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Of Wands and Dust

Title: Of Wands and Dust
Author: pathology_doc
Fandom: Harry Potter/His Dark Materials
Pairings: Canon
Rating: Equivalent to HDM. Probably between PG and M/15
Notes: Spoilers for everything in both canons, but especially the last book of each. Very AU because certain objects once more see the light of day, when it was established they would not do so in canon.

This is very much the opening salvo in what I hope is a much longer saga. Posted before completion so as to be eligible for a crossover fic challenge. Beta tested by carlanime

Prologue: Oxford, 2003.

In his dreams he is kissing her once more, under an alien sky. He can feel her arms around him, her skin and mouth against his, the still developing curves of her body… and always in the dream, if not in reality, the explosive rush of consummation. Her name is always the last thing he says in the dream, the first thing he says when he awakes. But it’s been six years, and he sometimes wonders if she still feels the same about him.

Will walks through Oxford savouring the little things – Jordan College isn’t there, of course, but Lyra told him where it should be. He wishes he could have seen it – it would have been easier to imagine when he comes to the spot where it ought to stand. And here is the 'S' that she told him was carved in both worlds. And here… but the two worlds are too different at that point, and even though there are occasionally dirigibles in his own existence, they bear names like Vauxhall and Virgin Atlantic in bright neon, rather than the insignia he saw in Lyra's world.

And they don't set down to deliver the mail.

If he's not actually wearing what he came back to his own world in, it's because he's long since grown out of it, so this is as close as he'll manage. If, somehow, a door were to open – no, Will! Put that out of your mind! She's gone! – but no, he can't not imagine it somehow… If a door were to open and she could be there to see him, he’s arranged things so that she should be able to recognize him in an instant. He knows he would recognize her, whatever she wore.

He sits on the bench, oblivious to the world. He's looked at other girls, even dated a few – as he and Lyra agreed they must – but she's still and always his first love, and she became so under circumstances surely no other twelve year old had ever experienced. Phantom Limb Syndrome, he tells himself, the thought coming unbidden to his mind. He's just started medical school, so at least he can put a label on what he's been suffering emotionally for the last six years. Phantom soul syndrome would be more like it, he thinks, for it’s not his own two missing fingers that he feels the loss of any more; her hand belongs there to his right, and though he knows she's not there, some instinctive reflex sends his own hand out to grab it. Kirjava knows better than to say anything on these walks; she knows he's in mourning, and that there are times when he's thinking about Lyra that he needs to pretend he's normal, daemon-less Will again. When it's over, she knows she can distract him and talk about the rest of the things they have to do today

They're just about to leave when a stranger sits down next to them and notices Kirjava first.

Part One – Kneazle?
Harry Potter shuffled through the papers on his desk and fervently wished he could be back at Hogwarts doing his NEWTs again. Sometimes when he said this to Hermione, she would reply that her parents had felt the same way about dental school and eventual practice. One of the benefits of being asked by Kingsley to go back and complete his seventh year was that he had been in the same year as Ginny; on the other hand, preceding events meant that nobody harassed him about dropping back or ‘repeating’. Even – nay, especially – the Slytherins.

Ron went back too. As compensation for his own travails he got to be Head Boy, of course, with which Harry was perfectly content – he’d been a leader himself for far too long. With Harry’s blessing, Ron also captained the recrudescent Gryffindor quidditch team to victory. Harry stayed on the ground with Hermione and watched, and screamed his lungs out, as Ron played the first really perfect game he'd ever played in his life and Ginny grabbed the Snitch an inch from her opposite number’s fingers to leave Ravenclaw in their wake.

They had taken a year off after that; Harry to see the world with Ginny, and Ron to help George in the joke shop while he and Hermione sorted out their own relationship. And then they'd started their Auror training, he and Ron; grateful that whatever their other problems might be, at least Voldemort was no longer waiting to be dealt with when they'd finished.

He made himself push aside those memories and return to the present. Monday mornings were always the worst; the disadvantage of a weekday job was that your work piled up when you were gone for two days – evil never rested. Oh well, it was the price he paid for being able to enjoy Ginny's company on the weekend, something he was particularly grateful for with the likelihood of a first child on the horizon. On the other hand, ninety percent of his Monday work was sorting out all the weekend business; what came in on the day was for the field operatives to sort out, and the reports generally didn't arrive on his desk till Tuesday. Wednesday, if it was Dawlish.

