A/N: So here's the next chappy. This time from Lara's perspective. I'll probably end up swapping between Harry and Lara depending on who will have the most interesting perspective on events.
Also, I own nothing, but I did manage to get a good deal on a replacement set of kidneys.
Lara Croft drifted among soothing dreams. She was in Cambodia with her father scouring the jungles around Andoung Tuek in search of the legendary Temple of Rama. She hadn't been all that involved, only being 12 at the time but sharing the adventure with her father had felt amazing. She dreamt of the day she got lost in the forbidding forest. She had wandered off, she'd seen a gigantic pitcher plant and just had to explore. By the time she looked around she realised that her father and his team had all disappeared.
Even at that age she had been very independent. She had tried shouting, but the chorus of birds and other animals had more than drowned her out. So she had tried to follow their trail. She didn't know which way they were going, or which way they had came but she had reasoned that either direction was fine. One would lead to her father; the other to camp. Her father's friend, Conrad Roth, had given her a few pointers on how to follow a trail and she thought she knew enough to get herself to safety.
Four hours later a very worried Richard Croft had returned to their camp after scouring the jungle for his daughter. He found her tired, bruised and sporting many cuts and grazes, curled up sleeping soundly in their shared tent. Lara Croft may get lost, but she always found her way back eventually. Her father had said she was like a bad cold that he just couldn't shake.
Cold. Her dreams shifted and she was reliving the sinking of the Endurance. She had been reading a book. Re-reading, actually. A journal left by an early British ships captain, describing the ferocity of the storms in an area he had dubbed the 'Devil's Sea'. The ship had been tossing violently all evening, a truly impressive storm smiting its wrath on the ocean. She had put headphones in in an attempt to block out the noise while she tried to relax. She was confident that Grim, their cantankerous Scottish helmsman would get them through the storm safely. As he always said 'If it's wet, I can sail on it'. She'd known Grim for as long as she'd known Roth, he was an old friend of her father's and she trusted him to see them through.
Except he hadn't. She had been pulled from her studies by an almighty rending noise coming from towards the prow and had got up from her bunk to investigate. As she was standing the ship had lurched beneath her and she had been thrown against the bulkhead in her room. Luckily she hadn't hit her head too hard and was able to stagger out of her room, only to be met with a wall of white water.
She had barely escaped the sinking, even now she had no idea who it was that had saved her by opening ladder bulkhead just before she drowned. She had tried to jump across the gaping chasm ripped through the ship by the unrelenting sea and had almost made it. Her grip had slipped, she had fallen.
Now her dream shifted to the cave where she had woken up last time. She had been tied up and left dangling, all around her were more of the grisly cocoons, each holding a desiccated corpse. By now the dream was a nightmare, she struggled and shouted but no one came and the bonds would not loosen. She had burned herself when she managed to escape, the only way she could find to get free was to burn her bonds.
Then she fell, and her world had almost disappeared into a mist of agony as a length of rusty rebar impaled her through her belly. Somehow she had summoned the strength to pull the rebar out, almost passing out in the process. She hadn't though. She managed to stagger from the cave chamber into another and immediately regretted it. Strung up in the chamber was another corpse, this one she recognised. Steph, from the Endurance, one of the student interns Whitman brought along. So young and pretty, now dead and hung up in some kind of twisted offering on an ancient shrine. In her nightmare the corpse's face shifted from Steph to Reyes to Sam, then seemed to shrivel up. The corpse looked up at her, Sam's face now a cruel mockery of what it had been, eye sockets long scoured out by maggots empty and weeping. She looked at Lara accusingly, this was all Lara's fault. She had been the one to argue for heading into the storm, even in the face of Whitman's disapproval. Lara backed away from the corpse of her oldest friend, the dream now breaking down. This was all her fault.
Lara awoke gasping, Sam's name on her lips. It took her a moment to realise where she was, though that still didn't really explain the condition she was in.
She was under a warm fluffy blanket. It was covered in what looked for all the world like winged golden golf balls. She was sharing the large blanket with someone else. A man.
She remembered now, she had escaped the cave and he'd been right there. He had offered to help with her wounds, she couldn't remember any more. She must have been injured worse than she had thought.
