his mother in Welsh, and –
Hermione Granger was yelling at Ron Weasley. Yes, all was normal, or as normal as could be expected only 24 hours before the final challenge of the Triwizard Tournament. Harry smiled dispassionately at the scene his friends were making by the largest window; it wasn't as if they really understood the way his guts were flipping at that moment, how Merlin-damned scared he was of what was looming over him in less than a day's time. They thought it would be spells that would save him.
Had spells saved him in first year, when he faced Quirrell? No! Had spells saved him in second year, trying to stop Tom Riddle and save Ginny? He hadn't even had his wand on him at the time! Harry loved magic, truly he did, but he had little faith in how far he could defend himself with spells.
His friends didn't understand that all he could trust in trouble like that was his instincts, the reflexes he honed escaping bouts of Harry Hunting. And the Triwizard Tournament, which killed about 40 percent of the competitors over the age of 15 – which he wasn't yet – was certain to be at least twice so harrowing as the dangers the Boy-Who-Lived had faced in years past.
Well, minus the Voldemort part.
"If you would just pay attention instead of sleeping or playing hangman with Harry for once!" Hermione was right in the middle of her mid-exam stresses. They only had the History Exam left in the morning after all, so it was a mystery to anyone why she of all people would worry. She was the only witch in their year who actually paid any mind to Binns; it was her fault that anyone in Gryffindor attended the lessons at all, purely from fear of a rant like the one she was giving Ron, only ten times worse. "Do you even know anything about the subject?"
"Er, well, I know..." he trailed off. "Um... India's got lots of Dark wizards?" He hazarded a guess. Harry almost hit himself with a book. Even he knew that one was wrong!
"Ronald Bilius Weasley! Alright, I'm not even going to try to quiz you. Now sit down so I can lecture you on how completely wrong that is!" Hermione was apparently ignoring the fact that Ron was already seated under the window. Harry looked over the top of his book that he wasn't reading and sighed. He could imagine Hermione as a mother. It was terrifying.
"To begin, you have to understand a little bit about the dominant religion of India at the time all of these 'historical things'," she used air-quotes and sent Lavender Brown a glare as an indication that the girl who had initially used the phrase "historical things" should probably pay attention. "Hinduism is not like Christianity or other such religions; it endorses magic and as such many magical people from the ages of its main prevalence were practitioners of the Hindu faith. One of the main beliefs of Hinduism is reincarnation, that all souls are reborn again into other bodies. We knew now for this to be fact, to an extent – obviously souls eaten by dementors are an exception to this, as are the souls of humans turned into vampires. These bodies are not always human. In a past life you might have been a tree or a dragonfly or a snidget for all we know.
"Part of their belief is that being reborn is a bad thing," obviously she saw fit to dumb down her language when Ron had tried – and failed – to raise his hand to ask what a word was. Like reincarnation. And prevalence. "Continuing to be reborn is taxing on the soul, and escape from that cycle, what they call 'samsara', is the goal of both Hinduism and its offshoot, Buddhism. To achieve Nirvana – that is, freedom from Samsara – is the dream of many practitioners, but only one in a million manage it. Usually less even than that. They usually attempt to do this through meditation and fasting.
"Maybe with that sort of background knowledge the lesson will make more sense to you," Hermione sighed. She took a seat, claiming the cushion under the windowsill as her own. "In the sixth century Ano Domini, a Buddhist wizard – no Dean, Ano Domini is not the name of the wizard, it means After Birth in reference to the Christian Messiah. Shouldn't you know this? You said your mum was Anglican! Anyway, a buddhist wizard whose name was lost to the ages was desperate to get free of Samsara. His soul was not a young one, but it lacked the wisdom to manage to free itself, and his sanity was going thin. He invented a spell which was a last-ditch resort for any wizard desperate enough to need it. He called it the Ah Veda, in reference to the Vedas, which were the books entailing the many rituals of the Hindu faith. After freeing his soul to Nirvana, the Brahmin caste – the priests and scholars, I won't even try explaining right now – locked away his Ah Veda, hoping it would not rise again as they felt that an unearned freedom from Samsara was cheating and could harm the balance.
"Twelve hundred years later, when the British set up their rule of India in Calcutta, they found a sealed trunk that took seven fully trained curse breakers to open. Inside was the scroll detailing the A Veda. When the populace found out, they just thought of it as a way to kill prisoners, but because of a mix-up in the translation they ended up with an incantation of 'Avada Kadavra' we know today, which is a terribly warped version of what was otherwise a rather humane spell." Hermione was a little flush and silently accepted when Harry passed her the water Dobby had brought him a while ago.
