Summary: Harry never truly gave any thought to Quidditch as a profession but when Viktor Krum invites him to Bulgaria for the summer before his fifth year, opportunities arise that make Harry think differently about the war, Voldemort, Dumbledore, his friends, and more importantly himself.
Want to Get Closer
The black ink dripped off the tip of the quill, he must have dipped it in a good twenty times, he'd pull it out ready to write only to pause with a disgruntled expression before dipping it back in and glaring at the blotched parchment.
Why was it so hard to compose a letter? If anyone saw the famous Quidditch Star Viktor Krum hesitating and squeezing his fists nervously, they never would have believed that it was all over a letter he hadn't even started.
The small one bedroom flat that overlooked the mountainsides of Bulgaria were smoky from the morning rain and the white fog rose up in steaming spirals.
He sighed and rubbed his face with his right hand affectively smearing ink along his cheeks and chin. It should be a simple letter but to Viktor it was anything but simple. How did he ask someone he barely knew to come visit him?
Of course, he had been a complete moron all last year, so many chances but he had been too stupid and thickheaded to take the chances that had been offered and instead he gets close to a Muggleborn girl in hopes of capturing his attention but again he failed.
Pinching the bridge of his nose, he wiped the ends of his quill and finally, after twenty minutes of staring he wrote.
Dear Harry Potter,
No, Viktor shook his head. From what he knew of the shy boy, Harry hated to be addressed formally and to be reminded that he was what the world considered the boy-who-lived.
Instead, he scratched out the Potter and simply wrote Harry and once again he paused. Now what? The easy part was out of the way and that took twenty minutes.
Viktor Krum's dark brown eyes dimmed as he thought about the mess that was last year. Karkaroff's fault through and through Viktor just knew it. The first words out of the bastard Headmaster's mouth when he caught sight of Harry Potter for the first time.
"Stay away from him!"
Viktor scoffed at the remark. Every time, Viktor had gotten ready to approach Harry, Karkaroff would show up out of the blue or someone else would get in the way and it became hopeless. Harry was always surrounded by someone but it seemed to Viktor that Harry didn't want to be surrounded by everyone. From all the times Viktor had watched him, the teen seemed so alone and helpless, so shy and afraid and most importantly, so very distant from everyone he knew.
It was one of the many reasons that he was drawn to Harry Potter. Another, Harry knew what it was like to live in the limelight and detest every second of it. He also knew what it was like to be used for your name and nothing more. Harry could relate where others could not.
The third thing that drew him in were the eyes, Viktor's favourite colour ever since he were a little boy had been green. He had never been drawn to another colour before, green was his and Harry wore green so beautifully. He could continue on and on, remember how small he was, how sweet it was the way he looked confused, and the fact that Viktor had never once witnessed the boy smiling truly.
Viktor wanted to see it and it was with those thoughts that he began to write in earnest and didn't stop till he got to the bottom of the page.
When he was finished, he cracked his knuckles and folded the letter before placing it into a green envelope and signing Harry's name as neatly as he could, which wasn't saying much.
He called for his favourite owl, Hooligan and tied the letter to him. "England, Harry Potter," he instructed and trusted his owl to find his own way. He was the most intelligent breed of them all anyway.
With that done, he pushed the parchment aside ignoring the stack of letters he'd already received from the Muggleborn that didn't hold his interest. She was nice and all but Viktor's sole purpose of speaking to her had been because of Harry. Otherwise, he'd never have given her the time of day.
He stretched his gangly arms up over his head and shook his legs out before moving his head from side to side letting it crack and relieve some of the tension that had built up from the nerve wracking letter writing.
His flat was a total mess, he wasn't exactly expecting any guests and so towels and shirts were strewn all over the floor, a sock hanging on the windowsill and boxes of Quidditch gear littered the only sofa plonked down in the middle.
It was after seven in the morning and he had practice in an hour and being in the air was the one thing that helped him think clearly. He felt free and even if there were reporters and cameras everywhere trying to get a glimpse of him, he was able to ignore it once he was in the skies and all of his nerves and worries would disappear in an instant.
Now, he just hoped that Harry would accept the invitation, with a nod to nothing in particular, he set out to get dressed but all the while he couldn't help but be hounded by brilliant eyes of green.