She was careful not to move. Her awakening hadn't woken the man and she didn't want to alert him until she had some idea of the new situation in which she found herself.
The fluffy blanket aside, she was in a pretty decent lean-to shelter. Outside it sounded like the storm had abated. She could hear the cawing of ravens and screeching of gulls not far off, and below them she could still hear the crash of waves against the beaten cliff-face.
So she was probably still on the cliff. She didn't have anything she could use to defend herself, though it seemed her unknown companion was in a similar situation and he really didn't seem all that dangerous. She felt rested but, more importantly, she couldn't feel any of her wounds from last night. She surreptitiously felt for the hole at her waist, but was unable to find anything but smooth skin. That was impossible. An injury like that didn't just magically disappear, unless she had dreamt the whole thing. But if that was the case how did she get to be on a cliff overlooking the sea on an island in the middle of the pacific?
She wanted answers, but she was loath to awaken the mysterious man quite yet. She looked over at the man. It was hard to judge but he looked fairly short, probably not much taller than Lara herself. He sported a mop of black hair that was sticking up in all directions. His eyes were closed but she noticed a pair of spectacles beside him which she assumed he needed to see. He was probably a bit older than her, though it was hard to judge. His skin was quite pale and made him look young, especially in the relaxation of sleep. On the other hand she could see a couple of scars on his forehead and neck that suggested he'd had an interesting life.
Of course if he'd been stuck on this island for any length of time, and if the inhabitants were anything like the one she'd already met then she imagined he would have a lot more to show for it than just a couple of scars.
As she was watching him his breathing changed slightly. He was waking up. He didn't open his eyes though, probably doing exactly what Lara herself had done just a couple of minutes earlier.
"There's no need to play coy, I know you're awake," she said with the slightest amusement at the similarity of their actions. She hoped the levity of her words would conceal her significant unease.
He cracked one eye open and squinted at her in the light. "'M not playing coy," he grumbled, "just don't wanna wake up yet."
Lara almost laughed at the absurdity of his statement. They were almost certainly stuck on an island in the middle of nowhere and he was acting like a grumpy teenager. Until the full gravity of the situation returned and she sobered.
"Please, can you… I was on a ship, the Endurance? I know some of the crew made it to the island," she said almost pleadingly, "have you seen anyone? Can you help me find them?"
His eyes opened at that and he met her gaze, deep sympathy swimming in sharp green eyes. He sat up and looked down at her.
"I only washed up here last night, and you're the first person I've seen I'm afraid," he apologised while Lara sat herself up as well. "That said, of course I'll help. I was planning on a bit of exploration today anyway."
"By the way." He smiled and extended a hand. "I'm Harry Potter, nice to meet you."
She grasped his hand and found it both strong and soft, a strange combination. "Lara Croft, likewise." As she spoke her stomach rumbled loudly, she blushed.
His smile broadened and he stood up, shrugging off the bizarre blanket as he did so. "Well then, Miss Croft. I believe we need to find ourselves some breakfast." He held out his hand again to help her to her feet. "Then we'll start looking for your friends."
As he stood Lara was able to get a better look at 'Harry'. She was right about his height, he was only a couple of inches taller than her and his build was somewhere between lithe and wiry. He was wearing strange clothes that looked like a cross between a bathrobe and a leather trench-coat. The clothes were in amazingly good condition for having 'washed up' on the island, in fact Lara would struggle to call them anything but well maintained.
She took his hand and nodded as she pulled her upright. Suddenly she remembered the mysteriously disappearing injuries.
"I, um… Wasn't I injured last night?" she asked unsurely.
At her question Harry's face became a little less carefree. "Yeah, pretty badly too." he said, his voice serious, "I'm not even sure how you were still standing after all that. I patched you up as best I could."
That confused Lara, she couldn't find any of the injuries from last night. There were a few bruises here and there and she still felt a bit like her entire body had been used as a punching bag but there was nothing else. She stopped and looked down at herself, checking again that she really didn't have a hole through her abdomen.
She looked up when she heard Harry chuckling.
"Perhaps I can explain, I," he said with his smile now back in place. He pulled out a foot long smooth unornamented stick and waved it. "Am a wizard." The blanket vanished.
