Prompt/Prompter: To Kerravonsen, who prompted "Harry wanted to get away from the Wizarding world... was another galaxy far enough away?" on my LJ 2011 Wishlist.
Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter or Stargate: Atlantis. Written for fun, not profit.
A/N: Post–HP. Seasons 3, then 4 of SG:A.
Harry wasn't sure why this old tale surfaced in his mind. It shouldn't have. It was a mostly loved by muggles, despite its creator, and he hadn't thought much of Peter's adventures since he was a small boy, standing in a doorway, watching as Dudley leaned in close to his television, chin waggling as he sputtered a new requirement: "I want a pirate ship—and a hook! And…" Because, with Dudley, there was always an "and."
While his cousin fantasized about the details, Harry imagined an escape, to a far off land. Away from this one. Eventually, Harry had found that escape, at Hogwarts, in a world of wands and wizardry and destiny… Surely, that was adventure enough.
No, Peter Pan and his Neverland should not have been on his mind. But it was.
"I have to leave," he said, knowing they, his constant companions, would hear. They would not need an explanation, because they felt it, the weight of their new status. And even though they didn't understand it, they knew that Harry could no longer see the colors of his world. It was dull, muted, shaded gray with tragedy. "Just for a while," he added, not sure if it was true.
Because this world, this magic, that had once been his escape, was no longer his Neverland.
"I've been told he was rather brilliant, your son." Because Harry knew that saying again that he was "very sorry" for her loss would do neither of them good. He shifted, awkward, unsure of how he should continue. Dropping in on a stranger for tea was not a habit. "A medical doctor, am I correct?"
The woman sniffled, but her face, which had seconds ago been drained of color by the mere mention of her son, was now glowing with a fresh blush. Harry returned the shy expression as soon as he realized why…Of course, he should have realized his words would affect her: her squib son had just been praise by "the" Harry Potter. Even after the war, even after having his picture plastered over the papers, he was still ashamed at how easy it was for him to use his celebrity for his own gains.
Without meaning to, he reached up, patting down the hair over his brow.
Mrs. Beckett raised her head a little higher. "Brilliant," she agreed, "my Carson. He was trying to find a way of 'curing' squibs, when he made his big discovery. Of course, most of our kind, well, they ignored his papers on genes. Called it blasphemy, most the older families, the idea that magic could be tracked through testing the blood…but the muggles…" And she shook her head, as if she barely believed it. "…The muggles, they do have a love for their science."
Harry took the lead and leaned forward, forgetting the tray of biscuits the witch had laid out for him. "The magic gene?" Her sad smile confirmed it. Harry chewed his bottom lip. "I'm particularly interested in how muggles would find a use for it. I understand no one around seems to know what Carson was working on… Or where the muggles sent him. It was classified."
Mrs. Beckett shifted her gaze, surveying her house a moment longer. It was a strange estate for a woman of her age and standing, mainly because it was both too modern and too muggle. One glimpse of it had told Harry how very much she must have loved her son, the lone squib of the family of seven.
Her tears, for the moment, in check, she leaned forward, her voice at a whisper. "My Carson, he told me more than he should 'ave, I suppose."
Harry raised a brow. "Did he?"
She nodded. "The muggles don't call it a magic gene, of course, because they don't rightly know about our world. My boy never told them, either." She looked particularly proud, her bright eyes wet. "The muggles called it the Ancient gene, and they found quite the interesting use for it."
Power. Harry knew it, knew what it could do, how it could corrupt, but he'd never put his own to use quite like this before. Power was made of money and influence and connections. Harry never realized quite how much of those three things was within his reach.
Still, keeping his 'research' secret, keeping it from his world, was difficult. It took time, nearly a year, for him to finally put all the pieces in place. But he'd done so expertly. By the time Harry Potter was introduced as one Dr. Harry Evans, even he'd convinced himself that his credentials were legitimate. No one seemed to know how he'd gotten involved in the Stargate Program so quickly or where he'd come from, but he was there, and everything mysteriously checked out whenever a background was run.
"Benefactor," seemed to be whispered behind his back quite often, along with, "deep pockets, old ties, NID" and any other rumor that would explain his appearance.
