Author's Note: I just really wanted to write a Harry Potter/His Dark Materials crossover for the longest time. So much so, that this story doesn't quite have an overall deep plot, other than Harry and Hermione meeting each other before Hogwarts, and giving me free leeway to write about my favorite characters and their daemons!
Settings: The only thing that people need to know for this story is that it incorporates, from His Dark Materials, the concept of daemons and all of the social etiquette that follows. (For those who don't know, daemons are spiritual manifestations of a person's soul- their other half, if you will, -that walks beside that person instead of residing in their bodies. Daemons take on the forms of animal wildlife, but are just as intelligent and independently willed as much as their humans are, with their own personalities and dispositions.)
Other than that, (and Harry and Hermione meeting earlier than normal), the world of Harry Potter is relatively the same. For now, anyway.
Disclaimer: Neither Harry Potter, nor His Dark Materials, belong to me. I use them only for entertainment purposes. I promise to return them in mint condition when I'm done.
"Friendship is a single soul dwelling in two bodies..." Aristotle
When Hermione had been a little girl- well, younger than she is now, -her mother used to whisper to her that daemons were gifts from God.
"He knows Humans don't like to be alone, so he created for us companions that would be with us for eternity," Lucille would whisper into her daughter's ear, her arms wrapped firmly around the little girl's body at night when it was time for bed.
Usually Liron was perched by Hermione's ankles, his body preening with pleasure under Xavier's gentle prodding. Hearing her mother's soothing voice, and feeling the love and comfort seeping in through Liron from a brush of Xavier's feathers, or a soft prod from his beak would lull Hermione into a deep sleep.
A sleep where she dreamed she had human friends to play with- not just her daemon.
And now, as she sits down on the bench, hunched over and watching the other children playing with shrieks of shouts and laughter, she wishes for a human companion more than ever.
Thinking those thoughts will get you nowhere; Hermione chastises herself, and instead lowers her eyes to the open book before her. Why should I need anything more than Liron to make me happy?
"Reading again, huh?" the familiar voice speaks up from above the eleven year old, scattering her dim thoughts. The voice is calm, but Hermione can hear the hidden humor in the tone, and her lip twitches into a grin. Slipping her bookmark into place, Hermione lifts her head to see her daemon, Liron, flying above her by a few feet.
His chosen form of the day, as had been the last three days, is a bat. Watching his small, black form swooping in graceful arcs makes Hermione shake her head, and when she cuts her eyes over to a boy who had suddenly let out a playful shriek while sliding down a long slide, she isn't feeling quite so melancholy.
"I like books," Hermione huffs, sliding closer to the bench table, and bracing her arms on either side of the book as if to protect it. "I can go anyplace I want to when I'm reading, and it's enjoyable."
"Mmm," Liron offers unintelligibly. His wings flutter for a moment, and Hermione jerks her head back a bit, out of the way, as he plops himself down heavily- right in the middle of the book. Spreading his wings out wide, he effectively blocks the words of the book, and Hermione frowns at him.
"Seriously, Li," Hermione chastises, using his nickname with some affection finding its way into her voice. "I can't read if you're blocking the words. Just because you're my daemon doesn't mean I can magically see through you,"
Liron snorts at Hermione's attempt at a joke.
"Of course you can't; that's why I did it," he tells her dutifully. "If you want us to make more friends, let's go do it right now. If we sit here and read, we won't be able to make friends at all."
Hermione bites her lower lip, feeling the anxiety forming in her stomach at the thought of trying to speak to the other kids. It is bad enough at school where many of her peers ostracize her for her intelligence or her near anal-retentive habits; to get shunned here in such a public place is too much of a risk.
"I don't know about this, Li…" Hermione tries, but Liron doesn't listen. Instead, he peers up at her knowingly, staring back at her with honey brown eyes that are exact mirrors of her own- after all, the eyes are windows to the soul, and Liron is her soul.
His eyes are full of support and when he nudges her hand with his small, warm head, she can feel his love for her sliding up her arm from the contact.
She sighs with content before she can stop it.
"Let's go, girl," Liron tells her, his little bat face twisting into a smirk. He juts one wing in the direction of the marry-go-round wheel, where three girls about Hermione's age stand around in a small circle, talking to one another. One of the girls' daemons is running around the small group as a Chihuahua, yipping at another girl's chipmunk daemon. The third girl, who actually looks a little older than Hermione and the other two, has a pigeon daemon squatting quietly on her shoulder, looking down at the other two daemons running around.
With a sigh, Hermione closes her book and slips it into the knapsack at her feet. Slipping the strap over her shoulder, Hermione gets to her feet very slowly.
"Let's do it, then," she mumbles, and Liron lands on her head.
"That's the spirit," he says, and the excitement in his voice cheers Hermione up a little.
