Reviews to the last chapter of Book I are available in my forums. I will continue to use the same forum for all future review responses. Also, there will be a little time-jumping at the first, but it will play out, promise. Thank you for reading, and welcome to book II.
The Firebird's Song: Book II of the Firebird Saga
A Harry Potter Fan fiction by Darth Marrs
Note: This is a direct continuation of Firebird's Son. If you haven't read the first, this will make no sense to you. Additionally, if you tried and did not like the first, you will undoubtedly not like this one. More comments are available in the Firebird Trilogy forum linked on my profile.
Standard Disclaimers apply. I don't own Harry Potter or his world. Plotting and OCs are mine, yes, but not much else. This story was not written for profit.
Chapter One: Once Upon A Train to London
Harold Fischer was just an ordinary bloke heading into London from his flat in Hounslow to meet his daughter and her latest boyfriend on the first day of August. At forty eight, overweight and balding, Harold accepted that his best days were behind him with a type of resigned cynicism that made him a rather dull dinner conversationalist. Worse yet, Harold was smart enough, and self-aware enough, to know that this tendency toward pessimism often ended up confirming itself like a sick and twisted self-fulfilling prophecy. Because he expected the worst, he was rarely disappointed, but even more rarely happy. "You're dead inside, Harold," his ex-wife said as she walked out of their home and his life. His last three attempts at dating just seemed to confirm he was meant to be alone.
Still, he did love his little girl, who at twenty years of age and two hundred pounds in weight was neither little nor a girl, and her invitations to meet were few enough that he would gladly hop on the rail to see her. In a real sense those brief visits were the only thing he had worth living for.
He pulled out his book and started reading with a tired sigh when he happened to overhear a very odd conversation from a couple sitting in front of him, hunched down so he could not see them. He really did not mean to eavesdrop, but when the girl said, "Do you think they'll kill us still?" he couldn't help but lean forward to listen more attentively.
Harold's urge to listen grew even more intense when the teen next to her said, "If they find us, I think they will."
Silence fell for a moment, before the girl said, "I'm hungry. Do you have anything to eat?"
Harold heard a rustling of cloth and then the crinkle of paper. "Here," the boy said. "Last one, make it count."
"Will we be able to eat in London?" The girl's voice was rather high-pitched and ethereal, as if she were speaking on the edge of a whisper all the time. Harold recognized she was attempting to be quiet, but he imagined it was rather her normal tone—it was the voice of someone who was very young.
"Yeah, I think so."
Silence followed again, before, "Do you regret bonding with me, Harry, knowing they want to kill us both now?"
Suddenly Harold's mind started soaring with all the possibilities of this statement. He wanted very much to stand and take a look at them to see if the girl was Pakistani or not, because in his imagination they were a young, star-crossed pair of lovers going against the rules of her family, and fleeing so her father and brothers didn't slaughter them both, as had happened recently in the news. Honour killings, he thought they were called.
The boy said, "I was already a target. I can't regret it."
"Where will we go?" the girl asked again. In his imagination, the girl was looking at her young lover with a lost, hopeless expression.
"I'm not sure," the boy admitted. "I thought about maybe going up to Longbottom Manor, but as much as I like Neville, I'm not sure his Gran would take us in."
"It would be a terrible imposition," the girl agreed.
Longbottom? Harold thought.
"Plus there's mum's message," the boy continued. "I have to find Ollivander, wherever he is."
A brief pause, and then in a trembling voice, the girl said, "I'm scared, Harry," she said softy. "I don't want to die like Mum did."
Harold leaned back a little and discovered his eyes were moist. The girl sounded so very… heartbroken.
But then the boy said something that shattered Harold's illusions. He spoke softly himself, just a touch above a whisper, while the sound of rustling fabric made Harold think the two were hugging each other. "It wasn't too bad, you know. Dying, I mean. When Voldemort killed me, there wasn't any pain at all, just a flash of green light. And then I was…someplace else."
"It was like I was on a mountain top between the clouds and heaven. Everything was clear and bright and perfect, and Mum was there waiting for me. She talked to me and touched my cheek, and she was real. I didn't really want to come back, not if it meant leaving her."
"It sounds peaceful," the girl whispered. "My mum was screaming when they killed her; they made me watch. I hope that when I die, she'll be there waiting for me."