Yawning, Harry whimpered from his place on the bed and turned over, he began to stretch bringing his arms up over his head and colliding a bit with the wall. His feet shoved the covers downward revealing his impossibly thin figure.
Yesterday had been odd, he thought staring up at the ceiling, still a little surprised at the fact that he could see clearly. A potion had been given to him by his former Professor Remus Lupin to fix the problems with his eyes. It had been a gift from Sirius and since his godfather couldn't get out without being clobbered by Ministry Officials, Remus had come on his behalf.
Harry had also gotten a change of wardrobe and style. Something that was his own and no one else's. Remus had been delighted to be able to do the proper job of a godfather and had nearly cried when Harry had hugged him and called him that.
Remus had been the first person he hugged willingly. He didn't count Hermione because he didn't hug her, she hugged him.
Remus however had weaseled his way deep into Harry's heart, he was a sweet brown headed man with amber eyes. Now, here Harry was no longer the epitome boy-who-lived. Instead, his hair was long and black silky falling into thick layers down his back. He'd done it to get rid of the mess that stuck up and with his eyes glowing green without the need for glasses, he looked a sight.
He was still irrevocably small and he couldn't really do much about that but at least he didn't feel like a bum wearing hand-me-down clothes that a homeless wouldn't even appreciate.
He twitched his toes against the fabric of the covers, Remus had not been pleased with his bedroom and so transformed the covers and the pillows to a more comfortable state.
Hedwig was snoozing in the corner and would quip every so often like she were having a bad dream.
He tilted his head to the side allowing all the hair he now had to fall forward over his shoulder. He listened closely for noise from downstairs.
The Dursleys had not received his change very well, but Remus had shut them up good with his very kind talk to them.
Harry snorted. Who knew that kindness could also be the best sort of revenge? Remus was a devious man, he thought biting his lip at the thought.
It was then that a tap on his windowsill drew him away from his wandering thoughts of werewolves and muggles. He gazed over to see a jet-black owl with dark amber eyes peering in at him expectantly.
"Who are you?" Harry asked even though it couldn't hear. He slipped off the bed and slid his window open as Hedwig awoke and glared at the intrusive owl that dared to get near her owner.
The owl hooted majestically and landed on his shoulder and stuck out it's foot revealing a green envelope.
"Well hi there," he said taking an owl treat and getting bit on the hand by Hedwig for it. "Now, now Hedwig, I'd never replace you. You're my only owl," he said brushing her beak gently before handing the treat to the owl.
It hooted in thanks as Harry sat down and quickly opened the letter, bemused by who it was from. He hadn't really thought to check it for curses or hexes. But he needn't too when he saw who it was from.
I've wanted to talk to you for quite some time now but I wasn't sure how too. Your friend Hermione Granger told me that it wasn't a good idea to approach you because of the stress that you'd been under, so I heeded her warnings. I'm Viktor Krum in case you are wondering and I know you're a lot like me with the only difference, while I hate the fame I have I expected it. You received it unwanted and in a horrible way that I couldn't fathom.
But that's not why I'm writing, I wanted to invite you to Bulgaria for the summer. You're probably wondering why I am inviting you, an almost complete stranger. But I think you and I would get along well and I know how much you love Quidditch and here your name is not as strong as it is in England. I could introduce you to all the players from the Quidditch Team and I could give you all the free tickets for as long as you're here.
I was told that you live with Muggles and I'm guessing that the Quidditch Cup was the only professional match you've ever seen and decided to offer you a chance to see more and perhaps later you could decide whether or not you would like to pursue a career in Quidditch. I saw you flying that dragon and I've heard a bunch of stories from Hermione about how you excel at Quidditch. So if you would like, write me a letter back with Hooligan and I'll send an International-Port-Key for you. It would give me the chance to get to know someone who doesn't care about fame.
If not, say nothing, and I will hassle you no further.
Harry's eyes went perpetually wide and he dropped the letter onto his lap while looking over at Hooligan who hooted at him in earnest.
"Wow," he said softly. A chance to go to Bulgaria and have a potential friend who knew what it was like to hide from the limelight of fame. He too had known from just looking at Viktor that the boy had hated his fame but he loved the game.
Harry smiled a bit. It would be nice and he was stuck at Privet Drive all summer so why not?
"Give me a minute?" he asked. "Rest with Hedwig and I'll return the letter in a bit."