"If this goes south, you'd better remember this was all your idea," Hermione adds, as she nears the girls. The one with the pigeon daemon, a blonde girl with hazel eyes, shifts her gaze to Hermione and tilts her head a little.
"You need something?" the girl asks bluntly, though not harshly.
"Um…" Hermione starts, her eyes darting to the other two girls as they turn their eyes to her as well. The Chihuahua and chipmunk come to halts and stare up inquiringly at Liron.
"Hello," Liron says, when Hermione still cannot find her voice. "We were wondering if we could play with you guys? You look like you're having a blast!"
"We are," the girl with the chipmunk daemon says. Her hair is dark and she has dozens of freckles on her face; a face which wrinkles up into a frown. "And we don't need anyone else to join in- it'd be a crowd."
Her daemon flicks his tail and moves closer to the girl, but doesn't say anything.
Hermione's face falls, and Liron suddenly shifts into a yellow canary.
"Aww, c'mon," he insists, and Hermione lifts her eyes to shoot him a look of warning. Liron ignores her, and flies down towards the chipmunk daemon, his wings making a loud flutter. "We can be fun, too. Really!"
The chipmunk shifts into a small gray tabby cat, and without warning, lashes out at Liron with a hiss. Unprepared for the assault, Liron takes the full force of the paw strike to his face, and pain lances through Hermione's cheek and jaw, just as her daemon lets out a bird's shrill whistle of pain.
Hermione gasps and steps backwards, and Liron quickly flies back up and settles down on the top of her head. She can still feel his pain throbbing dully as if it is her own, and she looks at the girl with the freckles, hurt and offended.
"You don't have to be mean," she says angrily, feeling tears well up in her eyes. She swallows and balls her hands into fists at her sides, determined not to cry in front of them. The girl's daemon hisses again, and this time the other two daemons make threatening noises at her, too.
Hermione is at a complete loss, not sure if she is supposed to believe that complete strangers would not even want to play with her.
Did she have some sign floating above her that flashed stay away or something?
"Never mind," Hermione spits, and flees back to the bench before any of the girls can say anything. Only as she makes her way to the bench, Hermione glances past it and decides to keep moving. The park she is at is only a few blocks away from her home, which is why she's allowed to be here alone in the first place.
Feeling that she has more than enough excitement for one day, Hermione decides to go home and retreat to safety. Sitting quietly on her head, Liron says nothing.
She can sense his embarrassment and dejection though, and she doesn't quite know what to say to reassure him or make him feel better.
She's not sure if there are any words to, even if she were to try.
So much for making friends, Hermione thinks. It might just be me and Liron, only, from now on.
And as much as Hermione cherishes her daemon, her other half, the thought does not fill her with the warmth and security now, as her mom always promised it would.
Humans weren't created to be alone; and neither were their daemons.
Making her way to their home, both Hermione and Liron don't say anything, nursing their respective wounds in silence.
Harry lets out a soft moan, turning fitfully in his sleep. Small beads of cold sweat saturate his forehead, and he curls his small body tightly into a ball.
It barely gives him any more room in his hideously small cupboard, passed off as his bedroom.
"Mm... no… run," Harry mumbles, and his brow furrows into a deep frown. The ebony tendrils of his hair stick to his sweaty face and his ivory pale skin is only darkened by a semi-feverish flush across his cheekbones and nose.
The well-worn cot squeaks as he turns over onto his side, and a distant, "Quiet!" from elsewhere in the house makes Harry's daemon open her eyes.
Sparkling emerald eyes, the same unsettling jeweled gaze of her human's, turn to look at said human.
Now that she is awake, Harry is quick to follow, but not quickly enough. Shifting into the form of a small squirrel, Amynta's reddish-brown fur bristles with distress as Harry's breath stutters in his chest.
He is having another nightmare, but if he keeps making noise, Uncle Vernon and Moran will make their day a living hell.
Scampering up her human's scrawny chest, Amynta nuzzles her nose into the crook between Harry's jawline and collar bone. Even in his sleep, he can feel the waves of soothing comfort from his daemon, and his body relaxes a fraction.
Amynta nudges him, and flicks her furry tail across his ear, tickling him.
He lets out a whimper at her assault, before his eyelids flutter and he yawns. When he finally lifts his long, black lashes to reveal sleepy green eyes, Amynta shifts into a black rabbit and licks the side of his face affectionately.
"Wake up, sleepy head," she croons, and Harry lazily runs his fingers over her head, flattening back her long, silky ears. At his touch, she sighs and her body turns fluid as she settles down on his shoulder, curling up to get comfortable.
The silence is comfortable, and even though they both know they will have to get up for chores soon, for right now they have this perfect moment.
Amynta's body is so warm, and Harry stifles a small smile.
How can she expect me to get up, when it's so much easier to go back to sleep? He wonders, somewhat mystified.