Her lecture having drawn a crowd of fourth years desperate to understand, Neville started waving his arm in the air. "Um, H-Hermione? How can a spell like... like the Killing Curse have been 'humane'? I mean, it's an Unforgivable; you've seen..." He trailed off, swallowed thickly and clenched his teeth, obviously hit by the memory of Moody torturing the spider again. Now Harry knew what happened to the Longbottoms, he understood the reaction a lot better.
"Good question Neville," Hermione said between sips of water. "There is a large difference between the Ah Veda and the Avada Kadavra, which is how they function. The Ah Veda is simply a pulse of magic that severs to connection between the soul and the spirit in a way that prevents it from inspiring a new body into creation, so it can do nothing but go on to the proper afterlife. And before you ask, yes, individual personalities do go off from the soul to something else, but the soul is different, aright? Now, the Avada Kadavra is very different. It isn't a mere pulse of magic. The user is actually sending out part of their own soul to push the victim's soul from their body. This is an altogether less wholesome experience than the Ah Veda, but even worse, it damages the soul of the user. That's why it is called a Dark spell, when the Ministry used it for executions for fifty years. Well, that and when Grindelwald dug it out of the Ministry archives..."
Harry managed to zone out as Hermione started talking about the war that went on at the same time as the Second World War, the one Dumbledore stopped. It was simply too recent for it to occur to the school to put that on any History exam, even the OWL or NEWT exam. To muggles the War was a big part of history – he still remember Mrs Peet's lectures on it from year five – but to the magical world, there were so many living people (and things) that remembered it that it just didn't count.
With a sigh, Harry did his best to push all things historical out of his mind. So now he knew his parents would never be "reincarnated". There had been some lessons in first year about things like that, and Harry had sort of hoped that Ginny was a reincarnation of his mother until he realized she was born several months before Lily Potter's death. There was no need to even think of finding their reincarnations.
Focusing on the thought of not needing to be reincarnated any time soon, Harry turned his attention back to his book. Right. Survival time.
The downside of living in Alaska, Edward decided, was that the sun never went down in the summer. Worse, it was June 24th, only two days since the longest day of the year. They had maybe an hour of not-daytime, and there wasn't a cloud in the sky. It wasn't hot, but what did heat matter to an immortal vampire who could be killed by nothing short of being torn to pieces and tossed into a raging fire? No, sun meant he couldn't leave the house or reveal himself for the humanoid diamond that he was.
He really wished there were more trees on the property. But they were moving further south in July, to an area in Washington near where they had lived some decades ago. The only downside to that area was that there was a pack of wolves nearby, but the treaty should ensure all was well on that front.
"Your move," Emmett seemed just as bored as Edward, but not so rightfully. Sure, the playstation was broken, but they had three other gaming systems, and Emmett was just pouting because he accidentally broke it when he was about to beat Final Fantasy something or other – Edward ignored the little voice in his head (or, rather, Emmett's) that said 9 – for the umpteenth – eighth – time. Emmett also had a wife to whom he could go to for comfort. So Edward supposed he ought to be grateful that Emmett decided to entertain him instead with a game of chess, even if Edward could see through all his strategies.
Except that the women of the house were busy planning the vow renewal ceremony for Jasper and Alice next month and no man or vampire was brave enough – or stupid enough – to interrupt that by whining about a broken game consol. It would be downright suicidal, and so Emmett was settling bysilently whining to Edward while pretending that he was just enjoying being soundly trounced by his brother at chess.
Edward moved his knight to D3, taking down a pawn at the same time. "Check." It was so boring! He glanced at the clock and lamented that it was still only noon. Summers in Alaska were absolute torture.
Three moves later, Edward's black pieces had Emmett's white King cornered, and the larger of the two wandered off to try to find some way to entertain himself that wouldn't get him beaten so easily again. The whir of the Gamecube could already be heard from the den as Edward cleaned up the pieces alone. Apparently Emmett was over his post-destructive depression and was ready to play another video game then, and a one-player in case Edward decided to beat him at something else.
It was not as though it was Edward's fault he could read minds!
8 timezones away, two teenaged boys grabbed on to a portkey, not realizing that one of them would not be returning in the same state as he left.
As Edward placed the chess board back on its shelf, he felt a slight prickling sensation on the back of his neck, setting him immediately on guard. He turned slowly, uncertain, and it was at that moment that Cedric Diggory, age 17, died, and Edward Cullen, age 102 (as of four days prior), learned of the existence of his apparent reincarnation.
