Disclaimer: Don't own Harry Potter or Final Fantasy XV
I finally saw the Bismark and caught the fish to get Ignis' sushi!
Harry stumbled, scrambling back up as he ran, tears blinding him. it was his fault; it was all his fault! His arm was burning from the bite but he ignored it, Fawkes had cried on the wound and he'd felt better but it hadn't fixed it totally. Ginny…Ginny was dead because he hadn't been fast enough and now Ron hated him. He just…had to get away. He opened the sink and dropped down, making his way into the Chamber where he curled up in a corner, shivering and shaking, tears blurring his vision even more than normal. Eventually, he fell asleep like that, his only company the carcass of the basilisk he had killed.
When he eventually opened his eyes he was confused to find daylight. His arm didn't hurt anymore which was nice, but how had he gotten outside? He went to get up only to fall as his body moved oddly. He stumbled about, confused, until he finally got his legs working, except everything still felt very wrong, wings stretching to catch his balance…wings?
Harry soared high in the air, keen eyes searching the land below for prey, hidden by the clouds. Was this why he had loved flying so much at school? It was even better under his own power and he dove, swooping down on an animal and killing it quickly. He tore into it, eating quickly before something could come and try to steal his meal. Part of him thought he should be disgusted with what he was doing but it felt natural.
He didn't know how long it had been since the Chamber, not like he had a calendar or something. He didn't know where he was, he recognised nothing and the animals were very strange, unlike anything he'd seen in books, even magical ones. He hadn't even spotted any people, not that he would dare approach with what he looked like now. He hunted during the day only, because the really scary stuff came out at night. Maybe if he was older, bigger, it would be less scary but Gryffindor or not, it was too dangerous!
He didn't even know what he was and he didn't really care. With his wings the skies were the limit, literally. There were times when opposable thumbs would be nice but he wouldn't give up the ability to fly. He assumed he was an Animagus, like Professor McGonagall, though he was a lot bigger than the cat she could become!
Humans! There were people in this place. He stayed high in the sky, so he couldn't make out close detail but they looked funny. He dipped a little lower, were they riding birds? They things kind of looked like overgrown canaries or something and he'd only hunted them once and he hadn't killed it…it'd been too cute! The people were riding them like they were horses though.
He followed them for a while, even though he didn't like leaving the heavily wooded area he'd woken in, he had claimed it as his and there wasn't anything in the area big enough to challenge him in the day. He had a nice little cave deep inside where he could sleep out of the elements, not that he got cold or was even bothered by the rain all that much. He took up the almost the whole cave and the entry was small enough that only the smallest night time monsters could get in and they weren't brave enough to take him on.
When they kept going he turned back, unwilling to risk being caught out at night too far from his territory.
Harry was roused form his sleep by the sound of someone crying out in pain. He uncoiled and slid his head out of the cave, scenting the air. The night sky was beginning to take on the odd shade that said dawn was coming but the sun had yet to rise. The air was cool and crisp…and he could smell the night monsters but also something unfamiliar…there was another cry and he slid from the cave, wings unfurling as he scurried up into the trees before gliding towards the sounds.
He perched above the clearing to see a mass of the small monsters attacking….a man. Harry hesitated, torn, but then he launched silently, sharp talons ripping three of them apart before they even knew he was there, their bodies dissolving as they died. A swipe of his pointed tail took out another two as he bared razor sharp teeth.
The man stumbled back and while Harry made sure he was aware of where he was, he otherwise ignored him. He didn't dare try to eat these things, not when they were made of that black stuff. He spun, seeing one launch at him but then it was impaled on a weird red sword and the then the man stumbled back, falling to his knees. Harry took in a deep breath; he'd only tried this once and he wasn't very good at it but the man needed help. He felt the warmth built in his chest and then he exhaled as hard as he could, a stream of weak fire billowing from his mouth, incinerating most of those left. The remainder scattered and he let them go, turning to look at the man.
He stared at the creature that had intervened, hand tight around his sword. It turned to face him and he braced himself but it made no threatening moves, staring at him as if…curious? It was not a daemon, there was no black miasma, but he had never seen a creature exactly like it before. There was some slight resemblance to a Jormungand or even a Jabberwock, due to the wings. It shifted and he tensed, feeling his wounds pull but then it lowered itself further, shifting side on to him. He stared in confusion and it made a strange hissing growl. It shifted its wing as if…
"You want me to get on?" he asked in utter disbelief only to be further shocked when it nodded! Whatever it was, it was sentient. He hesitated but then released his sword back into his Armiger, staggering, only to have the creature steady him. ever so carefully he lifted a leg up and over the serpentine body, clutching to the feathers around the area behind its head. He felt the wings beat several times and then they were up into the trees, not flying but gliding between them. It made sense, the canopy and closeness of the trees would make actual flight difficult.
