Here's chapter 2. It's kind of fitting that I got this up the day after Halloween
I'm going to focus on updating the next chapter of Dislocation after this, which is going to be a long one.
Reviews for chapter 1:
Malacoda: Hmm...I don't think that Niko and Trelawney will end up in the same place in this story, but maybe in my other one :)
Hanzo of the Salamander: Thank you! Hopefully this lives up to your expectations.
Soulknight121: Thanks! Well, Briar will certainly give Harry the most...interesting education...
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.
Winding Circle Temple, The Hub
As Moonstream emerged from the Chamber with the boy in her arms, there was an almost comical moment where the Guards stared at her trying to figure out what had changed. Both of their eyes to the small, limp body at the same time, and the men's jaws dropped.
"Where did he come from?" one of them asked blankly.
"That's what I would like to know," said Moonstream absentmindedly as she shifted her grip.
"We've been standing out here all evening, and the door hasn't been opened for anyone but you," said the other Guard hurriedly. Moonstream realized that he thought she was accusing them of letting the boy in.
"I know that he did not come in past you," she reassured him. She was sure she had been alone in the Chamber when the door had closed behind her. At least, she had been alone until the light had come. Something had happened that the world had never seen before.
Briefly, she wondered what it was about the Summersea temple that seemed to attract so much trouble.
She handed the boy over to the Guard that had spoken first. He looked startled at how little the boy weighed.
"Take him to the Infirmary," she ordered. "I will meet you there later." Then she left ahead of them.
Because thinking back on the boy's reaction to her, Moonstream knew that there was something seriously wrong. They would need someone to calm him down once he woke up before they could get any information from him.
And she knew someone who was perfect for the job...
It was mid-morning by the time Arthur Weasley apparated to Surrey. He had never been there before, but he was fortunately able to arrive between two houses, where he was relatively shielded from view. As casually as he could manage, he slipped out onto the sidewalk.
Arthur noticed that he was getting some odd looks from the Muggles on the street, but he eventually dismissed it them realizing that they had never seen him around the neighbourhood before and wondering what he was doing there. After all, he had been careful to disguise himself with Muggle clothing: a kilt with stockings underneath for warmth and an AC/DC sweatshirt.
He smiled at one of the women, who promptly hurried her two small children away.
He had arrived at the Ministry that morning to find things even more hectic than usual. Still, he had gone to his office and tried his best to sort out the talking doorknocker incident. Then the memo had come, requesting all Aurorers and Ministry workers with experience working with muggles to report immediately for an emergency assignment.
If not for the seriousness of the man who had told him to go straight to the on-field base, Arthur would have never been able to keep focused in a muggle neighbourhood; especially during a holiday. It was fascinating to see through the decorations what the muggle concepts of magical creatures were. There were ecklectic things everywhere: the cars, the now-dark street lamps, that little mockery of a glowing gremlin by a house's steps…
Arthur sharply jolted himself into focus.
Following the directions that he had been given, Arthur made it to the base: a vacant muggle primary school yard. Fortunately it was a Saturday, and most of the neighbourhood's children were sleeping late to recover from their late night of trick-or-treating. Arthur walked towards a patch of air in the yard that was shimmering slightly. After a quick glance around, he pulled out his wand and tapped it.
A few seconds later, a sliver of the air split open to the inside of a inside of a large, darker room. A hand reached out through the sliver, and Arthur gave it his Ministry identification badge. The hand retracted briefly, and the gap widened to allow him through.
Once inside, Arthur was almost overwhelmed by the noise. He was in a tent that from the inside was the size of his department space. People were clustered everywhere; getting orders, arguing or just talking. There was a table in the middle of the room with something small and white on it.
"Weasley!" a voice called, and Arthur turned to see a man who had been in the year above him at Hogwarts heading towards him. Robert Fredrickson was both a Muggleborn and an Auror, so it was no surprise to see him here.
Arthur greeted him and then asked what was happening.
"No one told you?" asked Frederickson.
"They told me that I'd be briefed here."
