I own nothing. Least of all this.
“Oh my Lord, take my soul,
Lay me at the bottom of the river,
Devil has come to carry me home,
Lay me at the bottom,
The bottom of the river.”
- The River
We’re all familiar with the fanfiction trope of “X event happens to Harry Potter leading him and X amount of other people to end up in another reality”, or something of that sort. As much as I enjoy reading those stories, I think it’s a shame we haven’t seen much of the reverse: X event happens to someone(s) from another reality, and they end up in the Wizarding World. So, here are some one-shots and story prompts based on that premise. Feel free to take these ideas and run with them. Enjoy!
1) XUR, AGENT OF THE NINE
Fic Title: "Ain't Nothing In This World For Free"
Accompanying Song: "Ain't No Rest For The Wicked" by Cage The Elephant
Harry paced outside of the Room of Requirement. He thought very hard about exactly what he needed as he did so.
I need a way to fight Voldemort, I need a way to fight Voldemort, I need a way to fight Voldemort.
For this was the night after the Battle of the Department of Mysteries. This was the night after Harry learned the prophecy. And most importantly, this was the night after Harry’s godfather had died trying to save him.
Harry was quite sure it would take a while to clean up Dumbledore’s office. He had left quite a mess behind, after all. Did he regret it? Absolutely. But not for the reasons you would think. Harry had made a mistake by letting his anger bleed out in front of the person responsible for most of the crappy life he had led so far. He was supposed to be smarter than that. The Hat had wanted to put him in Slytherin for a reason, after all. But now Dumbledore might have finally gotten an inkling of exactly how much Harry hated him, and that just wouldn’t do.
He would have to mitigate the damage by willingly going along back to Privet Drive like a good little soldier. Granted, it was now impossible for him to stay there, under the thumb of Dumbledore, but appearances had to be kept up. Harry had wondered exactly how long it would take Dumbledore and Snape to get rid of Sirius once they realized they couldn’t use him as a control. “Try and convince Harry of this, Sirius, and we will let you talk to Harry more frequently”. Sure. Harry had deliberately avoided conversation with his godfather once he realized how easily manipulable he was. And now, the Chief Warlock, who could have easily gotten Sirius a trial, had disposed of a less-than-useful asset.
Just one more reason to kill the man.
The door to the Room of Requirement shimmered into existence before him. He pushed the door open, and strode in. He was expecting something along the lines of a weapon, or perhaps a forgotten book with information Voldemort had never learned. He knew for a fact he would never be able to take the Dork Lard in a straight up fight, that just wasn’t how he was cut out. Even in the DOM, he had done his best to avoid direct confrontation. But now, war was here. And he needed a very special surprise for a very special someone.
What Harry was not expecting, was a person.
At least, he thought it was a person. A dark cloak hung over the figure’s face, obscuring a good deal of it. And yet, just poking out of the edge, Harry fancied he saw…tentacles? It didn’t matter; if the Room said this…whatever…could help him fight Voldemort, then he would take it.
The figure turned to face Harry, yellow eyes flashing from underneath the cloak. Harry gulped. Definitely not human then. Still, there was no guarantee he was unfriendly. Harry kept going.
“I’m looking for a way to fight a Dark Lord.”
A raspy voice seemed to drift towards him. “It seems that wherever the Nine send me, there is a Darkness that must be fought. But wherever this is, I am afraid I am unable to tell.”
“Hogwarts. School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.”
The figure tilted his head. “Witchcraft? Wizardry? These are terms only the Hive use; yet from you I sense not the Deep’s taint. Perhaps you are a Warlock in the manner of Toland, but not as far fallen. Or it may be that you seek a weapon, as the Titan did, to kill those who would use the Light for their own purpose. And yet again, you may follow the philosophy of the Hunter, and seek to balance Light and Dark in your own way.”
“Err…no offense, but I understood absolutely none of that.”
The figure jerked in shock. “So…you are truly as young as you look, and have little to no experience with either the forces of Darkness, or of the Light. I see now why you study. And I also see now why Fate and the Nine have led me to you.”
