The next morning dawned cool and bright, and a sense of purpose, of dreadful expectation filled the air.
Meals were eaten heartily, weapons and arrows were checked and rechecked, Ikran were reassured and men and women teased and ribbed one another, saying without saying, 'Don't die out there'. It was almost in a daze as Harry mounted Zeus under the suspicious and curious eyes of the other Na'vi, the bronze Ikran crooning and whickering to himself.
"Do you fly well?" a woman asked, causing both Harry and Zeus to snap their heads at her. To her credit, she didn't even flinch, but judging by the red and white paint that decorated her body, she wouldn't be the Olo'eyktan of the Eastern Ikran people if she was in any way weak of heart.
Harry ran a hand down Zeus's back as he thought of how to answer, "We have never flown in a war," he admitted as Zeus whickered at the woman's own mount, a significantly smaller dull mocha coloured beast with spotted black and green patterns on it's back half. "I suppose we will find out later today," he decided, offering her a small smile.
Fierce golden eyes studied them both for a moment before a fanged smirk crossed her face, "I suppose we will," she agreed before the call to position trilled from up above. She nodded at him before launching herself into the air, Zeus crying out and following suit, an answering shriek from high above reminding them that even if she had no rider, Hera would also be joining them.
It was then they heard the distant sound of rotary blades. The Sky People had arrived.
"Hari!" Neytiri called gesturing to him to join their formation, they would be the first into the attack, following on the heels of Toruk Makto. Nodding he whistled to Hera, the ivory shaded Ikran falling into position at Zeus's side, the two of them following on the heels of Neytiri and Tsu'tey as the group of five glided between the mountains that the Ikran rested, waiting for the signal to attack.
Like a pestilence, the shuttle glided out from beneath the Thundering Rocks, swarming helicopters buzzing around it like flies. Harry felt his stomach turn with a mixture of fear and hatred as his mind flashed back to Beauxbatons, the bomber planes and the unmanned drones that rained explosives and fire and death down on eleven year olds as they tried to run away to safety. His fingers sparked with magic and Hera whickered, calming him down. He couldn't go lashing out with magic right now. By flooding himself with Eywa's power, he had forcibly widened his Magical channels, a very painful act, but it had the upside of allowing him to actually control his magic to a degree now. He was no where near as powerful as he once was, well, actually, he was a thousand times more powerful, that was the problem. He didn't have any control of it. He could use most spells he learnt while in Hogwarts and while it used to be enough to short-circuit any and all electronics in the immediate vicinity – such as causing all the glasses and lightbulbs to explode – the Muggle Military had gone to expensive lengths to protect their equipment from magic. Hence why what Grace and the others called the 'Flux Vortex', the sheer saturation of Eywa's magic within the valley, did nothing more than ruin the Muggles' guidance systems.
"Attack! Attack! Attack!" Tsu'tey roared, lifting his bow.
And like a sheet of water, the Na'vi descended upon the Muggles.
Chaos broke out as all formations broke and Ikran tore into the Helicopters. Harry screamed out to Hera, voice rising and falling as he directed her. She shrieked back in turn as Harry and Zeus dove and weaved inbetween 'copters, sling in hand. Harry gripped at Zeus's shoulders with his legs, sitting up against the wind resistance as he let rip with a fist sized chunk of Mother's bone – straight into the rotary blades of the nearest 'copter.
Watching the blades explode and shred themselves, sending the 'copter spinning and careening into the side of a mountain was strangely satisfying as Hera landed on another, whipping her tail to give her leverage to turn and throw her prey into another 'copter, the two of them shredding and exploding on impact.
Harry reached for his back, "ACCIO!" he commanded, watching as the gun platform a muggle was using to aim at Neytiri was torn clean off the 'copter. He gripped it with his magic and then stabbed the metal plated death machine into the 'copter's rotary blades.
Spotting the muggles on top of the shuttle firing at everything within sight Harry reached out and grabbed their guns with his magic, wrenching them clean out of their hands.