After a quick glance at Arthur's outfit that was both amused and exasperated, Frederickson began to explain
"There was some kind of huge magical disturbance last night. At around eight-o-clock every muggle in a mile radius noticed a flash of light and a cracking sound coming from this spot. When they got here, they found a muggle girl from the area, stupified but not seriously hurt. And they found this."
He led them closer to the table, and Arthur was finally able to what the white object was. Instantly, he recoiled.
"Dumbledore is at the Ministry now," Frederickson told him quietly.
"What happened here?" Arthur breathed, as the empty eye holes of the Death Eater mask stared back at him.
"That's what we'd like to know."
"Is he..." Arthur couldn't even finish it. "Are they..."
"It looks like that some of the ones who managed to buy their way out of Azakaban were having a reunion on the anniversary," said Frederickson. "They dissaparated in a hurry after whatever that flash was started gathering too much attention."
The reminder of the muggle witnesses made something suddenly occur to him.
"How did you cover it up?"
"There were too many witnesses to obliviate," said Fredrickson, "so we managed to convince them that it was a fake UFO display for Halloween."
"UFO?" Arthur asked. He didn't think that he had heard that one before.
"Unidentified Flying Object," Fredrickson explained. "Has to do with Aliens."
"What about the girl?"
"Ministry workers went to the hospital disguised as muggle doctors to wake her up. She didn't remember anything, so we were able to convince her and her family that she was stunned from being too close to the display when it went off"
"I know that Death Eaters appearing is serious matter, but why are there so many Ministry workers here?" Arthur asked, looking around the tent. Even Mad-Eye Moodie was there (although considering his paranoia, maybe that wasn't such a surprise.)
"It's a search party."
"For who, the Death Eaters?"
Fredrickson sighed, looking suddenly worn down. "Early this morning, someone got the idea to check the Ministry records to see if there are any of our kind living in this area. Two came up: a squib and a kid."
"So what's the problem?" Arthur asked.
"The kid is Harry Potter, and apparently, he's been missing since last night."
Winding Circle Temple, The Infirmary
Harry opened his eyes to a room that was definitely not his cupboard.
Still drowsy, he didn't panic right away. He just looked around at the space that was probably bigger that the whole Dursley house. Harry was lying in a bed against the wall, and it wasn't the only one. After fumbling for his glasses, which were on a small table next to him, Harry could see that there were beds all over the room; some had other people in them. Harry's clothes were folded on the table too, and the material of the loose shirt he had on felt strange to him. There were men and women walking around without paying any attention to him wearing things that looked like straight, plain dresses. The woman from last night had been wearing something like –
Harry's thoughts stopped dead in their tracks, and last night's memories resurged.
The dark-skinned woman – leaving the Dursleys – Trick-or-Treating – the room with the stone people – a man grabbing him in the street – the schoolyard – the-
Harry froze, and then suddenly felt like he was going to be sick.
They'd said they would kill her if he didn't come out, and he hadn't. Was she dead? Was it his fault?
Tears were starting to build up in his eyes without him even realizing it, and he sat up with his knees pulled in again. No matter how scared he had been, he never should have just stayed quiet and let someone else get hurt because of him.
"Are you alright?" a voice asked.
Harry jumped and looked around frantically. A woman was standing about five feet away from his bed with a tray in her hands. She was tall, and wearing the same clothes as the other people there, but hers were green. She had golden skin, dark eyes, and black curly hair with a few silver strands mixed in. The woman set down the tray and moved closer.
"Sorry, you were sleeping so deeply I thought it was okay to leave for a moment," she said, but the words came out strange. She moved closer and went to touch his face.
At the sight of her hand coming closer, Harry suddenly remembered the man pushing his hair back from his forehead in the street. Was she with them?
Harry tried to get away and ended up falling off of the bed. Pain shot through his arm, and he pushed back his sleeve to see a bandage wrapped around it between his shoulder and his elbow.
The woman ran around the bed to help him up. He almost tried to get away again, but she was handling him far more gently than the Dursleys or anyone else ever had, and as he tried to get up he realized that he wouldn't get very far. His whole body felt heavy and weak.
He let her help him back into the bed, and for a minute he could only look at her with his head spinning as she adjusted his blankets.