Lara stared at where the blanket have been. She stared at Harry. She stared at the stick. She looked back at the now absent blanket. She blinked.
"I. But that. Um. Ok. So you…?" She gestured between his stick and herself. "And that was it?"
His smile broadened again and his eyes twinkled. "Yep!" he said cheerfully. "Well, a bit more complicated than that, but you get the general idea."
Lara had to shake herself to stop from staring again. "Well, thanks," she said lamely. "Can your magic find Sam and the others?" She couldn't believe she was asking that, but in the face of disappearing blankets there wasn't really anything to do but try and roll with the punches.
His smile faded a bit. "It's not quite that easy," he said and Lara was unable to resist an unladylike snort, it never is. "Usually I could use magic to help speed up the search, but I can't apparate at all here, the wards stop me."
Apparate? Wards? Her expression must have communicated her questions to Harry.
"Apparition is like magical teleportation. Wards are magical protections that suppress certain things within their area of influence," he explained, "this island seems to stop all forms of magical transportation, as well as a few other things." He smiled sheepishly.
This guy could teleport, and even he was stuck here? That didn't bode well.
"Wait, so what exactly can your magic do?" Lara asked. She was fascinated by the possibilities and getting a handle on their capabilities would be imperative if they wanted to work well together.
Harry thought for a moment. "Well, I can heal most wounds pretty quickly. I can conjure fire or clean water when needed. I can duplicate or multiply any food we find. I can also probably make any equipment we need so long as it's fairly simple," he said listing the items off on his fingers.
Lara nodded, trying hard to think about surviving and not to be too much in awe of the power of his magic. Basically, while Harry still seemed stuck on the island he was able to make their lives pretty comfortable. That certainly explained why he was so unconcerned about their situation.
"So we don't need to worry much about basic survival then?" she asked after another moment of silent wonder. "That's helpful."
He nodded. "So shall we try and find some breakfast? I hope you know how to hunt, I'm pants at it," he said with a grin.
Lara smiled back. "I'm not bad, but I'll need a weapon unless we want to be eating rabbits. Any ideas?"
"Uhhh, well, I can't really do guns. Well, I can do guns. Or things that look like guns. But I can't do bullets, the gunpowder either doesn't work or works too well." He smiled sheepishly.
Lara frowned and thought about it. "Well, OK. Judging by where we are we can probably find deer if we can find a nicely wooded area. I can track them and you can hit them with some spell or something from your stick, right?"
He nodded. "That sounds like a plan."
They moved off together, following the cliff ledge across the face. Lara reasoned that it would probably lead to some kind of gully or valley that they could climb up more easily than just trying to scale the cliff face. Harry was happy to follow her lead on this. He said his bush-craft skills were limited mostly to not being eaten. She had a hard time imagining some of the animals he described, and was extremely grateful she'd never run into them.
Lara's hunch proved correct, but not in the way she'd hoped. They soon found a valley, but it was completely blocked by a downed WW2 era bomber. The cliff ledge continued on the other side of the gorge, but to reach it they would both have to clamber across the precarious looking wreck.
"Any ideas, magic boy?" she asked.
"We want to get over there, right?" He gestured to the other side of the gorge.
Lara nodded. "The cliff wall here still looks unstable, I think we're better off continuing round further. Can you get us across without having to climb on that death-trap?" She gestured at the crumbling bomber.
He thought for a moment. "Well I could float you across easy enough, but I'll need to make some kind of bridge for myself anyway. That shouldn't take long."
He looked around a bit before coming to stand in front of a large tree protruding from the sheer rock. He pulled out his wand and brandished it like a conductor. A flash of light severed the tree at the trunk and as it began to fall he seemed to catch it with his magic before floating it over to bridge the gap. He looked at it for a moment longer before he waved his wand again and the entire tree morphed and changed shape. Not much, but now there was a large flat platform to walk across.
It was amazing. And humbling. Lara had never seen anything like it before.
He turned back to her. "Ladies first," he said with a bow.
Shaking her head to stop herself gaping like a fool Lara smiled at the cheerful wizard. The bridge wasn't exactly pretty, but it served its purpose admirably. She could get used to this.
