Important warning! This story will contain Slash (boy on boy action) for those of you who are offended by that I suggest turning around and finding another story to read!
Beta: Beautifully Shattered
Warning: This story is an M rated story, this means that there will be contents in the story not suitable for the younger people out there, I'll be writing warnings on each chapter so make sure to keep an eye out, 'cause I'll announce whenever something mature is included.
Disclaimer: Harry Potter and Lord of The Rings belongs to J.K Rowling and J.R.R Tolkien, all the copyrights associated with HP and LOTR belongs to them. Only the ideas contained within this story are the property of the author. no profit is being earned by the writer of this story.
A/N: As I announced a couple of months ago, I've had the urge to write another HP/Lotr crossover for some time now and finally I feel as if I have written enough to begin posting. Though the pairing is the same as the one in Fighting Another War, I will be doing my very best to make the contents of this story as different from that as possible and hopefully I'll manage to avoid doing the same mistakes as I did in FAW and write a much more thought through story where I don't come up with things as I go that might contrast with what I've previously written.
Anyway, I hope the story will be to your satisfaction and I look forward to going on another HP/Lotr crossover journey with you all!
"Do you want to know who you are? Don't ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you." - Thomas Jefferson , 1743-1826
It was raining, Harry numbly observed as a cold drop splashed on his right cheek, closely followed by a second one on his closed eyelid. Slowly, he opened his eyes, coming face to face with the gloomy, grey sky. Heavy clouds with dark grey linings hovered above him. The world was moving, he realized, slowly passing by as the sound of wheels churning against a pebble covered ground reached his ears.
Sitting up, he took in his surroundings, noting that he had somehow ended up on a wooden wagon. A tall figure clothed in grey sat at the head of it, steering a brown horse with gentle movements. A long stick, which Harry assumed to be a walking stick, rested between the man's—for he could be nothing but a man—elbow and thigh, shifting ever so slightly whenever the man moved the wooden pipe he was so contently smoking on. Every inhale was followed by an exhale, and every exhale would bring with it a small stream of smoke, as grey as everything else seemed to be, dancing up into the air.
"Excuse me, sir." Harry hesitantly spoke up, unsure if having the man's attention was a good thing, but knowing it was a necessity in order to figure out where he was.
The man seemed to startle, nearly dropping his pipe in surprise before turning around to face Harry.
"Oh, you're awake," he stated, running a large hand through his rather impressive beard. "How are you feeling? Not too out of it I hope."
"W-where am I?" Harry questioned, stuttering slightly.
"We are a three days ride from Bree. I found you unconscious by Fornost and took you with me. I asked along the way, of course, but it seems that no one is missing a child."
Harry blinked. "Bree? I've never heard of Bree, is it far from London?"
Gandalf's eyes narrowed at his words. The young boy, he mused, was certainly a long way from home. Gandalf had never heard of this London and by the looks of it his companion had never heard of Bree either. This, coupled with the strange clothes the boy wore and the lingering presence of magic surrounding him, made Gandalf quite suspicious. And soon enough his suspicions turned into theories.
"Quite far, I'd imagine," he said, turning around to concentrate on steering the wagon. "This London of yours, where does it lie?"
"Well," Harry began, looking puzzled at the old man's back, "southeast in England, of course."
"Of course," Gandalf murmured to himself before turning to Harry with a small, almost concerned smile, "then I am afraid you have travelled quite the distance, my boy. There is no London, nor England in Middle-Earth. But I suspect you're not from Middle-Earth, are you?"
"No… I-I don't think so." Harry's bottom lip trembled when he answered; his green eyes were wide and brimming with unshed tears. He could barely keep his hands still as they fidgeted in his lap, wanting something—preferably his beloved wand—to occupy themselves with.
"Would you like to come with me then?"
Gandalf, Harry learned after a week of travel, was a wizard. Not anything Harry had ever encountered, for instance he did none of the small pieces of magic that he had learnt of at Hogwarts, every magic the old man performed was always something big and unlike anything Harry had ever seen. Though, the difference between their magic did not at all bother him. In fact, him knowing that Gandalf was a wizard, was, essentially, what had made it so easy for him to open up to the man. And when his bubble had finally been popped, all its contents came pouring out, from his time growing up in the Dursley household to his more recent encounter with the Basilisk and one Tom Riddle.
"We should make camp," Gandalf told Harry, shifting in his seat and stretching his feet. They had been on the move for the entire day, having broken camp at dawn. "See if you can find some firewood."
