Someone else seriously needs to do a Will of the Empress crossover, because right now the only stories in this category are both with Harry Potter and both written by me...
It might be irresponsible to start a story while I am still working on another one, but what can I say, I was inspired. I actually came up with the general idea for this before I started writing Dislocation. For those of you that are following that fanfic, don't worry. I will still be updating that one too.
As I mentioned in the Authors notes for Dislocation (in case anyone actually reads my ramblings), this story is essentially about Harry being sent to the Circleverse as a kid and being raised by Briar, Tris, Daja and Sandry. Here are the ages at the beginning:
And I'm not really sure how old the adults were to begin with (or that it really matters to the story beyond general decade anyway).
Hope you like it.
(Note: If Halloween isn't celebrated with Trick-or-Treating where you live, you might want to do some quick research. And once again, the summary might be changed)
Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters or the books that they came from. They are the creations of JK Rowling and Tamora Pierce. All that is mine is this particular scenario that I am putting them in.
October 31st, 1986: Privet Drive
Even at six, Harry could tell that Halloween was the Dursleys' least favourite holiday. It was one thing for them to acknowledge holidays that promoted normal behaviour or had a completely historical basis, but Halloween in particular went against everything that the Dursleys believed in.
(The story about the three men following a star to find a baby in a barn seemed magical to him, but the Dursleys seemed to find Christmas to be acceptable for some reason.)
But regardless of Aunt Petunia's scandalized looks at the children running around dressed as vampires, fairy princesses, werewolves, comic book characters and witches (which seemed to bother her the most) and Uncle Vernon's complaints about all the riffraff coming to the door and 'those young hooligans' that had thrown eggs at the house on Halloween last year, there was no way that Dudley would be cheated out of an enormous bucket of candy. So, Dudley was dressed up like a rugby player and given a large plastic tub shaped like a pumpkin with handles, Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia pulled on their coats, the lights were turned off to discourage anybody that might otherwise come up to Number 14 in search of chocolate, and Harry was instructed to not open the door for anyone but them and left alone in the dark house.
For a few minutes after they left, Harry stood in the hallway and let his eyes adjust to the dim light that filtered in through the windows. The house seemed very big all of the sudden, with lots of shadows, and a creak from upstairs followed by a rustling noise had him darting to his cupboard and burying himself under his blanket.
He remembered his Aunt and Uncle scorning the idea that monsters could exist, and for once he found himself hoping that they were right.
The rustling, he tried to rationalize, was probably from the branch of the tree in the front yard on the roof, and sometimes the house just made noises on its own. But there was no way that he could be sure, so it was probably best to just stay hidden where he was for a little while.
While he was listening intently for more noises from upstairs, he heard something else.
It was the excited voices of the kids outside with their parents, running from house to house and chattering happily. Harry had never gone trick-or-treating before, so he wondered, was it really that much fun?
Harry knew that he would get in trouble if he was caught, but when he weighed going out to see for himself what it was like against lying in his cupboard listening for the noises from upstairs (which a part of his mind was insisting were coming from something with fur and fangs and six eyes and an empty belly), he decided that it would be worth it.
Harry thought for a moment. He knew that when you went Trick-or-Treating you were supposed to have a costume and a bag for candy. He didn't know what to do for a costume, but he took the case off of his thin pillow for a bag.
He hesitated at the door, and then took a deep breath and went out. He shut the door carefully behind him and set off.
Outside, there were costumed children moving in herds with their friends and family. It was between twilight and night, and some of the younger kids were clearly enthusiastic about being outside so late. The houses were decorated with skeletons and cobwebs, and Jack-o-Lanterns (some fake) flickered with light on the porches.
The Dursleys would have turned right to go towards Piers Polkiss' house, so Harry went to the next block on the left. For a few minutes he stood shivering slightly (his sweater wasn't quite thick enough) at the corner, unsure of what to do. Then a large, noisy group started making their way to the house closest to him, and he gathered up enough nerve to quietly join them. They clambered up onto the porch, and the door opened to a chorus of "Trick or Treat!" The man who opened it smiled at them and dropped a wrapped gumball into each of their bags.
For a while, Harry kept trailing the group he was with to other houses. After the second house, Harry started to feel less nervous and actually began enjoying the excitement and anticipation of waiting to see what he would get. The decorations were cheap and gaudy, but it was still the closest to magic he had ever been. Still, he couldn't help but feel a slight twinge every time he say kids run excitedly back to their parents waiting at the curb to show them what they had been given.
On the fifth house he stopped at, an older lady with large glasses opened the door. She handed out little chocolate bars to him and the four other children at the door. She exclaimed at the others' costumes, but looked at him uncertainly.
