Disclaimer: Nope, sadly enough (at least for me) I own neither Harry Potter nor Doctor Who. I am merely a writer with far too much time on her hands and a rather large fascination with both fandoms. I am also not in any way, shape or form, profiting from writing this stories.
There were a lot of pretty swirling colors and nice glowing lights. It was almost like…like a galaxy being born, yeah, all new and shiny but still unshaped, just getting there. There was also pain, but that was nowhere near as pretty and enjoyable so he wasn't focusing on that, the not-galaxy-being-born was much better. Idly, in some remote corner of his mind that was not being used for something more important (like comparing his not-galaxy to known galaxies in their different states of being during different time periods, just to see if it resembled any actual galaxy at any actual time, just because it was fun) he wondered how often it was that he woke up in pain. Actually, he was using the term 'wake up' rather loosely here. He was not actually entirely conscious, but he was getting there…slowly.
And, as if the thought had somehow jinxed his blissful existence of not-galaxy-watching, a sudden jolt of burning pain assaulted his entire being and brought him back to the land of the awake. He moaned miserably, unable to contain the sound as all his limbs (and he was pretty sure even his nails and hair) protested his being brought to painful consciousness.
Instantly, there was someone at his side, brushing his hair out of his eyes and gently rubbing his face with a wet towel, probably to wash sweat and grime off him; he certainly felt sweaty and grimy enough to merit it. He made the excruciating effort of cracking open one eye, just the bare minimum to get an idea of who it was, to get an idea of his situation. Hermione's untamable bush of hair was unmistakable and he couldn't help but smile in relief; if she was taking care of him, then she was probably not in too bad a state from her own ordeal…hopefully.
"Harry James Potter! Don't you ever do that again, you hear me! You scared me half to death." And there was the obligatory rant/scolding that he knew would be coming, he was practically counting on it. Fortunately, Hermione seemed to know, with that bizarre knowing of hers that if he didn't know better he would say had something to do with Divination, that he had a killer headache and so her usual yelling was more of a frantic whispering.
"M'fine." He protested. It was a poor effort at beast, but his throat was parched, he was hurting and he really was not in the mood to defend his actions.
"Fine? Fine?" The frantic whispering rose into irritated not-quite-shout. Hermione was clearly trying to contain herself, and clearly failing. She was taking deep breaths now.
"You weren't breathing! You died!" She half-hissed, half-sobbed.
That made him pause. Quickly, he closed his eyes and took stock of his body, trying to figure out what exactly had happened this time; also dedicating a tiny portion of his brain to mentally beating himself for not doing this sooner, as soon as he'd woken up.
Right. So he was malnourished and a bit dehydrated, not exactly surprising considering their life on the run these last few months, he had more than a few cuts and bruises, also not surprising but they were healing nicely and should be gone soon enough, but what truly called his attention was the bloody stab wound and…oh. Punctured lung.
Well, that explains it then. He recalled suddenly and with agonizing clarity the silver knife Bellatrix-the-mad-lady-Lestrange had thrown at him and Dobby, he also remembered a moment of truly awful pain just as he and the house elf landed on some…beach, was it? Then there was just blackness. So, he was stabbed, blacked out, his friends found them and freaked out and he stopped breathing…for how long?
"Respiratory bypass. Yeah, I do that sometimes." He said, not really thinking about it, not wanting to think about it.
Hermione gave him one of those odd looks she did whenever she though him and/or Ron were trying to copy her notes or do anything similarly worthy of her disapproval. He answered with his best, serious, innocent, sick-man-in-bed look.
"I think you might have a concussion." Said the witch, apparently not at all convinced that he was genuinely speaking the truth…and why would she, really?
"Well, he did hit his head, back in the forest when you cursed him, and then there was the whole thing with the Snatchers and then he lost a lot of blood, can't have helped, can it?" Ron's voice sounded from a corner of the room, slowly moving closer until he was sure the redhead was at his bedside. He opened one eye again and yes indeed, there was a redhead at his bedside.
"I'm not delusional." He responded, quite proud of himself over the fact that he sounded only mildly offended.
Ron snorted that Ron-snort of incredulity that usually made him laugh, it was just a lot funnier when you weren't the butt-end of the joke. He gave the redhead a one-eye emerald glare that he could tell almost earned him another Ron-snort if not for the elbow Hermione planted in said redhead's ribs. Good old Hermione always defending the down-trodden, and that apparently included Harry-in-his-deathbed.