"I'm Dedicate Lark," she told him. "What's your name?"
He didn't answer, which usually would have gotten him in trouble, but Dedicate Lark (wasn't that a kind of bird?) didn't get upset about it. She just looked at him expectantly for a few seconds, and when he stayed silent she sighed and reached for the tray, which had a ceramic cup of water and a bowl with porridge in it.
"Are you hungry?" she asked.
Harry wasn't sure if he should take food from her or if it was a trick, but stomach suddenly reminded him that he hadn't eaten anything since the vegetables that Dudley didn't want at dinner last night. Harry thought from the light coming in the windows that it was afternoon now. Cautiously, he reached for the spoon on the tray.
With her watching, Harry ate. She occasionally made him stop so he wouldn't eat too fast, but she let him have the whole bowl. Once it was done she helped him hold the cup while he drank. Soon, he was lying back down, and she smiled warmly at him.
As nervous and stressed as he was after everything that had happened, something about Dedicate Lark's smile immediately put him at ease. The food and her attention was making him oddly sleepy and content.
"I'm not sure how you got here," she said, "but I know that you must be feeling scared." She reached out to him again, and the second time he held still. Dedicate Lark gently stroked his hair. "Before we can do anything to help you, I need you to tell me what happened, alright?"
Harry nodded stiffly, and very quietly he said, "Okay." She heard him, and gave him another smile.
When Moonstream returned to check on the boy, she found Lark sitting next to his bed, staring at his sleeping form. She took the chair next to her.
"How is he?" she asked quietly.
"He's fine," Lark answered without taking her eyes off of him. Her voice was unusually subdued. "He woke up a little while ago, and I talked to him. A healer gave him something to put him back to sleep. His name is Harry."
"That's good," said Moonstream, and the two of them sat in silence for a few minutes.
"Have you heard him speak?" Lark asked suddenly, and Moonstream turned to look at her.
"I beg your pardon?"
"I've travelled all over the continent, and I have never heard an accent like his. I've never heard of the place he says he's from either." The typically unshakable Lark was starting to sound a bit panicky. "I asked him about his family, and he says that he lives with his aunt and uncle. He doesn't know anything about his parents other than the fact that they're dead. I mentioned that I was a mage, and he just looked at me and asked what a mage was!"
By the time Lark finally paused, Moonstream couldn't think of anything to say but "What did you tell him?"
"I just brushed it off. He seemed overwhelmed enough already; I didn't think that he's up to learning about mages."
"Did he say anything about how he came to be here?"
"He doesn't know how he got to the hub; he says that he was outside when he closed his eyes."
"What was he doing?"
"Running from people who knew his name and, from what it sounded like, were trying to kill or kidnap him."
To say that Moonstream was surprised by this would have been an understatement. Lark was still looking at the boy.
She was saved from having to answer by the arrival of a brown-haired, brown-eyed young man wearing healers robes. He seemed startled by his patient's newest guest, but he recovered quickly and checked the boy's – Harry's – breathing and pulse
"It's Dedicate Aspen, I believe?" said Moonstream, and when the man nodded she asked, "You are the Healer responsible for him?"
"Yes, Dedicate Superior," he answered.
"What can you tell me about his condition?"
Moonstream had had enough experience with the temple healers to know that they sometimes got defensive if they thought anyone was trying to interfere with their patients, but Aspen didn't seem to mind. He immediately began to explain.
"Aside from the cut on his arm and some bruises, he doesn't seem to be hurt. The his arm didn't seem bad enough to expose him to Healer magic, so Dedicate Rosethorn came in earlier to treat it."
Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Lark smile slightly with her eyes still fixed on Harry. Moonstream knew then exactly who had gotten Rosethorn to come. She looked back at Aspen, who seemed to be hesitating slightly
"What is it?" she asked.
"Is just…" he said, uncertainly, and then made up his mind. "I've never seen an injury like that before. It's really more like a burn than a cut, but a burn wouldn't have bled."
"Could it have been a friction burn then?" Moonstream asked.
"Maybe, but it doesn't seem quite right for that," he told her.
"Rosethorn didn't know what it was either," said Lark.