It was Harry’s turn to jump. “Um…yeah, Fate…there’s…listen, basically, there’s a prophecy that says either I kill a Dark Lord, or he kills me.”
“…A prophecy. I have not heard one of those in quite a while. Might I hear it in its entirety?”
Harry hesitated, and then thought ‘screw it’. And told him.
“…Hmm…either must die at the hands of the other…which means…”
“Yeah, yeah, it means one of us is going to kill the other. I told you that.”
“I think not, young Guardian. There is another possible meaning.”
Harry’s stomach clenched. “And that would be?”
“That the line is literal. That it is impossible for you to die, except by the hand of your Dark Lord. The same would of course apply to him as well.”
“Perhaps. Perhaps not. Perhaps it merely means that you are unkillable. Only the Nine would know for sure.”
Harry’s thoughts whirled. If there was a possibility that he couldn’t die, except by the hands of Voldemort, then…
The Dursleys. That was the real reason that despite everything they had done to him, they had never succeeded in killing him. Mother’s love his arse. And who had been the one to arrange both his stay at Privet Drive, as well as all of his confrontations with Voldemort, in the hopes that one would kill the other off? Dumbledore.
“Look, Mister….” He trailed off as he realized he had no idea what the person’s name was.
“I am Xur, Agent of the Nine. And from Them, I bring gifts to aid you in your struggle.”
“Good, then. As far as I know, I’m a wizard, through and through. But what did you mean by those other titles you used? Warlock, Titan, and Hunter?”
“Let us start with the last first. The Hunter is the blade in the shadows, the knife in the dark. They are always the first in, and the last out. They are the first to strike, in exactly the last place the enemy expects. All but invisible to allies and enemies alike, until the time is right.”
“And the others?”
“The Warlock is the scholar. The learner. The one who can conjure the right string of words and numbers to force reality into a new shape, or to tear it into a shrieking hole. They sing of the sun, walk through the Void, and call down the storm. They may be slow to act, but in the end, it is they who will have the last word. As for the Titan…a Titan is a wall. They are the barrier upon which the enemy breaks, the pyre upon which their dead are burned. But they are also the fist, forever moving forward, never breaking stride, steadily taking the fight to wherever they go. And they will never, ever stop.”
Harry swallowed. “Is…is there a way to tell which I am?”
“Of course. The Nine would not send me if I were not prepared to sell to Guardians of all types. We shall try some of my wares, and whichever works the best for you, shall tell you which kind you are.”
“Right. Let’s…let’s do that.”
Slowly, the fig…Xur…drew from somewhere a pair of…were those gauntlets? And was that a beetle on the side?
“Kephri’s Sting. To vanish from sight is a valuable skill to all, for to strike invisibly is the best strike of all. Try them on.”
Harry felt the gauntlets slide up on his arms, desperately trying not to think about what was on them as they did so. Just as they reached his shoulders, he felt something…click?...with his magic. Almost as if he had slotted in something that was just supposed to fit there.
“To use them, you must crouch.”
Harry did so, and sat on the floor, waiting. He was just about to open his mouth and say that it wasn’t working when he gasped. His body had just disappeared. And even better, there was no tell-tale shimmer as there with Disillusionment.
“Wow. This is almost as good as my Cloak.”
That got Xur’s attention again. “Cloak? You have a cloak that grants invisibility?”
“Yeah, it was my dad’s.”
“Fascinating…wears a cloak, seems to specialize with vanishing…you could very well be a Nightstalker Hunter, young Guardian. But we must make absolutely sure. Stand, and remove please.”
Off came the gauntlets, but not back into Xur’s cloak. They remained on a table that had mysteriously appeared next to thee pair. Thank you Room of Requirement, Harry thought. He was jerked from his reverie as Xur produced another piece of armor.
“The Heart of the Praxic Fire. Made for those who seek to burn all around them, but especially for those who blur the lines between life and death. On with it.”
The chest-plate was a bit on the heavy side, but as it slid on, Harry felt the same click as he had earlier with the gauntlets.