He contemplated. Opened both his eyes and watched his friends and Ron gave Hermione that indignant 'why-did-you-do-that-for?' look, to which she responded with an almost fondly exasperated 'you're-a-prat' look. They were his friends. For almost seven years now they had almost been the center of his life and now…now what? Would…would this change it?
It was strange. At first he'd felt like he was two people at once and they were both pulling and pushing and tearing him apart! It was confusing and painful in his head and it had nearly driven him mad. But now… now he no longer felt so torn, a bit divided yes, but really you could hardly blame him for that. He wondered why.
The movement at his bedside caught his attention back to his companions, his friends, and that's when it all made sense. He recalled, back in the place of pretty colors and dancing lights, that he hadn't know who or what he was. Was he Human? Was he Time Lord? Was he some hybrid monstrosity? It had been confusing and painful and so he had tried to forget, hence the distraction of the not-galaxy. But then, as soon as he'd awoken he'd known, even without making any conscious decision.
He'd known Ron and Hermione to be his friends. His friends, not Harry's friends. He had opened the watch as Harry because Harry needed it and the world needed Harry. He was Harry. A bit different, and obviously with a few added organs but still Harry. Well, that was most certainly a relief, he did not want to deal with an existential or identity crisis right now on top of everything else.
"Harry." Hermione said, softly, a bit hesitantly.
He instantly turned at the mention of his name, his name, and waited patiently for the witch to speak, as she was obviously still making up her mind.
"What…what happened? You really…I mean. You really did die. I checked and Bill and Fleur did, your lung was…was pun-puctured and your weren't breathing then your heart stopped for a moment, but then it started again, but you still weren't breathing. You didn't breathe for all of thirty minutes, while we re-repaired the lu-lung and you're still a-alive." By the end of her broken explanation Hermione was sobbing again and there were tears she was obviously trying to contain but failing miserably.
Harry felt torn again. The blurting out about the respiratory bypass had been accidental, and they'd taken it to be the crazy ramblings of a concussion-affected teen. But if he told them, if he explained everything in cold, hard fact and detail there was simply no way they could deny the evidence, Ron had even seen the golden lights of the Time Vortex in that cellar. If he told them, they'd know he was…different.
He remembered, because he was Harry, that he had only ever wanted to be just Harry, but he wasn't and he never would be. He also remembered that there two had been with him through most of the worst days of his life, all three of them had faltered here and there but they'd held in the end. He had to hope, to believe, that they would not falter now.
"I didn't die. I just…" He sighed and then took a deep breath, as though somehow taking strength in the oxygen to tell his tale. "I have a respiratory bypass system, when the knife pierced the lung, it kicked in and kept me alive. The bit about my heart stopping was probably from shock, my body's not exactly in top condition right now."
And just as he'd expected, Hermione's mouth was already open and ready to launch into what would surely be a very lengthy and detailed lecture on human anatomy. He spoke quickly, because he knew that if she started it would only be harder to not only stop her but to start his own lecture again…he wasn't sure he could gather the courage a second time.
"I'm not human. Not entirely. Not anymore." He said it without emotion, as neutral as could be, but his eyes looked into theirs, and pleaded, begged them to believe him.
He told them his tale, on an ancient being of an ancient race who decided to hide as a human. He told them of how Charlus Potter had been more than just a wizard and how that something had been hidden in his DNA ("His blood, Ron, meaning it can be inherited like eye or hair color") and in a family heirloom. He told them of receiving said heirloom in his birthday and then, finally, of how it spoke to him in the cellar ("Blimey, mate! You should know better than to speak with inanimate objects like that, after what happened with Ginny!") and promised to help. He told them of what his opening of the watch meant, and what he had been, what he was, what he'd decided he would be.
"Oh, Harry! It-It's just…It's!" Hermione was apparently at a loss for words, which as far as his memory could tell (and his memory was very good now) hadn't happened very often at all.
"It's very hard to believe, I know." He said, his voice as soft and peaceful as he could make it even though his throat was still hurting (they had gotten him water ages ago, but his tale had been a long one) "But it's the truth."
"I'm not saying I don't believe you. I do! It's just…Merlin, Harry, It could have completely taken over you! Do you realize that?" She was back to yelling now, and he was thankful that she'd been thoughtful enough to throw a silencing charm at the door about half an hour ago, when he'd started discussing Time Vortexes and Time Lords.
