From Out of the Shadows
A/N: A warm welcome to the second part of the Wizard in the Shadows series, with particular welcome to those who read and reviewed the prequel. It would be best if you read the prequel, but the short summary is that Harry spent four years in Middle Earth, fighting the good fight after unexpectedly spending rather longer than intended there. He's married Ginny (sorry Harmony shippers, but I stick firmly to Canon) and discovered (very) distant elven heritage, putting him physically speaking in the Aragorn range, or just below.
Now he's back in his own world, and discovering a bit more about the heritage and powers of Emrys and Eirian (my two OC's, who happen to be SPOILER ALERT, the grandchildren of Merlin, who was half angel, as the original legends noted (well, supposedly it was a fallen angel, but the difference is fairly academic, since evil is rarely genetic)) while learning about his own past. While he does that, another Big Bad is on the move. One that's after him, and one that has very big fish to fry.
A time skip of about eight months to just over a year has happened since the end of The Wizard in the Shadows, and we jump right into the action. For those who want emotional reunion scenes, I may make mention of it in flashbacks, references, and possibly in the drabble series, 'Snippets from the Shadows'.
The Wizard In the Shadows series now has a TV Tropes page. I recommend you visit it.
King Elessar I of Gondor and Arnor, born Aragorn, was enjoying life. His realms were at peace, the Southern Provinces that had been taken by Harad had been returned with minimal use of force and he could look out at his rebuilt Kingdom with his wife by his side and smile. Much of this was due to the power, presence and reputation of one man, his Royal Wizard, Harry Potter, also known as the Lord Moristar Morinhetar.
Certainly the Haradrim negotiators had gone very quiet when they had seen Harry casually chatting with the Gondorian negotiators. A few tentative questions about his actions during the War of the Ring later and they quickly signed over the provinces in exchange for trade agreements, non-harassment of the present Haradric population in the region and assistance in rebuilding their own country, rendered mostly barren by the travails of war. No one wanted to antagonise a man who had destroyed entire armies and commanded the elements by a mere effort of will and a gesture. Especially when that man had pledged his allegiance firmly to the North and the West.
All in all, Gondor and Rohan were being rebuilt into extraordinarily prosperous nations, the potential prosperity only increasing when Faramir discovered and promptly annexed a region of volcanic and very fertile soil, nicknamed the bread basket of Mordor by the Rangers who found it. Many former prisoners of war from Harad and Rhun were settling there, being used to the occasionally harsh weather conditions, and preferring it to their semi destitute homelands, and were reporting excellent harvests. Life, Aragorn thought as Arwen kissed him, was good.
But some people are destined for eternally interesting lives. There is an old Chinese curse, apparently apocryphal, that says, 'May you live in interesting times'. Though few knew it, interesting times were coming their way.
As Aragorn turned to kiss his wife once more, he did not see a bright light flare in the sky, then begin to fall. The Gil-Estel had been smashed from the sky, the star of high hope dashed from the heavens. Evil had awoken once more. And it was once more stepping out from the shadows.
As one star fell, two people fell with it. One, the smaller, fell towards the Shire, landing with an almighty crash in the vegetable patch of Mr Frodo Baggins and the larger, complete with ship, plummeted into the Anduin with bone crunching force and an enormous splash.
Adventure never left Middle Earth for all that long.
Meanwhile, in London, Harry Potter and Emrys and Eirian ap Derfel (both had been very pleased when they had been told that they would not have to change their names to blend in) were purposefully walking through Muggle London, all wearing light business suits, which Emrys had been mumbling complaints about for the last three hours, claiming that they were both impractical and uncomfortable. Eirian merely looked very comfortable and very attractive in her pencil skirt and suit, garnering several admiring glances as she passed. In truth, most people were curious about the three tall and good looking people who moved with a certain unconscious predatory grace through the crowd in the city of London.
Consulting his map for the last time, Harry walked into the law firm where Dudley now worked. Emrys and Eirian, rather enjoying their cover role as bodyguards, began carefully scanning the atrium whilst not missing a step in following Harry, though Emrys nearly walked into the receptionists desk, earning some poorly covered snickers from his more spatially aware sister, though they quickly schooled themselves into a professional silence and sternness when Harry began to speak.