Harold leaned back in his seat, trying to make sense of the impossible conversation. Voldemort? What kind of Pakistani name was Voldemort? And the boy died and came back? How did that work? Harold looked around the train, a sneaking suspicion growing in his mind that he was being had. Were there cameras around the train? Would he show up on the telly in a few weeks as the fat, bald, gullible man falling for a silly teenage prank?
Suddenly the girl said, "Harry, what's wrong?"
"They found us," Harry said stiffly.
"How do you know?"
"I saw it, just now."
"But…you don't have a nose bleed."
"They're coming right now!" The boy's voice rose a little in concern. At that very moment, the door from the next car up opened and two women walked through. They were attractive women to Harold's eyes, with long, auburn hair on one, and shorter blonde hair on the other. Both wore rather poorly fitted floral-print dresses and, even stranger, thick black-leather dusters and heavy boots.
By this point, Harold was absolutely sure there was a camera in the train, because the boy jumped up from his seat, pointed a wooden stick and shouted, "Stupefy!"
Of course, nothing happened—no strange lights or sound effects. Harold was sure that would be added later in post-production. And yet the first of the two women flew back against the wall with a grunt. It was, Harold thought, a masterful performance by what had to have been a professional stuntwoman.
"What's going on?" a man a few feet down said as the boy continued shouting "Stupefy" at the remaining woman.
"Must be filming or summat," Harold speculated aloud.
Since that explanation made the most sense, people did not immediately panic, but instead sat back to watch what they thought was a show. The suspension of disbelief, however, was shattered brutally when the boy screamed in pain and suddenly flipped out and over his seat at an impossible angle, hitting Harold on the side of the head with one worn sneaker before landing with a grunt and an audible snap of bone in the centre of the aisle. People watched in growing panic as the boy raised himself from the floor clutching an obviously broken left arm while blood ran from a black spot on his right shoulder. From his knees, he raised his wand with that weakened right arm and screamed, "Confringo maxima!"
The approaching woman's sneer turned into a wild look of fright before something slammed into her midsection and threw her back against the far wall where her partner waited; a split second later the world turned white as the whole connector side of the train disappeared in the deafening, blinding flash of an explosion.
Harold was aware of screams; of the screech of horribly twisting metal and then a stomach-churning feeling of falling and spinning. Harold cried out himself, though his voice was lost in the screams of dying metal just like everyone else's. When movement stopped, it did so with shocking finality. He felt his body slammed hard into biting, cutting metal. His head struck something that left him seeing stars, and his ears roared with the echo of the inexplicable explosion that tore their commuter train apart.
It took several moments before he could move; when he did he winced at the sharp pain in his side. Looking down, he saw a deep gouge where he landed on a twisted, now bloody shard of metal. People were crying around him, looking for loved ones or just trying to figure out what to do and what happened.
Looking around the smoking ruin, he spotted the boy. He was in his mid to late teens, with shaggy black hair and green or blue eyes. He held his broken arm to his chest and looked about him with such a lost, confused expression Harold wondered briefly if the boy even knew what he had done.
Harold turned and saw the girl for the first time. Far from being Pakistani, this girl was in fact pale and blonde—almost white-blonde—with large, protruding eyes. She stumbled through the side-turned railcar toward the boy, showing no sign that she was hurt.
"I did this," the boy stuttered, clearly in shock. "God, Luna, I did this!"
"Well, yes, but if you hadn't I'm fairly certain they would have killed us."
"I hurt all these people!"
"Yes, I'm sorry for them," the girl said. "But if we stay and try to help, they will catch us. We need to leave now. How do we get out?"
The boy looked around the stunned, confused faces before he raised the stick and said, "Bombarda!"
Harold fell back as the roof of the train disappeared in a blast of heat. It was a more controlled explosion than the first, but still made everyone in the train scream in terror that they were all about to die.
When the smoke cleared, though, there was a man-sized hole in the roof of the car. The injured boy and his young girlfriend stumbled through into the daylight first, followed by the others.
Harold lay back down, feeling rather dizzy and lightheaded. Not more than a minute later, the air filled with pops as women suddenly appeared as if by magic, all clad in long black trench-coats. They brandished sticks just like the boy did, and immediately started pointing them at people. Harold watched from his prone position as people's panicked, terrified faces went suddenly, inexplicably blank.
This wasn't a movie. They're doing something to those people's minds! Desperately afraid, Harold closed his eyes and lay perfectly still.
Whatever he feared never happened, and moments later the air was filled with pops once more. When he dared to peek, the strangely clad women were gone, and survivors were slowly working themselves toward the hole in the side-ways ceiling of the car. A pair of paramedics rushed in through the gap and saw Harold almost immediately.