His head was light by the time they left the trees, he really needed to tend his injuries soon. He was nudged off and then gently pushed forward, finding rock but then…a smallish opening. He glanced back and was nudged again so he carefully moved to hands and knees, crawling inside. He had to be insane! He came out in pitch black, a cave by the feel of it, and then his host slid in after him, long body curling around him, puffs of warm air letting him know where the head was. He carefully reached for his healing supplies, glad he knew them all in the dark, freezing as he felt the creatures nose press against him and then it shifted around a little before exhaling and he saw a bit of tinder hit by weak flames.
He glanced at the shadowing face and nodded. "Thank you," the light and heat was very welcome. He got out what he needed and carefully went to work, able to feel eyes on him the whole time. When he was done he leant back against warm feathers and scales, exhausted. "I do hope you don't get hungry," he murmured and he heard a snort…it was amused? How did it understand him? He closed his eyes for just a moment.
Harry looked at the man sleeping against his side, he looked a little less pale, that had to be good. He wasn't bleeding anymore either. It was a little insulting that the man thought he'd ruin all of his work be eating him though! The sun was rising which meant they were safe, no more night monsters. He lowered his head and closed his eyes to get some sleep.
He woke up to find the cave was now lit, the creature sleeping around him but as soon as he shifted its eyes opened and it yawned, showing off impressive teeth. It lifted its head and sniffed at him, nose pressing very gently against where his wounds were, checking on them. "I have never met a being like you before," he admitted quietly and it cocked its head to the side before snorting and then uncurling from around him, leaving the cave. He carefully moved, relieved to find the pain was much less, crawling out into the forest and stretching carefully.
His new friend watched him, as if checking on his health before actually nodding and taking off into the trees. Had he been abandoned? No…the cave was obviously its home, so it would be back. He moved to the shade beneath a tree and sat, he had no idea where he was now, or how to get back to the village. He looked up at a thud, seeing a dead voretooth nearby and then his new friend dropped down to join him, pushing the animal towards him. "For me?" he asked and it nodded again. "Thank you." He got up and gathered wood for a fire to cook the meat. It wasn't the tastiest of animals to eat but he would not offend by refusing the gift. It even lit the fire for him as he butchered the animal, tossing over the parts he wouldn't need and watching as they were gulped down.
It was rather peaceful to sit and cook beside the far too intelligent animal, he knew it was keeping an eye on their surroundings but if this was its home then likely other animals knew not to come close. When he finished it offered its back again and he got on, smiling when they came to the river, that gave him some idea where he was, and he knelt on the bank to clean up and then drink, seeing his friend lower its head to drink as well.
It suddenly raised off the ground, head whipping around as it made a threatening hissing noise. He stood up, ready to summon a weapon, and grimaced as he saw the pack of Coeurl emerge. He summoned his sword and readied himself for a fight, not his best skill but he could hold his own.
Harry panted for air as he flopped to the ground, the last electric cat falling to the man's sword. It hurt! The man looked around and then his sword vanished and he walked towards him, hand out, and Harry fought back the instinct to attack. He was hurt and that was dangerous but…the man was nice.
"It's alright, let me see," the man crooned and he shifted to show were claws had raked through his scales. "There you go," a warm hand stroked over his side and he relaxed. The man pressed and he hissed in pain, wings snapping. "Easy my friend," he soothed and Harry forced himself to relax as best he could. "This would be easier if you could tell me what hurts," he muttered.
Harry kind of wished he could talk to him. How long had it been since that last day of school? When the man left…he'd be all alone again and now…he didn't want to be alone. He wanted…he cried out in shock.
He stumbled back as something happened, scales and feathers flowing in and down, and his eyes widened as he stared at the human child kneeling in the grass. Messy black hair tumbled about his face and he lifted it to reveal startling green eyes. "H…he..l..p." Those luminescent green eyes rolled back and he lunged, catching the boy before he hit his head on the ground. He quickly lay him down and began a thorough examination. He didn't know what was going on, but he could not abandon a wounded child. At least that answered the question of what gender the animal was…except apparently it wasn't an animal?
Once sure the child wouldn't bleed out he began checking for any sign of the Scourge but there was none. How else could a human become an animal though? Or was he an animal that had become human? A Messenger perhaps?
Now what was he to do? He could not carry the boy all the way back to the village, not with his own healing wounds. Two injured humans would also be far more tempting targets for anything else within the forest. All he could do was wait and hope the boy woke soon. How well could he speak? Had it been exhaustion and pain that had caused the broken word or had he never spoken before? He had so many questions!
The boy was thin, not dangerously so but more than he should be. He would assume he was ten, maybe eleven, except that he was wondering if his growth had been stunted. He had a strange scar on his forehead and a large one on his arm that had gone right through it, in fact it looked like a tooth had impaled his arm. He was dressed in tattered black rags, which did seem to indicate that he had lived as a human at some point…or he had stolen clothing?