They continued on for another hour or so and Lara came to appreciate Harry's company. He was what Lara would call an 'interested amateur' in history. While he couldn't really talk about the details of Yamatai like Sam could, he could still bring a new perspective to her own.
According to Harry the Kingdom of Yamatai was a known entity to the 'wizarding world' -a term that Lara filed away to investigate later- and really was ruled by people with supernatural powers. At least, that's what Harry's research had suggested. He said that there was perhaps even less information about the Kingdom in magical texts, because they had almost all disappeared along with Yamatai.
For Lara talking to him was a truly eye-opening experience. Her father had always put a lot of store in obscure myths and stories of the supernatural. Absurdly so, in Lara's opinion. For Lara there had never been enough evidence for any of his stories. Now she wasn't so sure. Harry was being pretty cagey about filling her in on the broader picture but she was able to glean that there was a world-wide secret society of magic users, and even entire magical civilizations. All completely hidden from 'muggles'.
She hadn't missed Harry mention that even he didn't recognise some of the magic around this island, it seemed that there truly were more things in heaven and earth than she'd dreamt of. She decided that she would look over all her father's old projects. She now believed that at least some of his ideas could have a train of truth to them. If she could get Harry to give her some hints as well, that could only help her chances. She thought he might be amenable.
Eventually she started to reflect more on just how much she'd missed. If only she'd been less blinkered and realised the danger this island represented, no-one need have died in the sinking.
Harry, though, was constantly upbeat and was always quick to pull her from bouts of self pity and guilt over her role in the sinking of the Endurance.
"Listen Lara, it was no more your fault than it was the fault of the guy who sold you the boat. Or the guy who financed the expedition," he explained. "Everything that happens is dependant on everything that went before. Just because you had some small hand in that list of things does not make you responsible for the end result."
Lara hadn't been sold. "But coming here, into the Triangle, was my idea. If I hadn't said anything then no one would have been hurt," she argued.
Harry has smiled sadly then and shook his head as if to shake off a memory. "You were right though Lara. You were looking for Yamatai, where do you think you are now? You did the absolute best you could with the information at your disposal. It was your job to find the island. If the storm was too bad then that was the job of the navigator or captain to call it. Not yours." Now he grasped her shoulder and stared her in the eye. "You are smart, but you can't do everything, and you can't take all the blame when you did exactly what was asked. You couldn't have known."
She had given him a shy smile, but still wasn't happy.
After a while they found something that made Lara smile properly. The remains of a camp, and it looked to be the crew of the Endurance. They had left behind Reyes' hip bag along with a radio and the hand-held camera Sam had been using to record her 'Behind the scenes' film.
She was unable to get anything more than static from the radio. Harry said that was to be expected, and then had tried to explain why. All Lara really got from the explanation was that magic and electronics don't mix.
Nevertheless she wasn't going to just leave the radio. She assumed that it had been left for her, or other survivors. If that was the case it probably worked at least intermittently. They wouldn't have bothered leaving it for her if it was useless.
They moved on, now finally moving into the island rather than merely around it. Eventually the gully they were walking along opened up into a broad lightly wooded valley. More crows took flight sounding their raucous cries as Lara and Harry entered a small clearing. At the far end of the clearing Lara could see a deer, she immediately held her hand out to stop Harry so that he wouldn't scare it away.
She gestured to Harry's wand and pointed towards the deer. He palmed his wand and took aim before sending a bright red flash of light at the animal. The moment it issued from his wand the creature bolted and the red light splashed against the tree behind.
Lara levelled an unimpressed look at Harry. "Don't you have anything a little less... Flashy?" she said with a certain amount of incredulity. "You won't hit anything with that unless it's blind."
Harry shrugged apologetically. "I've got a few more ideas, but I figured I should try the simplest first," he said by way of explanation. "Most of the others are a bit more effort."
Lara shook her head at that and moved on wordlessly. Soon they were met with a grisly sight. Ahead, hanging from a tree over a brook was another corpse like the ones she'd seen in the scavenger's cave. Behind the corpse was what looked like a WW2 era bunker in significant disrepair.
"Oh God!" she cried, "another one. What happened here?"
