AN: A quick explanation for those who are waiting for an update for my other stories, I haven't been writing much lately. I'm hoping to get back to it soon, but work and rest of life is taking up a lot of time and energy. This story was actually started a long while back and it's been sitting on a file on my desktop with the thought that one day I'd get around to putting it up online if it goes anywhere. I thought I had a fresh new crossover that nobody had ever thought of, but it seems I sat on it for too long and somebody beat me to it lol There's a few chapters already written that I'll slowly be putting out, because well why the hell not. I want to see some XCOM/HP crossover, so if this sparks an interest in someone then maybe I'll be able to read something good too. I'm a reader first before I'm a writer, so following this philosophy I think I'll put up a few more of my random story writing ideas I've got collecting dust on my desktop. Let me know what you guys think?
James and Lily held their hands together tightly as they watched Dumbledore muse over the barely visible spark at the heart of the life stone. It had been a memento they had decided to keep, a heartbreaking token to remind themselves of the son they had lost. Life stones were magically linked to the living energy of a human being serving as an indicator of their continued presence amongst the living. For magical folks, it was something one kept of those dearest to you so that you always knew of their state of being and immediately knew of their passing.
For over sixteen years the stone linked to one Harry James Potter had been a dull smooth obsidian, a dark reminder of the life that had been extinguished the Halloween night of Peter Pettigrew's betrayal. The Potter's had been lured out of hiding on the false understanding that there had been new information gathered about the prophecy regarding their sons, only to return home to find it a ruin. Danny Potter had been found howling next to the lifeless form of the Dark Lord, a vicious gash cut diagonally across his forehead reminiscent of a lightning bolt. His older twin was nowhere to be found, and the lightless stone proved their worst fears.
The Potters had grieved for their lost son, even as they thanked their lucky stars that at least one of their children had survived. In time they managed to move on, the pain of losing Harry never truly fading to nothing but a burden they learned to live with. The arrival of more children helped, and time spent in peace finally managed to give them enough happy memories to move away from their horrid loss.
Then less than a year ago, Voldemort was resurrected and with him the pain that they had thought they had buried and forgotten. Both reacted differently to the news of the return of the dark lord, each coping in their own way. James threw himself into his auror duties, pushing with all the authority his position as a captain afforded him to disrupt the plans of the Dark Lord and capture as many of his servants as possible.
Lily on the other hand had become more reminiscent. She spent a lot of time digging up and looking through old photos and items that had belonged to Harry, all neatly tucked away in the attic of their home, too painful to look at but unbearable to lose. It had been on one of these memory trips down that lane that she had worked up the courage to look at the little black stone that had represented on oldest son's life, kept in a dark box at the bottom of a locked trunk. Lucky she did, otherwise they might have never known that the stone was no longer lifeless.
It glowed once more with faint light.
"Albus what does it mean?" Lily asked in a shaking voice.
Hope was a painful thing. All the old wounds and dull aches had been torn open again at the possibilities running rampart through her mind. It would kill her if the truth remained the same, but perhaps it would hurt even more if it were untrue.
"Harry," whispered James. "He's alive isn't he? That's what the light means! But how is it possible? It had been extinguished, we all saw that!"
The old wizard stroked his long beard, tapping the stone with his wand thoughtfully.
"It is as you say, a light in the life stone indicates that an individual is alive. I might have a theory on why it had been lifeless, though first I must ask you a question. When was the last time you looked at the stone?"
Lily and James exchanged a pained glance.
"It must have been when I found out I was pregnant with Rose," Lily replied quietly.
The healing process for the Potter's had not truly begun until the coming of their first daughter, two years after they had lost Harry. They had both agreed that while honoring the memory of their dead child was important, their living children took priority. The stone which had been kept on the space above the living room fireplace had been removed and placed within its current box and placed carefully at the bottom of the trunk full of Harry's things. Nobody had touched it for thirteen years.
"I see," said Dumbledore.
The older wizard muttered something under his breath and tapped the stone again with his wand causing it to glow yellow briefly before returning to the faded emerald color.
"What does it mean?" James pleaded.
The anguish of the mere thought of his oldest son being alive was painful to hear. In the faded light cast by the dying embers of the fireplace, the normally light hearted man seemed a mere shadow of himself.