"Where are you hurt?" one of the young men said.
"M' side … got stabbed by the train when it turned over," Harold said. He sounded strange to his own ears—his words slurred. "I saw it all. The women came n' made everyone else forget, but I remember."
"Well, you just keep a hold on that thought, sir," the paramedic said.
When Harold Fischer woke up, he was surprised at how very clear-headed he felt. When he woke up after having his appendix removed, it was to a feeling of muddle-headedness that stayed with him for days. Now, though, he felt only pain. In fact, there was a great deal of pain from his side, as well as the pinch of an IV in his arm, and the steady, rhythmical beeping of monitoring equipment around him. He appeared to be in a semi-private hospital room.
"Ah, good, you're awake," a male voice said. Harold turned his head with some stiffness and saw a man who was only a few years younger than he was, but otherwise looked completely different. Where Harold was overweight with barely-there brown hair, this man stood tall and strong, with a flat stomach under a white button-down shirt, and black sweater-vest with a luxurious head of dark hair touched by grey at the temples. He wore his vest suspiciously like a police uniform, though it had no insignia or patches.
"Where am I?"
"Charing Cross Hospital," the officer said. "You're lucky to be alive, Mr Fischer."
"Tell me about it," Harold said. "Did they catch the kid that did it?"
"Did what, Mr Fischer?"
"Blew up the train, 'course," Harold said. "Thought it was a joke, or show, or summat. He just stood up and started shoutin' at the two birds in the leather coats, like they was playing or summat, then one does something and the boy goes flying, arm broke sure as I'm here. He gets up and shouts something, like 'Bomba maxi' or something, and then it all just goes pear-shaped."
"Was he alone?"
"No, he was with this big-eyed blonde girl. They was talking 'bout people being after them, and being scared. Mentioned Moldy Wart or what have you, can't remember for sure. I thought they was just playing me, then those women showed up. And after he and 'ter girl got out, more women came. Pointed sticks at people and made 'em forget but not me. They must 'a thought I was dead or summat, missed me completely."
The man nodded. "Shouldn't you be takin' notes?" Harold asked.
"No, because I was never here, and if you're smart, Mr Fischer, you'll never mention this to anyone else, or those women will come back, and they will steal your mind."
Harold's eyes widened. "You know 'bout 'em, don't you?"
"Indeed I do. And I know they're very, very dangerous. Thank you for your statement; your daughter has been informed and should be here shortly. The doctors will give you something for the pain. Remember; do not mention this to anyone, Mr Fischer. The Crown cannot guarantee your safety if you do."
Wide-eyed and numb from everything that had happened so far, Harold could only nod. "Okay, then."
"Right, well, good day to you. I wish you a speedy recovery." And with that, the man was gone.
Harold would never see the man again, but he did keep his promise. When his daughter arrived, crying in concern for him, Harold smiled happily at her and said, "Alright, luv, no worries. Daddy'll be okay."
Surprisingly, he was right. The experience on the train made Harold realize, over the following months, that there were still some mysteries left in the world; some magic that was beyond his knowledge. Strangely, the knowledge made him happy; and his happiness made him more pleasant to be around. Though prior to the wreck he would never have believed it could happen, he eventually found a woman who did not mind his weight problem or thinning hair, just as he didn't mind her perpetual cheerfulness and rotund figure, and for the remainder of his mortal life, he managed to find happiness for himself where before he had given up entirely.
However, Sir Marcus Fletchley, formerly with Her Majesty's Royal Air Force and now on special detached duty with the Security Service, did not care one whit about Harold Fischer's happiness. What he cared about was that a witch-born blew up a train, killing three people and injuring almost a hundred more, and his daughter's friend Harry Potter was likely involved.
He removed his radio and said, "Mr Fischer confirmed Trickster involvement. Looks like our subject might have been involved directly. According to the witness, he may have a broken arm."
The voice on the other end said, "Roger that. We have the picture—we'll begin the sweeps now."
"Remember, keep everyone off the official channels," Sir Marcus said.
"Aye, sir. Out."
Sir Marcus replaced the radio into his shoulder clip and continued at a brisk pace out of the large, sprawling hospital. He nodded politely to people in the elevator or halls, but said nothing until he reached the black Range Rover in the hospital car park on the ground level of the building.
Edwin Granger sat in the passenger-side seat typing into a laptop computer tied into the Rover's secure communications link. He wore the same vest, shirt and slacks as Sir Marcus. "So?"