"Don't wanna get up, Amy," Harry slurs after a moment, his face half buried in his pillow. "Still sleepy…"
Amynta's nose twitches and he can hear her soft chuckle as she bounds off of him and moves to the door. She turns back to face him, one of her long ears turned to him and her other perked up backwards, in the direction of the door.
"Me neither," Amynta assures him. Her other ear cocks back, and it's then that Harry hears the soft creak coming from the staircase of the house. "Someone's up, and I don't think we'll be allowed to go back to sleep, though," she says with a sigh, and Harry shifts on the bed as Amynta's anger ghosts over his senses.
He knows she doesn't like them being treated like they are slaves, and detests how they are both always made to feel like they are undeserving. Luckily enough, however, she has enough semblance of self-preservation not to voice it when Harry's relatives are close enough to overhear.
"Well, might as well get the day started," Harry grumbles, reaching up to run his fingers through his permanent unruly hair with one hand, and slipping on a pair of well-worn glasses with the other.
He yawns again.
Amynta snorts at his attempt to straighten out his hair, and Harry sticks his tongue out at her.
"I don't need any cheek from you," he grins, mock scolding her. Amynta's head tilts at an angle, and her nose twitches.
"No, I think you'd be better off with a comb than anything else," she teases, and Harry manages a soft laugh before someone raps hard on the other side of the cupboard's door.
The jovial mood vanishes instantly, and both Harry and Amynta stifle groans as they hear Uncle Vernon speak up.
"Get up, boy! You don't have all day to sleep away; there are chores that need to be done. This place needs to be tidied up before we can get things ready for Dud's birthday!"
Both Harry and Amynta roll their eyes silently at each other. Harry's cousin, Dudley, was constantly talking about his upcoming birthday, which wasn't for another week. But, as with anything Dudley Dursley, if he wanted something, his parents more often than not gave it to him.
Harry could hear the bolt on the other side being unlocked, and waits with baited breath as Uncle Vernon and Moran walks off to the kitchen, before silently slipping out. He closes the cupboard door silently, his face turned towards the kitchen in an effort to keep a look out for his uncle.
Unfortunately, this means he is unprepared for his cousin coming up behind him.
When Dudley's daemon, Christa, jumps onto Amynta as a large, pudgy bulldog, Harry winces from the pain and shifts in discomfort as his daemon lets out a little yip from surprise.
Quickly getting her bearings, Amynta lets out a sniff, before shifting into a red fox, and scampering out from beneath Christa's weight. Ears flattened against her skull, Amynta hisses a warning, pressing her side against Harry's leg and curling her fluffy tail around his ankle.
Harry glares at Dudley, who just leers at him.
"Good morning, freak," Dudley chuckles, as Christa shifts into a coyote, slightly pudgier than Amynta's form. She sneaks closer to Harry's leg, and Amynta lets out a snarl, before snapping her jaws and then raising her hackles to expose her sharp canines.
Christa lowers her head, her tail swishing slowly behind her as if she is about to pounce.
"Leave me alone, Dudley," Harry warns his cousin. "I have stuff to do, and you're only gonna end up with a spoiled birthday party if I can't get all of it done,"
He knows instantly that he has said the magic words when Dudley's eyes go wide. Christa almost immediately shifts into a ferret and scampers up his pant leg, up his arm and then wounds herself halfway around his neck.
Dudley shrugs and shoves past Harry, knocking into the smaller boy with his shoulder, hard.
"Then you better hop to it, then, huh?" he grins, and Harry has to bite his tongue to keep from lashing out a retort that would surely result in him getting a lashing of his own from Uncle Vernon.
As Dudley and Christa disappear into the kitchen, Harry takes a moment to kneel down and run his hand over Amynta's head. She shifts back into a black rabbit, and preens under his soft, loving touch.
"So much for a loving family supposedly being everything," Harry mutters angrily, eyeing the kitchen doorway with contempt. Leaping up into his arms, Amynta presses her face against his chest, feeling his sure heartbeat thump in perfect rhythm to her own.
"Too bad we don't have a loving family to test out the theory," she points out. Then she sighs blissfully as Harry lifts her up to place a kiss right on her quivering nose.
So true, Harry thinks with a sigh of his own.
NOTE: I put a bit of thought into many of the HP characters' daemons, and while I have a pretty good idea on many of their settled forms and personalities, I did get a little help on their names by looking up old ones.
Amynta: Is Greek, and a female version of the word "defender". Seeing as Harry is considered a kind of protector (and Amynta's later settled form), I thought this would be ideal.
Liron: Is Hebrew for "my song". I personally just liked the name, and can pass the reasoning of the name off on Hermione's parents, who felt their daughter was like a precious melody, or something.
As for the Dursleys and their demons... no particular meaning. *shrugs*
We'll see how far this story goes; I only plan to have a few more chapters where Harry and Hermione meet, and end it there. But if readers want a continuation, I am more than up for a longer story. :)