Then he saw a 'copter painted with Na'vi colours under attack from other muggles.
Jake did say they had a pilot on their side...
"Hera!" Harry called, whistling for her to rescue the pilot. He only hoped the person inside was smart enough to recognise a rescue when they saw one.
He didn't keep track of her as Zeus shot upwards, rolling in midair and winging backwards until they were facing the opposite direction, Kelren flashing past them – riderless.
The bottom of Harry's stomach dropped out making him feel sick just as he heard the sound of the Olo'eyktan's voice.
"Zeus," he commanded, the Ikran shrieking as it shot towards the sound, spinning and diving at the back of the ship, allowing him a glimpse and a chance – Harry reached out with his magic and wrenched every gun pointed towards the Na'vi clean out of the ship. Whether or not the muggles holding them had let go or not wasn't any of his concern as he jumped from Zeus's back and into the bay, catching Tsu'tey before he tumbled back completely and out of the ship, his chest bloody with bullet holes.
"I told you not to die!" Harry snarled as he whistled, angrily banishing a muggle armed with a knife so hard into the opposite wall he splattered against it. Zeus landed with a croon of distress and, not letting Tsu'tey answer, "Take him to Mo'at," the wizard commanded, manoeuvring the Warrior onto the Ikran's back. "Go!" he snapped, slapping the huge beast's side and sending him winging back out into the battle and down towards the Tree of Souls.
"Fire you idiot! He's not human!" a muggle voice shouted, Harry didn't even look before a high powered incendio bathed the cargo bay in flame, scorching and melting the electronics within.
He looked at the explosives beside him and banished them back into the cargo hold with a contemptuous sneer.
"Valkyrie one-six, this is dragon, you are cleared and hot," a disgustingly familiar voice declared over the intercom.
Stalking over to the com, he flicked a button he knew would allow him to speak directly to Quaritch. "Yes, very hot, as I just set them all on fire," he pointed out casually.
"Who is this?"
Harry was silent for a moment before something dark and unnameable filled him, "My name is Harry James Potter. Last survivor of the Magic Purges. We met several years ago. Do you remember? I do. And I will make you choke on your own blood before you die for it. Wait for me muggle. When I'm finished with all of your men, then I will come for you," Harry promised before punching his fist through the intercom and channelling as much magic as he could into it.
The intercom exploded and fire licked at Harry's skin as he pulled his hand out.
"Now to go and make good on that promise," he murmured, turning and stalking to the edge of the ship, waiting until a Na'vi flew close enough before jumping and landing on the back of their Ikran. "How many of the Sky People's flying monsters remain?" he called, ignoring the way the Na'vi in question pulled a knife and snarled at him.
He paused in confusion, frowning, his eyes studying the strange thing behind him, he had all the marks of Eywa's blessing... And he was painted in war colours of green and gold – Omaticaya colours. "Five handfuls," he answered.
Harry nodded, "Pull around to the front of this monster and break the clear armour on it's nose. I'll do the rest," he told the young Warrior.
"Do what?" he demanded, but wheeled his Ikran around anyway.
"Knock it out of the sky," Harry promised.
"You're insane," the Warrior declared, a fierce grin spreading across his face. "I am Guran, you?" he asked, pulling an arrow and notching it.
"Fight well, Hari," Guran bade him as he drew his arrow back, taking aim as his Ikran dove.
"Fight well, Guran, and come home safe when the fighting is done," the Wizard told him as he loosed the arrow. Watching as it shattered through the glass of the cotpit – skewering the pilot through the chest.
"Tsu'tey, brother, do you read?" Jake's voice called through his com-piece. Tsu'tey groaned in pain as Mo'at dug her fingers into his chest, reaching for the teeth of Gaia's bone the Sky People filled him with.
"I hear you, brother," he replied, touching the throat jewel that allowed Toruk Makto to hear him.
"Are you alright? Where are you now?" Jake asked, relief colouring his voice.