He hooted and flew over, Hedwig snapped her beak but shuffled to the side allowing the foreign owl a drink from her water bowl.
"At least it's not Pig, Hedwig," Harry placated patting her on the head.
She hooted at him as if stating her relief as Harry moved across the small room to his trunk. He found some paper and ink, still thinking about the letter Viktor had given him. It seemed to Harry that it had taken the teen a lot of work to write. He seemed scared and hesitant maybe, what was he scared about? Harry wondered.
He'd love to be friends with Viktor, it would be nice, but Harry had to wonder, why did Hermione try to tell him to stay away? Harry wouldn't have minded having another friend. He would bet that Viktor was an interesting man.
He shrugged when he came up with nothing and set to writing a letter back. He could hear the snores in the next room of his cousin Dudley. The boy wouldn't even be waking till well after two in the afternoon and he was sure that his aunt had went into the city with her gossipy house-wife friends and Vernon wasn't expected to be home till well after five so he had quite a bit of time left before dealing with his relatives and it also gave him some time to think about the offer from Viktor Krum.
It certainly would be a new experience and he knew he should probably ask someone if he could go first but who would miss him besides Remus or Sirius? He'd write the two of them but otherwise, he wouldn't tell anyone else. Not even his friends.
Viktor stared shocked when Hooligan rushed through the open window, quickly, he jerked up from his brooding place on the sofa and saw that he actually had a response. He couldn't have taken it quick enough.
Hi ya! Thanks for the letter. It was nice and I would love to come there this year. There's nothing going on for me except for the Daily Prophet tearing me apart because of what I said last year and Hermione was wrong.
I would have loved to have gotten to know you last year. You could have approached me any time. I'm sorry you were detoured. Also, thanks for the invite, your owl is beautiful, what kind is he? My owl, Hedwig is a snow white one and she was huffy when he came through and landed on my shoulder but she became friendly with him when he was about to leave. Owls are really weird aren't they?
I'm glad you wrote. I'm ready whenever, there's no one I have to really go through for permission, I am an orphan and my relatives don't really give a damn. So, I'll be waiting.
Viktor's brood was completely shattered and replaced by a rare emotion of giddiness. How pathetic was he? He thought unable to contain the grin plastered on his face. He had already approved the Port-Key in hopes of Harry accepting and so it was ready to be set off with a password.
"You up for another trip in a couple hours?" he asked in Bulgarian.
The owl hooted and flew over for some water and food. Once he gave the owl time to rest, a small box with a glass Snitch was placed into it along with the written password. He sent it off and took a cursory glance around the flat. He would have to clean this, Harry couldn't port in with it such a mess, what if he stumbled and broke something?
With energy he did not possess before he set to work.
"Do you really think it's alright?" Harry asked curling legs his under him while breaking off his turkey sandwich. He and Remus were sitting outside under an oak tree. It was the very next day, he had written Remus and Sirius about wanting to go to Bulgaria and instead of writing back Remus had appeared the next morning with a basket for a small picnic. The Dursleys were once again doing other things and left Harry to his own devices.
Remus smiled. "Sirius and I think it's good that you're going away a while and not just because of that rag known as the Daily Prophet but because I think you need it. It would be good for you."
Harry beamed. "Yay! I was hoping you'd say that. Viktor is really nice, you know? I don't know him well but I do know he doesn't seem to mind Muggleborns and he really didn't like Karkaroff. It's just… he knows what it's like you know? Having your name spread across newspapers and stuff."
"I know," Remus said nodding and pouring them some more butterbeer. "Sirius tells me to tell you to have fun… and the other bits I'll leave out."
Harry laughed. "I can imagine," he hummed drinking the rum flavoured drink down. He'd certainly missed the stuff. "I might need a spell though, to understand Bulgarian."
"I'll give it to you, lucky for you, once you enter Bulgaria territory you can use all the magic you want. There are no restrictions unless your twelve and under and then you have to have adult supervision. I'll show it to you after we eat."
"When are you leaving?" Remus asked.
"Uhm, whenever he sends the Port-Key, no idea how long it takes from here to Bulgaria," he said and then sighed. "I wonder why Hermione did that though?"
Remus looked up. "Hm? What exactly?"
"She told Viktor that he shouldn't approach me because I was having it tough. What would have been wrong with him approaching to say hi?"