Harry's urge to pretend that the contents of his in-tray were an Inferius, and should be dealt with appropriately, was interrupted by the fluttering of Pigwidgeon as he came in for a landing on the desk. Teddy Lupin had developed an interest in all things Muggle – not surprisingly with Muggle influence strong on one side of the family – and on his numerous visits had taken to teaching his godfather's owl (and any others that visited) to land on runways that he made out of sheets of Muggle scrap paper Spell-o-taped together (because Andromeda wouldn’t let him waste parchment).

In this context, copying the feat with Harry's wire-basket in-tray was comparable to a landing on the deck of an aircraft carrier. Errol, long since gone to that great owlery in the sky, would have gone short or skidded over; Pigwidgeon set himself neatly down, stopping himself with a claw around one of the wires. Harry took the note from his beak, and opened it before the owl could peck him.

Hi, Harry.
Sorry to run out on you and leave you with my share of the paperwork, but Dawlish asked for help.

Harry frowned. Dawlish was always asking for help these days. He'd never been particularly good, but on the other hand he had learned (through bitter experience!) to recognize his own limitations. Harry still smiled when he remembered what that bitter experience had been.

You know those Slytherins – not the Death Eaters' kids, some of the others – who joined the Inquisitorial Squad in our OWL year, and who've been making a fuss again about all that pureblood rubbish? Dawlish tailed them to Oxford…

Harry did know about them. The trail had started in Yorkshire three days ago and he’d thought it had gone cold. Three days on his own, keeping in contact? That was good for Dawlish. Harry went on reading.

…where Hermione thinks they might try agitating among the local wizards. Says he's found their contact – some guy who's got a thing for cats, probably a Kneazle because he talks to it like Sirius used to talk to Crookshanks. He'd like my help to bring the guy in, in case the others interfere. Shouldn't be too long. Cheers, mate; hope the rest of the day's not too bad. Give my love to Ginny when you see her.


Harry smiled. To take on any one wizard should be well within Ron's capabilities, and he should be back to discuss it over lunch. Either Ron or Harry himself was usually co-ordinating matters back at the Ministry; they hadn't both had to go out unexpectedly for some time. He ruffled through the paperwork, set Ron's carefully aside for him, and started gratefully on the now-reduced pile.

Part 2 – Not a Kneazle.
Gratefully concealed behind Ron's Disillusionment Charm (Dawlish had never been good enough at them, he admitted to himself, which was why the old lady had managed to nail him so long ago), the pair of wizards watched the young man walk through Oxford, sit at the bench, and move his right hand in a seemingly aimless fashion. Dawlish gave the opinion that he was signalling. Ron disagreed.

"No he's not, mate. That looks like me trying to hold hands when Hermione's got up to go somewhere and I'm too absorbed in Quidditch Quarterly to notice. He's warming the bench for someone." Ron adjusted his omnioculars, something an Alastor Moody-inspired Harry had recently insisted that every Auror carry. "Looks like he's smitten, too, so one of your neo-Death Eaters is probably a girl."

"Millicent Bulstrode," Dawlish confirmed.

"The poor, poor man," Ron remarked. "If I killed him now, I reckon it'd be mercy. I'll go get him. Don't do anything unless his mates interfere, or he puts me down; understand?"

Both men drew their wands and Ron marched forward. Dawlish had hoped that Ron would back him up, but Ron was in command here and he wasn't that stupid. As a training product of the Cornelius Fudge ministry, and a willing (albeit extremely blinkered) servant of the Ministry in the Voldemort days, Dawlish was more suited to "kick in the door" style police actions than to gaining a suspect's confidence. Ron personally wasn't sure this guy was a neo-Death Eater at all, and there was no sense in Ron dropping the man with a Stunner only to be faced with a grievance claim through his wife's department. Having to fill in the paperwork would be bad enough; the berating he’d get at home would be worse than a dozen Howlers.