"Hi, my name is Harry Potter, and these are two of my associates, Emrys and Eirian ap Derfel. Could you pass that we're here on up to Dudley Dursley please? We haven't seen each other for a while, and I figured turning up on the doorstep might be odd after about eight years, but I want to surprise him," Harry said with a disarming smile.
"Of course sir. I'll tell Mr Dursley he has visitors. Just sit down over there, he should be down in a few moments," the receptionist said, smiling slightly as the Potter charm got to her.
"Thank you very much," Harry said, sitting down on the waiting room chairs. He smiled to himself as Emrys and Eirian settled themselves in chairs next to him. As much as he loved the magic of Middle Earth and the quirkiness of the Magical world, the simple modernity of Muggle London was attractive in and of itself.
For one thing people didn't who he was wherever he went, he thought, as he reached into his pocket to check that his shrunken staff was still in place next to his wand. It was and he shot a look at Emrys he was looking at the elevator with a childish curiosity.
Taking the grandchildren of Merlin to his world had been an interesting experience, the original intention being to get them wands, though it quickly devolved into a sightseeing trip, the two residents of Middle Earth wandering around like curious, oversized and hyperactive toddlers. After the first time, Harry made a mental note not to ever give them coffee again. Ever.
Harry was lost in thought when Emrys jabbed him in the ribs and pointed to the lift. Dudley stepped out of the lift, holding a cup of coffee. He'd changed. For one thing he was about half the width he was when Harry had last seen him.
"Yes Mary? I heard that I have visitors," Dudley said.
"Hey, Big D," Harry called with a grin. Dudley turned around slowly, saw Harry and his companions, then dropped his eyes to his coffee.
"Has Andrew spiked my coffee again? Or are you seeing these people too, Mary?" Dudley said, and Harry laughed out loud, remembering his words upon seeing Ginny. Emrys and Eirian both smothered grins as Harry wandered across.
"They're there, sir," Mary confirmed, a slight smile on her face.
"I'm here Dudley, in the flesh," Harry said, striding up to his cousin, sticking out a hand which Dudley shook dazedly.
"I think that you, I and your friends had better go out for a drink. God knows I need one and you have a lot to explain," Dudley said shakily.
Harry clapped a hand on Dudley's shoulder and said, "Cousin, that sounds like a wonderful idea."
They found a bar and Harry ordered four beers, paying upfront.
"So Harry um… where've you been? And why do you have two scary looking bodyguards? He isn't still after you is he?"
"A parallel universe. They aren't my bodyguards, this is just because I wanted them to blend in and I made the mistake of letting them watch both Men in Black films with me. You have no idea how long it took to pry that one," Harry said casually, jabbing a thumb at an unrepentantly grinning Emrys, "away from the sunglasses shop. And then there was the time with the hair dye… which his hair seems to be impervious to. You have no idea how long he sulked for." At this point, Harry decided not to mention that most of the sulking had been done on the hotel room ceiling. "No, he's dead. I've killed him twice since we last met, and I have very good contacts who say he's really gone this time." This last part garnered a few funny looks from the other patrons, but nothing more. Dudley nodded slowly as he digested this news.
"You aren't joking, are you?"
"I forgot to mention that these two are Merlin's grandchildren."
Dudley performed a spit take, then glared at Harry as he wiped up the beer. "Okay, now I know you're joking."
It is no joke, Dudley son of Vernon, Lawyer for the Hyperion law firm these last 5 years. We are the grandchildren of Merlin, came a quiet female voice in Dudley's head, and he nearly jumped out of his seat. Harry looked at his companions as he saw his cousin's distress and sighed.
"Eirian, knock it off. When did you learn to do that anyway?"
"Galadriel's been teaching me," she said.
Me too. Eirian's just better at it, Emrys said in everyone's head at once, clearly concentrating hard to achieve the same result as his sister.
"So, what have you and the telepathic twins been up to?" Dudley said, raising his eyebrows.
"Saving two worlds at once, discovering that I'm a little more than human. And so are you," Harry said offhandedly.