Harry jumped off the still moving wagon, stumbling slightly as the momentum caught him off guard, though he quickly steadied himself. His time with Gandalf had put some meat on his bones, granted, he was nowhere near the size some of his peers could be, but he wasn't so small as to be confused with an 8 year old either. The effects of growing up with the Dursleys would never completely disappear, he would never be the tallest of men, nor would he be of the broadest, but because of Gandalf he would certainly be more than he would have had he stayed with his dear aunt and uncle.
Noting the direction in which the wagon continued Harry began his search for firewood. It didn't take him long—a half an hour at the most—and soon enough began tracing the wheel tracks left behind by the wagon. The sun had yet to set and so Harry took his time, deciding to enjoy the scenery surrounding him, knowing that there was no need to hurry.
He had, after days of forcing back rivers of tears and being comforted by Gandalf, finally come to terms with the fact that he would never be able to return to his own world. And should the opportunity to return ever come up again he was certain that he would refuse, his magic was everything to him and if the journey over had drained him of so much, the journey back would most likely drain the rest of it. He had lived most of his life—eleven years of it, in fact—without magic, having slaved away and done whatever chore that had popped into his uncle's feeble mind without complaint. His two years of knowing magic had been heaven when compared to that and he refused to give up the one thing that had made his life bearable. And while he had become quite attached to his friends in the wizarding world, he found that the thought of living without them was not as unbearable as the thought of living without magic.
Yes, he mused as Gandalf and their resting place came into view, he could live quite comfortably knowing that he would never see his world again, so long as he had his magic and Gandalf at his side. Besides, Middle-Earth didn't seem like such a bad place to be stranded in, in fact, he found he quite liked it here. While a bit primitive in the travelling department—Harry had been very fond of travelling with trains, after all—it was a far cry from his world with its humongous buildings and polluted air.
"We'll reach the Shire in four days," said Gandalf when Harry dropped the firewood and began the process of building a fire. The wizard hesitated, drawing a deep breath—as if steeling himself—before continuing. "When we do I want you to stay there with an old friend of mine."
Harry looked up in alarm, dropping the flint stone cradled in his hand. "You're leaving me?!"
"Harry," Gandalf looked pained, "travelling with me is a most dangerous thing to do, Bilbo will provide you with the safety a boy of your age needs to grow up in."
"I don't care if it's dangerous, you can't just leave me with some stranger!" He choked on the last few words, the prospect of being left behind having worked him up to the point of tears.
"He has a comfortable home, a bed for you to sleep in, food for you to eat and a nephew who you can play with." The old man continued on as if Harry hadn't said a word.
"I get all I need from you; I'm fine with you..." Harry trembled, clenching his hands into tight fists.
"This isn't up for discussion, Harry. I cannot afford to drag you with me into danger, you don't have your magic to protect you any longer and not only would that leave me at a disadvantage, but it would most likely be the death of you as well. You're too young and untrained." Gandalf had hoped to avoid this, had wished that Harry would accept his words without putting up an argument, thus sparing Gandalf from having to be so harsh.
Gandalf reached out to gently run his hand through Harry's unruly hair, frowning when the boy stubbornly moved out of reach. He sighed, giving his charge a weak smile before accepting that Harry would not come to terms with this yet. Fortunately, he had four days to convince him. "You should get some sleep; we have a long day ahead of us tomorrow."
There was still a palpable tension between them when they broke camp and set off the next morning. Harry, it seemed, was determined to ignore any and all attempts that Gandalf made to bring up their conversation again, resulting in a rather quiet afternoon. In fact, the rest of their journey was spent in this tense silence and when the day that they'd reach Bilbo's home finally came Harry had not uttered a word. Gandalf wasn't worried about Harry's lack of speech, he had experienced stubborn children before, but he was worried about how Harry would react when the time for Gandalf to leave came. He'd hate for his last meeting with Harry be one of argument. Who knew how long it would be before he could see him again.
It became more and more obvious, as the day went by, that they had crossed the borders of the Shire. The houses and the people grew smaller, catching Harry's attention and eventually luring him out of his silence in order to question Gandalf about the creatures he would be staying with.
"This friend of yours, he's not human, is he?" Harry questioned, momentarily forgetting that he was supposed to be ignoring his caretaker.
"No, he is not. Bilbo Baggins is a hobbit, one of the most peaceful and friendly creatures I know."
"A hobbit?" The young boy leaned forward, watching as several small men with abnormally large feet tended to a large field. He nodded his head towards them, "are those hobbits, then?"
"Yes," Gandalf said before continuing with a humorous smile on his face, "Though you won't find Bilbo tending to the fields, I'm afraid."