Ron unmasked himself behind the other man, so that it looked as though he might have quite naturally come up through town behind him. He was really quite young, Ron thought – not much older than Ron and Harry had been when they'd fought Voldemort. Definitely younger than Fred had been when he'd died fighting to stop Voldemort. As casually as he could, Ron re-holstered his wand (making sure it was in easy reach), made his presence known, and asked permission to sit.

"Go ahead," the young man said. "I won’t be here for much longer anyway."

This served only to confirm Ron's suspicion that they had the wrong man. "Thanks. I… er… like your cat."

In fact, Ron didn't particularly like them at all. But since it was the clue that had led Dawlish to tail this man, he felt he should make some conversation on the matter. What he didn't expect was the reaction he got out of the man – a mixture of surprise, suspicion and… joy? Reminding himself that he really did sometimes have the emotional range of a teaspoon, Ron decided he'd wonder why later. "What's the matter? Have I said something wrong?"

"No, no. It's just that… Well all right, since you can see her, I might as well explain."

"It's okay, mate. We already know you're a wizard."

The young man frowned. "Wizard? No. Nobody's ever called me a wizard. Someone told me I was a shaman once, but that was when I was twelve – nearly thirteen. And I certainly don't have any magical powers." Here he looked like he was not telling the whole truth, but Ron let it go. He had learned enough about other wizarding nations and cultures since leaving school to know that 'shaman' and 'wizard' could well be synonymous. "So you never went to…" He was about to say Hogwarts, but he knew it was pointless. Here was a fully grown man who had been told there was something special about him, but obviously had never known what it was. Nor had the ministry (or McGonagall) ever followed him up. This was weird.

"Well anyway, mate, you know there's something special about you, and so do I. And you know there's something special about me, or I wouldn't be able to see this special cat of yours. Can I have a look at him?"

The cat must have been reading its owner's mind for it jumped up on the young man's lap. "Her. Her name's Kirjava. You can look, but don't touch," the young man said. His expression was earnest and forceful, and when he lifted his left hand to stroke his pet, Ron saw that the fourth and fifth fingers were missing as if amputated. "She's very precious to me."

Ron looked. There was an oddity about the beast, but he instantly recognized that it was like no Kneazle he'd ever seen. There was something other-worldly to it, something not quite… alive. It brought to mind Harry's description of the way his parents, Sirius and Remus had appeared to him when he'd used the Resurrection Stone. And yet, there was the way the thing had seemed to anticipate or know its master's wishes, as if it were under direct control. Like Nagini…

Suddenly Ron didn't feel much of a desire to touch the cat any more, nor to seek any other information that wasn't offered. There was a thought at the back of his mind that he dared not voice. "She's magnificent," he said, trying to sound convincing. "Anyway, my name's Ron Weasley. Pleased to meet you."

The stranger tentatively reached over and shook the offered hand. "Will Parry." It was an interesting handshake, Ron thought, shades of both warm and cold. The man was used to suspicion and secrecy, but his inner nature was something different. Well, hadn't Harry lived a double life between his aunt's house and Hogwarts? And hadn't Sn… After all these years, Ron still didn't want to visualize Snape as an exemplar, so he let that one go.

Will Parry went on, "You've been following me, haven't you?"

"Yes. We saw you talking to your cat; we thought you might be someone else we were looking for."

"We?" Unbeknownst to Ron, Will's thoughts were back in his old house and his struggle at the top of the stairs. Was there to be another battle in which a cat would save his life and undo that of an enemy?

"I have a friend watching over me. The other fellows we're looking for are highly dangerous. Because you look like the wizarding type and because you were sitting here for such a long time, we thought you might be waiting to meet up with them."

Will Parry actually looked excited. "You mean there are wizards?"

Ron nodded. "I did notice your cat, didn't I?"

Will found this easy to accept, though he'd have been far more accepting of someone from Lyra's world who'd stumbled through long ago and now recognized his daemon for what it was. If there were wizards here, of course they'd be more likely to see such things. He nodded. "Yes, I suppose so."

"Look, mate… Will. I need to make a report to my bosses, and I need to sort out why we messed up. Can I ask why you were sitting here for an hour doing nothing?"