Harry's face lost all trace of his former good humour. "I don't suppose there's any chance that this is the work of the psycho you met earlier?" he asked grimly.
Lara looked at him in surprise. There were a lot of similarities. "It's possible I suppose, there were a few corpses strung up like that in the cave."
Harry nodded. "We should be careful anyway, this island's starting to give me the willies and that's not a common occurrence," he said mysteriously.
After a moment he spoke again, "I don't suppose you're any good with a bow?"
Now Lara saw what he was looking at, the suspended corpse had a strung bow wrapped around its torso. "I'll manage I think, Roth taught me how to use most weapons when I was out with Dad as a kid."
Harry gave her another look, this one questioning. "Sounds like your childhood was almost as interesting as mine," he said, traces of his good humour returning. "Well if that's the case then you can do the hunting, I'm not sure I want to receive any more of those scathing looks."
Lara was taken aback. "I wasn't… I didn't mean… I was just joking." She looked down.
She heard him chuckling and looked back up. "So was I Lara, don't worry about it." That earned him an embarrassed smile from Lara. "But I think the bow will be better than anything I can do for game hunting unless we find something bigger and slower than a deer."
Another wave of his wand and the bow ripped itself from the arboreal remains and flew into Harry's empty hand. He immediately passed it across to Lara. "Now you just need an arrow."
She gave him a funny look. "Uh, I'll need more than one…" She trailed off when Harry merely waved his wand in front of her face in response.
He bent down and picked up a pebble from the stream-bed, almost immediately it grew in length until it became, unmistakably, an arrow. He then flicked his wand at the arrow and the single arrow suddenly became a pile of arrows. Finally, harry picked up another larger stone and again its shape began to warp and shift. Moments later he passed her a quiver full of arrows.
"I hope that's enough for now?" he asked playfully.
Lara nodded dumbly, she was still staggered by what magic could accomplish with barely a moment's effort.
"Then lets get breakf… Uhh. Lunch now I suppose." He said, returning to a more businesslike demeanour.
"What about…" Lara looked up at the still hanging corpse.
Harry blinked as if the thought hadn't even occurred to him before his eyes softened again. He nodded gently.
More waves of his wand dropped the body to the ground gently, excavated a shallow grave, then covered the body. Lara searched around for a suitable rock to use as a grave-marker. She settled on a small rock veined with pink quartz and placed it on the hasty grave.
Lara moved towards the bunker, it would probably do as a shelter from the elements. She knew Harry could do just about anything with that magic of his, but some habits died hard and one of the earliest was if lost in the wilderness you do not pass up the chance of proper shelter. The door was stuck fast, it didn't even give when she tried kicking it down.
"Stand aside Lara!" called Harry from behind her.
She moved to the side and watched as Harry again gestured with his wand, shooting a bright blue light at the door, it dissolved to dust instantly.
"Does that work on people?" Lara asked uncomfortably.
Harry wasn't really paying attention as he moved towards the door. "No, actually, it's just for blasting inanimate stuff. Don't ask me how it knows the difference."
Lara understood what he was saying. "But there is one that does that to humans?" she pressed.
Harry shrugged before sticking his head in the door. "Almost certainly. Don't know it though, seems a bit unnecessary really." He looked back at her. "Looks fine, bit of a mess though."
They both moved into the small space and looked around. The mess was just what Lara had expected. It was littered with animal bones and bottles, at the back a dark shaft descended deep into the ground.
Harry lit his wand like a torch and shone it into the hole, trying to get an idea of what was at the bottom. Lara couldn't see much, but it didn't look like there was much there.
"Right," Harry said. "Shall we make camp here? I'll secure the bunker so that no one we don't have any problems if there's any more crazies living on this island, then we really need to find some food. Its been more than 24 hours since I last ate."
Lara nodded her assent. "I'll go out and see if I can find us some food while you make this place more comfortable."
Harry reluctantly agreed, accepting that he wasn't going to be of much use stalking a deer. He complained that his standard stealth spells were being nullified by one of the wards on the island.
As she turned to leave he called out. "And Lara, be careful, yeah? I don't want to have to patch you up again." His gaze was serious even if his tone was light-hearted.