Although he did not know it, vampires lost their souls when they were turned because they were "dead", though their personalities, their "selves" were kept in the body. Hermione Granger knew this, because Hermione Granger knew everything, but Edward Masen hadn't been a terribly religious fellow in life, not in the traditional church-goer sense, a sort of lax Lutheran who believed but didn't want to be told how to, and Edward Cullen knew little more about religion in general than what was taught in school. Having never attended a magical school, having been a muggle prior to his turning, Edward did not know how much of what various religions preached was fact and therefore did not know that, when he "died" his soul was reincarnated.
Edward Cullen would never know that the soul of Edward Masen first became a human woman – for he had been a good man – who lived in Japan. Tamura Hitomi died trying to protect her children in the bombing on Nagasaki in 1945. Some months later the soul was reborn as a piglet, killed a few months after that for food, and then he was reborn a wolf, a butterfly, a chimpanzee, until 1963 when it was once again a man, Aurelio Hernandez. He died on New Year's Day in 1985 in a bank robbery; it was his first day as an accountant. Having been a good, if boring man, Aurelio Hernandez, once Tamura Hitomi, once Edward Masen, was reborn on October the first, 1985, to the Diggory family.
Cedric Diggory was killed using the Avada Kadavra on June 24th, 2003. (1) His soul lost the ability to encourage a new body into existence – something that would take at least six months to recover if it were not drawn directly to Nirvana.
Which, as it just so happened, was what happened. Never in the short period of the curse's use as a tool for execution nor in the time since Grindelwald had found the records detailing the curse and bringing it to popularity had the reincarnation of a living vampire been killed. No sundered soul had ever had a living body to return to. But Cedric Diggory's soul did have a place to go; the astral journey took all of three seconds, from the moment Peter Pettigrew's soul lashed out to kill him to the moment when Edward fell to the floor of the Cullen-Hale home screaming.
Those three seconds were enough to erase a good portion of the personality imprinted in the soul from Cedric Diggory; the vestiges of a soul's previous personality were always erased by birth, the nine months of human gestation being ten times as much as was necessary. But there was still many impressions of a lifetime embedded, tiny quirks and certain characteristics that were too strong to be immediately erased. The half-life of an impression upon a soul was ten seconds, leaving Edward with over half the impressions as soon as it hit. His mind reading ability wrote the information so quickly into his mind that, by the time the information faded from the soul, almost half of it was written into him.
This, of course, was the source of the screaming. Well, that and having the rather intense feeling of being killed. The Avada Kadavra wasn't so painless a death as the Wizarding World claimed.
When Edward stopped screaming, Emmett was hovering over him, having lifted and swiftly carrying him to Edward's room to lay on the black leather couch. The rest of the family – minus Carlisle, since his work at the hospital was only in windowless rooms and the car park was underground – was hovering at the door, each in their own states of worry.
Edward was going haywire, emotionally speaking; he was dying and he was dead and he knew things that Edward Cullen had never experienced but knew so well was the truth because he had heard of some of the people – it was impossible for a magical creature to have not heard of Harry Potter! – and there was so much detail about some of the little things that it simply couldn't be denied.
He felt sorry for Jasper, who was surely feeling the miniature maelstrom within Edward and the worry of the rest of the family.
"Edward?" Esme's voice was soft as she entered the room. Her hand on Emmett's bicep made him step back quickly, allowing their mother to hover properly. "Edward, how are you feeling? What happened?"
Edward tried to figure out how to explain; the best he could come up with was, "Ow." Then he tried harder – quite glad that he wasn't human then, else his vocal chords would have been damaged; it happened to Cedric when he was three and Death Eaters attacked the house, but his mother was a healer and fixed him up. It took a week to heal even with magic. "I was reincarnated."
After explaining as best he could with the slew of half-explanations residing in his head – a compilation of his own knowledge and that of the late Cedric Diggory, but mostly Cedric's – Edward managed to convey what little he knew to his family by the time Carlisle arrived home. Alice made the explaining easier, as she had apparently seen the flash of green light a micro-instant before it occurred and Edward's fit, making her the second person to arrive after it happened, Emmett being the uncontested first.
None of them made much more sense of the matter than he did, but Edward was still sorting things out in his head. He trusted implicitly that he would, over time, understand it.
He also had puzzle pieces he would not allow his family to see, several of which involved the Harry Potter. Specifically, how Cedric Diggory, Edward's previous-future incarnation, had been nursing a crush on that person for the past few months since learning how utterly selfless he was, and knowing that Harry was jealous of him for taking Cho Chang, a friend, to the Yule Ball.
For months after, even in the move to Forks, Washington, and starting school at Forks High, Edward found his thoughts revolving around Harry Potter. He blamed it on the pieces of Cedric's personality that had stuck to him. It made him more lively, he smiled a bit more, was less self-absorbed, though he hated to admit it. There was something about the return of his soul that made Edward more alive, but even when he tried to ponder that, his mind would unerringly return to one scruffy, green-eyed teenager. He seemed painfully young to Edward, even though he had been only a few years younger than Cedric. That relationship would have been perfectly acceptable for them – Edward and his family had a special viewpoint due to their long lives didn't care about homosexuality one way or the other – but Edward was one-hundred and two years old.