"And…how do we know it didn't?" The question was asked very hesitantly, almost ashamed, and came from the corner to which Ron had retired just about five minutes in to The Tale.
Harry felt a jolt of something that could only be called Heart-shattering Pain hit his chest, making his heart do a funny little flip that made him wince. He should have expected it, really. In fact, he kind of did. They had no reason to not believe that this 'Time Lord' creature of which they had never heard before had not in fact taken over their friend and he would be the first to admit that the fob watch was indeed very similar to a Horcrux, at least to a wizard. But the accusation still hurt.
He could see Hermione taking another deep breath, bristling and probably about to berate Ronald. He didn't want her to, not so soon after their latest reconciliation and the long minutes of torture they had spent in the Manor; Ron listening to Hermione scream without being able to do anything, Hermione being tortured just because of who her parents were and who she was friends with. Yeah, he owed them better than that.
"He didn't. He had no reason to. It's why he turned himself human in the first place, he was tired of being himself. He wouldn't even have revealed himself to me, like he didn't with my father and grandfather, but he could sense how desperate the situation was and how much I needed his help. The decision to open the watch and merge was done entirely by the Harry you knew, the one from before, of his own free will." He explained, trying, willing them to understand.
"And..who…who are you, then, exactly? The Harry after?" Asked Hermione, hesitant but accepting. Ron nodded from his place in the corner, wary but curious.
"I am…Harry. Or rather, what Harry could have been if he'd been a Time Lord, more or less…half Time Lord? I am Harry with a few added…things. A few extra memories, a bit of a bigger brain and a respiratory bypass system…but essentially still Harry. I'm the same person you met at the Hogwarts Express, the same one you battled a mountain troll with, and followed the clues to the Philosopher's Stone with. I'm the same person for whom you confronted an escaped mass murderer and a werewolf. I'm the same person you've spent the past few months following, because you believed in me even when there was little hope and everything seemed lost. Please, I really need you to believe in me now."
"I do, Harry, we do." Hermione was quick to reassure, he was actually more reassured by Ron's minute nod than by her soft words, but still it was nice of her. "You just have to admit that it's a bit…" she made a vague gesture with her hand there, apparently at a loss on how to describe it.
"Utterly and completely bonkers, is what it is." Chimed Ron helpfully, earning himself another exasperated-Hermione-glare. "What? It is!" The redhead defended himself.
Harry chuckled, unable to help himself at this little bit of normalcy in this overwhelming sea of chaos and oddness. It was nice. "Yeah, I reckon you guys might think I'm a bit of a nutter, I certainly sound like one."
"Just a bit." Ron said again, this time making Hermione forego the glare and go straight to smacking the back of his head. "Ow! I was just saying, Merlin's balls, woman, no need to attack a bloke."
And Harry could tell, with a talent born from hours of watching this very same scene, although with minuscule and unimportant differences, over and over again for the last seven years, that Hermione was about to start a rant; this time probably in defense of Harry…or Harry's sanity at least. He didn't normally mind all that much, in fact, he might have actually enjoyed watching her tear into their friend in his defense, had not a sudden, mad idea, hit him.
"I know!" It was a testament of how loud and unexpected his shout was that both Ron and Hermione jumped at least a foot off the floor. He didn't pay their sudden acrobatics any mind though, too caught up in his plan. "You guys want proof that I haven't gone bonkers? I'll give you proof!" He said excitedly, sitting up and putting on his shoes, mindful of his still rather sore…well, everything.
"Err…are we going somewhere, Harry?" Asked a suddenly hesitant Hermione.
"'Course we are!" He said, by now at the door and throwing the two a look of utter mischief with just a touch of madness that really did nothing for his claiming of sanity. "I'm taking you to the greatest place in the universe…the TARDIS!" He cried happily and walked out.
Author's Notes: So there, finally an actual update . I'm sorry it takes me this long but I am really, really busy with my thesis (yes, finally working on it, one step closer to getting my degree people!) and do you have any idea how complicated ecological niche modeling is? I didn't until I tried. But anyways, this chapter is over and done with. Not much happening in it, I'm afraid…but next chapter…the TARDIS! And a bit of action and complications, I promise :D
Also, I wanted to say that for some bizarre reason I shall be investigating, my account had anonymous review turned off, even though I distinctly remember having turned them on ages ago when I first started writing here. Anyways, I've corrected the problem so now anyone who wants to leave a review can and I would be very grateful if you did.
See you all next chapter!