Harry cast a discreet muffliato around them and said, "When I was in Middle Earth I discovered that I was becoming a bit faster, stronger, more agile. I put it down to combat experience at the time, because seriously, when a war as vicious as the one we were fighting was going on, you learned fast or you died. But the resident chief wizard, of whom there were only three, but a whole mess of random sorcerous types as well, told me that I was a long way back part elf. Elves are basically human plus, every sense ramped up to incredible levels, and they're stronger, faster, more agile and biologically immortal. Over there, they call people with my amount of elvish blood the Dunedain, sort of higher men. Turns out my wife - I got married by the way - Ginny Weasley, well Potter now, is also part elf, meaning that we're both going to live to about three hundred years old, maybe a little more because we're wizards, and technically, we can put off aging until we die."
"That's cool and all Harry, but why are you telling me this?" Dudley interrupted Harry's babbling.
"Because that blood runs in your veins as well. I got it from mum, you see. It took a visit to Middle Earth to activate it, but now every sense is a fair bit sharper - I only wear these glasses because everyone expects me to and I'm used to them – and I'm in the sort of physical shape that would put Olympic athletes to shame. The blood runs a little less strongly in your veins, but if you want, Eirian can awaken it," Harry said bluntly.
At Dudley's questioning look, he added, "Emrys and Eirian aren't just wizards. Merlin was only half human, and the other half is what we would call an angel, which gives them access to a whole host of powers I couldn't even begin to dream of. One of the reasons we're here is to teach them how to control those powers, and one of the ones Eirian has displayed is unlocking the potential for things to grow and speeding it up. Now, while you might think, sure, sign me up for the superpowers, I have to warn you. You will live to at least two hundred. You will outlive everyone you know, everyone you love, everything you know will change. And your children will probably be magical. I'll have my wife and my brother in law, and these two, along with a whole host of other immortals, but you won't, unless you move to Middle Earth. Are you married by the way?" Harry asked.
"Engaged," Dudley said, waving his engagement ring, a simple gold band set with a sapphire.
"Congratulations! What's she called?"
"Emily. And this is a lot to take in, Harry. I saw you disappear eight years ago and haven't heard a word from you since, until you pop up today with two telepaths who just happen to be part angel wizards, and say that you have discovered you're part immortal and have been fighting two major wars for most of the time you were gone, and now you tell me I can be the same as you," Dudley said, giving Harry a penetrating stare. "I'll need time to think, and what's this you say about being married?"
"You really have changed, haven't you? The Dudley I knew would either have grabbed the offered superpowers without thinking, or refused it on the grounds of magic being evil," Harry said, leaning back in his seat and regarding Dudley carefully.
"As for the marriage, we got married eight months ago. We're doing it again over here, mostly because I think my mother in law would kill me if she didn't get the chance to organise our wedding. Do you and your doubtless lovely fiancée want to come? I would invite Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon, but I doubt that either could survive that long with so many wizards, let alone Vernon the revelation that I'm a multi-millionaire," Harry chuckled, then added cheerfully, "He'd have a heart attack."
"All the more reason to invite him," Dudley muttered. At Harry's raised eyebrow, he elaborated reluctantly. "I re-evaluated my life after you left, and started studying hard and exercising more. When I finished university, he wanted me to follow him into Grunnings, and wasn't pleased when I told him I wanted to do law and help people and that selling drills sounded like my idea of hell. He said I was a nancy boy and no son of his. I said that I'd rather have your parents," he said, nodding at Harry, "because they died to protect you, whereas I doubt he would have lifted a finger. Then he went a strange shade of purple, made some weird noises and kicked me out of the house."
Harry looked at him for a long moment, then burst into delighted laughter, reaching over to clap Dudley vigorously on the shoulder. "I never thought I'd say this, but well done Dudley!"
"You have a magnificent pair of brass balls on you to stand up to a bastard like your father like that," Emrys said, admiration in his voice as he reached across to shake a surprised Dudley's hand.
Eirian dipped her head in respect and said in his head, Bravely done, Dudley Evans. I know what it must have cost you to say that.
My name's Dudley Dursley, Dudley replied in surprise, automatically thinking his reply and not speaking it.
Your father kicked you out. He doesn't deserve a child like you to carry on his name. Besides, Evans is a nicer name and it suits who you are now, rather than who you were, Eirian replied firmly, and Dudley suddenly got a sense of how truly old the power behind this pretty young woman opposite him was, and how wise beyond her years she had become.
"Thanks. You realise I'll have to change all my business cards now," he said dryly.
"A small price to pay for so great a discovery," Eirian said warmly, Emrys nodding his agreement.
"An explanation for the non-telepath sometime this century would be nice," Harry said.