Will shrugged. How could he tell this man about Lyra? How could he tell anyone (except Mary Malone) about who she was, where she'd come from, and what she meant to him? He'd have to tell some of it; he suspected that the man had ways of forcing it out of him. "There's a girl I was in love with once, when we were both kids. We… went through a lot together, and I got this…" He held up his mutilated hand, "…saving her life." It was a simplification of an incredibly complex tale, but it would suffice for now. "We had to stop seeing each other, but this place is special to us. This is the day of the year and the time of that day at which we had to part, and we agreed that I'd come here, and she'd go… well, there's a bench just like this one where she is."

"And you did this when you were kids?" Ron asked, forgetting that he'd been a child himself when he'd risked his neck on that giant chessboard. "I take my hat off to you, mate. Er… where is she, exactly?"

"You probably wouldn’t believe me if I said it," Will Parry said.

"Who knows? I might."

Will Parry looked to his cat, which spoke in perfect English, and in what Ron knew was what Will's voice would have been if he'd been female. "She's in another world, parallel to this one."

Now it was Ron's turn to be surprised and shocked. He shrank away from the cat and its owner, too surprised to draw his wand. "Bloody hell!"

Will had the advantage now; he smiled. "What's the matter, wizard? Haven't you ever seen a talking cat before?"

Ron shook his head. "No! We've got Kneazles, which are like intelligent housecats, and they can… sort of communicate with… well anyway, that's no Kneazle." He tried to channel Hermione's sense of curiousity. "What do you call it… her?"

"A daemon," Will said. And then, because he'd already said enough that more wouldn't hurt, he added, "You ought to have one too. You can see mine; I'm surprised you can't see your own." He'd throw this self-styled wizard a few clues and see how bright he was.

Ron became ever so glad that Dawlish had called him. "This… daemon. You say everyone's got one? Or should have?"

"Yes, but if you come from this world, you have to learn to get to know it, the way I did mine."

Ron decided to dismiss Dawlish and let him get back on the trail of the dissident wizards – if he could. Absently, he pulled out his wand and sent his Patronus to deliver the message. As the terrier flew out of his wand and sped across the grass, Will Parry exploded.

"That's it! That's your daemon! You have got one!"

And then it all fitted together in Ron's mind what Will Parry was talking about; why Ron had thought of Nagini – this Kirjava-thing was a Horcrux, but it was no ordinary Horcrux. It hadn’t been created by killing someone (at least he hoped it hadn't); it was the intrinsic embodiment of…

"Part of your soul?" Ron asked.

"All of it," Will corrected him.

"Bloody hell!" Ron exclaimed, characteristically, once more.

Will laughed. "That's what I probably thought when I first saw Lyra's," he said, feeling at last that he could take this man into his full confidence. "It's certainly what she thought when she couldn't see mine."

"Was this Lyra your childhood friend?" Ron asked, thinking with some sympathy now of Severus Snape, and of how he'd felt about Lily Evans-Potter.

"Yes," Will said, his face now filled with inestimable sadness and a deep sense of loss.

"She must have been something, to lose two fingers for. How old were you both?"

"Eleven… twelve."

Ron remembered what he'd nearly lost at the same age. His life, his memory. One brother had lost an ear, and another his life, while not long past childhood. This Will Parry was worth getting to know better. He remembered how frantic he'd been when Hermione had been tortured by Bellatrix Lestrange, and could well understand what Will Parry was feeling. "Listen, I'm going to leave you alone. That is, from the investigation viewpoint. You're not who we're looking for. But we… that is, the people we work for… my Ministry will be interested in your… well, let's just call it your magical side and leave it at that, okay? And they'll want to talk to you."

Will thought he was done with officialdom – was it all about to be resurrected again, whether about Mary's Dust research and her destruction thereof, or its connection with Will's inadvertent misdeed? "I thought the Government and I had come to an understanding about what happened."

Ron knew there was more to this than met the eye. He decided to gloss over it. "More than one Ministry, you know, mate. And some of 'em don't always tell the rest what they're doing."

Will seemed to agree with this, Ron thought. "That's certainly true enough. What do you want?"

"Well, I'd like you to meet my boss. We'd want to try you out, see what sort of powers you do have, if any. You're not completely a…" He stopped himself from saying Muggle. "…non-magical person, I can tell that much."