"Hold your breath," Mo'at told him before she ripped another shard out. Pain blackened his vision and almost swallowed him, stealing his breath and thought away.
"I am... at the Tree of Souls. I am injured. Hari... forced me to withdraw. He is in the large white beast," Tsu'tey explained haltingly as he gritted his teeth against the pain. Beside him, the human woman painted with their colours, the pilot, held him down with bloody hands, her face scorched and soot streaked.
"He's in a bad way, Jake, five bullet holes to the chest, none of them through and through. No punctured organs though, his ribs deflected most of the bullets. We're picking them out now," the woman explained through her com, tightening her grip on Tsu'tey's shoulders as Mo'at pulled another tooth of metal from his chest.
"Trudy! You're alive!"
She nodded and cast a glance over her shoulder at the white Ikran who saved her, it whickered and flicked it's tail. "Yeah, someone sent their Ikran to pull me out. Pretty white thing," she noted and Tsu'tey smiled a split second before pain turned it into a bare-toothed snarl of discomfort. Hari would send both of his Ikran on rescue missions and leave himself in enemy territory to fight alone.
"Jake, ma Jake," Neytiri's voice broke through, sounding breathless and raw, "Seze is dead. They are very close. They are many."
"Do not attack! Do you read me, Neytiri? Do not attack! Fall back now. Get out of there! That's an order!" Jake called through the com, Tsu'tey felt his heart clench at her silence. "Neytiri!"
The Sky woman, Trudy, looked down at him, worry and fear in her earth brown eyes. Tsu'tey felt something cold grab hold of his insides and twist.
"Jake..." Her voice. Tsu'tey relaxed. "Eywa has heard you..." she breathed, awe filling her voice. "EYWA HAS HEARD YOU!"
The white beast in the sky exploded into flame, falling to the ground, it's face missing.
The shrieks of Ikran filled the sky as the rookeries emptied, clouds of Ikran raining down from the sky, falling upon the Sky People like a vengeful mist. Clouds of pale pink and violet drift down like malevolent poison, long trailing tendrils sparking as they encapsulate one of the Sky People's flying beasts, crushing it. A split second later, something pierced it's clear, bell-like body and fire exploded throughout the sky. Ionataya.
"Jesus, even Medusa..." Trudy breathed, staring up at the spectacle of Eywa's resolve.
Hera shrieked, sitting up as a shadow descended upon them, the sky lighting up with a second explosion as the final great flying beast burst into flame and fell from the sky as Zeus glided slowly toward them.
Mo'at jumped to her feet, "Continue, Turudi," she commanded as she hurried over to the coffee coloured monster's side, reaching toward the pale, blood streaked figure lying limply upon it.
The woman looked down at the Olo'eyktan, "Sorry about this, big guy, it's gunna hurt," she warned as she pulled a knife out, "Some of these things shattered when they hit you. Gotta get all the pieces or they'll poison you from the inside," she explained cutting into him.
Tsu'tey didn't notice.
His eyes were fixed on the pale figure Mo'at lowered down to the ground. Small, still and covered in blood and burns. Green eyes were shut, green and gold paint was dirty and smeared with scarlet and black. Cuts and burns spiralled up his arms, patterning them like the stripes upon Toruk. Tsu'tey couldn't see, he couldn't see Hari's chest. He couldn't see it moving. Cold filled him from head to tail as his stomach flipped and dropped, becoming heavy and painful. His chest hurt. Inside. Not even the burning pain of the Sky People's weapons could hurt like this.
Mo'at cradled the diminutive form as she smoothed dark hair from his face, pulling her hand away red and wet.
"Hey! Hey, don't move!" Trudy yelped as Tsu'tey pushed himself upright, heedless to the open wounds on his chest or the blood that ran down his body in rivulets.