"Oh?" Harry tilted his head in a questioning manner.
"Well you could, when he was younger, but—in a manner—you could say that I've corrupted him."
"Corrupted him?" A small smirk slowly spread across Harry's face as he quirked an eyebrow at his caretaker.
"You see, I brought him with me on a little adventure of mine and, well, let's just say that regrettably I am no longer particularly well liked in the Shire." By the amused glint in his eyes and the way his mouth quirked up in a smile the wizard did not seem to think it was all that regrettable.
Harry snorted, watching as several grumpy looking hobbits threw Gandalf a glare when they finally recognized him. "I can see that."
Once again silence settled between them, though this time it was not filled with the tension that had lingered for the last few days. In fact, Harry even found it within himself to move forward and take a seat beside Gandalf, leaning against the old man in order to rest his head and close his tired eyes. It had been a long day of travelling, evening was right around the corner and Harry was beginning to feel the effects of having been in the wagon all day. His body ached and he would have liked nothing more than for them to make camp so he could stretch out his pained limbs. It was not to be though. Gandalf had made it perfectly clear that they would not be stopping until they had reached Bag End. Harry could get some rest there, he had said, and in a proper bed at that.
He would have much rather preferred the cold, hard ground over a warm, soft bed any day so long as he got to stay with Gandalf.
Despite his best efforts not to he must have nodded off for a moment, for the next thing he knew was Gandalf's large hand gently shaking him and his soothing voice telling him that they had finally arrived. Gently, Harry rubbed the last trace of sleep from his eyes, blinking twice before focusing on the house he would be living in from now on. It looked, he regretted to admit, very cosy with its garden in full bloom and the house that seemed to have been carved from the small hillside.
And right outside the door stood one Bilbo Baggins.
"Gandalf," he cried with obvious pleasure as he nearly ran down the small set of stairs and towards the gate separating them, "at last you are here. I was beginning to worry that you wouldn't make it before nightfall."
"Bilbo," Gandalf chuckled with equal pleasure, "how have you been? Not too restless I hope."
"Oh, you know me," the hobbit said when he finally reached them, "I always find something to occupy my time with, whether it is adventurous or not. Now, who is it that you've brought with you?"
Gandalf stepped aside and indicated for Harry to move forward. "This is Harry, my charge and coincidentally the reason for this visit."
"Well, it's a pleasure to meet you, young Harry. Now if you'd both come in, supper is already on the table and I'm sure you are both famished after a long day's travel." Cheerfully, the small man ushered them into his house.
The inside of the house was just as cosy as the outside had been, and though the ceiling hung quite low Harry was, fortunately, short enough so that he could stand comfortably without having to crouch. The same could not be said for Gandalf. The old man, already quite tall, seemed to have become a giant within Bilbo's home and struggled under the low ceiling, bumping his head so often that Harry found it hard to repress his amusement.
Bilbo led them through what appeared to be the living room and into the kitchen. A small figure was seated by the wooden table that dominated the most of the room and Harry turned a curious gaze on the small, wide eyed hobbit.
"This is my nephew, Frodo," Bilbo said as he gathered tow large mugs of ale and a tall carafe filled with water, "Frodo, this is Harry, Gandalf's charge."
The young hobbit smiled shyly, giving a small wave when Bilbo gestured towards him. Frodo watched his uncle fondly for a moment when the older hobbit immediately broke into a new wave of cheerful chatter before gesturing for Harry to take a seat beside him. "Join me," he said, "When the two of them begin chatting there's nothing stopping them and everyone around them has to accept that they'll be ignored for the most of the evening and seek each other's company instead."
"They have to have known each other for quite some time then," Harry commented, shifting in his seat so he could keep both Bilbo and Gandalf in view while at the same time keeping his attention on Frodo.
"Oh yes, years." Frodo poured two glasses of water, handing Harry one before beginning to load his plate with food. "I take it Gandalf hasn't told you of their adventure then."
"No," Harry hesitated for a moment, "he said something about having corrupted Bilbo, but nothing else."
"They travelled to the Lonely Mountain with a company of dwarves to recover the lost treasure guarded by the dragon Smaug. According to what Bilbo told me they encountered many creatures, goblins, trolls and even elves! Bilbo always likes to speak of how they were nearly roasted on the fire and eaten by the trolls. I'm sure he'd tell you as well, if you'd like." Frodo smiled, his blue eyes shining in excitement.
"Perhaps," Harry shrugged; still containing a small sliver of hope that Gandalf would somehow change his mind and see things Harry's way before the night was over.