Sir Marcus climbed in and nodded. "It was Potter alright. Sounds like they attacked him on the train and he went overboard defending himself. He probably caused that wreck."
Edwin grimaced and shook his head. "Bad business, that. What are we going to do when we find him?"
"Before he was responsible for killing three innocent bystanders, I was going to help him," Sir Marcus said darkly. "Now? Now I might shoot the boy myself."
"Justine would never forgive you," Edwin said, speaking of Sir Marcus's teenage daughter, who herself just happened to be a witch. "And neither would Hermione, for that matter."
"That alone might be reason enough to shoot him. Come on, let's get moving."
"Harry, you've hurt more than just your arm," Luna Potter neé Lovegood whispered as the two of them stumbled into the nearest corner mart. "I can see a curse on your shoulder!"
"I know," her husband of the past two days whispered. "I can feel it. Just not sure what we can do about it."
It was difficult to walk with the throbbing pain from the curse in his shoulder, which only made the broken arm that much harder to bear as well. The South Asian man behind the counter watched the two of them as they made their way back to the loo. Luna walked in with him and closed the door. With it locked, she removed her shrunken trunk from the pocket of her rather industrial-style dress and activated the enlargement charm with a tap of her wand.
"What are you doing?" Harry asked.
"Pain potion—don't you have a potion kit from Madam Pomfrey for your visions?"
"Oh, yeah. Good thinking."
She found what she was looking for and handed him a phial of potion, which he took without hesitation. She then removed a large book called Home Remedies for the Every Day Witch by Aesclepia Gale. "Can you take off your shirt?"
"No," Harry admitted.
With a nod, Luna performed a simple switching spell, only she switched his shirt for air. When the curse was exposed, she sucked in a breath and started to flip quickly through the book. Finding what she wanted, she held her wand over his shoulder and said with careful enunciation: "Ostendo sum vestri penitus."
"What was that?"
"A diagnosis charm for curses," Luna said, a moment before her eyes watered. "Harry, I can't heal this. It's a Class IV dark curse. It's going to continue to burn into you until it destroys your magic and kills you. I can't…I don't know what to do."
"Can you fix my arm at least?"
With a nod, she looked back through the book, found the appropriate charm, and pointed her wand at Harry. "Brachium Emendo!"
Even with the pain potion, the sudden setting of his bone made Harry cry out and slam into the wall, where he slid to the floor gasping. His forearm looked black and blue, but he could tell just from the angle that the spell worked. "That hurt," he admitted in a strained voice.
"Thank Morgana it actually worked," Luna muttered. "I tried it once on a dog I found with a broken leg last year—it actually vanished the bone entirely. You have to have a clear picture in your head and… Oh Harry."
She slid down the wall to sit next to him and buried her face in her hands. "I don't know what to do! We need to get you to Saint Mungo's, but I know if we go, they'll capture us. I just don't know what to do."
"We'll work something out," Harry said. "We have to. I've already died once; not too eager to do it again, you know? Help me with my shirt, please."
She did as he asked, helping slide the shirt back over his wounded shoulder. He started to stand, but his left leg caved in. Luna leapt up and caught him before he fell to the floor again. "Thanks," he said, white-faced. Luna managed to unlock the bathroom door and swung it open, only to find two men in three-piece Muggle suits and ties on the other side, both with guns in their hands pointed at the two teens.
"Oh, hello," she said, startled.
"Hands over your heads, now!" the agent with chocolate-coloured skin said.
"Oh, I don't think Harry should do that," Luna said in a reasonable tone, as if talking to someone about the weather. "He's hurt quite badly in his shoulder, you see. I suppose I could raise my hands, but I'm afraid he'll fall if I do."
"I said get your hands over your heads!" the man said again.
"Are you going to kill us, then?" Luna asked, still in the absent voice. "I suppose dying by a Muggle gun is better than being stabbed in the stomach. Is it faster to die with a bullet in your brain, Harry?"
"Don't know," Harry said, panting now from the increasing pain. "Luna, I can't…"
He then fell forward, with Luna desperately trying to hold him upright as the two Security Service agents watched.
Author's Note: I want to once again say a very special thanks as always to Teufel1987, JR and Miles for beta reading. The three of them have created a great system that works well for my writing style, and to a marvelous job not just of editing, but also pointing out the many WTF? breaks that sneak in. For this and the other stories they've beta read for me, I am in their debt.