Dumbledore sank back heavily into his chair, suddenly looking older than he had all night long. "Life stones are in fact a bit of a deceiving name for these artifacts. What they in fact are tuned into is not the life force of the individual, but the magic at their core. It's why you cannot tie a life stone to a muggle, there would be nothing for it to detect."
"It had been extinguished after that night," Lily said slowly, her mind working over the headmaster's words. "Are you saying Harry lost his magic after Voldemort's attack?"
"It is quite possible," said Dumbledore with faraway look in his eyes. "It's not unheard of for adult wizards to damage their cores under stressful magical circumstances. Often times it is irreversible, leaving them little more than squibs. But perhaps it may be possible for a child to mend their core given enough time. After all their magic is still growing and quite malleable unlike an adult who has reached their majority. It might explain why the stone's light does not shine as brightly as it should; young Harry's core is still quite weak despite having rebuilt itself somewhat."
James jumped to his feet and began pacing the headmaster's office. "We need to find him Albus, bring him back. We have some of his old things, a tracking charm maybe? Or we could use-"
"James," Lily interrupted gently. "Are we sure we want to do that?"
The dark haired man stared at his wife, unable to quite understand what he was hearing. "What? Of course we do Lily! Did you not hear Albus? Harry is alive! We have to find him, bring him home!"
"You know there's nothing more I want in the world," the red head said quietly. "But James, Harry has lived his entire life without us. He probably has his own family, his own life, a place he calls home. What right do we have to tear him away from all that to bring him into a world at the brink of all-out war?"
That thought gave the man pause. His gut reaction was to tear the world apart to locate his lost son, but Lily had a point. Bringing Harry back now would only bring him into more danger. Perhaps he was better off wherever he was, blissfully ignorant of the dangers if a bit curious of whom his actual family was. Maybe after the war was over they could track him down and make sure he was alright.
Running an unsteady hand through messy dark hair that had seen its first strand of gray last summer, James sat back down on the seat next to his wife shoulders slumped in defeat. Lily rested a comforting hand on his shoulder and gave it a gentle squeeze, loving eyes full of understanding.
"I just wish I knew he was ok," he whispered tiredly.
"I might be able to help you with that," said Dumbledore brightly, the twinkle returning to his eye.
Both parents turned to look at their former headmaster with hungry interest.
"It involved a rather obscure spell that I once found when I was a youth, and creative use of a pensive which I happen to own."
The older man began rummaging through the drawer of one of his desk, muttering questions to himself about where he had placed the blasted thing. Lily hid a smile behind her hand. Only Albus Dumbledore could misplace one of the rarest magical devices in the world.
With a grunt of effort the older man heaved the stone basin filled with smoky liquid onto his desk. Taking the life stone, he dropped it into the misty fluid, the dim shadowy glow of green the only thing visible.
Both James and Lily leaned forward as the headmaster began incanting in a language that was certainly not Latin, periodically tapping one of the four corners of the basin in accordance to the points of the compass. The mist writhed and coiled in agitation, rising up to form a smoky shape. Slowly the image cleared and the foggy form took on a person's head.
Lily gasped as she laid eyes on her lost son for the first time in almost sixteen years. Distantly she could hear James fall back into his seat, equally stunned by what he was seeing.
Unlike Danny who was a cutting image of his father with a messy mop of dark hair and Lily's eyes, Harry only bore some passing resemblance to either of his parents. Black hair had been cropped short until it was barely a bristly over his scalp, removing the telltale Potter wild mane. His features were similar to James, though his cheeks were leaner, and the nose belonged to Lily. Where once had been green eyes like his mothers, the irises were now flecked with gold, and there were a smattering of scars that ran across his face.
One cut a slash from the upper corner of his left eye next to his nose down past his jawline. The skin around the same eye was ragged with healed tissue as if a clawed hand had tried but failed to take his vision. An angry red X shaped scar was carved onto his right cheek, the wound still relatively fresh given the color of its pallor.
The scars took away from his handsome features, though unexpectedly it also added a certain weight and forbiddance to his presence. Even through a smoky image, there was something about Harry that made it difficult not to pay attention to.
He was speaking, though the words at first came out as a distant noise, an echo spoken at a great distance. Albus continued his spell as the parents watched their son speak in a mesmerized fashion and the words began to sharpen until they could finally understand what was being said.