"What are you dressed as, dear?" the lady asked, peering at the worn, very baggy pants and sweater he had on that Dudley had outgrown at age four.
Not really sure how to respond, Harry looked at his feet, mumbled "Me," and hurried off.
Not wanting to get lost, Harry stuck with circling the block. Amidst the swarms of children and parents, no one really noticed that he was on his own. Once he had done a full circuit he paused. He had not run into the Dursleys yet, but he probably shouldn't push his luck. He needed to get back to the house before they did. Besides, he already had more candy than he had ever even imagined having. With that in mind, he started down the street to his own block.
He was in sight of the Dursley house when a hand grabbed his shoulder. For a moment he froze, picturing Aunt Petunia or Uncle Vernon, but when he was turned around he found himself facing a man he didn't know, with a kind of long black coat that reached the ground and a hood. He couldn't see much of his face, but there was some pale blond hair trailing onto his shoulder.
"Do you live around here, boy?" the man asked, and something about his tone made Harry shiver. He instinctively glanced back at the Dursleys' house, and the man followed his gaze. The hand on his shoulder tightened.
Harry had heard enough of his Aunt and Uncle warning Dudley about talking to strangers that alarm bells were going off in his head. He wasn't sure why anyone would want to kidnap him (or that he would mind being kidnapped), but something about the stranger holding onto him told him that he shouldn't take the chance.
"Are you mute, boy?" the man snapped, sounding impatient. "I asked you a question!"
Harry jerked himself out his grip, but the man caught his wrist and pulled him back. His other hand went to Harry's forehead and pushed back the messy hair. His eyes fixated on Harry's scar.
Harry struggled, but he couldn't break free. With panic setting in, he did the only thing he could think of.
He bent down and bit the man's hand as hard as he could.
As the man abruptly let go and said a few of the words that he had heard Uncle Vernon say when Harry had accidentally dropped the frying pan on his foot, Harry dropped the pillow case and ran.
Most children in that kind of situation would have done the sensible thing and headed straight home. But even when he was in sight of it, Harry didn't even think of going to the empty Dursley house. Instead he bolted off in the other direction, following the familiar path to his school without even realizing it.
A jet of light flew past him as he ran, grazing his arm. Harry barely even noticed. People on the streets turned to look at him as he ran by, but no one called out to him or tried to stop him.
Harry made it to the school playground and hid behind the dumpsters that he sometimes used to hide from Dudley's gang. They was a small rectangle of open space behind it caused by the shape of the wall, and the opening was so small that even Harry had to squeeze through. He huddled down there and peered out from the slight gap between the dumpsters.
It turned out that his instincts had been right after all. The man had followed him. And he wasn't alone.
There were four of them, all wearing the same hooded thing that the first man had been wearing. He had gotten to his hiding spot just in time: they had gotten to the schoolyard moments after he had.
From his hiding spot, Harry could hear them talking in low voices. He strained to listen.
"...sure it's him?"
Another man, who Harry recognized as the one who first came up to him, responded. The only word that Harry could catch was "Scar".
The conversation cut off abruptly, and Harry risked a peek around the side of the dumpsters to see what was happening. They had turned to look at the open back gate of the school yard. A small figure was standing there, wearing white clothes with fake cat ears and whiskers. With a jolt, Harry realized that he knew her. He couldn't remember her name, but she was in the year above him in school, and everyone recognized her because her family had a lot of kids.
The girl was looking into the school yard, and Harry wasn't sure what she was thinking as she stared at the hooded, clearly adult figures standing by the swingset. He wanted to warn her, but he was too terrified to speak. She turned, looking like she was about to run off, but one of the strange people lifted pointed a stick that was suddenly in his hand at her and said a word that Harry didn't know. A jet of red light flew from the stick and hit her in the back. She stumbled and fell. She didn't get back up.
"Should I finish her off?" A man's voice asked, sounding bored.
"No," said the man who had grabbed Harry in the street. "Those muggle police will get too curious if more than one disappears tonight. Obliviate her for now. Besides, if the Potter boy is as foolish as his parents we might be able to use her."
More than one? Use her? And what did they know about his parents?
Harry didn't know what he meant, but they did. The tallest of the dark figures went over to the girl and waved his wand over her, then lifted her at arms length like she had some sort of disease and carried her to the others. Once he was there, he let her slump forward, keeping her upright by a hand fisted in her hair.
"Potter!" the first man yelled. "We know that you're here. The girl does not have to be involved in this, but if you do not come out, she will be. You have five minutes before she dies."
After several seconds of silence the man nodded to one of the others, who pointed his stick at the girl and said something. Her limp body jerked, and Harry could see red spreading across her chest in the dim light.