It turned out that the glade surrounding their new camp was home to a sizeable herd of deer. Lara decided to practice a little with the bow before she tried to stalk one of the animals. She'd only get one shot, and getting close enough was a painstaking business. She was relieved to find that Roth's advice to her was right on the money. With enough focus and will she was able to hit her target almost every time.
As she stalked quietly through the glade on the hunt for the deer she didn't see anything else suspicious or sinister, something for which she was immeasurably grateful. After the revelations and guilt earlier in the day she was glad of the opportunity to focus on her stalking. She had been hunting a number of times with her father and later with Roth. She had a natural ability to move almost silently through the undergrowth and it helped calm the hidden turmoil still stirring in her mind.
She really was grateful for Harry's presence. Not just because she probably wouldn't have survived her wounds without his miraculous healing, but because his presence gave her something other than her own faults and mistakes to focus on. He also made her feel at ease. It was a bit like the feeling she got around Roth, or her father before he disappeared. He gave the impression of having seen everything, that nothing the world could throw at him could really knock him off balance.
He hadn't talked about his past at all, instead steering the conversation towards the island and Lara's own studies. His own life was boring, he said. Lara didn't believe him, you didn't come by his confidence in the face of danger without a lot of experience. She wasn't going to push him though. Well, maybe she would a little, but it would be subtle. Lara had inherited her father's fascination with mysteries, even if she had tried to steer clear of the supernatural.
After more than an hour stalking the small wood, which she now realised was completely cut off from the rest of the island by more sheer cliffs, she was able to fell a healthy looking buck. She'd never had to prepare an animal before, but she'd seen it done. She set about her work, only cringing slightly when she cut the poor animal open with one of Harry's arrows.
Just as she was preparing to head back, having taken enough meat from the dear and found some edible fruits, the radio crackled into life.
#Csshh# "- is Conrad Roth, Captain of the Endurance. We are shipwrecked on an island inside the Dragon's Triangle-"
Lara scrambled for the radio on her hip. "Roth! You're alive!" she cried in relief.
"Lara! Easy, easy. Are you OK? What happened?" Her old mentor sounded worried, but his voice helped quell Lara's lingering worries.
"I'm OK, Roth. I remember the beach, then everything went black. I woke up in a cave, there was a crazy man and some dead bodies." She could feel her emotions slipping as she told the story. "Steph was there Roth, she's dead."
"Oh God, where are you now Lara, are you safe?" His voice was now even more concerned.
"I'm safe. I met another man. Harry. He's been helping me," she explained in a rush, "we're trying to find the rest of the crew. Roth, I'm so sorry, if I hadn't-"
"Lara, listen. I sent an SOS from the Endurance before it went down. Hopefully someone heard it. I've spoken to the others, we're regrouping at my location." Lara didn't let him finish.
"Can you come and get us-" She was on the edge of tears now. While she'd been with Harry the horror of the last two days had felt distant and dulled. Now it all came roaring back, and Lara was clutching the radio like a lifeline.
"I can't, Lara. I need to stay here," said Roth's voice, soothing her nerves again. "You can do this Lara. Remember Snowdon. All you and Harry need to do is keep moving. And stay together, you'll get through this."
Lara smiled wanly at the little radio. "Thanks Roth."
#Cshh# "-ready for this Lara. I know you a-" #sreeee# "-nd keep your radio on." Roth's voice finished amid the returning static.
Lara sat for what felt like an age staring at the hand-held. She could do this. And with Harry to help they would all make it. That she vowed.
A/N: So there we go, a bit longer than the first chapter. To begin with the chapters will probably each cover a day in game (Camp to camp). So length is a bit variable.
Steph isn't exactly an OC, the devs created her character (She's the blonde one in the 'Crew of the Endurance' concept art image I think) originally, and she was going to be the one strung up in the Scavenger's Cave shrine. There was going to be a bit more heartache over her death at various points early on but they decided to scrap her and leave the corpse nameless. In memory of Steph!
So the story so far is pretty much following the game at this stage. I'm just introducing the characters to each other at the moment so I don't want to depart too far too fast but the butterfly is beating its wings and change is a-coming. It won't necessarily be for the better.
On a somewhat related note: I'd forgotten just how rage inducing the quicktime events could be. Mash E to leave a review!