Dudley gave Harry a short explanation of what had just passed between them, and Harry nodded in firm agreement. "Dudley Evans sounds a lot better. Uncle Vernon was always a world class shit. Where's he living now?"
"You're not going to turn him into a frog are you? I mean, he may be a wanker, but he's still my dad," Dudley asked warily.
"No, though now you mention it, that idea has some merit… No, I was merely planning to planning to stick a self-destructing note through the letter box that says, 'I'm richer than you, happier than you and more important than you'll ever be. Hoping you choke on your own bile and die you fat and bitter old wanker, a complete lack of love from Harry'. Or just 'ha ha ha, loser,'" Harry said.
Dudley looked at him for a long moment, then looked at Eirian. "How old is he? Five?"
"Sometimes it feels that way. His godfather is worse," Eirian said, rolling her eyes.
"Yet you still love him enough to date him, which doesn't say much for your taste," Emrys sniped, having become worryingly interested in the concept of dating after watching one muggle soap opera too many.
"Says the man who's going out with a woman who insults him every time he walks in the room," Eirian replied smoothly as the two settled into the traditional patterns of a good sibling argument. Harry and Dudley shared a look, then shrugged simultaneously.
"What do you do these days anyway?" Harry asked, tuning out the bickering siblings.
"I'm a lawyer for the Hyperion law firm. We help the helpless is our motto, and we help out good people in tight spots. Unfortunately this means cash is sometimes a bit tight because we take a lot of pro bono cases and most of our clients aren't exactly super rich, but… it's worth it," Dudley said, taking a drink.
"My cousin, the reformed bully, fighting the good fight," Harry smiled, then got a cheque book and scribbled out an amount, sliding it across to Dudley whose eyes bugged at the numbers on it.
"Harry… you can't be serious," he breathed.
"Dudley, what part of 'multi-millionaire' did you not get? Besides, the salary I get as Royal Wizard for Gondor, one of the Kingdoms of Middle Earth, and what I get as a part time freelance Auror and demon killer and consultant for the Ministry of Magic, is more than enough to cover my needs. Trust me, fighting the good fight living on nothing but your nerves and surviving on your wits sounds romantic, but really, without some serious backing, you won't get very far. Consider it my way of saying sorry for dropping in on you suddenly after eight years and dropping all this chaos into your lap, and an early wedding gift," Harry said firmly.
"I… thank you, Harry. This is more than I deserve after h-" Dudley said before Harry interrupted.
"Don't start on the guilt trip. You aren't the mentally weak, fat and stupid bully who tormented me. You've become a good - maybe even a great - man. One I'm proud to say I'm related to," Harry said firmly.
Dudley nodded thankfully, and the two fell to cheerfully chatting about everything and nothing whilst Emrys and Eirian continued to bicker. And while they did that, none of them noticed the tall man with light brown hair flecked with grey, and light green eyes, wearing casual if slightly old fashioned clothing smile and pay for his drink, disappearing silently. Soon after, a tall woman with flowing honey blonde hair and cornflower blue eyes, wearing a t shirt and jeans that drew the eye to some rather pleasing curves (though the steel in those eyes spoke of a person who was not to be trifled with), followed him out the door, and found him waiting just across the street.
He chuckled and said with a slight lilt to his accent that spoke of the Welsh valleys, "As ever, you wear your years far better than I do, my love."
"You don't fool me, old flatterer, you only look anything but young because you choose to. And we both know you only do that to pass as respectable," she replied dryly. "So, what do you make of them?"
"She is ready, or almost. He is not. Not yet. However, I am certain that their father would be proud of them, and what they have accomplished so far," he reflected.
"I know what their grandmother thinks, but what about their grandfather? Of course, far be it from him ever to tell anyone what he is thinking," the woman said sarcastically, causing her companion to burst out in merry laughter.
"Of course he never says what he's thinking, where would be the fun otherwise?" the man said with amusement lacing his voice.
His companion made a disgusted sound and rolled her eyes. "So what are you going to do?" She asked.
Anyone who looked closely at the man at that moment might have seen his eyes flash gold temporarily. "Me? Nothing. I suspect they will find trouble soon enough, though," he said mysteriously.
"Insufferable man," she grumbled, kissing him on the cheek.
He merely smiled mysteriously and said, "Of course."