"I'm honored sir, but I'm not sure this is the wisest decision. I'm not a leader like McCoy or Randel," Harry said, voice flat.
A distant resounding voice answered, presumably whoever he was talking with.
"People aren't born leaders son, they're made into them through experience. Quite frankly, you wouldn't be my first choice either given your background and age, but currently you're the only one that fits the criteria."
"Has it really gotten that bad?"
"I don't know if anyone's told you, but as of this moment you are not only our most senior member of the strike force, but you have more field time deployed against the enemy than our next three most experienced operatives combined. Whether you feel you're ready to take on the role of squad leader or not, the truth of the matter is no one alive or capable of battlefield deployment on this planet has as much experience as you do against the enemy."
There was a long pregnant pause as Harry seemed to look down at his hands.
"Why did you send all of Red team up there?" he asked quietly. "You had to have known what might have happened."
The other voice gave a heavy sigh. "It was a calculated risk. Anyone else I sent would have failed for sure, but Red team had the best chance of succeeding at getting what we needed."
"We weren't ready," Harry replied bitterly. "Not by a long shot. You sent us into a cluster fuck hoping for a miracle. Was it worth it?"
"God help me, but it was. I sent the fourteen of you up there to die, in exchange for the off chance you'd be able to gain the intelligence we needed. Their deaths were not in vain, what we learned will help us prepare for the coming invasion."
Harry scowled darkly, his features twisting into a hateful expression. "So it hadn't been the mother ship then. Guess that was hoping for too much. Can I know what's to be expected, or is that classified?"
"Let's just say it's about to get worst, a whole lot worst. We'll be looking back at kidnappings and UFO take downs as the good old days soon enough. This is why I need you to step up and take charge."
"I'm a seventeen year old street punk whose lucky streak is fast coming to an end Commander. Even if I did take you up on it, you think others will follow my lead? I'm just a kid in their eyes."
"You stopped being a child the minute you agreed to join XCOM son. You were a part of Red Team, the most experienced strike force we had against the aliens. You've fought against them all, both EXALT and the Invaders. You were there to retake Shanghai, you were there during the outbreak in Moscow and you were the only one to walk off that battlecruiser in orbit before we blew it to hell. That's the reason they will follow you."
"I've never even been to officer school!" Harry protested weakly.
"Oh rest assured, you will. During your down time I expect you to be learning the finer points of being an officer above the rank and file. At the moment though, I need you to have the authority to command more than your ability to do so. These new recruits are used to taking orders from an officer. Despite what misgivings they might have, they'll shut up and fall in line when someone with the right bars on their shoulders is shouting orders at them."
"How many are we talking about?"
"100 new recruits will be arriving to bolster our ranks. More will be shipped in to take the place of the fallen."
"Jesus Christ." Harry ran a hand through his scalp, unknowingly mirroring the motion his father had just made minutes before. "You sure there's no one else up for the job?"
"Even if Lang or Ramses were back on their feet, neither have as much experience as you do nor would they be any better off as officers. If we ever get them operational again, you can expect both to join you in the position as officers, but as of now, you will take the lead of XCOM's strike team."
"There better be a god damn pay raise for this crap," Harry grumbled with a scowl.
"Money won't do you much good if the world's on fire, but yes, you'll be getting a substantial compensation for the responsibilities of your new station. I take it it's a yes then?"
"Alright Commander, you've convinced me. But I reserve the right to tell you, I told you so, when this all goes down in flames around us sir."
"I imagine that would be the least of my worries if that time ever comes."
The image slowly melted back into formless mist as Albus released the scrying spell he had been using. The elderly wizard had a thoughtful frown on his face. Both James and Dumbledore being purebloods were more confused than Lily who had some understanding of how the muggle military worked, though the context of the conversation was all over her head.
The only thing the occupants of the room could agree on was that perhaps they should go make sure Harry was alright sooner rather than later. It sounded like the lost Potter was mixed up in some nasty business.
AN: Just on an off note, anybody besides me excited as hell about XCOM 2? I've been replaying Long War just to get pumped up for the February release, and I think I'm going to live up to the lost war theme they got coming lol Feel me to drop me a review letting me know what you're looking forward to the most!