"He lives still," Mo'at reassured him glancing over her shoulder before scooping the limp figure up and carrying him over. Gently, with infinite care, she settled him down at her Olo'eyktan's side and stepped back as he reached for the bloodied figure. There were no great sucking wounds that needed stitching, his skin was not charred or blistered. He was just bruised, battered and cut as Tsu'tey rested a hand on his blood soaked hair.
Green eyes cracked open slowly and Hari smiled at him, "M'not dead," he told the Na'vi quietly. "You ordered me not to," he added, eyes slowly sliding shut again.
Hari was scarred, he was dirty and bloody, scrawny, all bony limbs and sharp angles and ugly white skin. His neck was too short and his shoulders too wide for his chest and waist, his hips were wide and his stomach and torso were short. He had no tail. He had extra fingers and his toes didn't bend right. Some might've called him ugly, most did, behind his back. Grotesque had even been thrown around a little bit in the beginning. He looked too much like a Sky Person to be attractive.
And right now, all Tsu'tey could wonder was how long he had been in love with this person, and how had he not noticed it before?
"They are going to scar wonderfully," Guran declared, running his three fingered hand up Harry's forearm, eyeing the neat threading that held the slashes up and down his arms closed.
All around them the Valley was in organised chaos as the Clans picked up after themselves, put those beyond help out of their misery, aided those they could, gave mercy to those Sky People left behind. They buried the dead – even the Sky People. They took the necklaces to Toruk Makto, who would pass them to the Sky People before they left. Now all that remained was cleaning the Valley of Gaia's bone and stifling the fires.
Harry snorted, "Don't remind me. Ninat is going to give me an earful," he stated, pulling his arm back with a shake of his head.
Guran chuckled, "So what happens now?"
Harry shrugged, "That's up to Tsu'tey. Chances are the Omaticaya will remain here, move into the mountains," he said, nodding to the Thundering Rocks overhead. "I lived there before joining the Omaticaya, it's not so bad. Like will go on."
"It always does," Guran agreed solemnly.
"Pass those here, Zuleika," Harry called, perched upon Zeus's back, two slings across his back full of what they had been able to scavenge from the fallen and burnt remains of Hometree. It wasn't much, just a few stone tools and the splinters of the loom but it was enough to be getting on with the rebuilding.
Currently, Toruk Makto, Neytiri and Tsu'tey were with the Warriors, seeing off the Sky People while the Omaticaya rebuilt their home. They had selected a trio of rocks, linked together by huge tree roots, drifting lazily near a river. Not too far away from Harry's former home overlooking the Tree of Souls.
Harry, Zeus and Hera had been ferrying people and supplies up to the largest of the mountains, a cavernous thing filled with tunnels and waterways that would become their main home. Already songs could be heard, echoing from the mountaintops as men and women went about their work, voices rising and falling in a cacophony, sung with great gusto and happiness.
The time of Great Sorrow was over. Life continued. There was much to celebrate.
Na'ring gurgled and mewled happily, crawling along the freshly grown grass, soaking up the sunlight with the glee that only a small infant could. Harry chuckled and caught her ankle, pulling her up to eye level and dangling the giggling little monster by her foot. He would have never done this with a human child, it was too dangerous for their underdeveloped bodies. By Na'vi had carbon-fibre bones at birth. Children were delicate yes, but not fragile.
"Where do you think you're going, little terror?" he asked, rubbing noses with her as she shrieked with laughter and grabbed his face with her tiny hands. He right sided her and tucked her against his chest, humming. It was peaceful here now, with nothing other than the sound of running water and leaves rustling in the wind. He could hear insects buzzing in the undergrowth and the far off warble of an Ikran.
But here, lying in the sun, in the pathway the Bulldozers had created to the Tree of Voices, that barren scorched strip of land that was now green and alive. It was peaceful and quiet.
"I knew I would find you here."
Green eyes cracked open, realising that, at some point, he had fallen asleep. Na'ring curled up, breathing deeply against his stomach, sucking on the end of her tail. Tsu'tey smirked down at him from where he was crouched above his head.