He warmed some water after starting a small fire and set to work cleaning the child up, removing dried blood and dirt from pale skin. He went to work combing out the matted hair before tying it back like his own.
After a few hours the boy began to stir and he waited to see if he would wake. Those brilliant green eyes fluttered open, and he could see the confusion in them. "Don't try to move too much, you don't want to reopen your wounds." He assumed the boy would understand since he had appeared to understand him when an animal. He carefully lifted the boy enough to help him drink some water. When he went to lay him back down a shaking hand reached out to tangle in his cloak, surprising him. He shifted how he was sitting and gently held the child, wrapping his cloak around him as well. "Do you have a name?" he asked.
The boy watched him warily, licking his lips nervously. "Harry," he rasped.
"Harry," he repeated, an odd name. "it is good to meet you," he smiled. "I am Ardyn," he offered his own name in return. "Thank you for saving my life."
Harry blinked at him before nodding, curling against him hesitantly, and Ardyn shifted his hold on the boy. How long had it been since he had just been held? "You're warm."
"Thank you," he chuckled. "May I ask how old you are?"
The boy shrugged. "Don't know."
"Don't know how long since coming here."
"How old were you when you arrived?"
So he had been right, his body was stunted. Was he young enough that some of that could be corrected?
Harry was scared but the man was nice. He didn't know how he'd become human again and he knew it was dangerous, he couldn't fight like this. He wasn't pushing him away, letting him cuddle in like a little kid. He'd never been allowed to do it before, the closest was Mrs Weasley's hugs but those were almost suffocating. This was nice. His school uniform was in tatters and it was embarrassing but the man…Ardyn, didn't seem to mind.
"Would you like to come home with me?" Ardyn asked and Harry's eyes went wide. "I live in a city where you would be safe. You would have food, a bed to sleep in, teachers, clean clothing," Ardyn offered and it sounded really nice.
"Why?" he knew how quickly the school had turned on him for being a Parselmouth, how much his Uncle liked to try and trick him, there had to be a catch.
Ardyn picked up on the suspicion but he did not blame the child. The magical abilities of his own family were often met with wariness, although once he healed a few people, especially if they were infected with the Scourge, that tended to fade. How much worse would a child who could transform into an animal have had it? "Because you are a child and all children should have a safe home. You do not carry the Scourge yet I am sure some have assumed you are infected with your ability. I believe it is magical in nature, like my families powers."
"You have magic?" green eyes were wide and Ardyn smiled at the curiosity. He shifted Harry in his lap and then freed a hand to summon his sword.
"See?" He asked and the boy reached out cautiously to touch the sword, thankfully not the sharp blade itself.
"I used a sword once," he admitted.
"Oh?" How had he lifted one?
Harry nodded. "There was a really big snake and it hurt my friends. Fawkes blinded it by scratching out its eyes and gave me a sword but it wouldn't cut the scales. It was big enough to swallow me whole so when it tried I pushed the sword up through the mouth." He rubbed at the scar on his arm and Ardyn's eyes widened, that was a snake fang?
"Well….if you want you can learn to truly wield a sword, or any other weapon that takes your fancy. As I am sure you know, the world is a dangerous place."
"The night monsters," Harry nodded.
"They are called daemons," Ardyn clarified for him. "Our home is safe from them, well-lit with high walls."
He watched as Harry thought about it. "I…I could clean and cook," he offered.
Ardyn shook his head. "We have staff for such things Harry." He wanted this child safe. Magic was rare but…with his hair tied back Ardyn could see similarities in look between Harry and his own family. His hair was much like Somnus' and their Father's, though his leaner facial shape was similar to Ardyn's own which he had inherited from their Grandmother. Was Harry a cousin perhaps? There were obvious differences too but it was possible they shared an ancestor. Even if they weren't related he did not want to leave him behind. Harry had saved his life; he would see him safe.
"I would stay with you?"
"I travel a lot to heal the people, but whenever I am home you would see me. I have a younger brother, Somnus, who is training as a warrior at home. When you are older,, if you wish to come with me then we would talk about it."
Harry was torn but…something said he could trust this man. "Okay," he finally whispered and Ardyn smiled at him.
"We cannot stay here tonight; it is not defensible. Do you think you can travel?"
Harry nodded and got up; he felt a little shaky but he'd worked with worse injuries. He watched as Ardyn stood and then they began to follow the river. The man's light-coloured clothing made the dried blood obvious and Harry didn't like it at all, but he was walking okay. Harry did wonder what had happened to the Sword of Gryffindor and his wand, he knew he'd had them in the Chamber so had they been left behind?
As the sun was beginning to set they came out of the trees to find an armoured figure waiting for them and Harry couldn't help backing up but Ardyn put a hand on his shoulder.
"It is alright Harry; he is a friend. If anything, he will be angry at me for taking such foolish risks,' Ardyn smiled and urged him forward.
For the first time since coming to wherever he was, he left the forest without intending to return.