"You don't want to… I don't know, register me or anything? Dangerous persons and all that?" Will was wary now.

"Mate, I don’t know where you've been, or what you've seen, but it wasn't that long ago that I fought in a war to stop that sort of effing crap from happening. So I'm not going to register you, I'm not going to hurt you… if you're one of us, we'll know in about three minutes, but I think my boss ought to see you first." Ron knew he'd been too blunt, and was just about to kick himself when he saw the suspicion fade from Parry's face.

"Okay, but somewhere neutral."

"Can you come into London this evening?"

Will always kept the whole of Midsummer Day free, for his visitations to Lyra's bench. "Yes, I can."

"All right, meet us at five, at…" He gave the location of the restaurant in Charing Cross Road where he, Hermione and Harry had been surprised by the Death Eaters so long ago, and decided that if he had to drink that awful coffee again, he was bringing firewhisky to put in it. Parry gave his agreement.

"Look, Mr Parry, I'm really glad I met you, okay? My pal just wanted to knock you out and drag you in, but he's more used to that sort of stuff. You look surprised that anyone knows who your… daemon is; if you came with us, you might feel a lot more comfortable. Less lonely"

Will smiled. "Mr Weasley, I already have friends here, and at least one who knows my secret. I also have a mother I need to care for, and I couldn't leave her, but I have to admit it would be nice to be able to talk about this more freely without people thinking I was…"

"Mad?" Ron finished for him, and they laughed.

"Well, I'd better get going, then," Will said, standing up and shaking Ron's hand goodbye. "And you'd better get back to chasing your criminals. Can you show me, by the way, any more proof that you're what you claim to be ?"

"Sure," said Ron, and vanished into thin air, to Will's not complete surprise.

"You told him an awful lot," Kirjava admonished Will as they turned back into town.

"He's as unusual as I am," Will replied. "I've no reason not to trust him."

"You see him as a key to getting Lyra back, don't you?"

"You saw what he was able to do," Will snapped back, not liking to fight with his inner self like this. "I'd be stupid not to consider the possibility. Besides, I'd never even thought about that angle until you brought it up." He suspected Kirjava grieved for Pantalaimon as much as he himself did for Lyra, and he began to wonder if, when separated on the world of the Mulefa, they had not been doing just as he and Lyra had done. "Each of us knows what the other one misses most."

Kirjava's indignant hiss was mixed with a telepathic burst of sympathy that betrayed her true feelings. She did indeed miss Pan. Just as much, she missed Lyra - she needed to feel the girl's fingers stroking through her fur, just as she knew Pan missed Will's touch. Love me, love my daemon; that was the rule, and it was one that Will had realized instinctively. She knew what obstacles lay in the way of that reunion, every bit as much as Will did… and like Will, she hoped that their strange new acquaintance was the key to overcoming them.

Part Three – The Shaman and the Wizard
Harry and Ron pulled their heads out of the Department Pensieve together.

"So," Ron said, "What do you think?"

"I think you're right; he's worth being home late from work for." He knew Ginny wouldn't be too upset; she'd go see her mother, or Andromeda Tonks, or Fleur Weasley (who was currently going slightly mad trying to keep three-year-old Victoire under control), and talk about babies for an hour or three. In any case, there was a long article to write on the Chudley Cannons, who might (just might) avoid finishing off the bottom of the league table this year, and he knew how much each of them hated bringing work home when the other was free. "I'll draw some Muggle money out of stock and we'll Apparate to Diagon Alley around four thirty."

"What do you think about this daemon business? Seems a funny thing to call your soul."

"If he's from another world – or he's been to one – there's no telling what they call things over there. Do you remember how dazed and confused I was when I first got to Hogwarts? After going through that, Ron, I'll accept almost anything."

Harry had found the whole Pensieve encounter quite fascinating, and couldn't wait to meet this Will Parry character. Ron, having lived the real thing, couldn't wait to meet him again. Accordingly, neither man's mind was on his work, which was fortunately quite routine except for a message from Dawlish, which indicated a meeting on the morrow that several Aurors ought to attend. The only reason Ron discussed it with Harry at all was that Harry was nominally in charge of the desk today; the mutual decision was to pass it to that team of Aurors which was specialized for enforcement and capture – the investigative work was done, and neither Harry nor Ron would be required until it was question time.