Of course, the ruse wouldn't have worked if he'd been alone, because, by all rights, he wasn't qualified for any decent position. Thankfully, he had a number of friends who were.
Rodney turned the corner, a groan at his lips as soon as he noticed the approaching pair. It wasn't that they'd annoyed him. Yet. It wasn't even that they studied what he considered to be a lesser science. It was the fact that, as soon as they'd been listened amongst the new transfers, he'd known they were there to replace Katie Brown. Then the guilt and embarrassment and general annoyance kicked him in the gut with more strength than Ronon could have mustered.
Ok, maybe he was exaggerating on that last part. Still, it was with no little amount of dread that he recognized he'd run into the two new botanists and be forced to remember why they were needed in the first place.
Pretending to be completely absorbed in his tablet, he lowered his gaze, and tried to plow past them.
No such luck. Rodney turned on his heel. Blinked at the pair. There wasn't anything particularly astounding about either of them: both were young, though not as young as some of the Air Force personnel, and English, as their badges noted. The taller one was round-faced and sinking back, as if shy; the other was wearing glasses and had black hair so messy Rodney almost asked him if Sheppard had styled it. It was the second who was standing with lips parted, only a foot away.
Ah, so mini-John had been the one to speak. Great. They already knew his name. They would be remiss not to, he supposed.
"Yes?" was his curt reply. He hoped it sounded impatient. Don't think about Katie, he reminded himself.
"Dr. Evans," the black haired one introduced, forcing Rodney into a handshake.
Rodney cocked his head, pretended to only now recognize the two. Of course, he'd seen their files already. A new lead botanist and his personal assistant—since when did botanist get to bring their personal assistants, anyhow? He dropped the line of thought as unimportant.
"Oh, yes. The botanist. And his must be Dr. Longbottom." The comment was not so much made out of politeness as in an attempt to speed along the introductions.
Dr. Longbottom nodded. "Pleasure to meet you, Dr. McKay."
Rodney all but ignored him. "Yes, well, welcome to Atlantis—I'm rather busy at the moment…"
But Evans still had his hand, and Rodney found himself staring at curiously bright green eyes. Without meaning to, he looked up and noticed an odd, zig-zagging scar on the younger man's forehead. A clumsy botanist, Rodney mentally noted. Might as well give him a red shirt.
"I've heard good things about you, Dr. McKay," Evans said, a small smile on his face. Rodney raised a brow, and the younger man chuckled. "Particularly from a Mrs. Beckett. I'm a friend of the family, you see."
Rodney faltered in a reply, his face softening as he remembered speaking to the woman…He wasn't sure why the mere mention of the late doctor's mother had warmed him, but Rodney suddenly lost his will to leave the corridor. "You know, I'm about to take lunch."
This world was as bright and vivid as any dream. Harry stood out on the balcony, enjoying the breeze off the ocean. He heard Neville's footsteps, but the other wizard remained quiet, enjoying the view. Harry could appreciate the peace. Not that it would last. On this Neverland, the adventures were many, the pirates sailed the galaxy instead of the waters, and boyhood was found in swagger, not in age.
But, here, Harry Potter was not Peter Pan. Just another lost boy, enjoying the ride. He smiled faintly at the thought.
"Do you regret it?" Neville asked.
Leaving it behind. It was more than packing for a vacation to another galaxy. It was lies and secrets. It was handing over their wands, because this technology didn't react too well to their brand of magic. It was pretending to be normal.
"Not a bit," Harry replied. "You?"
"Oh, heavens no." There was fresh excitement in Neville's tone. "The specimens I've been able to study so far—simply amazing! I could teach a course on the shrubbery alone. A year here would give me enough data to fill a half dozen books."
"Imagine what you could do with two years."
A moment passed, and Neville cleared his throat. "You know, it's only temporary," he finally said, the voice of reality. "Eventually, we'll go home. Unless one of those space vampires eats us or we're killed in a horrible space duel before our rotation ends."
Harry laughed. "I know," he answered. There was more to learn before then, though. More to enjoy. "No one actually stays on Neverland."
The reference was lost on him. "Pardon?"
"Nothing, Neville. Just an observation."