AN: I had this awesome idea that wouldn't let go ages ago when I first started watching Grimm. Obviously, Harry Potter is my go-to for crossovers because Harry is so easily maleable as a character, and then I kept reading fanfiction for Grimm and descriptions of Nick's eyes and just...they're both black hair and pretty-eyed. Then of course Petunia is unfavourably described and I couldn't get it out of my head that there are plenty of mythological women with two completely different descriptions which could be used to describe two completely different reactions to magic. Thus, this was born.
I can't be sure how far I'll take this, but I'm having fun with it for now between bouts of writer's block and it helps with some unruly parts of my other work.
Also, I'm going to be away for a week as of the 17th and I probably won't have any of my stuff with me, though I will have internet access. I'm going to Seattle to visit with a friend and it will be awesome and fun and time-consuming.
Standard disclaimers apply. Grimm and Harry Potter belong to their respective owners; I just play with them.
For as long as Harry can remember, his definition of "people" has been different than the rest of the world. He has a part-bird Aunt, to begin, and the nurse at school is a pretty tiny little woman with pointed ears and soft moss and ivy for hair. Then there's the Polkiss family who all look vaguely like rats with beady black eyes and whiskered faces (though the mother most of all). On one of the few occasions Harry has gone to London proper, he saw a woman who looked sort of like a bee, a woman with a gaunt face and a jaw that hung sort of off-centre and crooked, and a very nice little girl with ears like a rabbit's and a twitching little nose who offered him a piece of yellow bell-pepper from her plastic snack-bag before her mum called her back over.
He'd also met a man with a voice that was low and smooth and deep who made him promise not to tell anyone about their meeting. He hadn't minded agreeing especially as the man made Harry feel like he should've stayed with his Aunt. Nothing bad had happened but the man gave him a silver coin that he keeps tucked in his pockets or in his cupboard at all times. So I remember to let you go again, the man had said, and Harry had told him he could go whenever he wanted, thank you very much. The man had blinked slowly and then laughed and helped him back to the street and his Aunt with her bleeding eyes.
He'd asked his Aunt about it once – seeing the strange people – a long time ago, but her feathers had risen all up and down her head and arms and her red eyes had glared at him harshly. "You can't tell anyone about the things you see, Harry," she said. It was the use of his name that really makes him remember; his Aunt doesn't often call him by name. "If you see one of them – the ones who don't look like the children at school – then you must tell me right away."
"Alright," he had said but ventured, "Piers looks like a rat."
"Don't worry about Piers or the other Polkisses," she says primly and her feathers slowly smooth out into their usual tidy but ratted state. "They are none of our concern."
"Alright," he'd agreed but he hadn't told her just the same. There were so many and not all of them were really noticeable so he wasn't sure if they just looked funny or if they were actually the sort she wanted to know about.
When Vernon and Dudley go away for the weekend (hunting with Dudley's grandfather), Harry is left behind. He doesn't mind spending time with his Aunt, but she tends to spend most of her free days scrubbing the house within an inch of its life and that's actually very boring. He peers at her from his place on the couch and wonders, not for the first time, why she looks so different from his other relatives.
He asks her. She tilts her head so that one of her wide-set eyes can see him. "It runs in my family – not Vernon's."
"My mother looked like you?" the words are out before he can stop them and he huddles down from what is sure to be a right tongue-lashing.
Instead he peeks out and Aunt Petunia is worrying at one of the longer feathers near her wrist and her ruby eyes are shining with darker red blood. "No. Your mother looked more human. She had some red feathers in her hair, I remember, and a few small ones on her shoulder-blades. No horrid vestigial beak either." She touches at her own, which is formed around her mouth and stretches outward just a little – sort of like a puffin.
"Oh," Harry says and carefully edges his way back into a sitting position. He has only heard his mother described briefly and this is perhaps the longest one yet. "I like your feathers," he tries but he knows it doesn't sound right and winces. His Aunt gives him a withering look and goes back to her mopping in the kitchen.
Harry doesn't mind it when his aunt keeps an arm around him in the taxi into London. Her longer feathers on her forearm brush against his side and they're surprisingly soft for their sharp-edged appearance. She's stiff and glares disapprovingly at everyone they drive past and only relaxes marginally once they're out on the street.
"Remember, you have to tell me," she reminds him. Her eyes aren't shining with blood anymore but they're the same dark-red and some of the thin-snake like tendrils in her pale blonde hair are shifting and writhing anxiously.
"I will," he promises and peers past her to grin at the rabbit-girl who lives with her mother above the little grocers nearby. He always sees her when they go to London because his aunt always picks the same spots.
His Aunt looks and makes a low noise of derision. "They don't count."
"I was going to tell you," he says but he doesn't mean it. She knows it too and rolls her eyes before walking off and expecting him to follow. He follows at a distance because he can always find his Aunt in a crowd and because she's always aware of him. They don't need to be close and she doesn't like to admit that he's her nephew anyway.
So, when Harry spots the man who looks like a bear, he's not at all surprised. London always has visitors and there's usually a new person with new features to see. He does admit that he hasn't ever seen one of the big ones though.
It occurs belatedly – when the man is turning and his big black nose stretches outward and flares as his eyes settle on Harry leaning against the side of a shop – that perhaps he should tell his Aunt about this one. But by then the man has made his way over and is kneeling in front of Harry with a careful sort of look on his face.
"Hello," he says. "Are you lost?"
Harry wants to answer, really he does, but he's never seen a bear person before. He traces with his eyes the round ears and the heavy fur all over the man's face. His fingers itch to inspect what it feels like compared to Aunt Petunia's feathers and the moving tendrils in her hair. The man's eyes widen and he brings a hand to his face and Harry gets the feeling that perhaps he isn't supposed to be seeing that fur.
Although that makes no sense because it's right there.
"Harry?" His Aunt's voice snaps his attention sideways and her eyes are dripping blood into the feathers at her collarbone and her manicured nails are black talons curved wickedly that still don't prick him when she grabs his shoulder and pulls him back and away. "Who's your new friend?" she asks in a low hiss that he thinks sounds far angrier than any noise she's ever made at him – even when he burns breakfast on important days.
"I was going to tell," he says instead because it should be said. He was going to tell. Eventually. "I was."
"A fury," the man says while straightening, and his ears are sort of pinned back and his eyes are darker and bigger than Harry remembers. "What are you planning on doing to him?"
"Nothing," Aunt Petunia snaps. "He's my nephew."
The man recoils a little. "Yours? He's a…"
"I know," she interrupts and her feathers are starting to sharpen and Harry carefully reaches up and brushes them away before they get bloody enough to cut him. She doesn't glance down but she does move her arm. "Mine nonetheless."
The man stares and then looks down at Harry. Harry looks up at him and smiles a little but he can't help feeling disappointed that he's about to be dragged away again. Like always. His Aunt doesn't like him in her house and only touches him to appease other people or keep him away from the people like her with the odd features.
"Is there someplace we could talk?" the man asks. His Aunt is tense and Harry worries that the blood in her feathers might start to drip for real and so he tugs on her jacket. She blinks and the bleeding stops and the feathers slowly absorb the dripping bits as she resumes her usual state. "I have a proposition that might…interest you."
"Fine. There's a park in Surrey near Magnolia Crescent. It's in my territory."
"That's alright," he says and pulls out an expensive phone he types something into. "Around five?"
"That would be acceptable," she says and tucks Harry under her feathers again. He suffers this in silence because she's in one of her moods and it's easier to just let her do as she wants.
Also, he gets to meet the bear man again later and that sounds much more fun than sitting around at home trying not to ruin his Aunt's nesting.