Harry found that Ginny was actually mildly disappointed – but it was more that she wasn't coming along. Still, she was pleased that he was doing something both exciting and (it seemed) safe. Having your beloved go after one dark wizard in his lifetime was enough.

Harry and Ron walked into the place to find Will Parry occupying the most discreet booth in the furthest corner. "You were right about his wariness," Harry told Ron. "Where's that cat of his… oh, yes, I see it. Don't show Hermione; she'll want to keep him."

"Don't tell old McGonagall is more like it," Ron replied. "What I'd really like to see is how it got along with Mrs Norris."

Harry suspected that the answer would be 'Not well', and agreed that it would be a pity such a thing would never come about. "Let's go speak to him. You lead; he knows you."

Ron introduced Harry to Will. Will sized Harry up, saw the scar on his forehead, picked Harry as a fighter, and approved instantly. The two men had much in common, including the loss of things and people they cared deeply about in a greater cause. Harry shook hands with Will, but wasn't sure how to react to the man's cat daemon; he settled for eye contact and a bow in the manner that a hippogriff would approve of. Being the more familiar of the two wizards with Muggle ways, Harry automatically said, "What'll you have?"

"Strong black coffee," Will replied.

Ron grimaced, but ordered cappuccino anyway. Harry had the same.

"So," Will Parry said, "Your friend Mr Weas…"

"Ron, please," said Ron.

"Your friend Ron says I might be one of you… a wizard. Or a witch, or shaman, or whatever else you want to call it."

"You sound like you've met a few of those already," Harry replied. "Do you want to tell us about your witches, or would you rather hear about us?"

Will Parry looked around. "Will we be overheard?"

Harry glanced at Ron, who did something under the table. When Will next spoke, he sensed a dullness in the air, and suspected that not too much of what he was saying would get beyond this table. "Does your magic work against electronic devices too?"

"It's been known to," Harry replied, "But the only ones who are hearing anything are the three of us. Even a microphone under the table won't pick anything up."

"Good. Your friend Ron probably told you that someone said I was a shaman. When I was twelve, I… went somewhere. I obtained an… an artefact, and was shown how to use it. In the course of doing much good with it, I found I was doing incalculable damage at the same time. When its task was done, when… well, when an evil had been defeated and it was no longer needed, I had to return to this world, by means of the artefact. I had to seal the paths I'd created with it, because they posed a long-term danger. There was a girl who helped me; she saved my life, and I saved hers. I had to leave her behind. I was forced to destroy the artefact, to prevent its misuse."

"Why couldn't you bring her with you?" Harry asked. Not why didn't you bring her with you, he thought; it was clear from the tone in Parry's voice that he loved this girl as much as Harry had ever loved Ginny; maybe more. The cat-daemon was quiescent, even though Harry knew it could talk. Probably it was sizing up the new stranger; possibly it had been asked to be silent in order not to unnerve Parry's companions. He flicked his eyes over to it from time to time, suspecting that looking at it was essentially the same as paying attention to its owner.

"It's because of the daemons," Will told him. "Your daemon can only live in your world. If you go through a… let's just call it a door, your daemon begins to sicken. My father went through such a door when I was about a year old…"

Harry felt a sudden kinship to the man.

"And when I met him, eleven years later, he was sick and near death. You have to go back to your own world periodically, to let your daemon regain strength, but he'd gone through accidentally and couldn't get back. I could have gone through, or Lyra could have come here, but we could only leave one door open in the whole of creation, and that's because of an agreement I don't dare break. Without a way to spend time in our own worlds, either of us was doomed. We were twelve years old; I didn't want her dying before she was thirty."

Harry found himself wishing the Philosopher's Stone still existed. "How can we help you?" he asked.

"I have a tale to tell, which you may find interesting. If you do magical research…"

Harry nodded, thinking of all the improvements Severus Snape had made to the potion-maker's art over the years, and of Dumbledore's discovery of the uses of dragon's blood.