They all looked at the bandage that came out from under the boy's sleeve, and then Aspen sighed and decided to continue.
"The only other health concern that I am aware of for him is his weight. He's undersized for a five-year-old."
Lark finally took her eyes off of Harry to look at Aspen and Moonstream. "He told me that he's six."
"Six!" the Healer exclaimed, and Harry flinched in his sleep. Moonstream, Lark, and the other Healers in the infirmary shushed him.
"Moonstream…" said Lark. "Even if we can figure out a way to get him home, I'm not sure that we should."
Even drugged, Harry was still enough of a light sleeper to be woken up by Aspen's yell. But it was not enough to completely rouse him, and he was sinking back into oblivion when he heard the voices. One was Dedicate Lark, and the other two sounded familiar. Sleepily, he wondered if it even mattered who the voices belonged to, but then his own name caught his attention and he struggled to listen.
"...seemed almost scared when I talked about letting his family know where he is," Dedicate Lark was saying.
Harry pretended that he was still asleep. He wasn't really sure why, but he didn't want them to know he was listening.
"If he isn't going back to his family, what are you planning on doing with him?" said a voice that Harry recognized as the man who had given him the funny-tasting drink, "are you going to put him in the dormitories?"
Harry was frozen, hardly breathing. Not go back to the Dursleys?
"No," said the other voice, and Harry realized that it was the dark-skinned woman from last night. "We don't even know how he got here. We need to watch him more closely than we would be able to there. Besides, he seems like he has been through a lot. A family environment would probably be best for him."
"So you're going to find a family to adopt him?"
The woman sighed. "It's not that simple. If there really are people who are looking for him, then he will need to be with someone who can protect him."
"We have an extra room," offered Dedicate Lark, and Harry perked up. Dedicate Lark seemed nice.
"Thank you, Lark," said the woman, "but I want to keep your house reserved for mage children, and from what I can tell he isn't one."
Harry felt his heart sinking. If they weren't going to take him here, then where was he going to go? Even if he did figure out how to get back to the Dursleys, they would be furious with him. They had to know that he had left the house by now.
"Then do you have anyone else in mind, Moonstream?" Dedicate Lark asked.
Moonstream, Harry thought. He didn't think that the Dursleys would have approved of a name like that, but he liked it.
Moonstream gave a small laugh. "You and Rosethorn should know better than anyone who I'm thinking of."
Dedicate Lark was silent for a moment, then gasped.
"Do you think that they would?" Moonstream asked.
"Yes," said Dedicate Lark, sounding slightly breathless. "Yes, if you approached it right…"
"That's where I'll need your advice," Moonstream told her.
"Wait a moment," the brown-haired man interrupted. "You can't seriously be thinking of…"
"What's wrong with them?" Dedicate Lark asked, her tone slightly more chilly.
"No offence to you and Rosethorn, Lark," the man said hurriedly, "but they have a lot of other problems to deal with already. It's almost impossible to control power like that all of the time, and the boy might get hurt. As soon as people find out that he's living with them, everyone will be watching him. And even if they are willing to take him in, do they even know how to take care of a child? Have you considered that you might be biased in this?"
"I tested their control myself when I agreed that they should receive their medallions," said Moonstream, "and I did not find them lacking."
"Tris took care of Glaki for more than three years, and Glaki adores her," Dedicate Lark added. "And as for him being watched, don't you think that he would have to deal with that if he stayed here too? Mila, the boy appeared out of thin air in the God's Chamber!"
Harry wasn't entirely sure what was happening at this point, but it seemed that they knew people who might let him live with them. The man thought that they wouldn't want him, or were dangerous or something, but it sounded like Dedicate Lark knew them better, and she thought that they were okay. Harry had gotten the sense that she didn't like what he had told her about the Dursleys. It sounded like she did like whoever they were talking about, so did that mean that they were nicer than the Dursleys?
Dedicate Lark and Moonstream left, deciding that they should include 'Rosethorn' in the conversation. Harry tried to stay awake, but the sleeping draught was pulling him back down again, and soon he had drifted back into unconsciousness.
The Circle will be in the next chapter.
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