Their conversation continued in that manner, light chatter that occasionally drew a small laugh. The topics were tentative; as they usually were when talking to someone who was practically a stranger, though from the small amount of time he had spent with the young hobbit Harry could honestly say that he liked him. To begin with, Frodo, unlike his uncle, seemed a bit shy, though the more they spoke the more the hobbit opened up.
After having finished supper they retreated to the living room, each taking a seat in front of the crackling fire. Once again Harry began feeling the effects of their journey, his eyes grew heavy and stung in retaliation when he refused to let them fall closed. He barely managed to pay attention when Gandalf finally breeched the subject of why they were there in the first place.
"I have a favour to ask of you, my friend." Gandalf sipped at his ale, staring into the fire. "I'm afraid it isn't safe for me to bring Harry with me on my journey, he needs a place to stay."
"And you want me to take him in," Bilbo finished for the old wizard, pressing some longbottom leaves in the chamber of his pipe.
"The idea occurred to me, yes."
"I see, well coincidentally I have a free room and I'm sure Frodo wouldn't mind having another person in the house. " A hissing sound cut through the air as Bilbo struck up a match.
"Good," Gandalf murmured, running a hand through his beard as he always did when he was particularly comfortable, "I'll be leaving him in your capable hands then."
Bilbo turned to get a better look at his new charge, taking in the unruly hair and those big, almost unnaturally green eyes. An unusual colour for an unusual child, he mused. For a moment he wondered where the boy's parents were and when Harry's eyes flashed even brighter he began considering the possibility of him not being entirely human. He would have to ask Gandalf.
"Frodo, my dear boy, would you mind showing Harry the guestroom? I'm sure he must be tired." He gently patted his nephew's shoulder, smiling down at him.
"Of course, Bilbo."
When the two of them were out of sight, Bilbo once again turned towards Gandalf, though this time the cheer that had surrounded him for the entirety of the evening was gone. "He is not of the race of men, is he?"
Gandalf sighed, knowing it would come up. "No, he is not. There's magic within him, not much, but it's there."
"He's a wizard then. How will this affect him and his stay here? Will it have any consequences?"
"It shouldn't, he has such a small amount that as long as it's not harnessed it won't accidentally lash out, though you might discover that he has some enhanced abilities."
"I see," Bilbo murmured, drawing a deep breath, "and you don't want to harness it?"
"No, it's too early, it has to wait until he's older and the amount of magic has become more stable, otherwise he might exhaust his reserves and lose the magic forever."
"So no magic then," Bilbo quipped, attempting to lighten up their conversation.
Gandalf chuckled lightly. "Yes, no magic."
"You'll visit, right?" Harry whispered as he moved forward to hug Gandalf around the waist. "You won't leave and never come back?"
"My leaving isn't for forever, Harry, I'll be returning as soon as I can to check up on you." The old wizard gently carded his hands through Harry's hair, smiling in amusement when the already ruffled hair became even more of a tangled mess.
"Do you promise?" Harry looked up, green eyes shining with determination making it all too obvious that Gandalf wouldn't get away with not promising.
"Yes, I do. I promise to return to you at least once a year and even bring a gift with me, think of it as your birthday."
"My birthday is on the 31st of July," Harry dryly commented.
"Well think of the gift as an early or belated birthday present then, depending on when I come."
Nodding, the young boy once again stepped forward and bestowed another hug upon his caretaker, gently whispering in his ear right before he retreated, "Make sure the gift is a good one then."
"Of course," Gandalf chuckled before moving on to say his goodbyes to Bilbo and Frodo.
"Make sure you take good care of my boy now, Bilbo," The two clasped hands, smiling at each other.
"Don't you worry Gandalf; Harry here will be so well taken care of that you'll hardly recognize him when you return." Bilbo positively beamed.
"I'm sure, I'm sure," Gandalf murmured while turning towards Frodo, "Keep a firm eye on them for me, would you Frodo, my lad? I'm afraid you have more sense than the two of them put together."
Frodo laughed, his blue eyes sparkling in pleasure. "They won't leave my sight for even a second."
"Then my mind will be at rest."
Gracefully, despite his old age, Gandalf climbed into the wagon, accepting his staff from Frodo when he was comfortably seated. Grabbing the reins with one hand Gandalf gave one final wave with the other before gently urging his horse into a trot.
He disappeared from view far too quickly in Harry's opinion.
This chapter is dedicated to the wonderful people that took the time out of their lives to give me advice on how I could improve from my previous Hp/Lotr crossover.