Harry knew then that he shouldn't have left the house. The real monsters were out here.
What should he do? He couldn't let the girl get hurt anymore because of him, but he didn't even know for sure that they would actually let her go if he went out either; life with the Dursleys had taught him to be wary of adult promises.
What did they want with him?
The man who was holding the girl was taunting him, and Harry squeezed his eyes shut and covered his ears to block out his voice. He couldn't keep hiding, but he was too terrified to draw attention to himself. He was ashamed, but he just couldn't gather the strength to come out.
Harry did not realize it, but the pressure that he could feel building around him was more than just his own stress. His mother's final protection, strong on the anniversary of its casting, was awakening and blending with his own frantically rising power. Harry did know that there seemed to be some strange tension pulling at him, making him feel like he was about to snap. He wanted to scream, but he was paralyzed.
Desperately, he wished that he could be somewhere, anywhere else.
And by the time he opened his eyes again, he was.
31st of Bloodmoon, 1043: Winding Circle Temple
It was already dark outside, and Moonstream was still finishing up in her office. It had frequently occurred to her in her years as Dedicate Superior that her religious duties were ironically far easier than overseeing the basic functioning of the temple. The stack of reports that she had just finished was in a neat pile on her desk, but the contents were still running through her mind. The grandfather of one of the Pearl dormitory girls was complaining about her being served the same food as the commoner children...the healers were almost out of charmed bandages (she would have to ask Lark)...Skyfire was still paranoid about pirates and wanted her to organize mages to raise the temple defences even more...
But even if her mind wasn't done working, she had at least signed everything that she needed to. Moonstream pushed back her seat, tried to stretch some of the tension out of her shoulders, picked up her lamp and left her office for the night.
In the hallway, she passed several dedicates who greeted her or gave her respectful nods in recognition. She responded cordially to each one despite her tiredness as she made her way to her final task of the night.
In the basement of the Hub was the most sacred part of the whole temple: the God's Chamber. There, statues of the gods lined the wall of the circular room. It was these likenesses that gave the Hub its thrumming power, and it was Moonstream's task to enter it every evening to ask the gods to bless them for the night.
She felt more and more alert as she descended into the Hub. By the time she stopped in front of the heavy iron doors, she could almost feel her magic quivering with excitement within her. The guards outside the Chamber doors stepped aside to let her through.
Moonstream's eyes lifted to Mila's serene face. The Green man stood next to her, somehow looking both beautiful and terrifying at the same time in the light of the candles flickering around the room. She was just about too kneel when a flash of light and a crack temporarily blinded and deafened her.
Even as she subconsciously drew on her power to brace herself for a fight, her thoughts were racing. Nothing like this had ever happened here before. What could it mean?
Slowly, her vision cleared enough for her to see that there was something tucked between Mila and Yanna's statues. At first she thought it was a bundle of clothing, but as she drew closer she got a better look and her breath hitched.
It was a boy, curled up on the floor with his chin on his knees. It was no wonder that she hadn't been able to tell what he was right away; his hair was a dark mess and his clothes were far too big for him. His eyes were shut tight behind his glasses, and his hands were clenched over his ears.
Startled, Moonstream went to him and placed her hand on his shoulder.
Instantly, the boy scrambled back with a cry. His eyes, a bright green that had a searing brightness in his pale face, shot open and stared at her in terror, and then shock and bewilderment.
"Where did you come from? Did you wander off from the dormitories?" she asked, but he wasn't listening. He had shakily gotten to his feet and was now looking frantically around the chamber. Then he froze, and his trembling hand went up to his upper arm. It came away bloody.
She took an instinctive step towards him, and his eyes shot back to her. He pressed himself back up against the wall.
Moonstream wasn't sure of how she should react. It was an offense for anyone but a temple Dedicate to be in the Chamber, but she wasn't sure that the boy even realized that. He didn't seem to be a temple ward either; no child of the temple would be dressed that poorly, except for that infamous boy who almost nine years ago would go barefoot every chance he got. And how had he gotten in past the guards?
She decided to deal with the other problems later. Whatever this boy was doing in this part of the temple, he obviously needed help.
"Just calm down," she told him, using the calm, authoritative tone that she used on the temple children. His face was getting whiter and whiter as she talked, and he was starting to sway on his feet. "If you're hurt, you need to get it–"
Before she could finish, he suddenly toppled over sideways. Moonstream lunged forward and was fortunately able to catch him before his head hit Mila's statue.
It looked like she wasn't done tonight after all...
Halloween has roots in the Celtic festival of Samhain, when the barriers between this world and the spirit world are at their weakest.