"…then this may point you in new directions. What I want in return is this: to find a way to repair the artefact; to find a way to avoid the negative consequences of using it; to see Lyra again; to have her with me if I can, so that we can live a normal life together. If you give me the first two, I can see to the third myself. I may need help with the fourth."

Something was worrying at Harry's mind; the obsessive search of a young man for an object, or objects, of power to achieve his heart's desire. Did the young man want immortality? No. Power? The artefact he spoke of, if it could truly tunnel between worlds – by which Harry suspected Will meant universes – must be very powerful. Only to have his love back? He was reminded of the second Peverell brother and his longing for his dead beloved, but from what Will was saying, this Lyra girl was definitely still alive. It all sounded very well, but that was what Dumbledore had thought when Gellert Grindelwald had filled his head with ambition. "I'm bound by certain rules," Harry replied, "and by the memory of something terrible that happened when a teacher of mine went after dangerous artefacts for his heart's desire. I can't do anything that would put myself, my family, or the world in general at risk."

"I understand," Will said. "It's just that… having found people with powers, it's difficult not to see whether they could help me undo a cruel fate."

"We're not all-powerful, mate," Ron added. "There are things even the most powerful wizard couldn't do."

Harry was silent for some time, choosing his words carefully. He knew Will Parry was watching him. Finally he said, "You're going to have to tell us quite a bit, I'm afraid, before we even know whether we can help you. You might even end up telling us everything, only to find that the last thing you say makes it all impossible."

Will looked suspicious.

"At least we're being level with you, mate," Ron said.

"That's true," Will replied. "There are quite a few people I've met who would never admit that they might not be able to help. They'd listen to everything I had to tell them first. Very well, then. In exchange for telling you all I know, I would like to ask you questions about yourselves. At least that way, if I can't get Lyra back, I won't end up empty-handed."

"Ask," Harry said, sipping his coffee.

Will's first question was directed at Ron. "You cast a spell," he said. "You made an animal come out of your wand, and it went to deliver a message. What was that?"

"That's a Patronus," Ron replied. "It's a protection against a particularly nasty magical creature called a Dementor. They suck your soul out and leave you worse than dead."

The cat on the table next to Will went wide-eyed, shook in terror and sought comfort in its master's lap. Curiously, Will himself did not seem scared. On the contrary, he looked as though dealing with soul-sucking creatures was nothing new to him. He also looked thoughtful, as though the Patronus was the key to one of his problems. "Can any wizard make them?"

Harry said, "With practice, yes. You sound as though you've a use for them."

"There are things in one of the worlds I travelled to. They're called Spectres, and they're like your Dementors but they only attack adults or near-adults. The more grown up you are, the more you perceive them and the more they attack you. But they only attack your daemon." Will took a deep breath. "They're created when I use the artefact. It's one of the reasons I had to destroy it. This Patronus… does it destroy the Dementors?"

Harry shook his head. "No, I'm sorry. It only drives them off for an extended period."

Will thought this might still be useful if he had to move around inside Cittagazze for any reason. "Kirjava here is unique to me. Children's daemons change; when you become an adult, or when your mind becomes adult, they settle into one form. What about…"

"Patronuses reflect who you are sometimes," Harry said. "People tell me I'm much like my father was, in many ways. He… it's said he had the power to transform his shape, and he could change into a stag. My Patronus is a stag, and it was one even before I knew about my dad; it always has been since. But I knew a woman whose Patronus changed at a time of severe emotional stress, and I knew a man whose Patronus took on the same form as the Patronus of the woman he loved most dearly. I can deliver messages with it; I can use it to drive off Dementors; I can make it come here or go there. But it's not intelligent like your daemon; I can't talk to it. On the other hand, it can't be killed. A Dementor might go for your daemon and leave you untouched to cast a Patronus against it…"

"No, it wouldn't," Will said before he could stop himself. "Whatever happens to my daemon happens to me. If you were to kill Kirjava…"

"Let's forget you ever told us that," Ron interrupted. "Harry, my main concern was that this guy isn't all Muggle…" He clarified for Will what a Muggle was. "He said he was a shaman; I wonder if he had a wizard parent at all."