Harry blinked slowly and smiled slightly, stretching languidly. "And find me you did," he agreed lazily, eyes sliding shut again.
Tsu'tey snorted and sat properly, tail curling around them as he stared across the barren patch of land now turned lush and green. Flowers dotted the small pasture and he shook his head, spotting the saplings that stirred their soft pink tendrils in the wind. He'd done it. The Tree of Voices. Young and newborn, but risen again. Healed.
"You have done so much for us," Tsu'tey realised, his hand going to Harry's hair.
"Not that much," Harry disagreed softly. "You did more."
The two exchanged glances before smiling, neither of them would have been here without the other.
Harry sat up and shifted, using Tsu'tey as a cushion and curling up against him, head against his shoulder, "I forgot how peaceful it was," the Magi admitted softly, his eyes sliding shut as he just enjoyed the warmth of the sun seeping into his skin, the smell of the breeze bringing with it the taste of cinnamon and a thousand other earthy living scents.
"The Sky People have gone. The Sorrow has passed," Tsu'tey agreed, wrapping an arm around the pale figure, glancing down at the infant sleeping against him and smiling slightly as he tugged her little fluff-tipped tail from her mouth. "We no longer must fear them."
"A weight is gone," Harry summarised softly. It felt that way to him. No longer did he have to live in fear of being hunted down and killed by those people. He didn't have to fear for the Omaticaya's safety if he was discovered. No muggle would return to this place, not when the Na'vi had so firmly put their foot down. Max, one of the muggles allowed to stay, had already streamed a message back to earth with the whole truth of the encounter to the press. There would be huge public outcry against the RDA by the time they arrived and no one would ever finance another mining expedition to Pandora. Not when it was cheaper and safer to just mine asteroids and dead planets for resources.
The pair sat in silence, just soaking up the peace and quiet.
They didn't leave until dark when it was time for Jake to be reborn. When it was time, Tsu'tey told himself, to finally let Neytiri go and pursue his own heart for once – instead of his duty.
Jake's party lasted long into the early hours of the morning as the Omaticaya sang and danced through their new home. Rope-bridges made of fallen wood and braided cloth stretched between the mountains, providing safe travel for the children who raced around, exploring every nook and cranny of their new home. Exclaiming with delight over every new thing and creature they found.
Only two people knew their Olo'eyktan was not present.
Ninat chuckled, gently thumbing mashed fruit into Na'ring's lips as the infant eagerly chewed on her fingers, Zuleika smirking as she drank and watched the festivities. Only they noticed the absence. And unlike most everyone, they knew exactly what was happening.
"It is about time," Ninat giggled.
Zuleika nodded, "Tsu'tey is nothing if not blind and stubborn," she pointed out with an amused shake of her head. The only reason this had not occurred some great many years ago was the simple reason that their Olo'eyktan was trapped by tradition and promises made in his childhood and the stubborn refusal to be anything but what he decided. And Hari was too kind and too patient to force him to confront himself, never mind the Magi's own feelings toward the man who saved his life, soul and sanity.
"They are a good match," Ninat stated, smiling as she watched Neytiri teach Jake how to dance, the two of them laughing and stumbling, their faces glowing with love and laughter.
She wished for all that and more to Hari and Tsu'tey.
Okay. I wrote the scene where Tsu'tey and Harry mated EIGHT, count it, EIGHT times. And it just was not playing ball. I know it's a cop out but that scene... I would need three months to work on that. I know my weaknesses and romance is one of them. My brain does not compute romance or process it very well at all. My apologies to everyone.
This is the end.
Just the Epilogue left and then I can close the cover of this piece of work.
I gotta tell ya, it feels weird actually finishing a story. I haven't done that since secondary school. And that? Yeah. I deleted that fic – all twenty seven chapters – because it was complete crap, self-insert Mary Sue bullshit. XDDD Everyone does it at least once. Looking back on that, compared with this... I cannot tell you how proud and accomplished I feel in comparison when reading that pile of wank.