He should not be thinking about Harry Potter that way.
Edward let himself drown in school. As a sophomore at Forks High, he took Physics – Chemistry was apparently a freshman class, which was a bit of a change up from most of Edward's past schools – and other classes that allowed him to shine. He had always done well in school, they all did, but now he actually tried, to distract himself, Edward came off as a scholar.
If his family realized he was interacting more with his classmates at Forks High than any previous school, they never mentioned it. He knew for a fact that Jasper did, and liked it, since Jasper took it as a sign at Edward was becoming less sullen.
If only they knew how much Cedric had changed him!
Rosalie didn't realize there was any change whatsoever until he laughed at a "that's what she said" comment made by Mike Newton in the lunch hall their first February in town. Alice noticed it was getting harder to read him because while the change made him more decisive, it made him less stubborn and more spontaneous. Emmett was merely amused that his brother was willing to rib him in return.
Edward was actually somewhat glad for the tweaks to his personality, but the sudden addition of a human soul was rather... strange. He felt more human, a little more in control, but he also felt a little distanced from his family. He still drank blood just as often, but there was something not the same.
Like the fact that he didn't sparkle anymore.
Sometimes when it was sunny he would go to school anyway and claim that he couldn't go camping with his family because of a class project or because what they were studying in a class would be important in the Final so he couldn't skip out, but he joined them most times. It made the disappearances seen less suspect; it was Carlisle's idea since the Hospital car park, and indeed the Hospital itself, were too easy lit by the sun for him to keep up their charade.
It took just over a year for the family to become accustomed to the "new" Edward, the Edward who could take a joke, who could temper his mind-reading abilities thanks to the meager knowledge of occlumency his previous-future incarnation had possessed. They would take some months to grow accustomed to his next change.
Rosalie would blame it on anyone but Edward, and Edward wouldn't blame it on anyone. The pair had gone out to pick up groceries so Esme could get her cooking urges out, something which was currently leading her to bake gross quantities of apple bread (the Cedric part of Edward lamented how it would taste like mud, because he loved apples), and a group of people with bright red hair in the vegetable section caught Edward's attention.
He knew them. They were Cedric's neighbors back in Ottery St Catchpole. He couldn't remember their names, just the surname "Weasley". They were wizards. A matronly woman was hitting twins on the backs of their heads for juggling eggplants while her husband examined an ear of corn, hiding a smile. The daughter, somewhat pretty for a human, looked a mix between annoyed and amused with her older brothers.
More red caught Edward's eye then, and he turned his head minutely.
Two boys were rushing over two the cluster of redheads, but only one had red hair. The other... the other...
Edward forgot to keep up his illusion; he did not blink or breathe, he simply stared. That scruffy black hair, those bright green eyes... he'd know that person anywhere. It had only been a year. One year, two months, one week, three days... it had only been a year, but Edward could see the changes in Harry. He was taller, average height for a man, and doubtless with some growing left to do. He wore a t-shirt, the kind that was tight enough on him that Edward could see his nipples and precisely how much Harry had filled out over the past year. His hair was cropped shorter into a trendy cut that left his bangs long enough to hide the scar without obscuring those bright eyes. It was almost too much that he still wore glasses, even if they were half-frames rather than the terrible ones Edward remembered.
Edward swallowed dryly and was too lost to protest when Rosalie started dragging him away from the produce section.
Author's Note: If all goes well, this will be an 8 chapter story (each chapter having the title of one of the Eightfold Path) and an Epilogue. However, I have three endings I'm debating between – one bittersweet, one sorta-happy sorta-creepy, and the last being the "fairytale" ending – but the tone of the entire story stays the same throughout, so hopefully I'll have no trouble when I need to decide. I will write all 3, but there is a poll up for which will be the "official" ending that appears in this story's file.
Yeah... actually made it Edward/Harry this time. Scary, ne? And this isn't just a one-shot, not even a long one like In an Instant was! It's an actual chaptered series... not too long of one mind, just a short series (max of 50k words, I'm sure), but it's something.
When I started writing this series, I thought I would write it over the summer. Instead I wrote two chapters and then stopped writing entirely for a year and a half. Hopefully that will soon be fixed.
(1) I bumped the Harry Potter timeline by 8 years to match up with Twilight. (June 2003 is a year and a half before Bella goes to Forks. The end of this chapter is September 2004, 4 months pre-Bella)
Last edit: 30 November 2011