"My father was a shaman," Will said. "But he became one, after he'd had me. He might have had it in him when he conceived me, I don't know. All I know is, he didn't know about any powers he had until after I was born. So if I'm one of you… if he was one of you…"

Harry said, "There's only one way to find out." He drained his coffee. "Shall we take him to see Ollivander?"

"If you don't mind," Will said, "Kirjava and I would like to discuss this for a while. Can I meet you back here in an hour?"

Harry reflected on this. Ollivander closed about now, but he was known to bustle in his shop for a couple more hours afterwards. He would see Harry, especially if it was on Ministry business and there wasn't too much effort involved. Six years free of Voldemort's control had worked wonders for the man, but he was still looking eagerly at retirement. "No more than that," Harry said. When Will took his wallet out to pay, Harry waved it down. "Let me. I can write this off as work expenses; you can't."

"Maybe I should have ordered something more expensive," Will joked.

"We'll have time to drink more than coffee afterwards, if I'm right," Harry said. "The best test is to see if you're able to use a wand. Ollivander makes the best; if you are a wizard, he'll find one that fits you and recognizes you. Mine and Ron's are too familiar with us to respond well to a beginner." He deposited a fair amount of excess money on the table: he knew the waitress was poor, with a small child to support and literary ambitions to nurture as well. "We'll meet you outside in an hour."

To Be Continued.


( 8 autopsies — Perform an autopsy )
15th Oct, 2007 21:01 (UTC)
Ooh, intriguing. I particularly like the portrayal of Ron here: he often gets a raw deal in fan-fic. I can't wait to see how you develop the story from these beginnings!
15th Oct, 2007 22:16 (UTC)
Thank you.

Admittedly Ron was second fiddle to Harry for most of the books, so it's little wonder that he got short-changed (I'm understanding here, not agreeing, BTW). He was coming into his own at the end of Deathly Hallows - why shouldn't he get a chance to shine? His total bluntness and emotional range of a teaspoon is something I figured Will would respond better to.

There's lots more coming; I'm just very busy at the moment.
16th Oct, 2007 05:18 (UTC)
Oh, coolness! This is a really fascinating and well done crossover - I hope you *do* write the much longer saga, because I'd love to read it! carlanime linked me, and I'm so glad she did!
17th Oct, 2007 15:21 (UTC)
Thanks. It seemed an obvious crossover to do - Will's world is cross-compatible in history AND location with Harry's, and the HDM-verse acknowledges the existence of magic. If Will's clueless as to what happened to Britain in the brief Voldemort reign, it's because he was running all over the universes with Lyra, saving everyone just as Harry was doing (albeit in a different way).

I'm eyeball-deep in a conference at the moment, and God only knows how much other stuff after the sessions finish, but I'll try to get some more done soon. Don't worry; the bunny keeps biting
18th Oct, 2007 13:54 (UTC)
Hey there. Great fic - you merged the two worlds nicely and I'd love to see where this story is going. :) Actually, I hope you don't mind if I friend you so I can find your journal again.

Just a little nitpick - I think Ron says 'mate' a bit too often here. I guess that you're not British, so using dialect words like 'mate' helps to give the setting more of an English flavour, but honestly, we don't say it that often. :P But like I said, this is very interesting, so I'm glad I stumbled upon it. :)
18th Oct, 2007 14:11 (UTC)
Probably it's because he does use it and, me being Australian and tending to use it even more, that's carried over into the "excess" use you remark on. I thought about it myself, but I figure he's probably trying very hard to set Will at ease... Whatever; point taken. In any case, they're going to be getting to know each other a bit better as acquaintances, and that should put an end to what you have commented on.

Feel free to friend me. Not that I can stop you or anything... :)
21st Oct, 2007 21:26 (UTC)
Damn... connection failed. Reposting from memory.

I love this! I read the Dark Matter trilogy over the summer and was hooked, and you've done a great job here of blending two universes and showing the similarities between the two. You've got the voices spot on (although I agree on the slight overuse of "mate") and the writing is tight and well paced, and very compelling. Looking forward to more.
22nd Oct, 2007 11:08 (UTC)
They know each other well enough to say "Ron" and "Will" now. :-p That one won't be happening again.
( 8 autopsies — Perform an autopsy )