What Remus answered to that shocked Harry. "Jealousy."
Blinking, the boy arched an eyebrow. "Jealousy?"
"She must have known his interest in you, Harry and my guess is that she got jealous that he wanted to know you and not her and so she persuaded him not to approach you. I'm not all that surprised. She is intelligent enough to see it but she's still human and a girl."
"I guess," Harry said a little disgruntled at the thought. "Well, she can't do anything about it now. I'm going to see him."
"Your stuff packed?" Remus asked.
"Yep, my new trunk and everything with it. Will you take Hedwig?"
"Sure, I'll take her. Just remember to write us every few days."
"Why would I forget?" Harry asked.
It was the very next morning when Hooligan flew through the open window and sat on Harry's bed post and began to hoot until the raven-haired teen awoke with a sigh.
"Hm? Hooligan?" he asked as the owl fluttered down and landed on his chest. The letter and parcel was practically in his face. "Oh, th- thanks," he said stifling a yawn.
He untied it and sat up as the owl flew to the stand where the cage was no longer sitting but a bowl of water and owl food remained.
He quickly read the letter off before getting up. He dressed hastily in a pair of black boot cut zip up trousers and a dark red long velvet shirt, it clung to him like static. He was quick to brush his teeth and pull his hair back up in a high tail before gathering all his things and activating the Port-Key. "Snitch."
International Port-Key's were strange things, Harry felt as though his whole stomach was swimming as he landed right on his back in the middle of a floor. He coughed as the air left him and before he knew it the world had tilted, a pair of strong arms pulled him from the floor into an upright position. He was completely dizzy and held onto the bulging muscles of one of the arms.
"You alright, Harry?" A thick strong accent questioned rather close to his ear.
Harry breathed deep, still holding on for dear life. "Dizzy," he said faintly.
"I am sorry, I could not get you myself."
Harry cracked open an eye and he smiled sweetly when he came face to face with the concerned expression on Viktor Krum's face.
He was the exact same that Harry remembered him as; tall, dark, and a little sullen. He had a slightly curved nose that wasn't exactly Severus Snape like but it clearly defined his foreign descent. His hair was black and while it wasn't as long as Harry's it was still to the point where it needed to be thrown back. He was also a little more muscular than Harry remembered him.
Most Seekers were thin and small but Viktor was fast even with the bit of muscle mass he had. It wasn't much, but it was more of a Chaser build than Seeker. His cheekbones were high and defined like that of a pureblood and his lips were pale and a little thin.
"Hi," Harry said when he was sure that he wouldn't throw up all over the man.
Viktor chuckled and very reluctantly, let the small boy go and took one step back. "Vow, you've changed," he said surprised. He was still small but his hair was longer and his eyes simply glowed causing Viktor to feel weak.
Those green eyes, nothing obstructed them.
Harry blushed and looked down at himself. "Ah, yeah, my godfathers doing. I wanted to do something with myself, you know? Everyone tells me I look like my dad and that's fine and all but… I wanted to be myself."
"I like it, it is not a bad thing, I vas just shocked is all," Viktor said with a smirk. "You look very nice."
Harry grinned. "Thank you! It's nice to see you again Viktor, on better terms than last time."
"It is Harry, velcome to my home. It's not much but it's just me," Viktor said almost sheepish.
Harry's grin widened a little. "It's nice!" he said gazing around the half empty living room.
It was awkward for a moment until Viktor decided to take his trunk and give him a quick tour, which wasn't much.
"You have come at a very good time, I'm about to go to practice, vould you like to meet my team?" he asked.
Harry's eyes lit up. "I'd love too!" It really was nice to be away from England, it was like a massive boulder had crumbled leaving his shoulders lighter than ever before.
He could get used to this. No Voldemort, no England, no Daily Prophet.
A/N: Phew! That concludes everything that is in my folders that I've worked on within the past six months or so. Some are long and some are short, some only have one chapter and others have about five or six. I can't believe the responses I've gotten in the last two hours. My jaw dropped to the floor. I'm glad you find some of these to your liking. Once I finish one of my on-going stories, I may just post a couple of these and the rest of its chapters.
So, now you have a peek at what's in my writing folders, what I do to escape reality. Well, I'm off. I need to finish TVE Chapter. XD Thank you. I'll keep your responses close by, so I know which one captures you more. XD