“Now, to test. If you truly are a Warlock, conjuring a ball of flame while wearing this piece shall be no test at all.”
Harry turned to face the wall, and pulled out his wand.
…The entirety of the wall was ablaze. Harry blinked. His Incendios had certainly never done that before.
“Fascinating…most fascinating…wears robes in the style of a uniform, and has an aptitude with flame…you truly are a remarkable individual, Guardian. I wonder…I have one more item you may wish to try. Set the Heart aside, and we shall make one final test.”
Harry pulled the chest-plate up and over, and then placed it next to the gauntlets. He turned back to see Xur standing there with...what appeared to be leg armor.
“It is not often I outfit a subtle Titan. And yet, your ability with vanishing speaks for itself. Clearly, the Nine knew you would need this particular kind of protection.”
“What are they?”
“They are the Antaeus Wards. The closest, perhaps, my Masters’ hearts.”
Wards, Harry could understand.
“How do they work?”
“Put them on, then slide, and you shall see.”
And Harry did.
“Is…is that…a Protego shield?”
“You have a name for it? Amongst the Titans, it was once known as the Juggernaut. It has been refined into what you hold now.”
Harry stood. “So…which am I? Warlock, Titan, or Hunter?”
“You, Guardian, are something very special indeed. You are capable of being all three if you so wish. There is no denying it. You are capable of balancing not only the Light and the Dark, but the Guardians themselves as well. And so, I can sell all three pieces of armor to you.”
Harry’s spirits dropped at the word ‘sell’. “How…how much for them?”
“For each piece, it is thirteen coins.”
Harry gaped at that. “Thirteen GALLEONS!”
Xur was undisturbed. “I know not what a…Galleon…is.”
“Sickles…yes, that sounds appropriate…thirteen sickles for each.”
Harry pulled out the coins and counted them out. He pulled on all three of the items, intending to make his way invisibly back to his dorm room and hide them, when Xur once more spoke.
“There is one more item you may wish to see.”
“And that is?” Harry asked from inside his robes.
Harry pulled the Heart down just in time to see a glint of silver and the unmistakable crusting of dried blood in Xur’s hands. He stepped closer for a better look.
It was a Muggle gun. But unlike any Muggle gun he had seen before.
Spikes pointed out from all angles of the barrel, and a knife stuck straight out from the front of the weapon. Harry could clearly see it had been well-used, and not just as a gun.
Cautiously, he reached forward to touch it. “What…what is it?”
“This is the Crimson. It was once known as the Red Death, until a Guardian took it and…improved it.”
Harry was almost afraid to ask. “And what…does it do?”
“It will take from your enemies all that they took from you. Slay them with this weapon, and their life shall be used to heal any injury you may have. In addition, if you manage to land the killing blow to the head, the gun shall reload itself with the act. For ideas make the best ammunition, after all.”
Harry swallowed. “This…weapon…sounds like it was made to fight hordes of enemies. Not Dark Lords. Don’t you have something that can do that instead?”
“That is not my place, not is it yours. To permanently end the Darkness, one must become a more powerful form of said Darkness. And the only way to do that, is to weaken the servants of your Enemy. Only then will you be able to stand on the field victorious, the strongest thing in existence.”
Harry nodded in understanding. Voldemort would never have come back if not for his followers. The same applied to Dumbledore. He would never have gotten as powerful as he had without using at least some of this logic. He would end the Death Eaters first, and Dumbledore’s followers at the same time. Then, he would stand back and watch the two Lords kill each other, only for him to step in at the right time. Just as Dumbledore was probably planning to do to him and Voldemort.
“How much for this one?”
“For a weapon, the price is also thirteen coins.”
Harry dropped the required amount into Xur’s hands.
“Thank you. For giving me a fighting chance.”
“Chance? No, young Guardian. Not a chance. A Destiny. Now go. Bring balance to your world. Give both Life and Death freely. And perhaps we shall meet again at the end.”
Harry would think about both the strange figure and his last words many times in the days to come.